The small old stores of bordeaux
**3 km circuit**
Today, we propose you a tour to discover the old stores of Bordeaux center. Old, because some of them have been in the family for generations, others are recent but full of treasures such as old books, vinyls from the second half of the XXth century, and everyday objects, more or less distant.
This tour will take you back in time, since 1729, year of the creation of the oldest pharmacy in Bordeaux. All these stores remind us of an old trade, whether it is hardware store, haberdashery, drugstore, herbalist, pharmacist, eyewear store, bookstore or record shop. Because there are hardly any record shops in our beautiful country and many bookstores have fallen victim to the distribution giants.
Let’s start this tour and leave from the hotel, the Best Western Premier Hotel Bayonne Etche-Ona in Bordeaux. Go up the Cours de l’Intendance until you find on your right the rue Condillac. The hardware store Béjottes is there, on the left lane of the cinema CGR.
1 – Bejottes hardware store
The Droguerie Quincaillerie Bejottes (located 11 rue Condillac in Bordeaux), was founded in 1830 by the doctor in pharmacy Auguste Béjottes. At the time, this one was installed on the place of the Large Men of Bordeaux. He ran the pharmacy and his wife, in the next room, ran the drugstore. Since 2012, the drugstore has moved to 11 rue Condillac, and the people of Bordeaux are happy to be able to find there the flagship products of the hardware store: frying pans, pots, molds, products to care for the boo-boos of the garden and the house and, above all, the precious advice that you will not get in a large surface 🙂
Then go back on your steps on the Cours de l’Intendance, go down it for about fifty meters then turn right in the rue Vital Carles: you will discover the Librairie Mollat.
2 – The Mollat bookshop
The Librairie Mollat (15 Rue Vital Carles and rue de la Porte-Dijeaux in Bordeaux) was created in 1896 by Albert Mollat. All the inhabitants of Bordeaux know the Librairie Mollat, the first independent bookstore in France, in terms of turnover and titles on the shelves. It has a sales area of 2,500 m2 and is located on the site of the last house of Montesquieu in Bordeaux.
The risk when you go in is that you won’t come out… for hours! 🙂 We strongly encourage you to go and explore the rooms and shelves. And, if a book tempts you, please yourself! The qualified staff will guide and advise you, always with a smile.
Now take the rue de la Porte-Dijeaux towards this emblematic gate of Bordeaux, classified as a historical monument in 1921, then turn left on rue des Remparts and admire the Maison Laffargue.
3 – The Laffargue house
Maison Lafargue Bordeaux Do you see this delightfully retro facade that evokes the 1970s? This is Maison Laffargue, a haberdashery located at 8 rue des Remparts, a family business. Since 1904, generation after generation, the Laffargue family has been advising the people of Bordeaux on the choice of fabrics, cottons, silks, buttons, linings and all sorts of accessories. Entering this haberdashery is like “taking a trip back in time to the 1960s”, writes a customer. The colors and fabrics are a delight to the eye.
Then go up to the rue de la Porte-Dijeaux, pass under the door and turn right into the rue Bouffard, go down it until n°48…
4 – The herbalist’s shop Le Tisanier d’Oc
The Herboristerie Le Tisanier d’Oc (at 48 rue Bouffard in Bordeaux) is a store created by Charles Demau, doctor of pharmacy. Push the door of his store and breathe, admire. Wooden furniture and shelves full of aromatic and medicinal plants, herbal teas, essential oils, honey jars, spices and soaps. Do you have a small health problem? Mr. Demau will be able to advise you and prepare the herbal tea that will relieve you.
Then, continue down Bouffard Street, turn left into Trois-Conils Street.
5 – Besombes hardware store
The Quincaillerie Besombes (48 rue des Trois Conils) was founded in 1915. It is, as its sign announces, a “decorative hardware store”. It specializes in accessories for bourgeois homes and castles: door handles and antique furniture, banister balls, curtain rods, door knockers, and other accessories to decorate your home.
6 – Diabolo Menthe
A little further on, turn right into Cheverus street. At n°30, Diabolo Menthe, is a small store selling vinyl records and CDs. You can buy CDs and vinyls, new or used, sell your own or have them appraised.
Go down Cheverus Street to Cours Alsace-Lorraine and turn left towards the river. Stay on the left sidewalk.
This wide street was built in the 19th century to connect the Cathedral of Saint-Andre to the quays. It was the Voie du Peugne, since it covered the lower course of this river, later renamed in memory of the provinces lost after the 1870 war and returned to France in 1919.
7 – Au sanglier de Russie
Au sanglier de Russie (at 67 cours Alsace-Lorraine in Bordeaux) opened its doors in 1814 in the Saint-Pierre district, the district of the brush makers, tailors, sail makers and marine carpenters. At that time, Russia exported boar silk of excellent quality. In 1875, under the Second Empire, the store moved to a new street, the Cours Alsace-Lorraine. The brushes and paintbrushes are no longer made on the spot, but their origin is known.
You will find shaving brushes, hair brushes, bath brushes, tooth brushes, nail brushes, manicure sets, horn combs, make-up brushes, brushes for fine arts, natural sea sponges, feather dusters, household brooms, clothes and shoe brushes, furniture brushes… in many shapes and shades! Badger, pony, marten, goat, wild boar, mongoose, kolinsky marten, calf’s ear, polecat, synthetic, and pig bristles are carefully chosen for their qualities and each brush is carefully assembled using precious woods.
8 – François pharmacy
Continue on the Cours Alsace-Lorraine and look for the Pharmacy François (at 70 Cours Alsace-Lorraine in Bordeaux) on the opposite sidewalk: it is the oldest pharmacy in Bordeaux. On its facade you can read the inscription “House founded in 1729”. Indeed, almost 3 centuries ago, the Fosse family created the François pharmacy near the Peugne river. The entrance was by the rue du Pas-Saint-George. In 1865, when the cours Alsace-Lorraine was created by covering the river, the pharmacy was transformed and opened on the new way. The family made original medicines such as Hépascol François, made from artichoke leaves to treat liver and stomach ailments. The interior of the pharmacy has kept its original character.
Admire the clock created by Guignan, the clockmaker-mechanic from Bordeaux who renovated the Grosse-Cloche, then turn left into rue des Bahutiers.
9 – Michèle Masson’s antique bookstore
Michèle Masson’s Antique Bookshop (8 rue des Bahutiers in Bordeaux) is recent, since it was created in 1995, but it is specialized in antique books and rare works. Michèle Masbonson is a certified expert in antique and modern books for the Court of Appeal of Bordeaux. She will expertly appraise your antique books and advise you.
Continue north on rue des Bahutiers, then turn right on rue des Argentiers and rue de la Cour des Aides. You will find…
10- Au Dénicheur
At the Dénicheur (12 rue de la Cour des Aides), the grey-green door opens under a stone archway onto a treasure trove of all sorts of objects, from old vinyls to old telephones, books, signs, boxes, a treat if you like to hunt!
Go back on your steps and cross the place Saint-Pierre. Continue on rue de la Devise and turn right on rue du Pas-Saint-George.
If you are looking for an original, slightly retro eyewear frame, enter the boutique of the eyewear maker Histoire d’Y voir. The store of the eyewear manufacturer Pierre Duhard (at n°6 rue du Pas-Saint-George) displays his unique and original frames in a vintage decor, the old windows of the Natural History Museum of the Public Garden of Bordeaux, where you can admire rare glasses from all over the world. Pierre Duhard invites you on a real journey through time with his glasses “from new French and American stocks from the 1930s to the 1970s” (http://www.histoire-dy-voir.com/).
And that’s it, our tour ends. To go back to the hotel, the Best Western Premier HBEO, you can take the rue de la Devise for 100m, then turn right into the rue des Piliers de Tutelle to the Cours du Chapeau-Rouge, where you’ll recognize the Opera House and thus, the proximity of your hotel, a little further up the cours de l’Intendance 🙂