La Nécropole Nationale du Natus  is a memorial located just off a winding forest road to the sou...

Camp du Courneau and the Natus necropolis: the story of France’s WW1 Senegalese infantrymen


La Nécropole Nationale du Natus is a memorial located just off a winding forest road to the south of La Teste-de-Buch, by the Bassin d'Arcachon. It offers a poignant reminder of one of the saddest chapters in the history of the First World War: the lives and deaths of hundreds of soldiers at the Camp du Courneau military base.

In 1914, with war raging in Europe, France made the decision to seek reinforcements from overseas, most notably from Senegal, a French colony at that time. Two transit camps were set up away from the frontlines to welcome, train, organise and rest these extra "tirailleurs sénégalais" (Senegalese infantrymen). One was in Fréjus on the Mediterranean coast, the other was Camp du Courneau, on a parcel of newly-irrigated marshland where rice used to be cultivated between La Teste and Cazaux.

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On Cours du Général Gallieni, one of the main thoroughfares that connect Bordeaux with the subu...

Ciné-Théâtre Girondin: the façade remains the same

On Cours du Général Gallieni, one of the main thoroughfares that connect Bordeaux with the suburb of Pessac, the recently-restored façade of the former Ciné-Théâtre Girondin offers an instant means of rewinding almost 100 years.

The cinema was completed in 1919 and opened in 1920. Located close to the Barrière de Pessac, it was one of a number of cinemas that popped up on the periphery of Bordeaux. Its construction had been commissioned by a local man who had achieved fortune either in the United States or Argentina according to which source you refer to. What is generally agreed though is that the architect's designs were inspired by a structure in Argentina.

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This week saw the launch of the first spin-off of the Invisible Bordeaux project : a set of guide...

Bordeaux Walks: guided walking tours of Bordeaux on your iPhone

This week saw the launch of the first spin-off of the Invisible Bordeaux project: a set of guided walking tours that are available to download and run on iPhones, iPads and other iDevices that may or may not yet exist. 

The tours aim to provide visitors (and locals!) with interesting itineraries through the city that take in a host of sights of architectural, historical and cultural significance. As well as written word, the guides feature full audio commentary and original photography.

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As we saw in part 1 of this piece , Arcachon’s Place Fleming was the focal point of Englishm...

Arcachon’s Place Fleming, part 2: Saint Thomas church and the Promenade des Anglais


As we saw in part 1 of this piece, Arcachon’s Place Fleming was the focal point of Englishman Reverend Radcliff’s influence on the town of Arcachon, but it also formed the backdrop to a royal birthday…
But first of all, back to Saint Thomas church, described by the British novelist George Gissing as “the prettiest Anglican church in France”. Sadly, the chapel fell into disrepair towards the middle of the 20th century, its expatriate congregation having dwindled to virtual nothingness. In 1974, the chapel was acquired and renovated by the Église Réformée de France, ironically enough the very movement who had originally welcomed the Anglican congregation to their temple 100 years earlier. The first service under the new denomination was held there on March 9th 1975.

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Deep in the elegant Ville d’Hiver district of Arcachon sits a quiet square: Place Fleming (...

Arcachon’s Place Fleming, part 1: Reverend Radcliff’s paper chases and handbooks

Deep in the elegant Ville d’Hiver district of Arcachon sits a quiet square: Place Fleming (originally Place des Palmiers). Landmarks include its bandstand and a church that, since 1974, has belonged to the Église Réformée de France movement. However, the chapel was originally an Anglican church built to serve Arcachon’s British community and founded in 1878 by one Reverend Samuel Radcliff.

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