Articles

River Garonne Bordeaux 14 July 2017 part 1

In Albufeira on July 15, 2017 by cubsur51

Bordeaux, mostly on the 14th July, which of course is a major public holiday in France. No particular theme here.

However, these first two pictures were taken the previous day. They show the excellently restored roof of the main railway station, the Gare St Jean, which is now all light and air after several years of being shrouded.

I took a walk across the river to the BatCub water bus, which for 2 Euros gives a 38 minute ride along the Garonne to the suburb of Lormont Bas. On weekdays, during rush hours, the boats provide a shuttle across the river for commuters, operating between Stalingrad on the right bank and Quinconces on the left, which at 4 minutes is quicker than the two trams it would require anad a lot less uncomfortable! At off peak times and all day at weekends and on public holidays, the boats do the full trip to and from Lormont Bas.

All the details at https://www.infotbm.com/sites/default/files/depliant_navette_mars2017_web.pdf

and there are different views of several parts of the city to be had from the river.

I took a walk around Lormont, which has a 15th century church and numerous houses from the 17th century. Pictures of Lormont in part 2 tomorrow. Return to Bordeaux was by bus. After an early dinner, it was out into the streets to join the huge crowds out for the day. Along the Quai des Chartons was the military parade, solemn speeches, medals, bands.

Later that night there was a huge fireworks display from the river.

Pictures from the afternoon and early evening will be in part 3, probably Monday.

Tram crossing the Pont de Pierre, opened in 1822.

Bordeaux left bank waterfront, the buildings date from the 1850’s. Sorry about the weather, it wasn’t very nice until the afternoon.

One of 20 identical (?) statues by British sculptor Sir Antony Gormley that are to be found all over the city. His most famous work is the ‘Angel of the North’ statue near Newcastle upn Tyne. I have to confess the meaning, if any, of these statues escapes me!

This tree lined avenue by the river in the Bastide district was until 50 years ago an industrial area.

The Fleche St Michel, constructed in 1493, dominates the city skyline. Unfortunately its ground area is used by vagrants and drinkers, rather spoils it. The neighbouring church looks decidedly neglected.

Another feature of the skyline are the twin towers of Bordeaux Cathedral. They are 81 metres high. The outside of the cathedral as we see it today was built over a period of 400 years. Parts of the interior date from the 11th century, the rest is later.

The Quai des Chartrons is where the long, thin and low river cruise boats are moored between trips. They have to be low to get under the bridges before they head upriver.

Bordeaux’s newest bridge is the Pont Chaban Delmas, opened in 2013. The centre span can be raised to allow ocean going cruise ships to dock in the city itself, although this is possible only at certain states of the tide. Although 60 miles / 90km from the ocean, the river is fiercely tidal here. At the time of my visit it was the colour of mud and there were a lot of trees, logs and other débris to be seen. Not to mention the colour of the sky, but it didn’t actually rain!

From underneath – note the ‘crash barriers’!

On the right bank is an ‘eclectic arts community’ in some old warehouses and industrial units.

A little further are the large flour mills known as the ‘Grandes Moulins de Paris’, one of the few riverside industries remaining in this area.

On the water, another of the water buses passes, with the old warehouses known as ‘Les Hangars’ in the background. These were built along what was then the dockside between 1931 and 1934. They fell out of use in the 1970’s and 1980’s, some were demolished but the remainder are now used for a variety of cultural and entertainment purposes, restored and converted since the plan to rehabilitate the old quays began in 2003. Certainly the vast crowds out for the 14 July events bear witness to their new popularity – see part 3.

At the entrance to the old docks known as the Bassins à Flot, there is a swing bridge which I have never seen opened before. Just as we passed it opened to allow a dredger to leave. The bridge carries tram lines. Is there another tramway anywhere which has to stop to allow a ship the right of way?

And the Bat Boat ends its trip almost underneath the Pont d’Aquitaine at Lormont-Bas. This bridge carries the Bordeaux ring road motorway across the river and dates from 1967. It was 50 years old on May 6th this year. The bridge is almost 400 metres long and at its highest stands 58 metres above the river.

Lormont-Bas will be in part two tomorrow, Bordeaux afternoon and early evening to follow on Monday in part 3, I hope.

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