In spite of the fact that there are still no Starbucks coffee shops in Bordeaux ( although this will change in early 2014 ), in recent year...

The shop fronts of Bordeaux

In spite of the fact that there are still no Starbucks coffee shops in Bordeaux (although this will change in early 2014), in recent years much of the city has inevitably become a standardised succession of the brand names that are ever-present on high streets throughout France and around the world. 

But in amongst the Apples and Oranges, Fnacs, Etams, Body Shops and Subways, a number of timelessly independent outlets continue to hold out against the onslaught! Scroll on down as we view a handful of examples of the kinds of elegant and charming shop fronts that can still be seen throughout the city. Let’s enjoy them while we can!

Our first stop is stamp collectors' haunt Art et Philatélie, on the corner of Rue de la Porte-Dijeaux and Place Puy-Paulin.

 
The shop has been here for more than 150 years and, as well as dealing in stamps, boasts a fine stock of coins, old written correspondence, postcards, phone cards and champagne "muselets", the little metal caps that are clamped onto the top of champagne corks. Further information on the shop's website: www.art-philatelie.fr [Find it]

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The vintage shop front of the Laffargue haberdashery can be seen on Rue des Remparts. According to informed opinion on various online forums, the shop is a popular draw for sewing and knitting enthusiasts of all generations. From what I can make out Laffargue stock rolls of material and reels of cotton and wool of just about every colour, shape, thickness and design, a wide range of zips and buttons, and enough patterns, thimbles and needles to make you want to take up knitting the minute you step inside the shop. Enter therefore at your peril!... [Find it]

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The Verdeun toy and scale model shop recently featured in the Invisible Bordeaux item about the Galerie Bordelaise. It is arguably the most timeless of the thirteen trade units in the arcade and features both an arcade-side entrance and this quaint roadside shop front with its host of miniature trains, planes and automobiles. The shop was founded in 1948 by Maurice Verdeun, a successful track cyclist who won a world championship title in 1950! His sons Bruno and Frédéric now run the shop. [Find it]

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OK, OK, as authentic and old-school as this one looks, Le Comptoir Bordelais is in fact a fairly recent addition to the shopping landscape in Bordeaux and is therefore very much the odd one out in this selection. The Rue des Piliers de Tutelle shop was founded by one Pierre Baudry less than five years ago and is Baudry's second such venture (his first shop was the similarly-themed Le Comptoir Arcachonnais in Arcachon). Both épiceries sell quality foodstuffs from the area and beyond. Products include wine, apéritifs, charcuterie and miscellaneous sweet and savoury delicacies. [Find it]

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À l'Art Nouveau is a small independent printers on Rue Bouffard. They specialise in signage, name plates, rubber stamps, letterheads, engraving (such as on medals and trophies) and "faire-part" cards (wedding invites, birth and indeed death announcements, etc.). I think I'll go there the next time I need to get some keys cut, if only to see what it looks (and smells) like on the inside! Website: www.imprimerie-gravure-bordeaux.fr [Find it]
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Unbelievably, Au Carnaval has been supplying festive outfits and accessories to the good people of Bordeaux since the 1930s! Behind its colourful mosaic façade items for sale include all sorts of novelty wigs, masks, face paint and enough streamers, sparklers and fireworks to make any party go off with a bang. Pranksters can also purchase essential equipment for their practical jokes. The store also organises face-painting and balloon art and sculpting workshops. It all feels a million miles away from the genteel and cultured environment of the Musée d'Aquitaine, which just happens to be next door... [Find it]

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For obvious reasons, you could be forgiven for thinking this is a traditional French charcuterie, supplying miscellaneous deli meats to the masses on Rue Camille Sauvageau. But all that remains of the 1930s-built charcuterie is the name and the intricate mosaic façade. The place is in fact a record shop that stocks thousands of vinyl singles and albums (and displays some fine vintage record players in its window). Regarded by some as the "caverne d'Ali Baba du disque", La Charcuterie was converted into a record shop by owner Luc Magnan in 2006. The full story can be found on the Saint Mich' blog here: www.saintmich.fr/?p=1542 [Find it]

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This is number 5, Boulevard Antoine Gautier, not far from Chartreuse Cemetery. It goes by the name of "Verseau Couture" and is in fact the workshop of Marie-Christine ("Cris") Dartigalongue, an "artisan d'art" who excels in knitting, sewing and sculpture. The colourful wood panels partly obscure some of her creations which do indeed seem very woolly. There also appears to be a cardboard cut-out of a power drill in amongst the clothes and pictures. Art, eh? [Find it]

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