What is the connection between the 1968 summer Olympic Games in Mexico City and the Gironde towns of Braud-et-Saint-Louis, Cestas, Lesparre-Médoc and Saint-Médard-en-Jalles? The answer involves swimming… for we give you the remarkable “piscine Tournesol”!
The story goes that, at the 1968 Olympics, the performance of France’s swimmers was particularly disappointing. This resulted in a nationwide action plan that was launched the following year by the State secretary for Youth, Sport and Leisure to bring swimming to the masses. The plan, codenamed “1000 piscines”, provided a structure and support for the construction of affordable pools, which would in turn make swimming more easily accessible.
|The Tournesol pools in Braud-et-Saint-Louis (top) and Cestas.|
|Design and overall concept of the Tournesol pools, as featured on http://www.archi-wiki.org (contributor: Lionel Grandadam).|
|The rail system which enabled the switch from indoor to outdoor pool status. Pictures taken in Cestas.|
The Cestas pool is doing very well thank you. It is located on a large sports complex just off the A63 motorway, making for the pleasing sight of swimmers mingling with footballers, rugby players and tennis players. If you want to enjoy a swim there, admission will set you back just €1.60 euros. The Braud-et-Saint-Louis pool is also operational, although there is much talk about its fate and it may soon make way for a more ambitious “centre aquatique” offering smaller pools for toddlers, water-slides and the like.
|Scenes from Braud-et-Saint-Louis, including the reception area (top left), the prefabricated changing rooms (top right) and, bottom right, the outdoor foot bath located by the joint between the two moving panels.|
|Saint-Médard: the way it was (source: Saint-Médard-en-Jalles, au fil du temps) and the way it is today.|
|Lesparre: top right, the pool as it was (source: www.pss-archi.eu); main photo, demolition work in progress (source: www.sudouest.fr); bottom right, the scene today.|
|Laure Manaudou, pictured at the 2004 Olympics,|
praying that she would one day be featured in
an Invisible Bordeaux item (source: lemonde.fr).
- Find them on the Invisible Bordeaux map:
- Cestas Piscine Tournesol: Chemin de Canéjan, Cestas
- Braud-et-Saint-Louis Piscine Tournesol: 51 avenue de la République, Braud-et-Saint-Louis
- Lesparre-Médoc: 3 avenue du Docteur Benaben, Lesparre-Médoc
- St Médard: 116 avenue Anatole-France, Saint-Médard-en-Jalles
- Cet article est également disponible en français !