It’s no longer a question of deserting the barracks. The brave soldiers have barely left, the fearless skateboarders and graffiti taggers have stormed the premises. A new district dedicated to urban culture was born, a hotspot of street art and relaxation, its name: Darwin.
The Niel barracks have been made new, 3 hectares of former military lands restored to be an ecosystem of collaborations for economic development and environmental responsibility where it is nice to take a walk with your eyes to the sky - because everything is gigantic. There is always something new to discover, the most recent graffiti on a facade by an anonymous artist (that won’t stay very long) or by celebrities like Zarb of the Fullcolor collective or Jeff Soto.
We’re not going to make a fuss about it, it’s simply the place to be in Bordeaux. Darwin is the trendy rendezvous on the right bank, the same one that was labeled a no-go zone, “notorious” even, just a few years ago. The gangs have disappeared, and the only ones left are that of strollers - which we do adore. Today, all generations gather here to have a good time with family and friends. So, take the time to live and have fun in Darwin …
A little hungry, a little thirsty
At all hours of the day, and although a huge space, the ambiance of the Bistrot-Réfectoire, a cannot be any warmer. Perhaps it’s due to its decor of red bricks, wood, and zinc - a call to its cool attitude. Large cozy sofas, carpets on the floor just like home, toys and games for the little ones in a small (well, large) corner for you to just relax while studying the tempting menu: a “marmite du jour” or a burger and fries. Zero worries, it's healthy and good (even the burger, we promise). And on Sundays, weather-permitting, the organic brunch on the sunny terrace is a delight. Remember, eyes to the sky, and admire the wooden sculpture floating in the air.
If you desire more of a guinguette ambiance with your feet in the sand, cross the quay and head towards the former shipyard Chantiers de la Garonne. And there, relaxed on a lounge chair with a freshly brewed Darwin Beer in hand, you can enjoy the view and the sunset over the Garonne River. A pure moment of relaxation before delighting in oysters, while listening to the notes of a new band in the wind. And why not a little dance between the tables, if the rhythm gives you the itch.
A little bit of grocery shopping, too
The spot is Epicerie Générale, where everything is organic and local. Your eyes will dart to the colorful vegetables in large wooden bins, while your nose detects the bread and sausage by its fumes, which will finally lead you to more than 5,000 kinds of product references. Ideal for a pleasurable (and productive) stroll in the market. And, if your heart desires, become an urban farmer at the Quai de Queyries and reserve a small piece of land to grow your own fruit and vegetables. It's very trendy.
Skate your way to a good mood
The best of the best, from 7 to 77-years-old - we’re exaggerating a bit - become a part of the “Brigade,” which has already reached 3,000 members with skates in their DNA (or under their sneakers rather) who come to ride under the Hangar Darwin to learn and perfect the new curves of this great ramp. And there’s no reason to stress about bad weather, the skatepark is covered and it’s also open to all kinds of skaters: longboards, scooters, even rollerblades. Even if you haven’t taken up the hobby, it’s a joy to watch.
A vision of utopia
Above all, Darwin is a philosophy of life, a new way of working, creating, and living in a community where sharing knowledge and having your neighbor’s back exists in a real place. There are business incubator, start-ups, and co-working spaces. Darwin, it moves, things are always happening, and people are happy.
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