In 2015, and up against stiff competition from the likes of Berlin and London, Bordeaux was awarded as the Best City in a poll organized by travel organization European Best Destinations. It certainly has much to offer to families moving to the city, in terms of education, culture, the arts, and open and green spaces.
There is a choice of accommodation to suit different budgets and needs, from central apartments to larger villas on the outskirts of the city. There is a wide variety of bistros and bars, particularly in the center along the riverfront, with Bordeaux's lively nightlife particularly enjoyed by the large student population. For something a bit gentler, many residents enjoy a morning trip to Le Marche des Capucins, Bordeaux’s main covered market that sells meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, flowers, honey and wine.
Bordeaux is situated in the Aquitaine region of south-west France, on the River Garonne and close to the Atlantic Ocean. Nicknamed La Perle d'Aquitaine (The Pearl of Aquitaine), it is a major hub of the region, with its wine and aeronautics-driven economy, large university and arts events. With a population of 239,399, Bordeaux is the ninth largest city in France. The surrounding green countryside is dotted with towers, churches, abbey ruins and, of course, vineyards. Bordeaux is in close proximity to some of Europe’s gems, including Arcachon Bay, which is home to the largest sand dune in Europe (109 meters tall); the Pyrenees; the coastal resort of La Rochelle; and Biarritz on the Bay of Biscay.
Bordeaux has an oceanic climate, with warm summers and mild winters. It also experiences high rainfall throughout the year - for example, it rains on average for 14 days during May and 17 days during December. The average temperature in July is 69°F (20°C) and 43°F (6°C) in December.
Citizens of European Union (EU)/European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland can reside in France and have free access to the job market. They can work anywhere in France without a residence or job permit. They can apply for a free residence permit (carte de séjour) but it is not a legal requirement.
As a general rule, expats who are citizens of countries outside the EU require a visa for entry and this must be obtained in your country of residence before your departure. A residence permit is then required for those planning to live in France for more than one year. This permit must be applied for not more than two months after your entry into France. Contact your local French embassy for more information and advice, or take a look at our dedicated article on Visas and Permits for France.