As 2017 draws to a close, the time has come to look back over the year on the blog. Usually this involves simply highlighting the most-r...

The 2017 Invisible Bordeaux Awards: and the winners are…

As 2017 draws to a close, the time has come to look back over the year on the blog. Usually this involves simply highlighting the most-read items or personal favourites, but this time around Invisible Bordeaux has decided to organize its own awards ceremony, so congratulations to all the winning subjects who will be delighted to be enjoying some more exposure!

The “Best-Kept Secret” Award: Jardin des Remparts
It’s small and not exactly spectacular, but the Jardin des Remparts is a charming haven of tranquillity in one of Bordeaux’s busiest quarters, located just a few metres away from Capucins Market. And, with a curious shrine, a ghostly sentry post and remains of the 14th-century city walls, there is also a definite sense of history about the place.

The “Most Opaque” Award: the bricked-up windows of Bordeaux
Is there anything more opaque than a window that has been bricked up? And it just so happens that there are hundreds, if not thousands of these bricked-up windows in Bordeaux! Why should that be and what are the various distinguishing features of these architectural oddities? Invisible Bordeaux investigated!

The “Most Travelled” Award: cycling along the Canal de Garonne
Instead of a road-trip, this tale was one of a towpath trip along the banks of the Canal de Garonne from Castets-en-Dorthe to Agen. Starring locks, barges, trees, bridges, aqueducts, various types of vegetables and fruit and, bizarrely, models of French landmarks built out of matchsticks, the scenic bike ride also included a memorable non-encounter with a painting by the Dutch master Rembrandt. Get pedalling! 

The “Bizarre Public Artwork” Award: la Maison aux Personnages
One of Bordeaux’s most unusual permanent art installations is a custom-built house located on a traffic island, comprising a number of rooms, each of which has been designed and filled with scenery and accessories to look like it is inhabited by an imaginary character. The piece is the work of Russian artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov. It’s all very strange, and is just a little bit controversial too...

The “Inconvenient Truth” Award: the 1942 Juif et la France exhibition
Bordeaux’s wartime history remains a sore subject and, in hindsight, one the most painful chapters from that period was this, the hosting of an anti-Semitic propaganda exhibition. Wartime events of the like now seem to be the unbelievable end-product of some unrecognisable parallel universe. And yet it is all so recent and the setting so familiar that the account makes for chilling reading.

The “Live Event” Award: Domaine Catros Heritage Days tours
Of course, most blog-related public appearances in 2017 came in the shape of more performances of the Shuman Show, the words-and-music live show based on the life and career of Mort Shuman, in front of audiences in Bordeaux, Mérignac, Talence, Saint-Aubin-de-Médoc and even Paris! But this year's award goes to an event that was put on with the support of my daytime employer Thales: I was given the keys to the Domaine Catros arboretum on the premises of our former facility in Le Haillan and held guided tours as part of this year’s European Heritage Days weekend. A splendid time was had by all! 

Thank you for following the Invisible Bordeaux story so far, and see you again in 2018!

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