Meriadeck Bordeaux

To the west of the main town is the district of Meriadeck. The area owes its name to the Prince Cardinal de Rohan, Ferdinand Maximilian Meriadec, Archbishop of Bordeaux who built the Palais Rohan in 1771 (which in 1835 became the town hall) and offered land to the city, then cramped in its geographical boundaries inherited from the Middle Ages.

It is a modern, predominantly commercial and administrative law building. For years, this part of the city was a vast marsh bordering the city. But illness due to the presence of this marsh (including fever) has led to its draining. In the nineteenth century, the shops were built and poor workers and craftsmen settled there. Brothels, bars and dances enlivened the cosmopolitan area.

In 1955, the municipality headed by Jacques Chaban-Delmas decided to totally renovate the poor district. The project involved the construction of buildings “bar” typical of those years.  In 1963, the restructuring and renovation became the district of Meriadeck and finally the business district of Bordeaux with modern buildings and commercial administrative and sports equipment.

Many administrations and services are grouped in these large buildings, whose height was ultimately limited, built around a central garden. In addition, vehicular traffic and pedestrians have been separated by the construction of a slab, the existing esplanade Charles de Gaulle.

This area now houses shopping malls, the Bordeaux Urban Community, the Prefecture of the Aquitaine region, the General Council of Gironde and certain services of the Treasury. The district wanted by Jacques Chaban-Delmas has many detractors, particularly because of the architecture of the area (typical of the years 1960-1970), the separation of cars and pedestrians using mass concrete. But some newer buildings (as the prefecture of Aquitaine) tend to rejuvenate the aging architecture of this neighborhood.

This district has still been positive; it has enabled the construction of office buildings and commercial center near the city without damaging the historic architecture of old Bordeaux. The neighborhoods around Meriadeck are composed of numerous shops, one-story houses typical of Bordeaux, who host the inhabitants of the middle class. It is also within walking distance of the center “official”, that is to say, the Place Gambetta, all eighteenth-century architecture contrasts with the modern Meriadeck district.  South-west, the Saint-Genesius houses an affluent population, even bourgeois.

Finally, the southern districts (Nansouty barrier Toulouse, Saint-Jean, Belcier etc) host a population with low incomes. The presence of industrial areas, many railways SNCF and infrastructure tarnish the image of the southern districts, particularly those located near the Garonne. In general, whether in the old city or in older suburbs, the south is home to a poorer population than the northern districts.