Besancon has plenty to do at night. The cafes around centre ville stay open late enough to let your cafe creme turn into beer, wine or a cocktail. Pub De L'Etoile, on Grande Rue and just across Pont Battant, is one of the most confortable bars downtown. The owner is a great, friendly guy and the prices are the best in town. Farther down Grande Rue is Cul 'o' Rhum. Fantastic! You walk down a little alley between buildings, find the entrance and walk down the stairs into the bar and it feels like a pirate's cave. Tasteful and amusing, not at all annoying. The offer a good selection of beers but their specialty is obviously rum. They have about 20 different flavors of rum, some are similar to a flavored vodka, like their strawberry rum. But a lot of their others are thicker, creamier with great flavors such as kiwi-banana (my favorite) and apple-banana. The bar owner there is another great guy who likes to buy bottles of the flavored rum for usual customers. My other favorite place to head out to is the Temple Bar on Rue Proudhon. It has a fun atmosphere, the dj plays good current and classic songs, and the crowd is a little bit of everything. You'll find many differnt groups of locals there. Once again, the bar tenders (at least the one we always saw there--guy from montreal) always made our night out a blast! He's generous with the free drinks too, once again, if he/they recognize that you've been there a few times. Those three are the best I think. Couco Bar is a salsa club. Fun music but it's a little far, close to the citadel. Place du 8 Septembre and Place de la Revolution have a bunch of cafes/bars you can go to as well. NOTE: Most of the night clubs have places at the entrance where you can store your bag in exchange for a numbered token; but these places I mentioned do NOT have such storage so keep track of your stuff.
Dress Code: I've learned that the Besantins always dress to look nice, so you can be cleaned up but casual, or dress to impress and both will work well. To clarify, jeans and a nice top/ shirt work for bars. Couco bar, it's a bar that is known for it's dance floor so wear what you would to go out dancing. The streets of Besancon are stones so judge your heal wearing based on your abilities!
Fête de la Musique is celebrated all over France, but this year (2003) my university decided to plan a trip to our jumelage town Besançon.
I have never experienced such a Fête before, but I was quite curious. Anyway after a long and hot day, and the impressive Citadel most of us weren't 100 % keen on the Fête.
Anyway the town offered a huge number of different ORGANIZED music events. Honestly I have to say the most of them were a big disappointment (especially those on market square where some kind of open air took place. The bands were so bad, that the square was almost empty).
The big thing were the many small bands who were performing in the streets though. They did a great job and people listened to them. Obviously you can hear many different music styles - from Scottish folk with bagpipes, to French chansons or some Rock/Pop bands. It's great to walk through the streets, stop where you like the music, move on where you dislike it.
My tip: Don't focus on the commercial acts, but on the small bands ... And combine such a trip with sightseeing. Music alone is fine, but not enough IMHO
Dress Code: NONE ;)