Discover art at the Basins of Light


Exhibitions between art and digital. The Basins of Lights were created by the Culturespaces foundation, with the aim of transforming this submarine base dating from the Second World War into a real artistic and tourist place.

To get there, you can take the famous Bordeaux tramway or go on foot to discover the other monuments of Bordeaux’s heritage, such as the Mer Marine museum, which is located near the Basins of Lights.



Before becoming a space dedicated to digital art, the submarine base located in the Bacalan district, was designated by the occupiers as a real strategic point of the German navy, from the end of June 1940. The first bases took shape on the surface of the Garonne and in September 1941, the major works began. Until June 1943, 6,500 workers participated in the construction of the submarine base we know today.

Then, just before the liberation of Bordeaux, in August 1944, most of the submarines that were no longer in use, the equipment and the other machines were destroyed. The post-war period is marked by the digging of an anti-tank ditch and leaves an indelible trace of this era in the port district. Loaded with history and culture, the Basins of Lights now house several digital exhibitions that attract tourists from all over the world.


An impressive structure

les bassins des lumières illuminés bordeaux

Redeveloped by the architect Nicolas Michelin, the submarine base is composed of 3 parts: the annex which is dedicated to the cultural equipment of the municipality, the cells 1 to 4, which are for the Culturespaces foundation and the other cells are dedicated to the exhibition. The roof is covered with reinforced concrete 5 meters thick and is reinforced by a bombproof system.

The building is composed of 11 cells, which represent the openings located around the base, in which 15 U-boats can moor. In terms of surface area, it is 235 meters long, it covers 600,000 cubic meters of concrete and in total the base measures 45,000 square meters.

Footbridges at different levels have been set up to fully enjoy the visit above the water and allow visitors to be in total immersion.

The Basins of Lights in Bordeaux are larger than the Carrières de Lumières in Baux-de-Provence and larger than the Atelier des Lumières in Paris. It is thus placed as the art center, the largest in France.



In order to make the most of its surface area, The Basins of Lights can welcome its visitors in 6 different spaces, including 4 water basins, offering experiences that are richer than the others and that can satisfy the whole family. Each year, The Basins of Lights offers a new program of digital art shows in constant evolution, to diversify the experience and to allow the discovery of new works, through the digital.

Many exhibitions by famous artists, such as Gustave Klimt, Paul Klee, Claude Monet, Salvador Dalí or Antoni Gaudi, have had their works exhibited in the Bassins des Lumières. The Basins of Lights also offer immersive exhibitions on more “general” themes, such as cities, with Venice for example, or space, with “Cosmos”. Take advantage of the artistic shows, accessible to both adults and children, to discover artistic culture in a different way.

  • The cube: totally soundproof, this 220 m² and 8 m² high space allows to exhibit the works of contemporary artists.
  • The cistern: observe the immersive exhibitions in a different way, in a space of 155 m² and 7 m² high.
  • The museum of the base: to discover the history of the submarine base.
  • The mooring buoys: on which images are projected on the surface of the water.
  • A learning space: to better understand the link between the museums and the exhibitions, this space provides all the practical information for the visitors.



The particularity of the Basins of Lights is the staging of the exhibitions. Indeed, the works are projected on the walls, reflecting in the water and thus giving the sensation of being completely immersed. The images are accompanied by a soundtrack, creating a unique sensory atmosphere and allowing visitors to enjoy the digital shows at 360 degrees.

Do you want to discover exhibitions that combine cutting-edge technology and artistic creation ? Come and visit the Basins of Lights, located in the Bacalan district, at Impasse Brown de Colstoun, in the center of Bordeaux. You will be able to discover the cultural heritage of the city on board our panoramic bus at 4 meters high! The audio-guided tour lasts 70 minutes and will allow you to learn more about the most important monuments of Bordeaux.

bus visiotour bordeaux

Access the ticketing service directly on our website to book your place and find all our information about ticket prices on our website.

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