Saturday, 20 August 2016

A new UFO has landed at the Ovniport d'Arès, part 2: meeting the designers!

A few weeks ago Invisible Bordeaux reported on the new spaceship which has been installed at the ovniport (UFO landing pad) in Arès, at the northern tip of the Bassin d’Arcachon. I recently caught up with the most excellent gentlemen who designed the stationary flying saucer!

A friend of mine had spotted the previous Arès spaceship on the car park of trailer company Sud Ouest Remorques in Saint Jean-d’Illac. I stopped there to get the full story and found out that two employees, Luc Albingre and Thierry Rouzade, were behind the design and manufacture of the new spaceship. I arranged to meet Luc and Thierry to find out more, and this is what they told me:

Saturday, 16 July 2016

A new UFO has landed at the Ovniport d'Arès (part 1 of 2)

Loyal readers will remember that, in 2012, Invisible Bordeaux reported on one of the most bizarre attractions in the area: the designated waterfront landing pad for unidentified flying objects in Arès, the quiet resort towards the northern tip of the triangle formed by the Bassin d’Arcachon.

I was recently disconcerted to see that the flying saucer which had been positioned there had disappeared, but lately found out that in June of this year a brand new UFO had landed. In part 2 of this feature, I will be meeting the people who conceived and built the new spaceship (and no, they aren't aliens) and finding out what happened to the previous spaceship, but for now let's revisit the story behind the UFO landing pad.

Friday, 8 July 2016

The unfolding story of Le Map Bordeaux

People visiting Bordeaux recently have no doubt found their stay in the city has been made easier and more enjoyable thanks to Le Map, a new free city guide that combines maps with tips, useful information and even a bit of local history.

To find out more about the publication, I arranged to meet Matt Mann, one of Le Map’s creators, for a coffee and chocolatine (that’s a pain au chocolat for non-Bordelais readers). The full story goes something like this:

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Introducing the Shuman Show, a live musical journey through the career of Mort Shuman

Invisible Bordeaux is proud to announce the first public performance of… (drum-roll please) the Shuman Show, to be held at Paul’s Place in central Bordeaux on Friday July 8th at 8:30pm.

This is the first instance of a former blog subject being transformed into a full-scale live musical revue. Loyal readers may remember last year’s article which uncovered the unbelievable career path of New Yorker Mort Shuman, who penned some of the most famous melodies of the late 1950s and early 1960s before he himself became an unlikely pop star in France, making hit records such as Le Lac Majeur and Papa Tango Charly. Shuman died in 1991 and, as a result of family connections, his final resting place is in Bordeaux.

As part of this live extravaganza, I will be singing, strumming guitars and playing piano to provide samples of the music Shuman wrote throughout his career, and recounting a number of anecdotes that not only connect to tell the full story, but add extra layers of understanding to the songs themselves. Above all, it promises to be a lot of fun.

So come along to Paul’s Place on Friday July 8th at 8:30pm. Admission is totally free and food is available if you’re hungry (dinner served from 7:30pm onwards, pre-booking recommended via

Sunday, 5 June 2016

L’Alhambra: the iconic Bordeaux venue which hosted some of the most iconic artists of the 20th century

Rue d’Alzon is a small side-street off Rue Judaïque where one of Bordeaux’s most iconic music and entertainment venues once stood: l’Alhambra. Today, the façade remains but the theatre itself is long gone.

The Alhambra story began in the early 1870s when a tree nursery made way for a permanent circus structure, le Cirque-National, which in turn became a “café-concert” in 1878. Soon after the turn of the century, local architect Tournier conceived a veritable entertainment complex that comprised a 1,500-seater theatre, an 800-capacity “summer casino” and, peculiarly, a rollerskating rink (the city’s 21st-century “roller parks” are therefore nothing new).

Sunday, 22 May 2016

History evolves: how the Beaudésert internment camp memorial plaque has changed

It is impossible to rewrite history but we can perpetually revise our understanding and interpretation of what happened in the past. A notable example of this can be found on a plaque in Mérignac that marks the area where Beaudésert internment camp was once located.

Invisible Bordeaux published a full investigation into the WW2 camp back in 2013. Initially set up as a detention centre for “undesirable foreigners” in 1940, it evolved into a camp for political prisoners. It went on to hold other communities such as Jews, Spanish Republicans, members of the Résistance, black market traffickers and prostitutes, along with individuals who refused to comply with the Nazis’ forced labour policy (STO: Service du travail obligatoire). For many who were held there, it was a penultimate stop before being sent to concentration camps or ahead of execution at the nearby Camp de Souge.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Could this be the coolest house in Bordeaux?

Reader Nathan Turner, a former Bordeaux resident, recently got in touch with me about a building that he used to ride past on his bicycle when he lived in the city. By linking through to Google Streetview evidence, it was easy to see that Nathan had a point; the house definitely deserved a visit!

I headed over to the unusual “hôtel particulier”, which is located on a corner at the junction between Rues Cotrel and Jean Soula, in the neighbourhood that lies between Saint-Seurin basilica and the boulevards. Technically it is number 1, Rue Cotrel, the street named after Raphaël Cotrel, the gentleman who owned the surrounding land until it was split into individual plots and sold on.
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