In this internet age there is an active online community of people who track down ghost signs, th...

Ghost signs: phantom letters continuing to haunt the walls (chapter 1!)

In this internet age there is an active online community of people who track down ghost signs, those faded hand-painted advertisements and signage from bygone years which have somehow survived this far into the 21st century.

In France, particularly rural France, ghost signs (such as the one above to be found in Saint-Aubin-de-Médoc) remain a fairly common sight. With a little help from real-world friends and Twittersphere acquaintances, here is a first selection of a few such adverts and signs to be spotted in and around Bordeaux. A dedicated GoogleMap (which has also been added to the right-hand menu) will help you locate them all. There will be many more to come in other posts further down the line!


This advert can be seen heading into Rue de Caudéran from the boulevards. It is promoting "À la malle des Indes", a shop which sold "articles de voyage" (presumably trunks and suitcases, possibly also bows, arrows and Red Indian headgear). The shop hasn't survived as long as the advert. The health insurance company SMAM can now be found in its place at 19 Rue Esprit des Lois (pictured below). [Find the ad]


***


This sign for the Boulzaguet "usine de teinturerie" (textile dyes manufacturer) can be seen on Rue de Lescure, near to the Chaban-Delmas football stadium. [Find it]

***


The elegant Café de l'Horloge at Barrière Saint-Genès continues to promote the traditional Marseille pastis "Berger" and its "Midi... 7 heures..." slogan, suggesting the optimum times to enjoy a glass of Berger were at noon and at 7 o'clock (presumably PM rather than AM...). [Find it]

***


What is now a ground-floor apartment on Rue Kiéser promises "soupers froids" (cold suppers). Around the corner on Rue de la Benatte, additional traces of its previous incarnation as a "buvette" can be spotted either side of the window. [Find it]

***


A. Dommergue supplied firewood and coal to the residents of Bordeaux, operating out of premises on Rue de Belleyme (whereabouts unknown, the name having no doubt changed) and Rue Mably (where a designer store can now be found). This advert is located on the corner of Rue du Cancera and Rue Piliers de Tutelle. (Photos: Gilles Rose) [Find it]

***


This former dépôt for "Léon" biscuits is on Rue de la Rousselle near Porte de Bourgogne. If anyone can provide information about Léon biscuits I will gladly add it to this caption! (Photo: Gilles Rose) [Find it]

***


Rue Marengo: this is the former Bordeaux branch of the Louis Gelis-Didot "Franco-American import company", who also had operations in Paris and Le Havre. The panels promise much, such as the company's status as "raffinerie centrale de graisses et saindoux de Clichy, aux marques Croix de Lorraine, le Panache, Buffalo, le Chinois" (central refinery of Clichy fats and lard of the brands Croix de Lorraine, le Panache, Buffalo, le Chinois), and services of "importation directe d'huile, de coton et de fruits d'Amérique, de homards et de saumons, de saucissons, jambons, pic-nics, boyaux" (direct importer of oil, cotton and fruit from the Americas, of lobsters, salmon, saucisson, ham, pork picnic shoulder and gut casing). It must have been a smelly place. [Find it]

***


This sign on Rue Capdeville, near Saint-Seurin basilica, still proudly announces a mere 30 metres to the next Shell station (long gone...). You may just be able to make out the red lettering on the logo itself, which is how the company's logo looked in its 1950s and 1960s incarnations. [Find it]

***

 
Although the Fina petrol pump is no longer pumping petrol, this Rue de la Vieille Tour garage is still operational. The painted advert is for the BP-owned Energic Energol brand of motor oil. That now-unfamiliar typeface was used in the BP logo between 1922 and 1958. [Find it]

***


Shoe-sellers Quérilhac had branches in Le Bouscat, Castelnau-de-Médoc and here in Saint-Médard-en-Jalles where this sign for the shop and the Éram brand remains... perhaps surprisingly so seeing as it now appears to have been produced using felt-tip pins that were about to run out. The building is now home to a toy shop. [Find it]

***


This old workshop is further out of town, in Le Temple on the main route to Le Porge. A. Cazeaux traded as a "mercerie" or haberdashery, and "rouennerie", supplying painted cotton canvas. [Find it]


More ghost sign features here and here!

8 comments:

  1. De rien, Tim ! Lorsque je verrai une ancienne publicité de ce type à Bordeaux, je ne manquerai pas de la prendre en photo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Formidable, merci d'avance Emilie !

      Delete
  2. Oh le "Café de l'horloge" c'est juste à coté de chez nous ca :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hé hé ! À bientôt là-bas pour un verre de Berger !

      Delete
  3. Great collection and very much looking forward to more. The map is something I've always wanted to do so we should discuss how this could be expanded to other locations...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It could easily be expanded to include other locations although if you have some form of Google account you might want to set up a centralised map that your network of contributors could then amend with their finds. By all means e-mail me about this - the map with locations is indeed a definite plus.

      Delete
    2. Sounds like a good project - I'll chip in with my finds in and around Paris!

      Delete