During the summer “break” (which isn’t one for Renestance at all – we’re just getting going!), we’ll do a series of Meet the Team articles so you know more about the people behind the scenes. As I was the first member of the team, I get to go first.
What brings me to Renestance?
In my bio here and the digital story below it, you see where I got the idea for Renestance. When I began looking at options to move my parents out here from California, I realized that there was a large demand for services from an attractive and growing market – English-speaking retirees in France – and yet very little supply. But an exciting business opportunity wasn’t enough to pull me away from a successful career in international business…there had to be an emotional pull, too. Since I’ve been in love with France for decades, and made it my life goal to live and work here, I understand this passion and the drive to make it happen. I can’t think of a more fulfilling job than helping people live out their dreams.
What do I bring to Renestance?
Having moved to France twice, once as a student and once as an employee, each time not knowing my new city or anyone in it, I understand that exciting and somewhat terrifying feeling…and therefore bring empathy for anyone moving abroad. Now that I’ve fully integrated into French life, I can share the results from 15 years of trial and error and help people get the most out of their experience. In terms of running the business, after getting degrees in Business Administration and International Economics, I held management positions in a multi-national company. While entrepreneurship requires more proactivity, autonomy and stamina than a role in a large corporation, I’m grateful to have been prepared for it through wide exposure to project management, marketing, finance, strategy, and human resources.
Do I have family in the area?
My French husband, Alexandre, and I moved to Montpellier from Paris in 2010 with our two children. This unfortunately took us far away from his family in Normandie, but we do still regularly see his mother in Paris. Once my parents move out here from California, we’ll have family nearby! (wink at Mom/Grandma)
What’s my favorite thing to do with a free day?
I like to get outside and enjoy nature whenever possible, so a family hike with a picnic is always time well spent in my book. There are so many interesting trails within an hour’s drive from here – I feel really lucky. If we don’t want to go very far, a day at the beach is a pleasure no matter the season. Right now the water is warm, so we like to play on boards or swim in it, but when it cools down, it’s fun to bike or rollerblade along the boardwalk or play with a ball on the sand. And catching the sunset is the best way to end a free day.
Where’s my favorite place in the region?
There are so many charming villages, remarkable natural wonders, and noteworthy historic sites…it seems impossible to choose. But to be honest, the one place I never get tired of is the historic center of Montpellier. Even though I know most of the streets and main landmarks in l’Ecusson (the name of the quarter), I still make discoveries each time I go. Just yesterday I wandered onto a narrow street by the Place de la Canourgue that was more stairs that street, in fact! And whatever I’m seeking, Montpellier seems to have it – an amazing view of the city, live music and/or street performers, some friendly interaction with strangers, a quite shady square to read, a fun wine bar with friends, a boutique with original wares, a fun park for the kids, a romantic restaurant… I guess the only thing still missing is some good Mexican food.
What advice would I give to anyone moving here?
• Go out and discover your surroundings – there really is something for everyone in this amazing region. Renestance has loads of ideas!
• Be yourself. People are quite open in this area and much less “judgy” than in other parts of France, so let go of self-consciousness and enjoy yourself.
• Depending on where you’re coming from, it may take some time to get used to the pace of life here. I’m embarrassed to admit it now, but when I first arrived, I found it irritating that merchants took the time to chat with their customers! The sooner you relax and go with their flow, the happier you’ll be.
Dennelle is the President of Renestance and a bilingual American who’s lived in France since 2000. She loves so many things about France, its language, culture, geography, quality of life... that she started a business to help others realize their dreams of living in this incredible place.
All articles by: Dennelle Taylor Nizoux