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In the recent years, Bordeaux has been coined by many national and international publications as the ‘coolest city in France’ (sorry, Paris), and the city’s officials understood they needed to keep promoting the diversity of its art in order to stay hip. For those art-lovers who are planning to visit Bordeaux, here is our guide to the city’s art scene.
If you get a chance, visit as many museums possible in Bordeaux. The city has a lot of fantastic museums that will give you a solid grasp of its history and relation to art through the ages. If you are planning on staying in Bordeaux for a while, getting a museum pass would be a pretty smart move. For an annual fee of 25 Euros, it will grant you access to the city’s major museums and their exhibitions for free. Also, the Paysages Bordeaux festival running until 25 October, was created in order to celebrate the launch of the LGV train line that connects Paris and Bordeaux in just two hours, and also to promote diversity in art.
Bordeaux is known for its 18th-century classical beauty and for a long time, conservatism was the watchword within the city’s art culture. Contemporary art was often overlooked in Bordeaux, but serious progress has been made due to the popularity of this genre and the hard work of the locals.
A great example of this is the CAPC that has gained international recognition under the helm of Charlotte Laubard. In addition to that, Bordeaux organised the first WAC (Weekend of Contemporary Art) at the beginning of October. During that weekend, more than 30 local artists showcased their art all over town. If you’re coming to Bordeaux at another time of the year, make sure to visit the emblematic venues dedicated to art such as the Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez, the FRAC Aquitaine or Zébra 3 and the outside-the box projects.
If you have time, you can also go to La Mauvaise Réputation and check out the Les Vivres de l’Art that often hosts art-related events. Among the efforts made by the mayor’s office to display art to the population, the Bus de l’Art Contemporain is a positive one. Every first Sunday of the month, the city of Bordeaux organizes a four-hour long tour in which a professional guide shows you some of the finest cultural and art places in town. It only costs 3 euros and all you need to do is register by mail.
CAPC, Museum of Contemporary Art of Bordeaux, 7 Rue Ferrere, Bordeaux, France, +33 5 56 00 81 50
Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez, 16 Rue de Tivoli, Bordeaux, France, +33 5 56 81 72 77
FRAC Aquitaine, N1, Quai Armand Lalande, Bordeaux, France, +33 5 56 24 71 36
Zebra 3, 10 Quai de Brazza, 33100 Bordeaux, France, +33 9 52 18 88 29
La Mauvaise Réputation, 19 Rue des Argentiers, Bordeaux, France, +33 5 56 79 73 54
Street art fans will be pleased to know that there are numerous initiatives in the city to promote local and international artists. Shake Well is an international summer festival in which local and world-known artists come together for a weekend in order to promote graffiti culture, and there are workshops during the festival for people to try out this unique and endlessly creative art form.
If you’re not visiting Bordeaux in the summer, there are still ways to discover graffiti culture. Take the tram toward the right bank of the city and stop at Theirs Benauge. Along the street, you will see a wall filled with colorful creations from artists which makes it a great spot for an improvised photoshoot. You can also see cool graffiti around the under-construction area near the Cité du Vin (Achard tram stop).
If you want to get updates on what’s going on in the Bordeaux street art scene, have a look at the Street Art Bordeaux Facebook page that gives valuable information on which exhibitions and artists to follow.