Sunday, 31 January 2016

Castel d’Andorte: ghosts of centuries past in Le Bouscat’s Parc de la Chêneraie

Once again, Invisible Bordeaux has made its way to Le Bouscat. This time we are headed for the leafy Parc de la Chêneraie to explore its centrepiece, a mysterious 18th-century mansion known as the Castel d’Andorte.

For many centuries the surrounding area had comprised of farmland and vineyards and regularly changed hands: it was the property of the chapitre of Bordeaux’s Saint-Seurin basilica for a number of years, then the legal counsel Arnaud de Ferron in the 16th century, followed by Étienne Duval, a knight who was also the Seigneur of Castets-en-Dorthe. In the 18th century Duval sold the land onto one Abbé (abbot) Laborde, a dean within the Saint-Seurin chapter.

Friday, 22 January 2016

New video: touring Bordeaux Parc Floral's twin city gardens

One of Invisible Bordeaux's favourite places in the city is the remarkable Parc Floral, which was the subject of a full feature many months ago (now also available in French).

I recently returned there with three young men, Minister FIFA, Lukesterray and Mystery Hoodie Boy, and together we toured the park's twin city gardens. Please make sure your passport is handy and follow us as we magically travel to Peru, Canada, Morocco, Israel, Spain, Germany and elsewhere!

Thursday, 7 January 2016

The hair-raising names of hairdressing salons in and around Bordeaux

Don't ask me why but I've always been strangely fascinated by the names of independent hairdressers in France. The puns are sometimes clever, often painful and invariably memorable. And what is it about the overuse of apostrophes? 

I thought it might be interesting to compile the best names spotted in and around Bordeaux, so here is the evidence as gathered with the help of readers who submitted suggestions and photos via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Now, if you find yourself cringeing as you scroll down the page, do remember that names like these have to be cherished as one day we may wake up and notice that all hairdressing salons have magically become franchise branches of Frank Provost, Jean-Louis David and Tchip. So let's enjoy them while they last..

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

2015 in review: five personal favourites

All the subjects covered by the website over the past twelve months have once again been a delight to compile and research. But here are five subjects which proved particularly interesting when peeling the layers away. Click on the titles or associated pictures to read the items!

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

2015 in review: the year’s most-read Invisible Bordeaux items

Again, the time has come to finish off the calendar year with a couple of items that look back on some of the features that ran on Invisible Bordeaux over the past twelve months. This first set compiles the five most-read articles. Click on the titles or associated pictures to read the full items!

Thursday, 17 December 2015

In search of the Saint-Michel district of Bordeaux

In this, the latest of an occasional series of guest posts, fellow Brit and Bordeaux Expats midfield lynchpin Chris Tighe gets under the skin of the Saint-Michel district and some of its street names.

The Saint-Michel neighbourhood is on the verge of a triumphant rebirth, the next in the long list of rejuvenation programs in Bordeaux's city centre. The Saint-Michel renovation project was initiated in 2007 and the ambitious programme is finally starting to see the light of day. What does it all involve?

According to the Préfet de la région d'Aquitaine's direction régionale de l'environnement de l'aménagement et du logement (DREAL), the plan aims to:

Friday, 4 December 2015

Domaine Catros and the arboretum which refuses to lie down

During the conference I gave a few months ago at the Musée d’Aquitaine, I touched upon the story of Toussaint-Yves Catros, the “cultivateur de pépinières” (tree nursery agriculturist) whose legacy is still very much present today. Catros has already been given a full feature on the blog but, in short, he played a pivotal role in planting the pine trees that secure the Atlantic coast sand dunes, initiated the culture of artichokes in Macau and founded the seed production and distribution company Catros-Gérand which still today operates out of a facility in Carbon-Blanc.

In the audience that day was the most excellent Yves Baillot d’Estivaux (local authority on all things automobile-related), who put me in touch with Mesdames Elisabeth Desplats and Edith Moreau, two sisters who also happen to be descendants of Catros (their family tree can be traced back to Anne-Jeanne, the sister of Toussaint-Yves, the latter remained a life-long bachelor). They welcomed me to their homes in Carbon-Blanc and allowed me to peruse files and files of archive documents, with a view to reconstructing the history of the arboretum created by Catros in Le Haillan, on land which is now split between the aerospace giants Thales Avionics and Herakles.

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