From here on the Monopoly stops were coming thick and fast: the affluent Triangle d’Or (the most expensive blue-set property on the board, at 400 Monopoly dollars, or M's), the public transport hub and square that is Place Gambetta (M240), the wide walkway of Cours du Chapeau-Rouge (M260) where a few artists were displaying and selling their pictures, and Place de la Bourse (M320) which, at the time I was there, was still virtually deserted.
|Clockwise from top left: Place des Grands-Hommes, Place Gambetta, Place de la Bourse and Cours du Chapeau-Rouge. Place des Grands-Hommes is at the heart of the Triangle d'Or. Note: this is not the "Place" that Patrick Bruel sang about in his 1991 hit single. His Place des Grands-Hommes is located in Paris!|
The time had come for a ride along at least a short stretch of Rue Sainte-Catherine (valued at M180 on the Monopoly board), the shopping nerve centre of Bordeaux which, early on a Sunday morning, is like a rather long, sloping bowling alley. When stopping to take a photo of the mass of corporate logos dotted along the walls, I had a clear view back up towards Place de la Comédie and down to Place de la Victoire. If you’re familiar with the street when it is crowded with shoppers, you’ll appreciate what a luxury this was.
The pedestrian shopping street took me from the elegant quarters to the edgier, livelier pink-set Monopoly properties, starting with Cours Victor-Hugo (M140) and the spaghetti junction of Place Bir Hakeim, near Porte de Bourgogne, which is notoriously dangerous for cyclists (one was involved in a deadly crash earlier this year). I made it across in one piece and over the Pont de Pierre to Place Stalingrad, taking a brand new photo of Xavier Veilhan’s 2005 blue lion statue, which has rapidly become a symbol of the surrounding Bastide quarter (available for M140, the district on the Monopoly board that is, not the statue...). This was to be my sole stop on the right bank of the Garonne and a frustratingly short one – the district is fascinating, and well worthy of a standalone walking tour such as the one you will find by clicking here!
Back on the left bank, I circumnavigated the buzzing riverside flea market and made my way up to Place Saint-Michel (M100) which is currently in the midst of a radical overhaul. Much of the square is in the process of being dug up and re-paved, and moving around is far from simple; at one stage I had no choice other than to dismount and haul my bicycle up some steps. It was either that or cycle the wrong way down a one-way street. Having survived the Porte de Bourgogne junction, I wasn’t going to tempt fate here!
Slipping back down to the waterfront, I was now aiming for one of the lesser-known jewels in the Bordeaux crown, the Sainte-Croix district (M160), another of the trendy pink-set properties on the Monopoly board. The history of the church which has given the district its name can be traced back to the 11th century. Although slightly off the beaten track of the traditional visitors’ trail, a number of tourists were there (it was now mid-morning), taking photographs of the church’s spectacular façade and venturing inside for the full-on experience.
And, once again, that is where we will leave the Bordeaux Monopoly trail for now, with the final part of the challenge coming up in my next post. Where to next and, most importantly, will I make it home in time for lunch?... Click here to find out!
You can also enjoy a video version of the adventure here: