Visit of the Saint-Michel "quartier" of Bordeaux

Bordeaux
Visit of the Saint-Mi ...
Bordeaux is an exciting and varied city. Today, walk with us around the Saint-Michel district: less touristy than the rest of the city center, you will have the pleasure of meeting many locals, who enjoy a moment of relaxation or shop in this place popular and cosmopolitan . It is an emblematic district of Bordeaux , it is registered in the safeguarded area of Bordeaux, in the world heritage of Unesco since 1998. Take a walk to note how much it is full of contradictions: at the same time calm and noisy, traditional and modern, popular and trendy ... Welcome to Quartier Saint-Michel! To get there from the city center, head south to Cours Victor Hugo, then walk down the fabulous Rue des Faures to reach Saint-Michel Basilica, the heart of the district. It is located between Gare Saint-Jean and Garonne.


Visit Saint-Michel district

Guided tour of the Saint-Michel district

Saint-Michel district
Photo credit: Gadjo_niglo CC BY 2.0

The essential Basilica of Saint Michael and the Saint Michael spire

You will be dazzled by the 2 sublime buildings that rise on this immense square. First there is the magnificent Flamboyant Gothic style Basilica , built between the 14th and 16th centuries. Here you are in the heart of one of the most lively and colorful places in the city! Look up and admire the amazing independent bell tower , located a few meters away. Impossible to miss it, it is one of the tallest bell towers in France , its spire rises to 114m! If you are not dizzy and have good legs, it is possible to make a free visit from March to October every day, without appointment for only 5 €. The panorama of the city of Bordeaux is breathtaking !


Visit Saint-Michel district

The beautiful Basilica and its imposing bell tower


After gaining height, you can descend into the crypt ! It is quite famous for a rather strange and morbid fact ... In the 18th century, around 70 mummified bodies, in very good condition, were deposited there ... Curious visitors of the time could visit this underground site. Among them are the famous Victor Hugo and Théophile Gautier . I assure you, the mummies have since been kidnapped and buried in the Chartreuse cemetery . Today, you can visit the crypt with your eyes closed, with an audiovisual document that sums up this strange story, every day in season.

The Saint-Michel district, a lively district

Visit Saint-Michel district

Place Meynard, a place of life and exchange

Formerly the Saint-Michel district was that of craftsmen. They unloaded flat-bottomed gabarres at anchor, coming from the departments upstream on the Garonne , which supplied Bordeaux with foodstuffs (like salt ) and building materials . To build the Basilica , you need wood (for the frame), which came from Quercy and iron for the coopers, the gunsmiths, the ironworkers and all these little people to do their work! From this hard-working and joyful era at the same time, the outspokenness of the sailors and the pace of work of the builders have left their mark. The Saint-Michel district is today a popular district, inhabited by a thousand cultures and origins, very dynamic. Around the main square, you can sit on one of the many terraces to sunbathe, read a book, while enjoying the lively outdoor Capuchin market held every day on Place des Capucins from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. In Saint-Michel, there is also the Marché Neuf, on Monday morning Place Canteloup and Meynard.

Visit Saint-Michel district

Rue des Faures, the emblematic street of this district

In addition to the outdoor markets, take a look at the must-see Capuchin covered market (which the locals call " Le Marché des Capus "). Fruit and vegetable stands, fishmongers, catering stands ... we don't know where to turn so much! This market is a veritable institution in Bordeaux. It is open every day except Monday. Bordelais love to meet there to eat a good little dish on Sunday noon! My favorite address is Bistrot Poulette, which serves delicious mussels and fries at a very reasonable price. For dessert, no need to go far. A few meters away, stands the stand of the Maison Seguin and its appetizing display case filled with Puits d'Amour . Last this romantic name hides a little sweetness based on choux pastry and pastry cream. A real treat !


Why is this neighborhood so charming?

In addition to monuments and markets , what attracts walkers to this district is its very special atmosphere . While strolling, we suddenly find ourselves in small quiet alleys, havens of peace where we can admire old stone houses, typical of Bordeaux and small shops. The next street, the animation of a busy street catches up with us, it is again the excitement!


The Quartier Saint-Michel, succeeds in mixing universes and cultures . Here there is everything and often at very attractive prices, in a bazaar at first sight disjointed but well organized: flea markets, bars with an innovative concept, thrift stores, Asian, Lebanese, African restaurants ... It is also a great neighborhood for brunch. I recommend you take a look at Made Hand Poké Bar for their poke and their delicious Oreo cheesecake…


And Hop still a very good place to test in this district. The delicious poke of Made Hand Poké Bar

But this district is best known for its tea rooms and their delicious oriental pastries . I recommend the brotherhood cafe on the market place. There are also many shops selling oriental products (spices, clothes, tagine dishes, etc.). You will find what you are looking for! The most emblematic street in the Quartier is rue des Faures , formerly rue des forgerons. Also go to China in the Passage Saint-Michel, the landmark of second-hand dealers.

We love these small neighborhood shops in which we find everything

How tempting these good pastries with almonds, honey, pistachios and other delicacies

The Saint-Michel district on the coast right now in Bordeaux and we understand why! I can only encourage you to visit it quickly to take advantage of its charm and its unique character .

Visit another district of Bordeaux: the magnificent Quartier des Chartrons

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Article written by Mélanie Oliva


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