TIM PIKE’S SUPER WEEKEND
This weekend is looking lovely my friends! Our guide? Someone who goes looking for the unusual, someone who knows Bordeaux and its surroundings like the back of his hand, and someone who tells little-known stories. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Tim
When Tim mounts his yellow bike, it’s to go where tourist guides rarely venture. This lover of architecture and photography from Bristol is a bit like the Sherlock Holmes of heritage. Since 2011, he has told of his adventures on the Invisible Bordeaux blog. Due to its success, we couldn’t exactly call his blog “invisible” anymore. “At the start, I made this blog for the international audience, it was about helping them discover more than just the miroir d’eau and Place de la Bourse.” It’s still as surprising ( the Jewish cemetry on Cours de la Marne), often funny ( his ‘ best of” for names of hairdressing salons in and around Bordeaux), and certainly educational ( the night of the barricades in May 1968 and the Bordeaux battlefield); his articles shine a new and different light on the city. All of which are in English- of course- and French.
Bordeaux – Casablanca by tram, it can be done! “Located in the north of Bordeaux, just next to the new stadium, the Floral Park came about during the 1992 International Flower Show. Despite being relatively unknown, there are still many surprises to be found, such as the Pyrenean-like stream with real rock from the gave de Pau, a collection of vines and a fabulous rose garden. Incidentally, I think it’s the only place in Bordeaux where you can see cows. Finally, last but not least, the gardens from twinned cities. These gardens- including urban furniture and objects donated from Bordeaux’s twin cities- transport you across the world. Munich, Madrid, Casablanca, Fukuoka… you can reach them all by tram now; it’s great!”
Eysines, into the wild “Formerly known as Bordeaux’s vegetable patch, the market gardening zone of Eysines is both cultivated and wild at the same time. I love this feeling of being out in the open space when we walk or cycle along the Jalle. You’re hardly ten kilometres from Bordeaux city centre, but you feel so far away, almost alone in the world, or transported back into the France of yesteryear. If you want to recharge your batteries during the walk, I recommend the Bistrot de la Jalle: a former windmill that has been turned into a restaurant. A guaranteed change of scenery!”
The eternal youth of
la cité Frugès What strikes me each time I go back to la Cité Frugès in Pessac is the timelessness of its architecture. When looking at the five types of housing designed by Le Corbusier, it’s hard to believe that they were built in the 1920’s. Since being listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2016, la cité Frugès has shot up in value and the “skyscraper” house that’s open to the public is really worth the detour.
L’eau Bourde – walk beside the water “Gradignan, here we come! The stream that they call “the Bourde water” has its source beside Cestas and pours into the Garonne in Bègles. With a friend, we threw
ourselves into the challenge of cycling along the stream, end- toend. There’s no need to pedal for hours to fully enjoy this beautiful place. If you take the green circuit from next to Gradignan you can peacefully saunter from park to park beside the water.”
Travel back in time in Lormont “You have to see this, at least once! Le musée national de l’assurance maladie (the national museum
of health insurance) in Lormont is, for me, the most unexpected place in the area. It was set up in Chateau Les Lauriers- which is worth the visit in itself- and this museum is the only one in France which traces the history of health insurance. Old documents, furnishings and period machines can be found; the experience really takes you on a trip back in time. It’s a must!”