Bordeaux, if you please
A France transplant reveals the hidden gems in the Bordeaux lesbian scene.
I don’t know about you, but one of the things that I like to do when landing in a new town is to check out the lesbian/gay-friendly bars. Sometimes, trying to locate the lesbian bars in a new area is equivalent to trying to find a needle in a haystack. Of course many of the major cities have the token “once a week” girl party at a gay bar; however, in order to find the hidden gems in the lesbian scene, you have to get out there, ask the locals and comb the city. Here, in Bordeaux I have done just that.
Bordeaux, France is quickly expanding its tourist industry in response to the growing market. The Aquatine Region is blessed with perfect grape growing conditions, which results in some of the finest wines in the world. Many visitors flock to Bordeaux in search of great wine, gourmet foods, historical monuments and the budding art and music scene. The once neglected wet docks is quickly becoming home to many new cafes, bars and parks and when walking along the waterfront you can witness the beautiful diversity of the people and of the city itself.
One of the great characteristics of Bordeaux is that it tends to be a relaxed and tolerant city. That being said, I have found some of the best places (yes, I am being subjective) for lesbians to gather and have a drink or two.
If you find yourself lost in the cobblestone streets, hopefully you will stumble upon the Pharmacie De Garde (PDG), located at 28 Rue Ste Colombe. During the spring and summer months the outdoor seating area is bustling with locals sipping on the best mojitos in town. The ambiance is perfect for both late afternoon and early evening gatherings and you will be sure to feel relaxed and free to be your homo-self. Truly, this is one of my favorite places to go, as I find the bartenders to be the kindest and the most beautiful in all of Bordeaux.
Located down the street from the PDG and across the tramway tracks, situated in Place Saint-Pierre, you will find a small modern bar/cafe called the Cafecito. This is a perfect place to grab a drink before going out for the evening. The seating area, both inside and outside of the bar, is fairly small; however, the atmosphere is so relaxed that you can order your drink and carry it to the square located next to the Eglise Saint-Pierre. At night you can hear the eclectic music billowing from the bar to the square, which makes for a perfect place to meet with friends and/or to make new friends.
If you spend the day sightseeing in the city, chances are you will see the colorful I.Boat posters hanging in multiple cafes, bars and shops. This is one of the coolest bars/restaurants in Bordeaux as it is, just as the name suggests, located on a boat at Bassin à flot n°1 Quai Armand Lalande. You can eat dinner on the top floor of the triple-decker boat and after dinner you can take a drink in either the main or bottom floor bar area. The bottom level contains a large dance floor and a stage that hosts DJ’s from all over Europe. One of the great things about the I.Boat is that it is embarking on hosting gay-friendly parties throughout the year. Oh yes, and if you find yourself lost on the Boat at 2am on the weekend, don’t worry; the doors stay open until 4am.Yikes!
If you are not into the bar scene, a favorite place to go is the pier along the Garonne River. You will find tourists and locals alike playing on the Water Mirror, sitting in the cafes situated along the river and gathering at the skate park to watch the skateboarders and BMX’ers perform amazing feats. There is a diverse group of people that inhabit this long stretched area and this is another place where holding your girlfriend’s hand is accepted. Here, you can spend hours gazing at the flowing river while watching people actively pass you by on rollerblades, skateboards and bicycles.
So, if you ever find yourself in Bordeaux, grab one of its finest wines and sit in one of the grassy parks along the Garonne River to picnic before going out for the evening. And one thing to remember while you are here: it’s a safe place to practice your French.
splash image: shadowcook.com