The Other Bordeaux

Freedom is in the air! Over the last ten years, Bordeaux has seen a variety of alternative and “underground” projects emerge in abandoned areas of the city. Fresh activity gradually resumes, welcoming creative people from all walks of life. Musicians, graffiti artists, sculptors, designers, painters.


Doing more with less. This is the essence of the Darwin Ecosystem, that aims to offer a model for an ideal city based on a green economy. This former military barracks on the right bank now consists of an urban farm, skateparks, an open-air gallery for graffiti artists from all over the world, Le Magasin Général with an organic grocery store and the largest organic restaurant in France, co-working spaces, and a cycle-polo court… And every first Sunday of the month, the barracks hosts a gathering of classic cars. With more than 500,000 visitors a year it is one of the most popular sites in Bordeaux.

In the heart of the Bastide district, La Chiffone Rit is an association of around forty artists, installed in a former garage that has been restored and transformed into seven workspaces with a metalwork shop, a rehearsal studio and a community bar. Many of the workshops and events are open to the public.

On the other side of the Chaban-Delmas bridge, Les Vivres de l’Art is an artist’s workshop that has been set up in the former Naval supplies stores, which hosts exhibitions, concerts, festivals, and artists in residence. Orchestrated by the sculptor Jean-Francois Buisson, the site is also home to the PIP “collaborative brewery” (which stands for Pression Imparfaitement Parfaite – “Perfectly Imperfect Draught Beer”).


Street art has been flourishing on Bordeaux’s walls for about twenty years, with some local artists, such as Alber or Benjamin «Zarb» Serrano from the Fullcolor collective, gaining international renown. In the Chartrons district, M.U.R, organized by the Pôle Magnetic collective, creates ephemeral murals. Cultural centres, such as the COX Gallery, host street art exhibitions.

The latest edition of the ShakeWell international graffiti festival brought together 120 artists who were able to give full reign to their creative powers during the three-day event.


Thanks to the young generation that has followed in the footsteps of Noir Désir, Bordeaux has been and remains a leader in the world of contemporary rock music, providing fertile soil for Bordeaux electro, rap, hip-hop, and pop-folk artists such as Datcha Mandala (rock), I Am Stramgram (pop-rock), Bengal (electro-pop), Darius (house), Eiffel (rock), Tample (pop-rock), Smokey Joe & The Kid (electro-hip-hop), Odezenne (hip-hop-rap), Feyçal (rap), and JC Satan (metal).

Boosted by a lively community association culture and dynamic labels (such as Allez les Filles and Banzaï Lab), new bands are nourished by city festivals like Bordeaux Rock, Tremplin des 2 rives, Relache, Ocean Climax, Vibrations Urbaines and ODP in Talence.

Many events dedicated to the electronic scene such as the Hors-Bord Festival, Bordeaux Open Air, and Kamikaze Week, help to strengthen this musical diversity.

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