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Pedestrian Rue Sainte-Catherine in Bordeaux, France?

This street in Bordeaux, Rue Sainte-Catherine, was pedestrianized in 1984, so this summer is their 40th anniversary.

I see claims that it is the longest pedestrian street in Europe, well worth strolling and window-licking,
but on google streetview I also see that there is more than one McD, a Burger King, and an Apple Store -- plus local chains like Brioche D'oree.

So, is this promenade really a good way to spend some strolling time, or is it mostly a tourist trap?

What are your favorite pedestrian streets to wander in the region, or in the country more generally?

Bonus points for anyone who has a lodging recommendation that has little or no vehicle noise.

Posted by
6082 posts

We visited the area post COVID in 2022 as part of a larger trip. We found the city of Bordeaux very enjoyable, as well as the region. We did walk on parts of the Rue Sainte-Catherine. I didn't find the street any more touristy than any other. We did enjoy walking along the river and the public garden and did a few walking tours I found in guidebooks.

Posted by
283 posts

Rue Ste Catherine is quite touristy and can be very crowded. However, I still take visitors every time and there are some shops I like to pop in to on the street. There are other areas/streets (like Rue des Ayres or the Chartrons neighborhood) where I prefer to shop but I still enjoy a bit of a stroll down the street.

Posted by
14247 posts

"I also wonder how the COVID changes have effected this street, too."

I was in Bordeaux in Fall 2021 when France was welcoming international visitors again. At that time you still needed the Pass Sanitaire. Judging from the amount of people along this street, Covid did not affect it except in the numbers that could visit.

I'm not a shopper so I preferred the riverside promenade and the views from there. I thought the gardens were very nice, the mirror pool was lovely when it had water in it and was particularly interested in seeing the statue of Modeste Testas, an enslaved Ethiopian woman brought to Bordeaux and then sent to Haiti. One of her descendants was a president of Haiti.

I also enjoyed the Museum of the Aquitaine and the Cathedral where Alienor d'Aquitaine was married although there is only one wall in the nave existing from that era.

I stayed in Best Western Bayonne Etche-Ona. I was in the annex building that faces Rue Mautrec and had little vehicle noise. I did have the window open some of the time but was facing into a courtyard of surrounding buildings. As usual in European cities I could hear some sirens but generally I think the vehicle access to the city center area is controlled. I think the taxi driver had to push some kind of button to make the bollards go down so he could get thru.