Monument organised by Bordeaux Tourism & Congress

Visit the Porte Cailhau, the secrets of medieval Bordeaux

Visit the
Porte Cailhau

A little-known part of Bordeaux’s history is revealed in this monument built over 500 years ago. Take a step back in time and discover the secrets of medieval Bordeaux.

A visit for everyone and a climb full of surprises, rewarded by a contemplative view of the city and river.

Hours & prices

April to October
Daily: 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 6pm

November to March
Wednesday to Friday: 2 – 6 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 11 am – 1 pm and 2 – 6 pm

Adult price: €7 / Reduced price: €5
Free for accompanied children under 12

Visit more, spend less!

A visit to the Porte Cailhau is included in the Bordeaux CityPass. Available in 24, 48 or 72 consecutive hour versions, it’s the essential pass for discovering Bordeaux! Includes: La Cité du Vin, Les Bassins de Lumières, unlimited transport (tram, bus, river shuttle), 15 museums and monuments…

Did you know?

At 35 metres high, the Porte Cailhau still bears traces of Bordeaux’s ancient ramparts.
On either side of the building, you can see a section of the wall where it used to connect!

Before entering, visit the outside of the tower

Before climbing the steps, take a few steps forward and walk around the monument to observe the traces of the ramparts and the many sculptures that adorn the building.

Start by going to the river side
Visite de la Porte Cailhau
© M.studio

This is how the gate tower appeared to travelers. On either side of it, you can imagine a high wall on the left, that of Bordeaux’s 3rd city wall, and on the right, the tightly-packed row of wine merchants’ warehouses that opened onto the river bank, forming a protective barrier.

Porte Cailhau vue de profil

© Grégory

The Porte Cailhau is 35 m high

Built between
1493 and 1496

The river façade

This façade is adorned with 3 statues

Statues façade Porte Cailhau
© Joan Vadell

The sculptures

Made in the 19th century
© Gabin Chambard

Go around the gate to the left and stand in the place du Palais

Vue Porte Cailhau depuis la place du Palais
© Mikael Damkier

In passing, you’ll certainly have noticed the tearing away of the surrounding wall, restored by Charles Durand in the late 19th century. The mint was built against this wall. The small door visible above the curtain wall gave direct access to the second floor of the tower, linking the two buildings.

Sculpture façade côté ville
© Rostislav Ageev

The facade on the town side features a large armorial bas-relief framed by pinnacles and, originally above it, a crossing similar to those on the main facade.

Porte façade extérieure
© Rémy Martineau

On the left, you’ll notice the applique tower that gives the building its asymmetrical character. It houses the staircase to the attic.

See you now
under the monumental arch

Look up. The rectangular opening in the floor of the 1er floor, is the stunner, a classic defensive element in medieval military architecture. It can be used to hurl all kinds of projectiles at the enemy.

A little ahead of this opening, another slot allows the passage of the portcullis, a heavy wood and metal grille that disappears inside when you want to open the door, and slides down to the ground when you want to prevent access. It has disappeared, but its location can still be seen in the guardroom.

Now it’s time to enter the tower!

Arc monumental de la Porte Cailhau
© Rémy Martineau

Discover Bordeaux

Bordeaux's heritage is rich in historic sites and monuments. Don't miss the chance to stroll around Bordeaux's Unesco perimeter, and visit such must-sees as Pey-Berland Tower, Saint-André Cathedral, the Grand-Théâtre and Place de la Bourse.
Address
Phone
  • +33 (0)5 56 00 66 00

Medieval Bordeaux

A little-known part of Bordeaux's history is revealed in this monument built over 500 years ago. Take a step back in time and discover the secrets of medieval Bordeaux.

A visit for everyone and a climb full of surprises, rewarded by a contemplative view of the city and river.

© Bordeaux Tourism & Congress

Produced by Bordeaux Tourism & Congress with the scientific support of the Musée d’Aquitaine, this exhibition has received funding under the New Aquitaine Region’s call for innovative tourism projects.