lundi 14 janvier 2013

Bordeaux - My pros and cons

Abbatiale de Sainte-Croix de Bordeaux; Author of photo: Den Nation

This is what I love about living in Bordeaux:

1) Proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. I prefer the less crowded Atlantic coast to the Mediterranean. I even love visiting the coast in January just to see the waves crashing on the shore under the winter light.

2) Bordeaux is a beautiful city. I especially love it at night when it is illuminated.

3) Bordeaux is a flat city and is good for somebody whose main mode of transportation is the bicycle.

4) The food is wonderful. The local cuisine focuses on duck and seafood.

5) I like learning about wine. I love touring the local vineyards, meeting wine makers and sharing opinions on wine with others.

6) Beautiful countryside. I love the green, hilly vineyards (in part due to the rain). Since Aquitaine is less developed and industrial than eastern France, I find it very charming.

7) Cheaper prices than out east or Paris.

Things I don't like:

1) High unemployment in Bordeaux and Aquitaine. Aquitaine is a rural region, unlike the more developed and industrial eastern France (I am thinking of the Lyon-St. Etienne-Grenoble-Switzerland border areas in particular). I don't think it would be easy to settle here without speaking French as I don't feel many people here speak English well.

2) For somebody without a car/has a fear of driving, the public transportation system (into/out of Bordeaux) could be better. (Again, I am comparing it to the more developed eastern France.). This is due to the lower population density in the surrounding areas (which actually adds to the charm I mentioned in point 6 above). Regarding the city tram: I find it clean but slow.

3) I feel a bit isolated. The next biggest city is Toulouse, two hours away. I cannot search for work in the next biggest city to Bordeaux because Toulouse is too far away (and I find there are more jobs there, at least in my field) and Aquitaine doesn't have many cities. Train service to Paris is 3 hours away and Spain is 2 hours away, but service to go east of here is not very good in my opinion. The airport is not bad, service to eastern France is good, but there are few direct flights to the east outside of France. For some reason there are quite a few flights to Geneva and Basel, but finding a direct flight to Germany, for example, is very difficult.

4) I sometimes find the bordelais hard to get to know. This very well may be due to my introverted personality, but I find them sometimes to be standoffish. I find there to be more of a class division than in other parts of France. There are quite a few people here with money and they are well-dressed. I believe the wine industry has something to do with this.

5) Wine snobbism. There are other wines in France that are wonderful!

I'm sure I'll think of more good/bad points later on.

10 commentaires:

  1. I was just wondering if you have lived in other parts of France or just Bordeaux? It sounds like you might.

    And welcome to the world of blogging (I found you from you comment on Michele's blog) We are generally a nice bunch and all interconnected like this.

    1. Thanks for reading my blog! After years of 'stalking' people's blogs, I am finally on the bandwagon!

      No, I have never lived anywhere else in France. My husband is from Grenoble, though, so I have spent a lot of time there and I tend to compare Bordeaux to that area.

      Thanks for the welcome!

  2. Yes, welcome to blogging! I look forward to reading about your adventures in France, and I think we have a lot in common ;) It's nice to have a community of ex-pats to exchange with whether it be in person or online.

    Thanks for this post about Bordeaux. I'm not too familiar with that part of France, but I'd love to go and visit the wineries at some point.

    And the Grenoble area might be full of industry, but that doesn't mean it's easy to find jobs :(

    1. Ce commentaire a été supprimé par l'auteur.

    2. Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog! I have been 'stalking' you for years so I thought it was time I created a blog so I could leave comments on other people's blogs (and not feel like a stalker). I would like to become a part of the expats in France blogging network (instead of sitting on the sidelines like I have been doing).

      I do compare Eastern France a lot to Bordeaux since my husband is from Grenoble and I have spent quite a bit of time there. Of course it is not easy to find a job anywhere in France, my pros and cons are based on my particular situation and in the field I am in, I have seen a lot more job offers out east than here. Bordeaux is a big city, but there is nothing outside of the CUB (greater Bordeaux) except for vineyards. You can live in Grenoble and work in Lyon and vice versa. What I am trying to say is that there is a lot of activity between St.Etienne, Lyon, Grenoble and up to Switzerland. It is a dynamic area (at least compared to Bordeaux; you leave the CUB and there is nothing but countryside and small towns until Toulouse). I can't even think of commuting for work anywhere.

      You should come to Bordeaux! I love touring around the wineries and meeting the wine makers. I have this love-hate relationship with Bordeaux - I hate the fact that there is nothing around here but the countryside is beautiful and untouched.

    3. I just had to come by and check out your blog after your comment on mine! Welcome to blogging, I can't wait to read along and hear more about your adventures!

      I really appreciate the post about Bordeaux, it give me a lot to think about and it's nice to get an insider's perspective on the city I will be calling home in a few months.

      Some of the points you made are things I've definitely been pondering and worrying about. The unemployment rate definitely scares me, I want so desperately to find a decent job and relatively quickly!

      And your comment about public transportation in Bordeaux is one of my biggest fears about moving there. After the incredible public transportation system in Paris (though very frustrating), it's going to be hard to get used to living in a French city that is not as bien desservi.

      I have to admit though, I am looking forward to all the good wine (though I love all French wine) and the beautiful countryside. Not mention the city looks very nice, though I haven't seen much of it yet. And I do love the proximity to the Atlantic will be nice to be able to easily spend the weekend at my in-laws taking advantage of the beaches and their boat! (sorry for writing a book for my first comment on your blog!)

    4. Thanks for checking out my blog!

      I hope I didn't turn you off Bordeaux with my points; the thing is, they are my points based on my experiences. Just because I have a hard time here sometimes doesn't mean you will! All in all, I love living here. I feel that I have a high quality of life: the size of the city is manageable, costs are reasonable, the food is good, the city and its countryside are beautiful, etc. Yes, you would probably need a car if you found a job in the towns outside of Bordeaux (I'm thinking of the wine industry). There are a lot of jobs in Mérignac, the area around the airport. I like riding the tram, but like I said, I find it too slow and there is no circle line.

      I love, love the ocean here. I love that it is nothing like the Med: no tacky casinos or expensive hotels and more peaceful because there are less people. I love the sand dunes and the waves. I love being thrown around by the waves, but watch out for those bodyboarders when you are in the water!

    5. Don't worry, you didn't turn me off Bordeaux at all! Though I suppose it wouldn't have matter if you had...we would still be moving there :) So not matter what I will be experiencing it myself too. I'm sure that in the end I'll like it there, but no matter what I'm going to worry before we move. And the job search issue would be a worry no matter where I was moving. Overall I still feel pretty positive about the move!

      And I agree with you, I love the Atlantic coast and the whole area around the Bassin d'Arcachon. It's so beautiful and I'm looking forward to being closer to it!

  3. I can definitely see your point about the east and west. I'm just feeling a bit down because I can't seem to find anything interesting in/around Grenoble at the moment that isn't teaching or working behind a desk :( The fact that I don't really drive also makes it hard. But there are some things I'm just not willing to compromise on...

    Anyway, I'm adding your blog to my blogroll so maybe you'll get some new readers :)

    1. I know what you mean about the English teaching. It seems like everyone thinks I would make an excellent English teacher just because I am a native speaker and I often receive offers for English-teaching positions that I refuse. It feels like everyone and their mother is pushing me towards English teaching and nobody listens when I say that I am not a good teacher. I have put my foot down regarding teaching, I am not willing to compromise on that either.

      Thanks for adding my to your blogroll and I'm looking forward to more of your posts!