Sunday, October 27, 2013

Show me your neighborhood - Pessac, France (Bordeaux Area)

Pessac Centre
Show me your neighbourhood around the worldShow me your Neighborhood
Pessac - France
Southwestern France - 
near the city of Bordeaux
(Part of the Show me your Neighborhood Series 
with The Piri-piri Lexicon)

We live in Bordeaux, France - to be more specific a suburb on the Western side of Bordeaux.  Pessac is actually located within the CUB (Communaute Urbaine de Bordeaux)-so we have wonderful public services and great transportation. In essences we are considered part of the city. The city centre is only about a 30 minute drive/bus or tram away. This post was a bit harder to write than I first thought - as of course, I wanted to share Bordeaux with everyone - such a beautiful, vibrant, gorgeous city - but that's not really our neighborhood.  In reality, our neighborhood looks quite different than the downtown interconnected sandstone houses built up against the sidewalks. Pessac is also a large enough suburb that there are several different quarters, each having their own neighborhood feel. We have more space out here - it's greener and more spread out.  Personally, I think we have the best of both worlds.  We live in a quiet neighborhood area with all the benefits of being in the city.

In this post - I will share the required photos along with some additional fun ones hopefully giving everyone a good feel of our little town. The first photo is a little park located in our quarter center.  The playground is relatively new and in the 2 years we have lived here - they have added more pieces to play on. This type of playground is a fairly new concept for France - when we first started visiting about 10 years ago - it was really difficult to find a playground for our young daughters to play on.  Most "Aire de Jeux" or playgrounds consisted of only a small slide and a couple of swings. Unlike in the States, school playgrounds are not accessible to the public. It's nice to see things beginning to change.
Fun place for the kids to play

The full playground - Not huge by American standards - but nice by French.

Transportation in our neighborhood is really up to the individual.  We have public buses that run into the city, to the local shopping center and where ever one needs to go. There is also a wonderful tram system in Bordeaux.  Presently, the tram system only comes out to the most Eastern part of our town, but new lines are under construction to arrive in our quarter by 2015.   Most people out here have at least one car, and more often now, 2 - but for local errands there is definitely a preference to ride bikes or walk.  we sometimes even ride our bikes to school - about 20 minutes.  I love the fact that our public transportation system provides these rental bikes all over the city - One can even take the bikes on the tram system and then return them to any other bike kiosk.

Bikes part of the City wide - rental system

Even the mail is delivered by bicycle in our town.  

One of the public buses that run throughout our town

Scooters are also very popular to get around this area
Typical House

Our houses are not the typical city houses that one sees in urban areas.  Most people out in our suburb have larger yards and the houses sit back behind walls.  The French people like their privacy.  Unlike American neighborhoods, which are open and yards run side by side with often no barriers, French houses are built and then enclosed.  As this area was at one point, "the countryside" and fields were divided up into parcels - often houses sit behind each other with an access driveway running along one  side allowing everyone entrances to their property.  Our house is actually like that - we sit behind another house and then behind us are natural fields where horses run about. It's really nice to watch the horses, practically in our own backyard. Another property trait that is common here is that a family may have owned a large plot of land about 50 years ago and then children or grandchildren built their houses on pieces of that property.
A typical street in our area - Property & houses sitting behind walls

Houses vary in style - it's hard to get a good photo as they sit behind walls, but here's one example.  Some house are 2 floors -others are ranch style.

Another great feature about our neighborhood is that we have our own little shopping area.  This short little street includes all the essentials that one might need.  A small Carrefour market, a fruit/vegetable store, post office, optician, hair salon, dry cleaner, florist, fish market, photo store,wine/liquor store along with a few assorted shops. Just down the street is of course, a pharmacy. Yes, amazingly - everything one needs is here.  Many people walk or ride bikes to this area -or as you can see stop by on the way home from work. 
Everything you need on one little street!

A school or Educational facility -
It's difficult to get a photo of a school or educational facility in France as they are located behind doors and like houses are all protected behind gates. When we drop our kids off at school, the gates are open and only the kids walk in. So far, as a family, we have experienced the Maternelle (Pre-school), Primary School and Middle School here.  The set up of classrooms at the Maternelle and Primary school levels are fairly typical in comparison to American school classrooms.  It is highly dependent on the teacher as to how much decorations or color is displayed on the walls.  The middle school classroom is more basic, as often teachers share classrooms and have office areas, not individual classrooms.

The indoor courtyard of a Primary school.  This was the first day of school - so parents were allowed inside.

This is a newer College & lycee (Middle & High School)-Note the Black & White wall in front - One has to ring a bell to be let inside. 

A Local supermarket
Our small local grocery store - Great for local quick errands.  There are also larger supermarkets located within a 5 minute drive.

We can't forget our local Boulangerie or bread store - we stop here daily!
Often the kids will ride their bikes here to pick up bread.
A few more photos to give everyone a feel of  our area.  We have several parks, all within biking distance.  One of the things I love best about a Sunday afternoon is to head out on a bike ride and just enjoy nature!

Another local park - we love to ride our bike here!

We love our local parks - several to choose from!

This is our town's Mayor's office - located in the same park as the playground!
Many couples get married here on Saturdays!  Beautiful place for photos! - don't you think?

I hope everyone enjoyed my little tour of our neighborhood.  It's a great place to live and as I said in the beginning - I feel like we get the best of both worlds from here.   I certainly do a lot more biking and walking here than i did in the States - for that i am grateful.  My children are also more independent here as they will run errands for bread or go to their local activities - all by bike.  It's definitely a different lifestyle - but in some ways reminds me of how my parent's grew up in the States - where everything was also close by and they walked or rode bikes all over the place!  Thank for taking the tour with me.  Please click the link above or below to enjoy other neighborhoods around the world.  Thank you The Piri-piri Lexicon for organizing this great event!

Show me your neighbourhood around the worldShow me your Neighborhood


  1. Thank you for taking part and those parks look like hours of fun!

    1. You are welcome - It was really fun to write up and yes, we adore the parks and we keep finding more!!

  2. This area looks fantastique :) I love the green playground, here, as we don't have much rain, parks are not usually that green.
    Best regards from Barcelona.

    1. I feel really privileged and lucky that we found this area!! Thanks for commenting!

  3. Thanks for the post. We lived in Bordeaux for 6 months in 2009. Such a great city!. We miss it!

    1. Thanks for commenting - It truly is such a great place to live!

  4. Thanks for the insight to Bordeaux! Your pictures were great. I love all of the buildings and the bike riding everywhere!

    1. Thanks for commenting - so nice to hear from new readers. Yes, biking riding has become a new passion of mine (after not doing it for about 20 years!!). Come back and visit anytime!


  5. Cool. When visiting Bordeaux, one never gets to see the outlying areas. Great looking neighborhood.

    1. so true - it's different out here...but great in it's own right!! Good to hear from you - Hope all is going well and your family is enjoying the Toussaint break.

  6. Looks like a lovely place. Tha mayor's office is so fancy!

    1. Thanks for commenting - Yes, I adore the Mayor's office. Apparently, those who live close by say it can get tiresome with all the weddings that take place on Saturdays and all the horns beeping congratulations!

  7. Replies
    1. Thank you for commenting - Come back and read more anytime!

  8. Replies
    1. I know - so cool!! Almost want to get re-married there just for the experience and photos!!

  9. What a beautiful place and I absolutely love that rental bikes are part of the public transportation system.

    1. Yes, the rental bikes are more and more popular in cities - here in France. They are very inexpensive also to rent - Such a marvelous idea!

  10. ciao Jennifer, I've found very interesting what you wrote about playgrounds.. I have a blog about playgrounds (initially just Italy and then I've just started a new category "around the world" - I would love to know more about the playground you have in Bordeaux and what you had in US. My contact is
    I would love to welcome you in my blog.. have a check when you have a few minutes and plaese, feel free to ask me any doubts.


  11. It's beautiful! Makes me want to visit France (I've never been there.)

  12. Thank you for sharing! I spent two weeks with a friend in Bordeaux, fifteen years ago, which makes me feel very, very old...
    The fenced-in properties are more popular in Europe than the open -grounds ones. At least in the urban areas, I think. And as everywhere else, the houses and yards ar bigger in the suburbs. Alright, enough with the platitudes. :-)
    Lovely photos. :-)

  13. Thanks for sharing. It's nice to see a real neighbourhood and not just the typical city centre known to tourists.

  14. Thanks for the nice american perspective on Pessac.
    As we we will be moving to Pessac soon too, it's nice to see that people are happy there, even foreigners.
    Here is another nice 4 minutes presentation of Pessac:

  15. Wow you make me want to move to France!! I think the Mayor's house is amazing!!!


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