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A little history of Rohan palace in Bordeaux

The palace | Marc Ryckaert (MJJR) / CC-BY-SA
City hall Town house Rohan palace in Bordeaux

The old archiepiscopal palace was raised by architects Richard-François Bontin and Joseph Etienne, from Bordeaux, between 1770 and 1781, for Mr. Ferdinand-Maximilien de Mériadeck, prince de Rohan and archbishop of Bordeaux.

The first construction was launched by cardinal François de Sourdis, in the beginning of the 17th century.

Sourdis had a gorgeous collection of pieces of art in his apartments: people came from far away to see his Spanish and Italian paintings!

Unfortunately, everything disappeared in 1680... almost everything! Two paintings are nowadays in the cathedral Saint-Antoine: this is in fact the Cross Holding, by Luis Pasqual Gaudin and the Resurrection by Alessandro Turchi. In short...

Lots of kings and queens came to see Sourdis in his palace: in 1700, wonderful parties were organized for the duke of Anjou (Louis XIV’s grandson), future king of Spain Philip V...

In 1771, the new archbishop, prince of Rohan, destroyed Sourdis palace. He sold the land and swamps around in order to raise his own palace.

A magnificent building, vast, luxurious, and so on... He had a big main building flanked by two wings. Overlooking the street, an elegant portico. Behind, nice gardens: in the Middle-Ages, the archbishop had his own vineyards here, and vast meadows!

Why such a riot of luxury? Because the Rohan family was very powerful: an old and famous family from Brittany, one of the most powerful in France! We had several sides: Rohan-Guéméné, Rohan-Soubise, Rohan-Chabot, Rohan-Gié...

They were bishops, marshal of France, ministers, ambassadors or constables...

The palace was transformed into the Prefecture in 1803, into the Imperial palace in 1808, then into the city hall in 1835. A fire destroyed everything on June 13th 1862.

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!