Bordeaux: I’ve Seen London, Now I’m in France

Part 2: Are you thinking about working abroad? Follow my series of moving to Bordeaux for work, life, and everything else.
Grand Theatre image by

2  min read

It’s been a little over a month since I moved to France for the summer. It has been almost a week since I’ve settled in Bordeaux. Most of June was filled with travelling to London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Bologna, Lyon, and Aix-en-Provence to get a glimpse of life and a feel of things. Each city (except Lyon) was filled with a familiar face which made travelling all the more better. But I will admit, it feels good to settle down in one location and just relax.

Through my travels, I was able to peek into the various business cultures. Amsterdam which I wrote about in last week’s post (What I Learned from the Dutch about Work-Life Balance) seems to do a great job at creating a healthy professional culture. Berlin is more lax than what I had expected (I’ll have to ask my friend in Berlin, Rose, to share some insight). And Aix is such a small yet affluent town that it literally sets its own rules. (Who would have thought the wealthy — judges, politicians, etc — have a separate bank (under the same chain) from everyone else?)

So now that I’m in one place for an extended period, I plan to dig in. Well, as much as I possibly can while juggling sightseeing, wine tasting, and meetups. Okay, it might be a challenge to focus, especially when people watching at a cafe is the national pastime.

As of now, my thoughts on life and business in Bordeaux are still kind of vague as I’ve yet to interact with any Bordelaise in a meaningful way. But they have been very friendly and accommodating which is a good start. One thing I will leave you with, it is imperative to learn the language if you would like to do business or work in France. Not only will you have better job opportunities and be able to communicate more effectively but also you will find everything is a challenge if you don’t try to become fluent. In some European cities you can get by with only English but not in Bordeaux or most of France apart from Paris.

[The feature image is of the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux where the National Ballet of Bordeaux performs. On the 4th of July, decked out in a star spangled dress, I checked out a production of Notre Dame de Paris (Hunchback of Notre Dame) and was charmed by the beautiful theatre. The ballet was immaculate. The dancing was phenomenal; Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) designed the costumes, and the musical score was composed by Maurice Jarre. I highly recommend attending a production by this dance company on your next visit to Bordeaux.]