'My visit to Wales was only ever supposed to be for a few months. I wanted to improve my English through an experience abroad before joining the Lille Bar School. I’d secured an internship with a law firm in Cardiff. At the end of it, they offered to sponsor me in order to qualify as a lawyer. And the rest, is history…'
Celine has been practicing in commercial litigation at Capital Law since 2019 – an international law firm for which she now leads their French department. Alongside this, she is Senior Counsel to the French Consulate and Embassy in London, and provides daily assistance to French nationals who need legal support within a UK setting. It’s a role she’s very proud to undertake, 'My role gives people access to someone who speaks their language and understands their culture at a time in their lives when they often feel vulnerable and stressed.'
Wales France relations
Her work doesn’t stop at her law firm. Alongside her friend Dan Langford (Founder of Wales Week), two years ago she set up a Wales France business forum known as 'Le Club'. The forum is dedicated to fostering closer business relationships between the two nations and, following at launch at the UK Embassy in Paris, now has over 250 members.
Quality of work
Celine has always been impressed with the work-life balance she has achieved since making the move across "la manche" (The Channel), living by a "work hard, play hard" mantra. And this is certainly reflective of how she operates. 'My work is hard but fascinating. My practice still allows me to pick up my children from school three times a week, with my husband covering the other days. And we’re lucky to be based in Cardiff with access to major museums, sports and cultural pursuits worthy of any major European city. My son plays for Cardiff City Academy, something I am particularly proud of.
'We know Wales isn’t just Cardiff. My in-laws have a farm in Mid Wales – all you can see from their garden are mountains and greenery – a feast for the eyes. Life there is simple, but so beautiful. It’s wonderful to have a mix of paces.'
Living like a local
Celine admits that it’s never easy to go abroad on your own, but says this was overcome by the traditional warm Welsh welcome she received. 'What they say about the Welsh being friendly is true – everyone talks to each other, everyone says hello, everyone has a real interest in each other. It’s an altruism that I still sometimes find hard to believe in, it’s so rare in today’s world.'
Celine is still proudly French, but couldn’t be happier with her choice of adopted home. 'Once you set foot in Wales, you wonder why you didn’t go there sooner.'