Born in 1954, thanks to the owners of castles in the South of Berry, the “Circuit des Châteaux du Coeur de France” is the oldest tourist route in France. Today renamed Route Jacques Coeur in honor of the latter. This 150 km long route in the Centre-Val de Loire region allows you to discover this varied territory rich in historical monuments. Take advantage of a weekend with your family to walk and explore the side roads to the many sites standing on your way.

Jacques Coeur, a multi-faceted character

Born in 1400 in Bourges, Jacques Coeur remains an emblematic character of the city. He spent his childhood in the Notre Dame district before moving to a larger house close to the Sainte Chapelle, opposite the Palais du Duc Jean. In this dark beginning of the XNUMXth century, in the midst of the Hundred Years War, Charles VII fled from Paris to escape Jean Sans Peur and took refuge in Berry, in Bourges. The presence of the dolphin will allow the city to develop and intensify its exchanges. If his entry into the business world is made thanks to his in-laws, Jacques Coeur succeeds in making his place with the king. His fortune, built on speculation in precious metals and trade with the Levant, enabled him to become Charles VII's banker. 

He was appointed king's treasurer in 1440. Jacques Coeur was ennobled in 1441, and two years later, he acquired land to build a "grant house". In 1450, the Palace is almost finished and it is splendid! This arouses many jealousies around him… Everything smiles on him until the tragic death of Agnès Sorel (favorite of the king). Accused of the murder, he was acquitted but rightly felt threatened, a few days later, he had him arrested at the Château de Taillebourg. He escaped from the castle of Poitiers in 1454 to reach Rome. Pope Nicolas V proclaims the innocence of Jacques Coeur in 1455. Il died on the island of Chios

Conquer the castles of Bourges and its surroundings!

The Castle of Menetou-Salon

A few kilometers from Bourges, the Château de Menetou-Salon is a residence located in the middle of the vineyards. Dating from the XNUMXth century, this beautiful building underwent numerous extensions in the XNUMXth century, then it was completely rebuilt in the XNUMXth century in a neo-Gothic style. Now owned by the Prince of Arenberg, the castle is open from April to September with the possibility of guided tours. Special feature of the area, the guides accompany you in XNUMXth century costume throughout your journey! 

The Castle of Mehun-sur-Yèvre

Located in the heart of the medieval town of Mehun. This ancient fortress was rebuilt by Jean de Berry during the XNUMXth century. Also called Château Charles VII, Château de Mehun owes its name to King Charles VII who loved going to this castle, not far from "his capital" Bourges. Home to the king, his court and several great personalities, the castle was at its peak in the Middle Ages. Over the centuries it has changed a lot… In fact, lightning destroyed it and then it was used as a stone quarry, forgotten in the heart of the Berry countryside. Today, you will unfortunately not be able to contemplate its keep but the ruins of a tower and the rest of its ramparts. These ruins now house a museum, the Charles VII Museum, which offers a one-hour guided tour.

Mehun-sur-Yèvre @Ad2t


Saint-Etienne Cathedral in Bourges

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bourges Cathedral remains one of the finest masterpieces of French architecture. Built in the 396th century, it is unique in its design, as it does not have a transept! What also makes the originality of this exceptional building is the absence of a bell in one of the towers, which has since been nicknamed the “Sourde Tower”. Also worth seeing inside is the oldest astronomical clock in France. Daring descent to the crypt in which you will have the privilege of admiring the recumbent statue of Duke Jean de Berry. The Tour de Beurre offers a superb view of the city of Bourges. Just climb the XNUMX steps to contemplate Bourges in all its splendour. 

Jacques Coeur Palace

In Flamboyant Gothic style, the palace was built between 1443 and 1451 under the orders of Jacques Coeur. An unmissable site in Bourges, a unique monument in France for its time, the palace of the king's treasurer is exceptional in its originality. Unfortunately for him, he will not have the chance to take advantage of it… Jacques Coeur is arrested on the orders of Charles VII the year the building is completed! But he will have left his mark on the house. We find many times his well-known motto "With a valiant heart nothing is impossible" or his emblem just next to that of the king. To travel ! The richly decorated facades will take you on the trail of the countless crusades of Jacques Coeur.

Other towns in Berry not to be missed


City of the Stuarts since XVth century, following the alliance between France and Scotland, Charles VII handed over the city to John Stuart of Darnley. Contemplate this charming little town where we find the Renaissance style as well as the half-timbered architecture of the houses in the town centre. While strolling in the city you will be surprised by its town hall, former residence of the Stuarts the castle remains a symbol for the inhabitants of the city. The other particularity of this small city of character: the Franco-Scottish festivals! Get a change of scenery and discover this little corner of Scotland. The tourist office offers guided tours every Tuesday during the summer period.


A medieval and wine-growing city, Sancerre is nestled on a hill covered with vines. Tourist city par excellence thanks to its recognized grape variety, it attracts many tourists all year round. Small picturesque village with cobbled streets, wander through the old quarters. Between 2021th century buildings, art galleries and historical monuments, there is something for everyone! Sancerre was elected "Favorite Village of the French" in 2022, then "Most Beautiful Village of France" in XNUMX. History and gastronomy are intimately linked in this charming landscape, do not forget to stop to taste the wines of Sancerre and the tasty crottin de Chavignol.