Visit the Basilica of Saint Michel and its spire

Visit the basilica of saint michel and its spire

The Saint-Michel Basilica in Bordeaux is in the centre of the Saint-Michel district. The Saint-Michel Basilica is the second largest Catholic church in Bordeaux. Today, the Saint-Michel district is one of the liveliest and most cosmopolitan in the city. Many markets are held in this lively area, including the famous Capucins market, which is only a few minutes’ walk away. The Saint-Michel Basilica, a listed building dating from the end of the 15th century, is also one of the three great churches of Bordeaux inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1998 and is characteristic of the flamboyant Gothic style.

 

 

THE HISTORY OF THE MONUMENTS

The Bordeaux monument was built between the 14th and 16th centuries, in place of an old church outside the city walls. It was a key stopover for pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela in France.

It should be noted that the spire was not always complete. On 10 August 1759, the tower suffered an earthquake. Then following hurricanes and other natural disasters, the top of the spire was swept away. Several restoration projects were carried out, but it was not until 1860 that Paul Abadie began the renovation work. It would take almost ten years for it to reach its highest point and for its construction to be completed.

 

Visiter la basilique Saint-Michel et sa flèche

A PLACE OF WORSHIP

The basilica, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an imposing place, 75 metres long from the choir to the entrance and 38 metres wide. Indeed, the monument is one of the largest places of worship in the Bordeaux area. It holds numerous works of art, notably a pietà dating from the end of the 15th century. There are also stained glass windows dating mainly from the 16th, 19th and 20th centuries. Among the oldest is the “Tree of Jesse” which represents the presumed family tree of Jesus of Nazareth from Jesse, the father of King David.

Our VisioTour will take you on a tour of this picturesque area with rich and exciting commentary.

 

A SPIRE THAT MAKES YOU FEEL TALLER

This 114-metre high bell tower is the third highest in France, after Strasbourg and Rouen. The reason it is separate from the church itself is to prevent the heavy weight of the bell tower from destabilising the church building. Indeed, the presence of unstable marshy ground in the Bordeaux subsoil risked causing the collapse of the bell tower, which was heavily subjected to vibrations.

Apart from the Saint-Michel spire, which stands out from the visual landscape, nothing alters the linear character of the city: no modern buildings, no towers or skyscrapers have disturbed the horizon, and the city today is very close to what it was in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The spire is a must-see place to visit in Bordeaux. An unusual and panoramic dimension as well as a remarkable gothic architecture not to be missed. On board our panoramic bus, you will have the opportunity to visit Bordeaux from a height of 4 metres.

 

THE MUMMIES OF SAINT-MICHEL

It was in 1791 that it was decided in Bordeaux to remove the graves around the parish churches. During the excavation work, 74 bodies were discovered. Among them, some had been naturally preserved by the nature of the soil. Renamed “the mummies of Saint-Michel“, these bodies were for a long time exposed under the church tower, in a crypt with a macabre staging. Some famous travellers have visited the mummies, such as Théophile Gaultier and Victor Hugo.

 

Visiter la basilique Saint-Michel et sa flèche

In 1979, because they spoiled in contact with the air, the mummies were placed in wooden coffins and placed in an anonymous tomb in the Chartreuse cemetery, near Saint-André cathedral.

The Basilica of Saint-Michel in Bordeaux shares with Saint-André Cathedral the particularity of having an independent bell tower. Its spire was built in the 15th century on a former charnel house where mummies exhumed from the surrounding cemetery were placed at the end of the 18th century.

The Basilica of Saint-Michel is a major tourist attraction in Bordeaux and a must-see architectural jewel in the Gironde. This building, with its tower and bell tower, is one of the most beautiful buildings you can visit in Aquitaine. Together with the Saint-André cathedral, the Saint-Michel basilica is one of the most beautiful monuments of the city of Bordeaux, rich in history and culture. Follow the guide and let our imperial bus tell you all about the mysteries of this building and the secrets of its architecture.

bus visiotour bordeaux

 

Top picks
at the time

Bordeaux is rich in history and heritage with its 350 UNESCO listed buildings. Each one more unusual than the next, don’t miss out on discovering them.

We have put together a list of the most important places in the Port de la Lune to visit…

Discover
Exhibition: Jangala, au coeur de la jungle Indienne
Exhibition: Jangala, au coeur de la jungle Indienne

“Jangala” is much more than just an exhibition, it’s a true sensory immersion in one of the planet’s richest and most diverse ecosystems. You’ll be transported into the depths of the jungle and plunged into a wild and mysterious world where nature reigns supreme.

Read
Cervorama exhibition

Cap Sciences, as an emblematic venue for intellectual entertainment, uses its creativity to offer exhibitions, encounters, surprising activities and popular events. These experiences allow visitors to explore evolving knowledge, the latest innovations and topical issues.

Read
Cervorama exhibition
Exhibition : « Madeleine Riffaud. Résistante(s) » at the MÉCA
Exhibition : « Madeleine Riffaud. Résistante(s) » at the MÉCA

The MÉCA is the the house of creative economy and culture of the “Nouvelle-Aquitaine” region.

This asymmetrical arched building is both a regional hub for creative players and a space for artistic discovery and interaction for the general public. Located at the other end of the crescent formed by the Garonne as it passes through Bordeaux, it represents the ideal complement to the Cité du Vin.

Read