Bordeaux's New Marine Sea Museum Welcomes Visitors to a Pre-Opening Photography Exhibit

Musée de la Mer - Bordeaux
Musée de la Mer
Press release

Due to open completely in May/June 2019, the Musée Mer Marine (Marine Sea Museum), France’s largest private museum dedicated to the sea and seafarers, is preparing its contribution to the city of Bordeaux, one of the Top French Cities, an association of 29 cities, from regional capitals to important towns, that are perfect for young travelers, families and anyone else looking for fun and authentic French experiences that will fit their budget.

Although still under construction alongside the wet docks of Bordeaux's World Heritage-listed “Port of the Moon,” the museum has already begun raising public awareness with a temporary photography exhibition. Hosted in partnership with National Geographic, the show, entitled "Under the Seas – Beyond the Image" and displaying 120 pictures by David Doubilet and Paul Nicklen, opened to the public on October 1, 2018. It will remain in place until April 30, 2019.

That date falls shortly before the museum welcomes visitors to its permanent exhibits, which include more than 10,000 sea-related objects – life-size and scale-model boats, navigational instruments, maps, atlases and more – and works of art that cover several thousand years of maritime history.

These objects bring to life the Musée Mer Marine's two-prong approach to understanding the sea: one dedicated to the genius of seafarers, explored through the history of mankind’s relationship with the sea and the evolution of navigation; and the other focused on discovery of the oceans themselves, which cover 70% of the planet, as seen through the eyes of explorers, navigators, fishermen, divers and scientists. Woven throughout is an invitation to understand the ecological issues that threaten the oceans.

The museum building itself, designed by Bordeaux architect Olivier Brochet, well known for his work on the Musée de l’Homme in Paris, was constructed to highlight this interplay of ideas, all in keeping with the vision of Norbert Fradin, the museum founder and another Bordeaux native. Crafted as an “architectural vessel,” the building's solid, concrete structure resembles the body of a ship, but inside there are no supporting walls, only large open spaces that create a dialogue between the interior and exterior, while letting in plenty of natural light. This helps extend the museum into the surrounding area, which includes large sloping gardens and the nearby wet docks where iconic boats will be launched for the general public to appreciate.

The building also has a large exhibition venue for art shows, a restaurant and a reception hall for events, meetings and conferences.

The Musée Mer Marine is located in the Top French City of Bordeaux's up-and-coming Bacalan district, already notable for its busy bars, restaurants, clubs and music venues, many located in warehouses along the Quai Armand Lalande and overlooking the Garonne River. This area has been drawing visitors to its new Cité du Vin, an immersive wine history and culture museum; an eerie WWII-era submarine base now used as an underground cultural centre for performances, exhibitions and other events; and the hands-on Cap Sciences museum.

About Top French Cities –

Top French Cities is an association of 29 cities, from regional capitals like Bordeaux to important towns like Avignon and Versailles. They are perfect for young travelers, families and anyone else looking for fun and authentic French experiences that will fit their budget. Most of these cities are university towns with a youthful atmosphere, but all of them reflect the heritage and distinctive flavors of the regions to which they belong. Many are forward-looking too, with historic buildings repurposed to house contemporary art and activity centers like Les Docks in Marseille. Many have created or integrated new, modern museums to contrast with their classical, architectural heritage, like in Nimes, where the cutting-edge Museum of Roman Civilization (Musée de la Romanité) is located across from the historic Roman amphitheater, or in Nantes, where whimsical mechanical creatures are being created, or in the UNESCO World Heritage Site concrete city of Le Havre.


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