Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis!

Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis!

by Gregor Geyerhofer

I had seen the very successful movie „Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis“ of 2009 taking place in the North of France, which is most of all known for the unique language of its inhabitants, but for sure I had not ever expected to come to this place - and not at all - to live and work here for at least one year.

Well, first time I arrived in April 2017, excited to start working as project controller for the project „Decathlon Rouvignies“, where TGW automatizes a huge warehouse & distribution center for Decathlon, one of the biggest sports retailers in the world. The site is located in the industrial area of Rouvignies, which is geographically more or less half way between Paris and Brussels, close to the border between France and Belgium. 

In my role as project controller, I work – directly on site - closely together with all Realisation Project Managers and the site team in all financial matters regarding the project.

Being the first expatriate for TGW in the North of France, I live in Valenciennes, a city roundabout the size of Wels. Thanks to the absolutely great help of the locals in the project team, it took not long this summer to find an apartment in town, but only 15 min away from work. Having been involved in the project also from Wels in spring and knowing all colleagues from several earlier attendances here, the start as an expat in July 2017 was a very easy one.

The region “Nord-Pas-de-Calais” is known for its history of mining and textile industries, parts of the historical areas belong even to the world heritage of UNESCO. The countryside around Valenciennes is mostly used for agricultural purposes. Biggest difference for an Austrian like me is that the entirely flat landscape. What is more, climate remarkably differs from home mostly due to influence of the Atlantic Ocean (more rain, more wind, weather changing very rapidly).

From Valenciennes, cities that offer great cultural variety as Paris, Lille, Brussels are easily reachable by public transport (train TGV). With Belgium not far either, there is very much to be discovered in the flamish speaking part (Flandres) and its beautiful cites like Brügge, Gent, Antwerpen etc.) on the weekends.

Having a mostly financial background professionally, it is a great experience for me to work directly on site for the currently biggest ongoing and very challenging project for TGW, participating every day on the progress of the project and the various challenges the TGW team is facing. Working in a multicultural project team that was established within TGW France for Decathlon (employees from all over France, Germany, Spain and Austria working together) makes every-day work varied and exciting.

Finally, I would like to take the chance and encourage colleagues within TGW to take up the challenge, participate in the expat programme our group offers and benefit from gaining unforgettable experience - personally as much as professionally!!

A bientôt,



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Gregor Geyerhofer