La Rochelle  2 Spaces

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A coastal city in the southwestern region of France, La-Rochelle has been a fishing and trade hub since the 12th Century with a maritime tradition that is reflected in its old harbor and huge modern marina. Cloaked in half-timbered medieval houses and Renaissance architecture with 17th Century arches, it was connected to Ile de Ré by a 2.9km bridge in 1988. Sitting on the Bay of Biscay, think the Atlantic Ocean, it's one of the most beautiful and historically rich cities on the coastline with a strong tourism industry. It's now home to coworking venues for its intrepid locals and the meandering globe trotters with laptops in their backpacks who linger far longer than they should.

The setting for the best-selling series of French language textbooks in the UK, "Tricolore", La Rochelle is where the main character lives with her family. Awash in students (about 10,000), the city is home to the University of La Rochelle plus many other educational institutions. It has a huge commercial deep-water harbor where you can gawk at submarines from World War II, a humongous aquarium to check out some sea creatures and a small botanical garden to meander around.

Everything is changing in France at the moment with reforms aimed to help startups rather than hinder them. Efforts are being made to open both its economy and its borders to tech startups. Today it is far easier to hire and fire in France, which has lead to making labor costs far more predictable and France is now offering easy-to-access French Tech visas, so that tech savvy souls can live and work in France. The French mentality is evolving and taking into account the whole world, not just its own country. The opening of coworking venues is merely one more step in the ecosystem that may see France leading the European scene.

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