The iconic Basilica of St. Michael in Bordeaux
If you have planned a visit to the city of Bordeaux, you cannot fail to include a must on your itinerary: the Basilica of Saint Michael. This religious building is one of the city’s most outstanding architectural treasures. Without a doubt, it is a must for lovers of history, culture and artistic beauty.
Immerse yourself in its majesty and be captivated by its rich history, impressive architecture and spiritual atmosphere. Before you can see it with your own eyes, here is some information that will surely be of interest to you.
Why should I visit the Basilica of Saint Michael?
The Basilica of St. Michael is an architectural jewel and a living testimony to the history of Bordeaux. Visiting it will allow you to immerse yourself in the city’s glorious past and appreciate the magnificence of the flamboyant Gothic architecture.
Moreover, its privileged location in the historic centre gives you the opportunity to explore other Bordeaux monuments and sites of interest nearby. For example, the Place de la Bourse or the Grand Théâtre of Bordeaux are only 10 minutes away.
From its heights, you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the city, making it a perfect place to capture unforgettable photographs.
How to get to the Basilica of Saint Michael?
The Basilica of St. Michael is located in the heart of Bordeaux, so it is easily accessible from anywhere in the city. You can walk there if you are staying in the centre, but other transport options are also available.
If you are following a 3-day itinerary of Bordeaux and want to make the most of your time, we would recommend using the efficient Bordeaux tramway. Lines A and C will drop you off at the “Place de la Bourse” stop.
You can also opt to rent a bicycle, a popular and environmentally friendly way of getting around the city. In other cases, you can opt for a free walking tour of Bordeaux, which will give you a tour you’ll never forget. You decide how to get around Bordeaux!
History and evolution of the Basilica of St. Michael
The history of the Basilica of St. Michael dates back to the 14th century, when its construction began on the site of an old Romanesque church. Over the centuries, the building has undergone modifications and extensions, reflecting different architectural styles, such as flamboyant Gothic.
During the French Revolution, the basilica suffered significant damage and was used as a warehouse. From the 19th century onwards, restoration work was undertaken to restore the basilica to its original splendour. Today, the basilica is a historical monument and an important place of worship in Bordeaux.
Architecture and outstanding features
The Basilica of St. Michael stands out for its impressive Gothic architecture. Its main façade features a profusion of stone carvings, with sculptures depicting biblical scenes and emblematic figures. The central rose window is one of the largest in France and provides impressive natural light inside.
As you enter the interior, you will be amazed by the breadth of its naves and the height of its columns. The vaulted ceiling, supported by beautiful Gothic arches, creates a sense of grandeur and transcendence.
The multi-coloured stained glass windows, dating from different periods, filter the light in a magical way, painting the atmosphere with vibrant hues.
The Arrow of Saint Michael in Bordeaux (La Flèche Saint-Michel)
One of the most outstanding features of the Basilica of St. Michael is its bell tower, known as the Arrow of Saint Michael. The peculiarity is that, like Saint-André Cathedral, it is also separate from the sanctuary. This majestic 114-metre-high structure rises above the skyline and is a landmark of the city.
From the top of the arrow, you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of Bordeaux and its surroundings. Please note, however, that the climb up to the arrow requires a good level of fitness, as it involves climbing up a narrow spiral staircase.
What can you find inside the Basilica?
Inside the Basilica of Saint Michael of Bordeaux you will find a variety of artistic treasures and sacred elements that will captivate you. As you step inside, you will be greeted by a serene atmosphere and a sense of reverence. Here are some highlights of what you will find:
- Impressive architecture: The naves of the basilica extend majestically, with tall columns and Gothic arches that create a sense of grandeur and beauty. Observe the meticulously carved architectural details and admire the multi-coloured stained glass windows that bathe the interior in a magical light.
- Chapel of the Virgin: In the Chapel of the Virgin, you will discover a sculpture of great importance, the Virgin Mary with the Infant Jesus. This work of art, dating from the 14th century, is a venerated representation and an exceptional example of the religious art of the period.
- Altarpieces and paintings: Throughout the basilica, you will see altarpieces and paintings from different periods. These works of sacred art tell biblical stories and display exceptional artistic skill. Take a moment to contemplate the details and expressions in each of them.
- Spirituality and tranquillity: the Basilica of St. Michael is an active place of worship, and you can experience an atmosphere of recollection and spirituality as you wander around the interior. If you want to take a moment for personal reflection or prayer, you will find the environment conducive to this.
Opening times and prices of the Basilica of St. Michael in Bordeaux
The Basilica of St. Michael in Bordeaux is open to the public every day, with opening hours varying according to the season. In general, opening hours are from 8am to 12 noon and 1pm to 6pm, although we would recommend checking for updated opening times before your visit.
Entrance to the basilica is free, but climbing the the Arrow of Saint Michael costs 5€.
Recommendations for visiting the Basilica of St. Michael
- Make sure you wear comfortable shoes, especially if you plan to climb the Arrow of Saint Michael.
- If you want to enjoy the panoramic views from the arrow, it is advisable to avoid rainy or windy days.
- Respect the sacred atmosphere of the basilica and follow the instructions of the site managers.
Don’t forget your camera. The Basilica of St. Michael offers numerous opportunities to capture breathtaking images.