The latest instalment in our Great Minds series returns to Europe this month as we look at the emerging coworking scene in France. Judging by what we have seen in Germany and what we know about the coworking movement here in the UK, I was intrigued to see what I would find after doing a little research into spaces across the channel – and it is fair to say that there are many fascinating developments in how collectives and organisations are approaching new ways to work. So here are some of the most interesting we have seen:
La Bo[a]te: Marseille
Located in the large south western city of Marseille, La Bo[a]te emerged in 2008 from an already established digitally-focussed community and student space called House Orangina. Today the coworking space prides itself on being ‘a small factory of innovation’ and offers fifteen “positions” (which can booked via their website) for entrepreneurs, graduates and freelancers eager to work on new ventures – from business projects to script ideas. The space offers a range of prices for all types of prospective users, from €8 for half days to 10 day passes for €100.
Soleilles Cowork: Paris
While many coworking spaces such as our own Lemon Studios are keen to target individuals and start-ups working within certain industries, Soleillies Cowork in Paris are setting themselves apart by being a collaborative space made by women for women. The space has a number of core values with reciprocity, collaboration and poly-activity being central to ensuring the capital’s entrepreneurial women are given a place to connect with others working through similar problems, and who want to develop both professional and personal networks with others from day to day. Soleilles Cowork also offer drop-in events for women to meet the team and get to look around the space.
The Cantine Numerique: Rennes
The Cantine has been influential for the coworking scene in France. After being founded by nine separate organisations, the coworking space in Renne now offers a number of subscriptions both for visitors and those eager to use the facilities more often (from €24 to €400) – and boasts an atmosphere that is both studious and relaxed. The space also has a packed event schedule catering for a range of digital niches from mobile technology to the Dojo randori for programmers eager to hone their coding skills.
Coworking Lille: Lille
Like Soleilles Cowork and others, Coworking Lille is developing with a particular target user in mind, namely those interested in ‘eco-innovation’. The space seeks to harbour sustainability across environmental, social and economic equity – and is inviting freelancers and professionals working in graphic design, media, digital, communications and computing to come and work, pool resources and network with these issue in mind. The space aims to open officially in February 2011.