It is impossible to rewrite history but we can perpetually revise our understanding and interp...

History evolves: how the Beaudésert internment camp memorial plaque has changed


It is impossible to rewrite history but we can perpetually revise our understanding and interpretation of what happened in the past. A notable example of this can be found on a plaque in Mérignac that marks the area where Beaudésert internment camp was once located.

Invisible Bordeaux published a full investigation into the WW2 camp back in 2013. Initially set up as a detention centre for “undesirable foreigners” in 1940, it evolved into a camp for political prisoners. It went on to hold other communities such as Jews, Spanish Republicans, members of the Résistance, black market traffickers and prostitutes, along with individuals who refused to comply with the Nazis’ forced labour policy (STO: Service du travail obligatoire). For many who were held there, it was a penultimate stop before being sent to concentration camps or ahead of execution at the nearby Camp de Souge.

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Reader Nathan Turner, a former Bordeaux resident, recently got in touch with me about a building...

Could this be the coolest house in Bordeaux?


Reader Nathan Turner, a former Bordeaux resident, recently got in touch with me about a building that he used to ride past on his bicycle when he lived in the city. By linking through to Google Streetview evidence, it was easy to see that Nathan had a point; the house definitely deserved a visit!

I headed over to the unusual “hôtel particulier”, which is located on a corner at the junction between Rues Cotrel and Jean Soula, in the neighbourhood that lies between Saint-Seurin basilica and the boulevards. Technically it is number 1, Rue Cotrel, the street named after Raphaël Cotrel, the gentleman who owned the surrounding land until it was split into individual plots and sold on.

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The eventful month of May 1968 will forever be regarded as a turning point in the recent histor...

May 1968, the barricades and the night Bordeaux became a battlefield

The eventful month of May 1968 will forever be regarded as a turning point in the recent history of France. The focal point throughout the troubled period was Paris but the unrest quickly spread throughout France. In Bordeaux the agitation culminated on the night of Saturday May 25th with a series of street battles that formed the city’s own “nuit des barricades”.

With the generous help of Sud Ouest journalist Marjorie Michel, who enabled me to view the newspaper’s coverage of that momentous night, I sought to reconstruct events as they unfolded and returned to the city’s hotspots and riot scenes… only to find them much quieter these days!

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