boIn France there is no such thing as Boxing Day sales. Instead, everyone saves up their pennies for the second week of January. It’s then that the national sales begin. Bordeaux is home to Rue Sainte-Cathérine, a pedestrian shopping street that is 1,250 metres long. The photo below is from the first day of last year’s winter sales, but it was just as crowded this year. It was amazing, as the day before the street was mostly people free!
Most of the shops are modern, but the facades of the buildings often remain built of stone. Some are very old buildings, with only the interiors having been changed. For example La Galerie Borderlaise (pictured below) houses a few boutiques yet retains its very old exterior. Even McDonald’s blends into the surroundings- you can see it in the picture on the left.
There were some really pretty things to see in the shops, as well as things which seemed a little more everyday. I loved the tiny pairs of children’s shoes (the red ones reminded me very much of Dorothy’s ruby slippers- useful if I ever need to wish myself home). I also took a photo of a beautiful book ‘The Castle of Pianos’ which is entirely told through black and white drawings (a nice easy read for me, but not very helpful when it comes to improving my French).
I didn’t just leave it at window shopping though. I bought a new pair of jeans (necessary) and two nice jumpers (useful- I’ve worn them most days since). I also visited one of the largest book stores I’ve ever seen, Librarie Mollat. It probably felt twice as large due to the fact that nearly every book was in French, and so it seemed much more overwhelming. I bought myself two little keepsakes while I was there: ‘100 Recipes for Quiches, Tartes and Tartins’ and ‘The Important Dates in French History’. I don’t know how much of the second I’ll end up reading (or be able to remember) but the cookbook will definitely be put to good use. It was nice to do some shopping as it presented a great opportunity for a chat over the counter- although with so many people in the queues, they were often very brief little conversations.