Chartrons is a chic neighborhood in Bordeaux, located in the north part of the city right after Place des Quinconces. It developed in the 17th century when Flemish, Irish, and German wine traders (négociants) settled beyond the walls of old Bordeaux to export wines to their home countries. So it was basically the “expats” neighborhood of the time. They have built beautiful houses along the riverfront with long warehouses on the first floor where they would store the barrels and bottles of wine before sending them by ship to other countries in Europe.
By the time Chartrons became officially part of Bordeaux in the 19th century, it had already become a flourishing and lively neighborhood. It was a hip bourgeois district attracting many artists, craftsmen, and sailors. The “place to be” of the 19th century if you want 🙂
While it lost some of its glory during the 20th century, in the last two decades it was revived into a chic neighborhood with plenty of boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants, and museums giving new life to the old warehouses. Today it’s one of the more posh and cool neighborhoods of Bordeaux and you can easily spend a day here when visiting the city. To help you discover it like a local I wrote a list of all the places you should visit and things you can do in the Chartrons district.
If you want to learn about other neighborhoods in Bordeaux you can also check my guide to the Saint Michel district and my article about things to do in the Bacalan neighborhood. Now let’s discover the chic district of Bordeaux, Chartrons!
Stroll rue des Notre dame – the main street of Chartrons
Chartrons is one of the biggest districts of Bordeaux, but there’s only one street that represents the heart and soul of this neighborhood, Rue Notre Dame. It’s one of the most beautiful streets in Bordeaux with tiny balconies decorated with planters full of colorful flowers. Plenty of coffee places, trendy boutiques, and antique shops can be found all along the posh street. You can spend several hours here admiring the beautiful architecture, shopping, and trying great pastries.
If you’re a foodie, a visit to this part of Bordeaux should be on your list. You can take this fun Chartrons food tour to help you discover some of its gastronomic secrets, or just take the day to stroll the narrow streets and try to find them yourself :). Rue Notre Dame and other gastronomic parts of Bordeaux can be found in my article about the foodie streets of Bordeaux.
Discover some of the best pastries in Chartrons
Chartrons is home to some of the best boulangeries and patisseries in the city. On rue Notre Dame you can find P’tite Boulangerie (Notre-Dame62 Rue Notre Dame), one of the best bakeries in Bordeaux. Continue South on the main street and you’ll find the cutest pastry shop of Chartrons, Micheline et Paulette (21 Rue Notre Dame). In other parts of Chartrons, you can find Maison Boileau (11 Rue Camille Godard), which won the Meilleure boulangerie de France award (best bakery in France) in 2019 in a very popular TV show. Chartron even has the oldest bakery in the city (but more about that later).
Stop for a good cup of coffee
If you’re a coffee lover, another place you’d want to discover is la Pelle Café (29 Rue Notre Dame). The place is owned by Carlos who roasts his coffee on the spot and is a real advocate for quality coffee. It’s a popular place where both locals and tourists like to stop for a cup of coffee and homemade cakes.
Before you enter, take a moment to look at the beautiful building, which used to be an oriental bath in the 19th century. Another good coffee shop that’s worth a visit is the 4e Vague Café (92 Rue Notre Dame) which makes Hawaiian coffee. You can also stop for a cup of tea (or coffee) at Juliena, a cozy Salon de thé with a nice selection of cakes (15 Rue Notre Dame).
If you want to discover other good coffee places in Bordeaux check out my article about the five coffee places in Bordeaux you don’t want to miss.
One of the best spots for shopping in Bordeaux
Bordeaux can be a fun place for shopping but If you’re looking for something more than big retail stores like Zara or H&M, I highly recommend going to the Chartrons district. Here you can find plenty of chic clothing boutiques, beautiful babywear, and the coolest accessories. Most of the stores are located on rue Notre Dame, here are just a few examples: Do you speak français? (a chic clothing store with a funky name), Nos Minis (the cutest baby wear ever), Coutume store (for anything stylish for your home).
Look for antiques
Remember that I’ve told you that many of the houses on the east side of Chartron (the ones that are close to the river ) were originally warehouses where wine was stored? Well, today many of those warehouses are used as big antique shops. More than ten antique and vintage shops can be found on rue Notre Dame alone and if you take some time to stroll the little streets around it you’ll find plenty of others.
The biggest antique shop is Village Notre Dame (61 rue de Notre Dame) which is situated in an old printing bureau. It’s the first antique shop of Aquitaine and it gathers several professional dealers in one huge store. Most of the antique shops on the main street are quite pricey but there are a few places in Chartrons where you can find some bargains. One example is the big hangar named Broc Alain (58 cours de la Martinique).
Every October Chartrons celebrates wine and antiquities with the lively Fête du Vin nouveau & de la Brocante. If you’re in town I highly recommend going to this event.
Learn about the history of Bordeaux wine at the musée du Vin et du Négoce
The Cité du Vin is Bordeaux’s famous wine museum but in the Chartrons district, there’s another museum dedicated to the wine of Bordeaux. Musée du Vin et du Négoce is a small museum, located in what used to be a typical house of a négociant (wine trader) in the 18th century. It’s not as modern and interactive as the Cité du Vin but it’s the best place to discover the history of the Bordeaux wine region. The visit ends with a wine-tasting session where you get plenty of explanations about the different wine appellations in Bordeaux.
Le Musée du Vin et du Négoce is located in the northern part of Rue Notre Dame (the entrance is from 41 Rue Borie). If you also want to continue to the Cité du Vin which is located close to Chartrons, read my article about my visit there.
Have a picnic in the central park of Bordeaux
Jardin Public, the central park of Bordeaux, is technically not a part of the Chartrons district but one of the entrances is on Course de Verdun, one of the main streets of Chartrons. It’s a beautiful park with vast green lawns, a lake with ducks and geese, and plenty of different facilities for kids. On a hot day, it’s a perfect spot for a picnic, just don’t forget to buy a bottle of wine before heading there 🙂
If you want to discover other perfect spots for picnics go to my article about the best picnic places in Bordeaux.
Discover one of the foodie streets of Bordeaux – Cours Portal
Cours Portal is not a very charming street but it definitely deserves a visit if you’re interested in food. It’s a long street with most of the good boutiques located close to Place du Marché des Chartrons. Here you have several good cheese shops and specialty shops for local products. If you like to make quality coffee at home, check out Café Refuge, a coffee specialty shop. The coffee roaster machinery there is really impressive! Like every foodie street, Cours Portal has its own little patissier, named Taupy (19 Cours Portal). If you’re a foodie, don’t miss this street.
Have a delicious meal in one of the restaurants in Chartrons
Chartrons is one of the most gastronomic spots in the city with dozens of restaurants to try. Many of the good ones are located in the center, on rue Notre Dame, place du marché des Chartrons, or the little streets surrounding it. If you want even nicer scenery go to the quai (river banks), where you can find plenty of good restaurants with tables facing the Garonne River. Mt favorite restaurant in Chartron is located exactly there, it’s called Symbiose on 4 Quai des Chartrons.
Discover the oldest boulangerie in Bordeaux
Au Pétrin Moissagais on 72 Cours de la Martinique is the oldest bakery in Bordeaux, established in 1765. Serge, the baker and owner of the place, is very proud of his Gascognian traditions and still makes the original Gascognian white bread in the 18th-century oven. And yes, it’s the same oven since the opening of the boulangerie (bakery), some 24 years before the French Revolution!
Don’t be shy if you want to take photos of the oven, Serge will happily show you around. The bakery has a completely different look and feel compared to a standard French bakery, it really feels like you’ve gone back in time to the 18th century. Don’t miss a visit there when in the neighborhood.
A visit to this ond bakery and tasting of some of its delicacies is always included in the Chartrons Food Tour.
Visit the local market
There are several food markets taking place in Chartrons on different days of the week. The biggest and most famous market takes place every Sunday morning on Quai des Chartrons. It’s a very popular market with dozens of food stalls selling everything from fresh fruits, cheese, pastries, and oysters.
The market is usually quite busy with both locals and tourists, especially if you come towards noon, but it’s still worth the visit. Besides the fresh local products you can buy at the market, it’s simply a very nice spot to have an early lunch or a plate of oysters with white wine if you want to feel like a local. A much smaller version of that market takes place at the same spot every Thursday morning. During the week you can also go to the covered market on Place des Chartrons, which is open every morning from Tuesday to Saturday.
Visit Church Saint Louis
Eglise Saint Louis is the main church of Chartrons, a gothic-revival church built in the 19th century on the remains of the former chapel of the Chartreux (a religious brotherhood, Chartrons is named after). Tourists often overlook this church in Bordeaux because it’s situated outside the city center. However, it’s worth exploring, particularly for its captivating stained-glass windows. It’s located on rue Notre Dame, so it’ll be hard to miss.
Go to the contemporary art museum
The Contemporary Art Museum of Bordeaux (CAPC) is located right on the southern edge of the neighborhood. The museum is housed in an old wool warehouse where commodities, traded down the river, used to be stored. What makes it special is the combination of modern art with the old architecture of the building. In the permanent collection, there are almost 300 works of art and it regularly hosts temporary exhibitions. I admit that I’m not always a fan of their exhibitions but I think the place in itself is very impressive.
If you’re looking to discover other art venues in Bordeaux, check out my article about the best museums in Bordeaux.
Explore the street art
The street art scene in Bordeaux is blooming! You can find quite a few extraordinary works of local artists on many of Bordeaux’s buildings. Chartrons is one of the most interesting neighborhoods to explore when it comes to street art. There’s even a guided tour dedicated to the street art of Chartrons.
If you’re planning to discover it on your own, let me give you one spot you shouldn’t miss. Le M.U.R (the wall) of Bordeaux (located at 2 Place Paul) is a 35m2 wall where local street artists can express their art. Every month or so a different artist is invited to paint on the wall and you can come and watch them do it live. This event is usually published on their Facebook page, you can check it out here.
Discover the kids’ Science museum of Bordeaux
If you’re looking to occupy your kids in Bordeaux, Cap Science is a great option and it’s located here in the north of Chartrons. This cool kids’ science museum proposes interactive exhibitions and activities all dedicated to different aspects of science. The museum is located at Hangar 20, Quai de Bacalan.
For other stuff to do with kids in Bordeaux check out my list of 30 things to do with kids in Bordeaux.
Wave Surf Café
Another cool place in Bordeaux for both kids and adults is the Wave Surf Café, the first coffee shop where you can also surf! The Big artificial wave in the middle of the coffee shop imitates the ocean waves and allows you to feel like a professional surfer in the city center. If you’re in Bordeaux for just a few days and have no time to go to the ocean, this can replace your surfing experience (although real surfers will probably disagree with me here 🙂 ). For more details click here.
For all of you wannabe singers, Chartrons has recently welcomed the biggest Karaoke bar in town, called BAM Karaoke Box. The bar offers private Karaoke rooms for 6 to 15 people for blocks of two hours. The place is designed in a central American style with every room having a different theme. If you’re a group of friends this could be a fun way to finish your day in the Chartrons neighborhood. For more details click here.
Shop in the Hangars – Quai des Marques
If you’re really craving more shopping there’s another place in Chartrons you can go to. Les Hangars on the promenade are old warehouses converted into a shopping center with plenty of boutiques and restaurants. It’s not my favorite spot to eat but sometimes when the weather is really good I do sit there for lunch as the view on the river is just stunning. The center is called Quai des Marques and it’s located at 15-19 Quai des Chartrons.
Check out what’s happening in Hangar 14
To the north of the shopping center, you will find Hangar 14 – a venue that frequently hosts different events like wine fairs, creators’ markets, and more. I usually publish these events in my newsletter but if you’re passing by, don’t hesitate to take a sneak peek to see if anything is interesting going on.
There are plenty of cool bars and boutiques in Chartrons so I could continue talking about it all day long but I think I’ve intrigued you enough to make you go and visit this chic neighborhood. Hope I helped you discover some hidden spots in Bordeaux that you didn’t know about :).
You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via Lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:
*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂