Back in 2014, I read a New York Times article titled “Au Revoir, Entrepreneurs.” The story made it clear that making it as a start-up in France was a “herculean effort” due to the heavy taxes and onslaught of bureaucratic paperwork. It was a sentiment I heard repeated by many young Parisian entrepreneurs who felt their ambitions stymied by their administration. And in past years, this has caused a mass exodus of France’s talented youth.
As Shellie Karabell of Forbes wrote:
Entrepreneur is a French word, but the joke in Paris is that you will find more French entrepreneurs in London and California at the moment than you will in France.
Fast forward to 2016 and thanks to growing efforts to support budding businesses, Paris seems to be catching up to the likes of New York and London as a hub for young, energetic entrepreneurs.
As a result of reduced social costs for new businesses and programs to help launch new companies, there’s been a boom in co-working spaces. Among them, Nuage (the “Cloud”) has solidified itself as a dreamy haven for the city’s risk-takers.
Located in Paris’ Latin quarter and what used to be a church (you can tell by the pointed arched windows), Nuage is nestled behind a large, bright red door in a quiet courtyard.
There are two floors. Every nook houses something different, each room harbors its own distinct look with brilliant pops of color and delightfully cozy furniture. There are couches and oversized cushions you can sink into with a good book, a row of old school desks to prop your laptop on, and large wooden tables to gather around for a meeting.
A far cry from the stifling florescent lights, burned coffee and stoic water coolers of the city’s traditional offices. Better yet, this is a place where like-minded entrepreneurs can connect, collaborate, and start building a culture that encourages French youth to build businesses in their home country.
Rooms flow into the next; large windows pour in sunlight (or streetlight, depending on how late you stay). In the mornings, the atmosphere is buzzing with energy. Three girls crouch over an antique chest and discuss logistics for a tech project, while a man in the room next door whispers fervently in French trying to negotiate vague numbers.
Nuage also sets up conferences, social events and workshops to connect with people in the area. If you’re looking for a place to hold a meeting with clients (that doesn’t involve your living room and flatmate watching Narcos in his boxers), you can also rent out their conference rooms starting at 20€.
There’s even the option to add your name and what you do when you visit. That way, if you’re curious about who’s sitting next to you on the beach chair (or vice versa), you can find out online.
4€ an hour to 20€ a day includes wifi, lockers, iPads, access to telephones, all-you-can-eat snacks and all-you-can-drink coffee. Seeing as a café au lait in Paris costs about the same as an hour at Nuage, you can see why it’s worth putting pants on for this place. The limitless coffee, savvy vintage furniture, and opportunities to meet other people make Nuage an oasis for freelancers and others working from home.
Nuage and other co-working spaces seem adamant on creating environments that inspire innovation and bring together like-minded comrades. For a country that’s trying to lure their best and brightest back home — and to make sure those that are here stay — it means everything.
Nuage: Open Monday to Friday, 8:30 to 8:30 pm + Saturday to Sunday, 1:30 to 8:30 p.m.