Fond of the mindset of those from the Nord region, Thomas who lived 10 years in Marseille and 5 years in Bordeaux decided to settle in Dunkirk.
« It’s a city where everything seems simple and people are just so welcoming. We met more people in 1 month than in 4 years in Bordeaux …»
Did you know Dunkirk before you moved here?
I came to Dunkirk for professional reasons. I’m originally from the region of Lille. As kids we spent our holidays in Wissant, so I only know of Dunkirk from having seen it written on road signs. When I was offered this transfer, I was happy to move back to the Nord region after 10 years in Marseille and 5 in Bordeaux. I’m fond of the mindset of those from the Nord region, and my wife, who’s from the Franche-Comté area, was very quick to settle in the city. Now she brags about Dunkirk to anyone who’ll listen to her! Our first introduction was through the local branch of the AVF (French Welcome Association) where, by chance, I bumped into a childhood friend, who helped us discover Dunkirk’s best kept secrets.
Was it easy to settle down?
Really easy. It’s a city where everything seems simple and people are just so welcoming. In Dunkirk—more specifically in the seaside resort of Malo-les-Bains where we live—we met more people in 1 month than in 4 years in Bordeaux! Compared to other towns, it’s like night and day when it comes to finding a house, a school… The quality of life and real estate you get for a similar budget are incomparable. We have three very young children and my wife put her career on hold for our kids, so it’s really important that her social life is fulfilling enough for her and that is indeed the case. Dunkirk is a medium-sized city, meaning we’re saving an incredible amount of time in many walks of life: reduced travel times for going to activities, a free bus service, nearby shopping facilities. And as if that weren’t enough, Lille is just three-quarters of an hour away.
Therefore, Dunkirk gives you a better quality of life…
Not wasting time on logistical issues takes the pressure off everyday life. That means I can dedicate more time to my family and hobbies at the weekend. It’s a great place to live. I tailor my activities to suit the age of my children, for example, horse riding, swimming and arts and crafts, but also walks in the parks or by the seaside. The Dunkirk National Scene-Le Bateau Feu puts on a show every month. And it’s even easier to establish relationships. Meeting people is simple and certain districts sometimes have a real expatriate vibe about them.