Our third day in Bordeaux we discovered a lively outdoor market a few blocks from our apartment. While this Sunday Marché des Quai is a great place to stock up and grab lunch and/or dinner, venturing into nooks and crannies of city neighborhoods is where the fun is, the recreation. (Note: this sport does take mental and physical effort)
The location of our apartment in the “Les Chartrons” district couldn’t have been better. It was once a bustling wine merchant area and now home to three museums, of course one is a wine museum (Musée du Vin et du Negoce à Bordeaux). The district flanks the river Garonne and the public garden (Jardin Public). Good for us, we easily walk to many places.
Life radiates in four directions from a central tram stop, two are rich with food. One is rue Notre Dame, a quaint cobblestone street energetic with antique and vintage stores, pleasant cafes, clothing boutiques, foodie shops, and other merchants.
You can purchase the following food items in this area:
- Fruits and vegetables at the le magasin de fruits et légumes
- Seafood at the poissonnerie
- Pork prepared in a multitude of ways at the charcuterie
- Meat products at the boucherie
- Miscellaneous food items at the épicerie
- Breads, pastries and chocolates at the boulangerie, pâtisserie and chocolaterie
- Variety of preserved items and wines to match at La Conserverie
- Italian specialty items, prepared food, sandwiches and more at La Bocca
- And if in a hurry, there’s also a “city market” (smaller version of a grocery store).
About ten or so cafe / bistro / restaurant type establishments welcome visitors, most all have outdoor seating which is very popular even when chilly. The three we tried did not disappoint.
Paul’s Place was our first foray. Paul, originally from Cambridge, opened his restaurant 15+ years ago, Josephine joined him last year and together in the kitchen they create simple, delicious food. The minute you walk in you feel warm comfort; eclectic, colorful decor draws you in, begging you to give your feet a rest. The front page of a UK magazine is paint on the ceiling while books, picture frames, postcards and lamps adorn the walls.
Our initial visit was due to a recommendation. We were told “Paul is the nicest person you will ever, ever, ever meet! He’ll speak slowly, helping you with your French”. It just so happens live music is scheduled several times a month. We got lucky and stepped in to enjoy a jazz trio who serenaded us with their off-jazz remakes of popular songs by Hendrix, Beetles, Pink Floyd, Sting and more while we ate a very flavorful meal. Delightful evening indeed!
Bocca a Bocca is across the street from the same named épicerie. Small (about 30-35 tops) with fabulous Italian food from house-made pasta, ravioli, and gnocchi to meat and seafood dishes all at a very reasonable price. Did I mention the Cantucci and Vin Santo for dessert? The owner is a former documentary filmmaker crazy about cooking.
Finally, Chez Dupont is a classic French bistro going on 25+ years. In addition to stellar food, they more recently introduced an offering of guest rooms. While we haven’t seen them in person, they look worthy from the on-line photos. Take note potential visitors!
Overall, this area has a ton of marvelous food, shops and services. It flows past a large church right into the Place de Marché des Chartron, a restored 1869 market hall now a cultural center in the Les Chartrons district. Sidewalk cafes and restaurants surround the building offering additional places to indulge. Yes we are enjoying the food scene here!