Monday, 8 April 2013

Foire Internationale de Bordeaux, Saint-Aubin-de-Blaye

Like yesterday, we are looking at a palimpsest. The most recent, and obvious, sign promoted the Foire Internationale de Bordeaux (Bordeaux International Fair).

Even though this fair held every year around Ascension Day became 'international' only in 1921, its origins go back to 1214, the year John, King of England and Duke of Aquitaine, granted the city the power to organize a wine fair. This privilege was confirmed and extended by successive rulers, be they English or French. The fair, which had been taking place traditionally in the medieval part of the city, was held between 1853 and 1968 on Place des Quinconces, at 12 hectares one of the largest city squares in Europe. However in the 1960s, as part of the modernisation plans of the city designed by the team of mayor Jacques Chaban-Delmas, the decision was taken to transfer the fair to Bordeaux-Lac, an area seven kilometres to the north of the city centre. The move was quite controversial at the time but it made it possible to increase the size of the fair and to accomodate the growing number of visitors coming by car. In 1969 the Foire Internationale de Bordeaux opened in the brand new hall of the Parc des Expositions. When it opened, this impressive building, 847 m long and with a surface area of 50,400 square metres, was the largest exhibition hall in Europe. Nowadays the international fair is only one of many events that take place throughout the year in the Parc des Expositions.

Was this sign painted before or after the move to Bordeaux-Lac? This is hard to say but should it have been painted in 1969 or later, one might have expected a bolder design, matching the modern image projected by the design of the new exhibition hall.

Of the earlier ghost sign written with very high letters, only a few of these can been seen in the lower part of the wall. The upper part of the word was covered by "Bordeaux" and, to make things more difficult, part of it disappeared when a small window was opened through the wall.

Internationale de
Bordeaux / L..on [Lafon?]

This wall was rented by Avenir Publicité, one of France's leading advertising agencies.

Location: D 137, lieu-dit Roubisque, Saint-Aubin-de-Blaye, Gironde / Pictures taken in May 2012

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