A few months ago, Invisible Bordeaux published two compilations of clocks that can be seen in the streets of the city (you'll find...

The clocks of Bordeaux 3/3


A few months ago, Invisible Bordeaux published two compilations of clocks that can be seen in the streets of the city (you'll find the pieces here and here). Inevitably, there were other clocks that also deserved their 15 minutes of fame on the blog, so here, ticking away nicely for your delight, is chapter 3!  
The city's former slaughter house and meat market on Quai de Paludate was first built in 1938. In its brand new incarnation as the Boca food court, the clock has been refurbished and can be spotted just above the old market price displays! 
 
This colourful offering (note also the subtle stars alongside each number) can be seen on three of the four sides of the bell tower of Saint-Bruno church, located between the Mériadeck quarter and Chartreuse cemetery.
This delightful clock can be found in the 19th-century Passage Sarget shopping arcade just off Cours de l'Intendance. It proudly announces itself as being "électrique" and was the work of the company founded by watchmaker and mechanic Paul Garnier (actually Jean-Paul Garnier), best known for railway station clocks that can be seen in France and, for some reason, Romania.
This clock can be seen on the side of an otherwise nondescript building in the Bassins à Flot docklands district. The naval nature of the area may have been particularly appealing to the associated clockmaker Henry Lepaute, who also traded as a mechanical engineer specializing in lighthouses. This clock is not currently in working order.
This suspended, double-sided street corner clock on Place Puy-Paulin was manufactured by Pilon. It appears to have loosely inspired the logo of the Puy Paulin bistro that can be found at ground level (judging by their website).
Amusingly, Saint-Michel basilica may be one of Bordeaux's grandest places of worship, but it comprises a disproportionately small clock. We encountered Bordeaux clockmakers Guignan during the first rounds of Invisible Bordeaux clocks: Gaston Guignan founded his business in 1850 and the company operated for 100 years. 
Another Guignan clock, a near-identical model, can be spotted from a distance within the grounds of wine traders Lucien Bernard in the Belcier (now also known as Euratlantique?) district near Saint-Jean railway station. Currently out of order.
Students hanging around outside Lycée Montesquieu near Jardin Public do not need to refer to their mobile phones to keep track of time, as this clock does the job just fine. Interestingly, it is self-branded, with the school's name written on the clockface.
This four-quartered clock, which is currently out of order, can be seen on the exterior of Saint-Martial church in the Chartrons district. Like others documented in previous Invisible Bordeaux compilations, this was the work of Levallois-Perret clockmakers Brillié.
This double-faced clock can be found in Galerie Tatry in the Chartrons district. It is also out of order. Despite being under cover, it appears to be a popular haunt for birds, hence its current state of dirtiness.
OK, so this clock is not in working order for obvious reasons (it's stuck on 3 o'clock!). It can be seen on Rue de Grassi, next to the Fémina theatre. According to Robert Coustet's Nouveau Viographe de Bordeaux, the bas-relief feature was conceived by the architect Jean-Jacques Valleton to enhance the exterior of this 1877 building, which was originally a public auction house. The carvings therefore represent the kinds of objects customers might have expected to be bidding on.
We'll finish off with this 1990 handpainted sundial on the south-eastern flank of a building on Rue du Puits-Descazeaux (the small square has even unofficially been given the name Place Raymond-Colom). As you can see, given the direction in which it is facing, the clock is only operational until early afternoon. When I was there on a sunny day in February, it was more like 11:30, not 10:30 as displayed, so whoever conceived the sundial permanently set it to summertime hours!  
> Click here for part 1 and part 2 of the Invisible Bordeaux clock compilation!
> Big thanks to readers Philippe Billé and Conchi for suggesting some of the clocks that feature on this page!
> Cet article est également disponible en français ! 

> All these lovely clocks have also been stuck back-to-back in this short motion picture. Sit back and enjoy!

 

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After ten years of extensive refurbishment work, the Muséum de Bordeaux - Sciences et Nature , the city’s natural history museum, reope...

Inside Bordeaux’s fully-revamped natural history museum


After ten years of extensive refurbishment work, the Muséum de Bordeaux - Sciences et Nature, the city’s natural history museum, reopened to the general public in March 2019. Invisible Bordeaux was lucky enough be given a private tour of the museum, so this way please for an exclusive heads-up! 

The rebirth of the Muséum is the latest chapter in its long history, which stretches back to the end of the 18th century when two eminent local dignitaries - the academic Professeur Latapie and the ship-owner Bernard Journu-Auber - donated their private collections to the city on the premise that they be put on public display. Bordeaux upheld that promise, initially in the Hôtel de l’Académie on Place Bardineau, before transferring the pieces to a former private mansion house, Hôtel de Lisleferme, within the grounds of the nearby Jardin Public. This move occurred in 1862 and the ever-expanding inventory of the Muséum has remained there ever since.


Fast-forward then to the early years of the 21st century, by which time the ageing premises were no longer fit for purpose. The decision was therefore made to renovate and extend the museum, with a view to meeting new and stringent safety norms for visitors and exhibits alike whilst enhancing the building’s green credentials, to make the visitor experience as enjoyable and accessible as possible, and to totally revise and modernize the circuit to appeal to new audiences and expectations. All of the above was to be achieved by combining the respective talents of architect Sébastien Loiseau and his agency Basalt Architecture, the Franco-German interior designers Die Werft, the local graphic design agency Studio Kubik, multimedia specialists Drôle de Trame and digital interaction agency Opixido.

The 16-million-euro overhaul eventually took the best part of a decade. That may seem like a long time, but many factors came into play, as was explained to me by Julien Diez, head of multimedia infrastructure and lighting, as we toured the Muséum: “As well as the refurbishment and redesign of the main building, a whole new 1,000-square-metre conservation unit was built from scratch on a plot of land in northern Bordeaux, near Pont d’Aquitaine suspension bridge. And the transfer alone of the million specimens that form the museum’s collection of exhibits was a long, painstaking and laborious process.”

Part of a colour-coded permanent exhibit in the reception area.
Furthermore, interior work on the main building was also delayed by a major hailstorm in May 2018 which resulted in substantial flooding and damage. This was an unexpected event which, Julien says, “had a massive impact on team morale, but everybody quickly pulled together to overcome this massive setback”. 

What can visitors expect? At any given time, the museum showcases around 4,000 exhibits, and given the aforementioned extent of the full collection, a number of temporary (lasting four to ten months) and semi-permanent (duration of three to five years) exhibitions are planned on various themes, meaning that no two visits will ever be exactly the same. The first, long-term semi-permanent display is focused on the Aquitaine coast, utilizing modern staging techniques to highlight local species of wildlife. 

Part of the "Littoral Aquitain" exhibit.
On the top floor of the building, the impressive “Galerie Souverbie” delivers the Muséum’s permanent fixtures, featuring timeless cabinet displays that hark back to museums of old, but that are combined here with intricate lighting, modern video and cutting-edge multimedia resources that bring the exhibits in line with 21st-century technological capabilities. Julien mentions that, in all, the Muséum now boasts no less than “22 interactive terminals, 18 video displays and 10 listening stations comprising content that will be evolving over time for various audiences and events”.

Some of the permanent exhibits in the magnificent "Galerie Souverbie".
During my visit the team was trying out various lighting configurations, making for atmospheric shots such as this one!
There are many other innovations to be witnessed, and which digital communications trainee Marthe Spielmann also proudly details during our visit. One is the “Early Years Museum” area on the ground floor, “where everything in terms of messaging and format has been adapted to children aged six and under, working around the theme of gestation, birth, growth and development”. 

Inside the Early Years Museum.
Another in-house creation is what Marthe calls a “chariot de médiateur”, a tailor-made compact trolley system which museum staff can use for their talks, workshops and demonstrations, enabling
An ultra-mobile, space-saving
"chariot de médiateur"!
them to be far more mobile than previously, and freeing up more space for the exhibition proper. An additional change which has also freed up space is that all the museum’s administrative offices have been transferred to the neighbouring pavilion, meaning that in the main building almost every square inch is dedicated to the visitor experience, maximizing exhibition space and accessibility.

In fact, the Muséum has actually grown in surface area by opening up a whole new 500-square-metre exhibition area located underground, beneath the terrace area that lies in front of the building. Julien explains that this new set of rooms “will be used to host temporary exhibitions, starting out with a show entitled “Très Toucher” focused on the sense of touch, along with a look back on the renovation of the Muséum. Forthcoming exhibitions include one about laughter, and one about African wildlife”.

Down in the new basement exhibition area.
Further innovations lie behind the scenes, such as the installation of a drain water heat recovery system which is fed by pipes that cross the Jardin Public. The heat and energy extracted and harnessed from domestic waste water is regulated by heat pumps on site, and enables the Muséum to be heated during winter months and cooled during summer months, making this 18th-century building one of the most eco-friendly places around!      

Behind-the-scenes drain water heat recovery pumps!
Finally, one aspect which I have found particularly striking over recent months is the way the Muséum has embraced social media, regularly feeding their Youtube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter channels with fun and informative updates about work in progress, whether showing exactly what it takes to displace a giraffe (AKA "Kailou") or an elephant ("Miss Fanny", previously a fairground attraction, acquired by the city upon her premature death aged 33 in 1892), to one-on-one interviews with members of the 20-strong “équipe fantastique” who have brought the Muséum back to life. Do check them out, although the content available there is, like this article, just a trailer for the real thing! 

> Find it on the Invisible Bordeaux map: Muséum de Bordeaux - sciences et nature / Natural History Museum, Jardin Public, Bordeaux.
> The Muséum is open every day except Mondays, 10:30-17:30 (October > March), 10:30-18:00 (April > September).
> Admission: 7 euros when temporary exhibitions are on (concessions 4 euros), 5 euros when there is no temporary exhibition (concessions 3 euros). Admission for children: 3 euros at all times.
> Big thanks to Julien Diez and Marthe Spielmann for warm welcome and the fantastic personal visit! 

> Ce dossier est également disponible en français !
> To sign off, there has been much media coverage of the Muséum in the weeks leading up to its reopening, but this Bordeaux Mag video report stands out as being a particularly good introduction: 

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The third episode of the monthly Invisible Bordeaux podcast is now available for your listening pleasure and features quality French-l...

Invisible Bordeaux podcast episode #3 - Mickaël Baubonne, Métro de Bordeaux project


The third episode of the monthly Invisible Bordeaux podcast is now available for your listening pleasure and features quality French-language conversation with Mickaël Baubonne, the man behind the Métro de Bordeaux association, which aims to develop a metro/regional railway network in and around Bordeaux between now and 2030.

The project is seeking to resolve mobility and public transport congestion issues currently being encountered in the area, and has been built around thorough research into the subject that is detailed in a full report available online. During our conversation we touch on the feasibility, scope and scheduling of the project, as well as what makes this different to the previous VAL concept which emerged in the 1980s.

Here then is the podcast, which you'll also find on miscellaneous platforms including Anchor, Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Breaker, PocketCasts, Podbean, RadioPublic, Overcast, Podcast Addict and Stitcher. Feel free to hit the subscribe button on the platform of your choice! And scroll on down for all the links you need to find out more about the Métro de Bordeaux initiative.


Further information about the Métro de Bordeaux project:
> Métro de Bordeaux official website: www.metrobordeaux.fr
> On social media: Twitter / Facebook

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