Looks like I moved to Lille at just the right time. This week the city has been named as the best place in France to find a permanent job and to buy a home you can afford.
A survey by radio station Europe 1 put Lille at the top of the heap, ahead of some of my other favourite French cities. Lyon, for example, came 4th, Toulouse 6th and Rennes 7th.
Missing the top 10 altogether were Bordeaux in 11th place, Reims in 17th and Marseille in 20th. Paris, too, came a lowly 15th, faring badly on affordability, I assume.
So, in short, Lille seems to have shaken off the demise of its industrial heritage. France’s northernmost city has reinvented itself as the place to be.
That it’s easy to land a job here is welcome news. As much as I am enjoying the novelty of my international commute, this can’t go on forever.
I haven’t started job-hunting yet, I must admit. That’s partly because I’ve had a lot of change in my life in the past 3 months and I am waiting for things to settle down. It’s also partly because I don’t feel properly fluent yet. I find job interviews hard enough in English, let alone in French.
It’s also that I had assumed I would have to look for work in Brussels, which, of course, is more international. I’ve worked there before, so that doesn’t daunt me, but it is 35 minutes away by train. When you factor in travel at either end, I am probably looking at 90 minutes each way.
So, it would be great to find a job here in Lille. Maybe there are more opportunities on their way…
After all, the Europe 1 top prize isn’t the only piece of good news the city has had recently. A fortnight ago, Lille was announced as the World Design Capital for 2020, having beaten Sydney in a head-to-head.
“France’s northernmost city has reinvented itself as the place to be”
It’s also in the running as the new host of the European Medicines Evaluation Agency once it moves from London. The British government has said this week that Lille is its favourite of the 20 or so candidate cities.
However, I can’t help but suspect that Theresa May’s preferences in this matter won’t be of paramount importance to other EU leaders.
Whatever happens, it seems that Lille is on the up. It wasn’t where I saw myself living but it looks like there could be real opportunities for me here.