Posts Tagged ‘Bordeaux’

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Bordeaux Sunday 6th August

In Bordeaux,France on August 7, 2017 by cubsur51 Tagged: , ,

I had never seen the Pont Chaban Delmas being raised before. The presence in the city of the cruise ship Sirena and its planned departure on Sunday evening gave me the chance. Sirena is just over 30,000 tons and a pretty big vessel to be in that river.

Before that I had a chance for a general wander about the city, on what was a very sunny summer day.

A popular attraction is the Water Mirror at Place de la Bourse. As I passed, a misty spray was being made, children and dogs liked it.

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Water Mirror spray Bordeaux

As I have mentioned before the tram stop at Place de la Bourse is completely bare of anything remotely tram station like, so as not to spoil the view.

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Tram stopped at Place de la Bourse, Bordeaux.

The Sirena is a big vessel, taller than most of the buildings around it.

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Sirena

Just behind the busy tourist-filled streets is the heart of Bordeaux. Buildings well over 200 years old in narrow streets are typical. This is Rue Ducau.

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Rue Ducau, Bordeaux

The nearby Jardin Publique has been a feature of city life since 1746. There is very little green space in the old city. As it expanded, well meaning city elders thought it a good idea. Some of the cast iron fences around the park are the originals.

I don’t know the name of the statue or what it represents.

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Statue in Jardin Publique, Bordeaux.

Elsewhere, a most elegant boot scraper. Very necessary in times past to scrape mud and worse off your footwear before entering the homes of the great and good. There are still many to be seen. I wonder if anyone makes a study of them or collects them.

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Boot scraper, Bordeaux

And so to the main event. The Pont Chaban Delmas was due to raised at 1734hrs (note how precise) to allow the Sirena to leave the port. Quite a few people gathered to watch the raising of the bridge, which starts about an hour before any big ship passes through.

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Pont Chaban Delmas lowered.

At the appointed hour, loud announcements in French and English warn that the bridge is about to operate. A squad of functionaries heads out to the the barriers at each end. At a signal, the barriers are lowered, by hand, to close the bridge to traffic and pedestrians. A few minutes pass then slowly the bridge starts to move upwards. There is a control tower on the side opposite the city. The towers house the cables that do the lifting.

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Pont Chaban Delmas going up.

The operation is almost silent, at least from where I was about 150 metres away. The river, by the way, really is that colour. Of mud.

After about 20 minutes, the centre section reaches the top.

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Pont Chaban Delmas at the top.

Meanwhile, Sirena was moving ever so slowly away from its berth to pass between the towers and under the raised bridge.

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Sirena passing through Pont Chaban Delmas

Once clear, the ship goes on its way at not much more than walking speed, down the Garonne and towards the sea, 90km away.

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Sirena on its way out to sea.

Some more pictures from Bordeaux tomorrow.

I leave Bordeaux tomorrow after lunch to return to Lisbon by train, only the second time I will have gone that way. Since my previous trip, the trains used have become Spanish ‘hotel trains’ which, according to everything I have read, tells me that it is trip to be enjoyed. Expensive, but will it be a better experience than flying cattle class? I shall report!

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Bordeaux 14 July 2017

In Bordeaux,France on July 15, 2017 by cubsur51 Tagged: ,

14th July is a very important national holiday in France. It was a very pleasant afternoon and evening here, the city was out in force for various celebrations.

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A formal military parade was among the evenrts, with solemn speeches and medals presented. Afterwards there was a short march-past of the various units.

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More later. I had been walking around earlier. On Thursday I visited the landmark Dune de Pilat, near Arcachon. Some pictures from that visit later today I hope.

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First day here in Bordeaux, south west France. It has been cloudy almost all day with showers and drizzly rain on and off. I did manage to get out for a while and take some pictures of areas familiar and unfamiliar.

Bordeaux is the kind of place where you can be walking around and suddenly find yourself in a large open space where once buildings stood. Typical is the Place André Meunier, which ages ago was the site of a fort, then of the city abbatoirs (slaughterhouses)and is now a semi-neglected space of grass and gravel. Plans to transform it into a city park have been on hold since 2014, but are supposed to be getting under way later this year. I have more pictures in the album below.

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Nearby is one of Bordeaux’ oldest retail markets, the Marché des Capucins which has been active since 1749. A lot of stallholders must have been on holiday, but there was still enough going on to make it a lively and interesting place to visit. Some of the stuff made me feel unhealthy just looking at it.

Even older and just around the corner is one of the surviving fragments of the city wall, which dates from the 13th century but probably on earlier foundations, perhaps even from 800 years before when it was the Roman city of Burdigala. They needed it! For a long period, the city was attacked and plundered by several famous tribal names including the Vandals, Goths and Visigoths. Then along came the Moors in the 8th century. And if that wasn’t enough, Vikings turned up in the mid 9th century. Nothing much was heard from the city for a good while after that. There is not much left from those times, unsurprisingly.

During the 12th and 13th centuries the city came back to life. Many of the churches were founded, commerce increased vastly. That was the period when Henry II of England was married to Eleanor of Aquitaine. That no doubt helped the wine export trade, which remains to this day! During part of the 14th century the well known Edward the Black Prince of England was head of an independent state centered on the city, but France gradually asserted its influence and eventually absorbed it.

Many of the city’s fine buildings date from the mid 19th century. It easy to slip around a corner in the old part and come across buildings that seem to have hardly been touched in 150 years, other than modern windows and the odd bullet hole, the latter courtesy of some street shooting in the latter stages of World War 2.

Luckily for us in the present day, in 1944 the German demolition expert, a sergeant, refused the order to blow up the seven miles of port installations that then lined the river. Instead he blew up the explosives magazine, which did cause damage and loss of life, but nothing on the scale required by his masters. He surrended to the resistance immediately, a wise move, and lived to the age of 91.

Thus we can still see the impressive sweep of buildings along the river.

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The rest of today’s pictures – click the square below

If it’s a nicer day tomorrow I plan to visit the seaside town of Arcachon, an hour by train from here.

Rainy day in Bordeaux

Tagged: , , on July 12, 2017 by cubsur51

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Three weeks in south west France

In Bordeaux,France on July 12, 2017 by cubsur51 Tagged:

I have left a relatively sunny Sussex for a 3 week tour around the south west of France, the Bordeaux and Aquitaine region. Day one has dawned grey and cloudy, 19ºC rising to 24ºC later perhaps.

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Some more pictures from around Bordeaux

In Bordeaux,France on August 4, 2016 by cubsur51 Tagged: ,

It’s a filthy, horrible, rainy day here in Aquitaine. Here are few more pictures from recent days.

The Cité du vin in Bordeaux
A closer picture. This weird building is open to the public, people were happily eating and drinking in the various upper floors. It’s located on the banks of the Gironde river by the Pont Chaban-Delmas, thus easily accessible from anywhere in the city by tram or bus.

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Bordeaux Cité du vin

The memorial outside the former U-boat base. The inscription reads (my translation!) :

To the memory of the thousands of Spanish Republican exiles who, between 1941 and 1943, took part under Nazi control in the construction of the Bordeaux submarine base in particular those who perished through fatigue, drowning or who were entombed in the deep foundations.

And also to the other forced labourers of several nationalities who worked in this hellish workplace, a place of suffering and sacrifice.

(No proof exists of anyone actually being buried in the foundations, many sources think of this as ‘urban myth’, but we shall never know.)

The Spanish Republicans were those who fled that country after their side’s defeat in 1939 by Franco’s Nationalist forces at the end of the Spanish civil war. As communists, they were not not well thought of and were rounded up as forced labour.

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Bordeaux submarine base memorial

One of the docks inside the vast cavern of the submarine base.  It is now a large pigeon loft!

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Bordeaux submarine base interior

An admonition from 73 years ago. Do not put anything here!

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Bordeaux submarine base notice

The tidal docks (Bassins a Flot) and their associated railways and industries were abandoned as commercial enterprises in the 1980’s, but much of the equipment was never recovered. I spotted this point (switch) lever just sitting there on a scrap of land between a car wash and McDonald’s. Valuable as scrap metal as are the rusting tracks.

The whole area is now the subject of a huge regeneration and rebuilding programme which will run for around 15 years. A new maritime museum is included, due to open in 2018.

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It is still raining hard!!

 

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One for the tram geeks I think.

Bordeaux has opened several extensions to its tram system over the past few months. I took advantage of a dull day to visit them. At €1,50 a journey or €4,60 for the whole day, it’s a great way to see not just the city centre, but the outer areas not on the usual tourist itineraries.

Bordeaux, like most French cities and probably cities everywhere, has the usual suburban collections of dreary grey sheds housing DIY warehouses, furniture stores, car showrooms, kitchen, bathroom and carpet sellers plus of course massive shopping centres.

But among all the drabness, there are little surprises like the vineyards in the suburb of Pessac, the pleasant woodlands in Mérignac and the arty Eco suburbs springing up in Begles and around the tram stop of Berges du Lac.

The latter is on the northern extension of Line C and originally was to be called Ginko, after the new district. Apparently someone said the name sounded too much like a lizard. The tram stop became Berges du Lac, but the Ginko name remains attached to the area around it.

Just beyond the new northern terminus of Line C is the new football stadium. This will be the home of FC Girondins Bordeaux from this season. France will be playing an international there in September and it is also to be the venue for several matches in the Euro 2016 championship finals.

I would not want to be there when 42,000 fans leave at 11pm. Even if 25% of them want to use the trams to get home, there is going to be the most almighty scrum. They had better run extra and later trams on match days or there will be tears.

The stadium is in a completely sterile area, there is not a bar, café or restaurant anywhere in sight, for pre or post match fun. The good news is that it will be a 25 minute trip from the city centre, for that €1,50, if you can get on a tram.

Anoraks and others can see the picture set here.

Bordeaux trams and new stadium

Tagged: , , on July 26, 2015 by cubsur51

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Bordeaux Trams Ligne B extension at Pessac

In Bordeaux,France,Trams on August 22, 2014 by cubsur51 Tagged: , ,

Bordeaux Trams Ligne B extension at Pessac

I have added some pictures to the Bordeax tram album to show the progress of construction of the new branch of Ligne B from Bougnard to Alouette. This is due to open in summer 2015.

Pictures here.

Unfortunately bad weather halted my plan to see the southern extension of Ligne C. It will probably be open by the next time I am in the area.