This statue of Toussaint Catros ( see part 1 for the story behind the subject matter ), which is ga...

Toussaint Louverture: helping Bordeaux come to terms with its slave trade past (part 2)

This statue of Toussaint Catros (see part 1 for the story behind the subject matter), which is gazing downstream along the Garonne river, is positioned opposite the quay from which ships set sail between 1672 and 1837, on the first legs of 508 triangular slave trade voyages that resulted in 150,000 Africans being deported to the Americas.

Bordeaux was not alone. In France - which ranked solely behind Great Britain and Portugal in terms of the scale of its slave trade - the city of Nantes organised 1,744 expeditions, and the ports of La Rochelle and Le Havre were on a par with Bordeaux.

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This statue of François-Dominique Toussaint, better known as Toussaint Louverture, was donated to th...

Toussaint Louverture: helping Bordeaux come to terms with its slave trade past (part 1)

This statue of François-Dominique Toussaint, better known as Toussaint Louverture, was donated to the city of Bordeaux by the Republic of Haiti in 2005. The subject matter of this work, sculpted by Haitian artist Ludovic Booz, and its riverside location are heavy with significance, forming an important step on the road to Bordeaux coming to terms with its slave trade past.

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On a quiet side street in the right-bank quarter of La Bastide, all the available space on the fa...

Crèche de la Bastide: (still) helping youngsters to blossom

On a quiet side street in the right-bank quarter of La Bastide, all the available space on the façade of an otherwise unassuming building is filled with a host of inscriptions: welcome to the Crèche de la Bastide.

The Crèche was founded in 1891 by the local dignitary Charles Cazalet (1858-1933), at one time deputy mayor of Bordeaux. This successful wine trader was seeking to give something back to the district where he was born and brought up.

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If you’re not afraid of heights, and are both willing and able to climb a few steps, the Observa...

Observatoire Sainte-Cécile: a 360° view from Arcachon's Eiffel tower


If you’re not afraid of heights, and are both willing and able to climb a few steps, the Observatoire Sainte-Cécile in Arcachon’s Ville d’Hiver quarter will reward you with one of the finest possible views over Arcachon bay.

This observation tower, completed in 1863, was the brainchild of Paul Regnauld. Regnauld, who was also the man behind the casino in the nearby Parc Mauresque, was an engineer with the railway operators Compagnie des Chemins de Fer du Midi, owned by the brothers Émile and Isaac Pereire, who did much to promote and develop the town of Arcachon. Regnauld was also behind the conception of the first wave of elegant villas in the Ville d’Hiver quarter, as well as designing a railway bridge in Bordeaux, the 1858-1860 construction of which was led by a young man called Gustave Eiffel.

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The sun rises over the Garonne and above the familiar arches of the 19th-century Pont de Pierre … ...

Caserne des Pompiers de la Benauge: official 1950s functionalist heritage

The sun rises over the Garonne and above the familiar arches of the 19th-century Pont de Pierre… flanked as ever by the more angular silhouette of the Benauge fire station or, to give it its full title, the Centre d’Intervention et de Secours de la Benauge.

The building, designed by the architects Claude Ferret, Yves Salier and Adrien Courtois, was completed in 1954 and has struggled to gain acceptance from a city that traditionally warms more easily to classical architecture. Over the years, there has even been recurring talk of tearing down the building but, in 2008, it was awarded a “Patrimoine du XXe Siècle” label, officially registering its status as an example of 20th-century heritage to be preserved - a proud victory for the many people who have become attached to the presence of the fire station.

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