Bordeaux, France

Living in Bordeaux

by Iyna Bort Caruso

Bordeaux of the 21st century has been called a place of bold modernism.

Billions of euros are being invested in urban development, from art installations to cycling lanes to transit system updates. In 2017, a high speed train link is scheduled to be completed which will reduce travel time from Bordeaux to Paris to just two hours.

The world is noticing. Tourists are coming in record numbers and the city is experiencing a rise in population. In 2015, Bordeaux was even awarded “Best City” honors in a poll by the organization called European Best Destinations.

The 18th century was the golden age of this port city, a time when it first transformed from medieval into neoclassical. Next to Paris, Bordeaux has more preserved historic buildings than any city in France. It is this collection of imposing architecture that’s put Bordeaux on the roll call of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

A focal point in the heart of Old Bordeaux is the Golden Triangle, so-called for the way it’s bounded by three major boulevards. Some of the most opulent stone mansions were built here and they remain prized for their decorative facades and large wrought-iron balconies. Luxury homes in Bordeaux with pools and wine cellars are not unusual.

Bordeaux is located some 310 miles southwest of Paris on the Garonne River in southwest France and ideally situated close to Atlantic Coast beaches, the ski slopes of the Pyrenees Mountains and, most famously, the world’s wine capital.

Wine dates back to the ancient Romans who cultivated the area’s first vines. Today in the land of Lafite Rothschilds there are dozens of appellations and some 10,000 wine-producing chateaux. The economy and culture has long been linked to the love of the grape. More recently, architecture has been taking a prominent role with the likes of Norman Foster, Philippe Starck and Jean-Michel Wilmotte adding Bordeaux winery design to their portfolios.