Art imitates life in “the city of art and history.” With over 350 historical monuments and a UNESCO World Heritage Site for a city center, an internship in Bordeaux will truly be one for the history books. Not to mention there is no better way to perfect your French language skills than by participating in an international internship in Bordeaux. In the wine capital of the world, with vineyards as far as the eye can see, you can drink in the culture (literally) while you live, learn, and work in Bordeaux, like a true Bordelais (Bordeaux native).
Internships in Bordeaux
Bordeaux is the sixth largest metropolitan area and a major center for business in France. With over 287,000 acres of vineyards and 10,000 wine-producing châteaux, wine production is the leading industry in Bordeaux by far. A close second is tourism, more specifically wine tourism, which opens up doors for internships in tourism, marketing, and communications. Another leading industry in Bordeaux is aeronautics, so large French and multinational companies, like Dassault and Airbus, offer internship programs throughout the year too.
Internships in Bordeaux are available in both French and English, but most programs will include intensive language classes. French fluency isn’t required to intern in Bordeaux, but a basic understanding and a pocket full of essential phrases will go a long way at the office.
As an intern in Bordeaux, you can expect to work hard and play hard. The French are known for their healthy work-life balance. A 35 hour work week is the standard across the country, and recently new labor legislation has been passed asking that employers and employees disconnect from work at the end of the work day. This means you won’t be receiving urgent emails or phone calls during happy hour, so you’ll be able to enjoy that glass of vin rouge (red wine) after work.
Life in Bordeaux
Bordeaux may lovingly be called La Belle au Bois Dormant (Sleeping Beauty), but with a large student population and two and a half million tourists annually, it’s hardly a sleepy little French town. Life in Bordeaux offers a little bit of everything for those looking to live and intern abroad in France, with its perfect combination of bustling city life and surrounding smaller, historic villages.
Take a walking tour of the city, in order to get to know the beauty of Bordeaux, pay a visit to the famous water mirror outside the Place de la Bourse, and explore what has become a true symbol for the city of Bordeaux in your free time.
Spend your weekends exploring the many parks and public gardens, after hitting the local markets for a relaxing picnic with friends, take a cruise along the river Garonne, or tour one of the 10,000 wine-producing châteaux. Looking for more of an outdoor adventure? Bordeaux is ideally situated so you’re never far from the mountains or the beach.
You’ll have plenty of weekend adventures in Bordeaux, but don’t expect to share your tales of adventure at the water cooler Monday morning with your colleagues. In France keeping your personal life and professional life separate is common practice. There also won’t be “casual fridays” in the office, so you’ll have to dress to impress.
While interning in Bordeaux it will be best to get from place to place by bike, it is also the best way to get to know the city, but public transportation is also very accessible. Between three tram lines, 75 bus routes, 13 night-bus routes, an electric shuttle through the city center, and boat shuttles on the river, getting around Bordeaux is a breeze.
Salary & Costs
Internships in Bordeaux may be paid or unpaid, and this will vary industry to industry. However, some companies in France will offer interns a modest stipend, and some placements will also offer additional benefits, like housing and meals. All of this information will be specific to your internship program provider, and most will provide you with detailed information prior to arrival, including a suggested budget for food, travel, and living expenses.
France is consistently one of the most popular countries in Europe for tourism, and Bordeaux is at the top of the list for best places to visit. As a popular tourist destination, the cost of living in Bordeaux is a little pricier, but no more than most popular major European cities. The longer you live and work in Bordeaux, the better you’ll be able to budget and navigate, finding the best deals and most authentic experiences.
Accommodation & Visas
Apartments in France can be quite expensive, especially in a city like Bordeaux that is a huge draw for millions of tourists annually. Just as with shops and restaurants, the closer you are to the city center and tourist attractions, the more expensive housing will be. Most internships in Bordeaux will include assistance in finding housing, whether that be an apartment, a student housing complex like a dorm, or even arrange a homestay. If you’re looking to improve your French while interning in Bordeaux, taking part in a homestay with a French family is the best way to become fluent.
If you’re planning to intern in Bordeaux for longer than 90 days, you will need a temporary long-stay visa, whether it be a student visa or a work visa. Most internship placement providers will help you through this process and provide all the necessary documents. However, will be responsible for scheduling and attending any consulate appointments on your own. It’s important to start this part of the process early, because French bureaucracy can be slow and frustrating.
Benefits & Challenges
Drink it all in. Take advantage of your time as an intern in Bordeaux and get to know the city’s history and culture. To travel anywhere in France and not experience wine culture or sample the local wine is a tragedy, but in Bordeaux it’s almost criminal. To live as the French do is to drink as the French do. There is no shortage of experiences to fully immerse yourself in French culture during your time in Bordeaux.
Make history. While exploring historical sites and learning about the history of Bordeaux, make some history of your own during your internship abroad. Take the time to learn about yourself as you live and work in Bordeaux.