Bordeaux City Guide

by Jose Marc Castro on August 13, 2007

Bordeaux is a city on the southwestern section France which is perhaps best known for its excellent wines. The wine that goes with the name Bordeaux is in fact one of the best wines across the globe since its earliest production in the 8th century.

Aside from being a wine making capital of the world, Bordeaux has other lesser known but no less impressive facets as well. The city also serves as the main military space and aeronautics research and construction complex of Europe, as well as being recognized by the UNESCO World Heritage List for its outstanding contributions in the field of urban architecture during the 18th century.

Residential Places in Bordeaux

Property in Bordeaux has always been in high demand and this has naturally resulted in higher real estate prices compared to other cities in France. Obviously rental prices in the city proper will always be on the high side, but even in the suburbs prices have begun to rise considerably. One of the reasons for this is that the outlying suburbs have proven to be popular residential areas for foreign buyers, particularly British nationals.

There are some circumstances that have come about recently that–although may not bode well for the area’s wine industry–may make the prices residential properties a little bit more affordable. A crisis in the region’s wine industry that was brought about by overproduction and low market prices of wine worldwide has resulted in many smaller family owned wineries going out of business. This has resulted in property prices–particularly of vineyards–reaching an all time low.

While this may not be good news for wine lovers, this crisis may give you the opportunity to purchase prime Bordeaux property at way below normal prices.

Hospitals and Universities of Bordeaux

Health care in Bordeaux is generally top notch and the public hospitals in particular have received acclaim from no less than the French journal “Le Point”, which in July 2005 acknowledged their quality in service and expertise. An additional welcome bit of news for British nationals and other English speaking visitors is that virtually all the public hospitals in the city will have someone who speaks English on staff.

Some of the more notable hospitals in the city are the Hospital St André, Hospital Pellegrin and the Haut Leveque Hospital. Hospital St André is located near the city center and its primary focus is cancer treatment. Hospital Pellegrin has an emergency unit that can accommodate patients at all hours of the day or night throughout the week. They also have one of the most fully equipped orthopedic and neurosurgical departments in the country. The Haut Leveque Hospital is located in Pessac and is considered one of the best cardiology hospitals in the country.

Educational Facilities

Bordeaux is also home to one of the most respected universities in Europe: the University of Bordeaux. With a roster of more than 70,000 students, the university is one of the largest in the continent and is currently divided into 4 campuses:

The University Bordeaux 1, which focuses on physical sciences and technologies,
The University Bordeaux 2, which focuses on medicine and life sciences,
The University Bordeaux 3, which focuses on liberal arts, humanities, and languages, and
The University Bordeaux 4, which focuses on law, economics and management.

Commercial Places in Bordeaux

France is of course well known for its gastronomic delights, but one other activity that Bordeaux is equally known for is shopping. If you have the cash to burn, there are certainly enough high end shops around the city that will only be too happy to have you parting with your money. For the financially challenged however, there are always the flea markets around town where you can pick up some jewelry or a piece of art for much more reasonable prices.

Wine is of course a regular part of life all over the country and much more so in Bordeaux. As you can imagine, wine is a source of pride for the entire region so you will be pleasantly surprised to find that even the house wine served in the smaller bistros will be of excellent quality.

Service Establishments of Bordeaux

Telecommunications services in Bordeaux are provided by 3 companies, namely: Bouygues, France Telecom (also known as Orange), and SFR. With a GSM equipped cell phone, you should have no trouble making calls from anywhere in the city. You can also make calls from “phone cabins” that are located throughout the city, although they are not as easy to find as they once were given the decreased usage brought about by widespread cell phone use.

Even if you have been in town for awhile, you may still find it helpful to visit the Bordeaux tourist office. Aside from detailed maps of the city, they can also offer you guided tours of many of the area’s best vineyards. You can find their office at 12 Cours du XXX Juillet. You can also call them at 33 5 56 00 66 00 or visit their website at [email protected].

The Bordeaux airport is about 10 kilometers from the city, which should take you about 30 minutes by car, depending on the traffic of course. A taxi ride from the airport to the city will cost about $26 and there is also a shuttle bus that will take you to the city center and drop you off at the Place de la Comédie or the SNCF train station at Saint-Jean. These buses leave the airport every 45 minutes and will cost you $9 per trip.

Embassies in Bordeaux

For diplomatic assistance while in Bordeaux, you can either contact the office of the British Consulate-General in the city or you can contact the British Embassy in Paris. The British Consulate-General can be found at 353 Boulevard du President Wilson, 33073 Bordeaux Cedex and you can call them at (33) (5) 57 22 21 10. You can also fax them at (33) (5) 56 08 33 12 or email them at [email protected]. Their office hours are from Monday to Friday, 0900 to 1230 and then again at 1400 to 1730.

The office of the British Embassy can be reached at 35 rue du Faubourg St Honoré in Paris and you can call them at (33) 1 44 51 31 00 and at (33) 1 49 55 73 00 for the British Council. You can also email them at [email protected] or visit their website at http://www.amb-grandebretagne.fr/.

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