Once the capital of the province of Aquitaine at the end of the Roman Empire, capital of the Kingdom of France in the reign of Charles VII, Bourges carefully maintains its heritage from a glorious past, located in the center of France on the Yèvre river. It is the capital of the department of Cher and also was the capital of the former province of Berry.
Bourges most notable monument hands down is the Cathedral of St Etienne. Built between the late 12th and late 13th centuries, it is one of the great masterpieces of Gothic art and is admired for its proportions and the unity of its design. The tympanum, sculptures and stained-glass windows are awe-inspiring. Apart from the beauty of the architecture, it attests to the power of Christianity in medieval France.
The cathedral is of considerable importance in the development of Gothic architecture and as a symbol of the strength of Christianity in medieval France. However, its principal claim lies in its striking beauty, combining masterly management of space with harmonious proportions and decoration of the highest quality. As the figurehead of the Capetian domain facing the south of France, the Cathedral of St Etienne had to be unique in design. The architectural style chosen by the unknown master-builder is based on a plan with no transept and plastic effects of great modernity for their time. The cathedral is still surrounded by the half-timbered houses of the medieval town.
Bourges is also known as one of the greenest cities in France, with 135 hectares of marshland in the heart of the city and more than 50 m2 of parks per inhabitant, and is aprt of the voie verte (greenway) of the loire valley.