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Did you know those 3 celebrities were born in Bordeaux or nearby?

Bordeaux has produced a number of well-known people : ballet dancers, queens, football (soccer) players, and even philosophers !  This list of famous people from Bordeaux includes Benjamin Millepied, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Montesquieu or Captain Cousteau.... I have chosen to talm about 3 of them.

 Everybody knows them, they are or were writers, singers, scientists or sportsmen... We see them everywhere: on TV, in magazines or in TV ads. But do you know they were born in Bordeaux? Here we go, in the chronological order... enjoy your reading and maybe a few surprises?




Captain Cousteau, born near BordeauxBirth : 11 June 1910 in Saint-André-de-Cubzac (not far from Bordeaux)

The famous Commandant Cousteau and ocean explorer was born around here... Not really in Bordeaux but not so far away in Saint André de Cubzac, under the real name of Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

He was interested in the sea from a very early age. After studying at the naval school in Brest, he joined the French navy.
In 1943, with Émile Gagnan, he invented the self-contained diving suit, which allowed him to stay underwater for several hours. Decorated during the war, in 1946 he co-founded the Underwater Research Group in Toulon.

In the 1950s, he set off to explore the seabed through the world aboard his ship, the Calypso, a former minesweeper. He brought back from his travels colour films about the underwater world, such as the The Silent World (1956), which reached a large audience. His books and documentaries, which were distributed worldwide, brought him worldwide fame and gave him the opportunity to expose his ecological ideas on the protection of the environment to the largest audiences. He is also the inventor of the "diving saucer", a 2-seater an experimental underwater vehicle which could reach a depth of 350 meters.


Place of tribute : A roundabout at the exit of Saint-André de Cubzac where a dolphin is seen jumping to catch a red cap. The high school in Saint André de Cubzac is named after Philippe Cousteau, his son who died in a seaplane accident in 1979.

 Cousteau car roundabout in Saint Andre Cubzac

Anecdote: If Captain Cousteau regularly wore a well-known red cap, it was a reference/tribute to the uniform of the former convicts, especially those from Toulon, who were forced to test the first diving suits... It was used to designate "volunteers" for dangerous interventions carried out in "heavy-feet" diving suits. The helmet suit appeared as early as 1819. Since its invention and until the end of the Second World War, there was no thought of using it for other activities than work (work on ships' hulls, reinforcement of port works, lifting sunken ships, etc.). Because of the risks, the suits were first tried on the prisoners. And it was to differentiate them from other men on the ports and boats that they were forced to wear red caps!



Edouard Molinaro, born in bordeauxBirth: 13 May 1928 in Bordeaux

 Maybe the name doesn't sound familiar right away, but as soon as I tell you a little bit about him, it'll come back to you... 

Molinaro was a French film director and screenwriter. He is best known for his comedies with Louis de Funès (Oscar, etc.), My Uncle Benjamin (with Jacques Brel and Claude Jade), Dracula and Son (with Christopher Lee), and the Academy Award-nominated La Cage aux Folles (with Michel Serrault and Ugo Tognazzi). Maybe you know better the US remake The Birdcage starring Robin Williams and Gene Hackman ! 

Edouard Molinaro became passionate about the 7th art very early on. From the age of 16, he won various amateur short film competitions organized in the region. Acclaimed by critics for his innovation, he will realise several films. From the beginning of the 60s, he turned to mainstream comedy and shot with the most popular actors of the moment... with the "sacred monsters" such as Louis De Funès (Oscar, Hibernatus), Lino Ventura or Jacques Brel. Most of his movies are a huge success ! 

Beyond the multiple adaptations of plays, Edouard Molinaro's career is also marked by productions for the small screen such as TV movies or episodes of french TV series.

At the same time, he continues his work in cinema and adapts theater plays on the screen, and especially Beaumarchais, l'insolent, based on an unfinished screenplay by Sacha Guitry, starring Fabrice Luchini more grandiloquent than ever! This film was nominated 3 times for a César. Scenes of the movie were also produced at the Château de Chantilly and the Château de Versailles, but also in Bordeaux (notably the Cour d'Appel, Place de la République and within the Grand Théâtre)




Benjamin Millepied, born in BordeauxBirth : 10 June 1977 in Bordeaux

Ahhh... Benjamin Millepied... -Centipede in french -  A predestined name for a dancer! World-renowned dancer and choreographer, he performed with the New York City Ballet. 

At the age of 16, he went to study in the United States, at the School of American Ballet, where he was spotted by Jerome Robbins, the father of "West Side Story".

In 2004, Benjamin Millepied became artistic director of the "Morriss Center Dance" in Bridgehampton (New York). In 2009, he proposed his first important choreography for his home institution, the New York City Ballet, with the creation of "Quasi una fantasia". 

In the fall of 2009, Benjamin Millepied met the actress Natalie Portman during the shooting of the movie Black Swan. Engaged in December 2010, they get married on August 4, 2012 on the coast of Big Sur, California and are now parents of two children.

Due to his nomination at the Paris Opera, Benjamin Millepied and Natalie Portman will move to Paris in the spring of 2014. He was the Dance Director at the head of the Paris Opera Ballet from November 1, 2014 to July 15, 2016. After his resignation from the Opera, the couple returned to Los Angeles. He has notably been criticized for favouring young up-and-coming talent at the expense of established stars, for being "too American" in wanting to change things too quickly in an institution that is more than 350 years old....

Anecdotes : In 2011, he became the muse of Yves Saint Laurent's perfume L'Homme Libre and choreographed the Air France flight company ad on Mozart's Adagio. 


Benjamin Millepied Air France & Saint Laurent ads



More celebrities to come in a future article about the Ms of Bordeaux. Have you ever heard of them?

  • Montaigne, born in February 28th, 1533 in the smae named castle not far ffrom Bordeaux 
  • Montesquieu, born in January 18th, 1689 in Chateau de la Brède, a few kilometers away of Bordeaux
  • François Mauriac, born in October 11th, 1885 in Bordeaux



We could also have mentionned  Rosa Bonheur who painted Buffalo Bill's portait or some french TV people but I am not sure you know them.... Maybe in a next blog post ! 

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