While the Garonne river naturally represents the eastern flank of the heart of Bordeaux, the rem...

Octroi collection offices: the tax is no more, the barriers (and wisteria) remain


While the Garonne river naturally represents the eastern flank of the heart of Bordeaux, the remainder of the central city’s modern-day boundaries are formed by a semi-circular succession of wide boulevards which took shape from 1853 onwards. With the development of the boulevards came the construction of offices whose duty it was to collect an ancient and generally unpopular tax, the “octroi”.

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Arlac is a quiet residential district in the suburb of Mérignac, and nestled in amongst the house...

Krakatoa: the community hall rock venue

Arlac is a quiet residential district in the suburb of Mérignac, and nestled in amongst the houses and cornershops is a concert venue which, since 1990, has been an essential port of call for many of the leading names in contemporary music: the Krakatoa. 

The “Krakatoa” moniker is particularly relevant; it refers to a volcanic island between the islands of Java and Sumatra in Indonesia. When the volcano exploded in 1883, killing 40,000 people, the roar was considered to be the loudest sound ever heard in modern history, with reports of it being heard nearly 5,000 kilometres from its point of origin. Krakatoa concerts aren’t quite that loud, but you get the idea…

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This impressive figure is Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828), or simply Francisco ...

Francisco Goya: bulls, milkmaids and a lasting presence in Bordeaux


This impressive figure is Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828), or simply Francisco Goya, the Spanish artist who left an indelible mark on Bordeaux, having spent the last four years of his life in the city.

The bronze statue is a replica of the 1902 work by Mariano Benlliure which stands outside the Goya entrance to the Museo del Prado in Madrid. It was a gift from the city of Madrid (one of the twin cities of Bordeaux) in March 1995 and was originally positioned in the Jardin Public. In 2008, the statue was relocated to Place du Chapelet, just outside the main entrance to Cour Mably and just metres away from Notre-Dame church, where Goya’s funeral took place. 

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[ A revised version of this article was published in 2016 subsequent to the arrival of a new spac...

Ovniport d’Arès: the UFO landing pad awaiting alien life forms since 1976

[A revised version of this article was published in 2016 subsequent to the arrival of a new spacecraft structure.]

Arès is a quiet resort towards the northern tip of the triangle formed by the Bassin d’Arcachon which, for nearly 40 years, has maintained a designated waterfront landing pad for unidentified flying objects.

The story began on August 15th 1976 when the so-called “ovniport” (OVNI: objet volant non-identifié) was officially inaugurated as one of the highlights of that year’s oyster festival. The idea, which at the time got extensive coverage in the media (most notably the United States), had originally been dreamt up by a group of locals led by one Bob Cotten, a Mérignac airport employee who, as well as being a renowned expert in electronics, was a UFO enthusiast who claimed to be disgruntled by the lack of landing facilities for alien spacecraft.

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