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Bacalan is a northern district of Bordeaux, an area that, until recently, has largely been avoided by tourists and locals.  The grungy landscapes of the port and its distance from the city center aren’t as appealing as the beautiful architecture and lovely squares of the historic center of Bordeaux. In the last few years, however, the Bacalan district has been changing its face, emerging to be one of the most interesting places in Bordeaux, with plenty of new neighborhoods and places to explore.

Smart planning transformed the otherwise unsavory port characteristics of the neighborhood into pleasant features. The gigantic hangars, the boats and the unusual infrastructure turned into places of emerging arts, music, food and leisure, transforming the neighborhood into one of the most intriguing places in Bordeaux. So if you haven’t yet had the chance to visit this amazing neighborhood or you feel there’s not much there for you to do, let me prove you wrong. From street art, to wine, whiskey and live music, here is the list of the best things you can do and see in Bacalan:

La Cité du Vin

la cite du vin in Bordeaux

La cité du vin is a “must” place for any wine lover but can be very interesting and enjoyable for people who don’t drink at all. This impressive piece of modern architecture is a one of a kind cultural center, all dedicated to discovering the wine world. Through its interactive exhibition, It offers a journey to both French and global wine history. You will learn about wine making, see movies and interviews with wine producers and then pass on to smell and taste wine. The cite du vin allows you to discover a selection of wines from all over the world and offers one of the best panoramic views of Bordeaux.

Address: 134 – 150 Quai de Bacalan, 33300 Bordeaux
Opening hours: weekdays from 10am to 6pm, weekends and holidays 10am to 7pm
For more info check out the website of cite du Vin

Have a drink or a snack at les Halles des Bacalan

marche de bacalan in Bordeaux

This fancy food market opened its gates on November 2017 and has been visited by more than 60,000 people in the first month. It’s no surprise, as Bordeaux is well known for its gourmand population. This impressive 950m2 hangar is located just in front of the famous Cité du vin and hosts 23 different artisans and traders that were chosen for the quality of their products (85% of which are produced in the South-West region of France). Now, when all of this food is accompanied by several bars, you are guaranteed to have a good time.

Opening hours:  from Tuesday to Friday 8:00 – 14:30 and 16:30-20:30, Saturday 8:00- 22:00 and Sunday 8:00-17:00
Address: 149 Quai de Bacalan, 33300 Bordeaux

Les Vivre de l’art – emerging arts and impressive sculptures 

les vivres d'art - art and music events

Les vivres de l’art is one of the most fascinating arts projects in Bordeaux. Located just a few steps from the cité du vin, in an architectural historic monument called les Vivres de la Marine. Iron sculptures made by the artist Jean-François Buisson (which works there since 2003) adorn the place and give it its creative characteristic. Since 2008 it has become an artistic association, holding cultural events, workshops, vintage sales, music festivals, exhibitions, and more. This is one place in the neighborhood you don’t want to miss, even just for a sneak peak of the beautiful and creative sculptures which can be seen from the road.

Opening hours: open daily from Monday to Friday 10:00 to 12:30 and from 14:00 to 18:00, and usually hosts different events during the weekend (consult the program on their site).
Address: Les Vivres de l’Art – Place Victor Raulin – 1 rue Achard – 33300 Bordeaux
For more info check out the website of Les Vivres de l’art

Le Garage moderne – a social garage

la garage moderne - social garage

Le Garage Moderne is a social garage, a brilliant gem of a place where you can come to fix your own car and bicycle while experiencing art and culture, workshops and social meetings. If you’re fed up with being clueless about your car or bike every time they break, then it’s time to join a social garage and acquire some skills. The mechanics in the garage moderne can accompany the reparation process  with explanations adapted to your level of mechanical ability. This incredible space is far more than just a garage. There’s a restaurant where you can eat lunch, an outdoor café and a cultural space where weekly expos and concerts take place.

Address: 1 rue des Etrangers, 33000 BORDEAUX
Opening hours: The garage itself is open Monday to Friday (9:00 to 12:00 and 14:00 to 18:00, closed Tuesday morning), the restaurant is open from Tuesday to Saturday 11:00- 18:00
For more info check out the website of le garage moderne

Street art all over 

graffiti bacalan

As seen in many dynamic cities around the world, the street art scene has a tendency to bloom in emerging neighborhoods. It brings both new and established artists to portray their art on the walls of their neighborhood and in some cases it’s the city who invites these artists the use the urban space and get creative. This is exactly the case of Bacalan and the results are nothing but astounding. No matter where you go, you’ll cross by some of the most impressive paintings on building walls, warehouses, and different urban structures. Even if you don’t enter any of the places I mentioned in this list, Bacalan is worth a visit only for the art.

La Base sous marine – a German bunker turned into a museum

base sous marine

Built by the Germans during the second World War, this old submarine base has been converted into a space dedicated to contemporary arts, which allows you to enjoy the space itself no less than the art presented there. The fact that the expositions are usually of the digital, street and visual arts kind, allows the artist to leverage this unusual space to its full potential. There aren’t any permanent exhibitions in La Base Sous Marine so the place is open only when an exhibition is being presented. It is located on one of the most interesting parts of the Bacalan area  – the Bassins a flot, which are worth a visit even if the museum is closed. Finding the entrance can be quite tricky. So if you come from the” la cité du vin“ tram station be sure to walk on rue Lucien Faure before turning right to Boulevard Alfred Daney. Also, if you come with kids, it’s important to know that strollers are not allowed in the structure as it’s dark and has a lot of stairs (you can leave the stroller at the entrance).

Open from Tuesday to Sunday 13:30 to 19:00 (only during exhibitions). Check out the facebook page of la Base Sous Marine for more details.
Address: Boulevard Alfred Daney, 33300 Bordeaux

Go to a concert on the I.boat

Iboat in Bordeaux

The Iboat, mostly known as a concert venue, is a three level ferry spanning 687m2, anchored to one of the docks of Bassins a flot. Since its opening in 2011 the I.boat has dedicated itself to promoting emerging artists, especially in the electronic music scene. Within the years it has become a multidisciplinary place with a concert hall and a club hosting more than 250 events a year, a terrace hosting Dj sets and happy hours and a restaurant. One of the special features of the place is the Upper deck where they host events and exhibitions during the evenings and then transform it into a chill out area after midnight. During summer you could also enjoy the outdoor area on the deck, with an exceptional view of the basin. Take a look at the program of events.
The opening hours:
Concert from 7pm to 23pm | Club from 11.30pm to 6am  from Tuesday to Saturday
Restaurant: Lunch from Monday to Saturday from 12am to 2pm and Dinner from Tuesday to Saturday from 7pm to 23pm
Address: bassin a flot n°1 – Quai Armand Lalande

Have a lunch or a drink at one of the restaurants next to the basins 

standby coffee shop
Standby coffee shop
If you’re hungry or need a coffee break, I’ve got you covered. Although there are some bars and restaurants all over the Bacalan neighborhood, many of the cool places are concentrated on the southern side of the first basin (Bassin à Flot n°1). On the long dock (which you can approach from rue Lucien Faure), you’ll find restaurants, coffee shops and plenty of bars on the dock, on the roof and on boats.
Some places worth mentioning are:
  • The Wallace Bar – the rooftop bar of the Radisson Blu hotel (Bassin à flot n°1, Quai Armand Lalande).
  • Café Maritime – a very classical French restaurant with a beautiful decor (Bassin à flot n°1, Quai Armand Lalande)
  • The standby cafe– on the main street – just in front of the Bassins – a cool place to grab a cup of coffee (80 rue Lucien Faure).
  • Loft 33 – a wine bar and a restaurant with live music – Hangar G4, 51 rue Lucien Faure.

Visit the Bordeaux Whiskey Distillery

Did you know that there’s a whiskey distillery in Bordeaux? While many activities and tours in Bordeaux revolve around wine, it’s actually the local whisky producer who is housed in one of the most special places in Bordeaux. The Moon Harbour Whiskey, opened in 2014, is 100% Bordelaise, from the grains that are growing in Saint Jean d’Illac to the barrels used to age the Whiskey that are coming from some of the most famous wine chateaux in the region (such as Sauternes). The barrel room is located inside a bunker built by the Germans during the Second World War as part of the constructions of the Submarine Base (mentioned above). Apart from  tasting the local whiskey and gin, the location of the barrel room is what makes the visit there so special. The tour (which is offered in French and English) is followed by explanations on malting and the production of whiskey as well as tastings of the three products of the distillery. The visit requires prior reservation by phone ( 05 56 29 86 60) or email ([email protected]). The price is 10€/pers for the visit and tasting.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday from 11:00 to 18:00 and Saturdays from 11:00 to 15:00 and from 16:30 to 18:00.
For more info check out the site of Moon Harbour.
Address: 492 Boulevard Adfred Daney, 33300 BORDEAUX

Find the UFO on the water

bassins a flot

Le “soucoupe volante”, a UFO shaped sculpture, the work of the artist Suzanne Triester, made quite a buzz in Bordeaux when it appeared in the middle of the basins last May. This piece of art was purchased by the Bordeaux Metropole as part of their vast investment in contemporary art in the city. Now all you have to do is take a walk on the docks of the basin to find it. As the area is quite packed with boats, buildings and a lot of construction machinery, the sculpture is not that easy to find. So to give you a little hint, try to look for it when you are searching for a bar/ restaurant on the docks :).

Hope you enjoyed the list and that it will help you to discover new places in this surprising city.
If you liked the post, share the love on facebook, pinterest or twitter.
If it’s your first time in Bordeaux and you want to get to know the other parts of this beautiful city – check out my general guide to Bordeaux.
Thanks for reading!!

As we’re approaching the summer, the cultural and gastronomic scene in Bordeaux seems to get hotter and hotter. This month there are so many events, festivals and concerts that you will find it hard to choose from this long list of things to do. The great Bordeaux wine festival is almost here, the Bordeaux food truck festival is about to begin this month, three music festivals and the Fête de la musique with free concerts all over the city.  I can go on and on, but let’s just jump right into it.

Here you will find the 20 most interesting and entertaining events that are about to begin or happen during the month of June. I divided them into two groups (events and art exhibitions), where they appear in a chronological order. As usual, during this month, I will publish my weekend things to do lists where I will add some of the smaller events, so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, this is the list of the best things you can do in Bordeaux in June 2018:

Festivals and Concerts

1. Les Epicuriales

This event has become an early summer Bordelaise tradition. For its 24th edition les Epicuriales festival transforms Allées de Tourny (next to the Opera) to a  gastronomic heaven with about twenty restaurants set up especially for the event. During the 16 days of the festival, the restaurants will be open to the public for lunch and dinner. The highlight of the event is”Les Étoiles d’Épicure” , a restaurant that will host a different Michelin star chef every evening. Discover the full list of the participating chefs and their bio.

The event takes place May 25 to June 9. See more details here.

When: May 25 – June 9
Where: Allées de Tourny 33000 Bordeaux

2. Festival Echappée Belle in Blanquefort

Echappée Belle festival is a very entertaining event for the whole family that includes many forms of art for both kids and adults including theater, dance, circus and more. The festival will take place from May 31 to June 3 in Blanquefort, starting in Parc Majolan and continuing for the weekend in Parc de Fongravey. This edition of the festival is promised to have a great focus on musical activities with many cross genre shows and creations.

The prices of the shows are between 11€  and 16€ (depending on the amount of tickets purchased), the entrance to the parks and to many activities are free and the access is very easy from the center of Bordeaux (on tram A).  See the full program here.

When: May 31 – June 3
Where: Different locations in Blanquefort (see the program)

3. Millesime Electronic music festival

This is a great event for all electronic music lovers who want to enjoy the unique atmosphere of an electronic music festivals and still stay in the region of Bordeaux. Festival Millesime will take place on June 1-2 in La Réole (between Bordeaux and Toulouse) and will have 3 stages, more than 30 artists, a chill out area and many other activities, all in the open air on the banks of the Garonne – sounds like a perfect event! (I’m an electronic music kind of person, so I’m not very objective here 🙂 )

The ticket price is 16,73 € and the access is quite easy – by car or by train from Gare Saint Jean.

For more info check out the website of the festival and the facebook page.

When: June 1-2
Where: Hippodrome de La Réole, lieu dit Mijéma, 33190 La Réole

4. Fête de la Morue

For more than two centuries, Bègles has been an important center of morue (codfish) in France. Today, this unique expertise of this little town is celebrated every year at la Fête de la Morue, a popular culinary and culture festival that also gives a stage young artists. la Fête de la Morue, will take place on June 1-3 in Bègles, with a rich program of concerts, cooking workshops, exhibitions, tastings, conferences and more. For more details follow the facebook page of the event or check our the program.

fete de la morue 2018

When:  June 1-3
Where: Different locations in Bègles (see program).

5. AHOY music Festival

AHOY is a music festival, taking place on June 1-3 in Bassins à Flot in the Bacalan neighborhood, it proposes day and night experiences in three central cultural venues in the neighborhood – Dalle du Pertuis, Base Sous- Marine and Iboat. This festival is a journey of 36 hours, adapted for any age, where visitors are invited to explore the musical village and enjoy concerts, workshops for kids and adults, a creators’ market, food and wine and many other entertaining activities. Check out the full program of the event.
AHOY festival 2018

When:  June 1-3
Where: Bassins à flot – Bacalan

6. Bordeaux Food truck Festival

This is the biggest gathering of food trucks in the region of Nouvelle Aquitaine, with around 60 food trucks registered to participate in the five events of the festival, which are spread in different dates until the end of September this year. This festival aims to mix street food with the finesse of the wine world. As part of this gastronomic event, visitors can taste the wines of the hosting châteaux and the specialties of food coming from all corners of the world: French, Italian, Brazilian and many more. The program of the festival also includes free concerts, exhibitions, escape games, activities for kids and a wine and chocolate workshop with the famous Bordelaise chocolatier Hasnaâ.

The first food-truck weekend will take place on June 2-3 in Château de La Dauphine in Fronsac. To purchase tickets for  the different events in Château de la Dauphine click here.

See the all the details about the five weekends of the Bordeaux food truck festival here.

food truck festival bordeaux

When: June 2-3
Where: Château de La Dauphine, 5 Rue Poitevine, 33126 Fronsac

7. “Les Forains, Ballet Urbain” in Bordeaux Opera

The amazing urban dance spectacle of “Les Forains, Ballet urbain” will be hosted by the Opera house of Bordeaux for seven consecutive nights from May 31 to June 7. For more details and tickets click here. Hurry up as the tickets are running low and some of the nights are already full.

When: May 31- June 6
Where: Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux, Place de la Comédie, 33000 Bordeaux

8. Big Bang- Air and Space Festival

The Big Bang festival in  Saint-Médard-en-Jalles will take place on June 5-10. The third edition of the air and space festival is dedicated to art and science and is promised to be both educative and entertaining. The program includes art and science exhibitions, conferences, planetarium, flight simulator, films, concerts and much more. Check out the full program of the event.

Big Bang Festival 2017
Picture by: Big Bang
When:  June 5-10
Where: Le Carré des Jalles, Place de la République, 33160 SAINT-MEDARD-EN-JALLES

9. Bordeaux Open Air #1

Another music festival, and this time much closer to the center of Bordeaux! The first part of the third edition of the Bordeaux Open Air festival will take place June 10 in Parc Palmer in Cenon. Bordeaux Open Air is a series of summer free electronic music events, all set in different locations and with a great city vibe to them. The dates and locations of all the other events will be announced shortly.

See more info about the event on their website and facebook page.

Bordeaux Open Air festival
Credit: openagenda.com
When:  June 10
Where: Parc Palmer , 1 rue aristide Briand, 33150 Bordeaux, France

10. Bordeaux Wine Festival

This is the 20th edition of this magnificent feast of wine. Like every year, the banks of the Garonne are hosting wine lovers for five unforgettable days of events all dedicated to discovering the wines of Bordeaux and its region, Nouvelle aquitaine. For the five days of the Fête le Vin (June 14-18), 30 tall ships will be docking along the banks of the river, arriving from many different European destinations. Learn more about these special ships and their stories here.  The ships are a key theme in this festival and a lot of the activities will revolve around them, among them sailing trips on the Garonne, tours on the ships and evening deck parties on some of the boats. This festival is certainly not only about ships, other events and venues include an open air wine road on the riverfront, fireworks, ships crew parade, concerts and much more, click here to discover the full list of activities.

To participate in the Bordeaux Fête le Vin you will need to purchase a wine tasting pass for five days which includes 12 wine tastings in the many booths of the festival. The price is 16€ for a ticket, buy one here.

When: June 14-18
Where: The banks of the Garonne

11. Grand Crus Weekend

One of the most interesting events accompanying the Bordeaux wine festival is the Grand Crus Weekend that will take place June 16-17. This event, organized by the the Union des Grands Crus (regional wine classification), aims to create an international meeting of wine lovers. The highlights of this weekend will include tasting wines from over 120 Grand Crus and meeting different chateaux owners as part of pre-organized dinners in these châteaux.

Read more about the event and the full program here.

When: June 16-17
Where: many locations, see the program

12. Classic Ballet by the Bolshoi of Minsk

The prestigious Bolchoi of Minsk ballet company will perform parts taken from some of the best classics of ballet, such as the Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote, a beautiful event to take the kids to. The show will take place on June 17 (4pm) at the Bordeaux Métropole Arena.

For tickets and more details click here.

Les grands ballets classiques par le Bolchoï de Minsk

When: June 17
Where: Bordeaux Métropole Arena, 48-50 avenue Jean Alfonséa, 33270 FLOIRAC

13. Fête de la musique 2018

La Fête de la musique is a French national day, dedicated to the celebration of music, with free concerts and street parties happening on the same day (June 21) all over France. This is an extraordinary day where you have the chance to walk around the city and enjoy an endless amount of small and big concerts from any genre of music. Like every other city in France, Bordeaux too will celebrate La Fête de la musique with its own street concerts and activities.

In the following video you will see the famous chef Philippe Etchebest and his band performing at the Fête de la musique.

When:  June 21
Where: All over the city of Bordeaux

14. The biggest artists are coming to Bordeaux

Since the opening of the Bordeaux Métropole Arena we have seen some impressive acts coming to perform in Bordeaux. This month is definitely one of the peaks, with two of the biggest names in the music world taking the Bordeaux stage.

Shakira

Shakira will perform at the Bordeaux Métropole Arena  on June 24 –  buy tickets here.

Guns and Roses

The legendary Guns and Roses will make a stop in Bordeaux as part of their tour and will take the stage on June 26 at the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux (Cours Jules Ladoumègue, 33300 Bordeaux).

15. Dance show by three famous choreographers

A co-production of the National Opera of Bordeaux and the Opera of Limoges presents an evening of three works by three famous choreographers: Petite Mort by Jiří Kylián, Le Chant du compagnon errant by Maurice Béjart and Le Concert (ou Les Malheurs de chacun) by Jerome Robbins. The dance show will be performed in the Opera of Bordeaux, during nine nights from June 27 to July 6.

For more details and tickets see the website of the Opera.

When:  June 27 to July 6
Where: Grand Théâtre, place de la Comédie, 33000 BORDEAUX

16. Trajectoires

Trajectoires is a unique cultural event where talented students of music, theater and choreography will perform their works of art to pass their diploma. Around 50 different performances of theater, comedy, dance and music will be put on stage in different locations in Bordeaux.

Take a look on the full list of performances and details about all the events here.

When: Many dates in June (see program)
Where: different locations in Bordeaux (see program)

 

ART

17. Claude Monet at the new Musée Mer Marine – the event is cancelled for now

The Musée Mer Marine is a new museum, based in the bassins à flot (Bacalan),which is scheduled to open its door in the beginning of 2019. While we are waiting for the full experience in this interesting new place, a temporary exhibition of the works of Claude Monet has been put in place and will run from June 15 to December 31. See more details on the website of the new museum.

Claude Monet Photography

When:  June 15- December 31
Where: Musée Mer Marine,89 Rue des Étrangers
How much: 15 €

18. Last chance to see the Street Color Exhibition

This is the last chance to see the excellent art exhibition that is being presented from April 5 to June 24 at the Institut Bernard Magrez. The expo includes some well known street artists (mostly French ones), such as MAD C (GER), Seth (FRA), d’Alexöne (FRA) and more.

For more info and tickets.

wall paintings in Montreal by SETH
photo by: Seth
When:  until June 24
Where: 16 rue de Tivoli, Bordeaux
How much: 8 €

19. Urban Legends Exhibition

La Base Sous Marine, one of the most unique places in Bordeaux, will host the “Legendes Urbaines” exhibition from June 21 to September 16, which will host the works of more than 50 street artists.

la base sous marine bordeaux

When:June 21 – September 16
Where:La Base Sous Marine, Boulevard Alfred Daney, 33300 Bordeaux

20. Last chance to see the Wine and Music Expo

The art exposition at la Cité du Vin, named “Le vin & La musique, accords et désaccords“, reveals the relationship between wine and music through a visual journey that alternates between  paintings, music and stage art. Around 150 pieces of art will be put in place from French and European collections: ceramics, paintings, music books , instruments and more. The exposition has been running from march and will be presented at the museum until June 24. For more details and tickets check here.

LE VIN & LA MUSIQUE, ACCORDS ET DÉSACCORDS

When:  until June 24
Where: 134 – 150 Quai de Bacalan, 33300 Bordeaux
How much: 8 €

If you know of any other interesting events in and around Bordeaux, please let me know in the comments below and I will be sure to add them to my weekly list of things to do in Bordeaux.

Hope you enjoyed this list! Now don’t be shy, share it with your friends 🙂