The port city of Bordeaux has long been a magnet for expats, thanks to its cultural heritage, lively atmosphere, gastronomy, and location – the city is within easy reach of desirable destinations in southern France and the north of Spain. Bordeaux’s outstanding 18th Century architecture led to no less than 1,810 hectares of the city receiving UNESCO World Heritage Site accreditation in 2007.
The River Garonne and the city’s ten public gardens, parks, and nature areas offer a choice of peaceful retreats. Bordeaux is synonymous with wine; the area is the biggest producer of wine in the world, with more than 7,000 wineries and vineyards - a real draw for any wine lover.
Stunning examples of classical and neoclassical architecture seem to be everywhere you look in central Bordeaux, and 350 buildings have UNESCO World Heritage status. A more recent addition to the landscape is the Mirroir d'Eau, or water mirror, especially popular on hot summer days.
Bordeaux is home to many museums and art galleries showcasing its rich history, including the Natural History Museum and the Gallery of Fine Arts. The CAPC museum of contemporary art is based in a former colonial warehouse, hosts exhibitions and nice events through the year.
Many residents eagerly follow one or both local sports teams, which both play at the Stade Chaban-Delmas: the football team, Girondins de Bordeaux, and rugby team Union Bordeaux Bègles. The annual Bordeaux River Festival is one of the most famous yacht races in the world.
Bordeaux’s airport, west of the city, serves European destinations including Paris Orly, Madrid and Amsterdam. The main train station, Gare Saint Jean, is located approximately 6 Miles (10 Km) from the city center and has connections to many cities, including Paris, Poitiers, Nice and Marseille.
A ferry links the western and eastern parts of the city, and there is a tramway and electric bus service. Bordeaux’s flat terrain and its large number of cycle lanes means getting around by bike is popular – many residents make use of a bike-sharing scheme called VCUB.
The French school system is state-funded, though there are many private schools too. Children attend nursery school and primary school until the age of 11. Secondary education is compulsory until a child is 16, followed by optional study for qualifications such as the baccalaureate. Bordeaux has a wide choice of schools; a popular choice for expats is Bordeaux International School, which teaches children in both English and French. With a capacity of 130 students, places are highly sought after.
The University of Bordeaux is made up of several institutions, including the College of Science and Technology and the Institute of Vine and Wine Science. The many exchange programs in place with universities around the world bring students to Bordeaux from across the globe.