Bordeaux is naturally associated with the Garonne, but historically the city developed along the banks of two smaller rivers which ran into the Garonne: the Devèze and the Peugue. Both streams continue to flow but, in central Bordeaux, have been driven underground. Invisible Bordeaux decided to follow the course of the Devèze to find out what remains of this significant river today.
The Devèze emerges from the undergrowth in Mérignac, just east of the runway of Mérignac airport. The source is easy to locate: a prominent permanent advert for the Sexy Center sex shop can be seen nearby! Whilst in its infancy, the Devèze runs behind a number of nondescript office buildings and bus depots. A path runs alongside it but there are a number of obstacles along the way… cyclists take note!
|The point where the Devèze emerges from the ground, easily located (possibly even from planes coming in to land)|
thanks to the Sexy Center ad nearby!
|The Siemens offices where the Devèze disappears underground before flowing into Étang Innolin.|
|The approximate points where the Devèze passes, unnoticed, under the Rocade ringroad and central Mérignac, before re-emerging and getting its own footpath!|
|The "Medieval" bridge.|
|The Parc de Bourran waterfall, pond and the spot where the Devèze makes a discreet exit from the park.|
|The last sight of the Devèze before having to resort to street-names to plot its course.|
Further upstream, the Devèze was partly diverted towards the Peugue, and the port area was gradually built over. Near Place Saint-Pierre, on Rue de la Devise (a name by which the Devèze was also known), an information panel now refers to the bygone presence of the river. Meanwhile, the commercial heart of the city developed around the Peugue (most notably around what is now Place Fernand-Lafargue) but the Peugue riverside areas became notoriously rough and insalubrious. To eradicate this, throughout the 17th and 18th centuries work was carried out to drive the flowing water underground for good. The channelling operation was eventually complete in 1868.
|Rue de la Devise and Place Saint-Pierre, where the city's earliest port was located, fed by the Devèze.|
|The approximate point where the Peugue and Devèze meet, as later celebrated in this bas-relief.|
|An unceremonious end to the trek, near the Pont de Pierre.|