front cover

Things to Take

Your passport, an ISIC card, E111 form, birth certificate (the full length one with details of both parents and not the small one), an official stamped translation into French of the birth certificate, insurance, UK student card, photocopies of everything including the first few pages of your passport, lots and lots of passport photos, money.

Get the ISIC card from the Union Travel Shop or Campus Travel and the E111 from the post office. Endsleigh do quite a good deal on insurance. It would be worth seeing if you can get the translation of the birth certificate done in the UK; it costs about fifteen pounds in Bordeaux . Bring enough money for the first couple of weeks because if you open a bank account, it will take that long to become operational. When you move in to hall they ask for a month's rent in advance plus another month's rent as a caution so be sure to have enough cash for that. Rent is about [sterling]80 a month this year.

Other things that would be useful are

  • An official letter from your department in the UK to show that you are a student there, with dates (e.g. 1993 - 1997) and what course you are on
  • a Visa debit or credit card to use at cash machines and in shops
  • a washing line to use in your room
  • waterproofs or an umbrella for the monsoon season
  • a rug for your room
  • if you can manage to bring it, a fridge
  • .

You will need the passport photographs to put on just about any form you fill in. It's worth doing them in the UK because they are much cheaper, especially in the Students' Union building.

If you haven't got room for a stereo and all your tapes, it's still worth taking a radio because there are about thirty fm radio stations in Bordeaux so there's a lot of choice and sixty percent of the music isn't French anyway. See the Culture & Tourism section for a listing of the stations.

It's worth mentioning that there's no point in taking a television because the French television standard is SECAM and won't work with a British pal television.

Things You Can't Get...

... in France and you wish you'd taken. Marmite, baked beans or anything else with Heinz written on it, jelly, anti-perspirant (this does exist but is very hard to find), pint glasses (these are even harder to find), Super Noodles, custard...

Things Worth Getting

Once you are in Bordeaux there are various things that are probably worth having. 'Clubs et Concerts ' is a small fortnightly guide available free in most bars which contains listings of restaurants, bars, clubs and concerts. In newsagents you can buy a publication called Le Petit Futé which is a fairly comprehensive city guide containing names, addresses and descriptions of everything from shoe shops and opticians to bars and restaurants. Also worth getting are: a street plan of the town so you can make use of all the interesting addresses you collect, a plan of the bus routes so you can work out how to get there, a bike if you're stuck in V6 or somewhere, a phone card and some stamps.

Hilton Harbour Hilton Harbour - front cover - contents

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.