As the spring sunshine beams down on the honey-coloured buildings of Bordeaux, few of the tourists on the terraces pay much attention to the sticker on the lamppost. “Parisien rentre chez toi,” it declares – “Parisian go home” – accompanied by a graphic of the new high-speed train that now connects Bordeaux with the French capital in just over two hours.
Last summer’s opening of the TGV route sped up more than just the travel time between the cities. Gentrification had long been underway in Bordeaux, a by-product of mayor Alain Juppé’s much-vaunted regeneration of the city – including the cleaning up of the famed architecture, a new tram system and the mega-museum La Cité du Vin. Since the arrival of the high-speed rail link, however, well-heeled Parisians – lured by the sunny skies, slower pace of life and lower property prices – have been moving en masse.
More than 70% of Bordeaux’s new arrivals are from the Paris region, and Bordeaux is now one of France’s most expensive cities for older apartments, with a median price of €3,730 per sq m – up 12% year on year. The rents have followed suit.
Indeed, Julie Tayac, 39, and her partner, Cédric Tournemire, 41, found it so expensive that they had to move to Salaunes, a village 26km out of Bordeaux. Tayac had to leave her job, and Tournemire now has an hour’s commute.
“I have been applying for jobs ever since, but no one wants to employ someone who lives so far away,” Tayac says. “It’s actually only a half-hour drive when the roads are quiet, but the traffic has become terrible over the last couple of years. So now, because of the rents and the traffic, I’m living in the middle of nowhere without a job.
“I see Bordeaux changing and not for the better. The population keeps increasing, but not the infrastructure. The traffic is a nightmare and the rents have gone wild. It’s such a shame because this city was so nice to live in before.” Read More …