For many people who have visited Bordeaux in France, a classic Bordeaux experience is spending one Saturday morning slurping oysters and white wine from one of the seafood stands found at Marché des Capucins. This is the market place in Bordeaux where you can find the freshest ingredients you need for your daily cooking. This is where you can find the freshest produce, most flavorful cheeses and finest cuts of meat, not to forget, the most delectable fresh seafood array.
History of Marché des Capucins
The market was named from the congregation of religious mendicants founded in 1525 in Spoleto, Italy and related to the order of St. Francis. The Capucins who are associated with the brown dress with a pointed hood strived to evangelize the world upon their arrival in Bordeaux and aim to transform the area of debauchery into gardens and terraces.
On October 2, 1749, the first weekly market was held at the urging of the Marquis de Tourny who did most of the major work in the area. In 1797, cattle were sold once a week until it gradually became weekly. Until 1857, the Place des Capucins market which is filled with food and cattle, craftsmen set foot and began the first family business passed down from one generation to the expertise of roofers, carpenters, blacksmiths, shoemakers, herbalists, weavers, etc.
Later on, gardeners from nearby Macau came with their artichokes, Eysines, potatoes and watercress from Copenhagen and tomatoes and other fruits contained in carts pulled by horses. The Capuchins took the first place in Bordeaux market especially right after the concept of auction sale has been introduced, with the objective of regulating the activity and avoiding disagreements between traders.
In 1863 the city of Bordeaux launched the market halls but it was after the Paris Exposition in 1878 that the city’s remains of the metal structures were used to build two houses on each side of the square. In 1881, the market is connected by a large gallery of iron and glass where you will see the horse-drawn collections between the two halls.
The construction of the Hall of the Capucins symbolized the great Bordeaux market full of activities in the streets and neighborhood areas. The market became Capucins from the late 19th century until the early 1970s when it became a meeting and exchange place, a venue to speak for the inhabited spirit of this particular village district in which traders are proud to work and live. Later it earned the title, “The Belly of Bordeaux”.
A new distribution system, which creates “markets of national interest” aimed to streamline the influx of wholesalers around cities and create market information center, were established and implemented. Bordeaux happens to be the first city to implement this difficult reform.
With the advent of supermarkets in the late sixties and the changing lifestyles that began in the 70s caused the market to suffer a decline in business despite new works being undertaken by the municipality in 1975 with additional parking facilities. In 1985, refrigerated display, new storage and lab facilities for meat and fish wholesalers were added to the market.
In 1999, a major rehabilitation and transformation of Hall A was undertaken. Hall A now has an aisle with a canopy. Islands are created with the arrival of water and electricity. The park which is located at the top of Hall A was also improved with new ramps and lifts.