This blog is all about scraping beneath the surface of the city and uncovering the lesser-known ...

The Invisible Bordeaux guide to the city's essential sights!

This blog is all about scraping beneath the surface of the city and uncovering the lesser-known places and stories that Bordeaux has to offer. However, by popular demand, I have also produced a thumbnail guide to the more postcard-friendly sights that you are legally expected to take in during a stay in the city.

The resulting Essential Bordeaux page will remain permanently accessible in the top horizontal menu and all the sights which have been singled out can be easily located thanks to a dedicated Googlemap. Coming soon is a similar guide to the essential sights further afield in Gironde... more news as it comes in. In the meantime, enjoy this concise guide to the very best of what Bordeaux has to offer!

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As well as being a marvellous place for a relaxing stroll, the Écosite du Bourgailh in Pessac i...

Le Bourgailh: Pessac's innovative green belt eco-site

As well as being a marvellous place for a relaxing stroll, the Écosite du Bourgailh in Pessac is a case study in innovative regeneration.

Le Bourgailh is a 160-acre landscaped section of the green belt that runs between the Rocade ringroad and the source of the Peugue river, which was for centuries part of the lifeblood of Bordeaux but has long been driven underground nearer the city until it flows into the Garonne at the end of Cours Alsace-Lorraine.

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For many years throughout the 20th century, this proud portrayal of statesman Léon Gambetta was the...

Léon Gambetta monument: the centrepiece now missing from Allées de Tourny

For many years throughout the 20th century, this proud portrayal of statesman Léon Gambetta was the centrepiece of Allées de Tourny in central Bordeaux. What has happened to this monument, which disappeared from view in the 1960s but which can still be spotted on many old postcard views of the city?

The majestic work was positioned towards the middle of the promenade in 1905. The statue of Gambetta was executed by the sculptor Jules Dalou (1838-1902) while the figures at his feet were designed by Camille Lefèvre, a student of Dalou. The plinth which served as the backdrop to the various features was the work of local architect Jean-Camille Formigé (1845-1926). To pay for the monument, funds were raised nationwide by political supporters who sought to celebrate Léon Gambetta’s legacy.

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A plaque on the wall of the US Consulate in Bordeaux commemorates the legacy of Thomas Jefferson, ...

Wine-lover Thomas Jefferson’s five days in Bordeaux


A plaque on the wall of the US Consulate in Bordeaux commemorates the legacy of Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States (from 1801 to 1809) and a veritable “symbol of Franco-American friendship”. The plaque celebrates the efforts Jefferson made to promote French culture, values, heritage and cuisine once he had returned Stateside after time spent as Ambassador to France.  And during the four years he was based in Paris, he enjoyed a short but productive stay in Bordeaux!

Jefferson first arrived in Europe in 1784 to negotiate treaties alongside Benjamin Franklin who he replaced as Ambassador to France in May 1785 with the dual aim of developing trade between the two countries and restoring America’s image in France. He soon worked his way into Parisian society but also sought to travel, visiting England, the Netherlands, Italy and provincial France. 

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Fifteen kilometres to the north-west of Bordeaux lies Saint-Aubin-de-Médoc. The quiet town is ...

A stroll in Saint-Aubin-de-Médoc


Fifteen kilometres to the north-west of Bordeaux lies Saint-Aubin-de-Médoc. The quiet town is more of a place to live than a place to visit, but the central square includes a number of buildings with tales to tell.

Up until the French Revolution, Saint-Aubin was mainly pastoral land coupled with a few vineyards. When a prominent land-owner fled the country after the Revolution, his extensive property reverted to the town and was sold on to individual owners, mainly farmers and foresters. By the time of the Second World War, the population numbered 500, many of whom were employed by the explosives factory in nearby Saint-Médard-en-Jalles (which still exists today).

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