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MAGAZINE AUG | SEPT 2013

PLUS DISCOVER ROYAN

& SUMMER DAYS OUT

SKY HIGH

OUR GUIDE TO GETTING AIRBORNE

MARKET PLACE What to do Where to shop Who to call!

Available across Poitou-Charentes ~ Dordogne ~ Haute Vienne ~ Vend茅e


Welcome

It’s two years since we took over the reins here and we hope that you will agree that a lot has happened in the past 24 months. To celebrate, we’re printing an amazing 27,000 copies of Living - more than triple the number when we took over! Plus, we’re distributing them further afield than ever before - from the north of Vendée to Périgueux in the south and Limoges in the east. We can only do this because of the fantastic support we receive from both our advertisers and you, our readers. We are committed to keeping Living Magazine FREE and to maintaining the quality that we know you all enjoy. All we ask in return is that you take the time to read the adverts and call our advertisers when they offer a service you need, telling them you saw them in Living. But don’t worry, we are not resting on our laurels, we have some fabulous plans for the coming months which we can’t wait to share with you. The future for Living is looking bright so we thank each and every one of you for your support on this journey.

À bientôt

16 August/September 2013

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Snippets News and interviews from around the region

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On Reflection Visit Brantôme, one of Dordogne’s star attractions

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PRactical living

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Your questions answered Health, Wealth and Property

Pardon with Emma-Jane Lee Royan We take a look at why this seaside resort is so special

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Hook, Line and Sinker Finding the elusive big ‘un with Ron Cousins

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Magnum Opus Discover William Christie’s extraordinary garden

Nikki Legon’s Kitchen Recipe inspiration for your summer harvest The Wheelbarrow Gardener Gardening tips and water conservation wtih Trevor Bridge

Editor: Kathryn Dobson FEATURES EDITOR: Roger Moss Advertising: Jon Dobson. Art editor: Nadia Van den Rym Production manager: Justin Silvester

Regular contributors: Trevor Bridge, Ron Cousins, Sandie George, Emma-Jane Lee, Nikki Legon, Chris Luck and Stig Tomas. WITH THANKS TO: John and Gill Bowler, Julia Moss. Photography: Shutterstock or Roger Moss unless indicated Cover image: Brantôme by Roger Moss. Published by: SARL AMM, 2 Rue Buffefeu, 86400 Linazay FRANCE. Poitiers: 533 624 128. www.ammfrance.com. Printed by: Rotimpres S.A.,Pla De L’estany S/N,17181 Aiguaviva, Espagne. Tirage: 27.000 Dépôt légal août 2013 ISSN: 2259-6526. All material may not be reproduced without the express 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 a registered trading company in France and/or elsewhere around the world. Articles in this issue do not necessarily reflect the views of the magazine. magazine

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Sky High Our guide to getting airborne

Dragonflies & Damselflies Chris Luck meets photographer Nick Ransdale

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Upbeat with Roger Moss

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Book Review with Sandie George

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MARKET PLACE The best services & suppliers across the region

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*NEW* EVENTS around the region For all editorial & SUBSCRIPTION enquiries: editorial@livingmagazine.fr or telephone + 33 (0)5 49 87 29 71 For all advertising: contact@ammfrance.com or telephone Jon on +33 (0)5 49 87 29 71 SUBSCRIPTIONS START AT ONLY €28 for six editions see www.livingmagazine.fr for more information


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NEWS FROM AROUND THE REGION....

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TOP TIPIS

You may be surprised to see three 3.8m high, traditional Navajo tipis rising up out of the Charente countryside, but these are the brainchild of Sam and John Kegg. With their three young children, the Keggs have lived in the area since 2007 where they have both set up successful businesses, John as a carpenter and Sam as a caterer. So why tipis? Sam takes up the story: “We love having family and friends to stay with children enjoying the great outdoors and parents chilling with a glass of wine. So, we started to think how we could do this on a more permanent basis and hit upon glamping (glamorous camping) as the perfect idea. We looked into tipis and the idea just grew. We put a lot of thought into what we want when we go away - decent bathrooms, family living and plenty of home comforts - and then set out to build just that. We’ve worked hard turning our ideas into a reality, building beautiful bathrooms

and a fabulous Woody’s bar and kitchen nestled in the trees.” Next year they plan to add two more tipis and bathrooms: “We think five is the perfect number to keep things friendly,” adds John, “and Sam can cater as required so families can really relax in this wonderful countryside.” With comfortable beds, fluffy towels, flushing toilets and WiFi across the site, we can see the appeal! See www.glampingtipis.fr or ring 05 45 91 07 34.

Beyond the Covers

GARDEN CULTURE

Enjoy art and music in remarkable surroundings at the Jardins du Chaigne. Discover the work of Greek painter Papavassiliou at his exhibition running until 20 August and watch him ‘perform’ live on 28 July at the garden’s charity day in support of the association Jardins Art et Soins. On 11 August, the London-based Aubert Trio will be filling the garden with works by Beethoven and Brahms. Pianist Warwick Hewson (whom Living readers will remember has recently opened the Chez Cartier cookery school with business partner Reza Mahammad) will be joined by Ross Newton (clarinet) and Kalina Dimitrova (cello). The gardens are open daily except Wednesdays, with entry costing 6€ (under 12s free) and, if you don’t want to go home, why not stay in their beautiful guest house which is a member of both “Guest & Garden” and “Bienvenue au Château”. Tickets can be reserved on 05 45 62 33 92 / beatricejm@orange.fr. See www.jardinsduchaigne.com or Facebook.

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After Marc Riboud in 2011 and Todd Selby in 2012, Hennessy & Co have this year invited photographer Jonathan Mannion (pictured below, right, with Bernard Peillon, President of Hennessy, and Wycleff Jean) to celebrate 40 years of hip-hop at their exhibition centre on the banks of the Charente. Renowned for his portraits of hip-hop and rap artists over the past twenty years, American Mannion has photographed hundreds of stars including Eminem, Lauryn Hill (below left), Jay-Z and Snoop Dogg. This collection of fifty portraits, picked by Mannion, is supplemented by original covers, videos & memorabilia from the photo shoots. Entry is free and the exhibition runs until 29 September. Open daily, 10am-1pm and 2pm-6.30pm.


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CHARENTE GUIDE Working with Charente Tourisme, Hachette have recently published a Guide Evasion to the Charente – the first guide book for the département. 272 pages cover the sights, activities and events of the area along with recommended itineraries, ideas for children and plenty of regional insights. The guide is completely in French and available from bookstores for 15.90€.

FESTIVALS

Les Dames de F.E.R.

Recently formed women’s business network, Les Dames de F.E.R. (Femmes Entrepreneurs Rurales), is organising its first Foire Commerciale in collaboration with the domaine de Boisbuchet, the international centre for design and architecture in Lessac (see Living April 2012), on Sunday 15 September. President Marlies Colville explains: “As a wife and mother in rural France, setting up a business can seem daunting so the idea was born to set up a business network for women in similar situations of all nationalities where they can help each other, exchange ideas and network.” At the Foire products and services will be on offer and you can participate in a range of activities for all the family. As it is the weekend of the Journées de Patrimoine, the domaine de Boisbuchet will also offer guided tours and you can stay for lunch or have a coffee and home-made cake at the riverside café. Entry to the Foire is free and doors are open from 10am-6pm. Membership of the association costs 15€ p.a., see www.lesdamesdefer.fr.

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Festival season is still in full flow in Charente. Don’t miss La Route des Tonneaux et des Canons, the unique biennial journey celebrating the ‘casks and cannons route’ across the Charente and CharenteMaritime (29 July-3 August). At the same time, keep an eye out overhead for the 18th Hot-air Ballooning European cup setting out from Mainfonds (31 July-4 August). International dance troupes flock to the Festival de Confolens from 13 August -18 August, while French film fans look forward to Le Festival du Film Francophone d’Angoulême (25-28 August). Classical music enthusiasts are in for a treat at the Festi’Classique en Pays de Cognac (31 August-12 September) when six concerts will be staged in leading cognac houses including Meukow, Courvoisier, Hine and Otard. The ever-popular street theatre festival, Chauffe à Cognac, comes to town 6-8 September, the same weekend that the improvisation festival L’Imprévu arrives in Montemboeuf. The Circuit International des Remparts remains a popular date in Charente diaries (20-22 September) and, finally, Festival Barrobjectif closes the month (21-29 September). Phew!

DIARY

DATE!

Party in the Pa for Hope asso rk, a fund-raiser ciat extravaganza ion, is a 12-hour on Saturday, 21 September. M u sic by Vis-à professional stalls, plenty -Vis, of ac ties and on-s ite refreshmen tiviand bar will ensure lots of ts fun for all the fam ily. advert on page See the 64 for full details.


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If you are looking for a music festival with a difference, then the 9th edition of Rochefort en Accords may be for you. Arriving alone or occasionally as duos, musicians invited from around the globe quickly join forces, share styles and improvise together. The meet-ups and concerts take place at unusual historic locations in and around the city, from the Transporter bridge to la Place Colbert and the garden of the Théâtre. For three days and nights, cultures and talents mix, producing often unexpected and unique results. This year’s musicians come from across the musical spectrum with backgrounds in jazz, blues, rock and more, bringing with them influences from Argentine to Madagascar and Quebec. One thing is sure though, you will be thrilled by the unpredictable and individual sounds produced under the summer sun. Tickets start at just 5€ with a one day pass costing 18€. See www.rochefort-en-accords.fr.

WATERSIDE V ISI TS

If you are looking for picture postcard villages then the ‘Villages de pierres et d’eau’ (villages of stone and water) should be on your list. United by exceptional stone buildings combined with all forms of water from the sea to the marais, these villages all have less than 3,000 inhabitants, architecture typical of the region and are less than 300m from their water feature. By coming together in this way, the communes are able to combine their marketing activity and ensure that they are not overlooked by visiting tourists heading to the popular seaside resorts. The thirteen villages concerned stretch across the département: L’Île d’Aix, Ars-en-Ré, Brouage, Clion-sur-Seugne, Crazannes, La Flotte-en-Ré, Mornac-sur-Seudre, MortagneLa Flottesur-Gironde, Pont-d’Envaux, en-Ré Saint-Savinien, Saint-Sauvant, Saint-Trojanles-Bains and Talmont-surGironde.

Martell & Co SA RCS B342 438 892 Angoulême

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SUMMER DAYS

La Rochelle Mairie

Disaster struck at the end of June when a black plume of smoke was seen over the historic Hôtel de Ville in the heart of La Rochelle. The fire, suspected to have been started by a fault in an electrical panel, raged for many hours destroying the main roof and causing extensive damage to the rooms below including the Salle des Fêtes (above). The oldest functioning town hall in France and a Monument Historique, the mairie has been renovated over recent years to restore its Renaissance and Gothic architecture. According to Maxime Bono, Maire, the renovation is expected to cost tens of millions of euros and last two to three years with work already underway. Thankfully, no one was harmed in the fire and all moveable objects of artistic or historical value were removed and are now being stored elsewhere.

DIARY DATEs! Sites en Scène, the programme of festivals supported by the Conseil Général, is in full flow throughout August and there are plenty of other offerings across the département. Classical and street theatre are both embraced in the Théâtre en l’Abbaye in Saint Jeand’Angély (1-4 August), while humour and street theatre form the basis of the Festival Humour et Eau Salée in Saint Georges de Didonne. Now in its 28th year, this festival offers free performances along the seafront with paying evening shows for those whose French is up to it (2-4 August). The Festival de l’Abbaye de Fontdouce (4-9 August) showcases classical and jazz concerts in atmospheric surroundings while Jazz en Feux (5,6,8 August) combines jazz and spectacular fireworks on the Île d’Oléron. Enjoy a variety of concerts and shows in the unique setting of private houses around Saint Jean d’Angély during Scènes de Jardins (10-21 August). Voyages Extraordinaires on 11 August at the port

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of La Flotte promises a voyage of imagination with fireworks set to music. Two symphony orchestras combining the talents of 320 young musicians from eight countries will fill the square in front of the Donjon at Pons on the evening of 13 August to serenade the audience with melodies from the big screen, Pons fait son Cinéma. Fireworks and street theatre are once more the order of the day on 13-14 August in Fouras with Les Rues s’Agitent while Esnandes returns to the Napoleonic era for the Esclad’Esnandes 14-15 August (with fireworks on 14 August). The villagers of Puy-du-Lac welcome you from 22-25 August to L’Ecart d’Ecu where each evening over 200 volunteers perform a show based on rural life followed by a traditional dinner and fireworks. On the Île de Ré, Rivedoux Plage are hosting Salsa & West on Beach (24 August – 1 September) with courses, workshops and dances for fans of salsa and west coast swing. And finally, the Fort Boyard Challenge comes to Fouras on 14-15 September when 300 windsurfers and stand up paddle boarders arrive to compete in this test of endurance.

In the 16th century, the marais village of Brouage was the largest salt-trading harbour in Europe before it was fortified by Richelieu to fight against the neighbouring Protestant town of La Rochelle. Over time, the harbour has silted up and now land-locked, the village is a popular tourist destination. Each Thursday until 22 August, there are free shows and performances suitable for all the family, from the clown ‘Cartoon Toylete’ on 1 August to circus act ‘Quitte ou double’ on 22 August. Friday is the day to head to the beautiful Île d’Aix where you can enjoy free performances from a variety of artists. On Friday, 2 August, chamber music ensemble ‘Rocca Fortis’ will be playing in front of the church, while the following week there is music in the streets by ‘Le Souk’. The programme ends on 30 August with a concert by ‘En Cours de Route’ at Fort Liédot. See http:// charente-maritime.fr for full details. Brouage

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Deux-Sèvres & Vendée Did you know...

VUE DU CHÂTEAU Having lived in the area for ten years, Amanda and Mark Froome have realised their dream of opening a bar and restaurant. “I used to manage a hotel and restaurant in the UK and, after owning and running a gîte complex when we first moved out, we wanted to open our own establishment,” explains Amanda. After a long search, they found the perfect venue in Bressuire (79) with a stunning view of the château, outside space away from the road and a garden for children

to play. Although closed by the time the couple bought it, the building had previously been a bar. It now required complete renovation, luckily no problem for Mark who is an experienced builder. Since opening in June, the couple have built a regular clientele, both French and English speaking. Open daily (except Monday), regular events are scheduled including Fish & Chips and Quiz (10 Aug & 7 Sept), Pie night (16 Aug and 20 Sept)and live music with Abtuse (31 Aug). www.bar-brasserievueduchateau.com

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FESTIVAL FEVER

Mad Hatter’s Festival

Mad Hatter’s Kitchen in Caunay (79) is once again holding its fun family music festival on 9-10 August. Daytime entry is free to enjoy the many stalls, entertainment by The Pink Elephant Circus, side shows, classic cars and, of course, great food in the sunshine. This year’s evening line-up includes The Brian Mc Combe Band, Ghouls, The Grey Goose Blues Band among others. Tickets can be bought for the two evening concerts for only 35€ (which includes a feast on either Friday or Saturday and a free camping spot). For either evening individually, tickets cost 25€/10€ (with/without feast) and early booking is recommended. See www.madhattersfrance.eu for full details.

Organised by the Petites Cités de Caractère de la Vendée, the Nuits Musicales en Vendée Romane continue through August. Renowned musicians perform in historic settings across the département with tickets starting at 19€. The Festival d’Astronomie (17-18 August) at Chapelleaux-Lys is a must for stargazers while the Festival Les Fruits du Soleil au Potager Extraordinaire in La Mothe Achard (20-21 August) promises 150 varieties of tomatoes and 70 varieties of peppers and chillies for those with more earthly ambitions. World dance and music fans should head to the Festival de Cugand (22-25 August) where 20,000 spectators will enjoy troupes from across the globe. The festival held in the Jardins de William Christie (see our feature on page 26) from 24-31 August is a highlight of the classical

music season, while Festival Face & Si at Moulleron-leCaptif offers 3 days of popular music ranging from classical groups to one-man shows and rock (6-8 September). International classical music festival, Les Estivales d’Artenetra takes centre stage of the offerings in Deux-Sèvres between 23 July10 August, followed by the Lumières du Baroque (24 August-1 September). After a tumultuous year following the failure of their festival last year, the storytelling association Le Nombril du Monde are back with a new format, Kilomètres aux Conteurs (16-21 September) when storytellers will travel through the Gâtine.

AUTOROUTE DELAYS

The Vendée and Charente-Maritime have joined forces to continue to lobby for the proposed A831, ‘l’autoroute des estuaires’, between Fontenay-le-Comte and Rochefort. Already twenty years in the planning and signed off in 2011 by Prime Minister François Fillon, it is proposed that the 64km autoroute would enable the region to grow economically and touristically while alleviating the already crowded roads around La Rochelle and across the Marans. However, the project received a serious blow in June when the Duron report on transport relegated the project to non-priority status and recommended postponement to 2050. The cost of the project is estimated at over 900 million euros of which a significant proportion would be used to safeguard the environment, and it would be co-funded by the state and the collectivités concerned. While the project is supported by many local politicians and elected officials, there has been substantial opposition from local and environmental organisations.

Curiosities and Marvels

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Built in the 16th century by the influential Gouffier family, the picture postcard Château d’Oiron now houses the Curios & Mirabilia collection of contemporary art, inspired by the ‘cabinet of curiosities’ a tribute to the fabulous art collection of Claude Gouffier, equerry to Henri II. In this exceptional space, which features a gallery of Renaissance murals in the style of the School of Fontainebleau and painted, sculpted wood panelling of the 17th century, contemporary artists exhibit their works. Follow in the footsteps of the Marquis de Carabas, the fictional master of Puss in Boots - said to have been based on Claude Gouffier himself - and stroll among the ‘curiosities’ and ‘marvels’. 12km east of Thouars, near the Deux-Sèvres / Vienne border, the château is open daily until 30 September (10.30am-6.30pm). Entry costs 7.50€ for adults and is free for under 18s and students. www.oiron.fr


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Madame Butterfly

Nuits Romanes

just half an hour from Poitiers, makes these evenings unique in the region’s music calendar. Choose from seats ranging in price from 45 to 79€, or sit on the grassy bank for only 18€. See www.operasanxay.fr.

©F ROCH

Following La Traviata last year, Les Soirées Lyriques de Sanxay are performing Puccini’s tragic opera Madame Butterfly on 8, 10, and 12 August. Directed by Didier Lucchesi, soprano Lianna Haroutounian – considered one of the most promising Verdi sopranos of her generation – plays Cio-Cio-San (Madame Butterfly), and internationally renowned tenor Thiago Arancam returns to Sanxay to play Pinkerton. Recognised as one of the leading open-air operatic events in France, the setting of the performances in the ancient Gallo-Roman amphitheatre,

With free events at historic locations across the region running until 1 September, there is still plenty of time to capture one of the awe-inspiring shows for posterity. And if you do snap that perfect photo, why not enter the Nuits Romanes mobile phone photo competition? You can bag yourself a GoPro Hero3 camera or a stay at Angles-sur l’Anglin for two people. Just download the mobile app for either Iphone or Android and follow the instructions. See www.nuitsromanes. poitou-charentes.fr for full details.

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Hotel du Diamant

Having just celebrated their two year anniversary, owners James and Nicky are looking forward to many more years at the Hotel du Diamant in Mauprevoir. “We moved here when the nancial crisis was beginning to bite,” says James, “and took over a hotel/bar that was threatened with closure. I think that many people thought we were mad!” But hard work and vision have paid off as the couple have built a loyal clientele of both French and English speakers who appreciate the good food and friendly welcome on offer. Themed nights in the restaurant have proved a hit and their regular music nights are well frequented in both winter and summer. Open daily except for Wednesday, and with free WiFi, it’s the perfect place for meeting friends and many associations hold their regular get-togethers at the hotel. www.hoteldudiamant.com, 05 49 87 20 28.

Les Templiers

Good luck to the eight French and English cyclists from the south Vienne who are entered into the Le Mans 24 hour ‘Cyclosportive’ on 24-25 August. Raising money for the research and awareness of testicular cancer, they will be alongside 2,500 other contestants who ride either solo or in teams of up to eight. To support this good cause, visit www.justgiving. com/LesTempliers24HR.

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* * * L i v in g

BEST PLACES TO VISIT | KIDS’

FREE GUIDE 2013

DAYS OUT |

| WHAT’S ON

POITOU CHARENTES

> INSID E

Great days out!

Keep the family busy this summer...

PACKED FULL OF GREAT IDEAS What to

JOURNÉES PATRIMOINE Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the European Heritage Days as well as the centenary of the law for the protection of historical monuments in France, this year’s heritage weekend on 14-15 September promises to be the largest ever. With the theme ‘19132013: cent ans de protection’ (a hundred years of conservation), historic buildings across France will be opening their doors and inviting visitors to areas not usually seen by the public. Across Poitou-Charentes, more than 800 historic buildings are participating in the programme, the details of which can be found at tourist offices.

the best of summer

Festival fever!

Our guide to what’s on this summer

see, where to go and what to do

SU MMER The ultimate guide to your summ GUIDE er in Poitou-Charentes

FESTIVAL DES LUMIÈRES

Here at Living we love to hear about new festivals around the region. It takes a brave team to launch an event in the current climate, but the Festival les Lumières in Montmorillon is one such celebration. Following on from a successful opening year in 2012, this year’s programme includes recitals, theatre, parades and shows for children. A mixture of free activities in the afternoon with paid concerts in the evening, the highlights include recitals by Sarah Lavaud and Hugues Leclère, pianists, musical theatre by Casanova and duo Julien and Dimitri Bouclier, violin and accordion. Tickets cost 20€ or a three day pass to all concerts can be purchased for 50€ from www. festival-des-lumieres.com.

Exploring the coast!

Top beaches, coastal towns and islands

For lots of inspiration for the legion of summer visitors heading your way, be sure to pick up a copy of our 2013 Summer Guide. We’ve carefully selected our favourite things to do and places to see from across the region, and popped them all in a handy 64-page guide. Do you want to know about unmissable festivals, or the best places to go as a family? Perhaps your guests want to visit a local museum, discover a remarkable garden or find the best beaches? Or which cognac houses offer tours, when markets are open and what local delicacies should you try… these are some of the questions we answer for you. And, like Living Magazine, the guide is absolutely free, and available online too. But be quick – like Living Magazine, they’ll disappear very fast!

SPECIAL OFFER Subscribe to Living Magazine and you’ll receive your own copy of the Summer Guide in the post, plus 6 copies of Living to your door. See our website for details. www.livingmagazine.fr


Out & about....

Mas de Montet

Set in 130 acres of rolling countryside, this Renaissance château is the perfect place for those special occasions. Having recently undergone an extensive renovation, the château now boasts ten well-appointed bedrooms and suites including the Mitterand suite where the President regularly stayed. The four-star restaurant serves traditional French cuisine made from the finest local ingredients, many grown in the château’s own gardens; dine à la carte or choose from the Discover or Mas de Montet menus. And, if you want to learn the secrets of the region’s food, the cookery classes with Executive Chef Marie Verdier, born and raised in the heart of the Perigord, are highly recommended. Children will love the Mas de Montet too with its wide choice of outdoor activities, including tree climbing and horse-riding, after which the family can relax beside the heated outdoor swimming pool and simply enjoy the beautiful surroundings. www.lemasdemontet. com, tel 05 53 90 08 71.

FARMERS’ MARKETS

One of the delights of summer has to be the numerous evening Farmers’ Markets held across the region. The Haute-Vienne offers a full programme of markets until mid-September with the opportunity to enjoy your purchases al fresco, often with entertainment laid on. The markets start between 5-6.30pm and you can find the details on www.marchesproducteurs. com – just pick your département to find the markets near you.

English spoken

Welcome ! For all your banking and insurance needs, our English-speaking advisors are just a phone call away. Contact us on 0033 (0) 545 204 960 Local call rate from a landline depending on the operator

www.ca-englishspoken.com The Crédit Agricole CHARENTE-PÉRIGORD regional Mutual Fund is a cooperative company with variable capital officially recognised as a credit institution. Corporate headquarters are located 28-30 Rue d’Epagnac, Soyaux (Charente), France, and the firm is listed under the number 775 569 726 on the ANGOULEME trade register and registered as an insurance broker with ORIAS under the reference 07 008 428. Maïa www.maia-creation.com – Photo : © Istockphoto – 12/2012.


Out & about.... PERIGORD FESTIVALS

One of the top mime festivals in Europe, which attracts more than 50,000 spectators, gets underway 29 July – 3 August. Now in its 31st year, Mimos is equal to MimeLondon in the mime calendar and features a mixture of free and paying performances in locations across

Périgueux. For ceramic fans, the 2013 Géneration Céramique exhibition at the Domaine de Montagenet near Nontron runs until 11 August with nine ceramicists participating. Four spectacular châteaux and manoirs are getting dressed up for unforgettable evenings throughout August. Visit the Manoir Hautegente, the Château de Puymartin, the Château des Bories or the Château de Biron and discover the Perigord gastronomy, son et lumière shows, fireworks and much more. See www.dordogneperigord-tourisme.fr for full details.

Son et Lumière Now something of a tradition for Loire Valley châteaux, this year’s offering of Sound and Light shows offers visitors the opportunity to experience the châteaux as never before. The new show at the Château de Saumur, ‘Les Écuyers du Temps’, will enthral audiences until 24 August with its ninety minute show featuring the horses and riders from the Cadre Noir. At the Château d’Azay-le-Rideau, giant projections set to music bathe the historic monument in light, while at Chenonceau the gardens are illuminated accompanied by the music of Corelli. For full details see www.valdeloire-tourisme.fr.

Orchestre Pelléas

Festival du Haut Limousin Created in 1999, the festival has grown into a two week celebration of popular and traditional music performed by emerging talents such as le Jeune Chœur du Limousin alongside more experienced artists. From 2-17 August, concerts and shows interspersed with more unusual rendez-vous including walks, films, meetings with the artists, will take place at venues from Villefavard to Ambazac and Montrol-Sénard. Full details can be found at www.festival duhautlimousin.com, 05 55 60 29 32.

Summer Scenes

Running until 30 September, the annual summer season of festivals and shows across Gironde is well underway. Of the 1000 events planned, at least half are free with several supported by the Conseil Générale. More than 200 communes are involved and 17 different acts tour the département for the whole of the summer. To find out what is on near you, just download the app ‘Les Scènes d’Été’ on your smartphone or visit the website at www.scenesdete.fr.

Duke - one of the acts performing

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Indre ambassadors

Residents of Indre are eligible for free entry into twenty-five of the départements’ top tourist attractions if they accompany a paying guest. Simply fill in the form found online or at your local mairie, and send with proof of domicile to receive your card which is valid until 31 March 2014 (limited to one card per household). Sites participating in the scheme range from the Château d’Azayle-Ferron to the Ecomusée de la Brenne au Blanc and the Réserve Animalière de la Haute-Touche à Obterre. Alternatively, you can visit 45 sites at a reduced price by picking up a ‘Visa36’ at any of the participating sites. See www.indre.fr.


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LIVING PLACES TO VISIT

On Reflection We recently visited the Vallée de la Dronne to discover the fascinating

story of Brantôme – one of northern Dordogne’s star attractions WORDS & PHOTOS: ROGER MOSS

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LIVING PLACES TO VISIT

F

or over a thousand years the riverside town of Brantôme has been perfecting the art of extending a warm welcome to travellers. Most of today’s visitors come to see for themselves the much photographed site, shimmering amid the waters of the River Dronne, which inspired French Prime Minister Raymond Poincaré (during an official visit in 1913) to coin the inevitable subtitle of ‘la Venise du Périgord’. Early man, however, had very different priorities when he first chose to settle here. In uncertain times the security of an island sheltered by a nearby limestone escarpment (whose

curving embrace had been eroded by the now innocent looking river) made this a very desirable location. As a bonus, gushing from the base of the rock face was a freshwater spring, a miraculous feature which made this a place of early pagan worship. The ‘fountain of the rock’ is today hidden away behind Brantôme’s vast Benedictine abbey, founded in AD769 when Frankish King Charlemagne visited to donate relics of Saint Sicaire, one of the innocent children massacred by Herod. Word soon spread, whereupon Brantôme suddenly found itself an important destination of holy pilgrimage. However, it would also attract

the attention of less welcome visitors, including waterborne Viking raiders, who sacked the village and decimated the abbey in 848 and again in 857. During these and subsequent troubled times, the ancient caves surrounding the spring provided the monks with shelter along with limestone with which to rebuild the abbey. During the 11th century they quarried ever deeper into the rocks to enlarge the abbey and accommodate the increasing numbers of pilgrims bound for Santiago de Compostela on the Via Lemovicensis (running between Vézelay and the Pyrenees, with Brantôme almost exactly at its mid-point).

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living places to visit

Riverside dining on Quai Bertin

Against all odds, the four storey clocher (the oldest such bell tower in all France) still survives from this period, and guided tours of the abbey offered by the tourist office reveal to summer visitors the tower’s innermost secrets. After a grounding in how the abbey’s long history is intimately linked to that of the town itself, the tour moves via the 15th century chapter house to the dark and cavernous abbey-église interior, which still contains the precious relics brought here a thousand years ago by Charlemagne. At this point, it’s worth glancing upwards at the stone vaults poised far above the nave by way of mental preparation for climbing the time-worn stone steps of a spiral staircase which will take you high among the vast roof timbers of the nave. When you emerge you’ll also find yourself face-to-face with the normally hidden, roughly finished upper surfaces of the Gothic stone vaults which replaced cupola-style domes during the 15th century. Now comes the highlight of the tour. The tower itself is separate from the main body of the abbey (making it technically a campanile), and was partly constructed directly above the limestone caves. This meant distribut-

ing the colossal weight of the tower on a huge, domed stone vault, something you’ll discover at close hand, since the tour now takes you right underneath it. If this doesn’t unnerve you, then what follows will test your head for heights instead. After climbing more stone steps, first to a parapet on the nave roof and then to transfer to the tower just below the bell chamber, you’ll be rewarded with views through the Romanesque-arched masonry Seeing things differently, on a river cruise

www.lecoureurindien.com Family bistro run by the Perigord-American family of Pierre-Arnaud and Mary-Anne 23 Rue Victor Hugo 24310 Brantôme Tel: 05 53 13 33 90

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Le Coureur Indien

During an official visit in 1913, French Prime Minister Raymond Poincaré coined the inevitable subtitle of  ‘la Venise du Périgord’ which are already impressive, and about to get even more so. It’s best not to look down on the last stage of the climb, via an open-tread timber staircase clinging precariously to the tower’s rear wall (the stonework has no openings since it sits against rock face). Keep both your nerve and your legs and this rite of passage will bring you to the bell chamber, where two venerable bronze bells with a combined weight of around Rennaissance-style gardens between the abbey and the Pont à Coudé


LIVING PLACES TO VISIT

The views from the clocher reveal the island setting; BELOW LEFT: The heart of things: Rue Victor Hugo; BELOW RIGHT: The 11th century clocher

Don’t miss...

A wooded backdrop to riverside tranquility

two tonnes are suspended on a forest of weathered timbers. Soaring high above them is the interior of the famous square spire constructed entirely in stone – a clear symbol of wealth and prestige in a time when lesser structures typically employed slates or tiles. After threading your way carefully between the timbers you’ll finally get to enjoy the definitive overview of the abbey roof, the town encircled by the River Dronne and beyond it the ancient forests of northern Dordogne. On the way back down to the safety

of terra-firma, you can ponder the great wealth generated by visiting pilgrims which not only benefited the abbey, but also financed the construction of Angoulême’s first cathedral, consecrated in 1017. While you’re here it’s also worth visiting the grottoes (at the rear of the abbey), the most impressive of which contains huge 15th century bas-relief carvings of the Last Judgement, the Crucifixion, etc. In another cave, you’ll discover the ancient spring, still flowing as forcefully as ever from the base of the rocks. Over the centuries Brantôme wit-

Brantôme Abbey Church and Bell Tower: Guided visits (in French but with English transcription) run several times daily April - October, adult €6-50. Reserve your place at the Tourist Office. tel: 05 53 05 80 63. Abbaye Grottes & Musée Fernand Desmoulin: Troglodytic caves cut into the limestone cliffs, with 16th century bas-relief carvings, plus the miraculous fountain of St Sicarius, upon which the monastery and the town of Brantôme once relied. The artistic works of Fernand Desmoulin (1853-1914), created while under the influence of spiritualism, are at times bizarre, but the extraordinary exhibition within the Abbey buildings is worth visiting. Combined entry: adults €4-50, opening times vary. Details www. perigord-dronne-belle.fr Bateau Promenade: Gentle cruises lasting around 50 minutes on an electric powered boat, with commentary in English and French. Departure from Le Pont Coudé. Tel: 05 53 04 74 71 L’Arche de Noë: Punt-style trips with commentary in French, departing from the Place du Marché. Tel: 09 79 71 17 16 Water-jousting, in front of the abbey from 9pm on Fridays throughout August. Local producers’ markets Tuesday mornings and Friday evenings from 5pm until 10 September.

nessed both turmoil and prosperity, the rich legacy of which contributed to this fascinating place gaining official recognition as one of the ‘Plus Beaux Détours de France’. Apart from the circular Tour St Roch and the Porte des Réformes gateway at either end of the abbey, a bastion-like tower near the 18th century former hospital and some medieval stonework incorporated into grander private homes along the Quai Bertin, little survives of the

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Factfile

A summer evening in Bourdeilles

fortifications which once protected the town from attack. Signs of prosperity, on the other hand, are everywhere, particularly (and not surprisingly) in the area around the abbey. The Jardin des Moines is today more park than garden, with mature magnolias and other decorative trees, but three elegant 16th century Renaissance reposoirs (shelters) and a nearby pavilion from the same period tell of former glories. In order to reach his beloved gardens, Abbot Pierre de Mareuil spanned the river with the graceful multi-arched Pont à Coudé (or elbow bridge) which has since become one of

Brantôme’s best-known features. Beside the bridge are a former watermill (now an elegant hotel restaurant) and a broad weir, above which is the departure point for passenger-boat river cruises. Spanning the river immediately in front of the abbey is the Pont Coudé’s similarly elegant counterpart, beside which on the opposite riverbank stands the former Eglise Notre-Dame, newly restored to provide the Office de Tourisme with a new home. Beyond lies the cheerful historic heart of Brantôme, which, as countless visitors continue to discover, is a joy to explore.

Sights nearby... Château de Bourdeilles (9.2km) Perched above the Dronne river and dominating this pretty village, there are actually two chateaux to explore on the same site, one medieval and one Renaissance (known for its exceptional furniture collections), plus fine Renaissance gardens. Adults €7, child €4-50, opening times vary, audioguide available in English.  Details www.semitour.fr. Night markets in Bourdeilles: Weds 7, 14, and 21 Aug La Grotte de Villars (13km) Discovered by local potholers in 1953, Périgord’s largest network of natural caves (13km so far explored) were formed by an underground river. Guided tours reveal a fantastic world of stalactites and stalagmites, plus original prehistoric cave paintings of horses and bison. There’s also a Nature and Prehistory Garden designed to allow families to have fun while discovering the way of life of early man, plus a son et lumière show for each visit. Guided visits last 45min (+ 20min video presentation). Not wheelchair accessible, and take warm clothing, as underground temp is 13C. Open daily 1 Apr - 11 Nov. Details 05.53.54.82.36 www.grotte-villars.com

Hôtel RestauRant CHaRbonnel

Ideal location, with rooms overlooking the river Dronne, close to the major sights and attractions offered in the Périgord vert. Enjoy freshly-prepared regional food in our restaurant or on our riverside terrace. www.lesfReResCHaRbonnel.Com Tel: 05 53 05 70 15 e: charbonnel.freres@wanadoo.fr

57 rue Gambetta, 24310 Brantôme

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Ref: S949 371 000€ FAI 5 bedroom maison de maître set on 4.3ha with 2-storey tower. Well and water source. 2 garages.

Ref: S874 399 000€ FAI Nr Brantôme. Renovated farm with charming gîte, outbuildings on 5.5ha. For nature lovers.

Ref: S614 580 000€ FAI Between Brantôme and Périgueux. Magnificent 5 bed house on 18ha with gîte, pool, stables and barn.

Ref: S900 68 000€ FAI 3 roomed house to renovate with cellar and attic. Attached barn, set on 2130m2 land. Good potential.

Ref: S868 123 000€ FAI 3 bedroom renovated house with barn and enclosed land, cellar. Near river. Great opportunity.

Ref: S672 191 700€ FAI Brantôme: Close to shops, 4 beds, separate cottage in garden. 1360m2 garden plus garage.

25 Rue Gambetta / 33 rue Puyjoli 24310 BRANTOME Tel: 05.53.02.64.40

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SKY HIGH

LIVING DAYS OUT

If you love the freedom of the open roads of France then you’re not going to believe what the open skies have to offer – and getting up there could be easier than you might think...

A

s you’ll already know if you’ve flown to or from one of the region’s commercial airports, the countryside you think you know so well on the ground suddenly looks very different from the air. It’s surprising what’s tucked away out of sight of earthbound travellers, and factors like weather conditions, the time of day and the changing seasons mean that the scene spread below you is never going to look quite the same twice. Now imagine how it might look if, instead of a limited window seat view,

you had the big picture? If you feel like finding out, there are many options available to you starting with the purist approach of a hot-air balloon flight, as pioneered by the Montgolfier brothers in 1783, over a century before the Wright brothers made their first powered flight. Western France offers many launch points for flights, for unimagined bird’s-eye views of many of our finest landscape features. See separate panel for details of flights over the Vendée and Marais Poitevin. The next, more hands-on step up

from ballooning is paragliding or parapente – the hang-gliding concept, but suspended beneath a giant version of the flexi-foils used by kite surfers, kite skiers and speed riders. Again there are many sites, and you can get a feel for parapente flying by taking a tandem taster flight with a qualified instructor, either via a specialist company or by going along to one of the clubs run by enthusiasts. It’s exhilarating, and it’s now possible to do it from virtually any patch of open ground, thanks to the development of the paramoteur – a backpack-style

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living days out

Royan’s aviation pioneers

Get started with a British flying instructor

Stuart Morton knows all about the joys of flying in France. After learning to fly here himself, his enthusiasm for his new-found passion propelled him to qualifying as an EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) flying instructor, and since 2011 has been passing on his skills to others with a similar desire to take to the skies. “Flying in France means not only frequent fine weather, lots of airspace and some wonderful scenery, but more practical advantages too. English language is used by Air Traffic Controllers, and France has some of the cheapest flying in Europe. At our home base of Limoges-Bellegarde Airport, for example, there are no landing fees for local club flyers, who are therefore free to concentrate on perfecting their takeoff and landing techniques. And if you feel like dropping in on one of the other airfields nearby you’ll find that fees there are very reasonable”.  Important factors like these allow Stuart to offer intensive personal one-to-one tuition for anyone from 14-85 wishing to acquire an EASA Personal Pilot Licence, and since he’s also a Civil Aviation Authority Ground Examiner, he can also offer relevant ground studies including Radio Telephony. Contact Stuart: 06 43 60 21 86  www.flyinginfrance.com

power unit which inflates the flexible aerofoil then powers you off the ground and into the skies, with no need for an elevated launch point. You can find out more at www.paramote.com. By now we’re in the realms of ULM (ultra-léger-motorisé) or microlight flying, which has for many years offered an affordable entry point for potential new pilots, in much the same way that karting kick-started many an aspiring motor sport driver. Aircraft-wise, the world of ULMs opens up some pretty intriguing options, from the powered flex-wing hang-glider (pendulaire) you’ll occasionally see (and hear) overhead, to what look to the untrained eye like stylish fixed-wing aircraft, yet which only weigh-in at around 500kg, or even less. And, if you ever find yourself getting all dewey-eyed about a childhood spent lovingly constructing flying model aircraft, you’ll no doubt be delighted to hear that even fixed-wing ULMs are actually available in kit form for you to assemble yourself. Among the region���s most enthusiastic ULM operators are Dave and Amanda Lord of Wanafly Airsports, who operate both flex- and fixed-wing aircraft from their home at

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Azat le Ris in Haute-Vienne, between Poitiers and Limoges. Dave learned to fly in the UK, and went on to qualify as an instructor which opened up some interesting possibilities for a couple with a shared passion for adventures. France clearly offered the space (both on the ground and in the air) they needed for what they had in mind, and now the former farm which they purchased in 2006 has acquired a 650m grass runway and a business offering tuition, with accommodation for those looking for intensive packages: www.wanafly.co.uk. Also falling within the ULM category are gyrocopters – autogyres – which are essentially modern-day incarnations of the Autogyro aircraft invented by Spaniard Juan de la Cierva in the early 1920s in answer to the age old fixed wing problem of how to fly Wanafly Airsports’ Skyranger ULM

In September 1910 Louis Gibert (holder of the world’s 92nd pilot’s licence) took off from Bordeaux and flew his Blériot monoplane for an impressive 156km before touching down at St Pierre, Royan. He then took off, flew over Vaux-sur-Mer and landed on Royan’s celebrated Grande Conche beach. Obviously getting into his stride, he took off once again, this time to drop a floral wreath on Saint-Palais-sur-Mer’s modest oratory chapel, dedicated to Notre-Dame du Platine (Patron Saint of Aviators) following Louis Blériot’s historic cross-Channel flight the previous year. Louis then returned to Royan, where he subsequently gave a flying demonstration, headed out for a return flight around the Phare du Cordouan in the Gironde estuary, then landed back on the beach to enthusiastic welcome.   On 4th September, 1913 Marcel Brindejonc des Moulinais landed his Morane-Saulnier monoplane before large crowds gathered on the beaches of Pontaillac and La Grande Conche, at the debut of what would become a brief but much-decorated career for the celebrated Breton aviator, who perished after being shot down three years later.  By 1930 Royan had established an Aéro Club, based at the Royan-Médis airfield established by Joseph de Lélée, who would become its chief pilot. Lélée was a relative of aircraft manufacturer Réné Caudron. At Lélée’s request, Réné Caudron established a school to train aviation mechanics and pilots at Royan. It opened in 1935, with workshop and hangar facilities for 600 trainee mécanicens de l’air, and was followed by the école de pilotage, whose biplanes soon became a familiar sight on a triangular test circuit 5000m above the Gironde estuary.

slowly without stalling. Pre-dating the helicopter, the Autogyro was developed for the RAF as the Avro Rota, and by France as the Leo C-302, an


A hot-air balloon flight is always something of an occasion, not least since the best times for flights are at sunrise and in the evening a couple of hours before sunset, when long shadows highlight every detail and the most subtle contours of the land. Montgolfière du Bocage offers both sunrise and evening flights from Puy du Fou or Poupet, in a valley near the Sèvre Nantaise, and sunrise flights from Fontenay Le Comte aerodrome in south

Musée de l’Aeronautique Naval, Rochefort The largest museum in France dedicated solely to naval aviation is based in two hangars donated by the Marine National de Rochefort. Manned since 1990 entirely by volunteer members, the Association ANAMAN (Association National des Amis du Musée de l’Aeronautique Naval) has so far amassed thirty-three historic aircraft, which its dedicated members restore and maintain for future generations. Among the treasures of the 11 hectare site are a WWII Dewoitine 520 fighter and lots from the 1950s, including Broussard and Lockheed Neptune reconnaissance aircraft, an Aquilon (De Havilland Sea Venom), a North American T6 Texan trainer and a Breguet Alizé anti-submarine aircraft. Representing the ’60s and ’70s  are an F8E Crusader fighter, a Super Frélon anti-submarine helicopter and the sole Jaguar M strike fighter. In addition there are 1500 models, ranging from the Zeppelin to the Stealth of the Gulf War, 200 other exhibits plus a thousand volume library. The Association hopes to open its doors to the public in 2015, although in the meantime, visitors are able (by reservation only, and preferably on Tuesdays) to take a guided tour. There’s no charge, but a donation of €5 per person is welcomed. Association Anaman, Rondpoint Albert Bignon BP 90179, 17300 Rochefort. The Tourist Office has more details 05 46 99 08 60  www.rochefort-ocean.com

Find out more...

Montgolfière du Bocage, L’Orfosse, 79140 CERIZAY  05 49 80 10 45   www.hot-air-balloon-rides.eu

example of which is on display at the Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace, Paris. Unlikely as it sounds, the gyrocopters’ main rotors are unpowered, and turn by ‘auto-rotation’, an effect stimulated by the horizontal current of air developed by the engine powered propeller used for forward propulsion. Autorotation generates lift – enough, in fact, for helicopters to land safely if they suffer an engine failure – and if you remember the sensational flying sequences of Little Nellie, James Bond’s yellow Wallis gyrocopter featured in ‘You Only Live Twice’, you’ll know that you can have a lot of fun in one of these machines. They’re also easy to transport, so you’ll often see one being trailed on the roads.

living days out

Aerial photographer Francis Leroy (who shot our stunning opening image) records the landscapes of western France as he sees them from his ultralight aircraft, which he flies from Luçon (85). Many of his finest views are featured in a series of four perpetual calendars covering the départements of Charente-Maritime, Loire-Atlantique, Deux-Sèvres and Vendée. The calendars are on sale in selected independent and supermarket bookshops in their respective départements, or direct from Francis at: www.imag-in-air.com, price 24.90 € including delivery.

Which brings us to the realm of more conventional fixed-wing powered aircraft and gliders. Here, in a very real sense, the sky is the limit, with all kinds of interests catered for, from pure leisure time relaxation to a practical alternative travel option – trips across France, across borders and to places like the Channel Islands (not to mention the UK) suddenly take on a totally different, more independent quality. Add such interesting diversions as restoring and flying classic and historic aircraft, and you can begin to appreciate why private flying

Siren: 449 714 989

Balloon Flights over Vendée countryside and Marais Poitevin

Vendée, around 45 km from La Rochelle. While actual flying times vary according to the wind speed and direction on the day, the company’s Skysurfer Hot Air Ballooning Experience lasts around four hours, and the fun begins as soon as you arrive at the launch fields. You’ll be greeted personally by your highly experienced pilots, Damien and Thomas (with over 2500 flying hours), who will then brief you carefully about what to expect on your balloon flight. Flights from Puy du Fou or Poupet will take you high above the forests of the Vendée and the landscapes of Deux-Sèvres, dotted with small châteaux, while taking off from Fontenay Le Comte offers overviews of the canal system of the Marais Poitevin (“green Venice”) and the abbey of Maillezais, with glimpses of wildlife such as roe deer, swans and grey heron. At the end of the flight you’ll receive a Balloonist’s Diploma followed by ‘the Balloonist’s Toast’, before a return car journey to the take-off area.

All reclamation bought & sold Demolition undertaken Specialists in oak beam Extensive selection of chipboard, CLS stud work and Plywood (internal, external and marine) 50,000 sq ft covered showrooms 1km from Confolens on D952 Mon-Sat 8.30am-6pm non-stop

www.livingmagazine.fr | 25 WWW.RECLAMATION-YARD.COM


living days out

Find out more...

>> Francoflyers is an English-language point of contact for flyers based in France. Created by Les King, the website provides a useful question and answer dialogue service: www.francoflyers.org >> The Fédération Française Aéronautique (FAA), formed in 1929, promotes private flying, supporting local clubs and flying facilities, helps young flyers, organises flying events and acts as an intermediary with the Direction Généraledel’Aviation Civile (DGAC). Membership brings basic insurance, with upgrade options: www.ff-aero.fr >> The Fédération Française de Vol à Voil (FFVV) promotes gliding activities in France.  http://ffvv.org/ >> The Direction de l’Aviation Civile Sud Ouest website has lists and a map of ULM/microlight, gliding and powered private flying aero clubs, schools and associations throughout Aquitaine and Poitou-Charentes: www.dac-so. aviation-civile.gouv.fr >> The Transport section of the Ministère de l’Ecologie, du Développement Durable et de l’Energie website has a wealth of useful information relating to all kinds of light aviation in France:  www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr >> The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has a wealth of information relating to aviation legislation: www.easa.europa.eu

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of whom will either have their own instructors or be able to put you in direct touch with someone qualified to help. Much the same goes for non fixed-wing flying, although if you have your sights set on helicopters then you might well have to travel further to find an airport offering this kind of tuition. Be aware too that night flying requirements are more demanding than for fixed-wing aircraft, not least due to a helicopter’s unique ability to fly (intentionally or otherwise) in any direction, as opposed to merely forwards. As regards classic and historic aircraft, the appeal parallels that of vintage and classic cars, and there are some remarkable machines still flying. Many flying clubs have extraordinarily dedicated enthusiasts among their

© Wanafly Airsports

has such a broad, multi-layered appeal. Regardless of your ultimate intentions (which can change as you begin to flex your newly sprouted wings), the entry point is the same as for ULMs, i.e. a taster flight, ideally with a qualified instructor, who is aware of your interest and who will be able to help you along the way. You’re also sure to find a warm welcome at your local flying club (our factfile list gives locations and contact details), most

The aviator behind Le Petit Prince...

Much of the continuing French passion for flying was inspired by the life and works of one of her best known literary figures. Before writing Le Petit Prince (currently the world’s third-bestselling work of fiction) Antoine de Saint Exupéry was an aviator, gaining his wings with the French Air Force before piloting early Aéropostale mail flights between Toulouse and Dakar (Senegal). In 1929 he was awarded the Légion d’Honneur for his work in securing the release of French flyers held captive in Morocco, and went on to do pioneering work in establishing new air routes in South America. His flying exploits inspired L’Aviateur (1929), Vol de Nuit (1931) and Le Petit Prince (1942) much of whose imagery was prompted by his near-death experience after crashing in the Sahara during an attempt to break the Paris-Saigon speed record. During WWII he fled to the USA and

members, and none more so than RRAA – Reconstructions Répliques Avions Anciens – a group of retired pilots up in Fontenay-le-Comte (Vendée) who spent 33,000 man hours and 17 years constructing a 3/4-scale flying replica De Havilland Moslobbied for US military intervention in Europe, then flew with the Free French Air Force in Algeria before piloting reconnaissance missions in a specially adapted US Lockheed Lightning from Corsica to monitor German military movements. On 31st July, 1944 he failed to return, his P38 having gone down in the Bay of Carqueiranne, near Toulon, presumed shot down by a German fighter pilot. Part of the landing gear of the aircraft was recovered in 2003 and is now displayed in the excellent Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace at Le Bourget Airport (Paris), while the man himself was famously portrayed on French 50 Franc banknotes issued in 1993.

Find out more

www.antoinedesaintexupery.com – includes all the aircraft types he is known to have flown. www.fondation-antoinede-saint-exupery.org – a charitable foundation established in the writer/aviator’s name to promote and support activities for young people.


L’Île d’Aix, as seen by aerial photographer Francis Leroy

LIVING DAYS OUT

Local Airfields ANGOULÊME-COGNAC 16430 Champniers, 05 45 69 88 09,  www.angouleme.aeroport.fr.  Héli Union Training Centre Professional trains helicopter pilots www. hutc.fr/centre-de-formation; Rotor Angoulême specialises in helicopter maintenance and private pilot training www.rotor-france.com/basera. html; Aéro-Nautic Services & Engineering researches modern airship potential. 1860m tarmac runway, plus a 750m grass strip. L’Aéroclub d’Angoulême (powered light aircraft) http://.ac.angouleme.free.fr and l’Association des Ailes Angoumoisines et Charentaises (gliding) http://planeurs.angouleme.free.fr. CHALAIS 2 km SW of Chalais. 840m grass runway. Les Ailes Chalaisiennes flying club http://aileschalaisiennes.sportblog.fr - private powered and glider flying. COGNAC CHÂTEAUBERNARD 16130 Cognac,05 45 82 13 51, http:// aeroclub.cognac.free.fr. 6 km S of Cognac, and home to the Air Force flying school (EPAA) but open to domestic, non-scheduled commercial traffic and private aircraft. Home to European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) ‘Snowy’ surveillance drones, the French Air Force Cartouche Doré aerobatic team and Les Ailes Cognaçaises Aéro-Club (powered light aircraft, gliders and aero-modelling). JONZAC-NEULLES 17500 JonzacNeulles. 4km N of Jonzac, offers lightaircraft and hot-air balloon flights, plus instruction incl. night flying. 1250m (plus 610m ultra-light-only) runways. L’Aeroclub Jonzacais: 05 46 48 06 47, http://aeroclub-jonzacais. com LA ROCHELLE - ÎLE DE RÉ 17000 La Rochelle. 2255m tarmac runway used by commercial carriers. L’Aéroclub de La Rochelle et Charente-Maritime http://aeroclub17. com; l’Aéroclub Rochellais http:// aeroclubrochelais.free.fr; la Grand Club Ouest Aviation Altitudes www. parachutisme.net (parachute/freef-

all); Aunis Air www.aunisair.com; Air Loisirs (for amateur aircraft constructors) and Héliberté www.heliberte.fr (helicopter pleasure flights). MARENNES 17320 Saint-Just Luzac. Licensed for limited private lightaircraft, 770m grass runway, unsupervised. L’Aéroclub Albert Baron 05 46 85 06 51. PONS-AVY 17800 Pons. 1250m grass runway, plus grass and gravel model aircraft strips. L’Aéroclub de Pons www.aeropons.fr ROCHEFORT 17620 Saint-Agnant. Has an important military role, is home to l’Ecole de Formation des Sous-Officiers de l’Armée de l’Air (EFSOAA) and has 2280m tarmac and 830m grass runways. L’Aero-club Charentais et l’Aéroclub du pays Rochefortais http://acpr17.overblog.com and l’Aéroclub Charentais http://accharentais.free.fr. Activities include light aircraft and glider flying instruction. ROYAN - MÉDIS 17600 Médis. Royan’s historic airfield has 1255m tarmac and 1000m grass runways. A full-time Chief Pilot oversees instruction, possible throughout the year at Royan (and Saturdays at Soulac). Scenic flights plus pilot taster

quito. http://bogaert.jimdo.com. A similar group nearby is currently lovingly restoring a 1959 Sikorski H34A helicopter to an airworthy state. You can find out more about classic aviation projects and events here: http:// passiondesavions.blogspot.fr/. Onto the noble pursuit of gliding. Inherently more affordable than

sessions. l’Aéroclub de Royan 05 46 06 86 00 www.aeroclub-royan.com SAINTES - THÉNAC 17460 Thenac. Popular with British visitors flying planes, gliders and model aircraft. Flight instruction (incl aerobatics) seven days a week, 05 46 93 08 97. Seven gliders available in summer, 06 99 73 50 44. Model aircraft club for free-flight and R/C aircraft. http:// acsaintes.pagesperso-orange.fr SAINT-JEAN-D’ANGÉLY - SAINT-DENISDU-PIN 850m long grass runway. Home to l’Aéroclub Angérien 05 46 32 19 38 http://aeroclub.angerien.pages perso-orange.fr/. Flying instruction in a Cessna 152, Wed-Sat. SAINT-PIERRE-D’OLÉRON 17310 St Pierre d’Oléron. 1011m and 520m grass runways. l’Aéroclub Les Ailes Oléronaises 05 46 47 02 31. Instruction, scenic flights, new hangars for 40 aircraft and ULMs. MAULÉON-BOCAGE 79700 Rorthais. Opened in 1995, it hosts l’Aéroclub du Bocage 05 49 81 85 54 www. aeroclubdubocage79.fr - flying instruction and pleasure flights over north Deux-Sèvres. NIORT-MARAIS POITEVIN 79000 Niort. Open 24 hours a day, serving business jets, military transports

powered flight, you nevertheless need to get up there before you can float around in search of the thermals which will carry you further afield. A winch-tow or décollage au treuil will get you to 400-500m, winches being generally electrically powered, generate (and store) current via photo-voltaic solar cells and you have some-

and light aircraft. L’Aéroclub de Niort www.aeroclub-niort.net flies planes and gliders. Instruction, taster and scenic flights. L’Aero Club of DeuxSèvres www.aeroclubdesdeuxsevres. org offers training and flights, with instructors for planes and gliders. Other activities: microlights http:// club-ulm-niort.com, model aircraft http://amcnsouche.e-monsite.com and parachuting www.niort-parachutisme.com. Les Ailes Anciennes http://ailesanciennesniortaises. e-monsite.com preserves classic/ heritage aircraft. THOUARS 79100 Missé. 5km from Thouars in N Deux-Sèvres, with 1100m grass runway, the Aeroclub Thouarsais offers pilot instruction and leisure flights. www.aeroclub thouarsais.info CHÂTELLERAULT - TARGÉ 3km S of Châtellerault. Les Ailes Châtelleraudaises flying club was established in 1933 and offers afternoon instruction (all day at weekends) www.aileschat. org. Active model aircraft club. CHAUVIGNY has a 740m grass runway. L’Aéro-club has been training plane and glider pilots for 60 years, and added ULMs in 2008. http://acch.free.fr COUHÉ - VÉRAC 86700 Couhé. Two grass runways, one for ULMs. L’Aéro-Club de Couhé http://lfdv. blogspot.fr offers pilot instruction including a Handivol programme training disabled pilots. Annual Air Day www.meeting-couhe.com in July. LOUDUN 86200 Loudun. Recentlyrefurbished 790m grass runway. Leisure flights and pilot initiation sessions offered by l’Aéro-Club Loudunais http://aeroclubloudun.fr AÉROPORT DE POITIERS-BIARD  86580 Biard www.poitiers.aeroport. fr/en 05 49 30 04 40 Managed by Vinci Airports since January 2013, Poitiers plans more low-cost flights to European destinations. In addition to pilot training, the Aéro-Club du Poitou www.acpvolmoteur.com offers glider flights and training, plus aero modelling. L’Aéroclub ASPTT Poitiers www.acaspttpoitiers.fr offers taster and pleasure flights. For more comprehensive details and additional airfields, see www.livingmagazine.fr

thing truly sustainable, with near zero running costs. Less so is the classic 70m cable tow behind a tug aircraft – avion-rémorquer – direct to the all-important thermals. The third option is a glider equipped with a small motor to get you up and floating, at which point you cut the engine and go gliding, free as a bird.

www.livingmagazine.fr | 25


LIVING GARDENS

‘‘A bravura clipped-

box homage to Italianate Renaissance and

Baroque gardens...’’

Magnum Opus We travel to the fertile plains of southern Vendée, to discover

an extraordinary garden whose owner has devoted over thirty

years to creating a world apart and who, for a few short weeks each summer, opens its doors to astonished visitors. WORDS & PHOTOS: ROGER MOSS

26 | www.livingmagazine.fr


living gardens

L

e Jardin du Bâtiment looks and feels like a private retreat created by someone who clearly treasures his time here. Indeed he does, but William Christie is more accustomed to being in the public eye, having risen to become an internationally acclaimed conductor of Baroque music. After leaving his native USA and coming to France in 1971, he embraced both contemporary and French Baroque music, and in 1979 founded Les Arts Florissants, a vocal and instrumental ensemble destined to revive interest in a largely forgotten

17th/18th century musical form. A few years later he chanced upon the early 17th century Logis du Bâtiment in a state of abandoned desolation, and set about patiently restoring both its original character and dignity, and giving the house the garden which in all probability it had never known. Thirty years of inspired commitment have created not just one but a steadily increasing collection – ‘ensemble’ sounds appropriate – of garden areas, adding to them whenever adjoining parcels of land become available for purchase. Currently they cover around 15ha, with the potential for landscap-

ing on a scale seldom seen today, particularly by private owners. Visitors are free to explore, beginning with the Cour d’Honneur, a bravura clipped-box homage to Italianate Renaissance and Baroque gardens, with slender cones rising from swirling parterres. The almost whimsical effect is a perfect complement to the composure of the logis. To the right a tall, extravagantly sculpted Baroquemeets-Chinese screen of yew hedging conceals the semi-circular Théatre de Verdure. Beyond it lie the Verger – a large fruit orchard, laid out in Renaissance style as four giant parterre beds

www.livingmagazine.fr | 27


LIVING GARDENS

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TOP: Agapanthus . THIS PICTURE: abundant flowerbeds are found throughout the garden.

Le Jardin du Bâtiment William Christie

32 rue du Bâtiment, 85210 Thiré. Open 1pm-7pm daily, daily throughout September. 4€ adults, under-12s free (children should be supervised when visiting the garden). Smoking not permitted and dogs are not allowed in the garden. www.jardindewilliamchristie.fr

plus a smaller Potager – and a Jardin Americain, featuring billowing echinacea and other perennials. Below the logis’ eastern gable end lies an intimate cloister garden bounded by low galleries of stone, brick and chestnut trellis work, roofed with old Roman tiles. This small haven is set around complex box parterres planted with tulips and white petunias, the mood softened by potted geraniums and scented climbing roses. The cloister is also gateway to the vast rear gardens, whose dazzling vistas fall away from a terrace extending the full width of

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the logis and which are enclosed by alleys of pleached limes and clipped hornbeam. Geometrical yew topiary adds individual forms plus compartmental division, revealing, in the middle distance, a fountain rising from a 70m long canal, centrepiece of a vast water garden sheltered by avenues of plane trees. Beyond lies almost as much land again, which William Christie is gradually transforming to extend the earthly Paradise (listed since 2004 as a “Jardin Remarquable” and since 2006 as a “Monument Historique”) which he has already created.

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LIVING WILDLIFE WILLOW EMERALD DAMSELFLY (Lestes viridis); Common in Poitou-Charentes and, due to climate change, one of the few species now regularly occurring and breeding in the UK. Habitat preference includes almost any type of standing water with bordering trees and bushes.

DAINTY WHITE-FACED DARTER (Leucorrhinia caudalis); a rare species in our region which lives mainly on forest lakes and étangs with plenty of floating aquatic vegetation – hence the alternative name of Lilypad Whiteface.

&

DRAGONFLIES DAMSELFLIES

Chris Luck enlists the help of photographer and naturalist Nick Ransdale to explore the intriguing world of these closely-related and captivating insects… PHOTOS: NICK RANSDALE / MOULISMES NATURE

A male SOUTHERN HAWKER (Aeshna cyanea)

F

For hundreds of years man has been fascinated by dragonflies and damselflies, as they dart around the margins of ponds and rivers. Effective insect predators, they have been used by ancient tribes to control disease carrying mosquito populations and are the subject of many myths and legends. Of the 100 or so Odonata species which occur in France, 68 can be found in Poitou-Charentes, with 50-odd species (including some rarities) found within an hour of Nick’s home in Moulismes, Vienne. The Parc Naturel Régional de la Brenne, with its thousands of lakes, and the interesting Réserve Naturelle

PHOTO LEFT: Exuvia of LARGE RED DAMSELFLY (Pyrrhosoma nymphula); dragonflies and damselflies can spend up to five years underwater as larvae before emerging as adults. This is an exuvia, or larval skin, left behind after that emergence.

32 | www.livingpoitoucharentes.com

du Pinail, with its numerous scattered pools, are both a relatively short drive away. Equally there’s no shortage of ponds, lakes, rivers and streams throughout the region as a whole, and it’s possible to see 20 or more species around a well-established lake. Some species will only use rivers, acid water or fast streams, so there’s plenty of scope for searching out specific species in their chosen habitat, and many are no further away than your local plan d’eau, favourite stretch of riverside or even your garden pond. Interestingly, and perhaps surprisingly, nearly forty per cent of the species of dragonflies of Poitou-Charentes are included in the region’s list of threatened species, with most suffering from the impact of human activities which have adverse effects on our fragile wet zone ecosystems. Of the 68 species of


LIVING WILDLIFE BANDED DEMOISELLE (Calopteryx splendens); most common of the two demoiselles, or ‘jewelwings’. Although mainly associated with running water, they can also often be seen on étangs.

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&

Photo centre left: Shutterstock, all other photos © Nick Ransdale

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Odonata present in the Poitou-Charentes region, 10 are protected at the European and national level, and an evaluation of the conservation status of our species indicates that 29 species are gravely threatened on a national and regional scale. Mating in dragonflies is unique. The male first transfers sperm from near the tip of his abdomen to accessory genitalia under the front. He then grasps a female by the ‘scruff of her neck’ with the anal appendages (or ‘claspers’) at the tip of his abdomen; the pair is then said to be ‘in tandem’. If the mood takes her, the female curls the tip of her abdomen to meet the male’s accessory genitalia and sperm is transferred; this position is known as ‘the wheel’, or technically in copula. In some species, such as the chasers, the whole mating process takes only a few seconds; at the other extreme, Bluetailed Damselflies take up to six hours. Following on from this, and keeping things simple, females lay eggs either into plant material (endophytic eggs)

MIGRANT HAWKER (Aeshna mixta); the common late summer dragonfly here, sometimes lasting well into October. This is a male.

or deposited loosely into water (exophytic eggs). Eggs hatch into larvae and all dragonfly larvae have six legs (as do adults), wing-sheaths, a hinged jaw (labium) which can shoot out in an instant and catch prey, plus the ability to breathe underwater. Larval development typically takes one or two years, but ranges from 2–3 months (in the case of the Emerald Damselflies) to more than five years in Golden-ringed YELLOW CLUBTAIL (Gomphus simillimus); a rare species throughout our region, and completely tied to running water, either major rivers or fast-flowing streams

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Dragonflies. The larvae are quite ferocious and eat other insect larvae, crustaceans, worms, snails, leeches, tadpoles and small fish. Unlike other winged insects, such as butterflies, dragonflies do not have a pupal stage, but progress to adults through a final larval moult that takes place out of water. Final-stage larvae sit in shallow water near the margins for several days, getting ready for their NICK RANSDALE Specialising in ornithology, orchids and Odonata, Nick has lived in Moulismes, Vienne, with his wife since the start of 2006, having originally bought the house “by accident” when staying with friends en route to Spain where he still spends a month or so every year “for the wildlife”. As well as bird recording for the LPO, he participates with field trip holidays for Naturetrek Wildlife Holidays and the British Dragonfly Society.

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Come along to Nick’s studio where he runs courses in the practice of sculpture. Materials, tools and stands are provided. Sculpting outside if the weather is fine. Exhibition of sculptures in stone and clay, oil paintings, to see and buy in the gallery, max. groups of six p/course, so avoid disappointment and BOOK NOW!

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LIVING WILDLIFE PLACES TO VISIT ORANGE WHITE-LEGGED DAMSELFLY (Platycnemis acutipennis); scattered populations occur throughout our region. Although previously thought to be a river species, it is frequently found on lakes, certainly in the Vienne. Endemic to France and Spain.

DRAGONFLY OR DAMSELFLY? As suggested by their names, damsels are smaller and have a lighter build than dragons. When resting, dragonflies spread their wings out to the side whereas damsels fold their wings over their backs. In the air, dragonflies are among the fastest and most manoeuverable of insects, flying forwards, backwards and sideways as well as hovering for extended periods. Some have been recorded as reaching speeds of 35kmph. Damselflies are slower (up to 10kmph) and have a more fluttering flight.

final moult and starting to breathe air. While most species leave the water during the morning, Hawkers do so under cover of darkness. Larvae climb up robust emergent vegetation, some walking several metres over dry land before finding a secure support, where they redistribute their body fluids – first to push the thorax, head, legs and wings out of the larval skin. Following a pause of about 30 minutes to allow their legs to harden enough for the next stage, the abdomen is withdrawn. The wings and then the abdomen are expanded and start to harden. This process leaves behind a cast skin called an exuvia which can be collected and, with the aid of a microscope, the species can be identified for additional recording purposes. Adult dragonflies are most active between mid-morning and mid-afternoon, when temperatures are highest, with actual flying temperatures varying somewhat with species. Adults capture other insects for prey; again this varies, as does the habitat used, but can be almost anything – even bees in some instances. Lifespan is short, typically no more than a week or two, but exceptionally 6–8 weeks.

and Europe, Klaas-Douwe B Dijkstra/R Lewington, British Wildlife Publishing, 2006. Les Libellules de France, Belgique et Luxembourg, Daniel Grand/Jean-Pierre Boudot, Collection Parthenope, 2006. He can be contacted via his website, Moulismes Nature, at www.nick-ransdale.com.

Photo right - TWO-SPOTTED DRAGONFLY (BASKETTAIL) (Epitheca bimaculata); the enigmatic Baskettail is rare in Poitou-Charentes and difficult to find. One reason is the short flight season, but they are also elusive and tied to small, mildly acidic étangs normally surrounded by trees. The females carry a gelatinous egg mass on their tails while looking for a suitable place to deposit them.

Nick’s recommended reading: Field Guide to the Dragonflies of Britain

34 | www.livingpoitoucharentes.com

WINTER DAMSELFLY (Sympecma fusca); an interesting species, as the name suggests, because it may be seen throughout the year. In fact, it’s the only species to over-winter as adults in our region. Can be common, and often seen away from water. With climate change a likely future UK coloniser.


Pardon? LIVING LANGUAGE

S

Illustration by Jane Courquin: http://courquin.blogspot.fr

sleeping cats lie. Il ne faut pas réveiller le chat qui dort. Sometimes, the expressions are very different. In England, we might have Our language expert Emma-Jane Lee explores how our four-legged fingers in other pies, or other fish to fry, friends influence our expressions on both sides of the Channel… but the French will have other cats to whip: avoir d’autres chats à fouetter. But if it’s nothing to make a fuss about, we might say ome days are harder than others. You can work like a dog and end il n’y a pas de quoi fouetter un chat. There’s up in the dog house anyway. You nothing to whip a cat for. know you start with the best If we have a frog in our throat, the French intentions when it’s a dog and have un chat dans la gorge. The cat might pony show, but it sometimes ends up as a have our tongue, but in French we will dog’s breakfast, not the cat’s pyjamas. Like definitely have given our tongue away to English, the French language is filled with the cat, donner sa langue au chat. And if we expressions involving our two favourite give our tongue to the cat, it doesn’t mean companion animals. we are shy or have nothing to say. It means Some things work well in both languages. we are throwing in the towel and giving up. You could fight like cat and dog in English If there’s nobody about, the French will and find yourself comme chat et chien in say that there isn’t a cat - il n’y a pas un French. But other things don’t translate chat. And if we call a spade a spade, the quite so well. One of my favourite French French will call a cat a cat, appeler un chat expressions is nom d’un chien! “Name of un chat. jeu de quilles means to arrive a little like a dog!” isn’t something most people would a bull in a china shop, upsetting the I think the French are very fussy about say to express frustration or irritation. It’s apple cart. their handwriting. If you write like a cat, a little old-fashioned now that curse words Another expression we have in English écrire comme un chat, you don’t write are everywhere, but I think that’s part of with apples is ‘the apple doesn’t fall far very well at all. You can also be accused its charm. “Oh sugar!” would probably be from the tree’, or in other words, children of writing like a pig in French and having its closest English translation. I guess it’s a often take after their parents. In French, it handwriting like flies’ feet. I guess it’s little similar kind of minced oath. is another canine expression: les chiens ne different than having chicken-scratch If you’re frustrated and irritated, it might handwriting or spidery handwriting. font pas des chats. Dogs don’t make cats. well put you in a terrible mood. In France, Of course, there are plenty of expressions One expression we have in English, “a cat you might say être d’une humeur de chien. can look at a king” is “a dog can look at a that are exactly the same, such as “when the cat’s away, the mice will play” which is bishop” in French - un chien regarde bien You’re in a dog mood. You might even be looking at someone like a pot dog - se un évêque. Both mean that the average quand le chat n’est pas là, les souris dansent. regarder en chiens de faïence. This goes person can look at anyone they choose Hopefully, these expressions will help you back to the fashion for pot dogs that would to. And it’s not the only expression where make your way around French and you’ll the English have an expression with one sit either side of the fireplace, staring at find that you can teach an old dog new each other with hostility and determination animal and the French have opted for the tricks after all. other. We might make a dog’s breakfast in total silence. You might be giving each Emma is a jack-of-all-language-trades, writing (or even a pig’s ear) out of something other daggers in English. English textbooks, translating, marking exam where the French will make de la bouillie You may also look at someone like this if scripts and teaching languages. She lives near they arrive like a dog to a game of skittles. pour les chats. Gruel for cats. We don’t La Rochefoucauld with her growing menagerie. In French arriver comme un chien dans un wake sleeping dogs, and in France, they let See www.english-tuition.weebly.com


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Mad Hatter’s MUSIC FESTIVAL ‘13

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FRI 9TH AUG, 4.30PM UNTIL LATE | SAT 10TH AUG, 2.30PM UNTIL LATE

STEP IN TO WONDERLAND AND ENJOY THE FESTIVAL AT THE MAD HATTER’S KITCHEN!

This year we are presenting our third and biggest festival. We have circus acts, hula hoop baby, classic cars and bikes, skate ramp, bouncy castle, trade stands, cream teas, and great food! Plus, music performances by 8 different bands with something to suit all tastes (checkout the bands on YouTube!) FRIDAY – The Brian Mc Combe band (celtic/folkrock), The Grey Goose Band (blues/rock) and Paul Whitton and Mike Christie (jazz,blues,boogie) SATURDAY - Nick Harper – Superlative singer songwriter and outstanding guitarist, Imperial Leisure (alt/ska), The Grey Goose Band (blues/rock), Ghouls (gypsy punk), Swallow and the Wolf (indie/folk). Ragtime Ewan will be entertaining us through the afternoon with his eclectic supply of songs.

BBQ, Hog roast, Salad bar, Bar all day and evening. Also, in the evening we have the Mad Hatter’s feast (reservations only) on both Friday and Saturday. Free daytime entry with evening strictly tickets only (starting at 6pm). Music-only evening tickets cost 10€ Friday or Saturday. Tickets for the feast including wine and music on Friday or Saturday cost 25€ per person. Camping available for the two nights 35€ which includes the feast on Friday OR Saturday night. ALL TICKETS MUST BE BOOKED IN ADVANCE. Please get in touch if you would like to bring a classic car! There is availability for trade stands, and the fee is 25€ for Friday and Saturday afternoon/evening. For further details please call 0549 27 67 29 The Mad Hatters Kitchen, Le Breuillac 79190 Caunay www.madhattersfrance.eu info@madhatters.eu

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DEUXSÈVRES

VIENNE Île-de-Ré

Île d’Oléron

CHARENTEMARITIME

CHARENTE

in profile:

ROYAN

A

A CASUAL GLANCE AT THE MAP SHOWS an intriguing location at the mouth of the Gironde, the southernmost point before true coastline gives way to western Europe’s largest estuary. On the ground, however, things are a lot more clear cut. The Atlantic makes its presence felt in the vast expanses of pale, golden sand, the colourful fishing boats moored alongside leisure craft in the port and, more subtly perhaps, in a seemingly endless succession of elegant villas overlooking the shoreline. It’s an appealing image. Things in Royan haven’t always been so relaxed. Prior to the 11th century the Atlantic coast and the Gironde suffered so many attacks from marauding Visigoths, Francs, Arabs and particularly Vikings, that the town became heavily fortified. For centuries,

in fact, lawlessness and inland marshland meant that for coastal communities the sea was the only reliable means of communication. Royan offered a natural safe anchorage for small vessels entering or leaving the estuary. Through a curious twist of fate, when Eleanor of Aquitaine divorced King Louis VII and married Henri Plantagenet (who was soon to become King of England), her lands passed from French sovereignty to that of England. Royan then became strategically important for protecting the entrance to the Gironde between the newly powerful ports of La Rochelle and Bordeaux. As history relates, France was far from ready to accept the new balance of power, but economically at least, Royan’s destiny seemed assured. Not that the town would be consistent in its loyalties; during the 16th century the black flag of piracy was a familiar sight along what had by then become a hazardous stretch of coast. Fortunately for all concerned, law and order eventually returned, but it would not be until the arrival of the first passenger steamships in 1820 that Royan found a wholly new role for itself as a pioneering coastal resort for city dwellers from Bordeaux in search of fresh, revitalising sea air. In 1875 the steamers were joined by a railway linked to the expanding national network, visitor numbers exploded and Royan rapidly became a stylish and highly desirable resort. When WWII put Europe’s leisure plans on hold, the heart of Royan would eventually suffer the devastating indignity of extensive Allied bombardments during a bitter standoff with German troops, who finally surrendered just three weeks before the armistice was signed on 8th May, 1945. A visionary campaign of postwar reconstruction, largely in full-on modernist style, produced the remarkable creation we see today. Not surprisingly, opinion is divided, and how you will react to it is something you’ll never know until you come and see it for yourself. But there’s no denying that this place has real style...


LIVING DAYS OUT

SEE THE SIGHTS... Front de Mer Royan’s seafront is glorious, with a celebrated beach known as la Grande Conche stretching virtually to neighbouring SaintGeorges de Didonne and overlooked by a succession of extravagantly-styled villas. However, the main focus, where the heart of the town meets the sea, centres upon two sensational gently-curving four-storey creations known as ‘les ilôts’, extending for some 600m. At ground level are arcaded walkways offering a selection of boutiques and restaurants, above which are two storeys of apartments with full-width balconies, all topped off with duplex apartments offering the definitive sea views. The striking post-modernist Rotonde du Casino, built in 1960 between les ilôts and the beach, was demolished in 1985 and the site successfully redeveloped with landscaped gardens and a new Port de Plaisance (marina) beside the existing Port de Commerce (fishing port).

 Eglise Notre-Dame, 1 Rue de Foncillon Architects Guillaume Gillet and structural engineer Bernard Laffaille’s tour-de-force in rough-cast concrete and stained glass was intended not merely to replace one of the war-ravaged town’s most prominent features, but also to symbolise Royan’s audacious post-war recovery. The vast brutalist creation, constructed between 1955-58, soars to 60m and would have risen higher still had costs not also soared. Sadly, an economic decision The Marché Central de Royan

to use beach sand in the concrete mix (coupled with frequent exposure to coastal gales) created numerous problems, as concrete decayed, rainwater entered the interior and began to corrode the reinforcing rods.  Coating the exterior with waterproofing resin failed to halt the problems, and now urgent repairs are under way to safeguard one of the 20th century’s most important religious buildings, which received official Monument Historique status in 1988. The 35m-high mandorla-shaped nave is 45m long and 22m wide and can accommodate congregations of 2,000 people. Contrasting with the uncompromising brutality of the concrete structural elements are some 500 m2 of stained glass, plus a 3600-pipe organ completed in 1964 by Robert Boisseau of Poitiers. It became a

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Monument Historique in 2006 and is also being extensively restored to combat the ravages of time, during which damp and extreme seasonal variations in temperature have taken their toll.

Marché Central de Royan, Boulevard Aristide Briand This striking circular shell-like creation in 8cm thick reinforced concrete, 52.40m in diameter and 10.50m at its centre point, rests on thirteen peripheral support points with no internal pillars. Built in 1955-6 by architects Louis Simon and André Morisseau and engineer René Sarger, it was a remarkable technical achievement which served as a model for the market of Nanterre and the Centre of New Industries and Technologies (CNIT) in Paris. It’s clearly visible from the beach, but somehow survived the damaging attentions of Hurricane Martin in 1999, was listed as a Monument Historique in 2002, and underwent extensive restoration the following year.    Carrelets overlooking la Conche de Pontaillac


Villa style...

The 1850s saw a new vogue (imported from England) for the health-giving benefits of bathing, spurring the development of stations balnéaires around the French coastline. Those with the means to indulge their new-found leisure time were soon commissioning fashionable architects to create romantically-styled retreats for their own enjoyment and to entertain and impress friends. The cult of the villa was born. For Royan’s wealthy aficionados the most desirable locations overlooked the shoreline or were tucked away discretely among the maritime pines behind Avenue de Pontaillac or in the area known as Le Parc, behind Boulevard Frédérick Garnier. Being outside the town, they mostly escaped wartime destruction, and today present a dazzling collection of styles ranging from country cottage to chateau, their proportions and detailing inspired by swirling art nouveau and Belle Epoque, harder-edged art deco and modernism... and now crisply contemporary additions are taking their place among them. Some of the classics (such as the baronial Villa Aigue-Marine, 9 av Emile Zola) are now listed Monument Historiques, although countless others are worthy contenders. Key features include: square or rounded towers or belvédères (often with steeply-pitched slate roofs), contrasting polychrome brickwork, sculpted art nouveau or art deco stonework, friezes or individual glazed ceramic tiles and complex decorative timber detailing for gables, barge-boards and balustrades. Other features they have in common are shamelessly romantic names, often an expression of the owners’ dreams and values.

La Grande Conche

PRACTICALITIES... TOURIST OFFICE

7am1pm Tue-Sun (daily 15 CYCLING June-15 Sept) Join the Vélodyssée www.lavelodysConfiserie Lopez, see.com, the longest cycle route in 16 Front de Mer  France, enjoy some of the waymarked www.confiserielopez.com circuits or simply ride to your favourite Various bonbons and berlingots made beach, where you’ll find places to before your eyes, crêpes made to orsecure your bike. der and an enormous, mouthwatering Royan By Cycles, 1-2 Boulevard de la selection of ice creams and sorbets. Granderie, www.royanbycycles.com Phare de Cordouan, www.phare BEST BEACHES decordouan.com All the town beaches have lifeguard cover. Croisieres La Sirène, Quai de Mo> Pontaillac - hire your own chic, nastir. www.croisierelasirene.com stripey tent on this friendly surf beach Entry to the Phare du Cordouan with nearby restaurants and shady (France’s oldest lighthouse, in the parking. WiFi hotspots. Gironde estuary) is included on these > Conche du Chay - sandy cove with memorable 4 hour boat trips. Landing beach-side restaurant and lounge bar involves paddling knee-deep to the Koud a Koud, where you can sip shore so wear appropriate footwear! Champagne on the terrace. Nearby See the website for departure dates parking. and times, and book in advance. 06 > La Grande Conche - the best area is 81 84 47 80. Adults fare 40€, child in front of the Belle Epoque villas in 30€. Other trips include estuary tours the Parc  area, where there are tents and sunset sailings. Groups of up to and loungers for rent, WiFi hotspot 14 people can hire a catamaran and and a great view. skipper to go out on discovery trips, including the lighthouse. 1 Boulevard de la Granderie www.royan-tourisme.com  

Corniche de Pontaillac This worthwhile scenic drive begins just beyond the fishing port (Port de Commerce) on the Façade de Foncillon above the Conche de Foncillon. Immediately after this sheltered sandy beach, turn left and follow the twists and turns of the rocky headland which lies to the west of Royan. Along the way are three more coves: the Conche du Chay, Conche du Pigeonnier and finally the larger Conche de Pontaillac. Car parking is limited, so look for spaces in one of the side avenues or consider walking or cycling (you’ll be on the Euro Vélo 1 long distance cycle route, marked by ‘La Vélodyssée’ signs). Along the way is a monument to the Cockleshell Heroes of WWII’s Operation Frankton and a largelysubterranean German blockhouse built on the site of the 18th century Fort du Chay. The Conche de Pontaillac is home to the Casino de Royan and an altogether more appealing straggle of carrelets (net fishing huts mounted in tall timber piers), while tucked away discretely among the pines behind Avenue de Pontaillac are villas of all styles and aspirations.

SHOPPING

Royan town centre has a good range of independent boutiques, antiques shops, as well as the daily fresh food market. Marché Central de Royan, Boulevard Aristide Briand. The market is open


LIVING ANGLING

Hook, line and sinker…

T

irdle Barry Braceg rp ca kg 10 a ith w brac caught at Vi te en on the Char

Ron Cousins explores the best places in and around the region to catch the fish you’ve always dreamed of…

he world’s biggest common carp - an enormous fish weighing 47.5kg - has been caught from a lake in the Champagne region, confirming France’s reputation as the home of specimen fish and also heralding the months of the year when the chances of bagging a big ‘un are at their highest. After spawning in the spring, all species have been tucking in to the abundant weed and insect life as they build up ready for winter and are approaching their maximum weight for the year. The record carp came from a private lake where just six anglers at a time fish 15 acres of water, each paying £400 to spend six days in their bivvy tents fishing around the clock. But there are plenty of places in PoitouCharentes where big fish can be caught for just a few euros or for nothing at all, and certainly without the need to rough it under canvas. A 10kg carp is a big one for any angler and there are plenty this size, and some a lot bigger, at Simon and Julie Tee’s Gîtes de Pêche Deux-Sèvres at Secondigny. The couple came from Worthing two years ago and ace carp angler Simon has so improved the two well established lakes that there’s a real chance of a fish of a lifetime for the 5€ day ticket. Near Montendre in Charente-Maritime, Twin Lakes is run by Sheffield expat Garry Woolhouse. Another expert angler, he has used his knowledge to create a fishery where the 10€ day ticket gives a chance to catch mirror and common carp over 15kg and grass carp over 10kg. Cross over into Dordogne and for the same day ticket money, you can target carp over 18kg in the Jungle and Specimen Lakes at Martins’ Lakes near St Barthelemy de Bellegarde where Greg and Nikki Martin, from Sussex, have spent years creating a first class fishery. As all anglers in the region have a carte

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de pêche, there is no extra charge to fish what is fast becoming one of the best carp fisheries in Poitou-Charentes, the lake at Angoulême’s Parc de Loisirs de Fregeneuil. This is the first No-Kill public domain water in France with rules that require everything caught to be returned alive. Two years ago the lake was closed to fishing for three months while large numbers of big carp were introduced to build on the existing head of fish and create what the French angler calls a carpodrome. The lake is taken care of by La Gaule Charentaise, the angling organisation responsible for the River Charente between Montignac and Angoulême. There are also plenty of outsize carp in the rivers, although catching them can be difficult. Fish to 12kg are regularly landed from the Vienne between Chabanais and SaintJunien while the carpistes - as specialist carp anglers are known in France - catch fish that size from the River Dronne near the road bridge in Aubeterre. The biggest carp caught from the Charente by the French anglers who make up the carp angling club in Jarnac, weighed 27kg and came from just downstream of the bridge. One of the best recent captures from the river was the 10kg common carp caught at Vibrac by holidaymaker Barry Bracegirdle. Carp may grab the headlines, but there are big fish of other species to be caught. A 500gm roach is an impressive fish and at this time of year there are plenty waiting for your bait at Lac du Mas Chaban, one of the two huge waters that make up the beautiful Lacs de Haute Charente. Fishing is free and the place to go is the Massignac end where the lake narrows and is only a metre or so deep. How about a big tench? A free water that produces its share is the plan d’eau at Saint-Jean-d’Angély. Big barbel? The Dordogne is a favourite where fishing near bridges usually brings results

PHOTO BOTTOM LEFT: Julie Tee – With a carp she caught from their fishery in Secondigny

Pierre-Ant oi Jammet (8 ne ) the black with ba he caught ss at Etang Chas sors

and, if you fancy a white knuckle ride with a fishing rod, try for the giant Wells catfish, or silure, in the Charente downstream of Saintes where fish to 50kg are being caught. If catching a fish for the table is the plan, this is a good time to visit one of the many étangs stocked with trout that open for weekend fishing. Some outsize brown and rainbow trout can be lingering in the depths after avoiding capture and putting on weight by feeding on smaller fish. There can also be surprises in store as 8-year old Pierre-Antoine Jammet discovered on his first try at fishing when he caught a good sized black bass from his local Etang Chassors at Châteauneuf-sur-Charente. These are just a few of the many waterways that make Poitou-Charentes an angler’s paradise and anywhere could produce that once-in-a-lifetime catch. But, wherever you fish, there is one bait that works better than anything else as summer edges towards autumn and that is sweetcorn. With a tin of corn in one hand and a fishing rod in the other you may not quite conquer the world but you could get the better of a fish so big it can be talked about all through the winter.

Useful Sites Gîtes de Pêche Deux-Sévres, 79310 Secondigny www.francefishinggites.com Tel: 05 49 63 57 44 Twin Lakes, 17130 Soumeras www.twinlakesfrance.com Tel: 05 46 49 77 12 Martins’ Lakes, 24700 St Barthelemy de Bellegarde www.martinslakes.com Tel: 05 53 80 55 42 Ring the above before visiting in case they are fully booked Parc de Loisirs de Fregeneuil www.parcdefregeneuil.fr Tel: 05 45 25 35 93 La Gaule Charentaise www.aappma-gaule-charntaise-16.com Tel: 05 45 38 04 90 Etang Chassors Châteauneuf -sur-Charente Tel: 06 10 15 63 67


living nikki legon’s kitchen Courgette pancakes with a tomato and feta cheese salsa

Baked patty pan squash

NikkiLegon’s

A highlight of summer is enjoying the fruits of your labour in your garden. Packed full of flavour, your home-grown produce is perfect for the table, so we asked Nicki Legon for some simple recipes to enjoy with your friends and family…

Courgette pancakes with a tomato and feta cheese salsa serves 6

Pancakes 5 courgettes, grated and squeezed dry 2 red onions, finely chopped 2 large red chillies, finely chopped 2 tsp ground cumin 200g self-raising flour 3 large eggs salt and black pepper Salsa 200g cherry tomatoes, chopped 150g feta cheese, crumbled 6 mint leaves, finely chopped juice of 1 lemon

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METHOD Mix the courgette, onion, spices, flour and eggs together and season. Heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan. Drop in a heaped tbsp of the batter and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden and cooked through. Several can be cooked at the same time. For the salsa, mix together all ingredients and season.

Baked patty pan squash Serves 6

6 medium patty pans 2 carrots, peeled and very finely chopped

2 shallots, very finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, crushed 6 mushrooms, chopped 300g minced beef, chicken or pork (optional) 2 tomatoes, peeled with seeds removed, chopped very finely salt and pepper to taste Preheat the oven to 180°C METHOD Trim the squash and cook in a pan of boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Drain and cool. Cut off the tops and scoop out the pulp leaving a sturdy shell. Chop and reserve the pulp. Sauté the shallots and carrots and cook for 8 minutes. Add the garlic and


living nikki legon’s kitchen stuffed courgettes

mushrooms, cook for a further 5 minutes before adding the meat (omit for vegetarians). Once the meat is cooked, season well and set aside. Pour off any excess oil from the pan and add the chopped squash and tomatoes. Sauté for 1 minute and add to the meat mixture. Fill the squash shells. Bake for 30 minutes until golden.

Stuffed courgettes serves 6

6 small round courgettes 2 shallots, finely chopped 300g cooked rice 1 tsp ground cumin 2 tsp ground allspice 1 tbsp dried mint 2 tomatoes skinned, deseeded and chopped grated zest of 1 lemon 3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves salt and pepper to taste Sauce 1 tin of chopped tomatoes 1 tsp ground allspice 1 tbsp sugar 1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped 2 garlic cloves, crushed 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Moussaka

METHOD Start with the filling: heat a little oil in a pan, add the shallots and sauté on a medium heat for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the rice, ground spices and dried mint. Stir and cook for a further 8 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the tomato, lemon zest, coriander and season to taste. Cut the tops off the courgettes and scoop out the flesh with a teaspoon leaving a sturdy shell. Fill each courgette with the rice mixture and place the hat back on top. Place in a sauté pan. Add boiling water to come to roughly 1 cm up the sides of the pan and weigh the courgettes down with a heatproof plate. Cover the pan with a lid and cook on a gentle simmer for 11/2 hours or until the courgettes are just soft. For the sauce, put all of the ingredients into a medium saucepan and add a teaspoon of salt and black pepper. Cook gently to thicken slightly. These can be served hot or cold, put some sauce into a dish and place the courgette on top. Decorate with coriander leaves.

Moussaka olive oil 3 large aubergines 1 large onion, finely chopped

3 large garlic cloves, crushed 1 tsp of dried cinnamon 1 tbsp dried oregano or a good handful of fresh leaves 1 kilo of minced lamb or beef 400g can chopped tomatoes 50ml white wine handful of chopped parsley salt and pepper For the béchamel 600ml milk 75g butter 75g plain flour 2 eggs, beaten 50g grated parmesan cheese 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg Preheat the oven to 180°C METHOD Slice the aubergines lengthways into 0.5cm slices and put them onto oiled baking sheets. Brush with olive oil and season. Bake for 25 minutes until soft and floppy. Cook the chopped onions until soft in a frying pan with a little oil, add the garlic, cinnamon and oregano and cook for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the minced lamb or beef, turn up the heat slightly and brown the meat well, cooking until the meat is quite dry. Stir in the tomato and wine, simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cook for

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living nikki legon’s kitchen

red onion relish 30 to 40 minutes until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Season and add the parsley. To make the béchamel sauce, bring the milk to just below boiling point. In a separate saucepan, melt the butter and

Bonus Recipe

Visit www.LivingMagazine.fr for Nikki’s Raised Pork Pie recipe, perfect for summer picnics. You’ll also find many more delicious recipes from Nikki and other local chefs.

stir in the flour, whisking well. Cook out the flour for a couple of minutes then gradually whisk in the hot milk. Cook until you have a thick sauce and add the cheese, stirring until melted. Leave to cool slightly then add the beaten eggs, salt and nutmeg. Oil a 2.75 litre shallow oven-proof dish. Layer the base with the meat mixture, cover with aubergine, repeat and finally cover with the sauce. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the top is golden and bubbling.

Red onion relish 12 red onions, thinly sliced 4 tbsp of pink peppercorns in brine, drained and crushed 2 chillies, sliced very thinly (seeds in or out is your choice) 175ml balsamic vinegar 175ml white wine vinegar 250g brown sugar salt and black pepper METHOD Heat a little oil in a fry pan and fry the sliced onions and chillies on a medium to low heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. This should take around 40 minutes. Add the vinegars, sugar

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apricot jam and season. Continue to cook over a medium heat for a further 40 minutes. Once thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove from the heat. Sterilise your jars and spoon in the chutney. Seal, label and store in the fridge. It is best left to mature for 1 month but can be eaten straight away.

Jam tarts made with a sweet pastry 250g soft unsalted butter 100g caster sugar 3 large egg yolks 375g plain flour 2 tbsp cold water Your favourite homemade jam METHOD Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth and light. Beat the egg yolks and add a little at a time to the creamed mixture, beating well between each addition. Slowly fold in the flour, one heaped tbsp at a time. Add a little water if necessary until the pastry forms a stiff paste. Take out of the bowl and flatten, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface until it is 3mm thick. Cut out rounds of


living nikki legon’s kitchen about 7 to 9 cm to fit your tart tin. Line the tin then place a spoonful of your chosen jam into the pastry cases. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the pastry is pale golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes. Using a dessert spoon, lift the tarts out of the tins and place on to a wire rack to cool.

Jam tarts made with a sweet pastry

Apricot Jam 3kg of apricots cut in half with stones removed juice of 3 lemons 3kg of sugar 750ml water METHOD Put a small saucer in the freezer. Place the apricots in a large saucepan with the lemon juice and 750ml of cold water, partially cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Add the sugar, simmer for a further 30 minutes to dissolve the sugar then turn the heat up to high and boil vigorously until the jam begins to thicken. Stir occasionally to stop the jam sticking and burning. Test the jam is done by dropping a small spoonful onto the cold saucer. When the jam forms a crust it is ready. Sterilize your jars, spoon in the jam, seal and place in the fridge or a cool place until ready for use, this will keep for several months in the fridge.

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: www.hotelkarina.net

À L’ABRI DES PINS Restaurant en Charente

Philippe & Yveline offer traditional French cuisine using fresh local ingredients Fixed menu from 12.50€ weekdays, 25€ weekends. Open lunchtimes Tues -Sun T: 05 45 35 81 27

06 31 64 85 14

www.abri-des-pins.com


T living gardening

The Wheelbarrow Gardener

Summer Watering Holes With the sun high in the sky, Trevor Bridge takes a break from enjoying his summer garden to consider the importance of water features for both us and our local wildlife‌

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living gardening

T

his is a wonderful time of year in the garden. The weather is still warm, averaging 24˚C in August and dropping just a couple of degrees to 22˚C in September. July, our driest month with an average rainfall of 47mm, has passed and rainfall rises to 49mm in August then 51mm in September. We can still get blue skies and lots of sunshine to help lengthen the ripening period of our crops, especially if we are fortunate enough to have an ‘Indian Summer’. Hollyhocks, Michaelmas daisies, Buddleias, Delphiniums, Day lilies, Rudbeckias and Perovskia could still be providing colour and the jardin potager should be at its peak. It is time to harvest our main crops that have benefited from the long hot days and matured in the late summer sunshine. In the heat of the summer the cooling effects of water in gardens are inestimable. Quiet pools calm the senses, reflections and shadows create atmosphere and whimsical fountains generate soothing sounds while their movement attracts the eye. Water supports an unsurpassed richness of lush, distinctive vegetation and attracts a huge range of wildlife such as birds, butterflies and mammals. Whether it be in the form of ponds, pools, fountains, cascades, waterfalls or streams, water creates a focal point, adds ambience and is a welcome addition to any garden. Ideally, every garden should have a water feature and the most effective is a simple pond. Ponds of course come in all shapes and sizes and range from classy formal affairs to more natural looking creations with soft flowing lines. Even the smallest gardens have room for a pond made from a halfbarrel or a sink. Just a bird bath makes a huge difference to the numbers of creatures visiting your garden.  Preformed fibreglass or rigid plastic ponds, both formal and informal, are obtained from garden centres and, whilst fairly expensive and smallish, are an acceptable option and relatively easy to install. Flexible liners in PVC, polythene or butyl rubber come in all sizes so are suitable for the smallest or largest pond and their flexibility allows informal shapes to be formed. For a more natural appearance, a pond is best sited in a low area with a secluded part where wildlife can be left undisturbed. Try to have a third of the

Fountains provide captivating movement and sound

pond’s surface in the shade because if the whole surface is exposed to direct sunlight, algae may become a problem or the pond could dry up. If possible, avoid overhanging trees as their leaves will drop into the water. You may want the pond visible from the house or it could be out-of-the-way, creating an element of surprise when encountered. For a rich eco-system, a pond with a diameter of about 5m and around 80cm deep is ideal, but even a small pond holding just 3 cubic metres of water will attract a variety of wildlife. Lay a rope or hosepipe on the ground to determine the pond’s shape before excavating the sides avoiding complex shapes which could create difficulties with the liner. Keep sides sloping rather than vertical so wildlife can enter and leave easily, and ensure that about 50% is shallow. The edge of the pond should be level so that bare liner doesn’t show. Remove sharp stones and place an underlay over the excavated area. These can be purchased or do as we did at Le Fayard and use an old carpet. Lay the liner over the underlay and place stones around the edge to keep it in place during filling.

Trevor' s tips

What to do in your garden now

• Keep plants well watered during

dry periods. You may need to enlist friends or family if you are away from home. • Keep ponds and water features topped up if there are no water restrictions. • Collect and sow seeds from hardy annuals and herbaceous perennials. • Divide herbaceous perennials and replant or pot up and overwinter in a frost-free place. • Lift and pot up strawberry runners. • Clean out cold frames and greenhouses ready for autumn use.

Add water slowly whilst pulling and tucking the liner in place and leave for 24 hours. It is best to use rainwater collected from a roof, or just be patient and wait for it to fill naturally. Trim off any excess liner, leaving enough to anchor down with stones, paving or turf. Children’s play sand, which is inert, helps to make the pond appear

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living gardening

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TOP TEN TIPS ON WATER CONSERVATION ~ Remove weeds; they compete for water with your plants. ~ Windbreaks shelter plants from drying winds. Shade seedlings in hot weather. ~ Avoid digging soil in dry hot weather as this increases water loss. ~ Increase the soil’s water-holding capacity by digging in organic matter such as compost or leaf mould. ~ Mulch the soil surface with leaf mould, grass clippings, sheets of newspaper, straw, or composted bark chippings to reduce moisture loss and suppress weeds. Apply when the soil is moist and warm and the plants are established. ~ Soak well when watering. Ensure water has penetrated down into the soil, not just the surface. ~ Water early morning and late afternoon to reduce water loss through evaporation. ~ Apply water directly to the soil; avoid scorching by not wetting the leaves. ~ Collect as much rainwater as possible by using water butts. ~ Recycle grey water and use rainwater wherever possible.

Wild cowslips (Primula veris)

resembling dandelion seed heads. They range from tiny bubble fountains to fit the corner of a patio to grandiose sculpted designs for large formal gardens. In between are all types to suit modern or traditional gardens of all sizes.

root rock.

• For winter herbs, pot up basil, mar-

joram, mint and parsley to grow on the kitchen window sill.

FLOWERS There is still time during August to WHAT TO DO IN AUGUST sow seeds of Canterbury bells (CamAND SEPTEMBER panula media), known as campanule in French. A favourite cottage garden biVEGETABLES ennial 90cm high, it produces spires of Maincrop potatoes can be lifted to blue blooms throughout the summer • enjoy them fresh from the soil when if deadheaded regularly. Its nectar rich their taste is supreme. Improve yields blooms attract bees; it self-seeds easily by watering during dry spells. and provides abundant cut flowers. Pick beans, courgettes and cucumbers The forget-me-not myosotis is an • frequently to encourage further cropping. easily grown low-spreading biennial with long sprays of free blooming, • Lift celery as soon as it is of a worthwhile size and remember to dig deep blue flowers in spring and early them up before the first frosts. summer. It tolerates most soils, natur• Harvest sweetcorn cobs when their alises easily and is sown from May to tassels have withered and the corn is September. firm but exudes milk when squeezed. A good hardy perennial for brightenEnsure that any crops with fruits, ing up dry areas is Alyssum saxatile • pods or flowers are kept well watered. Alysse saxatile. It reaches 23cm high, • Continue to pinch out tomato side grows on rocky areas or walls and proshoots regularly and tie leading shoots vides cascades of golden-yellow spring to their supports as they climb upflowers. Sow direct into the ground wards. Pick unripe tomatoes by the from May to August. end of September. Cut the whole truss After summer bedding has been more natural. We got our plants from and ripen them on the vine under a removed, plant spring flowering plants local field ponds with the owners’ cloche or on a windowsill. Green tosuch as primrose and wallflower. The permission, but they can be easily matoes left can be used in chutney. candelabra primrose primevère candelabra is a hardy perennial providing bought from garden centres or special- • There is still time to sow lettuce striking displays of tiered florets in a ist suppliers too. Avoid fish in wildlife for a late crop and it is worth sowing winter varieties such as laitue ‘Valdor’, wide range of colours on upright stems ponds as they eat tadpoles and other ‘Merveille d’Hiver’, ‘Grosse Blonde up to 60cm tall. Flowering from late creatures. Then, sit back and admire – d'Hiver’ or ‘Brune d'Hiver’ for cropspring to mid-summer, they perform the wildlife will soon appear. Fountains provide captivating moveping next spring. best in moist soil and dislike summer ment and sound and can be part of a • Sow spring cabbages in August for drought. Wallflowers are a popular planting out in September/October pond or pool or a free-standing sculpcottage garden perennial with a superb to overwinter for harvesting from late fragrance. They are versatile, tough and ture or feature. They can be simple February to mid-June. In windy areas, grow in the poorest of soils. Reachjets of water, domes, cascades, tiered earth up around their stems to combat ing 30-45cm in height they flower in fountains and even remarkable spheres

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living gardening Bird baths come in a variety of shapes and sizes

PLACE TO VISIT:

JARDINS DU CHÂTEAU DE LA MOTTE 86230 USSEAU (www.chateau-de-la-motte.net) Open 1 April to 30 September, 2-5pm Prominently positioned in the rolling Vienne countryside, this beautifully restored 15th century chateau overlooks one hectare of recently created gardens that are inspired by the gardens of the late Middle Ages. They emulate the geometric design of medieval gardens with formal beds, parterres, hedges and orchards. Perennials, annual flowers, aromatic, medicinal and culinary herbs, ornamental trees, fruit trees and shrubs, including many ancient forgotten and exotic varieties, abound. To complete the picture, a collection of vegetables including interesting heirloom varieties has been lovingly created by the owners.

spring, providing magnificent splashes of colours including red, pink, purple, yellow and cream. Regularly deadhead roses to encourage more blooms and reduce taller stems to deter movement from wind. Stem cuttings can be taken from mid-

GOOD, BETTER, BEST: BIRD BATHS GOOD: PLATE Birds are unconcerned about aesthetics so a large plate or pie dish will act as a bird bath provided that the water is clean and changed regularly. They will be welcomed by a range of birds to drink, bathe and cool-off. Ensure they are sited in an open area so birds can spot prowling cats. BETTER: BOWL Bowls of all shapes and sizes make good bird baths. They are formed from concrete, terra cotta, glass, plastic or metal and good garden centres stock a range to suit most types of garden and tastes. Some have chains to allow them to be hung above the ground to keep them away from predators. You can improvise by using a plant pot base.

autumn until late winter. Select strong shoots that have grown this year and remove the soft tip just above a leaf joint. Cut into 30cm lengths, remove all except the top three leaves and insert the cuttings into the ground or a pot with two-thirds of the cutting below the surface. Leave in place until the following autumn, ensuring they don’t dry out.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? Primula, primrose and polyanthus This often confuses. Primrose and polyanthus plants both belong to the genus Primula which contains many different species including wild primroses (Primula vulgaris) , wild cowslips (Primula veris), candelabra primulas and auricular primulas. The horticultural trade sells multicoloured polyanthas and primroses and often the names are interchangeable, hence the confusion. Primroses (often sold as primulas) have their flowers low down amongst the leaves like the wild primrose. Polyanthus are derived from crosses between Primula vulgaris, Primula TAYLOR-MADE GARDENS

BEST: BASIN & PEDESTAL Basin and pedestal bird baths range from traditional designs decorated with ornate bas-relief to modern, clean, simple, geometric shapes. Some have automatic filling devices and some have a fountain and re-circulating pump, sometimes solar powered. Birds are attracted to running water so these are worth considering.

veris and other species and their flowers are produced in large umbels on tall stems. Candelabra primulas have tubular, flat-faced flowers borne in tiered whorls up the stem. Auricula primulas have individually flat and smooth flowers carried in an umbel on a stem above the foliage. Trevor is a landscape architect who ran a busy practice in the UK for 20 years. He and his wife Jocelyn moved to an ancient fermette in Poitou-Charentes in 2004 where they garden organically and keep bees and hens.

David Cropper Stump Grinding & Jungle Clearance

GARDEN DESIGN AND LANDSCAPE GARDENING Consultancy & advice designs & planting schemes Garden creation & make-over Plant supply Lorne & Tracy Campbell C&G Garden Design Chez Callois, 16310 Massignac tel 05 45 21 69 63 mob 06 17 37 64 64 / 06 13 84 75 78 lorne.campbell@orange.fr www.taylor-madegardens.com

Grind tree stumps away, leaving no trace! Need your jungle cleared? I can reduce saplings and brambles to mulch with my 16hp brushcutter Call me today on

05 45 30 34 22 06 02 30 66 69

stumpgrindingcharente@gmail.com www.stumpgrindingcharente.com

SIRET no. 79168776100019

Polyanthus

A specialist perennials nursery in Valence. We stock new and unusual varieties. We grow all our stock here on site. You will find us competitively priced compared to the garden centres. Open Thurs, Fri & Sat noon 7.30pm or by appointment. Route de Cognac, Valence, 16460 Charente 0545 39 85 44 www.jam-perennial-plants.com


Ameublement Décoration

Antiquités Mode Cadeaux Accessoires Trouvez des trésors uniques et irrésistibles

A vast range of designer home decor to suit all styles Classic – Country – Contemporary New stock arriving continuously brands including: Miss Selfridge, New Look, Next, Monsoon, Marks & Spencer and many more! 3 Ave. Gay Lussac 87200 St Junien T: +33 (0)5 55 79 57 60 www.moulin-de-tintin.com Open: Wednesday – Saturday 10am – 7pm Sunday 12 midday – 6pm Closed Monday & Tuesday

NOUVEAU EN FRANCE FIGHT & PREVENT BOX BLIGHT

All box varieties & shapes Keeps and restores your box to a shiny green! (Health-Mix) has been developed by a leading European Box producer (Topbuxus in Holland)

For both the individual and the professional Easy to use effervescent tablets

NEW!

Orchids Tropical & Garden

Winner of award from professional gardeners Represented in France by XTRAVERT based in Dordogne

XTRAVERT - Route de Salon (D45) - 24380 - Vergt - Tél: +33 (0)553 083479 - GSM: +33 (0)6 70933427 - E-mail: rudi@xtravert.fr

www.xtravert.fr


PRACTICAL LIVING

HELP AND ADVICE FROM THE EXPERTS PLUS MARKET PLACE - FOR THE BEST LOCAL SUPPLIERS AND SERVICES

PAGE 52: Healthy Living - Johanna Matthews answers questions on healthcare PAGE 53: Money and You - David Hardy explains the recent changes to inheritance rules and taxes for French residents PAGE 54: Talk of the Town - Property pages with a focus on Thouars in Deux-Sèvres PAGE 56: Ask the expert - Photovoltaic panels for your home and the benefits of using a foreign exchange broker PAGE 57: Market Place - All the suppliers and services you need right here in the region PAGE 64: Events - Events you won’t want to miss


PRACTICAL LIVING

BRINGING YOU EXPERT ADVICE ON HEALTH & HEALTHCOVER

<<

Johanna Matthews, from leading healthcare insurer Exclusive Healthcare, answers your questions on healthcare and health cover in Franceâ&#x20AC;Ś

A

Q

I have a pre-existing condition. Will I be able to find a health policy that covers me? I live in France.

The SAMU-SMUR stands for â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Service dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;aide medicale urgenteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and transport costs are costly, a total of â&#x201A;Ź662.80 in this instance. The tarif de convention carte vitale would have covered 65% (â&#x201A;Ź430.82) of the total amount, leaving an outstanding balance for the 35%, which is why you received an invoice for the difference. If, however, you have a complementary policy, this would reimburse you the 35% difference.

A

Pre-existing conditions do not have to be divulged when applying for a complementary policy, however you will need to be afďŹ liated into the French healthcare system and have a valid French social security number to be able to apply for a complementary policy. If you are not in possession of a French social security number, then you can apply for a private policy and then your pre-existing condition will be examined. You may well be able to obtain

health cover for this condition, however the premium may be loaded as the risk of an eventual claim has to be taken into consideration.

Q

I was rushed to hospital by the SAMU

emergency services and I was surprised to receive a bill by post a month afterwards for â&#x201A;Ź231.98. I was under the impression that my carte vitale would cover the total cost?

www.exclusivehealthcare.com. If you have a question you would like answered, send it to: editorial@ livingmagazine.fr

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PRACTICAL LIVING

BRINGING YOU EXPERT ADVICE ON PERSONAL FINANCE

<<

David Hardy is Regional Manager of Siddalls France, Independent Financial Advisers, specialising in tax, inheritance, pension & investment planning for the British community in the Poitou-Charentes since 1996.

Inheritance Rules & Taxes For French Residents Once you take up permanent residency in France you are also considered domiciled in France for inheritance purposes. This basically means that your worldwide estate will be subject to French inheritance rules and taxes with the exception of real estate property situated outside France. A key aspect to the inheritance rules in France is that, should you have children, both natural and legally adopted, they have an automatic entitlement to a share of your estate. How much they must inherit will depend on the number of children involved, with their share being between 50% and 75% of the deceased parent’s estate. By writing a will in France, the rest of the estate can then be left to the survivor. However, for most British people, protecting the surviving spouse is of paramount importance. Depending on your situation, there are various ways of achieving this inheritance aim and advice should be sought as to their effectiveness or suitability. As for inheritance tax, there are two principal areas in which France works differently to the UK. Firstly, it is the heirs who are liable for the tax and not the estate. Secondly, the tax rates and

allowances applicable are dependent on your relationship to your heirs. In other words, the closer the blood relationship, the less onerous the tax liability. Helpfully, as in the UK, there is no inheritance tax between spouses. This also extends to those with a PACS agreement “Pacte Civil de Solidarité”, a form of civil partnership available to both opposite and same sex couples. Whilst children may have a French inheritance tax liability, the allowances and tax rates are perfectly reasonable. What is more, there are ways of reducing the tax for them in France. A significant problem faces those, however, who wish to leave assets to unrelated heirs such as stepchildren and partners without a PACS. In these situations, most of the inheritance will be lost to the state in taxation since it will be subject to the 60% rate, the highest. UnderstandabIy, inheritance issues are a major concern for most British residents in France. But, with appropriate techniques available under French law, you can both ensure your wishes are met and taxation mitigated, so sound professional advice should always be taken first.

To contact David; tel. 05 56 34 71 77 or email bordeaux.office@siddalls.net.


Talk of the Town is brought to you by Leggett Immobilier

Talk of the town

Properties near Thouars from Leggett Immobilier

Thinking of moving? Each issue we highlight a town in PoitouCharentes to help you get to know the region. Here we visit Thouars in Deux-Sèvres...

Ref: 33133 - €593,250

Photos: Office de Tourisme du Pays Thouarsais

Grand 6 bedroom house and gites set in 4 acres of land. This property has been newly renovated to a very high standard

S

teeped in history, this attractive town is found in an area where there is evidence of human settlement in caves going back more than 5,000 years. There are traces, too, of a Roman road which suggests that the area was inhabited and active during Gallo-Roman times. But it’s in the late 8th century that the story of Thouars really begins, when it was the site of one of the best defended fortresses in the region. The town was on the northern reaches of ancient Aquitaine which was in a constant struggle with the kings of France. In 762 Pépin le Bref (Pippin the Short) and his much more famous son Charlemagne came, saw and conquered Thouars, destroying the fortress in the process. However, Thouars’ natural setting on a rocky outcrop over the river Thouet lends itself to a castle.In time a new structure emerged in the town as it became embroiled in the endless quarrels and battles between the kingdoms of England and France over the region. It was not until 1372 that Thouars finally and definitively came under French control. During the 16th and 17th centuries the town became prosperous, and a number of fine buildings were constructed that survive to this day, including the collegiate church Sainte Chapelle Notre-Dame, said to be a unique structure of its kind in France. Most famous, though, is the Château de la Trémoille, which was built on the orders of the wife of Henri III de La Trémoïlle, Marie de La Tour d’Auvergne, who had the existing castle demolished. This chateau still dominates Thouars

today, though its use has changed over the years. After the Revolution in 1789 it became a barracks and then a prison. Today, it is home to one of the town’s three collèges, the appropriately-named Marie de La Tour d’Auvergne. The area around Thouars is known for its production of melons and for viticulture; it is home to some very good and often underrated wines.

MARKET DAY Thouars is renowned in the region for its markets. They take place twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, from 8am to 1pm. The Tuesday market is mostly for food and related products, while the one on Friday is for both food and clothes. Both are held at Place Lavault and boulevard Pierre Curie, and attract around 200 stallholders. There are 500 parking places nearby. SCHOOLS The town has five primary and nursery schools, including one private establishment. There are three collèges, including one that is private, and two lycées, one of which is private. In addition there is a centre for children with learning difficulties and a nursing college. TRANSPORT The nearest airport in the region is Poitiers, which has regular flights to and from the UK. Outside the region to the north is the airport at Tours. The nearest main TGV stations are also at Poitiers and Tours. The A85 motorway, which leads on to the A10 to Paris, is about 50 minutes away to the north via Saumur.

Ref: 15973 - €742,000 Historic French 15th-18th century listed chateau. Retaining many original elements, guard towers, gateways, surrounded by 5 hectares of parkland including an ornamental lake.

Ref: 30120 - €224,700 Well presented 3 bedroomed village house with 3 bed gite set in lovely grounds. Located between two towns, Bressuire which has all one could need, and the pretty market town of Airvault (26km from Thouars)

Ref: 26963 - €373,000 Stunningly restored 18th century, 5 bedroom property on the edge of the Loire. Set in 7 acres of land, surrounded by woodlands and vineyards, 30mins from Saumur, (36km from Thouars).

Call 0800 900 324 (fr)

0033 (0) 553 56 62 54 sales@leggett.fr

www.frenchestateagents.com


BeauxVillages

3 rue Porte des Fontaines, 33580 Monségur 00 33 (0)5 56 71 40 78

Characterful village house (16) Renovated five bedroomed property situated in one of the Charente’s ‘Villages Pittoresques’. Ancient character retained. 500m² land. Ref: 8057 - €130 000

Picture postcard property (16) Pretty stone village house with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms plus barn. Fully and sympathetically restored. Beamed ceilings and feature fireplace. Ref: 8998 - €170 000

100m from the harbour! (17) In a quiet cul de sac, a 5 bedroomed cottage to renovate + garden. Ideally situated for lovers of sailing and the sea. Neighbouring house also available Ref: 8746 - €90 000

Own a piece of history (86) An important historical monument with potential to become an outstanding and unique home or boutique hotel. With barns, set around courtyard. Ref 8970 - €371 000

00 33 (0)5 56 71 40 78

Email : info@beauxvillages.com

www.beauxvillages.com

Tel: 05 45 23 67 21

www.anb-immobilier.com

La Foncière Charentaise Agence Immobilière / Estate Agency

14 bis Grand rue - 16140 - AIGRE

Réf.: 6808 245 000€ FAI

Tél: +33 (0)5.45.21.78.38

Deux-Sèvres. Lovely renovated logis with character - beams, stone staircase, flagstones. Large farmhouse style kitchen with rayburn, utility room, flagstoned entrance hall, spacious lounge with wood floor and fireplace. Large master ensuite bedroom, 3 more bedrooms, study with balcony. Outside: attached hangar, walled courtyard and an acre of garden.

Réf. : 6907 230 000€ FAI Cognac area. Beautifully renovated stone house with loads of character, large mature garden with spacious convertable barn. Fitted kitchen/diner, living room (60m²) with fireplace and doors to terrace; 3 bedrooms, one with bathroom, dressing and utility room. Family bathroom,mezzanine/office. Near Rouillac.

Réf.: 6886 177 000€ FAI 15mns Angoulême. Nice villa in unique position with lovely garden and beautiful views over countryside: Lounge/diner, open fitted kitchen, 3 beds, garage, gas heating, terrace with view over the landscape garden and fields. Near all commodities.

Réf. : 6893 55 000€ FAI Aigre area. Charming stone house ideal for holidays, ready to move into. 2 bedrooms upstairs, fitted kitchen, lounge, shower room with wc and a convertable outbuilding at the back. South facing garden at the front. Cellar.

E: aigre@foncierecharentaise.fr www.foncierecharentaise.com

SOVIMO IMMOBILIER

9 Rue de Limoges, 16220 Montbron

Ref: ANB0195 - Montemboeuf Stone house in hamlet. Main room with open kitchen, 1 bedroom. Outbuildings, 600 sqm garden. Price: 47,800 € FAI

Ref. 27960: 299 400€ FAI NE of Confolens. In countryside, nice landscape, approx 2ha 45 (5 acres). Bungalow with basement (1978). Lake, 2 beds, 2 converted chalets, pool, terrace, adjoining land with wood.

Ref. 27887: Reduced to 43 800€ FAI North of Confolens. Detached village house, 3 bedrooms, outbuilding, mains drains. Adjoining & separate garden, all set on approx 608 sqm

Ref. 27943: 131 500€ FAI East of Confolens (87). In a village, bungalow (2009) on a level, 2 bedrooms, garage, covered terrace, septic tank, Land around approx 1415 sqm.

Ref. 27343: Reduced to 321 500€ FAI SE of Confolens. EXCEPTIONAL, ideal for fishermen & nature lovers. Old renovated mill set on approx 4 ha (8 acres). 2 lakes, 3 beds, garage. Detached barn with hangar. Adjoining land.

Ref. 28024: 65 700 € FAI North Confolens (86). In a small market town, detached cottage, 2 bedrooms, garage. Adjoining land + courtyard. All set on approx 1194 sqm.

Ref: ANB0138 - La Rochefoucauld Bungalow on a 700 sqm garden. Kitchen, living room, 3 bedrooms, bathroom, utility room. Price: 138,000 € FAI d ce

u ed

R

Ref: ANB0156 - Montbron Stone house in hamlet. Main room with open kitchen, 1 bedroom, bathroom, summer kitchen, attached barn with possibility to renovate. 3000 sqm garden. Price : 79,180 € FAI

Ref. 27344: Reduced to 273 900€ FAI Southern Vienne (86). In countryside, detached character house set on approx 2 ha, 7 bedrooms, hunting lodge, garage, plus possibility of hunting rights.

Ref: ANB0038 - Montbron Renovated farm house on 3 hectares of land with a lake. 6 bedrooms en-suite, living room, dining room, kitchen. Price: 343,200 € FAI

Tel: 05 45 23 67 21 fred.anb.immo@orange.fr - anne.anb.immo@orange.fr

www.anb-immobilier.com

3, place de la Liberté, 16500 Confolens Tel: 05 45 85 45 65 contact@sovimo.com

www.sovimo.com


PRACTICAL LIVING

<<

NEED SOME ADVICE?

We all need a little help at times. If you have a question that you would like answered, then email: editorial@livingmagazine.fr

Foreign Exchange

Photovoltaic Solar Systems Turn sunlight into power with Photovoltaic (PV) Solar panels without the need for complicated EDF contracts. At last, there is a keep-itsimple system to generate and use your own electricity to power your home, office or pool and reduce your energy bills permanently. And the best bit - there is no need to involve EDF at all. Our quality PV kits come in 1KW to 3KW peak outputs with everything you need to start generating and using your own electricity from the moment they are connected. It is more cost effective to use energy you have produced yourself but by remaining connected to the grid, your energy needs will be topped up whenever your PV can’t deliver enough

power for your needs. An energy monitor is included in all kits to measure, in real time, the energy you are producing against the energy you are using. With no lifestyle adjustments it is expected that savings of at least 50% can be achieved with a 3KW, 12 PV panel kit but with some minor changes, for example putting the dishwasher and washing machine on during the day (when you are producing power), you could see your savings rise to 70% plus. A PV kit can be used effectively to offset the cost of running a pool or the cost of summer guests in gites etc. Crédit d’Impôts and reduced rates of TVA can apply.

TO FIND OUT MORE contact paul@ecopowereurope.com Practical renewable energy solutions that don’t cost the earth

Affordable UK Designs

Fitted Kitchens and UPVC Double Glazing FREE PLAN, DESIGN & COSTING THROUGHOUT POITOU-CHARENTES UPVC windows, Doors & Conservatories made to UK Spec in French styles

Made in the UK Fitted in France

Phone: 05 49 42 99 41 Mobile: 0663 71 09 81

Email: scott.braddock1@yahoo.com

www.affordableukdesigns.com SIRET: 513 577 809 00017

We asked Virginie Marin (Head of Private Clients for PDQFX Ltd) to explain the benefits of using a foreign exchange broker... If you currently own a house in France or wish to purchase one, you will have a lot to consider, and foreign exchange should be high on your list as the exchange rate can have a significant impact on your budget. And if you are new to foreign exchange on this scale, you might find it challenging to deal with a foreign exchange company, but you need to bear in mind the significant benefits of using a forex broker: • Better rates of exchange than your bank and cheaper/no transfer fees, so a considerable saving • Secure and safe services (but make sure the FX company you use is authorised by the FCA) • Same day currency transfers • And more importantly, a personal account manager who will monitor the market as well as provide you with an unbiased and expert view of the currency market, which will help you in deciding the best time to make your foreign exchange transfers. Various financial tools are also available for you to protect your transactions from the rate fluctuations - forward contracts, limit orders, amongst others. You can contact Virginie for a free, no-obligation review of your currency requirements, by email on vm@pdqfx.com or by telephone on 0044 207 220 1746.

T TOM COKER C WILL ADVISOR (Conseiller Testamentaire) Helping English nationals resident in France make their wills Can also help with Lasting Powers of Attorney Living Wills and their French equivalents Former English solicitor

05 55 75 08 82 tom.coker@wanadoo.fr 14 Les Petites Doumingeas 87500 Ladignac Le Long siret 43296410400025


THE MARKET PLACE SW

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*NEW* Featured Business Stand out from the rest with our Featured Business position - a quarter page strip to include your message and photo(s).

And remember, you can register your business for free on www.livingmagazine.fr just fill in the online form.

Boat Hire

THE SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE

NATURE

Outdoor activity centre near Ruffec on the Charente River

Come and hire a boat to discover the Charente river in Cognac country Minimum for a week-end

Inter-Croisieres ~ Mr & Mrs Motta ~ Pont de Sireuil ~ 16440 Sireuil

Hotels & Restaurants

MOULIN DES FORGES, TAIZE-AIZIE, 16700 RUFFEC GPS +46° 3’ 32.4066” - +0° 14’ 47.346”

La Siréne

“A very special place” 05 55 60 20 79 www.cafepontdelapierre.com

Info & reservations 06 81 15 65 20 contact@feelnature.fr ~ www.feelnature.fr

Fish & Chips

Traditional Fish & Chips LIZANT (86)

~ As seen on French TV ~ New menu for 2013 Fresh seasonal & traditional dishes Great choice of wines & beers 3-course Menu du Jour only15.50€ See events on Facebook

Frying Icelandic Cod & Haddock PLUS

Pukka Pies, Markey’s Pies, Hamburgers etc Children’s Menu, Homemade Specials & Desserts Enjoy a glass of wine with your meal EAT-IN OR TAKE-AWAY Summer Opening Times: 6pm - 10pm Telephone Orders Welcome

English groceries, Fresh British Beef & Steak to order only, Gammon Steak, Bacon, Sausage & Cheddar cheese. Wide range of frozen items including vegetarian. Traditional English beers, Sherries & Wine. Cards for all occasions Closed for holidays 28 Aug - 25 Sept Mon to Thurs 10am - 6pm Fri 10am - 7pm Sat 9am - 6pm

Visit www.petticoatlaneshop.com Email sales@petticoatlaneshop.com

in our restaurant or on our terrace - choose from our fixed price menus from 14€ or à la carte. Les Métairies, Jarnac (16) Open daily www.hotelkarina.net info@hotelkarina.net Tel: 0545362626

Food shops

Mr T‛s Friterie

Regular venues at Aulnay, St Jean d'Angèly, Matha, Loulay, St Hilaire and Cognac Camping Municipal Rouillac Foire 27th / month 18h30 - 21h summer hours We work with local bars at all venues so you can eat there or takeaway. Private functions catering.

05 49 87 86 62 Between Ruffec & Civray Food shops

Tel 05 45 29 03 99 ~ Fax 05 45 85 92 25

Enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner

Plat à emporter Fish & Chips Traditionnel Britannique 06 02 22 44 74 www.frying2nite.com

Petticoat Lane 5 Rue Nationale - 16150 Chabanais be at We will Sunday l o z a n Pa on market August th 8 1 & 4th

Canoeing, Stand-up Paddling, Spider nets, Accrobranche, Tree climbing Picnic site, ice creams & drinks available, toilets

Feel Nature

+33 (0)5 45 90 58 18 www.intercroisieres.com ~ e: intercroisieres@orange.fr

Bellac (87300)

Hotels & Restaurants

Open 7/7 er m in the sumam from 10 to 7pm

2 new boats in 2013

Café le Pont de la Pierre

RING JON ON 05 49 87 29 71 EMAIL: ADS@AMMFRANCE.COM We can design your advert for you FREE of charge. Pay monthly by debit/credit card.

Outdoor adventure

New season ~ New boats New management

English spoken

HOW TO ADVERTISE:

Fresh deliveries every 3 weeks

Hundreds of English products at great prices New Extension to Bistro & café now open Homemade food & cakes served all day Latté - Cappuccino - Real ale on tap & lager available Full English Breakfast Fresh Battered Cod & Chips Now open Fridays till 8.00pm serving food

www.BorgsCafeAndStore.com

Currency

Established 2002

Regular temperature controlled deliveries from the UK of frozen, chilled and grocery Iceland products Domaine de la Goujonne 17270, MONTGUYON

05 46 48 32 44

www.anglofoods.com

The English Shop in Saintes, celebrating 12 yrs of trade Largest choice in Charente Maritime Locally produced sausages & bacon, cheddar, spices and much much more... Free book exchange

SAVE MONEY

11 rue Arc de Triomphe - Saintes Tel: 05 46 94 24 98 Open Tuesday to Saturday 9:30am-12:30 & 2:00pm-6:30pm

www.livingmagazine.fr | 57


THE MARKET PLACE SW

Welcome to the Market Place - the only place to be seen!

To place your advert please call Jon on: 05.49.87.29.71

SOUTH WEST FRANCE Food Producers & Caterers Ne ~ poinw Drop-of t at R f uffec ~

From farm to plate English sausages, bacon, joints with crackling etc.. Made in France from outdoor reared farm pigs. Full product list & ordering on web site Mail order available

05 53 56 58 26

Sausageland

www.sausageland.com

Shopping & Brocantes

Help & Advice

&

For something different, hand crafted Soaps / Bath bombs

&

Celebration Cakes and Cup Cakes & Much more www.cheztantemabel.com TEL: 05 49 29 19 07

Open Tues-Sun 2pm-6pm

Between Chef Boutonne & Brioux-sur-Boutonne

French & English Fine & Country Furniture Lighting • Pictures & Paintings Antique Linens • Antique Toys & Dolls Vintage Costume Jewellery Vintage Persian carpets & rugs Ornamental & Unusual Items Postcards & other collectable items Items bought & Sold

Siret: 519 118 55 00013

&

Café Bar Boutique 15 Route de Brioux 79170 Luché sur Brioux

3 Route des Charrons, La Forge, 87440 St Mathieu 05 55 58 99 63 / 06 88 73 41 98 www.labrocantelaforge.com Photographer

Help & Advice

Fitness

PC Support

Need help? Bring your computers down to our fast and friendly service or call to arrange a home visit.

For a body that is leaner and longer, more supple and stronger, join a Pilates class Classes in Cherves Chatelars (16310) and Cussac (87150) Please contact: moraig@pilatesphysique.net 05 55 78 44 48 www.pilatesphysique.net

Fair Prices - No Fix, No Fee Call Rees Davies 05 49 87 70 20 / 06 72 33 23 15 E: support@ poitoucharentesconnect.com www.poitoucharentesconnect.com St-Gaudent (86) - covering depts 86, 79 & 16

58 | www.livingmagazine.fr

For convenient Hair Design in ✳the comfort of your own home or my fully equipped salon

✴✳

g Piano Tuning

MR. PIANO MAN We specialise in sales of Baby Grands & small modern pianos

Also: Pianos to rent ~ Piano tuning ~ Full restoration to small repairs on all pianos All our work is guaranteed Formerly BBC London Tuner Departements 16, 17, 79, 86, 87

Tel: 05 45 21 16 13 E: mr-piano-man@hotmail.com SIRET: 51031234100017

Call Alison on 05 49 87 17 60 alison@affixe.com www.affixe.com Manual Therapist

✴ ✳ ✴ Out Heading ✴

Jane Wherrett ACCA UK Qualified Chartered Accountant

tax returns, healthcare cover, family benefits, insurance claims, auto entreprises, notaires, banks, utilities, social security, mairies & more.

Health & Beauty

✴✳

Accounting and Bookkeeping Services to suit your business requirements

• Bookkeeping to Trial Balance • Bank Reconciliations and Cash Flow Forecasts • Aged Debtors and Creditors • VAT/TVA returns • Monthly Management Accounts • Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet Contact Jane Tel: 05 45 64 47 30 or 0044 7890 622 782 E: JaneWherrettAccountant@yahoo.co.uk

UK High Street Clothes, Scarves, Gifts, Cards, Books, Jewellery, Home Accessories, Ceramics, Beauty & Bath products, British Groceries. Now catering for Children’s Parties! Bacon Butties, Full Breakfasts, Freshly Made Pies & Pasties, Home Made Cream Teas. www.15luche.com Weds - Sat 10.30am-6pm info@15luche.com 06 98 05 48 79

Prompt and practical help with all your administrative problems:

Tina Hall Manual Therapist

UK trained Physio with 24 years experience including British sports teams bodymatters34@yahoo.com

Call Alison Barker today Tel: 05 49 87 85 33 Mob: 06 82 59 76 87

✳ ali_baba66@hotmail.com ✳ siret: 509 861 902 00013

05 55 06 59 12 06 71 46 79 11 Bussac, 87600 Cheronnac

H.P.C. PH66488 siret 497 688 663 00028

www.bodymattersbackcareclinic.net

Newly opened shop extension Displaying a Good selection of Dolls Houses and Furniture Large selection of Hallmark cards and Hand Crafted cards for all occasions

BUREAUCRATIC NIGHTMARES?

The Market

Chez Tante Mabel

Musicians

Stewart Hull

Having a party? Music from rock ‘n’ roll, 60s, swing, ballads and much more... Check out my website:

www.stewart-hull.com or call 06 32 07 16 53 email: stewarthull@hotmail.com


THE MARKET PLACE SW

Support our advertisers and keep Living magazine free

SOUTH WEST FRANCE

FEATURED BUSINESS

To place your advert please call Jon on: 05.49.87.29.71

UK Furniture Here in France 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 .

customers find the right furniture for their property,” said Brian Muir, the company’s managing director.

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 everything and put that to good use when helping

Brian welcomes customers from all over France to the company’s showroom near Brive so they can see the large selection of furniture for themselves. They make deliveries throughout France, as well as locally to customers in the Dordogne, the Lot, Charente and Limousin.

T: 05 55 22 31 46 or 06 46 49 73 45 E: info@furnitureforfrance.co.uk www.furnitureforfrance.co.uk

Brendan Jowett

Silversmith-Goldsmith-Sculptor Orfèvre repairs, antique restoration, commissions and teaching

Lingerie

Domestic & Gardening services

E on uro FR or pea E de n E rs de ov liv er er £6 y 0

Jewellery

Star Domestic & Gardening Services Lingerie, Maternity, Nursing, Mastectomy, Sports & Shapewear AAA - KK cups & back sizes 28 - 58

1 rue 19 mars 1962, 87150 Oradour sur Vayres 06 04 45 86 64 / 05 55 10 01 73 brendanjowett@yahoo.co.uk www.brjsilver.co.uk siret : 75369293800016

Tel: 05 53 56 3602 / + 44 203 514 6772 Email info@blbeautifullingerie.co.uk for any advice or queries BL103 Lacey Balcony Bra £32

All Domestic Services from Cleaning to Gardening House cleaning, Gite change-overs Garden maintenance Property maintenance

Need a hand? Just call Star

06 42 48 77 57

stardomestics@hotmail.com

www.blbeautifullingerie.co.uk

Charente (16), Vienne (86) and Deux-Sèvres (79) covered

www.StarDomesticServices.com

Satellite TV & Installation

Private House Sale

STAR SATELLITE British TV in France BskyB Qualified

For All Your Satellite Needs Midway between Le Mans and Tours

Property with great potential for development. For sale or long let.

www.frenchfermette.com

Regions: Dordogne & surrounding Departments Tel: 05 53 80 63 93 Email: contact@starsatellite.fr Web: www.starsatellite.fr Siret: 501 962 666 00019

Estate Agents

Pet Care

Dog getting out more than you? Exclusive suppliers & installers of hidden fences, indoor boundries, remote trainers. Using unique patented FM radio signal technology to keep your dog(s) contained and safe, from a small garden, gateway to a large estate.

It’s all about your dog

www.Canicloture.fr Tina and Simon Hatcher 8, rue des Hirondelles - 17510 CHIVES Tel: 05 46 59 06 81 - email: canicloture@hotmail.fr

Cattery

Currency

Cachette du chat

On Your Mortgage Payments

Small friendly cattery Condac, Ruffec. Purpose-built heated Chambers for your cat with its own outdoor run Each chamber is well equipped to give your cat all the comforts. Open all year. Visits welcome. Reg DSV – Certificate of capacity Tel 0545 29 01 31 0615 66 38 92 Flurry16@gmail.com

www.livingmagazine.fr | 59


THE MARKET PLACE SW

Welcome to the Market Place - the only place to be seen!

To place your advert please call Jon on: 05.49.87.29.71

SOUTH WEST FRANCE

Courses

Insurance

Accents

For all your insurance needs

For ages 5+

For Free, no obligation quotes, please call our English speaking staff

Established 2007

www.accents-asso.fr admin@accents-asso.fr

BHC ASSURANCES Financial advisor 22, rue Jean Jaures 16700 Ruffec tel: 05 45 31 01 61

Association Loi 1901

New! Mothers & Toddlers every Thurs (see website for details)

Insurance For all your insurance needs

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

Furniture & Kitchens

Looking for quality bathrooms and kitchens at the right price?

Sarl R.S.M. Distribution

Weds - Sat 10am - 4pm. Mon & Tues by appointment. Contact Ray, Sonia 05 49 87 67 34 Working to a budget? E; thekitchencompany@orange.fr We can help. www.Fudgejj.com

Whatever your budget, whatever your style... We have what you are looking for!! Free planning and design service at your home.

Find us on D727 Jousse 10mins from Civray

B&Q Cooke & Lewis  Kitchens in stock.

AGENCES PHILIPPE BOURDIN 3 Place d’Armes, 16700 RUFFEC Tel: 05 45 31 01 51 or 17 rue Neuve, 79190 SAUZE VAUSSAIS Tel: 05 49 07 61 10

30/60% discount on all in stock kitchens. Flat packed or built up & delivered. Planning and Design service. Fitting if required. No mimimum purchase eg;  one cabinet, one door.

E: bourdin-ruffec@aviva-assurances.com No ORIAS: 07009808

Free, no obligation quotes. Ask for Samantha

orias 07020908

House & contents Motor, Health, Business Life Insurance & Savings

Make sure your children keep up to speed with their English Literacy while living in France... Weekly classes held in Civray (86400) Experienced, qualified UK teachers using the latest UK materials

Visit our 1000m2 showrooms. In business for 10 years.

To request a Free brochure email or call us below.

Tel: 05.45.79.18.24 Email: info@kitchensbathroomsfrance.com Web: www.kitchensbathroomsfrance.com

Sarl R.S.M. Distribution

Pools

House sitter

piscine-plus.com

Don't get in a flap! Call

The Sitting Ducks

pools - spas - security - chemicals - accessories

Celebrating 19 years of installing pools in France - genuine reassurance for the future. We will beat any like for like quote - just call us. Main agents for Christal Pools

+33 (0)5 65 37 79 64

7, Ave Georges Pompidou 46300 Fourdon

P Quality bike hire across depts 16, 17, 24 & 86

FREE delivery & collection Gite Owner? Earn money with us!

05 67 07 11 01 info@bikehiredirect.com www.bikehiredirect.com

www.poolsbyjonathan.com phone 0549840362 mobile 0622361056

POOL DESIGN

All work completed by us, design, excavation, construction & landscaping on completion. All work guaranteed.

FRIENDLY PROFESSIONAL SERVICE Competitive prices, try me for a quote Terracing and landscaping service also available ALL WORK GUARANTEED

DOWN TO EARTH

www.DownToEarthPoolDesign.com Email: stevethyer@aol.com

05 49 87 04 13 Siret 4933703570011

(+33) 05 49 97 08 65 References available Covered by public liability insurance Siret Registered U86071578008 Based dept 86 annelizabeth@hotmail.com

Motoring

Bike Hire

BikeHireDirect

Agent and installer for several rectangular & shaped pools including Seablue & Bloo Piscines

SIRET 47994761600021

sales@piscine-plus.com - www.piscine-plus.com

POOLS BY JONATHAN

Sarl

Pools from 12,400€ ttc installed in 2 weeks, free planning

Tailored, High Quality House Sitting, Pet Care, Personal Support/Care, Holiday Changeover and Cleaning Service, Welcome Home Preparation

CAR BREAKERS C.R.A.L

Any condition Pre 1985 I am a collector not a dealer.

Flying from Limoges Airport? Worried about high parking prices?

We can offer you secure, cheap parking nearby including transfers to and from the airport

Hassle-free service Book now www.parkinglimoges.com

05 55 03 37 96

60 | www.livingmagazine.fr

WANTED OLD MOPEDS & MOTORCYCLES

We will collect your scrap car for free We sell & buy secondhand cars R.H.D or L.H.D Spare parts for sale English spoken Les Tourettes - 87440 SAINT MATHIEU Tel: 0555482133 cral87@gmx.fr

Tel Stewart on:

0549 870114 email f5vjj@live.co.uk


THE MARKET PLACE SW

Support our advertisers and keep Living magazine free

To place your advert please call Jon on: 05.49.87.29.71

SOUTH WEST FRANCE

FEATURED BUSINESS

Expert Tree Surgery WITH over twenty years experience, tree surgeon Michael Dempsey offers clients around the Angoulême area help with all tree work and site clearance. Having moved to the area eight years ago, Michael undertakes all aspects of tree work including pruning, topping, thinning, and felling. His company, Dempsey Tree Surgery Contractors, has an impressive array of hardware including a stump grinder which removes

problem stumps leaving an even surface, a wood chipping machine, a mini digger and two tipping trucks as well as a four-wheel drive. This means that he can tackle the most difficult of jobs safely and effectively.

able to remove the trees or individual branches and chip them on-site. We can then either take the chips away or tip them somewhere that they can be reached easily and used for mulching the garden,” explains Michael.

“Often clients want to let more light into their garden or have problem trees near to the house. Others have difficulties with their pool filters becoming clogged with leaves. We are

To quote for a job, Michael can visit your home or, if too far, can base his devis on photographs emailed to him showing the nearby hazards such as power lines.

T: 05 45 65 96 86 or 06 61 90 04 92

E: enquiries@dempseytreesurgery.com

Motoring

Collection & Delivery Service

AIGRE AUTOS

FRANGLAIS DELIVERIES

• • • • •

John & David are happy to help you with: Servicing your car Air conditioning Fuel Injection & Auto Electrics Registering your vehicle in France Diagnostic Testing equipment

Removals and Storage

D������� �n� c���ec�i�� ����i�e� t� �n� �r�� Fr�n�� Family run company based in France specialising in collection and deliveries to and from the UK. Have your new bedroom or bathroom suite, sofa, building supplies or any UK purchases or household items delivered to our UK depot for delivery to France, whether your moving furniture, removals, household or garden equipment we are here to help. ~ UK storage space available ~ Siret: 511 980 427

EXCELLENT RATES AVAILABLE - PLEASE CONTACT US

Route de Ruffec 9am - 7pm Mon - Fri 9am - 12noon Sat Tel: 05 45 21 39 77

www.dempseytreesurgery.com

Tel: 05 49 07 24 85 / 06 82 65 74 09 E: franglaisdeliveries@gmail.com Franglais Deliveries

ANGLO FRENCH EURO REMOVALS ‘Your French Connection’

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

Fully Insured members of the BAR & GUILD of Removers Tel: 0044 1622 690653 Email: info@anglofrench.co.uk

www.anglofrench.co.uk UK Registration 543 77 60 UK

Removals and Storage

Architectural Design

Man & Van George White European Transport 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 www.georgewhiteeuropean.co.uk

Architectural Design

ARCHITECT

John Hartie

B. Arch., A.R.I.A.S, R.I.B.A. ORDRE des ARCHITECTES Full Architectural Service: First Consultation Free Permis de Construire drawings for: New Builds, Conversions, Extensions 14 Rue des Bans 16110 LA ROCHEFOUCAULD T: 05 45 91 73 90 / 06 81 90 18 87 e.mail: john.hartie@orange.fr

FRANKLINS REMOVALS LTD

Deliveries and Collections France, Spain, U.K. & Europe

PERSONAL, FRIENDLY, EFFICIENT SERVICE

Transport & Small removals throughout Europe (Including islands)

Phone for quote: 05 49 97 15 56 / 06 85 80 50 57 UK mob: 07754 732 640 Email: keith232@hotmail.com Water Conditioning

Beat Limescale!

®

Electronic water conditioners No plumbing No chemicals/salt 5-year and money-back  guarantees Low running costs Range of sizes

BSc (Hons)

Architectural designs, planning applications & project management for extensions, renovations, conversions and new build.

Contact; Stephen Franklin

Departments covered 16, 17, 79, 86

www.franklinsremovals.co.uk

e-mail: ian.dickinson@wanadoo.fr www.idarchitecturaldesign.com

Engineering

Currency

0044 (0)1283 792838 franklinsmove@aol.com

SIRET 481 224 129 00033

Ian Dickinson

A family business for 30 years, offering a professional service Packing services Full/part loads to and from the UK Vehicles transported Containerised storage Competitive prices Transit liability included

L’Atelier de Fer Fraser W. Eade

General Engineering Turning, Milling, Welding Quality & Precision Guaranteed Forgeix, 87200 Saint Junien

05 55 71 41 75

frasereade87@gmail.com

Architectural Designer

Tel/Fax: 05.46.98.22.01

MORE €€€ FOR THE SAME ₤₤₤

Siret: 512 945 874 00018

www.touteau.com  09 70 46 97 17 www.livingmagazine.fr | 61


Welcome to the Market Place - the only place to be seen!

THE MARKET PLACE SW

To place your advert please call Jon on: 05.49.87.29.71

SOUTH WEST FRANCE

Building Services

Decorators

Home Renovations Fosse Septique Specialist

Interior and exterior painting Exterior refurbishment Interior decorating - walls and floors Mathieu, Stephane and Teddy cover the whole of the Poitou-Charentes Call us on 06.25.63.91.71 or email: amstedco@gmail.com

GUARANTEED QUALIFIED INSURED References available All Areas Covered

Driveways, Demolitions Concreting,Ground Clearance Mains Drainage Public works Digger & Operator Hire

Tel: 05 49 87 47 64 Mob: 06 42 28 52 31

SIRET: 492 374 145 00018

SARL

Andrew Quick

Ian Horton

Call us for all your decorating requirements

ROOFING

traditional, mechanical, slate Rendering, Pointing, Full and Part Renovations, Conversions Established, registered artisan with Décennale & Civile Responsabilité Insurance 05 49 27 22 67 andy@qfrance.com depts 79, 86 & 16 www.building-services-france.com Siret: 499 474 302 00019

Building Services

Full Building and Renovation Service

MA R K SA B E ST I N I RENOVATION AND CONSTRUCTION

CONSTRUCTION

We can meet all your renovation & construction needs Masonry * Carpentry * Joinery * Roofing * Dry-lining

For a free estimate, please contact Dave Williams on: Tel: 07 87 92 28 99 dave.julie@hotmail.co.uk SIRET: 498 181 585 00015

To see a portfolio of our work and client recommendations go to our web site: SIRET : 44241206000018

Fully comprehensive on time, on price building service for all your building and renovation needs no matter how large or small the project

All aspects of the building trade from start to finish from a professional, experienced company at great prices. • New Builds, Eco Builds & Renovation • Ground Works & Fosse Septiques, • Roofing & Carpentry • Plastering, Decorating & Tiling

www.deux-sevres-renovation-and-construction.co.uk With our great network of local artisans and our in-depth knowledge of the French processes, we can help you every step of the way.

CONTACT MARK FOR A QUOTE OR TO DISCUSS YOUR PROJECT

Email: sabestini@orange.fr Tel: 09 79 24 57 16

10 yr Decennale Guarantee

For more information or to discuss your requirements speak to Stuart on 05 45 65 09 11 or 06 38 68 60 14 www.slm-construction.fr

info@slm-construction.fr

DOWN TO EARTH

Antony Wherrett

kphDIY forSERVICE House & Garden Wooden Shutters (made to measure)

Decking, Patios, Pergolas, Pointing, Painting & Decorating Garden Maintenance Fencing

KPH Service provides a reliable, quality service. I am competitively priced and can provide testimonials and photos of my work if required. Keith Hyatt 05 45 29 66 24 hyatt.patricia@orange.fr

Email:

Siret 504 382 284 00017

Sarl

Building Services

HAYMAR CONSTRUCTION

Construction

Installation of Fosse Septiques Accredited Micro-station installer Driveways, Patios, Drainage & all groundwork House Renovations Barn Conversions Digger & Tipper Services

Designers & Installers of the Structural Modular Insulated Panel System Worry Free Renovation The perfect construction method for barn conversions and full renovations

See our showpod at the Reclamation Yard in Confolens

L'Hubert 86460 Availles Limouzine Tel: 00 33 (0)5 49 84 36 40 / Mobile: 00 33 (0)6 34 02 83 86 Email: mgrin1469@aol.com www.haymarconstruction.com

All work guaranteed Testimonials available on request www.downtoearthvienne.com Email: stevethyer@aol.com

05 49 87 04 13 Siret 4933703570011

Electrical Installations Garden and Home Lighting Designs Integrated Security Alarms Fire Detection & Entry Systems Plumbing and Heating Total Project Management With 30 years experience I will see your project through from start to finish Contact Tony to discuss your requirements Tel - 0545644730 southwestconstruction @yahoo.co.uk

Building Services

General Building Services Plasterboarding, Masonry, Tiling, Plumbing, Electricity, Bathrooms & Kitchens from A-Z Dept. 16,17

05 46 49 78 30 / 06 70 40 66 01

website: andyms.free.fr email: andyms@free.fr

FOSSE FRANCE SOLUTIONS Fosse and Micro-station Artisan suppliers Th

e Na

tural W ay T o

Hatton Building Flow.

..

ANDY MS

Independent supplier of affordable, reliable, high quality, environmentally friendly micro-stations and sewage treatment systems for both new builds and properties with a non-conforming fosse. All our systems are fully approved for use in France and we will not be beaten on price For a professional and friendly service, contact Clint: Tel: 05 45 85 47 40

fossefrancesolutions@gmail.com www.fossefrancesolutions.com

siret:50263448800014

62 | www.livingmagazine.fr

UK registration 07 15 72 91

25 years experience, references & portfolio available.

Artisan

Experienced high quality mason All aspects of building work undertaken Renovations and New Build Kitchen & Bathrooms Contact Nick HATTON: Tél: 05 45 79 16 46 - Portable: 06 04 07 37 56 Email: info@hattonbuilding.com

Fully registered and insured incl. 10 year guarantee ~ siret: 509 653 952 00010

Lieu dit ‘le chateau’, 16360, Baignes Sainte Radegonde

www.hattonbuilding.com


THE MARKET PLACE SW

Support our advertisers and keep Living magazine free

To place your advert please call Jon on: 05.49.87.29.71

SOUTH WEST FRANCE Building Services

General Builder & Plumbing Services

BTP/SERVICES

R. HUTCHINGS

MINI - PELLE , TRACTO PELLE

All work conforms to current French regulations

All Building Works from Fosse Septiques to Roof Renovations Registered & Insured

Plasterboarding, Tiling, Rendering/Pointing , Kitchens/Bathrooms All interior and exterior work

We speak english

Please contact: Tel. 05 45 89 35 58

Fosse septiques and drainage Certificate of conformity guaranteed

(French & English message)

Tel: 05 49 07 62 71 Mob: 06 47 67 57 49

E: tonysparks79@gmail.com 79120 Saint Coutant Fully insured, all work guaranteed

robertetrosie@orange.fr R. HUTCHINGS

TERRASSEMENT, CHEMIN D’ ACCES Tarifs intéressants, Travail soigné, Devis gratuit

05 45 31 19 40 - 06 26 71 45 69

Le Bourg 16270, Suris

St Laurent de Ceris - Montemboeuf Siret 494 719 826 00021

Siret no 415 085 000 00016

Building Services

Plumbers

S Cannon Building Services

Rendering, pointing, tiling, patios, gates, renovation. All interior & exterior building work.

E: cannoncarter@orange.fr www.scannonbuildingservices.com

Rioux Martin, Nr Chalais 16210

Alan Cooper

Qualified Plumbing and Heating Engineer

Chauffage, Climatisation, Sanitaire Central Heating Installations Boiler Servicing Bathroom, Kitchen Installations Tiling, Solar Powered Hot Water Underfloor Heating & Heat Pumps

Installation & servicing of gas, oil & wood fire heating (wood/log burners) Bathroom design & installation Unvented hot water cylinders Solar hot water All work fully insured

Plastering, Rendering Small jobs no problem! Renovations Plasterboarding All Tiling

ROBERT WALKER Tel: 05 49 27 36 98

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

Electricians

Ellis Electrique EXPERIENCED QUALIFIED ELECTRICIAN REWIRES, NEW BUILD, ELECTRIC HEATING, HOME SECURITY, LIGHTNING PROTECTION, TV & AUDIO. WORK GUARANTEED & INSURED Areas: 16, 36, 37, 79, 86, 87

Tel: 05 49 50 09 06 Mob: 06 70 97 59 56 Email: paul.gill@wanadoo.fr

Peter Amor Electrician

Plombier Anglais En France

Call Dave today: 05 49 27 37 60 dbplumbingandheating@ hotmail.com Based south 79 covering 16,17,79 & 86

Tel: 05 55 68 59 24 Mob: 06 37 71 20 57 cooperalan@hotmail.co.uk

Experienced, French Registered Electrician Available for all types of electrical work renovations, small works, gate automations etc. Insured and guaranteed

Robert Healey Healey Robert

Siret: 502 353 675 00015

Traditional oak frame • Attic conversions • Renovations • Windows • Doors • Arbours • Floors • Staircases • Dry-lining

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

Tel: 05 49 48 46 79 07 87 20 20 51

trevor.miell@btopenworld.com

Based 86430, all areas covered

05 46 86 07 61 Siret 49376573200015

JAMES RICHARDSON

Imajica Joinery

Areas 16, 17, 24, 47

jeanette.healey@wanadoo.fr Siret: 515232000017

05 49 87 09 63

Associations

Career Changing Opportunities

Equine Rescue France

We are currently recruiting in

Bressuire, Cognac, Thouars, Parthenay, Fonteney-le-Comte, Pons, Surgères, Royan, Saujon, La Tremblade/Marennes, Rochefort, Surgères, La Rochelle, Poitiers, Chatellerault and Lusignan for sales agents Full training provided - Call Sarah Edwards:

0666 58 94 66 sarah@leggett.fr

Looking to buy or sell? We have thousands of properties on our website, local knowledge you can trust.

www.frenchestateagents.com

Tel: 05 49 91 85 54 peter-amor@orange.fr SIRET: 480 026 560 00012

SolarVenti The warm, dry, solar solution to damp and humidity problems. Supplied and installed by Harlequin Developments

05 55 68 67 56

harlequindevelopments@ live.com www.solarventi.com Siret 494.501.067.00016

Currency

Recruitment

With excellent earning potential

Conformity Inspections

Dehumidifiers

Carpenter & Joiner

Call me today to discuss your project References & photos available

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

All departments covered

Carpenters

ELECTRICIAN

siret: 45275539000013 RM8601

Siret: 511 618 035

TEL: 05 45 78 35 56

Electricians

Robert Walker PLOMBERIE

SIRET: 502 497 365 00010

Please call or email Steve for a quotation. Photos & references available

SIRET: 509 713 772 00010

EXPERIENCED GENERAL BUILDER

Plasterer

Looking for long term loan home:

Ruby & Ebony Can be homed together or individually

CONTACT VIRGINIE AT

PDQFX

+44 (0) 207 220 1746

vm@pdqfx.com All homes will be checked and a loan agreement will be put in place. An adoption fee is payable, see website for details. Please become a member or send us a donation to help us to continue to help equines in France.

www.EquineRescueFrance.org Reg: 862000830 (Montmorillon)

Authorised by the FCA

www.livingmagazine.fr | 63


EVENTS THE EVENTS PAGE SW SOUTH WEST FRANCE

Mad Hatter’s Kitchen

ADVERTISE YOUR EVENT HERE: RING JON ON 05 49 87 29 71

The Phoenix Chorale and Chantvallon

Mad Hatters Kitchen serving freshly made good food just for you!

present a varied programme of sacred, traditional and modern music, both a capella and organ-accompanied.

By reservation: Thurs and Friday special Plat du Jour: 4 courses, wine included €12.50 ~Thur-Sat evening menu €25 Traditional 3 course Sunday lunch €18

Fri 19 July: Music/Bistro - Angie Palmer acoustic guitar, 2 course bistro supper with wine 18 or 5€ entrance Thurs 25 July: Music by Rag Mama Rag, country blues, rags and stomps! 20€ tapas, 2 courses wine, or entrance 5€

“Claymore” “Gavin Livingstone” “Stoney River Band” La Margelle theâtre, Civray Saturday 7th September, 8pm 5 Euros (free drink after) Info: 05 49 87 34 02

Fri 2 Aug: Music night with Claude Bourbon medieval/Spanish/ blues acoustic guitar 20€, tapas, 2 courses wine, or entrance 5€ Fri 9, 10 August Mad Hatters Festival weekend, Music, entertainment food, trade stands (see editorial)

CHARROUX CHURCH (86) Sunday 8 September 16.00hrs

Entry free, retiring collection

Please ring or e mail for more info: 0549 27 67 29 glynn.chubb79@orange.fr / www.madhattersfrance.eu

All Welcome

Le Logis, Le Breuillac, 79190 Caunay

Reservations www.sanxayopera.fr

EMAIL: ADS@ AMMFRANCE.COM We can design your advert for you FREE of charge. Pay monthly by debit/credit card.

“Attitude” Celtic and Americana concert

05 49 44 95 38

31 August - 12 September

Saturday 21 September

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T: 05 45 20 79 31 E: amoss768@gmail.com

Réservations et billetterie Office du Tourisme: COGNAC: 05.45.82.10.71


LIVING MUSIC

Summer Breeze Summer in France has long been Festival Season, but live music can happen anywhere as Roger Moss finds out...

S

o, summer finally breezed in after all, just in time to provide perfect weather for some great outdoor music events to the relief of organisers and audiences alike. The even better news is that summer is far from over with lots of incredibly varied live music still to come from festivals to modest, but ever popular, village affairs. Southwest France is big, though, and when you look around at what’s coming up, then wherever you live there’s a good chance that something you really want to see will be happening rather further away than you’d normally consider travelling. But if you really love your music, and the sun is shining, then it could well be worth planning a special trip. Spend some time getting to know an unfamiliar area and at the end of the day, round it all off with a magical concert you’ll remember for a long time. After all, when summer’s here then anything is possible. By way of inspiration, we’ve been sifting through the event listings which seem to offer something for everyone, whatever their musical taste – and the settings are often spectacular. For example (and well worth a special trip), throughout the summer, many of the

Loire châteaux stage Son et Lumière events. See www.touraineloirevalley. com for a list, including the romantic Château d’Azay-le-Rideau – nightly performances run until the 24 Aug (http://azay-le-rideau.monumentsnationaux.fr, 02 47 45 42 04). The three-day Face et Si Festival at Mouilleron-le-Captif, La Roche-sur-Yon (85) runs from the 6-8 Sept, with some well-known names appearing: www. festival-faceetsi.com. Meanwhile, for somewhere more centrally located, Niort’s newly restyled city centre is staging free open air concerts every Thursday evening until 22 Aug. For information see: www.niortourisme. com, 05 49 24 88 27. If you’re a fan of brass and percussion, the 20th edition of the Cuivres en Fête festival takes place from 17-25 Aug in Saint-Junien, and from 16 Aug throughout the Limousin region. There’s an international line-up, the varying ensembles performing a mix of styles (www.cuivres-en-fete.com, 05 55 41 65 60). Or perhaps Confolens’ annual Festival des Danses et Musiques du Monde is more your style. The 56th edition runs from 13-18 Aug, and around 100,000 visitors each year make this a real flagship event.

Bar, Hotel & Restaurant

Hotel Du Diamant Lunch & Evening meals available Sunday lunch from €8.50, reservation required Group bookings taken See website for details of Live music events & theme nights

James & Nicky 05 49 87 20 28 6 Rue de Diamant 86460 Mauprevoir

www.hoteldudiamant.com

find us on facebook

www.facebook.com/diamond.hotel.9

Café de la Gare

Full details at: www.festivaldeconfolens. com, 05 45 84 00 77. For something less full-on, Les Heures Vagabondes 2013 runs until 17 Aug, and presents a series of free concerts (soul, rock, jazz, world music, etc.) around the Vienne with those in Valdivienne, Ceaux en Loudun, Pressac, Celle L’Evescault, Mirebeau, Antran, L’Isle Jourdain, Dissay and Monts sur Guesnes still to come (www.lesheuresvagabondes.fr). Talking of jazz, the 4th Festival Jazz au Phare happens from 18-21 Aug in a unique setting beside the Phare des Baleines, Saint-Clémentdes-Baleines, Ile de Ré. Information: www.jazzauphare.com, 07 88 32 66 83. Or if you simply want to be carried away by a wave of festival rock, the 16th Laryrock Festival will be powering it out on 10 Aug at the Plan d’Eau du Lary near Chevançeaux (17). Details: www.laryrock-festival.fr. For something considerably more soothing, the 14th Soirées Lyriques de Sanxay will be presenting Madame Butterfly (Puccini) from 8-12 Aug 2013 in the Gallo-Roman amphitheatre of Sanxay (79): www.operasanxay.fr, 05 49 44 95 38. And if this issue’s featured garden has inspired you, then don’t miss a series of Baroque concerts by Les Arts Florrissants de William Christie in the conductor’s own gardens in Thiré (85) from 24-31 Aug. Details: www.festivalchezwilliamchristie.vendee.fr. Always great food and a warm welcome

Menu Plat du Jour Menu du Weekend Menu du Soir

12.50€ 15.00€ 22.50€

Vegetarian & Vegan guests welcome

open till midnight 12-12 weekends Open for lunch Tue-Fri

OPEN TUES-SUN AFTERNOON 5 Rooms & Studio gîte Starting at only 35€

Fete weekend: 2, 3, 4 Aug

English, French & Dutch Spoken

Tel: 0545 622516

info@lachaumiere.eu 5 Route de la Planche 86290 Coulonges

Bar ~ Snacks ~ Music ~ Pool

Music Night: 27 Sept Sunday Lunch ~ Music Night Gourville (16170) Between Aigre & Rouillac

inc. breakfast

05 49 48 83 31 06 45 00 30 64

Le Moulin de Condac

Quality ‘Fait Maison’ food to suit all budgets Spectacular island terrace Lunch: 3 courses + glass wine 12.20€ Formula Menus available lunch & dinner starting at 15.80€ Possibly the best pizza in the Charente, made to order in our wood-fired brick oven French owned & English spoken Tel: 05 45 31 04 97 2 mins from Ruffec (16)


LIVING BOOKS

Book reviews Former BBC books reviewer, Sandie George, takes a look at the latest French and English bestsellers.

DEAD MAN’S TIME by PETER JAMES publisher Macmillan

HEAD OVER HEELS IN FRANCE by SAMANTHA BRICK publisher Summersdale

****

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A vicious robbery at a secluded Brighton Mansion leaves its elderly occupant dying. Millions of pounds worth of valuables have been taken. But, as Detective Superintendent Roy Grace rapidly learns, there is one priceless item of sentimental value that the old woman’s powerful family cherishes above all others. Roy is racing against the clock, following a murderous trail that leads him across Europe. Does he get his man...?

Samantha has written some slightly controversial articles of late but she is a very nice person who has written an excellent book, which is both sensitive and funny. Almost bankrupt and homeless, she visits France for a weekend in the Lot and immediately falls in love with Pascal. This is the tale of the way her life changed and it is a good holiday read, so do give her a second chance.

TALES OF TWO CITIES by JONATHAN CONLIN publisher Atlantic-Books

I’M STILL STANDING by MEL CARNEGIE publisher Matador

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Paris and London have long held a mutual fascination, and never more so than in the period 1750-1914, when they vied to be the world’s greatest city. The story of their rivalry has global implications with a history of surprises. Sherlock Holmes was actually French; the Can-Can was English and the first ever restaurant served English food in Paris. Fascinating and easy to read.

Another local writer, Mel Carnegie, vividly recounts how she has fought adversity since childhood, beginning with the death of her father when she was just four years old and culminating with the discovery that her ten-year marriage had been nothing but a sham. She now believes that the man she called her soul mate was a sociopath. This is her heart-rending and ultimately inspirational story; overcoming hardship with an inner strength.

INCEPTIO by ALISON MORTON publisher SilverWood Books

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I always approach ‘alternative history’ novels with some trepidation, especially if it is the first novel. This is a current day thriller, starting in New York but the two major world wars have not happened and no-one has heard of the little man with the moustache. This is a thriller in every sense of the word and a good page turner following the trials and tribulations of Karen Brown. The author lives in Deux-Sèvres and I am looking forward to her next novel.

L i ving Recommended holiday reads: Inferno by Dan Brown, publisher Bantam Press And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini, publisher Bloomsbury Private Down Under by James Patterson, publisher Century The Holiday Home by Fern Britton, publisher HarperCollins Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella, publisher Bantam Press

Emma Lee

Books in English For Sale or Exchange Available each month from... Fenioux, Vouvant, St Aubin, Thouars, Coulonges, L’Absie, St Maixent, La Ferrière-en-Parthenay, Clesse, Menigoute, Bressuire.

For all your wordy needs

Content writing, editing, proof-reading and English tuition Whether you want someone to write the content for your website, someone to write your promotional materials or someone to help with your child’s reading and writing, words are Emma’s world and she can help you make the most of them.

Contact me to arrange your own Book Party

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contact Emma on 05 45 65 30 70 www.english-tuition.weebly.com

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Living Magazine - August/September 2013