I recently discovered one of the most unusual and fascinating outings to be experienced in Bordeaux… or at least it is if you’re drawn to industrial tourism and not afraid to stay up late: a night-time tour of the print centre of the regional daily newspaper Sud Ouest on the right-bank Quai de Brazza.
The tours, which are entirely free of charge, take place several times a week between the months of October and June and are led by a friendly team of young guides. Although most visitors come as part of group bookings (organised by works committees, local councils, etc.), the tours are very much open to the general public. And so it was that my elder son and I joined a small crowd assembled outside the facility at 10:30pm on a chilly Friday night.
|Our guide Maxime with a copy of the first-ever issue of Sud Ouest. And a rolled up copy of the previous day's paper, useful for pointing at things and keeping the group in order.|
We then move on to the “Salle des robots” which is warmer and a touch more humid than the Cathédrale. In this hall the rolls are unwrapped and left for three days until the paper is in optimum condition to be printed on. Seven automated forklift trucks (the infamous “robots”) are programmed to whizz around the aisles to collect rolls of paper ahead of delivering them to the rotary printing machines in the neighbouring room.
|"La Cathédrale" and the "Salle des robots", with an automated machine picking up a roll of paper.|
|"L'Atelier des plaques", with some of the aluminium plates visible bottom right.|
|"La Salle des expéditions"; note the newspapers arriving via the ceiling-high conveyor system.|
|My son Nathan with his |
fresh copy of Sud Ouest.
- Find it on the Invisible Bordeaux map:
- 40 Quai de Brazza, Bordeaux
- Enquiries about visits: 05 35 31 22 15
- Thanks to Catherine Texier for the suggestion and making it happen!
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