Get settled in Bordeaux: the true guide.
posted February 2015
I'm leaving soon for Chicago and I haven't found the "let's give you a crash course of the city's inside" kind of guide I was looking for. I've also wanted for a long time to write a no bullshit guide on how to manage moving to Bordeaux. So here it is. It's gonna be short, concise and maybe not very ethical.
- avoid the only hostel of the city at all cost
- avoid the kind of agencies where you have to pay a fee (more than 100€ usually) to be able to visit places.
- if you are looking for an apartment during July, August, September... you're in for a bad time. Don't bother finding a real place, just find a sublet for a couple months until things calm down.
- how to find a place? Go on leboncoin (and nowhere else). check "particuliers" to have only landlords, refresh the page and call asap. Always have plenty of documents on you because if you find the place of your dream you might have to fill and sign on the spot. If you don't know what documents you need ask the first landlord you call.
- If you can't have a garant (guarantor) then check out Clé Acquitaine
- need furniture ? cutlery? a bike? Wait for periods when people are leaving: December/January or May/June. People dump free stuff in the streets (really) or sell them for an incredible low price. The Erasmus facebook group of the current year is where it's at. Don't hesitate to bargain, and take your time.
- see the map I posted here? You want to live in the yellow or the orange. The city is pretty small so the other colors should be ok as long as you don't go too far. Never go to the other side of the river though.
- you should buy a bike. Not too expensive because you will probably get it stolen.
- don't pay for a pass, you will never see ticket inspectors. And if you meet one, be sure to have one ticket on you so that you can get a 50% discount on your fine!
- need to go to the airport ? Take the line 1 at Quinconces.
- Never go to KFC and subway. Nobody go there and it's never fresh. Avoid 2€ kebabs. People will tell you about the Coluche being the best kebab place of the city but you will want to avoid this as well. L'Entrecôte and Fufu have huge lines but they are not that special. Go check out Santosha and Pitaya, amazing thaï/vietnamese places.
- check Del'ice n'coffee or Verde Nero.
- iBoat should be a safe bet. Although it might be a bit selective and far away. La Plage is the biggest club I've been in France, it's close to the center, it's free on Thursday and it's full of girls.
- There are quizzes everyday in Bordeaux. Just ask your favorite bars. Avoid Place de la Victoire. Try not to always go to Charles Dickens or HMS or...
- La Maison du Vin. Go to this place. As much as you can. It's cheap, classy and the wine is very, very, very good. Try some Sauternes or some Loupiac or some Montbazillac.
- There are other more expensive places you can drink wine at. Check La Bbelle Campagne or in the same street rue des bahutiers.
- I said earlier never to go to the dark side of Bordeaux (across the river), but you can go if you want to see Darwin. It's a place with many things to do and I won't spoil it for you.
- If you need to buy alcohol late. There is a casino that sells until 10pm near the tram tracks between Victoire and Musée d'Acquitaine. Other small shops Cours Victor Hugo or Cours de l'Yser might as well. After 10pm check around Place du Parlement and you will find some shops selling illegally.
Internet & Phone
- every year in june/july/august/september even november. When people move and need to subscribe to a new internet company, you usually have extremly cheap offers where you would pay like 2€/months for a year instead of 20. Check vente-privee.com this is where everything is at.
- still on vente-privee.com, and during the same periods, you will find mobile company doing the same agressive offers. This is the moment to get real cheap plans. It really doesn't matter what company, they are all the same. Although you might not have a great internet connection with "Free".