Living Magazine - April May 2021

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L i ving magazine

april may


Around the world in days Source to Sea The Mighty Loire


Father & Son Architectural Artistry

~ Passionate about life in south west France ~

living editor’s letter | 3

to our April/May issue


he sights and sounds of spring never fail to lift my spirits, it’s my favourite time of year with all the promise of the unfurling shoots and the arrival of the migrating birds. I hope the return of the sunshine and longer days lift your spirits too.

Take a trip to the Loire valley

For those of you who read my last letter, it will not come as a surprise that this edition has been another challenge for the LIVING team. Normally packed with summer inspiration, everything remains on hold as I write this and my fingers are crossed for a swift vaccine roll-out and a safe reopening. Never daunted, though, we set out to make this issue a celebration of the region, the people and, we hope, an invitation to get out and about and explore safely. You will have to let us know if we succeed!

We are delighted to share our interview with Yannick Bestaven, the local skipper who recently won the Vendée Globe. Over the past 12 months we’ve all experienced more isolation and loneliness than usual, so Yannick’s time at sea has a certain poignancy, and he has a valuable perspective after his solo trip around the world. Back on dry land, we ask what the world-famous Basilique du Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre in Paris has in common with some of our local architecture? The answer may surprise you, and we hope it will inspire you to go exploring. Next, we continue the watery theme with the second part of our trip along the Loire river, to emerge just north of the Vendée Globe finish line. Why not follow in our footsteps this summer when the lull in international tourists might be a blessing in disguise for local visitors. We have some great places for you to stay, too - and you’ll be certain of a warm welcome. Of course, we have all our favourites, from recipes to wine, music and gardening plus a tongue-twisting language column to end! We are extremely grateful to our advertisers who continue to support the magazine during these difficult times, and to our new subscribers. If you would miss LIVING Magazine then now would be a great time to subscribe, to help us navigate the choppy waters of COVID and Brexit - just turn the page over to find out how to get your own copy delivered to your door and at the same time help us. A bientôt! editor


British nationals: you must apply for your residency permit before the end of June. There is free help available, but time is running out.

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4 | living contents




Practical Advice Your questions answered


Les Cloches de Pâques The Easter weekend is a time when cultures collide as Susan Hays finds out

42 5



Snippets Local news from around the region


Around the World in 80 Days Vendée Globe winner Yannick Bestaven talks to Jessica Knipe


Transformers We celebrate the father and son architects whose creations now attract countless visitors


Downstream Roger Moss concludes his river trip along the mighty Loire


Our unique crossword by Mike Morris


Nikki Legon’s Cuisine Deliciously fruity treats for your springtime table

The Bordeaux Wine Region Caro Feely explores the grandfather of the world’s wine regions on our doorstep


Living Property Pages A profile of Lusignan in the Vienne


36 and Counting The origins of ‘Les enfoirés’


Pardon! Sticky, but amusing, situations in French


Thinking of growing your own fruit in our mild climate? We investigate the multitude of choices

The best local services & suppliers waiting for your call!



Business Directory

Getting Fruity


Puzzle Break


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News round up

Train Revival

With the news in our February edition that the train will be taking the strain of ferrying freight from Cherbourg to Spain, reducing the heavy traffic on roads through the region, opening up the railways to new operators has brought more announcements. Railcoop, the rail cooperative launched in 2019, is looking at a two-pronged strategy: removing freight from the roads and building on the French public’s desire for more transport options outside major cities. They recently announced the opening of a cross-country route from Bordeaux to Lyon for 2022 and made an application for a second route between Toulouse and Rennes (via Brive, Limoges and Poitiers). They are also investigating specific routes around Bordeaux, additional local services on lines that have recently closed, and specialist train/bicycle options, all of which would be welcome in the battle to reduce CO2 emissions, as well as improving rural infrastructure. Elsewhere, night trains are set for a revival with four corridors being investigated by SNCF Réseau including Paris-Toulouse, Tours-Lyon and Paris-Bordeaux-Marseille. Also under consideration are ParisMadrid and Paris-Barcelona, alongside other cross-border services through Europe. Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said his ambition was to have ten night train routes running by 2030.

Local Elections The French government has pushed back the country’s regional and départemental elections originally scheduled for March because of worries over COVID-19. Voters will now head to the polls on 13 and 20 June. Last year the government was criticised when it held the first round of voting for municipal elections in March after ordering nonessential businesses to close. Many thought that as well as reducing voter numbers, it also increased the possible spread of the virus. Non-EU residents are unable to vote in these elections, including British nationals protected by the Withdrawal Agreement.

Going for Green

The first ‘Run for Planet’ is being held on 6 June at Bordeaux followed by one in Lyon and Paris. The idea is to promote social, ethical and ecological challenges through an ‘eco-race’, with profits going to four organisations: the LPO, Médicins du Monde, L214 and Sea Shepherd. Enrol now for either a 5km fun run or the 10km race around the streets of Bordeaux at:

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

Votes for Life

In the small print of the UK budget was a line reading: “Overseas Electors – the government is providing an additional £2.5m to remove the limit preventing British citizens who live overseas from voting after 15 years.” After being promised in the last three Conservative manifestos, as well as a Queen’s Speech, there is hope that the rule barring British citizens from voting in UK elections after 15 years abroad will finally be scrapped. Veteran campaigner Harry Shindler MBE who lives in Italy and has worked closely with campaigners in France and elsewhere, will be 100 this summer, and this would be a welcome addition to the Queen’s traditional congratulatory message.

Neighbours’ day

Fête de la Nature

While many fêtes are being postponed hoping for a relaxing of the COVID-19 regulations, one that should be safe is Fête de la Nature scheduled for the 19-23 May. Now in its 15th year the theme is ‘À Travers Mille Et Un Regards’, which will explore the many ways in which nature can be viewed. Each participant is asked to present their own perspective of nature and celebrate the role it has in their life. Organisations have until 12 May to register their activities on the central site at: – check back regularly to see what is happening near you.

After being delayed last year until September, then mostly cancelled, this year’s Fête des Voisins is planned for Friday 28 May. Originally launched to get Parisian neighbours talking, it’s now an international day for neighbours to come together and share a drink or a meal, promoting the message of solidarity and togetherness. Now a feature on many village calendars, it’s one of many occasions for local residents to share hospitality, so watch out for local, socially-distanced plans.

Energy Cheque To help avoid energy poverty, France introduced Energy Cheques, which are means tested and sent to low-income households. Around 5.5 million people benefited in 2020, and this year’s cheques will be sent out in April. Eligibility is calculated on income and the size of the household, and the amount granted starts at €48 rising to €277 per year. To check whether you are eligible, enter your numéro fiscal (which you will find on your tax return) on the government site at: The cheques can be used with your energy provider until March 2022.

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Île de Ré

LA ROCHELLE Surgeres Île de Oléron




Saintes Cognac Royan





News from around the region...

les charentes Cognac Records

ANGOULEME Barbezieux Aubeterresur-Dronne

A bottle of 1777 Grande Champagne cognac from the personal collection of Jacques Hardy (who died in 2006, having managed the Maison Hardy for almost fifty years) recently sold for £40,500 on the auction site Distilled in 1777 by the Yvon de Merpins estate near Cognac, it was gifted to Jacques Hardy’s uncle, James, on the occasion of his wedding. It was bottled in July 1936 after 100 years in oak casks, and re-corked in August 1967. The world record for cognacs, however, is held by a 1762 bottle of Gautier cognac which realised £118,580 at Sotheby’s last year and is believed to be the oldest bottle of cognac ever sold at auction. Nicknamed ‘Grand Frère’, it’s the largest of a trio – The smallest, known as ‘Petite Sœur’, is on display at Maison Gautier in Aigre, while the third – nicknamed ‘Petit Frère’ – was sold at auction in New York in 2014 for £48,000.

Church Art

Artist Amaury Dubois was born in Lille in 1980 and studied art at the Institut Saint-Luc in Tournai, Belgium. There he developed a lively, colourful style recognisable by his use of sweeping curves representing the movement of air, water, wind and light. After his complete restoration of the 18th century Église Sainte-Madeleine in Châtelaillon-Plage (17), Dubois was invited to create a monumental fresco to combine the religious and spiritual dimensions of the church with the unique and colourful identity of this coastal town. After preparatory sketching work in his studio, he painted the entire 600m2 design by hand, using brushes, before finalising his work with spray paints to create shadows and depth. Believed to be one of the largest church artworks in France, it covers the entire vault and surrounds stained glass windows. The striking result can be lit in four ways to create different atmospheres suitable for everything from worship to performances, and has caused quite a stir since being unveiled.

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News from around the region...

Life Saving App

During a heart attack every moment can count, as a thirty year-old man in Surgères (17) found out earlier this year. With the nearest medical help some way away, the sapeurs-pompiers used the ‘Permis de Sauver’ app to alert a nearby volunteer that help was needed. He quickly travelled the 3km to the victim and was able to carry our CPR until the sapeurs-pompiers could arrive, an action which undoubtedly saved the victim’s life. Volunteers can sign up for the app, which is rolling out nationally, by sending proof of their qualifications for verification. They are then alerted, within agreed time limits, if their help is needed.

Château de Bouteville

Overlooking Grande Champagne vineyards between Châteauneuf (16) and Segonzac, the site was first fortified to defend the area against the Vikings as early as the 9th century. The chateau then passed into the hands of the English, was won back by the French but then razed in 1392. The existing chateau was built between 1594-1624 and was modernised a century later. The future Charles X took possession of the property in 1788 before it was sold to the state in 1803 when its decline began. Renovation work begun by local grants was given a boost in 2018 when the site was awarded a €48,000 donation by the Mission Bern, and work began on shoring up the south tower and north and west wings. The second phase of work is now underway, including restoration of floors and roofs, which is expected to be completed in the autumn. Once the restoration is finished it is hoped that the site can open to visitors as well as hosting events.

Tax Wars

With the change of President in the United States, relationships between the EU and the US have begun to improve, one benefit being a suspension of taxes on certain products for four months while negotiations restart. Cognac, like French wines, suffered greatly when taxes were increased by 25%, as one in every two bottles of cognac is exported to the US. This, combined with the pandemic, saw an 8% drop in sales in 2020, while value plummeted by 25%. Minister of the Economy, Finance & Recovery, Bruno Le Maire, welcomed the announcement.


Calls will be answered by a local counsellor

Île de Ré

News from around the region...

LA ROCHELLE Surgeres Rochefort





Saintes Cognac




les charentes

ANGOULEME Barbezieux Aubeterresur-Dronne

Radar Cars

will be on. “We have no interest in fining,” says unit leader Sébastien Letellier. “What we want is for people to stay alive.” The radar is installed behind the windscreen in the passenger area and is capable of measuring the speed of any vehicle within its range. There is also a flash installed beneath the registration plate. The vehicles will be driven at the authorised speed limit, so overtaking them means you are speeding, although a 10% margin is applied, as for fixed speed cameras. While confinement has reduced traffic on the roads, excessive speeding (greater than 50km/h over the limit) has gone up steeply (+21%). Initially the cars will be driven by gendarmes, but it is expected that responsibility will be handed over to private firms later in the year.

In the battle against speeding, 450 unmarked radar cars will be on French roads by the end of this year, according to the road safety authority Sécurité Routière. Carrying high-tech cameras, the cars will be on the road 24 hours per day. Rather than try and catch out motorists, the Charente-Maritime gendarmerie have unveiled their plans to use four radar cars alongside an additional two used by the local police, and even announced the routes that they

Quality Living

According to Le Monde newspaper, the pandemic has reinforced the recent trend towards moving away from larger cities to smaller locations for a more balanced lifestyle. With the rise of remote working, a survey by French think tank ‘La Fabrique de la Cité’ reported that 21% of the population and 31% of city residents are thinking of moving to towns with 20-100,000 residents. Two local destinations were in the top three medium-sized cities: Niort scored highly for its economy and its quality of life, while Angoulême topped the charts on quality of life and business welcome, while its economy and innovation ranked lower. None of this is a surprise to many of us who moved to the south west for exactly these reasons, but while others are dreaming of the move, the realities of job opportunities and transport links mean that for many it will remain a dream. However, with the city centre investments currently underway and planned infrastructure improvements including the installation of fibre broadband there is hope that this trend will help reverse the urbanisation of the population seen in recent decades.

Angoulême Tourist Map A


Niort scored highly for a vibrant economy

D canoe spots


Paris Poitiers


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Angoulême County MARSAC

Forêt de la Braconne N10







La Rochelle FLÉAC






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la touvre




MORNAC hiking







SOYAUX Forêt de Bois blanc







D939 N10






Vallée de l’Anguienne

Vallée des Eaux claires

Vallée de l’Échelle




les halles


painted walls




Leisure activities

Churches & Monuments

Bike and mountain bike circuits

Geocaching & Tèrra Aventura


Bike Flow

Camping car grounds

Cognac / Winemakers






From 3-5 April the Kite Festival will take place at Châtelaillon-Plage (17) – one place you can be sure of good ventilation!






Angoulême tourist board have created a new Englishlanguage visitor map for the city and its surroundings. Copies can be collected from local tourist offices.


Île de Oléron


The annual Easter egg hunt at La Roche Courbon (17) is held in the grounds of the chateau between 3-6pm on 4 and 5 April. Cost is 7€ per person, children 6-14 €6, under-6s free.


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News from around the region...


Frog Chorus

Regular readers will be familiar with the case of the croaking Mediterranean tree frogs and common toads at Grignols. In 2019 the courts ruled in favour of the Malfiones who complained about the nocturnal croaking from the Pécheras’ pond. Local nature conservation association Sepanso then launched an appeal which was heard in Bordeaux earlier this year, when the verdict was upheld. This is the final stage in the ten-year legal battle, the pond will now be drained and the amphibians moved to new homes - silence will fall over Grignols.

New Perspectives

One chateau in Dordogne has found a novel way of opening for visits during the recent restrictions. While many other locations have closed, at Jumilhac-le-Grand small groups of visitors can still see the rooms from the outside looking in. This novel idea has found favour with visitors, who after peeking through windows and doors to discover the interior, can then explore the grounds of the imposing chateau. Weekend visits are available by reservation, with prices ranging from €3-6 per person.

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As finances of the Dordogne Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie (CCI) come under pressure, the sale of the 11ha Parc des Expos, on a prime site in Marsac-sur-l’Isle just outside Périgueux, is raising much-needed cash. The CCI managed up to 60 events a year on the site, including the Foire Expo de Périgueux which attracted 55,000 visitors. It is hoped that the events will continue in the area although several local businesses have expressed their disappointment at the sale. After selling 3ha to local entrepreneurs at the beginning of the year, the remaining 8ha will now be sold to release funds for an ambitious development project at Périgueux-Bassillac airport. There are several parties interested in the site, from private investors to the council of Grand Périgueux, and the sale is expected to complete quickly.

News from around the region...

Online Permis

For many families the cost of driving instruction can put a strain on finances, but there are now online alternatives to the traditional auto-école model. Market leader Ornikar boasts nearly 2 million users and offers online courses to pass the theoretical Code de la Route for under 30€ (versus 240€ plus in driving schools), which have the added benefit of being flexible around other commitments like school or work. Once the code is passed, learners can book lessons as needed with local driving instructors who advertise on the site, often at a lower price and again with greater flexibility than available through a school direct. But driving schools are quick to point out that there are many services not included in the price, like licence applications, practical support and initial assessments, plus freelance instructors may be more difficult to find in rural areas.

Truffle Crop

Having found a way to hold truffle markets safely, one more surprise awaited the Maire of Vergt this year, according to France 3: the final market of the season had no truffles. The long, hot summer was partly to blame, but the warm and rainy autumn which followed meant the season was late, with few truffles appearing, although the ones that did were of good quality. As the season’s figures were totted up, 1.2 tonnes of truffles were sold against 2.6 tonnes in 2019, with an average price of €700-800 per kilo.

Domme, Périgord Noir

Le Village Préferé

Presented by Stéphane Bern, the annual television show ‘Le Village préféré des Français’ promises a tourism boost to the villages it showcases. In 2021 Domme, in the Périgord Noir, represents NouvelleAquitaine, after Aubeterre (16) came 11th last year. In the first edition in 2012, Beynac-et-Cazenac came 7th, while in 2017 Le Roque-Gageac was placed third. In 2018 Monpazier finished 7th. Votes were cast in March, but the date for the announcement of the winner was still under wraps as LIVING went to press.



The Phoenix Book Sale hopes to take place on 1 May at Campsegret – for more information nearer the time, keep an eye on:





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Les Herbiers ts



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de moutier

St Jean de Mon


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St Gilles Croi

LA ROCHE SUR-YON Les Sables d’Olonne




La Tranche sur Mer



NIORT aise

Sévre Niort


News from around the region...

Deux-sèvres & Vendée

Animal Parks

While other visitor attractions have closed their doors over the confinement periods, animal parks need to continue regardless to feed and care for their residents. The team at Zoodysee in Chizé (79) has been busy over the winter, not only visiting local schools who cannot come to them, but also creating two new on-site spaces. Visitors will find themselves at the foot of a large cliff in the Mountain Odyssey with a raptor aviary above, while in the Nordic Odyssey visitors will meet Arctic researchers and animals including reindeer and Arctic foxes. The park hopes to open for Easter, restrictions permitting.

The Fondation du Patrimone has granted €200,000 to the Marais Poitevin national park to plant 15,000 trees over the next three years. Chairman Guillaume Poitrinal spoke of the urgency of the ecological situation. “This monument is in peril,” he wrote. “Ash trees are ageing and threatened by chalarosis, a disease which causes them to die off.” Known as ‘ash dieback’, the disease is caused by a fungus (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus) which originated in Asia, where its impact on local ashes is limited. However, its arrival in Europe about 30 years

ago has devastated the European ash - native ash species did not evolve with the fungus so have no natural defence against it. While younger trees succumb to the disease more quickly, all affected specimens develop dark patches on their leaves, which then wilt and discolour before dying back. Diamond-shape lesions develop where the branch meets the trunk, and the trees are weakened, leading to death. It is thought that as many as 80% of ashes will die, threatening the many species that rely on the tree as well as changing landscapes.

Ancient Cemetery

A team from the Institute for National Archaeological Research (INRAP) has spent the winter excavating a cemetery holding 99 tombs dating from the 6-7th centuries on the edge of Mortagne-sur-Sèvre (85). Covering an area of 1,370m2 the individual graves are arranged in parallel rows oriented east/west or northwest/south-east. It is thought that there were paths between the graves which were probably marked, although these details have been lost over the years, and some graves were reopened to add a second burial up to several years after the first. In most plots the bodies were placed directly into the soil, but about fifteen, mostly adults, were lined with limestone, presumed to be linked with their social standing. The site includes one double tomb with two sarcophagi side by side, buried simultaneously, which is unusual, and the first to be found in the region.



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News from around the region...

Two trees in Deux-Sèvres have recently been classified as arbres remarquables, giving them extra protection as living monuments. To obtain the status they must be out of the ordinary, either in size, shape, age, aesthetics, rarity or through legends or historical events which feature them. The latest recipient of the accolade is a 20m tall, 400-year-old service tree (Sorbus domestica) cultivated for the hardness of its wood in Azay-le-Brûlé. One of the oldest trees in the département is the ‘Robert le Chouan’ oak at La Cigogne in Saint-Pardoux which has an estimated age of between 500 and 900 years, and which has also been added to the register. Now 25m tall, legend has it that its huge hollow trunk was used as a refuge and hiding place of François-Augustin Robert or Robert le Chouan, who fought to re-establish the Royalty during the anti-monarchist insurrection known as the Paris Uprising of 1832.

Heart of the Race

© Vincent Curutchet / Alea

Remarkable Trees

British skipper Sam Davies was forced to retire from the recent Vendée Globe after a violent collision damaged her boat’s keel, requiring a stop in Cape Town for repairs. She decided to complete the course to support the InitiativesCœur children’s health project run in conjunction with Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque which raises funds to help save children with severe heart defects. Sam, who lives in Brittany with her partner (another Vendée Globe skipper, who finished 14th this year) and their young son, has supported the initiative for several years and after tracing a heart shape in the Atlantic outside Sables d’Olonne (85), she raised sufficient funds to sponsor 103 children to travel to France and receive life-saving heart operations.





Chauvigny Montmorillon

Le Dorat

Charroux Civray

vienne & News from around the region... haute-vienne Véloroutes Broken Glass Bellac








The Haute-Vienne Contemporary Art Museum at the Château de Rochechouart has called on local residents to help New Zealand artist Kate Newby create a new version of her work ‘I Love You Poems’, first exhibited in New York, where she now lives and works. Until 3 May, on your walks around the region you are invited to pick up small pieces of broken glass, which she will combine with ceramics to create the new artwork for her exhibition at the museum later this year. For more details on how to deliver your finds see the museum website or Facebook page.

In early March, as part of the national plan to triple the number of people commuting by bike, several local towns and cities were awarded grants for cycle routes. As well as La Rochelle (17), Thouars (79) and Brive (19), Limoges has received funding for two routes. The first will pass along the RD29/ Avenue de Limoges at Le Palais-sur-Vienne, where a new voie verte will follow the Vienne river, with the second on the banks of the Aurence river between Couzeix and Limoges.

Fruit juice 24/7

Allergy Early Warning

In France one in every four people is affected by allergies, and in about half of these cases the culprit is pollen. Poitiers is joining Limoges, La Rochelle and La Roche-sur-Yon in measuring pollen emissions so alerts can be sent to those susceptible. A space in the Parc de Blossac has been cleared and a pollinarium sentinelle set up, growing plants known to be allergens. Each day, the park’s gardeners will visit to check which plants (grown in full sun in three 9m long beds) are releasing pollen. The information will then be sent to, where individuals can subscribe to receive their local pollen alerts.

In Charroux (86) fruit juice makers Gargouil are branching out. With the success of their farm shop, which sells produce from several local artisans, they have now ordered vending machines which will be accessible around the clock. Owner Eric Gargouil explains: “The facility will offer apple juice, vegetables and other products. Our store is open from Tuesday to Saturday, but not everyone can come and pick up our products – with the new dispenser people will be able to come 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” The firm is also starting up a market garden, with the aim of selling their own vegetables through the seasons. The first vending machine will be sited outside their farm shop and is expected to be operational from June, with a second unit planned for nearby Savigné.

News from around the region...

Endangered Species Mask Recycling

Launched by manufacturers from Châtellerault (86), Plaxtil is the fruit of a research project that started in 2017. In partnership with the region and others, the team developed a new type of material made from non-recycled textiles and clothing. Officially launched in 2019, Plaxtil is akin to an ecological plastic as it is made from allpurpose textiles which would otherwise end up in landfill or require incineration. It is itself recyclable and can replace many uses of petroleum plastic materials. Better still, it can be made from disposable masks that are now being thrown away in their thousands and littering our countryside and waterways. The company collects masks in 150 collection boxes across Vienne, to be quarantined for four days before being crushed and passed through a UV tunnel. The material is then mixed with other recycled materials in the manufacture of Plaxtil. Having recycled 70,000 masks in 2020, the company is now increasing capacity, with the aim that the Plaxtil manufactured will be transformed into, among other things, school materials such as rulers. As well as helping the environment, the company works with social organisations to bring people back to work, ensuring that its circular philosophy creates more than just the material itself.

A recent report by the French section of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) based on the last 13 years of data collection, concluded that of the 14,000 wildlife species found in France, 2,500 of them are directly threatened with extinction. France Bleu delved further into the figures for the Poitou-Charentes region and found that 402 of our 3,472 native species are at risk, 143 are endangered and 17 have already been lost in the last decade. Of particular worry are nesting birds, which account for nearly half of those endangered. The Great Bittern has already disappeared from our region, as has the Lesser Grey Shrike, while the Peregrine Falcon is in critical danger, with only 15 pairs left. It’s a similar story for the Corncrake. The False Ringlet butterfly has died out on the Poitou marshes, while the Baton Blue can no longer be found in Deux-Sèvres. However, protection for the natural habitats found across the region is having some impact, with the populations of Montagu’s Harrier now the largest in France, while the area is also home to 21 of the nation’s 34 amphibian species.

Fête des Plantes de Magnac-Laval (87) will be held at the Parc du Château on Sunday 11 April from 10am-6pm. Entry: 2€.



The Peregrine Falcon is in critical danger in Poitou-Charentes



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18 | living in profile

Around the world in 80 days

living in profile | 19

Fireworks had to fill in for people at this year’s finish line

For the first time in history, the first boat to cross the Vendée Globe finish line this year was not the overall race winner – instead the title was awarded to Yannick Bestaven, who crossed the line in third place, after helping to rescue a fellow competitor…

Bestaven’s 60-ft MaÎtre CoQ sponsored boat has a 29m-high mast

PhotoS: left & bottom right: © Jean-Marie Liot; top RIGHT: © Bernard Le Bars



rom the very beginning a life at sea seemed to be written in Yannick Bestaven’s stars – born on the Atlantic coast in Saint-Nazaire, he grew up on the shores of the Bassin d’Arcachon, where he got his first taste of being on the water. “I started with a kayak at the local club, in Biganos,” explains Yannick, who is still savouring his recent Vendée Globe victory. “You know how it is, a friend tells you about the sport he is doing, takes you along with him… these things are quite random.” But his random hobby soon developed into a real passion. “I even had the intention of going to Pau to study kayak as a ‘Sport-Études’, but my parents, who aren’t sailors at all, weren’t so keen on this direction for my studies.” Yannick was disappointed that his dreams of kayaking had been put on hold, but continued to make the most of his region. “I love all water sports,” he says, “so I continued to go out on my own, trying everything… surfing, windsurfing, anything that glides.” And although he wasn’t kayaking, Yannick’s career still steered him close to the sea. His more parent-friendly studies turned him into an

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20 | living in profile There were worse places to be confined this year than the world’s deep blue seas

“I love it here. Whenever I can, I’m on a boat, a kite surf... I’ll try anything that floats!” extension of the man. This year, as the rest of the world was firmly tethered to ground in the midst of a pandemic, Yannick applied this knowledge, experience and teamwork to what sailing experts like to call ‘The Everest of the Seas’. He had already tried his hand at the Vendée Globe, a solitary round-the-world marathon, in 2008, but back then he’d had to give up just a few hours into the race. He waited twelve years to rise to the challenge again. “But I sail first for travel, second for competition,” says Yannick as he reflects on his reasons to tackle the race again. “I’ve always loved to race, but above all I love to travel. I’m so lucky to have been able to discover all of these destinations. Every time we finish a race, I try to stay behind in the country we’ve landed in to discover the place, the people...” Not that the Vendée Globe will have afforded him many opportunities to do so – the race does take skippers around the world, but stops are swift, few and far between. “Let’s just say I didn’t

discover that many new traditions in the Sables d’Olonne!” jokes Yannick. As for the idea of being alone on a boat for 80 days, it’s something most of us won’t ever have the chance to experience. But perhaps the COVID pandemic has given us a vague idea of the kind of solitude that we might feel when out at sea? “No, it’s very different,” says Yannick. “I asked for that solitude, it’s voluntary isolation. Nobody imposed it on me, and it’s not as hard as being confined on land. On a boat, I don’t feel confined, quite the opposite. All of the oceans that we crossed, the southern seas… they are all beautiful examples of freedom.” And what of Yannick’s family, locked down back on land – how did they feel about it? “Sure, they had to live with real isolation. There was really a before and an after the Vendée Globe. I can see the difference: people are tired, worn down.” Now that he is back from his bubble at sea, Yannick has the benefit of retrospection: “I came back to lines of young people queuing at food banks, I have listened to reports about people who are fragile, apparently 30% of them are self-harming… Cutting off social interaction is serious, and as dangerous, I think, as COVID itself.” A finish line with coronavirus protocols ruled out the party that would have traditionally taken place. (“Merci COVID!” laughs Yannick, only slightly bitter). Although some creature comforts were absent on the

PhotoS: TOP LEFT & middle: © Jean-Marie Liot; BOTTOM right: © Jean-Louis Carli; far right: © Marine Nationale

engineer, but one who never stopped wanting to race, particularly over longer distances. In 2000, a random encounter with a skipper gave Yannick the final push he needed: “Yves Parlier told me about his passion, included me in his projects, and got me involved in transoceanic racing,” he recalls. In fact Yannick managed to mix engineering work with his passion, and his career brought him further along the coast to La Rochelle. “When I started to work in the civil service, at the Ministère des Équipements,” says Yannick, “I was often in the area for race projects, helping the French national sailing team. I moved here to be closer to them. I love it here. Whenever I can, I’m on a boat, a kite surf… I’ll try anything that floats!” His engineering background must obviously have helped Yannick for the more technical aspects of the race, but he explains that although the skipper is important, the boat itself also has a huge part to play. “I’m used to saying that 80% of the race is won at the boatyard, before the race,” he admits. “Preparation is vital – it’s important to have a boat you can rely on. But that comes with teamwork: there are 12 of us working on the boat. It’s give-andtake between everyone. I have my own sensations and ways of navigating, and we work together to find ways to adapt the boat to my ways of doing... of being.” Soon the boat becomes an

The Vendée Globe is an unassisted, non-stop, solitary race around the world

living in profile | 21 long journey (“I did miss a good beer when I was hot, but beer is too heavy to take aboard!”), it was this gathering of people that Yannick missed the most. “The first thing I wanted when I arrived was to celebrate with friends and family. We weren’t allowed to, unfortunately, but that’s what I missed, sharing those moments... that sense of communion. I wanted to be able to thank everyone who was behind me during the race, and also before, during the preparation.” For now, Yannick has regained terra firma, and once the Maître CoQ boat that won him the race has found its place safely back at the Port des Chalutiers, in La Rochelle, he’ll be taking a break with his family. “I’m going back for a rest, in the Bassin d’Arcachon,” he says contentedly. “I can’t wait to be beside its water, to walk in the woods... I love that place so much.” Making history as the first winner to cross the finish line in third place!

People come first Human interaction is sparse on the Vendéé Globe but it was to become a memorable feature of Yannick’s own race experience. Just after passing Cape Horn news came through of Kevin Escoffier’s capsize and Yannick turned his vessel around. Humanity took precedence over the competition, and with no regard for the impact on their own times, Yannick and two other skippers went off to save the man who they knew was stuck on a life raft in the very worst of weather conditions. “In such a moment, you don’t think,” remembers Yannick. “The race gets pushed to one side, and all you care about is saving the skin of your mate who is in distress. Before even talking about delays, or compensations, I didn’t hesitate to turn around and go and get him. It was a real relief to see him again at the finish line.” After considering the dramatic events which unfolded on 30 Nov, an international jury awarded Yannick a time compensation of 10 hours and 15 mins for his role in the search and rescue about 800 miles south west of the Cape of Good Hope.

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18 || living 22 living in in profile profile

We celebrate father and son architects whose creations now attract countless visitors

The world-famous Basilique du Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre, Paris

Transformers W

hat links some of our best-loved buildings in Angoulême, Bergerac, Bordeaux, Périgueux and more, with the exquisite Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre in Paris? The answer is two generations of architects who between them designed, restored and in some cases remodelled historic structures whose appearances we now take for granted. Their story begins on July 22, 1783 with the birth of Antoine Paul Abadie. The son of a successful plastering contractor in Bordeaux, he received a formal grounding in architecture in the studios of the city’s architects and civil engineers, then studied fine arts at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. There he encountered architects and designers Charles Percier and Pierre Lafontaine, who appointed him to inspect their works at the Palais du Louvre and elsewhere in the city. In 1818, however, he left the capital to become Architecte du Département de la Charente, and from 1820 until 1840 also served as Architecte de la Ville d’Angoulême. Among his more important works in the town were the Palais de Justice, the Hôtel de la Préfecture and the reconstruction of the Église Saint-Jacques de l’Houmeau, all in his trademark neo-Classical style.

living in profile | 19

In 1836, in recognition of his services, he was awarded the Légion d’Honneur, although his career was far from over. His son, who had been born in Paris in 1812, inherited not only his father’s name, but also his passion for architecture, something which was instilled from an early age in Angoulême. He too attended the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and assisted in the construction of the Palais des Archives, before becoming auditor for the Conseil des Bâtiments Civils. Later, as attache to the Commission des Monuments Historique, he was sent to inspect historic sites throughout south west France, before being invited to join the team working on the restoration of Notre-Dame de Paris. As second inspector for Eugène Viollet-le-Duc (who saved countless medieval structures from post-Revolutionary abandonment and destruction), he acquired first-hand technical insight into medieval

construction and conservation, which he deployed throughout his long career. Four years later, like his father before him, he left Paris and returned to Charente, to become Diocesan Architect for Angoulême, Périgueux and Cahors. Not surprisingly, the appointment of Paul Sr as inspector of works raised a few eyebrows, although it soon became obvious that the two men were not only eminently qualified to fulfil their respective roles but also functioned extremely well together. When Paul Abadie Sr finally left Charente in 1853 his son was well into his stride, and embarking on the restoration of the Cathédrale SaintPierre d’Angoulême, a project which would last 23 years and turn out to be considerably more costly than originally planned. In 1854, for example, the diocese had allocated a budget of 35,000 Fr, only to discover that by the end of the year costs had spiralled to

Paul Abadie Jr

L’Église Saint-Michel (16) today, with Abadie’s restoration illustrations

The western facade of the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre, Angoulême

82,000 Fr. Standing before the vast structure today it’s not hard to see why, given the scale of alterations which Abadie decided to incorporate, starting with the western facade. Now celebrated as a tour-de-force of 12th century Romanesque architecture, its dramatic effect actually owes much to Abadie having added two towers and a central gable to recreate original features removed during the 18th century. He also engaged masons to replicate certain sculptures which had degraded beyond redemption. Less obvious is the fact that the familiar 59m-high eastern clocher (bell tower) was originally one of a pair, its counterpart having been destroyed during the Wars of Religion. In order to save the unstable

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20 | living in 24 inprofile profile

surviving tower Abadie’s team dismantled it stone by stone then patiently reassembled it. Financial constraints, though, denied it the intended tall, minaret-like clocheton (pinnacle), smaller versions of which today crown the cupolas, or domes, of the nave. He was clearly enamoured with these decorative features, which he encountered during his epic transformation (1852-1893) of the Cathédrale Saint-Front de Périgueux. Constructed by Benedictine monks, its Byzantine style and Greek cross plan are said to have been modelled on the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople. Completed in 1173, its dimensions reflect the huge numbers of pilgrims visiting the tomb of the Saint while following the ancient Saint-Jacques de Compostelle route. Sadly, during the Wars of Religion its celebrity would also attract the attention of Huguenot forces, from whose pillaging in

One of the surviving medieval towers of the Hôtel de Ville, Angoulême

Angoulême cathedral prior to Abadie’s restoration

1575 it never fully recovered. By the time Abadie inspected it the whole structure was in a pitiful state. His original brief was to make its five leaking cupolas watertight, but finding the greater part of the stonework crumbling and porous, he decided to dismantle virtually everything, save what he could, and then rebuild. Along the way he added a new chevet (choir) in Romanesque style, bringing extra daylight to the rather severe interior, and carried out many other modifications. A startling survivor, though, is

The Église Saint-Pierre, Aulnay (17)

living in profile | 21 The Cathédrale Saint-André, Bordeaux

The Église Saint-Jacques de l’Houmeau, by Paul Abadie Sr (16)

Paul Abadie Sr

in Charente – Structures & Restorations Angoulême: Église-SaintJacques de l’Houmeau, Lycée Guez-de-Balzac & Chapelle (father & son), Abattoirs, Prison, Hôtel de la Préfecture, Hôtel-Dieu, Hôtel de Ville d’Angoulême, Lycée Guezde-Balzac, Tombeau de Jean-Louis Guez de Balzac

Barbezieux: Hôtel Texier de la Peygerie/Sous-Préfecture Cognac: Temple Protestant Confolens: Prison La Couronne: Usine à Papier de Beauvais Jarnac: Temple Protestant Ruffec: Palais de Justice, Sous-Préfecture, Prison

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26 in profile 34 | living EVENTS The central clocher of the Hôtel de Ville, Angoulême

Paul Abadie Jr

in the south west – Structures & Restorations

the magnificent 12th century bell tower, restored along with the cloisters by Abadie’s successor Paul Boeswilwald in 1884-1907. Rising to 64m, at its summit is a huge circular clocheton supported by slender pillars – effectively a scaled-up version of those which adorn the cupolas below. Abadie based their design on that of an original survivor, and also added them as embellishments to the transept towers. He also styled decorative fittings, including five magnificent brass chandeliers suspended in the nave (and which in 1853 illuminated the marriage of Napoléon III in Notre-Dame de Paris). In 1998 the cathedral was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, although its post-rebuild appearance continues to divide opinion, particularly among those unfamiliar with the cupolas of Charente and elsewhere in the . Abadie, of course, encountered them during his restoration works at sites like the Église Saint-Étienne de la Cité (the original cathedral church of Périgueux) and further south in Cahors at the Cathédrale Saint-Étienne. He aroused controversy, however, in 1858 when he was engaged to modify the 12-15th century chateau of the Comtes d’Angoulême to create a new Hôtel de Ville and decided to replace it entirely. His plan incensed the Société Archéologique et Historique de la Charente, whose determined

Charente: Angoulême: Cathédrale Saint-Pierre, Église SaintAndré, Église Saint-Ausone, Église Saint-Martial, Lycée Guez-de-Balzac & Chapelle (father & son) Gensac-la-Pallue: Église Saint-Martin Charmant: Église Notre-Dame Châteauneuf-sur-Charente: Église Saint-Pierre Cognac: Église Saint-Léger Lesterps: Église Saint-Pierre Montbron: Église Saint-Maurice Montmoreau: Église Saint-Denis Mouthiers-sur-Boëme: Église Saint-Hilaire Rioux-Martin: Église Sainte-Trinité Roullet-Saint-Estèphe: Église Saint-Cybard Saint-Georges: Église Saint-Georges Saint-Michel: Église Saint-Michel

Charente-Maritime Aulnay: Église Saint-Pierre Creuse: Bénévent-l’Abbaye: Église Saint-Barthélémy La Souterraine: Collégiale Notre-Dame Dordogne: Bergerac: Église Notre-Dame Brantôme: Abbaye Saint-Pierre Faux: Église Saint-Saturnin Mussidan: Église Saint-Georges Périgueux: Cathédrale Saint-Front, Église Saint-Georges, Église Saint-Étienne de la Cité Trélissac: Église Notre-Dame de l’Assomption Villefranche-du-Périgord: Église Notre-Dame de l’Assomption Gironde Bassens: Église Saint-Pierre

opposition compelled him to retain the two medieval towers we see today, and which received Monument Historique listing in 1929. As for the striking Renaissance-meets-neo-Gothic building which he designed, since 2013 it too has been listed. On August 14, 1869 its creator, like his father, was awarded the Légion d’Honneur. He would go on to join the Commission for Historical Monuments, become inspector general of diocesan buildings, succeed Viollet-le-Duc as diocesan architect of Paris and be The unmistakable outline of the Cathédrale Saint-Front, Périgueux (24)

Bégadan: Église Saint-Saturnin Bordeaux: Cathédrale Saint-André, Église Saint-Ferdinand, Église Sainte-Marie de la Bastide, Église Saint-Michel, Église Sainte-Croix Langoiran: Église SaintLéonce, Église Saint-Pierre Loupiac: Église Saint-Pierre Saint-Michel de Fronsac: Église Saint-Michel Valeyrac: Église Saint-Delphin Vertheuil: Église Saint-Pierre Haute-Vienne Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche: Collégiale Saint-Yrieix Lot Cahors: Cathédrale Saint-Étienne Lot-et-Garonne Agen: Église du Sacré-Coeur Mas-d’Agenais: Église Saint-Vincent

elected to the Academie des Beaux-Arts. Only in 1881 would he finally resign from his post in Angoulême to become diocesan architect of Bordeaux. Today he’s celebrated internationally as the man responsible for the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, whose construction began in 1875 on Montmartre, high above Paris, but whose completion he would not live to see. From an architectural point of view, his exquisite creation is a monument not only to the man, but to the medieval master builders whose works inspired him.

living promotion | 27

WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM OUR FRIENDS ARK79 volunteer Susie Kelly explains how the organisation has evolved into the thriving community it is today... Emma (centre) with some of the Ark team

the year collecting and sorting donations for our sales rooms. Nobody is paid. New stocks of books, DVDs, haberdashery, toys, quality furniture, ladies and gents clothing, jewellery and bric-a-brac are on sale every week. For the protection of customers and volunteers during COVID, all donations are quarantined for at least one week. We quickly became a community, welcoming and supporting small businesses by providing space for them to sell their products. Bev and Paul Barker serve burgers and bacon butties, Sue Flay is there with her superb plants, and En Route Association have a permanent base and are here each week introducing dogs seeking new homes. Our cosy tea shop with indoor and outdoor seating is a popular meeting place to enjoy drinks and delicious home-made cakes and savouries. As well as fund-raising events like quiz nights, afternoon tea parties and a summer fête, we hold monthly auctions on our Facebook Auction page (see

ARK79 is open every Tuesday and the last Saturday of the month, from 10.00 to 14.00. During COVID restrictions, our tea shop only serves cakes to take away, and personal visits are by appointment only to avoid crowding. Masks are mandatory. For appointments: Phone/ message Emma on 05 49 29 68 22 or In case of no reply, leave a message and she will contact you. Please also visit our website where you can find a list of useful numbers of some of the associations. ARK79: 8 Rue d’Aunis, 79120 Sainte-Soline Registration: W79200545

Auctions: ARK79 Animal Charity Association

started life in December 2018, in the village of Sainte-Soline in the DeuxSèvres. We raise funds by selling donated items to help animal welfare organisations, mainly local but in exceptional cases to other countries. We are all volunteers, working throughout Thanks to the generosity of donors, the loyal support of customers and the enthusiasm and hard work of our volunteers, we were able to make donations of €68,000 in 2019, and €40,023.12 in 2020 to the following organisations who work so hard for animals in need:

1st week: Books. 2nd week: Jewellery. 3rd week: General. 4th week: Slow Fashion. Funds are allocated and distributed monthly by consensus between volunteers. We publish the beneficiaries and amounts they receive on our main Facebook page.

The Arkometer displays fundraising success

Team ‘En Route’ have a permanent site at Ark79

Alloue Equine; APA Association; Miss Marple; Mornac SPA; Adoptanimaux; Alice Foundation; SPA Poitiers; SPA Creuse; SPA Saintes; Big V Sanctuary; Borderline Collie; SPA Niort; OPLA; Orfee; Centre de Soins Deux-Sèvres; Protection Animale Charente; Chats de Chatillon; Chats de La Rue Raggie Dog; Refuge Canine Lotois; du Poitiers; Le Centre de Soins de la Refuge Oléronais; Faune Sauvage Poitevine; Twilight; Woolly Woofters; En Route; Ecole du Chat Libre Poitiers; Cancer Deux-Sèvres Félin Pour L’Autre; Funny Farm; Green Valley Brittany; Hee Haws; Total donations Les Amis des Animaux; 2019 & 2020: Les Maison des Matouchats; Les Amis des Chats Vix;


Saumur’s fairytale château

28 | living places to visit

The exquisite Château de Chenonceau The Renaissance Château de Montsoreau

La Maison de la Magie, Blois

living places to visit | 29 The softer side of the Château de Langeais

The Loire: Part 2




aving paused at Meung-sur-Loire we continue to Beaugency, whose medieval former toll bridge required no fewer than 26 arches to cross the Loire. Beside it stands the brooding Tour de César, part of a feudal chateau built during the 11th century to defend the river crossing and the town, in whose vast Abbatiale Notre-Dame the Council of Beaugency forbade Louis VII to marry Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1152. The river soon reaches Blois, whose Gothic-meets-Renaissance ChâteauRoyal was a favoured seat of the French Monarchy. The sumptuous interiors include Catherine de Médici’s study, whose intricate 16th century panels conceal secret compartments described by Alexandre Dumas in La Reine Margot.

We conclude our two-part voyage beside the mighty Loire as it continues its own long journey to the Atlantic Ocean WORDS & PHOTOS: ROGER MOSS

Above lie the palatial Royal apartments where in 1588 the Duc de Guise was assassinated by order of Henri III (who watched it all from behind a wall hanging). There’s much more to see in Blois, and in nearby Place du Château giant gilded salamanders suddenly burst from behind the shutters of la Maison de la Magie, snapping their jaws at unsuspecting passers-by. It’s a foretaste of a remarkable museum celebrating local illusionist Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, who inspired young Erich Weiss to change his name to Harry Houdini. Meanwhile, south of the river lies la

Sologne, a haven for walkers, cyclists and wildlife, among undeveloped landscapes and hardwood forests. You’ll also find ancient estates like Beauregard and Cheverny, and the astonishing Château de Chambord, created by the young François I as the ultimate hunting lodge, with 426 rooms, 282 fireplaces and no fewer than 77 staircases. The identity of the architect is unknown, although some features have been ascribed to Leonardo da Vinci. The great man spent his final years nearby as the King’s guest in the elegant 15th century manoir of

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Place Plumereau, Vieux Tours

30 | living places to visit

Cabernet d’Anjou Rosé d’Anjou Anjou Anjou-Villages

The Grand Éléphant, Les Machines de l’île, Nantes

Jasnières Coteaux du Loir





Luynes Langeais

Coteaux du Layon 1 er Cru Chaume Quarts de Chaume Grand Cru


Montsoreau Montlouissur-Loire Touraine Noble-Joué Bonnezeaux


40m above the river, so to allow cavalry and carriages to reach it Charles VII’s military engineers constructed a huge concealed spiral ramp, with another just like it on the opposite side of the plateau for cautious descents. While in Amboise don’t miss visiting the nearby Pagode de Chanteloup, an exotic lakeside survivor from a once grandiose park laid out in 1762. The topmost level of the 44m high pagoda offers panoramic views taking in 4,000 hectares of surrounding forest. From here a brief detour will bring you to


the exquisite Château de Chenonceau, set between two formal Renaissance gardens. Its celebrated Italianate gallery sits upon a multi-arched bridge spanning the River Cher and served as a hospital during World War 1. After rejoining the Loire we soon reach the AOC vineyards of Vouvray, whose first vines were planted during the 4th century at the monastery of Marmoutier. The sole grape variety authorised is Chenin-Blanc, thought to derive from nearby Mont-Chenin (now Monchenain), and today vines cover around 2,000 hectares. Beyond Vouvray lies Tours, whose


Clos Lucé, in Amboise. A visit offers insight into his creative genius, and the beautiful surrounding private parkland contains full-size replicas of some of his inventions. He was buried in the Gothic Chapelle Saint-Hubert on the sheer ramparts of the Château-Royal d’Amboise. Happily the Royal logis escaped Napoleonic era destruction, and the Loire Valley’s very first Renaissance garden has been restored, beside contemporary Tuscan-style Cypresses, vines and a multitude of clipped box spheres. The chateau is sited around

Touraine Azay-le-Rideau

Saumur Saumur

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Beaugency’s ancient river crossing

living places to visit | 31 The world-famous Jardins de Villandry


Cheverny Beaugency


Coteaux du Giennois Orléans-Cléry


Sancerre Touraine Oisly


Quincy Touraine Chenonceaux


Valençay Reuilly

spiritual heart is the Place Plumereau, ringed by beautifully restored medieval half-timbered townhouses. Nearby is the glorious Gothic Cathédrale Saint-Gatien, whose former Bishop’s Palace now contains the internationally renowned Musée des Beaux-Arts. The city’s ancient pilgrimage site is the tomb of Saint Martin, in the crypt of the Nouvelle Basilique Saint-Martin – if neo-Byzantine isn’t to your taste, the Gare SNCF’s facade is a tour-de-force of belle époque exuberance. Beyond Tours evidence of Roman occupation survives in the arches of an aqueduct at Luynes and a curious 30m high brick-built tower at CinqMars-la-Pile. Just across the river is

The mighty bastions of the Château d’Angers

Le Chant d'Oiseau E:

T: 02 41 67 09 78

49390 Mouliherne

3 gites plus a small, but spacious, campsite Ideal for multi-generational holidays with family and/or friends The perfect spot to celebrate a wedding, birthday or reunion We have a bar, serve regular home-cooked meals, pizzas and fouée (a regional delicacy) from our bread oven Heated, covered 10m x 5m swimming pool, boules court, kiddies play area, Wi-Fi, and much, much more Chateaux, museums, kayaking, horse riding just a short drive away

Loire Valley Retreat

SAMPLE PHOTO Come and discover the stunning chateaux and vineyards of the French Loire Valley! There’s no better home from home than one of our four beautiful cottages sleeping 2-5 set in the grounds of a private chateau close to Chinon. Heated outdoor pool, walking and cycling routes nearby, tranquil setting, family friendly.


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Roman aqueduct, Luynes | living


places to visit

Sancerre AOC vineyard Cabernet d’Anjou Rosé d’Anjou Anjou


Anjou-Villages Jasnières


Coteaux du Loir


Coteaux du Giennois Orléans-Cléry

Savennières Chambord Vouvray





Touraine Oisly


Coteaux du Layon 1 er Cru Chaume Quarts de Chaume Grand Cru



Montsoreau Quincy

Montlouissur-Loire Touraine Noble-Joué Bonnezeaux

Touraine Azay-le-Rideau

Saumur Saumur

Touraine Chenonceaux


Valençay Reuilly


The Maid of Orléans and Hôtel Groslot Haut Poitou Sa

Brissac: the Loire valley’s tallest château

the Château de Villandry, whose magnificent formal gardens are deservedly world famous. For the definitive overview climb to the roof of the 12th century donjon. A little further downstream is the Château de Langeais constructed as a statement of absolute power by Louis XI. Beyond the drawbridge, however, medieval muscle gives way to Renaissance refinement, with 15th/16th century flamboyant Gothic decoration and furnishings, including large tapestry wall-hangings. Beyond the chateau’s formal gardens is a ruined fortress built during the 10th century by Foulques Nerra, Comte d’Anjou. The river soon passes Bourgeuil, whose AOC vineyards adorn 1,300 hectares, perpetuating a tradition thought to have been founded in 1089 when monks planted the first Cabernet Franc vine in the cloister of Bourgueil’s

Saumur’s medieval heart

Benedictine Abbey. Beyond Bourgeuil the Loire is joined by the River Vienne at Candes-Saint-Martin, below which is the miraculously preserved Abbaye Royal de Fontevraud (UNESCO), final resting place of Henri Plantagenêt and Alienor d’Aquitaine. Beyond the confluence at Montsoreau (whose elegant Renaissance chateau inspired Alexandre Dumas’ historical novel ‘La Dame de Monsoreau’) the Loire reaches Saumur, presided over by a romantic chateau. Saumur’s historic heart is well worth exploring, as are two large museums, dedicated to the illustrious French cavalry and to military tanks and armoured vehicles. Between here and Angers the Loire flows between a host of islands, most of them little more than exposed sandbars, while others have names and are wooded. Set high above the river is the most formidable of all the Loire


Valley chateaux, and proud possessor of Angers’ medieval Apocalypse Tapestry. The Ville d’Art et d’Histoire’s further architectural revelations range from Romanesque and Carolingianera survivors to Art Nouveau and Art Déco, via the 15th century half-timbered Maison d’Adam and the early Gothic Cathédrale Saint-Maurice. Meanwhile, across the river a former hospital constructed by order of Henri II in 1175 tended the people of Angers for almost eight centuries. Its elegant Gothic interior now displays huge Aubusson tapestries designed by the artist Jean Lurçat. A 12km detour south of Angers to Brissac-Quinçé will bring you to the Loire Valley’s tallest chateau, with no fewer than seven storeys. Take a guided tour or simply admire the wedding cake effect during a relaxing stroll around the surrounding parkland.

Chambord: the ultimate hunting lodge

Riverside dining, Combleux


Alternatively, for a different kind of escape follow the Corniche Angevine, a 15km scenic drive between Rochefortsur-Loire and Chalonnes-sur-Loire (gateway to a network of over 200km of signposted cycling trails). Beyond Chalonnes the river widens impressively, with skeletal suspension bridges providing road crossings from historic former ports like Montjean and Ingrandes-le-Fresne. They’re soon followed by a classic photo opportunity, taking in the Benedictine Abbey and riverbank at Saint-Florent-le-Vieil, a former salt port. Further downstream the chateau town of Ancenis built quays

living places to visit | 33 de Nantes, where you can ride the ‘Grand Eléphant’ and other fantastic mechanical wonders constructed in the workshops of the Machines de l’Île. Beyond Nantes the Loire braces itself after its epic journey and widens for the final run past the shipbuilding port of Saint-Nazaire to the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean. The string of locations we’ve mentioned along the way have barely scratched the surface of what there is to see, taste and experience. As you’ll discover during the course of your own journeys, the Loire makes a highly entertaining travelling companion.

to ship its wines, before railways ended commercial river transport. By now we’re almost in sight of Nantes, for centuries France’s most important seaport. Signs of an illustrious past include the huge Renaissance Château des Ducs de Bretagne, lines of showpiece former quayside mansions created for wealthy ship owners, the Belle Epoque La Cigale brasserie and the world-famous Passage Pommeraye, a mid-19th century shopping arcade featured in the 1960s cinema classic Lola. The city’s most famous son Jules Verne is celebrated on the Île The Château Royal d’Amboise at dusk

Loire Valley stone ‘falun’ & ‘tuffeau’

During the 5th/6th centuries an estimated 35,000 stone sarcophagi were carved from beds of golden ‘falun’ quarried at Doué-la-Fontaine, 17km west of Saumur. The resulting caves provided refuge for villagers during Viking raids, while today you can visit a later network of abandoned subterranean quarries at Les Cathédrales des Troglos, whose tall, bottle-shaped form recalls the Gothic arches of the great cathedrals. The beautiful pale stone employed in countless noble Loire Valley structures, including the great chateaux, is ‘tuffeau’ limestone. Huge quantities were quarried at Bourré, South of Chaumont-sur-Loire, where one of the abandoned caverns was sculpted to evoke a 19th century village at la Cave des Roches.

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34 | living in the garden

Kiwis need a sunny sheltered spot and a mate, if not self-fertile

in the garden

Getting fruity Bees love blossom, and are essential for fruiting

Pears come in many varieties

living in the garden | 35

Peaches are sun lovers, and appreciate shelter from winds

Mirabelles are surprisingly productive

Thinking of making the most of our mild climate and fertile soil by growing your own juicy fruit? We make sense


of the multitude of choices

e’re well aware of the health benefits of consuming a balanced diet which includes vitamin-packed fresh fruit. However, actually getting around to putting it into practice can be easier said than done, even if we have the necessary determination and willpower. Supermarkets now routinely offer the kind of dazzling array of fruity temptation previous generations never knew, but the provenance can be hard to accept when the environmental costs of shipping produce around the planet are taken into account. That in turn raises the question of just how fresh can it be by the time it goes on sale locally? If it’s disappointingly less tasty than expected, and ‘goes off’ rapidly in the fruit bowl then you have your answer. Fortunately, we gardeners have an obvious alternative, namely consuming our own produce. If you have some vacant space then why not plant some fruit trees? There’s something deeply satisfying about picking freshly ripened

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36 | living in the garden Plums need a nearby polinator

Kiwis can really take off!

living in the garden | 37

Given sun and shelter, Apricots are worth growing

fruit and enjoying the kind of taste-bomb we might have forgotten existed. Then there’s the added bonus of being firmly reconnected to the passing seasons – remember the days when we looked forward to our favourite fruit and vegetables being ‘in season’? You might be surprised at what you can grow, although just because your garden centre stocks something is no guarantee that it will actually thrive back in your own garden. That said, if you have a walled garden and can plant near a south-facing stone wall you’ll benefit significantly when residual heat

stored during sunny days is released overnight (see our factfile panel). Even without such luxuries, the fruiting potential and growth rate of many fruit trees can be impressive, and since there’s only so much even a family can eat, a one-of-each strategy is probably wise. Among the easiest fruit trees to grow are apples, whose blossom adds a brief but spectacular display, given a nearby pollinator whose flowering period coincides – something to take into account when considering what to plant. Your supplier should know what fits the bill. There’s a bewildering array


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of ‘pommier’ cultivars intended for either cooking or eating, but if you have limited space you might consider a variety which can fulfil both requirements. Either way, choose according to both eating qualities and storage potential. Young trees are produced by grafting to determine their growth pattern, and are sold either bare-rooted for planting between late autumn and early spring or container-grown for virtually year-round planting. Depth-wise, always plant with the graft visible a couple of inches clear of the soil. Freestanding trees will need pruning each winter for shaping, to remove damaged or diseased wood and to encourage the new lateral shoots which in most cases will eventually produce fruit – the exception being tip-fruiting varieties, a proportion of whose older fruited branches can be cut back to younger shoots. Note also

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38 | living in the garden that trees trained as espaliers, cordons or fans are managed by summer pruning once established. Pear trees have much in common with their apple counterparts, including the need for a nearby pollinator, to ensure fruit is produced (if the village doesn’t have one then you’ll need to plant two compatible varieties). The trees do have a few natural pests, however, notably ‘pear rust’ (a fungal disease producing orange leaf-spots), ‘pear-bedstraw’ aphids and ‘pear blister’ mites. The former is treated by carefully removing affected foliage (avoiding spreading spores) while aphid and mite infections should be sprayed in autumn. Also popular in gardens around the region (although they originated in NW China) are peach trees – Prunus persica – which are self-fertile, so perfectly capable of fruiting in isolation. This endearing quality of the pêcher is shared with its near-twin the smooth skinned nectarine, and both are packed with vitamins, antioxidants and fibre. To keep things manageable, try to select a container-grown tree with the crown around 1-1.5m above soil level, or prune a single-stemmed ‘maiden’ to around this height just

Self-defence for fruit Whatever you grow, you won’t be the only one eagerly awaiting the appearance of fruit, and if our feathered friends are a problem net the plants – securely to prevent birds getting trapped. Another, less obvious threat is from armies of voracious ants. To thwart them simply fit grease bands around trunks, reapplying grease as necessary.

“Our old friend

the plum tree or ‘prunier’ has many relatives”

above a bud. Next cut back any side shoots (‘feathers’), leaving just 2 or 3 buds from the main stem, then remove any shoots below the 1.5m mark. Having tackled the initial shaping, in subsequent seasons prune back a few semi-mature growths by about a third in springtime, to encourage the healthy new shoots which will carry the following year’s fruits. Peach and nectarine plants can also be fan-trained near (but not against) a south-facing wall, in which case cut new plants back hard and tie an opposing pair of lateral shoots horizontally. This will stimulate strong multiple upward shoots which can be cut back by one-third during summer to encourage more fruit-bearing shoots. Fan training keeps everything relatively compact, and easier to wrap with horticultural fleece (voile d’hivernage) when a hard overnight frost is expected. Our old friend the plum tree or ‘prunier’ has many relatives (including the smaller, golden mirabelle used for conserves or distilled into eau-de-vie) and while not all are self-fertile, their popularity should ensure that a compatible pollinator will be growing somewhere nearby. They prefer soil which won’t dry out, but given the right conditions can produce bountiful crops of fruit, to the point where heavily laden branches will need supporting until picking time comes

(when the fruit is soft to the touch). Pest-wise, wasps love them, although obviously they can’t eat them all. Once established, plum or mirabelle trees need less pruning than apples, pears, etc., but they can really take off, so maintain them at a manageable size before things get out of hand. If you’re apprehensive, consider fan training or growing dwarf varieties as verticalstemmed cordons, maintained by trimming back side shoots. An apricot tree or ‘abricotier‘ is also worth considering, as they appreciate our slightly alkaline soil. The trees themselves are hardy, but produce blossom early while flowers can be damaged by frost, so you’ll need to provide a sheltered, sunny spot. Care-wise, they have similar needs to peaches and plums and bear most of their fruit on the previous summer’s shoots, so encourage new growth by pruning between spring and early summer. Again they can be fan trained. Cherry trees – ‘cerisiers’ – flower slightly later but have broadly similar requirements to and some (including Stella and Montmorency) are self-fertile. To tame their unnerving growth potential look for grafted plants, for growing as bush trees or fan training, and where space really is tight choose a dwarf variety. If, on the other hand, you have a sunny, sheltered spot with plenty of room then why not grow your own kiwi fruits? Plants take three years or so to become productive, but are quick growing and a good bet for covering a pergola – simply train side shoots along horizontal wires, pruning the tips once available space is filled. The vertical shoots which appear will bear fruit the

living in the garden | 39


An orchard will keep you in fruit and 100% natural juice

following year, if you have a self-fertile variety – if not, you’ll need a male to pollinate up to eight female plants. We’ve covered a lot of ground, but our necessarily brief introductions should help you decide what to plant in your own soil. Healthy fruit trees should be productive for many years, so when you’ve narrowed things down, look beyond future jams, conserves, pies & crumbles and choose carefully from the many cultivars on offer.

Growing hot & cold...

If you’re planning on planting some vines you might like to try with a system employed since the late 19th century at the Château de Parnay, near Saumur. Known as ‘clos des murs’, its Cabernet Franc vines were planted on the cool, shaded north side of walls aligned east-west while the stems are trained through lines of holes, allowing the plants to flourish on the sun-warmed south side. The heat absorbed by the stone during the day is then released slowly overnight, like a storage radiator. The original walls survive, and Clos Cristal ‘Les Murs’ wines are made exclusively from grapes picked along the walls, although the unique system is too expensive for other vineyards to use on a commercial scale.

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40 | practical living

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

After Brexit - Questions from our postbag


I tried to exchange my UK licence for a French licence on ANTS last year but my dossier was returned. I now read that we are no longer able to exchange our licences but should wait. What is going on?


We first need a bit of background for those unfamiliar with the sorry tale. Until the end of the Brexit transition phase, it was not required to exchange your UK licence for a French one. However, following the referendum, British nationals were advised to exchange their licences to avoid issues after the Brexit transition period. The new online platform for licence updates and exchanges run by ANTS (Agence National des Titres Sécurisés) had already had some teething problems resulting in a significant backlog of French licence applications


My husband and I both applied for our Withdrawal Agreement residence permits on the day the online portal opened. He has since had his rendezvous and picked up his permit, but I have not heard anything. Should I apply again?


We have received several letters along the same lines where family

which was extensively reported in the French press. The addition of a large number of British licence exchanges caused more difficulties which were further compounded by COVID-19. Last year ANTS decided that, to simplify things, only licences that were going to expire and those where infractions needed to be added would be processed. All other applications were returned, yours being in this batch. At the time, drivers were assured that their licences would be valid for a year after the end of the Brexit transition period, i.e. until the end of 2021, so there would be plenty of time to exchange during 2021. However, from 1 January 2021 the online platform stopped accepting UK licence exchanges stating there is no bilateral agreement between the UK and France to exchange licences. While current UK licences are valid until the end of this year (for both residents and visitors), members who all applied at the same time are being processed separately. While frustrating, the advice at the moment is to wait - you do not need to be in possession of your new permit until 1 October and so there is still plenty of time. Try to avoid calling the Préfecture as this risks adding to the overall delay. If the Préfecture team need more information, they will contact you directly. In the meantime, should you need to prove that you have applied for your permit for any reason, you have the acknowledgement email which you can show.


it is not clear when they will be able to be exchanged. The British and French Governments are negotiating a bilateral agreement although it is unclear what is causing such a long delay. A UK Government spokesperson recently said: “We understand that the uncertainty around driving licence recognition and exchanges has been a cause for concern for many and we are working hard with the French authorities to confirm new


We used to bring back a few plants when we visited the UK. Is this still possible? Whereas transportation of plants is possible within the EU, for health and sanitary reasons it is not permitted across external EU borders (except for Switzerland). As the UK is no longer part of the EU, plants and their ‘growing medium’

arrangements. We hope that these will be finalised very soon and we will share any updates on the Living in France Guide.” One group of British citizens that has been badly impacted are those turning 70 during this time, the age at which the UK licence needs to be renewed. As residents in France, they are unable to renew in the UK and are left with no way to get a valid licence here in France without taking a test.

are not permitted except with a phytosanitary certificate which requires an expensive inspection. This regulation extends to cover most cut flowers and many fruit and vegetables so check the government customs site before loading your car. At the moment, seed suppliers based in the UK are not able to despatch to the EU although they are working hard to find a solution. Other favourites like David Austin Roses have closed their EU websites for the moment.

PET PASSPORTS Following the February issue, thank you to our readers have been in touch to clarify that pet passports issued in France are valid for a dog’s return to France. If you are not a French resident the Animal Health Certificate (AHC) is required to travel from the UK. We apologise for any confusion.

practical living | 41

Your money questions answered


I have received a letter from my pension company in the UK saying that since January 2021 I will no longer be able to buy an annuity or apply for flexible drawdown. What can I do with this pension?


Since the UK left the EU, many UK pension providers together with other UK based financial institutions have found themselves unable to provide financial solutions for those living in Europe. There are options available to either move your pension to an International SIPP which will

cater for those living abroad or a Qualified Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS). It is important that you obtain a full pension review on your existing pension to double check that moving your pension would not penalise you from receiving a terminal bonus or guaranteed annuity rates. Once the pension review is completed you can look at which option is best for you depending on costs and your personal circumstances.


Since the UK is no longer part of the EU, if the bank sending your money was UK based then regardless of whether they are I was recently charged by my French bank for sending Euros or Sterling, the receiving a transfer from French bank will now treat the the UK. This has not happened sender as a third party country before; is this a new policy? and is likely to charge you.


To avoid these fees, you can either ask your UK bank whether they have a French office from which they can send to your local bank, or you can use a foreign exchange currency company who will have accounts in both the UK and in EU countries.

Amanda Johnson works as an Independent Financial Advisor with The Spectrum IFA Group. T: 05 49 98 97 46 or 06 73 27 25 43;; To register for their newsletter, attend a roadshow event or speak directly to Amanda, call or email her. There is no charge for their financial planning reviews, reports or recommendations. « The Spectrum IFA Group » is a registered trademark, exclusive rights to use in France granted to TSG Insurance Services S.A.R.L. Siège Social: 34 Bd des Italiens, 75009 « Société de Courtage d’assurances » R.C.S. Paris B 447 609 108 (2003B04384) Numéro d’immatriculation 07 025 332 - « Conseiller en investissements financiers, référence sous le numéro E002440 par ANACOFI-CIF, association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Financiers »

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42 | living family

Avec les enfants -


s e u q â P e d s e h c o l C Les

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through the glass into a garden misty with drizzle. “They are coming tonight and tomorrow. They will bring the eggs,” and left it at that. Hidden in a cupboard in our hall were several dozen chocolate eggs and other surprises, and since we knew who was really bringing them I was instantly curious. For years we’d had Easter egg hunts where the Easter Bunny had come to visit, but this was the first time I had heard of Bells being the purveyors of chocolate delight. My children turned to each other wide-eyed and muttered about bunnies and chickens, but Dorian was having nothing to do with it. It was The Bells or nothing, and as we stared at each other in mutual incomprehension, the rain eased and a watery shaft of sunshine appeared among the trees. The next day, however, all was forgotten as we scoured the garden for Easter eggs - this was something he DID understand, bells or no bells. In previous sojourns in France, we had never had the opportunity to entertain local children with our hunts for gaily wrapped chocolate eggs, so I was interested to learn of this different tradition. Dorian definitely had a more detailed understanding of the ‘whys’ and ‘wheres’ of the eggs’ appearance than an English child would have, and it provided a fascinating look into another culture and a different religion. ‘Les Cloches de Pâques’ - as the Bells are known - reflect the silencing of all church bells across the land on the Thursday before Easter Sunday. They are silenced to mourn the death of Christ, and not a chime is then heard



Some six years ago our first Easter back in France provided an adventure we had never encountered before. Not only did we have our own small people waiting for the yearly Easter egg hunt, but now we also had neighbours with similarly aged offspring, who joined in, too. We had become very friendly with the son and daughter from over the garden wall since arriving the previous summer, but when the boy looked out of our kitchen window on the day before Easter Sunday, and exclaimed that The Bells were coming, we were somewhat confused. “The Bells?” I asked, searching for a clue. “Oui, les cloches,” said Dorian as he looked out

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from them until the Sunday. Dorian and I were walking together through the garden while he was telling me this, in answer to a question that had been turning in my head from the previous evening. By coincidence, the bells of our church tower, two hundred yards away, had just finished their Easter peal, announcing the Resurrection of Christ. “But why do they bring the chocolate, then?” I asked. Dorian explained that during their enforced silence the bells all fly to Rome, to be blessed by the Pope, before coming home. As they fly back across the land they collect eggs, which they then drop into gardens and homes as they return back to the village or town of their respective dioceses. As soon as they are back in place, they chime out on Easter Sunday, at which point families then go to look for the offerings. Of course, in times gone by the eggs were real ones, painted by hand and hidden in secret places for small people to find and treasure. The vast collection of chocolate eggs that Roddy had hidden after breakfast now seemed somewhat trite and cheap in the face of such a legend. For many years it’s been his

living family | 43

Dorian and I wandered about a little more, and he found some eggs that my children had walked straight past – very much a case of The Tortoise and The Hare, I thought, and at that moment he reached deep into a bush, and produced a beautiful Lindt chocolate rabbit wrapped in gold foil, an apt reward for his explanation. Ten paces further on he found a chocolate bell under a bucket. “Bah oui, je comprends,” I muttered… and we like the tradition so much that since then our Easter eggs have always been brought by both the Easter Bunny and by The Bells. The dogs, of course, don’t seem to mind who brings them.



job to be caretaker of the hunt, a task which he insists is very difficult and needs the odd testing of the offerings as he plods through the undergrowth, hiding the loot. Aided and abetted by the dogs, who all know the routine and wait patiently under branches from which eggs might fall if the breeze increases, he videos with his phone where the eggs are hidden, attempting to ensure that they will all be collected. In some years, though, he loses track of a few and in May or June a dog might appear from the potager with an egg still wrapped in foil. Since none of them has ever died from eating the odd chocolate, we forgive them their transgressions.



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






8 8

Take a break from your springtime gardening and pit your wits against our unique crossword compiled by Mike Morris. Once you have solved all the clues the theme will reveal itself. If you need a helping hand, the answers can be found on page 47.

Clues Across 1. Pile of potatoes stopping car from moving? (5) 4. Large number of travellers responsible for bringing in the beasts? (7) 8. Vicar cut short the uprising? (3) 9. Given the word, cheer raised for one of 4 Across. (9) 10. Tonic mixed for Shirley Valentine’s lover? (5) 11. Be first to get one’s piece into action? (7) 13. Completed deal on property in the country, now to get curtains? (6, 3, 4) 16. Hastily depart before end of race to arrive first? (7) 18. Natural angel scattering old

European currency over first to entreat. (5) 19. Could be upset if putting new part in wrong place? (9) 21. Hacker maybe reported to be in training centre? (3) 22. Cross member upset monster bringing in article for core of men? (7) 23. Fowl apparently wearing covering for head? (5)

Clues Down 1. Chief force of the sea with last vestiges of sonic to numb centre of ear? (7) 2. Announcement of arrival of English river exploit? (9) 3. Does she pick recipe being a little hungry? (7) 4. Wander erratically in month of upheaval, eventually finding country retreat? (4, 2, 3, 4) 5. Clear time given to set of deliveries? (5) 6. Emulsion not delivering the beginnings of a finish? (3) 7. A way to take in liquid that will take in warts? (5)

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17 18

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22 21

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12. Rising suddenly or nurturing gradually? (7, 2) 14. Accommodating castle I revisited? (7) 15. Get all you can from person doing the rounds? (7)

Show how much you

16. Exercises covering heart of gland exposes growth? (5) 17. Helps baste with new way of cooking? (5) 20. Ring of bell left off, but could be found in whistle? (3)

Living at

44 | living nikki legon’s cuisine Has our gardening feature inspired you to plant your own fruit trees? We asked Nikki to share some deliciously fruity treats to whet your appetite...

Nikki Legon's

cuisine Spiced Duck Leg with Peach Sauce

Pumpkin Salad

Spiced Duck Leg with Peach Sauce 2 duck legs 1 tsp sea salt 1 tsp ground pepper 2 garlic cloves, crushed 2 shallots, chopped finely 1 tbsp thyme, leaves only jar of duck fat 3 peaches, halved and stoned for roasting For the peach sauce 220g sugar

3 ripe peaches peeled and stones removed 4 star anise 1 cinnamon stick 6 cardamom pods 80ml apple cider vinegar Method Start the day before by cleaning and drying the duck legs, season with salt and pepper. Rub the crushed garlic, thyme and shallots over the duck legs, leave in the fridge overnight. Heat the oven to 200°C. With a piece of kitchen paper remove the dry rub from the duck legs then

place them in an ovenproof dish. Spread with duck fat, cover loosely with tin foil and place into the oven for 50 minutes. Remove the foil, reduce the temperature to 170°C and roast, skin side up, for a further 50 minutes. For the last 12 minutes, roast the peach halves with a drizzle of honey. For the peach sauce, combine the sugar, peaches, star anise, cinnamon, cardamom and vinegar in a saucepan with 180ml of water. Cook over a low heat for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. Pass through a sieve and reserve till ready to use.

living nikki legon’s cuisine | 45

Pork Chop with Cherry Sauce 1 tbsp oil 2 bone-in, centre cut pork chops sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pork Chop with Cherry Sauce

For the sauce 500 g of pitted cherries 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme 120 ml of port 2 tbsp unsalted butter Method Season the pork chops and cook

in a frying pan for 3 minutes, then turn over for another 3 minutes. Place in the oven on a medium heat while you make the sauce. Add the cherries to the frying pan with the thyme and season with salt. Cook gently so they start to release their juices and soften, scraping up any stuck on bits in the pan. Add the port and let it simmer until reduced by half, stir in the butter until emulsified and the sauce is nice and glossy. Taste and adjust seasoning. Pour the sauce over the pork chops and serve.

Chicken with Roasted Tomatoes & Pomegranate Sauce 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses or balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp oil 1 tbsp tomato purée 1 tsp sugar ¼ tsp cinnamon

Chicken with Roasted Tomatoes & Pomegranate Sauce

Pumpkin Salad 300g butternut or any pumpkin of your choice, cut into small chunks 1 bunch of broccoli florets, cut small 1 red onion, diced 1 apple, peeled cored and diced olive oil to coat 75g pumpkin seeds, toasted 1 tsp sesame seeds 2 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and lightly crushed 1 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp smoked paprika small bag of salad leaves

¼ tsp black pepper 2 chicken breasts or 4 chicken thighs 1 red onion, cut into small wedges 1 fresh pomegranate, seeds removed

Method Mix the pomegranate molasses or the balsamic vinegar, with the oil, tomato purée, sugar, cinnamon, black pepper and a pinch of salt together in a large bowl. Add the chicken and onions and mix well so everything gets coated in the marinade. Cover and chill in the fridge for 1 hour or overnight. Remove from the fridge 1 hour before cooking. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Tip the chicken into a roasting dish with the marinade and roast for 20 to 30 minutes adding the cherry tomatoes for the last 15 minutes. Baste the chicken adding a little water if needed to the sauce. Transfer to a serving dish and pour the sauce over, scatter with pomegranate seeds.

1 pomegranate, seeds only crushed walnuts 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses or balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp red wine vinegar ½ tbsp Dijon mustard 120ml olive oil Method Heat the oven to 180°C. Toss the pumpkin, broccoli and red onion with the oil and season with salt and pepper, roast for 20 minutes. To make the dukka, grind the pumpkin and sesame seeds in a pestle and mortar

until broken up then stir in the coriander seeds, ground cumin, smoked paprika and set the mixture aside. 5 minutes before the pumpkin is cooked add the dukka and chopped apple, stir and cook a further 5 minutes. Remove and leave to cool. Place onto a large serving platter. Serve with the salad leaves tossed through and sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and walnuts. Mix all the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad.

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46 | living nikki legon’s cuisine Plum Cake

Apple Pie with Lattice Top

Plum Cake 200g softened butter, use the paper wrapping for greasing the tin 8 large plums, halved and stone removed 140g golden caster sugar 3 eggs, lightly beaten grated zest of 1 large lemon 175g self-raising flour 6 tbsp milk 85g chopped almonds 6 heaped tbsp red currant jelly 2 tbsp cassis Method Heat the oven to 180°C. Butter a spring-form tin, line the base with greaseproof paper and butter the paper. Beat the butter and sugar until pale then beat in the eggs followed by the zest. With the mixer on low, beat in the flour and milk, stir in the almonds, then spoon the mixture into the cake tin. Lie the plums on top of the batter overlapping them in circles. Sprinkle with a little caster sugar and bake for 55 minutes to 1 hr. Remove from the oven and let it rest in the tin for 15 minutes before releasing the cake onto a rack. In a small saucepan, melt the redcurrant jelly with the cassis and 2 tbsp of water until reduced to a syrupy glaze. Brush over the cake to a thick glaze.

Rustic Cherry Galette 500g cherries, washed and pitted 1 lemon, zest plus juice 1 orange, zest 3 to 4 tbsp granulated soft brown sugar depending on the sweetness of the cherries. For the pastry 190g plain flour 45g granulated sugar ¼ tsp salt 115g unsalted butter, diced 60ml ice-cold water 1 egg, beaten Method Place the cherries, zest and juice into a bowl along with the sugar. Mix well and set aside.

Rustic Cherry Galette

For the pastry, add the flour, sugar and salt to a bowl and use a round bladed knife to cut in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the water and knead a few times until it all comes together, flatten and place into the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface roll out the pastry to a 30cm circle. Place onto the baking tray, spoon the fruits (not the juice) into the centre of the dough leaving a 5cm border all around. Gently fold the edges of the dough over the edge of the fruits and press lightly to seal the edges. Brush the edges of the pastry with a beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for around 35 minutes or until the crust is golden, remove and cool before serving.

living nikki legon’s cuisine | 47

Apple Pie with Lattice Top 6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, seeded, cut into slices 75g caster sugar 1 tsp mixed spice 1 tbsp cornflour For the pastry 350g plain flour 2 tbsp caster sugar 250g unsalted cold butter, cubed 1 whole egg beaten with a splash of water, keep a little back for brushing the lattice top Method In a food processor place all the ingredients in the bowl and blitz to resemble breadcrumbs, adding the water if necessary. Add the egg stirring with a round-bladed knife until the dough comes together and the sides of the bowl are clean, place into the fridge for 30 minutes. Put the sliced apples into a bowl and add the lemon juice, cornflour, sugar and the spice, mix well. Remove the pastry from the fridge and cut into two balls, one slightly larger for the base of the pie. Butter a 25cm pie dish and place the pastry into the dish pressing it into the base. Pile the apples on top. Roll out the smaller pastry ball on a floured board and cut it into 2.5cm strips, you need 12 strips in total. Lay 6 strips on top of the pie and then weave the remaining strips in and out of the other strips to create the lattice top.

Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with caster sugar. Bake in the oven at 200°C for 40 to 45 minutes until golden.

Lemon Tart For the case 145g unsalted butter 110g caster sugar 245g plain flour ½ tsp vanilla essence pinch of salt For the filling 4 unwaxed lemons 115g unsalted soft butter 340g caster sugar 4 large eggs pinch of salt Method For the tart case, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar together until they are just combined, add the vanilla essence. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter mixture and mix on a low speed until the dough comes together. Place the dough onto a floured surface and shape into a flat disk. Press the pastry into a 25cm round tart tin and, with your fingers, shape up the sides making sure the finished edge is flat. Chill for 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 180°C. Butter one side of a round of tin foil and fit it into the chilled tart case, butter side down. Fill with beans or rice and bake blind for 20 minutes or until lightly

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browned. Remove the foil, brush the tart all over with beaten egg and place back into the oven for a further 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Cool to room temperature. For the lemon curd filling remove the zest from the lemons and squeeze the lemons to get 125ml of juice. Put the zest into a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the sugar and mix for 2 to 3 minutes until the zest is very finely minced. In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar and lemon zest. Add the eggs one at a time then the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly until thickened, the lemon curd will thicken at about 68°C. Remove from the heat. Fill the tart case with the warm lemon curd and allow to set at room temperature.

Lemon Tart

A warm welcome awaits you ……. Come and discover the Hotel Restaurant Karina, set in a haven of greenery, just 3km from Jarnac in the beautiful Charentaise countryside. Enjoy dining by the open fire in winter or on the terrace in fine weather with a choice of à la carte or fixed menus. In our bar, you will find the original copper alembic and here you can relax with an aperitif. Join us for fish and chips on Fridays - lunch or dinner. We cater for special group occasions, call for more information See our menus on our website | | 05 info 45 36 26 26 Subscribe today > see page 5 for

48 | living wine Château Palmer is a leading wine estate on the Left Bank




wine region

here is something for everyone in this massive region. With some 110,000 hectares, around 6,000 wine producers (most of them still family owned and run) and 65 appellations, Bordeaux is the world’s largest appellation area. An appellation, more specifically an AOP or ‘Appellation d’Origine Protégée’ (PDO or Protected Designation of Origin in EU English) is a designated and protected named region and an associated traditional product. In Bordeaux wine terms, they range from the overarching regional Bordeaux appellations for red, white dry and sweet, rosé and Clairette (plus Crémant white and rosé) to sub-region appellations and commune appellations.

Adapting to A Changing Climate Each appellation has a different set of production rules, including the grape varieties or ‘varietals’ that can be used, so if you know the appellation you can usually guess the most likely varietals in the wine, even if they’re not shown on the label. Fixed varietals are a thorn in the side of winegrowers navigating the climate crisis, as one of the ways to adapt to changing conditions is by changing the varietals planted. However, late last year the INAO approved new grape varieties for AOC Bordeaux/Bordeaux


Caro Feely explores the grandfather of the world’s wine regions to understand more about its production & famous appellations


Superieur in small amounts – less than 10% of the blend. The new varietals are four red grapes – Arinarnoa, Castets, Marselan and Touriga Nacional – and two white grapes – Alvarinho and Liliorila. As the new move is approval to plant, these grapes won’t show up in the wine for a few years yet.

Red Wines

Bordeaux reds are primarily a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and will remain so despite the new additions. The grape plantings are 66% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc plus 3% other. Understanding the reds from Bordeaux starts with understanding the soil. The Left Bank (left of the Gironde estuary and the Garonne river, key regions Medoc and Graves) has a layer of gravels, carried down from

the Pyrenees on a glacial melt millions of years ago, over a base of limestone and clay. The Right Bank (right of the Gironde estuary and the Garonne river, and north of the Dordogne river) is largely limestone and clay, hence cooler than the gravels. Cabernet Sauvignon prefers warm conditions, so it tends to be the primary red grape on the Left Bank, while Merlot prefers the slightly cooler limestone, so tends to be the primary red grape on the Right Bank. To appreciate these differences there’s nothing to beat getting into the vineyards and seeing the terroir up close. By delving a little deeper we can discover appellation nuances like: Saint-Émilion The most recognised commune appellation in the world, home to some of the most expensive wines (and typically majority Merlot based) offering smooth, generous and accessible wines. We’ll dive deeper into Saint-Emilion in the next edition. Pauillac A commune in the district of Haut -Médoc, home of three of the five red wines classified ‘Grand Cru’ in 1855. Here the blend is generally biased towards Cabernet Sauvignon, offering tannic wines with longevity and classic blackcurrant aromas.

living wine | 49

Traditional storage at Château Pontet-Canet

White Wines

Bordeaux is most famous for red wines, but the region also produces great dry and sweet white wines, with a white grape split of 46% Semillon, 46% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Muscadelle and 3% other. Dry whites include Pessac-Léognan – often a richer style with barrel aging – and Entre-Deux-Mers – usually fresher in style with more Sauvignon Blanc. Entre-Deux-Mers is the large region between the Garonne and the Dordogne rivers, hence the ‘between-

two-seas’ name. Sweet white wines are primarily made from Sémillon grapes, the most famous examples being from Sauternes AOP, south of Bordeaux city.

Château Feely are specialists in virtual wine events for private parties and team-building. If you are looking for a fun way to get your family, friends or work team together visit for details. They also offer wine tours, vineyard walks and an accredited Wine Spirit Education Trust (WSET) wine school. Stretch your wine world with a 3-day course on French wine (all year round) or go further with wines of the world on the WSET Level 2 (dates online). Keep in touch via their newsletter or follow on Facebook and Instagram.

Bordeaux offers a diverse world of wine, including a growing selection of organic wines. Explore the region with tastings at home or visit some of the fabulous wine estates and diverse tourism on offer this spring, conditions permitting. “Santé! Here’s to fine wine and good health! ”

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Gironde €898,880 Ref: 109444 - Gîte and B&B business with owners’ accommodation. Pool, land and mini golf.

Dordogne €449,440 Ref: 120198 - 5 Bedroom 250m² eco friendly villa with pool and independent guest suite.

Dordogne €295,000 Ref: 120195 - 3 Bedroom house with a gîte, workshop, large barn, garden and lots of land.

Dordogne €162,410 Ref: 120179 - 3 Bedroom village house with a small courtyard, outbuilding, garden and a stunning view.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.



DPE: Ongoing


Charente-Maritime €1,100,000 Ref: 63029 - Gîte business. House and 7 gîtes, with heated pool. Private and peaceful location.

Charente €147,150 Ref: 120072 - 3 Bedroom 17th century house perched next to the château. Front and rear garden.

Dordogne €399,500 Ref: 120177 - Charming farmhouse with barn, 1½acres and river access. Overlooking the Vezere Valley.

Charente €213,840 Ref: 12018 - 3 Bedroom stone farmhouse with huge barn and magical garden, in a private hamlet.

5% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.

5% agency fees included paid by the buyer. DPE: Ongoing

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DPE: Ongoing



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Charente €56,600 Ref: 120148 - 2 Bedroom house with second house to renovate, barns, stable and outbuildings.

Vienne €130,800 Ref: 120146 - 4 Bedroom semidetached property in need of updating with a garage and garden.

Deux-Sèvres €178,200 Ref: 120053 - Immaculate 3 bedroom property with heated saltwater pool and large garden.

6% agency fees included paid by the buyer. DPE: Ongoing

13% agency fees included paid by the buyer. DPE: Ongoing

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.

Charente-Maritime €235,400 Ref: 108790 - 5 Bedroom house with 3 acres of garden, renovated barn and business potential.

Charente €187,250 Ref: 120135 - Pleasant 3 bedroom family home in very good condition and close to all amenities.

Vendée €445,200 Ref: 112411 - Wonderful 4 bedroom character property with gardens, outbuildings and a pool.

Deux-Sèvres €230,050 Ref: 120018 - 6 Bedroom home with garage, barn, outbuildings, bread oven and garden.

7% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

7% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.





DPE: Ongoing




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Deux-Sèvres €25,000 Ref: 116796 - Renovation project in walking distance of amenities. Not for the faint hearted!

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Vienne €689,000 Ref: 119532 - Superb 6 bedroom manor house with outbuildings and a ¾ acre walled garden.

Vienne €551,200 Ref: 104775 - Two houses; a 3/4 bedroom maison de maître and a converted 3 bedroom barn.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.

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

6% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

6% agency fees included paid by the buyer.





Haute-Vienne €379,500 Ref: 95599 - 7 bedroom house with pool and large garden, ideal for gîte or B&B.

Charente €295,000 Ref: 120246 - 3 Bedroom longère with gîte potential. Enclosed garden with covered pool.

Vendée €315,650 Ref: 113360 - 16th century logis partially renovated with a 3000m² wooded park.

Charente-Maritime €232,000 Ref: U17631 - Charming 3 bedroom Charentaise house with a view of the Estuary.

6% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.

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




Charente-Maritime €162,000 Ref: 119801 - 2 Bedroom house with a rentable separate 1 bedroom studio, in a popular town.

Vendée €159,000 Ref: 116001 - Substantial village house with great potential, only 9km from Fontenay le Comte.

Haute-Vienne €129,710 Ref: 117324 - Authentic 4 bedroom farmhouse with barns, workshop and a field.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.

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

9% agency fees included paid by the buyer.



Bent u Nederlands (sprekend), wilt u werken vanuit huis en ambieert u een carrière als makelaar?

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Changing Places An obvious strategic position often suggests a long history, and Lusignan doesn’t disappoint. It was already a walled town in the time of the Celtish tribes, and by the 11th century had become the main seat of a powerful dynasty of Poitevin Lords, who eventually included the Counts of Angoulême and La Marche, and the rulers of Armenia, Cyprus and Jerusalem. Their illustrious line came to an end, however, with the death in 1487 of Queen Charlotte, and a century later their chateau in Lusignan (one of the greatest military strongholds in France) was destroyed by Henri III’s forces. The ramparts eventually followed suit, this time by order of Louis XIII, although some of their lower sections escaped demolition, and now offer tantalising hints of Lusignan’s former glory. Such destruction prompted the development of the lower town, which today straggles along the D150 (itself bypassed some years ago), making the centre historique a pleasure to explore on foot. You’ll find a wealth of stylish architecture, much of which is finally being rediscovered and carefully restored, in the wake of recent improvement

efforts. In Rue Saint-Louis a large, 19th century covered market hall heralds the approach to Place Notre-Dame, where an impressive 15th century half-timbered facade (a listed Monument Historique) stands opposite the Église Notre-Dameet-Saint-Junien, founded in 1025. Among the impressive Gothic interior’s many treasures are elegantly inscribed stone monuments, beside a 13th century tomb figure of a knight. Above are beautifully carved pier capitals, while the less obvious north doorway features a well-preserved 12th century bestiary. Nearby, defensive ditches (now bridged) and two round towers survive from the town’s medieval western portal. For a change of mood, at the opposite eastern end of the plateau the once forlorn site occupied by the chateau was landscaped during the 18th century to create the elegant Promenade Blossac. In the valley below, accessible via a footpath or by car, the beautiful wooded banks of the river Vonne provide a sheltered setting for the Vauchiron municipal campsite. Here you can hire a bike or a canoe, or follow marked trails in the


We visit one of our lesser-known historic locations, between Poitiers and Saint-Maixent l’École 160ha Forêt Communale du Grand-Parc. If you’re planning a more permanent stay, you’ll benefit from a range of services including a Gare SNCF, La Poste, a pharmacy, two banks, year-round Wednesday morning markets (plus a large supermarket on the outskirts). For families there’s local education, comprehensive health care facilities (Lusignan is an important outreach site for the CHU de Poitiers) plus a care home. More:

Making connections Distances/drive-times by road from Lusignan 86600 Poitiers: 16km/20min Saint-Maixent l’École: 36km/36min Parthenay: 44km/49min 61km/51min Niort: La Rochelle: 124km/1hr 33min TER & TGV rail services: TER Nouvelle-Aquitaine services from Gare SNCF de Lusignan to Angoulême, Niort, Poitiers, Royan, etc. TGV services from Poitiers to Paris, Bordeaux, La Rochelle, Bayonne, etc.

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Property Sovimo immobiLier Ref. 34212


140 400 € HAI

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Lesterps (16). pretty village with shops, detached building used as a café/restaurant and 3-bed home. 4-room house to renovate. (Cost of License IV: 5,000€ and pro equipment: 20,000€).

Ref. 34215 Agence Eleonor Estate Agency 36-38 rue du Temple, 24500 EYMET T: 05 53 27 83 45 Eymet, Villeréal, St.-Cyprien, Monpazier, Bergerac, Lalinde, and Issigeac

DPE: n/a

221 400€ HAI

(205 000€ plus 8% agency fees payable buyer)

St Maurice des Lions (16). Detached 4-bed farmhouse, well restored. Heating: air/water heat pump. Barn, outbuildings, well, adjoining land set on 9453m2. 14 photovoltaic panels.

Ref: 9067-BGC 971,850€ HAI


Ideal property for a tourist/events business or bed & breakfast. Beautiful 18th Century chateau on nearly five acres of land with a guest house to renovate offering further potential Taux d’honoraires 41,850€ (4.5%) inclus à la charge de l’acquéreur.

DPE: n/a

Ref. 34211

55 000€ HAI

(50 000€ plus 10% fees payable by buyer)

Confolens (16) with all shops, very good situation. Town house requiring refreshing inside. 2 bedrooms, electrical heating, mains drains, cellar, adjoining courtyard.

Ref. 34222

DPE: n/a

99 000 € HAI

(90 000€ plus 10% fees payable by buyer)

Brillac (16), 11km to Confolens, village with shops. S facing, 3-bed semi-detached village house with potential, room to convert, attic, elec. heating, mains drains, courtyard. Set on 827m2. Ref: 7148-EY 371,000€ HAI DPE: D Beautifully presented 6-bedroom stone property with spacious and light rooms just a couple of minutes’ walk from the centre of Eymet. Ideal for bed and breakfast. ¼ acre mature garden. Taux d’honoraires 21,000€ (6%) inclus à la charge de l’acquéreur.

Ref. 34221


194 400€ HAI

(180 000€ plus 8% agency fees payable buyer)

Confolens centre (16). Comfortable 6-bed house with charm and potential business. Fitted kitchen, lounge/living room with fireplace, attic to convert. Well, terrace, adjoining land. Set on 1063m2.

Ref. 34219


82 500€ HAI

(75 000€ plus 10% fees payable by buyer)

Manot (16), 8kms to Confolens. 2 village houses with adjoining garden. Renovated 3-bed house plus attached 4-room house to renovate. Set on 545m2.

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

Ref: 8749-EY 336,000€ HAI DPE: C Finished to a high standard throughout this bright modern 6-bedroom property has stunning views over the countryside from its’ elevated position. Pool and just over half an acre of land. Taux d’honoraires 16,000€ (5%) inclus à la charge de l’acquéreur.


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If you have a business in the region and would like to showcase your services to our thousands of readers, we can help. With over 1,000 stockists, Living is the leading English-language magazine covering your area. Advertising starts from 35€ per month on our monthly payment scheme. “Your expertise with advertising is surpassing my expectations. Lots of new clients now finding me via Living. Thank you!” Karen Jones, Solutions “The majority of clients who find me through adverts are from Living. The area the magazine covers is vast which is why I am a long term advertiser.” David Cropper, Stump Grinding

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Special discount for new owners - 50% off the first year

Translations, Health, Tax, Legal Paperwork, Telephone Calls, Property, Banking, Business Services, Residency

Fully comprehensive covers at competitive prices and all explained in ENGLISH. We respond quickly to enquiries and in the case of accidents or claims, we are here to help. Offices at Champdeniers and St Pardoux (79). Come and visit us.

Val Assist provides clear explanations about the French system, advice on the best way to sort out problems and generally acts for people on their behalf in French. I CAN HELP WITH RESIDENCY AND TAX FORMS 2021 (wherever you live in France)

Find out more: Valérie PATARD 1, rue Basse 85370 Mouzeuil-Saint-Martin Tel: +33 (0)6 84 78 21 57 Email:

Agence Michallon Tel:

Insurance and asset management advice in English Hello, my name is Isabelle Want. For the past 9 years, I have been working for Allianz as an asset manager. Being married to an Englishman and having lived in the UK for 8 years gives me a better insight into what British people are experiencing and what they need. Being French and born in the Charente has enabled me to offer some answers. I am, as always, available for any free advice on the following subjects: - INHERITANCE LAW - who inherits, how much are death duties, what solutions exist - TAXES - everybody’s fear! Annual tax forms in May, etc.

Regular trips throughout Europe

Siret: 879 092 393

Animal care

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

- INVESTMENTS - what is available, what rate, etc. - LIFE INSURANCE - how to protect your loved ones - FUNERAL COVER - preparing for the inevitable, unfortunately! - TOP UP HEALTH INSURANCE - why you need it and how much it is - INSURANCES - get a free quote to see if you can save money We also have a dedicated bilingual person to deal with claims. And, finally, we have an English website with all sorts of useful information and tips on all of the above subjects.

Contact Isabelle directly Mobile: 06 17 30 39 11


These local businesses are waiting for your call!

BH Assurances 22 rue Jean Jaures 16700 Ruffec tel : 05 45 31 01 61

10 bld du 8 mai 1945 16110 La Rochefoucauld tel : 05 45 63 54 31 102 ave de la République 16260 Chasseneuil sur Bonnieure tel : 05 45 39 51 47 N° ORIAS : 07020908


Garden Services

Grass cutting, hedge cutting, weeding etc

Pool Care

Season long cleaning & water balancing

Garden Maintenance | Admin Services | Home Maintenance |

The Fixer

Experience you need....Results you want

Help & Advice

Fluent French speaker with over 15 years professional ‘hands on’ experience assisting expats in France

Personal Taxation – Carte Vitale – Carte de Séjour Business set ups - CPAM – French Administration Tax regularisation and much much more…. Call Rick Denton now on 06 46 25 30 87 or Email:

Based in Charente and covering 86, 79, 16, 17, 24 & 33 Siren: 818 390 916


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

Chemin des Gordins, 16700 Ruffec

M: 07 80 44 37 00 Comprehensive administration services for individuals and businesses Tax returns Business set up, Book keeping courses Carte Vitale, Carte de Séjour, Financial Aid Translations SIRET/SIREN 510046261 00010

Contact me by email & Skype, or visit my office, location is not a problem

Personal taxation Legal matters Phone calls & meetings Andrew Harrison

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

Samantha Ancell is our English member of staff with over 25 years’ experience in insurance including 13 years with AVIVA France. Samantha can explain the differences between French and English insurances, she will provide translations on request, and manages all your enquiries from start to finish, including any claims. Call us now to review your insurances and hopefully save you money. AVIVA offers Motor, House and Contents, Health, Business Liability and Business Premises Insurance as well as Life Insurance and Savings products. Ask for free, no obligation quotes.

Agences Slimane AOUADI




16 rue Henri Sainte Claire, Déville, 86000 Poitiers

2 route de Montalambert, Site commercial SuperU 79190 Sauzé-Vaussais

3 place d’Armes 16700 Ruffec

Tel : 05 49 31 13 30 E:

Tel : 05 49 07 61 10 E:

Tel : 05 45 31 01 51 E:

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

ORIAS N° 15006012

• • • •

Business set-up

Help & Advice

Expert in French Administration

Siret No 520 382 805 00049


HELP WITH ALL FRENCH ADMINISTRATION MATTERS Administrative Assistance & Solutions Private Individuals & Small Businesses Translator: English, French, Portuguese (cert.) & Spanish Professional Liability Insurance *NEW address from 6 July* 8 place Gambetta 86400 CIVRAY Office: M:

Bike hire, IT, Chimneys, Projects



IT Service & Support Computer Help & Advice Problem Solving Repair & Maintenance PCs, Networks, Laptops, Tablets, Phones Windows, OSx/iOS, Linux, Android Website Construction & Maintenance All Departments: Remote or On-Site

05 45 36 19 09

Data Privacy Guaranteed 06 29 61 47 88 Siret: 889 641 726 00019

Chimney Sweep Nick Wright

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

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

Siret 81968203000013

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

05 53 52 36 05 Peter Latus BA(Hons)

lly nt ts Fu ersa xpor nv e co UK th Cars, Boats and Caravans a speciality wi

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

Transport Services, Concierge

Full or part loads undertaken - a box to a full removal Full European coverage Secure storage available in France and UK UK depot available for deliveries Every item is covered by GIT and CMR insurances


‘Your French Connection’

Weekly services to & from SW France Internal moves within France Containerised Storage Range of Packing services available Over 35 Years’ Experience

Full or Part Load Removals To & From France UK: +44 (0) 1237 431 393 FR: +33 (0)5 45 89 49 57 Email: UK Registration 543 77 60 UK


Departments: 16, 17, 24, 79, 86 & 87 Siret: 492 277 918 00024

Tel: Mob:


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

La Maison Concierge Second home specialists

Franglais Deliveries Full & Part Loads Relocations in France Packing & Storage Options


Planning and designs for permis de construire and déclaration préalables for extensions, renovations, conversions and new builds.

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

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


ID Planning & Design


Full trade references available


BSc (Hons)

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

Tel: 05 49 07 24 85 E:

Siret: 890 338 155

George White

Siret: 502 021 660 00019

Transport Services

C J Logistics

Ian Dickinson

Home Checks: daily, weekly, monthly Mail Forwarding, Meter Reading, Immobilier Liaison, Key Holding, House Airing Fully Registered & Insured

Call us to discuss your needs t: 05 49 48 52 25 m: 06 70 46 59 55 e:

Mention LIVING for 10% off your first month!

Based in L’Isle Jourdain 86150 - covering 86, 87 & 16

These local businesses are waiting for your call!


Furniture for France Quality UK furniture direct to your door in France Furniture for your bedrooms, dining room and lounge From sofas to mattresses, wardrobes to dining tables, all just one phone call away Look at our website to see the latest ranges available 20 years’ experience & great customer service


Tel: +44 7845 272 242 Email:

Here to help with your projects in 2020


Fully insured

05 45 25 05 37

F o r Po o l s • Installation • Renovation • Cleaning and Maintenance

For Outside Living • Terraces & Patios • Summerhouses • Roofs • Fencing • Blockwork T: 06 62 92 48 17

• Pointing • Rendering • Outside Rooms

RJC Pool Services Creating your Perfect Outside Space

t: +33 (0) 549 290135 t: +33 (0) 785 372144


CENTRE BATIMENT Swimming Pool Specialists

Based near Sauzé-Vaussais (79) Full Décennale Insurance siret: 831 373 048 00022


Did you know?

POOLS BY JONATHAN Agent and installer for several rectangular & shaped pools including Seablue & Astral Pools FRIENDLY PROFESSIONAL SERVICE Competitive prices, try me for a quote phone 0549840362 mobile 0622361056

SIRET 47994761600021

Terracing and landscaping service also available ALL WORK GUARANTEED

Pools, Associations

There are Englishspeaking lodges in France. Our lodge in Cognac (16) meets 6 times a year. If you would like to find out more, email: Freemasonry in France

Alcoholics Anonymous

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


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


HOME SWEET (COLOURFUL?) HOME It would be fair to say that most of us have spent much more time this year at home than normal....and for many of us the enforced lockdown gave us the opportunity to give our homes a little TLC. We ourselves did plenty of painting & decorating, especially during the early weeks, and decided to use strong, bold colours - not our normal style but perhaps it was a reaction to the situation we were unconscious decision to lift the spirits! We are slowly seeing some more colour coming back into carpets too....not everything has to be grey or beige! Look at these 2 of our suppliers – Adam Carpets & Westex Carpets – literally hundreds of colours across their ranges, all available anywhere in France. If you want to see samples of these, or any other examples, give us a call and we’ll make a free, no obligation visit. Makes yours a HOME SWEET (COLOURFUL?) HOME this year!


E: 09 63 56 23 10 / 06 42 19 82 12

L’Atelier de Fer Fraser W. Eade


For all your flooring needs

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

Ideal for presents

Jeff’s Metalwork

Domestic / Commercial locks Safe cracking / Lock picking Door & window servicing Car / vehicle lockout service Free estimates No call out fee Non-destructive entry Mobile key cutting service 24/7 Will travel to all areas

ALPHA LOCKSMITHS 0780 50 16 20

Quality & Precision Guaranteed Forgeix, 87200 Saint Junien

05 55 71 41 75 Siret: 512 945 874 00018

Ornate interior / exterior designs Gates constructed / refurbished Industrial furniture General Welding ~ Over 25 year’s experience ~ Tel: 06 17 73 56 87 Mob: 07 77 83 77 10 or 0044 7917 03 02 49


Covering 79, 86, 16 & 17 • Tube & Fitting Scaffold • Free Quotations • Fully Insured

Mick Van Ackeren T: 07 50 63 19 37

HAVE YOUR SHUTTERS SEEN BETTER DAYS? Wooden shutters made, restored and spray painted Metal shutters sandblasted Exterior / Interior walls airless spray-painted Over 30 years’ experience All areas covered Contact Alan Tel 05 45 21 72 01 Mobile 07 80 00 51 65

Siret: 827 978 636 00013

Call Sally on 07 80 00 51 65 Based 16140, can post


Siret 823 260 450 00015

Made to measure, personalised signs on 20mm thick oak Inlaid uppercase lettering 38 - 58 - 80mm tall Edge beading Teak oiled/lacquered for internal or external use

SIRET: 853 256 691 00017


Les Rivières, 19260 TREIGNAC

General Engineering Turning, Milling, Welding


Plant hire, Artisans


Siret: 851 051 334

Flooring, Metal Work, Scaffolding

BECK CHERRY PICKER HIRE Nacelle Telescopique

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


These local businesses are waiting for your call!


Plumbing Bathroom & kitchen installations Building maintenance Fully insured with over 15 years’ experience Covering dept. 16 Siret: 830691044

Contact Kai for all jobs Mob: 06 83 17 19 77 E: FB: @Amoshandyman16




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

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


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

05 49 87 09 63 Siret: 48115588500017

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


SEAN THEOBALD Carpenter All elements of 1st and 2nd fix carpentry undertaken

All aspects of property and garden including renovations, maintenance and repair 25 years’ experience Quality work at realistic prices Based near Civray (86) Email: Tel: 05 49 97 58 17 or 07 22 70 76 93 Sirets Alan: 789 292 232 00012 Russ: 889 622 213 00011

Over 35 years experience specialising in, but not limited to High-End Residential and Heritage Projects T: 07 80 53 54 11 E: Based in 17240

Siret: 848 507 042 00010

Trained-Approved-Recommended by SPANC Can you trust your installation to anyone else? With over 30 years’ experience

Etudes  Conception  Surveys Maintenance  Service  Remedial

Tel: 06 04 14 84 86 southwestfrancefosse

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

Building services, Artisans

South West France Fosse

See all our work on

Building services, Artisans

Imajica Joinery

Graham Medhurst Renovations


Siret 800 969 438 00020

JM Roofing Carpentry ~ Roofing

Clay Tile Roofs All Timberwork Metal Sheet Hangars Full 10 Year Décennale Insurance French & English Speaking Depts covered 16, 17, 24, 79, 86, 87

All Zinc Work Velux Windows Exterior Insulation T. 07 70 37 15 98 Email:


Building services, Artisans

depts 79, 86 & 16

Andy Quick

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

Siret: 499 474 302 00035

Building services, Artisans

E: ~ T: 05 49 27 22 67


Assurance Décennale

Quality Roofing & Building

for you

New roofs ~ Slate and tiling Fibreglass flat roofing ~ Repairs Gutters and facias UPVC or zinc All leadwork ~ Timberwork References available 05 45 63 52 88 / 07 80 08 85 76

Siret 53210969100024 These local businesses are waiting for your call!



UPVC windows, doors & ConserVatories sPeCialists

10 year warranTy on all products installed

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

~ Covering south west franCe ~

Tel: 05 46 70 25 87



A1SL COUVERTURE is a new French based company serving dept. 79, 86, 16, 17, 87, 85, 24 & 33 with well-established roofing experience previously based in the UK. We pride ourselves on top quality workmanship and excellent customer service. We have built a solid reputation over 25 years in the UK and receive most of our work from customer recommendations. WE COVER ALL ASPECTS OF ROOFING WORK FROM SMALL DOMESTIC REPAIRS, ROOF CLEANING AND LARGE NEW ROOF PROJECTS UTILIZING CLAY TILES AND SLATE; SPECIALIST IN LEAD WORK. Registered with the Repertoire des Métiers, siren: 877 636 050

Covering 1h radius around Mareuil 24340

Mobile: + 33.(0). Email:

• block work • plastering • kitchen and bathroom installation • tiling • roof repairs • patios terraces • painting and decorating

Building services

For You and Your French Home

t: +33 (0) 549 290135 t: +33 (0) 785 372144 Based near Sauzé-Vaussais (79) siret: 831 373 048 00022



Do you have a DIY job that you are unable to do or don’t want to do?

ReIiable, Affordable Maintenance & Renovation Service

Depts 16 & 17

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

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

Decorating Ceramic Tiling u Dry Lining u Wooden Floors u Decking and Patios u Bathroom & Kitchens u Stone pointing u & lots more...

Adrian Butterfield

u u

Siret 482 718 640 00022

• pointing/rendering

R J Coulson

website: email:

07 82 19 22 37

Contact John Pearson www.hmjmaintenanceservice. E: M: +33 (0)6 18 42 24 49 T: +33 (0)9 81 37 43 95 Work area 79/85/49, based 79380

Do you need help with:

• • •

Odd jobs Tiling, Painting Plumbing Plastering, Rendering • Kitchen fitting, Carpentry • Sandblasting • General Maintenance Call Adrian on 05 49 69 00 24 or 06 41 55 85 35, or email: for a FREE estimate Over 20 year’s experience Siret: 843 784 638 00010


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

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

Tel: 07 67 04 07 53


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



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

Building services, Artisans

• renovations and refurbishments

05 46 49 78 30 / 06 70 40 66 01

~ Free quotes ~ Decennial insurance

All work is fully guaranteed and we are fully insured. Our services are available 6 days a week, no-obligation free estimate and no call-out fee up to 70km.

• complete range of building services

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

Siret: 789 563 392 00016


Kitchens & Bathrooms from A-Z

Building services, Artisans


IK-ROOFING Renovations / new builds Roof repairs Velux installation Guttering Insurance claims


Affordable UK Designs

Fitted Kitchens, Upvc & Aluminium Double Glazing

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

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

Building services, Artisans


Adrian Amos Specialist Carpenter/Joiner Bespoke Joinery & Renovations Doors - Shutters - Stairs Flooring - Kitchens

Tel 05 17 30 18 35 Mobile 06 33 85 65 66 Javarzay, 79110 Chef-Boutonne

Building services, Artisans

Siren: 478 608 185 00011

ANDY MS Multi Services

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

05 46 49 78 30 / 06 70 40 66 01

website: email:

Barry Baldwin PAINTER & DECORATOR Cabinet Maker & Joiner Furniture Restoration Manufacture of staircases, doors & cupboards 16240 La Fôret de Tesse T: 05 45 30 39 85 Covering depts 16, 79 & 86

Ambroise PRÉE

Plumbing - Heating Chimney sweeping


Full service with certificate (boiler, fuel, wood, gaz) Installation of Wood Burners Registerer RGE QUALIBOIS Fully insured with over 15 years’ experience Tel: 06 58 86 55 91

30km around 86400 (Saint Macoux)

English spoken

Siret: 831 980 487 00019

ADAM BLACKABY Artisan Peintre T: 05 45 98 07 25 M: 06 23 18 30 95

Siret: 508 248 747 000 18

05 45 31 14 58 / 06 63 20 24 93

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

Areas 16, 17, 24, 33, 79, 86 Siret: 804476 034 00017

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

Siret: 441 490 992 00027

Peter Amor Electrician

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

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

05 46 86 07 61 Siret 49376573200015

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

Conformity Inspections

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

Insurance, Help & Advice


✓ Fully equipped workshop ✓ 40 years’ experience ✓ Lots of solutions for your requirements ✓ References available

SIRET: 513 577 809 00017

These local businesses are waiting for your call!

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

living music | 65



The power of music launched a good cause and has taken it from strength to strength


ook up ‘enfoiré’ and you’ll discover a slightly slangy French expression which, if taken seriously, is not exactly complimentary. Why, then, do so many prominent showbiz and sporting personalities now jump at the opportunity to be one of Les Enfoirés? To find out we have to jump back to September 26, 1985, when listeners across France tuned into Europe 1 to hear a live interview with Coluche (the stage persona of Michel Colucci). This time, however, France’s coolest comedian had a serious point to make, namely to attract support for a plan to feed the growing number of homeless and unemployed people on our city streets. His message amounted to: “We can’t go on creating food surpluses and destroying them to maintain market prices. If any food companies would consider sponsoring a free canteen then please get in touch. We’re ready to help – we could start by distributing two or three thousand free hot meals per day in Paris, and then do the same in other cities this winter.” The heartfelt appeal by someone adored as ‘a man of the people’ would be answered with help from student volunteers manning phone lines, and from his showbiz friends. The global success of the Band Aid charity event showed that music could mobilise more young people, so Coluche went to see France’s most successful singer/songwriter. Jean-Jacques Goldman recalls the day Coluche appeared in his dressing room, to say: “We need a song for Les Restos

36 and counting

du Cœur... something that reaches the heart, and will bring in lots of money. You know how to do that.” When asked how soon he needed the theme, he replied: “Next week”. Powerless to refuse, Goldman accepted the challenge and just three days later had come up with “La Chanson des Restos.” It was then recorded with performances from “Les Enfoirés” – Coluche and Goldman, film personalities Nathalie Baye, Catherine Deneuve and Yves Montand, footballer Michel Platini, TV presenter Michel Drucker plus various backing vocalists. Pulling that off at short notice meant combining studio sessions in Paris with overdubs of performances recorded elsewhere on portable tape machines, but it all came together so successfully that when released by CBS the single notched up sales well in excess of half a million copies. In June 1986 Coluche died in a tragic motorcycle accident, but Les Restos du

Cœur lived on, and received a boost in 1989 when Jean-Jacques Goldman, Johnny Hallyday, Eddy Mitchell, Véronique Sanson and Michel Sardou (plus the original line-up) recorded a concert in Paris for a live album release, then took the show to other major cities. Since 1990 La Soirée des Enfoirés has become an annual event, spectacular concerts being recorded for peak-time TV, supported by CD and DVD releases. The combined proceeds, including performing rights fees, are donated to the Restos du Cœur, generating nearly a quarter of the charitable association’s annual revenue, whose 71,000 volunteers in 2,112 centres and branches of Restaurants du Cœur across France distribute around 150 million meals to those in need. Coluche would be proud of what his bunch of ‘enfoirés’ and their successors have achieved with their call to action: ‘On compte sur VOUS’. Find out more:

for more cartoons by stig see


Sell all types of pianos Traditional & modern uprights BABY GRANDS All professionally restored & guaranteed With a lifetime experience in the piano trade, ex-BBC Piano Tuner We are Specialists in piano restorations on all types of pianos Also Tuning and small repairs

16, 17, 79 and west Vienne

Tel: 05 45 21 16 13 E: SIRET: 51031234100017

66 | living Language

Pardon? L

earning any language can be a bit of a sticky wicket. Coming up on my eleventh year in France, I still find the odd word I choke on, and I’m sure I’m not alone in having devised hundreds of ways to avoid using those tricky words. I’m increasingly glad, though, that I don’t have to rely on sites or apps to help me out. Eleven years on, and they’re still as likely to make me seem as much a dunce as an expert. One of the words I get stuck with is the term for rubber. You know, the material. Caoutchouc foxes me more than quincaillerie or écureuil. It’s never surprising, either, that the words you hate seem to be the ones you’re most in need of saying. It’s always going to be the œillets en caoutchouc that catches you out when you really can’t browse the aisles for rubber circlips or eyelets. Not to mention that if you look up the translation, it’s as likely to tell you œillets are carnations as it is to tell you that it’s the rubber thingy you need for your sink. Once you’ve got the right term, then you have to brave the joyful vowel sounds of œillets en caoutchouc that la bouche anglaise was never designed to say. No matter how many times I’ve practised caoutchouc, when it comes to explaining to the vet that the dog has swallowed a rubber toy, then it’s guaranteed to be met with a look of incomprehension in exactly the same way as it is in the ironmongers. Not only that, the dreadful apps are as likely to tell you that ‘rubber’ is une gomme. Heaven help you if you’re having an emergency of an intimate nature and you look up ‘rubber’ hoping for something for the weekend. The chemist will no doubt give you the

same look I got in the vets and the ironmongers when I said the word caoutchouc. If you ask for un caoutchouc in the chemist, don’t be surprised to find you end up with something that is very decidedly not a contraceptive. Likewise, if you take translation apps as a reliable source, I’d advise you not to go into a papeterie and ask for un préservatif. You might cause a few laughs at the very least, rather than getting something from your child’s pre-school shopping list. And if you ask for œillets en gomme or un tuyaupréservatif in the ironmongers, wanting a rubber eyelet or a rubber tube, don’t be surprised if you’re not only met with looks of incomprehension but also a few giggles too. Similarly, if you explain to the vet that your dog has swallowed une gomme, or, heaven help us, un préservatif, don’t be surprised if you’re met with looks of amazement if you really meant they’d swallowed a bit of their rubber ball. It’ll be a long time before they design an app that can work out which the appropriate ‘rubber’ is for the situation that you’re in and make sure you aren’t blushing

Language expert Emma-Jane Lee explains how to avoid some sticky situations when you’re informed of your error. It’s very easy to go terribly wrong when you depend on translation tools, useful though they are. Don’t let me upset you by telling you that: la gomme, an eraser (if you’re American-English) or rubber (if you’re Anglophone-English) is actually more like ‘a gum’; that chewing gum is probably best as du chewing gum (with a little French accent of course) rather than une boule de gomme; that to gum something together is more like coller; that gums in your mouth are les gencives and that a gumshield is un protège-dents. You can see how easy it is to say the wrong thing. Definitely don’t go to the dentist and ask him to look at vos gommes, ask for des gommes in le tabac or the confectioners, or ask for un bouclier de gomme before your rugby match. Once you’ve mastered French to a level where you know your gomme ‘rubber’ from your préservatif ‘rubber’ and your caoutchouc ‘rubber’, your gencives ‘gums’ from your chewing gum or your glue, all you have to do then is master the pronunciation. Please don’t ask me to translate ‘I am rubber, you are glue, words bounce off me and stick on you…’. Oh alright, if you insist… c’est celui qui dit qui y est. If you’re quick, it’s a great tongue twister: say-sell-looee-ki-di-ki-yay. I could easily end up calling myself a condom and calling you something else entirely. Learning languages needn’t be tricky, though, if you stick with it. Emma is a jack-of-all-language-trades, writing English textbooks, translating, marking exam scripts and teaching languages. She lives near La Rochefoucauld with her growing menagerie. See

L i ving

PUBLISHER: Kathryn Dobson FEATURES EDITOR: Roger Moss Advertising: Jon Dobson Art editor: Nadia Van den Rym Production: Justin Silvester Regular contributors: Caro Feely, Susan Hays, Jessica Knipe, magazine Emma-Jane Lee, Nikki Legon, Mike Morris, and Stig Tomas. WITH THANKS TO: John and Gill Bowler, Julia Moss. Photography: Shutterstock or Roger Moss unless indicated. Cover image: Yannick Bestaven on MaÎtre CoQ sponsored boat at the Vendée Globe 2020 © Jean-Marie LIOT Published by: Anglo Media & MArketing, 2 Rue Buffefeu, 86400 Linazay FRANCE. Poitiers: 533 624 128 Printed by: Rotimpres S.A. Dépôt légal: A parution Issue: 77 ISSN: 2270-2709.

Living is available by subscription ( Living est disponible par abonnement. All material may not be reproduced without the written permission of SARL AMM. Toute reproduction même partielle du contenu est interdit sans l’accord écrit du magazine. Please ensure you verify that any company you are dealing with is registered in France and/ or elsewhere around the world. Articles in this issue do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher.


Beaux Villages IMMOBILIER

We are actively looking for new properties! Our enquiries are going through the roof and we have qualified clients looking to buy in all areas of SW France. So if you are thinking of selling, please contact us today.

CHARENTE-MARITIME €175,000 A fabulous opportunity to make your mark on this hamlet Maison de Maître with over an acre. Ref: BVI29468

CHARENTE €99,000 Delightful little one bedroom cottage with studio, barn and pretty gardens. Near Angoûleme. Ref: BVI58056

DORDOGNE €275,000 Perigourdine style 5 bed home in a rural hamlet. Pool, garage and workshop and gated drive. Ref: BVI58987

DORDOGNE €450,000 Beautiful French home with separate gîte, 3.5Ha and 10m pool, between Eymet and Bergerac. Ref: BVI58112


DORDOGNE €299,000 Stylish interiors with original features, 2 ensuite bedrooms, large attic and extensive garden. Ref: BVI58188

Email if you are interested in joining our sales team 0033 (0)8 05 69 23 23 Idimmo, Prestige & Châteaux 42 Rue Grosse Horloge, 17400 St Jean D’Angély. Tel: +33 (0)5 16 51 90 52

E xc l u s i v e

€266,000 FAI Honoraires à la charge du Vendeur

Idiade 7192: Loulay (17330) A well designed one-storey house currently used as Chambre d’Hôte but can easily be a private home. 4 beds all with ensuite. Indoor pool area opens onto garden with a beautiful terrace. 5 mins to shops, 11km to St Jean. DPE en cours

€286,200 FAI Honoraires à la charge du Vendeur

Idiade 7178: Migron (17770). Large bourgeois house with heated pool. Spacious living rooms, possible bedroom on ground floor, 4 beds upstairs; 3 outbuildings plus large garage of 178m2, ideal for a camping car. Mains drainage. In village with shops. DPE vierge

E xc l u s i v e

€900,000 FAI Honoraires à la charge du Vendeur

Idiade 6878: Languedias (22980). A wonderful family home, exclusive hotel or event venue. Excellent location nr Dinan, St Malo and beaches. Rennes airport one hour away. Unobstructed view, 13ha park adjoining property, pond, dovecote, outbuildings. DPE vierge

€275,600 FAI Honoraires à la charge du Vendeur

Idiade 6820: Coivert (17330). 4-bed superb Maison de Maitre. Airy reception rooms with option of ground floor bedroom. Large stone wine storehouse, possible renovation. Second large independent outbuilding. Pretty walled garden with pool. DPE vierge

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