It’s been a little while since I’ve been in a new city so I was super excited to get to know Bordeaux in France. And I instantly fell in love. Here is why.
Bordeaux is like cooler, friendlier version of Paris. It has a really unique look with its stone buildings and its copper street lamps. It’s also close to water, which is one of my most important requirements. Being outside in Bordeaux just makes me happy. There are many squares that are full of people in sidewalk cafes and restaurants. It’s lovely, though since that’s such a big part of its charm, it makes me wonder what the city is like in the winter.
There’s also a bit of a Mediterranean influence in the city, perhaps because of the port. Some parts of the city felt a little bit like Morocco, the streets lined with markets and clay cookware. The city has some gorgeous squares and the Public Garden is like a fairy tale oasis that makes the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris look like a dumpster. It definitely feels like a great place to have a beautiful apartment upstairs from a bakery so I can get my pastries freshly made every morning.
Obviously the food in all of France is pretty amazing. But Bordeaux has some really cute and interesting eateries. It’s a bit hipsterish. The entire city feels like the cool neighborhood of a bigger city. So many of the cafes are really adorable in addition to being delicious. Another plus is that they have a lot of variety. Though the cuisine is primarily French, you can also get fantastic Italian, Mexican, Indian, and good old hamburgers all within blocks of each other. One of my favorite meals of the trip was a huge spicy chicken wrap from a doner kebab place. Though I have to admit, their margaritas could be better. But maybe I just need to stop drinking margaritas in France.
Bordeaux is amazing because it’s just as good as Paris (if not better) and is also way less expensive. You can get a bottle of wine at a restaurant for 20 Euro. And a good square meal for as little as 6 or 7 Euro. I considered asking our Airbnb host to let me keep the apartment indefinitely. Based on the rent prices, I could probably snag a place for around $700-800. I might get lucky and find a studio for $600. But for France and for how awesome the city is, that’s not so bad.
Bordeaux is a really manageable city, though the sidewalks are narrow and the streets are cobblestone ankle-breakers. But with enough time, you can walk almost anywhere in the city. If that’s not your thing, they also have a really amazing tram system. Because of Prague, I’ve become really fond of trams. It’s like a metro except you don’t have to go underground and it goes to more places. And as part of the affordability, you can also Uber for less than $10 to anywhere as well.
The people of Bordeaux tend toward the younger side, so I guess this could be a good or bad thing depending on whether I feel young or old at this point in time in my life. But I think a nice thing about the city is that it makes me feel young. It’s a great city to meet people and go dancing because it’s laid back and everyone is friendly, but still respectful. It’s a very social place, and the people are very warm and welcoming.
Because it’s a relatively small town, it feels very cozy and safe. It’s not so crowded that I think I might get pick pocketed or have my purse snatched anywhere. But the bikers here are generally going at a mile a minute and zooming around wherever they want. So I can totally see myself getting cut in half by a messenger boy.
I did also encounter a late-night altercation between a couple of guys driving recklessly fast down a small alley and a bad ass bitch walking her bike who refused to get out of their way. They screeched to a halt and lowered the window, and she bitched them out. So one guy spit on her. I’m not that confrontational, but if someone ever spit on me, I would have to murder them. So I guess the biggest threat to my own safety (aside from bikers) is the consequence of me beating someone to death for disrespecting me. But alas, the French are pretty fiery. So I still think I would fit right in.
Total Livability Score: 8/10
If I was rich, I would have a studio in Bordeaux and a summer home in a wine chateau just outside of the city. Bordeaux is surprisingly fun and adorable.