As a general rule, Bordeaux is better known for the numerous restaurants and bars that center around the region’s renowned wine trade. But, unbeknownst to most travelers, it also has some lively nightclubs and a collection of cool, youthful venues that flourish thanks to the large student population.
To the south of the city center around Place de la Victoire lies the university quarter where there are various cheap (and often boisterous) student bars which regularly host live bands and DJs. Contemporary rock and techno tend to be the most popular genres in this neighborhood.
There’s also a clutch of British and antipodean ‘pubs’ around the main shopping thoroughfare of Rue Ste-Catherine. However, although they’re surprisingly popular with the locals, they are quite expensive and have an inescapable touristy vibe.
Whilst the center of Bordeaux has a handful of discos, the best clubs are spread out along Quai du Paludate and around the old dockyards near rue Gironde, to the south of the city. This area comes to life around midnight, with parties often continuing until the early hours on weekends.
One of the best times to visit the city is during the busy festival Les Epicuriales which runs from June 1st to July 30th each year. During this time, local restaurants set up stalls along the tree-lined Allées de Tourny and free concerts pump out tunes in the evenings.
And that is indicative of Bordeaux as a whole; pleasantly traditional and civilized, with a suprisingly vibrant edge that comes alive when mixed with some of the region’s famous vintages.