When you visit Bordeaux city, it sometimes feels like there are a series of villages, each a little different from the other. Exploring them is a lot of fun, from the historic centre and the trendy St Pierre district to the vibrant Saint-Michel neighborhood and lovely Chartrons…
Chartrons, one of the northern districts of Bordeaux, is a posh neighborhood with a more easy-going vibe than the city center. The neighborhood spotlights the early days of Bordeaux’s wine trade when foreign merchants settled in the area in the 17th century. Obliged to settle beyond what was then the walls of the city, these foreigners created a wine aristocracy and founded export companies selling wine to their home countries.
They built warehouses to age and store wine, giving a special character to this part of the city (especially along the river). It’s one of Bordeaux’s biggest districts, its more appealing parts are Quai des Chartrons and the beautiful Notre Dame street running parallel to it. This charming street with its surrounding alleys has plenty of lively restaurants and cafés, quality products shops, wine bars and young designer boutiques. Whether you’re a professional or amateur antiques hunter (or just someone who loves to browse) this street is a must. There are more than ten antique shops on rue Notre Dame alone, selling home decor, furniture, art and vintage merchandise. The area is often missed by tourists spending their time exclusively in the city center.
The best market in Bordeaux
Local’s tip: If you visit Bordeaux on a weekend you should definitely check out the Sunday market on Quai des Chartrons. There’s a vast selection of local products from wines, cheeses, foie gras, vegetables and much more. It’s very popular for tourists seeking gastronomic souvenirs to bring back home. It’s a good idea to be hungry when you visit as the market hosts a large selection of food stands. From Fish and Chips to Senegalese specialties and spicy grilled shrimps, there’s something delicious for to suit all tastes. Locals come here to eat fresh oysters from the Bassin d’Arcachon accompanied with a glass of cool white wine. On sunny days, the market tends to be very busy so it’s a good idea to get there early. Opens: 9am-2.30pm Sundays.
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