Time to see some more of Bordeaux. I made a last minute visit to Bordeaux a few weeks ago – my first time there and it immediately went high on my list of favourite cities. A place where I could most definitely live very happily.
To get a good view of the city for me and my camera, I decided to book a walk with a local photographer. I’ve done this in a few places now, and it’s always a great way to discover and record the city. In Bordeaux, I was guided and inspired by Amie Beaton, a charming and very knowledgeable lady originally from Vancouver but now living in Bordeaux. We met up at Place de la Bourse and had a quick run through my abilities and camera, with Amie checking what I knew and was familiar with. I was very impressed as she had checked out my blog and already knew my style and travel idiosyncrasies! As a result, she offered me a customised walk, that showed me a bit of the classic old town, but took me to less obvious areas with indoor and outdoor markets and plenty of street art!
I am not going to present the route in great detail as I don’t want to give away all of her secrets. Besides, I’m a natural moocher and wanderer rather than a map follower!
From our central meeting point, we wandered through some of the old streets of 18th century architecture, with Amie giving me an overview of the city and its history. Our first destination was the Quartier St-Michel, an area that grew up around the 15th-century Basilique St-Michel. It is now a vibrant area with a population of mixed nationalities, and a strong African influence at the moment.
The shops and aged buildings, are also accompanied by art – Bordeaux has incorporated street art wholeheartedly into many areas, with local and international artists happy to express themselves here.
We wandered the narrow streets peering into shops, checking out market stalls in the square before heading into the large indoor food market, Marché des Capucins.
Amie treated me to one of those delicious canelés, that you see above. Yummy, but I think I put on at least a stone in an instant. After our nibbles we headed down towards the river to head across the Pont de Pierre, to the former industrial area of La Bastide. As our cameras (and calories?) were making us move so slowly, we cheated and hopped on a tram.
The former Gare d’Orléans, built in 1852, was over on the right side of the river, but it has now been a replaced by a major modern station, and the ex-main line station is now a multiplex cinema.
Once on the right bank, we turned left passing the now-cinema and keeping the river on our left. This side of the city has undergone major redevelopment in recent years, and is now home to a botanical garden amongst other things.
This side of the river has a young and vibrant feel to it, as evidenced by the Darwin Ecosysteme complex that we made our way to. The deserted warehouses of the former Niel Military Barracks have been turned into a social, commercial and artistic area. Many of the buildings are now home to small businesses, including small shops and a large cafe / restaurant. Some of the warehouses are now skateboard areas, and almost every wall at Darwin is adorned by street art.
We wandered here for a while, finding little gems hidden round corners and through arches. By now my three hour walk was up, so we sat at the cafe, grabbed a cool drink and reviewed our shots. A great way to finish off our session as we looked at our different interpretations of the same things. Amie was a charming and knowledgeable photography guide. I thoroughly enjoyed my tour and recommend her highly to anyone heading to Bordeaux – and if you’re not a photography person, she will still be your guide and she’ll take photos of you so that you have a set of solid memories to take home.
Copyright Debbie Smyth, 26 June 2017
Posted as part of Monday Walk