Explore this photogenic riverside square, which is bordered by two grand neoclassical palaces and features a spectacular fountain at its center.
Place de la Bourse is an elegant city square, bordered by grand, palatial buildings and facing the Garonne River. Marvel at the perfect symmetry of the square and surrounding buildings, designed to reflect the king's power and bring Bordeaux into modernity.
Ange-Jacques Gabriel, the personal architect to King Louis XV and creator of Paris’ Place de la Concorde, designed this square and the buildings surrounding it in the mid-18th century. Originally, the plaza featured a statue dedicated to the king, though that sculpture no longer stands here. Look to the square’s center today to see the Fountain of the Three Graces in its place.
Bring your camera to capture photographs of this perfectly symmetrical square, which was officially recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2007. The square is also known as “Square of the Wallet” in reference to the chamber of commerce, housed in the Palais de la Bourse. The palace also doubles as a conference center.
Head to the middle of the square to the Fountain of the Three Graces. Here, observe three stone figures pouring jugs of water onto the plinth below. Run through the fountains of the Miroir d'Eau, a water feature which, when seen from a distance, reflects the buildings on the square. A pool of water sits on a shallow, rectangular base, occasionally dropping into the ground to emerge as sprays of mist.
Go inside the Customs Museum opposite the palace and learn about the role of customs in French history. Browse paintings and artifacts related to topics such as smuggling and trade. The museum also offers free booklets for self-guided tours and audio guides available on a smartphone app.
Come back to the square at night to see the palace and square lit up. The lights reflect prettily in the water of the Miroir d'Eau.
Place de la Bourse is served by the tram stop of the same name. The Customs Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday throughout the year except Christmas and New Year's Day. Adults must pay an entrance fee, but those under 18 have free admission.