l’hôtel de ragueneau

© Archives municipales de Bordeaux

Hôtel de Ragueneau is one of the finest mansions of the XVII century in Bordeaux. It has been home to the Bordeaux municipal Archives since 1939. 

The mansion

In 1643 Jeanne de Seurin, the widow of Pierre de Ragueneau, advisor to the Bordeaux parliament, commissioned the architect Pierre Léglise with the building of her home. In the place of two old houses, he built a mansion with a courtyard in the front and gardens in the back. The building is built around a courtyard, enclosed with a wall set with niches, a clear indication of the family’s prestigious standing. The building work finished in 1656.

At the rear, a garden with communal areas opened on to the rue Tustal. The main reception hall (currently the reading room) and a large stairway leading to the private quarters/apartments were situated in the body of the main building. The basement housed the kitchen and scullery, two cellars to store wine and wood as well as a vaulted passage leading to the well.

The outside of the mansion was decorated with motifs inspired by the Renaissance: sculpted ledges with lion heads, bunches of fruit and flowers, scrolls around the windows and pediments crowned with pots of flowers and fruit.

In the XVIII century, the owner, Joseph de Gillet, Marquis of Lacaze had the primitive fence replaced with the current gallery which made it possible to move from one wing to the other. The gate was then closed with wooden panels.

Decor inspired by motifs from the Renaissance, such as the sculpted lion head ledges.

Allèges sculptées de têtes de lions © Archives municipales de Bordeaux

The city’s purchase

Les salons de l'Académie © Archives municipales de Bordeaux

Between 1662 and 1679 the mansion was rented to the City which used it to set up the home of the Edict of Guyenne.

In 1847, it was again rented to the City which set up there the central Octroi services (the city entrance tax)The City purchased it in 1860.

After the abolition of this service in 1928, the city architect Jacques d’Welles, who designed the entrance gate in particular, oversaw important restoration work from 1938, in order to house there from 1939 the municipal Archives, as well as the Bordeaux National Academy and academic societies. 

Galerie de l'hôtel de Ragueneau © Archives municipales de Bordeaux

© Archives municipales de Bordeaux

On the right: triangular pediment and low-relief decorated with putti that came from an old dwelling on the Cours d’Albret, which had been demolished to allow for the extension of the Saint-André hospital.

© Archives municipales de Bordeaux

On the left: ironwork from different destroyed churches (Feuillants de Bordeaux) and parts of the Chartreuse tomb of the Parisian architect Jean-Charles Bonnard (marble pieces, by the Bordeaux sculptor Quéva (1766-1850). Bonnard was the architect of the Palais d’Orsay in Paris, destroyed during the Commune in 1871 and replaced by the Gare d’Orsay.

Since 1976 when the Academy, followed by the academic societies left for the Hôtel Calvet, Place Bardineau, the Municipal Archives have been the sole occupiers of the building.

The Hôtel de Ragueneau became a classified historic monument (façade overlooking the courtyard, gallery and entrance gate) by order of May 221964.