Destinations Magazine

Following the 'green Line' from Place Ravezies to Le Bouscat Via Bruges

By Invisiblebordeaux
Following the 'green line' from Place Ravezies to Le Bouscat via Bruges

Place Ravezies is one of the main entry points into Bordeaux proper and has long since been a public transport hub. Until 2012 it was also the location of Ravezies railway station, which was for many years the terminus of railway connections from the Médoc peninsula. That final portion of rail travel has in recent years switched from trains to a new branch of tram line C (with the creation of the tram-train connection in Blanquefort), and in 2015 the Ravezies station was dismantled for good, leaving nothing more than a derelict open space and the abandoned railway track.

The local authorities (Bordeaux Métropole with the Bruges and Le Bouscat town councils) put on their thinking caps, and soon came up with an idea to embellish the area in a way that also tied in with the Métropole’s "55 000 hectares pour la nature" programme aimed at incorporating and preserving nature and greenery in amongst new urban developments. The "Ligne verte" project quickly took shape!

Following the 'green line' from Place Ravezies to Le Bouscat via Bruges

The brief involved converting 3.1 kilometres of the former line into a very eco-friendly walkway/cycle path, connecting Place Ravezies with residential quarters of Le Bouscat, with various low-key sights and activities to take in along the way. And, although work is still in progress and the "green line" is not quite the finished product, the walkway opened to the general public this year, so it made sense to head along and check it out.

The first major challenge though was simply reaching the start of the green line at Ravezies. The area located by what used to be the station is a car park that is a Tetris-style mass of automobiles that has to be ploughed through Indiana Jones-style to reach the path, which at this point in time is not signposted. 

Following the 'green line' from Place Ravezies to Le Bouscat via Bruges

The entrance is... somewhere in the background of this shot!

Wooden barriers have been positioned at the entrance to the walk, and a handful of surviving poles, buffers and raised platforms serve as a reminder of the place’s past life. Before setting off, I attempted to replicate the photo I’d taken in 2012 around the time when the station was decommissioned.

Following the 'green line' from Place Ravezies to Le Bouscat via Bruges

Above: the view in 2012.

Following the 'green line' from Place Ravezies to Le Bouscat via Bruges

The same view today...

There was soon another reminder of the path’s railway heritage with the "petit train de Ravezies", a small wooden steam train/play area designed for children to get a train driver’s eye view of the track! The former lines remain visible, embedded into the surface of the path, and before long the walkway passed under a series of metal arches that previously held the overhead electric cables (see picture at top of article).

Following the 'green line' from Place Ravezies to Le Bouscat via Bruges

Another brand new children’s play area appeared, this time comprising swings, a hut and a slide, although this particular blogger got a bit more excited about the nearby sight of "le bassin de stockage des eaux de pluie Béquigneaux", one of the Métropole’s many defences against flooding in the area, there to stock excess rainwater whenever required, as detailed in a previous Invisible Bordeaux item about the network of "detention basins". The Béquigneaux flood plain, created in 1987, is an extensive beast, and can reportedly stock up to 102,800 cubic metres of water.

Following the 'green line' from Place Ravezies to Le Bouscat via Bruges

Following the 'green line' from Place Ravezies to Le Bouscat via Bruges

Part of the magnificent (and reassuringly dry) Béquigneaux flood plain.

Other than that, the surrounding landscape was made up of private allotments, back gardens and high-rise apartment blocks in the mid-distance, until it was broken up by a rather cool BMX dirt track that was being put to the test by a number of young riders. Before long, the pathway hooked up with the new tram line around the delightfully-named "La Vache" station and neighbourhood, with the grounds of a Bouscatais mansion on one side and one of Bruges’s municipal cemeteries on the other. Let’s just say there was a definite sense of space in spite of the urban environment, and the remaining walls blocking the view did not appear to be the most durable - but for now they do form great raw materials for street artists.     

Following the 'green line' from Place Ravezies to Le Bouscat via BrugesFollowing the 'green line' from Place Ravezies to Le Bouscat via Bruges

From then on, the disused railway line reappears and the path runs alongside it until, when reaching a bend, it comes to an abrupt, unexpected and, yes, premature end. There was no choice other than to leave the pathway, which I was happy to find naturally leads into the Gourribon housing estate, which has already enjoyed a starring role on the blog. By winding back towards the former railway line, there were promising signs that a further stretch of the green line appears to be in the making, and that will ultimately link up this area with Le Bouscat’s avenue de la Libération. The information panel on display promised that this "Phase 5" would be complete in 2020, but I think we’re all collectively prepared to provide extra leeway to anything that should have been delivered in 2020…

Following the 'green line' from Place Ravezies to Le Bouscat via Bruges

The "green line" comes to a sudden and unspectacular end here.

Following the 'green line' from Place Ravezies to Le Bouscat via Bruges

Information panel promising an additional stretch.

How does Invisible Bordeaux rate this new "Ligne verte", then? Well, it’s an interesting initiative and no doubt the residents of the Gourribon estate are delighted to now have such a pleasant direct connection with Place Ravezies! It’s most definitely a very enjoyable walkway but is a touch short as far as cycle rides go. The three kilometres whizz by and, when you consider that the standout visual delight is an emergency rainwater reservoir, then you just know that it’s never going to be be a serious competitor in those online "The World’s Greatest Bike Rides" listings. The message therefore is walk rather than ride! But fair play to everyone involved in creating this linear channel that provides a peaceful pathway running between Bruges and Le Bouscat, and is an innovative way of bringing another old railway track back to life. 


> Find it on the Invisible Bordeaux map: former Ravezies railway station, place Ravezies, Bordeaux (departure point).

> Cet article est également disponible en français !


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