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This post is part of a series, "Rod's Rambles," where Rod travels the world interviewing small business owners to listen and learn how they turned their passion into profits when starting their own businesses.
Bonjour mes amis!
I just returned from the beautiful South of France and could not wait to share with you all the wonderful businesses I discovered while there. Southern France is known for many beautiful (joli) things - to include their wonderful, cities, great vineyards, lavender fields for as far as the eyes can see, incredible waters of the Mediterranean Sea... the list goes on and on.
However, the most amazing thing that is in abundance in the South of France is the spirit of the intrepid small business owners and entrepreneurs - tres magnifique!
In Marseilles we found some hip co-working spaces like Smack Co-working and Group Union. Both provide great collaborative work spaces for the high tech and service industries.
The "typical" small town square in France is dominated by independently owned businesses and they are unique and wonderful. Walk in to the coffee shops, restaurants, toy stores, etc and invariably you will find the owner - and they are always ready to talk with you - IF you speak French!
Buena Vista Rafting
Even in the Alps we found some great businesses such as Buena Vista Rafting owned by Jean Philippe and his wife. We were fortunate to have Jean Philippe as our tour guide down for our whitewater kayak trip down the Verdon River through the gorgeous Verdon Canyon. When I asked him what he loves about his business his answer was that because every day is so natural to him and it never feels like "work" even after 13 years.
A few reminders for when you travel abroad:
Bring plenty of the right "power adapters/converters" so you can plug-in and get some work done occasionally.
Always confirm that your hotel or AirBNB rental has GOOD reliable Wifi before you get there. Often people will tell you they have "Wi-Fi" (they pronounce it "wee-fee") yet the connection is not strong enough to even send email.
Speaking of being connected, DO NOT rely on your American wireless carrier to offer you the best solution for staying connected to the Internet - unless you want to pay A LOT of money. Find the right solution for your data needs BEFORE you travel abroad. Google has an offering called Fi (fi.google.com) which is the service I should have used. There are a lot of other reasonably priced wireless data options but once you are "in country" its much more difficult to get a good solution and the support you need - unless you happen to speak the native language!
Merci and Au Revoir for now!
Have a suggestion for a small business Rod should visit next? Tell us* and if we feature that business on our website we will send you a $100 gift certificate to use at that business!
*In the event a business is recommended to us multiple times prior to our feature being published, we will select the winner by random drawing.