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The halls of residence on the campus are Village 1, Village 2, Village 3, Village 4, Village 5 and Village 6. Whether or not you decide to spend the whole year living in hall, it's where you'll probably start off. These halls are nothing like a British hall of residence - they seem less sociable and there are much fewer things organised. The first thing that you notice is that there are no student bars and it isn't as easy to meet the people on your corridor because they all seem to work so much. However the rent is very cheap and you're sure to have a lot of fun once you get to know people there. Another advantage of living in hall is that you don't have to get the bus to the campus every morning.

Village 1 piccy
From your room in hall you will have a lovely view of the campus

You may be able to choose a room, so have an idea whereabouts in the building you want to be. You could even ask for several keys so you can have a look at the rooms first - some are 'more tastefully decorated' than others. There are no carpets and you have to clean the room yourself. You change your linen every three or four weeks.

Your address in hall will be Chambre ? Bâtiment ?, Village ?, Domaine Universitaire, 33405 TALENCE, France . It is important that 'Bordeaux ' isn't written anywhere in the address, or the letter will get lost in the depths of the central post office in the centre of Bordeaux .

Here is some information on the ones we know about:

Village 1

This is the biggest and ugliest village on the campus (apart from Village 3 , but that's not as ugly). It is next to Bordeaux I so this is where you'll probably live if you're going to Bordeaux to study sciences. By the beginning of next year the new chemistry building should be finished so you won't feel like you're living on a building site.

There are television rooms in Bâtiments E, F, G , a pool room, a table tennis room and a photo lab. Underneath Bâtiment G is a small laundrette and underneath Bâtiment A is the 'foyer ' which is a games room with a small snack bar where ents are occasionally organised. There are also study rooms and a small library. There is hardly any security at all.

Village 1 is next to RU1 and the cafeteria which is just as well because there are no kitchens. Within five minutes walk is the sports hall. Within ten minutes walk are V2 and the whole of Bordeaux I - Sciences.

Village 2

Village 2 is one of the smaller villages and the only one not actually on the bus route (it's about 300 m to the bus stop). It's quite peaceful, which is another way of saying that nothing goes on there, but it is much prettier than the other villages and being right in the middle of the campus it is equally far from everything which is good.

The facilities here are quite good. There are two television rooms, one big, one small and both fairly comfy. There are sparse but functional kitchens and study rooms in each block. There is also a table-tennis room, a piano room and a library that has a hi-fi, some records, loads of old newspapers and magazines, a few board games, some books and even an Asterix collection. Security is good; there is an intercom system to get in the front door. This also means that you don't have to trek up all four flights of stairs just to see if your mate's in.

Right next to V2 is RU2 and it's cafeteria 'Le Vent Débout ' which is best described as 'novel' or 'imaginative'. Within five minutes walk are the sports hall, V5 and it's laundrette and the Law and Geography departments. Within ten minutes walk are V1, RU1, V3, V6, Le Campus the local newsagent, the post office and all of Bordeaux III.

Village 3

This village, next to Bordeaux III , is where you may live in September if you do a defle language course. Possibly the most notable things about this village are the colour-coded shutters and doors and the cunning design and wittiness of the Bibliothèque des Lettres which is just across the road.

There is a television room and a dojo which is used, among other things, for dance classes. Outside there is a tennis court and an amphitheatre.

Cafeteria Vera Cruz , complete with palm trees, is next to V3 . Within five minutes walk there are two other cafes - Forum and Chez Jaques , all of Bordeaux III , RU2 , the off-campus brasserie Le Cafet , the post office and Le Campus the newsagent. Within ten minutes walk are V2, RU2 , V6, V5 and its laundrette.

Living Out

A lot of people quickly decide that the villages are far too grim to live in for a whole year and move out. Rent is quite expensive, but all you get is a flat which will almost certainly be unfurnished. If you get a carte de séjour then you'll be able to get the rent rebate so it's not that bad. There are three categories of flat depending on the size: T1 is one room - a studio , T2 is two rooms - a lounge and bedroom and T3 is three rooms - two bedrooms and a lounge. All will have a small kitchenette or a kitchen.

There are many pros and cons to moving out. On the one hand you're much closer to the night life and the shops, you've probably got quite a decent place and you can avoid the many English speakers that are in hall, but on the other hand staying in hall is cheaper, less hassle, more convenient for the campus and you may find it easier to meet people there. Another good thing about living out is that you can make more noise without loads of students on your corridor knocking on your door to complain that they can't work.

There are several ways to find somewhere. A lot of people go to an agency who will find you a place. Agencies tend to specialise in either furnished or unfurnished accommodation. It is important not to pay the agency anything until you've got a place and signed a contract because they may just give you a list of flats that have already been taken.

Some places to try are: CROUS - 5 rue du Hamel; Centre d'Info Jeunesse Aquitaine (CIJA) - 5 rue Duffour Dubergier and 125 cours Alsace Lorraine ; and the Association Catholique Etudiants - 28, rue Paul-Louis-Lande .

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Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Bordeaux - A Guide For Clueless ERASMUS Students ©1995 P. Hilton All Rights Reserved World-Wide
Written & edited by P. Hilton. Designed & published by P. Hilton. Contributions by G. Pharoah, D. Richardson.Illustrations by Yann. WWW version ©1997 P. Hilton.