2012 is drawing to a close so the time has come to take stock of the past twelve months and finish off with a couple of items looking bac...

2012 in review: the year’s most popular Invisible Bordeaux items

2012 is drawing to a close so the time has come to take stock of the past twelve months and finish off with a couple of items looking back on some of the features produced on the blog throughout the year. This first set rounds up the five most-read articles, which are a varied bunch in terms of subject matter. Click on the titles or associated pictures to read the items!
5. The VAL light railway network that never happened

Surely the ultimate invisible subjects are things that never actually came to fruition! The plans to build an underground light-railway system were a constant in Bordeaux for a number of years, with longstanding mayor Jacques Chaban-Delmas unwilling to revert back to a network of tramlines which he himself had put an end to in the 1950s. This article told the story of those unfinished plans!

4. Ghost signs: phantom letters continuing to haunt the walls 

Wandering the streets of Bordeaux and beyond, you often spot faded hand-painted adverts and signs. Compiling them felt like it was a job that needed to be done, and I’m glad to report that a number of readers and acquaintances also soon chipped in with their finds. So far this first ghost signs feature has been followed up by a second item with others coming soon, and a dedicated GoogleMap has also been set up to help locate finds in the area.

3. Atlantic Wall bunkers: slip sliding away?
The Atlantikwall system of coastal fortifications is one of many wartime tales to be told in the area. The concrete bunkers dotted along the coast are sinister beasts, but it’s nice to know that some of those which have slipped down the dunes and into the Atlantic have now been reclaimed by sealife!

2. Place du Maucaillou: Mitt Romney’s Bordeaux connection

It was my regular partner in crime, Adam from Invisible Paris (the website that provided the blueprint for Invisible Bordeaux), who flagged up Mitt Romney’s time in France in the 1960s, noting that Bordeaux and Paris were among the cities where he stayed. The joint items we produced aimed to make sense of a period in the US politician's life which, although poorly documented, proved pivotal in his personal development. Further down the line, Invisible Bordeaux also covered the Mormon chapel in Talence which was Romney’s base camp in the area.

And at number 1. Bordeaux-Lacanau cycle path: from steam and diesel to pedal power

There is something that feels very right about this item being the most-read article of the year. When cycling along portions of the track and spotting some of the near-invisible traces of the path’s railway heritage, it was obvious that there was an interesting story to be told. As such it was one of the subjects that originally prompted me to set up the website… so it gives me a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling to know that readers in the outside world were also interested in scratching beneath the surface of the cycle path’s history!

In the next Invisible Bordeaux post, you can read about some of the more "unsung" subjects of the year, but ones which I found particularly rewarding to work on!

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