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L i ving magazine

Spring is in the air!

Business Directory

Find the best local companies!

april may

2020

Time to Relax Fabulous features & inspiration from around the region

Passionate about life in south west France


16 April/May 2020

44

AS WE GO TO PRINT the coronavirus is taking hold and we are all concerned by the possible impact. When you read this edition, more will be understood but we all know that this is going to be a bumpy year for everyone. For once, all talk of Brexit has been knocked from the headlines, something we didn’t think possible. Living in a tourism hotspot, where so many businesses and employers rely on tourists arriving, we cannot help but be anxious. But one thing we can all do is support the local businesses around us when the worst is past and help them to get back on to their feet, especially those hit hard by both Brexit and the arrival of COVID-19. They’ll need us more than ever. Looking for the silver lining of the recommended social distancing, it will at least give you plenty of time to read this issue! As always, we have packed it full of informative features, fabulous photos and great ideas of things to see and do. Of course, do double-check that any events are still on or that attractions are open before you leave home. Other than the obvious concerns we all have with the virus, here at LIVING, one of our worries is whether you, our readers, will be able to go out and pick up our next edition from our usual stockists. So, we’ve pulled out all the stops and have put together a very special subscription offer. Have LIVING delivered directly to your door in France for a year and save one third on our normal postage price! See page 31 for details. À bientôt!

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Snippets News from around the region

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Guiding Lights Roger Moss discovers some of the slender sentinels found around our Atlantic coastline

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The Big Reveal In a rural setting on the outskirts of Chassenon archaeologists are piecing together the story of a miraculous survivor from galloRoman times

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Bathed in Colour We preview the opening of Les Bassins de Lumières in Bordeaux

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SUBSCRIPTION SPECIAL OFFER

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Practical Advice We put your questions to our professional experts

34

Citizens’ Rights Kathryn Dobson explains what the transition period means for British nationals

36

May Musings Susan Hays reflects on the arrival of spring

37

Puzzle Break Our unique crossword by Mike Morris

“Boudu! C’est gavé de patois par ici!”

38

Jessica Knipe explores the rich and varied network of local dialects (and helps to decipher them)

Bundles of fresh asparagus are arriving - it’s a surprisingly versatile vegetable

Nikki Legon’s Cuisine

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White Wines An overview of the white wine regions in France by Caro Feely

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Living Property Pages A profile of La Roque-Gageac in Dordogne

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Into the Light Vegetables under cover!

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Call it Cajun! How local music has kept French spoken in the USA.

66

Pardon! More French language fun with expert Emma-Jane Lee

54-63

Business Directory The best local services & suppliers

64 Places To Go around the region

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regional

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

News round up

High-Speed to London

COVID-19

As LIVING goes to press the COVID-19 situation is worsening and France is beginning to put stronger measures in place to stop its spread. In this fastmoving situation, whatever we write today will most likely be out of date tomorrow, so we recommend that you check the official sites for information.The regional health organisations (Agence Régionale de Santé or ARS) give regular local updates. Visit: www.nouvelle-aquitaine.ars.sante.fr and www.paysde-la-loire.ars.sante.fr. These updates are in French and we aim to translate the key notices into English on our Facebook page: LivingMagazine.fr. Government issued information can be found at: www.gouvernement.fr/info-coronavirus, and on the national health service site: www.santepubliquefrance.fr. For non-French speakers, we recommend that you use Google Translate or DeepL to translate directly into English.

Driving Licences

Finally, the new site for exchanging European licences (including British) for French ones has been launched after a stressful couple of years for many, when backlogs and lost applications caused a lot of worry as Brexit was happening. As of now, no more postal applications to CERT in Nantes will be accepted; all must go through the new ANTS website. To access the site you need to already have a FranceConnect account or to create a new one directly on the site, but once there the process appears straightforward to use. To apply, visit permisdeconduire. ants.gouv.fr and choose Demander un permis de conduire.

www.livingmagazine.fr

Following the success of the direct service from London to Amsterdam, direct high-speed trains from Bordeaux to London have come a step closer. The trains would run from Bordeaux using the new LGV line, travelling past Paris and through the Channel Tunnel to London St Pancras. The overall journey time is expected to be around 5 hours. The owners of High Speed 1, the line from London through the Tunnel, recently published research suggesting that international rail services with journey times under 5 hours can capture around a third of the market share from short-haul flights, and possibly more with the focus on climate change. The hope is that the route could open within the next two years.

2020 Calendar

The next two months are packed with bank holida ys: Lundi de Pâques - Mon 13 April Fête du Travail - Fri 1 May Victoire 1945 - Fri 8 May Ascension - Thu 21 May (there is a pont on Fri 22 May) Lundi de Pentecôte - Mon 1 June School spring holidays for Bordeaux Academy run from 18 Apr il - 4 May while those for Nantes Aca demy run from 11 - 27 April.


Île de Ré

News from around the region...

LA ROCHELLE Surgeres Rochefort

CHARENTE-MARITIME (17) Marennes Saintes Cognac Royan

Ruffec

Rouillac

CONFOLENS

CHARENTE (16)

Jarnac

les charentes Regional Delights ANGOULEME

Barbezieux

Aubeterresur-Dronne

Beauvais-sur-Matha (17) is the archetypal Charentais village, set on a hill overlooking vineyards and cereal crops. The traditional houses are clustered around a square lined with linden trees and which hosts an annual wine and regional produce market, an ideal opportunity to discover the uniqueness of the local terroir. Taste wines and foods from around France including cheeses, delicatessen and much more. Talk directly to the producers, who will explain their traditions and offer tastings – and if you purchase from three stands, you will be entered into the competition to win a weekend at a luxurious ‘Relais & Châteaux’ hotel. This year’s market takes place on Sunday, 24 May – refreshments are available all day and entry is free.

© Nikolaj Lund

Île de Oléron

Classical Tradition

The month of May (and early June) is festival time as Chalais (16) reverberates to the sound of classical music, welcoming musicians and music-lovers from across Europe. A reputation for dynamic international artists, together with fresh and exciting programming, have made the Festival International de Musique de Chambre en Charente one of the most renowned of its kind in recent years, establishing an annual tradition in the heart of the Charentais countryside. The everpopular festival celebrates its 12th anniversary this year with a particular nod to Beethoven’s 250th birthday. Receptions, exhibitions, musician meets, tastings of local food & wine after each concert and, of course, the legendary Concert de Gala followed by a Champagne reception. Concerts take place at Chalais, Baignes, and Châteaubernard from 9 May to 7 June and advance booking is recommended. Full details and tickets on www.chalaismusique.com and also from Pôle Touristique in Aubeterre: 05 45 98 57 18; chalaismusique@gmail.com.

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Île de Ré

LA ROCHELLE Surgeres Île de Oléron

Rochefort

CHARENTE-MARITIME (17) Marennes Saintes Cognac Royan

Ruffec

Rouillac Jarnac

CONFOLENS

CHARENTE (16)

ANGOULEME Barbezieux Aubeterresur-Dronne

Dare-devil Diving © Vincent Curutchet / Red Bull Content Pool

The heart-stopping spectacle of elite athletes diving from one of the region’s best-known landmarks is back. Absent from the calendar since 2016, some 70,000 spectators are expected to fill the harbour area of La Rochelle to watch the first European event of the 12th Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series on 6 June. For the first time ever, women will also be diving from the Tour Saint-Nicolas from 21m, while the men will dive from 27m. UK’s Gary Hunt has won four out of the last five competitions in La Rochelle, his first win being in 2010. It will be an outstanding feat should he win the 2020 event, too.

News from around the region...

les charentes

Picture This

Now in its eighth year, the Émoi Photographique festival presents another fascinating series of photographic exhibitions in and around Angoulême (16). This year’s theme is ‘Détournements’ or ‘Diversions’ and features the works of 22 photographers across 11 venues. Guest of honour is Parisian Georges Rousse, known for his award-winning large-scale installations which mix photography, painting and sculpture and have been featured in galleries around the world. The ambiguous theme allows for an eclectic collection of exhibitions, from genetic manipulation with Alain Gillet, animal enslavement and global warming by Alastair Magnaldo, despair with Claudia Vialaret or the search for self-acceptance by Dorothée Machabert. For the full programme of events, see www.emoiphotographique.fr.

Vélo et Fromages

A 154km cycle route is the first in Charente-Maritime to receive the new Bicycle and Cheese label launched in 2018. Entering the département from the Vendée, on the Francette cycle-path, the route heads to La Rochelle before joining up with La Flow Vélo. 39 different milk and cheese sites are featured along the route – it’s recommended to allow 3 days. Full details of the route will be available in Tourist Offices this summer.

LOOKING FOR A HOUSE IN THE CHARENTE MARITIME? Property Search and Relocation Service Whether you are relocating permanently, searching for a holiday home or looking to downsize, let us help you locate your perfect house without spending a fortune. With over 20 years’ experience of buying and selling properties in France, call us for a chat. www.livingmagazine.fr

Susan and Roddy Hays T: +33 (0)6 76 21 45 04 E: frenchlife17@gmail.com


News from around the region... © laurent Jahier

Contented Residents

A recent survey of over 500 Charente-Maritime residents has shown that life in the département has returned to normal after the challenges of the 2018 survey where the impact of the gilets jaunes crisis featured highly. Overall satisfaction of the quality of life remains high and there is a renewed sense that things are tending to improve, particularly where the environment is concerned. The participants felt that residents were increasingly being listened to although roads, care of the elderly and preservation of the environment all figured strongly. The arrival of the Tour de France this summer was well received by the residents as an opportunity for tourism and economic development. The full survey can be read on the website: la.charente-maritime.fr. The Tour de France returns to the region in July 2020

Museum Night

The European ‘Nuit des Musées’ is being held on Saturday 16 May and promises even more events than in previous years. Last year 1,200 museums across France welcomed 2 million visitors with many in the Charentes getting involved. To find out what is going on in your area, ask at your local Tourist Office or visit nuitdesmusees.culture.gouv.fr.

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Île de Ré

LA ROCHELLE Surgeres Île de Oléron

Rochefort

CHARENTE-MARITIME (17) Marennes Saintes Cognac Royan

Ruffec

Rouillac Jarnac

CONFOLENS

CHARENTE (16)

ANGOULEME Barbezieux Aubeterresur-Dronne

News from around the region...

les charentes Imagiland

Cycle for Life

DIARY DATEs!

11-13 April, with the annual Festival du Cerf-Volant et du Vent kite festival on the beach.

Châtelaillon-Plage’s (17) summer season begins over Easter weekend,

The annual Anna Searle film festival featuring 15 British films runs from 15-26 April including Judy, 1917, King of Thieves and The Good Liar screening at venues around Rouillac (16). For details see bit. ly/2PKTb6f Now in its 11th year, the Fête des Jardins at Saint-Trojanles-Bains (17) offers quality

Following another very successful year, the 9th Fête des Plantes will be held in the Priory grounds at MarcillacLanville (16) near Aigre on Sunday 5 April from 10am to 6pm. Entry costs 2€ for adults, including tombola ticket, children free. For more information email mosaic. marcillac16@laposte.net.

www.livingmagazine.fr

© Brochet Lajus Puyeo architectes

Cancer Support France aims to raise awareness of its English-language services while having fun and keeping fit at this year’s Cycle for Life. Cyclists will follow La Flow Vélo, a dedicated cycle route crossing from the Atlantic, through les Charentes and into the Périgord, for 5 days of gentle exercise from 3-7 June. Starting at Rochefort, with its 17th century maritime arsenal, cyclists will stop at Saint-Savinien, Cognac, Angoulême and Nontron, ending with a welcome lunch at Thiviers, famed for its ceramics. President Pat Lockett says: “The national association provides support to our local counterparts but has no independent means of fund-raising. Last year sponsorship from the Cycle for Life raised almost enough funds to cover the costs of the annual three-day Trainers’ Conference in November. The Conference is the most important event in the CSF year, enabling our trainers to share, discuss and develop our training.” To find out how to join in or support the team, see their website www.cancersupportfrance.org or Facebook: CSF Activity for Life.

Big plans are in place to celebrate the 50th Festival de Bande Déssinée d’Angoulême in 2023. A whopping 95 million euros are being invested in opening a new theme park, Imagiland, which will offer 14 attractions based on famous comic strip characters such as Gaston, Yakari, the Marsupilami, Blake et Mortimer and Valérian. Benefiting from the licenses of Media Participations (the Franco-Belgian comic book company whose portfolio includes Dupuis, Dargaud, Le Lombard and Fleurus), it is being financed by the Hong Kong subsidiary of Dragontoon China and is just one of several theme park concepts they are developing around the globe from Shanghai to Sri Lanka. Mixing classic outdoor attractions with novel indoor digital thrills, the park aims to attract some 440,000 visitors each year, both residents and tourists, to the former Lafarge quarry at La Couronne. An outdoor activity park will complete the 12ha site with canyoning on a reconstructed mountain at the edge of a lake, and tree climbing with a children’s course, an adult course, abseiling and an air bag jump. A nocturnal aquatic show is also planned. A further 15 million euros-worth of attractions are planned, at the rate of one per year until 2030. With an entry price of between 28 and 30€, the complex is expected to employ some 200 people when it opens.

plants, artisanal products and an opportunity to taste the famous flambéed tartes of Saint-Turjan cooked over an open fire on Sunday 17 May. Entry is free and refreshments are available all day. Dixie-Folies is celebrating its 20th anniversary in and around La Rochelle (17) from 13-29 May with parades, jam sessions and concerts, both free and ticketed. Find the full progamme at: www. dixie-folies.com


hope association helping animals in need

big 3 day book fair

15th, 16th & 17th may 2020 • 10 am to 4pm

hope charity shops

hope shop 79 • 17 route de civray 79190 sauzé-vaussais thousands of english & french books, dvds & cds for all ages • bric à brac • pre-loved clothes • animal welfare associations • artisan market stalls • Eddie’s cards • Mary’s plants • hope café & burger bar • Pois Chic • Mr T’s fish & chips & much more !

hope 16 le four à chaux, la tulette 16500 ansac-sur-vienne hope 79 17 route de civray 79190 sauzé-vaussais hope 87 2 rue de la vieille tour 87120 eymoutiers

N°RNA W792002789

generalenquiries4hope@gmail.com

- please note that we are open for books only from 2pm to 4pm on thursday 14th for people with restricted mobility

www.hopeassoc.org


Nontron

Brantôme

Riberac

PÉRIGUEUX

DORDOGNE (24)

Bergerac

Montignac

Sarlat-laCanéda

News from around the region...

Dordogne

Easter Egg hunts

The Dordogne has some spectacular settings for les chasses aux œufs on Easter Sunday and Monday (12/13 April). Here are just a few of the ones planned, but do check nearer the time in case of changes.: Château de Commarque: Help find the Knight’s golden eggs, which have been lost in the Château grounds. Open Sun & Mon from 11am-7pm. Chateau de Hautefort: Treasure hunt with chocolate surprises from 2pm on Monday.

Grand Site

For ten years, 35 communes in the Vézère valley have been working towards achieving the coveted Grand Site label and joining a network which brings together exceptional, fragile, protected and listed cultural landscapes, with a focus on sustainable development. It was finally agreed at the end of last year when it became the 20th member, joining the Marais Poitevin in Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Rocamadour, the Dune du Pilat and Rochefort are all hoping to join the network soon. The area will benefit from additional promotion and support from 2020, all aimed at protecting this unique landscape for future generations – already an important task given that the valley attracts a million visitors each year. One of the more immediate challenges is how to keep the valley sides clear of vegetation which masks the prehistoric heritage underground. Urbanisation will also be strictly controlled through the site, which covers 72,000ha.

Les Jardins de Marqueyssac: 6,000 eggs are scattered throughout the grounds for this hunt for 2-12 year-olds, with added entertainment. Open Sun & Mon.

Many villages will also hold events, so check local press for details

Château de Duras

Each year this popular Lot-et-Garonne landmark, with panoramic views over the Dropt Valley, offers a calendar of family activities. Built during the 12th century, the Château became an impregnable fortress in the 14th century, thanks to the money of Pope Clement V, before passing into the hands of the Durfort family. After surviving the Hundred Years’ War and the Wars of Religion, the Château was transformed into a Renaissance hunting lodge. Don’t miss the refurbished wing with 30 restored rooms leading to the courtyard balconies for which the Château is famous. At Easter join in the egg hunt to win a chocolate prize (11-13 April) before discovering the Château with the help of an English-language audio-guide. There are children’s games and an adult treasure hunt throughout the spring holidays. See the website at chateau-deduras.com for all the events including a 4D light show throughout the summer season.

Every day at 10am, 3pm and 5pm. Have a real immersion in the World of Cognac and Pineau des Charentes. Reserve your tour : tel : + 33 6 62 38 37 06 / + 33 6 80 41 87 34 contact@contefilles.com Chez Grimaud - 16480 Chillac www.contefilles.com

Sarlat: Join in the popular family egg hunt through the streets of this medieval town to find 2,000 hidden eggs. The gold and silver ones win you a free trip in the panoramic lift. From 9.30am on Monday.

Les Jardins d’Eyrignac: Join in the race to solve the mystery of the egg thief! Solve the clues to pick up your prize on Sun and Mon.

Visit Blandine and Anne-Laure at their family’s domaine.

www.livingmagazine.fr @VignobleConteFilles

Domme: Find the eggs in the Jardins Publique from 2.30pm on Monday.


News from around the region...

Music Maestros

Voies Vertes

Just over the border in the Lot a new project has been approved to develop 219km of greenways, to encourage walking and cycling. Three sections of disused railways in the Lot valley will be developed, not just to appeal to tourists but to improve mobility between towns and across Cahors itself. The cost of 28.8 million euros will be partly funded by the département. A fourth section in the Dordogne valley between Souillac and Gagnac-sur-Cère will be developed at a cost 16.5 million euros. With a length of 97km, this will probably be the first to be completed. So what is a greenway or voie verte? According to the highway code, a greenway is a lane reserved for non-motorized traffic: pedestrians, cyclists (including electric bikes), rollerblades etc. They are built on towpaths, old railways, forest roads, etc. and are bi-directional; emergency service vehicles are, however, authorised to use them. They are distinct from cycle routes, which may also incorporate small roads with little traffic.

DIARY DATEs!

Building upon the success of 2019, the Issigeac International Music Academy (IIMA) will be adding to the courses available this year. Brian Kay, leading choirmaster and a regular presenter on BBC Radio and TV, is teaming up with international opera singer Dame Ann Murray to host a vocal course from 18-24 May. One stream will focus on choral singing with Brian Kay while Dame Ann Murray will coach advanced soloists and offer master classes which are open to the public at 4pm each day. The soloists’ concert is on 22 May and all participants will come together to sing the Fauré Requiem. But the closing date for course bookings is 1 April, so act quickly! From 16-21 June the world-famous Tippett String Quartet returns to join international violinist Ishani Bhoola in coaching the Chamber Music course. They will also be performing three concerts on 17, 19 and 20 June - a rare opportunity to hear them in such an intimate setting. Tickets for all concerts and course bookings are available at: iimusicacademy.com.

Bergerac is holding the 6th Bande Dessinée Festival from 25-26 April – free entry. Phoenix Association Book Fair will be held on 2 May at Campsegret.

Sadly, there will be no Fête de la Fraise et des Fleurs at Vergt this year due to a lack of volunteers.

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Les Herbiers ts

N

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de moutier

St Jean de Mon

Parthenay

x de Vie

St Gilles Croi

LA ROCHE SUR-YON Les Sables d’Olonne

Chantonnay

VENDÉE (85)

Luçon

La Tranche sur Mer

DEUX SEVRES (79)

St-MaixentL’école

NIORT aise

Sévre Niort

Melle

News from around the region...

Wetland Biodiversity

Created in 2010, the Observatoire du Patrimoine Naturel du Marais Poitevin (OPN) measures the biodiversity of the wetlands and shares its observations each year. The conclusion for 2019 was mixed: while the biodiversity found in the Marais Poitevin has not deteriorated, it has not shown any real improvement, despite the measures taken. Initially pesticides were thought to be damaging the flora and fauna, but even in those areas where there is no run-off, the biodiversity has not increased significantly, a situation mirrored in wetlands across France. Instead, the results are being ascribed to a cocktail of causes. Overhanging trees are limiting light, Louisiana crayfish increase the turbidity of the water by digging for food and, of course, pesticides add to the mix. To reverse the situation, a new plan has been instigated to create ponds around the marshlands, which would be managed so that invasive species are excluded and conditions are optimised. It is hoped that this will encourage the return of species and aid their growth so that they can then be reintroduced thoughout the wetlands.

Deux-sèvres & Vendée

Hope Big Book Sale A firm favourite with local bookworms, the Hope Book Sale will be opening its doors from 15-17 May at the Hope Shop in Sauzé-Vaussais (79). Thousands of English and French books will be on sale, along with DVDs and CDs plus pre-loved clothes and bric-a-brac. Mr T will be serving fish & chips and, of course, there will be plenty of tea and cakes. The doors open from 10am to 4pm, and those with restricted mobility can avoid the crowds and shop for books on Thursday 14 May from 2-4pm. See www.hopeassoc.org for details. Please email verity-lineham@hotmail.com if you are interested in adopting Miles.

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Originally designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, father of the Mini, in response to a request from the British army for a robust car that could be parachuted into conflict territories, the Mini Moke is recognised around the world, despite only 50,000 being sold over 30 years. Luc Jaguelin, CEO of Nosmoke, believes that by adding an electric powerplant, the Moke makes a perfect leisure vehicle, and he has spent the last 8 years perfecting his electric moke here in the Deux-Sèvres. Having tried unsuccessfully to manufacture parts in China, the model is now completely ‘Made in France’ where it is produced from double-sided galvanized European steel and is ‘virtually indestructible’. Promising plenty of fun in the sun at the seaside, it has found a niche with rental companies, while its easy online personalisation has made it a favourite with individuals too. The company has recently moved into new 4,000m2 premises in Cerizay to keep up with demand, with 75% of its vehicles being sold abroad. Costing from 17,990€ including tax, the Nosmoke can be driven with a B1 licence (from 16 years old) and has a maximum speed of 90km/h. Find out more at www.nosmoke.fr.


News from around the region... Miles is desperately looking for a home

Catamaran of the Skies

When Vendée Globe skipper Raphaël Dinelli retired from the seas, he took to the skies instead. Having built up 200 hours of flying time, in 2020 he plans to cross the Mediterranean in his plane powered only by renewable energy. For ten years he has led Project Eraole based at La Roche-sur-Yon (85), whose team hopes ultimately to cross the Atlantic in their catamaran of the skies. They have a commercial goal too, to produce a two-seater electricsolar plane within the next 3 years, to be used by flying schools. In France there are 1,500 two-seaters dedicated to pilot training and every year 150 are replaced. By launching a new, low-cost, low-emission plane, they hope to help more young pilots take to the sky.

Electric Bikes

Niort has introduced a fleet of self-service electric bikes to encourage residents to change their travel habits. Priced at just 1.50€ an hour, the fifty bikes can be booked through a new app. There are six bike stations, including one in Place de la Brêche, where the bikes can be unlocked using the app. The question now is whether there are the cycle routes across the city to support this move on to two wheels. Local bike association VilloVélo has already written an open letter to the Maire explaining that the number of pot-holes on the roads makes cycling a painful experience, while the lack of cycle lanes makes the commute to the city centre dangerous. Time will tell if this initiative was to win votes in the municipales or part of a longer-term commitment.

Vivaldi is the focus for the 4th Festival de Printemps by Les Arts Florissants, under the musical direction of William Christie, from 24-26 April. The Vendée concert venues include Luçon Cathedral and the church at Satin-Hermine. See evenements.vendee.fr for more information.

DIARY DATEs!

Don’t miss the Spring Fête on 28 April at Ark 79, Saint-Soline (79) from 10am-4pm. Browse the stalls, enjoy tea and cakes, knowing that all the money raised will go to help local animal charities. See www.ark79.com for more details. The Fête des Plantes at Le Beugnon (79) takes place every two years, and the last one attracted more than 5,000 visitors. This year it will be held on Friday, 1 May with a special emphasis on non-hybrid tomatoes! There are workshops, walks and plenty of stalls – entry is free.

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POITIERS

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Bellac Nieul

Rochechouart

St-Mathieu

vienne & News from around the region... haute-vienne Lac Saint-Pardoux Bridge

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LIMOGES

HAUTE-VIENNE (87)

St-Yriex-la-Perche

The footbridge being built to link the two sides of Lac Saint-Pardoux will open this summer, joining the two activity areas: the swimming pool and tree-top course at Santrop with the water activities and archery centre at Chabannes. The lake was created in 1968 and is the second largest in Haute-Vienne, after Lac de Vassivière. Covering 330 hectares, it is principally used for tourism and leisure, with areas reserved for sports, motorboats and fishing. Costing 3.8 million euros, the footbridge will be 3m wide and 130m long, with benches and lookout areas.

Medal Winning Gargouil, the fruit grower and producer of fresh juices in Charroux (86), has won another medal at this year’s prestigious Paris International Agricultural Show. Already having gold medals for both their still and sparkling apple juices and quince jelly, plus a silver medal for their apple gelée, they added another silver medal for their appleraspberry juice this year. You can buy the awardwinning products at their farm store, which has also recently added self-service dried fruits, pulses and flours to their range, or at one of the many stockists across the region. www.gargouil-pommes.fr.

English Speakers

Following our appeal for English speakers to help agriculture students in Montmorillon, the Lycée Marc Godrie in Loudun (86) has been in touch. Many of the students are training to become waiters, and are encouraged to complete a work placement abroad. The school organises English-only brunches and welcomes English speakers to dine at their onsite restaurants or buy products in their shops. If you would like to become involved and help these students with their English, contact Karine Auger, Head of the European Section at karine-chantal.auger@ac-poitiers.fr.

DIARY DATEs!

Directed by Janet Kelsey, ‘Celestial Voices’ presents JS Bach Magnificat in D and music by Fauré and more, on Saturday 25 April in St Nicholas Church, Civray (86). Admission free. Festival Graines de Rue celebrates contemporary street theatre and live performances from 28-31 May at Bessines-sur-Gartempe (87).

Limoges-Poitiers Autoroute

For a long time there have been discussions about the need for a motorway to link Limoges and Poitiers, which may have come a step closer to reality. Secretary of State for Transport JeanBaptiste Djebarri recently held a press conference to launch the latest project. At the moment, the planning is expected to take 6 years, followed by 4 years of construction, at a total cost of 850 million euros – half of which will be funded by the operating company, the rest by the state, region and local councils. The motorway would have eight exits and use existing infrastructure where possible. The plans are now being studied and the project could be signed-off as early as mid-April if the funding can be secured.

Elevage de JOLAND Xavier & David GABARD

www.hotel-valdevienne.com Join us, Melanie and Jean-Christophe, at our delightful Hotel de Charme on the banks of the Vienne. Relax in our outdoor, heated swimming pool and our on-site restaurant open to guests (and friends) for dinner Mon-Sat (7-9pm, reservation recommended). Daily Menu du Jour featuring regional specialities. Mon-Thu: 3-course meal 22€, Fri & Sat: 25€ 1 hour from Poitiers, close to Le Vigeant race track. Event venue hosting up to 44 people - weddings / meetings and more. Welcome drink offered to all guests booking through LIVING!

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News from around the region...

Le Café

Rollercoaster Ride

Futuroscope has opened its first rollercoaster ride: ‘Destination Mars’. The three-minute thrillfilled ride, indoors and out, reaches 55km/h and features solar flares, magnetic fields and zero-gravity. “This is the biggest investment in an attraction since Futuroscope first opened,” states Rodolphe Bouin, Futuroscope’s Chairman. In all, 20 million euros have been spent on making this rollercoaster one to remember. One of the challenges has been to ensure that it is still fun for all the family, so there are no loop-the-loops or travelling upside down, but the park’s expertise has been harnessed to ensure a new experience that is exciting and not to be forgotten. Once more, LIVING has teamed up with Futuroscope to bring you cut-price entry – see the coupon on the back cover!

There’s exciting news for Le Café in Civray – current owner Donna Stokes is handing over the apron strings to Keith and Laura Springham from 1 April. Many in north Charente may already be familiar with Keith from his baking workshops, which he started in 2016. A professional baker, Keith has spent over 30 years working and managing bakeries around the world, most notably the UK, Cayman Islands, and Bermuda. He brings a wealth of expertise in baking and plans to continue the onsite shop, stocking both old favourites and adding new selections along the way. Laura’s first passion is music, but one of her others is coffee – as a young freelancer in the U.S. she also worked as a barista. American coffee

drinks (and teas, of course) along with British baking will give Le Café a unique style in Southwest France. After a refurbishment Keith and Laura will be reopening in mid-April and look forward to welcoming you; opening hours will remain Mon-Fri 9am-4pm. Keep an eye on Facebook (LeCafeCivray) for full details of the opening date.

Perfect Performance

Singing Studio teacher Catherine Chambers is celebrating success after three of her students travelled to the UK to take exams with the London School of Music. Evie (right) hopes for a career in theatre/performing and was delighted to achieve a high distinction in the LCM Grade 6 Musical Evie (16) Theatre exam. Helen (55) started lessons on 3 dreams of years ago and is hoping to take Grade 8 after a career in musical also gaining distinction in her Grade 6 singing. theatre Jan (72) only began lessons 2 years ago, and has proved it is never too late to start as she achieved 97% in her Grade 6 Musical Theatre exam. One thing they all have in common is high praise for their tutor who now hopes to help others achieve success. Catherine is based in Civray (86), find her on Facebook: Catherine Chambers; catherine.chambers@outlook.com.

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16 | living places to visit Phare de Vallières, Saint-Georges-de-Didonne

19th century light & filter towers, île d’Aix

Gu ding Lights “To The Lighthouse” has a romantic ring to it, so we discover some of the slender sentinels found around our coastline. Words & photos: Roger Moss

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living places to visit | 17

Phare de Chassiron, Île d’Oléron

T

he wayward coastline of Nouvelle-Aquitaine extends for several hundred kilometres, so it’s hardly surprising that along the way lie all manner of potential hazards for mariners. Local fishermen obviously know exactly where perils lurk beneath the Atlantic waves, while others seeking safe passage look to a succession of day-marks and lighthouses to aid their coastal navigation. In fact, no two lighthouses are quite alike, since their individuality is what enables mariners in unfamiliar waters to identify them rapidly and accurately. Their respective paint schemes, for example, are chosen specifically to help mariners recognise them during daylight. An all-white lighthouse

Phare de la Coubre, La Tremblade

will stand out clearly against dark surroundings or a background of fields or woodland, while bold red and white stripes will help identify a lighthouse with a light background such as cliffs. See our factfile panel for examples of how variations in beams, etc., aid navigation during darkness hours. Regardless of whether you’re at sea or on land, you’ll notice some pretty extreme variations in height, a key factor designed to take into account the curvature of the earth. Obviously, the higher the beam is projected above mean high water, the greater the distance from which it will be visible to mariners. On the other hand, if the light is too high it’s possible that someone passing just a kilometre or two offshore

might not be able to see it at all. This explains why we frequently come across shorter lighthouses on cliff-top locations, while taller lighthouses can be seen rising defiantly from among the waves. Some of the installations have been braving the elements on their wild, exposed sites for centuries, and many have something in common: they’re fascinating places to visit. With that in mind, we decided to look at some of the more impressive and accessible examples in Charente-Maritime. Perhaps the most familiar of our lighthouses are those sited around La Rochelle’s Vieux Port. The tallest is the Phare du Quai Valin (or ‘le phare Blanc’) a pure white octagonal creation rising from among the facades lining

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18

Phare de Soumard, | living Fouras

places to visit

Phare du Quai Valin, La Rochelle

Phare du Grouin du Cou, La Tranche-sur-Mer

Phare de La Coubre, La Tremblade

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living places to visit | 19 the quayside. Constructed in 1852, its height was increased from 18m to 24m just three years later, and the light was originally powered by vegetable (and then mineral) oil. Electrified in 1937, the lighthouse now has a Monument Historique (MH) listing, as does its contemporary and near-neighbour the Phare du Gabut, whose original height of 14m was boosted to 23m in 1963. Bold red and white bands make it a prominent feature, which when aligned (‘in transit’) with the Phare du Quai Valin it guides mariners entering port. Beside it is the famous Tour Saint-Nicolas, from whose summit you can gaze out to the slender seaward approach channel. Visible in the distance beside the entry point of the Les Minimes marina is the outline of la tour Richelieu, constructed in 1915. The Île de Ré has several lighthouses, including the second oldest in France (after the Phare du Cordouan on the Gironde). The Phare des Baleines was constructed on the north west tip of the island in 1682, using limestone from Saint-Savinien (17) and the name recalls a time when the light was fuelled by whale oil. The tower was awarded

MH protection in 1904 and is now a museum, having been replaced by an imposing octagonal structure completed in 1854 and soaring to almost 60m above mean high water. Originally powered by paraffin, then steamgenerated electricity, it was connected to the EDF grid (with an automatic backup generator) in 1949 and today’s 1,500,000-candela light is visible for around 50km. Climb a 257-step spiral staircase to the summit to enjoy panoramic views – out to sea, some 3km north-west, you’ll be able to make out the Phare des Baleineaux (MH). See: lepharedesbaleines.fr At the opposite end of the island, off Rivedoux Plage is the elegant Phare de Chauvaux, completed in 1842. Reputed to retain its original furnishings, it gained MH status in 2011 and is powered by a small wind turbine, with additional solar power planned. While not open to visitors, you can take a closer look during low spring tides. On the northern tip of the nearby Île d’Oléron you can visit another showpiece lighthouse. Completed in 1836, using limestone from Crazannes (17) and granite from the Vendée,

the Phare de Chassiron (MH) rises to almost 50m, and is decorated with bold black and white bands to distinguish it from the Phare des Baleines. Originally powered by acetylene gas generated at the foot of the tower, it was electrified in 1930 and today its halogen beam is visible from 52km. 224 steps will take you to the summit, for views of the coastline, the islands and Fort Boyard. More info: chassiron.jimdo.com Further south, the approach to Oléron’s busy fishing port of La Cotinière is marked by its own more modestly-dimensioned lighthouse on the quayside, while in the citadel of Le Château d’Oléron is a 20m-high lighthouse completed in 1862 which also functions with its predecessor as an alignment/transit marker. Not to be outdone, the tiny Île d’Aix has an unusual pair of lighthouses completed in 1849 and 1899. The eastern tower provides the light source, while its companion carries a filter panel creating a 15° band of red light to indicate the presence of the Boyard sandbank and the Antioche rocks – two age-old maritime hazards on the approach to Rochefort.

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Decoding the guiding lights

Phare du Cap-Ferret

Look closely at a maritime chart and you’ll see the location of each lighthouse, accompanied by mysterious-looking figures such as: ‘Fl.5s 48m 30M’. This maritime shorthand indicates: a white light flashing every 5 seconds; the centre of the light is 48m above mean high water spring tides and in good visibility the light is powerful enough to be seen 30 miles away (miles are indicated by a capital M). In addition to their main white beams, some lighthouses around danger areas also have secondary coloured sector lights – from the safety of a navigable channel a white light will be visible ahead, but if you should stray to port a red light would show. Conversely, straying to starboard reveals a green light. Ingenious.

This photo and left: Phare de Cordouan, Gironde Estuary

A little further down the mainland coast near La Tremblade is the spectacular Phare de La Coubre (MH), completed in concrete in 1895 at the entry to the Gironde estuary. Back then it stood 1.8km inland, although coastal erosion has since reduced that distance to just 150m. Around 64m high, its powerful light is visible for 52km, and climbing the vertiginous 300-step spiral staircase will reward you with breathtaking views, particularly at sunset. More info: pharedelacoubre.fr On a windswept headland south of Royan at Saint-Georges-de-Didonne stands the Phare de Vallières (MH), completed in 1902. The 36m high square

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lighthouse was constructed in limestone on a granite base as an aid to users of the little port at its feet. Damaged during WWII bombardments, it was rebuilt and can now be visited during summer months. More info: royanatlantique.fr We’ll round-off our tour with a look at France’s oldest working lighthouse: the Phare de Cordouan (MH), constructed on a tidal plateau 7km offshore at the mouth of the Gironde. This monumental Renaissance creation was completed in 1611, after 27 years of construction, and rises through six storeys and over 300 stone steps to almost 68m above the waves. It was accorded MH status in

1862, and is currently a candidate for UNESCO World Heritage Site status, the outcome expected in late June/ early July. The phare is still occupied by full-time gardiens and you can visit the site by passenger boat (45min or so each way) from Royan or le Verdon-sur-Mer from April-October – departure times vary according to tides. More info: phare-de-cordouan.fr Obviously, along the coastline to the north and south of Charente-Maritime you’ll find more remarkable lighthouses to visit. This map will help you locate them: pharesdefrance.fr – there’s also a link to download an illustrated guide to the historic lighthouses of France.

Photos below left & right: © Département de la Gironde / Roberto Giostra

20 | living places to visit


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The scale of the baths shows the importance of the Roman complex

22 | living days out

Early excavations on this scale were labour-intensive

The Big In a rural setting on the outskirts of Chassenon (16) archaeologists are piecing together the story of a miraculous survivor from gallo-Roman times. What was revealed below ground surprised everyone

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living days out | 23 Informative guided tours (or a multilingual audio guide) explain everything

g

Reveal

PHOTOS TOP: s.laval; PHOTOS BELOW: Fond Moreau - ADC

O

ne of the best-preserved gallo-Roman sites in all France was constructed beside the Via Agrippa connecting Lugdunum (now Lyon) with Augustoritum (Limoges) and Mediolanum Santonum (Saintes). The walled settlement of Cassinomagus was substantial, boasting a large villa, three temples, an amphitheatre and what researchers have identified as a thermal bath complex supplied with fresh spring water by an aqueduct. Baths were central to Roman life, and the examples at Chassenon replicate those of the Emperor Nero in Rome. They were in use for at least two centuries, but with the fall of the Empire the legions departed and their once-magnificent showpiece at Chassenon was left to degenerate, a process hastened by being plundered to provide construction materials for the village developing nearby. As the centuries passed the site was otherwise ignored, its former

importance long forgotten, until 1748, when one Abbé Nadaud visited and sensed that he had chanced upon a long-lost treasure of some kind. But what, exactly? He wasn’t sure, but it was certainly big, sections of enclosing walls measuring “738 pieds”. Some years later Parisian actor and amateur archaeologist Pierre Beaumesnil sketched the site, but it wasn’t until 1844 that initial excavations would be carried out and plans prepared by Abbé Jean-Hyppolyte Michon, who was alarmed to discover that the previously recorded sections of wall had been destroyed by ploughing. Fearing for what else might be lost, he published his site data and communicated his findings to the Congrès Archéologique de France. Official recognition for historic sites moved a little closer in 1858

Jean-Henri Moreau first identified the thermal baths at Chassenon

when Napoleon III created the Commission Topographie des Gaules. It stopped short of offering actual protection, however, so faced with the ever-present threat of further destruction, the Société Historique et Archéologique du Limousin decided to carry out further excavations. At the time the archaeologically important thermal baths had yet to be identified, so agricultural activity continued

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24 | living days out

Archaeologists have dug deep

de Chassenon, which purchased land and took charge of on-site research. The following year “vestiges of a gallo-Roman villa” received Monument Historique protection, shortly before Moreau finally identified their true purpose as thermal baths. In 1960 the Département de la Charente began financing the works which would reveal much more of the baths’ complex construction, consolidate the ruins and provide vital weather protection (in time the present traditional covering will be replaced by a more elegant skeletal design

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The painstakingly excavated Roman baths have full weather protection

incorporating elevated walkways). In 1984 the Département de la Charente repurchased the land owned by the Association des Amis de Chassenon for a symbolic 1 euro and began acquiring plots around the thermal baths. During the 1990s further excavations broadened researchers’ knowledge of the different elements contained within the site, and also revealed a previously undetected period of occupation during the 5th and 6th centuries. The dawn of the 21st century produced a cultural and tourist development project for the site including the creation of a 28 hectare archaeological reserve. In 2007 the State ceded the amphitheatre to the Département de la Charente and a major programme of improvement works produced a new visitor centre, a recreation of Roman-style gardens plus footpaths and car parking areas. Finally, in December 2015 the new departmental council assumed management of what would be known as Cassinomagus Parc Archéologique, with visitor access to some 23 hectares including the thermal baths, the sanctuary and temple plus the aqueduct. Some of the excellent visitor centre’s displays

The monumental scale and refinement of the baths always surprises visitors, the complex being heated via an underground network of vaulted stone hot air ducts fed by twelve furnaces. The modest admission price includes an audio guide (in your preferred language) explaining everything in more detail, while a stylish new visitor centre contains lots more to really bring the park’s other features vividly to life, including a fascinating scaled-down reconstruction of the whole site just as it would have appeared during the Roman era. Sites on this kind of scale stand out in the landscape, but occasionally something previously unknown will come to light and surprise everyone. Such was the case in 2007 at Saint-Saturnin-du-Bois (17), where clearance work to create residential building plots uncovered what turned out to be the remains of a substantial gallo-Roman villa. That sparked an archaeological project by the Regional Service of Archeology (DRAC) and the Conseil Départemental de CharenteMaritime, whose excavations are continuing. For 2020 work will focus on an interior atrium where mosaics

PHOTOS below & FAR RIGHT: © s.laval; left & top: © Glen Recourt; right: © Fond Moreau - ADC

to take its toll on the baths and the temple, while stone quarrying attacked the amphitheatre remains. Public interest in Chassenon’s historical treasures was finally fired when finds from further excavations by the Société des Amis des Sciences et des Arts de Rochechouart and the Société Archéologique et Historique du Limousin were exhibited in the Château de Rochechouart in 1890 and displayed at the prestigious Exposition Universal de Paris in 1900. Fast-forward to 1958, when Jean-Henri Moreau (whose work at Chassenon would eventually span 30 years) founded the Société des Amis


living days out | 25 and other objects have already been discovered. Each summer the public are welcome to meet archaeologists and follow the progress of the excavations live with guided or free tours, workshops and aperitifs. Visiting a site while excavations are revealing fresh finds brings an added sense of connection to the thrill of an archaeological treasure hunt. Details of 24 gallo-Roman sites in NouvelleAquitaine: www.via-antiqua.org.

Crater things...

The principal building material used by the Romans at Chassenon is ‘impactite’ – a form of rock which has undergone a radical transformation during the impact of a huge asteroid. That particular event occurred locally over 200 million years ago, and while all traces of the vast crater have long since disappeared, the geological importance of France’s only impactite site prompted the creation in 2008 of the “Réserve Naturelle Nationale de l’Astroblème de Rochechouart-Chassenon”. www.reserves-naturelles.org/astrobleme-de-rochechouart-chassenon

Find out more:

The baths alone (seen here before weather protection was added) cover a huge area

Cassinomagus Parc archéologique Cassinomagus Longeas - 16150 Chassenon Tel : 05 45 89 32 21 - contact@cassinomagus.fr For details (in French and English) of opening times, prices, etc.: www.cassinomagus.fr

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living showtime | 27

A

bathed in colour

pril 17 sees the opening in Bordeaux of what is claimed to be the world’s largest digital art centre. Les Bassins de Lumières are located in the city’s vast former WWII submarine base, and are the latest in a series of digital art centres and immersive exhibitions presented by Culturespaces, a leading private management and promotion organisation working in a selection of very special places. Kicking things off in Bordeaux in appropriately colourful style will be a dazzling celebration of the works of Viennese painter Gustav Klimt and his successors – the show will include portraits, landscapes and nudes, all displayed on a truly monumental scale. Visitors will discover world-famous masterpieces such as Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’, produced during the

heady mood of late-19th century Imperial Vienna. The artist and Secessionist movement he founded sought to liberate themselves from what they saw as the outmoded creative constraints of academic convention, and the works they produced paved the way to modern painting. The monumental architecture of the submarine base looks set to provide a perfect venue for the digital exhibitions, whose images will be reflected in the mirror-like 13,000m2 surface of water filling the four enormous spaces. Visitors will have a selection of viewpoints, both from gangways suspended above the water and along the quaysides, where digital exhibitions devoted to major figures from the history of art will alternate with shorter presentations of

more contemporary works. Also in this year’s exhibition programme is a shorter celebration of colourful abstract works by the German artist, musician and academic Paul Klee. The show promises to take visitors from an opera overture in an imaginary city to an underwater concerto, amidst gold and multicoloured fish, all to the rhythm of geometric structures. In short: an enchanting experience combining painting and music. Les Bassins de Lumières will open daily all year round, with multiple exhibitions (presented simultaneously around all four vast spaces) to satisfy traditional and contemporary art lovers. www.bassins-lumieres.com


28 | living culture

‘‘ Boudu! C’'est gavé de patois par ici! ’’ Although the difference between French accents might be less obvious than in other languages, France does have a rich and varied network of local dialects, known as “patois”, and which are still going strong today. WORDS: JESSICA KNIPE

T

he common French language that we all know and love took precedence over the country’s 10 official regional languages awhile ago now, but the various patois won’t give up the ghost that easily. Apart from being used by those who fight to keep them a part of their everyday lives, French people and foreigners learning the language in France might be unconsciously repeating words and expressions that are direct descendants of these languages of the past. There are three main dialects attributed to the Nouvelle-Aquitaine: occitane, basque and oïl. Basque is found right down south, on the border with Spain, but as you climb northwards up the coast you’ll no doubt be met with some gascon, saintongeais or poitevin words and expressions. That’s because, far from simply being the

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domain of specialists and nostalgic historians, some of the vocabulary which makes up this patriotic part of France’s identity has been absorbed into the French language, and is now used on a daily basis. It’s even thought that the saintongeais patois is at the root of acadien, which went into the mix when québécois was created in Canada. The CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), France’s national think-tank, has recently taken a particular interest in these local dialects, as some regions battle to make it part of their school

Poche

A bag, used to carry shopping for example. This one confuses even the French. Anywhere north of Poitiers or east of Limoges, “une poche” suddenly becomes “un sac”, and cashiers in Nouvelle-Aquitaine will look askew at anyone asking for “un sac”, which does in fact mean “bag” in French. This doesn’t mean that the poche (or pocket) of your coat suddenly becomes a sac, though.


living culture | 29

Drôle

The poitevin word for a child. Parents and grandparents still use this word today to refer to their boys, using drôlesse for a girl. Further south it’s more common to hear children referred to as the occitan “pitchou/pitchoune”.

Poutou

Boudu!

A kiss, throughout the region. Although it sounds like it’s probably an onomatopoeia, in fact it’s a form of the occitan word “pòt” which means “lip”.

This expression of surprise or annoyance comes from the occitan “bou diu!”, which literally means “good god!” It’s very likely you’ll have heard the older generation declare something like “boudu que calou!” to express that it’s a hot day, but it’s also quite common for the younger aquitains to use it to let you know that they have had enough.

Cagouille

For the charentais, there is no other way to call a snail. Yes, the snails you eat. In fact, people from the Charente and Charente-Maritime, who don’t hesitate to take their poche with them on walks to pick up a few molluscs for dinner after it has rained, will proudly call themselves “cagouillards”.

Gavé

There is absolutely no chance that anyone living close to Bordeaux has not heard at least one person use this word, which means “a lot” as in: “j’aime gavé les cannelés”, or even sometimes “too much” as in: “il y a gavé de monde”.

Since

The saintongeais, charentais and even the vendéens commonly use this word to refer to a mop. The verb “to mop” is therefore “sincer”. This word is so commonly used that it is mistaken by most in the region to be a typically French word, and not one from their regional dialect.

Feignàs

This one comes from the Limousin region, but is widespread in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine. It can also be found in its feminine form – feignasse – and both versions refer to someone who is considered to be lazy.

Domaine du Pompinaud Gîte, Rooms, Table d’Hôtes

1, impasse du Pompinaud, 16110 Yvrac et Malleyrand Newly opened in great location where the Périgord, Limousin and Charente meet. 3 comfortable chambre d’hôtes rooms or rent the property as a gîte in low season. Adapted for reduced mobility, shared pool, independent access. Delicious regional meals a speciality - confit, magrets, rillettes. Animals welcome by prior agreement, stables & paddock available for horses.

Looking for a great fishing experience in the Limousin? Look no further! Set in the heart of the Limousin countryside on our working farm, accommodation available https://lejardincarpfishinglake.com E: keith.richardson@wanadoo.fr T: 06 77 09 54 58 / 06 33 63 22 80

Siret: 33105363700053

Le Jardin Carp Fishing Lake

Show how you Living at ko-fi.com/livinghq E: much pouyausylvie16@gmail.com T: 06 07 78 57 98


30 | living culture

Beun’aise

This poitevin word for “happy” or “comfortable” is not only familiar to the aquitains; you’ll also see it used in many regional brands, like the charentais beer distillery La Beun’aise or the region’s numerous restaurants called La Goule Beunaise (goule means mouth).

Thirsty for more? curriculum. In fact, Paul Molac, an MP for the Morbihan region, is trying to pass a law in his name to make regional languages a matter of national concern for the Ministère de l’Éducation. The idea is not only to protect the past but also promote the teaching of more than one language because, as English-speaking parents with children in French schools will know, early bilingualism has proven benefits in terms of learning. So, apart from the famous ongoing battle between “pain au chocolat” and “chocolatine” in Nouvelle-Aquitaine (hint: always use chocolatine), you might have noticed other expressions which can only be heard in our region. We’ve shared ten of our favourites – listen for them on your next trip out!

If all of this has sparked a new passion for local dialects within your soul and you would like to learn a regional language, all the information you need to find a school is on Bordeaux’s educational homepage, www. ac-bordeaux.fr. The website also dives a little deeper into the fascinating history of each patois. If you fancy studying your saintongeais at home, subscribe to the Xaintonge magazine at www. xaintonge.fr. You’ll gain some good insight into the local highlights like how to fish and cook mussels, or where to go for the best goraille (that’s pork to you and me). While you’re there, pick up a copy of TinTin translated into saintongeais for the kids! For a lighter approach, look out for local festivals that often have at least one event celebrating patois, like La Félibrée in the Dordogne. People have

Bringue

This is a favourite of the bordelais region, descended from occitan. Often used in a sentence as “faire la bringue”, it means “to party”, and refers historically to the drink raised to someone during a meal – something the aquitains like to do often.

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been coming to this festival, the largest occitane celebration in the Périgord, for over 100 years, to enjoy its troubadours, its Taulada (traditional occitane feast) and evening dance. This year’s edition will take place in Eymet, in July. Check www.dordogneperigord-tourisme.fr for details. Further north, the Nombril du Monde festival that we covered in a previous edition is a three-day patois explosion. No news of upcoming dates but explore www.nombril.com to find out more about the local history behind the event.  The Nombril’s founder, Yannick Jaulin, is undoubtedly the region’s biggest champion of local dialects. Visit his website to find out where you can next hear him tell a story, or watch this moving video of him talking to his mother about how his patois is disappearing: vimeo.com/ondemand/ yannickjaulin The basque patois is honoured at the Hestiv’oc festival in Pau every year, a entire celebration of occitane culture that takes place in August. Keep you eye on www.hestivoc.com to find out what’s on the agenda this year.  Finally, for a bit of musical fun, you can learn the charentais patois by searching for the rolling r’s of Mathieu Touzot on youtube (youtu.be/D0SjrHllt5Y). And if you can’t understand a word of what he’s on about, at least you can enjoy his video, taken along the Charente river.


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32 | practical living

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

Do I need a will?

deceased’s estate in equal shares. In the absence of any children, the parents will inherit half of the estate with the other half being passed to the siblings. If a person dies without any children, parents or siblings, his estate will pass to the nearest relatives such as their uncles, aunts and cousins.

Spouses

Q A

What happens if I die without a will in France?

The settlement of an estate involving French assets will not only be complicated because of the language barrier but also due to the differences between the French legal system and your home country system. When a person dies in France, the assets making up the estate are immediately and automatically inherited by their heirs. It is the law that determines who inherits; it is the legal devolution of the succession. This transmission organised by law is not strictly imperative and exclusive. By a manifestation of his personal and unilateral desires in the form of a written will, the

French law has increased the surviving spouse’s rights over the years and the most recent law entered into force in 2007. In the presence of children, the deceased may modify the surviving spouse is entitled to devolution of his estate. inherit one quarter absolutely or Two situations exist: the whole life interest (usufruit) an intestate succession, where • of the deceased’s estate if the a person dies without a will children are common law. They and the estate of the deceased get only one quarter absolutely will be divided up in accordance if there is the presence of with a certain order of ranking children from a previous • a testate succession where a marriage. person dies and leaves a will. In the absence of a will, the estate In the presence of parents, of the deceased will be divided up the surviving spouse can inherit half of the estate should between the deceased’s nearest the deceased’s parents be alive relatives in accordance with a and three quarters if only one ranking set out by French law. parent survives.

Reserved Heirs

Both children and parents of the deceased are considered ‘reserved heirs’, sometimes called compulsory heirs. The first beneficiaries are the children - they will all inherit a portion (set in law) of the

Do you want to improve your French but find you can’t get to lessons? Would you prefer to learn in the privacy of your own home? Try Frantastique, the online course with fun, daily lessons, FREE for one month, and see your French improve. Simply sign up on our website www.livingmagazine.fr www.livingmagazine.fr

In the absence of children and parents, the surviving spouse will then inherit the whole estate in priority over the siblings. French law also gives him/her a reserve over the deceased’s estate for a quarter absolutely should the deceased wish to bequeath his/ her estate to a third party. Whether you are a UK or French resident, you will want to ensure that your estate will pass to your beneficiaries as per the provisions that you make. There are personal circumstances where you may not need a will because French inheritance law will automatically apply and achieve your aims, for instance, if you are married with no relatives, your spouse will inherit your estate even without a will. If you are happy for the surviving spouse to share the estate with your common children, the inheritance law in France may be sufficient. But a will becomes advisable when you have children from previous marriages or if you wish to apply a different law because of your personal circumstances.

Christophe Dutertre is a bilingual French- qualified Notaire with over 22 years’ experience, 15 of which were working in law offices in Monaco and with the banking industry in Luxembourg. FranceTaxLaw specialises in French and European notarial law and advises clients on all aspects of civil or tax law. www.francetaxlaw.com; tel: +44 (0)20 8115 7914; email: info@francetaxlaw.com


practical living | 33

Financial Planning

Q

I am thinking of moving to France. When should I take financial advice regarding my plans?

A

For the majority of those who move to France, speaking to a qualified financial adviser, who is regulated where you plan to live, is something which happens after you have made the move. But, talking to one before you embark on the journey can help avoid some issues which expatriates can find themselves encountering: Many UK based advisers are not fully regulated to offer

advice for France and may not be aware of the most current regulations or tax efficient solutions for your needs. A French regulated adviser can ensure you are financially prepared for your move, in terms of any investments,

savings and taxes which can become due on both income and windfalls you may be expecting after your move. Many people come to France with plans of using their new French property to run a business. A French regulated

adviser can compare your anticipated return on investment to that from tax efficient, financial investments available. For those planning on using the property as the main source of income, how you buy your property can have different benefits in terms of French tax rules. A regulated adviser has no vested interest in which property you buy, yet has often a long history of experience of the path you are undertaking. Investing an hour of two of your time before you make the move to France can provide peace of mind and financial comfort when planning a new adventure.

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

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Citizens’ rights after

BREXIT

Kathryn Dobson, a member of British in Europe’s steering team, examines the latest developments for British nationals living in France as the transition phase begins This is the first edition of LIVING published since the UK officially left the EU. So what is the situation now and what is still to be decided?

CITIZENS’ RIGHTS In the last edition we ran through the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) and explained the key elements. We are now in the transition phase where little changes until 1 January 2021 except we lose our voting rights and could not stand in the Municipales. However, all British nationals must apply for residency within 6 months of the end of transition, so currently by 30 June 2021. British in Europe have now issued 6 jargon-free guides which are available, free of charge, on their website: www.britishineurope.org. These cover everything from Residency to Pensions and Healthcover. Further France-specific information is available on www.francerights.org. Both these sites provide information that has been reviewed by experienced lawyers - please double-check that any other citizens’ rights site you visit has this safeguard.

RESIDENCE PERMIT APPLICATIONS EU member states have had the choice whether to ask British nationals to apply for a new status (called a constitutive process) or simply to confirm the existing rights (declaratory). France will require British nationals to apply for a new status as, unlike other member states, registration of EU residents in France was never implemented. The details of the application process are still to be revealed including what resource or income levels will be required, but more details will be available soon with the online application process being promised for early July 2020. Some Préfectures, such as Vienne (86), continue to issue cartes de séjour but the majority have stopped issuing permits while waiting for the new system to go

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live. If you have a carte de séjour already, then the changeover to the new card will be a simple exchange requiring a proof of identity and fingerprints (even if these have already been taken as they are deleted from the system after 6 months).

WHAT IS STILL TO BE DECIDED? While a lot of rights have been confirmed by the Withdrawal Agreement, there are still some important outstanding issues. The threat of no Citizens’ Rights deal has passed but the threat to walk away without a trade deal will impact the progress of these discussions. Continuing free movement Freedom of movement includes the ability to move, live, study and work in EU27 countries other than France and the UK, as well as other rights such as automatic visa-free travel. Britons’ current free movement rights cease at the end of the transition period. Any continued rights to move within the EU will be determined during the future relationship negotiations between UK and EU otherwise they will be governed by national immigration rules. Cross-border services This is an important issue for many and

is likely to affect livelihoods. Currently, if you run a business registered in France providing services (for example, as an architect or tour guide), you have the right to offer those services in another EU country without setting up a company or branch there. However, the loss of free movement rights will mean that you don’t have an automatic right to work cross-border or offer these cross-border services in other EU countries unless you meet the very specific conditions to be classed as a frontier worker. The basis on which you might be able to work in other EU states after transition will depend on what services you are offering, and whether you have to provide them in person in the other EU country or offer them virtually. National rules in France and the countries where you wish to provide services will also have a bearing. This is a complicated area and you will need to research and obtain advice on your individual case. Some professional qualifications ​​ UK lawyers practising in the EU under home country title (England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland) face specific issues and need to take action to secure their position. The recognition of EU-wide licences and certificates is not covered by the WA.


living brexit | 35

BRITISH IN EUROPE NEWS SUPPORT FUNDing British in Europe have lobbied hard for the UK to match the funding made available to reach and help vulnerable EU citizens in the UK (a total of 17 million pounds has been announced by the UK government for EU citizens resident in the UK). Finally, a fund of 3 million pounds was recently announced to assist vulnerable British citizens apply for residency permits across the 26 member states. Sadly, the tender process looks flawed as the only organisations to be awarded money in France have had little or no involvement in the citizens’ rights negotiations to date and appear to have extremely limited geographical scope. These organisations will be performing a critically important role. Many lives and livelihoods, particularly those of vulnerable and hard to reach UK nationals, will depend on the advice and assistance that they provide. This will be especially true in countries like France where UK citizens are being made to apply in order to remain.

It is important that the eligibility of professional qualifications is checked before the end of the transition period to ensure they are valid from 1 Jan 2021. Future spouses ​If you meet a future partner or spouse after the end of the transition period, they will not have a right to join you. They will have to apply for residence under national immigration rules as a third country national, and will not acquire rights under the WA. Returning to the UK with a non-British spouse or family member The right to return to the UK under the much more favourable EU law regime - often referred to as Surinder Singh rights - is not covered by the WA. British nationals wanting to return to the UK with a non-British spouse or close family member will face, and have to comply with, UK national immigration law. This is an important issue for those who may, for example, want to return to the UK to look after elderly parents and could lead to real dilemmas and difficult choices.

“Effective and meaningful monitoring of the advice provided will be key and we look forward to hearing about the mechanisms that have been put in place to do this over the lifetime of the contracts,” says Fiona Godfrey, CoChair. “In France there will be limited time to find the people who need to register. People cannot be allowed to fall through the cracks, advice must not be wrong and mistakes must not be made. Organisations may get a second chance but hundreds of thousands of UK nationals may not.” Having spent the last 3 years fighting for the rights of British citizens rather than focusing on raising funds, under the terms of the tendering contract, British in Europe were unable to apply. So that BiE can continue to meet with both the EU and UK negotiating teams to pursue the outstanding issues and

Lobbying again: BiE meet Terry Reintke MEP, Chair of the UK Friendship Group at the European Parliament

monitor the organisations contracted by the government to help residents, they now need to raise vital funds. Please donate today at bit.ly/BIEGFM and help British in Europe reach their 100,000€ target.

www.britishineurope.org

Hilary Benn, MP Chair of Exiting the European Union Committee As Chair of the Brexit Select Committee in the House of Commons, I know the excellent work that British in Europe have done in speaking up for those British people who have chosen to live and work across the EU. They have given evidence to the Select Committee and provided briefings which have both been very useful. As we now move into the transition period and each country has to implement the citizens’ rights part of the Withdrawal Agreement, I look forward to British in Europe continuing to keep the Committee informed about what is happening.

VOTES FOR LIFE Boris Johnson recently confirmed to longtime campaigner Harry Shindler that Brits abroad would have their right to vote after 15 years away reinstated. As this has been in three manifestos and two Queen’s speeches, we will wait to see further developments.

OUTREACH Meetings Following promotion by LIVING, we were pleased that over 550 people participated in the recent British Embassy meetings at Civray (86). However, all future meetings, including the one at La Rochelle, are postponed until the coronavirus situation is clear.

WHERE TO FIND RELIABLE INFORMATION The French Government site at brexit.gouv.fr is still mainly in French. The UK Government continues to update its ‘Living in’ guide (gov.uk/ living-in-france). For quality, independent information focused on France, see France Rights at www.francerights.org or visit the Facebook page at FranceRights where the latest news will be shared.

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36 | living family

Avec les enfants –––––––––––––---

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May Musings

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When I was a child summer was always the best time of the year, perhaps only just surpassing mid-winter and the imminent arrival of Father Christmas. In my child’s mind, they were two extremes of season and they still dominate my memories: riding ponies, haymaking and Christmas trees, swimming and snowmen. But now my needs and feelings have obviously changed, for I find spring is rapidly becoming my favourite season. I appreciate the rebirth and renewal of life more than a brief flurry of snow, for spring is a point in each year when hopes may be realised and dreams take on a concrete form as we fork over the potager with vigour and fresh energy. It may also, of course, be because of where we live, winter being typically so short that each end of it is bathed in sunshine, and our annual crop of figs are beginning life as new leaves in the corner of the south-facing courtyard. To test my theory I asked the children and Roddy which was

their favourite month and was much surprised that May seemed to come out on top for them, too. In the world of plants spring is without doubt the busiest time of year. Trees and bushes flower and bud, and the show-offs produce great clouds of blossom. Early insects, deep in slumber or curled in cocoons, reach a point where the earth’s rotation – hurtling at 67,000 km/h on our yearly orbit about the sun – wakens them in synchronicity, and they emerge as the early pollinators to do their job before most humans are even aware of the fruitfulness of their task. Our plums, cherries, apricots and other fruit trees are all grateful recipients of their hard work. March and April come and go, and life builds up in our gardens and countrysides, flowering bulbs slowly emerge with slashes of colour across the borders, and suddenly May arrives in all its glory. Warm sunshine and blue skies are studded with colour on bushes and trees, and the underlying hum of early haymaking rolls across the fields. 


living family | 37

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Our most notable visitors in May are hoopoes, accompanied by wild poppies in the fields, and they seem to appear to our senses at the same time. At some stage in the month I will come across Roddy on his hands and dirty knees, trying to photograph a hoopoe grabbing a leatherjacket on the lawn. It’s one of the snapshots of May I have come to expect. Last year we had a pair of them nesting in the chicken garden and their calls lasted for a month longer than normal. Typically we will have had our first picnics in the garden by then, sprawled

out under a magnificent canopy of upright blooms on the Horse Chestnut, one of the latest trees to come into leaf, and our yearly battle for the cherries against our ravenous starlings will be at its height. Our cherry tree is a very early variety, its pink fruit needing long hours of sunshine to concentrate the fructose, but the wait is worth it if we can guard some of the harvest for ourselves. For all of us, much of May is spent frantically helping emergent growth to fulfil its function; eager hands plant tomato canes, and our runner beans require help to reach the sky. The first sweet local strawberries will appear

in the markets along with melons from further south. Perhaps this is why the children also choose May, for they see the future of summer developing in their helping hands as well. And although it may be a time of rebirth, May is also the month of promise. For even if summer is still a distant blue heaven, and the pool is slightly too chilly for swimming, the lawn is for the moment still green, before it dries and turns brown during the hotter months. And for now those cherries taste amazing.  

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

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

Clues Across 1. Those first to begin our work getting the nod? (3) 3. Engage in friendly contest in supermarket? (4) 5. Length of a brewer’s vehicle when it’s turned over? (4) 9. Desert wrongdoing for something top quality? (5) 10. Manage to have ice put into the mix? (7) 11. Fall apart but having retained gist in an original form? (12) 14. Click into place in English period? (6) 15. French article existing about keeping together? (6) 18. Manic graph it designed for identical twins? (8, 4) 21. Disney foot-tapper gets the

rump twitching? (7) 22. A little taster, even without seconds, is quite enough? (5) 23. Acorns etc. found in the fog after AI exchange? (4) 24. “Leading demo, even cheekily knocking-off! Get your cards!” (4) 25. Fix the young lady up, not with trainee though. (3)

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Clues Down 18 19 1. Not pure degree in Kent, for example? (4) 2. No time for putting towns 20 together, but successful nonetheless? (7) 21 3. Throw over top rate southern joints for other vessels? (7, 5) 24 4. Alters publicity when covering exercise? (6) 23 24 6. Leaders of athletics running events not appearing in stadium? (5) 7. Colour putting finishing touches to grand display scheme? (3) 16. Great train yard man makes 8. Article on club board describing simple mistake with last place walked? (3, 9) returning agent? (7) 12. Lots of time to make one’s 17. See teen re disturbance of arrangement? (4) first course of action? (6) 13. Expression of time in prison? (4) 19. Tries to sell last two of products

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hiding catch perhaps? (5) 20. Plead to cover prominent part of re-emerging marine obstacle perhaps? (4) 21. Possibly thumb through old manuscript headings? (3)

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38 | living nikki legon’s cuisine Bundles of locally grown asparagus spears on market stalls are a welcome sign that spring is here. Nikki shows us how versatile this delicious vegetable is with menus for all occasions…

Nikki Legon's

cuisine

Asparagus Omelette

Breakfast greens

Breakfast Greens 2 slices of toast 2 cups frozen peas 1 garlic clove 1 tbsp butter 1½ tbsp crème fraîche salt and pepper 6 asparagus spears 2 eggs

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Method Peel the garlic clove and slice into quarters. Cook the frozen peas with the garlic in boiling salted water for 2 minutes, drain well. Keep a spoonful of whole peas aside. Tip the remaining peas and garlic into a food processor and blitz to combine adding the crème fraîche and butter - it should be thick and creamy. Season to taste.

Boil a saucepan of salted water and cook the asparagus for 2 to 3 minutes depending on the thickness. Make and butter the toast, and fry the eggs. Place the pea purée onto the buttered toast, sprinkle the whole peas over, top with the asparagus and the fried eggs. Season and serve.

Asparagus Baked in Puff Pastry


living nikki legonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cuisine | 39

MENU 1 Method Arrange your salad leaves on a serving plate and add the tomatoes and croutons with the asparagus. When ready to serve, pour over the balsamic vinegar then the olive oil season to taste.

Asparagus Omelette Makes 2

Simple Asparagus Salad Serve with the asparagus omelette for a spring lunch Two handfuls of your favourite salad leaves 6 cooked asparagus spears 2 tbsp fried bread croutons 2 tomatoes, chopped 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp olive oil

MENU 2 Seared Scallops with Asparagus 4 scallops removed from their shells and cleaned (wash the shells to use for serving) olive oil for frying juice of half a lemon 1 clove of garlic, crushed 12 thin asparagus spears, cooked 15g butter

4 large eggs salt and pepper 15g butter 12 asparagus spears, cooked grated vegetarian Parmesan or a hard cheese of your choice Method Beat the eggs adding salt and pepper. Place half the butter in a non-stick frying pan over a medium to low heat until the butter has melted. Chop the cooked asparagus, keeping the best tips for decoration. Pour half the egg mixture in and tilt the pan ever so slightly from one side to the other to allow the eggs to cover the

Simple Asparagus Salad surface. Let the mixture cook for about 30 seconds then scrape a line from the edge into the middle using a spatula, do this several times. Add half of the chopped asparagus with a grating of cheese then tilt the pan and, using the spatula, gently fold the omelette over. Place onto a hot plate and repeat this with the remaining eggs. Lie the asparagus tips on top of the omelette and sprinkle with more cheese. Place under the grill and cook until the cheese melts and serve with the asparagus salad.

Method Pan fry the scallops in olive oil for 2 minutes each side. Season with salt and pepper. In butter, pan fry the cooked asparagus with the garlic and lemon juice until just heated through. Place the asparagus onto the shells and the scallops on top. Drizzle with the lemon butter.

Asparagus Baked in Puff Pastry 1 puff pastry sheet 12 asparagus spears 1 egg, beaten 1 tbsp grated Parmesan or vegetarian alternative Method Cut the pastry into 4 strips. Wrap one strip around three asparagus spears and repeat to make four bundles. Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Cook in the oven at 170°C for 15 to 20 minutes until golden.

Seared Scallops with Asparagus

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40 | living nikki legonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cuisine Asparagus Risotto with Yellow & Green Courgettes

MENU 3 Tempura of Asparagus sunflower oil for deep frying 50g plain flour plus a spoonful for dusting 1 tsp cornflour 100ml sparkling water, chilled 12 asparagus spears 1 tbsp sweet mustard 3 tbsp mayonnaise 1 tsp lemon juice Method For the dressing, mix the mustard into the mayonnaise adding the lemon juice, season to taste. Place the flour and cornflour into a bowl, add a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Pour in the sparkling water and combine to make a slightly lumpy batter. Pour enough oil into a wok to come halfway up the pan and heat the oil to 180°C. Dip the washed and trimmed asparagus in seasoned flour and then into the batter. Drop straight into the hot oil for 1 to 2 minutes until golden and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with the dressing alongside your favourite drink.

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Asparagus Risotto with Yellow & Green Courgettes 12 asparagus spears 2 tbsp olive oil 2 shallots, chopped 2 garlic cloves, chopped 400g risotto rice 500ml white wine 1 litre hot vegetable stock 100g unsalted butter 150g Parmesan, grated, or vegetarian alternative salt and pepper to taste 2 small yellow courgettes, sliced 1 medium green courgette, sliced

Method Boil or steam the asparagus until al dente, remove and cut into small pieces. Heat the oil in a saucepan and gently fry the shallots and garlic until softened but not coloured; do not burn your shallots as this will give a bitter taste to the end result. Add the rice and fry for 1 minute, stirring frequently, until coated in oil. Add the wine and simmer until absorbed by the rice. Add the vegetable stock a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly between each addition to allow the liquid to be completely absorbed. Add the asparagus and thinly cut courgettes, butter and Parmesan. Season to taste. Let the risotto rest for 5 minutes before serving in hot bowls with warm French baguette.

Tempura of Asparagus


living nikki legon’s cuisine | 41

MENU 4 Baked Quails 4 quails olive oil salt and pepper bunch of thyme splash of white wine 250ml chicken stock

Baked quails White & Green Asparagus with Chive Dressing

Method Preheat the oven to 180°C. Remove the wishbone from each quail. Place into a roasting tray and rub olive oil all over the skin. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and place a couple of sprigs of thyme into the cavity. Put the tray into the oven and cook for 10 to 12 minutes adding a slash of white wine to the tray halfway through cooking. Remove the quail from the tray and cover with foil, leaving to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, add a little chicken stock to the roasting tray to make a gravy, scraping up the juices. Serve with the white and green asparagus below.

White & Green Asparagus with Chive Dressing 12 white asparagus spears, cooked 12 green asparagus spears, cooked 1 tbsp lemon juice 2 tsp Dijon mustard 1 tsp clear honey salt and black pepper to taste 3 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp snipped chives

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

Method Whisk together the lemon juice, mustard and honey with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Whisk in the oil and finally stir in the chives. Drizzle over the warm asparagus.

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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. Join us for fish and chips on Fridays - lunch or dinner. We cater for special group occasions, call for more information See our menus on our website www.hotelkarina.net | info@hotelkarina.net | 05 45 36 26 26

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42 | living wine

Alsace is famous for white wines

French wine regions:

F

rance is one of the top 3 wine producing countries in the world, both in terms of volume and economic value, with 37 of the top 50 most expensive wines of the world hailing from France. First place is usually a close call between France, Italy and Spain. In 2019 Italy came in first and France second. China recently took first place for hectares planted, so it’s a matter of time until they take first place overall. The total vineyard area in France is around 800,000ha, spread across some 75,000 holdings. Not all are separate wineries – some supply cooperatives or are for personal use. Nonetheless, comparing this to other important New World wine producing countries like Australia, with a total area of around 135,000ha under vineyards and approximately 750 wineries, and South Africa with around 95,000 ha and approximately 550 wineries, we can see that France has many hectares but also many small operators. All that scale and diversity means a multitude of wine regions to know about, even more ‘appellations’ (360 to be precise) and many different wines. In this edition I’m focusing on white wines, which represent around a third of French production. In the next, I will pick up on red wines and then I’ll come back to the key grape varietals.

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White wines LIVING’s resident wine expert Caro Feely demystifies the bewildering array of names on our wine labels

Alsace Alsace wine region covers around 15,000ha and is famous for white wines, particularly noble varieties of Gewürztraminer and Riesling. Vines are planted on the eastern foothills of the Vosges mountains, where they experience dry, warm autumns perfect for ripening grapes. There are many soil types offering a great diversity of taste of terroir. Their white wines range from dry to full sweet. Bordeaux whites – Sémillon and Sauvignon blanc Bordeaux is most famous for red wines, but the greater Bordeaux region also produces beautiful whites. Sweet white wines like Sauternes south of Bordeaux city, plus Saussignac and Monbazillac in the Bergerac region, are primarily from the Sémillon grape. Dry whites are from Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Examples include Pessac-Léognan, often a richer style with barrel ageing,

and Entre-Deux-Mers, usually a fresher style with more Sauvignon Blanc. Burgundy – Chardonnay and a little Aligoté Many people associate Burgundy with Pinot Noir but it produces more white wine, with 60% white, 30% red and 10% sparkling. You find most of the whites south of Beaune. Examples include Meursault, Montrachet and the Mâconnais, creating whites made from Chardonnay (and Aligoté in some parts) which are often barrel aged. In the far north of the Burgundy area is a white wine icon: Chablis, an appellation famous for steely-dry Chardonnay that is rarely barrel aged.

Loire Valley – Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc The Loire Valley, like Alsace, is best known for white wines. It spans more than 800km from fabulous Sancerre in the east to Muscadet in the far west. You will find Sauvignon Blanc from famous commune appellations including Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé and Menetou-Salon and Chenin Blanc from Touraine region, with the famous commune appellation of Vouvray. The sub-region of Saumur Anjou includes white dessert wines like Coteaux du Layon and outstanding dry Chenin


living wine | 43 Come and learn about the wines of France on Caro’s custom 3-day wine course (all year round) or stretch yourself with Wine Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 2. Château Feely (www.chateaufeely.com) is a biodynamic and organic wine estate with accommodation, wine tours, vineyard walks and an accredited WSET wine school (www.frenchwineadventures. com). Subscribe to the newsletter at caro@chateaufeely.com, or via social media. You can also read the Feelys’ adventures in Caro’s book series.

Saumur’s AOC whites use Chenin grapes

Blancs like those from Savennières just south of Angers. The last part of the Loire, Muscadet, produces wines from Melon de Bourgogne grapes, whose refreshing zesty acidity accompanies seafood perfectly. The Rhône Valley and Languedoc – many grapes & varietals The Rhone valley is more known for red wines but also produces some great whites from Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne. Neighbouring Languedoc

produces the largest volume of wine in France, thanks to the varietal-specific Vin de Pays or PGI (Protected Geographic Indication) d’Oc, and its success in the international market. But while Languedoc is a massive wine region with around 228,000 hectares, a mere 10% of this is white wine production from many different grapes, including the Rhône varieties above but also many local varieties like Bourboulenc, Grenache Blanc or Picpoul Blanc. There’s no better way to get to know a wine region than by visiting it, whether

vicariously with a glass of it in your garden chair or setting off on a wine tour. Here’s to fine wine, friends and new wine discoveries this spring!

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Property

PHOTOS: © ROGER MOSS

Changing Places Desirable locations always seem to have great views. The idea of awakening each morning and gazing out upon magnificent mountains, a vast seascape or an idyllic stretch of river is, understandably, an appealing one. In the case of riverside locations, however, the effects of climate change mean that the age-old risk of occasional floods are becoming harder to ignore. Perhaps it’s time for some lateral thinking. One celebrated stretch of the mighty Dordogne around La Roque-Gageac might just satisfy both head and heart, the lateral thinking being to consider a location among the villages and hamlets found slightly higher up the valley sides. The low-lying flood plains around the river’s meanders are unmistakable, and if you leave them and instead follow the lanes which wind their way upwards there’s a heady sense of aloofness reinforced by the surrounding views. If you’re lucky enough to find somewhere to call home, you’ll have at your feet one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France, with others like Beynac-etCazenac, Castelnaud-la-Chapelle and

Domme nearby. You can see why La Roque-Gageac takes pride of place in tourism brochures and travel guides, for the setting of France’s third most-visited tourist site is simply extraordinary. For the wider view join the summer visitors boarding replica gabares which depart from the quayside to offer river cruises – and an opportunity to experience something of the lives of the bargemen who for centuries transported goods on the river before road freight took over. Whatever your viewpoint, the backdrop of massive limestone cliffs towering over the golden stone homes, boutiques and restaurants lining the riverbank creates an almost model village appearance, an effect which becomes even more pronounced among the narrow upper lanes. At the western end is the 15th century Manoir de Tarde, whose former occupants included 16th century historian, cartographer, astronomer and mathematician Gabriel Tarde, then three centuries later, his descendent, sociologist Gabriel Tarde. Visible nearby is the Château de la Malartrie, whose romantic-looking

La RoqueGageac (24)

We look at a Dordogne celebrity with climate-proof living nearby architecture actually dates from the early 20th century. On a greener note, at the opposite end of the village lies La Bambouseraie de La Roque-Gageac, founded as a botanical garden by the latter Gabriel Tarde and today covering around 5 hectares. It’s open to visitors, as are the Jardins Suspendus de Marqueyssac, a symphony of swirling topiary hidden away on a nearby rocky outcrop.

Making connections Distances/drive-times by road from La Roque-Gageac: Sarlat-la-Canéda: 10km/17min Bergerac: 67km/1hr 27min Cahors: 60km/1hr 21min Brive-la-Gaillarde: 69km/1hr 19min Périgueux: 70km/1hr 28min Bordeaux: 163km/3hr 20min TER & TGV rail services: TER Nouvelle-Aquitaine services from Gare SNCF de Sarlat (10km) to Bergerac, Libourne, Bordeaux, etc. TGV services from Brive-la-Gaillarde and Libourne to Paris, Bordeaux, Poitiers, Bayonne, etc.


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Character Properties in France

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Moussac, Vienne, €64,900* Charming two-bedroom / two-bathroom village house with nice outlook, garden and a large garage, mains drains and good roof. Bar/ restaurant/shop down the road. DPE: vierge

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Ref: 6397-EY 1 155,000€ HAI DPE: C Fabulous chateau with a guardian’s property and guest cottage. To the exterior there are mature gardens with a lake tennis court and a swimming pool. Possibility to purchase a further large stone property with 6 bedrooms and a pool and garden. Taux d’honoraires 55,000€ (5%) inclus à la charge de l’acquéreur.

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50 | living in the garden

in the garden

Radicchio, or â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Italian chicoryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;

Into the light In this issue we look at a group of vegetables whose eating qualities actually improve when deprived of daylight

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living in the garden | 51

W

Tender asparagus shoots

When the Romans occupied much of western Europe around the 1st century BC a whole lot of things changed forever. During the process of making themselves at home in Gaul they lost no time establishing many of their most favoured plants, both for their decorative qualities and as crops for consumption. Centuries later, the empire collapsed and legions returned to Rome but the greater part of their horticultural legacy remained, not least in the vegetable garden. This prompts a tantalising thought: could it be that the asparagus, long considered a quintessentially French delicacy, actually originated in Italy? That’s the theory, and while it has yet to be proven conclusively, wild asparagus does seem to have come from around and beyond the Mediterranean. The Greeks are known to have cultivated it, while in Egypt a mosaic which has

survived from the 3rd century BC has an unmistakable depiction of bundles of asparagus. Oh, and they’re also found in North Africa plus Central and Western Asia. Perhaps that’s why, when grown in our climate, they’re such timid souls. For one thing you’ll need free-draining soil, or their fleshy roots are likely to rot (there again, you don’t want to let them dry out). You’ll need a sunny spot, too, yet protected from strong winds. Then there’s the need for careful soil preparation, removing any perennial weed roots in springtime then digging in a generous amount of compost, general fertiliser or well-rotted manure. As for the plants, while it’s obviously possible to raise them from seed, it’s much quicker and more convenient to buy one year-old ‘crowns’ with an established root ball. To plant them dig a trench around

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20cm deep and 30cm wide, incorporate some well-rotted manure into the bottom, then cover it with a 5cm layer of the soil you’ve excavated. The next step is to make a 10cm high ridge of soil along the centre of the trench. The crowns can now be placed on top of the ridge, spaced 30-45cm apart. After spreading the roots evenly replace the remaining soil, leaving the bud tips just barely visible. After all this preparation, you might as well plant several rows, 45cm apart, with plants staggered in between them. Once that’s accomplished, water in the rows and round off with a 5cm mulch of well-rotted manure or other weed-free compost. Finally, if you find the prospect of preparing your garden soil particularly off-putting then you might instead create a raised bed or two. As far as onward care is concerned, we should first mention that asparagus

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52 | living in the garden

Summer means rhubarb cake

Forced endive chicons

for more cartoons by stig see www.artisart.com

plants are either male or female, and as the male plants are much more productive and have tastier spears, many modern varieties are sold as all-male. If any female plants (their orange-red berries are the giveaway) do nevertheless appear simply lift and discard them, along with any seedlings. A second point is that the plants need time to become fully productive, so try to resist harvesting spears during the first year after planting. During summer months support the plants’ tall foliage with stakes and garden twine to avoid breaking in windy weather and damage to the crowns, and in autumn wait until the foliage has done its job and turned yellow or

“Around four weeks later the white buds of the chicon should appear” brown before cutting down to soil level in preparation for winter. During the second year, harvest for 3 to 4 weeks only, side-dressing with soil or compost in spring and again in early autumn, while keeping the bed thickly mulched. By the third year your plants should finally be fully productive, so you can be harvesting asparagus for up to eight weeks or so each season, for at least ten years. Enjoy your freshly picked produce within a day or two. Another familiar Gallic delicacy is endive – or is it chicory? Strictly speaking, the two terms refer to different species of leafy vegetable with a characteristic bitterness, one of whose roots are often used as a coffee

substitute. However, what we normally encounter as a vegetable is actually Cichorium intybus – ‘chicorée de Bruxelles’ or ‘chicorée Witloof’. Growing them requires a fine soil rich in humus and a location exposed to full sun. Sow seeds in May-June in rows spaced about 30 cm apart. A month later thin to around 10cm between plants – the healthy ones you’ve removed can then be transplanted to a new row or two. To prevent them wilting, do this on a dull day and water gently. Four weeks later apply a nitrogen fertiliser and from then on keep the rows watered, having mulched carefully to retain moisture. Keep this up and by October or November the plants will have developed a fleshy root not unlike a slender parsnip, and should now be lifted and left to dry in the sun for a few days. They’ll then be ready for forcing, a process which stimulates the growth of ‘chicons’ – pale, tightly-packed leaves with a tender sweetness. Start by

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living in the garden | 53

Twist off rhubarb stems cleanly at the base

trimming back the foliage to 3cm or so, then cut a similar amount off the base of the big root. Next, half-fill some black tubs or similar containers with general purpose compost and plant the roots 5-8cm apart and to a depth which allows the tops to be roughly level, then add more compost, leaving just the tops exposed. Water in well and top-up the compost if necessary, then either place the tubs somewhere in total darkness or cover the tub with another identical one to exclude all daylight, or the results will taste bitter. Around 4 weeks later the white buds of the chicon should start to appear; when fully developed, snap them off near the root and then replace the container back in the dark, to produce a second smaller crop known as ‘endivette’. A similar forcing process is often employed to encourage our friends the rhubarb plants to produce their flavoursome stems (commonly referred to as ‘sticks’) a month or so earlier

Encouraging rhubarb through forcing

than would otherwise be the case. Like endives, deprive them of light and they’ll simply put on more growth to try and find it, although with rhubarb it’s just a temporary black-out for late winter. The perennial plants are easily grown from seed, seedlings or crowns, and ask only a cool spot with well-drained soil (the roots won’t appreciate being waterlogged in winter) enriched with some well-rotted manure. You can even grow them in large tubs. Either way, keep the plants from drying out, and remove any slugs or snails, which seem to find them irresistible. As far as cropping is concerned, let the plants become established during their first year, then take a few stems during their second season, twisting and pulling them near the base, to avoid snapping them. This will create a nice, clean break and avoid leaving part stems through which infections could enter the plants. In subsequent years

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they will have become fully productive, and you can harvest a third or even half the stalks. It’s best to call a halt by midsummer, though, to let the plants recover and maintain their vigour for the years ahead. A final salient point is that only the stems are edible, the leaves being toxic, due to their high levels of oxalic acid. Just cut them off and they’ll make a useful contribution to your compost production. As for the stems, you can safely eat them raw, although you’ll need to tame their characteristic tartness with a sweetener such as honey, maple syrup or sugar. They can also be added to smoothies, used for jam-making or simply enjoyed in a classic summer crumble – a reminder that rhubarb is in many ways more like a fruit than a vegetable. As we’ve discovered, some remarkable things can happen in our gardens, even when they’re out of sight. Enjoy your gardening, and may the force(ing) be with you.

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SIRET 848 719 42300016


55

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

- 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.

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Home Satellite Services • Satellite dishes, Sky/Freesat • Dish realignment/upgrades • Sky & Freesat TV boxes • A reliable service at sensible rates serving several departments

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56

SPRING HAS SPRUNG & SUMMER IS HERE! Although it was cold long into Spring (minus temperatures and snow in the Limousin into May), things are now looking up, including the thermometer! So it’s a good time to get on with some work in the house and garden. While gardens begin to bloom into Summer colours, why not bring some colour indoors with a bright new carpet or flooring! Beige and grey may have been the predominant ‘colours’ for home decor for the past few years, perhaps now is the time to be bold! For example, look at the colours within the ranges from Adam Carpets (www.adamcarpets.com) especially their Fine Worcester Twist and Castlemead Twist which between them have 125 colours, all in both 4 & 5 metre widths. If you want to see the samples of these or any other carpets give Jon a call or arrange a visit to the showroom!

SHOWROOM ADDRESS

Help & advice, Financial planning Insurance, Help & Advice

The Fixer

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

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Call Rick Denton now on 06 46 25 30 87 or Email: mailthefixer@gmail.com www.corporateandlegal.org

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BRICO16 TRADE PAINTS

Official Crown Paints distributor South West France • • • • •

colour matching and mixing trade & DIY products and decorating sundries exterior paints - masonry, shutters, windows... interior paints - emulsions, satin, gloss... specialist primers & complete technical advice

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Brico16 Trade Paints, Chez Maugarny, 16460 VENTOUSE T: 05 45 95 45 36 M: 06 16 25 30 55 E: martin@brico16.com btpcrownpaints www.btpcrownpaints.com

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30 rue du commerce, 86400 CIVRAY M: 06 33 11 64 05 eloisa@efficientranslations.fr www.efficientranslations.fr


57

Charente Assistance Garden Maintenance | Pool Care | Gîte Services | Home Maintenance 05.45.25.05.37 | www.charenteassistance.fr Claude’s Cat Hotel

LIME TREE KENNELS

Regular trips throughout Europe DEFRA Type 2 licensed, custom built vans

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

Les Chaillauds 16220 MONTBRON Tel: 05 45 24 01 45 claudescathotel@gmail.com www.claudescathotel.com

 Authorised suppliers of Crown Trade and Sandtex Trade paint based in Charente-Maritime (17)  Colour matching service available  Free Technical advice and support  Tester pots available The paint the professionals use

Brico17paintsupplies 09 61 62 46 15

www.nettoyage-services-dordogne.fr PROFESSIONAL CLEANING & HYGIENE SERVICES Key holding / conciergerie. Cleaning of commercial and domestic premises and window cleaning. Rugs, carpet & upholstery steam shampoo extraction. Hard floors / surfaces treatment: marble, granite, terracotta etc & wood floor parquet. Swimming pool & garden maintenance. Office: 05 53 07 52 71 (9 to 18.00) Mobile: 06 31 31 06 76 / 06 70 39 83 96 arcencielnettoyage24@gmail.com

Siret: 813 442 860 00017

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

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

Tel: 09 83 70 01 33 Mob: 06 61 25 41 09 E: john.louch@orange.fr or cjlogistics8@gmail.com

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58

Affordable UK Designs

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

phone: 05 49 42 99 41 Mobile: 06 63 71 09 81 E: scott.braddock1@yahoo.com www.affordableukdesigns.com

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

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

Full or Part Load Removals To & From France UK: +44 (0) 1237 431 393 FR: +33 (0)5 45 89 49 57 Email: info@anglofrenchmail.com

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Transport Services, Pools

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FRANKLINS REMOVALS Packing services Full/part loads to and from the UK Vehicles transported • Containerised storage Competitive prices • Transit /storage insurance Call Stephen or Ben Franklin on 0044 121 353 7263 or email sales@franklinsremovals.co.uk

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2 Ladies & a Van Garden waste, barns etc. cleared Unoccupied holiday homes checked For enquiries & rates tel: 07 72 38 84 60 09 63 68 12 49

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

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POOLS BY JONATHAN

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

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

Tel: 07 67 04 07 53

Email: info@enershop.eu

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

Website: www.enershop.eu

These local businesses are waiting for your call!

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Delivery &

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FROM £99

59

Furniture for France

Quality UK furniture direct to your door in France Furniture for your bedrooms, dining room and lounge From sofas to mattresses, wardrobes to dining tables, all just one phone call away Look at our website to see the latest ranges available 18 years’ experience & great customer service

fff

Here to help with your projects in 2020 Fully insured

www.centrebatiment.com T: 06 62 92 48 17 eastmike@outlook.fr

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

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Getting your pool re a d y for the summer!

R J Coulson Pool services

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rjcpoolservices.com enquiries@rjcpoolservices.com

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

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Ian Dickinson

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• We supply and fit a range of carpets to suit all budgets • We also fit amtico, vinyl, wood and ceramic tile • Over 25 years experience, 100% customer satisfaction • Now selling a selection of wool and mixed fibre rugs

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Tel: 06 17 73 56 87 Mob: 07 77 83 77 10 or 0044 7917 03 02 49 jeff@jeffsmetalwork.com

Mob:

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E: iancdickinson1960@gmail.com

Cotswold Eco Wood-Fired HOT TUBS in France RELAX. REPLENISH. REWIND.

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Britain’s leading supplier

Easy to install in even the most remote locations Shhhh...one of the quietest air bubble systems on the market Efficient wood-fired boiler - minimal electricity used for bubbles and LED lighting Robust wood and fibreglass construction means years of weather-resistant service Thoughtful design ensures they are hygienic and easy-to-clean Comfortable seating allows users to immerse their shoulders, perfect all year round Bespoke range of options and colour combinations

For more information, please contact Nicola or Tim: E: nicolamccabe69@gmail.com T: +44 784 575 4049 www.cotswoldecotubs.co.uk FB: HotTubsinFrance

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siret: 879 912 855

Metalwork, Carpets, Design

Fraser W. Eade

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Pools, Metalwork

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Tel: 06 46 49 73 45 Email: info@furnitureforfrance.co.uk www.furnitureforfrance.co.uk


60

Siret 800 969 438 00020

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in any condition dans n’importe quel état

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F1M 414, F1L 514 & F2L 514 1936-1960

Call Jon on 05 49 87 29 71 E: jon@energic.info

Depts 16 & 17

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

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Looking for old DEUTZ tractors

Metalwork, Fencing, Artisans

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16100 Chateaubernard 05 45 36 46 70 / 06 72 21 80 27 lifeboatmoose@wanadoo.fr www.mmpropertymaintenance.fr

BECK CHERRY PICKER HIRE Nacelle Telescopique

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

www.beckcherrypickerhire.com Tel: 07 84 12 44 97

E: beckcherrypickerhire@gmail.com

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61

LIOn rOUGe

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• renovations and refurbishments • pointing/rendering • block work

R J Coulson Building services

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• plastering

enquiries@rjcbuildingservices.com

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Leaking roof - 48hr response!

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www.building-services-france.com E: andrewquick@orange.fr ~ T: 05 49 27 22 67 Siret: 499 474 302 00035

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Building services, Artisans

• complete range of building services

depts 79, 86 & 16

Building services, Artisans

Renovations / new builds Roof repairs Velux installation Guttering Insurance claims


62

GARY MOORE HEATING 22 YEARS IN HEATING, 12 YEARS IN FRANCE Siret: 491827705 00022

Ò Ò Ò Ò

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Tel: 05 45 29 68 73 | Mobile: 06 30 11 86 84 | Email: gary.moore@orange.fr

Graham Medhurst Renovations

Building services, Artisans

JAMES RICHARDSON

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

05 49 87 09 63 Siret: 48115588500017

AMOS HANDYMAN

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Contact Kai for all jobs Mob: 06 83 17 19 77 E: K2amos@gmail.com FB: @Amoshandyman16

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

Keith Bassett GENERAL BUILDING SERVICES

Part or full renovations Roofing Plaster boarding All building works undertaken Tel: 05 49 27 52 99 Mob: 06 74 95 21 00 E: kajbassett@wanadoo.fr Based 79190 Siret 487 581 209 00011

SEAN THEOBALD Carpenter All elements of 1st and 2nd fix carpentry undertaken Over 35 years experience specialising in, but not limited to High-End Residential and Heritage Projects T: 07 80 53 54 11 E: seantheobald@outlook.com Based in 17240

Siret: 848 507 042 00010

South West France Fosse We are the only dedicated installer Trained-Approved-Recommended by SPANC Can you trust your installation to anyone else? With over 30 years’ experience Accredited installers for the leading makes of compact filters and microstations Biorock - Ecoflo - Phytoplus - Elloywater - Hydroclear

Tel: 06 04 14 84 86 See all our work on

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www.southwestfrancefosse.com These local businesses are waiting for your call!


63

Les Bons Voisins PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

exceptional service at competitive prices

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

. admin help . translation

friendly people providing professional help to home owners in france www.LBVfrance.com

e:info@LBVfrance.com

Specialist Carpenter/Joiner

Cabinet Maker & Joiner

Bespoke Joinery & Renovations Doors - Shutters - Stairs Flooring - Kitchens

Furniture Restoration Manufacture of staircases, doors & cupboards

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

16240 La Fôret de Tesse T: 05 45 30 39 85 barry.baldwin@orange.fr Covering depts 16, 79 & 86

Siret: 804476 034 00017

Siret: 441 490 992 00027

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

ambroise1204@hotmail.fr Tel: 06 58 86 55 91 Based in 86400 Saint Macoux English spoken

Plumbing - Heating Chimney sweeping

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Kitchen & Bathroom installation Tiling Plumbing Repairs Tel: 06 29 90 24 89 E: mrbirky2@yahoo.com Based in dept 79 near Sauzé-Vaussais Fully insured Siret: 804 390 862 000 14

Peter Amor Electrician

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

Tel: 05 49 91 85 54 peter-amor@orange.fr All departments covered SIret: 480 026 560 00012

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

05 46 86 07 61

trevor.miell@btopenworld.com Siret 49376573200015

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

Contact Ken Fey 16220 Rouzede Tel: 05 45 23 76 49 M: 06 48 27 85 86 or +44 (0)75 99 17 90 39 E: kjfey@live.co.uk Siret: 838 623 437 00012

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

David GABARD T: 06 71 83 16 69 / 05 49 87 27 29 E: info@vf-services.fr 2 Verrières, 86400 CHAMPNIERS Covering south 86 & 79, north 16

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Building services, Artisans

Ambroise PRÉE

Full service with certificate (boiler, fuel, wood, gaz) Fully insured with over 10 year’s experience

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ADAM BLACKABY Artisan Peintre

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PAINTER & DECORATOR

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Adrian Amos Barry Baldwin

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living music | 65

Upbeat

W

e often hear of French culture being under attack from anglophone influences, so it might come as a surprise to learn that French is spoken by an estimated half a million people in the southern states of the USA. Keeping it alive is the music which sits at the very heart of the Cajun culture of Southern Louisiana, also known as French Louisiana. The Cajuns are descendants of 17th century French émigrés, many of whom came from Poitou, and who settled in what are now the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Back then, however, they were in the colony of Nouvelle France. They named their territory Acadie, and lived peacefully until the British seized Canada in 1713 and required all settlers, including the Acadians, to adopt the Protestant religion. When the Acadians steadfastly refused the British began deporting them, while others simply fled, many finding acceptance in Louisiana, which already had strong French and Catholic influences. The Acadian newcomers eventually became known as Cajuns and in the swamplands and surrounding areas of South Louisiana they developed their own cultural identity, expressed in a lively and highly individual musical style. It’s been said that Cajun is to the swamps what bluegrass is to the mountains, and while its roots lie in 18th century Acadian music, it absorbed other musical influences – both Country Music and Western Swing, for example.

Call it Cajun Music originating in western France is responsible for keeping French spoken in the USA.

Louisiana Creole culture (which finds its own expression in more swing-fuelled Zydeco music) it can take a while to get your ear tuned into Cajun French. Cajun culture was to gain ever wider exposure in Lafayette and in New Orleans, whose celebrated French Quarter attracts visitors from far and wide. Each night the ornate French colonial façades echo to countless musical styles, among them Cajun standards from slick bands delivering exactly what visitors come to hear, and sung almost exclusively in Louisiana’s very own brand of French. In fact, the very survival of US francophone culture is largely due to the rise in popularity of Cajun music. That welcome development happened in the wake of a long period when Cajun culture had been regarded as being some way down the social scale. The earliest recordings in Cajun Instrumentation-wise, powering it French and Louisiana Creole date out normally involves a fiddle and a from 1928, although things really took ‘squeezebox’ – a single-row diatonic off when releases by artists like Doug accordion – supported by guitar, Kershaw, Jimmy C Newman, Jo-El triangle, washboard (strapped to the Sonnier turned into major country chest) and perhaps harmonica. Many crossover hits. In 1996 French artist modern players also add bass and drums. Michel Fugain released ‘Les Acadiens’ Tempos are one-step (‘Cajun jig’) or by way of a celebration of the Cajun a jitterbug-style syncopated two-step, pioneers, his song being reworked with an occasional slow waltz slotted in 2015 by France-based Canadian in to allow the dancers a chance to get chanteuse Natasha St-Pierre on her Mon their breath back – in contrast to its Acadie album. Away from the studio, distant roots in unaccompanied ballads, though, the authentic Cajun sound is modern Cajun is real dance music. alive and well, video clips of performers Vocals are another defining factor; like the late DL Menard having clocked thanks to a longstanding overlap with up million-plus YouTube views. Grammy-winning Cajun player Jo-El Sonnier

ANN’S PIANOS MR. PIANO MAN

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

International Writing Competition 2020 POETRY UP TO 50 LINES Prizes*: £300, £100, £50 - Judge: Martyn Crucefix - Entry £5 SHORT STORIES FROM 1,500 TO 3,000 WORDS Prizes*: £300, £100, £50 - Judge: Sherry Morris - Entry £8 VIGNETTE (SHORT FICTION): up to 300 words Prize*: £100 - Judge: Mandy Pannett - Entry £5 ONE-ACT PLAYS: up to 35 minutes running time Prizes*: £150, £50 - Judge: Charles Palliser - Entry £12

Deadline 15th June all competitions

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nounced in 16, 17, 79 and west Vienne

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Celebration event in September, date to be announced. St André-sur-Sèvre 79380 Contact jocelynsmms@gmail.com Guidelines, rules and multiple entries:

www.poetryproseandplays.com

Proceeds to

SegoraPPP


66 | living Language

Pardon? T

he new year always brings new dictionaries on both sides of the Channel, and 2020 is no exception. Of course, the new words that find a place in print are never totally new, are they? Just the words that the lexicographers have decided carry enough weight to enter into their hallowed pages. It’s not just the folk in the dictionary world, however, who find themselves sometimes struggling with definitions, but also translators, who must work out a way to find equivalents. In France, that is especially relevant where les immortels at L’Académie Française try to steer clear of anglicisms. I even love the idea of ‘immortals’ ruling over a language. But the bit I especially love is the Devenir Immortel on the Académie Française site. ‘How to become immortal’. The Académie are quick to point out that this might raise a smile, but being immortal means playing a part in protecting the French language forever. But from the sanctity of les immortels, we quickly realise most new words are either rising up from the street, or medical terms for things we didn’t know about a few years ago. My favourite from the Oxford English Dictionary in 2020 are ‘awesomesauce’, ‘chicken-scratch’ and ‘hench’. Awesomesauce, which came into being at the turn of the century is already past its sell-by date, and is simply just another way of saying something is great. I’m not sure sauce extraordinaire or super sauce would ever work in French and certainly, it’s one of those words that will only ever fox a few people in dubbing or subtitling American sitcoms as they scratch around for something as current. ‘Chicken-scratch’ may have found its place as a way to describe bad handwriting, but it’s probably a phrase that will stick around. I’m left

L i ving

wondering about the difference in meaning between chicken-scratch handwriting and spidery handwriting. Is there a difference? Perhaps we’ll continue to use both? Of course, French has its own long-established way of describing such handwriting as ‘fly-feet handwriting’: écriture en pattes de mouche. I love how English speakers imagine spiders and French speakers imagine flies. As to whether the French will add another term as well, perhaps not. Scratch in French is Velcro anyway, and la griffure de poule would be probably taken literally rather than as a metaphor to describe bad handwriting. Just don’t make any jokes to your doctor about la griffure de poule as you may well end up in a specialist clinic for rare diseases. Finally, the word ‘hench’. I’m guessing its origins, meaning a man who looks muscular and strong, would be with henchman or bodyguard. You know, that kind of brawny, muscley guy. ‘Henchman’ itself doesn’t translate well into French. We’ve got the homme de main which kind of has that sense of being someone who’ll do your bidding, but for me, lacks that sense of brute force that I think of when I think of henchmen. You could perhaps go with the delightfully unpronounceable

Have you ever dreamt of becoming immortal? In France you can be, as Emma-Jane Lee explains… sbire which again means someone who’ll do your evil bidding without question, or les gros bras or ‘big arms’ who’ll do the same. ‘Bodyguard’ is the very literal garde de corps which again has none of the sense of its English translation. In any case, being ‘hench’ has come into its own now and has lost all sense of guarding anything or being anyone’s paid muscle. Musclé is more than sufficient as an exact translation, but carries none of the connotations of men who spend hours and hours at the gym. Le cardiotraining did enter Le Petit Robert last year, though, so that may well help you with your translations. Green seems to have crept into French, much to the chagrin of the Académie Française who propose vert or écologique. Le Fake News is a term they’d rather the French wouldn’t say, preferring l’information fallaceuse or les informations fausses or infox if you must. They’re not fans of pitcher either. Not as in a pitcher of juice, but as in the franglicism of ‘to pitch’. For example if we might ‘pitch a project’, it’s becoming a fashion for the French to add -er but you can understand why you might hear pitcher un projet rather than mettre en valeur un projet. ‘Black Friday’ and ‘discount’ are also on the Académie blacklist, but as usual, what the immortels would like isn’t always what happens in real life. New words are often driven by current affairs, technology and cultural fashions, so 2020 will doubtless inspire some interesting lexical developments on both sides of the Channel. Emma is a jack-of-all-language-trades, writing English textbooks, translating, marking exam scripts and teaching languages. She lives near La Rochefoucauld with her growing menagerie. See 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: Caro Feely, Susan Hays, Jessica Knipe, magazine Emma-Jane Lee, Mike Morris, Nikki Legon and Stig Tomas. WITH THANKS TO: John and Gill Bowler, Julia Moss. Photography: Shutterstock or Roger Moss unless indicated. Cover image: Rhubarb cake in the garden © Joanna Stankiewicz-Witek/Shutterstock Published by: SARL AMM, 2 Rue Buffefeu, 86400 Linazay FRANCE. Poitiers: 533 624 128. Printed by: Rotimpres S.A. Dépôt légal: A parution. ISSN: 2270-2709. 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 any company you are dealing with is registered in France www.livingmagazine.fr and/or elsewhere around the world. Articles in this issue do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher.


-6

(1)

per pers.

*R00113LGFP* (1) The voucher is valid for Adults (aged 13 and over) and children (aged 5 to 12), exclusively for a 1-day dated-entry ticket purchased on the day of visit and must be handed in at the Futuroscope ticket booths between 1st April 2020 and 3rd January 2021* (single-use voucher - 1 to 5 visitors only per voucher, for a visit on the same day). Discount does not apply to other ticket types, dated-entry tickets booked in advance, undated tickets, or Group tickets. Offer cannot be applied retroactively or combined with other offers. *Please check the opening dates calendar on futuroscope.com

© Glory Paris. D. Laming, architecte, Futuroscope. Aérophile, Calune.

You’ll succumb to the irresistible magnetic force of your own curiosity. You’ll board the new Destination Mars attraction and become an astronaut! With The Extraordinary Journey, voted the best attraction in Europe you will fly around the world with your legs dangling free. Enjoy unforgettable and spectacular fun until nightfall with 40 attractions, and beyond with the fairytale aquatic evening show from the Cirque du Soleil. The adventure will go on and on, and everyone will have their favourite.

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Living Magazine April May 2020