Four-and-a-half kilometres of murky Gironde waters separate the towns of Lamarque and Blaye. Bridging this gap between the Médoc and Blay...

Ferry 'cross the Gironde: the Lamarque-Blaye boat connection (and ghost railway station)

Four-and-a-half kilometres of murky Gironde waters separate the towns of Lamarque and Blaye. Bridging this gap between the Médoc and Blayais territories is a regular ferry connection; we give you the “bac Lamarque-Blaye”!

Every year around 50,000 vehicles and 150,000 passengers utilise the service, operated by the Gironde conseil général’s TransGironde network which mainly comprises bus routes and school bus lines.

Although I seem to recollect spotting several identical ferries in the past, the line’s official website refers only to a single one, the Côtes de Blaye. The 530-ton ship, built in 1970 by the Nantes shipbuilder Chantiers Dubigeon (founded in 1760 and which folded in 1987), is 51.5 metres long, 12.3 metres wide, and manned by a six-strong crew. It can carry up to 40 vehicles and 350 passengers, reaching speeds of up to 11 knots (around 20 km/h) over the course of the 20-minute crossing.

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One of the most illustrious of Bordeaux’s daughters is Rosa Bonheur who, throughout her life which spanned much of the 19th century, became...

Rosa Bonheur: the world-famous Bordeaux-born animalière

One of the most illustrious of Bordeaux’s daughters is Rosa Bonheur who, throughout her life which spanned much of the 19th century, became a world-renowned "animalière" and is regarded by many as the most famous female painter of her time.

Rosa Bonheur was born Marie Rosalie Bonheur on March 16th 1822 at 29, Rue Saint-Jean-Saint-Seurin (now  55, Rue Duranteau) in Bordeaux. Her father, Oscar-Raymond Bonheur, was a landscape and portrait painter and frequented Spanish artist Francisco Goya during the four years the latter spent in Bordeaux up until his death.

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After creating an “Essential Bordeaux” page a few months ago, I have now produced an “Essential Gironde” page, which provides a thumbnail...

Now available: the Invisible Bordeaux guide to the essential sights in Gironde

After creating an “Essential Bordeaux” page a few months ago, I have now produced an “Essential Gironde” page, which provides a thumbnail guide to the top daytrip-friendly sights to take in during a stay in or around Bordeaux.

These include Arcachon, the Dune de Pilat, Saint-Émilion, Blaye citadel, the Médoc wine route and a handful of other “essential” visits. The page may be further edited in time when I think of things I may have initially forgotten about or if I receive too many messages from readers complaining that I’ve left a specific sight off the list!

The Essential Gironde 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 the dedicated Googlemap - which also comprises the essential sights to enjoy in Bordeaux itself.

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Photos by fellow Bonjour Bordeaux contributors Yves Maguin, Amandine Maurand and myself are currently on display at the Tapa’l’Oeil bar ...

Tapa’l’œil photo exhibition until December 14th!

Photos by fellow Bonjour Bordeaux contributors Yves Maguin, Amandine Maurand and myself are currently on display at the Tapa’l’Oeil bar in the Sainte-Croix district of Bordeaux.

The pictures were taken over the course of a single late-summer morning in the Saint-Genès, Nansouty and Saint-Michel districts of Bordeaux, and were initially exhibited as part of the district Mairie’s Arty Garden Party back in September. The photos take in architecture, infrastructure, little-noticed details on buildings and scenes of everyday life (a previous blog item has already compiled the Invisible Bordeaux contributions to the full exhibition).

The photos will be on display until Saturday December 14th 2013. Naturally, admission is entirely free of charge, while the good people of Tapa’l’Oeil will gladly provide quality food and drink at affordable prices!
  • Tapa’l’Oeil, 14 Place Pierre Renaudel, Bordeaux (opposite Sainte-Croix church), open weekday lunchtimes, and Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Website: www.tapaloeil.fr, tel.: 05 56 92 63 21

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This bust, which can be seen on the main esplanade in the Mériadeck quarter, depicts Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Portugal’s Consul-General...

Aristides de Sousa Mendes: the insubordinate Portuguese Consul who saved thousands of lives

This bust, which can be seen on the main esplanade in the Mériadeck quarter, depicts Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Portugal’s Consul-General in Bordeaux in 1940 and the man whose signature enabled the escape to freedom of several thousand refugees.

Sousa Mendes was 55 years old when he arrived in Bordeaux in 1939, nearing the end of a respectable career as a diplomat for his country, having held positions in Zanzibar, Brazil and the United States. Respectable but not unblemished: he had been involved in a number of incidents of financial irregularities, using public money for private purposes. It was at the end of a ten-year stint in Belgium, a point at which Sousa Mendes returned to Portugal seeking permission to leave his post, that Portuguese prime minister António de Oliveira Salazar assigned him to this new position in south-western France.

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