|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.