Bordeaux's arts scene has flourished in the past decade as the city has developed from a busy town to a cosmopolitan city. The city is home to traditional theatres, galleries and museums as well as to alternative artists, performance spaces, sculptors, musicians and street artists.
1. Grand Theatre de Bordeaux
Dramatic both inside and out, this grand old building in the centre of town was opened in 1780 and has hosted both ballet, opera and theatre productions. Today the theatre is home to two acclaimed companies: the Opera National de Bordeaux and the Ballet National de Bordeaux.
2. L'Espace 29
This gallery helps promote emerging contemporary artists by providing them with gallery space. It features an exhibition area and offers a residency to one guest artist each summer. It is home to the works of around two dozen painters, sculptors, photographers, video artists and designers.
3. Musée des Beaux-Arts
One of the most important art galleries outside of Paris, the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux was established in 1801 and contains paintings, sculptures and drawings. Artists represented include Rubens, Matisse, Brueghel and Reynolds. A new building is scheduled to open in 2020.
4. CAPC Museum
A former wool-shed is now the base of the Museum of Contemporary Art, opened in 1973 and one of the largest collections of modern art in Europe. There are regular rotating exhibitions, lectures and classes for children, as well as guided tours in both French and English.
With an open-space design in warehouses of the former Niel military barracks, this is a space shared by 130 companies and associations with common goals of reduced environmental footprints and urban culture. There is an organic deli/eatery, an urban farm and a BMX track.
6. Museum of Decorative Arts and Design
This striking museum is housed in the Hotel de Lalande, one of the most spectacular town houses in Bordeaux and built in 1779. The collection of historic furniture, paintings, ceramics, glassware, miniatures and musical instruments (many from the 18th and 19th centuries) was first displayed in 1925.
7. Les Vivres d'Art
A derelict 18th-century building in the port district that once sold marine supplies has been transformed by sculptor Jean-Francois Buisson into a dramatic space that now is used as an art gallery and creative studios, as well as providing accommodation for rising artists.
8. Musée d’Aquitaine
The Aquitaine Museum is one of the biggest and most important museums in regional France and is housed in a building that was previously the Bordeaux University faculty of arts and humanities. Opened in 1987, the museum tells of the growth of the region from prehistoric times.
9. Bernard Magrez Institute of Contemporary Art
The omnipresent arts patron Bernard Magrez displays his personal collections (and other public and private collections) in the Hôtel Labottière, a private mansion dating from the 18th century. The focus here is largely on living artists and there are regular artists-in-residence programs.
10. Espace Culturel du Pin Galant
This modern and busy theatre complex, in the suburb of Mérignac near Bordeaux Airport, offers a diverse performance schedule, including classic and modern dance, theatre performances, jazz concerts, comedy acts and live music. It was inaugurated in 1989 by singer Charles Aznavour.