In spite of our hotel being right next to a large church, their bell stayed silent and therefore it didn’t wake us up in the morning. ‘No Sunday survive, today?’, we wondered as we got ready to check out from the hotel.
I left mum and some of our luggage on a side street and went to the car park and retrieve our car. That morning, we were heading to Bourges, 342km away from Lyon.
After 4 hours on the road, we arrived at Bourges in early afternoon. The streets were virtually empty and the whole place seemed to be having a nap after a Sunday lunch.
I left mum in a hotel lobby and moved our car to a cobbled side street. The inside of the hotel was as quiet as the outside. And it took for a while until a receptionist to notice our arrival. ‘So sorry. I didn’t realise that you are here!’, she apologised and handed us card keys.
Our room was on the second floor and it had a large window facing a courtyard.
After unpacking some of the luggage, we decided to explore Bourges’ old town centre.
Originally, Bourges was inhabited by the Gauls until Julius Caesar’s forces captured and destroyed it in 52 BC. The Romans reconstructed the town in the Roman style with aqueducts, Roman baths and an amphitheatre. Julius Caesar himself was fond of the place and as a result, the place was substantially equipped and fortified as a stronghold.
In the 12th century, Bourges became a royal city. It was because Eudes Arpin, the Viscount of Bourges, sold his possessions to Philip I, the king of France, in order to finance his crusade. In 1137, his second son, Louis VII, was crowned in the old Cathedral of Bourges while his young wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, presided. If you are into history of medieval Europe like me, the name like Eleanor of Aquitaine really excite you, doesn’t it? She ran away from her religious husband and into the arms of Henry II of Plantagenet! And this Henry, his feud with Thomas Becket, aka Saint Thomas of Canterbury! It’s so enticing…
After negotiating a few cobbled streets on foot, we reached at the perimeter of the old town centre.
Beyond the stone stairs, there was Palais Jacques Coeur, a palatial house of a (very) wealthy French man. And I am going to write about our visit in my next entry!:)