Bordeaux, the pearl of Aquitaine… the fascination continues. Millesima

If I were to travel to Bordeaux, where is one place I would definitely want to visit, based on what I’ve now learned?

The Miroir d’eau (Water Mirror)

[Purchased image: Copyright: tieury / 123RF Stock Photo]

I’ve been buying images to go along with my Bordeaux series, since I’ve not visited Bordeaux (or, I’d have my own pictures). Each time I’ve made a purchase, this location is always on the front line of an image gallery depicting Bordeaux. If it’s a quintessential image, then it must also be a quintessential must-see in real life. In real time, I’m living in California; in a past time, some of my DNA is from France. (Bernier and Ouellette families)

So, what is there beyond wine that I want to visit, when I go to a new wine region? For me, architecture represents past culture and gives more understanding to the people’s history and humanities; so, this is the place where I prefer to begin.

My choice is the Mirror of Water…

Although the Miroir d’Eau is fewer than 10 years old, it’s placed in front of the Place de la Bourse. This palace is nearly three centuries old. (It’s also referred to as the Miroir des Quais [Quay Mirror]).

Intriguing Miroir d’Eau

  • World’s largest reflecting pool
  • Covers 37,100 square feet
  • Built in 2006
  • Located across from the Palace de La Bourse
  • And, located on the quay of the Garonne River, between Quai de la Douane and Quai Louis XVII. (Quai = docks)
  • Made of granite slabs covered by about three quarters of an inch of water
  • In the summer, a system allows it to create fog every 15 minutes, alternating a mirror effect and artificial misting
  • Designed by landscape artist Michel Corajoud

A new face to an old body of a landmark, has breathed new life into a very popular must-see.

So, what about the Place de la Bourse?

I’m fascinated with palaces. My genealogy dates back to palaces, with the Kings of Scot, for instance. What was it like for my great grandfathers, I can’t help but wonder? When I read Macbeth, I would have paid a lot more attention to King David, let’s just say, now that I’ve found that link.

In the eighteenth century, it took 20 years to build this city’s symbol. (That’s certainly enough reason for anyone to visit this monument, isn’t it?)  Like all old towns in Europe, they were surrounded by walls that offered protection from invaders. This square has become a break with medieval Bordeaux, which was surrounded by walls for centuries. Creating this palace opened up their city for new growth.

Who built the Palace de la Bourse?

The Palace was built in the eighteenth century, during the reign of King Louis XV. Louis XV was king of France from 1715 to 1774. Louis XV succeeded his great-grandfather Louis XIV, at the age of five. He’s best known for contributing to the decline of royal authority, which led to the French Revolution in 1789. This palace was built from 1730 to 1775. Its architect was Ange-Jacques Gabriel.

In the original plan, there was a statue of King Louis XV. The statue was destroyed during the French Revolution. That was followed by a Corinthian column-fountain, which was built on the square. Finally, in 1869, the “Three Graces” statute/fountain was installed in the same location.

Design of the surrounding buildings was finished by Ange-Jacques Gabriel in 1739. The project was finished two weeks after the architect’s death. It was Gabriel’s son who finished the construction of the buildings.

[Purchased image: Copyright: eonaya / 123RF Stock Photo]

Bordeaux Tourism and Convention

Place de la Bourse was originally separated from the river by railings, but these disappeared during the French Revolution. The equestrian statue of the king was briefly replaced by one of Napoleon, followed by the Fountain of the Three Graces in 1869… The latter has been much appreciated ever since and is photographed by tourists from all over the world.


Inside the Palace – I had to see it for my own eyes

What inspired this particular blog, was being on Facebook this past week and seeing this video (below) in my daily feed. I’ve danced all of my life. I’m drawn to dance like a moth to a flame. If there’s music, I’m all in. This tango just hit my heart, and I knew it was time to visit Bordeaux for just a few minutes and see the splendor, which happens to be located at the Place de la Bourse.


Published on May 10, 2016

Mauro Caiazza and Carolina Giannini
Mirror of water
7 May 2016, Bordeaux, France

Credit to Millesima for inspiring me to learn about Bordeaux.