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When you talk about Provence, images of lavender fields for as far as the eye can see, vineyards and wine tasting spring to mind. However, Provence offers so much more than spectacular scenery and a more relaxed pace of life. Euromediterranee, the commercial centre of Provence, is home to 5,300 companies and 43,500 jobs and is a rapidly growing technology hub.
The South-eastern corner of France from the Rhone to the Italian border has long been attracting talent, with claims to have been a favourite haunt of Nostradamus, Matisse and Picasso.
Provence is as diverse as it is wide, with 16 major communities, each offering something different. From the more Provençal village of Simiane-Collongue, which is just a 20-minute train ride from Marseille or Estaque with its elegant marina which offers the very best of seafront living, families or young professionals can find the lifestyle they are looking for, just a short hop away from the business district of Euromeditaerrannee.
If you want a house, you’ll be able to rent one for between €900 and €1200 in L’estaque, or in Simiane Collongue for just a little more. If you are looking for an apartment, you can secure a single room for between €420 and €450 in the City Centre, close to the Old Port.
If looking to buy, you can pick up a two-bed apartment in a newly built complex for €177,500 in La Joliette, in L’estaque for €182,000. If you’re after a house, with a small garden, you’ll find you have to move away from the centre, but you’ll be able to get a three-bed detached house and garden for the Provençal dream in Simiane Collongue from around €300,000.
If you are European, Swiss, or an EEA citizen you won’t need a French permit, but you may still need to register with the French authorities.
If you are travelling from the UK or further afield, you’ll need to secure a visa. This will need to be arranged by your prospective employer. However, you may be applicable for a French Tech Visa which could substantially reduce the time it takes to secure a visa.
Provence is all about diversity, so you’ll find Michelin-starred restaurants and quaint Provençal dining spots. On top of any rent or mortgage payments, you’ll need to budget around €110 for utility bills and a further €90 for phone and internet.
Provence is an expensive area of France, but those living there often argue that its beauty and the pleasant climate make it worthwhile.
You can expect your monthly grocery bill to cost around €425 per month.
A basic restaurant lunch menu will cost around €13.50 whilst a meal for 2 in a mid-range restaurant will be nearer €50.00.
A loaf of bread will cost €1.25 and a decent bottle of red wine will set you back €6.50.
The average salary in Provence is €34,187, whilst the average skilled technology salaries tend to be slightly higher. An Electrical Engineer in Provence can expect to receive €100,000 a year, whilst a verification engineer could command €34,000.
Getting around Provence is fairly easy thanks to its decent road network and public transport.
From Estaque, you can get to the commercial Euromediterranee district in ten minutes by train, of 35 minutes by bus. Simiane-Collongue is just a 40-minute drive or a 20-minute train ride from the hustle and bustle of Marseilles.
Much of Provence’s schools and nurseries are based in Marseille in Euromediterranee, L’estaque and Simian-Collongue districts. Some schools even have international sections, where lessons are delivered in a foreign language such as English, German, Arabic, Spanish or Italian.
French state schools allow for total immersion in the French way of life and a strict French routine. They are free, but they follow the French education system, so they may not be the best option if you’re only planning a short say in Provence.
If this isn’t for you, there are some private schools in Provence, but they are unregulated, so make your choice carefully. Private schools are more likely to follow a more international curriculum and some of these are accountable to national educational bodies. Some of these private schools take students for the duration of their education.
With such picturesque landscapes and enjoyable climate, it’s no wonder businesses are flocking to open their doors in the thriving area of Provence. Home to Mail in Black, Enovacom, Softway Medical, Talentia Software and Cegid Quadratus, Provence is already the third-largest software and IT hub in France with 1,500 companies employing over 21,000 employees.
In Provence, the IT sector is responsible for a €2.5billion turnover. Yet, only 4.5% of the employees working there are French, as the businesses there welcome skilled talent from around the world.
Fuelling this growth are smart city projects that are creating opportunities for software and IT companies in transport, energy, management, real-time information, and data security. There are also initiatives such as collaborations run by Google and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Marseille Provence to support small and medium-sized businesses with digitalisation.
There are also start-up support programmes that do their bit to encourage technology businesses to the area.
Together, these things make a perfect ground for new and upcoming technology businesses.
There’s so much to see and do in Provence, and you’re never far from inspiring views spectacular landscapes.
In your free time you can indulge in culture and history with a visit to the Pope’s Palace in Avignon, or the beautiful Senanque Abbey in Gordes – the best time to visit here is between June and August when the lavender is in bloom. If you plan a visit to the Abbey though, try and get there early as its breath-taking beauty makes it a bit of a tourist magnet.
For a more active day out, take a trip to the Verdon Regional Park, one of Europe’s most spectacular gorges. Its limestone canyon is over 700metres deep and is perfect for swimming, canoeing, and hiking and climbing.
If culture is more for you, you can check out the Carrières de Lumières for an audio-visual experience you won’t forget, or take a cable car up 584 metres to the Port of Toulon for a new perspective on the Cote D’Azur.
We have lots of opportunities in Provence, so if you’re considering a move somewhere a little warmer, stunningly beautiful, and with plenty of career potential, please contact me, Andrew Emberson firstname.lastname@example.org
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