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Bourges history

The emergence of the city

The privileged position occupied by the site of Bourges during the early Iron Age or Hallstattian period has been established by archaeological evidence.

The appearance of several settlements at the end of the 6th century and during the 5th century BC testifies the organisation of the area delimited by the confluence of the River Yèvre and the River Auron.
A succession of fine wooden buildings (traces of painted coating) is erected on the site of the present Littré school respecting the alignment of the land. St Martin des Champs is similarly occupied. The fragments of artefacts found in the strata of these areas (amphora from Marseille, ceramics from Northern Italy, Greek ceramics with black and red figures) are evidence of commercial links with the Mediterranean regions. Their know-how is reproduced in "native" ceramics which use the same fashioning and decorating techniques.

Funerary items, notably Etruscan-Italian vessels in bronze, confirm the importance of these exchanges. Although the fabric of this first Hallstattian settlement is not dense, the omnipresence of ceramic fragments (Nation, Jacobins) bears witness to the expansion of the site around which other settlements have been identified (Marmagne and Plaimpied).

The world of the dead is part of the city landscape : since the 19th century, several funerary finds (barrows, enclosures) have confirmed the emergence of the city. A vast sanctuary would appear to be located south of Bourges (Military Establishments, Fonds Gaidons, Lazenay) between the valleys of the River Cher and the River Auron.

The city : the "urbs" and its territory

The Territory
The valley of the River Loire to the east, the first peaks of the Massif Central to the south, the marshy land of Brenne and Sologne to the west and north form the natural boundaries of the " Bituriges " people. In the 2nd century BC, several hilltop sites which had been known of several centuries before are once again occupied and fortified. These " oppida ", 20 or so in all, together with other sites circled by slopes and moats, spread over an area covering more than three of our " départements ". Situated more often than not near a river (the Sauldre, the Auron, the Cher ...), they also seem to be burial sites.

The City
The preponderant place occupied by Bourges in this territory is at least certain at the time of the Roman Conquest : archaeological finds are confirmed by written documents. The promontory of Bourges, like the " oppidum " of Châteaumeillant, is crowned by moated fortifications (25m wide and more than 10m deep with an earth bank). The River Auron and the marshlands of the River Yèvre complete the defence structure. Several gateways, one leading to the plateau, and no doubt streets and squares are mentioned by Julius Caesar : " ....they re-formed in the forum and squares, reached the limits of the town at one bound, where they crowded in front of the narrow gates. " (The Gallic Wars VII)

Inside the walls, on the site of the present City Hall and Tourist Office, the alignment of wooden buildings with courtyards, which are the ironworks, is followed by the Gallo-Roman road. The settlement spreads beyond the fortifications, occupying an area of just under 100 hectares : rues de Strasbourg, de Seraucourt, du Vieil Castel, where traces of occupation at the end of the era of independence have recently been found.

Burial grounds appear along the River Auron. The farmlands are just a short distance away.This is the only city that Vercingetorix does not burn down and that Caesar flatters by calling it an " urbs " : " A town which is one of the most beautiful and strongest towns in Gaul and the ornament of the country ... " (The Gallic Wars VII).

Gallo-roman urban development

Avaricum : a Free Town
After the Roman Conquest, the old city of the Bituriges Cubi is a free town. This is apparent in its urban development and architecture from the middle of the 1st century. At the end of the 3rd century, the reorganisation of administration by Diocletian makes Avaricum the capital of the vast province of Aquitaine.

The city of the Early Empire, with denser constructions, covers an estimated area of about 100 hectares, including the new settlements beyond the rivers. A programme of monumental construction which is undertaken during the Augustan period and completed towards the end of the 1st century organises the centre of the city.

A Programme of Monumental Urban Development
The promontory is laid out in terraces and tiers with roads traced out on a north-west, south-east orthogonal plane. A real monumental perspective composed of a succession of constructions and edifices crowns the right bank of the River Auron from the Seraucourt thermae as far as the amphitheatre of the Place de la Nation.
The main thoroughfares, recorded on the Routes of Antoninus and the Map of Peutinger, enter the city through the two monumental gateways (Lyons (now rue Jacques Rimbault) and Auron).In the axis of the latter, on the site of the Jacobins, three terraces supporting the podium of a temple dominate the town.

To the south, three monuments discovered under the Palace of Duke John of Berry, the present County Hall, are built in succession. A supporting wall allows the creation of a vast terrace in the upper part of the town (Place de la Préfecture) at the foot of the podium. In the 2nd century, an archway of about 75m and a square around a fountain form the first two tiers which lead up to the Seraucourt thermae. Rebuilt during the same period on a rectangular plane, this building has a semicircular apse surrounded by a peristyle 40m in diameter on the Lyons gateway side.
The northern side of the promontory was no doubt similarly laid out if we are to believe the numerous architectonic blocks that have been discovered since the 17th century. The only building mentioned in writing and of which there are still signs today is an amphitheatre ; the pit of the arena, still used for plays in the 16th century but which is also used as a rubbish tip, is filled in in 1620 and the houses around the present Place de la Nation are built on its upper tiers.

Everyday Life
In both the upper and lower parts of the town, traces of dwelling houses built of light materials (wood, cob) or in stonework stand alongside wealthier dwellings (domus) complete with hypocaust, mosaic and peristyle.
On the outskirts of the town, burial grounds appear along the roads : " les Champs des Tombeaux " on the road to Argentomagus ((St Marcel near Argenton sur Creuse), or the " Fin Renard " on the road leading to Tinconium (Sancoins) and Lyons.
The funerary steles on display in the Berry Museum recall the everyday life and occupations of the Gallo-Romans.

The religious metropolis

Biturigas withdraws behind its walls
The beginning of the decline of the Lower Empire leads to the abandonment and destruction of many public buildings and dwelling houses. At the same time, the defences are constructed: the 4th century wall is carefully bonded with stone and bricks and strengthened by some 50 towers. Four gateways are also added.
The remains of this wall are still visible along the " Promenade des Remparts " behind the new City Hall and at the foot of Jacques Coeur's Palace.
The town covers an area of about 25 hectares. Its walls leave a permanent mark on its topography, delimiting the upper town whose streets follow the elliptical layout.

Capital of the Province of Aquitaine
According to Gregory of Tours, the Church of Bourges is founded by St Ursin in the 3rd century. Great Bishops : Simplice, elected in the 5th century and Oûtrille and Sulpice in the 7th century, play an important political and religious role in the town which is still very Roman and whose Bishops are to reign supreme over Aquitaine for many years to come.
The existence of a primitive ecclesia and then of cathedral buildings on the site of the present Cathedral has never been proved but is highly probably, well before the Roman sanctuary.

The Foundations of Funerary Basilica and Monasteries
Nothing is known of the dwelling houses of this period but texts testify numerous foundations of funerary basilica at the end of the 6th century and beginning of the 7th century : St Oûtrille, St Sulpice, St Symphorien (later St Ursin), St Paul, St Ambroix in the following century - whose names are omnipresent in the history of Bourges- are constructed outside the walls on ancient burial sites (such as the Oratory in St Martin des Champs) or along the roads near the gateways.
Erected in memory of holy martyrs or Bishops who have protected the city, these sanctuaries are little by little surrounded by burial grounds and habitations.
Between the domination of the Wisigoths and the struggle of the Frankish kings against the Dukes of Aquitaine, quieter periods also witness the foundation of monasteries, the majority of which are reserved for women ; Notre Dame de Salles, Notre Dame de Montermoyen, Saint Pierre le Puellier, Saint Laurent ..

The Extension of the City
The Carolingian period is linked with the first attempts at domesticating the marshlands and perhaps the creation of the River Yévrette which flows into the Auron near St Sulpice Abbey.
Nearby, the village of St Sulpice develops around its markets and fairs.
Suburban villages and extramural religious establishments probably suffer during the Norman and Hungarian attacks of the end of the 9th century and during the 10th century.

The royal city

In the year 1100, the last Viscount of Bourges, Eudes Arpin, sells his possessions to the King of France, Philippe I, in order to raise money for his departure on crusade.
On Christmas Day 1137, Louis VII is crowned in the Romanesque Cathedral of Bourges in the presence of his young wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine. When she later marries Henry II Plantagenet, this small territory of Berry becomes the only Royal Domain south of the River Loire facing the possessions of the King of England.
The two major constructions of this period, the Great Tower and the Gothic Cathedral, are the symbols of the Royal Power of the Capetians and the authority of the Archbishops of Bourges, primates of Aquitaine.

The Medieval Wall and the Great Tower
In view of the political context and the extension of the town, a new system of defence is created between 1160 and 1190. Philip Augustus authorises the inhabitants of Bourges to build on the former wall from 1181.
The medieval wall, made of stones, with earthworks and moat, with an embankment on its inner side, circles the lower part of the town and vast uninhabited areas (marshlands and gardens). New gateways are built on the former approach roads, leading in some cases to the construction of fortified bridges, as at the St Privé (now rue Edouard Vaillant) and Auron gateways.
On the most vulnerable side, the old wall to the south, the construction of the Great Tower blocks rue Moyenne and closes the former Lyons gateway. The Bourbonnoux gateway thus becomes one of the main entrances to the town.
The Great Tower is perhaps the prototype of the keeps of Philip Augustus as it is erected in 1189, one year before the one at the Louvre. This military construction, which is a real royal fortress, has its own towers, walls and moats, which isolate it both from the town and the area outside.
Its trace is visible today in front of the new City Hall.

At the end of the 12th century, an avant garde Cathedral (added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1992)
The figurehead of the Capetian domain facing the South of France, St Etienne's Cathedral has to be unique in design.
In 1195, Archbishop Henri de Sully decides to rebuild the Cathedral, starting from the east, in the new Gothic style.
The choir is erected above a church wrongly called the " crypt ", which had been built on the moat of the Gallo-Roman wall to gain space. The architectural features of the whole edifice are already visible in the chevet: the pyramidal composition, the audacious double flying buttresses, which are intended to create effects of perspective and harmony of volumes inside the edifice.
In 1199, Archbishop Guillaume de Donjon, a former Cistercian abbot, succeeds Henri de Sully and plays an important part in the development of the site and in the definition of the iconographical programme, the aim of which is apologetic : the Cathedral as a whole, its carved decorations, the stained glass, which is the assertion of religious doctrine against heresy. In 1209, Guillaume dies and work is interrupted for several years, but his canonisation in 1218 brings in a flood of donations from the faithful and pilgrims.

Work recommences with the construction of the double side aisled nave, followed by the facade and its five portals. The main walls are no doubt completed in the 1330s. The South Tower shows signs of collapsing and has to be supported by an enormous buttressing pier at the beginning of the 13th century.
The architects who succeed the first Master-builder maintain the coherence and apparent simplicity of the programme and the plan, the absence of a transept contributing to the effect of unity of space. The city thrives : economic and religious expansion.
The cloister of the Chapter House circles the Cathedral and the Archbishop's Palace, old churches are reconstructed, new churches are erected, 15 or so parishes are defined to cater for an expanding population. The mendicant orders establish themselves, with the Franciscans, then the Jacobins (Dominicans), the Augustinians, followed later by the Carmelites.
The tithe barn and the Gothic Church of St Pierre de Guillard today bear witness to the architectural riches of the 12th and 13th centuries in Bourges.
The city is a huge building site, animated by craftsmen and annual fairs. A market forms in Place Gordaine, with butchers' shops and an exchange. Mills appear along the River Yévrette, encouraging the establishment of forges and cloth and pelt workshops. Winegrowers, market gardeners and gardeners share the large uninhabited areas, particularly in the south-eastern part of the town.
Bourges is a prosperous city whose inhabitants have acquired privileges and the bourgeoisie responsibilities for the administration of public property.

The age of patronage

The City of Duke John of Berry and Charles VII
Under John of France (the brother of Charles V), who has received the provinces of Berry and Aquitaine as apanage, Bourges becomes the capital of a France which has been devastated by the Hundred Years' War.
The ostentatious patronage of John of Berry makes it one of the most important artistic and cultural centres of the time.
From 1370, the Dammartin brothers, the architects of the Louvre, build the Ducal Palace and the Sainte Chapelle on the former city walls. These edifices are sumptuously decorated by sculptors, artists and glassmakers (the majority of whom come from Flanders) in keeping with the famous miniatures of the manuscript " Les Très Riches Heures " and the carvings and stained glass in St Etienne's Cathedral. The " Grand Housteau ", the rose window on the west facade, also marks the era of John of Berry.
The administrative framework which Charles VII inherits from Duke John allows him to make Bourges the capital of his tiny kingdom after his accession to the throne in 1422. With the financial aid of Jacques Coeur, the City and the Church of Bourges, Charles VII prepares to regain possession of the country.

The Patronage of Jacques Coeur
Jacques Coeur, son of a furrier born in Bourges some time around 1400, rapidly rises to the top of the social ladder. Made a nobleman by Charles VII, to whom he is also Finance Minister, protégé of Pope Nicolas V, he builds up a commercial and maritime empire and leaves the city and Cathedral with fine examples of his patronage, in the tradition of previous constructions.
His Palace is built on the Gallo-Roman wall like most of the prestigious edifices in Bourges.

The Fire of " La Madeleine " and the Reconstruction of the City
In 1487, Bourges is a " large " town with at least 15 000 in habitants despite outbreaks of plague and paucity.
Louis XI gives it a University and two fairs a year.
Merchants' shops line the streets near the old wall. Craftsmen group together in the lower part of the town. The higher ranking members of the clergy and artists build aristocratic, bourgeois dwellings in the " city " (the upper part of the town).
But the most violent fire in the history of Bourges, known as the fire of " la Madeleine ", which breaks out on 22 July 1487, destroys more than a third of the city and is one of the main causes of the city's economic decline.

The Church of the Holy Cross (Sainte Croix), the districts around St Ambroix and St Bonnet, Place Gordaine and the area now covered by rues Mirebeau, Edouard Branly, Edouard Vaillant, Coursarlon, Joyeuse and Bourbonnoux (the lower part) are the most badly damaged. At that time, they are the most densely populated streets and where there are the most shops and craftsmen.
The half-timbered houses are rebuilt very quickly on the same narrow strips of land. Their corbelling (on widened beams in most cases) is reduced. The timber framework, which can still be admired today, forms Saint andrew's crosses.. Carvings are always Gothic, pinnacles and kales being the most popular decorations. The use and layout of the rooms, served by a long side corridor and a spiral staircase change little over the ages.

From Hôtel des Echevins to Hôtel Cujas

A City Hall for the Aldermen
The urban fabric is affected by the construction of these " hôtels " which with their courtyards and gardens occupy several parcels, a phenomenon which becomes more and more common during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Hence the construction in 1489 for the " municipality " represented by four elected noble aldermen of a prestigious City Hall in the flamboyant Gothic style inspired by that of the Palace of Jacques Coeur.

The Renaissance Mansions
The Lallemant brothers, wealthy citizens and art lovers, build a vast mansions the carved decorations of which introduce the first elements of the Italian Renaissance style. Some years later, around 1515, an Italian merchant, Durand Salvi, erects a beautiful house in brick and stone which is subsequently inhabited by the Professor of Law Cujas who gives it his name.

The Church of Bourges, the Reformation and the University
The beginning of the 16th century is marked by the reconstruction of several churches, such as Saint Bonnet, and the foundation of new convents, such l'Annonciade. A hospital is built near the St Sulpice gateway (now rue Gambon) and the North Tower of the Cathedral is rebuilt after collapsing in 1506.
But at the same time, the new ideas of the Reformation spread, especially at the University of Law, where Calvin comes to study around 1531.

Marguerite d'Angouleme, Duchess of Berry and sister of François I, had supported renowned professors such as Alciat from Milan. Marguerite de Valois, who succeeds her, shows tolerance towards the humanists who are in favour of the Reformation.
The violence of the Wars of Religion reaches Bourges in 1562: most of the religious edifices are pillaged when the city is in the hands of the Protestants. When the Protestant community is forced into exile, the city, already in decline, is deprived of a large part of its bourgeois and intellectual elite.

The provincial capital

The Bourbon-Condés, Governors of Berry and the Counter-Reformation
When the citizens of Bourges welcome the new Governor and captain of the Great Tower, Henri II de Bourbon, Prince de Condé, in 1616, the city is no more than an administrative centre with a large number of monuments and fortifications in poor repair, a collapsed economy and a population weakened by outbreaks of plague.

The Church of Bourges and the Prince de Condé support the Counter-Reformation and encourage the establishment of new religious communities (Minims, Carmelites, Oratorians, Ursulines, etc..), the reconstruction of abbeys (St Ambroix, St Sulpice, St Laurent) and the restoration of convents and churches. It is at the Jesuit College, built in the 1620s after the plans of Father Martellange, that Louis de Bourbon-Condé is educated. When he becomes Governor of Berry, he involves the city in the events of the Fronde.
This defeat results in the destruction of the Great Tower in 1653, to the immense relief of the population who regarded it as the symbol of the civil war. Local power is henceforth in the hands of the King's Administrators.

The Great Classical Century in Bourges
Jean Lejuge, the local architect who is very active in Bourges from 1620 to 1650, receives many religious and municipal commissions.
The wing of the Aldermen's House, the Finance Offices between courtyard and garden, in the Parisian style, the reconstruction of the Abbeys of St Sulpice and St Ambroix, the extension of the hospital, the Chapel of St Roch, as well as the mansions which are later inspired by his work, endow Bourges with some fine examples of classical architecture.

A Parisian Architect at the service of a great Prelate
Archbishop of Bourges in 1677, Michel Philippeaux de la Vrillière, calls on a famous Parisian architect, Pierre Bullet, to rebuild an Archbishop's Palace worthy of his ambitions.
The only wing of this unfinished project, which was to be " one of the wonders of this century " stands opposite the south door of the Cathedral and is now the City Hall. The French-style garden planned with it is only laid out in 1733.
At the end of the 17th century, Pierre Bullet builds the Seminary (now the Administrative Centre) in the upper part of the town where all the official buildings are always located.

Unsuccessful Attempts to revive the Economy
Bourges' agricultural markets are dwindling. Its walls are in ruins. Its outside trade is in no better condition. The succession of Royal Administrators are conscious of the lack of enterprising spirit of the citizens of Bourges and the poverty of its population. At the end of the 17th century, one of the Administrators, Dey de Seraucourt, introduces charity workshops and employs 600 people to level the ground of what becomes the Seraucourt esplanade. During the 18th century, cloth, cotton and cutlery manufactures try to establish themselves but with little success.

After the Révolution...
As elsewhere, the Revolution leads to the disaffection of religious edifices, the dispersion of cultural property and a momentary change in the names of streets and squares.
The weakened clergy no longer act as patrons. Religious property, which comprises such a fine heritage in Bourges, is neglected, the only exceptions being the Cathedral and the three Parish churches.
The city's population now numbers 16 000 and remains stable. The bourgeoisie become the rich ruling class of this chief town of the Département.

The industrial and commercial prefecture

Bourges recovers its Institutional Role
During the First Empire, the state institutions are grouped in Bourges : the university centre, the Court of Justice, the region's military command. A vast Archbishopric is re-established.
The ancient monuments are used for this purpose : the Court of Justice moves into the Hôtel Jacques Coeur, the City Hall into the adjoining " hôtel ", the headquarters of the " gendarmes " occupy the Hôtel Cujas and the barracks the Seminary.

A Regional Agricultural Market and the Berry Canal
Bourges asserts its will to provide its citizens with modern facilities and undertakes its role as an agricultural centre by constructing the Halle aux Blés (the Corn Exchange) in the early 1830s.
The Berry Canal is old dream : it is mapped out in 1822 but only put into use in 1843.
1850 : Great Urban Development Projects and Metallurgy

The Arrival of the Railway
After some controversy as to where it should be located, the railway station is built in 1851 in the northern part of the town, near the general hospital. Thus begins the development of the Taillegrain area.

A Working-class District for the Mazieres Factory
After the failure of the Bourges Forges and Foundries, the Marquis of Vogüe establishes the Mazières factory in 1846. Its moulded castings and its more decorative pieces for use in industrial constructions ensure its world-wide reputation : framework, pillars and roofs for railway stations in Vienna, Marseille, for indoor markets in Paris (the Baltard markets), in Pernambouc in Brazil and Bourges (St Bonnet market).
The Mazières district with its streets lined with rows of often semi-detached houses becomes a working-class housing estate.

A " Haussmann " Project
The great artery in the axis of the Cathedral designed by the architect Jullien is only partially completed. Only rue Napoléon III (now Boulevard de Strasbourg) is opened at the end of the century.

1860-1870 : Military Establishments and Great Municipal Buildings
The idea of grouping the armament factories in the centre of France (a long way from the country's frontiers) gains ground ...... and Bourges is finally chosen for their location in 1860.
The canon foundry is built on the plateau to the east of the city (1866) together with the arsenal, the artillery headquarters and the Pyrotechnics School.. A 282-hectare firing range completes the site which continues to develop and mark the city.

From the Municipal Theatre to the Water Tower
At the end of Mayor Planchat's term of office in 1866, the population of Bourges has doubled to 30 000. This justifies the creation of collective facilities.
The abattoirs, built in 1864 near the Corn Exchange disappear in 1981 but the city still has its theatre and a neo-Louis XIII style water tower.

Paving the way for the 20th Century

The Great Arteries of Communication
From 1878, the Mayor, Eugène Brisson, launches a vast programme of road construction : the town is circled by boulevards which follow the medieval wall, then thoroughfares are built to link the new military, industrial and working-class quarters and the railway station.

1885-1894 : Schools and Collective Facilities
Once the major construction works are completed, the city undertakes the establishment of schools in the new quarters.
The Carmelite Church in Place Cujas is pulled down to make way for a National School of Industrial Art in 1882. This eclectic edifice is in turn destroyed in 1976.
The indoor market in Place St Bonnet is built in 1886 in the same style as the Parisian markets, using the moulded castings made at the Mazières factory.
The gendarmes headquarters, the Bordiot prison, the Beauregard mental hospital, followed by the Chamber of Commerce and the Post Office (both neo-Gothic edifices) complete these collective facilities.

Bourges Belle Epoque : Rue Moyenne
From 1857, rue Moyenne, which is the main thoroughfare in the town centre, undergoes openings and alignments. The demolition of the last buildings in Square Victor Hugo around 1898 opens it up to Place Seraucourt and a tramway is laid.
In 1901, the population of Bourges numbers 46 500 and trade is flourishing in rue Moyenne with department stores, rental property, " art nouveau " boutiques such as Les Forestines and banks.

The 20th century : heritage and modernity

During the First World War, Bourges becomes one of the main armament production centres and with the arrival of workers from all over the world (Africa, China ...), its population reaches 100 000.
Mayor from 1919 to 1943, Henri Laudier is confronted with the need to reconvert and modernise the city. In 1928, he obtains the installation of the Henriot aviation factory (now L'Aérospatiale) and builds the airport. He constructs the first groups of municipal housing in the Moulon and Airport quarters. A plan of urban development is drawn up to " embellish " the city in 1932. Great projects follow : the Prés Fichaux Gardens, the Seraucourt Community Hall, the extension of the hospital. At the same time, new churches (Sacré Coeur, St Henri, Sainte Barbe) are erected.

The 30 " glorious " years following the Second World War, when Bourges is occupied for 4 years, see an explosion in the city's population : 51 000 inhabitants in 1946, 60 000 in 1962 and 77 000 in 1975. New housing is urgently needed and blocks of flats appear in different quarters (Avaricum) but especially in the northern part of the city (Chancellerie, Gibjoncs) which provide accommodation for 30 000 in the mid 1970s.

The new inhabitants work in the military industry, at L'Aérospatiale, at the Michelin factory in Saint Doulchard, etc... and more and more in the service sector.
The old town remains practically intact and becomes a conservation area : a plan of protection which is under consideration from 1965 leads to the restoration and renovation of private houses and monuments such as the Hôtel des Echevins, which houses the Estève Museum from 1987, and the introduction of pedestrian streets, etc..
To counterbalance the southern part of the city, an artificial lake is created in 1977, around which the Val d'Auron quarter develops with its numerous sports and leisure facilities.
In 1989, the arrival of the A71 motorway draws attention to the western part and the city develops the Pipact Business Park which links the airport to the motorway and includes the Chamber of Commerce, the Trade Centre, etc..

To the east, the new hospital (opened in 1994) is a preview of further urban development.
The southern part of the ring road is soon followed by the opening of the western portion. The eastern and northern parts have yet to be completed.
The ancient city has become a centre of 100 000 inhabitants. But there is room to breathe : Bourges covers an area which is only two-thirds that of Paris : the marshes are a protected site, new gardens have been laid out (the landscaped garden in the northern part of the city, the Lazenay garden).
The cultural life of the city booms from 1963 when the Maison de la Culture is opened and inaugurated the following year by andré Malraux. Nearby are grouped the Congress Centre (1983), the Natural History Museum (completely renovated in 1989) and the Mediathèque (1994).
University development is the symbol of the 1990s, with the Faculties of Science and Law, the Chamber of Commerce Training Centre, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Ingénieurs de Bourges (School of Higher Engineering), which complete the University Institute of Technology (1968) and the National School of Fine Arts, which is located in the restored former Jesuit college.
Bourges has succeeded in moving with the times without blotting out its past, in developing new projects without harming its exceptional heritage.