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Where to shop in Bordeaux – a guide to retail therapy by district

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With the longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe, Bordeaux is a shopping haven. Throughout its history, it has been a place of bustling trade merchants seeking to make their fortune in cloth and wine. Still today, there are the fine fashion houses of the Golden Triangle and the wine shops of Chartrons. A burgeoning alternative shopping district exists around the Place Fernand Lafargue, where rock chicks and libertarians will find boutiques to suit their style.

Hugo Idler

My Destination local expert on

Bordeaux

Rue Sainte-Catherine

 

Whether you have some serious cash to splash or just like to window-shop, a visit to Rue Sainte-Catherine in the Golden Triangle is a must: it is touted as the longest shopping street in Europe. The luxurious shop fronts of designer brands occupy the grand terraced buildings, each finished with that certain French style which makes them even more chic. After some dreamy window-shopping, visit the elegant, glass-fronted Grands Hommes mall. This historic department store, on its own plaza just north of the Rue Sainte-Catherine, provides more down-to-earth prices in its sublime arched halls.

 

Marche des Capucins

 

One of the very best and largest markets in Bordeaux is the Marche des Capucins in the Saint-Michel district. The building it’s housed in is functional rather than beautiful, but the market itself offers the widest range of fresh produce to be found in Bordeaux. Butchers, bakers and cheese-makers populate the market with brimming stalls, but it is the fresh seafood that the locals come for. In true French style, tables and chairs are set out so that people can relax in a civilized manner to enjoy a dish of fresh mussels and a glass of white wine. Cours de L’IntendanceYou can’t come to Bordeaux and not pick up a bottle or two of its most famous export: wine. Several wine shops occupy positions around the Cours de L’Intendance, one of the main boulevards. L’intendant is perhaps the most comprehensive and beautiful of them all. Seemingly infinite bottles curve around a dizzying spiral staircase – it’s a wonder to behold. There is a dazzling range of varieties and vintages, with prices to fit any budget. So whether you’re looking for a drinkable souvenir or a wine cellar showpiece, you’re sure to find it here.

 

Place Fernand Lafargue

 

Once a gaudy medieval marketplace which sank into near-abandonment, Place Fernand Lafargue has returned to trendsetting glory as Bordeaux’s alternative shopping area. The surrounding streets are occupied by quirky boutiques, covering hipster fashion houses, arty bookshops and vintage record stores. In-between the shops, independently-owned restaurants serving ethnic, international cuisine in libertarian style add to the bohemian atmosphere. Dominated by young people wearing vintage clothes and speaking a multitude of languages, it’s another world from the Rue St. Catherine, just a short walk away. It offers the perfect antidote to all those designer stores.

 

Shopping Tips

 

The Rue Sainte-Catherine is over a mile long, so it’s a good idea to plan a section you wish to visit so that you don’t end up fatigued before you’ve done much shopping. If you’re planning a trip to the Marche des Capucins, arriving in the morning or for lunch offers the greatest variety and freshest produce. It’s open Thursday-Saturday.