La Bastide on the right bank is a former industrial and popular hub of Bordeaux, a constantly changing area, between modernity and large green spaces. Facing the Garonne and the façades of Place de la Bourse, the district offers another point of view of the city, one that allows you to distance yourself from its tumult in a single crossing over the Pont de Pierre bridge. Thanks to recent developments, now the district has a Botanical Garden, a multiplex cinema, and more recently Darwin, old military barracks transformed into a new eco-alternative place.
Header image: detail of “Darwin – La Bastide” by Les Instantanés de Bordeaux
Living from its vines and the wine trade, the Bastide district observed a first mutation after the construction of the Pont de Pierre in 1820, which would completely change its vocation and its morphology. Military and industrial equipment soon replaced the vines. The legacies of this period are clearly visible in the landscape of the Bastide. There is the Gare d’Orléans of 1862 and its 90 metres long canopy which still have the façade of the pavilion and the wing now houses a multiplex cinema. The Caserne Niel from 1876, rehabilitated into an associative business incubator, and the Grands Moulins of 1921 still firmly established on the right bank of the Garonne.
After several decades of industrial decline and impoverishment, the neighbourhood has experiencing a revitalization over the last two decades thanks to major urban renewal projects and the arrival of the tramway.
Stalingrad Square and Lion
Stalingrad Square is a large esplanade in the alignment with the Pont de Pierre bridge and Thiers Avenue, revolving around the tram station of the same name. The name pays tribute to the victory of the Soviet army during World War II. One of its curiosities lies in the presence of a majestic sky-blue lion, proudly dominating the square. Made of metal and polyester resin, 8 meters long and 6 meters high, the lion is an original work by French artist Xavier Veilhan. He has developed his work around animal bestiaries and generic graphic representations that speak to the collective imagination. This lion, a familiar animal figure recognizable by all, stands out as a visual landmark in the urban setting. The sculpture was made using software which modulated the shapes by pixelating the volumes of the animal. The lion then acquires a geometric plasticity and an almost virtual appearance in an environment of stone.
The Angelic Park
Named “angelic” because it is bucolic and dreamlike, conducive to strolling, to serenity, but the park takes its name above all from an endemic plant space, the angelica estuaries, which grows only in estuarine areas like the in the Loire, Charente, here in Gironde, at Adour and Nivelle.
The park stretches from the Pont de Pierre bridge to the Pont Chaban-Delmas bridge, forming a pleasant walk along the right banks. Landscape architect Michel Desvigne has structured the space around tree strips planted perpendicular to the Garonne River, leaving uninterrupted viewpoints to the river and the must-see buildings on the left bank such as the Maritime Bourse, Place de la Bourse and columns of Place des Quinconces.
La Bastide district awakens the curiosity of the visitor, for its industrial heritage, its artistic curiosities and its landscape riches in a sober and rural setting. It is from this side of the Garonne that the majesty of the Neoclassical façades on the left bank emerge, by day and by night, with an exceptional panache.