Bordeaux | France

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Miroir d’Eau, Bordeaux

As I told you at the previous post here, we went for vacations to Southwest France with G, at Toulouse, where my sister lives. We wanted though to have as many experiences as possible so we took the opportunity to go for a small trip around and see other places too. Our trip theme was the wine exploration (it was..it became..no difference!) so we decided to go to Bordeaux and St.Emilion!

Actually it’s very easy to go from Toulouse to Bordeaux (2,5 hours highway) but I did the stupidity and didn’t deactivate the gps option “avoid tolls”, so we had a nice 4 hours roadtrip through the villages!! I wouldn’t recommend it though because we arrive at Bordeaux pretty exhausted… However, after we arrived, we’ve settled in the hotel etc. checked the map and our sortie started immediately!

Bordeaux is a beautiful city, even more beautiful than you expect. It’s so imposing with all these great old buildings, so well preserved, the architecture is totally grandiose! Of course we stayed mostly at the old city center because we only had 1 day but from what I saw in general it would be very cool to live there. The city is famous of course for the wine culture and the latest years for the gastronomic field with so many great restaurants to explore! It’s very vivid full of pretty little shops, bistros, cafes and young people everywhere. The truth is that you should spend more time if you have the possibility but even like this it was totally worth it.

Of course there is a river again, our beloved Garonne, protagonist of the city, creating 2 parts that both have interest. We stayed at the less famous side but we crossed the beautiful bridge Pont de Pierre to go to the other side every time. There are so many things to see there that even if you won’t have any plans you’ll be like “ahhhh” all the time. And so many we didn’t see, like the Cite du Vin a new museum about wine that must be very very interesting.

Walking down the riverfront you get to know the grandest face of Bordeaux, the stunning Place de la Bourse  with the Miroir d’Eau (water mirror) that impressed me a lot. Also, you pass by the Puerta de Cailhau, an old gate of the city that stands proudly to welcome you. Beautiful from both sides.

Miroir d’Eau is an urban area that, as an architect, I found it very cool and clever. It’s a square with a fountain that people can actually interact with it. A large surface that pours and spray water, creating, when still, a mirror that reflects the buildings in front of it! Also, people can walk over it, cooling themselves on hot days or just lay down by the sides. I have to say that passing through the water is very fun, you should definitely try it!

And of course it’s great for photos, probably the most photographed place in Bordeaux, especially by night! Unfortunately, when we went at night the water was almost drained so you can only believe what I say. I tell you the truth and it was absolutely incredible! (you should check it on google)

Walking on the inner city you keep seeing great buildings like the Cathedral of St. Andre with the huge-separated belfry and the amazing organ on the inside. The funny thing is that Bordeaux was full of such buildings and everyday life was just happening among them, like “ah, I’m waiting for the tram here in front of this Cathedral to go to work, the usual..”

The day we visited the city a street festival for celebrating nature, or something like that, was being held in several public spaces and it was very festive and joyful. We passed by a square where they had a small concert, people was eating and drinking wine at the cafes around and it was full of life! What I loved the most was this casual but buzzy atmosphere and light spirit of people that were enjoying their drink and food outside, so many small cafes-bistros, cute, pretty and simple.

In such a cafe we spent some time to drink a glass of wine and rest a little (so many hours walking…). We were lucky to find Cheverus cafe, because it was exactly what we needed, quintessential retro interior that I fell in love with, where we tasted the most delicious tapas I’ve ever eaten (ok, I was super hungry also but it was really good!).
Now is the time to learn that my second favorite taste after croissants+coffee for breakfast is fine tapas+wine for anytime. In general I’m such a glutton you can make me happy with just food,  so imagine my fulfillment at this trip!

After the small pause with wine to fill our batteries we continued our walk around the city. Unfortunately the stores close early in the afternoon so we didn’t have the chance to go for any shopping or maybe the universe protected us I don’t know… But of course when we found a pastry shop with a vitrine full of macarons we stepped inside to taste some of them (5-6 were the minimum to have a proper opinion…). This made our walk even more interesting as you understand!

However, walking all day at Bordeaux while eating macarons makes you super thirsty… and because of the closed stores G. almost had a crazy episode but thankfully there are a lot of street water fountains so that people can drink freely water. And something like that saved the day..!

We closed this day at Mama Shelter for drinks and dinner, where I’ve made a reservation days before because I wanted so badly to see it. Designed by Philippe Starck, its a funny space, very popular and vivid. The food wasn’t exceptional but very good even so, the cocktails super, and in general it was totally worth it to catch the city’s vibe.

We walk our way to the hotel to see the city by night, passed one more time from the Mirroir d’Eau (full of people even at midnight) and crossed the lighted bridge Pont de Pierre for the last time…and almost passed out at our beds! Goodnight Bordeaux!

You can check the rest of this amazing trip to Southwest France here (Toulouse) and here (Saint-Emilion)! 🙂

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Sea anemone in the city!

Delirious_frites_09An installation for mondays! Imagine to get through this before you go to work. It would be refreshing, wouldn’t it?

This is part of an architectural installation, Delirious Frites, in Quebec of Canada, by Les Astronautes. Hundreds of hot pink and orange pool noodles were placed on the walls of an abandoned alley and totally changed it’s view and experience of passing through it! It reminds me of a sea anemone, a place you can hide a little while from the hectic rhythm of the city.

The moment I saw it I felt like a child and wanted to dive into these noodles!! I wish we had something like that in Athens so I could pass through it every day before work. It would totally make my day!

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Project description via Contemporist:

The piece creates a total environment that throws passers-by into a completely different world. The large number of pool noodles generates a colourful atmosphere reminiscent of summer that also has something uncanny, organic and lifelike, almost like vines in a jungle.
The intervention takes advantage of the anonymity and the narrowness of the site. The contrast with the historical surroundings attracts people to discover this forgotten space in the city.
The name Delirious frites comes directly from the pool noodles used for the installation, which are called “frites de piscine” or “pool French fries” in French.
Delirious frites was built as part of Les passages insolites, a public art festival curated by EXMURO. Funds for the installation are provided by l’Objet.

Design: Les Astronautes (Gabrielle Blais-Dufour, Robin Dupuis and Alexandre Hamlyn)

Photography by Robin Dupuis, Alexandre Hamlyn, EXMURO

 

Street furniture – Benches

Last week I was going to participate in an architectural competitions for a bench, here in Greece. Unfortunately, I got sick and couldn’t finish my project. So I was left with an idea for a bench which I will keep for a future chance and with my inspiration’s search results. Some of them I am posting today, enjoy!

no source urban bench

no source urban bench