A few months ago Invisible Bordeaux ran a set of pictures merging old postcards with modern-day shots, the end montages produced with th...

More pictures merging past and present views of Bordeaux

A few months ago Invisible Bordeaux ran a set of pictures merging old postcards with modern-day shots, the end montages produced with the expert help of talented work colleague and friend, Anthony Poulachon.

Here then is another selection of pictures that combine past and present, juxtaposing buildings and landmarks that have changed – or no longer exist – with the environment as it looks today.

We start out at one of my favourite places in Bordeaux, and one where you can find me every other week keeping a close eye on local top-flight team les Girondins: Stade Chaban-Delmas, formerly known as Parc Lescure. This panoramic picture, taken from the “Virage Sud” stand shortly before the recent game versus Rennes, blends into a sight of the stadium as it was around 1948. 

There are actually cyclists racing around the velodrome track (removed in 1984 to increase crowd capacity) while the guys standing to one side of the pitch are watching a rugby match. The old postcard, which was picked up by Adam over at Invisible Paris, was used in a past Invisible Bordeaux item retracing the history of the stadium.

One building which dates from the same period as the stadium, and which was the work of the same architect, Jacques D’Welles, is the art deco wonder that is La Bourse du Travail on Cours Aristide Briand. After large-scale interior renovations, a full facelift has now made good progress although there is some doubt as to whether funds will be available to complete the task.

Looking down towards Place de la Victoire here, it is interesting to see the bar on the street corner as it looked back in 1948. The name remains the same and it still also trades as a tobacconist (hence the word "(TA)BACS" written on the awning). The "Delboy" reference is the company which produced the postcard! Note also the San Francisco-like network of overhead cables for lighting and to power the trams.

Here we are on Allées de Tourny, seamlessly reinstating this monumental tribute to 19th-century statesman Léon Gambetta to its rightful place!

The statue was the centrepiece of the promenade from 1905 until the 1960s when it, and the fountains at either end of the Allées, were removed to allow excavation work aimed at installing an underground car park. Once more, the monument and its current whereabouts are the subject of a past blog item. The article even reveals where you can still admire a plaster miniature of the monument!

This next picture positions a 1924 shot of the ruins of the Palais Gallien Gallo-Roman amphitheatre in its environment as it looks today. It shows how much more accessible the site was at the time, and how exotic it was with those elegant palm tress!

It also appears to be a pleasant place for a stroll (it had been officially listed as national heritage in 1911) and a far cry from its previous incarnation as a haven for criminals and prostitutes, then a rubbish tip! There may at first appear to be an issue with the angle/perspective, but this is due to the viewing terrace being in the way now - it didn't exist in the 1920s.

Staying in the same quarter, this is the remarkable former “Hôtel des Postes”, as it looked around 1915. The modern-day car should be able to catch up with the horse-drawn carriage, which is overtaking a contemporary automobile, parked on the cobblestones outside the main entrance. The building’s rich history was the subject of a standalone article on the blog.

Among the features which sadly can no longer be seen: a bas-relief of a Roman emperor in a horse-drawn carriage above the entrance, a magnificent clock (which contrasts nicely with the green cross diplaying "13°C" outside a chemist's), and the massive metal cage-like structure on the roof onto which converged all the city’s telephone cables! This was removed in 1924, replaced by the upper floor which can still be seen today.

And we finish up on the waterfront and this view of people out making the most of a white warehouse-like structure.

It comprised a large rooftop terrace which could be reached via a wide staircase (“Grands escaliers du quai”). The sight was known as “Les nouvelles Terrasses des Quinconces” and stretched from the Quinconces Esplanade to Place Jean-Jaurès. Pleasant walks along the bank of the river Garonne are in fact nothing new!

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