The series “Bordeaux in the heart of my district” makes you discover Bordeaux through the eyes of one of its inhabitants. In Mériadeck, it is Hervé who takes us through the towers with their sometimes dilapidated architecture. Thanks to him, we also discover an oasis of green and calm in the center. (article published on 22/11/2021)
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The Mériadeck district, as we can observe it today, was born of a political will. A so-called “unsanitary” district was completely razed to build residential towers and official buildings in the 1970s. Some are now modernized or in the process of being rehabilitated, but the unique spirit of this urban planning is still present. The large slab and the lanes that separate pedestrians in height from the carriageways seem to have been a somewhat visionary experimentation of our 21st century urban life.
On swampy ground, this area lay outside the city walls. It was only after the destruction of the walls that a development project really saw the light of day. Ferdinand Maximilien de Mériadec de Rohan (whose name will be remembered when he gives it to the district) was appointed Archbishop of Bordeaux in 1769. He undertook the construction of a new archdiocese (the present Palais Rohan, Town Hall of Bordeaux) and associated his project with the purchase of adjacent land.
The district will be built slowly until the middle of the 19th century. Simple and sometimes poorly constructed habitats saw craftsmen and artisans settle. The central square quickly became a place for flea markets and scrap dealers, around the district’s only drinking water point. It is also becoming a district with a bad reputation, where people come to slum in bars and with prostitutes. The district will maintain this image until after the war.
A major renovation project initiated by Jacques Chaban-Delmas will consist in total destruction of the district. In 1971, more than 30 hectares were razed and massive works began. This is the now familiar face of Mériadeck, rejected by some for its style and hailed by others for its architectural and urban audacity. The entire area is now part of the perimeter classified by Unesco.
For many visitors and Bordeaux residents, Mériadeck is above all a shopping centre, an administrative district and offices… The lack of accessibility and maintenance of the large plate and Esplanade Charles de Gaulle causes many passers-by to avoid the area. But almost 2000 inhabitants live in the towers with recognizable architecture from the 70s.
It is precisely these residents that we met, who emphasized the chance to live in this district. ” The large green space allows you to hear the birds“, “In the buildings we try to arrange meetings between the generations”, “For some years, young sportsmen and dancers have created a new animation in the district”.
If they regret the lack of renovation of certain areas, they agree to recognize the chance to live in such a lively, quiet neighborhood with such proximity to all the services of the city center.
This new series allows you to discover the city through the eyes and, above all, the experience of the inhabitants of the city’s districts. It is by no means a tourist visit, but rather meetings, tips, unusual addresses known only to the residents of the district.
To start, we contacted The Bordeaux Greeters team , an association that brings together volunteers and offers free walks to visitors who want to discover the city in a different way. They are enthusiasts who discover an unusual Bordeaux through their friends, their traders, their anecdotes.
If you also want to participate in this program and help us discover your neighborhood, tell us your story by contacting us.