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magazine april | may 2017
FULL of the Joys of
Find the best local companies, all in one place!
All aboard the tourist train Meet the puppet master Wine tasting masterclass & Much More
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28 April/May 2017
Spring is in the AIr - my favourite season - and another winter is almost behind us. It’s a time to look forward to summer, clear out the cobwebs, and watch the bulbs and buds burst open while the grues fly overhead. This year, I’m going to see how many of the plants and animals mentioned in our wildlife feature I can spot and make the time in our busy lives to pause and enjoy our surroundings. I can certainly tick dandelions and daisies off the list! With Brexit looming, we are all feeling uncertain about what the future holds. Our communities are the glue that will hold us together, both in real life and virtual. So, in this edition of Living, we take the opportunity to discover three very different projects, all firmly anchored in their communities, all hoping to make a difference. Firstly, we visit the Charente-Limousine where a team of volunteers has brought a disused train line back to life, creating opportunities locally and sharing the beauty of the countryside with their passengers. We move onto Poitiers where we speak to an artist who, through his giant wicker puppets, hopes to soothe the rhetoric on immigrants, one giant step at a time. And finally, we take a look at the Open Gardens/Jardin Ouverts association, a local project that has taken off nationally and which generates much needed funds for good causes. We hope to inspire you all! À bientôt
Nikki Legon’s Cuisine
News from around the region
A trip to London’s China Town has inspired this selection of recipes by Nikki Legon
What happens now?
Back on Track
Roger Moss catches a ride on the Chemin de Fer Charente-Limousin, Wine Tasting Masterclass lovingly brought back to life by with Caro Feely volunteers
Meet the Poitiers-based artist changing attitudes one giant puppet at a time
Spring fishing with Ron Cousins
Hook, Line and Sinker
Living Property Pages
Take a moment to enjoy the visitors spring brings to the region
A jewel in Périgord Vert, Brantôme has plenty to recommend it as a permanent base
On y va!
It’s time to dig out those walking boots and get rambling as Susan Hays finds out
compiled especially for Living readers
Nature in Springtime
Living Crossword New! The first crossword
How to keep ‘Living’ free for you Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw them in ‘Living’ Now available across 7 départements & adjoining areas: Charente (16), Charente-Maritime (17), Dordogne (24), Deux-Sèvres (79), Vendée (85), Vienne (86), Haute-Vienne (87) 100,000 readers 1,000 stockists
Horticultural Exchange Gardening and good causes come together with Open Gardens/ Jardin Ouverts
The Real Deal Texas Martha brings country rock to Nouvelle Aquitaine
Pardon! Our regular foray into French expressions with Emma Lee
Business Directory The best services & suppliers across the region
64 Places to go around the region
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News from around the region...
Cool Cul ture
Now in its 9th year, the Festival International de Musique de Chambre en Charente will blast off in early May with 5 weekends of musical events, launching the Charente’s major summer festivals. Since its inception in 2009, this unique festival has showcased more than 150 major classical chamber music works interpreted by world-class musicians from over 30 different countries. Variously described as sophisticated, chic and très cool, it attracts music-lovers from across the Charente and beyond, connoisseurs, firsttimers, young and old alike. Each concert is followed by receptions, meet the musicians, markets of local producers and events for children, with additional social events promoted by the ‘Friends of the Festival’. Concerts take place in Chalais, La Rochefoucauld and Barbezieux between 6 May and 4 June. Full details on www.chalaismusique.com or watch the events evolve on www. facebook.com/FIMCEC. Tickets available from Pôle Touristique in Aubeterre; 05 45 98 57 18; email@example.com
© Nikolaj Lund
Following two successful events in 2016, a spring Fêtes des Plantes will be held in the Priory grounds at Marcillac Lanville near Aigre on Sun 2 April from 10am to 6pm. Entry 1€ for adults, children are free. For information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The British Film Festival at Rouillac will take place from 28-30 April. Films to watch out for include ‘I, Daniel Blake’ and ‘Sing Street’. For the full programme, see www.livingmagazine.fr. More than 90 stand holders are expected at Les Florales du Pays Ruffécois to be held 13-14 May at Saint-Amant de Boixe. Tickets cost 3.50€, under-18s free.
Photographic Emotion is a festival of photography which takes place in Angoulême and the extensive surrounding area of the Charente, from 25 March to 30 April. This year the festival hosts three guest photographers, each chosen to illustrate a facet of the theme, History and Short Stories, alongside 21 photographers who have been chosen from a call for applications to take part. Almost half of these have never exhibited before. The association welcomes participants from outside Europe and this year four African photographers are exhibiting. For full details of the exhibitions visit www. emoiphotographique.fr where a map shows locations and opening times.
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News from around the region...
Come cook in France
Following the success of the first edition published in 2016 (see our April 16 edition), the team behind the innovative guide have redesigned it to make it even easier to use by adding an index. The SAMU team based at Centre Hospitalier d’Angoulême has now been trained to use the numbering system contained in the booklet throughout the Nord Charente. This means that anyone with limited or no French can easily share vital information with the emergency team at the end of the telephone ensuring the most effective response is triggered. Valence resident Sharon Millward developed the guide with SAMU doctor Jean-Bruno Martin: “The guide has proven to be so helpful that it is hoped that other areas may decide to use it. We’re hoping that it may eventually be in use across Nouvelle Aquitaine so more lives can be saved.” Download your copy at bit.ly/Samuguide to keep near your phone.
Internationally acclaimed food writer Louise Pickford is launching ‘Come cook in France’, a cooking school based in Aignes et Puyperoux, south Charente, offering five very different courses including both day schools and longer residential courses. Locals are invited to expand their knowledge, increase their skills or just get together and cook food from around the world each month at ‘Cook Club’. ‘Cook & Dine’ is an afternoon class where students prepare and cook an evening meal and dine together al fresco, weather permitting. Children and adults can enjoy time together at ‘Family Cook Club’ - kids cook afternoon tea whilst parents chill by the pool, perfect! For the longer courses, accommodation is available at the beautiful Courtyard at Ste Catherine. Food lovers can choose from a 4-day weekend retreat or the longer 7-day course, both offering cookery classes, market trips, visits to local producers and meals out. Louise’s food philosophy is to source the best quality, local ingredients to use in simple but delicious dishes from both France and around the world with an emphasis on sustainable and ethical produce. To book your place, visit www.comecookinfrance.com; tel: 05 45 65 17 82; email email@example.com.
Anyone for cricket?
Training for the 2017 season is well underway at Mansle Cricket Club but they are still hoping to find some new members. Young or old, male or female, amateur or pro, everyone is welcome. In 2016 MCC had over 20 registered players as well as two umpires, one of whom was the first female umpire in France. Friendly matches start in April with league matches beginning in May. For more details, see the regularly updated website: www.manslecricketclub.fr.
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CHARENTE-MARITIME (17) Marennes Saintes
charenteNews from around the region... maritime
Three Ile Cola
La Rochelle Natural History Museum have unveiled their exhibition Monstrueux which will run throughout 2017. Both repulsive and fascinating, the monsters are literally abnormal, out of the ordinary, beings and it is this concept that the exhibition seeks to explore from the perspective of natural history and anthropology. Come and discover real monsters from the museum’s archives alongside monsters from the imagination. For full details of entry times and charges, see www.museum-larochelle.fr.
After launching local beers, whisky and vodka, and following on from the success of Poitou Cola, Bières de Ré have launched Oréa Cola. Named after the islands Oléron, Ré and Aix, 3,000 bottles have been produced to be sold through local restaurants. If these prove popular, a further 20,000 bottles will be produced for the summer season. The business was started in 1996 by an Austrian brewer who fell in love with the island and it now has six employees who have tested and tasted the cola for over a year to find the perfect recipe.
Spring festivals Remember your sun cream if you head to Châtelaillon-Plage for the kite festival on 15-17 April. Join in or stand and watch, it’s a great family day out.
Don’t forget Mother’s Day! In UK: 26 March In USA: 14 May In France: 28 May
PHOTO: © RedBull Pool
Île de Oléron
Cigogne en Fête will take place at Saint-Jean d’Angle this year on 12-13 May. From 9pm, the streets will come alive with troupes of street artists, art installations and illuminations.
Musiques au Pays de Pierre Loti festival enjoys the patronage of l’Academie Française and will host a series of classical concerts from 20-27 May. Commemorating the centenary of WWI, the Château d’Oléron and Coupe d’Or theatre at Rochefort will welcome artists and orchestras from across the region.
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On the 5 January 1945, bombs rained down on the centre of Royan. The regeneration of the town took place in the 50s, heavily influenced by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niermeyer and his use of reinforced concrete. As part of Royan’s ‘month of architecture’ the town is hosting an exhibition to coincide with the launch of a new book featuring the town’s unique architectural heritage. ‘Royan Nayor’, published by Le Croît Vif, has been intricately illustrated by Philippe Reyt and written by Thomas Grison. The original artworks will be exhibited at the Louis Simon gallery from the 1-29 April including a 3.6m panoramic triptych of the town from la Grande Conche which took 3 days to sketch and 400 hours to complete in the studio.
La Rochelle misses out
Sadly, La Rochelle has not been included in the Red Bull Cliff Diving calendar for 2017. After several years of record-breaking crowds, the organisers have decided to take a break from the popular seaside resort, preferring to add new towns to their calendar. In the eight years the World Championship has been in existence, it has visited La Rochelle six times making the town one of the most featured in the tour and the hope is that the competition will return to the dizzying heights of the Tour Saint-Nicolas in 2018.
With winter behind us, it is time to reconnect with the outside world and Rupert Brown is here to guide us. From his outdoor school near St Jean d’Angèly, he teaches courses in bushcraft, wilderness skills and natural history helping you thrive in the great outdoors. Rupert offers a series of one-day courses and, with his formal teaching qualifications and thirty years’ experience working in the environment, he has taught everyone from school children to special forces. Choose from courses on how to make fires without a match, building shelter from natural materials, finding water and making it safe, knife and saw skills, and natural history. “With our natural surroundings and clement weather, families and groups can have a great day out at any time of the year and learn some important skills at the same time,” explains Rupert. The courses are suitable for everyone over 8-years old (children must be accompanied by an adult) and he can tailor-make days for groups. For more information see www. brownsbushcraft.com or ring 06 67 24 34 71. Courses start at 35€ per person for the day and can be given in French or English.
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Château de Duras
Just a short hop over the Dordogne border takes you to the splendid Château de Duras that sits surveying the Dropt valley as it has for centuries. Originally built as a simple fort in the 12th century, the chateau was transformed into an impregnable fortress in the 14th century by the rich and influential Goth family and owner Bertrand de Goth, namesake of Pope Clement V. Through marriage, the chateau passed into the hands of the Durfort-Duras before the start of the Hundred Years War and then the Wars of Religion. The Duras family rose in standing, from Count to Marquis to Duke and finally a Peer of France, one of only a handful of the nobility to be granted this status. For the past two centuries the chateau has evolved into a grand country mansion with stables, formal gardens and a huge reception area, all open to the public throughout the year except January. See chateau-de-duras.com for details of entry prices and times.
Sadly, like many other events, the 18th Fête de la Fraise et des Fleurs due to be held at Vergt on 21 May has been cancelled by the organisers due to the demands of the state of emergency. Following the terrorist attack at Nice, strict security measures have been put in place to control traffic and allow access of emergency vehicles including helicopters. The costs and management of these measures are simply too great. The département has stepped in to try to find a solution so watch local press to see if this popular fair will be re-instated.
By the time the next edition of Living Magazine is printed, we will have a new President in France. Presidential elections are conducted in two stages. The first round takes place on Sunday 23 April and is open to any candidate who has the necessary funding and meets the agreed requirements including the written support of 500 elected representatives. Assuming that no single candidate will receive a clear majority (50 per cent plus one vote), a second round will take place on Sunday 7 May. This is a straight head-to-head between the top two from the first round. Once the new President has been sworn in, there will be two rounds of legislative elections to choose the Deputies who will sit in the Assemblée Nationale. These will take place on 11 and 18 June.
One of the most visited sites in Dordogne, Les Jardins Suspendus de Marqueyssac, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Set high above the Dordogne valley, 9km from Sarlat, the 22 hectares of gardens date back to 1692 while the chateau itself was built in the 19th century. 6km of pathways passing the 150,000 hand-pruned boxwoods, two waterfalls and two open-air theatres make this a truly unique attraction and one that has benefited from years of investment by owner Kléber Rossillon, grandson of the celebrated cartoonist Marius Rossillon who created Bibendum, the Michelin Man. To celebrate the anniversary, a 100m-long aerial adventure parcours, two new tree cabins and the skeleton of an allosaurus who roamed the earth 150 million years ago, have been unveiled. Listed as a Jardin Remarquable, Marqueyssac received over 200,000 visitors last year. One of the annual highlights is the Grand Easter Egg Hunt when some 7,000 eggs are hidden. For full details see www.marqueyssac.com
News from around the region...
Keep a calendar handy for April and May, there are lots of dates to note! For all in Zone A schools (includes Nouvelle Aquitaine):
• Spring holiday: starts on Sat 15 April – return to school Tue 2 May
• Ascension weekend: starts on Thu 25 May – return to school Mon 29 May Bank holidays or jours fériés during April/May:
• Easter Monday: Mon 17 April
• Fête du Travail: Mon 1 May • 8 May 1945: Mon 8 May • Ascension: Thu 25 May
The eleventh Journées Européennes des Métiers d’Art takes place over the weekend of 30 March - 2 April and is the perfect opportunity to discover talents near you as artists invite you into their studios and exhibit their works. Sylvie Chevillard, sculptor and painter, has paired with Catherine Lambert, photographer, to exhibit at her studio, the Atelier de la Margelle in Coulaures where their exhibition will run through until Sunday 9 April. Working in clay, Sylvie draws inspiration for her scultures from the energy of water, earth and fire while her paintings are fluid and supple. Catherine moved to the Dordogne after a career as artistic director for an agency in Paris. She approaches photographing ‘son Périgord’ in the same manner that she employed to take portraits of artists and writers for publication. “I face my subject, person or landscape, hold my breath and wait for the perfect light. One that slowly rises from inside of every being and the universe, dissipates the mists and touches my heart.” Entry to the exhibition is free at Atelier de la Margelle, Lassaugour, 24420 Coulaures. Tel: 06 18 23 83 11; sculpterre.com.
Hands-on cookery workshops with Reza MaHaMMad Join celebrity chef Reza Mahammad for a hands on cookery workshop at his home in the Charente. Reza teaches a three-course Indian, Middle eastern or Thai menu, conveying his passion and infectious enthusiasm for food and entertaining. Courses limited to 8. Participants create a delicious, authentic meal with Reza’s expert guidance. Lunch is enjoyed by all, served with wine and hosted by Reza.
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DEUX SEVRE (79) NIORT
News from around the region...
Festival de Printemps
Aficionados of American automobiles should head to Niort on 1-2 April for two days of events organised by the club US Bielles. Entry is 2.50€ and full details are on www.usbielles.fr The cross-cultural association Meridien Green of St Coutant (79) are holding their annual exhibition of art and crafts together with workshops for children and their parents on 1 May alongside a Vide Grenier. For further information on these and their other events such as their weekly free language classes visit www.meridiengreen.eu. Hope Book Sale: 12-14 May at Clussais-la-Pommeraie (79) with profits going to local animal charities. Doors are open 10am4pm and books cost 1€ each. Refreshments are available.
Deux-sèvres & Vendée
It takes courage to launch a new festival in the current economic climate, even more so one that celebrates Baroque music. Vendée based Les Arts Florissants directed by William Christie are pairing with the Conseil Départemental and hoping to buck the trend with their new Spring Festival to be held from the 28-30 April at Thiré. Each year, the festival will celebrate one composer’s works written for the Church, from the most intimate music to the most majestic (oratorios and masses) within the extraordinary setting of the local Vendéan churches. To launch the festival, one of the Ensemble’s flagship composers and a key figure in 17th century music takes centre stage: Marc-Antoine Charpentier. See www.arts-florissants.com for full details and to purchase tickets.
Fils en Folie Salon
Organised by the Association Détente et Création, a group of only eight women of which the president Annette Costin is the only English speaker, this event is now in its fifth year. Based in Sauzé-Vaussais (79), the club specialises in cross-stitch, traditional embroidery, Hardinger, decorative card work and is expanding into the arts of crochet and knitting. This year, the fair will be held on 1-2 April at the Gymnasium. Doors open from 10am-6pm and entry is free. If you would like to join the club, they meet on Thursdays between 2-5pm, just call Annette on 05 49 29 92 04 or email email@example.com for more information.
All Saints Vendée will be holding the following: 9 April: Palm Sunday Holy Communion at 11am at both Puy de Serre and La Chapelle Palluau. 14 April: Good Friday, a service of meditation at La Chapelle Palluau at 11am and Puy de Serre at 3pm. 16 April: Easter Day Holy Communion at both La Chapele Achard and Puy de Serre at 11am.
the choice is yours.
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DEUX SEVRE (79) NIORT
News from around the region...
Deux-sèvres & Vendée
Le Grand Départ 2018
La Nuit des Musées
Now in its thirteenth year, the European Night of Museums has steadily grown in popularity and is now celebrated in over thirty countries. However, before the support of UNESCO enabled the event to spread across Europe, it was already a wellestablished tradition in France where museums have been taking part since 1999. Open free to the public, the museums arrange special events for all ages sometimes including an allnight stay among the exhibits. In Niort, both the Musée de Donjon and the Musée Bernard d’Agesci are participating in 2017 with events beginning at 7pm on Saturday 20 May and lasting until midnight. For museums elsewhere in the region, keep your eyes open for details nearer the time.
The tiny island of Noirmoutier (85) is celebrating after the announcement that they will be hosting Le Grand Départ of the 2018 Tour de France. On the 30 June 2018, the cyclists will launch the tour by crossing the Passage du Gois that links the island to the mainland. From there, the peloton will ride south along the Atlantic coast before turning inland to finish at Fontenay-le-Comte. The next day, in another stage that will appeal to sprinters, the riders will race from Mouilleron-Saint-Germain to La Roche-sur-Yon passing by Pouzauges, Les Herbiers, Montaigu and Aizenay. This will be the ninth time that the Pays de Loire have welcomed the Grand Départ of which five have set out from the Vendée and will be a significant boost for accommodation providers in the area.
With so many wonderful cycle routes to explore and the arrival of spring, it’s time to dust down your bicycle and search for your helmet. But if you need a bit of extra puff when out and about, the French government has launched an initiative to help with purchases of electric bicycles as promised by the Environment Minister Ségolène Royal. For each electric bicycle bought before the 31 January 2018, the government will pay up to 20% or a maximum of 200€ of the purchase price.
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News from around the region... POITIERS
vienne & News from around the region... haute-vienne
Pretty as a Picture
The Civray Photographic Club (86) now meets each 1st and 3rd Monday of the month at Civray Mairie between 11am and 1pm. Regular outings to new locations are organised so the photos can be shared and outcomes discussed. New members of all nationalities are welcome. To join simply call Lesley on 05 45 85 56 92 or David on 05 49 45 11 96 who can give you details of where to meet.
Brasserie de Bel-Air
Doors open to the MagnacLaval (87) Fête des Plantes between 10am and 6pm on 9 April. Entry is free and more than 40 stands and 2,000 visitors are expected.
Over the weekend of the 6-7 May, opera houses in the region will be opening their doors to the public under the auspices of the nationwide programme ‘Tous à l’Opéra’. For details of the programme at Limoges (87), see their website nearer the time: www.operalimoges.fr 17-29 May – the Coquelicontes literary festival takes place across the Limousin. Details of events near you will be published locally.
Locally brewed beers are proving to be as popular here in France as elsewhere in the world. Micro-brewery ‘Brasserie de Bel-Air’, situated between Poitiers and Limoges at Saint-Bonnet-de-Bellac (87), is no newcomer having launched their first beers back in 2008. They now produce 900,000 litres a year, supplying local bars, restaurants and shops. Under their ‘Bergère’ brand, they brew eight different types of which the newest editions are a stout and an India Pale Ale or IPA. The stout is a little stronger than Guinness while the IPA is a balance of three different hops. All their ingredients are carefully selected to ensure the tastiest final product which is neither filtered or pasteurised to maximise the flavour. The beers are available at their factory shop, by mail order or there is a full list of stockists on their website at www.biere-la-bergere. fr and, if you would like to stock their selection, they would be delighted to hear from you. Tel: 05 55 68 26 93; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Le PrintemPs musicaL de couhé Sunday 2 April, 4pm, at l’Espace Média Free entry courtesy of the Municipalité
chasseneuiL du Poitou
BEETHOVEN : ouverture de Coriolan
PARRY : symphonie n°3 l’Anglaise
par l’ENSEMBLE JOSQUIN des PRÉS de POITIERS
avec le concours Piano :dea: Lain ViLLard sousclaonductor direction de :: thierry VaLLet le Printemps musical de COUHÉ
Monday 3 April, 8.30pm, at la Quintaine Entry: 15€ (reduced: 10€), free for under-18s Information: tel. 06 81 70 71 97
Thursday 6 April, 8.30pm, at the Théâtre de Blossac Info & reservations: les 3T - tel. 05 49 85 46 54, 2-6pm Tues-Fri
PaLais de Justice de Poitiers Saturday 8 April, 8.30pm
Entry: 17€ (reduced: 12€), free for under-18s Reservations: 6, 7, 8 April, 11am-6pm at 10, rue Descartes - 05 49 88 23 23
vienne & News from around the region... haute-vienne
HauteVienne en scenes
The Haute-Vienne département are gathering their cultural events at the Espace Noriac and Chapelle de la Visitation under one umbrella ‘Haute-Vienne en Scenes’ with details on one website making it much easier to find out what events are available (haute-vienneenscenes.fr). This year’s programme runs to June covering music, theatre, cinema, art, dance and literary events and there are plenty of performances that are suitable for non French speakers. Between 1-16 April ‘La Culture au Grand Jour’ features young artists performing in rural locations across the whole of the Haute-Vienne. These events are free as the project aims to make culture accessible for all while supporting emerging talent. Details of the festival programme will be available locally.
The opening of the Hotel and Cookery school by Joel Robuchon at Montmorillon has run into unforeseen issues and been delayed by a year until September 2019. The latest challenges surround the Saint-Laurent Chapel which is to be transformed into a restaurant. While the building has lost its religious classification after a long period of standing empty, the frescoes on the walls and ceiling (photo above) are classified and in a poor state requiring restoration. In addition, the installation of heating and other modern requirements in the chapel needs to be taken into account. Finally, the transfer of the grave of the Abbé de Moussac to the nearby Notre-Dame church is proving to be more complex than anticipated. However, the commitment to open the institute is still strong and the planning application is now with the Montmorillon town council who are due to announce their decision in the middle of the year. The overall project is expected to cost 65 million euros and will be a significant boost to economy of the historic town.
Co-work at Cobalt Poitiers (86) has a new space dedicated to digital start-ups as well as co-working. Offices and meeting rooms can be rented or you can book a co-working space as a resident or nomad. If you just need somewhere to spend an hour working, drop into the café. Every Tuesday is an open day when you can try the facilities out for free and there are regular events and networking sessions planned. To find out more visit www.cobaltpoitiers.fr; 5 rue Victor Hugo, 86000 Poitiers.
This year’s fair will be held from 20-28 May and will, for the first time, be completely free – entry, parking, events, exhibitions and concerts. Sculptor Véronique Achard, known as Wabé and famous for her colourful papier mâché creations (right), will be exhibiting in the Limousin for the first time. Exhibitors will be arriving from across the globe with every continent being represented in the different exhibition halls including gastronomy, high-tech and home. The Polynesian rhythms of the Aloha Tahiti Show will entertain the audience for the first three days or you can choose from one of the other thirty concerts planned over the course of the week. Last year 800,000 visitors flocked to the Foire making it one of the département’s top attractions.
La Brocante La Forge Open Thur-Sat 10am-6pm Sunday 2pm-6pm Siret: 519 118 55 00013
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crédit photo : Fotolia
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More information/booking on www.flybe.com
16 | living places to visit
Passing l’Eglise Saint-Barthélémy, Confolens
Back on track The countryside of the Charente-Limousine is beautiful, and now you can sit back and enjoy it on a railway journey from a bygone age.
WORDS & PHOTOS: Roger Moss
or most of us taking the train in France today means streaking, straight as an arrow through a succession of blurred landscapes, while our TGV eats up the kilometres separating us from our destination. The impeccable efficiency of high-speed, long-distance rail travel has transformed both our lives and whole regional economies, but somehow it hardly feels like what you’d call a soulful experience. If you long for a taste of those far-off days when everything seemed to go at an altogether slower pace, and trains rattled sedately along rural branch lines like a scene from a nostalgic John Betjeman documentary, you’re not alone – and we have some good news for you. While services on many of the old routes ceased years ago after
losing travellers to the roads, here and there sections of some long-lost lines have been reopened and have become increasingly popular tourist attractions. One example with enough retro charm to satisfy the most jaded traveller is the Chemin de Fer Charente-Limousine, which operates between the historic riverside town of Confolens and the famous terracotta tile centre of Roumazières. Once part of a much longer branch line which meandered all the way from Saint Saviol (86) to Limoges (87), the last passenger services between Confolens and Roumazières were axed in 1940. The line itself survived, though, until 1985, when it also lost its freight traffic (mainly quarried stone). The track then lay abandoned, but remained in the thoughts of a group of railway enthusiasts, who in 1992
The lost rail routes To appreciate the scale of the railways’ influence on rural development in France we have to go back to the time when branch lines were conceived. Then the primary aim was to connect as many towns and villages as possible, both to each other and to the mainline network. This explains the wayward traces of the old lines on early maps, and why we come across impressive viaducts and other infrastructure in what now look like the most unlikely places. At a time when road transport was still horse-drawn, the railway companies set out to stimulate rural economies and thereby generate traffic and revenue. Despite sometimes crippling initial construction costs, the railways were for the most part remarkable success stories, their fortunes only fading when the road network and motor transport finally caught up.
A friendly chat prior to departure
living places to visit | 17
Autorail and vĂŠlorail units at the Gare de Confolens
18 | living places to visit
Association President Denis Quentier lending a hand at Manot’s level crossing
“It’s not every day that you get to ride at a leisurely pace through la France profonde in a 1950s ‘autorail’...” formed ‘l’Association Chemin de Fer Charente-Limousine’, with the dream of one day bringing trains back to the line. First, however, dedicated teams of volunteers would devote their spare time (for several years, as it turned out) to taking on the challenge of reclaiming some 17 kilometres of the route from nature’s clutches. As the clearance work advanced the trackbed was revealed, along with the less-than-encouraging realisation that around a quarter of the 20,000 or so timber sleepers had deteriorated and would need replacing. Once that task was completed, and essential restoration work carried out on the Gare de Confolens and its counterpart in Roumazières, the line was finally ready to welcome its first passenger traffic for many years. While France was celebrating Bastille Day 1999, the association was proudly inaugurating the ‘vélorail’ service between Confolens and the village of Manot. As the name suggests, the traffic in question involved not trains, but thirty purpose-built lightweight trucks which visitors could pedal their way sedately through a particularly idyllic corner of the Charente-
The X2800 ‘ Bleues d’Auvergne’ Limousine countryside, with few man-made distractions along the way. Those who tried it loved it. Word soon spread, numbers started to grow and the service now attracts around 15,000 visitors annually, with a choice of starting points at Confolens and Roumazières. For everyone involved it was a significant step towards realising the longstanding dream of bringing passenger trains to the line. What’s more, as vélorail became a major visitor attraction the association was delighted to find itself welcoming increasing numbers of volunteer members keen to share the workload.
Not one, but two – both of which started out with red-and-cream liveries, before a mid-70s shift to blue-grey-and-white which, coupled with their extensive use around the rugged Massif Central, inspired the nickname (think cheese...). Produced, like the Picasso, by Renault, they were similarly dependable and speedy (up to 120km/h). They’re also big – almost 28m long, with a weight of 57 tonnes – and powerful enough to haul several carriages. The two ‘Bleues d’Auvergne’ arrived at the Chemin de Fer Charente-Limousine in 2009, with X2903 now fully restored and in service, while X2883 is currently still in the workshop.
PHOTO Bottom left from: cf-charentelimousine.fr
The vélorail is much loved by families
The Picasso and Bleue d’Auvergne at the Gare d’Ansac sur Vienne
Approaching Gare de Manot
20 | living places to visit Leaving Manot for Roumazières
About the rolling stock The X3800 ‘Picasso’
The Chemin de Fer CharenteLimousine is sustained by the loyal support of its members and volunteers. Becoming a member will not only help support projects, but you’ll also be invited to association events including general assemblies, inaugurations, exceptional trips, etc. You’ll also receive ‘La Petite Vitesse’, the CFCL’s regular newsletter. Better still, consider joining the amiable groups of volunteers who work behind the scenes throughout the year with support from the association’s two employees. Their tasks include mechanical repairs, maintenance and restoration of rolling stock, level crossings, etc., maintaining railway tracks and green areas, painting, plumbing... in fact just about any skill or ability will be warmly welcomed. www.cf-charentelimousine.fr
It also managed to attract much-needed financial aid from various sources (see factfile panel) to help restore existing buildings and add new ones, including renovation and maintenance facilities for an intriguing selection of period rolling stock. Preparing large, near-antique railway items like these to bring them back into reliable service can be a painstaking affair, but on 18th April 2015 (while Rochefort’s replica frigate Hermione was starting her inaugural transatlantic voyage, in fact) the line hosted its first passenger service. Not surprisingly, the train was packed with enthusiasts, volunteers and local dignitaries, who could barely believe
that it had finally happened. Referred to with no little irony as ‘l’Express de Charente Limousine’, the association now operates a handful of scheduled passenger services each year, plus themed specials and private runs – all of them at a maximum speed of 30km/h. Not that anyone is likely to complain, since for once getting there is hardly the point; what matters is the journey itself. After all, it’s not every day that you get to ride at a leisurely pace through la France profonde in a 1950s ‘autorail’, complete with leathertrimmed seats and period-correct red-and-cream (or blue-and-white) livery. Add the characteristic ‘tack-tack’ soundtrack which disappeared with
PHOTO in inset circle: cf-charentelimousine.fr
Find out more, get involved...
Passenger services on the line use 1950/60s diesel-powered railcars. Most immediately striking, thanks to its red-and-cream livery, is an ex-SNCF X3800 class ‘autorail’, whose curious elevated off-centre control cabin evoked the distorted faces painted by Pablo Picasso and soon prompted the class to be nicknamed ‘Picassos’. Just under 20m long and weighing 31.5 tonnes, their relatively basic mechanical specification made them very reliable in service, yet they had also a fair turn of speed (SNCF ran them at up to 110km/h). They can also comfortably seat 62 passengers. The line’s Picasso is privately owned and has certainly been around: assigned to Nice, Chalon, Clermont-Ferrand, Lyon-Vaise and Nevers, where in 1985 railcar X3959 was retired after 29 years’ service.
living places to visit | 21
The supporting cast In addition to the autorails, the railway also has two period passenger carriages, various wagons, three shunting locomotives plus three DU65 ‘draisines’ – small railcars designed to transport personnel and materials. Completing the line-up is an intriguing ‘rail-route’ – a US Dodge light truck built around 1959 with modifications to enable it to run on standard-gauge rails, rather than roads. It’s currently awaiting restoration.
the advent of continuous welded track and you’re reliving the back-in-time experience whose passing you’ve been lamenting. Welcome to the past. The line’s future is looking rosy, too. The association is steadily improving landscaping and passenger facilities, plans to add a children’s railway at Manot and will be upgrading signalling. Longer term, the route could be extended by around 5km northwards by reopening the old line past Saint-Germain-de-Confolens to the village of Lessac. After that, who knows? Like the association’s founders,
Other preserved train lines
• If the Charente Limousine isn’t
within easy reach, you’ll find other preserved lines elsewhere in the southwest. The links below will help you locate those closest to you. Le Chemin de Fer du Haut-Quercy is based at Martel (46), SW of Brive-la-Gaillarde, and operates both diesel and steam-hauled services. trainduhautquercy.info Also in the Lot département, the Association du Train Quercyrail currently maintains a section of track between Cajarc–St-Cirq Lapopie as part of a longstanding project to bring passenger trains back to this scenic line. www.quercyrail.fr In Limousin, the Association de l’Autorail Creusois operates passenger services between Gueret and Felletin, via Aubusson, using a 1959 X2800 railcar. www. autorail-creusois.fr Meanwhile, in the Vendée you’ll find the Chemin de Fer de la Vendée, based at Mortagnesur-Sèvre. Services are both steam and diesel-hauled (there’s a Picasso autorail, too). www.vendee-vapeur.fr
we wouldn’t rule out the possibility of one day bringing steam-hauled trains back to the Chemin de Fer Charente-Limousine. Now that would be something to see. www.cf-charentelimousine.fr
CHALAIS 7, 14, 21, 28 MAI, 3 JUIN LA ROCHEFOUCAULD 20 MAI BARBEZIEUX 26 MAI
TRIO À CORDES SHAW I DIRECTION ARTISTIQUE NATHALIE SHAW, VIOLON I JULIAN SHAW, ALTO I JACOB SHAW, VIOLONCELLE WWW.CHALAISMUSIQUE.COM 05 45 98 57 18
22 | living arts & culture
On the top floor of a building in the heart of Poitiers, a poet dreams of a seven-metre-tall wicker statue that will walk high above the wide-eyed people who helped build it. That poet is Benoît Mousserion, a man who went from being a farmer’s son to becoming the artist behind gigantic puppets that travel across the world.
Jessica Knipe meets a Poitiersbased artist changing attitudes one giant puppet at a time…
Made from wicker and wire, the giants that Benoît imagines are built by the Compagnie l’Homme Debout, a team of woodworkers, mechanics experts, musicians and more that he founded in 2011. But each giant is also a collaboration with the inhabitants of the towns that host the puppets’ processions. Anyone is welcome to
PHOTO LEFT: © Jean-Pierre Estournet; PHOTO middle: © Ari Karttunen; PHOTO RIGHT: © Sylvie Beeko
One giant step for l’Homme Debout, crossing Helsinki’s Senate Square during Finland’s Night of the Arts in 2014
living arts & culture | 23
At the 2016 festival Le Temps Bourg, in Brest, giant Via shared the magical memories in his suitcase
come and pitch in, and those who do – in their thousands – instantly feel a real attachment to the project as it starts to become a part of their community. Benoît wasn’t always an
artist. “My mother was very involved in the life of the community,” he says. She encouraged her son to get stuck in, and at the tender age of 13 he was already heading up the administrative council of an association, petitioning to save the local recreation centre. “The mayor of Poitiers once told me that if a kid can’t answer the question of what his place in society is, he is lost. If you are a part of the community, you have your place in it. You respect your community, and in return it respects you.” The seeds for his collaborative workshops were sown. After a few years helping organise festivals and shows in Poitiers, Benoît picked up some manual skills of his own. The giants were but a twinkle in his eye when he was asked to make tiny clay people for a band’s stop-motion film, but he
Au dernier étage d’un immeuble au cœur de Poitiers, un poète rêve à la statue haute de sept mètres qui marchera parmi les regards émerveillés des personnes qui l’ont construite. Ce poète, c’est Benoît Mousserion, fils d’agriculteur devenu créateur de marionnettes gigantesques qui parcourent le monde entier. Faites d’osier, les géants de l’imaginaire de Benoît sont construits par la Compagnie l’Homme Debout, l’équipe de menuisiers, experts en mécanique, musiciens et bien d’autres qu’il a fondé en 2011. Mais chaque géant est aussi une collaboration avec les habitants des villes qui participent à sa déambulation : tous sont invités à mettre la main à la pâte, et ceux qui viennent (parfois par milliers) développent un attachement particulier au projet au fur et à mesure qu’il s’intègre à leur communauté. Benoît n’a pas toujours été un artiste. « Ma mère s’est beaucoup impliquée dans le milieu associatif, » il explique. Elle encouragea son fils à la suivre, et à l’âge de 13 ans il faisait déjà parti du conseil d’administration d’une association, rédigeant des pétitions
24 | living arts & culture Liédo kneels down on Holland’s Deventer festival, in 2014
“ It’s bigger than us, It’s a lesson in humanity”
immediately felt the connection to the world of puppetry. “I had been in plays before,” says Benoît, “but it wasn’t my thing. This little object that told the story in my place, however, this interface... It was perfect.” From these small beginnings, Benoît learned how to observe the intricacies of human movement. Soon he was applying his knowledge on a much larger scale, making giant statues for the Carnaval de Poitiers. Finally, he decided to take the leap and found his own Compagnie – l’Homme Debout. Success came quickly, with Benoît creating two giants for celebrity choreographer Kamel Ouali’s hit musical, Cleopatra. “It was the big time,” he grins. “I learned a lot and met some fascinating people, but I wanted to build my own show in the spirit of a
carnival, bringing people together.” The name l’Homme Debout, or “standing man”, is a testament to the idea Benoît wants to communicate with his giants. “It’s about standing up straight in the face of adversity,” Benoît explains. “It’s an ideal. A man (or woman) in good health, standing up to his leaders when he doesn’t agree, always walking forward.” This idea of facing the future head on has been there from the very first show, Vénus, about a migrant returning home after 30 years. “It’s the story of two journeys,” explains Benoît. “You need as much energy to return as you do to leave.” It’s a topic which has lost none of its relevance today. In fact, l’Homme Debout’s next show will centre on the same issues of migration and displacement.
PHOTO BOTTOM LEFT: © Georges Fontaine
Liédo in Saint Palais sur Mer, in 2016
Coming together at the Mingalabar festival in Rangoon, Burma, in 2016
PHOTO BOTTOM LEFT: © Ari Karttunen
le monde des marionnettes est évidente. « J’ai fait du théâtre très jeune, » dit-il, « mais ce n’était pas mon endroit. Par contre ce petit objet qui raconte à ma place, cet interface... C’était parfait. » De ce début, Benoît a appris à décomposer le mouvement du corps humain. Rapidement il applique ses observations à des projets de bien plus grande envergure, fabriquant des statues géantes qui défilent au Carnaval de Poitiers. Enfin, il décida de se lancer dans la création de sa propre compagnie - l’Homme Debout. Le succès arriva
Kaïpu visiting Helsinki, July 2014
pour sauver le centre de loisirs. « Le maire de Poitiers m’a dit un jour que si un môme n’est pas capable de répondre à la question ‘où est ma place ?’, il est perdu. Si tu fais partie de ta communauté, tu trouves ta place. Tu respectes ta communauté, et du coup, elle te respecte aussi. » Ainsi, les graines des ateliers collaboratifs avaient déjà été semées.
living arts & culture | 25
Quelques années passées à participer à l’organisation de festivals et de spectacles ont donné l’opportunité à Benoît de bricoler un peu de luimême. Les géants n’étaient encore qu’une étincelle au fond de ses yeux, mais quand un groupe de musique lui demande de construire des petits bonhommes d’argile pour un film d’animation, l’émotion que lui procure
26 | living arts & culture
The puppets come alive at night, here at Sites en Scène in the Territoire Aunis Atlantique in 2015
Liédo represents modern Poitiers in a fresco celebrating the town’s 2,000-year history
Planned for early 2018, the giant is in gestation, but Benoît already knows that it will be a child. “The idea came as I watched the treatment of the children during the dismantling of the Jungle, in Calais,” recalls Benoît. “It’s not just because I am a parent. Children bring you closer to your humanity: they didn’t want any of this, they’re not here to steal your wife or your job, they have no desire to hurt anyone. Through a child, you can talk about migration with humanity, and see beyond the politics. I want people to cry when they see this young child running.” Benoît hopes to use the show to introduce people who are afraid of immigration to some actual immigrants. “If we can get them in the same room together, maybe we can elevate the debate,” says Benoît. “If it’s out in the open, it will be easier to deal with. I don’t believe that people wake up in the morning wanting to attack their neighbours. People struggle, people get angry, but the majority of people are good. If you go from there, you can bring people together.” “It’s bigger than us,” says Benoît, with that poet’s look in his eye again. It’s a lesson in humanity, which l’Homme Debout’s new giant will soon carry into the world.”
See l’Homme Debout in 2017: 29 April: Carnaval d’Aix en Provence (13) 5 August: Valberg (06); 2 September: Coup de Chauffe in Cognac (16) and the next workshop is 28 August-17 September in Val d’Alzette (57) www:cie-lhommedebout.fr
vite, et Benoît créa bientôt deux géants pour Cléopâtre, la comédie musicale du célèbre chorégraphe Kamel Ouali. « C’était le show business, » dit-il, un sourire en coin. « J’ai appris énormément, j’ai rencontré des personnes très pointues, mais je voulais monter un spectacle dans l’esprit du carnaval, qui réunit les gens. » Le nom l’Homme Debout est un testament aux idées que Benoît tente de communiquer à travers ses géants : « C’est l’idée de se tenir droit même dans l’adversité, » il explique. « C’est un idéal : l’Homme, avec un grand H, en bonne santé, qui se tient debout devant son dirigeant pour lui dire qu’il n’est pas d’accord, et qui va toujours de l’avant. » Cette idée d’affronter l’avenir de face existe depuis le premier spectacle, Vénus, à propos d’un migrant qui retourne dans son pays après 30 années d’absence. « C’est l’histoire de deux parcours, » explique Benoît. « Il faut sûrement autant d’énergie pour retourner au pays que d’en partir. » C’est un sujet qui ne perd pas de son actualité. D’ailleurs, le prochain spectacle se penchera sur ces mêmes sujets : la migration et le déplacement. Planifié pour le printemps 2018, le géant est encore en gestation, mais Benoît sait déjà qu’il sera un enfant. « L’idée m’est venue au moment où ils ont démantelé Calais, » il raconte. « Ce n’est pas seulement parce que je suis moi-même parent ; les enfants nous rapprochent de notre propre humanité. Ils n’ont pas voulu tout ça, personne ne peut imaginer qu’ils sont là pour te piquer ta femme ou ton boulot, ils n’ont aucune volonté de nuire. À
travers un enfant on peut parler de la migration de manière humaine, et ne pas s’attacher aux problèmes politiques. Je veux que les gens chialent devant ce gamin qui court. » Benoît espère utiliser le spectacle comme une plateforme pour présenter des immigrés à ceux qui en ont peur. « En étant dans la même pièce, le débat pourra s’élever, » dit-il. « Commençons par dire la peur, et il sera plus facile d’y répondre. Je ne crois pas que les gens se lèvent le matin voulant attaquer leur voisin. Ils galèrent, sont en colère, mais majoritairement les individus ont un bon fond. Si tu pars de ce principe-là, tu arrives à les réunir. » « Ça nous dépasse, » dit Benoît, avec son air de poète. C’est aussi une leçon d’humanité, qui verra bientôt le jour grâce au nouveau géant de l’Homme Debout. Rangoon looks up in awe at the running giant during the Mingalabar festival in 2016
living promotion | 27
The large, heated terrace welcomes customers
A Taste for Success
For over 30 years Angoulême’s chic Le Terminus Restaurant has been a preferred meeting place for lovers of fine food. We meet Jean-Christophe Roger and his staff... LIVING MAGAZINE: Bonjour JeanChristophe. Would you care to share with us the secret of your remarkable success story at Le Terminus? Jean-Christophe Roger: There’s really no secret involved. Our guests know that the restaurant Le Terminus is, and will remain, committed to the ‘fait maison’ concept – all our dishes are prepared on the spot by professionals, using fresh, quality products of known provenance. In recognition of this commitment, and the quality of hospitality which our whole team is proud to offer, le Collège Culinaire de France has recently awarded us its prestigious Appellation Restaurant de Qualité.
printed and dated, as we respond to the availability of fresh market produce.
LIVING MAGAZINE: What seasonal dishes can we expect to discover at Le Terminus? JCR: As you know, seasonality is of vital importance to us when we plan all our menus here at Le Terminus. For example, in the days and weeks to come our menus and our à la carte dishes will include: scorsonères (Spanish salsify); dips de merlu (hake) façon ‘fish and chips’ et sauce tartare; marinade de haddock au yuzu (Japanese citrus) et huile d’olive bio; escargots à la charentaise; tripes aux pieds de veau au vin de Provence, and of course a classic assiette de fruits de mer. By only using the finest ingredients when they are in season, we can be sure that their flavours are at the very peak of perfection. You will notice that at Le Terminus each day’s menu is
LIVING MAGAZINE: Your diners also seem to appreciate the ambiance of the setting. JCR: Fine, lovingly-prepared food, crisp white linen and service to the plate create a memorable dining experience, but we’re not living in the past. We combine these touches with stylish contemporary decor for our dining areas, and on fine days our guests can enjoy a covered and heated terrace.
LIVING MAGAZINE: Are there any other treats you anticipate at this time of year? JCR: Summer is a bountiful time. Right now we are entering the high season for maigres, noble fish which are related to sea bass. Their firm but tender flesh has a delicious, subtle flavour, and they are already being landed at the port of La Cotinière on the île d’Oléron. Then during the fishing season on the Garonne river we will also be serving lamprey, which we prepare à la bordelaise with leeks, respecting the regional tradition.
LIVING MAGAZINE: We spoke previously of the changes around the nearby LGV station; how has this affected Le Terminus? JCR: Our location, before the re-landscaping work, was already very convenient – now, thanks to the transformation, we also enjoy an attractive outlook
across a completely renovated square. Beyond it lies the Gare d’Angoulême, which makes us very easy to get to, even for those who decide to leave their car and travel by train. LIVING MAGAZINE: Do you find that most of your English-speaking guests come to Le Terminus to celebrate a special occasion? JCR: Not at all! We take great pride in ensuring that all our guests enjoy the kind of dining experience which is itself a special occasion, whether they come for relaxed lunch or a memorable evening among friends. Our prices reflect this commitment to accessibility – we offer a lunchtime formule (main course + cheese or dessert, 15.50€) and menu (3 courses, 21.90€) plus a choice of two full menus (28€ & 35€). We publish each day’s carte & menus at 11.30am on our website: www.le-terminus.com.
Visit Restaurant Le Terminus 3 place de la Gare, 16000 Angoulême Tel: 05 45 95 27 13 www.le-terminus.com
Lunch: Menu at 15.50€ Lunch and Evening: Menus at 28€ or 35€ and à la carte Restaurant-Le-Terminus Open all year. Mon-Sat; lunch (12-last orders at 2pm) and dinner (7.30pmlast orders at 10pm). English spoken.
28 | living WILDLIFE
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Hummingbird hawk-moth; Visiting Hoopoe; Cuckoo calls herald spring; Honey buzzards arrive from April
Spring is nature’s time of renewal, when life springs afresh. Flower buds swell and burst to reveal new blooms, as leaf buds expand and open to reveal leaves of the freshest green. Words: Richard Morris
pring is a time of great change. Migrant birds which have wintered further south will be heading up to their breeding grounds in central and southern France, while others will be passing straight through as they head for northern breeding territories. Meanwhile, new flowers appear daily, along with their attendant insects. Each new spurt of vegetation attracts insects of all kinds which find nourishment in the nectar and pollen of newly-opened flowers. Among those insects are honeybees plus various species of butterflies, grasshoppers and crickets.
Let’s start with the flowers, for it is these which provide food for the insects – and the insects, in turn, will be a food source for birds, small mammals, amphibians and reptiles. Once the snowdrops of January have passed, among the early spring flowers will be daisies and speedwells. Speedwells are the small blue flowers which can carpet the turf, and there are several species. Dandelions, celandines and buttercups follow, adding splashes of yellow to the grasslands. French meadows are also blessed with a rich diversity of orchids – up to 40 species in some départements.
living wildlife | 29
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Swallowtail butterflies are still common in France; Nightingales can be heard across the region; Swallows start breeding from late April
springtime PHOTO OPPOSITE PAGE TOP LEFT AND THIS PAGE TOP LEFT: © Alexis Marcillaud
The migrant birds of springtime will be heading north from wintering grounds in Africa or southern Europe. Many species have a wide breeding range from southern Europe to Scandinavia and other parts of northern Europe. Swallows and martins are widespread breeders so some of those you’ll see will be arriving to nest on houses and in barns in your area. Others will just be passing through en route to northern France or countries in northern Europe including the British Isles. The swallows and martins which stay to breed in your village or town will have been born and raised in the area, while those just passing through will be returning to their birthplaces in Sweden or the UK, to breed and raise the new
season’s birds. Other migrants which might stay or pass through include the many small warbler species such as blackcap, chiffchaff and melodious warbler. Wrynecks might also stay and breed, or could be en route to the east coast of England, flying up to the north and then crossing the North Sea to Scandinavian breeding sites. Many common sandpipers and yellow wagtails head through en route to northern Europe. Among cuckoos, one of the early migrants, some will hang around and breed, while others continue to northern countries. Late April will see the arrival of the hobby, a neatly moustachioed falcon which winters in Africa but breeds
in Europe. Raptors passing though, with some staying on, include red kites, black kites and honey buzzards. Hen harriers, Montagu’s harriers and ospreys, on the other hand, are all just passing through while heading for northern breeding sites. As the weeks pass by nightingales will arrive and start singing to attract a mate and golden orioles offer their flutey calls from treetops. Only about 50 head up to East Anglia, the bulk staying to breed in central and southern Europe. Red-backed shrikes are local breeders which arrive in May. Now effectively extinct as a British breeder, some do however pass up the east coast and cross to Scandinavia. Crag martins are one of the species
www.livingmagazine.fr www.livingmagazine.fr | 32
30 | living WILDLIFE
For more cartoons by Stig see www.artisart.com
From top to bottom: Common water frogs return to breed; The delicate pink blossoms of quince; Tortoiseshell butterflies appear from March
France has more species of frogs and toads than Britain – seven toads and four frogs. In spring they’ll be returning to their breeding ponds. If you don’t have a nearby pond you’ll probably only see them as they attempt to cross intervening roads, many losing their lives in the process. Frogs lay a large mass of spawn, while toads tend to lay strings of eggs around water plants. Among the early-flying butterflies are several whites, the brimstone and the orange tip, along with larger species nesting in central and southern including the lovely swallowtail. Europe but never found in the Confined in England to a few East British Isles. While some head south Anglian marshes, it’s still relatively for the winter, I suspect that others common in southern France. Tortoiseshells are on the wing from March, overwinter here in mild areas. and will be joined in April by some of I’ve seen them in the Dordogne in the small blue butterflies. February; rather too early for them The remarkable hummingbird to be migrants. Another partially migrant species hawk-moth, which has pinkish wings with some overwintering here is the and a long proboscis for reaching into black redstart. In winter the robins, flowers for nectar, is on the wing from which in spring and summer are May. Like a small hummingbird, it pushed out of the village and into hovers in front of many flowers but has the wider countryside by their larger a particular fondness for honeysuckle. Mammals active in spring include and more dominant relative the black the delightful red squirrel with its redstart, return to the village. With charming red ear tufts. It will jump the spring return of migrant black redstarts, however, the robins will once from branch to branch as it passes along a line of trees. Rabbits and hares again be exiled to the countryside. With the exception of mallard, are also active in the meadows. most duck and goose species breed Hedgerows will be enlivened by in the north. One which winters in the flowers of many shrubs, among Africa and breeds in Britain and other them the delicate pink blossoms of northern countries is the garganey, quince, the white flowers of the thorny small numbers of whom pass through hawthorn and the light pink blooms of our area as they head north. wild rose. Many hedges have fruit trees One of the most distinctive spring so there will be blossoms of apple, arrivals is the hoopoe, with its plum, pear and cherry, and perhaps remarkable crest. It stays to breed in grapes. Splashes of white flowers on our area in small numbers – usually the hillside are usually acacia trees in in a tree hole 3-4 metres above the full bloom. Before long those flowers ground. It feeds on the returning will be ripening into the fruits of late insect life and on small lizards. summer.
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32 | living family
Avec les enfants On y va!
forests. The UK may be a hiker’s heaven, but France is so large there is much more on offer for all capabilities and, with the prospect of never seeing another soul all day long, it’s a scenic country that’s hard to beat for walking away the blues or the surfeits of a gastronomic delight! As a family, we love walking. Not only is there so much to see, but the kids We got the walking boots out run ahead exploring while I spend a of hibernation yesterday. Dusted off the great deal of time ‘ooohing’ and ‘ahhing’ mud from last year’s exploring, grabbed through the camera lens. Mr Hays either the hats and dog leads, some sun cream, looks for migrant birds or insects, or sunglasses, the Kelly Kettle plus a bottle he’s on the hunt for fresh mint, which of water (more on that later), and we he’ll pick and make tea with when we were off on our first foray for the year stop for a rest. This is where the Kelly into the marshes. Spring, summer and Kettle comes in useful and it makes, like autumn were made for walking in all simple things, a wonderful outing France, and the children and the dogs into something special each time we just cannot get enough of it. We’re trundle off into the unknown. There blessed where we are south of Rochefort is nothing to compare with a freshto be able to choose between coastal ly brewed cup of tea out in the open. I’ve paths amongst the marshes, or inland been known to add some flapjacks to my backpack too - walking’s hard and thirsty jaunts alongside rivers and through
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work, and I’m afraid to say that Enid Blyton would have been very much at ease on a walk with us. Especially with the dogs sniffing for crumbs! If I’ve whet your appetite and you want to hit the cross-country paths this year, you obviously need to know where start; thankfully, this is a problem that’s easy to rectify. France has hundreds of kilometres of Grande Randonnée (GR, long-distance) or Grande Randonnées de Pays (GRP) routes, plus a huge network of Petite Randonnée (PR, local) footpaths on offer, and there are guides galore to all of them, easily found in a local bookshop, tabac or the stationery section of your local supermarket. There is also loads of information on the internet, too. Next, you’ll need to arm yourself with suitable footwear, and to be honest, for most of the paths you’ll take, a decent
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living family | 33 37
pair of trainers will serve you perfectly well in the short term, especially if it’s dry weather. You’ll also need a hat and sunglasses, a tiny first aid kit with loads of ‘blister plasters’, and a bottle of water - the latter is essential whether you have a Kelly Kettle or not! Oh - and a guide or map. That’s about it. Our children love to romp with a small backpack each, variously containing plastic cups for mint tea, chewy sweets, a warm layer or a rain jacket for wet days, maybe a pair of binoculars and even a flashlight if you think you may be out after dark. Don’t forget a mobile phone too. If you have dogs remember a bowl for their water - they’ll get thirsty as well. That’s pretty much all you need, except if you plan to stop along the way and eat somewhere and need your wallet or purse. All of France’s marked trails are maintained so you can set off along any of them knowing that you’re not only safe, but also guaranteed to enjoy yourself apart from the odd blister. Along the way, you’ll find groups of organised hikers, the odd birdwatcher and perhaps some pilgrims retracing the ancient paths southwards to Spain and Santiago de Compostela. Getting to know some of your fellow ramblers is all part of the fun. Many of the routes you might take are also circuits so you end up back where you started, and this is a great
idea to start out with. If you’re really clever, you’ll find a circuit that takes you past somewhere to eat and drink for a while and this makes the outing that little bit more fun. One important thing to find out from your guidebook is what colour and form the markers along your route will take. These indicate directions to take and turn-offs to follow, and depending on the type of path you are following these may be of several different colours; hand-painted white over red slashes for the GR paths, yellow and red for the GRP routes, yellow or sometimes simply a pile of rocks left by fellow trekkers in areas where the route is difficult to follow. The painted markers are typically found on tree trunks, bushes, fence posts and other handy surfaces along the way. Learning to find them, and use them, will enhance your enjoyment of every walking adventure and lead you into places where few people go, where scenery and solitude exist hand in hand. They’ll also keep you out of trouble and get you to your destination, of course! So, whether you trek across the Pyrénées or dabble a foot on the backside of the Ile de Ré, rest assured that there is a great deal more to the France you thought you knew, when you cross it on foot. You’ll come across
some wonderful places miles away from roads, and you’ll meet some fascinating people who you’d never otherwise have come across. Being on foot seems to bring out a welcome in so many places, something that simply doesn’t happen when you’re trundling around quiet country lanes in a big noisy car. Have fun!
Susan, husband Roddy and their five children live close to the coast in the Charente-Maritime where she shares her experiences on her popular blog at www.OurFrenchOasis.com.
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34 | living nikki legon’s cuisine Beef in oyster sauce
Hot and sour pork noodle soup
A visit to China Town in London earlier this year inspired this choice of delicious recipes by Nikki Legon… All recipes serve 6 For vegetarian versions, tofu may be substituted for meat.
Hot and Sour Pork Noodle Soup 1½ litres of chicken or vegetable stock 150g lean pork meat 25g bamboo shoots, sliced 6 mushrooms, sliced 4 spring onions, sliced 1 tbsp sugar 2 tbsp dark soy sauce 2 tbsp light soy sauce 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar chilli oil or chilli sauce to your taste ½ tsp sesame oil 2 eggs beaten 2 tbsp corn flour or arrowroot 50ml of water
METHOD Place the stock into a large saucepan, add the pork and all remaining ingredients except the egg and cornflour. Simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the beaten egg in a steady stream, stirring gently, until the egg forms threads in the soup. Blend the cornflour with the water and add to the soup. Simmer for 1 minute until the soup thickens, serve immediately.
Beef in Oyster Sauce 800g rump steak 1½ tbsp light soy sauce 3 tsp sesame oil 1½ tbsp rice wine vinegar 1 tbsp cornflour 4½ tbsp peanut oil 1 green and 1 red pepper, sliced 4 tbsp oyster sauce
living nikki legon’s cuisine | 35 Stir-fry vegetables
Sesame chicken METHOD Cut the beef into strips and place in a bowl. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, cornflour, and mix well. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes. Heat a large wok or frying pan until it is very hot, add 2½ tbsp of peanut oil and, when it is slightly smoking, add the beef slices and stir fry for 3 minutes, remove to a colander to drain. Wipe clean the wok and reheat it over a high heat, add 2 tbsp of peanut oil, peppers and cook for 3 minutes or until softened, add the oyster sauce and bring it to a simmer. Return the drained beef slices to the wok and toss them thoroughly with the oyster sauce. Serve with plain boiled rice and top with sliced spring onions.
6 chicken breasts oil for deep frying 2 tbsp peanut oil 1 clove of garlic, crushed white sesame seeds for garnishing For the frying batter 100g plain flour 2 tbsp cornflour ½ bottle cold sparkling water pinch of salt For the sauce 4 tbsp sesame oil 2 tsp grated ginger 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar 3 tbsp honey 3 tbsp chilli sauce 3 tbsp ketchup 3 tbsp brown sugar 5 tbsp soy sauce oil for deep frying METHOD Mix thoroughly all the ingredients for the sauce. Mix all the ingredients for the batter in a large bowl until well combined. Stir the chicken into the batter until evenly coated. Heat the oil to 175°C and fry the chicken pieces until light golden in colour. Remove and place onto paper towels. Heat the peanut oil in a wok or large frying pan, add the garlic and stir fry 1 minute before adding the sesame seeds. Fry a further 30 seconds, then add all the sauce ingredients and bring to the boil. Return the cooked chicken to the wok, coating the pieces thoroughly with the sauce. Serve at once with plain boiled rice or serve cool with salad.
Stir-Fry Vegetables 3 tbsp sunflower oil 6 spring onions, sliced thinly 2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly 1cm fresh ginger, grated 200g broccoli florets 100g white cabbage thinly sliced 150g courgettes 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced 1 green pepper, thinly sliced 100g mangetout, thinly sliced 1 large long chilli, deseeded & sliced thinly 1 white part of leek, thinly sliced 100g mushrooms, sliced 3 tbsp hoisin sauce 3 tbsp soy sauce 2 tsp sesame oil METHOD Heat the wok on a high heat and add the sunflower oil. Add the spring onions, garlic and ginger and stir fry for 1 minute, reduce the heat. Add the remaining vegetables, stir for 5 minutes. Add 2 tbsp of water and the hoisin and soy sauces, stirring constantly until the vegetables are just cooked. Place onto a platter and sprinkle with sesame oil.
6 eggs 6 tsp sesame oil 6 tbsp sunflower oil 600g long grain rice, cooked and left to go cold 300g frozen peas, defrosted 12 spring onions, finely chopped 2 carrots cooked, finely chopped 6 tsp soy sauce 1 tsp ground white pepper METHOD Beat together the egg and sesame oil. Heat the sunflower oil in a wok or
36 | living nikki legon’s cuisine Pot sticker dumplings
Fried rice large frying pan. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the rice and stir fry for about 3 to 4 minutes until completely heated through. Add the peas, spring onions, carrots and stir. Season well with the soy sauce and pepper. Push this mixture to the side of the wok and pour in the egg mixture. Stir this with chop sticks then add it in to the rice stirring it through, taste for seasoning. Chopped ham, chicken or prawns can also be added.
Pot Sticker Dumplings makes around 24
For the dough 300g plain flour 275ml very hot water For the stuffing 200g minced pork 6 medium size fresh prawns, peeled, deveined and chopped finely ½ Chinese lettuce, sliced thinly thumb size piece of ginger, grated 1 tsp Shaoxing rice wine ½ tbsp dark soy sauce ½ tsp light soy sauce ½ tsp salt ½ tsp white pepper 3 chopped spring onions 1 tsp sesame oil ½ tsp sugar 500ml chicken stock
Dipping sauce rice wine vinegar chilli oil light soy sauce 2 spring onions, thinly sliced METHOD First make the dough. Put the flour into a large bowl and gradually stir the hot water into it, stirring all the time with a fork. Add enough water to form a firm but soft dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth. Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with a clean damp cloth, let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. For the stuffing, mix all the ingredients together thoroughly. Take the dough out of the bowl and knead again for 5 minutes, dusting lightly with flour if it is a little sticky. Form into a roll about 30 cm long and 2.5cm in diameter and cut into 24 equal segments. Roll each of the segments into a small ball. Then using a rolling pin, roll each ball into a round, flat pancake about 6cm in diameter. Arrange the rounds on a lightly floured tray and cover them with a damp cloth to prevent them drying out. Take one into the palm of your hand and place 2 tsp of the mix in the centre of the pancake, moisten the edges with water. Fold the dough in half and pinch together with your fingers. Pleat around the edge, pinching to seal well. Place on the tray and cover till you have stuffed all the dumplings in this way. Heat a large non-stick frying pan until it is very hot. Add 2 tbsp of oil and place the dumplings flat side down into the pan. Turn down the heat and cook
for two minutes until they are lightly browned. Add the stock, just enough to cover the base of the frying pan, cover the pan tightly and simmer gently for about 12 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed, checking the liquid halfway through and adding more if necessary. Uncover the pan and cook for a further two minutes. Remove the dumplings and serve. For the dipping sauce, pour Chinese rice wine into a small bowl and add a little chilli oil and light soy sauce to your taste, top with chopped spring onions.
Chicken Chow Mein For the noodles 400g dried egg noodles 1½ tbsp sesame oil 200g chicken breasts, skinned 3 tsp light soy sauce 3 tsp rice wine 2 tsp sesame oil 1 tsp salt 1 tsp white pepper For the chicken 3 tbsp peanut oil 2 tbsp finely chopped garlic 100g mangetout, sliced thinly 1 large red pepper, deseeded and sliced thinly 100g chopped cooked ham 3 tsp light soy sauce 3 tsp dark soy sauce 2 tbsp rice wine 2 tsp salt 1 tsp white pepper 1 tsp sugar 6 spring onions, finely chopped 3 tsp sesame oil
living nikki legon’s cuisine | 37
Chicken chow mein METHOD Cook the noodles by boiling them for 3 to 5 minutes in a pan of boiling water. Drain and plunge into ice cold water, drain and toss with the sesame oil. Slice the chicken into strips, add the light soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and leave to marinate for around 30 minutes. Heat a wok or pan till it is very hot, then add the peanut oil. When it is slightly smoking, add the garlic and stir fry for 10 seconds. Add the mangetout, red pepper and ham, stir fry for 1 minute. Add the noodles, soy sauces, rice wine, salt and pepper, sugar and spring onions, and continue to stir fry for 2 minutes. Return the chicken and any juices to the noodle mixture and stir fry until the chicken is cooked through. Add the sesame oil, mixing well, before serving immediately on a hot platter.
Deep fried ice cream with caramel sauce
Deep Fried Ice Cream with Caramel Sauce 750ml vanilla ice cream 250g crushed digestive biscuits 2 eggs 1 tbsp milk For the caramel sauce 250g caster sugar 140ml thick cream 50g butter METHOD Place a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper in the freezer for 1 hour. Using an ice cream scoop make 6 balls of ice cream, place on the baking tray and put back into the freezer to harden. Working very quickly, remove the tray from the freezer, roll the balls
into the crushed biscuits and freeze again for 1 hour. Lightly beat the eggs with the milk. Again working quickly, coat each ball with the egg mixture shaking off excess. Coat the balls for a second time in the biscuit crumbs. Return the balls to the freezer for another hour. To make the caramel sauce, place the sugar in a heavy based saucepan. Stir in 4 tbsp water then place over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and bubble for 4 to 5 minutes to form caramel. Take off the heat and carefully stir in the cream and butter. Heat a deep fat fryer to 190°C and fry the balls for 15 to 20 seconds until golden. Remove using a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels, then serve immediately with the caramel sauce.
Nikki Legon is the chef and owner of the Hotel Restaurant Karina in Les Métairies, just outside Jarnac in Charente. She and her husband Austin have transformed an old cognac distillery into a luxury 10-bedroom hotel and restaurant. For more information: www.hotelkarina.net
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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 or choose something from our new bar menu. Menu du Jour (Tuesday – Friday midday): 15€ www.hotelkarina.net | firstname.lastname@example.org | 05 45 36 26 26
40 | living wine
‘Who knows how to taste never drinks wine again but tastes secrets.’ Salvador Dali
By Caro Feely
aking time to appreciate a wine - to sniff and swirl shows respect for the work, nature and sun that created the magic in your glass. Wine tasting helps us to remember the wine and to understand what we like or don’t like about it. In our wine school I often say that when we wine-taste we put our detective hats on. We search for clues in three sensory areas: sight, smell and taste. As we gather the clues, we cross-check and make our final assessment based on all three senses.
The look of the wine A sample is usually about a third of the glass. For most tasting glasses it means filling it to about the widest point – enough to experience the wine and to give a good swirl – but don’t swirl yet. First, look at the colour of the wine against a white background. Hold the glass sideways and consider the colour
offers a clue to the vintage (the year the grapes were picked) and even to the kind of aromas to expect. We call the look of the wine the dress or robe in French, and, what we call legs which run down the sides of the glass, the French call larmes or tears.
The nose of the wine Now take a deep sniff – don’t hold at the core (the middle) versus the rim. If it is a white wine, is it water white (almost clear), lemon, gold or even amber? If it is a red wine, is it purple, ruby, garnet or brick red? Colour and hue can tell you about the style and about the age of the wine. The browner (not deeper), the older. All wine tends to brown with age, so this
back – and let the aromas go right up into the back of your nose and into your brain. Then do a good clockwise swirl and sniff again. Sometimes it’s easier to identify a single aroma on the first nose. The second nose after swirling can be more crowded and confusing due to alcohol aromas. The third nose which we pick up from the empty glass can allow us to pick up minor faults – if there are any. If the wine smells unpleasant/unclean it could be ‘reduction’ (lack of oxygen - aerate to solve it), or it could be more permanent
living wine | 39
like cork taint. Is it fruity, spicy, vegetal (vegetable or leaf aromas), earthy? Youthful wines offer fresh, fruity noses, whereas older wines offer more cooked fruit and earthy notes. You can corroborate your evidence about the colour with the nose. For example, if it’s a white wine that is light-lemon youthful in colour, then the nose should be youthfully fruity. If it’s a red that is garnet or brick red on the edge, the rim of the disc of the wine in the glass, then the notes will probably be more cooked or dried fruit, perhaps earthy and even leathery. ‘It smells like wine to me.’ Try closing your eyes and taking a good sniff when you are in the kitchen cutting an apple, using the cinnamon or ginger, walking past a rose. Train your brain to work on associating aromas without seeing
them. Then try an aromatic wine like Gewürztraminer...
The taste of the wine Now take a good sip and swirl it
around inside your mouth. When you swirl the wine around your mouth you will often pick up flavours that you would miss if you just drank it. Our palates pick up five simple tastes, sweet, sour (acidity), salty, bitter (tannins in wine can be bitter and astringent) and umami (savoury). The other things we think we taste are actually aromas. ‘Must I spit?’ If you are tasting many wines or driving then, yes, you should spit the wine into the spittoon provided, rather than swallowing. Wine professionals spit to keep their brains intact for the work of wine tasting. But the most important thing is to have fun. Santé!
Caro Feely can usually be found juggling organic vineyard (www. chateauFeely.com), wine school, accommodation and writing in south-west France (15 minutes west of Bergerac). You can read more in Caro’s series about their life in France in three tomes published by Summersdale Publishers; ‘Grape Expectations’ about moving from the city to rural France, ‘Saving our Skins’ about turning their failing farm around and ‘Glass Half Full’ published in April 2017.
40 | living Angling
Hook, line & sinker…
Ron Cousins looks forward to getting onto the riverbank now spring is here…
pring marks the end of hibernation for a whole range of creatures from bears to dormice and it is also when many anglers emerge after their winter piscatorial hibernation. Putting away the fishing tackle during winter’s fading daylight prompted the pineal gland to produce more melatonin and induce that slumberous state that can even make staying in bed on a cold morning preferable to going fishing! Spring is also when rivers and lakes come to life and the resident fish population gets down to the important business of spawning. The new trout season has started and 1 May, as well as being celebrated throughout France as Labour Day, is also the opening day of the season for pike and zander; so from then all methods of fishing including spinning, lure fishing and live or dead baiting are allowed on all Category 2 (2ème categorie) waters. The die-hards who have been on the banks all through winter know that the region’s rivers have remained below summer level and with no winter flood water coming through many still have large amounts of last summer’s weed that should have been washed away. Low clear water has also provided the increasing number of cormorants moving inland with easy pickings and where these birds appeared in large numbers they must have made serious inroads into fish stocks as it is estimated each will eat at least 500g of fish every day. The cormorant is a protected species in France, but one article of the country’s Environmental Code allows a ministerial decree for the purpose of controlling the species. The first to benefit from culling have been commercial fish
farmers in heavily impacted areas who were experiencing economic difficulty due to production loss. Cormorants are also a major problem for fisheries throughout the UK; but in my native Wales another bird has been posing a threat to anglers. Cars parked along the banks of the Wye valley are being attacked by hordes of crows that scratch the paintwork, tear out windscreen and door seals and damage windscreen wipers while the owners are fishing. Apart from low water, weed, predatory birds and the chance that a Welsh crow is here on holiday, the biggest problem facing the river angler at this time of year is locating shoals of fish. They will have been in the shallow, faster, better oxygenated areas following spawning and probably won’t spread out all along the river until June. This is made apparent by the results of the competitions held at this time of year when large numbers of competitors catch next to nothing while a few have really big weights of fish. If there is an event on your river it’s a good idea to go along and make a note of the areas that turned up the fish and keeping an eye on where the locals go to fish can also be a short cut to success. Taking a stroll along the river bank can also help find a likely fishy area. Look out for surface activity from small fish or signs of larger fish rolling and splashing. Heading for the streamy water below weirs is also a good idea; but look out for red fisheries signs along the bank as often these areas are closed to fishing for several months each year to protect spawning fish. With such a variety of fish in our rivers, which species offer the best chance
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: A specimen spring roach weighing almost 1kg; competition winning bream catch; a hungry Cormorant; 1 May is opening day for pike season; European Dipper
of springtime sport? Roach (gardon) and bream (brème) are the most reliable as both species are usually the earliest to finish spawning and they also make up the largest shoals in the river as well as allowing anglers to use a variety of methods to catch the fish. Float fishing for roach is probably the most popular form of river fishing in France and few spring day angling experiences can better the moment when the red tip disappears under the water as down below a roach takes the bait. French anglers prefer to use a carbon pole 13m long with the line attached to elastic running through the top couple of sections to play the fish. The roachfishing Brit prefers a rod, reel and running line - acknowledged by the French calling the style ‘l’Anglais’. The same tackle will catch bream but, while running the bait through at the pace of the current is fine for roach, things need to be slowed down a little for the deep bodied bream that prefer to pick up their snacks from the river bed. The French angler will bring into play a ‘lollipop float’ which has a flat disc-shaped body to hold steady in the flow, and anything up to 50g in weights down below to keep the bait where the bream are feeding. Fishing with a swim feeder - a plastic tube filled with groundbait that is on the line close to the hook - is the most popular way to fish for bream in the UK and it transfers well to French rivers like the Charente and Vienne where being able to fish beyond the pole line often results in better catches. Maggots are the most reliable bait for both species at this time of year with bread and sweetcorn also a good bet, while the humble garden worm always
living Angling | 41
goes down well with the bigger bream. Less well known in the UK but high on the French anglers’ bait list are caddis grubs, the aquatic larvae of the caddisfly. As well as being almost irresistible to fish, they seem to be the dipper’s equivalent of truffles as the little birds swim, dive and walk in the shallows seeking them out. The grubs construct a protective tube-like case from river bed debris and can be found by turning over stones. Simply pull the
grub out of the tube and it is ready to put on the hook. If you’ve been a hibernating angler, remember that last year’s carte de pêche expired on 31 December and it is essential that a new one has been purchased before venturing out for the first time with rod and tackle. “I’ve been hibernating” certainly isn’t a good enough excuse to stop a garde de pêche handing out a hefty fine to anyone caught fishing without one. This year it costs 95€
and provides thousands of kilometres of river and canal fishing as well as huge dam lakes, park lakes and plan d’eau of all sizes. It can be purchased on line at www.cartedepeche.fr. With paperwork up-to-date, all that remains is to check that everything needed is in the fishing box then it’s off to the river to let the adrenal gland herald in spring as the first fish is hooked, the rod bends over and the adrenalin starts flowing.
12 EUROPEAN DESTINATIONS
LONDON GATWICK BRISTOL GENEVA
BRUSSELS CHARLEROI LONDON STANSTED DUBLIN
w w w. l a r o c h e l l e . a e r o p o r t . f r
www.livingmagazine.fr www.livingmagazine.fr | 32 pub aeroport living mars 2017 192 x 139.indd 1
LOCAL KNOWLEDGE YOU CAN TRUST
L iving the Dream
Thinking of buying Contact Leggett Immobilier, winner of ‘Best real estate agency
SHARON’S STORY WORK / LIFE BALANCE “Moving to France was all about a lifestyle change. We wanted to work less and relax more. We don’t need as much money as we did in the UK, and live our lives at our own pace. We enjoy a family meal together every night and my lunch when working is always taken away from the ofﬁce or outside. That’s just how life is here and we love it!
Ref: 66755 A well maintained spacious 3 bed house with a large garden, walking distance to village. Indre €246,100
Ref: 68972 Superb modern 2 bed / 2 bath property with open plan living and garden with pool. Charente Maritime €365,000
Ref: 46987 Offers considered for this 3 bed house for refreshing / renovation in a quiet hamlet. Vienne €64,000
Ref: 52747 Secluded estate with large pool and 3.5 acres parkland just 30mins drive to Brive airport. Correze €367,500
Ref: 54626 This cute 3 bed house has been fully renovated and would be an ideal lock-up & leave. Dordogne €82,500
Ref: 55724 Ideal opportunity to buy a ﬁshing lake with woodland and put up a small holiday cabin. Dordogne €77,000
Ref: 56464 Delightful 4 bed / 3 bath property with a 3 car garage, cellar, laundry and workshop. Correze €244,950
Ref: 64548 Fully renovated house split into two with potential for a gîte on the edge of Chateaubriant. Loire Atlantique €239,999
Ref: 44926 Beautiful 6 bed /4 bath ‘Maison de Maître’ near to Oiron chateau. Potential for B&B. Deux Sevres €360,400
Ref: 70317 Great price for this lovely 2 bed house with barn, and piggeries. Close to leisure lakes. Charente €81,000
Ref: 54350 Maison de Maître in a village, 2.5kms to a market town, 20kms to La Roche sur Yon. Vendee €172,800
Ref: 62703 Lovely 4 bed stone house with outbuildings and enclosed garden. 3kms to town. Deux Sevres €199,800
Why our work / life balance is better in France • Mealtimes are really important, food is respected and enjoyed • It is easy to work from home over the internet • Because we are less busy, we feel less stressed • We don’t spend as much our outdoor lifestyle is basically free!
WE CAN HELP
Leggett are always looking to recruit new sales agents, so if you are looking for a job in France, drop us a line, and we can help with that too!
00 800 2534 4388
Your new life in France starts here!
LOCAL KNOWLEDGE YOU CAN TRUST
or selling a property ? France’ four years running. We have over 500 agents across France ready to help you.
Ref: 63337 3kms from the village and only 37kms from Limoges is this cute 3 bed / 2 bath cottage. Haute Vienne €183,000
Ref: 54066 Luxury 4 bed / 2 bath property with nearly 1Ha of land in easy reach of shops and cities. Loire Atlantique €477,000
Ref: 39734 Classic home with 5 bedrooms and a pool, in a village 10 mins east of Cognac. Charente €333,900
Ref: 55777 4 bed hamlet property with beautiful pool / terrace, land and gardens. 10kms from Civray. Vienne €298,530
Ref: 72870 Top quality ground floor, 2 bed apartment with 28m² terrace in the heart of Nantes. Loire Atlantique €350,000
Ref: 51450 Breathtaking, private location - riverside property with a 2nd cottage and an apartment. Creuse €424,000
Ref: 69540 Black Perigord, 17thC mill property in 5.8 acres and bordering a small river. Near Sarlat. Dordogne €498,750
Ref: 51456 Immaculate 3/4 bedroom detached house built in 2007. Electric gates and alarm. Indre €365,700
Ref: 54398 Large property that needs refreshing with just over 4Ha of land. 63kms from Poitiers Indre €183,600
Ref: 63896 A 2 bedroom house with 2 large barns attached, a small garden and extra land. Haute Vienne €77,000
Ref: 53001 Character country house (dated 1786) within walking distance of Chambellay. village. Maine et Loire €328,600
Ref: 67026 Rare 29m² studio apartment with incredible sea views across to the Ile de Ré. Vendée €194,400
Looking for a new career in 2017 ? We are looking for sales agents to join our winning team. Contact email@example.com Proud sponsors of All pricing details were correct at time of going to press.
For general enquiries: +33 05 53 60 84 88 firstname.lastname@example.org www.leggettfrance.com
L i ving
Changing Places On a sunny summer’s day Brantôme looks as pretty as a picture, as it reclines lazily on the banks of the River Dronne, so it was perhaps inevitable that it came to be known as ‘La Vénise du Périgord’. At first glance much of the scenery seems to have remained almost untouched by the passage of time, but the town’s origins stretch back to times when things were rather less relaxed. In fact, the site was originally settled because of its natural defences - an island set within one of the river’s more pronounced meanders, which in turn was protected by a tall limestone plateau. Completing the package was a pure water spring flowing obligingly from a spot now tucked away behind the town’s vast Benedictine abbey, established when Brantôme became a celebrated place of pilgrimage on the route to Santiago di Compostela. The big attraction was the donation by Charlemagne in AD769 of relics of Saint Sicaire, one of the innocents massacred by Herod. These venerated items attracted countless pilgrims, whose donations ultimately financed
the grandiose abbey and its surrounding features, the best-loved being the multiarched Pont à Coudé (meaning ‘elbow bridge’). Built during the 16th century to permit Abbot Pierre de Mareuil to reach landscaped gardens which he established on the opposite bank of the river, it’s an agreeable spot from which to contemplate the surrounding scenery. Today the gardens – ‘parkland’ somehow seems a more appropriate description – are there for everyone to enjoy, mature specimen trees providing welcome shade for riverside walks or lazy lunchtime picnics on even the hottest summer days. Alternatively, grab a table beneath a parasol at one of the riverside restaurant terraces, dine in style then walk off the excess calories by exploring the colourful heart of the old town. The longstanding local tradition of welcoming visitors is alive and well, making this an attractive place in which to spend some time, especially on Friday morning market days. If, on the other hand, you’re tempted to settle here full-time, then you might find Brantôme to be a surprisingly prac-
One of the undisputed jewels of the Périgord Vert area of highly-desirable Dordogne, Brantôme never fails to charm visitors. But what if you have a longer stay in mind? tical option. In addition to boutiques, boulangeries, boucheries, an optician and other family-run businesses there are supermarkets (including bio and a farmer’s co-operative), banks, garages and much more. Should you need some occasional city-style buzz, then Périgueux is just a 20 km or so drive away. As far as public services are concerned, the town has école maternelle, école élémentaire and collège level schooling, plus GPs and other health practitioners, pharmacy, etc., plus convalescence and retirement centres. There are also three agences immobilières, offering homes, apartments, building plots and business premises – whatever you have in mind, in fact. So, if you like the idea of living in or near one of the ‘Plus Beaux Détours de France’, Brantôme looks like an attractive and practical option. www.brantomeenperigord.fr.
L iPRACTICAL vingliving
Agence Eleonor Estate Agency 36-38 rue du Temple, 24500 EYMET Tél. : 05 53 27 83 45 email@example.com
Ref: 4248-EY 399,000€ HAI DPE: vierge Renovated 3 bedroom house and a spacious 6 bedroom gite with 3 ensuite plus a family bathroom. Set in 5 acres of land with a pool.
Ref: 6400-VI 98,000€ HAI DPE: vierge Pretty stone village house in a popular bastide town with all amenities in walking distance. This property is light, airy and has 2 bedrooms, a small garden and parking.
Ref: 4610-EY 340,950€ HAI DPE: Vierge 4 Charming stone properties with original features. Comprising: a main house , 2 gites, barn and a separate 3 bedroom house on 3.2 acres of land with a pond.
Ref: 6289-MO 371,600€ HAI DPE: vierge Beautiful 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom farmhouse in quiet area with a second house to renovate plus outbuildings. Set in 6 acres of land. Possibility to purchase 70 acres of woodland. (350,000€ net + 6% fee paid by the buyer)
(380,000€ net + 5.26% fee paid by the buyer)
(285,000€ net + 7% fee paid by the buyer)
(89,091€ net + 10% fee paid by the buyer)
Ref: 6406-EY 474,999€ HAI DPE: D Fabulous panoramic views from this fully restored farmhouse. Set at the end of a long private driveway the property benefits from complete privacy with no close neighbours. There are four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a handmade fitted kitchen leading through to a dining room and separate lounge. Set in 3.12 acres with a pool and just 5 mins from Eymet. (450,000€ net + 5.6% fee paid by the buyer)
Other offices at : Beynac, Monpazier and Villeréal
Sovimo immobiLier ExclusivE
L'immobilier que l'on attendait
371 000€ HAI
(350 000€ plus 6% fees payable by buyer)
Ref: S1959 106 900€ HAI
Ref: E1955 237 900€ HAI
(100 000€ net plus 6 900€ fees paid by buyer)
(225 000€ net plus 12 900€ fees paid by buyer)
Nontron. 180m2 habitable space on 989m2 plot. Partly renovated - 29m2 living room, 26m2 kitchen, 3 bedrooms, wc and bathroom. The remainder offers further potential. 60m2 garage with automatic door. Basement and town gas central heating. DPE: D
EXCLUSIVE Brantôme. Rare opportunity to buy a bungalow in a quiet location with pretty view. On 1.4ha wooded plot. Comfortable and light, 4 bedrooms, several outbuildings, swimming pool, close to shops. DPE: n/a
Alloue (16), charming property, quiet area. Modern, large, luminous living space. View of the Charente valley, beautiful veranda (PAC air/air), 3 beds, heating, terrace, shed, mains drains, attached garden, wood, set on 3064m2.
35 200€ HAI
(32 000€ plus 10% fees payable by buyer)
Close to Abzac (16), detached village house, 1bedroom, attached barn, old septic tank, adjoining garden and opposite land set on 686m2.
Ref: S1793 299 000€ FAI
172 800€ HAI
(160 000€ plus 8% fees payable by buyer)
Manot (16), nice detached bungalow built in 1977, well equipped, 5 bedrooms, oil heating, terrace, separate garage, mains drains, land & small wood around, all set on 3400m2.
71 500€ HAI
(65 000€ plus 10% fees payable by buyer)
Close to Abzac (16), 1-bed well equipped semi-detached farmhouse. Reversible heat pump, attic, outbuilding with horse boxes, old septic tank, adjoining land, all set on 4014m2.
Ref: S1569 347 900€ FAI
(282 100€ net plus 16 900€ fees paid by buyer)
(330 000€ net plus 17 900€ fees paid by buyer)
Paussac St Vivien (nr Brantôme). Charming house. 6 rooms (195m2 habitable). 10x5m pool, potager and wooded park on plot of 3,344m2. 43m2 salon, kitchen, 1 ensuite bedroom. Upstairs 3 beds and bathroom. Terrace, basement, garage, workshop and wine cellar. DPE: E
Bourdeilles. Contemporary dwelling with two independent houses on a 4300m2 wooded park with 11x5m pool. Plenty of advantages to this comfortable and modern property which has 6 bedrooms and can be rented out in season. Must be seen! DPE: C
25 Rue Gambetta / 33 rue Puyjoli 24310 BRANTOME Tel: 05.53.02.64.40
95 700€ HAI
(87 000€ plus 10% fees payable by buyer)
18 000€ HAI
(15 000€ plus 3 000€ fees payable by buyer)
Close to Availles Limouzine (86), small market Confolens (16), 4 kms from all shops, town with shops, detached bungalow, 3 countryside, building plot set on approx. 3 bedrooms, terrace, porch, garage, main drains, acres with services (water, electricity and main adjoining land with shed, all set on 1462m2. drains), a pond of water crossed by a stream.
3, place de la Liberté, 16500 Confolens Tel: 05 45 85 45 65 firstname.lastname@example.org
L iPRACTICAL vingliving
Property Idimmo, Prestige & Châteaux 42 Rue Grosse Horloge, 17400 St Jean D’Angély. Tel: +33 (0)5 16 51 90 52 http://adeline.idimmo.net/ €229,000
honoraires à la charge du vendeur
honoraires à la charge du vendeur
Spacious, centrally-heated Charentaise house with 49m2 living room. 2 beds and bath on ground floor, 2 beds and bath plus 26m2 mezzanine on the first floor. Mature, enclosed garden. DPE n/a Ref: idiade 3348
Well maintained village house of 230m2 with spacious living rooms, 3 bedrooms including one master suite. Swimming pool and garden of 2569m2. DPE: D Ref: idiade 3370
honoraires à la charge du vendeur
honoraires à la charge du vendeur
2-bed house and 3 gites with views across countryside. 35 mins from Limoges airport and near Lakes of the Haute Charente. Thriving business with bookings in place for 2017. DPE n/a Ref: idiade 3468
3-bed house which could have a 4th bedroom on the ground floor. Spacious living room. Kitchen with various utility rooms. Enclosed garden of 1985m2 with 8 x 4m pool. DPE: D Ref: idiade 3415
honoraires à la charge du vendeur
Partially renovated to high standard with potential. 2 beds on ground floor (46m2 & 19m2), 34m2 kitchen dining room, 57m2 living room. Outbuildings and 4470m2 garden. Nr St Jean d’Angely DPE n/a Ref: idiade 3461
2-bed house and 3 gites, with pool and various outbuildings. A successful gite business in the pretty village of Dampierre sur Boutonne. DPE: G Ref: idiade 3382
9 place Gambetta 86400 CIVRAY Tél : 05 49 97 11 30 email@example.com www.agencemercure.fr
LA CHAPELLE BATON (86) Ref 22862 Price 99 900€
honoraires à la charge du vendeur
SAUZE VAUSSAIS (79) Ref 22850 Price 315 000€
(92 000€ net + 8,59% fee paid by buyer)
(298 000€ net + 5.7% fee paid by buyer)
Quiet & secluded location for this charming countryside property in 1.22 hectares. House of 132m² to refresh, 1st floor to convert (145m²), large outbuildings. Fantastic potential. DPE: vierge
Large 5 bedroom house of 266m² with all high quality modern conveniences, central heating. Full basement with garage. Heated swimming pool all set in mature grounds of 5000m². DPE: D
VANçAIS (79) Ref 22866 Price 140 400€
5, place Maréchal Leclerc 86500 MONTMORILLON Tél : 05 49 84 08 88 firstname.lastname@example.org www.agencemercure.fr
30mn from CHATEAUROUX (36) Ref 32533 Price 727 600€
5mn from MONTMORILLON (86) Ref 32520 Price 194 400€
(680 000€ net + 7% fee paid by buyer)
(180 000€ net + 8% fee paid by buyer)
In the heart of “LA BRENNE National Park”, manoir built in the 19thC. 310m² living space, set over 7ha of landscaped gardens, woods and parkland. DPE: C
Character house of over 165m² living space. 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, home cinema room, barn and garden. Very well insulated and maintained. DPE: D
(135 000€ net + 4% fee paid by buyer)
TAIZE AIZIE (16) Ref 22825 Price 211 000€
(200 000€ net + 5.71% fee paid by buyer)
10 mn from MONTMORILLON (86) Ref 32523 Price 129 710€
Longère in very good condition, 170m² of living space, 3 bedrooms, oil central heating. Many outbuildings, enclosed garden of 1305m², well, electric gates. DPE: D
Enjoy the garden and views of this attractive & fully renovated country longère. 2 downstairs bedrooms, 2 upstairs,… Central heating, sewage conform. Barn suitable for camper van. DPE: vierge
(119 000€ net + 9% fee paid by buyer)
MONTMORILLON (86) Ref 32525 Price 98 100€ FAI
(90 000€ net + 9% fee paid by buyer)
Charming house situated in a busy village with a amenities. 3 bedrooms, very pretty private garden, ready to move in. DPE vierge
Spacious town house (105m² living space) close to all amenities. Large luminous living spaces, 3 bedrooms, small garden & garage. Double glazing throughout. DPE : F
L i ving
Built of the hardy pines growing under the northern lights on Polar Circle The perfect solution for expanding your gite business.
Start with one and add another – or more! – when the time is right.
If you are selling your French home, our knowledgeable local team would be delighted to meet you as soon as possible. We offer: A valuation based on current local market conditions A dedicated contact to guide you through the whole process Worldwide marketing through our own website and market-leading portals Access to thousands of buyers already registered with us
Delivery in elements with the option for self-build or turn-key.
AWARD WINNING SERVICE
A guest house full of character for family and friends. An inspiring garden office or The Best place for a bbq and family fun! EcoLodge sizes start from 10m2 and their prices keep your wallet happy.
Beaux Villages Immobilier
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Tel : 00 33 (0)8 05 69 23 23 E : email@example.com
firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 06 40 05 74 38
Recruiting sales agents in Nouvelle Aquitaine
Helen Dawson Agent Commercial
Build Awards - Best independent Agent - France - 2015 & 2016
email@example.com +33 (0)610 71 26 92
www.piegut-immobilier.fr Buying or selling, you can be assured you will be accompanied through the whole process Piegut Immobilier is a well established and respected estate agency working in the Dordogne, Charente and Limousin. We have a team of multilingual agents committed to providing a comprehensive and professional service to all our clients whether buying or selling. Siren: 534155007
(Honoraires à la charge du vendeur)
13Ha Smallholding / Equestrian - House, Gîte and Outbuildings. CB11083 DPE: D
(Honoraires à la charge du vendeur)
Commercial Opportunity - Shop with 3-Bed Accommodation. CB11087 DPE: D
Cathe Bower - Agent Commercial Tel: 0033 (0) 5 55 68 39 89 firstname.lastname@example.org Mob: 0033 (0) 6 09 60 60 82 www.PropertySalesInFrance.com
Get savvy with your property advertising and maximise your selling potential It’s no longer enough or necessarily the best way to attract buyers to your property just listing with an estate agent. Advertising privately alongside the agent offers a huge benefit for the seller, as our client testimonials confirm. Our website marketing provides direct enquiries from around the world. Your property listed on established websites, as a private sale advert alongside agent listings, but without the agency
fee. Importantly, we don’t just market to the UK buyer, we target buyers locally, across Europe and the world. With You-tube video one of the most powerful ways to engage interest in marketing we include this with your property advert. Are you compromising on your property price to accommodate the agency fee? Any offer may mean the money you receive from the sale can be significantly reduced when the agent takes their fee.
Leaders in French property marketing for the private seller.
48 | living puzzle
Welcome to the first Living Magazine crossword kindly compiled by Mike Morris. Answers can be found on our website at www.livingmagazine. fr or on page 64. See if you can also find the theme that connects several of the answers. Good luck! ACROSS 1. Bizarre consequences of Scottish island exporting class A drug? (3) 3. Singer of calypso hoping for protection of once rough area. (4) 5. Something to chew over after direction given to run straight and fast. (4) 9. Pursue relentlessly my French conviction? (5) 10. Songbirds can be identified; listen particularly if an unknown number captured. (7) 11. Strangely cast in new role taking part in unconventional race for agents to speed things up. (12) 14. Apparently call out in pain, initiating a response similar to others found here. (6) 15. Remain confused about something found in the sea. (6)
18. For a second in a version of my true story, secret trips were made. (7, 5) 21. See 4. 13 22. To employ about a thousand is customary practice everywhere. (5) 14 23. We are told an alcoholic drink is used in shuffling-off ceremony? (4) 24. Founded, in short, in eastern telephone operation. (4) 18 25. Miserable arrangement of forms of publicity. (3)
15 17 19
DOWN 1. Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s got a ticket to do this, 21 making a connection here today. (4) 2. Wise men over-heat unit, making a wonderful introduction to 18? (7) 3. Put the wind up when data the 24 score presents is broken down.(5, 2, 5) 23 4, 21. Fairground ride, one of the kind found in these parts? (6, 7) 6. Belief in general limits a 13. Plague village completely revolutionary. (5) turned upside-down in trauma 7. Put down leaders of destructive, yesterday. (4) irrational sedition. (3) 16. To progress you have to 8. Gold (AU) Canute assembled is not make some converts on raids. (7) included in the official list. (12) 17. Standard temperature reading 12. Time taken for gun to arrive for syrup manufacture in the from life-saving installation. (4) Mediterranean. (6)
2 flights/week www.livingmagazine.fr
19. Made sense at first, but ET ending exchange gave public display of emotion. (5) 20. It is announced that to make bread is essential. (4) 21. Small cash advance, between fourteen and fifteen perhaps is appropriate today? (3)
living brexit | 49
BREXIT news With so much uncertainty surrounding Brexit, we take a look at the current situation for British citizens resident in France.
Since 23 June last year, the rights of UK citizens resident in the EU and EU citizens in the UK have been bound together after Theresa May said she could not guarantee EU citizens’ rights (including rights to healthcare, pensions, employment, education, etc.) while those of UK citizens were not guaranteed. While there is some logic in the argument of reciprocity, it has had the effect of halting any progress on the issue, with EU leaders believing it is up to the UK to make the first step, as it is the UK which has decided to leave the union. In a parliamentary report published in early March a cross-party committee of MPs, including Michael Gove and other Tory Brexit campaigners, said that EU citizens should not be used as “bargaining chips” in negotiations over Brexit. However, given the passage of the recent ‘Brexit bill’, efforts to enshrine these rights in UK law have been unsuccessful to date, leading to uncertainty and fear among the affected communities. Here on the continent a coalition of eleven leading groups campaigning on behalf of UK citizens in the EU and vice versa, with a combined membership of some 30,000 individuals, continues to recommend that UK residents’ rights are guaranteed. If Theresa May were to make this guarantee in law, it would allow all countries to begin discussions, ideally removing rights issues from the negotiating table. This lobbying had an impact during the House of Lords debate, with messages from French residents being read out in several speeches. Ultimately the necessary amendment was added to the bill, only to be removed later by a vote in the House of Commons.
Given the imminent triggering of Article 50, and as the legalities around rights are complex, it has become clear that MPs need to be advised by individuals knowledgeable about the current situation for UK citizens in the EU before they can negotiate on our behalf. To this end, the coalition, all volunteers, published an Alternative White Paper in January detailing the issues arising at Brexit and recommending solutions (the AWP is available to read and download at ecreu. com). Coalition members have been called to give evidence before Select Committees, where they have clarified the situation in which UK citizens now find themselves. Once the outcome of the French elections is known, the next step for the coalition is to lobby the French government on our behalf. Initial comments from the Sénat have been positive, understanding the difficult position for UK citizens in France, but until the elections are complete there is little which can be done. On an individual basis, many UK citizens in France are taking the time to get their paperwork in order and to improve their level of French in preparation for requesting French citizenship, or applying for a carte de séjour, once our final status is known. For a good summary of the options and requirements see the RIFT website (below).
Get Involved! Now, more than ever before, if you wish to remain resident in France you need to become involved, understand what is at risk and help support those who are lobbying on your behalf. Here in France there are several groups you can support:
ECREU (Expat Citizen Rights in EU) was set up by veteran campaigners and is a lobby and self-help group. With nearly 8,000 members across the EU, the group has compiled a database, including testimonials from concerned individuals, which is available to MPs, members of the House of Lords, and MEPs to consult. All readers are encouraged to join – membership is free via a simple form on the website at www.ecreu.com. Having begun on Facebook, Remain in France Together (RIFT) has almost 5,500 members. As well as being a place to discuss Brexit and it implications, it has a very active lobbying group and now a website at www.remaininfrance.org, with useful information on citizenship and health care. British Community Committee of France (www.britishinfrance.com) is an umbrella organisation for British associations in France and has strong links with both the UK and French governments via president Christopher Chantry who also represents ECREU. Founders of the Fair Deal for Expats association were part of the High Court challenge to Article 50 alongside Gina Miller, and are continuing to lobby (www.fairdealforexpats.com).
50 | living gardens
living gardening | 47
Horticultural exchange There are many beautiful, inspiring private gardens to visit this summer – and you’ll also be supporting good causes. WORDS: Roger Moss
y now there can’t be many keen gardeners who are unaware of the National Gardens Scheme, one of the oldest and most successful charitable organisations in the UK. What is rather less well known, however, is that an equivalent scheme is alive and flourishing here in France. Currently enjoying its fourth year, Open Gardens/ Jardins Ouverts shares its UK counterpart’s founding principle of encouraging garden owners to open their creations to members of the public, who in return for an annual subscription of just 10€
will receive a membership card entitling them to visit as many of the gardens as they wish throughout much of France during their open days. Alternatively, short-term visitors to France can buy a day-pass from any of the gardens for 5€. The French initiative was prompted by the experiences of four keen gardeners in the Creuse département of Limousin who decided to open their gardens to visitors for one day in 2013. The success of the modest event surpassed all expectations, raising some 300€, which inspired the creation of a non-profit association to establish the project. By the end of 2015 75 affiliated gardens,
spread across 13 French départements, had welcomed visitors on their respective open days and had raised in excess of 13,000€. Since then the popularity of the scheme has continued to grow, to the point where you can now visit over 120 gardens spread across 24 or so départements. Four years later the scheme has not only taken off, but looks set to continue the impulsion. The association’s logo is fast becoming a familiar sight to garden visitors, and the expectation is that by 2021 there will be affiliated gardens throughout France. I was therefore keen to ask the scheme’s founder
living gardening | 53
Pour la Protection de la Nature
ATTRACT MORE LIFE TO YOUR GARDEN ! with high quality plants especially selected to attract birds, bees and butterflies …
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(and association president) Mick Moat about who exactly benefits from the revenue raised. “Since the start our main beneficiary has been ‘A Chacun son Everest’, an association founded in Chamonix in 1994 to organise activities for children touched by cancer or leukaemia, and which now also helps women fighting breast cancer. More recently, we’ve extended the range of charities we support, still mainly focusing on those supporting disabled or sick children – last year our donations reached 16,000€, of which 12,000€ was donated to ‘A Chacun son Everest’.” There’s real commitment behind the scheme’s choice of charitable organisations, as Mick is keen to point out: “Causes like these need longterm support. Once we’ve agreed to help a charity
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YOUR PURCHASE HELPS SUPPORT CHARITABLE ORGANISATIONS
50 | living gardening
we intend to continue doing so over a period of years, rather than simply making a one-off donation. This approach helps the recipient organisations structure their future activities with confidence, rather than having to live with the uncertainties of year-toyear funding. During the past two years, in addition to supporting ‘A Chacun son Everest’ we’ve been able to make donations of 6,500€ to eight other associations, and we’re confident that as the scheme grows we’ll be in a position to help more and more worthy causes with their work.” His confidence looks wellfounded, since charitable donations from Open Gardens/Jardins Ouverts have so far amounted to 26,550€.
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Are you offering gardening services Landscape design & construction or selling plants, of patios and gardens then this is the Garden Clearance ideal place to Hedge Cutting Shrub & Fruit Tree Pruning advertise! Prices start from just Tel: 0778 32 04 47 / E: Mikepage_290789@orange.fr 33€ttc per month! Siret: 487780009
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If you’re a keen gardener and would like to get involved by opening your own garden to the public then it’s probably a lot simpler and less stressful than you’d imagine. Most owners who are already doing so only open their gardens once or twice a year, and find sharing the results of their enthusiastic labours with other garden lovers a rewarding experience. Mick often finds himself reassuring potential participants’ concerns over the size of their gardens: “Often when someone is considering offering their own garden for inclusion they’re worried that what they have won’t be good enough or large enough. In fact, our criteria are really simple and are designed to be anything but exclusive.
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Covering all areas
Siret: 808 903 074 00017
All aspects of tree care from planting and pruning to reductions and removals. Hedge cutting, ground clearance and maintenance. Fully insured & registered. 27 years’ experience.
05 45 30 61 41 / 06 45 90 30 67 | firstname.lastname@example.org
www.homme-vert.com Facebook: @hommeverttreesurgery
living gardening | 53
If you’d like to join but have any doubts about whether your garden is suitable then I just ask whether it has sufficient interest for a 30-minute visit. If the answer is yes then you’re almost certain to be accepted – and even if you can’t quite meet the 30-minute guideline, it’s quite likely that there’s a garden close to you which does, in which case why not team up? All we ask is that you open for a minimum of one day during the year. After all, if your garden gives you pleasure, then it will almost certainly do the same for others.” As you’d expect, many of the host gardeners have plants for sale and might
also serve light refreshments to visitors. Informal touches like these obviously add to the pleasure of a visit, while the extra income provides a welcome boost to the scheme’s funds. As Mick puts it: “There really aren’t many nicer ways to pass the time than sitting in a beautiful garden with a cup of tea in one hand, a cake in the other, while relaxing in the good company of fellow gardeners.”
Find out more
If you’d like to use your non-gardening skills to contribute to the success of the scheme you could consider becoming a volunteer coordinator. As Mick explains: “We currently have over 40 coordinators throughout France who help us find garden owners nearby who are willing to participate. It’s really not too demanding, and can consist of just a couple of hours a month, although some of our enthusiastic volunteers are more than happy to commit more time.” You’ll find more information at: www.opengardens.eu. You can contact Mick Moat via email: email@example.com or by calling 05 55 63 43 12.
About the UK National Gardens Scheme The National Garden Scheme was founded in 1927 on the simple notion that garden lovers would be more than happy to pay a modest entry fee to visit gardens not normally accessible to the public. During the first year alone the ‘shilling-a-head’ entries to the 609 gardens which had signed up for the scheme raised over £8,000 for a special fund in memory of Queen Alexandra, patron of a voluntary organisation established to train nurses and to support those who were retired. Three years later the number of affiliated gardens had risen to over 1,000 (and Country Life Magazine had published a handbook). After WWII the NGS decided to help fund restoration and preservation of some important gardens owned by the National Trust. In return the NT opened many of its most prestigious gardens for the scheme. Today the list of beneficiary charities includes Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie (formerly Marie Curie Cancer Care), Help the Hospices and Carers Trust. Since its foundation the National Gardens Scheme has donated over £45 million to its beneficiary charities (with nearly £23 million donated within the last ten years). The National Gardens Scheme’s commitment to nursing and caring remains constant and, like the gardens themselves, the charity continues to grow and flourish. www.ngs.org.uk
GRINDING Taylor-Made STUMP David Cropper Gardens
Grind away tree & hedge
www.taylor-madegardens.com stumps leaving no trace!
Consultancy & advice designs & planting schemes Garden creation & make-over Plant supply
Specialist equipment Quality Gardening and know-how to & Maintenance cleanly remove stumps.
www.stumpgrindingcharente.com ALL AREAS COVERED Siren: 452 821 101
Garden Design and Landscape Gardening
www.yourlocalgardener.eu firstname.lastname@example.org Contact Neil 05 45 30 73 88
Lorne & Tracy Campbell Call me today on Chez Callois, 16310 Massignac 05 45 30 34 22 tel 05 45 21 69 63 mob 06 17 37 64 64 / 06 13 84 75 78 06 02 30 66 69 www.livingmagazine.fr Siret: 812 629 673 00011 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Business Directory ADVERTISE WITH L i ving The leading English language magazine
elcome to our updated Business Directory, packed full of the best English-speaking services suppliers across the region. Whatever you need, our advertisers can help you and, in return, just tell them you saw their advert here and you will help to keep Living Magazine free.
If you have a business in the region and would like to showcase your services to our 100,000 readers, we can help. With over 1,000 stockists, Living is the leading English-language magazine covering your area. Advertising starts at just 66€ttc per two-month issue (or 33€ttc on our monthly payment scheme). “We have placed several adverts with Living Magazine and each time our expectations are exceeded...As soon as the advert is placed the orders start coming in.” Shelly, eco-tabs
DeuxSèvres (79) Vienne (86)
HOW TO ADVERTISE:
Ring Jon on 05 49 87 29 71 or email email@example.com. We can design your advert for you free of charge. Pay monthly by debit/credit card.
Selling a wide range of beef, pork and lamb - 100% born and bred on our farm in France that we have been running for the last nine years. Cuts of meat, sausages, burgers, haggis, black puddings, pies and fresh rolls.
For full details, see our FB page at Montybutcher.fr or visit www.montybutcher.fr
Siret - 50067864400013
All prepared by Andrew, our very own Scottish butcher! Visit our farm shop, meet us at Les Herolles (86) market, or pick up a delivery near you. Each Friday evening we deliver to either Confolens (16), Civray (86), La Souterraine (23), Guéret (23) or Limoges (87). Chez Durand, 87330 St Barbant, only 4km from ‘The Shed’ Eco Entrepôt Tel: 09 65 10 28 06 / 06 84 42 68 89 Open: Thu - Sun / 14:00 - 18:00 firstname.lastname@example.org
Private Sales, Food
CAR FOR SALE
www.fransons.fr Tel: 05 45 25 96 22 Cod/Haddock & Chips fried in the Traditional way Steakhouse Hamburgers, English Tea, Beer, Wine
74,000€ ROCHECHOUART/ LE BREUIL DE GORRE (87)
4km north of Rochechouart area in small, quiet village. Ground floor: large living/dining room with small kitchen plus cellar. 1st floor: bedroom with terrace and shower room, wc. Surface: 74m2. In front of house, a barn of 159m2 can be used as a garage. Field of 894m2 located 100m from house. DTI completed in 2016. E: email@example.com Tel: 06 64 84 71 83
C180 MERCEDES CLASSIC
1999, manual, unleaded, 130 000km. LHD. Current CT. Two owners from new. Immaculate condition. New tyres, regular servicing, new stereo, great economy.
2 700€ ONO
In 17 - must sell by end of June.
Andy 05 46 26 40 75
Eat in or Takeaway 55, Rue de Ste Catherine 16410 Dirac Wed to Sat evening: 18h30-21h30 Tues to Fri lunch: 12h00-14h00 10 mins south east of Angouleme
From Mon-Sat, April-October, our vans will visit various locations in the Dordogne and Charente. Inside and outside seating at all venues. 18h00 - 20h30. See website for details
These local businesses are waiting for your call!
Regular temperature controlled deliveries from the UK of frozen, chilled and grocery Iceland products Domaine de la Goujonne 17270, MONTGUYON
05 46 48 32 44
TURN SUNLIGHT INTO POWER WE SEEK OUT THE VERY BEST RENEWABLE ENERGY SYSTEMS SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO
You really can generate and use your own electricity to reduce your electricity bills. We have many customers doing just that. We have solutions to suit most situations including low profile fixing systems for sensitive planning locations, devices to help you use as much free energy as possible, a DIY system to get you started and now the Linky smart meter is available you can earn from any excess you don’t need. ‘Autoconsommation’ or self generation and use is proven and it works. We think every home should have some PV. Give Paul a call for an informal chat to see if it could work for you.
HELPING YOU TOWARDS ENERGY INDEPENDENCE ● SOLAR HOT WATER ● SOLAR PV ● SOLAR VENTILATION
● PELLET BOILERS ● WOOD BURNERS ● POOL HEAT PUMPS
Petticoat Lane 5 Rue Nationale - 16150 Chabanais Tel 05 45 29 03 99 ~ Fax 05 45 85 92 25
Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 6pm
Visit www.petticoatlaneshop.com Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Butchers Calluaud 4 generation of Butchers, we know our beef! Locally sourced Beef, Veal, Lamb, Chicken and Pork Homemade Gluten- and Egg-free sausages - 7 varieties Homemade dry-cured Bacon and Pork Pies MARKETS CIVRAY (86): Tues & Fri RUFFEC (16): Wed & Sat SAUZE-VAUSSAIS (79): Thurs
U an N nde ag ew r em en t
W as Ca Bor fe g’s
3 Ave. Gay Lussac 87200 St Junien 05 55 79 57 60 www.moulin-de-tintin.com Check our FB page for latest offers: moulindetintin OPENING HOURS Weds - Sat: 10am-7pm Sunday: 12 noon-6pm
New stock arriving continuously including Next, M&S and many more!
• Workshops Techniques 1 & 2 (Annie Sloan approved tuition) • Commissions undertaken • Painted furniture sales • Objets d’art including paintings & glassware by local artists
Impasse Brisson, Le Souterrain, 16200 Courbillac Tel: 05 45 67 70 62 | www.couleursdevie.eu
Authorised stockist of
Autentico Chalk Paints Amadeus Tableware & Tables Hand-made crafts Individual furniture Stencils Two paint workshops/month
9 rue du Duc d’Aquitaine 85120 Vouvant T: 09 66 92 57 95 E: email@example.com W: www.frescointeriors.fr/en Open Tues-Sun 10.30am-6pm
Bell Computing ALPHA LOCKSMITHS Websites & Windows 24 / 7 - Emergency call out service firstname.lastname@example.org All domestic lock types changed www.bell-computing.com Lock picking Beautiful, bespoke WordPress websites designed, created, hosted and maintained. Whatever the problem, whatever the version of Windows, whatever the computer, if it’s a Windows PC I can fix it for you. Need help understanding your PC? Just call me for help.
Call Pat on 05 55 78 16 43 or 06 42 09 16 52
Door and Window servicing Car/Vehicle lockout service Non-destructive entry Free estimates No call out charge Competitive rates 06 70 34 79 32 kyriacosdemetriou701 @gmail.com
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Shops, computers, locksmith
Furniture, Fashion, Antiques, Gifts & Accessories Vast range of designer home decor for all styles Classic - Country - Contemporary
pour votre maison
Official Stockists of Chalk Paint™ a decorative paint by Annie Sloan Your premier source for all Annie Sloan products, from Chalk & Wall paint, waxes, lacquer, brushes & stencils, to friendly advice and a cup of tea! Visit our showroom to be inspired with our latest creations, we are situated between Cognac, Rouillac & Jarnac.
Fresh deliveries every 3 weeks
Charroux 86250 0549875827
Shop: Boucherie St Claud (16450) Call Samantha Calluaud on 06 50 04 37 30 www.boucherie-calluaud.com FB: boucherie Calluaud St Claud
Couleurs de Vie
Hundreds of English products at great prices Now stockists of Crown & Sandtex Paint Latté - Cappuccino - Tea Full English Breakfast Fresh Battered Cod & Chips Please refer to our website for more information OPEN: Mon-Fri: 10am-4pm
GR EEN MA N G RO CER IES
600+ CHILLED, AMBIENT & FROZEN PRODUCTS
Siret: 802 327 635 00016
ur Check o for e t i s web ates d market
SOLARWORLD AND KINGSPAN ACCREDITED INSTALLER
English groceries, Fresh Beef & Steak to order only, Gammon Steak, Bacon, Sausage & Cheddar cheese. Wide range of frozen items including vegetarian. Traditional English beers, Sherries & Wine. Cards for all occasions.
www.ecopowereurope.com email@example.com 05 45 32 65 57
Quality Furniture - Convenient Delivery FURNITURE for France is now in its thirteenth year of supplying quality furniture to properties in France. The company specialises in providing clients with a service that offers good quality UK-sourced furniture, delivered direct to your property in France from just £99 . Liaising with its customers from the initial enquiry through to furniture installation, ensures they are kept informed every step of the
way. “With 12 years’ experience and thousands of deliveries under our belts throughout France, we have encountered almost every-
Jewellery, Well-being, Sweep
T: 06 46 49 73 45
Necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Restringing, new clasps, replacement stones, etc. No job too small. Siret 81485156400017
Based Adriers 86430 Serving depts 16, 86 & 87
Tel: 06 49 69 80 72
Chimney sweep, property care
Photography to Sat. dishes
& WELLBEING Stephen Weil YOGA AT THE FRENCH Jewellery Repairs
Tues 19.30-20.45 / Weds 10.15-11.30
RESTORATIVE YOGA Thurs 10.30-11.45
YIN / BEGINNERS
Experienced, Registered & Fully Insured
• Upon completion of work a certificate of sweeping (certificat de Ramonage) and recommendations, including when the chimney will need sweeping again, will be issued. • Experienced in all types of fires, from woodburners to inglenooks.
Tel: 05 53 91 87 88 Siret: 484768700 firstname.lastname@example.org
real SUZANNEprofessional BARRY PHOTOGRAPHY
PROFESSIONAL REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY estate photography
Bussac, 87600 Cheronnac
Chimney Sweep Nick Wright
• Certificates issued for every sweep • Over 10 years’ experience • Working within 1 hour of Champniers (86)
Qualified in 1987 in the UK and former Physio to the GB acrobatics team
www.frenchyogagarden.com ContaCt LuCy thompson for bookings: email@example.com 05 49 87 36 26 Facebook: French Yoga Garden
We offer a thorough professional chimney sweeping service with a minimum of fuss and mess.
Visit Alison Barker & Stephanie Le Flock at...
05 55 06 59 12 06 71 46 79 11
Photo above: Ivory painted furniture with oak trim Photo left: Sofas available in a huge range of fabrics
See our website for more details and for forthcoming events:
Located near Riberac (24) and willing to travel
SUZANNE BARRY PHOTOGRAPHY
thing and put that to good use when helping customers find the right furniture for their property,” said Brian Muir, the company’s managing director. “The website gives information on all the oak ranges offered, the sofa designs and mattress options. Start the ball rolling by e-mailing any questions you may have on the furniture or its delivery - we are always very pleased to help.”
hair, beauty, nails Civray (86400) 26 rue du Commerce Tel: 05 49 87 16 33 06 82 59 76 87 firstname.lastname@example.org
H.P.C. PH66488 siret 497 688 663 00028
Siret: 509 861 902 00013
M&M PROPERTY MAINTENANCE
Registered with the Chambre de Métiers et de l’Artisanat Siret 8196820300001
Contact Nick on email: email@example.com or T. 05 49 87 54 88
ARC EN CIEL Nettoyage Professionnel
Depts 16 & 17
Painting & decorating services Tiling / Flooring Plasterboarding Suppliers of Crown Paints Providing a quality service since 2005 Kevin Smith
www.nettoyage-services-dordogne.fr PROFESSIONAL CLEANING & HYGIENE SERVICES
Siret 482 718 640 00022
16100 Chateaubernard 05 45 36 46 70 / 06 72 21 80 27 firstname.lastname@example.org www.mmpropertymaintenance.fr
Key holding / conciergerie. Cleaning of commercial and domestic premises and window cleaning. Rugs, carpet & upholstery steam shampoo extraction. Hard floors / surfaces treatment: marble, granite, terracotta etc & wood floor parquet. Swimming pool & garden maintenance. Office: 05 53 07 52 71 (9 to 18.00) Mobile: 06 31 31 06 76 / 06 70 39 83 96 email@example.com
Siret: 813 442 860 00017
LUXURY MOBILE HOME PORT GRIMAUD Bay of St Tropez
THINKING OF MARKETING poitou charentes and surrounding departments
YOUR THINKING OF PROPERTY? MARKETING Let me help you... YOUR PROPERTY?
For more information, contact me on 06 38 02 52 98
HIGH QUALITY PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS
RAISE THE PROFILE OF YOUR PROPERTY
MAXIMISE YOUR CHANCES OF A SALE
Email: enquiries@ suzannebarryphotography.com
For more information please contact me on
Siret No. 502 259 674 00013
(00 33) 06 71 99 77 66
www.suzannebarryphotography.com email: firstname.lastname@example.org siret No. 502 259 674 00013
Bright and modern A/C, 2-bed Mobile Home in a fantastic location on Prairies de La Mer with its own private beach. Bars, restaurants, water sports facilities and spa centre on-site. For details, email
Phone: 06 09 66 02 01
These local businesses are waiting for your call!
Tel: 05 55 09 15 73
Whether you need a builder or a bricklayer, a plumber or painter, the only place to look is Artisan Central.
www.artisancentral.fr Siret No: 827 515 313 00019
Claude’s Cat Hotel Cachette du chat
Regular trips throughout Europe
Condac, Ruffec. Purpose-built heated Chambers for your cat with its own outdoor run Each chamber is well equipped to give your cat all the comforts. Open all year. Visits welcome. Reg DSV – Certiﬁcate of capacity Tel 0545 29 01 31 0615 66 38 92 Flurry16@gmail.com
Small friendly cattery
Services tailored to your needs
Floris Van Aubel
DEFRA Type 2 licensed, Our small purpose built custom built vans cattery offers heated
Equine Solutions Dentistry Education Understanding
accommodation with outdoor
space in a rural setting. Les Chaillauds 16220 MONTBRON Tel: 05 45 24 01 45
tel: 06 82 41 00 02 email@example.com www.sedec.pro
firstname.lastname@example.org T: +44 (0)7855 401 102 T: +44 (0)1656 670 856
E:email@example.com www.claudescathotel.com By appointment Mon-Sat 9am-6pm
4 fully-equipped 10m2 luxury suites Collection & return service available Photos & videos sent during stay Call Joyce to arrange a tour! Phone or text 06 44 10 20 34 Email: Chatfirstname.lastname@example.org
2 La Mariettere, 1km from Scillé (79240) 4km: La Chapelle Thireuil 5km: L’Absie
15km: Secondigny, Moncoutant, Coulonges
deVere France can advise you on ways to help safeguard and increase your wealth, as well as helping with HMRC-recognised pension transfers to a Qualified Recognised Overseas Pensions scheme (QROPS) to give you potentially more flexibility in your pension plans.
(formerly Cats and Dogs Boarding Kennels)
Anita Frayling - Le Baillat, 16220 Rouzede T: 05 45 66 14 62 E: email@example.com
Helen Booth For those of you that don't already know us, we are a Financial Adviser Email: firstname.lastname@example.org purpose-built kennels with a large secure paddock area Mobile: +33 (0) 771 712 879 where dogs can run free and play while having their www.devere-france.fr 2 walks per day on or off the lead. PDF Created with deskPDF PDF Writer - Trial :: http://www.docudesk.com deVere France S.a.r.l, RCS B 528949837, Bâtiment Socrate (ZAC Aéroport), 17 avenue Didier Daurat, CS10051 31702 BLAGNAC, Toulouse. Gérant: Mr. Richard Bayle. Registre Large family kennels are available. avec ANACOFI-CIF (Association Nationale des Conseils Financiers) (#E008176), association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Financiers. Courtier d’assurances ou de réassurance, Catégorie B, inscrit à l’Organisme pour le Registre des Intermédiaires en Assurance (ORIAS) Nombre enregistré 12064640. Garantie Financière et Assurance You are welcome to call if you have any questions de Responsabilité Civile Professionnelle conformes aux articles L 541-3 du Code Monétaire et Financier et L 512-6 et 512-7 du Code des Assurances. • deVere France S.a.r.l, registered company number RCS B 528949837, Bâtiment Socrate (ZAC Aéroport), 17 Avenue Didier Daurat, CS10051 Immeuble Socrate, 31702 Blagnac, CS10051, Toulouse. Gérant: Mr. Richard Bayle. Registered with ANACOFI-CIF (National Association of Financial Advisers) (#E008176), association approved by the Financial Markets Authority. or would like to visit the kennels. Insurance and re-insurance brokers, Category B, registered with the Organisation for the Registration of Assurance Intermediaries (ORIAS). Registered number 12064640. Financial and Professional Liability Insurance Guarantee conforms to article L 541-3 of the Monetary and Fiscal Code and L 512-6 and 512-7 of the Assurance Code. • This material is for information purposes only and does not constitute an invitation, offer or solicitation to engage in any investment advice or recommendation, or an offer of A website will be launched soon. solicitation. You should seek professional independent advice before making any financial decision. The information provided herein is believed to be reliable as at date of 15 mins from La Rochefoucauld & 20 mins from Rochechouart
Help and legal advice to UK ex-patriots in France. Will advisors, succession law and co-ordinated conveyancing.
05 86 30 03 95 email@example.com
Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. No: 629638 Incorporated in England & Wales, Company Number: 10122688
issue, but is subject to change without notice and the company makes no representation as to the completeness or accuracy of the information or the opinions expressed. The application and impact of laws can vary widely based on specific facts and your country of residence.
Health insurance, prearranged funeral agreements, investments, life insurance, retirement planning for businesses or individuals. We advise clients across the French Dordogne and South Charente regions. Let me find a taylor-made solution that will meet your needs. With a 15 years’ experience in the Insurance industry, I will guide you through our many products and services, at your own place should you want to! All you need is to call me or email me in order to arrange a meeting at:
On Your Mortgage Payments
06 76 46 13 43 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Quote 'Living' to help keep this magazine free for readers
Kennels, Financial Services
LIME TREE KENNELS
Siret: 822 175 527 0016
‘Home away from home’ Luxury suites for cats
The UK’s Premium Pet Transport Company
Insurance and asset management advice in English Hello, my name is Isabelle Want. For the past 5 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.
- 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
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
English Speaking Ask for Corinne
For all your insurance needs in France
Special discount for new owners - 50% off the first year Fully comprehensive covers at competitive prices and all explained in ENGLISH. We respond quickly to enquiries and in the case of accidents or claims, we are here to help. Offices at Champdeniers and St Pardoux (79). Come and visit us.
AGENCES PHILIPPE BOURDIN 3 Place d’Armes, 16700 RUFFEC Tel: 05 45 31 01 51 or Commercial site at SuperU, 79190 SAUZE VAUSSAIS Tel: 05 49 07 61 10 E: email@example.com No ORIAS: 07009808
Free, no obligation quotes. Ask for Samantha, our English member of staff, with over 25 years’ experience in insurance.
Help & advice, Bike rental
Agence Michallon Tel: 05.49.25.87.06 Corinne.firstname.lastname@example.org
Motor, House and Contents, Health, Business, Life Insurance and Savings
INSURANCE & INVESTMENT
email@example.com N° ORIAS 14001253
Car, House, Health, Travel, Business, Life insurances… Investments.
2 Offices: 87300 BELLAC / 87140 NANTIAT – Tel. 05 55 68 11 80
Siren No 520 382 805
My ethos: “Providing a cost effective and efficient service, meeting deadlines, and achieving the best solutions for my clients.” Eloisa Thomas
Administrative Assistance & Solutions Private Individuals & Small Businesses Translation & Interpretation English / Français / Português / Espagnol ALL FRENCH ADMINISTRATION MATTERS TAX RETURNS - BUSINESS REGISTRATION BANKS - INSURANCE - HEALTH - SCHOOLS & MUCH MORE
24 rue du commerce, 86400 CIVRAY 05 49 87 68 97 / 06 33 11 64 05 firstname.lastname@example.org | www.efficientranslations.fr
Quality bike hire across
16, 17, 24, 33, 79, 85, 86 & 87 FREE delivery & collection Gite Owner? Earn money with us!
05 67 07 11 01 email@example.com www.bikehiredirect.com
Centre de Langues Étrangères et Française
Training, Translations, Assistance Visit our new language school at the centre of Sauzé-Vaussais offering lessons and translations in English, French, Spanish, Italian and more... • One-to-one lessons from 30€/hr, Group lessons from 6€/hr, intense French courses • Preparation for DELF exams and French Citizenship • Children tutoring in all subject from 6 to 15 years old • Translations: Paperwork and assistance with meetings • Business assistance
Émilie BAUDREZ 36, Grande Rue 79190 SAUZÉ-VAUSSAIS firstname.lastname@example.org SIRET n° 79503389300012
These local businesses are waiting for your call!
in 79 Based as e All ar d e e v co r
U.P.V.C. Double Glazing High quality U.P.V.C. windows & doors UK Manufactured, specifically made in French style
Siret No: 53900933300013
Wide choice of colours available including aluminium NE Professionally surveyed, measured and installed 25+ years experience References available, fully insured and registered Haynes Carpentry Call Keith on 05 49 63 97 80 or 07 80 06 26 45 (mobile) Email: email@example.com
82 rue Jean Ducongé 16410 Garat Tel: 05 17 20 34 84 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We buy and sell left hand drive cars, French & British registered. Delivery and collection across Europe - regular trips throughout France. New and used, tax paid and tax free. www.lhdplace.co.uk email@example.com +44 (0) 1256 461173
L’Atelier de Fer Fraser W. Eade
General Engineering Turning, Milling, Welding
' The major stockist and distributor in south west France of parts for Land Rover, Jaguar, MG, Mini, Triumph, Rover and other classic British vehicles. ' Technical support and electronic diagnostic equipment are available. ' Buy on-line via our website.
Tel: 05 55 63 58 85
Quality & Precision Guaranteed Forgeix, 87200 Saint Junien
05 55 71 41 75
firstname.lastname@example.org www.latelierdefer.com Siret: 512 945 874 00018
C J Logistics Full or part loads undertaken a box to a full removal Cars, Boats and caravans a speciality Full European coverage Secure storage available in France and UK UK depot available for deliveries Every item is covered by GIT and CMR insurances Full trade references available
Our units are dry, clean and purpose brick built with double lock galvanised roller shutter doors for added security. Easily accessed off junction 47 off the N145 towards Aubusson. Whether you’re a business or an individual, we are here to help.
Phone David on 05 49 87 15 06 e-mail email@example.com
YOUR ONE-STOP TRANSPORT SERVICE
Tel: 05 49 64 97 25 Mob: 06 05 54 87 81 firstname.lastname@example.org
Man & Van Transport Genuine, Reliable & Honest Local + Europe + UK runs 14m3 capacity 4.2m load length English & French spoken “extremely professional, reliable and very good value for money” Siret: 530 213 644 00012
09 82 12 69 73
REMOVALS - STORAGE - GENERAL TRANSPORT - EXPRESS SERVICE SPAIN - UK - FRANCE
1 cubic metre to full trailer loads - Dedicated express loads Warehouse drop-off service - Single box, part load specialist Professional export packing service
For a free quotation, call or visit our website: +34 952 79 34 22 +34 952 80 76 92 www.murrayharper.com email@example.com
Quote 'Living' to help keep this magazine free for readers
MORE €€€ FOR THE SAME ₤₤₤
Weekly trips between UK and France Everything from part loads to full house removals Fully insured and registered Over 25 years experience in transport and removals UK depot available for deliveries
Tel: 09 83 70 01 33 Mob: 06 61 25 41 09 E: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Railings, Gates, Window Grilles Ornate interior/exterior designs Steel framed buildings constructed/redesigned General welding repairs/brazing Over 25 years experience
Storage, Transport services
SECURE SELF STORAGE UNITS
Motoring, Metal work
Left Hand Drive Place
Carpets to make your French home warm & cosy While most people’s dream holiday home normally involves plenty of space to soak up the sun by the side of the pool, the reality for most of us is that’s only going to happen for a small part of the year! If you want to use your holiday home outside the main holiday months you may need to make your home warm & cosy during the winter. This obviously becomes more important if you are planning a full-time move to France – remember the winters do get cold here!
T: 05 55 73 63 16
While the process of getting carpets & flooring fitted in the UK is straightforward, things are very different in France (which is, after all, part of the reason for wanting to be here!). There is not the choice or availability that you’ll be used to in the UK and often what you can find find is very poor quality or extremely expensive – often both! So, where is the best place to find carpets and flooring for your French home? Your place of course! We’ll
FRANKLINS REMOVALS LTD
come to you with some of our 1000s of samples from the major UK manufacturers – carpets, vinyls, wooden flooring, laminate and luxury vinyl tiles. We’ve lived & worked in France for over 10 years, supplying carpets & flooring to all types of homes – mobile homes to chateaux, city apartments to Alpine ski chalets, sea-going cruisers to canal boats, and just about anything else you can imagine! So when you want to get warm & cosy, give JON - THE CARPETMAN a call!
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property management throughout france
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Places to go
Restaurants & bar s, Events, Associations and C lubs.
Mad Hatter’s Kitchen Mad Hatters Kitchen serving freshly made good food just for you!
Thurs & Fri lunches: 3 courses, wine included €15 Fri & Sat evening menu €25 Traditional 3-course Sunday lunch €19 All by reservation FULLY LICENSED BAR | BED & BREAKFAST
Fri 7 April Music Bistro Angie Palmer Fri 14 April A feast of Chinese and Thai cuisine Fri 28 April Music Bistro - band TBC Fri 12 May Our ‘special’ curry night Fri 2 June Music Bistro Paddy James and Tim de Graaw Mad Hatter’s Wonderland festival 11, 12, 13 August! Please ring or e mail for more info 0549 27 67 29 firstname.lastname@example.org / www.madhattersfrance.eu Le Logis, Le Breuillac, 79190 Caunay
À L’ABRI DES PINS Restaurant en Charente
Philippe & Yveline offer traditional French cuisine using fresh local ingredients
Fixed menu from Weekdays 14.50€ Weekends 21€/26€ (2/3 courses) Open lunchtimes Tues -Sun
T: 05 45 35 81 27 06 31 64 85 14 www.abri-des-pins.com Mother’s Day & Easter Specials Repas gastronomique
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www.alabonnevie.com 05 49 95 91 60
Traditional English Food Large choice of beers Quizzes and Events
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Food served all day including bacon sandwiches, all-dayAuberge du noyer breakfast, baked potato with Bar & Restaurant toppings, a side salad and more. Freshly cooked food, Menu du jour, Also selling Irish/English proDaily specials, A la carte, duce & Gluten-free products. & live music Come and enjoy the cosy country ambience. Tuesday to Saturday 10h-17h (11h-16hWeds & 10h-16h Sat) 21 Rue du Maquis Foch, La Brousse, 16700 Londigny 16500 Confolens tel; 05 45 29 05 07 06 14 12 54 61 / 05 45 31 23 31 www.aubergedunoyer.com FB: Mary Burke(Theirishbelle) www.facebook.com/aubergedunoyer
THE ENGLISH SCHOOL OF HYPNOTHERAPY IN FRANCE
Hypnotherapy, NLP and ‘Resolution Magic’ Therapy by telephone, and in person at Benest, Charente, 16350 For pain, migraine, period pain and other unwanted symptoms Further details on the website.
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Alcoholics Anonymous If you, or someone you know, has a drinking problem, join one of the English-speaking AA meetings across the south west of France. Alcoholics Anonymous is a Fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other so that they may solve their common problem and help others recover from alcoholism. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help others achieve sobriety. Tel: Angela on 05 49 87 79 09 or Roger on 05 55 76 22 65 www.aafrance.net
International Writing Competitions 2017 POETRY UP TO 50 LINES First prize: 350€ Entry fee: 6€ Judge: A. C. Clarke SHORT STORIES FROM 1,500 TO 3,000 WORDS First prize: 350€ Entry fee: 8€ Judge: Emma Curtis VIGNETTE (SHORT PROSE): up to 300 words. Theme: Space Prize: 120€ Entry fee: 6€ Judge: Ben Lawrence ONE-ACT PLAYS: up to 35 minutes running time Prize: 120€ Entry fee:15€ Judge: Gordon Simms
Results announced in Jocelyn Simms, 1 rue de la Sèvre, 79380 St. André-sur-Sèvre, Email : firstname.lastname@example.org www.poetryproseandplays.com FB: SegoraPPP
Proceeds from competition entries donated to Médecins Sans Frontières
Closing date: 15th June 2017
ACROSS: 1. Rum 3. Soho 5. Scud 9. Dogma 10. Linnets 11. Accelerators 14. Yellow 15. Marine 18. Mystery tours 21. Skelter 22. Usage 23. Bier 24. Estd 25 Sad DOWN: 1. Ride 2. Magical 3. Scare to death 4. Helter 6. Credo 7. Dis 8.Uncatalogued 12. Sten 13. Eyam 16. Inroads 19. Scene 20. Need 21. Sub This week’s theme Jane Austen
living music | 65
M The real deal UpBeat
Tired of over-produced, over-hyped, gone-tomorrow music? Don’t worry – the real thing is alive and well, thanks to performers like Bordeaux-based Martha Fields.
enerally when you hear a recording artist say they’re ‘going back to the roots’ then the roots in question tend to be someone else’s. Other performers, though, are the product of a very different kind of upbringing, and you can hear it in their music. Martha Fields, for example, grew up in West Virginia to an Appalachian mother and a Texan father. As she recalls: “My mother’s family originally came and settled in the Appalachian hills from Scotland, Ireland and England, and were very isolated, so they played their own music and made their own instruments. My earliest memories were of singing with my Mom and her sisters. In the evenings, we’d just sit around and play in the kitchen or on the porch – all the old bluegrass songs or what we call mountain music. It’s just what we did to express what we were feeling at the time. Later I played with folks from East Kentucky, including Ricky Skaggs, who is a distant cousin, and eventually the great Merle Travis.” Martha never stopped playing, and over the years worked with other big names in country music. Then in 2014 she received an unexpected invitation: “I went to university in Austin, Texas, which has a big French community. Years later some good friends from my university days who had returned to
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France invited me to visit them near Bordeaux. I actually came a couple of times, played some dates and really enjoyed it, so I decided to stay and put a band together.” That sounds like a big ask, but Martha was surprised to uncover not only great musicianship, but also the elusive country/Americana feel which the music demands. Unlike computer-driven pop, this is one genre in which if you can’t cut it as a player then there’s no place to hide. The result was Texas Martha & The House of Twang, a six-piece touring outfit which rapidly established itself as one of the hottest Americana acts on the European festival circuit, and recorded an album. ‘Long Way From Home’ was released in 2015 to widespread critical acclaim and blended Martha’s gritty, twang-fuelled country rock with elements of blues and infectious southern boogie, delivered courtesy of her regular touring musicians. That’s a rare thing these days, and tells you something about the calibre of the players. That doesn’t mean that the line-up isn’t flexible, as Martha is quick to point out: “Outside of festivals many places just don’t have stages big enough to take a full six-piece band with drums, so we vary things to suit the venue and the budget.” Keeping things simple brings us right back to the roots theme, and the
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Bar ~ Snacks ~ Music ~ Pool
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kind of purity which you can hear in Martha’s latest album ‘Southern White Lies’, which rose to the number 2 spot in the EuroAmericana chart. This time the sounds are acoustic, with tight harmonies and every subtle nuance of the playing coming through loud and clear – not that Martha has had to hold back on her trademark dynamic vocal delivery. Confidence like that only comes when the music is not merely what you play, but who you are. You’ll find Martha’s latest news, including her forthcoming dates around the region at www.texasmartha.com.
66 | living Language
ood moaning! One of the main difficulties of arriving in France is that French, like English, is filled with expressions from movies, songs and television that are very popular for the French whilst meaning nothing to a foreigner. If you can’t speak French and you’ve more in common with Delboy, Inspector Clouseau or the policeman in ‘Allo! Allo!’ than Gérard Depardieu, don’t panic. Hopefully these expressions will help you pass muster. It’s the same for anyone arriving in the UK: I’m not sure how many of you readers will join me in a rousing chorus of ‘we hope it’s chips, it’s chips!’, ‘Just one Cornetto…’ or would be able to finish off the sentence, ‘Have a break…’. Some of those advertising catch phrases or lines from television are such a part of our daily vocabulary that we don’t even think about where they came from anymore. Some of those adverts are coming up to forty years old. Tesco’s ‘Every Little Helps’ rolled out with Prunella Scales in 1993 and I certainly didn’t remember that ‘Naughty… but nice!’ came from an advert about fresh cream cakes. A goldfish being sent to the animal shelter and getting the blame for eating all the chocolate mousse may mean nothing to you, but if you say that ‘you’ve pushed the cork a little too far this time, Maurice!’ to a French person, you may raise a smile or two. This very popular advert for ChocoSui’s chocolate pudding finishes with the little boy chastising his goldfish for having eaten all the chocolate and threatening to send him to the shelter, ‘tu pousses le bouchon un peu trop loin, Maurice!’ and ‘je t’avais prévenu, Maurice!’ or ‘I warned you, Mau-
L i ving
Language expert Emma Lee takes inspiration from the silver screen…
point out how far-fetched the story is. There are several cult French films which have become as popular for inspiring catchphrases as ‘Casablanca’ or ‘The Terminator’. Many of these are really funny, such as the 1979 classic ‘Les Bronzés font du ski’, and they’re well worth watching if you haven’t seen them already. An expression that seems to have passed into popular language from this film is ‘with a misunderstanding, it could work’ or ‘sur un malentendu, ça peut marcher’. It’s an expression which has berice’. You’ll certainly get a smile if you say come very popular, following the dating one of these at the right moment. advice of one of the film’s stars to another Another French advertising catch phrase character. If you’re looking for a fun way to that is very popular is ‘Maman a dit que je say that, with a little luck something might peux!’ or ‘Mum said I can’. This is another work out, this is a great expression to use. advert with a little boy which was very You can imagine a few of the politicians popular in France. In the advert, you see saying this to one another before the election, hoping to be voted in. several scenarios of a young boy getting a tattoo, being arrested driving a convertible, A more modern film that seemed to generate a lot of popular expressions is sawing up his teacher’s chair, always followed by ‘Maman a dit que je peux!’. And the ‘Le Dîner de Cons’. This 1998 film is a punchline? The boy goes to his mother’s comic gem, introducing François Pignon closed bedroom door to make his requests, as the unwitting dupe of the film. He has the answer to which is a passionate, “Yes! many classic lines and scenes, and one of Yes!”. It’s an advert for a condom manumy favourite moments is where he directs facturer. Still, if you say ‘Maman a dit que someone to the wrong door to throw up. je peux!’, your brownie points for French One of the other characters says, ‘j’avais cultural knowledge will skyrocket. dit à gauche, Pignon’ or ‘I said to the left, One of my favourite French adverts is Pignon’. It’s always a great comic line if one for Milka Swiss chocolate, where a someone goes the wrong way or if man comes across a Swiss chalet where someone doesn’t follow instructions. Hopefully these expressions will help you the cows, a dog and a marmot are running a production line for Milka. The show a little mastery of French culture and man’s eyes are open wide as he watches bring s smile to your friends’ faces. Champs Elysées as Delboy would say. the marmot fold the wrapper around the bars, and back in the supermarket, he tells Emma is a jack-of-all-language-trades, writing his incredulous wife, ‘et la marmotte, elle English textbooks, translating, marking exam met le chocolat dans le papier d’alu’. If you’re scripts and teaching languages. She lives near listening to an unbelievable story, you can La Rochefoucauld with her growing menagerie. say, ‘et alors, la marmotte…’ as a shortcut to See www.english-tuition.weebly.com
Editor: Kathryn Dobson FEATURES EDITOR: Roger Moss Advertising: Jon Dobson Art editor: Nadia Van den Rym Production manager: Justin Silvester Regular contributors: Ron Cousins, Caro Feely, Susan Hays, Jessica Knipe magazine Emma-Jane Lee, Nikki Legon, Richard Morris and Stig Tomas. WITH THANKS TO: John and Gill Bowler, Julia Moss. Photography: Shutterstock or Roger Moss unless indicated. Cover image: The soul of nature and the daisy © Alexis Marcillaud Published by: SARL AMM, 2 Rue Buffefeu, 86400 Linazay FRANCE. Poitiers: 533 624 128. Printed by: Rotimpres S.A. Dépôt légal: A parution. ISSN: 0753-3454. Living Magazine is free. Living Magazine est disponible gratuitement. All material may not be reproduced without the written permission of SARL AMM. Toute reproduction même partielle du contenu est interdit sans l’accord écrit du magazine. Please ensure you verify that the company you are dealing with is registered in France and/or elsewhere around the world. Articles in this issue do not necessarily reflect the views of the magazine.
Hôtel RestauRant CHaRbonnel
Ideal location, with rooms overlooking the river Dronne, close to the major sights and attractions offered in the Périgord vert. Enjoy freshly-prepared regional food in our restaurant or on our riverside terrace. www.lesfrerescharbonnel.com Tel: 05 53 05 70 15 e: firstname.lastname@example.org
57 rue Gambetta, 24310 Brantôme
Expect the unexpected .
Get away to one of France’s most popular amusement parks and the only one of its kind in Europe! Set off on amazing journeys and dive headlong into the fantastic, fun and festive Futuroscope atmosphere as it celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2017! Discover The Extraordinary Journey, the only attraction of its kind in Europe…Take to the skies aboard an incredible machine with your legs hanging free. Fly like a bird to the edge of make-believe, whoosh by mirages in the desert, base-jump from the top of a skyscraper in a futuristic city, and more… Enjoy 25 original experiences with family and friends, including star attractions such as the THEA* award winners The Time Machine and Arthur, the 4D Adventure. And get ready for a magical evening show by the light of the moon with La Forge aux Etoiles, the aquatic fairytale fantasy from Cirque du Soleil (every evening after dark, included in the price of admission). *Awarded by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) (organization of amusement-park industry professionals from across the globe).
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Ideally located near the Atlantic coast between Loire Valley, La Rochelle, Cognac and Bordeaux.
Easy access by road, train or plane . Direct flights from London, Edinburgh to Poitiers.
-6€ per person
The voucher is valid for Adults (aged 17 and ove r) and children (aged 5 16) for 1-day dated-entry to tickets (Classic Rate bas is) and must be handed in at the Futuroscope ticket booths between 4th February 2017 and 7th January 2018* (1 to 5 visit ors only per voucher, for a visit on the same day Discount does not apply ). to other ticket types, Sma rt Rate, Special 1-day offe «4 people or more», brea r ks, other packages, und ated tickets, and booking made online or by pho s ne. Offer cannot be applied retroactively or combine d with other offers.
*Please check the opening
dates calendar on futurosc