Rue Sainte Catherine (often referred to informally as “Rue Sainte Cath”) has been car-free since 1977 and is now one of the most popular shopping streets in Bordeaux, with over 230 shops, stores and restaurants.
The street connects two major squares, Place de la Victoire in the south and Place de la Comédie in the north, over a distance of 1145 meters, making it one of the longest car-free commercial streets in Europe – about the same length as the Strøget in Copenhagen, for example, though the Strøget has been car-free since the 1960s.
Second photo: Access to Rue Sainte Catherine is controlled by bollards which can be lowered for emergency vehicles or for deliveries in the mornings from 7 to 11 o’clock.
Third photo: Shoppers on Rue Sainte Catherine.
Fourth and fifth photos: One of the many shops on Rue Sainte Cath is this one which offers to “save our memories” by converting old films, cassettes, videos and slides to a modern digital format.
Directions: VCub bicycle station St Paul
Tram A: Sainte-Catherine
Next: Fine Arts Museum
I can personally recommend BordeauxWalkingTours.com
Patricia has some standard walking tours she does and will customize a tour to your needs as well. She has an amazing knowledge base of the history of Bordeaux and France and a background in architecture that seems to make any humble streetscape come to life. 2 thumbs up!
She's a bit more expensive than the train but Bordeaux deserves the effort! And Patricia seems to know all the hidden treasures
Although there is a heavily traveled boulevard (called Quais of various names) paralleling the Garonne river, it is possible to walk the pavement and the sights from the Quinconces to the Stone Bridge. We have Tips on these sights). At the northern end are the river cruise boats, then the Place de la Bourse. On the far side is an area of the city called the Bastide. The river makes a sharp bend at this point (the crescent is called "La Lune"). Looking North (downriver) one sees the tall Pont d'Aquitane. A little further up river from the Bourse is an anchorage of limited use for ocean-going cruise boats or other large vessels (the Port of Bordeaux is at various communities north of the Aquitaine bridge). The Porte Cailhau is next south and then the Stone Bridge with the Porte de Bourgogne just inland (each Porte is a Separate Tip).
The Cathedral of St.-Andre is both interesting and in many parts beautiful. In any other country but France, it would be in the first rank. It was built on Romanesque fragments in Gothic and Renaissance style from the 12 to the 15C, taking advantage of the best design elements as time progressed. Unlke most cathedrals, the focus is not on the west front which is quite plain. The church is usually encountered from the north and it is the North Transept portal which is met, flanked by two turrets with spires that are taller than its freestanding belfry. There are adornments of its jambs and tympanum that. This ensemble is used as the main door and even called the “West Front” in many guides (even Wikipedia). On the north side to the west (right) is another (closed) doorway into the nave called the Royal Portal which is 13C. Viollet-le-Duc restored this early Gothic masterpiece;the grime is a recent 20C addition. The South transept has a broad triumphal flat-topped portal. Finally in circling the church there is a tall and impressive chevet and a little off to the southeast the freestanding “Tour Pey-Berland”. ( We have given some of these elements are given separate Tips).
We once took the morning walking tour of the town of Bordeaux, provided by the Bordeaux Tourism Office. The tour guide was classically educated and pointed out all the differences in architecture, explained the monuments, gave us the history, and gave us a detailed tour of her grandfather's ancient wine bottling factory.
Afterwards we had lunch at a cheese shop where we went down into the cheese cellar to select our chunk from almost 100 varieties. We tasted/drank three types of wine with lunch.
It was a very pleasant morning; there were only four in our group that morning.
I highly recommend this.
Ancient Bordeaux was surounded by a wall, and you still can find some of the gates today. Two of them are just on the river side of the city, one just opposite one of its two bridges...
When tired of the river walk, you can just get into the city center (old city) and enjoy of some relax at any of the multiple terraces spread all around...