Place Pey-Berland is considered as Bordeaux’s main square. It features the Cathédrale Saint-André, the Tour Pey-Berland and the Hotel de Ville (town hall). It is a major transport hub with two of the cities tram lines running through it (A+B station : Hôtel de Ville) as well as bus stops and VCub (bike) stations. The large open square is a nice departure from the smaller more claustrophobic squares and streets nearby.
The earliest parts of the gothic Cathédrale Saint-André were opened by Pope Urban II in 1096 although a church had existed on this site since the IV century. The cathedral boasts a gothic nave modified during the XIII century, an ornate organ 1873 and was listed as a monument of historic importance in 1886. Eleanor of Aquitaine’s first marriage was conducted here in 1137 before her famous second marriage to Henry II of England.
The freestanding Tour Pey-Berland was constructed next to the cathedral in 1440 to house a large tenor bell that was too large and heavy for the existing towers of the cathedral. This tower was for a long time the tallest structure in the city until a storm 1617 caused the very top to partially collapse. The bell that is housed in the tower today weighs a massive 11 tonnes and is the fourth largest in France.