Free walking tours Bordeaux

Puerta de Borgoña de Burdeos

The Burgundy Gate: history and beauty in Bordeaux

Would you like to see one of Bordeaux’s most emblematic monuments? If so, don’t miss a visit to Bordeaux’s Burgundy Gate, an impressive construction dating from the 18th century and part of the city’s historical and cultural heritage.

For the full experience, we recommend taking a free tour of Bordeaux where local experts will walk you through the fascinating history of this gate and tell you everything you need to know about the region’s famous wine.

What is the Bordeaux Burgundy Gate?

The Bordeaux Burgundy Gate, also known as Porte de Bourgogne in French, is one of the six remaining gates of Bordeaux from the old city wall that surrounded the city.

It was built between 1750 and 1755, under the reign of Louis XV, as part of a project to beautify the city. The design was inspired by the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, which in turn was based on Roman arches.

The Porte de Bourgogne in Bordeaux was also one of the last to be erected, along with the Porte d’Aquitaine.

At the time of its construction, Bordeaux was a prosperous and strategic city, coveted by the English and French. The gates served as control and defence points, regulating access to the city. The Burgundy Gate was located at the northern end of the city, facing the Burgundy region, hence its name.

Over the centuries, the gate has witnessed key moments in Bordeaux’s history. During the French Revolution, it was the scene of clashes between royalists and revolutionaries. In the 19th century, with urban expansion, it lost its defensive function and was integrated into the urban fabric of the city.

Architecture and characteristics

The gateway is rectangular in shape, with four Corinthian columns supporting an entablature and a pediment. In the centre, there is a round arch, through which road traffic passes.

From the pediment, a coat of arms with the arms of Bordeaux and France can be seen, surrounded by garlands and two female figures representing peace and abundance. Towards the sides, there are two medallions with busts of Louis XV and his wife, Maria Leszczynska.

In turn, the door owes its name to the region of Burgundy, with which Bordeaux has historically maintained close commercial and cultural relations, especially in the field of wine. In fact, Bordeaux is one of the most important wine-producing cities in the world, and its wine is appreciated for its quality and variety.

Today, the Porte de Bourgogne is in an excellent state of conservation. It has undergone several restorations over the years, most recently in the 1990s, which have preserved its original structure and details.

The Porte de Bourgogne in the city context

The Porte de Bourgogne in Bordeaux has a symbolic significance, as it marks the entrance to the old town of Bordeaux, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007.

This district, known as the “golden triangle“, is home to some of the city’s most emblematic monuments, such as the Porte Cailhau de Bordeaux and the Porte de la Grande Campagne Bordeaux.

The Porte de Bourgogne is surrounded by cobbled streets, picturesque squares and historic buildings that will transport you to another era. Not far away are the Bordeaux Mint Gate and the Dijeaux Gate, which, along with the Burgundy Gate, were part of the city’s ancient defensive system.

Curiosities and legends of the Porte de Bourgogne in Bordeaux

Like any monument with centuries of history, the Porte de Bourgogne has its own Bordeaux curiosities and legends:

  • It is said that during the Middle Ages, merchants arriving in Bordeaux were required to pay a tax when passing through the gate. Those who tried to evade payment were hung from the battlements as a chastisement.
  • According to tradition, the gate is inhabited by the ghost of an English soldier who was captured and executed during the Hundred Years’ War. Some claim to have seen his silhouette haunting the towers on nights when the moon is full.
  • During World War II, the gate served as an air-raid shelter for the inhabitants of Bordeaux during German bombing raids.

How to get to the Porte de Bourgogne in Bordeaux

The Porte de Bourgogne is one of Bordeaux’s must-see monuments during your visit to the city. It is open to the public and free of charge.

Located in the emblematic Place de Bir Hakeim in the heart of Bordeaux, the gate is strategically placed between the majestic Garonne River and the imposing Saint-Michel Basilica, two of the city’s most iconic landmarks.

Transport options

To get to the Porte de Bourgogne, you have several options:

  • Public transport: the area is well served by several tram and bus lines that will drop you just a stone’s throw from the gate.
  • On foot or by bicycle: if you fancy a stroll through the old town, accessing the gate on foot or by bicycle is a highly recommended option. You can immerse yourself in the charm of the cobbled streets and discover surprising corners.
  • By car: if you decide to go by car, bear in mind that traffic in the centre can be heavy and finding a parking space can be difficult. We suggest you park in a public car park and continue on foot.

Guided tour

One of the best ways to discover the Porte de Bourgogne and other sights of Bordeaux is to join a free tour of Bordeaux. Our expert and enthusiastic local guides will reveal the secrets and anecdotes of the gate and make your experience unforgettable.

Recommendations for your visit

We recommend visiting the Porte de Bourgogne during the day to appreciate all the architectural details. At nightfall, the lighting enhances its beauty and creates a magical atmosphere. Don’t forget to bring your camera, because it is a place that invites you to take pictures.

What to do near the Porte de Bourgogne in Bordeaux?

As well as being a monument worth seeing, Bordeaux’s Burgundy Gate is an ideal starting point for exploring the city and its surroundings. Near the gate, you will find a wide variety of places and activities to enjoy the beauty, history and culture of Bordeaux.

Here are some ideas of what to do near Bordeaux’s Porte de Bourgogne.

Stroll along the Garonne River

One of the most recommended activities is to stroll along the Garonne River and admire the cityscape of Bordeaux, with its historic buildings, bridges and quays.

Visit St Michael’s Basilica

Another place worth visiting near the Porte de Bourgogne is the Basilica of St Michael in Bordeaux, a 14th century Gothic church, which has the highest bell tower in France at 114 metres. You can also climb the tower and enjoy a panoramic view of the city.

Discover the Capuchins market

If you like gastronomy, you can’t miss the Capuchins market, the largest and oldest market in Bordeaux, where you can find all kinds of fresh and local products and taste the typical gastronomy of the region.

Exploring the Saint-Pierre district

The Saint-Pierre district is the historical and cultural heart of Bordeaux, home to numerous monuments, museums, art galleries, shops, cafés and restaurants. It is an ideal place to stroll, discover and enjoy the atmosphere of the city.

Visit the Museum of Aquitaine

If you are interested in history, don’t miss the Museum of Aquitaine, a museum that traces the history of Bordeaux and its region, from prehistoric times to the present day, through exhibitions, objects, documents and models.

In the museum you will learn about:

  • The foundation of Bordeaux by the Romans
  • The medieval period
  • The rise of trade and wine
  • The French Revolution
  • The Second World War
  • The transformation of the city in the 21st century.

These are just some of the many curiosities of Bordeaux that you can discover near the Porte de Bourgogne in Bordeaux. If you want to know more, we invite you to join our free tours of Bordeaux, which will make you live a unique and unforgettable experience in this wonderful city.

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