Bordeaux is a beautiful city; indeed Victor Hugo found the city so beautiful he once said: "take Versailles, add Antwerp, and you have Bordeaux". Not for nothing has Bordeaux's city centre been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 1849, when Emperor Napoleon III wanted to transform a then still quasi-medieval Paris into a modern capital that would make France proud, he declared that Bordeaux's wonderful mid-18thC buildings, open squares and wide boulevards should be used as the model. The architecture of Paris is therefore based on the architecture of Bordeaux and not the other way round, as is commonly believed..
Although Bordeaux is not in the Lot-et-Garonne (it's in our neighbouring département to the west, the Gironde), it is the legal and administrative centre of our region, Aquitaine. Aquitaine is of course historically famous as being an English possession for the three hundred years between 1154 and 1453, following the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to King Henry II
Optional Trip to Bordeaux
Option not applicable to the Advanced Photography Week which has a trip to Bordeaux included
However, photographers who are attending an Advanced Week may like to study the page purely out of interest
Click the arrow buttons to control the slideshow manually
Situated astride the mouth of the Garonne river, Bordeaux was once a thriving port with deep water access to the Atlantic ocean*. Whilst cruise ships still dock on a regular basis in the summer, the old commercial shipping quays in the city centre have been comprehensively refurbished to create a fabulous promenade which includes a park and the amazing 'Miroir d'Eau' ('water-mirror' in English).
for the modern France - a fast-growing, lively city, and a popular choice for many young French people who go there to study at one of its leading cultural and higher-educational establishments. In addition to its highly respected university, Bordeaux is a recognised centre for medical, veterinary, architectural and musical study in France. Bordeaux is also one of the two major French fashion centres. Here you'll see French 'chic' to rival Paris!
French 'chic' - an everyday sight in and around la Rue Sainte Catherine
Le Pont Jacques Chabon-Delmas was completed in the spring of 2013. The bridge is the largest lift bridge in Europe, and presents a great photo opportunity!
Colour photo by Rowland Cockin
We've made this trip optional because of the extra costs involved (20 litres extra fuel, autoroute tolls, city centre car parking etc) and also because it may not be to everyone's taste. Obviously, however, all guests on a given holiday week must be in agreement to go - we can't take some and leave others at home!
The total cost for the trip works out at 80 euros and this is payable in equal shares in cash on the day by all guests (assuming all are in agreement to go) e.g:
* Because of its location on the river Garonne, miles from the coast, yet with easy access into the Gironde estuary and thence to the Atlantic ocean, Bordeaux was an important submarine base for the German navy during World War II. The U-Boat pens were built to such a high standard of protection against destruction by the allies that they are impossible to dismantle and so are still there!
WWII U-Boat pens - Bordeaux
Group consisting of 1 person - cost per person = 80.00 euros
Group consisting of 2 persons - cost per person = 40.00 euros
Group consisting of 3 persons - cost per person = 27.00 euros
Group consisting of 4 persons - cost per person = 20.00 euros
Group consisting of 5 persons - cost per person = 16.00 euros
This trip is normally for photographers only. However, if the total group number for the week is no more than five, then painters are welcome to bring along their sketch pads and join in too, the question as to whether you want to go or not won't be asked until you're here as, not only does it depend on numbers and mutual agreement, it depends on the weather (it needs still conditions to get the best effect from the Miroir d'Eau)
Despite its ancient history and stunning 18th century architecture, Bordeaux is not stuck in the past. In fact it's a perfect advertisement
And, for those who like street photography (and also for those who like to do a bit of shopping!), the fabulous rue Sainte-Catherine is a must. La rue Sainte-Catherine is the longest pedestrianised shopping street in Europe. Stretching 1.25 kms from la Place de la Victoire at one end to la Place de la Comédie at the other, la rue Sainte-Catherine has more than two hundred and fifty shops! Incidentally, it isn't always this hectic, the photo on the left was taken at the peak of the busy August holiday season!
The photos above show the Miroir d'Eau in its mirror phase, its fill phase and its spray phase. As you can see, the Miroir d'Eau is a great photo opportunity!
When static, the Miroir d'Eau reflects all and everyone around it. Then, every twenty minutes, a myriad hidden jets emit a fine spray from the feature and hundreds of people walk barefoot through the cool mist, just because it's such fun - like walking in the clouds!
These additional costs do not apply to photographers who are attending one of our Advanced Photography Weeks
Non-participators are very welcome too! Please click here for full details