Bordeaux is often called the “Sleeping beauty” due to the massive transformation it has undergone in the last two decades. From a gloomy port city covered with dirty facades it has become one of France’s most popular metropoles. Bordeaux has long had a reputation for great wine and gastronomy, but it’s also a trendy hip city full of street art, chic cafés, beautifully designed boutiques and vibrant cultural spaces.
One of the key districts is the historic Saint Pierre and Saint Paul area…
Saint Pierre and Saint Paul districts Bordeaux
The Saint Pierre and Saint Paul districts are the birthplace of present-day Bordeaux and represent the historic heart of the city. As you wander its charming narrow streets you’ll discover fairy tale looking monuments such as la Grosse Cloche (the bell tower), Porte Cailhau (the ancient gate to the city) and the flamboyant Gothic styled Saint Pierre church. This small city center has abundant picturesque squares. Some of the nicest are Place du Palais, Place du Parlement and Place Fernand Lafargue. Each has its own selection of restaurants and cafés, much loved by the locals, particularly on sunny days.
The historic center is bounded by the Garonne river. There’s a lovely promenade which arty lamp posts which guarantees a pleasant stroll on any hour of the day. On the promenade you’ll find the magnificent Miroir d’eau. It’s the world’s largest reflecting pool, acting as a refreshing oasis and water playground for kids and adults. It’s a testament to its glory that the Miroir d’eau, a distinctively modern monument, has become one of this classic city’s most prominent symbols.
The western border of the historic center is marked by rue Sainte Catherine. It’s the longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe hosting all the main retail stores as well as several smaller boutiques.
Local’s tip: Espace Saint Rémi. Bordeaux is a champion in converting old buildings into chic cultural spaces. One of the most prominent examples is Espace Saint Rémi – a church converted into an art space. There are free exhibitions of local and international artists and art is updated every few weeks.
By Ira Szmuk, a Bordeaux based blogger in love with the city. Her blog is about up-to-date events and places to visit in Bordeaux and the South-West of France: www.lostinbordeaux.com