What is the connection between t he aircraft electronics specialist Thales Avionics, a flower bulb and seed company in Carbon-Blanc, and...

Toussaint-Yves Catros: the lasting legacy of a royal gardener


What is the connection between the aircraft electronics specialist Thales Avionics, a flower bulb and seed company in Carbon-Blanc, and a giant artichoke on a roundabout in Macau? The answer is the gardener Toussaint-Yves Catros.

Toussaint-Yves Catros was born in the Breton town of Saint-Brieuc in 1757 and defined himself as a “cultivateur de pépinières” (tree nursery agriculturist), an occupation which had already run in his family for a number of generations. His first big break came when he relocated to Paris and was chosen to oversee the royal tree nurseries in the 8th arrondissement (Faubourg-du-Roule quarter) and in Vincennes.

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The tall steeple of Saint-Seurin church is one of the most outstanding features of the Médoc village of Lamarque, best-known as the left-...

Dôme Panoramique de Lamarque: a bird’s eye view over the Médoc and Gironde estuary

The tall steeple of Saint-Seurin church is one of the most outstanding features of the Médoc village of Lamarque, best-known as the left-bank departure and arrival point of the small ferries that criss-cross the Gironde estuary (the right-bank counterpart being the town of Blaye).

The church itself was built over a 40-year period between 1830 and 1870. Its steeple was topped off by a dome which, come 1968, was in a critical state of disrepair. The dome was dismantled and the steeple remained in its decapitated form for a number of years.

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I am extremely pleased and proud to have been interviewed by Sud Ouest journalist Catherine Darfay. The resulting feature appeared in t...

Sud Ouest feature: "The man with the yellow bike"

I am extremely pleased and proud to have been interviewed by Sud Ouest journalist Catherine Darfay.

The resulting feature appeared in the August 10th 2012 issue of Sud Ouest (Bordeaux and greater Bordeaux editions). The article serves as a fine introduction to the story and thinking behind Invisible Bordeaux, reveals how I go about producing the pieces... and has gone some way to making my yellow bicycle a celebrity in its own right!

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We are in the quiet town of Sainte-Hélène, located mid-way between Bordeaux and Lacanau. Across the road from the water tower, tucked in ...

Villa Quand-Même et Mépris: contemplating contempt 80 years on!

We are in the quiet town of Sainte-Hélène, located mid-way between Bordeaux and Lacanau. Across the road from the water tower, tucked in between the bakers' and the community hall, is a curious, narrow, landlocked house that was built in 1930 by one Mr A. Naturel.

In the late 1920s Mr Naturel, a pork-butcher by trade, was looking to purchase a plot of land where he could construct a building that would be both his shop and family residence. He found a spot which was centrally-located in the town but which was far too small for his plans.

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The small triangular Place Picard in the Chartrons district is home to one of the world’s many replicas of the Statue of Liberty...

Statue of Liberty: enlightening the world on Place Picard


The small triangular Place Picard in the Chartrons district is home to one of the world’s many replicas of the Statue of Liberty. The recently-restored resin model which can be seen today has been in position since 2000, but the presence of the statue on the square goes back much further.

Of course, the marginally better-known full-size version of the statue in New York (full name: “La Liberté éclairant le monde” or “Liberty Enlightening the World”) was executed to the designs of the French sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi (1834-1904) and given by France to the United States in 1886 as a memorial to America’s independence.

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