Friday, 27 August 2010

Cognac: the northern part of the city centre

The ghost signs that make up this series can be found in the northern part of the city centre, roughly to the northeast of the Place d'Armes and along the northern stretch of the Boulevard Denfert-Rochereau.

The Rue du Canton may be short, but traces of two bygone shops can be spotted there. The one at the corner with the Rue Emile Albert was most certainly a favourite with children as on both facades, it said...

Jouets d'enfants
[Toys for Kids]

Jouets d'enfants

A few metres away, those who needed to do some decorating could have purchased the necessary paints and tools.


Hardware Shop
Paint Brushes

The Rue du Canton leads to the Place du Canton, where only a fraction of a painted sign has survived.

Unfortunately too much of it disappeared when the first-floor window was opened for me to be able to recognize this logo. The entrance to the shop though is worth noticing.

Actually the premises of Drouneau & Fils continued down the Rue Henri Germain but they may not be behind the ghost signs there.

A difficult one to read as there are two signs.
Au Bon Bou...n


Apart from a few letters, I really can't make anything out of the one found further down the street

From a distance, the sign at the corner of the Rue Magdeleine and the Rue Duplessis with its ornage-ish tones reminds me of some examples from Bath.

The premises housed once a
Photographe [Photographer]
However a completely different range of goods were sold there at a later stage:
Chaussures [Shoes]

Sometimes it is amazing how many letters a sign writer can cram in a given space. The ones for this sign in the Rue Duplessis are high but extremely narrow. Having several layers doesn't make any reading easy.

Here as well, I can spot many letters but they don't make much sense.

After passing through little winding streets, one comes on the Boulevard Denfer-Rochereau, where all the signs below can be seen.

Hotel-restaurant Central

The local office of Sud-Ouest, the regional newspaper based in Bordeaux but with several local editions, was conveniently located not too far from the town hall.


The next sign, which has been slightly amputated, takes us back to a time when France was still a colonial power. It must have been painted before 1960, the year most colonies in Africa gained independence.

Denrées coloniales
[Foodstuffs from the Colonies]

I was a bit late to avoid the sharp contrast on this former garage.

There are at least three superimposed layers there. The oldest one ended with
The only other fully legible part gives us the name of the garagist:
Roger Archibaud

Finally just before reaching the bridge over the River Charente and leaving the centre of Cognac, one can admire the Château de Cognac, birthplace of King François I. Although the fortifications and the cellars were built between the early XIth and the XIVth centuries, most of the castle was actually rebuilt between 1450 and 1517. During the French Revolution the castle, which belonged to the brother of Louis XVI, the Comte d'Artois (future Charles X) was sold to Otard and Dupuy, owners of one of the most successful trading houses of Cognac. The castle is open to the public as this sign, just behind the gate, indicates. For those who can't make it to Cognac, the website of Otard offers the possibility of a virtual visit.

Les ... ...e
Château de Cognac
Musée François Ier
S'adresser au concierge
The ... ...
Cognac Castle
François I Museum
See With the Caretaker
Something else was painted in black letters, including 'Public'.

All pictures taken on: 03/06/2010

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