Brookes’ Universal Gazetteer, page 108
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surmounted hy a balustrade, with a statue to each
column. The vestibule is majestic and ornament-
ed, having a double staircase lighted from a cu-
pola. The exchange, at the extremity of this
street, is a vast and imposing structure, with in-
terior arcades round the walls ; the central space
covered in, and lighted from the top ; and a grand
door opening into the Place Roy ale, one of the
handsomest squares of Bordeaux, and deficient
only in extent. This
place merits particular de-
scription : its form is that of a horseshoe, opening
upon the river, with a fine quay between. It is
lined by the exchange and the custom-house, with
corresponding fronts; all the facades richly or-
namented, and bearing allegorical figures in re-
lief.

The cathedral is the principal Gothic edifice of
Bordeaux, but by no means of France, as some
have described it. It is remarkable chiefly for the
two bold, light, and lofty spires which rise above
the portal. The English built it, in part at least,
during their occupation of Guienne. There are
three other large Gothic churches,—those of St.
Michael, St. Croix, and St. Sturin,—which con-
tain some good pictures. The ancient Roman
remains called the “ Palais Gallien,” without any
good reason for the name, have nearly disappear-
ed, to make way for modern elegance and avarice.
The Roman remains, called the “ Palais de Tute-
le ” gave way to the chateau de Trompette;
which, in its turn, has recently made room for
new and beautiful edifices, and the spacious Place
de Louis XVI. It was in the chateau de Trom-
pette that general Clausel held out so long against
the Bourbons. This was probably the main cause
of its demolition upon their re-establishment. It
is well supplied by the
place, new streets, and
market, which occupy its site, but which will take
some time to be finished. Count Lynch, mayor
of Bordeaux, at the fall of Bonaparte, and chiefly
instrumental in opening its gates to the Bour-
bons, erected in this quarter a small museum, in
which are preserved all the antiquities discovered
in or about Bordeaux: they are scanty. The
house of Montaigne still exists as a curiosity ia
the street bearing his name, and his monument is
in a church in the same street.

The communications open to Bordeaux by the
Atlantic with the north, America, and the Indies,
and by the canal of Languedoc with the south
and the Levant, afford to it the greatest facilities
for maritime commerce. It accordingly, has an
extensive and the most various trade of any port,
in every species of produce and manufacture.
But the difference of peace and war, especially
war between England and France, is to it the dif-
ference between prosperity and ruin. Its com-
mercial relations (it has been said) have no other
limits in time of peace than those of the world;
111 time of war they do not extend beyond the
lighthouse at the mouth of the Gironde, except
smuggling and privateering. The quay of Char-
tron was grass-grown during the continental
blockade: it is, since the peace, the most busy
and crowded, especially with the export of wines.
The merchants of Bordeaux are hospitable and
polite; and the higher orders emulate the capital
in luxury, the love of pleasure, and what is called
fashion. The women are considered to come
nearest to those of the capital in accomplishments,
graces, cui._ the love of amusement.

It contains the same establishments as the other
great towns, but not on the same scale or with the
same degree of cultivation, for the purpose of
knowledge and the arts ; a branch university, an
academy, a library containing an old copy of
Montaigne’s Essays corrected and noted by him-
self, a cabinet of natural history, a museum of
antiquities and painting, an observatory, but with-
out an observer or instruments of observation.

The ancient parliament of Bordeaux was dis-
tinguished for eloquence, learning, and philoso-
phy.—Montaigne, Montesquieu, and the presi-
dent Dupaty, were among its ornaments. The
modern bar has maintained its ancient reputation
for eloquence in Ferriere, some years dead
Deseze, Laine, and Ravez—all three peers of
France. In the second national or legislative
assembly the palm of eloquence was born away
by Vergniaud, inferior only to Mirabeau of alltha
orators of the Revolution. Guadet, Gensonne,
and Ducos, who perished by suicide or the guil-
lotine, also eloquent members of the national as
sernbly and convention, were of the bar of Bor-
deaux. Among the other distinguished natives
of Bordeaux are the two Dupatys, sons of the
president; the engraver Andrieux ; the two mu-
sical composers Garat and Rode, the former the
first singer—by the way, an equivocal distinction,
—the second, the first violin player—of France,
—and consequently of Europe. Lais, who was
the first singer at the Parisian grand opera for
several years, and since the restoration, was also■
a Bordelese. Berquin, the author of “ L’Ami
des Enfans;” the grammarian Lebel, several
Jesuit controversialists, whose memory has pass-
ed away with the controversy respecting that or-
der ; and the Latin poet Ausonius, who liVed in
the time and in the court of Adrian, were natives
of Bordeaux.

The city of Bordeaux, especially the new town,
is beautiful, rather as a uniform whole, than from
any detached or single objects. There are no
very striking beauties in its environs, with the
exception, perhaps, of the verdant and pictur-
esque banks of the Gironde.—The chateau of
Brede is visited rather as the residence, and in
some measure the creation, of Montesquieu, than
for its intrinsic merits. It is situated in a plain,
well wooded ; a simple hexagonal building, with a
drawbridge, and approached by a long avenue of
oak trees. The Tour de Cordouan, at the mouth
of the Gironde, is the finest lighthouse in
France.

A natural phenomenon called the mascaret,
observed at the mouth of the Dordogne, and in
no other river of Europe, should not be passed
over. When the waters of the Dordogne are
low, and especially in summer, a hillock of wa-
ter, about the height of an ordinary house, is ob-
served at its confluence with the Garonne. It
suddenly rises and spreads, rolls along the bank,
ascends the river in all its sinuosity, with extra-
ordinary* rapidity and a fearful noise. All that
comes in its way, on the bank by which it mo\*es,
yields to its fury. Trees are tom up, barges
sunk, and stones are driven to the distance of
fifty paces ; all fly* from it in consternation ; cat-
tle even, with a strong and fierce instinct. It
sometimes takes the centre of the river, and
changes its shape. The watermen are able by
their observations to discover its approach, and
thus escape certain destruction. A similar phe-
nomenon was observed by the French traveller
Condamine in the Amazon river, and by the
English Rennell in the Ganges. Its cause is
known, and simple,—the tide flowing with a dis-
proportionate quantity and impulse into the Dor-


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Brookes' Universal Gazetteer of the World (1850)


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