In the previous Invisible Bordeaux posts (click here for part 1 and part 2 ), you will have read about the first stages in my attempt to...

The Invisible Bordeaux Monopoly challenge: part 3/3

In the previous Invisible Bordeaux posts (click here for part 1 and part 2), you will have read about the first stages in my attempt to use the Bordeaux edition of the board game Monopoly as a roadmap to cycle around the city. The second chapter ended with me outside Sainte-Croix church.

From here it was just a short ride to Gare Saint-Jean railway station, one of the four public transport squares to collect on the Bordeaux Monopoly board (solely railway stations in the original editions). On the other side of the railway lines lies the Belcier quarter which is, along with Bassins à Flots, currently the cheapest square on the board (60 Monopoly dollars, or M's). There are run-down, semi-demolished houses, rows of no-frills low-rise échoppes, but also a number of modern office and residential buildings taking shape and heralding the area’s on-going re-birth, which is likely to move up a gear when the very high-speed rail network is complete in 2017. Property here will then be just two hours from central Paris, i.e. almost as accessible as some of the capital city’s distant suburbs!

Saint-Jean railway station.
Deep in the Belcier district.
Heading back over a railway bridge I pointed my bicycle in the general direction of the Nansouty district (M180), stopping en route to take a picture of VCub rental bikes (the second public transport square on the board) lined up near Sacré-Coeur church. Reaching Place Nansouty, the southernmost point on the Monopoly trail, many people were going about their business, stocking up on bread, miscellaneous groceries and the Sunday newspapers. One poor guy was sprawled out on the pavement as a result of one or two too many late-night (or early-morning) drinks. The sound of the cello on Rue d’Aviau suddenly felt a long, long way off…

The VCub bike station near Sacré-Coeur and Place Nansouty.
I cycled up Cours de la Somme towards Place de la Victoire (M120), where a handful of people were admiring the red marble obelisk and bronze tortoises created by Czech artist Ivan Theimer. Carrying on northwards, Cours Pasteur took me up to Place Pey-Berland, where a view over the cathedral, its bell tower and the city hall, Palais Rohan, will set you back M260 on the Monopoly board.

Place de la Victoire.
Place Pey-Berland.
Cycling past the 15th-century Fort du Hâ, it occurred to me that the fortress’s prison past would make it the ideal candidate for the jail square on the Bordeaux Monopoly set. A 10-kilometre road race was in progress with lots of sporty people out enjoying the sun; I didn’t hang around though because I was headed for the Mériadeck quarter (M200 and another previous standalone subject on the blog), where I remained at street level, and on to the boulevards, where I turned into the Lescure bus depot; bus (and tram) operators TBC are the third of the public transport squares on the board.

Fort du Hâ.
Mériadeck quarter.
Other than stationary buses, a magnificent clock and the entrance to the staff canteen, there wasn’t much to see… although I did come across a memorial to bus and tram staff who had perished during the First and Second World Wars. I may be back to investigate further!

It was time to leave central Bordeaux behind though and aim for my penultimate stop: the chic district of Caudéran (M300), a town in its own right until 1965 when it became a quartier of Bordeaux. It was noon when I dismounted in front of the church, just as mass came to an end. The doors opened and the square soon filled up with well-dressed well-to-do Caudéranais!

After a short time spent people-watching I set off in the general direction of my final destination, the remaining transport infrastructure square: Bordeaux-Mérignac airport. After sticking to side-streets for much of that final stretch, I had no option other than to join the busy thoroughfare that runs through Mérignac retail park, over the Rocade ring-road and on to the airport zone which, despite welcoming incoming travellers all day long, is a strangely inhospitable environment for cyclists.

Not to worry though because arriving at the airport meant I had made it and, over the course of the morning had “collected” all the properties on the Bordeaux Monopoly board. To achieve this I had spent an imaginary 5,390 Monopoly dollars and, since departing from Le Lac at 8:30, had covered 33 kilometres over just under two hours of actual cycling time. That means I'd also spent a full two hours taking photos, jotting down notes, and posting pictures and captions on Instagram and Twitter!

Above all, the Monopoly trail had proved to be a fantastic way of taking in a wide spectrum of scenery, moods and atmospheres, with architecture ranging from the elegant to the almost derelict. By attempting the circuit on a Sunday morning, I had witnessed the people of Bordeaux waking, rising, coming to life, exercising, going about their activities and preparing for lunch. As I set off on the 13-kilometre course between the airport and my home in Saint-Aubin-de-Médoc, the roads were empty once again. Errands, mass and sporting endeavours were over for the morning and everyone had settled down for lunch. I was running late for mine but the meal tasted particularly sweet that day

Thanks to the magic of GPS-enabled bike computers, the Bordeaux Monopoly circuit has been instantly mapped out here, from the departure point at Bordeaux-Lac to the arrival point at the airport.
You can also enjoy a video version of the adventure here: 


  1. Good work! Is your home 'Go' then? And how did you avoid jail?

    1. Home was my personal "Go" although the map at the bottom of this piece only displays the Monopoly trail itself. As for jail, (represented by the 15th-century Fort du Hâ), cunningly got on my bike and cycled on before anyone noticed I was in the vicinity!