Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux.

©Justin Foulkes/Lonely Planet

Place de la Bourse


This is Bordeaux's most iconic square. A mirage of elegance and symmetry, it was laid out by architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel between 1730 and 1775 and signified the dramatic opening up of the historic centre to the River Garonne. Medieval city walls were razed to make way for the vast horse-shoe expanse, framed by elegant palaces including Hôtel des Fermes (today a customs museum) to house the king's tax collectors and the city's shipping exchange, Palais de la Bourse.

The equestrian statue of King Louis XV piercing the centre of the square was destroyed during the French Revolution in 1789 and replaced by the landmark Fontaine des Trois Grâces (Fountain of the Three Graces) in 1869.

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