A couple of weeks ago I was taking a leisurely stroll around downtown Bordeaux on a postcard hunt. I’ve developed an obsession for postcards and I wanted to find some interesting ones to collect as well as to send to friends. Anyway, this post isn’t about postcards. Rather, it’s about what I discovered during my walk.
The hunt REALLY began when I made a random turn into a narrow street nearby Place de la Bourse, which opened up an entire world of little shops intertwined in hidden alleyways and corners in the St.Pierre area of Bordeaux. It’s amazing (and a shame) that I never discovered these places before…! Away from your typical Ste.Catherine where all the big brands are, here near St.Pierre is where you’d find antique stores, card stores, book stores, music stores, accesories stores…scattered around like treasures to be dug. One of them in particular caught my attention…
Au Dénicheur, situated at 12 Rue de la Cour des Aides in Bordeaux (right next to the St.Pierre cathedral, tram stations Place de la Bourse on line C and Place du Palais on line A), looked like an old, shabby bar on the side of an inconspicuous street. The first time I passed by, I didn’t give it much thought, but something made me stop and turn back 5 seconds later. Maybe it was the sign with the neon lighting, maybe it was the aura of mystery…I don’t know. I peeked inside and decided to enter for a closer look…
…and what I saw really shocked me. Instead of looking like a bar or even a regular store, the tiny enclosure looked like someone’s basement buried in abandoned treasures from all eras. The walls were lined with shelves of books, figurines, and old paraphernalia of all types, without any empty space. I was completely intrigued and continued to venture deeper.
One of the shelves contained vehicle-related objects including figurines of bikers (I assume this corresponds to the Tour de France) and old toy cars. I wonder if these belonged to the owner of the shop who collected them as a child. It really felt more like a museum than a store…or someone’s private collection hall, or a mixture of all of the above. And…I loved that.
Tintin and Asterix are popular in Belgium, and I wasn’t surprised that they’re big in France as well. And here’s a whole shelf dedicated to comic books and figurines! I know a certain someone who would definitely enjoy browsing this section, especially with all the Tintin and Asterix-related items 😉
More shelves…this one containing little bottles of perfume and an assortment of key chains. The items seem so delicate yet so authentic with personality. It was as if each item really WAS a treasure of its owner once upon a time.
Here we reach the back of the store and things get even more interesting. This part of the store was so crowded with items that it was a big difficult to get around. You’d have to be careful not to knock anything out of place. Another surprising thing was that the store wasn’t unvisited – on the contrary, there were a lot of people browsing around when I was there, and more people kept coming in! There was quite the traffic in the little space – seems like the place already has a mini-fanbase 😉
Coats, a life saver, lamps, paintings…does it get any more mixed than this??? I actually wondered if this was really just a museum instead of a shop, and the items were meant for display only and not for sale. But then I actually bought something…so it’s gotta be just a store??? Heck of a collection though, I felt like if I tried really hard and looked deep enough, I could find ANYTHING…
More Tintin stuff 😉 SF, are you reading this? Come to Bordeaux and visit this shop, you’ll surely find it quite amusing and I’m sure you’ll unexpected discover something that you like!
The other thing I noticed were the closed drawers that were in every corner of the store. You could open them and…well, you never know what you’d find until you open them! Then you could dig through old CDs, newspapers, notebooks (my favourite), posters, postcards…seriously, everything! The more I browsed, the more I felt like I was in the Harry Potter world and this was definitely a shop on Diagon Alley. No, I am not dreaming. It’s just THAT magical.
I see Mr.Nikon 😉 And an old clock. And the Michelin tire guy riding a motorcycle on a house on a row of old books. My visit ends here. I was so mesmerized that I think I could have spent a whole afternoon here, but I had to continue my hunt for postcards…
…but of course, I wouldn’t leave without picking up a piece of treasure of my own. As mentioned before, I did make a purchase. If you know me well enough, you’d know that I LOVE (obsessively) Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I also love notebooks, the paper kind, that is. So when I saw a Petit Prince notebook in the store, it was love at first sight. NOT getting it didn’t even cross my mind – and it only cost 3 Euros! What a deal!
So to end this post, I highly recommend anyone visiting Bordeaux to check out Au Dénicheur and embark on a treasure hunt. There is something for everyone, and even if you don’t purchase anything, just the brief experience of browsing through a museum/antique shop/private basement/retro collection gallery is worth the time. Also take some time to get away from the big clothing shops and go wander through the streets in the St.Pierre area. Another world awaits!