– photo of storefront by April Rotelli, a food photographer currently based in Bordeaux, France.
The southwestern corner of France is one of the most prominent wine-growing and wine-producing regions in the world. Located on a bend of the river Garonne and surrounded by vineyards and lush countryside, is the city of Bordeaux, hub of the famed wine-producing region.
Home to over 300 historical monuments and buildings, the UNESCO World Heritage listed historic center of Bordeaux “Le centre historique” is considered an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble of the 18th century. After Paris, Bordeaux has the highest number of preserved historical buildings of any city in France which makes it a great sightseeing location. The Old Town of Bordeaux also has one of the longest shopping streets in Europe – Rue Sainte-Catherine, a pedestrian-only shopping street lined with shops, restaurants and cafés. The old town has cycle lanes and narrow streets, and going on a bicycle tour is a great way to explore the historic city center.
“The storefronts here are absolutely beautiful! The people that have always lived here appreciate them, as much as visitors. I think this because they really support small business owners. They love to shop local and often skip the large bulk stores to go to the specialty shops in the center of town, like the Olive Oil store in the picture. It’s really common to see stores like this in the center, whether it’s a specialty shop just for tea or just for the bakery.”
Read on to find out what April has to say about Bordeaux.
I am originally from California and have been living in Bordeaux since September. The storefronts here are absolutely beautiful! There is a familiar French city style, however the buildings themselves have a distinct Bordelais look to them. There is a lot of influence from English architecture, Gothic, golden age, and the 18th century.
The people that have always lived here appreciate them, as much as visitors. I think this because they really support small business owners. They love to shop local and often skip the large bulk stores to go to the specialty shops in the center of town, like the Olive Oil store in the picture. It’s really common to see stores like this in the center, whether it’s a specialty shop just for tea or just for the bakery.
I saw a shop once that only sold puzzles that become masks. Another shop I have seen is one just to sell yarn, and they have the most beautiful yarns you can pick from. It doesn’t sell other craft materials, it just focused on the one item. It’s a big contrast for me because back home, I was so used to going to a general store where you could find many products relating to each other, but it was rare to find stores that just sell one thing.
In my opinion, French culture reflects that small details are very important to them, and it only adds to their refined taste. I believe shopping this way makes you appreciate your community more and makes you shop smarter.
Many of the specialty shops are concentrated in the Old Town. In France, cities are built in a circular manner. Meaning that they originally built the oldest part of the cities, now they call it “Le centre historique,” that are condensed in the middle, and they kept building outwards from there.
We are in phase 2 of lockdown. So many shops and restaurants are still closed, or you only can get takeaway. Our weather has been so beautiful this week though that the quais, along the river, is full of French people picnicking. Same with the parks! We still need to wear our masks and keep one meter from each other, but I don’t think anyone could stop the French from enjoying this weather right now!
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