The incredible Pey Berland Tower
The Pey Berland Tower is a true architectural marvel. It is undoubtedly one of the main monuments and part of Bordeaux’s history.
In this guide we will tell you all the details about this imposing place: from its history to its importance for the culture of the region. We will also share useful tips to make the most of your visit with your free tour of Bordeaux.
History of the Pey Berland Tower
The Pey Berland Tower was built in 1445 by order of the Bishop of Bordeaux, Jean de Grailly. It is located in the heart of the city and has witnessed its history. During the 16th and 17th centuries, it was the meeting place for some of the citizens. Meetings, processions and political decisions were taken here.
During the French Revolution, it was used as a bell tower and to store the city’s public clock. The tower was remodelled in 1827 and its name was changed to Pey Berland in honour of Bishop Jean de Grailly.
Today, like Les Bassins des Lumières, it remains one of the most important monuments in Bordeaux. It houses a church, an exhibition hall and a café.
Features of the Pey Berland Tower
The Pey Berland Tower has a Gothic style. It consists of a large square base and houses many statues and religious figures.
It is 64 metres high and its façade is decorated with a large number of sculptures of saints, angels and other religious motifs. The material used for its construction was limestone and it has stood the test of time.
It is also known for its bell, called Per-Marie. This was built in the 16th century and is the only bell in the tower. It is of a bronze shade and is used to mark the time. It has also rung for many years and has withstood all climatic changes.
Access and visiting hours of the Pey Berland Tower
Access to the tower is easy. It has two opening hours, summer and winter:
In summer (June to September) it is open every day from 10 am to 1:15 pm and from 2 pm to 6 pm.
In winter it is closed on Mondays. Open from 10 am to 12:30 pm and from 2 pm to 5:30 pm.
The entrance fee is 6€.
During the visit, tourists have the opportunity to climb to the top and enjoy magnificent views of the city. As mentioned above, there is a small cafeteria in the tower, where tourists can refresh themselves.
Views from the tower
From the tower you can see the Church of St. Michel, the Nativité Cathedral, the Place de la Bourse and the Grand Théâtre. You can also see the old fortified city walls, as well as the Garonne and Dordogne rivers. At night, the skyline is illuminated by bright lights and the atmosphere becomes even more special.
In addition to the view, the site offers other attractions, such as the clock tower and the bell tower. These two beautiful pieces of architecture have been preserved for centuries and are still used to announce the time.
The staircases are also a delight for visitors and the stone parapets let in a golden light that illuminates them.
Events and activities at the tower
During the summer months, numerous activities take place outside the tower. Guided tours are organised, both during the day and at night, to discover its secrets from a unique perspective. In addition, various concerts and shows are held in the inner courtyard for music and theatre lovers.
During the winter, it is full of activities for all ages. There are Christmas concerts and aerial acrobatics shows. Workshops are organised for children, teaching them how to build figures from recycled materials. There are also sports activities, such as climbing the tower or cycling.
Every year there are fairs where local products and handicrafts are presented. These are very popular with tourists and the inhabitants of Bordeaux. During the year there are also several cultural events such as the jazz festival, the film festival and the food festival.
Tips and recommendations for your visit
First of all, we recommend that you buy your ticket in advance to avoid queues and make sure you don’t miss out.
We also advise you to wear comfortable clothes and shoes to climb the 233 uneven steps to the top. The climb is a bit steep, but it’s worth it to enjoy the magnificent view from the top.
Other nearby attractions
There are many other nearby sites worth visiting.
The Saint André Cathedral is only a few metres away and is one of the main monuments of the city. In fact, the Pey Berland Tower can be said to be the bell tower. It is separate because when it was built, the bell was too sturdy for the structure of the cathedral’s bell tower.
There is also the Botanical Garden, a perfect place for those who enjoy the beauty of nature. It is a large English-style garden and contains over 2,000 species of plants. A little further from the Pey Berland Tower is the Place de la Bourse. It is famous for its impressive monument to liberty and equality, as well as its many fountains.