The Blue Lion of Place Stalingrad

They call him le “Lion bleu”, le “Lion de Stalingrad” or le “Lion de la Bastide”. Six metres high, the Blue Lion of Place Stalingrad has stood here proud and tall since June 2005. The resolutely contemporary design contrasts sharply with the 18th architecture of Bordeaux. On summer days, the pale blue of the sculpture blends with the sky.

Designed by Xavier Veilhan, the lion is moulded in resin supported by a metal structure. Not intended to celebrate anything in particular, the Blue Lion of Place Stalingrad is monument to the importance of contemporary art in Bordeaux. You can spot many of these works in historic districts with an industrial past. Another good example is the “Flying Saucer” by Suzanne Treister at the Bassins à flot in the Bacalan district. Xavier Veilhan describes his lion as “something totemic and immediately recognisable, a symbol of pride and strength, big enough to be visible from the left bank”.

The Place Stalingrad started life as the “Place du Pont”. It became the “Place Napoléon” in 1843, in homage Napoleon Bonaparte, to whom we owe the Pont de Pierre. It reverted back to the “Place du Pont” in 1870, and was finally renamed “Place Stalingrad” in 1946. The name evokes the decisive victory by the Soviet Union over Germany and its allies in the Second World War. The Blue Lion of Place Stalingrad is one of the most popular selfie sites in Bordeaux!

Getting there: tram B to Hôtel de Ville, then A to Stalingrad or walk from the apartment (45 minutes).

See my post on Getting Around in Bordeaux.

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