If you just need that downtown buzz to be happy we suggest you look at one of the centrally located neighborhoods. We only focus on the Central area as defined by the areas SOUTH of the Northern neighborhoods (Dorobanti, Floreasca, Primaverii), down to about Piata University. Piata Uniri is technically the centre of the city and has some expats living there, but we don`t like it and thus don`t endorse it - too many communist blocks and not enough nice stuff to suit our fussy standards! Still a lot of international companies have their headquarters downtown and there is the second British School (highly regarded as well).
Our favorite neighborhood is ICOANEI (the Icon Church neighborhood) and ARMENEASCA because it has retained that village feel while being only 100 meters from the cultural heart of the city (roughly the area between Piata Romana and Piata Unirii between the boulevards of Magheru and Victoria), it also has two fine parks, great restaurants, good housing options and a lot of interesting people, both locals and expats. This is also where the Anglican church is located if the mood or guilt hits you J. A really interesting neighborhood is the neighborhood around Cismigiu Garden as well. Besides the park (one of the oldest and grandest public gardens in the city) you have lots of pubs, restaurants, theatres, book-shops and the symphonic theatre within easy walking distance. Not an easy neighborhood to find new apartments at expat standards, but plenty of very nice apartments in renovated villas. We also have some lovely, good-value villas in the neighborhood. The neighborhood doesn`t have the shine of Primaverii, or the renovated cleanliness of Dorobanti. What you will find is charm with a bit of dust and patina, lots of university students, artists, buzz and old couples sitting on park benches still speaking French. You can always find a taxi and all the options on public transportation. This is a popular neighborhood for long-term expats who have bought these wonderful old mansions and renovated them with a lot of love and attention.
Verita International School of Bucharest is a really good option in our opinion for parents with younger children who want their kids to get both a solid British School curriculum, but rounded out with a lot of creative thinking and confidence building programs. School is organic and the philospohy of both the owner of the school and the parents is that learning ought to be about discovery. This is our favorite school in town.
The International British School is central-city located. Small campus, but excellent academic reputation and their test results are consistently at the top of the tables. Also, about half the cost of BSB (British School of Bucharest) and a top choice of British families who have settled in Bucharest. Suggest Icoanei, or Floreasca neighborhoods as first choice. Not a lot of options within walking distance to the school as it`s a bit further South-West than we would recommend for expat living.
Cambridge School of Bucharest: In the city-center near Piata Romana. It has a rigorous curriculum with a mix of children coming from the diplomatic, local and longtime expat population. A good option if school costs are coming out of your pocket as fees are half those in Pipera. Start your housing search in the Icoanei (downtown), Floreasca, Dorobanti neighborhoods.