The Good Life for Expats in Bordeaux

Written by on April 25, 2016 in Expats in France


Expats in Bordeaux: Justin and Vanessa Parr left Sydney, Australia for work in London and New York but it was France that captured their hearts. They moved to Bordeaux to open a B&B in the vineyards and say though it’s not always easy – they’ve never looked back…

Why France?

Justin says that they really loved staying in guesthouses where they got to meet the owners, share stories and get an insight into local life. It got them thinking that they would like to do something like that themselves. Long days and nights in the office versus a lifestyle change with a gentler pace of life was tempting. They started to read inspiring, enticing stories about life in France and as Justin puts it “to have a serious think about what we wanted to do.  With no big commitments and just the two of us to bear in mind at the time, it seemed like a now or never (or maybe many years later) kind of moment, so we knuckled down and started brainstorming.  Setting up and running a guesthouse was the original idea, but the questions of where and how took a bit more research and planning.”

The couple’s dream destinations were Italy and France and part of their planning included making sure that they chose a place to live that was also good for business. They considered tourism statistics, competition, ease of accessibility etc. They also needed to be sure it was somewhere with the space and potential to be a true get-away destination for future guests. Living at the time in Manhattan, they knew they loved big city living but a countryside location had lots of appeal.

Why Bordeaux?

In the end, after endless discussions and lists of pros and cons, studying and considerations – they chose Bordeaux in south west France. “Ironically” laughs Justin “of all the areas that we considered in France, this was not actually one that we had been to before, but between our gut feel and all of the amazing things that the region has to offer – beautiful architecture, delicious food, amazing wine, a balanced climate, and a TGV train connection to Paris in around 3 hours for that big city ‘lifeline’ – it was hard to resist.”

A lot of investment has gone into re-developing Bordeaux city over the last 15 years, and although super famous as a wine producing region, it still seems to be a bit of a hidden gem on the tourist trail. With budget being an important consideration, Vanessa and Justin found that unlike further south in areas such as Provence and the French Riviera, property prices in this region had not been inflated as dramatically, which was a big plus.

Today Vanessa and Justin run a boutique B&B in a village called Camiran in the Bordeaux vineyards called L’Autre Vie (‘the other life’). They’ve been expanding slowly and have plans for more over the next few years and they’ve also launched a wine club.

Read the full article in the January 2016 issue of The Good Life France magazine and find out how Justin and Vanessa researched to find their dream home, their top tips for those who are yearning to live in France and how life has gone for them…

Related Articles

The Good Life in the Tarn running a B&B

June 2005 was a difficult month for Peter Friend and his partner Mark. After a change of jobs, relocation and redundancy they decided they didn’t want the sort of stressful lives they were leading in marketing and business development for much longer. Considering their skills, passion for travel, good food and wine, setting up their […]

Continue Reading

Expats living the good life in the Aude, Languedoc Roussillon

We talk to Suzanne Sutton who left the UK for Languedoc Roussillon, southern France. She’s an agent for the award-winning Leggett Immobillier French Estate Agents and says this sunny area is great for expats to live. Where do you live in France? I live in a little village of around 90 residents, called Granès, in […]

Continue Reading

A British snail farmer in France

Mike Collins  from the UK went to France as a young man to study languages. He got a job with a large company and in his job he travelled a lot around France. He loved discovering new places and new tastes and developed a penchant for snails, the very French foodie favourite. On a whim, […]

Continue Reading

The good life in Gascony for expats

We talk to American expat and tour guide Sue Aran who tells how her heart was won by a house in Gascony despite many trials and tribulations… My husband and I first travelled from Seattle, Washington to Gascony in May 2006 with a couple of friends, looking for a house to purchase together. All of […]

Continue Reading

Finding the ideal property in the Dordogne

The idea began, as many good ideas do, in the pub. Rebecca Randall, a criminal barrister and husband Greg who works in the City came to the realisation that they didn’t want to be commuting to and working in London until they reached 70. “Several glasses in and one of us (we still aren’t sure […]

Continue Reading


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.