Bordeaux is naturally associated with the Garonne, but historically the city developed along the banks of two smaller rivers which ran i...

Underground, overground: tracking the river Devèze from Mérignac to Bordeaux


Bordeaux is naturally associated with the Garonne, but historically the city developed along the banks of two smaller rivers which ran into the Garonne: the Devèze and the Peugue. Both streams continue to flow but, in central Bordeaux, have been driven underground. Invisible Bordeaux decided to follow the course of the Devèze to find out what remains of this significant river today.

The Devèze emerges from the undergrowth in Mérignac, just east of the runway of Mérignac airport. The source is easy to locate: a prominent permanent advert for the Sexy Center sex shop can be seen nearby! Whilst in its infancy, the Devèze runs behind a number of nondescript office buildings and bus depots. A path runs alongside it but there are a number of obstacles along the way… cyclists take note!

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We find ourselves in Pyla-sur-Mer, and tucked away in one of the quiet residential districts, just a few hundred metres inland from the w...

Chapelle Saint-Esprit: the alfresco place of worship

We find ourselves in Pyla-sur-Mer, and tucked away in one of the quiet residential districts, just a few hundred metres inland from the waters of the Bassin d’Arcachon, is a curious church: la Chapelle Saint-Esprit.

The chapel is a seasonal operation, with masses held there solely during the summer holiday period, in July and August, at hours which are part of a rota that includes five other chuches in and around Arcachon.

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In the Pierroton district of Cestas, just off the main road that leads from Bordeaux to Arcachon, a monument to the agronomist François J...

Chambrelent: the architect of the Landes forests

In the Pierroton district of Cestas, just off the main road that leads from Bordeaux to Arcachon, a monument to the agronomist François Jules Hilaire Chambrelent can be seen. It was Chambrelent’s work throughout the 19th century that went some way towards making much of les Landes of south-western France the pleasant and hospitable place we are familiar with today.

In the past, it had been a very different story. South of Bordeaux, the inland area was a succession of vast, barren plains that were frequently flooded. This extensive sandy marshland, which became known to many as the “French Sahara”, was a particular challenge to many pilgrims as they headed south towards Santiago de Compostela in north-western Spain.

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