18 September 2021

Bourges : le Palais Jacques-Cœur

Jacques Cœur was born into a wealthy family in Bourges toward the end of the 1300s. For a dozen years, he served as finance minister to the French king Charles VII (b. 1403), who reigned for nearly 40 years (1422-1461). At the age of 15, Charles had fled Paris and taken refuge in Bourges. His father, king Charles VI, had lost his mind, and Burgundian forces had invaded Paris. Both the English and the Burgundians contested the young prince's claim to the throne of France. The prince was finally coronated as king Charles VII in 1429, two years before Joan of Arc was burned at the stake by the English in Rouen (Normandy).

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Ten years later the king appointed Jacques Cœur as the Grand Argentier (finance minister) of his realm. Cœur had raised a lot of money for the king, who was known as le petit roi de Bourges at the time. That money helped Charles re-take the territories in northern France, including Paris, that had been seized by English forces after the battle of Azincourt in 1415.

In 1443, Cœur started construction on a grand residence for himself in Bourges. By 1451, he was embroiled in controversy and accused of corruption by his rivals. The king put him in prison and then banished him from the kingdom. He died during a naval battle in the Greek Isles in 1456. His house in Bourges is described as "palatial" and "full of delights" in the Cadogan Loire guidebook. The Michelin Guide Vert says it is « l'un des plus beaux et des plus somptueux édifices civils de l'époque gothique. » The photos here show some details of the carved stone figures that adorn its exterior walls. All the photos can be enlarged...

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My friend Cheryl took the photos in September 2003, which was the first time she visited us in Saint-Aignan. She lived in California and came to stay with us again in 2006, 2008, and 2011 before her health failed and she passed away in 2016.


  1. Nice tribute to Cheryl. Her photos are very good. Photos 1 and 2 are reminiscent of the Tour du Lion in the chateau de Meillant, not far from Bourges.
    I remember Cheryl as a very sweet person. Last time I saw her was for lunch with her and Walt at the Troquet, a restaurant not far from my place in Paris. She collected objects representing owls and I’m glad I was able to contribute to her collection, several owls trivets, a large one and four small ones. Ken, you might rember seeing those in Salton City.

    1. Of course, it’s ...remember those... Sorry.

    2. I do remember them. Cheryl wasn't always sweet, but the way. She had her moods like anybody else. But she was a very generous person, as you are.

    3. Photo #1 (I just added numbers) is supposedly a representation of Jacques Cœur himself. I read that somewhere.

    4. Thank you for your kind words.

  2. I wish I had the chance to meet Cheryl. Her photos are a way of remembering the good times you had together.

  3. I've never been up on that period of French history... with the Burgundians, and Joan of Arc, and who was king and all of that.

  4. Courrier Picard tells me that the city of Amiens commemorates the 800th birthday of its cathedral!

  5. I, too, need a scorecard to keep straight the list of players of that period on the national stage. And they all seemed to have the same names!
    Cheryl's pictures are very good.


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