One could argue that the Place de la Bourse is what set Bordeaux free. Prior to its 20 year construction in the 18th century, the French city was bound by walls, limiting trade and expansion opportunities.
Today, Place de la Bourse is synonymous with Bordeaux. The Stock Exchange Hall, Farms Hall, and a central building to the West help frame this rectangular royal square. Commissioned by King Louis XV, it was architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel’s attempt to open up Bordeaux to the Garonne River, and to make the city more appealing to visitors.
La Place de la Bourse is reminiscent of other royal squares built under the reign of King Louis XV in the 18th century which share a neoclassical style that dominated the second half of the 18th century. Inspired by the excavation of Pompeii and Herculanum ancient cities, the neoclassical architecture uses Greco-Roman elements.
Inaugurated in 1749, the square has undergone numerous rounds of renaming. When an equestrian statue of Louis XV was destroyed and replaced by a Liberty tree, the square was aptly renamed Place de la Liberte. During the Napoleonic Empire, it became Place Imperiale, and after the 1848 Revolution, Place de la Bourse (Stock Exchange Square).
La Place de la Bourse’s buildings are adorned with wrought iron and mascarons depicting several Greek gods. It remains standing as a picturesque example of French classical architecture.