Once the ‘sleeping beauty’ of south-west France, Bordeaux has undergone somewhat of a transformation. The city is now one of the most-desirable expatriate locations in France. It has grown from a port town with dreary warehouses lining the riverside, to a vibrant, cosmopolitan city.
Its popularity has grown among French nationals, with many Parisians opting to move west for a more laidback lifestyle while still being within commuting distance to the capital. Thanks to a new high-speed rail link (only finished in the summer of 2017), it’s possible to be in Paris in just over two hours.
The family-friendly city also has a large expatriate community, welcomed by the local population. Life in Bordeaux for expats offers a good work/life balance and a temperate ocean climate. Not to mention some of the very best wines in the world, produced in the many vineyards surrounding the city.
The increase in demand for properties in Bordeaux has inevitably pushed prices up, particularly since the enhanced links with Paris. The real estate market is competitive, with less luxury properties appearing on the market year on year; those that do come up for sale are snapped up quickly.
Most expatriates will therefore opt to rent when they first move to Bordeaux. This gives you the chance to sample the French lifestyle, before potentially committing to a purchase. Renting in Bordeaux is incredibly common, particularly in the city centre.
Vieux Bordeaux is the historic old town, a cluster of neighbourhoods within the city’s traditional limits. It’s a very diverse area, well suited to expatriates interested in culture and architecture. The cobbled streets and old houses are quintessentially French, with plenty of existing structures from the 18th and 19th centuries.
The areas close to the Bordeaux International School are particularly popular with expatriates moving to France with family. The high-performing school is the only bilingual international school in the region and competition for places is fierce as a result.
The city of Bordeaux is divided by the River Garonne, with the most-desirable areas on the left bank. St Pierre is one of the trendiest neighbourhoods, equally in demand by expatriates and French nationals. It’s located right in the Centre Ville, close to the river’s edge.
Just down the river is Saint Michel, which has undergone a period of regeneration. The cosmopolitan neighbourhood is increasingly desirable and one of the best up-and-coming places to live.
Another prime location in Bordeaux is Chartrons. This leafy neighbourhood was once the centre of the wine trade, but is now one of the most sought-after residential locations. Grand apartments line the streets, alongside one-off designer boutiques, vintage shops and stylish cafés. It has a unique village feel, while being close to the main city. The Jardin Public is a weekend retreat for picnics and walks.
Many expatriate families opt to live a little further out, in the pleasant suburbs of Bordeaux. Here you can find luxurious chateaux and grand villas, offering more living space and extensive gardens. They may also have other facilities, such as a pool or quality vines. Take a look at Le Bouscat for private detached properties, within their own grounds. Also consider Talence, Pessac or Merignac.
If you’re moving to France, find out how our international removals team can help to arrange packing, storage and transportation on your behalf.