Gastronomy is one of many of Bruno Sassone’s passions. With perfect reasons – for what better way to develop your taste buds than right at home from early childhood!
Bruno’s father is from the Italian region of Calabria, while his mother comes from the French Perigord – both regions being specifically renowned for their unique and distinct cuisines. So that’s where it started. And it continues, like a thread that weaves through Bruno’s life. Bruno describes himself as an autodidact. Born in France, he left “classical schooling” at 19 – which he considered too abstract – to travel and live all over South-East Asia and Oceania. At first getting by on small jobs here and there, Bruno was having a blast and pursued a carefree lifestyle of travel, including of course many culinary discoveries. At 26, he wanted something more stable and got into the textile business, working mainly between Tunisia and France. This led to other interesting pursuits in the textile industry from printing, to distribution of small and large brands, to the production of clothes. When the Asian and Eastern European markets started to open up, the entire textile industry saw an enormous transformation, at which point Bruno decided that it was also time for his own radical professional revolution. Overnight, thanks to a serendipitous encounter, Bruno went from textile to real estate. Paradoxically, it was in 2009: right in the midst of the worldwide real estate crisis. Today, he’s still in real estate and thriving. Bruno divides his time between a little town called Six-Fours-les-Plages on the French Riviera during the week and the French city of Lyon on the weekends, where he has his base of friends and family. With this choice of lifestyle, he has the best of both worlds!
Emerald Jaaz has the pleasure to speak to Bruno Sassone, who surfs smoothly on the waves of the quasi-constant evolutions that are a part of life. He knows very well that nothing is set in stone. The trust he puts into his instinct and the courage he has to take risks have a lot to do with his successes and joys.
“I listened to my gut feeling and was willing to take a risk.”
– Bruno Sassone
Emerald Jaaz: Bruno, what do you enjoy the most about your current lifestyle?
Bruno Sassone: I really appreciate the freedom I have to be able to constantly oscillate between two worlds that I love: quiet beach living on the French Riviera during the week and the fabulous city of Lyon during the weekends. I also still get to travel frequently, although currently I focus more on travelling within France and the surrounding countries than to different continents. It is a different stage of my life. I have found a balance that suits me. Freedom is fundamental to me.
Emerald Jaaz: What does your current professional activity consist of?
Bruno Sassone: I run the De Chatouville Immobilier real estate agency. Based out of a tranquil beachside town, Six-Fours-les-Plages, we currently cover many areas in the South of France, including Saint Tropez, Marseille, Montpellier and Toulon. We accompany investors in their business real estate transactions. For instance, we help them obtain financing for their investments and we coordinate the legal as well as the commercial sides of the operations. On top of that, recently, we’ve had more and more requests to take care of our clients’ private property transactions: that is, to buy and sell private houses and apartments in the French Riviera area. Thanks to such an unexpected interest going beyond our initial business idea, we have expanded our scope to cover not only commercial property, but also private property. It is working well and we are also currently duplicating our financial model to other geographical areas in France.
Emerald Jaaz: What made you choose to live the life you do today?
Bruno Sassone: Generally speaking, I attach a lot of importance to people. I made the decision to live the life I do today thanks to an encounter who gave me that business idea. At first, it did not seem like an evidence to me at all. I had my doubts and it was a completely new field for me. But I also knew that we should not have regrets in life! I listened to my gut feeling and was willing to take a risk. I also have to say that the planets were quite well aligned for me to go for it. I felt that I just had to take that leap into the unknown. I was also very much motivated by my desire to live near the beach in the South of France. And I certainly do not regret it – on the contrary!
Emerald Jaaz: What are your main interests and passions; and what causes are close to your heart?
Bruno Sassone: I am very sensitive to the topic around food and gastronomy: ethical, quality, fresh, good and healthy eating. I am an adept of the “slow food” movement and, for instance, love to go to the weekly market to buy my produce directly form the farmers. That way I know it is good. I also enjoy the atmosphere around the markets and the fact that you can take your time and interact with the producers. Being an epicurean, I love good food. I link my love for travel to my love for gastronomy. Whenever I go somewhere, part of the experience is discovering the local dishes and customs. That brings us back to the importance I attach to individuals. I enjoy getting to know new people from all walks of life. I am also a great fan of cinema and television series – French, Italian, American… as well as music.
Emerald Jaaz: What do you like most about Six-Fours-les-Plages and Lyon, the two places you currently call home?
Bruno Sassone: There are many charms to living by the Mediterranean. The nature is beautiful in summer with the blue skies and long nights, as well as in the winter when it is windy and the sea is a lot more chaotic. I like to be outdoors – whether it is jogging, sitting on a terrace of a café reading or simply going for a walk. I like the calm of Six-Fours-les-Plages. As for Lyon, it is quite a big city with a rich cultural scene as well as a great place to be for gastronomy. That – coupled with the fact that it has a human dimension to it – makes it a super city to live in.
Emerald Jaaz: What is the source of your inspiration and motivation?
Bruno Sassone: I am motivated when I can find solutions to problems and when I am able to help other people.
Emerald Jaaz: Please give us an example of one of your typical days.
Bruno Sassone: I actually don’t have a typical day. But, generally, I arrive to my office at around 8 a.m. and prepare my day. There are good news, bad news, people to manage, clients to see, sales teams to orientate… Most of the time, I spend my days trying to solve other people’s problems! Most often, my first meetings start at 9 a.m. I am usually out of the office by 6 or 7 p.m. After work, in the summer I like to be outside: swim in the sea, go for a run, do yoga or go diving. In winter, the time I spend outside is more limited, although I still like to run. My winter evenings are usually spent reading, doing yoga or watching films.
Emerald Jaaz: Please give us an example of one of your ideal weekends.
Bruno Sassone: My favourite of all is definitely a long weekend at the bed and breakfast called La Fenice in beautiful Positano on the Italian Amalfi Coast. There, I love to just watch the world go by and do nothing!
Emerald Jaaz: Among the places you have visited, which one moved you the most?
Bruno Sassone: There have been many! Two places come to my mind spontaneously: New York for its urban immensity and beauty; and New Zealand for its natural immensity and beauty. Once you’ve been to either, you just can’t forget them.
Emerald Jaaz: Which place do you like to return to regularly and why?
Bruno Sassone: I can’t get enough of the Amalfi Coast in Italy. It is simply magical and full of charm. On a different note, I also love to regularly return to the beaches in the southwest of France, near Biarritz.
Emerald Jaaz: Which place would you like to visit that you haven’t yet visited?
Bruno Sassone: I would love to visit the island of Ponza – also in Italy, not far from Rome. I’ve seen beautiful photos of it and heard about the relaxed, natural atmosphere there. I already know in which house I will stay! It is situated on top of a hill with a 360° view of the island. Apparently, the sunrises and sunsets there are stunning. Without hesitation, Ponza Island will be my next travel destination!
Emerald Jaaz: Please share with us a couple of your favourite places to hang out, to eat, to mingle, to reflect or simply to watch the world go by?
Bruno Sassone: In Lyon, I enjoy going to “Les Halles de Lyon”, which is a big market-style food hall. There is so much to choose from that it’s difficult to decide – but whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong. It’s also a perfect occasion to sit at a counter with a few oysters and a good glass of white wine. I also love to visit farmers’ markets whenever I travel for the fresh produce: France, Italy, Asia, the Middle East…they are all very different. I have even crossed the border from France to Italy a few times just to go to the market and bring back home unique and simple ingredients for a delicious recipe.
Emerald Jaaz: Any recent cultural tips?
Bruno Sassone: I recommend the city of Bilbao in Spain’s Basque Country, especially for the Guggenheim Museum. It is impressive and definitely worth visiting for its permanent collection. Bilbao itself is also quite a fascinating place.
Emerald Jaaz: What motivates you to achieve your goals and to get out of bed in the morning?
Bruno Sassone: Altruism – for we are here to help others. In my job, I like to solve people’s problems when it comes to investing. Helping others is what makes me get out of bed in the morning. In the end, I am happy when everyone else is happy!
Emerald Jaaz: What are you most grateful for?
Bruno Sassone: I am most grateful for my lovely daughter. Her name is Livia and she is four-and-a-half years old. I am very proud of her.
Emerald Jaaz: What values are key to you?
Bruno Sassone: First of all, it is honesty. Then simplicity, which is so difficult to attain. I also value creativity in all its domains. And of course altruism.
Emerald Jaaz: Please share with us an important lesson you learned in life.
Bruno Sassone: Never give up, for when a door closes on us, there is always another one that opens. There are always solutions to problems.
Many thanks, Bruno, for giving us an insight into your colourful world!