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

Living France - - Contents - bloomyoga.fr

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

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