Bordeaux new arrivals survival kit – Top 10 Tips!

Have you recently moved to Bordeaux? Or planning to take the leap in the near future…?

Welcome to one of the most beautiful cities in France!

Here are the top 10 tips to get you kick-started in the port de la lune and help you to feel at home as quickly as possible.

by Chris Tighe

1. Register with the town hall for the newcomers' meeting.

Three times a year, Bordeaux City Hall organises a reception for newcomers in the lounges of the Town Hall. If you wish to participate and receive information and invitations from the city, do not hesitate to register. It’s a friendly opportunity to meet other newcomers and above all to get as much info as possible.

Here are the main French emergency numbers for info...

More info here

2. Check out all the local Facebook pages and websites in English – they’re a veritable gold mine of information and you can ask questions to experienced local expats for FREE!

Here are the main ones:


3. Have a breeze through these key articles, which give an insight on how to get connected.

Student Accommodation in Bordeaux – not just for students! There are general links at the end

4. Pick up a copy of Le Map – this unique user-friendly guide is available all over town and has a complementary website – including a range of in-depth blogs in English and huge partner network.

Le Map

5. Get up to speed with all the local events.

6. Get out and about – the South West is brimming with incredible destinations to spend the day – or book an AirBnB and go for a long weekend!

7. Meet other Expats – there are many businesses and shops around Bordeaux that are run by English-speaking expats

Here are some of the main ones:

Downtown Bordeaux

Restaurants and Bars

Au Nouveau Monde (Etienne), 2 Rue des Boucheries
Casey’s Pub (Damien), 14 Rue Castelnau d'Auros
Dick Turpin’s, 72 Rue du Loup
English Country Kitchen, 4 Rue Castelnau d'Auros
HMS Victory, 3 Place Général Sarrail
Houses of Parliament, 11 Rue Parlement Sainte-Catherine
Kabeng, 65 Rue du Mirail
Max Bordeaux/Wine Gallery, 14 Cours de l'Intendance
Oxford Arms, 9 Place des Martyrs de la Résistance
Sherlock Holmes Pub, 16 Rue Judaïque
Sweeney Todd’s, 2 Cours d'Alsace-et-Lorraine
The Black Velvet Bar, 9 Rue du Chai des Farines
The Blarney Stone, 144 Cours Victor Hugo
The Charles Dickens, 9 Quai de la Douane
The CITY (Damien), 21 Rue du Palais Gallien
The Connemara, 18 Cours d'Albret
The Dog and Duck (Mickey), 5 Quai Louis XVIII
The Frog & Rosbif (Rachel), 23 Rue Ausone
The Ramblin’ Man, 52 Quai Richelieu
The Starfish Pub, 24/26 Rue Sainte Colombe
Vintage Bar, 45 Rue Saint-James


Excuse my French (Sam), 87 Rue des Faures
KURO Espresso Bar, 5 Rue Mautrec
Musette Bicycles and Coffee (Chris), 72 Cours de la Somme
SIP Coffee Bar, 69 Bis Rue des Trois-Conils


Bordeaux Walking Tours (Hela), Place de la Comédie
Bradley’s Bookshop, 1 Rue de la Merci
Le Petit Salon 38 (Chloe), Hair salon, 38 Rue du Pas-Saint-Georges
Rustic Vines Tours (Tim), 26 Rue de la Devise
Sophisticakes, Cupcakes, 5 Rue de Guienne
The Smoothie lady! I don't know her name, but there's an English woman who runs a smoothie stall on rue de la Porte Dijeaux near Galleries Lafayette


Restaurants and Bars

Cambridge Arms, 27 Rue Rode
The Market Tavern (Andrew), 15 Rue Rode
Molly Malone’s, 83 Quai des Chartrons
Paul’s Place, 76 Rue Notre Dame
The Golden Apple, 46 Rue Borie


Lily Blake, Women’s clothing store, 68 Rue Notre Dame


Restaurants and Bars
The Stag & Loar Pub (Sam), 2 Rue Pacaris
Twist 'N' Crêpes, 329 Cours de la Libération


WIM working space (Alice), 86 Avenue JFK

Saint Seurin


Invited To, printing shop, 42 Rue Capdeville
Spinbreak Studio, cycling/fitness, 26 Rue David Johnston


Restaurants and Bars

La Pizza Des Gourmets (Penny Hill), 336 Avenue du Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny

 8. Check out one of the local expat clubs.

Or Sports teams…

9. Hire a bike and go for a roll!

10. Learn to speak Bordelais…

Bordeaux-ese expressions in everyday language can confuse newcomers to the region. The main rule is to never ever ask for a pain au chocolat, but a “chocolatine”, otherwise you’re in deep shizzle! Don't ask for a “sac” from the supermarket, ask for a “poche” and if you are told that something is “well stuffed” (gavé), it's a good sign!

About the author:

Chris Tighe lives in Pessac, loves the Sud Ouest and helps to run the voluntary blog and FB site, Bordeaux Expats. In his spare time, he works a cosy 36 hour week as a translator for a local tech company. He lives 35 minutes from the beach, a two-hour drive from San Sebastian and has successfully escaped his preordained destiny working 60 hours a week in London, commuting four hours a day on rammed medieval public transport - cheers ears.

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