I’ve just returned from a trip to Bordeaux, just under three hours from Paris by train.

It’s a city with deep and well-preserved history — the sheer amount of 18th century architecture still in regular use in the city¬† is impressive — but it was actually a modern innovation that I found simply brilliant.

Relief Sculpture in Bordeaux

Or, I should say, simple and brilliant. Right in front of several of the major attractions, including Bordeaux’s cathedral, is a bronze relief sculpture of the self-same attraction. The idea is to allow the visually impaired to experience the sights — there’s braille incorporated into the sculpture — but it’s also a fun feel for people with perfect vision.

Bordeaux Map Close Up

I’ve never seen such a thing before, has anyone else? A little web browsing this morning revealed that the FDR Memorial in Washington DC incorporates braille into its sculptures, but it doesn’t seem like quite the same thing.

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Photo credit: Alison Stein Wellner.

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Alison J. Stein

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