Formally known as the Place de la Liberté, Place Royale and Place Imperiale, Place de la Bourse, as it is now known today, is Bordeaux’s most famous square. Having undergone major works in 2004, its sculpted form sits in perfect harmony with the city of Bordeaux.
Designed by Royal architect Jacques Gabriel, Place de la Bourse epitomises the wealth and prosperity of the city. Immediately after its creation in 1749, it was intended to idealise a modern city for passing travellers. The walls surrounding the Place were taken down, a royal square was constructed in its midst and an equestrian statue of Louis XV erected in the centre, only to be destroyed during the French Revolution and replaced by a Liberty Tree. In 1869, Bordeaux commissioned the « Fontaine des trois Grâces » or « Three Graces », an impressive fountain depicting the daughters of Zeus: Aglaea, Euphrosyne and Thalia.
« This Royal square is simply half the size of the place Vendome, positioned by the water’s edge » Victor Hugo.
Place de la Bourse, together with its surrounding buildings, form a magnificent architectural ensemble with the former « Hôtel des Fermes » in the south, and the « Hotel de la Bourse » or stock exchange to the north. The facades of the two buildings are decorated with « mascarons », or sculpted faces, and pediments etched in the stone, representing a truly magnificent example of French neoclassical architecture. Place de la Bourse was the first square to be constructed by the river, outside the city walls, and is today regarded as one of France’s finest historical monuments.
Today Place de la Bourse is a stunning example of the fusion of tradition and modernity. The Palais de la Bourse provides one of the finest illustrations; a modern, yet in keeping with its rich history. After renovations lasting several years, it now hosts an array of high-profile events, including the « Bordeaux Tasting ».
In 2006, in a bold move, Place de la Bourse was again placed firmly in the spotlight with the inauguration of the world’s largest water mirror, which at night reflects the Place de la Bourse in all its dazzling splendour.