The historic port city in south-west France is celebrated for its architecture and world-famous terroir, but it is also one of the country’s most dynamic and innovative centres.
As French tech strives to become an international brand, president Emmanuel Macron has introduced a €10bn innovation fund and a “tech visa” to attract talent from overseas.
The Bordeaux arm of the government-backed start-up association La French Tech covers 25,000 jobs and 400 tech businesses across the region. Among the companies it has attracted are video games developer Ubisoft, web-hosting platform OVH and music-streaming service Deezer.
A study from INSEE (the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies) revealed that 17,100 new companies were created in the city in 2017, compared with 12,600 in 2012.
Setting up a business in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, where Bordeaux is located, is 20-30 per cent less expensive than in Paris, according to Nouvelle-Aquitaine’s Agency for Development and Innovation. Bordeaux is two hours from the capital by high-speed train.
Bordeaux is home to the world’s largest urban Unesco World Heritage site, comprising an 18 sq km area from the Garonne river to the historic harbour neighbourhood of Port de la Lune and all the way to the city’s outer boulevards.
The site includes 347 listed buildings, more than any other French city except Paris, including the neo-classical Palais Rohan city hall and the medieval Saint Pierre neighbourhood.
Wine and wind down
The Saint-Émilion jurisdiction, 40km to the east of Bordeaux, has earned its own Unesco distinction thanks to its historic vineyards. In Bordeaux itself, the Cité du Vin has become one of the city’s most popular attractions since opening in 2016, offering self-guided tours of French wine heritage through multi-sensory exhibitions over 10 floors.
For those in search of healthy living, Darwin Ecosystème, a multi-use cultural hub built in a 20,000 sq m former army warehouse by the Garonne river, hosts an urban farm, wellness centre and open-air graffiti gallery, as well as an indoor skate park made of recycled materials, co-working spaces and Magasin Général, France’s largest organic restaurant.
The hub promotes the green economy, advocating low energy consumption, environmentally-friendly transport and a zero-waste policy.
Next year, Bordeaux hosts RoboCup, an annual global robotics and digital development contest that attracts tens of thousands of researchers and specialists.
At the event, robots compete in fields ranging from logistics to emergency rescue, as well as humanoid robot football. The 2016 and 2017 football competitions were won by teams of robots designed at the University of Bordeaux.
Photographs: Dreamstime; Bloomberg; Getty Images/iStockphoto