10 Hipster and alternative places in Bordeaux, France
Bordeaux is the scene of many activities and a destination where you can basically find something for anyone. From all kinds of interesting-themed bars to unusual art spaces. If something different is what you are in the look for then, there are a number of hipster and alternative places in Bordeaux you can visit.
Bordeaux has jumped on the hipster and alternative trend for the past years as many other European cities have. But what is unique as always about the locations I am going to talk about today is that – they are doing it the Bordeaux way. There is just something special in this town, a spirit, that seeps into everything around the area. So, as modern and fun as those spaces are, they still kept some of that Bordelaise’s charms in them, staying true to the spirit of The sleeping beauty of southwest France.
Located on the ‘other side’ of the river in the Bastide neighborhood, once considered to be ‘the bad side of Bordeaux’ – Darwin Ecosystem is the epitome of a hipster, alternative hangout. Initially created to serve as a military base, it was the home of the local troops for a long time. The location was known as « Quartier Niel » and you can still see this name on a lot of buildings in the surroundings of the Darwin Ecosystem.
In 2005, the barracks were abandoned and were quickly overtaken by graffiti and street artists, who drew incredible pieces of art on every surface they could find. In order to preserve this unique places, an organization called ‘Evolution’ plus the local neighborhood associations purchased part of the land. With the belief that, we as people can create something beautiful and one with nature the Darwin Ecosystem was born. The philosophy behind this project is to develop an eco-friendly environment that everyone can enjoy.
What is unique about this destination, in my opinion, is the spirit of calm and the pure artistic energy that takes up the space. There, in the cozy and modern café, you can enjoy a nice beverage. Pop up in the General Store and buy some gorgeous bioproducts. There is a huge exhibition space that is used in all kinds of ways, an indoors skater park, a bookstore. My favorite activity there is to explore the abandoned barracks. They are covered from head to toe with unique art with an amazing purpose – to give voice to all the changes we need to make in order to save our earth and consequently ourselves
Mama Shelter is an interesting combination of a Hotel, Bar, and Restaurant. I have had the pleasure to visit a couple of times and it was always a blast. The last time we went there was for a bachelorette party and we got two complimentary bottles of wine. This is my books is a great gesture. The staff is friendly and very pleasant. Space has a modern vibe, with light colors and wooden motives. The drinks are tasty and the food is delicious. In the summer there is a terrace on the top, from which you can see a panoramic view of Bordeaux, which should not be missed. All in all a great bar and restaurant that is slightly different from the typical Bordelais style once. It is also a bit fancier than your average pub.
Le Marche des capuchins
Once the area around Le marché des Capucins was considered to be on the bad side of town. But the city hall of Bordeaux worked a lot to change its reputation. Now it is a vibrant part of the town, where the biggest marketplace is located. There you can find everything from fluffy beautiful sweets, to exotic fruits and vegetables. One of the hippest restaurants for eating oysters and sea fruits is also there. Bistrot a huitres Chez Jean-Mi is a beloved local resto. So don’t miss it if you want to try one of the favorite foods of the French garnered with the authentic and lively environment of the local market.
I have written about this bar before and I will probably do it again. The reason- it’s just that cool. See, I love everything vintage. If I could I would live in the 60’s or the roaring 20’s for sure (though I would have been considered too opinionated back then). This cozy, little gem of a bar has a unique concept. There is a hidden entrance to it and the whole experience of getting in is a pleasure by itself. You can play all your vintage dreams in there because everything is inspired by a different era when people knew what it meant to party. I personally enjoy everything there – from the interior to the drinks and especially the music.
Base sous marine
Yet another extraordinary location in Bordeaux turned into something to be seen. Once it was one of five submarine bases, operating during World War on the coast of the Atlantic. Now it is more of an unorthodox art gallery for contemporary art. The dark, concrete walls, combined with the water, that often plays the role of a mirror creates a magnificent illusion. I love going there, looking at the exhibitions they often house. The big rooms and high ceilings give a very particular feeling to the observer of the art. For me personally, It makes me think of how something that was once created with the purpose of war can now become a place of beauty and unity.
Les Vivres de l’art
It’s a place where you should go if you want your creative juices flowing. It is one of those spaces that makes you want to do something special – put your ideas on canvas or whatever floats your boat. Les Vivres de l’art I situated between the Bacalan and Basan a flot. Two very vivid and intriguing neighborhoods in Bordeaux. The idea behind the renovation of those quarters was the reason for the creation of this artsy space. There are many projects being created there and is for sure something to be seen. There are also concerts, food truck festivals and exhibitions being organized often. And a little tip – don’t miss visiting the secret garden.
Le Comptoir Des Chats
Cats are my spirit animal. I just adore them. And if you mix cats and coffee you have a winning combination for sure. I always enjoy my time in this café where cats are kings and queens. The atmosphere is cozy and is the best place to enjoy a cupper with your friends. Meanwhile, you get to see a day in the life of the many fluffy inhabitants of the space. There is a good selection of yummy desserts and fresh drinks too.
Au nouveau monde
Who doesn’t like a good glass of beer? If you are a beer consumer you probably have an unending need to explore all of the craft and artisanal beers the world has to offer. Luckily Bordeaux is a good place for that. One of my favorite destinations for a more interesting beer selection though is this contemporary Canadian bar that has the special twist of offering homemade organic brews. They hold the title of the first certified organic pub in France. You can see and enjoy the process of crafting beer in their own brewery downstairs.
Roller skate parc des Chartrons
One of the biggest skate and roller parks in France – this is gathering sport for everyone who enjoys this kind of activities. With the impressive surface of 2,350 m2 and the intricate design of the grounds, it is a heaven for all the skaters out there. But even if you are not practicing this sport you can always sit down and just take in the exceptional talents that do some chill-inducing stunts. The park has 4 areas, depending on your level.
Quai des Chartrons, 33000 Bordeaux
This bar inspired by the high of the soviet union space exploration and named after the first artificial earth satellite is something that is one of a kind in Bordeaux. A little, space decorated with an amazing talent that will take you back in time, comrade. From the original ways that the menu is presented – on an old-fashioned monochrome computer screen to the beautifully crafted interior all reminiscent of the USSR. There are some very intriguing cocktails, of course, inspired by the Russians so prepare yourself for a lot of vodka. After 22h00 you can also expect some loud, dance music so if you are in the mood of a light party, there is no doubt you should give Sputnik a go.
Cover Photo: Alex 🙂