a walk to imagine the city in German times, during the occupation

one Kenkons Square

At the top of the monument to the Girondins, Liberty broke her chains and watched the events unfold. In 1940, after the arrival of the French government, fleeing from Paris and the defeat, it was built …

one Kenkons Square

At the top of the monument to the Girondins, Liberty broke her chains and watched the events unfold. In 1940, after the arrival of the French government fleeing Paris and the debacle, it was the construction of a network of underground roadblocks that revived the esplanade, which was soon surrounded by barbed wire. It is still there, whole and silent, under the feet of passers-by, but it cannot be visited.


The walk starts from the Girondins monument, a privileged witness to the changes that happened to the inhabitants of Bordeaux during the occupation.

M.K.

And to think that horses, near which tourists like to be photographed, should no longer neigh! Dismantled in August 1943 for their symbolism and precious bronze, loaded onto wagons bound for Germany, they were intercepted by a group of resistance fighters near Angers and taken to safety. Restored by the city in 1945, then restored, they returned to their place in the fountain in August 1983, i.e. forty year eclipse…

2 Alley Tourni

To imagine the places during the occupation, there is not much to share a historical photo. Forget the carousel, add two fountains.

Sylvie Magne shares vintage photographs to show the lanes of Tourni as they were, covered in bomb shelters.

Sylvie Magne shares vintage photographs to show the lanes of Tourni as they were, covered in bomb shelters.

M.K.

And, above all, we are integrating a whole series of anti-aircraft shelters built by passive defense and then reused by the German army. “But we must not forget that if Bordeaux and Birzhevaya in particular were bombed, it was the Allies who did it! restores Sylvie Magne.

3 big theater

As in the previous visits of the French government to Bordeaux, in 1870 and 1914, in 1940 the Bolshoi Theater was assigned a special role: the reception of the National Assembly. But during the occupation, everything around was automatically set to German time, both literally and figuratively: the clock facing the building was moved forward to match German summer time.

The German government decided to settle on the other side, at the Grand Hotel Bordeaux. At the same time, housing conditions were difficult for the population, which tripled. Everything was rented to cope with the exodus, “even the baths”.

4 French cinema

A small detour at the Le Français cinema on Rue Fénelon. It was a theater before the occupation, and it was the Germans who forever changed its use “for the entertainment of the soldiers and the dissemination of propaganda”.

The amazing architecture of the Le Français cinema does not go unnoticed.  There German soldiers could spend their free time.

The amazing architecture of the Le Français cinema does not go unnoticed. There German soldiers could spend their free time.

M.K.

5 Nesmond Hotel

It was there, on Rue Vital-Carles, that Albert Lebrun, the President of the Republic, lived. It was there that on June 16, 1940, with the decision to cease hostilities and the signing of the armistice proposed by the Germans, the future of France was determined. Paul Reynaud, President of the Council, refused for a long time before resigning and handing over his seat and free rein to Marshal Pétain.

Albert Lebrun, President of the Republic in

Albert Lebrun, President of the Republic in “exile”, lived in the Nesmond mansion. Today the prefect of the Gironde lives here.

M.K.

6 Headquarters Hotel

This turning point in French history actually happened a few meters further away. Paul Reynaud, who settled in the Hôtel du Quartier Général, received General de Gaulle there to inform him of his resignation. On the way, he handed him an envelope of 100,000 francs with an invitation to continue the fight on the side of the Allies. The next day, Charles de Gaulle left for London…

7 Piazza Pey Burland

After a short break at Place Jean-Moulin, where the National Center Jean-Moulin is located, currently closed for work, the view is lost on the front courtyard of the cathedral. But not too much, because Sylvie Magne quickly rethinks the space: here, too, everything was surrounded by barbed wire and surrounded by blockhouses, this time air.

At the corner of the square, the guide points to an analytical laboratory: the Nazi administration settled there.

eight Fort du Ha

It is at the foot of the old bastion, turned into a prison, that this journey through the time of the good hour ends. Not in vain: from these prisons, many Jews were deported to Drancy, and then to the death camps.

Grown into the ground, the three names, like many of the routes, are reminiscent of the dark hours experienced in the heart of the 20th century.

Grown into the ground, the three names, like many of the routes, are reminiscent of the dark hours experienced in the heart of the 20th century.

M.K.

Near the entrance to the courtyard, built on the sides, small plaques appear to the discerning eye, dedicated to the three resistance fighters detained in Bordeaux. The last and no less touching testimony to an often overlooked page of history.

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