In this series, we are interviewing members of our club, so that you can get to know each other a bit better. Today we talk with Esmeralda van Puijenbroek about her life and work in the region.
What brought you to the French Riviera? How long have you been here?
33 years ago, love brought me to the French Riviera. Love not always lasts forever, but the particularly way of life with sun, sea and a fresh glass of rosé does.
After a couple of years I built up a new life here. Two kids, a job I loved already, good friends and so much more. So, I never really considered going back to the Netherlands.
Could you tell us about your professional career? What do or did you do for work?
When I first arrived here, my French was better than a tourist. But not yet on a professional level.
My start in Monaco
I got a chance to work in Monaco, at the sales department of the SBM Hotels. Where I was in charge of organising the journey of professional group clients.
In a couple of months I improved my French level significantly. I will always be grateful for the possibility they offered me to learn French. While they of course already benefited from the 3 other languages I spoke already.
After a year, the Casino Ruhl RE-opened its doors. And through my network I came in contact with them and they proposed me the job as a sales manager.
An unforgettable experience, it was a whole new world for me. Then my husband was mutated to Lyon.
Pregnancy in France
I was pregnant of my first baby. So a good reason to quit everything and on the track for a new adventure.
After 2 years back to the Riviera, our heart was still beating there. Pregnant of my 2nd baby, I decided to continue my professional break to be a full time mother.
Quite quickly I noticed that I would be a better part time mum. I needed to feel myself connected to the world of adults as well as kids.
After different freelance jobs, kids in school, I started a full time job in real estate in Monaco. I’ve been working there for about 20 years as a rental and sales broker.
Sometimes, life obliges you to think it all over again.
Freelancing at the age of 55
In 2018 I decided to move back to Nice, my home town on the French Riviera. 55 years and starting from 0 as a freelance real estate broker in France.
Of course, it pays less than in Monaco, but the job is so much more fulfilling, it made it all worthwhile.
Through a friend I was asked to become a freelancer in relocation. I’m always in for something new, had some spare time and quite some rental experience.
After a year I thought ‘what I can do for a company?’. Came to the conclusion that I can do it on my own and decided to create MOOV MOBILITY CONSULTING. And I am now a professional, accredited relocation specialist.
What does the company that you work for do?
In France, professional newcomers, working for companies with at least 10 employees, may benefit of a free assistance to find accommodation. These companies contact us when they have new recruits so that we take care to find them an apartment or a house.
We are in charge of either the selection of properties, viewings, supervising the establishment of the lease, the entry control and the facility contracts. And also providing all useful information of the city of arrival, schools, public transports a.s.o.
For private clients, we provide the same services. However in this case we will charge the client directly.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
As I mentioned earlier, at 55 my life was turned more or less inside out. From the first day I started in Real Estate I’ve loved it. I would continue in this branch. Also, I knew that I wanted no longer the constraints of imposed working hours. Having more time for myself, while continuing to do the job I love. Therefore, the freelance status was an evidence.
MOOV MOBILITY CONSULTING is developing constantly, so this year I created a SAS, which was considered as a better choice.
What would be your best advice to others thinking about living or working on the French Riviera?
Give it a chance, there’s nothing to lose. Make your life an adventure.
Nevertheless, living here sometimes looks as eternal holidays, but the sun and the sea don’t pay your rent nor fill the fridge. Consider the financial part of your project.
We live in one of the most attractive regions of Europe, but one of the most expensive too.
Fun facts about Esmeralda van Puijenbroek!
Since when do you live on the French Riviera?
Where are you originally from?
The Netherlands and even this is my home, once a Dutch, always a Dutch
What is your favourite wine?
From spring to end of summer : Rosé Whispering Angel.
From late autumn to end of winter : RedHospices de Beaune or more common, a Crozes Hermitage (sorry, not local)
What is your favourite spot on the French Riviera?
Too many to mention. A trip on a boat along the coast, a fancy party in Monaco, shopping in Nice or Cannes. And when I’m tired enough and need to recharge the batteries I like to go for a hike in the Mercantour or spend a day in the “arrière pays.”
What French word, expression or sentence do you find very difficult to pronounce?
“Connerie”, it’s vulgar but when I just settled here I knew what it meant but I couldn’t judge yet if it was acceptable in any circumstance, so I judged by the sound.
It felt kind, smooth. Until my fiancé explained me I better not use it at work or such situations.
Appreciate the beauty of the French Riviera, every season of the year. Be grateful to have the chance to live here and be respectful to the locals.
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