Le Haillan (population 10,000) is a quiet residential suburb to the north-west of Bordeaux and...

Le Haillan’s three twin roundabouts


Le Haillan (population 10,000) is a quiet residential suburb to the north-west of Bordeaux and is arguably best-known for its château, which is the headquarters and training centre of local top-flight football team Girondins de Bordeaux. Down the years, the town has also developed ties with three twin towns elsewhere in Europe, and these links are celebrated in a series of landscaped roundabouts.

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Arcachon’s La Salesse villa was built in 1854, making it one of the oldest properties in the to...

Villa Salesse: Salvador Dalí’s wartime refuge in Arcachon

Arcachon’s La Salesse villa was built in 1854, making it one of the oldest properties in the town. And it played a bit part in the maverick career of the Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dalí. 

In 1936, Dalí fled his native Spain, which was in the midst of a civil war. For the next three years, he and his wife Gala divided their time between London, New York, Paris and fashion designer Coco Chanel’s residence in Roquebrune on the French Riviera. By 1939, the travelling was taking its toll though and war was looming large. Dalí and Gala headed to the Pyrenees for some downtime, staying near the Spanish border at the Grand Hôtel in Font-Romeu (although Dalí later noted that for him “to rest meant to immediately begin to paint 12 hours a day”). But their hotel suite was commandeered by the Chief of Staff of the French army who was in town to inspect border fortifications. Dalí and Gala elected to head to Paris.

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The distinguishing features of Place Stalingrad, known until 1946 as Place du Pont given its pr...

Théâtre Alcazar: where the clock stopped in 1967


The distinguishing features of Place Stalingrad, known until 1946 as Place du Pont given its proximity to the Pont de Pierre, include the large, modern sculpture of a lion (designed by the French artist Xavier Veilhan with a little help from some computer software), one of the seven cast-iron Wallace drinking fountains to be spotted around the city, and a building which now comprises 13 luxury flats and a ground-floor restaurant. This building used to be known as Théâtre Alcazar

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The sixty-kilometre cycle path that runs from Bordeaux to Lacanau provides a pra...

Bordeaux-Lacanau cycle path: from steam and diesel to pedal power



The sixty-kilometre cycle path that runs from Bordeaux to Lacanau provides a practical, if somewhat flat and linear, means of getting to the Atlantic coast by pedal power alone. And, like many cycle paths, it used to be a railway line.

The railway line was built in the 19th century, forming part of a network of routes run by Société Générale des Chemins de Fer Économiques. The network was primarily designed to easily ferry maritime pinewood from its native Médoc to other parts of the Bordeaux region, ahead of the focus shifting to passenger traffic. One line ran north to south from Lesparre-Médoc to Saint-Symphorien, a second covered a south-western diagonal from Hostens to Beautiran, and this third line connected Bordeaux to Lacanau.

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