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Exotic flavours and lively nights: the secret Bordeaux of Pauline Masgnaux

She knows precisely where to find the best cheesecake, and where to sniff out new furniture. Pauline Masgnaux, author of “Aimer Bordeaux (Love Bordeaux)”, is here to show you her city… and to make your mouth water.

Enjoy every moment

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We like the good life in Bordeaux, and we make sure we savour every moment. On Saturdays, I like to go for a stroll in the oldest part of the city, around the Rue Neuve, which is also home to Bordeaux’s oldest house, built in the 14th century! Today, the local area is brimming with little independent boutiques like Apache jewellery and Rayon Frais, the streetwear store. My jaunt always tends to end up around Place Fernand Lafargue.

Faraway flavours

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If you’re a fan of exotic flavours, you’ll have your plate full! Umami for ramen, Épicerie Bordelaise for bobùn (and make sure you also order the cheesecake: it’s the best in Bordeaux), Santosha for traditional Thai fare out on the terrace… Not to mention Café Kokomo and its all-day brunch with a Californian vibe!

Then it’s time to digest all of that in Darwin, an alternative space that is home to an organic shop, environmentally conscious start-ups, and green boutiques. If you don’t have that much energy (Darwin is a long way from the nearest public transport, so it’s a walk or bike ride to get there), you can always take the BatCub at Quinquonces. For the same price as a tram ticket, you can cross the Garonne by boat, over to its right bank.

At the end of a hard day’s chilling at Darwin, I often go and watch the sunset at the Guinguette chez Alricq open-air bar, an unpretentious summer spot with great views of the city. There’s time for a few tapas before catching the eclectic concerts that run all summer.

Something for every taste

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On Sunday, every self-respecting Bordelais heads to the Saint-Michel neighbourhood! While the flea market is still on in the square, you can also go digging around vintage stores like Le Passage Saint-Michel.

A bit further away, the Capucins market is the obvious choice for bon vivants: late-night revellers can enjoy a steak from 5am, but the restaurants around the market are also perfect for time with family and friends. For dessert, I can never say no to the pastries at Michel Mabelle, a cosy coffee shop cosy hidden away in the area: they make what are clearly the best cakes in Bordeaux!

When the sky turns pink at the end of the day, as it often does in Bordeaux, I also like to walk from square to square, and head out to meet my friends: my favourite is the Place du Palais, but Place Camille Julian and Place Eglise Saint-Pierre are also the perfect places to sip on a lemonade. Trust me, the Sleeping Beauty is wide awake and has no end of surprises in store over the next few years!

Places to go

Rayon Frais for its trendy streetwear: rue Saint-James
Michel Mabelle for the delicious cakes: 33 rue Gaspard Philippe
Darwin for its green boutiques: 87 quai des Queyries
Passage Saint-Michel for vintage pieces: 14 place Canteloup

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