Built in 1446 it changed hands so many times, being damaged by additions, partitions and fire and neglected for a long time or used for purposes not deserved such a magnificent edifice. Finally it was recognized as a national heritage site and restored to all its golden splendor and glory.
Bourges was a city where Charles VII took the refuge and held his court during the Hundred Years War with England while he escaped from occupied Paris.
A miserable joke of a king, a disgraceful greedy sovereign who betrayed a fearless patriotic girl Joan of Arc who made him a king and freed his country. That’s how he is remembered in history.
That’s not all this unpleasant character did. He had another faithful servant who helped him rise to power and glamour. The extraordinary man who solemnly supported French army against English, who established trading network far and beyond, especially with Italy, who was one of the influential figures of the time in trade and politics. His name was Jacques Coeur – l’Argentier de Roi, King’s minter and financier, ambassador to Pope’s court , and much much more. He was a successful merchant, talented entrepreneur, businessmen and adventurer who did for glory and prosperity of France way more than the king.
There’s not much information about his life, even no mistresses names, but what is known makes him look exceptional and honest and unforgivingly rich. And his miserable Majesty Charles VII didn’t forgive. Kings are known to be prone to short memory loss when it comes to gratitude, and being envious and vindictive instead. Therefore history deems Jacques Coeur as a tragic victim of kings ingratitude.
|I liked this impressionist view from the palace.|
Soon after his beautiful palace was completed and on peak of his endeavors Jacques Coeur was wrongfully charged with treason. Was disgraced in 1451, imprisoned and tortured.
He tirelessly travelled the land and sailed the seas establishing trade network. He build galleases of France and established Mediterranean Merchant Fleet for Charles VII. He lived in full an adventurous life true to his motto “Nothing is impossible for a brave heart” and ended it as a hero wounded in the naval expedition for Pope against Turks. What a life!
I’m wondering how Hollywood could overlook such an outstanding figure of Joan of Arc contemporary? His life had more than enough drama to create an epic scale movie in Brave Heart / Robin Hood magnitude. Whom would you see to play a lead in this biopic?
Everything bears Coeur’s Coat of Arms – the Heart and the scallop.
His motto “Nothing is impossible for a brave heart”
|What an elaborate work of blacksmiths.|
Isn’t it gorgeous? The central stairwell, arched galleries, elegant windows, lacy gables, beautiful mansards and cornices. Everyday scenes carved in stone, musicians, merchants, servants and exotic creatures, scary gargoyles and funny ones. The chronicles of time.
Jacques Coeur had a great taste in and out. The grand reception hall with giant fireplace and musicians balcony is a masterpiece. Sadly all interiors and furnishings and wall décor vanished long ago and only a small part open for visitors, but this hall and the stairwell could be enough to imagine the grandeur of Palais.
What we see from the small square is an asymmetrical gatehouse, an entrance to the inner courtyard and galleries.
This beautiful façade absolutely fascinated me since when I was a little girl and used to go through fathers architectural books. I’ve seen many beautiful palaces there but this particular one I imagined to be exactly the place where Cinderella and Prince could live happily ever after. This sepia image was imprinted in girls dreams. And ages later I was about to see it.
|The light-and-sound show at Palais de Jacques Coeur|
Beautiful scenes of the past, pictures captured from Renaissance tapestries, paintings, illustrations and frescoes projected onto facade with flute and strings music on the background, accentuated gothic architectural details, windows, lacy towers and bas-reliefs .
It was absolutely fantastic journey right into 15th century, unforgettable one!