Living Magazine April/May 19

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april | may 2019

Off to the Beach Delicious vegan recipes What’s on around the region & more

~ Passionate about life in south west France ~

22 April/May 2019


WHAT TURBULENT TIMES we are living in! Often there are moments that I want to turn off the TV, shut down the internet and go back to what we were doing before this all started. But I also know that to protect our children and the more vulnerable members of our society, this is not an option; we need to stand up for our rights. That said, I do think the ‘powers that be’ look at the LIVING print schedule when planning their important votes and ensure that they are as, or just after, we send our pages to the printer to add that extra challenge to our team! In this edition we look at another area where opinion can be divided - vegetarianism and veganism. We ask three established French foodies for their perspective on why catering for veggies is so different in France compared to the UK. We look at organic and vegan wines, cook up some delicious vegan recipes, discover how one family manages a hotpotch of diets and round it all off with vegetable expressions to be dropped into your next conversation. We top all this with a delve into the delights of Châtelaillon Plage and a mooch around Limoges cathedral - as always, there really is something for everyone in our pages. Don’t forget to tell our advertisers you found them here and do consider donating to our Ko-fi fund (below) so we can continue to deliver far and wide. Thank you! À bientôt!





Practical Advice


News from around the region

We ask our professional experts your questions

A profile of Marans in north Charente-Maritime



À la Plage Roger Moss visits the seaside resort of Châtelaillon Plage to discover why it’s consistently popular with visitors


Vegging Up Jessica Knipe asks three influential French foodies for their opinions on vegetarianism here in France


Heart of Stone In the centre of vieux Limoges lies a dazzling medieval masterpiece, we explore the history of the cathedral


Citizens’ Rights Kathryn Dobson tries to make sense of the situation for British nationals in France


Puzzle Break Get the grey cells working on our crossword by Mike Morris


Organic and Vegan Wines

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Southern Vibe Capturing a southern-style outlook in your garden



A visit to Maurice Winemaker Caro Feely Dupont’s atelier discusses the importance of considering the environmental impact of how your wine is made Pardon!


Nikki Legon’s Cuisine Delicious vegan recipes that will delight your guests this summer


Making a Meal of Things Susan Hays explains how to successfully juggle the many changing diets at family mealtimes

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More fun French expressions with language expert Emma-Jane Lee


Business Directory The best local services & suppliers

64 Places To Go around the region

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The pick of the news that will affect you wherever you live in south west France…

News round up Tick season

With the warm days earlier in the season, ticks are already emerging from their winter hibernation and people are being warned to take care to avoid bites that could lead to Lyme disease. The best way to stay safe is to avoid wooded areas and green spaces where wild animals roam. As this isn’t always practical, tuck in your trouser legs, wear long sleeves and use anti-tick products on your skin. If you see a tick, remove it quickly with a tick hook. If you see a bull’s-eye rash or experience flu-like symptoms, consult your doctor as soon as possible for antibiotic treatment. If you see a bull’sWhile France was one eye rash consult of the first countries to your doctor ASAP respond to the increase in Lyme disease and the French National Authority for Health (HAS) has recently recognised that Lyme disease may persist in a chronic form, the disease itself can be difficult to diagnose.


In France, ‘voiturettes’ or scooters of 50cc or less, can be ridden from the age of 14 after taking a test called the permis AM following seven hours of training. An additional hour dedicated to safety has recently been added to the two half-days of the course, with children required to be accompanied by a parent. In addition, the rider must have all the necessary equipment such as helmet, gloves etc. before they will be awarded the permit.

Night at the Museum Now in its 15th year, la Nuit Européenne des Musées has been steadily growing in popularity with each edition and last year, 355 museums in France took part. There were several hundred different events across the region, from late opening of exhibitions (often until midnight), treasure hunts, torchlight visits, live shows and more. Many are free, making them a fun way to get the whole family involved in the world of museums. Save the date for this year - Saturday 18 May - and check the website nuitdesmusees.culture. for details of the programme near you.

! jours DAYS OFF with holidays and

April and May are packed fériés so here are a few dates for your diary:

School holidays:

Pupils in Zone A (Poitiers, Limoges and Bordeaux académies) have their spring holidays from 13-28 April whilethose in the Vendée (Zone B) are off from 6-22 April. All schools close for the Pont d’Ascension from 29 May returning on 3 June.

Jours Fériés:

Easter is the weekend of the 20 April so Easter Monday falls on the 22 April (Good Friday is not a bank holiday). The 1, 8 and 30 May are all bank holidays. One more date you won’t want to miss is Fête des Mères on Sunday, 26 May!

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high speed internet!

For some time, the quality of internet in parts of Charente has been lamentable. In 2016 a project costing 162 million euros was put in place to deliver high speed internet via fibre optic cables to 100,000 homes and businesses by 2022. Charente Numérique has brought together a range of organisations from the EU and the French state to local communes, excluding Charente Limousine who are working in parallel with SFR. For those households impacted, there is now a map online at where you can see when your commune will be upgraded.

News from around the region...

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EMA 2019

For art lovers, the Journées Européennes des Métiers d’Art 2019 offers a unique opportunity to visit the ateliers of local artists or take part in special events around their art. This year, the festival runs from 1-7 April and details of the programme can be found in your local tourist office or on the official site at Why not learn more about stained glass, watch a stone sculptor at work or visit a milliner? These are just a few of the events on offer across les Charentes.

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Members of the Lions Club of Saint Jean d’Angély are joining with Pépinière Coquelicot 2019 and partners to host a plant fair in the beautiful Abbaye Royale. Les Flora-Lions features not DU only plants but also everything to do with nature, the environment and the garden, inviting specialist producers and artisans to show their LES FLORA-LIONS products and know-how. Come and meet plant ST-JEAN D’ANGÉLY professionals, horticulturists, nurseries, market gardeners, landscape gardeners and more, as well as find eco-friendly products that are good for both your garden and the environment. FloraLions takes place on Saturday 27 and Sunday ABBAYE ROYALE 28 April at the Abbaye in the heart of the town, 10 heures - 18 heures near shops, the market and numerous car parks. Entrance costs 3€ (free for under-12s) and doors open from 10am to 6pm, Profits will help the Lions Club of Saint Jean d’Angély to finance its social projects which include research into childhood cancers, the fight against diseases including diabetes and eye issues, and helping disadvantaged children through VPA - Vacances Plein Air.

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News from around the region...

les charentes

The 8th Fête des Plantes will be held in the Priory grounds at Marcillac-Lanville (16) near Aigre on Sunday 7 April from 10am 6pm. Entry is 2€ for adults including tombola ticket, children free. For more information email


Théâtre Tricolore present ‘What is this thing called love?’ at Lorignac (17) on 12 April. Tickets cost 10€. For details see

© nadia VAN DEN RYM

Florales du Pays Ruffécois now in its 28th year, will take place on 11-12 May in the Mansle Botanical Park. Entry costs 3.50€.

Village Préféré

Each year entrants vie for the title of the most beautiful village in France3’s ‘Le Village Préféré des Français’ hosted by Stéphane Bern. This year, Mornac-sur-Seudre (17) has been chosen to represent Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Already the holder of a ‘Plus Beau Village’ award, Mornac is hoping that its Charentaise houses with whitewashed walls and coloured shutters will charm the voters. The winner from the thirteen villages will be announced on 19 June and can expect plenty of summer visitors.

Visit Blandine and Anne-Laure at their family’s domaine. Every day at 10am, 3pm and 5pm. Have a real immersion in the World of Cognac and Pineau des Charentes. Reserve your tour : tel : + 33 6 62 38 37 06 / + 33 6 80 41 87 34 Chez Grimaud - 16480 Chillac @VignobleConteFilles

Classical Festivities

Following on from last year’s wonderful 10th anniversary celebrations, this popular classical music festival continues to move from strength to strength. The 11th edition of the Festival International de Musique de Chambre en Charente will showcase 25 internationally-renowned musicians from 14 different countries in fresh exciting programmes, delving deep into the heart of the chamber music repertoire. With events every weekend from 4 May to 2 June, postconcert social activities and local producers’ markets, this unique and dynamic festival attracts discerning music lovers and newbies in equal measure from across the region and beyond. All events free for children. Advance booking is recommended for the 11e FIMCEC. Concerts are held in Chalais, Baignes, Châteaubernard and La Rochefoucauld. Full details and tickets are available on as well as from Pôle Touristique in Aubeterre. Tel: 05 45 98 57 18; email:

© Nikolaj Lund

For an Easter egg hunt with a difference, follow the course of ‘Genny la genette’ at La Pierre de Crazannes (17) on 21 April. Entry costs 3.50€ for children up to 12 (reservation required on 05 46 91 48 92).

News from around the region...

© A&A Motta

Emoi Photographique

All aboard Hire a boat and enjoy the peace of the Charente river to see les Charentes from a very different perspective. Family-run Inter-Croisières are based 15km west of Angoulême at Sireuil, and offer a variety of craft for rent from pedalos and Canadian canoes to self-drive cruisers. Celebrating their thirtieth anniversary this year and with English speakers to explain all, you can be assured of a warm welcome. Their fleet of Nichols boats sleep from 2 to 10 and no driving licence is required. Watch their website at for their anniversary specials throughout the year or call Audrey and Alexandre Motta on 05 45 90 58 18.

Now in its seventh year, this diverse and creative photography festival takes place in and around Angoulême from 30 March to 5 May. There will be 28 exhibitions in 12 venues featuring 27 different artists all based on the theme ‘Mysteries and Enchantments, From Darkness to Wonder’. This year’s guest photographers are Flore-Aël Surun with ‘The 10,000 Spirits’ (South Korea, 2015) and Laurent Chéhère with his series ‘Flying Houses’. The other 25 artists have been chosen to show a diversity of approaches to the central theme. Organiser Peggy Calvez-Allaire challenges each artist to show at least one work created with traditional techniques. For the full programme of events and a map of exhibition venues, visit

Cat Café

Taking inspiration from the Japanese trend, cat cafés first arrived in France in 2013 and the first one in Poitou-Charentes has recently opened in La Rochelle (17). It has long been recognised that stroking cats can have a beneficial effect, but we don’t all have the space or lifestyle suited to owning one. A visit to Le Chat RenThé gives you the opportunity to enjoy the company of six cats, some owned by the proprietor and others from the Association ‘Planning-Chat’ who are looking for new homes. See for details.

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News from around the region...

Easter at the Château

For an Easter egg hunt with a difference, take a trip to the Château de Duras in Lot-et-Garonne and make the most of its breathtaking view over the surrounding countryside. Built in the 12th century, it became an impregnable fortress in the 14th century thanks to the money of Pope Clement V before passing into the hands of the Durfort family. Follow in their footsteps as you search for hidden bells and eggs before claiming your chocolate prize at the end of your visit. Don’t miss the newly refurbished wing with 30 restored rooms leading to the courtyard balconies for which the Château is famous. See the website at for this year’s events including the 4D light show throughout the summer season.

MADS theatre group are performing ‘The Cemetery Club’ on 5-6 April at Villeréal. Tickets cost 10€, see



Ghost Train

With Libourne station closed for renovation, the Conseil Général requested a train service from Sarlat to Périgueux via Le Buisson so that passengers could get to Bordeaux without needing to take the replacement bus service between Bergerac and Libourne. The line was commissioned on 2 January, but excitement was short lived as it stopped running only three days later without any warning, causing it to be dubbed le train fantôme. Despite requests for clarification from the Conseil, there was no response from SNCF until the TER service resumed suddenly on 4 February. The reappearance was fleeting, with scheduled work on the line taking place from 4 March until 3 May. Will the train run through the summer? Only time will tell.

Phoenix Association are holding their next book fair on 4 May at Camsegret. Doors open 9.30am-3pm. Bussière-Badil pottery fair welcomes 44 potters to exhibit their craft and demonstrate their skills through workshops and demonstrations. 30 May – 2 June, free entry 10am-7pm

Circuit de Faveyrol

Contentious plans to build a 21-hectare racetrack in the heart of the Dordogne countryside at Faveyrol just outside Riberac hit a block recently in the Bordeaux courts. Landowner Yves Dominault who lives in Périgueux had submitted plans for a year-round circuit on the site which has some 100 residents within 1km. As part of the land is agricultural, change of use applications had been submitted and passed by both the Pays Ribéracois and the Préfet de la Dordogne. The tribunal, however, overturned these decisions at the request of local action group Alert Circuit Vendoire and awarded them costs of 1200€. It is unlikely that this is the end of the story as the team behind the proposal have vowed to fight on.





Opening of the Domaine des Jardins, from March 29 to November 10, 2019.

Conception: ©LesJardinsSothys | 02/2019 | Photos :©PhilippePerdereau - ©MalikaTurin - ©Pauligne Vergne©OuiFlash


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New Look

The new look tourist office in Bergerac is on plan to open its doors in June 2019. The Maison des Vins et du Tourisme will be located in the emblematic Cloître des Récollets at the heart of the historic centre of Bergerac and opposite the ancient river port. By putting œnotourism at the centre of the new project, which also lies on the Véloroute Voie Verte, the town hopes to boost the appeal of the area to visitors. The second stage of development will be completed by 2020 and will feature a space dedicated to Cyrano de Bergerac. The total 2.5 million euros required have been raised with the help of the state, region and the department.

Fête des Voisins

On Friday 24 May communities will be coming together to celebrate being neighbours. These get-togethers provide a great opportunity to meet new friends before summer starts as well as to practice your French. Nine million people took part in the event in France last year with thirty million joining in worldwide. After starting in Paris as a way to help apartment owners living in the same building to meet their neighbours, the fête is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2019. Look out for details of what is happening near you closer to the time.

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Nothing says that summer is on its way better than the first crop of strawberries. After cancellations in previous years due to the restrictions of vigipirate, the Fête de la Fraise et des Fleurs will be held at Vergt on Sunday 19 May. Giant strawberry tarts, jam tastings, a visit by the Confrérie de la Fraise du Périgord and a range of live events will make the 20th edition one not to miss. The parade starts at 9.15am so make sure you leave plenty of time to find a parking space. The Fête de la Fraise at Nabirat is a smaller celebration but still features the obligatory giant strawberry tart and is held on 28 April. If you can’t make either of these, then all is not lost. Follow the Dordogne valley into the Corrèze on 12 May for the Fête de la Fraise at Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne where two world records for strawberries are held, the first for an 8m diameter tart and the second for a 30m-long fraisier!

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Winners announced in August and a presentation day & writers’ workshop to be held in September FB: @SegoraPPP



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News from around the region...

© Sodérif/DSA

Maison de la Parthenaise

Vendée Va’a

The tenth edition of the Vendée Va’a is coming to the Sables d’Olonne on 29 May-1 June. 6-person teams will be racing Polynesian canoes in the open sea, enabling them to prepare for the “Hawaiki nui va’a”, a major event in the cultural life of French Polynesia where canoe racing is considered the national sport. Across the weekend, events in the town will offer visitors an insight into the French Polynesian culture while the teams battle it out at sea. The men’s course is approximately 128km-long in three legs, each departing and returning to the beach at Sables d’Olonne while, for the first time, a women’s course covers 45km, again in three legs. See www. for the full programme of events.

15 & 16 JUNE 2019

Celtic Music & Dance


© Christophe Favreau

After several years in the planning, work is due to start on the building project in the heart of the Gâtine at Châtillonsur-Thouet. Bringing together the offices of key organisations and incorporating a store and two restaurants as well as a breeding station, the aim is to support the emblematic cattle of the region. Creating 25 jobs, the budget of nearly 8 million euros has been funded by the region and local organisations. From only 5,000 cattle in the 1970s, the breed now numbers 50,000 and its popularity continues to grow. One of the oldest breeds in France, the Parthenaise has recently become popular in Ireland as they are able to withstand all seasons, have a robust immune system and great mothering abilities. However, the building work is currently under debate as the site covers regulated wetlands and is close to the busy RN 149. A solution is being sought to keep the project on plan.

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Limoges let down

An ambitious new festival this summer in Limoges has finally had to admit defeat. Despite the promise of 300,000€ of support from the city, the experienced organisers could not make the maths work over a three-year horizon and other partners could not be found. In the current climate the risk was too high and the project has been abandoned. Sadly, this is a sign of things to come. After several years of budgets being slashed for cultural events we are seeing many established festivals facing similar challenges.

Looking forward Over the border in

Creuse, all eyes are watching the enate to see if therapeutic cannabis will be legalised as in many other European countries. Local councillors and farmers believe that this could be an opportunity that would help to revitalise the département’s economy. Historically, Creuse was the largest producer of industrial hemp in France and so they believe they have the existing knowledge and credibility to launch the industry, but other départements such as Brittany are also watching carefully. A full economic model is being developed behind closed doors in Creuse to present to the Ministry of Health in the coming months.

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Don’t miss the 9th Fête des Plantes which will be held at the grounds of the Lycée Agricole in MagnacLaval (87) on Sunday 7 April. Doors open from 10am to 6pm and there is plenty of parking. Entry is 2€, under 16s free.


The ASPTT Limoges Grass Hockey Club are offering a 3-day course for youngsters of all nationalities to be held in English. From 1517 April, the cost is 80€ and reservation is required. See FB @limogeshc for full details. Just off the N10 near Chaunay, the museum at Brux (86) is full of surprises, particularly its butterfly collection featuring 15,000 specimens from around the world. Visit the ‘Inspiration Japon’ exhibition that is running until 16 June – open Saturday and Sunday, 2€ entry fee.

RECRUITING NOW! We are looking for self-motivated, ambitious individuals or couples to work as agents. Sales experience is less important than a genuine interest in property and helping our clients find the right home. Your own transport is required, along with good IT skills. Being bilingual (English and French) would be an advantage. Angouleme ~ Cognac ~ Saintes ~ Aubeterre ~ Jonzac ~ Royan ~ La Rochelle ~ Ile d’Oleron ~ Ile de Ré ~ Sables d’Olonne ~ Vendée and further east towards Marais Poitevin ~ Deux-Sèvres ~ Limoges ~ Bergerac ~ Périgueux ~ Dordogne


Classical revival

La Ferme de Villefavard, the prestigious classical music venue in HauteVienne, has had a turbulent few years. Organisers of the Haut-Limousin Festival, the Villefavard association had brought in professional help to manage the programme but they found instead that a significant loss had been incurred in 2017. The volunteers decided that they had no alternative but to take back direct control to stem the losses. Through their sterling efforts, 2018 was a more positive year, they have paid off a significant part of their debts and the spending is back under control allowing a new director to be appointed.

Fabulous Futuroscope


A bottleneck at MignalouxBeauvoir has long been the cause of much frustration on the RN147, the main route between Limoges and Poitiers. Each day 17,000 vehicles, including lorries, queue at the two sets of traffic lights in the town and the problem is further exacerbated in rush hour with local south Poitiers traffic. A major project costing 6 million euros is now underway to ease the congestion. Starting with a study of the alternative routes and public meetings, six proposed new routes

will each be evaluated. However, there are already protests with ‘escargots’ planned on local roads by farmers and residents whose land and homes are within the northern route proposals. It is hoped that the top two proposed routes will be agreed over the coming months although activists argue that all routes still lead to the bottleneck at the Milétrie roundabout. Details of the different routes can be found on the DREAL Nouvelle-Aquitaine website as well as at local mairies.

Have you experienced the latest attractions at Futuroscope? With our 6€ PER PERSON COUPON on the back cover, you can start planning your day out as there really is something for everyone. The whole family will laugh with the Raving Rabbids as you hurtle back in time, or be thrilled as you fly around the world on The Extraordinary Journey. Arthur, the 4D Adventure, is a perennial favourite while the new virtual reality Racing Xperience with Sebastien Loeb will get the adrenalin going. Dances with Robots never ceases to excite before you settle down to see the world through Thomas Pesquet’s eyes as he mans the International Space Station in stunning definition in the IMAX cinema. With more than 25 attractions, a large children’s play area, restaurants and cafés all set in an immaculate park which you are encouraged to enjoy, one day may not be enough. Don’t miss the evening show, La Forge aux Etoiles, a light and sound extravaganza designed by Cirque du Soleil, which is included in the tickets.




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Sailing instruction is ever-popular

16 | living places to visit The beachfront casino

Retro Atlantic Coast style

Low-season calm

Belle Epoque style variations

living places to visit | 17

Sunny autumn days are perfect for escapism

à la Plage


With springtime about to slip into summer, we’ll soon be heading back to the beach...

he call of the sea is nothing new, yet the idea of spending a little time relaxing beside it is a comparatively modern one. While our friends the Romans established coastal resorts around 2000 years ago, ‘seaside towns’ as we now know them did not appear in France until the mid-18th century, in response to the newly perceived health benefits of the coastal climate. Everything changed with the dawn of the industrial revolution and the construction of the rail network, whose investors were naturally keen to find new destinations with visitor potential to boost passenger revenue. Having witnessed the visionary development unfolding further south at Arcachon (see Living Magazine Aug/Sept 2015), the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer des Charentes was convinced that there must be further opportunities along the Atlantic


coast line which it had inaugurated in 1871, and which was already bringing new visitors to La Rochelle and Rochefort. They identified what looked like two enticing locations at Fouras and Châtelaillon. The fact that the railway was already transporting oysters and mussels from the latter made it an obvious choice for a make-over, although the company wasn’t the first to spot and exploit the site’s potential. In 1882 the rise of ‘bains de mer’, which was transforming humble fishing villages elsewhere into fashionable resorts, inspired Barbezieux notaire Gabriel Fauconnier to create 80 building plots along what is now Boulevard de Lattre de Tassigny. He then added a chapel, a covered market hall and 16 new homes but his hoped-for buyers failed to materialise, so to kick-start things he decided to offer free plots to the first takers who would commit

to building a villa without delay. It worked. Before long buyers were jostling to snap up the final unsold plots, a success story which prompted the railway company to acquire 25 hectares of land and offer for sale 72 plots (each around three times the size of Fauconnier’s offer) laid out neatly on the rigid, geometrical ground plan we can still see today. The addition of the suffix ‘Plage’ proved to be an inspired marketing move, adding a touch of sophistication which even wealthy buyers from nearby Rochefort were powerless to resist. In 1886 a post office, a school and a railway station for passengers were added, and on July 16 1893 a large, elegantly proportioned casino opened its doors on the promenade, an event which marked the final stage in Châtelaillon’s transformation into a seaside resort. The rail company’s faith was rewarded

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No high-rise for this beachfront

18 | living places to visit

Belle Epoque villas are highly desirable

Kite-builders let their imaginations fly

The annual Festival de Cerf-Volant et du Vent features giant, imaginatively styled kites, wind-powered automatons, kite surfing, workshops and lots more handsomely, and soon the original agricultural-style dwellings of oyster farmers and fishermen found themselves rubbing shoulders with scores of new architect designed villas, whose construction was perfectly timed to coincide with the wave of optimism which produced the Belle Epoque period. A logical successor to Art Nouveau, the villas’ decorative motifs are often similarly fanciful although simplified to feature new materials transported by rail from brick, tile and ceramics companies. With patterned, multi-

coloured brickwork and intricatelystyled woodwork, the more ornate villas are typical of what we now refer to as ‘l’architecture balnéaire’. Most are single storey ‘pavillons’ on a more modest scale (in response to the compact size of the original plots) than was the case a little further down the coast in Royan, although in Châtelaillon the architects seem to have looked to the nearby fishermen’s cottages for inspiration. Here and there, though, they abandoned such measured composure and went into full fantasy mode, as you’ll see at

the Café de la Poste, in Boulevard de la République. Further along the boulevard is the cottage-style Chalet Kristiania, whose style would also have raised a few eyebrows when it first appeared. During a visit to the Paris World Fair in 1889 Alfred Loiret was so smitten by a Swedish chalet in the Scandinavian pavilion that he purchased it, had it dismantled at the close of the exhibition and reassembled here as his family home, just a stone’s throw from his grandiose Hotel Beauséjour.

living places to visit | 19

Meanwhile, Châtelaillon’s big selling point – a 3km stretch of golden sand – remains deservedly popular with visitors who come to sunbathe, swim, build sandcastles or just take a relaxed stroll along the Boulevard de la Mer, with occasional wistful glances at the nearby islands of Aix and Oléron. It’s

a simple pleasure, even on sunny days during the calm hors-saison months, which bring a real sense of privilege in just being here when others can’t be. You can tap into the very soul of a place, in fact, and witness the sea’s different moods. Come here on less calm days, though, when the waves



Living at

20 | living places to visit The summer visitors have long departed

crash onto the promenade, and you’ll understand why this stretch of coastline receded by around 200m between the early 18th century and the arrival of the railway. Over the years sea defences have been refined, and while the advance has been halted locally, maintaining the beach has proved much more challenging, particularly when the occasional really big storm blows through. The only answer, for now at least, is to replace what has been lost, using sand from The promenade is a delight for cyclists

elsewhere, including the Chassiron Bank between the islands of Ré and Oléron, and from dredging operations to maintain the access channel to Boyardville on the Île d’Oléron (which has the opposite problem). It’s a costly process, but the result is the magnificent and much loved sandy playground which has been awarded the ‘Handiplage’ label for its specially dedicated facilities (including an amphibious wheelchair) for those with a disability – see handiplage. fr. It also plays host to colourful events such as the annual ‘Festival de Cerf-Volant et du Vent’ – an Easter weekend extravaganza featuring giant, imaginatively styled kites, wind-powered automatons, kite surfing, workshops and lots more. This year the 26th edition of this spectacular family event will unfold at Châtelaillon Plage on 20-22 April. You’ll find details of this and other events at:

An illustrious history...

Appearances can be deceptive. For all its modern-day image as an attractive family coastal resort, Châtelaillon Plage actually has a much more substantial earlier history, signs of which are visible in a Mérovingien-era cemetery just south of the town at Les Bouchôleurs. Here over 70 stone sarcophagi dating from the 7th century bear witness to the fact that this was formerly a site of great wealth and importance. Sure enough, on a long-lost nearby rocky headland known as the Pointe du Cornard stood the Castrum Allionis, a mighty fortress constructed by the Comtes de Poitou in response to repeated attacks from the sea by Vikings and from inland by Norman raiders. By the 9th century things were more secure, the complex having developed into a substantial fortified town with 12m-high walls, 14 or so towers, a 40m-high donjon and a population of around 20,000. Thus the spot we now know as Châtelaillon Plage rose to become, for several centuries, the capital of the vast territories of Aunis. In 1130, however, the forces of Guillaume X, Duc d’Aquitaine placed the fortress under siege, precipitating a sudden and decisive transfer of power to La Rochelle. Throughout the inevitable long period of decline which followed, a process of coastal erosion was steadily gnawing away at the exposed headland, and in 1709 a particularly violent storm washed away a section of cliff off Vieux Châtelaillon, taking with it the last vestiges of the once mighty stronghold. However, another, much later military installation does survive at the northern end of the beach, in the shape of the Fort Saint-Jean, constructed by order of Napoléon in 1811, to reinforce coastal defences against the threat of attacks by the Royal Navy. Once boasting a 30-strong garrison, it was occupied by German forces during WWII, abandoned by the French military during the 20th century and now stands forlornly, waiting to be rediscovered.

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22 | living foodies

Vegging up While vegetarians and vegans around the world stick to a strict no-animal rule, in France there’s more of a focus on being sustainable, organic and eating healthier, more local food. WORDS: JESSICA KNIPE


one are the days when vegetarians in France would get served a dish with ham or chicken because, well, “that’s not meat”. And the meat-free option on a French menu is now thankfully more interesting than just a green salad. There’s still a long way to go, however, before vegetarians can expect more than one meat-free dish in their local restaurant (that’s if there is one at all). Why has vegetarianism been slower to catch on in France? Theories abound. Is it gastro-chauvinism? Colonial history? Dina Zerbib (left), the bubbly one-woman band behind vegetarian landmark ‘Carottes & Gingembre’ in Saint Jean d’Angély (17) favours the latter. As she stirs a coconut curry crammed with well over the ten recommended vegetables, you should eat in one day, she explains: ‘British colonies, like India for example, were widely vegetarian, and this will have influenced the cuisine that came back home with them. Curry and dhal are naturally vegan. And yes, France inherited dishes like couscous, but they are not served as they were originally, when a goat would only be killed once a month or so. It wouldn’t have been laden with chicken and lamb and merguez, like it is today.” It’s not just an historical absence of vegetarianism in French habits; there’s still a general reticence to accept it as a lifestyle. According to a study led by French foodie website in October 2018, 95% of French people don’t think humans are meant for a meat-free diet, and feel that their body would lack nutrients and energy without meat. “I think there is a lot to say about the word itself,” says Dina. “In ‘végétarien’ there is the sound ‘rien’, which means ‘nothing’ in French.” People, in France at least, tend to believe that a purely vegetarian diet will leave you hungry, bored and lacking in energy, and that therefore our bodies just aren’t built for it – a fact that Dina contests with a simple lesson in human anatomy. “Humans have very long intestines, which were not built to eat meat at all,” she explains. “Felines have very short intestines to digest protein very quickly, but in our intestines, meat just rots...” As for a lack of energy, Dina is living proof that the theory doesn’t stand up:

living foodies | 23

on top of cycling 10km to work 6 out of 7 days each week, she practises yoga, swims and dances in her spare time – and that’s before going to the market twice a week and single-handedly running a successful restaurant. Despite the general lack of French enthusiasm for vegetarianism, Dina’s 100% meat-free restaurant has been going strong for 11 years in a relatively small town, where she has watched many other businesses come and go. Nobody thought it would work, but she has seen some people making their vegetarian “coming out” at her table, and ‘Carottes & Gingembre’ is one of only three restaurants in the Charente-Maritime listed in 2018’s ‘500 Tables Attentives’ guide (Ed. de La Martinière), sponsored by ecological

superstar Yann-Arthus Bertrand. The fact is, it’s not only vegetarians who come to enjoy Dina’s curries, choucroutes and chili sin carne; mostly she sees people who are trying to reduce their meat consumption, whether for planetary or health reasons. Thanks to increased communication about the impact of meat eating on things like global warming and obesity, people are starting to think more carefully about what’s on their plate. As a result, France’s attitude towards vegetarianism is gradually, incrementally changing. Last year French media outlets tried to sell people on the concept of ‘Green Monday’, or what other countries have been calling ‘Meatless Monday’ for a while now. Apps like Vegg’Up, which offers

“Nobody thought it would work, but she has seen some people making their vegetarian 'coming out' at her table”

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24 | living foodies

Lentil, Sweet Potato and Feta Salad serves 2 Anne Lataillade’s favourite vegetarian recipe, from her website: 1 sweet potato (200g) 90g Puy lentils 2 tbsp feta cheese 1 tsp ground cumin a pinch of paprika 8 tbsp olive oil salt and pepper 1 tbsp parsley 1 lemon Method Preheat the oven to 200˚C.

meat-free recipes that promote a ‘reduction of meat consumption’ are gaining users, as is the Association Végétarienne de France (AVF), which has seen its base grow from 500 in 2008 to over 5000 in 2016. The most definite sign that vegetarianism might be catching on, though, sits at the bottom of the supermarkets’

Peel, wash and dice the sweet potato. Place in a large bowl with 3 tbsp of the olive oil, half the cumin, a pinch of salt and paprika. Mix (it’s easier with your hands) to cover the sweet potatoes and spread on a baking sheet (or a tray with baking paper). Place in the oven for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the lentils. Put them in a saucepan of cold water (without salt, to cut down on cooking time) and bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Check they are cooked, and then drain them. Remove the sweet potato from the oven and leave to cool. Prepare the dressing: In a bowl, mix a pinch of salt, pepper, the rest of the cumin, 2 tbsp lemon juice and 5 tbsp olive oil. Place the lentils, sweet potato and feta on a dish, cover with dressing and some parsley leaves.

balance sheets – research consultancy Xerfi’s study on the future of vegetarianism, showed that the market for vegetarian food was up 24% in supermarkets in 2018, a share which represents 380 million euros. What’s more, experts predict a further 17% increase over the next two years. Popular French foodie blog ‘Papilles

Cafe Cour du Miracle Vouvant Come along for a beer, a glass of wine, a cup of English tea and a slice of homemade cake, or a delicious home-cooked lunch. Vegetarian options available. Open 11.00am to 6.00pm Tel: 02 51 00 54 93 Closed Monday & Tuesday

& Pupilles’ founder Anne Lataillade (above), confirms the gravitation towards vegetarianism in France. Her proof: cookbooks. “Ten years ago I used to bring vegetarian cookbooks back from England, as they were so much sexier and more appealing than those in France (where vegetarian books were for the large part dietfocused). Today it’s different – there are beautiful vegetarian cookbooks in France. There are also more vegetarian restaurants and more meat-free options on menus.” But as exciting as this all seems for vegetarians, there’s a slight feeling that this all might just be a short-lived fad. Anne is careful not to jump to conclusions too hastily. “Many new vegetarians are young, urban, and sensitive to the plight of animals,” she says. “But they have lost a certain connection to the countryside, and have

Bhajélicieux @ Mon repos à côté de l’eau

Virtuously Vegan Devilishly Delicious Follow all our events around the region on Facebook Katie HALL 05 49 87 19 20 LeBourgVouleme

living foodies | 25

“Vegetarians are no longer the black sheep of restaurants they once were.” never even set foot on a farm. Their vision is what I would call romantic. I agree that we have to eat less meat, and prefer good quality meat, but I would rather fight against intensive farming and educate people on the way that the food they eat is produced. That includes meat substitutes… I hate fake cheese and fake pâté. That’s not what being a vegetarian means to me.” One place where vegetarianism is slow to develop is at the gastronomical heights of the Michelin world. Loïc Lecoin (left), who heads the Michelin-starred restaurant ‘Dyades’, in Massignac’s ‘Le Domaine des Étangs’ (16), mirrors Anne’s cautious approach. “Vegetarianism is a bit of a trend in my opinion, and people follow trends, in fashion as in food,” says the chef: “I am not especially in favour of vegetarianism, but rather more in favour of eating less, and better quality, meat. The same laws of nature apply to vegetables; a carrot with pesticides won’t taste as good as a carrot from the organic garden we have at our disposal here. Similarly, meat from a cow that has been humanely reared and slaughtered will automatically taste better.” The restaurant has a charter for local farmers to follow, and will only use providers with the best, most sustainable, organic produce. While Loïc can create entire eight-course meat-free meals for his vegetarian guests on request, there will never be a permanent vegetarian option on the menu. “It’s part of France to eat meat... it’s our roots”, says the chef: “Our national dishes are things like blanquette de veau or pot-au-feu – it’s our culture.” That said, he’s meat-free

himself at home for two or three days a week, favouring vegetarian classics like bulgur and risotto, but he argues that when you go to a Michelin-starred restaurant you want to experience the best of the local cuisine, of what that particular area has to offer, and in many cases, that means the choicest local cuts and freshest local fish. “What’s important is the balance,” he concludes: “I am all for reducing meat, but not for cutting it out completely.” In this, it seems, he is not alone. Most of France is on the same page. But although the actual number of vegetarians in France today only represents a tiny portion of the population, attitudes have come a long way. Vegetarians are no longer the black sheep of restaurants they once were, and people are more and more conscious of what they are eating, and of the impact that their choices can have on their environment. ‘Flexitarianism’ seems to have a beautiful future ahead of it, and that does mean more meat-free options for everyone.

“Tell me what you eat, I'll tell you what you are...”

“I eat no meat at all, and that includes fish, by the way...” You’re a vegetarian. “I don’t eat any animals, and nor do I eat anything that originates from an animal, like stock, milk, eggs, honey or cheese. I also try not to wear leather or wool...” You’re a vegan. “I don’t eat meat, but I do like the occasional fish, prawn or oyster...” You’re a pescetarian. “I’m trying to reduce my meat consumption, so I often go without, but I’ll have the odd meat-based meal...” You’re a flexitarian.

Cookery Courses In The Charente

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Come to Under The Lime Tree to enjoy nutritious, delicious, colourful and creative lunches & dinners in beautiful surroundings. B&B and ‘Pop-up’ catering since 2000. Cooking masterclasses available. Booking essential.

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16 | living places to visit

The Pont Saint-Martial, constructed in 1215

Heart of The interior soars to 23 metres

In the ancient quarter of a bustling city lies a dazzling medieval masterpiece in tough Limousin granite. WORDS & PHOTOS: ROGER MOSS

elving into the origins of just about any major town or city in France will reveal a lot about how it came to be sited where we see it today. In the case of Limoges it was all down to one of the few viable points to cross the Vienne river, at a spot which was not only generally fordable but which could also be defended from plateaux on either bank. That clearly appealed to the Romans, who around 10BC constructed a multi-arched stone bridge to keep things moving safely and efficiently on the Via Agrippa, a strategic route between Lyon and Saintes. On the western plateau they founded the city of Augustoritum, whose importance grew in response to

the increasing flow of traded goods, not to mention frequent military movements. The gallo-Roman bridge was clearly built to last, for it remained in use right up until the town was placed under siege by Henri Plantagenet in 1182, and its foundations still underpin its successor, the 85m-long Pont Saint-Martial, constructed in 1215. By then, however, the river had gained a second crossing, in the shape of the nearby Pont Saint-Étienne, completed around 1203 and originally defended by a tower and drawbridge at either end. Almost seven centuries later it was understandably in need of substantial repairs, and was threatened with demolition. Happily a public campaign to preserve it was successful,

The 18th century Archbishop’s Palace

living places to visit | 27 The flamboyant Gothic Saint-Jean transept, c1530

construction would continue sporadically right up until 1888, the final phase being to extend the nave to reach the bell tower which had survived from the Romanesque church. No doubt the decision to incorporate it was seen as a less costly alternative to the monumental twin-towered western façades which commonly adorn French cathedrals elsewhere. If it was a compromise, there’s no denying the visual impact of the 62m-high tower in its present form. During the 14th century two of the original square Romanesque storeys were reinforced massively to support three octagonal

A symphony of sunlight and medieval stained glass

and we can still have the great pleasure of strolling across it to gaze from the opposite bank at the Cathédrale Saint-Étienne, peering back enticingly from an elevated site known as ‘La Cité ’. Today the bustling heart of Limoges lies a little further south, replacing a fortified town built on the original Roman city, an area still sometimes referred to as ‘Le Château’. That takes the pressure off the old streets

The gargoyles’ silent vigil

around the cathedral, which are worth exploring, as are the Jardins de l’Évêché, 2 hectares of lovingly tended landscaped parkland and themed botanical areas. From the large medieval-style garden recreated beside the southern flanks of the cathedral you can understand why all France was in awe of the great Gothic showpieces which appeared in the Paris basin during the 12th century. Few southern towns, though, could contemplate such costly undertakings but Limoges was prosperous, and on 1 June, 1273 laid the foundation stone of the elegant creation we see today, on the site of an 11th century Romanesque church (the crypt survives, hidden beneath the choir). By around 1327 the apse and choir had been completed, although thereafter things slowed, to say the least. In fact,

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28 | living places to visit

The Romanesquemeets-Gothic tower

The apse and choir, completed in 1327

additions, topped off with an 18m spire which was destroyed during a hurricane in 1443. In 1571 its successor was struck by lightning, and was never replaced. The use of local fine-grained granite (quarried north of the city at Neuplanchas) as the main construction material resulted in a far more robust

and durable structure than its fragile northern counterparts, and the vast roof is protected by tough Limousin slate from the ancient quarries of Travassac (Corrèze). Obviously, cutting and sculpting granite is slow and laborious, so it’s no surprise that decorative embellishments were largely confined to the flamboyant Gothic façade of the northern Saint-Jean transept, completed in 1530. It’s another unusual feature, since principal entrances elsewhere were commonly via southern transepts, with western doorways (not an option here) being flung wide open only on grand occasions. Inside you’ll experience a powerful sensation of having been shrunk to ant-like proportions by the soaring verticality which is a defining quality of French Gothic architecture – while England went for length, France aimed high. For maximum effect

come when late afternoon sunlight pours though the mostly 14th century stained glass, creating a medieval slide show and turning sombre grey granite to fiery gold. The north and south rose-windows are truly spectacular, while at the western end of the nave is a16th century Renaissance-style jubé‚ or rood screen, one of the very few still surviving in France. Outside, the nearby Archbishop’s Palace dates from the 18th century, and is now an elegant museum whose exhibits include a very respectable art collection and many examples of Limoges’ world-famous enamels. If you’re now wondering how the town became the centre of production, the answer lies in the strong demand for reliqueries and other religious objects, including souvenirs for those visiting the Saint’s tomb in the Bénédictine Abbaye Saint-Martial, an important halt on the pilgrimage route to Saint-Jacques de Compostela.

The master architect of Limoges Cathedral... Despite a lack of documentary evidence, numerous structural and stylistic features suggest the hand of the brilliant architect Jean Deschamps (1218-1295). He and his son Pierre were also largely responsible for the cathedrals of Clermont-Ferrand, Narbonne, Rodez and Toulouse. It’s here at Limoges, however, that his genius still shines most brilliantly.

conception : CCI 87 - 2019 - crédit photo : Adobe Stock

Limoges has never been so close! LONDON STANSTED LONDON GATWICK Paris



Citizens’ rights after


Kathryn Dobson examines the latest developments for British nationals living in France as the Brexit debacle drags on

than other TCNs. For example, there would be no language requirements or other integration conditions. The income requirements will be specified by decree and may be the same or more stringent than now. d) There will be a fee for the new cards. It has been suggested that this would be 119€ per person (currently TCNs pay 268€) but, again, this will be confirmed by decree. e) Health care for those with an S1 will continue for a period of 2 years during Yet again this issue coincides with Brexit nearing a cliff-edge - those were actually the words at the beginning of February’s column but astoundingly, they are even more apt today as Parliament collapses into chaos only two weeks away from Brexit-day.

This week, British MPs voted down the draft Withdrawal Agreement by a large majority for the second time. Then no-deal was also voted down. When you read this column, no doubt more votes will have taken place. The rejected deal may even have returned for a third vote, the irony of which is not missed - the ‘people’ cannot have a second vote in case they change their minds over three years, but the same agreement can be put time and again to the House in the hope they change theirs. Nevertheless, the fact remains that without a vote for something in its place and a subsequent change to primary legislation, no-deal will still be the default position on 29 March. Unless an agreement is signed (and if it has been, you can skip this page) or Article 50 is revoked, then there is still a risk that we could end up at no-deal even if an extension is granted. While British in Europe continues to campaign for our rights outlined in the draft Withdrawal Agreement to be ringfenced, this is unlikely to be considered unless a no-deal exit is about to happen. Up until that point, everyone is still

working towards finding a deal that can be agreed and which would, by definition, protect our rights. But, at the last minute with emotions running high, ring-fencing may be too difficult to agree. So, where would this leave Britons living in France? We do now have some idea of the shape of what could happen here. Following the emergency no-deal law passed in January, an ordonnance on citizens’ rights was published on 7 February. This answered some questions but left many areas unclear as vital details were missing. These details were promised to be clarified in a decree to be issued ‘soon’. As we go to print, two weeks before Brexit-day, the decree has not yet been published. As we get closer to Brexit-day, it is to be expected that views will harden and it is likely that any generosity towards us will lessen.

What WILL Happen iF there is No-DEAL? From the ordonnance, we know: a) There will be a transition period of between 3-12 months during which time all Brits will need to apply for an appropriate carte de séjour. The length of the transition period will be confirmed by the decree. b) Only people resident in France by Brexit day and who apply for their new carte during the transition period, will be covered by the ordonnance. c) We will fall under the legislation for Third Country Nationals (TCNs) but benefit from more favourable conditions

WHERE TO FIND INFORMATION With so many rumours and illinformed opinions, where should you look for up-to-date information?

The French Government The information they provide has, to date, been exclusively in French although the UK Embassy has published some unofficial translations to help. Their official site is at

The UK Government A series of ‘Living in’ guides are published on the UK Government site. These reflect the latest official messages from the UK government as well as the unofficial translations of parts of the French Government site.

RIFT This independent website publishes information that is easy to read and understand. Curated by Kalba Meadows, a key member of the BiE steering team, her expert knowledge of EU, UK and French policies and laws help her interpret the information provided for Brits living in France into everyday language.

living brexit | 31

British in Europe is the largest coalition group of British citizens living and working in Europe. With representation across the EU27, they actively campaign for the rights of UK citizens in the EU (UKinEU) and support EU citizens in the UK (EUinUK). British in Europe have been instrumental in the protection of rights so far and continue to be sought out by both sides of the negotiation for their expertise and knowledge. Staffed by volunteers, BiE needs your help. Donate today to ensure they can continue to protect the rights of British citizens living in Europe. which time a bilateral agreement will be reached between France and the UK. f) There will be two categories of cartes de séjours: • Individuals with less than five years’ legal residence will need to apply for temporary residence cards. • Individuals with more than five years’ legal residence will be entitled to apply for a ‘carte de résident longue durée’. The details of the cards available can be found on the RIFT site (see the information box) but again, until the decree is published, we will not know the levels of resource or additional criteria required for the different types of cards. One on-going concern is the ability of the French administration to process so many applications in a short space of time. Those of us who have already received EU CdS are expected to be able to exchange them on providing any additional information required and paying the fee. However, with only about 20% of Brits in France having already applied for their CdS, there will be a mountain to climb. The Vienne Préfecture have worked hard to streamline the process but are still only managing to complete 20-30 applications per week - the British population is estimated at 2,500. Other areas, such as Dordogne, with its much larger population of Brits, have hardly issued any residence permits yet. The French Government have proposed an online portal for applications but the dossiers would then be sent to each préfecture to process. Unless

fewer criteria are examined or additional resources are committed, it is difficult to see how the bottlenecks will be removed. There is an additional worry included in the ordonnance. We spoke in the last edition about reciprocity and how this should be for both the good as well as the not-so-good elements regarding the treatment of French citizens in the UK. Since then, the 65€ fee for Settled Status has been scrapped by the UK government and would remain so in the case of no-deal, yet there would be a charge for us. More worryingly, the scope of any reciprocity was widened in the ordonnance. The citizens’ rights provisions can be suspended by the passing of a simple decree if the French Government finds that the UK doesn’t grant equivalent treatment not only to French citizens living in the UK but also on the control of goods and passengers to and from the UK, and veterinary and phytosanitary control on imports from the UK. The ease with which our rights could be amended if legislated at a national level is one of the key reasons why getting protection at an EU level is so important.

WHERE NOW? This may be a moot point by the time LIVING has been delivered. A deal could have been finally agreed or an extension applied for. If not, then there are still other options on the table.

The first would be to decide that Brexit is not worth it for the UK and to revoke Article 50. This would stop the process in its tracks and the status quo would be maintained, although this is highly unlikely with the current government. Alternatively, a short extension could be requested to allow more time to seek an agreement. Given that this debate has gone on for 3 years, it is difficult to see what two months more would give other than time to manage a no-deal exit process more smoothly. Indications suggest the EU will be open to the request should Theresa May make it. Finally, a longer extension could be requested to allow the UK to take stock of the current position and decide whether to go back to the people for a People’s Vote. The European Parliament elections are considered a stumbling block to a longer extension but if there were a political will, a legal way could be found. As Eleanor Sharpston, the UK’s Advocate General at the Court of Justice of the European Union, tweeted, there have already been instances (such as the accession of Croatia to the EU) where similar obstacles have been overcome. Whatever happens though, British in Europe will continue to push for clarity on our rights. It is inexcusable that 1.2 million British nationals have been left to live with this level of uncertainty and worry for so long.

French driving licences The ability to legally drive is important for those of us living in rural communes here in France. For the past 12 months, the advice from both French and UK governments has been to ensure that you have a French licence before 29 March 2019 so that you can legally drive if there is no-deal. However, that has proved easier said than done. In October 2017, the service centralised from one where you apply locally to one where all requests from south west France are sent to Nantes. Soon the service became overwhelmed and applications began to be processed in any order. Extra staff were drafted in but the backlog continued to grow. Things came to a head in early March when the website of the Loire-Atlantique Préfecture posted a message stating that they would now only exchange British licences that were lost/stolen, about to expire, needed points adding to them,

or needed additional driving categories added. All other dossiers sent in would be returned and Britons needed to ‘be patient’. Those who had sent in their papers before March 2018 were invited to contact the service as these would be processed. During a recent Facebook Q&A, the French Minister for European Affairs, Nathalie Loiseau, implied that there would be a period of grace in the case of no-deal although this has not been put into writing yet.

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32 | practical living

law&money << OUr experts answer YOur questions...

Money Matters


We retired to France but plan on visiting our daughter and family before her wedding. We need to transfer money to our UK account to fund the wedding etc., what is the best solution for this?


When transferring money overseas, the first question that springs to mind is whether the exchange rate is favourable and more importantly, what exchange rate will you get for your payment. Whether you make a large or a small lump sum payment, the timing of it is crucial as markets respond to many factors, including political events, economic data or even the weather, and the exchange rates constantly fluctuate. For example, in the first quarter this year, the currency market has been very volatile, mainly due to Brexit negotiations, with the pound fluctuating as much as seven per cent. If you were buying British pounds and selling euros during this period, you would have seen a rate as low as 1.1031 and as high as 1.1706. As an illustration, on a €10,000 transfer to your daughter’s wedding planner, it would mean a difference of £523 – or a free five-tier wedding cake. This is where a currency broker with insight, knowledge and market expertise can make a difference by not only offering you competitive exchange rates

but also providing guidance on the timing of your transaction. The benefit of organising your wedding finances in advance is that you could take advantage of the exchange rate when it is favourable, even if you don’t have the funds available: you can fix the exchange rate and schedule your payments for up to 12 months, using a forward contract. It means that your rate is guaranteed, even if the market moves against you. Moreover, a currency broker can help you even if you don’t have a sterling bank account to transfer the funds into as they can pay the beneficiaries, such as the wedding planner, on your behalf. These options are suitable, not only for wedding related costs, but also for a variety of lump sum payments such as a renovation work, the purchase of an asset like a car, or in case of a relocation. For a free quote or for updates about the currency market, please visit Audensa Financial website www. or contact Virginie on +44 (0) 203 582 3957 or via e-mail: Virginie Marin is a senior foreign exchange broker and co-founder of Audensa Financial, with 11 years’ experience in the FX industry. Audensa Financial is an FCA authorised currency broker, handling international payments for both private and corporate clients.

Succession Law


After Brexit, will my Will based on English law still be valid as I want to bequeath my estate to my wife only, not my children from my first marriage.

The uncertainty of Brexit has raised several concerns regarding estate planning for those who own properties in France or want to invest. Wills made abroad are valid in France, whether they were made one year ago or twenty. Many of you know that the succession law changed in 2015 with the passing of the European Succession law which applies across the E.U (except for England, Denmark and Ireland). However, the validity of a Will results from the 1961 Hague convention on the conflicts of laws relating to the form of testamentary dispositions. English Wills have always been valid in France and taken into consideration by Notaires to settle an estate. However, once the stipulations of the French civil code and the “reserve” were considered, English Wills did not always apply and were limited to the dispositions of French Law. Now, under the European succession law, a British national can elect English law to deal with the settlement of the estate and overcome French Law. As a result, children from a previous marriage can be disinherited. However, the election of English law must be expressly written in

your Will. Wills made before the 17th August 2015, the date the European succession law came into force, may not necessarily mention English law as the law applicable to the estate. It is likely that a Notaire may not apply the Will entirely and still consider the children’s rights under French Law. The Will must mention that English law applies in accordance with the stipulations of article 22 of the Regulation. Therefore, it is sensible to review the drafting of any Will that you made and ensure that it will have full effect in France although this is one area Brexit will not impact. Christophe Dutertre is a bilingual Frenchqualified Notaire with over 22 years’ experience, 15 of which were working in law offices in Monaco and with the banking industry in Luxembourg. FranceTaxLaw specialises in French and European notarial law and advises clients on all aspects of civil or tax law.; tel: +44 (0)20 8115 7914; email:

practical living | 33

How to declare my UK pension?


My UK pensions are paid in sterling, into my British bank account. Do I still need to complete a French tax return each year?


Irrespective of where your pension is paid, what currency it is paid in, or even if it is a Superannuation Government Pension, you are required by French law to submit an annual tax return if you are a French resident. Do not be alarmed however, as there is a double taxation treaty in place between the UK and France to ensure you are not taxed twice. Your French tax office will publish a standard annual exchange rate to convert your GBP pension into Euros and there are many people who provide handholding services to help you complete these forms,

a valuable option if you feel your French is not adequate and you do not have an accountant. There has been no change to the rates of income tax (impôt sur le revenu) of the barème scale, but the tax bands have been increased as follows: Income

Tax Rate

Up to €9,964 €9,965 to €27,519 €27,520 to €73,779 €73,780 to €156,244 €156,245 and over

0% 14% 30% 41% 45%

Don’t forget that you should also declare any interest or income that you receive from savings and investments. It’s always a good exercise to speak to your regulated financial adviser to ensure that any savings and investments are as tax efficient as possible

here in France. Whether you want to register for our newsletter, attend one of our road show events or speak to me directly, please

call or email me via the contacts below and I will be glad to help. We do not charge for our financial planning reviews, reports or recommendations.

Amanda Johnson works as an Independent Financial Advisor with The Spectrum IFA Group. T: 05 49 98 97 46 or 06 73 27 25 43;; « The Spectrum IFA Group » is a registered trademark, exclusive rights to use in France granted to TSG Insurance Services S.A.R.L. Siège Social: 34 Bd des Italiens, 75009 « Société de Courtage d’assurances » R.C.S. Paris B 447 609 108 (2003B04384) Numéro d’immatriculation 07 025 332 - « Conseiller en investissements financiers, référence sous le numéro E002440 par ANACOFI-CIF, association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Financiers »

Are your investments tax efficient and tax compliant in France? We’ve got you covered Haute-Vienne - Tony Farrell - Tel: 06 15 28 54 82 Vendée - Maeve Hoffman - Tel: 06 42 00 27 96 Charente-Maritime - Brian Furzer - Tel: 06 25 36 30 65 Dordogne - Tony Delvalle - Tel: 06 89 02 84 74 Deux-Sèvres - Amanda Johnson - Tel: 06 73 27 25 43

With Care, You Prosper | The Spectrum IFA Group is a founder member of the Federation of European Independent Financial Advisers. • TSG Insurance Services S.A.R.L. • Siège Social: 34 Bd des Italiens, 75009 Paris • R.C.S. Paris B 447 609 108 (2003B04384) « Société de Courtage d’assurances » « Intermédiaire en opération de Banque et Services de Paiement » Numéro d’immatriculation 07 025 332 – « Conseiller en investissements financiers », référencé sous le numéro E002440 par ANACOFI-CIF, association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Financiers »

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34 | practical living

Insuring your house in France


I’m buying my first home in France, what do I need to know about house insurance?


All property owners must have Responsabilité Civile insurance which covers accidental damage to someone else’s property, for instance if the windscreen of a neighbour’s car is smashed by your roof tile in a high wind. The first thing you need to do is to declare your property as either your main home or résidence secondaire. Stricter conditions may be imposed on the security of a second home such as making sure that all windows are either shuttered or have bars and that these are used when unoccupied. A reduced cover for theft of valuables from the property when unattended is also often specified. In addition, your

insurance company will expect you to be responsible when you leave, for instance turning off the water supply and draining the central heating system. Remember to speak to your insurance company when you make changes to your property or its use, like extending or using it as a B&B. It’s better to discuss these changes up front than get a nasty shock later when you find out that you are under-insured. Many companies now send out e-mails to alert you about

coming bad weather. Unplug the internet and phone lines when storms are forecast, protect your computers and expensive electrical equipment with surge

protectors and put the garden furniture away if possible. Be aware that there are strict time limits to adhere to when making a claim, so contact your agent immediately upon discovery. In the event of a burglary, a police report will need to be obtained. Proof of ownership of damaged or stolen items, their value and age will be required. When new items are purchased for your home, keep the receipts and a virtual copy too. Valuable items may need to be evaluated by an expert and as for gifts, take a photograph of you with them.

Miriam MIDDLETON is bilingual and advises clients on all aspects of French insurance, both personal and professional. Agence Billaud, 16260 Chasseneuil sur Bonnieure; email: agence@; tel: 06 76 65 81 67 Assurances Solutions - ORIAS 13001728 - 13001611 (www. - SIRET 790 805 303 00019, Garantie Financière et RC Professionnelle Police CGPA C110110.







Clues Across 1. Chiefs of pirates on board every boat could be dancing backwards! (5) 4. Venerable contents of wardrobe department? (4) 7, 10. Character in celebrated book not able to see when in front of the bench? (5, 3) 8. Exhausted possibility of getting together to embrace journalist? (7) 10. See 7. 11. Something old-fashioned about time on front half of ferry? (5) 12. Do OK, or a version of that, could be pretty substantial? (3, 4) 14. Teach, for example to put a rodent in the charts? (6) 16. Publication of ratio of drugs to thieving work perhaps? (6) 20. Tribal leaders are recognising

a people are holding on? (7) 23. Being a Scotsman, perhaps, I am not in endless pain? (5) 25. Managed to get parts of camera needed? (3) 26. Practising being 14 across? No, just joking? (7) 27. Libertine chasing a large number of duck! (5) 28. Pick up 14 across? (4) 29. Beethoven’s last symphony? (5) Clues Down 1. End of hell for tribes stirred up; a result of getting over-heated? (7) 2. Small room rearranged in best setting to temporarily house chewing gum perhaps? (7) 3. Talk about starting to put off white wedding, or what! (6) 4, 13. Churchillian depression for 14 across? (5, 3) 5. Look around for Latin god, taking in most of white supremacists? (5) 6. Disturbed bear in mouth of Welsh river. (4) 9. Lament being the first to dine in restaurant gourmet experiment? (5) 13. See 4 down.




Take a break from the gardening and test your wits with our unique cryptic crossword by Mike Morris. Once you have found all the answers the theme will be revealed. But don’t worry, if you get stuck you can have a peek at the answers on page 64…





10 11

10 11

12 14






16 16







17 23




24 21


27 24



14. Walk on part, possibly for 14 across? (5) 15. As quickly as possible get rid of a poisonous snake? (3) 17. Give up reason to go to festival? (7) 18. 14 across found in East Anglian inlet, going after 13 down? (7)


19. 14 across, a freeman perhaps? (6) 21. OE translation to get sound system for Murphy perhaps? (5) 22. Something to take to raise excitement level? (1, 4) 24. 14 across taking part in lost boys’ meet-up? (4)

living promotion | 35 Selecting fresh fish for the day’s menu

The cosy terrace opens in early April

The contemporarystyled dining area


The constantly changing seasons are celebrated at Angoulême’s chic Le Terminus Restaurant, where each day’s menu offers fresh taste sensations to lovers of fine dining.


or over thirty years the elegant Le Terminus Restaurant has been a familiar and much-loved landmark in Angoulême, just a few steps from the city’s bustling Gare TGV. Newly transformed, the complex now has a stylish footbridge for rail travellers, plus extra parking for those coming by car, making Le Terminus ever easier to reach. That’s good news, for the restaurant is famed far and wide among lovers of fine dining – a quite remarkable achievement, considering that each day’s menu at Le Terminus gives pride of place to fish and seafood. That will surprise anyone expecting to have to head to the coast for such a dining experience, so in an inland town like Angoulême patron Jean-Christophe Roger can be justly proud of his achievements at Le Terminus. Upholding such high standards obviously requires considerable personal commitment from Jean-Christophe, who is accustomed to setting off each morning on lengthy round-trips to outlying markets, where fish traders receive the latest catches landed at busy ports like La Cotinière, on the Île d’Oléron. “Each year I drive thousands of kilometres, so I can buy sea-fresh fish, including premium species which I know have been line-caught. They’re actually tagged at sea, as proof that they’ve been fished within the past 24hrs”. Jean-Christophe’s uncompromising, hands-on approach explains why Le Terminus is able to offer a much wider choice than most other restaurants. It’s a natural response to the fact that each

catch varies, and it’s only after he knows what fish he’s purchased that he can create the day’s menu, published online at 11.30am at: Jean-Christophe’s passion for fine foods is something which he takes personal delight in sharing, and which he expresses in the restaurant’s menus. As he puts it: “One of life’s greatest joys is sharing your own passions with others – an aspiration which lies at the heart of everything we do at Le Terminus. Our guests might come for a special occasion, for the simple pleasure of fine dining or before catching a train, but they know they’ll receive the same warm welcome and enjoy the very finest cuisine – and our menus include four choices for vegetarians.” Achieving such consistently high standards requires a dedicated, disciplined approach, not least when it comes to sourcing the other ingredients which underpin the menus: “We use only fresh, quality produce from local suppliers with whom we’ve established a trust-based relationship over many years – this has always been an essential part of our ‘fait maison’ vision, which goes hand in hand with the fact that all our dishes are expertly prepared on the spot by dedicated professionals.” “I also take pride in the knowledge that each member of our 12-strong team has the same commitment to the quality of hospitality which we’re proud to offer our guests.” Le Collège Culinaire de France clearly agrees, having awarded Le Terminus with its prestigious Appellation Restaurant de Qualité label. Jean-Christophe also takes pride in

Steamed hake

another, less obvious achievement, namely that Le Terminus enjoys a loyal, enthusiastic following among the region’s English speakers. How does he account for this particular success story? “We’re gratified, of course, but if you do something to a consistently high standard people tell their friends, or invite them to dine with them at the restaurant – and we also know that our British guests share our passion for fine foods!”

Visit Restaurant Le Terminus

3 place de la Gare, 16000 Angoulême Tel: 05 45 95 27 13

Lunch: Menu at 15.50€ Lunch and Evening: Menus at 28€ or 35€ and à la carte Restaurant-Le-Terminus Open all year. Mon-Sat; lunch (12-last orders at 2pm) and dinner (7.30pmlast orders at 10pm). English spoken.

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36 | living wine


Vegan wines Winemaker Caro Feely discusses the importance of considering where your wine comes from and its impact not only on you but also the environment


here is a lot of talk and news today about choosing vegetarian or vegan as part of a greener way of living. When it comes to wine, more people are demanding vegan wines. Feely wines are both vegan and organic, but for me the organic is more important than vegan when it comes to making an environmentally friendly choice. But before thinking about wine, what about food choices? Is vegan or vegetarian always the most environmentally friendly option? It is not black and white. For example, if you live in a relatively cool hill farming region where almonds and avocados don’t grow, but sheep thrive and can convert grass into a human friendly form of energy, then choosing local grass-fed lamb is better than avocados and almonds. On the other hand, choosing local organic lentils over factory-farmed meat is a better choice for the environment and for animal welfare. These are stark examples which show that environmentally friendly choices depend on your situation and what grows locally.

Vegan wine is wine made without using animal products in the winemaking. Wines can be clarified with egg white or isinglass, a fish collagen, so not all wine is vegetarian or vegan friendly. It is obligatory to note egg white on the label if it has been used, as it is classed as an allergen. However, if the wine was analysed and no trace was found, then even if egg white was used, it doesn’t need to be listed. Going back to the question of environmentally sound choices and wine, a chemically farmed wine packed with systemic pesticide residues could be made without animal-based winemaking products, and thus could be marked vegan, but would not be an ecologically sound choice. When it comes to wine, organic is more important than vegan. There are three reasons why you should choose organic wine: for your health, for the taste and for the environment. When we talk about environment we are not only talking about the fauna and flora but also about the people who live where the wine was farmed.

Everything is connected. If a farmer uses a systemic pesticide or herbicide that is classed CMR (cancérogènes, mutagènes ou toxiques pour la reproduction), that is carcinogenic (cancer causing), mutagenic (causes cells to mutate, which can lead to nervous system disruption or cancer) and toxic for reproduction (creates endocrine disruption, problems Château Feely (www.chateaufeely. com) is a biodynamic and organic wine estate with accommodation, wine tours, vineyard walks and a certified Wine Spirit Education Trust wine school. Contact Caro for more details, or via Facebook. You can also read the Feely’s adventures in Caro’s book series.

living wine | 37

for reproduction and can also lead to cancer of reproductive organs) then that systemic product will land up as residue in the grapes and resultant wine (and eventually, in the end, the consumer of that wine) in the farm, the farmer and farm workers. It will also pollute the surrounding area, including the wider community’s water and air. Like choosing lentils over the intensively-farmed meat, making the choice to drink organic wine is good for you and for the wider environment.

Generally organic wines are also vegan-friendly but not always. Some organic wines may use organic certified fining agents, as mentioned earlier. Château Feely wines are organic, vegan, biodynamic and natural, and we don’t use any fining agents in the wine-making. This year Château Feely celebrates fourteen years of organic farming and ten years of being fully certified organic. Each year we see a change in the health of our soil and the biodiversity of the

farm. Farm health, like the health of your body, is a long game made by good choices and with a long-term vision rather than for short-term gain. In the next two editions I’ll be looking at organic and biodynamic wines and how to recognise them, and wine growing and biodiversity. Here’s to a happy spring with great wine and good friends! If you have a question or a wine theme you would like to hear about please get in touch. I would love to hear from you.

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We speak English and French Contact Shelly Show how much you Living at

38 | living nikki legon’s cuisine There are many reasons why meat-free days are a great idea, from benefits to our own health to that of the planet. We asked Nikki for delicious vegan recipes that all the family can enjoy.

Nikki Legon's

cuisine Courgette Fritters

Gobi Aloo All recipes serve 4

Courgette Fritters 4 courgettes 4 tbsp self-raising flour (farine à gâteau) 50g vegan Cheddar cheese 2 tbsp olive oil Vegan cream cheese 125g raw cashew nuts 2 tbsp lemon juice pinch of salt and white pepper 1 tbsp nutritional yeast 110ml boiling water

METHOD For the cream cheese, soak the nuts in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain away the soaking water and tip the nuts into a blender cup with the rest of the ingredients. Blitz until smooth. For the fritters, grate the courgettes and place into a tea-towel, squeeze to remove excess moisture. Combine with the flour and cheese, shape into small balls then flatten. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, add oil and fry the fritters until golden. Serve topped with the cream cheese and a sprinkle of fennel fronds.

Gobi Aloo 2 large potatoes, parboiled and chopped into small pieces 200g cauliflower florets, parboiled and cut into small florets 1 tomato, skinned, deseeded and chopped 1 tbsp sunflower oil 1 large clove of garlic, crushed 1 large red chilli, chopped finely ¼ tsp turmeric powder ½ tsp coriander powder ¼ tsp cumin powder ½ tsp chilli powder ½ tsp garam masala

living nikki legon’s cuisine | 39 dish and roast for 30 to 40 minutes. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and chillies and cook for 5 minutes, adding a little water if necessary. Drain and add the beans and tip in the tomatoes. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to low and cook a further 20 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the oven and add to the sauce, stir and season adding chopped coriander leaves. Serve with guacamole and rice or tortilla chips.

Garlic Mushrooms 500g mushrooms of an even size 5 large garlic cloves, crushed 2 banana shallots, diced finely 5 tbsp olive oil 2 sprigs of fresh thyme

Chilli con Veggie METHOD Heat the oil in a deep frying pan and fry the potatoes for 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower florets and cook until crispy and browned. Add the tomato and all the spices, cook for a further 2 minutes. Garnish with coriander and serve with warm chapati.

METHOD Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the mushrooms (which can be any type), shallots and thyme, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are golden and tender. Stir in the garlic, cook a further minute. Serve sprinkled with chives or parsley.

Garlic Mushrooms

Chilli con Veggie 2 sweet potatoes, diced 1 red pepper, diced 1 yellow pepper, diced 2 carrots, diced 2 cloves of garlic 1 tsp cayenne pepper 1 heaped tsp ground cumin 1 tsp ground cinnamon 2 tbsp olive oil For the sauce 2 tbsp oil 2 banana shallots, diced 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 fresh green chilli, diced finely 1 fresh red chilli, diced finely 2 x 400g tins of red kidney beans 2 x 400g tins of crushed tomatoes handful of fresh coriander leaves METHOD Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the vegetables in a bowl. Add all the seasoning and the oil, stir. Place in a baking

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40 | living nikki legon’s cuisine

Baked Sweet Potatoes 4 sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean 1 tbsp olive oil salt and pepper 2 avocados 4 cornichons 4 small red chillies 1 punnet of beansprouts 1 bag of rocket leaves METHOD Preheat the oven to 220°C. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet, prick all over with a fork and rub with olive oil. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until tender. Prepare the avocados. Slice in half and remove stone, scoop out the flesh using a tbsp, mash with a fork, add a little lemon juice, chilli sauce, salt and pepper. Chop the cornichons into small dice. Fry the chilli until crisp and slice into small slivers. Remove the potatoes from the oven and split the tops open with a knife. Season with salt and pepper. Fill the potatoes with the avocado, cornichons, chilli and rocket, sprinkle with bean sprouts.

Baked Sweet Potatoes Quinoa and Vegetable Biryani

Quinoa and Vegetable Biryani 2 cups of vegetables of your choice 1 tbsp vegetable oil 1 cup of quinoa, rinsed 1 cardamom pod 2 cloves 1 cinnamon stick 1 bay leaf 1 cm of ginger and 3 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste 1 tbsp garam masala 1 tbsp coriander powder 2 tsp cumin powder ½ tsp turmeric powder ½ tsp cayenne powder 3 cups of water 4 tbsp sliced almonds 1 tsp salt 3 tbsp fried onions METHOD Cut the chosen vegetables into bite size pieces.

Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Add the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, garlic and ginger paste, garam masala, coriander, cumin, turmeric and cayenne. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes until the spices are fragrant. Add the quinoa and almonds and stir for 1 minute. Pour in the water and add the salt. Increase the heat to high and bring to the boil. Add the vegetables, reduce heat to low and simmer. Cook until quinoa is tender. Stir in fried onions, place into hot bowls and serve with raita.

White Bean Meatballs 1 tbsp olive oil ½ red pepper, finely diced 1 red onion, finely diced 1 tbsp black olives, finely diced 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced 220g mushrooms 50g oats 1 tsp salt 1 tsp oregano ½ tsp black pepper

White Bean Meatballs

living nikki legon’s cuisine | 41 ½ tsp chilli flakes 500g jar white beans, drained 1 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 2 tbsp of water 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped finely METHOD Preheat the oven to 190°C and line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper. In a large frying pan add the olive oil, onion and peppers. Cook for 1 minute. Add the olives, mushrooms and garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the oats, salt, pepper, oregano and chilli flakes and stir to combine. Place all of this mix with the beans and the flaxseed into a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add the parsley. Using wet hands, roll into balls and place onto the baking tray. Bake for 25 minutes until lightly browned. Serve with boiled rice and passata.

Layered Berry Chia Seed Smoothies

Layered Berry Chia Seed Smoothies Chia pudding 4 cups almond milk 12 tbsp chia seeds 1 tsp vanilla extract 2 tbsp maple syrup Raspberry smoothie 4 frozen bananas 2 cups of frozen raspberries 2 cups almond milk Mango smoothie 2 frozen bananas 1 mango, peeled and chopped 1 cup of almond milk Fresh fruit of your choice to decorate METHOD Mix all the chia ingredients together and stir well, allow to soak for at least 30 minutes but it is best left overnight. Blend the smoothie ingredients of your choice. Take your glass and make sure it is very dry. Slice your chosen fruit very thinly and press onto the side of the glass. Layer the dishes and top with fruit.

Nikki Legon is the chef and owner of the Hotel Restaurant Karina in Les Métairies, just outside Jarnac in Charente. She and her husband Austin have transformed an old cognac distillery into a luxury 10-bedroom hotel and restaurant. For more information:

Alcoholics Anonymous If you, or someone you know, has a drinking problem, join one of the English-speaking AA meetings across the south west of France. Alcoholics Anonymous is a Fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other so that they may solve their common problem and help others recover from alcoholism. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help others achieve sobriety. Tel: Angela on 05 49 87 79 09 or Roger on 05 55 76 22 65

À L’ABRI DES PINS Restaurant en Charente

Philippe & Yveline offer traditional French cuisine using fresh local ingredients

Fixed menu from Weekdays 15€ Weekends 22€/27€ (2/3 courses) Open lunchtimes Tues -Sun

T: 05 45 35 81 27 06 31 64 85 14 Mother’s Day & Easter Specials Repas gastronomique

A warm welcome awaits you ……. Come and discover the Hotel Restaurant Karina, set in a haven of greenery, just 3km from Jarnac in the beautiful Charentaise countryside. Enjoy dining by the open fire in winter or on the terrace in fine weather with a choice of à la carte or fixed menus. In our bar, you will find the original copper alembic and here you can relax with an aperitif. Join us for fish and chips on Fridays - lunch or dinner. We cater for special group occasions, call for more information See our menus on our website | | 05 45 36 26 26

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42 | living family

Avec les enfants

s g f n i h t o l a e m a Making




One of our children celebrated a year without sugar last week – not a result of medical necessity, I hasten to add, but simply a desire to live to be a 100 years old! I had laughed twelve months ago, as she gaily announced she was joining me in a sugar-free world, (something I started nearly four years ago, bizarrely, as a joke) but she has kept at it and feels just fine without, even if desserts at the table sometimes mean she has to avert her gaze. Her words of celebration did make me think, though, about our family, and the way things have changed. Once, we were all happy to sit down and eat roast lamb with all the trimmings but now, as little people have got bigger, our standard offerings at mealtimes have altered quite dramatically. Like everything, appetites and gastronomic tastes change, and with two diehard vegetarians and a third on the fence in our brood, times are very different indeed. At the last count, along with the two vegetarians, we also have two sugarfree trendies – am I really calling myself a trendy? They are an omnivore who leans decidedly to the V side, a young man who has quite distinct likes and dislikes, and another small person almost as bad in her refusal of some things that would be quite normal to anyone else. Our chief savoury cook, Roddy, remains the sole ‘normal’ person who will eat anything placed in front of him, and this can sometimes result in some unsavoury blue language when meals are put on the table, as he often forgets the particular foibles of each member of the family, or worse – mixes them up. I find myself in awe sometimes during supper preparations, when the kitchen takes on the hue of a hardened industrial kitchen, and in Roddy’s desire to please all, every cooking appliance is covered in bubbling pans and boiling saucepans. Wintertime, when hot food




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–––––––– ––––––––––––––––

is in demand and the ease of sliced cucumbers and quartered tomatoes is but a distant memory, is the worst time to be a scullery maid, a condition that goes from bad to worse when others decide to help and cook dishes that they quite fancy having on the table, too. All of this is overshadowed by the elephant in the kitchen – the growing realisation that our tribe is now very aware of what constitutes ‘good’ food, and what is ‘bad’. This should of course, be a cause for celebration, when a child pipes up that the winter tomatoes in the fridge come from Morocco and not France, and that the beans from Kenya are not ‘the greenest veg to buy’, and that eating shepherd’s pie one night and then devouring the remains the next day means we have exceeded our allowed meat intake for the week. No, we should be proud that our children can see through the corporate food-chain. We don’t eat fast-food (ever), despite the increasing number of Burger Kings and MacDonalds making an appearance here. We do however manage to devour most of what the potager offers us in summer (sometimes before it reaches the kitchen, I hasten to add). However, just occasionally, when wiping the sweat off his brow as he leans in to whisper in my ear, I hear the lament in his voice as Roddy sighs: “Can we have bangers and mash tomorrow?” Well we can and we can’t, for there will be three people at the table who

living family | 43


will not eat sausages, a growing young man who will devour them all if we don’t keep our eyes open, and two others who will snootily insist on gravy, which Roddy has to make from onion and mushrooms. I ruefully admit this is all of our own making, but despite the moaning I’m happy. Their food snobbery is not truly that of a picky child, they eat all of their vegetables after all, devour green smoothies with kale when I make them, and even prefer wholegrain pasta to white! No, their’s is simply an awareness of what is considered healthy in the 21st century. What can I do but pour myself a glass of wine? It’ll be just the one glass, mind – the children are keeping notes, I just know it.....

Susan, husband Roddy and their five children live close to the coast in the Charente-Maritime. She shares her experiences on her popular blog at www.OurFrench

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Charente Maritime €630,000 Ref: 88732 A rare find near St Jean d’Angély - majestic 7 bed manoir with many outbuildings.

Vienne €147,150 Ref: 81496 Classic 4 bed farmhouse with ajoining barn and attached garden. Close to amenities.

Charente €147,150 Ref: 89265 Semi-detached 5 bed stone property to restore with high ceilings. Enclosed garden.

Charente €71,000 Ref: 96401 Priced for quick sale - 4 bed hamlet house, garden and outbuilding requiring some work.

5% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

9% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: E

9% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: N/A

Vienne €1,102,500 Ref: 71085 Excellent complex 6 gîtes, 6 studios, 3 apartments and 2 pools plus restaurant.

Deux Sèvres €108,900 Ref: 96616 Spacious property in excellent condition, walking distance to bakery and bar etc.

Charente Maritime €299,600 Ref: 96415 Beautifully maintained family home set in nearly 1Ha and close to the thriving village of Clerac.

Maine et Loire €82,500 Ref: 84156 A lovely 3 bed house approached via a country lane and in grounds with open views.

5% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: D

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: C

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: E

Agency fees paid by the seller DPE: E

Maine et Loire €1,500,000 Ref: 96348 Stately 16thC Anjou château set in 2.75Ha grounds with substantial outbuildings.

Haute Vienne €199,800 Ref: 96511 Modern house with a stunning garden and views of the river. Breathtaking location.

Dordogne €120,400 Ref: 96529 Renovated 2 bed character cottage plus a building to renovate. Garden and terrace.

Deux Sèvres €211,140 Ref: 89036 Character 4 bed home full of traditional features. Garden and barns. 46kms from Poitiers.

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: B

8% agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: E

8% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

8% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: E

Dordogne €727,930 Ref: 97114 A charming 5 bed home. Set in 28Ha with a pool. Close to all amenities.

Deux Sèvres €46,000 Ref: 68110 Huge village house for renovation. Ideally situated close to Coulonges-sur-l’Autize.

Vienne €230,000 Ref: 87950 Delightful country home and successful B&B, close to a thriving market town.

Vendée €162,000 Ref: 92359 Immaculate cottage with annex, pool and garage. Situated 10kms from La Chataigneraie.

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: E

15% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

7% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: C

8% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: C



or selling a property? France’ six years running. We have over 500 agents across France ready to help you.

Maine et Loire €138,975 Ref: 90861 Lovely old house with many features, set in over 1 Ha of land. Close to an active village.

Dordogne €205,000 Ref: 92743 Former farm - 2 houses, outbuildings and horse boxes. Near Jumilhac le Grand.

Charente €172,800 Ref:43126 Picturesque 3 bed converted millhouse with a 2 bed gîte and heated in-ground pool.

Charente Maritime €98,000 Ref: 96943 Fully renovated and traditional 3 bed cottage close to Mirambeau and its amenities.

6% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

5% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: F

8% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: D

10% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: A

Vienne €135,000 Ref: 54886 Character 3 bed farmhouse in a quiet hamlet on the outskirts of La Roche Posay.

Vienne €235,400 Ref: 88370 A delightfully modern 3 bed country home with underground parking and a basement.

Dordogne €149,800 Ref: 88420 Traditional 2 bed house set in a large plot with views. Close to Nontron town and all amenities.

Vendée €164,970 Ref: 74061 Renovated character property with exposed beams and stone. Mature, oriental garden.

8% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

7% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

7% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: D

8% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: C

Vendée €267,500 Ref: 97290 5 bedroom farmhouse with outbuildings close to Chatellerault. Bags of original features.

Charente €119,000 Ref: 71649 Spacious holiday home set in a beautiful park with large shared pool and a fishing lake.

Charente Maritime €263,219 Ref: 91541 Renovated house with the atlantic coast of Rochefort and Royan only an hours drive.

Charente Maritime €93,500 Ref: 96858 Impressive maison de maître with stunning features, private garden and outbuildings.

7% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

8% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: E

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: E

10% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: G

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Changing Places Marans might sound familiar, but doesn’t pop up in general conversation too often, which is puzzling, considering the town’s many plus-points. The location, for example, is roughly equidistant from Fontenayle-Comte and La Rochelle. It also sits beside the Sèvre-Niortaise river, between the Marais Poitevin and the Atlantic coast. Better still, the 12km or so of waterways between here and the coast are navigable by pleasure craft, a canal having bypassed the river’s more wayward meanders. For centuries Marans was a busy port, discharging exotic spices, timber and English coal, and in return shipping cereals, fruit, vegetables, lime, etc. (its quaysides and slipways were originally constructed using stone ballast from Canadian vessels bringing furs and hides). Commercial activity declined when La Rochelle’s port of La Pallice took over grain shipments in the 1970s and ceased altogether twenty years later, leaving Marans to its present role as a sheltered pleasure port. Access is via tidal locks, but the port’s popularity increased steadily, so quayside moorings were supplemented by pontoons

equipped with drinking water and electrical hook-up points. Today Marans can accommodate 180 vessels, including 10 short-term berths for visitors, who can continue upstream (subject to draught and height restrictions) as far as Niort. The old quaysides are well worth exploring, with historical insight provided by visitor information panels. Tucked away behind Quai Georges Clemenceau are the Halle aux Poissons (a stone former market hall founded in the 13th century, and today a cultural centre) and its vast iron-framed successor completed in 1888. Nearby is the site of the 13th century Port aux Moules, a thriving market place selling shellfish, livestock, weaving supplies, etc., prompting a change of name to Place du Carreau d’Or. Now it’s the less colourful-sounding Place de la République. An important grain exporter, Marans once had around 11 windmills, of which just one survives. The Moulin de Beauregard worked from 1628 until 1938. Eventually it was rescued from abandonment, restored by the commune to full working order and is now a popular visitor attraction.

marans (17)

We visit a riverside town in Charente-Maritime beside the boundary with the Vendée The 12th century Eglise Saint-Etienne was less fortunate, only forlorn ruins now surviving, but the 19th century Notre-Dame des Marais is a prominent landmark thanks to a skeletal ironwork spire added in 1988. But why does Marans sound so familiar? Well, long ago barge crews kept Asian fighting cocks, which would be released for sport on the quayside. Some became crossed with the local breeds, the result now known the world over as the “Marans” chicken.

Making connections Distances/drivetimes by road from Marans La Rochelle: 25km/27min Niort: 54km/47min Nantes: 120km/1hr 30min Angoulême: 127km/2hr 15min TGV & TER rail services: SNCF bus services to La Rochelle & Fontenay-le-Comte. TGV & TER services from La Rochelle to Poitiers for Paris, etc. TER services from La Rochelle to Saintes, Cognac, Bordeaux, etc.

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Property Agence Eleonor Estate Agency 36-38 rue du Temple, 24500 EYMET T: 05 53 27 83 45

Eymet, Villeréal, St.-Cyprien, Monpazier, Bergerac, Lalinde, Lauzun and Issigeac

Ref: 7404-EY €213,840 HAI DPE: Vierge Charming stone bungalow comprising equipped kitchen, living/dining room, three bedrooms, 2 shower rooms. Lovely garden with plenty of trees and flowers, swimming pool, children’s playground and pool house. Taux d’honoraires 15,840€ (8%) inclus à la charge de l’acquéreur.

Ref: 7088-EY €150,000 HAI DPE: G Lovely 4-bedroom house with swimming pool situated within walking distance of a lively bastide village with all amenities. Ideal family or holiday home, or investment property Taux d’honoraires 12,000€ (9%) inclus à la charge de l’acquéreur.

Ref: 7619-EY €370,000 HAI DPE: Vierge Former station masters house c1885 retaining many original features including the platform and waiting room. 5 bedrooms, large light lounge, bathroom, dining room, swimming pool and an outbuilding that could be converted, on almost 2.5 acres of land. Taux d’honoraires 20,100€ (6%) inclus à la charge de l’acquéreur.

Sovimo immobiLier Character Properties in France E xc


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L’Isle Jourdain, Vienne €63,000* Near the main square of L’Isle Jourdain, 2-bed stone house with attached garden on a residents-only street, renovated by an experienced builder - new roof, electrics, kitchen. Upstairs and downstairs WCs, mains drains. DPE: vierge

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Usson-du-Poitou, Vienne €85,000* Pretty stone cottage with large garden and attached field, 2 acres in all. Main room has a large stone fireplace. Downstairs shower room and WC, and downstairs bedroom or lounge. Upstairs, two bedrooms. Mains drains. DPE: vierge

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Dampierre sur Boutonne, Charente Maritime €111,000* 5-bedroom house in a picturesque village with shops. Main room of 30m2 with log burner. Large kitchen opening to a courtyard. Downstairs bathroom/WC, and utility. All double-bedrooms, one ensuite, another with a WC. Large garage/workshop. Town of Aulnay 10 minutes. DPE: vierge


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Saint Amand Magnazeix, Haute Vienne €174,900* 2 well-renovated houses in a barn conversion, connecting door, plus a cottage to renovate, large barn, two acres of garden / woodland, and views. One house has three double bedrooms, the other a perfect gite. Double-glazed, recent electrics, recent septic tank. 3 minutes to shops. DPE: vierge Tel: 05 65 70 10 49 Email: Please contact us if you have a character property to sell, we have a devoted team located throughout the area.

*agency fees charged to the seller

DPE: n/a

Ref. 34003

38 500€ HAI

(35,000€ plus 10% fees payable by buyer)

Manot (16), 9 kms from Confolens. Detached farmhouse for residential use in countryside. To renovate, without comfort. 6 rooms, barn, outbuilding, land, set on 5880m2.

DPE: n/a

Ref. 33998

237 600€ HAI

(220 000€ plus 8% fees payable by buyer)

Le Vigeant (86), 3kms from L’Isle Jourdain, with panoramic views. Agricultural property set on approx 80 acres. 4-room cottage to renovate, attic, outbuildings, well, pond, several plots of land with land allowances, stream.


Ref. 33985

66 000€ HAI

(20 000€ plus 15% fees payable by buyer)

Champagne Mouton (16): hotel-bar-restaurant to renovate: terrace, bar, kitchen, restaurant, 15-beds, 10 bath/shower rooms. Attached house, mains drains, gardens, set on 708m2.


Ref. 34000

82 500€ HAI

(70 000€ plus 10% agency fees payable buyer)

Confolens (16), at 5 mm walk to town centre. In a quiet area, 1980 pleasant semi detached house on a basement 4 beds, gas heating, garage, mains drains, garden, set on 606 m2.


Ref. 33988

129 600€ HAI

(120 000€ plus 8% fees payable by buyer)

Chabrac (16), 6 kms from Chabanais, detached 4-bed 1966 house on sous-sol. Approx. 100m2 living space, covered terrace, outbuilding, well with pump, adjoining land with shed, pond and greenhouse, all set on 3630m2.

Ref. 33982

DPE: n/a

28 000€ HAI

(25 000€ plus 3 000€ fees payable by buyer)

St Christophe, 15 km from Confolens, in a rural hamlet. Detached cottage to renovate, 4 beds, attic, old septic tank, adjoining courtyard, opposite land, all set on approx 1350m2.

3, place de la Liberté, 16500 Confolens Tel: 05 45 85 45 65

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Property Private Property Sellers Ltd.

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Idimmo, Prestige & Châteaux 42 Rue Grosse Horloge, 17400 St Jean D’Angély. Tel: +33 (0)5 16 51 90 52

€582,400 Idiade 6059: Old mill restored with elegance, beautiful carved staircase, fireplaces ... large kitchen, living room. Laundry and 2 WCs plus 2 bedroom on the ground floor, a further 2 spacious bedrooms on the 1st floor. Beautiful landscaped park with trees. Garage of 100m2 . Close to Matha DPE C Honoraires à la charge du Vendeur

€397,500 Idiade 5829: Former Carmelite convent sympathetically renovated. A unique product due to its history and location. A further 106m2 of space on the 2nd floor awaiting renovation. Enclosed garden, well, small outbuildings. All shops within very easy walking distance. DPE C Honoraires à la charge du Vendeur

Exhibiting at the French Property Exhibition at Wetherby on 18th and 19th May €302,100


Idiade 3861: Close to shops! 5 beds, 3 bathrooms, spacious open plan living. Workshop.

Idiade 5934: Raised bungalow with basement, needs updating. 6km from St Jean D’Angély

DPE D Honoraires à la charge du Vendeur

DPE en cours Honoraires à la charge du Vendeur



Idiade 5424: Needs complete renovation - 96m2 attic. Gardens. 5km from St Jean D’Angély

Idiade i: House (3-bed) & 3 gites (2-bed & 2 x 4-bed) to renovate. Outbuilding.

DPE Vierge Honoraires à la charge du Vendeur

DPE F Honoraires à la charge du Vendeur



Idiade 5882: Close to St Jean D’Angély 4 beds, potential for studio apartment, outbuilding.

Idiade 5708: Spacious house near St Savinien. Bed & bath on ground floor, 2 more on 1st floor.

DPE E Honoraires à la charge du Vendeur

DPE C Honoraires à la charge du Vendeur



Idiade 5922: 2 houses in park, 5-beds, habitable, needs renovation. Large outbuildings. Matha.

Idiade 5793: 4-bed townhouse needing updating close to centre of St Jean D’Angély.

DPE E Honoraires à la charge du Vendeur

DPE en cours Honoraires à la charge du Vendeur

Black Mondio grasses, Jardin| des Paradis


living in the garden

in the garden

We admire a neatly clipped hedge or a perfectly placed garden ornament, so maybe it’s time to consider a southern-style outlook. Terracotta elements employed by Dominique Laforcade

Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise) adds an exotic touch

living in the garden | 51 A new take on cut flowers, Jardin des Paradis

Provençal elegance, Les Confines (Dominique Lafourcade)

We’ve touched before on the notion that in creating a garden we’re striving, whether consciously or otherwise, to bring a little heavenly peace and harmony to our own small plot here on Planet Earth. In a chaotic world that’s something which now finds a new resonance. It’s not exactly a new aspiration, of course, but then we gardeners have been around for a very long time – in fact, no self-respecting Roman of any standing would dream of planning a villa without also giving careful consideration to its immediate surroundings. While the Empire might subsequently have fallen, written descriptions of gardens in ancient Rome survived to inspire the celebrated creations planted during what we now refer to

as the Italian Renaissance. At the time they were a sensation, so it’s hardly surprising that Louis XIV’s gardener André Le Nôtre was instructed to apply ‘the French touch’ and take things to a whole new level for the monumental Palais de Versailles. Closer to home, in the Loire Valley we can draw plenty of inspiration for our more modest garden projects by immersing ourselves in the lovingly-restored formal gardens created to complement famous châteaux like Chenonceau and Villandry. At atmospheric locations like these it doesn’t take much imagination to picture their architects agonising over perfecting things like symmetry, proportions and decorative embellishments, while the garden designers would have been engrossed in applying Fête des Plantes et

du Jardin

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their own fanatical approaches to taming the surrounding landscapes and bending them to their will. In order to achieve the required effect they combined classic Florentine principles of geometry with symmetrical planting plans, whole gardens being laid out according to notional circles, squares, triangles, hexagons, etc. If that sounds like an awful lot of effort, there was more bad news. Maintaining the end results would require a substantial and open-ended commitment from an army of garden staff, so it wasn’t long before the instant effect of short-lived herbaceous plantings was sacrificed in favour of much longer-term rewards. The answer was to plant relatively slow growing tree species like box and yew,

Call a Kiwi House & Garden Care Lawnmowing Van Jobs Clark Judd 06 47 84 04 65 45 mins around Montbron (16)

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Floating Chrysanthemum flowers, Jardin des Paradis

52 | living in the garden La Louve celebrates the surrounding Provençal landscapes

which could eventually be clipped into what amounted to living architecture, a feature of countless Italian gardens. Eventually influential landscapers took things an intriguing stage further by incorporating features like ornamental lakes in their designs, as we can see to great effect southeast of Rochefort at the 17th century Château de La Roche Courbon (17). About now you’ll probably be wondering what relevance these grand designs could possibly have to our own gardening. To answer that we need to forget for a moment the landmark gardens’ monumental scale and instead think about their underlying spirit, at which point it becomes clear that they all strive to evoke something of the look and feel of a charmed life – perhaps among the hills of Tuscany or in the sunny South of France. There’s no harm in dreaming, and we can do the same to create a southern-style

garden and an elegant outlook for our home. After all, we are well south of the Loire, allied to which (if this spring is anything to go by) climate change seems destined to revise our ideas of what we can and can’t grow – and even the dreamlike landscapes of Provence aren’t immune to occasional severe frosts. The same can be said for common box plants (Buxus sempervirens), whose clipped forms are key southern garden features, but which in recent years have been consumed by box-moth caterpillars, obliging owners to replant with similar resistant alternatives. Happily, the tall, graceful cypress trees whose slender forms inject a Mediterranean, structural touch to any garden seem largely immune to most pests and are more robust than they look. They’ll also tolerate lime soil conditions but need careful selection, as some varieties are faster-growing and less svelte than

Living architecture, Les Confines

Potted olive trees and ‘fil d’eau’, Les Confines

living in the garden | 53

Mediterranean garden inspiration


Le Jardin des Paradis, Cordes-sur-Ciel (81) The talents of Eric Ossart and Arnaud Maurières are well-known in French gardening circles, and their astonishing garden – several, in fact – at Cordes is bursting with colour and creativity: Campsis-covered pergola, Les Confines

La Louve, Bonnieux (84) Hermès textile designer Nicole de Vésian devoted ten years to transforming an abandoned garden into a glorious haven of Provençal elegance and tranquillity. Unconcerned by plant names, she instead followed her instincts, drawing inspiration from the windswept surrounding landscapes:

Le Jardin de l’alchimiste, Eygalières (13)

stalls can be surprisingly effective in creating and reinforcing an authentic southern/Mediterranean feel (unlike the slightly bland, mass-produced plastic and concrete ornaments stocked in many garden centres). Talented gardeners often seem to have a knack of finding eclectic items and visualising where to place them to bring interest to otherwise ‘dead’ areas. If that means adding a coat of



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others (and there are plenty of unruly examples here in the southwest). The classic Italian/Mediterranean cypress to look for is Cupressus sempervirens – ‘stricta’ or ‘totem’ varieties having the required densely-packed foliage and elegant, columnar outlines. Not that creating an effect is merely about plant species. Well-chosen small details picked up on your travels or chanced upon in brocante

Another work by Eric Ossart and Arnaud Maurières, this contemporary private garden was inspired by Nostradamus, who lived in nearby Saint-Rémy de Provence, and is one of the elite ‘Notable Gardens of France’: jardin-de-lalchimiste

54 | living in the garden Banana palms provide structure and shade, Jardin des Paradis

Attention to detail, Les Confines

paint or wood dye, then using traditional Catalan, Provençal or other colours from further south will help build the timeless feel of ‘le Midi’. On your next trip south it’s worth visiting some of the smaller publicly accessible gardens created by talented designers or the owners themselves – our factfile lists some inspiring sites to get you started. Many others, though, are strictly private and styled by celebrated designers like Dominique Lafourcade. In her studio in SaintRémy-de-Provence Dominique uses

Lavandin Grosso brings the colours and heady scent of Provence

time-honoured techniques to produce exquisite hand drawn garden designs for clients with few, if any budgetary constraints. The end results are celebrated the world over, perhaps the best known example being Les Confines, for many years her own family home. While the garden is not open to visitors, our images shot there in the company of Dominique and her late husband Bruno (a master architectural stylist) show a little of what can be achieved with inspiration, patience and a love for nature. After all, great or small, every home deserves a beautiful garden.

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Document non contractuel à caractère publicitaire à jour au 05/03/2015 - Aviva Assurances, Société Anonyme d’Assurances Incendie, Accidents et Risques Divers au capital de 178 771 908,38 € - Siège social: 13 rue du Moulin Bailly, 92270 Bois-Colombes - Entreprise régie par le Code des assurances – R.C.S NANTERRE 306 522 665.

No Orias: 13004664

Our bi-lingual team are waiting to pamper you. CACI trained and registered to perform non-surgical facelifts and more. Ring now to book your appointment. ~ PLUS! Wedding hair & make-up team ~

26 rue du Commerce, 86400 CIVRAY Renaissance - hair, beauty, nails Tel: 05 49 87 16 33 Orias: 07007057

English Speaking Ask for Corinne

For all your insurance needs in France

Special discount for new owners - 50% off the first year Fully comprehensive covers at competitive prices and all explained in ENGLISH. We respond quickly to enquiries and in the case of accidents or claims, we are here to help. Offices at Champdeniers and St Pardoux (79). Come and visit us.

Agence Michallon Tel:

INDEPENDENT BROKERS We find the best insurer for your needs at competitive rates

MOTOR, HOUSE, MEDICAL, TRAVEL, BUSINESS For information and quotes contact Penny G.S.A.R. 05 53 40 15 71


ELLIOTTS BOUCHERIE NEW! Traditional English butchers now offering deliveries to the Charente (16) and surrounding areas. Elliotts Boucherie are based in north west France where we have been supplying local customers for many years. Our premium quality meat is sourced in France but butchered the English way.

See for all our products and prices, and Delicious range of handcrafted English style sausages. follow us on Facebook Bacon dry-cured on premises. Homemade meat pies, pasties, pork pies, scotch @elliottsboucherie eggs, haggis, sausage rolls and more. We understand British tastes and cooking methods so don’t put up with tough meat any longer - try our minimum 21-day matured premium beef including Aberdeen Angus (subject to availability) Lamb locally sourced & premium quality from Ireland or UK Locally sourced premium pork (with crackling) & chicken

** We supply Dick and Angel from Escape to the Château **

These local businesses are waiting for your call!

Dedicated deliveries/orders email: Elliotts Boucherie: 8 Place de la Houssaye, 53120 Gorron, Pays de la Loire Tel: 02 43 30 46 89


Pool Season Is Fast Approaching This year has already seen a lot of changes at Charente Assistance and it is proving to be an exciting time for husband and wife team, Richard and Nicki Waldeck. Covering an ever-expanding area of the Charente and Charente-Maritime, Charente Assistance are the pool care specialists in the area. From opening in spring to closing in winter, they have the whole season covered. They have always offered a first class pool cleaning service but this year they are providing three levels of Weekly Pool Care, which come with two versions of their unique Clear Water Guarantee. Anyone looking for professional pool care this season should check out their website for full information.

Pool Opening – Weekly Pool Care – Winter Closure plus All Gardening Jobs and Home Maintenance - -

AGENCES PHILIPPE BOURDIN 3 Place d’Armes, 16700 RUFFEC Tel: 05 45 31 01 51 or Commercial site at SuperU, 79190 SAUZE VAUSSAIS Tel: 05 49 07 61 10

Expert help and advice

No ORIAS: 07009808

Est. 2009

The Fixer

Siren No 520 382 805

Administrative Assistance & Solutions Private Individuals & Small Businesses English / Français / Português & Espagnol

Same road, new number!

30 rue du commerce, 86400 CIVRAY M: 06 33 11 64 05

Experience you need....Results you want Fluent French speaker with over 15 years professional ‘hands on’ experience assisting expats in France

Personal Taxation – Carte Vitale – Business set ups CPAM – French Administration – Tax regularisation and much much more…. Call Rick Denton now on 06 46 25 30 87 or Email: Based in Poitiers and covering 86, 79, 16, 17 & 24

Business set-up

The Spectrum IFA Group with over 20 years’ experience advising expatriates throughout Europe on all aspects of financial planning.

Personal taxation Legal matters Phone calls & meetings

Tel: 05 55 89 57 94 Mob: 06 15 28 54 82

TSG Insurance Services S.A.R.L. Siège Social: 34 Bd des Italiens, 75009 Paris R.C.S. Paris B 447 609 108 (2003B04384) « Société de Courtage d’assurances » « Intermédiaire en opération de Banque et Services de Paiement » Numéro d’immatriculation 07 025 332 – « Conseiller en investissements financiers », référencé sous le numéro E002440 par ANACOFI-CIF, association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Financiers »

Andrew Harrison

Tel: 05 46 96 44 11 SIRET 453 520 298 00010

ARC EN CIEL Nettoyage Professionnel PROFESSIONAL CLEANING & HYGIENE SERVICES Key holding / conciergerie. Cleaning of commercial and domestic premises and window cleaning. Rugs, carpet & upholstery steam shampoo extraction. Hard floors / surfaces treatment: marble, granite, terracotta etc & wood floor parquet. Swimming pool & garden maintenance. Office: 05 53 07 52 71 (9 to 18.00) Mobile: 06 31 31 06 76 / 06 70 39 83 96

Advice, Cleaning


Expert in French Administration




Free, no obligation quotes. Ask for Samantha, our English member of staff, with over 25 years’ experience in insurance.


Insurance, Advice

Motor, House and Contents, Health, Business, Life Insurance and Savings

www.Start BusinessIn

HELP & ADVICE Long established service at reasonable rates Depts 16 & 17

Siret: 813 442 860 00017

Help & advice, Translations

Quote 'Living' to help keep this magazine free for readers


Affordable UK Designs

Fitted Kitchens, Upvc & Aluminium Double Glazing

Free plAn, Design & costing throUghoUt soUth West FrAnce - other AreAs by ArrAngement Upvc Windows, Doors & conservatories in all colours. Aluminium and Upvc Bifold doors Made to UK Spec in French styles! Made in the UK Fitted in France

phone: 05 49 42 99 41 Mobile: 06 63 71 09 81


Chimney Sweep

PORT GRIMAUD Bay of St Tropez

BikeHireDirect Quality bike hire across

16, 17, 24, 33, 79, 85, 86 & 87 FREE delivery & collection

Bright and modern A/C, 2-bed Mobile Home in a fantastic location on Prairies de La Mer with its own private beach. Bars, restaurants, water sports facilities and spa centre on-site.

Gite Owner? Earn money with us!

05 45 36 19 09

For details, email

Animal care, Transport

Claude’s Cat Hotel The UK’s Premium Pet Transport Company Regular trips throughout Europe Services tailored to your needs

In a rural setting, Claude’s offers guests a calm, safe and caring environment. Heated accommodation with private outside space.

Les Chaillauds 16220 MONTBRON Tel: 05 45 24 01 45

DEFRA Type 2 licensed, custom built vans T: +44 (0)7855 401 102 T: +44 (0)1656 670 856

Anita Frayling - Le Baillat, 16220 Rouzede T: 05 45 66 14 62 E:

• Certificates issued for every sweep • Over 10 years’ experience • Covering departments 16, 17, 79 & 86 Registered with the Chambre de Métiers et de l’Artisanat Siret 81968203000013

Contact Nick on email: or T. 05 45 71 33 36

G KR European Removals

National & International removals service UK & EU Very competitive rates Fully insured Storage UK & France Weekly UK - France Spain - western Europe Call Gary on 0033 684 82 47 34 or 0033 555 60 77 90 e-mail siret no 442 234 413 00017

SIRET: 513 577 809 00017


Nick Wright

Siret: 822 175 527 0016

Holidays, Bikehire, Chimney sweep


For those of you that don't already know us, we are a purpose-built kennels with a large secure paddock area where dogs can run free and play while having their 2 walks per day on or off the lead. Large family kennels are available. You are welcome to call if you have any questions or would like to visit the kennels. 15 mins from La Rochefoucauld & 20 mins from Rochechouart

C J Logistics Full or part loads undertaken a box to a full removal Cars, Boats and caravans a speciality Full European coverage Secure storage available in France and UK UK depot available for deliveries Every item is covered by GIT and CMR insurances Full trade references available

Tel: 09 83 70 01 33 Mob: 06 61 25 41 09 E: or


We can match any paint colour and deliver it directly to your home in France from our shop in Kent. You only pay the UK price + delivery charge.


Call: +44 1959 57 28 51 E: Facebook: @goldenscreenkent179

These local businesses are waiting for your call!



Quality Furniture - Convenient Delivery FURNITURE for France is now in its thirteenth year of supplying quality furniture to properties in France. The company specialises in providing clients with a service that offers good quality UK-sourced furniture, delivered direct to your property in France from just £99. Liaising with its customers from the initial enquiry through to furniture installation, ensures they are kept informed every step of the

way. “With 12 years’ experience and thousands of deliveries under our belts throughout France, we have encountered almost every-

T: 06 46 49 73 45

thing and put that to good use when helping customers find the right furniture for their property,” said Brian Muir, the company’s managing director. “The website gives information on all the oak ranges offered, the sofa designs and mattress options. Photo above: Painted furniture Start the ball rolling by e-mailing in a choice of colours any questions you may have on Photo left: Sofas available in a huge range of fabrics the furniture or its delivery - we are and leathers always very pleased to help.”



European Transport

Weekly services to & from SW France Internal moves within France Containerised Storage Range of Packing services available Over 30 Years’ Experience

Special rates to SW France 13.6m / 45ft trailer Full/Part loads Removals - Vehicles - Materials Owner Driver RHA member Tel: +44 (0)7768 867 360 Fax +44 (0)1773 570 090 Fr Mobile: +33 (0)6 23 03 85 59


Full or Part Load Removals To & From France Tel: 0044 1622 690653 Email:

1 cubic metre to full trailer loads - Dedicated express loads Warehouse drop-off service - Single box, part load specialist Professional export packing service

For a free quotation, call or visit our website: +34 952 79 34 22 +34 952 80 76 92 UK Registration 543 77 60 UK

Jeff’s Metalwork

Over 25 year’s experience

Call Stephen or Ben Franklin on 0044 121 353 7263 or email

Fraser W. Eade

General Engineering Turning, Milling, Welding

FRANKLINS REMOVALS Packing services Full/part loads to and from the UK Vehicles transported • Containerised storage Competitive prices • Transit /storage insurance

L’Atelier de Fer

All your metalwork needs catered for Ornate interior / exterior designs Gates constructed / refurbished Industrial furniture ~ General Welding Tel: 06 17 73 56 87 Mob: 07 77 83 77 10 or 0044 7917 030249

Quality & Precision Guaranteed Forgeix, 87200 Saint Junien

05 55 71 41 75 Siret: 512 945 874 00018


UPVC windows, doors & ConserVatories sPeCialists

all sizes, shapes & colours offered supplied & fitted to the highest standard using premium products

10 year warranTy on all products installed

~ Covering south west franCe ~

Tel: 05 46 70 25 87

Quote 'Living' to help keep this magazine free for readers

Transport services, Mealwork

A family business established in 1985 offering a quality, professional service

Transport services

George White


BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE! There’s a definite chill in the air at the moment - whether it’s because of the heavy snowfall across Europe or the metaphorical chill that the Greek tragedy otherwise known as the Brexit fiasco is making many of us feel... So how can a good quality carpet help banish the winter blues? Well, for a start a wool carpet can save over 10% on heating costs when fitted over a good underlay, compared to a hard floor (Think of it as your floor putting

a coat on...) So as well as keeping your toes nice and toastie it’s kind to your wallet too! And as even man-made carpet fibres get softer and softer the cosy feeling of a floor fully covered with carpet and underlay gets better and better. But how about reducing those cold shivers you get every time someone mentions the ‘B’ word? You need something cheerful and uplifting - like a bright, bold pattern or colour on your floor. While carpet colours are

Flooring, Pools


dictated by fashion shades - which for sometime have been mainly dull beiges or greys - my prediction is that once the political situation is settled we’ll start seeing strong and exciting colours and many of these designs are already coming through. These are the last two jobs finished before the holiday - neither of them dull or boring! So if you want to banish those winter blues give us a call or visit our showroom (by appointment please).


Opening/Closure Weekly Pool Care Garden Services Property Management Find out about our Clear Water Guarantee 30km around Courbillac (16200)

05 45 25 05 37

GK SWIMMING POOLS DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION Let your dream pool design begin right now! Our philosophy is very simple, whether your budget is large or small, we offer you great value for money. So why not enquire about our pools? From design, excavation to installation, we offer you a full package, leaving you to enjoy your time. We also offer a landscaping service.

ALL WORK GUARANTEED phone: 09 62 64 50 14 mobile: 06 43 03 77 18

Renovating your next property? Dreaming of a new build? Let me help you. • Dossiers prepared • Permis de construire • Déclaration préalables Siret: 49377035800015

05 53 52 36 05 Peter Latus BA(Hons)

Agent and installer for several rectangular & shaped pools including Seablue & Astral Pools FRIENDLY PROFESSIONAL SERVICE Competitive prices, try me for a quote Terracing and landscaping service also available ALL WORK GUARANTEED phone 0549840362 mobile 0622361056

Ian Dickinson BSc (Hons)

Architectural Designer Architectural designs, planning applications & project management for extensions, renovations, conversions and new build. Departments: 16, 17, 24, 79, 86 & 87 Tel/Fax:


BECK CHERRY PICKER HIRE Nacelle Telescopique

17m tracked cherry picker with IPAF operator For all exterior works: roofing, painting, tree cutting etc. Hourly, daily or weekly rates Based in south 86, can transport as required Tel: 07 84 12 44 97


Metalwork, Fencing, Artisans

siret: 838271518

Architectural Drawing Service


SIRET 47994761600021

• We supply and fit a range of carpets to suit all budgets • We also fit amtico, vinyl, wood and ceramic tile • Over 25 years experience, 100% customer satisfaction • Now selling a selection of wool and mixed fibre rugs Contact Paul on 06 60 07 54 78 or 05 45 84 27 75

Pools, Design, Cherry Pickers


Pool Maintenance

For all your flooring needs

SHOWROOM ADDRESS Les Rivières, 19260 TREIGNAC 09 63 56 23 10 / 06 42 19 82 12

Siret: 827 978 636 00013


These local businesses are waiting for your call!



Enershop – renewable energy heating systems for your property Enershop have been installing renewable energy systems in France since 2008. Each system designed and installed is specifically for your needs,

whether your property is a new build, extension or a renovation, whether it is a cottage, chalet or château – the flexibility of our systems means there is a solution for all. We offer a free devis, with no obligation and no hard sell. Now is the time to consider a renewable heating system. There are reduced rates of TVA available and significant tax credits (credit d’impôts) for systems installed

Tel: 07 67 04 07 53



M&M PROPERTY MAINTENANCE All aspects of plastering & rendering undertaken

Siret 482 718 640 00022

We buy and sell left hand drive cars, French & British registered. Delivery and collection across Europe - regular trips throughout France. New and used, tax paid and tax free. +44 (0) 1256 461173

Depts 16 & 17

Painting & decorating services Tiling / Flooring Plasterboarding Suppliers of Crown Paints Providing a quality service since 2005 Kevin Smith

Gareth Piotrowski

Tel 05 17 30 18 35 Mobile 06 33 85 65 66

16100 Chateaubernard 05 45 36 46 70 / 06 72 21 80 27

Tel: 09 61 63 10 57 Mob: 06 38 46 24 14 Based in 16, happy to travel


Javarzay, 79110 Chef-Boutonne

Siret 828907873 00016

Siren: 478 608 185 00011

Kitchens & Bathrooms from A-Z


Part or full renovations Roofing Plaster boarding All building works undertaken

All leading Brands All associated minor works, modifications and repairs also undertaken e.g.. replace Kitchen worktops, taps, toilets etc. Dept. 16, 17

the roof, the whole roof and nothing but the roof

Experts at working with slate & clay Over 40 year’s experience

Tel: 05 49 27 52 99 Mob: 06 74 95 21 00 E: Based 79190

For a free estimate call 06 35 11 27 31 Strictly Roofing – Malcolm Cooke

Siret 487 581 209 00011

All reclamation bought & sold Demolition undertaken Specialists in oak beams Metalwork & stonework Indian stone flooring 50,000 sq ft covered showrooms 1km from Confolens D952 Ansac-sur-Vienne road

Mon-Sat 8.30aM-6pM open lunch-tiMeS SundayS cloSed

05 46 49 78 30 / 06 70 40 66 01

website: email: siret:50263448800014

CHIPBOARD type P5 1833 and 22mm tongue and grooved water repellent, chipboard comes in 8ft x 2ft sheets. C.L.S. stud work is a beautiful product to work with, clean dry and STRAIGHT. Currently held in 2.4m, 3m and 4.8m lengths. 38mm x 89mm C16 planed for eased edges C.L.S. profile. PLYWOOD All in 8ft x 4ft sheets. External grade suitable for construction uses with high quality finish on both sides. Held in 5.5mm, 9mm, 12mm, 18mm, 25mm. All Malaysian WBP BB/CC. MDF 18mm held OSB 9mm and 18mm held.

Happy to quote for all soft wood requirements.

SKIRTING BOARD AND ARCHITRAVE in stock. FLOOR JOISTS held in many sizes. ROLL OUT INSULATION in stock (100 & 150mm).


Full house clearances quoted for & complete contents bought. Use until the day you move knowing it is all sold.

Call Terry on 05 45 30 72 04

Quote 'Living' to help keep this magazine free for readers

Siren: 449 714 989


Building services, Artisans


Keith Bassett

Building services, Artisans

Left Hand Drive Place


by Enershop as we hold the QualiSol and QualiBois accreditation. Our website www.enershop. eu has lots of information on our services which include : • Solar thermal domestic hot water • Wood gasification boilers • Central and underfloor heating • Wood / Pellet boiler stoves systems • Pellet boilers • Swimming pool / hot tub • Accumulation tanks heating • Air source heat pumps




Installation, servicing, repairs - oil, gas, solar, solid fuel Fully qualified, fully registered, 10 year décennale insurance Currently offering FREE supply & installation of bulk propane gas tanks 30% crédit d’impôt

Building services, Artisans

Tel: 05 45 29 68 73 | Mobile: 06 30 11 86 84 | Email:

Graham Medhurst Renovations

Building services, Artisans


Imajica Joinery ESTABLISHED COMPANY, CONSCIENTIOUS & RELIABLE SERVICE For a superior finish in wood, tile, plasterboard and general restoration Specialising in kitchen fitting & creative challenges

05 49 87 09 63 Siret: 48115588500017

GK Bâtiment Général Swimming pools Septic tanks Roofing & General building Piscines, Fosses septiques Toitures et Bâtiment général Free Devis Decennial insurance

06 43 03 77 18 09 62 64 50 14 gkbatimentgeneral@

Established reputable builder in Charente From basic changes to complete renovations, bathrooms, kitchens, floor and wall tiling, dry-lining & more Guaranteed customer satisfaction Contact me for a free no-obligation quotation Based near La Rochefoucauld, covering areas 16, 86 & 79 T: 05 45 95 44 34 or 06 98 29 76 45 E:


France Fosse €3650

COMPACT FILTER 5EH €3900 HTC (Prices plus TVA)

Over 30 years of experience See all our work on our facebook page T: 06 04 14 84 86

Email: These local businesses are waiting for your call!

Find us on Facebook


Les Les Bons Voisins Voisins

property management throughout france


no job too small, no project too large

exceptional service at competitive prices

key holding . caretaking . maintenance . supervision changeovers . cleaning . gardening . mail forwarding

. admin help . translation

friendly people providing professional help to home owners in france

Andy Quick

The Roofing & Renovation Company Established in 2007, registered artisan with Décennale & Civile Responsabilité Insurance

Siret: 499 474 302 00035

E: ~ T: 05 49 27 22 67

Installation & Repair of Woodburners Gas & Oil Heating All plumbing jobs large & small

Fully Insured Tel: 07 89 73 47 43

05 46 49 78 30 / 06 70 40 66 01

website: email: siret:50263448800014

Interior and exterior painting Paper hanging, tiling, flooring & dry lining

ADAM BLACKABY Artisan Peintre T: 05 45 98 07 25 M: 06 23 18 30 95 Areas 16, 17, 24, 33, 79, 86

siret 82179190200017

Chauffage, Climatisation, Sanitaire Central Heating installations boiler Servicing bathroom, Kitchen installations Tiling, Solar Powered Hot Water Underfloor Heating & Heat Pumps

Siret: 441 490 992 00027

Barry Baldwin Cabinet Maker & Joiner Furniture Restoration Manufacture of staircases, doors & cupboards

Stairs & windows All carpentry Manufacture & renovation in and around Charente (16)

16240 La Fôret de Tesse T: 05 45 30 39 85 Covering depts 16, 79 & 86

Le Bourg à Moutardon 16700 Nanteuil-en-Vallée Tel. 05 45 31 03 05

Peter Amor Electrician

Large or small projects, from new builds, total rewires (including 3 phase) to Having additional sockets/lights installed to Conformity Inspections

Tel: 05 49 91 85 54 All departments covered SIret: 480 026 560 00012

Siret: 804476 034 00017

ELECTRICIAN Experienced, French Registered Electrician Available for all types of electrical work renovations, small works, gate automations etc. Insured and guaranteed Areas 16, 17, 24, 47

05 46 86 07 61 Siret 49376573200015

Jb Plumbing AMBROISE PRÉE Plumbing - Heating Chimney sweep EMERGENCY CALL OUTS 24 hours / 7 days a week

SiReT: 502 497 365 00010

Full service with certificate (boiler, fuel, wood, gaz) Fully insured with 10 year’s experience Tel: 06 58 86 55 91 Based in 86400 Saint Macoux English spoken Siret: 831 980 487 00019

Kitchen & Bathroom installation Tiling Plumbing Repairs Tel: 06 29 90 24 89 E: Based in dept 79 near Sauzé-Vaussais Fully insured Siret: 804 390 862 000 14

Odd Job Tom Pool maintenance Tree Felling & Stump Grinding

Emptying of grease traps, fosse septiques, filtre compacts & micro stations. Cleaning & maintenance of all types of sewage treatment plants.

Grass Cutting & Odd Jobs Tel: 05 49 87 84 52 Mobile: 06 85 98 24 76 Siret: 842 376 139 00015

David GABARD T: 06 71 83 16 69 / 05 49 87 27 29 E: 2 Verrières, 86400 CHAMPNIERS Covering south 86 & 79, north 16

Quote 'Living' to help keep this magazine free for readers

Building services, Artisans

Robert Walker PlombeRie

based South 79 All work is fully insured, references can be provided

Qualified Interior Designer Professional Service

Siret: 838 623 437 00012

RobeRT WalKeR Tel: 05 49 27 36 98

Plumbing Electricity Plasterboarding Tiling Satellite dishes and Systems for the reception of UK and French TV Dept. 16,17 No Job too Small


Painter & Decorator

Contact Ken Fey 16220 Rouzede Tel: 05 45 23 76 49 M: +44 (0)75 99 17 90 39 E:

Multi Services

Sarl AUVIN Fabrication

Building services, Artisans

Domestic Plumbing and Heating


t:+33 (0)5 45 70 20 98

Building services, Artisans

depts 79, 86 & 16


Places to go

Restaurants & Bar s, Events, Associations and C lubs. APRIL Mon 15: OPEN MIC ~ 7.30pm Wed 17: QUIZ NIGHT ~ 8pm (€10 includes food - €5 goes to charity) Sat 20: LIVE ~ 8pm ~ McKenzie Sat 23: ST GEORGES ~ 8pm ~ Details tbc

nes Café & Store ig a B Regular fresh deliveries

Hundreds of English products at great prices Now stockists of Crown & Sandtex Paint Latté - Cappuccino - Tea Full English Breakfast Fresh Battered Cod & Chips Please refer to our website for more information & our opening hours Le Breuil, 16360 Baignes Ste Radegonde (D14) Tel: 05 45 78 42 20

MAY Sat 4: LIVE ~ 8pm ~ Bennett and Seags Wed 15: QUIZ NIGHT ~ 8pm (€10 includes food - €5 goes to charity) Mon 20: OPEN MIC ~ 7.30pm ~ McKenzie Every Friday is fish and chip night - 10€ Sunday roast every Sunday, 12 till 3

La Brousse, 16700 Londigny tel; 05 45 29 05 07 FB: @aubergedunoyer

Manot Ceramic

Cafe Ceramics: Tue-Sat 10am-4.30pm Snack menu: 12 noon-2pm 16 meals on our menu Full English breakfast from 10am Enjoy a tea, coffee, beer or glass of wine with your meal English Birthday/anniversary cards Tel: 05 45 30 69 56 E:

Café des Belles Fleurs

Open Mon - Sat for meals Open Sunday on reservation Meal formula starts at 7.80€ Large choice of spirits & wines See website and FB for Events Place d’Eglise, 79160 Fenioux Tel: 05 49 28 12 39

Find our schedule on

Restaurant Bar Coffee Shop Delicious homemade food using seasonal and local ingredients Vegetarian & Vegan options Twice monthly Curry Nights Fish & Chips Friday evening Open daily except Wednesday See FB for our daily changing menu Call Ian on 07 77 94 49 05 FB: lalunebleuerestaurant


Friendly bar / restaurant offering fish ‘n’ chips, full English breakfasts, music nights, theme nights and more Takeaways available Large beer garden to rear of property Open Mon-Sat for lunch (11am-2pm) and dinner (6-9pm) Great for groups and parties

Le Bourg, 16480 Passirac

T: 06 82 59 09 83 Le Petit Poisson Mobile Fish and Chips Fabulous Fish and Chips served from Renée in south Charente and north Dordogne Rougnac, St Front la Rivière, Champagnac de Belair, Coutures and Aubeterre Available to hire for special events and weddings

3 rue d'Offendorf, 87130 La Croisille-sur-Briance Tel: 05 55 71 34 22

The Irish Belle Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9am-4pm

Serving light lunches, cakes and drinks all day. Home to Mother Hubbard’s English grocery shop. 4th April & 9th May -Younique with Melaina 16th April & 14th May - IT clinic with Rob 10th, 17th & 26th April - pottery painting with Linda Friday mornings - French lessons with Anais Check the FB page for dates for crochet classes, watercolour painting and more!

Le-Café-Civray Tél : 05 49 87 68 97 Email : 24 rue du commerce, 86400 Civray

Tea Rooms, Shop, Restaurant & Bar Food served all day. Bacon sandwiches, all-day-breakfast, baked potato with toppings, a side salad and more. Vegetarian/vegan options. Also selling Irish/English produce, Gluten-free products plus frozen vegetables. Come and enjoy the cosy country ambience. See Facebook for our regular events. Wheelchair access and plenty of parking. OPEN: Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday: 10h-18h Wednesday & Friday: 11h-17h 3 Place Jacques Soulat, 16490 Hiesse Tel: 06 14 12 54 61 / 05 45 31 23 31 Mary Burke(Theirishbelle)

ACROSS: 1. Bebop 4. Bede 7, 10. Blind Pew 8. Whacked 10. See 7. 11. Retro 12. Oak door 14. Pirate 16. Magpie 20. Arapaho 23. Angus 25. Ran 26. Kidding 27. Drake 28. Hook 29. Ninth down: 1. Blister 2. Bedpost 3. Powwow 4, 13. Black dog 5. Dekko 6. Aber 9. Dirge 13. See 4 down. 14. Plank 15. Asp 17. Abandon 18. Pugwash 19. Morgan 21. Audio 22. A risk 24. Smee Theme: Pirates

living music | 65

M HANDS ON... T UpBeat

The Cognac area of Charente is accustomed to attracting superlatives, and not merely for its illustrious spirits.

ucked away unobtrusively on a riverbank in Boutiers Saint-Trojan is a worldfamous master luthier. While the term is frequently applied to guitar makers and repairers, Maurice Dupont’s lifelong passion for guitars also embraces other stringed instruments. Now mandolins, bouzoukis, ukuleles and basses feature alongside his range of acoustic and electric guitars, each instrument lovingly handmade and displaying his flawless attention to detail. Maurice freely admits to being a “wood addict”. The walls of his personal work area are stacked with sheets of meticulously selected hard- and softwoods, most of them stored as pairs for their grain pattern to be book matched, as a cabinet maker would, while precise quality control is achieved by having his own wood-seasoning store and sawmill. Sawdust entered his blood early. His childhood best friend’s father was a boat builder at Saujon (17) where the boys would spend their spare time. When his family subsequently moved to Cognac the 12 year-old Maurice indulged his wood fascination by building flying model aircraft, and also started tinkering with bikes and mopeds. Later, while studying construction engineering at Bordeaux University Institute, he followed instructions published in a DIY magazine to build a dulcimer and an electric guitar. Keen to learn more, Maurice travelled to Paris to assist George Brassens’ guitar maker Jacques Favino, before studying the fine art of cabinet making. Once

Lewis Hall Musician

qualified he applied his newly acquired skills to constructing a hurdy-gurdy, a complex folk instrument whose quality of workmanship gained him employment as a musical instrument maker with a manufacturer in Nantes. Maurice finally returned to Charente in 1981, installing himself in a vacant building in Boutiers, and began building classical guitars, while also repairing other instruments: “Most independent instrument makers couldn’t survive without also doing repair work”, he confides. Before long he had established a formidable reputation, his efforts being rewarded in 1989 with the title ‘Meilleur Ouvrier de France’ (for the workmanship of one of his classical guitars). Maurice has a particular fondness for the Selmer/Macaferri-style guitars popularised by Django Reinhardt and still favoured by manouche or ‘gypsy jazz’ players. Repairing many original 1930s examples enabled him to study their construction, and to start producing his own versions. The models now represent about half of his output, and take centre stage in the hands of world-renowned players like Biréli Lagrène and Romane (with whom Maurice has collaborated closely). In fact, Maurice has applied the unmistakable striking appearance of these instruments to a lovingly crafted range of mandolins and even ukuleles. Today his original 500 sq. ft. workspace has expanded ten-fold and has an annual output of around 500 instruments, making it France’s biggest guitar-making workshop. To meet his demanding standards on this scale,


Café de la Gare


Over 25 years’ experience Offering GUITAR LESSONS and EVENT ENTERTAINMENT - either solo or group performances for your special occasions.

E: T: 05 49 87 19 20 | FB@Vouleme

Piano tuner technician With over 50 years in the trade Complete Renovations New strings, hammers etc. Also repairs and piano tuning Ex Royal Albert Hall, BBC and Ronnie Scotts Restored Baby Grands for Sale Cover areas 16, 17, 79 and west Vienne

Tel: 05 45 21 16 13 Mobile: 06 43 31 58 17 E: SIRET: 51031234100017

Bar ~ Snacks ~ Music ~ Pool

open till midnight Weekends 12-12, Lunch Tue-Fri

Check our FB page for details of our events Sunday Lunch ~ Exhibitions Gourville (16170) Between Aigre & Rouillac

Tel: 0545 622516

FB: le bourg aka cafe de la gare

Maurice now presides over a 14-strong team, including some of the 30 or so craftsmen he’s personally trained over the years through apprenticeships (others have become successful instrument makers and repairers elsewhere). While instruments still leave Boutiers clutched in the hands of proud new owners, many more are dispatched to authorised instrument retailers, both in France and overseas. What’s more, the Dupont range also embraces not only hand-crafted electric instruments and pickups for electric and acoustic guitars but also an impressive range of amplification of the highest professional quality.

66 | living Language



ith the focus on all things vegan and vegetarian in this edition, if you’re expecting anything less meaty you should hopefully find your appetite for words satisfied with some of the expressions that follow. French is much richer than English when it comes to vegetable expressions: we impoverished English-speakers don’t hang around like leeks, line up like onions or take the cabbage. But it’s time to get to the meat of the matter. You’d perhaps expect the French to have a little interest in the onion given all the stereotypes of Onion Johnny in his beret on his bicycle. You might think you know your onions but English is sadly lacking when it comes to this well-known allium. There are, however, a number of useful - if occasionally impolite - expressions related to the humble onion in French. If someone tells you to occupy yourself with your own onions, occupe-toi des tes oignons, they’re telling you to mind your own business. Likewise, if you’re told that ‘these are not your onions’, ce sont pas tes oignons, then you might want to keep your curiosity to yourself. Another French expression that doesn’t exist in English is to describe when something is lined up en rang d’oignon or in onion rows. This means they are lined up in a single line, particularly a line that’s been sorted or categorised in some way. Despite this, the last expression has nothing to do with actual onions and more to do with the baron d’Ognon who organised his noble guests in a hierarchy for his fêtes and celebrations. A final expression that you might hear involving onions is aux petits oignons

L i ving

Emma-Jane Lee explores the expressions growing in your potager

goose is cooked’. You can also say c’est la fin des haricots in French to mean exactly the same thing. ‘It’s the end of the beans’ means there’s literally nothing else left. Your goose is well and truly cooked. Les haricots also turn up in another French expression - one that creates a wonderful visual image. Courir sur le haricot or ‘to run on the bean’ means to annoy someone or prevent them from doing things. Il commence à me courir sur le haricot is ‘he’s really starting to get on my nerves.’ Cabbage in French has so many expressions and sayings related to it that or ‘to little onions’. This means that it’s almost worth a post itself. From the cute mon chou or ‘my cabbage’ as a term of something has been well done, usually endearment to meaning ‘head’ in beaucoup very precisely and in minute detail. If d’idées dans mon chou or ‘lots of ideas in my you imagine finely, neatly and precisely chopped onions in a professional kitchen, cabbage’. If someone takes the cabbage though, it means they’re annoying you, you get the idea. Of course, it’s also a or you’re losing your patience. Il me prend popular name for a restaurant for those le chou or ‘he takes the cabbage from me’ very reasons, and there are more than one or two Aux Petits Oignons in France - means that someone is really annoying you. Who knew that beans and not often known for their vegetarian or cabbages could cause such grievance? vegan cuisine, as you might expect. Onions are not the only vegetable to Whether you are végétarien, flexitarien, take on metaphorical qualities: carrots, végétalien or végane, you don’t have to cabbage and beans also get the figurative restrict your vocabulary when you learn treatment. If you mix up your cabbage French. Perhaps British expressions like and your carrots, mélanger des choux et des ‘bring home the bacon’ will be influenced carottes, not only will you make a terrible by the far more omnivorous French chef, but also you’ll be terrible at arguing. with their less meat-focused faire bouillir You’ll be mixing up your arguments left, la marmite or ‘boil the pot’, only time right and centre, barely cohesive at all. If will tell. It’s always struck me as strange you’re also comparing the incomparable that the breadwinner will bring home apples to oranges in English, you’ll be the bacon anyway. Perhaps it’s time the comparer des choux et des carottes in French. breadwinner made the pot boil too. Another carrot expression that is Emma is a jack-of-all-language-trades, totally lost in translation is les carottes sont writing English textbooks, translating, cuites. It sounds not unlike some vague marking exam scripts and teaching Wartime code. This means something languages. She lives near La Rochefoucauld along the lines of ‘your time is up’, or ‘it’s with her growing menagerie. See www. the end of the line’, perhaps even ‘your

Editor: Kathryn Dobson FEATURES EDITOR: Roger Moss Advertising: Jon Dobson Art editor: Nadia Van den Rym Production manager: Justin Silvester Regular contributors: Caro Feely, Susan Hays, Jessica Knipe, magazine Emma-Jane Lee, Mike Morris, Nikki Legon and Stig Tomas. WITH THANKS TO: John and Gill Bowler, Julia Moss. Photography: Shutterstock or Roger Moss unless indicated. Cover image: Marans, Charente-Maritime @ Roger Moss Published by: SARL AMM, 2 Rue Buffefeu, 86400 Linazay FRANCE. Poitiers: 533 624 128. Printed by: Rotimpres S.A. Dépôt légal: A parution. ISSN: 0753-3454. Living Magazine is free. Living Magazine est disponible gratuitement. All material may not be reproduced without the written permission of SARL AMM. Toute reproduction même partielle du contenu est interdit sans l’accord écrit du magazine. Please ensure you verify that the company you are dealing with is registered in France and/or elsewhere around the world. Articles in this issue do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher.





Jennifer MAIER











La Coquille




Verteillac Brantôme


Chalais St Aulaye




La Roche Chalais











Le Bugue Port Ste Foy

Sarlat St Cyprien

Lalinde Gardonne Belvès

Lamothe Montravel




William SERRE

We offer an established, dedicated, English-speaking department staffed with customer service representatives and financial advisors in order to facilitate and to meet your needs. Crédit Agricole Charente-Périgord regional branch, cooperative organisational structure with variable capital, approved as a credit institution - Head office : 28-30 rue d’Espagnac, Soyaux (Charente) - Registered on the Angoulême companies register, under the number 775 569 726 - Insurance broker registered on ORIAS, the French Organisation for the register of Insurance Intermediaries, under the number 07 008 428. © Photo credits : Jean-Marc Barrère - Design : Maïa - 07/2017.