12 Reasons why Bordeaux is the Best City in Franc


photo via Bordeaux Tripism Bureau, Bordeaux Wine Trips

photo via Bordeaux Tripism Bureau

HOLD ON wait a minute you say…have you forgotten Paris??? So to be fair, its absolutely true, nothing can match Paris. Its fame, iconic monuments and its long and fascinating history will never be usurped. But when you consider cities not only to visit but to live in, Bordeaux is a very close match with a lot of qualities that are superior to Paris. Consider the livability and friendliness of Chicago compared to New York, in Bordeaux its something similar or the more artistic feel of Melbourne vs Sydney. I have had a love affair with Paris for decades but my newer love, mon nouvel amour is Bordeaux. If you’ve been here, you’ll understand why, if not then let me explain.

1) Bordeaux is smaller and more manageable than Paris. This town, famous for its wine, is a fabulous walking city, full of historical monuments and stunning architecture.

2) BDX (as its known) is a UNESCO world heritage site. The UN describes the city as; “,,,an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble…Urban plans and architectural ensembles of the early 18th century onwards place the city as an outstanding example of innovative classical and neoclassical trends and give it an exceptional urban and architectural unity and coherence.”

3) As of this July a faster TGV train will begin running, making the time between Paris and Bordeaux a mere 2 hours….aka weekend destination!

Hermès storefront, BDX

4) Living in Bordeaux is far more affordable than Paris yet you can have a similar cosmopolitan-style life with great restaurants, wine and culture and the shopping is très chic.

5) Bordeaux is much warmer year round than Paris, with far more days of sun. We can grow palm trees here. It’s like North Carolina but without the humidity.

6) Instead of the metro underground, Bordeaux has a tram system with extra large windows allowing you to view the city in all its glory from stop to stop. 

7) From Bordeaux you can easily get to the Atlantic coast in just 45 minutes, and to the Spanish border in two and a half hours or to skiing in the Pyrenees in three.

8) Bordeaux is a young and vibrant city due to its excellent university and medical school. Plus it’s a wonderful place to retire to owing to low housing costs, high standard of living and the best health care in the world.

9) You can still buy an apartment for 300,000 euros that is really nice. Something that is impossible to do in a decent area of Paris. Prices will go up however in the future because of the new fast train, so it’s a good time to invest.

10) Bordeaux and surrounds boasts seven Michelin starred restaurants as well as beaucoup de innovative bistros, chic bars, sushi, Moroccan and many other kinds of ethnic cuisine.

11) Oysters + Wine: You can buy some of the best wine in the world here much cheaper than it is back home plus the regular table wine runs as low as 2 euros a bottle and its actually quite tasty! Also, this is the epicenter for some of the best oysters in France, hailing from Arcachon and Cap Ferret just 45 minutes to the west of Bordeaux.

12) Bordeaux has a gorgeous modern art museum housed in a converted warehouse, the building remains as interesting as the art.
Come for a visit, or stay a while.

Maison Fredon, Rouge Room 

Recommended hotels

La Boutique Hotel Lovely, affordable and in the center
Avant Scene 3 Star hotel close to the Modern art museum with modern décor
Maison Fredon A terribly artsy and chic bed & breakfast
La Grand Maison A Relais & Chateaux with food by Pierre Gagnaire
Le Grand Hotel Intercontinental Best possible location & superb service
Cordeillan Badges about 45 minutes north on the Medoc Peninsula with a 2 star Michelin restaurant
Les Etangs de Corot Caudalie Spa hotel & vineyard 15 south of town

Recommended restaurants

Ferdinand on the quai for Seafood. Fruits de Mer platter is divine.
Walk on the quai near Chartirons (past the skate park) and sit down at one of the restaurants along the river that are located in the Hangars. The best ones are listed here and can be reserved at same link.

La Tupina is a well-known restaurant in BDX, with a very charming look and excellent food. You’ll need reservations. 7 rue porte de la Monnaie

Au Comestible also owned by La Tupina and sits directly across the street. A much more relaxed bistro, which is both affordable and charming

Noailles is an classic old Brasserie from the turn of the century near the Grand Theatre 12 Allées Tripny
Moshi Moshi for Japanese at 8 place Fernand LaFargue

The Brasserie Bordelaise at 50, rue St. Remi is a charming brasserie with excellent food & wine. Reservations suggested.
Le Petit Commerce is a small very hip place with conscious food, specializing in seafood & fish. 22 rue du Parlement St Pierre.  

To Do
CAPC – Modern Art Museum 7 rue Ferrere
Go wine tasting in town or in the Medoc
Check out the Museum of Beaux Arts
Go to the market at Capucines and taste some oysters
Visit beautiful St. Emilion just 30 minutes away
Shop for a new wardrobe on rue St. Catherine
Picnic in the Jardin Public
Go Antique Shopping in Chartirons area
See a show at the Grand Theatre Opera House
Visit the historic Pey Berland Cathedral & Tower
Set out on a River Cruise

Rent our home by the river, 45 minutes to the east of Bordeaux