City Guide: Bordeaux
There’s something about France that inspires daydreams of moving abroad. Perhaps it’s the beautiful countryside, the elegant culture or the seamless blend of historical heritage and modern living; but there’s no doubt that France promises a breath of fresh air to those looking for a new life abroad.
Bordeaux is a city that has experienced something of a makeover since the turn of the millennium. Previously known by the moniker ‘La Belle Endormie’ or ‘Sleeping Beauty’, Bordeaux has since been revitalised with the restoration of its charming, neoclassical architecture; sweeping boulevards designed for pedestrians; and the implementation of an accessible, new tram system. The Sleeping Beauty has wakened, blossoming into a vibrant and popular city with all the art and cultural heritage of Paris – but without the hefty price-tag that accompanies life in the capital.
Enjoy the laid-back lifestyle
The relaxed pace of life is one of the big draws of Bordeaux. Far away from the frenetic rat-race that can so often accompany contemporary living, expats will find this is a culture of sitting down to leisurely meals with friends and family, savouring food, good wine and great conversation.
Of course, this being France, there is no lack of delicious food and wine. Farmers’ markets are a part of day-to-day life, with particular specialities being duck, pâté and fresh seafood. The mild climate brings warm summers and the refreshing rainfall occurring throughout the year provides the ideal environment for crops to grow, vineyards to flourish and the countryside to bloom into fifty shades of green.
As well as access to acres of mesmerising countryside, the convenient location of Bordeaux means you are only 45 minutes away from the sea as well as relatively close to the mountains, making it also easy to hop over the border into Spain. A family-friendly city, the opportunities for days out and weekend activities are plentiful.
Experience French culture
Bordeaux is an ideal city for immersing yourself in French culture. Expats who now call it their home agree it is highly recommended to begin learning French before or on arrival in order to make a smooth transition into your new world. Children pick up the language quickly but tutoring is a great option in order to speed this process along and develop confidence. Learning the language will open the doors to a new way of life and the local people greatly appreciate any efforts to communicate in French. There are also numerous international social clubs in the area and associations you can join to help you meet others with similar perspectives and settle into the country with as much ease as possible.
Another way to experience the culture and get to know the local community is to take advantage of the festivals and events that Bordeaux plays host to. Highlights include the Fête de la Musique which provides lots of musical fun; the Fête le Vin – heaven for wine aficionados; and the many live music and theatre performances that are held throughout the year. Bordeaux is also the home of the Opéra National de Bordeaux, and in France, in terms of art, culture and historical monuments, this cosmopolitan city is second only to Paris.
If you are considering moving to France, Cadogan Tate will assist you every step of the way – from your first enquiry to unpacking at your new home, we are here to help and advise you.
Information correct at time of publication.