CAP­I­TAL IDEAS

Living France - - WHERE TO LIVE -

GRENO­BLE

Known as the ‘cap­i­tal of the Alps’ due to its size and prox­im­ity to the moun­tains, Isère’s cap­i­tal Greno­ble ( pic­tured above) is also an im­por­tant cen­tre for learn­ing and sci­en­tific re­search with its large univer­sity, which dates back to 1339. The jour­ney by train from Paris to Greno­ble takes three hours, and on an av­er­age week­day there are 26 trains per day run­ning be­tween the cap­i­tal and Greno­ble.

VA­LENCE

Va­lence is the cap­i­tal of the Drôme de­part­ment and is often re­ferred to as ‘the gate­way to the south of France’. As the lo­cal say­ing goes, À Va­lence le Midi com­mence (in Va­lence the Midi be­gins), which pays trib­ute to the city’s south­ern cul­ture. The high-speed TGV line con­nects Paris to Va­lence in just two hours 11 min­utes.

To­day, much of the econ­omy is driven by tourism. With an ad­van­ta­geous cli­mate, in­flu­enced by the moun­tains, the ocean and the Mediter­ranean south, the Vercors at­tracts visi­tors for around three quar­ters of the year. For any­one with lan­guage skills or ex­pe­ri­ence in the hos­pi­tal­ity trade, it should be pos­si­ble to find work. An­other po­ten­tial source of em­ploy­ment for ex­pats mov­ing to the area with build­ing and car­pen­try skills could be in chalet con­struc­tion – many new builds in the Vercors are wooden chalets.

Away from tourism, the area has nu­mer­ous ar­ti­san pro­duc­ers, self­em­ployed in­de­pen­dents and some cre­ative artists. Many in­hab­i­tants have dif­fer­ent jobs for the dif­fer­ent sea­sons.

“A lo­cal goat farmer we know makes cheese in sum­mer and clears the snow from the roads in win­ter,” says Tilly. “Peo­ple liv­ing here are quite in­no­va­tive, you don’t get stuck in one role – it cer­tainly ex­pands your hori­zons.”

Sim­i­larly, Lau­rent and Mélanie Baras, based close to Vil­lard-de-Lans, run com­ple­men­tary ac­tiv­i­ties around their love of horses. Lau­rent runs a rid­ing sta­ble, while Mélanie has a suc­cess­ful or­ganic cos­met­ics range (Perle de Ju­ment) us­ing milk from the mares they breed. She had no pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence in cos­met­ics but they needed a sec­ond rev­enue source and she saw the po­ten­tial.

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