Bourges Cathedral
Flag of Bourges
Coat of arms of Bourges
Coat of arms
Location of Bourges
Bourges is located in France
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Bourges is located in Centre-Val de Loire
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Coordinates: 47°05′04″N 2°23′47″E / 47.0844°N 2.3964°E / 47.0844; 2.3964Coordinates: 47°05′04″N 2°23′47″E / 47.0844°N 2.3964°E / 47.0844; 2.3964
Country France
Region Centre-Val de Loire
Department Cher
Arrondissement Bourges
Intercommunality CA Bourges Plus
 • Mayor (2020–2026) Yann Galut[1]
68.74 km2 (26.54 sq mi)
 (Jan. 2018) [2]
 • Density 940/km2 (2,400/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Berruyers
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
18033 /18000
Elevation 120–169 m (394–554 ft)
(avg. 153 m or 502 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Bourges (French pronunciation: [buʁʒ] (About this soundlisten)) is a commune in central France on the river Yèvre. It is the capital of the department of Cher, and also was the capital of the former province of Berry.


The name of the commune derives either from the Bituriges, the name of the original inhabitants, or from the Germanic word Burg (French: bourg. Spanish: burgo. English, others: burgh, berg, or borough), for "hill" or "village". The Celts called it Avaricon; Latin-speakers: Avaricum. In the fourth century BC, as in the time of Caesar, the area around it was the center of a Gallic (Celtic) confederacy.

In 52 BC, the sixth year of the Gallic Wars, while the Gauls implemented a scorched-earth policy to try to deny Caesar's forces supplies, the inhabitants of Avaricum begged not to have their town burned.[citation needed] It was temporarily spared due to its good defences provided by the surrounding marshes, by a river that nearly encircled it, and by a strong southern wall. Julius Caesar's forces, nevertheless, captured and destroyed the town, killing all but 800 of its inhabitants.[citation needed]

Rome reconstructed Avaricum as a Roman town, with a monumental gate, aqueducts, thermae and an amphitheatre; it reached a greater size than it would attain during the Middle Ages. The massive walls surrounding the late-Roman town, enclosing 40 hectares, were built in part with stone re-used from earlier public buildings.

The third-century AD Saint Ursinus, also known as Saint Ursin, is considered[by whom?] the first bishop of the town. Bourges functions as the seat of an archbishopric. During the 8th century Bourges lay on the northern fringes of the Duchy of Aquitaine and was therefore the first town to come under Frankish attacks when the Franks crossed the Loire. The Frankish Charles Martel captured the town in 731, but Duke Odo the Great of Aquitaine immediately re-took it. It remained under the rule of counts who pledged allegiance to the Aquitanian dukes up to the destructive siege by the Frankish King Pepin the Short in 762, when Basque troops are found defending the town along with its count.

During the Middle Ages, Bourges served as the capital of the Viscounty of Bourges until 1101. In the fourteenth century, it became the capital of the Duchy of Berry (established in 1360). The future king of France, Charles VII (r. 1422–1461), sought refuge there in the 1420s during the Hundred Years' War. His son, Louis XI, was born there in 1423. In 1438, Charles VII decreed the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges. During this period, Bourges was a major centre of alchemy.[citation needed]

The Gothic Cathedral of Saint Étienne, begun at the end of the twelfth century, ranks as a World Heritage Site. It is considered[by whom?] one of the earliest examples of the High Gothic style of the thirteenth century.[3]

Bourges has a long tradition of art and history. Apart from the cathedral, other sites of importance include the 15th-century Palais Jacques Cœur and a sixty-five-hectare district of half-timbered houses and fine town-houses.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1793 15,964 —    
1800 16,330 +0.32%
1806 17,552 +1.21%
1821 18,910 +0.50%
1831 19,730 +0.43%
1836 25,324 +5.12%
1841 22,826 −2.06%
1846 24,799 +1.67%
1851 25,037 +0.19%
1856 26,799 +1.37%
1861 28,064 +0.93%
1866 30,119 +1.42%
1872 31,312 +0.65%
1876 35,785 +3.39%
1881 40,217 +2.36%
1886 42,829 +1.27%
1891 45,342 +1.15%
1896 43,587 −0.79%
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1901 46,551 +1.32%
1906 44,133 −1.06%
1911 45,735 +0.72%
1921 45,942 +0.05%
1926 44,245 −0.75%
1931 45,067 +0.37%
1936 49,263 +1.80%
1946 51,040 +0.35%
1954 53,879 +0.68%
1962 60,632 +1.49%
1968 70,814 +2.62%
1975 77,300 +1.26%
1982 76,432 −0.16%
1990 75,609 −0.14%
1999 72,480 −0.47%
2007 71,155 −0.23%
2012 66,666 −1.29%
2017 64,551 −0.64%
Source: EHESS[4] and INSEE (1968-2017)[5]


Bourges sits at the river junction where the Auron flows into the Yèvre. The disused Canal de Berry follows alongside the course of the Auron through Bourges.


Bourges, located in the center of France, away from the Atlantic Ocean, features a typical degraded oceanic climate (Köppen : Cfb), characterized by colder, drier winters and warmer, wetter summers than the oceanic climate.


Half-timbered houses in Place Gordaine


The Bourges station offers direct railway connections to Paris (2 hours), Orléans, Tours, Lyon and several regional destinations. The A71 motorway connects Bourges with Orléans and Clermont-Ferrand. Bourges Airport is a small regional airport.

Sport and recreation

Bourges' principal football team are Bourges Football 18. It is also home to the women's basketball club CJM Bourges Basket, which has won multiple titles in domestic and European basketball. Bourges XV is the premier rugby team in the region, currently playing in French National Division, Federal 3.

Colleges and universities

Twin towns – sister cities

Bourges is twinned with:[15]


The Printemps de Bourges music festival takes place in Bourges every year.

Every summer, and since 2002, Les mille univers hosts a writing workshop in collaboration with Oulipo.[16]


See also


  1. ^ "Répertoire national des élus: les maires"., Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises (in French). 2 December 2020. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Populations légales 2018". INSEE. 28 December 2020.
  3. ^ [1] Destination 360 (Accessed 7 October 2016) Cathedral one of the earliest examples of High Gothic.
  4. ^ Des villages de Cassini aux communes d'aujourd'hui: Commune data sheet Bourges, EHESS. (in French)
  5. ^ Population en historique depuis 1968, INSEE
  6. ^ "Données climatiques de la station de Bourges" (in French). Meteo France. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  7. ^ "Climat Centre-Val de Loire" (in French). Meteo France. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Bourges (07255) - WMO Weather Station". NOAA. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  9. ^ "Normes et records 1961-1990: Bourges (18) - altitude 161m" (in French). Infoclimat. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  10. ^ Jacques Cœur's palace, visitor centre Archived 21 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Lallemant's hotel, visitor centre Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Berry museum, visitor center Archived 7 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Estève museum, visitor centre Archived 5 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Bourges' marshes, visitor centre
  15. ^ "Villes jumelles". (in French). Bourges. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  16. ^ Les récréations à Bourges.


External links