The lockdown period in France has come to a timid end, so the series of archive photos Invisible Bordeaux was publishing daily on Insta...

The lockdown period in France has come to a timid end, so the series of archive photos Invisible Bordeaux was publishing daily on Instagram and Twitter is now also in the past. Here are the final seven pictures which were published, following on from the four previous sets available here, here, here, and, oh, here. As you will have realised, some had already featured on the blog, others had just been sitting on my hard drive, starting with this magnificent bow window and accompanying ceramic tile features.

They belong to a bizarre micro-villa known as "Villa Quand-Même et Mépris", built in 1930 by local butcher A. Naturel (hence the A.N.), which even got its very own blog post some time ago! Even more spectacular is the remarkable Réservoir de Lavardens in Talence, a surprising 1927 reinforced concrete structure that is unlike anything else in the area. It was recently mentioned on the blog in the run-down of water towers in the area


Sticking with serious urban exploration, here we are in Soulac-sur-Mer, naughtily trespassing inside one of the derelict ground-floor apartments of the famously abandoned Signal residence on the seafront. What a fine view of the Atlantic ocean the residents once enjoyed! You can read about the apartment block's troubled recent history here


To stay in a high-rise mood, here is part of Cité Pinçon in the Bastide district of Bordeaux, which combines with the neighbouring buildings of Cité Blanche to form la Cité-Jardin de la Benauge. This and its twin building are also known as “les paquebots” (ocean liners). The complex was a case study in 1950s urban planning, as detailed here.


Next, we're off to Le Bouscat for this panoramic view of the 7,000-capacity Stade Sainte-Germaine. First built in the 1890s, it has always been the permanent home of Stade Bordelais sports club, and today also hosts matches played by FC Girondins reserves and women’s teams. 


Here's a multi-layered ghostsign in Carbon-Blanc that over the years promoted Meubles Bayle, a furniture outlet founded in Bordeaux in 1854. The “ET, Bx.” probably referred to Cours d’Albret in Bordeaux where their flagship store was located for many years. The Bayle concept has changed now and the group owns 13 outlets operating under various brands that make up the “Village du Meuble” in the Mérignac retail park.


And this meandering, random, 47-picture adventure ends up at a location where many journeys also end or, indeed, begin: Saint-Jean railway station in Bordeaux. This is a detail from the exterior of Café du Levant, the 1896-founded brasserie opposite the station whose distinctly oriental façade adds a bit of exotic colour to the landscape! 


If you're still following closely, you'll be aware of the fact that throughout the lockdown period, over on Instagram a...


If you're still following closely, you'll be aware of the fact that throughout the lockdown period, over on Instagram and Twitter, Invisible Bordeaux has been publishing random photos taken over the years in and around the city, and sometimes beyond. Some have already featured on the blog, others have just been sitting on my hard drive. There's no major underlying theme, they're just photos that possibly deserved to be dusted down and put out there! The first three sets can still be viewed by clicking here, here and here, and on this page you can views numbers 31 to 40, starting above with the view from behind the posts at Stade André-Moga in Bègles. 

Part of the Delphin Roche sports complex, the 6,000-capacity stadium was first built in 1920 and was originally known as Stade du Musard. It was the home ground of rugby club Union Bordeaux-Bègles until 2015, when the team switched to Stade Chaban-Delmas. It is still UBB's primary training ground.

Sticking with sport, this second picture was taken somewhere on the Bordeaux-Lacanau cycle path, possibly towards Salaunes or Sainte-Hélène. The 60-kilometre route was a railway line from 1885 until the 1970s and you can intermittently spot former stations along the way. Most have now been converted into private homes.


My daredevil blogging investigations are mostly solitary adventures but sometimes, believe it or not, I do actually get chatting to other people. This young guy approached me when I was taking pictures of the monument on Place Calixte-Camelle in the Bastide quarter of Bordeaux. He was quite a dude. If you recognise him, let me know (photo taken in 2015). Over on Twitter, the most excellent Sud Ouest journalist Jean-Christophe Wasner noted the Calixte Camelle monument looked a bit like a washing machine. He's right, isn't he?


Off to Le Bouscat to view this 1930s art deco building designed by Albert Dumons. It was originally Le Bouscat’s public baths and shower facility, which operated until 1980. It then went on to become the municipal library, until it was replaced by a modern, purpose-built establishment in 2015 (known as “La Source”). Today the building is home to l’Association des Familles du Bouscat, which runs an épicerie solidaire known as La Bous-Sol.
  

"Law, Peace, Justice" reads the inscription above the doors of the Maison Cantonale, the city hall annex in the Bastide district of Bordeaux. The unusual art nouveau building was dreamt up by Cyprien Alfred Duprat and completed in the mid-1920s.


Moulin de Lansac is a lovingly restored windmill located just to the north of Bourg on the right bank of the Gironde Estuary, and which featured in its very own Invisible Bordeaux report some time ago. In *Normal Times* the mill is open to the general public and it makes for an interesting visit… Check their website for opening hours; demonstrations of the mill in operation usually take place on Sunday afternoons.


Back in Bordeaux, this big neon “Papiers-Crayons” lettering - to be seen near to Barrière de Pessac - partly obscures the mention of the building’s previous incarnation as the “Halle des Girondins”. There’s a nice ceramic tile thing going on too, with (football fans take note) a bit of an Aston Villa/West Ham/Burnley colour scheme!


Next, we have this set of old petrol pumps (and a heartfelt request from Uncle Sam) behind what used to be the railway station in La Brède.


Just as heartfelt is this minimalist graffiti on rue de la Franchise in Bordeaux!



And we finish off this fourth random series with another picture taken during a memorable flight along the Atlantic coast and down the Gironde estuary (full set available here). This is a bona fide Unesco world heritage site, the rather splendid Citadelle de Blaye. Part of Vauban's fortified "Verrou de l'Estuaire" defences built in the 17th century (also comprising Île Pâté and Fort Médoc). Note the lovely brown waters of the Gironde Estuary!


> First selection of random archive photos available here
> Second selection of random archive photos available here!
> Third selection of random archive photos available, yes, you've guessed it, here! 
> Ce dossier également disponible en français !

If you're following closely, you will already know that throughout the lockdown period, over on Instagram and Twitter , Invis...


If you're following closely, you will already know that throughout the lockdown period, over on Instagram and Twitter, Invisible Bordeaux has been publishing random photos taken over the years in and around the city, and sometimes beyond. Some have already featured on the blog, others have just been sitting on my hard drive. There's no major underlying theme, they're just photos that possibly deserved to be dusted down and put out there! The first two sets can still be viewed by clicking here and here, and on this page you can views numbers 21 to 30, starting above with this inside view of Marché de Lerme in the Saint-Seurin quarter of Bordeaux. 

It is no longer a covered market but rather a city-owned multipurpose venue that hosts a wide range of exhibitions and events. The original structure dates back to the mid-19th century and was designed by Charles Burguet. It was completely overhauled a few years ago and reopened in its current form in 2011.

Sticking with indoor views of peculiar ceilings, here is one of Gironde’s two surviving “piscine tournesol” swimming pools; this one is in Braud-et-Saint-Louis to the north of Blaye (the other is in Cestas). The mad design of France’s 183 tournesol swimming pools - who starred in their own Invisible Bordeaux post a few years ago - was the work of architect Bernard Schoeller, who died a few days ago at the age of 90.


Back in Bordeaux, here is a rear view of one of the city's many boîte à lire self-service borrow-and-lend bookcases, this one is to be found in Parc Rivière. Look carefully and you may also spot a prospective customer...


Next up (literally) is part of the Cité Administrative, Bordeaux’s very own skyscraper. The taller of the two towers measures 92 metres (112 metres if you include the antenna on top). Designed by architects Pierre Mathieu and Pierre Calmon, work was completed in 1974.
 

Wooden posts at what was once the firing range at Camp de Souge in Martignas-sur-Jalle, where more than 300 executions took place during the Second World War. A few days ago, sadly a horrific forest fire tore through this part of the military camp, it is unclear for now whether the poignant memorial to those who died was destroyed in the fire.


On a much lighter note, here we are inside the Stadium Vélodrome de Bordeaux Lac, viewing what is officially known as the “Piste cycliste Roger et Guy Lapébie” cycle track. Back in the 1990s, the velodrome was the scene of a number of hour record-breaking endeavours by the likes of Chris Boardman, Miguel Indurain and Tony Rominger.


To retain the sporting theme, here is the Hippodrome du Bouscat and its magnificent grandstand, for all your local horse-racing needs! When schedules aren’t affected by global pandemics and the like, the racecourse hosts 32 meetings each year, the equivalent of some 230 individual races!


Here is the building on Place du Maucaillou in central Bordeaux where Mitt Romney, the US Republican Senator and 2012 presidential candidate, lived for six months in 1968, when he was a Mormon missionary to France. The story of this pivotal period in Romney’s life is detailed somewhere deep in the archives of the blog!


Below is Jacques-Yves Cousteau, as portrayed on the plaque positioned on the building where he was born in 1910 in Saint-André-de-Cubzac. After a lifetime spent navigating the seven seas, things came full circle when he died in 1997, as the final resting place of this internationally-renowned underwater explorer and filmmaker is just a short distance away, in Saint-André-de-Cubzac’s municipal cemetery. To people of my generation growing up in the UK in the 1970s, he was arguably France’s biggest celebrity export at that time, along with Sacha Distel…


And we finish off this third random series with another picture taken during a memorable flight along the Atlantic coast and down the Gironde estuary (full set available here). This is Phare de Richard, the 18-metre-tall lighthouse on the Médoc-side bank of the Gironde estuary in Jau-Dignac-et-Loirac. It operated from 1843 until 1870 when it was replaced by a taller structure, which in turn functioned until 1953, by which time shipping navigation methods on the estuary had switched to the use of beacons or buoys. The original, disused lighthouse was renovated by volunteers from 1993 onwards and is now a popular heritage site.


> First selection of random archive photos available here
> Second selection of random archive photos available here! 
> Ce dossier est également disponible en français !

If you're following closely, you will already know that throughout the lockdown period, over on Instagram and Twitter , Invisibl...


If you're following closely, you will already know that throughout the lockdown period, over on Instagram and Twitter, Invisible Bordeaux has been publishing random photos taken over the years in and around the city, and sometimes beyond. Some have already featured on the blog, others have just been sitting on my hard drive. There's no major underlying theme, they're just photos that possibly deserved to be dusted down and put out there! The first ten can still be viewed by clicking here, and on this page you can views numbers 11 to 20, starting above with a neat row of V3/VCub bikes docked, awaiting their next customers, on rue des Trois-Conils in central Bordeaux.  

Not far from there, here are two line B trams meeting in central Bordeaux, as seen from Tour Pey Berland. And some people out and about! Ah, the good old days...


Staying in central Bordeaux, here we are deep inside l'hôtel de Ragueneau on rue du Loup in central Bordeaux when it was still home to the city's archives department. Presumably that amazing wisteria outside is in full bloom right now!


Here are the doors to one of my favourite music venues, the Krakatoa in Mérignac. A big up to all artists and everybody involved in live entertainment who are so heavily affected by the current situation... Coincidentally, over on local music and culture website Le Type there is a fascinating interview with the Krakatoa team about life during the lockdown – recommended reading that you'll find here: letype.fr/2020/04/07/la-vie-du-krakatoa-en-confinement-racontee-par-son-equipe/
 

Out among the vineyards along the banks of the Gironde estuary, this is the view over the Médoc village of Lamarque, as seen from the “dôme panoramique” perched at the top of the steeple of the 19th-century Saint-Seurin church, which featured on the blog some time ago.  


This bronze bust is in the grounds of the botanic gardens of Bordeaux and depicts Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist who is regarded as the father of modern taxonomy and one of the initiators of modern ecology. The piece was unveiled in 2007 and was created by the talented and renowned Bordeaux-born artist Lucie Geffré. Click here to read the exclusive Invisible Bordeaux interview with her talking about the story behind the Linnaeus bust!


This is Gare de Ravezies, which until a few years was the Bordeaux terminus of trains coming in from the Médoc peninsula (now replaced by a train<>tram connection in Blanquefort). Part of the former railway line has recently been converted into a scenic walking/cycle path that runs from Bordeaux through Bruges to Le Bouscat.


A panoramic view of Stade Galin, one of Bordeaux’s lesser-known sports stadiums, to be found in the right-bank Bastide quarter. It was first built in 1935 at a time when many projects of the like took shape throughout the city. Income generated by the Euro 2016 football tournament resulted in that lovely green artificial turf being laid, but since this photo was taken in 2017, the stands have been demolished. Oh, and this photo first featured on the blog in the feature about controversial mayor Adrien Marquet... 


The old and the new. Detail from the médiathèque in Mérignac, an architectural project delivered in 2007 which retained the exterior of what used to be the town's hôtel de ville, combining it with modern glass and steel features. Definitely one of the most unusual and interesting buildings in the area.


And we finish off this random series with a picture taken during a memorable flight along the Atlantic coast and down the Gironde estuary (full set available here). It shows la Pointe de Grave (part of le Verdon-sur-Mer), the northern tip of the Médoc peninsula, the northernmost point of the Gironde département, and the spot where the Gironde estuary meets the Atlantic. The tiny white spot top right is the legendary Phare de Cordouan lighthouse.


> First selection of random archive photos available here
> Ce dossier est également disponible en français !

In the carefree days before the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown period began, I was out and about cycling through the suburbs to the north of ...


In the carefree days before the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown period began, I was out and about cycling through the suburbs to the north of Bordeaux and made an unplanned stop to have a good look at “Traversée”, an interactive public art piece that can be found at the combined tram and railway station in Blanquefort.  

The work, which was officially unveiled in September 2017, was created by the young Paris-based artists Cécile Beau and Nicolas Montgermont as part of the contemporary art programme rolled out to accompany the development of Bordeaux Métropole’s tram network. It was conducted by the Métropole within the framework of public commissions led by France’s Culture and Communication ministry and the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region’s artistic creation and cultural affairs department.

"Traversée" in all its glory.
What is it all about then? Well, the information panel states that it was inspired by the movies and the sight of an “Indian” (presumably a native American?) pressing his ear to the rail of a railway line to hear when a train was about to arrive. The work therefore consists of a single curved, raised rail that stretches for 15 metres alongside the tram line, and that connects up with the tram line proper towards the end of the platform. The idea is that anybody can touch or cup their ear to the installation and magically feel the vibrations of a tram as it is either arriving or departing.   

Or, to put it more poetically, official literature claims that Traversée is “a silent sound experience that transforms the time spent waiting into a sensory experience”. Cross-checking back to the information panel on site, the piece is also defined as “a vibrating instrument which varies and evolves, creating a physical link with the tram that is each day renewed”.

Lots of happy silhouettes enjoying the hands-on experience.
So I spent a little time there to try and make the most of the, a-hem, silent sound sensory experience and have to say that… hmmm… nothing much happened at all really. My experiment involved two separate trams arriving and departing, and much as I did my best to milk the physical link with the tram with a little help from Traversée, the whole thing was distinctly short on perceptible vibrations.

Traces of Traversée's previous life.
Now, as trams are few and far between on weekend mornings in Blanquefort, I have to admit I soon gave up and promised myself I would come back another time and do whatever it takes to experience the interactive exhibit to the full (and to get some better photos), but then the lockdown came along, leaving me with this unfinished project on my hands. But I promise I will be back, pressing my ear, cheek, head, shoulders, knees, toes and various other parts of my body to the structure until I start picking up those good vibrations. In the meantime, given the general situation, I don’t think anybody is touching it much at all these days. 

To be continued!  

> Find it on the Invisible Bordeaux map: Traversée, gare de Blanquefort
> Ce dossier est également disponible en français !
> A full website dedicated to the artwork is available here and features a host of interesting plans, diagrams and pictures of work in progress on the artwork itself and its installation: http://traversee.xyz/
> Do also check out the websites of artists Cécile Beau and Nicolas Montgermont. Montgermont’s website features this Soundcloud clip of the arrival of a tram. His experience was clearly more successful than mine… 


Throughout this somewhat unreal lockdown period that has been implemented to stay safe and protect others from the spread of the Covid-1...


Throughout this somewhat unreal lockdown period that has been implemented to stay safe and protect others from the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, over on Instagram and Twitter Invisible Bordeaux has been filling the void by publishing random photos taken over the years in and around the city, and sometimes beyond. Some have already featured on the blog, others have just been sitting on my hard drive. There's no major underlying theme, they're just photos that possibly deserved to be dusted down and put out there! So here are the first ten photos that were published.  

The first picture shows Place Pey-Berland in central Bordeaux, with Saint-André cathedral, Palais Rohan city hall, and a very menacing cloudy sky! Below we have an unusual view of a railway line and tunnel in Lormont, as seen from Pont d'Aquitaine suspension bridge.


Then it's over to Saint-Jean-d'Illac for this close-up, sunny-day view of a tall forest observation tower.
 

Back into central Bordeaux to one of the city's oldest cul-de-sacs, impasse de Rue-neuve, as formerly featured on the blog.


Over to the right bank of the Garonne to view a case study in functionalist architectural designs, the Caserne des Pompiers de la Benauge fire station


Next we head south along the Atlantic coast to the Landes département and l'estacade de Capbreton, a jetty which was in a serious state of disrepair and closed last year, but I believe it has since been given an overhaul and will be a great place to head back to when this is all over!


Back into central Bordeaux to see the archetypal form of housing: the low-rise terraced "échoppe", which was also treated to its own blog article. These two are a great study in near-perfect symmetry! 


This panoramic photo shows the small square on rue Chabrely in the Bastide quarter of Bordeaux, including the 1896 statue of celebrated local general practitioner Dr Édouard Chabrely, the subject of one of my favourite blog investigations. This picture taken way back in 2014 and the telephone box is no longer there...


This is a “repère de nivellement” to be spotted on Cours d’Albret in Bordeaux, i.e. a benchmark that displays altitude levels and is used by surveyors or anybody generally interested in how high up they are. There are hundreds to be spotted throughout the Metropole on buildings, bridges and landmarks and, guess what, they are all documented on a website: https://geo.bordeaux-metropole.fr/canevas


And we finish off this first selection with a delightful out-of-order escalator in the Mériadeck district of Bordeaux. Coincidentally, the latest French-language Invisible Bordeaux podcast is all about Mériadeck, make sure you've given it a a listen! 


> Second selection of random archive photos coming soon! 
> Ce dossier est également disponible en français !