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Nathan Laubeuf

researcher at imec, Leuven, Belgium

Nathan Laubeuf
“For me, Southern France is my home, not a place for vacations, and I’m grateful to have grown up in a region where summer lasts for four whole months.”

More than just a getaway

Nathan was born in Pertuis, a town in southern France. He spent his formative years in a nearby town, Lambesc. Both towns are in the Provence Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in France. However, at the age of thirteen, he made a significant move to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, another charming town in the Vaucluse area of France, to live with his grandparents. Their beautiful manor with vines all over was once a 17th-century watermill that had evolved into a fish farming hub, adding a unique charm to his upbringing.

nimes - nimes arena
Nîmes - Nîmes Arena
alsace - medieval town
Alsace - Medieval town
laverq - les eaux tortes
Laverq - Les Eaux Tortes (picture by Nathan)

Engineering dreams leading to unexpected passions

In France, Nathan tackled the time-honored tradition of securing a place at an engineering school through a nationwide competitive exam. He started in Aix-en-Provence for college and later continued to study at the Gardanne campus of the Mine de Saint Etienne engineering school. What got his attention was that there was a high-tech cleanroom for nanoelectronics and microelectronics training.

But in 2017, a shoulder surgery with eight months recovery, put a temporary stop to his plans. During this time, he became interested in machine learning and deep learning, which became a new passion for him. This journey eventually led him to imec in Leuven, Belgium in 2018.

cassis - calanque d en vau bay
Cassis - Calanque d’En Vau bay
aix-en-provence - cathedral of the holy saviour
Aix-en-Provence - Cathedral of the Holy Saviour
bouillabaisse - traditional fish soup
Bouillabaisse - Traditional fish soup

Digital detox in a modern world

Since childhood, Nathan’s family had a cherished tradition of gathering in a secluded location for at least a month every summer. As a result, this remote location, Vallon du Laverq, occupies a special place in Nathan’s heart. Their vacation cabin lacked electricity and sourced its water from melted glaciers. The local shepherd who owned the cabin even befriended Nathan’s grandparents. As Nathan matured, the appeal of a digital detox, the coziness of the small shelter, and close contact with nature there became more appealing. Reaching this hidden gem involved navigating a narrow mountain pass that remained closed during winter, and the basic necessities could be found in a village at the mountain’s base. In Vallon du Laverq, life took on a slower rhythm, allowing Nathan to consistently rediscover a sense of clarity rarely found in today’s fast-paced world.

Must see

Explore the breathtaking beauty of Marseille’s calanques by hiking through Calanque d’en Vau and Calanque of Niolon - an absolute must for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.

st. tropez
St. Tropez
petanque - popular sport in southern france
Pétanque - Popular sport in Southern France
paris - eiffel tower from river seine
Paris - Eiffel tower from river Seine

The call of home

Nathan shares some special places in France that he loves, starting with L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, for an incredible trip or a bold bike ride up to the summit of Mont Ventoux, boasting some of the finest views in Provence. Experience a serene kayak excursion down the Sorgue river for a calming adventure. Catch the mesmerizing light show at Lumiere’s quarry and, if the timing is perfect, witness the awe-inspiring sight of Fontaine de Vaucluse’s source overflowing after heavy rains - a treasure to behold when the season is right. Beyond that, there are plenty of other fascinating and diverse spots in France that are worth checking out.

In Montpellier, one can find a perfect blend of lively culture and peaceful getaways. This city offers the best of both worlds, allowing travelers to soak in the vibrant atmosphere while enjoying moments of tranquility.

For an epicurean adventure Lyon, Toulouse and Bordeaux are a must. Lyon is renowned as the culinary epicenter of France, while Toulouse beckons with its exquisite Cassoulet and heavenly Foie gras. The buffets in Lyon offer a divine experience that can leave a lasting mark. Bordeaux, famed for its illustrious history and world-class wines, stands as a crucial stop for aficionados of fine wines.

For some France is the perfect holiday destination; for Nathan it is home, a place that holds the comfort of familiarity. This is truly intriguing how the same place and its elements can take on different meanings and provide unique experiences for different people.