Tucked away in amongst the busy thoroughfares of Bordeaux are a couple of covered arcades which off...

Passage Sarget and Galerie Bordelaise: arcade games and the birth of Mollat

Tucked away in amongst the busy thoroughfares of Bordeaux are a couple of covered arcades which offer a time capsule-like glimpse into the shopping malls of yesteryear.

Our first stop is the elegant Passage Sarget, which connects Place du Chapelet with Cours de l’Intendance. Opened in 1878, the arcade is named after Baron Sarget, a local dignitary (his mansion house was located nearby) who funded its construction.

In 1917, Passage Sarget was purchased by the wine trader Nicolas Désiré-Cordier. Just two years later he sold it on to the city of Bordeaux for 1 million francs. The city was keen to acquire the passageway because pedestrians far preferred walking through the arcade to the road that runs parallel, Rue Martignac, which was considered unsafe at the time.

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As reported in the previous Invisible Bordeaux item , in the early years of the 20th century, the...

Croix d’Hins (2/2): the Lafayette super high-power radio station

As reported in the previous Invisible Bordeaux item, in the early years of the 20th century, the small community of Croix d’Hins became synonymous with its airfield. But as the airfield faded into obscurity, Croix d’Hins provided the setting for the construction of the world’s most powerful radio transmitter station.

The eight-pylon station, which covered an area of 400 metres by 1,200 metres (the equivalent of 96 football pitches!), was a by-product of the First World War. During the conflict, ocean-bed telephone cables were severed and alternative means of long-range communication had to be explored. At the time, radiotelegraphy (or TSF in French, télégraphie sans fil) was developing rapidly and when the US joined Allied operations in 1917, they needed a reliable and permanent communications channel between Europe and the States.

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The quiet village of Croix d’Hins, a district of Marcheprime that lies mid-way between Bordeaux a...

Croix d’Hins (1/2): Léon Delagrange and a short chapter in the history of aviation

The quiet village of Croix d’Hins, a district of Marcheprime that lies mid-way between Bordeaux and Arcachon, is a succession of residential streets broken up solely by the occasional small industrial plant. This image is far-removed from its status as one of the birthplaces of aviation (and later large-scale radio transmission). For the full story, let’s travel back in time to 1903!

For it was around this time that the flat expanses of land in Croix d’Hins were deemed to be an ideal setting for an airfield by the pioneering pilots and aircraft builders Louis Blériot and Gabriel Voisin. Space was cleared on a stretch alongside the railway line and these early aviators found themselves with 7,400 acres (3,000 hectares) to play with, making Croix d’Hins one of the biggest airfields in the world at the time! Blériot made good use of the installations, trialling a number of his creations there.

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Thanks to everyone who took part in the photo contest organised jointly with the Bonjour Bordeaux ...

Photo contest: the winning entries

Thanks to everyone who took part in the photo contest organised jointly with the Bonjour Bordeaux daily photo website and the Tapa’l’oeil tapas bar.

Over recent weeks we had asked for photos that captured an unusual sight or scene in and around Bordeaux. On Thursday July 4th, a select gathering assessed 25 submissions and the winning photo is this one by Clacla des Bois. It shows a familiar sight, the two 21-metre-high rostral columns which have watched over the Esplanade des Quinconces since 1829, as viewed from an unfamiliar angle: instead of the wide, open space of the Esplanade, they are peeking through a blanket of trees, making for an unusual urban forest!


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The Médoc village of Cussac-Fort-Médoc boasts one of the most grandiose sights in the area: the...

Fort Médoc: nothing to report after three centuries spent monitoring the Gironde Estuary

The Médoc village of Cussac-Fort-Médoc boasts one of the most grandiose sights in the area: the 17th-century Fort Médoc, one of three fortified structures that make up “le verrou de l’Estuaire” (the bolt of the Gironde estuary), dreamt up by the military architect and engineer Vauban.

The story goes that in 1685, Sébastien Le Prestre, better-known as Marquis de Vauban, was surveying the Atlantic coast. Vauban had been appointed Marshal of France (the country’s highest military distinction) under Louis XIV and was on the lookout for any location that might undermine the Sun King’s authority. Assessing the citadel of Blaye, which had often proved vulnerable to British invaders, he established that it would have to be strengthened and that the Estuary as a whole needed to be “locked” in order to protect the city of Bordeaux, further upstream.

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