Place du Parlement is a square inspired by the Italian piazza. Dating back to 1760, it is part of the urban beautification planning of the city of Bordeaux, initiated by Intendant Tourny. During the construction of the Place Royale, now Place de la Bourse, Tourny wanted to create a link between the port and the commercial heart of the city. He decided to create a new breakthrough, the Rue Royale (now Rue Ferdinand-Philippart) and the Place du Marché Royal.
At the time of the Revolution, the place was renamed Place de la Liberté, and finally adopted its current name in 1753, in honour of the former Parliament of Bordeaux, removed in 1790. The Parliament was installed in November 1462 in the nearby Palace of L’Ombrière. It included among its members the famous Montaigne, Charron and La Boétie.
A “rococo” style
Remarkable for its harmony and the finesse of its architecture, the square is lined with 18th century buildings in the Louis XV style, the “rocaille” or rococo style. With opulent façades generously decorated in the image of Bordeaux’s glorious past, this quadrilateral uses the same architectural codes as Place de la Bourse.
The facades are organized in spans on three levels: a first with commercial vocation notable for its vaulted windows; and two other levels of habitation richly adorned and surmounted by wrought iron balustrades and balconies.
In the centre thrones a fountain dating from the Second Empire, designed in 1865 by the architect of the city, Louis-Michel Garros. In order to alleviate the problems with the drinking water supply to the city at that time, the municipality undertook the construction of the new aqueduct of Thil, which allows for water supply from the source of Saint Médard in Jalles. This infrastructure, initiated in 1854 and put into service on August 15, 1857, provides the means for the municipality to create multiple water points and fountains in the city, such as here at the Place du Parlement.
The fountain in the Neo-Rococo style, a strand of the baroque style, fits perfectly in the atmosphere and the golden stone tone of the place. Its circular basin is fed by the water that flows from the mouth of the masks of bearded and hairy characters, reminiscent of the façades of the square. The feminine and sweet faces at the top were created by the Bordeaux sculptor Edmont Prévot.
Place du Parlement and Place de la Bourse complement each other, one being an extension of the other, and revealing reciprocal perspectives. From the Fountain of the Three Graces at the centre of Place de la Bourse, you can see the fountain of Place du Parlement along the axis of Rue Ferdinand Philippart.
Place du Parlement was inscribed on the list of Historic Monuments on April 17, 1952 and is part of the protected area of Bordeaux, Port of the Moon UNESCO World Heritage site since 2007.