Friday, 20 November 2015

"It's Bordeaux, but not as you know it": the Invisible Bordeaux Youtube trailer

Coming soon to a cinema near you (in my dreams) is this, the official Invisible Bordeaux Youtube trailer!

Featuring short snippets of videos which have already been viewed literally dozens of times, this clip gives unsuspecting viewers of what to expect when they enter the Invisible Bordeaux universe. Kapla, hairdressers, a capella singing in a cemetery and pretending to be in a Formula 1 racing car whizzing through the city centre, they're all in there. Enjoy!

Saturday, 7 November 2015

The exotic Grands Bains des Chartrons: now Bordeaux’s prettiest car park

Rue Notre-Dame is one of the oldest and longest roads in the Chartrons district of Bordeaux. In amongst the elegant 18th-century buildings, timeless antique dealers and fashionable art galleries is a peculiar façade, the front of what used to be a renowned hammam (Turkish baths), “Les Grands Bains des Chartrons”.

The steam rooms, which were originally the property of one L. Lambert, opened in 1895 on the site where a convent once stood (known as “couvent des Carmes déchaussés” or “couvent des Petits-Carmes”). The baths were built to the designs of Bordeaux architect Eugène Gervais, who also conceived the Théâtre des Arts building on Rue Saint-Sernin and some impressive villas further north in Royan.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Mapping the story behind "La Carte des vins s’il vous plaît"

An unusual guide to wine appeared on the scene earlier this year: "La Carte des vins s’il vous plaît". The single-page guide, which combines graphics, tips and tales, is the work of Jules Gaubert-Turpin and Adrien Grant Smith Bianchi. I caught up with Jules, over a glass of wine, to find out more about the innovative product.

How would you define la Carte des Vins s’il vous plaît?

It's a foldaway map which compiles easy-to-understand graphics that illustrate how a wine-growing region functions: the varieties of grapes (cépages) that are used, proportions of the different types of wine produced, etc. The challenge we faced was to talk about wine, which can be a touch elitist, in a manner which is as straightforward as possible. And we believe that the best way of getting things across is through the use of diagrams, charts and timelines.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Quai de Brazza by night: inside Sud Ouest’s print centre

I recently discovered one of the most unusual and fascinating outings to be experienced in Bordeaux… or at least it is if you’re drawn to industrial tourism and not afraid to stay up late: a night-time tour of the print centre of the regional daily newspaper Sud Ouest on the right-bank Quai de Brazza.

The tours, which are entirely free of charge, take place several times a week between the months of October and June and are led by a friendly team of young guides. Although most visitors come as part of group bookings (organised by works committees, local councils, etc.), the tours are very much open to the general public. And so it was that my elder son and I joined a small crowd assembled outside the facility at 10:30pm on a chilly Friday night.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Video: Pilot's eye view of take-off and landing at Bordeaux-Mérignac airport

When I was recently invited to board a Cessna 172 to enjoy a flight over the Atlantic coast, the Gironde estuary and the Médoc, I made sure I had my GoPro camera on hand to capture footage as the plane took off and landed. 

So here then is the view that pilots enjoy when departing from and arriving at Bordeaux-Mérignac airport. We took off from and landed on the main runway, codenamed 05/23 (find out what those mysterious numbers mean here), although we had the semi-unusual delight of facing north-east when doing so (the winds are such that aircraft tend more often to take off and land in a south-westerly direction).

Sunday, 11 October 2015

The Atlantic coast, the Gironde estuary and the Médoc... as viewed from above!

A colleague and aviation enthusiast recently suggested I take flight with him in a light aircraft, with the primary objective of taking aerial photographs of the new facility being built by our company, Thales, in Mérignac. This was obviously an offer I couldn't refuse!

I met up with him early one sunny Saturday morning at the premises of the CAPAM flying club by the runway at Bordeaux-Mérignac airport, and together we boarded a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, finding a slot to take off in between the departures and arrivals of various airliners. Once we'd taken a few pictures of the Thales site, we headed on over to the Atlantic coast, flying from Le Porge to Le Verdon, and then down the Gironde Estuary past Pauillac, Blaye and Margaux. My camera remained at the ready and here are some of the photos that I took!

Friday, 2 October 2015

Inside Bordeaux's Jewish Avignonnais cemetery

Regular readers may remember the recent account of the morning spent exploring the Portuguese Jewish cemetery on Cours de la Marne, one of three final resting places for Jews in central Bordeaux. Of the others, the cemetery on Cours de l’Yser is still in use, whereas burials at the tiny “Cimetière des Avignonnais” on Rue Sauteyron, a mere 50 metres from Place de la Victoire, ceased more than 200 years ago.

The Avignonnais cemetery is rarely open to the general public, and can only usually be visited during specially-organised guided tours, so when I spotted it would be accessible as part of the city’s European Heritage Days programme, I decided to head over to the site to take in a low-key tour of my own.
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