Bordeaux was my leap of faith.
I knew I couldn’t afford to live in Paris. I didn’t want to live among the Peter Mayle fans in Provence either. And Normandy and Brittany and Alsace were really dual regions with Anglo, Celtic and German influences which would dilute my hope for an authentic French experience.
Climate was a factor. I didn’t want cold, dreary, or windy weeks on end. And although I’m more of a forest/countryside person than a coastal groupie, the Gulf Stream current bathes European coasts with milder winters than the interior of France.
Transportation was a key consideration because I would not have a car. So, living in a city with an airport, train station, and good public transportation was a priority. I would not be allowed to work as part of my visa restrictions, so employment possibilities didn’t enter my radar screen at all.
The dot on the map that got a lot of research was Toulouse. I looked at neighborhoods, crime rates, public parks and cultural attractions, weather, population trends, and lots of internet pictures. I bought a map of the city, contacted the tourist office for brochures, investigated the city website, and imagined Toulouse as my french home.
Then, I went to the UNESCO city of San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. I was enthralled. The sites, the history, the attention and focus on restoration, the charming historic center…all of this caused me to rethink my plans and seek a UNESCO city in France. Voila! – there was Bordeaux!
I didn’t spend any time looking at details…I just looked at pictures. And I fell in love with Bordeaux before ever seeing it in person. Once here, all my hopes and expectations came true. Bordeaux is filled with beauty, history, charm, culinary delights, world-renowned wines, and an affordable and easy-going lifestyle. It has become my home and I love all that Bordeaux offers!