Postcard from Bordeaux, France: In the city’s belly

Above, “breakfast” platters of seafood at Chez Jean-Mi

Marche des Capucins is the city’s oldest public marketplace, meriting the moniker of the “Belly of Bordeaux.” The abundance and quality of its seafood, produce and cheese stalls inspired numerous chefs to open booths there in the past decade, but, while we were in Bordeaux, COVID and August vacations temporarily pared down their numbers.

Seafood remains prominent. The most renown platters are found at Chez Jean-Mi. One has to arrive early because it both gets crowded and closes before 2 p.m. most days. This forces many a foodie-pilgrim to venture forth for raw oysters for breakfast. As wonderful as a succulent raw oyster can be, I just couldn’t talk myself into eating it first thing, and there definitely was no room at the counter by lunch time.

So we “settled” instead on huge pots of fresh mussels with crispy frites on the side from Bistro Poulette. The lids are removed tableside, releasing clouds of steam, steam that meant a hungry photographer did not get a respectable image of the contents.

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