Shopping in Bordeaux

If you come to Bordeaux, make sure you do all of your shopping early. I really had a hard time getting used to how early everything closes. All of the Grocery stores close no later than 10pm and most aren’t open on Sundays, except for a few which close by 1pm. The retail stores close by 8pm or earlier every night. Whatever you do, do not get hungry late at night. I have only found one place to be open past midnight that serves food and it is called Royale. It is located just to the east of Place de la Victoire on Cours de la Marne. It’s not like in the US where you have many 24 hour fast food restaurants and some 24 hour grocery stores as well. You can sometimes find an epicerie, which is same as a corner store, that’s open on Sundays and sometimes find one open late but they are few and far between.
Another thing that I had to get used to, was how specialized all of the stores are. Your neighborhood markets only stock, food, alcohol, toiletries, and kitchen and bathroom supplies. You can get bread in the market but if you want fresh, good, real French bread you have to go to the boulangerie. A boulangerie is literally a bakery, but they specialize in bread, bread, more bread, and a few pastries and sandwiches as well. You can also find pastries and chocolate at the market, but they will not be as good as the ones from the patisserie or the chocolaterie. For those of you who smoke, you can only buy cigarettes at specialty shops/cafes called Tabac stores and they are not open on Sunday, so plan ahead. Tabac stores have red diamond shaped signs and they also sell lottery tickets, stamps, newspapers, and metro tickets.
There are exceptions to many rules, and Auchan is the French exception. Auchan is similar to a Target or maybe even Walmart. They have almost everything except otc medicine, Tabaco, and maybe one or two other things I’m forgetting. There is an Auchan in downtown Bordeaux near the Meriadeck stop of Tram line A. Auchan and a few other markets don’t provide free disposable bags for your groceries. You have to bring your own bags to these markets, or buy the reusable grocery bags that the store sells.
If you have a cough or maybe an upset stomach you cannot go down to the market for cough syrup or Pepto. You have to go to the Pharmacie for anything related to medicine, and be prepared because it seems that they are ALWAYS busy!

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