A local’s view
After seven years in Australia, Zoe Bloom made the move to Bayonne where she now runs her own yoga studio. She explains why it was the right decision on both a personal and a professional level
Yoga teacher Zoe Bloom explains why she has no regrets about moving to Bayonne
When and why did you move to Bayonne, and what were you doing before then? I moved to Bayonne three and a half years ago. Before that I had been living in Sydney, Australia for seven years and was working for a mental health organisation. What attracted you to Bayonne? Did you already know this part of France? After being so far away from my family, who are based in England, for so long, I wanted to relocate to Europe but keep hold of a lifestyle that was similar to the one I had enjoyed in Australia. I was drawn to Bayonne as it was important to me to be next to the ocean, plus the thought of living in a quieter town close to nature was attractive after living in big cities my whole life. Bayonne just ticked all of the boxes. I knew of this part of France a bit beforehand, but not very well. How does living here suit your lifestyle?
I love Bayonne and the Basque Country in general. It’s so beautiful here, and so close to the water and the mountains. There are always new walks and hikes to discover, and Spain is just up the road too so the location is perfect. I also love the slower pace of life here, and the people are very welcoming and friendly. What prompted you to open your own yoga studio? I had wanted to open a yoga studio for a long time, but I knew that I didn’t want to do it in Australia as it was too far away from my family. It was always my intention to move here in order to fulfil my dream. As soon as I arrived in Bayonne, I began searching for a good location and space for the studio, while at the same time running one or two classes a week in a rented room. After around six months I found and moved into my current space, where I both live and work. I use the front of the apartment as my studio, and I live at the back. Has the yoga studio helped you to integrate into the local community? Oh yes, completely. The studio is the main way I’ve met people and made friends – I would say that 90% of my friendships were made at the studio, and in particular my friendships with locals. My aim from the beginning was to create a yoga community, which I believe I have done and am still in the process of doing. I have many regulars who come to my classes who have also met and made friends with each other as a result, and there’s a lovely atmosphere among my students. Are your clients French locals, expats or a mix of both? My students are mostly French, however I do have a lot of expats who come to the studio too, which has also helped me to meet other expats who live here. I do speak French – it’s not perfect but it’s getting there. What do you enjoy most about living in this part of France? I love the fact that it’s so close to both the mountains and the water, and that Spain is only 20 minutes down the road. I also love how charming and authentic Bayonne is, and that the Basque culture is mixed with a culture of surfing and outdoor sports. Do you have a favourite place to go?
My favourite place to go to on my days off is Plage de Milady in Biarritz – it’s my favourite beach and it’s lovely to walk along the coast there with my dog. Has anything surprised you about living in Bayonne? I think what has surprised me the most is how welcoming and warm all the locals have been. Without exception, all my students are so friendly and generous, and I’ve felt completely welcome here from the beginning. I feel very lucky!
Zoe was drawn to Bayonne to be near the ocean