Living Magazine - April May 2022

Page 1

L i ving magazine

april | may 2022

in this issue: Dordogne Village ramble AliÉnor of Aquitaine Keeping Heritage Skills Alive & much more

Perfectly Périgord

~ Passionate about life in south west France ~

living editor’s letter | 3

to our April/May issue


pring has sprung, and is without a doubt my favourite time of the year. When the first cherry blossoms open and the migrating grues fly overhead, I feel my heart lift, as I hope that the worst of winter is behind us. But, like many others, I am sure, my eyes have been drawn away from the skies and the garden to the horror unfolding in Ukraine. Although I write this column some time before you read it, I fear that this is just the beginning of many months of hostilities and turmoil. After Brexit and five years of campaigning to protect citizens’ rights, in parallel with a pandemic, I can’t quite believe that we have not been able to draw a breath before once more unfurling our ‘Refugees Welcome’ banners and helping those arriving in our region. I am hoping the passage towards summer will give us all the additional energy we need to help those fighting for democracy. But while we cannot ignore the seriousness of events around us, for our own health we also need to focus on the lighter side of life too at times and, we hope, this is where LIVING plays a part. We like to believe that the arrival of the latest edition of LIVING is a moment for relaxation, a time to forget any worries, and a reminder of just how lucky we are to live here. Throughout all the challenges recently, we have continued to publish and deliver each issue and this time is no different, despite large increases in paper prices and soaring energy costs. I know I say this every time, but if you value LIVING Magazine, do please subscribe to help us through these uncertain times. So, what delights do we have in store for you this time? I may be biased, but I think we have some fabulous features! Did you know that it’s nine centuries since the birth of Aliénor d’Aquitaine? She was a truly remarkable woman, as we discover. We visit the association that turns artisans into outstanding artists through hard work and dedication. We twirl the propeller of the eccentric French invention l’Hélica but decide to use a more reliable form of transport as we visit north Dordogne villages. We also have news, recipes, gardening, family fun and much more, as you have come to expect. And, of course, we have amazing local businesses who are waiting for your call! And so, I wish you all a peaceful springtime. I hope that my next editor’s letter is easier to write, with the future more settled. In the meantime, I know we will all dig deep to welcome families to our region; democracy is one freedom we cannot afford to lose.

A bientôt!


Read online at

4 | living contents


28 50 38

Spring Symphony We’re all excited that spring is here - aren’t we?


Puzzle Break Our unique crossword by Mike Morris

22 5



Snippets Local news from around the region


Perfectly Périgord Roger Moss takes off for a ramble around the northern reaches of le Périgord


On Strong Foundations Jessica Knipe discovers the association dedicated to handing on traditional skills


Dynasty Nine centuries after her birth, we follow in the footsteps of Aliénor d’Aquitaine


L’Hélice Our hommage to one of France’s most eccentric vehicle innovations


Practical Advice Your questions answered


Nikki Legon’s Cuisine Our very own odd couple, leeks and pears, are the stars of the show in this issue


Times of Change How our vineyards are responding to climate challenges with Caro Feely



Living Property Pages A profile of Talmont-sur-Gironde in Charente-Maritime


Born to Climb We celebrate one of the most upwardly mobile of all our garden plants, the delightful clematis...


From the Heart The enduring popularity of Francis Cabrel


Pardon! New words for the new year with Emma-Jane Lee

Business Directory

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News round up

Presidential Elections

It’s time for all French citizens who are aged 18 or over to go to the polls to elect the President of the French Republic for the next 5 years. This includes all those living abroad, however long they may have been away from France. Citizens vote directly for their preferred candidate in a two-round process with each candidate nominated by at least 500 elected representatives (e.g. maires, députés etc.). Through the campaign, spending is monitored by a committee with each candidate having exactly the same airtime on radio and TV. The first round of voting takes place on Sunday, 10 April. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the votes cast, a second round of voting between the two leading candidates will take place on Sunday, 24 April. The five-year term is renewable once.

Clearing Up

dates to remember

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émie, so Zone are staggered by acad quitaine) run from (including Nouvelle-A 16 April-2 May, while ndée) Zone B (including Ve are from 9-25 April. jours féries, There are 4 upcoming nds: although 2 fall at weeke ndi de Pâques Monday 18 April: Lu Travail Sunday 1 May: Fête du re 1945 Sunday 8 May: Victoi nsion ce As Thursday 26 May:

While the jury is out on the final impact of the One Ocean Summit held in Brest earlier this year, one announcement by the Ministry of Ecological Transition will benefit the Atlantic Coast. Fifty abandoned landfill sites close to eroding shorelines will share a 30-million euro clear-up fund to be managed by ADEME. Three sites have been given priority, including the Pré-Magnou landfill in Fouras (17). The two others are Dollemard (SeineMaritime) and Anse Charpentier (Martinique). The state has given the team ten years to solve the problem, as rising sea levels threaten to wash the historic landfill contents, much of which are plastic, into our oceans. Fouras is promised 7 million euros to clean up the 19,000m3 of rubbish buried at depths of 0.5-3m.

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

Classic Cars

Since the creation of low-emission zones in many French cities, the classic car group la Fédération Française des Véhicules d’époque (FFVE) has been lobbying for an exemption. Until now, classic cars have been excluded from many cities as they are classed on the upper end of the Crit’Air pollution scale, similar to diesel cars. Working with the Ministry for Ecological Transition, the federation has succeeded in getting classic cars their own classification as an invaluable part of France’s technical, economic, social and cultural heritage. To benefit from the waiver, the cars must be classified as a véhicule de collection on their carte gris and they will, in the short term, have their own sticker while the authorities work on incorporating them into the general Crit’Air scheme. It is thought there are approximately 400,000 collectors in France holding some 6,000 events per year.


The annual Journées Européennes des Métiers d’Art take place from 28 March - 3 April. Artisans and artists will be hosting visits, workshops and exhibitions to showcase their talents. Visit the dedicated website to see where events will take place locally.

High Speed Grants

Despite the deployment of 4G, access to high-speed internet is still difficult in many parts of France, particularly rural areas. To help eliminate this digital divide the government has offered a grant to help individuals purchase the equipment necessary to boost the signal. From April, the grant will double from 150€ to 300€ and will benefit both individuals and companies in around 28,000 communes not served by wired networks. Through its France Très Haut Débit plan, the government aims to ensure that the entire country is able to access over 30Mbit/s internet speeds by the end of the year, with a further ambitious plan to connect homes to fibre optics by 2025. To see if your household qualifies and how to apply, visit the government website:

La Fête des Voisins is in the diary this year for Friday, 20 May. Check local noticeboards to see what is planned in your neighbourhood - it will be a great way to catch up with neighbours before the summer.

Meanwhile, Fête de la Nature is planned for 18-22 May. Rather than a single theme, there are several, designed to encourage everyone to enjoy nature wherever they are. Events will be publicised on the dedicated website.

Subscribe today > see page 5 for info

Île de Ré


News from around the region...

Surgeres Île de Oléron


CHARENTE-MARITIME (17) Marennes Saintes Cognac Royan


Rouillac Jarnac



les charentes

ANGOULEME Barbezieux Aubeterresur-Dronne

Cognac NFTs Cognac houses are moving into the world of NFTs selling unique digital works at eye-watering prices. In keeping with the spirit’s luxury image, top artists are being invited to design animations with first Hennessy raising 220,000€ for the first and last of its 250-bottle limited edition of Hennessy 8 along with their digital twins. They were followed quickly by Martell who recently auctioned Jacky Tsai’s ‘The Voyage of The Swift’, a 3D animation based on the Maison Martell’s emblem. Who will be next?

Musical Energy & Inspiration The Festival International de Musique de Chambre en Charente, one of the department’s flagship cultural events, will resume this year. The joy, excitement, positive energy and human interaction craved for so long has returned and Chalais (16) will resonate once again to the sound of classical chamber music. With concerts every weekend throughout May and early June, this ever-popular festival welcomes musicians and music lovers from all over Europe. Enjoy tastings of local food and wine after each concert, receptions, meet the musicians, and, of course, the outstanding Concert de Gala followed by its champagne reception. Discover dynamic international artists and new programmes. Plus, all events are free for children. The festival runs from 7 May to 5 June and advance booking is recommended. Full details and tickets are available on or by telephoning 06 65 24 51 75.

The 10th Fête des Plantes will be held in the Priory grounds at Marcillac Lanville (16) near Aigre on Sunday 3 April from 10am – 6pm. Entry is 2€ for adults including a tombola ticket, while under-18s are free. For information email:


Don’t miss the popular ‘Festival International du Cerf-Volant et du Vent’ at ChâtelaillonPlage (17) over the Easter weekend of 16-18 April. Winner of the 2020/21 Vendée Globe, Yannick Bestaven (who graced our cover this time last year), is guest of honour. Entry is free.

L i v in g MAGAZINE





The Mighty Loire


Architectural Artistry




Fort Boyard Repairs

Situated between the islands of Oléron and Aix and home to the gameshow of the same name, Fort Boyard has withstood centuries of Atlantic weather. However, both the ramparts at Brouage and the Napoleonic fort are beginning to show signs of wear and tear so their owner, the Conseil Départemental de la CharenteMaritime, is hoping to find partners to finance the major works required on both sites. 36 million euros are required for repairs to Fort Boyard and a further 26 million euros for the ramparts at Brouage. Département President Sylvie Marcilly hopes to raise awareness of the monuments nationally in her search for funding, beginning with a ‘broad communication plan’.

News from around the region...

HELPING HANDS Shade Charente-Maritime is taking part in the latest initiative launched by the creator of the ‘Fête des Voisins’ and asking residents to give one hour a month to helping others. Simply sign up on the dedicated website ( and choose what you would like to do, from shopping for a neighbour to helping a child with their homework. During the Covid lockdowns many individuals volunteered to help others and it is hoped that this initiative will encourage this solidarity to continue.

& Light Bringing together artists who produce narrative works around a central theme is the focus of the Emoi photography festival held in Charente each year. This year’s theme has been chosen to challenge the notion of black and white by searching for the greys in a world divided by questions, as we emerge from the shade of the past few years. Now in its 9th year, the exhibition, held across eight different sites in Angoulême, is curated by photographer Peggy Allaire. Nineteen photographers have been selected by a jury, including several from outside France as well as local artists, to share their works and participate in workshops, guided visits and more. For full details of the exhibition sites and timetable, visit the website at: The festival runs from 9 April - 8 May.

Tip Closures

Rural Charente is facing a reduction in the number of déchèteries available to residents. Currently there are 29 outside Angoulême but Calitom, who manages the sites, says that many of these are poorly attended, making them less efficient and economically unviable in the longer term. The plan is for 13 sites to close (Aunac, Saint-Claud, Champagne-Mouton, Roumazières, Chabanais, Montembœuf, Jarnac, Hiersac, Pérignac, Montmoreau, Nabinaud, Chalais and Brossac). New sites will be built at Champagne-Mouton and Jarnac along with one close to Chabanais and two new facilities at Montboyer and Poulignac. The aim is for all residents to have a site within 15 minutes or 15km of their home and to ensure that all sites are optimised to meet new regulations coming into force in 2025. While on paper this makes sense, many communes are unhappy with the loss of their local recycling centres when efforts to improve recycling rates are being prioritised.

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News from around the region...


Musée de la Médecine

Hautefort’s Musée d’Histoire de la Médecine has been given a new lease of life after the management was taken over by the town council. Originally created to exhibit a local doctor’s extensive collection of medical objects and books, the association managing the museum recently ceased activity. The museum is located in a historic property owned by the mairie, the 17th century Hôtel-Dieu at the foot of the chateau, which also houses the local tourist office. Re-opening in April, an exhibition celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of Louis Pasteur will run through the summer while the building receives a 700,000-euro renovation.

Châteaux en Fête

After a successful inaugural year in 2021, more than 80 historic houses and chateaux across Dordogne and Lot-et-Garonne will once more offer special events and visits to the properties, some of which are rarely open to the public. The two-week programme, running from 16 April-1 May, can be found at:

Château de Duras

This popular Lot-et-Garonne landmark offers panoramic views over the Dropt Valley from its stunning terraces, and has a calendar of family activities throughout the year. Built during the 12th century, the Château became an impregnable fortress in the 14th century 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. Visit between 9-27 July to experience an exciting live action show which promises sword fights and daring stunts, as brigands try to escape the King’s Musketeers. From 28 July-28 August falconry and chivalry shows take place daily. See for details of all the events, including a 4D light show throughout the summer season.

April is the season for fresh Dordogne asparagus which is grown in limited area along a few kilometres of the Dordogne valley floodplains. Some 3-4 tonnes are harvested per hectare, with a total harvest of only 300 tonnes; for comparison nearby Landes produces around 5,000 tonnes. Both white and green varieties are grown, the Dordogne harvest being renowned for its unique flavour. Each asparagus plant has a lifespan of ten years, shooting up spears in the early days of spring then covered from sunlight. It is this that guarantees the tenderness of the picked spears, which you will find at local markets. Fitness programmes designed for you by Sam... Monday




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St Jean de Mon


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St Gilles Croi

LA ROCHE SUR-YON Les Sables d’Olonne




La Tranche sur Mer



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Sévre Niort


News from around the region...

Deux-sèvres & Vendée

© Emmanuel Boitier / Terre Sauvage / Arbre de l’Année

Javarzay Reopens

New adventures await this year at the Château de Javarzay in Chef-Boutonne (79) following a major renovation project, inside and out. The museum recently re-opened and is now a fully interactive, multimedia experience, in both French and English. A spiral staircase leads you up to exhibition rooms spread over four floors, where you can discover the history of the Renaissance Château dating from 1515, the traditions behind the lace bonnets and head dresses worn by many women in 19th century France, and the extraordinary life of Jean-François Cail, the French industrial revolutionist born in the town. The Château is situated in a park with a lake, picnic benches and children’s play area. It is also on the V93 Voie Verte, a new cycle route through the Deux-Sèvres from Charente to Niort. Opening times: to 31 May and Oct/Nov: Fri-Sun 10am-12.30pm, 2-6.30pm. June-Sept: daily except Tue 10am-12.30pm, 2-6.30pm. or full details see

Cycling Awards

Celles-sur-Belle (79) is home to the magnificent sweet chestnut awarded Tree of The Year by the jury of an annual competition run by Terre Sauvage Magazine, in conjunction with the Office National des Forêts. Called la Talle à Teurtous, meaning ‘the chestnut which belongs to everyone’ in local patois, it is thought to be almost 600 years old. Standing outside the town at the junction of several paths, the tree has long been a popular meeting place, with visitors able to hide in the hollow trunk, which has an impressive 11 metres circumference.

La Tranche-Sur-Mer

© LaVelodyssee-Aurel ie-Stapf

Three communes in Vendée picked up awards in the annual Baromètre des Villes Cyclables, which measures the cycling environment in towns and villages across France against five agreed criteria including security, bicycle services and comfort. La Tranche-sur-Mer came first in the class ‘Bourgs & Villages’, closely followed by Bretignolles-sur-Mer in third place, while Saint-Jean-de-Monts won the ‘Petites Villes’ category. Nearby La Rochelle won ‘Villes Moyennes’. The development of La Vélodyssée cycle route along the Atlantic Coast from Roscoff to Hendaye has clearly had a positive impact.

Tree of The Year

News from around the region...

Festival de Poupet

Black Eyed Peas

Global stars are among the acts booked to celebrate the Vendée festival’s 35th anniversary, after two years that have been marred by pandemic restrictions. Tickets have gone on sale for Yannick Noah, (Wed 29 June), MC Solaar (Fri 1 July), Juliette Armanet (Sun 3), Julien Doré and Barbara Pravi (Mon 4), M (Tue 5), Black Eyed Peas (Mon 11), Sting (Tues 12) and Stromae (Fri 15). The festival is held in a wooded area at Saint-Malô-du-Bois but tickets sell out fast as the open-air theatre can only hold a maximum of 4,500 spectators. Typically, some 30,000 visitors are welcomed during the festival.

Historic Talmont

If you are intrigued to find out more about Richard Cœur-de-Lion after reading our feature on his mother, Alienor d’Aquitaine, then plan a visit this summer to the Château de Talmont-Saint-Hilaire (85), his former home. Built in 1020, the fortified chateau has received 1.2 million euros of conservation work in recent years, with the final tranche being completed this year. The town has developed the site into a key tourist attraction, welcoming 80,000 visitors each year, by investing in tours, festivals, escape games and more. There is also an evening show performed by 160 volunteers for eight nights in the summer which traces the life of Richard Cœur-de-Lion, but book early as it sells out fast.

Tour de l’Avenir

With no Tour de France stages near the region this year, the next best thing, a Tour de France for under-23s, is coming to town. The Tour de l’Avenir has been pitting future international cycling stars against each other since 1961 and this year’s cycle race will begin in La Roche-sur-Yon (85) on Thursday 18 August. From here they will race across the country before finishing ten days later in Haute Maurienne (73) in the Alps. After the spectacle of the Grand Départ on Thursday, they will race 122km around La Roche-sur-Yon on Friday. The peloton will travel overnight to Benet (85) before setting out across Deux-Sèvres for Civray (86) on Saturday, from where they will head to La Trimouille (86) on Sunday.

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Chauvigny Montmorillon

Le Dorat

Charroux Civray

Bellac Nieul



vienne & News from around the region... haute-vienne





Olympic Flame

propaganda exposed

Until 30 August the Musée de la Résistance de Limoges is featuring an exhibition of objects created between 1940-44 to promote the ideology of the Vichy regime and Maréchal Pétain’s ‘Révolution Nationale’. Having come to power in June 1940, Pétain wanted to use France’s youth to rebuild the nation, but the regime felt that control was needed to avoid the “excesses of the past”. The creation of numerous propaganda items, from trinkets to posters designed to indoctrinate the youth, became a key element for reinforcing the Vichy ideology. Given the modern-day battle against fake news, this timely exhibition is aimed at sharing this period in history with children and adults alike.

Enjoy forty free events across Haute-Vienne during ‘La Culture au Grand Jour’ from 2-17 April including concerts, storytelling, exhibitions and dance. Find the full programme at:



The build-up to the Summer Olympics in Paris in 2024 has entered a new round of controversy, with département councils being asked to fund the cost of the Olympic Flame passing through their territory. Promoted by the Paris 2024 organising committee as a unifying event which allows residents to be associated with the Olympics, many councils are saying the attached cost of 180,000 euros to see the flame for one day is too high, being greater than hosting a stage of the Tour de France, according to Corrèze president Pascal Coste. Creuse and Haute-Vienne have both said they cannot participate, as they would rather spend the budget on local initiatives. Time will tell whether alternative funding methods can be found; the official route is planned to be unveiled during the second half of 2023.

Ticket Restos

The daily spending limit on titres-restaurant received by more than 4 million workers in France has been extended by Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire. Usually limited to 19€ per day, to be spent in restaurants and food shops, the ceiling was raised to 38€ when lockdown ended, in a bid to help the hospitality sector. The limit has been extended twice already, but this extension to the end of June has been announced as the final one.

The annual Fête des Plantes de Magnac-Laval (87) will be held at the Parc du Château on Sunday 10 April from 10am-6pm. Entry is 2€. Take part in the 18th European Night at the Museum on Saturday 14 May. Many museums open their doors free of charge in the evening

for guided tours, workshops and fun events. Check the website of your local museum for details. Support the inaugural Bouchon de Chaunay (86), planned for 22 May and which will feature pre-1980 cars, motorcycles and heavy vehicles. 2€ entry per vehicle.

News from around the region...

Blooming Poitiers Poitiers has decided not to re-apply for the ‘Ville Fleurie’ label, despite receiving a prestigious four flowers in previous years. Instead, the city is planning a more sustainable greening of its spaces. Rather than planting summer flowers that need to be replaced annually, the budget will be spent on perennial trees and shrubs across the city which flower but require less maintenance and watering. There will be an additional saving through no longer committing resources to compiling evidence for the label application.

futuroscope arena

The ribbon will be cut to open the 6,000-seat arena on 7 April with the first concert, featuring Angèle, on 6 May. The final bill for the venue, which will host concerts and sporting events, reached 51 million euros, of which 32 million came from the public purse. It is anticipated that its proximity to Futuroscope leisure park will encourage visitors to stay in the area and help drive local tourism. To see the full programme for the year, visit:

Right to Return

In previous editions of LIVING, we have discussed the importance of the deadline of 29 March 2022 for British citizens hoping to return to the UK to live with non-UK family members. In a final success before they closed their doors, British in Europe achieved a limited reprieve: as long as a family permit was applied for prior to the deadline and granted, the family member(s) will be eligible to travel to the UK and apply for presettled status. This has helped many families caught in limbo due the huge paperwork backlog at the UK Home Office. In future EU family members will be subject to the full UK immigration process, making it significantly more difficult and expensive for mixed nationality families to return to live in the UK, should they wish to do so.

18 | living places to visit

Rue de Fond du Bourg, Saint-Jean-de-Côle

living places to visit | 17 Place Maréchal Foch, Thiviers

Saint-Pardoux-la-Rivière’s character facades

Perfectly Périgord Roger Moss takes off for a ramble around the northern reaches of le Périgord


aving an address in ‘the Dordogne’ has long conferred a certain cachet, founded in no small part on images of the river flowing serenely past elegant châteaux and among some of the most idyllic landscapes France has to offer. The département itself, though, is huge and covers over 9,000km2, so it’s inevitable that among them lie less well-known areas just waiting to be discovered. A classic example is the Parc Naturel Régional Périgord-Limousin, with whose leafy landscapes we’re determined to become better acquainted, having visited Nontron for the previous issue of LIVING. Rather than set off

aimlessly, we have in our sights three locations which have caught our eye while studying the map for inspiration. Our first stop lies around 12km south east of Nontron at Saint-Pardouxla-Rivière. The river in question is our old friend the Dronne, which rises near Châlus (87) and flows for over 200km through no fewer than five départements to just below Coutras (33), on the way passing through scenic locations like Brantôme, Ribérac and Aubeterre. It looks just as beguiling here in Saint-Pardoux, which possesses no fewer than five river crossings, from a tall, multi-arched former railway viaduct (now carrying a voie verte on the Flow Vélo cycle route) to

a spindly footbridge. Beside it, on a broad, grassy riverbank is a large lavoir protected by a rather fine arcaded canopy in whitewashed timber and terra cotta, the whole scene overlooked by a long-disused public weighbridge. The adjacent Rue du Gué Durand follows the river’s course and contains a succession of pleasingly ancientlooking stone facades, beyond which we turn left into the heart of the village via Rue des Dominicaines. The name is a reference to a convent dedicated to the Spanish Saint Dominique and founded during the late-13th century, at which time the village was a halt for pilgrims making for the abbey at Brantôme.

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18 | living places to visit Late summer calm in SaintJean-de-Côle

During the Révolution the convent became a prison, before being pillaged for the stone used to embellish many of the surrounding buildings. Happily, the Église Saint-Pardoux, constructed on the site of a gallo-Roman fort and dedicated in 1606, has survived, complete with a huge 19th century wall-mounted cadran solaire (sundial). Behind the église in Place Général de Gaulle stands a poignant neo-Classical memorial recording the names of those from the commune who fell during 1914-18 and later conflicts. Accorded Monument Historique status in 2015, its centrepiece is a striking bronze figure

of a defiant soldier by internationally renowned sculptor Eugène Piron. Saint-Pardoux’s other notable survivors include a former Relais de Poste dating from the 16th century and the Tanneries de Chaumont, tucked away inconspicuously beside the Dronne, on the northern outskirts of the village and one of the few tanneries still functioning in France. Here the traditional skills and practices employed have changed little since the workshops were established in 1903, although today more environmentally friendly vegetable extracts are used in the tanning processes.

We leave Saint-Pardoux on the enjoyable itinerary which brought us here and resume our south-easterly progress towards our next planned stop. It’s a safe bet that many travellers following the scenic D707 will simply pass Saint-Jean-de-Côle without a second thought, unaware that they’re missing one of the best-preserved historic villages of the Périgord Vert. Long ago, however, they would have followed a different route, crossing the Côle river via a medieval stone humpback bridge and into the heart of the village. Centuries later, le Vieux-Pont is still here, with a host of

living places to visit | 19

Château de Vaucocour, Thiviers

“Le Vieux-Pont is still here, with a host of historic survivors for company” historic survivors for company – so many, in fact, that it’s hard to believe that it’s the real thing, rather than some two-dimensional recreation for a film set. That’s not the case, of course, for Saint-Jean de Côle is the proud possessor of the ‘Plus Beaux Villages de France’ label, and any restoration has therefore been carried out with great care and sensitivity. Summer visitors not having yet arrived, we have the heart of the village largely to ourselves and spend some time gazing at the vast 12th-15th century Château de la Marthonie, whose robust towers rise assertively beside the sun-bleached expanse of Place Saint-Jean. Softening the effect slightly is a Renaissance-inspired wing added during the 17th century by the Beaumont-Beynac family, whose descendants still own the Monument Historique-listed property. Beyond it lies the Romanesque-

Byzantine Église Saint-Jean-Baptiste, completed around 1083 by order of Raynaud de Thiviers, Bishop of Périgueux. It looks curious from the outside, and becomes even more so when seen from within, where our eye is drawn to a vast coupole (dome) poised slightly unnervingly overhead. At 12.6m in diameter it’s the Périgord region’s second largest (narrowly beaten by the 13m example in the former Cathedral Saint-Étienne-dela-Cité in Périgueux) and supported by just four stone piers. Not surprisingly, it collapsed during the Hundred Years War, again in 1787 and failed yet again in 1860. Happily (and with added support from three sturdy chapels huddled around the exterior) its more recent reconstruction seems to have been more successful. Behind the église are a former

The River Dronne, SaintPardoux-la-Rivière

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20 | living places to visit L’église SaintPardoux

Saint-Jean-de-Côle’s ancient river crossing

Augustinian priory and cloisters founded during the 12th century which were reconstructed in 1669 after damage during the Hundred Years War. Now privately owned, it’s rarely open to visitors (the Office de Tourisme has details), so instead we wander idly among the wealth of lovingly restored facades in and around the square and across the D707. It’s time well spent, and we can see why this is a much loved village. After making our way back to the car we head onward towards our final destination. As we approach Thiviers it’s immediately clear that what lies ahead is less a village and more a town, an impression which is confirmed when we reach the centre. Rue Jean Jaurès, Thiviers

By now the sun is slipping behind a thin veil of cloud and there’s a sense of late afternoon bustle which contrasts sharply with the day’s other visits. We park beside the Église Notre-Dame, whose much altered interior has nevertheless retained a wonderful series of 12th century sculpted capitals, hinting at what was destroyed during the Wars of Religion. Literally in the shadow of the église is the elegant Château Vaucocour, built in Gothicmeets-Renaissance style on the site of a fortress destroyed by Huguenots in 1575. In the opposite direction lies Place Maréchal Foch, scene of the town’s popular year-round Saturday morning markets (and Wednesday morning

bio markets during summer months). Beyond the square the streets are narrow, for in medieval times the feudal town on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela possessed a prison, a convent, a small hospice and more within its defensive ramparts. The fortifications didn’t stop it being sacked several times, however, but somehow it survived and prospered, particularly when local quarries began supplying Grès de Thiviers – a mineral pigment used to add red hues to a range of porcelain products – and the clays used by potteries. Not surprisingly, the town had three of its own, producing Faïences de Thiviers decorated with locally sourced mineral pigments and fired in kilns heated with timber from nearby forests. Eventually they fell out of favour and the studios closed, but mineral extraction continues for the construction trades. There’s much more to see, of course, but our relaxed discovery of sites tucked away in one of the less well-known areas of Dordogne has been a revelation. So much so, in fact, that one day we’ll do it again, but differently. Next time we might just pop a couple of bikes in the car, park at one of the closest access points to the Flow Vélo cycle route and dip into a section of former railway route between Nontron and Thiviers, via Saint-Pardoux-la-Rivière and Saint-Jean-de-Côle. Being car-free could be a real joy, even on a hot


la-Rivière living places to visit | 21

summer day, since most of the route is shaded by trees and the only sounds along the way will be birdsong and the crunch of our tyres on fine gravel. Alternatively, it’s even possible to do it on foot or horseback. Now there’s a thought. Hope Shop 16

Confolens 51 route de Confolens 16500 Ansac-sur-Vienne Tel: 05 45 71 77 73 shopsixteen4hope Tuesday, Friday & 2nd Sunday of each month: 10h00-16h00

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Please note that Hope Association is not an adoption or fostering organisation.

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Hope Shop 79

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Hope Association Charity Shop 79

Hope Association Charity Shop 87


Your “Pass Sanitaire” may be required to enter shops serving food and drinks. Please check the website to confirm opening times and Covid-19 protocols. The Hope Association is a fund-raising organisation based in south-west France run by volunteers dedicated to providing donations to support other associations that care for, re-home and foster animals. N. RNA W792002789

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22 | living education

living education | 23

ON strong Foundations


hroughout history, skills and know-how have been passed down from mentor to apprentice, perpetuating techniques which the young of today might one day pass onto the next generation. In medieval France this type of transmission was often known as ‘compagnonnage’, a bond between teacher and student that would sometimes be organised by guilds of travelling tradesmen, known as ‘compagnons’, or journeymen. One such guild has survived throughout the centuries. Founded in the Middles Ages, the Association Ouvrière des Compagnons du Devoir et du Tour de France continues to train young hopefuls from the age of 15 to become the masters

Through relentless study and a solid community spirit, one centuries-old organisation still turns artisans into artists. Jessica Knipe learns about the extraordinary Compagnons du Devoir of their chosen trades. Unlike historic guilds in many other countries which focus on a single trade, the French organisation offers training in over 30 skills, from cheese maker to stonemason, from leather worker to blacksmith. Today the association is organised around a group of 30 Centres de Formation des Apprentis

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24 | living education

(otherwise known as CFAs, or apprentice training centres), which function on the same basis of work-study as other CFAs throughout the country, but with the addition of travel and an unwavering sense of community. To become a Compagnon, apprentices must first live with their peers in a Maison des Compagnons, until they are ready to embark upon a Tour de France which culminates, after several years of training at other Maisons throughout the country, in a reception ceremony and the coveted title of Compagnon. The Tour isn’t for the faint of heart.

After an already intense rhythm of work to gain a Certificat d’Aptitude Professionnel (CAP), apprentices must then become an ‘Itinérant’ and travel around, spending a year in each location and gaining work experience with others in their field. The length of the Tour depends on the trade, but on average it will last five years. “The objective is to spend enough time travelling to acquire invaluable hands-on experience and the whole range of diplomas available, up to the level of a licence (degree),” explains Faustine Pourrias, head of promotion and recruitment for

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We are looking for an experienced, bilingual English/French speaking real estate agent who is familiar with the Saint- Jean d’Angély area and its surroundings (30km). We are looking for good computer skills, general knowledge, spelling, good presentation, persistence, speed, telephone skills, and a team player. Paid on a commission basis (several income bands depending on the mandate details). Up to €70,000 income per year. Job type: Freelance / independent Advantages: company car for visits to be shared with the other negotiators, mobile phone and professional mailbox available, advertising (flyers, magazine, portals, social networks, customer gifts, clothing with the agency logo), restaurant area. See our websites at:

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26 | living education

the Poitou-Charentes arm of the Compagnons du Devoir. “After the Tour, an apprentice will have acquired an average of seven years’ experience and the equivalent of three or four diplomas, not to mention a complete overview of the trade through their travels and having had to adapt to different circumstances and conditions.” At the end of the tour the aspiring Compagnon must present a chef d’ œuvre (masterpiece) which demonstrates all the skills picked up along the way. Hundreds of hours go into these works, presented at a ceremony of inclusion into the Guild. It’s tough, and giving up their formative years to gain a deeper understanding of their trade is not for everyone. Indeed, the CFAs which train the apprentices also offer the possibility to study without going on a Tour and receiving the title of Compagnon. But there’s a reason why each year thousands of hopefuls put themselves through the process: the Compagnons du Devoir offer the opportunity to become an accomplished craftsperson and a respected artisan, whose skills will be sought after by the biggest and best companies worldwide. “Some businesses will only recruit their staff from the Compagnons,” says Faustine. “Some bring us young recruits to be trained, and all companies recognise the value of the specific know-how of the Compagnons.” Beyond the actual skill involved, the Compagnons insist on a sense of community and human moral fibre in their transmission. Apprentices learn

“Apprentices learn not only how to ‘make’, but also how to ‘be’.” not only how to ‘make’, but also how to ‘be’. According to the association charter, a Compagnon aspires to be “more than a good worker – a good person”, something which is taught through direct interaction with those who have already been through the process. It’s one big family, with apprentices living together in a big house alongside their teachers and a provost who takes care of them on a daily basis. Not every house offers training for all trades. “It’s obviously a question of room and logistics,” explains Faustine, “but also of local demand. In La Rochelle, for example, there is a lot of demand for carpenters, so that’s what

the house offers, along with six other trades. In Poitiers only one trade can be taught, while in Bordeaux there are four. It depends on a few factors.” One is the popularity of the trade among applicants. Some skills are more sought after than others, and some areas like pâtisserie have waves of popularity, thanks to baking programmes which captivate audiences periodically on mainstream TV. Unfortunately, there are many more applicants than spots available. Like all CFAs, there is no selection at the application stage; all are welcome and the first person to find a business that will sponsor their work-study will gain a spot in the Maison. “Obviously we still have to gauge the student’s motivation,” adds Faustine. “It’s a tough course and we are very demanding when it comes to the quality of work submitted, so if someone doesn’t seem like they have the determination to stay the course, it is our duty to suggest alternatives for them at the outset.” Ultimately the goal is to send as many apprentices on the Tour as possible, so that the chain of transmission isn’t broken. It might seem a little closed, even monastic, but the Compagnons are unique in their preservation of skilled trades that have existed for centuries, and which will continue to be essential to build a future based on the solid foundations of shared knowledge, solidarity and determination.

living promotion | 27

Zoo de La Palmyre is open all year round 1 April to 30 September: 9am to 7pm 1 October to 31 March: 9am to 6pm Presentations of sea lions and parrots from Easter to Toussaint

05 46 22 46 06

Le Zoo de La Palmyre

Follow us on : @zoolapalmyre_officiel @ZooLaPalmyre

A favourite with young and old alike, La Palmyre Zoo plays an important role in conservation and education...

A family history...

Created in 1966 by Claude Caillé, the Zoo de La Palmyre has since become a flagship of Charente-Maritime’s cultural heritage and one of the most-visited private zoos in France. Today it covers over 18 hectares, brings together 1,600 mammals, birds and reptiles of more than 110 different species, and offers a 4km tour through the heart of a magnificent pine forest.

New in: Giant otters ALL PHOTOS © F. Perroux/Zoo de La Palmyre

A new species has taken up residence at the Zoo de La Palmyre: the Giant Otter, one of South American wetlands’ most iconic animals and the largest representative of the Mustelidae family. With an inquisitive nature, the Giant Otter is perfectly adapted to aquatic ecosystems. Its slender body and webbed feet allow it to propel itself underwater at high speed. Fish beware! Extremely sensitive to environmental disturbances, Giant Otters are increasingly threatened by the

destruction of their habitat, the pollution of waterways and poorly managed tourism.

Raising awareness for better protection

With nearly 600,000 visitors welcomed each year, the Zoo de La Palmyre is the ideal place to raise public awareness, particularly among young people, about biodiversity loss. The zoo welcomes school visits and offers a range of educational workshops. By discovering the particularities of a species, these activities deliver key messages on their importance as well as ways to conserve animals threatened with extinction. The park also finances more than twenty conservation programmes in the wild. Each of them aims to protect one or more endangered species in their biotope and to improve the living conditions of local communities, while helping them to preserve their environment in sustainable ways.

28 | living in profile 12th century nave, Abbaye de Fontevraud

Dynasty We celebrate the remarkable life of a seminal figure in the history of our region WORDS: Roger Moss

living in profile | 29

La Grande Salle, Palais des Ducs d’Aquitaine, Poitiers

PHOTOs: RIGHT: © ville de poitiers/Yann Gachet; left: ©sebastien gaudard


he title ‘Nouvelle-Aquitaine’ perpetuates the name of one of the most ancient regions of France. Founded by the Romans as Gallia Aquitania, Aquitaine rose to become a kingdom and a duchy, whose territories were for three centuries ruled by the English Monarchy. For that and much more we have to thank the remarkable daughter of Guillaume X, Duc d’Aquitaine and Comte de Poitiers. Aliénor d’Aquitaine was born around 1122, although exactly where is uncertain – perhaps in Poitiers, Angoulême, Bordeaux or further south in the long-lost Château de Belin. What we do know is that at the age of just 15 her father died while on a pilgrimage to Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle, his dying wish being that his daughter should marry Louis, son of his friend and ally, King Louis VI of France. It’s easy to

see why. Such a union would in time benefit both families, for Aliénor would inherit from her father the territories of Poitiers, Aquitaine and Gascony, effectively doubling the area already ruled by the Frankish King. On Sunday July 25, 1137 Archbishop Geoffroi III du Loroux performed the grand marriage ceremony in the Cathédrale Saint-André in Bordeaux, in the presence of lords, nobles and more than 500 royal knights. Absent from the ceremony, however, was the groom’s father, the ailing King Louis VI, who succumbed to his illness shortly after the marriage had taken place. Fulfilling his destiny, his son was duly crowned Louis VII, King of France in Poitiers on 8 August, and Aliénor became Queen. Described as both ‘beautiful and spiritual’, she appeared to have everything but soon realised that despite his obvious

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The abbey church complex, Fontevraud

30 | living in profile

Aliénor depicted in a 12th century wall fresco, Chapelle Sainte-Radegonde, Chinon Sainte-Radegonde, Chinon

love for her, Louis was weak, allowing himself to be manipulated by his mother, Adélaïde de Savoie, and his advisor Abbé Suger de Saint-Denis. Aliénor, on the other hand, took her royal duties in her stride while personally managing the affairs of her Duchy of Aquitaine. She also produced a daughter (Marie de France, born in 1145) but her attempts to breathe new life into the austere French court shocked her husband’s staid entourage, who considered her colourful attire indecent, her taste for luxury decadent and the freedom of expression she encouraged in artists to be inappropriate. For an ambitious young woman previously accustomed to the gaiety and sophistication of one of Europe’s most lively courts, the prospect of a life of stifling austerity would have been hard to accept. In 1147, in the hope that the experience

The Château de Chinon

might temper her rebellious, independent spirit, Louis agreed to join the Second Crusade with his wife by his side, and on 12 May the king’s 80,000-strong army (including ladies of the court accompanying their husbands) set off across Europe, reaching Antioch in Turkey ten months later. To their surprise they were received by Aliénor’s youthful uncle, Raymond de Poitiers, Prince of Antioch, whose overly warm welcome prompted Louis to suspect an affair. Upon their return, despite his plan to renounce her, the royal couple were instead reconciled although after the birth of a second daughter Alix in 1150, relations soured again and Aliénor returned to Aquitaine. Both spouses now longed for separation, something which legally only death could achieve, but on 18 March 1152, Louis stood before the

living in profile | 31 After returning to Poitiers she governed Aquitaine and Poitou once more, and when her son left on the Third Crusade she assumed his sovereign duties, only to learn of his capture near Vienna by Emperor Henry IV. She obtained his release in February 1194 in exchange for a huge ransom, which she delivered in person. Once free, Richard resumed the war against the King of France, until being mortally wounded, unarmoured, by a crossbow arrow five years later during the siege of the Château de ChalusChabrol (87). Upon his death, Aliénor encouraged her youngest son, Jean sans Terre to take his place on the throne as King John of England. In 1200 Aliénor retired to the Abbaye de Fontevraud (49). Two years later Philippe Auguste rejected Jean sans

PHOTOS: above : ©sebastien gaudard; RIGHT: © Léonard de Serres/ePhoto DAM - einden

Council of Beaugency and requested that the marriage be annulled on the legal grounds of ‘consanguinity’. The Pope initially refused, but after some deliberation on his claim of common ancestry his request was upheld. Freed from her unhappy marriage, Aliénor left her daughters at court in France and returned to Aquitaine, and in May of the same year she remarried in Poitiers. This time the groom was Henri Plantagenêt, with whom she had become acquainted the previous year. Superficially at least, they appeared to be ideally suited, for Henri was handsome, strongwilled and heir not only to Normandy and Anjou, but also the English throne. Their union therefore had international repercussions when her husband was crowned Henry II, King of England in Westminster Abbey in 1154, whereupon Aliénor found herself sovereign of an immense kingdom whose territories combined the whole of England with those of Normandy, Anjou, Maine, Touraine, Poitou, Saintonge, Périgord, Bordeaux, Agenais and Gascony. At a stroke much of western France thus came under English rule, as ‘Guyenne’ or ‘Guienne’ (a corruption of ‘Aquitaine’). In time the union of Henri and Aliénor would produce five sons and three daughters, but what began as a love match gradually soured. Eventually Henri refused to share power with anyone apart from his

Alienor d’Aquitaine’s tomb, Abbaye de Fontevraud

‘‘Described as both ‘beautiful and spiritual’, she appeared to have everything’’ sons, and openly installed a mistress in the royal court. Humiliated, Aliénor left England and retired with her own courtiers to the Palais des Ducs in Poitiers, where she attempted to turn her sons against their father and claim the crown of England. When the king heard of this he ordered her capture and in 1173 assigned her to a monastic retreat in the Château de Chinon. Her effective imprisonment in France and England lasted until the death of Henry II almost 16 years later, whereupon his son Richard, Duke of Aquitaine (‘Richard Cœur de Lion’) acceded to the throne and finally freed Aliénor, by then 67 years old.

Terre and seized his French territories. One of his armies (commanded at Tours by Aliénor’s own grandson, Arthur de Bretagne) threatened Fontevraud, so Aliénor attempted to flee to the safety of Poitiers but was forced to seek shelter in Mirebeau (86). The town was besieged by the Duc de Bretagne from July to August 1, before being liberated by her son Jean’s troops. She retired again to Fontevraud in the autumn, and died in Poitiers at the advanced age of 82, on 31 March, 1204. She is buried in the Abbaye Royal de Fontevraud beside her Henri II Plantagenêt, Richard Cœur-de-Lion, Jean sans Terre and his wife Isabelle d’Angoulême.

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32 | living in profile

Discover the Plantagenêt Legacy Palais des Ducs d’Aquitaine Poitiers

19th century portal, Palais des Ducs, Poitiers

One of the most important examples of medieval French architecture, the great hall (known as the Salle des Pas Perdus or ‘Hall of Lost Footsteps’) retains its original Angevin Gothic features and was constructed on a still-visible section of Roman wall during Aliénor’s time. The adjoining Tour Maubergeon is part of a donjon added by Guillaume IX around 1104. The hall is freely accessible, and the entire complex is destined to become a centre for performances and cultural events. The Grande Salle exterior

Cathédrale Saint-Pierre Poitiers

La Tour Cordier, Poitiers

Commenced in 1161 by Aliénor d’Aquitaine and Henri Plantagenêt, construction terminated 110 years later with final funding by Alphonse de Poitiers, brother of Saint-Louis. The Angevin Gothic interior is magnificent, the huge central Crucifixion west window being a truly miraculous survivor. The aisle windows also retain exceptional late-13th/early-14th century vitraux, and the carved stalls have stood in the choir since the cathedral was completed, making them among the oldest original examples in France.

Cathédrale Saint-Pierre Poitiers

La Tour Cordier Poitiers

The final sections of the ramparts which defended the city from earliest times were constructed by order of Aliénor d’Aquitaine. What we see today, though, are the result of their demolition and reuse to enclose the Parc Blossac ornamental gardens, completed in 1770. The sole survivor from the 12th-century defences is the Tour Cordier, a circular tower which languishes amid the traffic in Place Jean de Berry. It was once connected to the nearby Château Triangulaire, just one section of which now stands forlornly on the banks of the River Clain.

living in profile | 33

Shop for whatever your heart desires

Abbey cloisters, Fontevraud

France’s largest and best-preserved monastic settlement was founded in the 11th century below the confluence of the Loire and Vienne rivers. The main abbey church is on a breathtaking scale and contains the tombs of Alienor d’Aquitaine, Henri II, Richard Coeurde-Lion plus Isabella d’Angoulême, wife of King John of England. South of the nave are huge, beautifully restored cloisters and a 45 metre-long refectory, while nearby are France’s sole surviving Romanesque kitchens, constructed during the 12th century.

Isabella d’Angoulême tomb, Fontevraud

PHOTOS: above & middle: © ville de poitiers/Yann Gachet; BOTTOM RIGHT: © Léonard de Serres/ePhoto DAM - Einden


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34 | living motoring


A French Revolution in Early Motoring


hen it comes to transport innovation, no-one could accuse French engineers of lacking vision. After all, who else could have come up with a flightless aircraft? One Marcel Leyat did just that, while considering road transport with the mind of an aeronautical designer. Born in 1885 in Die (26), he gained an engineering diploma at the Ecole Central de Paris in 1907, obtained a pilot’s license two years later and produced a string of pioneering aircraft designs for the Société Astra aeronautical company. Equally fascinated by automobiles, in 1913 he established his own workshops in Paris on the banks of the Seine. His first Hélicocycle prototypes were followed by the no-wheel-drive ‘Hélica’, with a front-mounted propeller powered by an air-cooled engine, just like an aircraft. The bodywork – more a fuselage, really – also followed aeronautical practice, with lightweight

living motoring | 35

canvas-covered plywood construction and tandem seating for both driver and passenger. Steering was via the rear wheels, while the brakes were mounted up front. The car presented at the 1921 Paris Salon de l’Automobile generated over 600 enquiries from potential buyers. However, since each vehicle was hand-built to order, production was painfully slow, just 23 being sold from the thirty or so vehicles produced. So, how did it all work out on the road? Surprisingly well, for an experience closer to taxiing than conventional driving. An all-up weight of just 250 kg, combined with an 8HP ABC Scorpion engine produced an impressive weight/power ratio (the cars consumed just 6L of fuel/100 km) so the cars were potentially very fast. Leyat himself eventually piloted a Hélica to an impressive 171km/h (105mph) at the Circuit de Montlhéry in 1927.

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36 | practical living

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

Applications to Universities in the UK


My son, who has a UK passport and is resident in France, has his heart set on going to a UK university in September 2023. Will this still be possible?


Students from across the world continue to be welcomed at UK universities but the key questions are around money – both university fees and student loans. Britain’s exit from the EU threatened the end of access to home fees for British nationals and their family members resident in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. This was not covered in the Withdrawal Agreement so British in Europe successfully campaigned for over three years for a grace period to delay the immediate impact of Brexit. This grace period covers applications for courses that start before 31 December 2027.

WHAT ARE HOME FEES? The term ‘home fees’ refers to the amount of tuition charged by universities to British nationals and other residents of the UK, as opposed to significantly higher ‘international fees’ which are charged to students not resident in the UK. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the home fee rate is currently £9,250 for an undergraduate degree. In Scotland, there are two types of home fees: Scottish fees for residents of Scotland (£1,820) and ‘Rest of UK’ fees for applicants who are resident in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. These are the same as fees in England. The tuition amount for postgraduate courses varies

from university to university, depending on the subject.

Who is entitled to them? As a UK national living in the EEA on 31 December 2020 applying to study in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, your son is entitled to home fees for courses starting before 31 December 2027 if he meets the following conditions: • he was living in the EEA on 31 December 2020 (or he moved back to the UK immediately after living in the EEA) • he lived in the EEA, Switzerland, the UK or Gibraltar for at least the last three years • he lived continuously in the EEA, Switzerland, the UK or Gibraltar between 31 December 2020 and the start of the course. In Scotland applicants who meet the conditions above will pay the ‘Rest of UK’ home fee rate unless they have previously been resident in Scotland. If that is the case they will pay the Scottish fee rate.

Student finance Fees are just part of the picture as for many students help with living expenses is required. Student finance is made up of repayable loans and sometimes non-repayable grants. In certain circumstances it can also include a travel element or help with childcare.

Who is entitled to student finance? Student finance is where it starts to get tricky, depending on whether the student is a UK national or the family member of a UK national, which of the four nations you want to study in, whether you have previously

lived in the UK and for which purpose (education or another reason), whether you are studying for an undergraduate or postgraduate degree and whether you need a loan for both the fees and other living expenses. As your son is a UK national, he should be able to access help in England and Wales. If he has never lived in the UK before studying in Scotland he is not eligible for student finance unless he can show he meets the residence conditions and has not moved to Scotland only to study. Even if he does meet the residence conditions for the tuition loan he will not be eligible for the living costs loan. As you can see, the situation is complex, as this is a devolved issue impacted by Brexit and not covered in the Withdrawal Agreement. Furthermore, the agreement on the grace period has taken time to trickle down to individual universities, so some applicants continue to be offered international fees rather than the home fee places they are entitled to. As the grace period

progresses, it is hoped that that these issues will become less frequent, but if your son’s university of choice offers the incorrect fee then he should appeal to the finance office or student admissions. One final point to be aware of is that attending a university outside France can impact any future citizenship application within France. Some préfectures, but not all, consider it breaking residency requirements, even if holidays are spent in France and family life remains here.

Fiona Godfrey, OBE, co-chair of British in Europe until it closed earlier this year (pictured with her daughter at her investiture). Further information can be found at:

practical living | 37

Finding Advice on Social Media


I have seen apps and investment coaches on social media offering simple ways to make money on the stock market. How much can I trust them?


This is a good question and one which should be researched thoroughly, as with any investment you plan to undertake. It is positive that more people are talking about investments and planning for the future across mainstream social media. I do, however, have a checklist that I recommend people always use

when looking at investing: 1. Where is the company regulated? 2. By whom are they regulated? 3. Are they tax efficient here in France for you, a French tax resident? 4. What experience do these experts have and what demonstrable returns, after all fees and charges are deducted, have they delivered? 5. What are the risks? 6. Do the investments match my ethics and are they aligned with my values? 7. How long do I have to commit funds to and are

there penalties for early exit on some or all the investment? The reason you should check each of these points is that many of these apps may be UK or US based and you would have little or no protection financially if your investments were lost. You could also be faced with a

large tax bill on any gains, and you would also have to report these investments on your annual tax return. Speaking to a regulated, fully qualified, and experienced advisor here in France remains the most effective means of ensuring that you have the maximum regulatory protection on the advice you receive, and that the investments are French tax compliant and tax efficient here in France, where you live. Of course, you should also receive ongoing up-to-date advice as part of the package, as your relationship should be for the life of your investments.

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

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38 | living family

Avec les enfants ––––––

Spring Symphony





I’m always so excited about spring, as along with summer it’s absolutely my favourite time of year. My excitement builds with every bud that forms and every daffodil that blooms. I adore the riot of colours, nearly always dominated by yellows which are typically the first to start exploding all around us. Then there’s the abundance of greens in every shade and hue. I mean, what’s not to love? So imagine my incredulity when I asked the children the other day what their favourite season was and one replied: “Autumn and winter – definitely not spring, it’s my least favourite time of year!” I later realised that there was only one out of our five-strong brood who was not totally enamoured of this magical season, but after some persuasion and plenty of reminders about how said daughter loves to swim, adores the river and enjoys the evening barbecues, well, even she is starting to become a bit of a spring convert. Amidst the flurry of blossoms there are other things that get us all jumping up and down, and I can’t help but think this is all aided and abetted by the daylight that starts to

linger a little longer, often with a full day of sunshine to boot, especially here in Charente-Maritime. Fears of frosts and floods are receding, and late afternoons start to buzz with insects keen on beginning their short seasonal cycles. Chores include planning the potager, cleaning off the kayaks and paddleboards, and I might even find Roddy putting some new fishing-line on a reel. For him, of course, it’s that time of year where he starts to go everywhere with a camera over one shoulder, loaded with a macro lens for the reappearing wildlife in the garden and along the river. Perhaps the best thing about this is that our teenagers have taken a keen interest in both photography and bugs – mostly spiders! They’ll name them as they appear like true experts, leaving me quite bewildered and rather impressed! In truth, they all show their appreciation of spring, even if one says it’s not her favourite season. The river and the land alongside it draw people outdoors, whether it’s for exercise with the dogs, drawing and doodling on notepads and iPads, setting out on the beckoning water after school with a towel and a




bottle of water on a paddleboard or kayak, or even starting our mini summer-league on the concrete table tennis table on the village green – a mere minute’s walk away. The return of warm weather and long days brings out the best in all of us. Probably happiest of all though, are the dogs, as finally the kitchen door can be left open for the next six months or so, and they can go in and out at leisure, no longer needing to wait for a human to open it. Evie will take up residence on the wooden bench in the courtyard, a position from which she can rule the roost, from sunrise to sunset. The sunshade comes out of the garage, the umbrella is unfurled for the first time in months over the terrace table, and someone is nominated to take a wire brush to clean the barbecue grill. Charente-Maritime life starts to sink into the wonderful swing of the warm weather season. But can we pin down what we love most about these months that easily, or is it made up of a mixture of things that together make for such a special time? For me it’s the season

living family | 39

puzzle break

Tired of Wordle? Try our unique crossword by Mike Morris and, once complete, see if you can work out the theme. If you need a helping hand, you can peek at the answers on page 52.

21. Cries when having to start work during short breaks? (5) 23. Line dance? (4) 24. Helps clone to put together means of communication? (10) 27. Half the capital going on pet project in ancient city? (7) 28. Originally had an understudy bring every rival knight’s armour? (7) 29. Head off those who pick the team of voters? (8) 30. Nothing replaces English landlord, formerly of minor importance? (6)

in country festival? (4) 7. Person not working on telephone card smiles weakly? (7) 8. For a change, sits and pees on end of board, thus avoids crunching tackle? (9) 10. Habitual offender turns up to work in Clues across lively dance? (5) 1. Old city grocers having 14. South Leigh organisation a run on volunteers? (6) showing the way in 4. Passes around very Alexandria? (10) large and originally socially 15. Impressive outcome from unacceptable Leviathan? (8) sorting out the French male 9. NT replacement in the following upset barmaid? (9) middle of checking out 18. Clear blue sea, ready after airing? (7) for action? (7) 11. Paid my entry to regular 19. Old queen leading Clues Down constructed shape? (7) English American 1. Number of 22 represented nationals in role reversal? (7) 12. More insensible, not so here today? (5) much multitudinous? (10) 20. Compost a lot of, 2. I stream new portrayal of about fifty? (5) 13. A size usually used goddess? (7) to restrain a god. (4) 22. Asks oneself perhaps; 3. Concert: it is reorganised, are you finding them 15. A vessel given to dropping one lead conductor here today? (7) alien as a gift? (5) and split into three? (10) 16. I leap haphazardly over 25. Run about naked, lass, arriving on soft bed? (9) 5. Formerly standing against not tempted initially to familiar mate, timeless 17. Elaborate tomb excite foreign bird? (5) old sailor? (7) made out of EU slum by 26. A hundred! That’s 6. Nothing to look into revolutionary leader? (9) loads, idiot! (4) 1

of hope when everything is reawakened, and when I feel as if nothing can stop me. I asked the tribe at home what they thought. They all had much the same answer, albeit expressed slightly differently; the overriding opinion was the mass of green foliage, the vibrant colours and the fragrance of flowers, that special scent of freshly cut grass, cherry blossom in the air and the unmistakable aroma and light of spring.








8 9











16 17




17 20




Susan, husband Roddy and their five children live close to the coast in the Charente-Maritime. Sign up for her regular newsletter at www.











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40 | living nikki legon’s cuisine Leeks and pears are the stars of the show in this issue’s recipe collection

Nikki Legon's

cuisine Salmon and leek quiche

Salmon & Leek Quiche 1 pack of short ready-made pastry 200g salmon fillets, skinned & boned 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced 2 cloves of garlic, crushed 3 leeks, white part only, washed and thinly sliced 2 eggs, beaten 3 egg yolks, freeze the whites to use later 250ml thick cream 75ml milk 300g grated firm cheese 2 sprigs of thyme, leaves only

METHOD Roll out the pastry and line a 22cm flan tin with removeable base that has been well buttered and lightly floured. Blind bake for 15 minutes at 180°C. Remove and cool for 30 minutes. Heat a large frying pan with a little oil. Add the shallots, garlic and leeks and cook for 5 minutes, stirring. Combine the eggs, egg yolks, cream and milk in a bowl. Season and stir in the cheese and thyme leaves. Add the leek mixture when cool. Cut the salmon into chunks and add to the pastry case. Pour over the cream mixture. Bake at 180°C for 30 minutes or until set. Remove and trim the edges before serving hot or cold.

Leek and potato soup

Leek & Potato Soup SERVES 6

50g butter 450g potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks 5 leeks, washed and sliced 2 cloves of garlic, chopped 2 litres vegetable stock salt and freshly ground black pepper 150ml cream METHOD Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan adding the potatoes, leeks and garlic. Stir for 3 minutes, then add the stock and bring to the boil. Season with salt and pepper, turn the heat down and simmer for 20 minutes. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth, adding the cream. Serve with warm, crusty bread.

living nikki legon’s cuisine | 41

Indonesian Vegetable Fritters

Indonesian vegetable fritters

150g plain flour 50g rice flour 1 tsp salt 1 tsp sugar 1 tsp pepper 250ml ice-cold water 250g shredded cabbage 150g finely grated carrots 2 large spring onions, sliced thinly 5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed 1 egg oil for deep frying

Leek tart with cheese and bacon

METHOD In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, rice flour, salt, sugar and ground pepper. Add the water gradually and mix to a thick paste. Add the garlic, egg and all the vegetables to the batter and place in the fridge to keep cold. Heat the oil to 170°C. Take the batter out of the fridge and drop a tablespoon of the mix into the oil. Deep fry until golden and crispy, turning regularly. Place on kitchen paper to drain before serving with a sweet chilli sauce.

Leek Tart with Cheese & Bacon SERVES 4 to 6

1 tbsp olive oil 3 leeks, washed and thinly sliced 375g ready-rolled puff pastry, round or rectangular 150g soft cheese with garlic and herbs 6 rashers of bacon, chopped 150g hard cheese, grated METHOD Preheat oven to 200°C. Heat the oil in a large pan, add leeks and cook gently for 6 minutes (try not to break them up). Unroll the pastry onto a baking sheet. Spread the cheese over the pastry to within 3 cm of the edges. Scatter the leeks, bacon and grated cheese on top. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the edges are golden.

Cheesy Leek & Pear Crumble SERVES 4 to 6

200g macaroni 50g butter 2 large leeks, white part only, washed and thinly sliced 200g vegetarian blue cheese 2 pears, peeled and thinly sliced For the CRUMBLE 100g plain flour 100g unsalted butter, cold and cubed 100g breadcrumbs salt and pepper

METHOD Preheat the oven to 200°C. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 6 minutes and drain. Prepare the crumble by using your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. For the filling, melt the butter in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the leeks and sweat for 8-10 minutes, until they soften. Remove from the heat and mix in the cheese, then the pasta. Add the pears to the baking dish and spoon in the pasta mix. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

Cheesy leek and pear crumble

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42 | living nikki legon’s cuisine Fillet of fish with creamed leeks

Fillet of Fish with Creamed Leeks SERVES 2

350g white fish fillets salt and pepper flour to coat fish 3 leeks, white part only, washed and sliced thinly 100ml white wine 200g crème fraîche ½ tsp Dijon mustard handful of chopped tarragon or parsley METHOD Melt a tbsp of oil and a knob of butter in a large frying pan, add the leeks and cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes until soft. Add the wine, simmer and reduce by half. Fold in the crème fraîche, mustard and herbs. Remove from the heat while you cook the fish. In a large frying pan add a tbsp of oil and a knob of butter, when it’s hot coat the fish fillets in seasoned flour and gently cook until golden brown on both sides. Place on hot plates, reheat the sauce and pour over the fish. Serve with new potatoes and steamed broccoli.

Honey Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese & Walnuts 3 large ripe pears 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted 3 tbsp honey 50g sugar mixed chopped walnuts to scatter 6 tbsp vegetarian blue cheese METHOD Preheat the oven to 200°C. Cut the pears in half, then cut a sliver from

the rounded side of each pear so they can lie flat. Scoop out the core of each pear half. Pour the melted butter, sugar and honey into a baking dish and whisk together. Place the pears cut side down into the butter and roast for 30 minutes. Turn them over, baste with the juices and return for a further 10 minutes. Remove the pears and fill each cavity with blue cheese, cook for another 10 minutes until the cheese has melted. To serve, spoon some of the caramelised syrup onto each plate, place a pear on top and sprinkle with the chopped walnuts.

Honey roasted pears with blue cheese and walnuts

living nikki legon’s cuisine | 43

French pear tart

French Pear Tart Sweet pastry 125g unsalted butter, softened 75g icing sugar ½ tsp salt 1 egg 225g plain flour 25g ground almonds For the filling 6 half pears, poached or tinned 100g unsalted butter, softened 75g caster sugar 2 eggs 3 drops of almond essence 100g ground almonds

2 tbsp dark rum 20g slivered almonds 1 tbs apricot jam, melted METHOD Preheat the oven to 200°C. Using a stand mixer with the paddle beater, mix the butter, sugar and salt together until pale and creamy. Gradually add the egg, flour and ground almonds. Mix until the dough comes away from the sides then wrap in cling film and chill for 1 hour. To make the filling, cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Mix in the eggs, almond essence, ground almonds and rum.

Remove the pastry and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out to 3-4mm thickness. Wrap the pastry around the rolling pin and transfer to a 28cm loose-bottomed flan tin. Press in gently using your fingers and prick the base with a fork. Chill for 30 minutes. Drain the pears on kitchen paper, slice horizontally. Spread the filling onto the chilled tart base, carefully transfer the pears evenly over the top and sprinkle with the almonds. Bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then brush with the melted apricot jam.

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

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


Did you know?

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

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

44 | living wine

Times of Change W I N E

In the first of a three-part series, Caro Feely looks at how climate change concerns are influencing decisions in the vineyard


y husband Sean and I have been organic wine farmers in the Dordogne for seventeen years. In that time we have experienced climate change directly in changing growth cycles and earlier harvests, but also, more worryingly, in lost crops due to extremes of frost, hail and heatwaves. These events happened before, but their frequency and intensity are growing. When we arrived local farmers said we could expect to lose our crop, or part of it, to an extreme weather event once every ten years. Today it’s three times each decade, and the 2021 Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report predicted that the number and scale of these events will keep increasing unless we take dramatic action to decrease our greenhouse gas emissions.

Responding to Climate Change

There are two ways we can address the existential challenge of climate

change. The first is to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by stopping the burning of fossil fuels. Climate scientists call this ‘mitigation’. The second is to adapt to changes that are inevitable and some of which are already happening. Climate scientists call this ‘adaptation’. In this article I focus on mitigation, and in the next I’ll consider adaptation. Each is critical.


Trees, vines and all plants that photosynthesise help to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere and decrease a farm’s net emissions. Planting trees in the vineyard and alongside it is a potential strategy, and Agroforestry is a growing area of research. A tree captures more CO2, and for longer, than a vine, and large trees capture more CO2 than small trees. Domaine Emile Grelier in Bordeaux is a pioneer in this arena, to which I’ll return in upcoming editions on adaptation and biodiversity. We can change our power supplier to a renewable energy supplier like Planète Oui or Enercoop, as we have

at Château Feely at Saussignac, near Bergerac, or as Paul Barre has done for Vignobles Paul Barre at Fronsac, in Bordeaux. The ideal would be for a vineyard to have its own renewable energy production, like solar and wind, and to have all its equipment electrified and running on this locally generated energy. For now, electric tractors are not powerful enough for most farming. For example, the steep slopes and heavy limestone and clay soil of Château Feely are too demanding. In future, electric tractor power will increase but, in the meantime, we keep our diesel tractor passages to an absolute minimum. This saves fuel, and also saves the soil from compaction, inevitable with heavy equipment. La Cave de Monbazillac in the Dordogne is trialling an electric robot tractor called TED, for weeding under the vines. Many vineyards have installed solar panels to generate their own renewable energy. Château Paloumey in the Medoc installed 400m2 of solar panels in 2021, making themselves Russian intervention

living wine | 49

Book a virtual event or course with Caro Learn about wine at the Feelys’ wine school or visit Château Feely, a biodynamic and organic wine estate with accommodation, wine tours and vineyard walks at For questions or suggestions please get in touch You can read the full story of the creation of their organic biodynamic vineyard in Caro’s book series; ‘Grape Expectations’, ‘Saving Our Skins’ and ‘Glass Half Full’. The 4th title in the series will be published in 2022.

fully autonomous for energy. As with our homes, renewable energy needs to go in tandem with energy saving by good insulation on buildings and on vats when necessary. Major CO2 emitters for wineries are glass bottles used for packaging. For age worthy wines no other packaging alternatives exist. For fast turnaround wines, however, bag-in-box, Tetrapak and recyclable aluminium offer lower carbon alternatives, but only for short-term storage, as the plastic or aluminium leaches into the wine if stored long term. At Château Feely our wines are made for ageing, so we use ‘ecova’ glass bottles which are engineered for energy efficiency in production and less weight. We keep pushing our suppliers to provide better solutions. Logistics and transport management are other important elements. Grouping transport can reduce costs and CO2. A few weeks ago we had an export order that needed to go with a grouped order coordinated by a wine shop in Le Bugue, an hour away. Friends who live near the shop visited us that week and delivered the order in their electric car, thus generating no additional CO2 for this leg to the grouped order. We encourage our transporters and logistics providers to give us green alternatives. The more we state that this is important to us and to our clients, the faster the transition will come.

Ref 4718 - 66 480€

Traditional 2-bed stone village house to renovate with an adjoining stone barn, a hangar and enclosed garden. Nr Sauzé-Vaussais. Agency fees 10.8% inc., paid by the buyer. Energy Class: Vierge - Climate: Vierge

Ref 4647 - 138 265€

Pretty stone character property, well renovated throughout, 2 en-suite bedrooms, lovely garden and a covered parking/eating area. Nr Sauzé-Vaussais. Agency fees 7.6% inc., paid by the buyer. Energy Class: G - Climate: C

Ref 4649 - 199 529€

Attractive, well renovated stone longere, many original features kept, with 3 large bedrooms, outbuildings and 3189m2 of garden. Close to Chaunay. Agency fees 6.7% inc., paid by the buyer. Energy Class: D - Climate: B

Ref 4711 - 129 600€

Detached 3-bed house with basement garage and large wrap around gardens. Ideally located walking distance to shops near Civray. Agency fees 8% inc., paid by the buyer. Energy Class: F - Climate: F

Ref 4705 - 155 582€

Lovely stone house situated in a small hamlet Nr Civray. 158m2 of living space, 2 bedrooms, a covered terrace, workshop and large 2225m2 garden. Agency fees 7.3% inc., paid by the buyer. Energy Class: D - Climate: B

Ref 4657 - 248 305€

Renovated detached stone farmhouse, with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, WOW factor mezzanine, a part renovated cottage, large barn + land nr Sauzé-Vaussais. Agency fees 6% inc., paid by the buyer. Energy Class: F - Climate: B

79, Grande Rue, 79190 Sauzé-Vaussais Tel: +33 (0)5 49 07 76 88 Show how much you Living at



Are you thinking of buying or selling a French property ? EXCLUSIVE

Charente €432,000 Ref: A10605 - Modern 130m2 3 bedroom house near Angoulême.

Charente-Maritime €397,500 Ref: A11304 - Large 7 bedroom house with pool and separate 4 bedroom gîte.

Charente €36,600 Ref: 105834 - Perfect 1 bedroom holiday or permanent home.

Agency fees to be paid by seller.

6% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

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Deux-Sèvres €102,850 Ref: 111166 - Attractive 3 bedroom town house in a market town, with courtyard.

Charente-Maritime €80,000 Ref: A11182 - 2 Bedroom stone house with garden in a quiet area.

Charente €233,000 Ref: A11492 - Two individual 1 bedroom houses with huge business potential.

10% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

10% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

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Dordogne €530,000 Ref: 117885 - Beautiful 4 bedroom house with lovely views, in the town of Sarlat.

Deux-Sèvres €136,250 Ref: A05936 - Delightful 2 bedroom renovated stone house with a large garden.

Vienne €127,000 Ref: 118980 - Pretty 3 bedroom farmhouse with enclosed courtyard, in a village.

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9% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

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Vienne €125,350 Ref: 115923 - Stunning 3 bedroom house with a pretty garden, in a lovely hamlet.

Haute-Vienne €720,000 Ref: A11519 - Superb property! Maison de maître, guardian’s house to renovate and 19ha.

Vienne €162,000 Ref: A11370 - Renovated 4 bedroom home with gîte and large garden.

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Charente €169,000 Ref: A11365 - Pretty 4 bedroom house and barn with enclosed garden, in popular village.

Charente-Maritime €172,000 Ref: A11305 - 2 Properties to renovate with substantial outbuildings.

Deux-Sèvres €103,550 Ref: A09950 - Beautiful, partially renovated longère with large garden, barns and hangar.

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Charente €326,550 Ref: A07825 - Beautiful 310m2 5 bedroom longère with countryside views. 5% agency fees included paid by the buyer.





Charente €88,000 Ref: A11455 - 2 Bedroom bungalow to renovate with large garden and outbuilding. 10% agency fees included paid by the buyer.




Haute-Vienne €48,000 Ref: A11528 - Detached 4 bedroom house within walking distance to centre of town.

Charente-Maritime €31,600 Ref: A11495 - Lovely stone barn with outline plannning permission on a large plot.

Charente-Maritime €86,600 Ref: A09268 - Stone barn to renovate. Close to beaches of Royan.

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Deux-Sèvres €152,600 Ref: A09336 - Large 5/6 bedroom town house to update. Near to all amenities.

Dordogne €110,000 Ref: 116168 - Attractive 4 bedroom house with barn, garage and 2649m2 garden.

Haute-Vienne €210,000 Ref: A09492 - 3 Bedroom authentic stone house in a quiet hamlet.

9% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

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L i ving


Talmontsur-Gironde (17)

Changing Places

We stroll through a prime location for anyone who dreams of coastal living Life can be good in the right location, a classic example being the stretch of coastline which runs from La Palmyre down to Meschers, on the banks of the Gironde. Known as the ‘Côte de Beauté’, it stops just short of Talmontsur-Gironde, but the latter counters with three designations of its own, being among the ‘Plus Beaux Villages de France’, the ‘Petites Cités de Caractère’ and the ‘Villages de Pierres et d’Eau’. Clearly it merits a closer look. Around 500,000 visitors do just that each year, most of them drawn to the spot by the haunting image of the Église SainteRadagonde poised dramatically above the waves on the cliff’s edge. Dedicated to the patron saint of mariners, the 12th century Romanesque structure welcomed travellers from Saintes following the Via Turonensis pilgrimage route, and who would then cross the Gironde to the Basilica of Soulac. That the building is still with us is little short of miraculous, for it owes its curious outline to a violent storm during the 15th century having carried away a large section of the cliff, along with most of the nave.

The village itself was constructed during the late 13th century by Edward I, King of England and Duc d’Aquitaine, and surrounded by defensive ramparts. Its military garrison and their families were soon joined by weavers and other artisans, plus of course fishermen. It’s said that while they set off in search of lamprey, sturgeon, eel and maigre (salmon bass) their wives would fish using nets suspended from skeletal timber piers which evolved into the carrelets we see around the Atlantic coastline. Fishing continues to this day, although many of the carrelets now serve primarily as family weekend hideaways. Today village life also revolves around leisure activities, the economy receiving a substantial boost from summer visitors, well over 50% of the properties now being second homes. It’s easy to see why, for the rues and venelles (laid out on a typical geometrical bastide plan) are a joy to explore, particularly when the predominant dazzling whiteness of the facades is relieved by the vibrant colours of hollyhocks, oleander and bougainvillea. Looking beyond tourism, in recent

years Talmont has become a respected producer of biodynamic wines. Established in 2001 by long-term resident Michel Guillard, the vineyards of Les Hauts de Talmont today cover 7Ha of the neighbouring headland of Le Caillaud. In addition to a surprising range of Colombard and Merlot varietal wines the estate also produces an oak-aged VS Cognac.

Making connections Distances/drive-times by road from 17120 Talmont-sur-Gironde: Royan: 17km/26min Saintes: 36km/40min Cognac: 56km/1hr 05min Rochefort: 58km/1hr 05min La Rochelle: 89km/1hr 30min Angoulême: 101km/1hr 35min Bordeaux: 108km/1hr 30min TGV & TER rail services: La Gare SNCF de Royan (17km) is served by TER Nouvelle-Aquitaine Ligne Régionale 15 services between La Rochelle & Bordeaux, for connections (including TGV) to Niort, Périgueux, Angoulême, Poitiers, Bayonne, Toulouse, Tours, Paris, etc.

L i ving

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

71 500€ HAI

(65 000€ + 10% fee payable by buyer)

Ref. 34352

MILLAC (86). In a hamlet, 2-bed cottage + attached house to renovate. Heating, septic tank, 2 garages, bread oven, set on 1709m2. Classe Energie E Classe Climate B

25 000€ HAI

Ref. 34347

(22 000€ + 3 000€ fee payable by buyer)

CONFOLENS (16). 2kms to shops. Spacious detached stone barn with 2 stables, sheds set on 1417m2. Residential planning underway. Classe Energie vierge Classe Climate vierge

Ref: 9939-EY - Location: Pezuls - Price: 799,000€ Charming Gite complex in stone currently arranged as three gites (7 bedrooms) and separate large family home (4 bedrooms). Set in the centre of its 5 hectares of land, with garage, outbuildings, 12x5m swimming pool, boules court and playground. Excellent income potential, located in the touristic region of Périgord Noir. Taux d’honoraires 38,048€ (5%) inclus à la charge de l’acquéreur. Classe Energie: C. Classe Climat: D

71,500€ HAI

(65,000€ + 10% fee payable by buyer)

Ref. 34346

AVAILLES LIMOUZINE (86). 4-bed semi-detached with convertible attic.Oil heating, mains, courtyard, garden, garages, set on 1054m2. Classe Energie D Classe Climate D

248 400€ HAI

Ref. 34343

(230 000€ + 8% fee payable by buyer)

PLEUVILLE (16). Delightful 4-bed stone property in village on approx. 1ha 43. Mains,mobile home, heated pool, adjoining woodland. Classe Energie C Classe Climate A

Ref: 9915-MO - Location: Issigeac - Price: 787,500€ Elegant family house in the countryside, with swimming pool, pool-house, garage, 3 hectares of meadow land with fruit trees plus 2-bedroom caretaker’s house. The main house offers 6 bedrooms, 3 living rooms, large kitchen and games room. A desirable property is in quiet rural area, 8kms from dynamic bastide. Taux d’honoraires 37,500€ (5%) inclus à la charge de l’acquéreur. Classe Energie: D. Classe Climat: D

93,500€ HAI

(85,000€ + 6% fee payable by buyer)

Ref. 34339

CONFOLENS (16). Town centre, 50m to market. Investment opportunity: 3 flats above commercial shop with terrace. Elec heating, mains. Classe F Classe Climate E

194 400€ HAI

(180 000€ + 8% fee payable by buyer)

Ref. 34330

Near CONFOLENS (16). Great potential, ideal B&B or family house: 7-bed, convertible attics, oil heating, mains, outbuildings, set on 3431m2. Classe Energie vierge Classe Climate vierge

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

Ref: 9668-VI - Location: Villereal - Price: 424,000€ In a rural hamlet, this beautiful Perigourdine 2-bedroom stone house and attached gite, benefits from a hilltop position with stunning views over the countryside. Totally renovated, it offers spacious and light living space, with the charming adjoining two-bedroom gite attached. Various outbuilding included and all set on 1.70 acres of land. Taux d’honoraires 24,000€ (6%) inclus à la charge de l’acquéreur. Classe Energie: C. Classe Climat: A

Character Properties in France E xc



Massignac, Charente €690,000* Established carp fishery, two stream-fed lakes (7 acres, 3 acres), 4-bedroom house, two guest chalets, barn, 6.5 hectares with woodland.

Pressac, Vienne €498,000* Fabulous 5-bedroom manor house, 17th century, fabulous features, 1.9 hectares, heated in-ground heated pool, 200m2 barn, no traffic.



We are a French agency established in 2004, with a new shop in Confolens, and operating throughout Poitou-Charentes and Haute Vienne. Our local team of English and French-speaking negotiators have broad experience to ensure a smooth and stress-free sale process. For our exclusive clients we offer complimentary drone videos to make the best of your location, and will dedicate ourselves to the task of selling your house. We are at your disposal to conduct a confidential valuation, please call 06 43 95 15 52.

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50 | living gardening

Clematis Red Pearl

Clematis jackmanii


Born to climb

We celebrate one of the most upwardly mobile of all our garden plants, the delightful clematis... Clematis ramona

living gardening | 51

Clematis montana


hey just can’t help themselves; even the name is derived from the ancient Greek word for climbing. As a genus clematis are among the most widespread climbers, and can be found in most temperate regions. Perhaps surprisingly, they’re members of the Ranunculaceae (buttercup) family, so species varieties tend to be relatively easy to grow – more so than hybrids, for example. Even more surprising, however, is the fact that clematis don’t actually possess petals, and instead manage to achieve their often spectacular displays courtesy of brightlycoloured petal-like sepals. As for climbing, they do so by twining their leaf stalks around whatever lies within their grasp, then once secured, extending their shoots and repeating the process.

Clematis texensis ‘Princess Diana’

The 200 or so types of species clematis include some highly attractive and hardy alternatives to the wealth of hybrids now on sale in garden centres. Deciding what to grow from a combined total now comfortably in excess of 600 (and rising) sounds like hard work, but becomes much simpler if we group them into three basic categories, based mainly on their flowering periods.

Group 1: Early-Flowering Species These include Clematis alpina, which are easily recognised by their bell-like flowers. They’re a very hardy bunch (down to -20°C, in fact), and while they’ll tolerate sunny positions as long as their roots are in moisture retentive soils,



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they’re at their best against cool, shaded walls. They also seem to be well-suited to our slightly alkaline conditions and can be propagated by layering or from semi-ripe cuttings taken in late summer. Alternatively, increase stocks by collecting seeds. Flower varieties include single and double whites, pale and mid-pinks and mid-blues. Another group member is the Chinese Clematis macropetala, with semi-double, more flared bell-shaped flowers. The plants’ needs and propagation techniques are as for Clematis alpina, and their colours include deep blues, purple-mauves and pinks. This group is also where we find the hugely popular Clematis montana, which despite the Americansounding name actually came to our

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Clematis armandii

52 | living gardening Clematis florida

shores from China and the Himalayas. Its rampant growth habit means that it’s most suitable for informal settings, where it will do a fine job of surging over unsightly features and erupting in a show-stopping carpet of white or pale pink flowers. All it asks in return is a sunny aspect and a cool root-run. Propagate as for the others in this group, but be aware that growing from seed is rarely successful. Finally in this group you’ll also occasionally come across Clematis chrysocoma, which is broadly similar to C. montana, but with a slightly less-energetic, more manageable growth rate. Prefer evergreens? Given some protection from really hard frosts, you could try a C. amandii variety, a Chinese native with perfumed white C. montana-like flowers and dense, glossy

foliage – or perhaps a C. cirrhosa (from the Mediterranean). For something more exotic C. napaulensis (from Nepal and China) takes some beating, not least since it blooms in winter and lies dormant in midsummer. Is it hardy? Opinions are divided, but success stories abound, and the Fuchsia-like flowers, followed by fluffy seed heads make it well worth trying.

Group 2: Early-Flowering Hybrids. This group contains some real beauties which can nevertheless often surprise us by producing repeat displays later (although the principal early flowers are the real show-stoppers). With blooms which can often exceed 15cm in diameter, their mere presence can

add a touch of exotic sophistication to any garden, and their great diversity of flower forms and colours mean that there’s no reason to grow just one. Plants in this group tend to be happy in most situations, as long as their roots don’t dry out. Above the soil, while they do seem to prefer some warmth, be aware that the vibrant colours of their flowers can be bleached by exposure to full sun, so if that’s a concern try to grow them in semi-shade. That can be accomplished by growing them on a pergola or allowing them to climb, as nature intended, through a suitable tree or shrub – once established they can reach around 12m. Propagation from cuttings can be challenging, so layering is a better option. Within this group we find hybrids derived from Clematis florida. This Chinese species has manageable growth patterns which are inherited by its progeny, along with single or double flowers which appear in late spring or early summer, followed in autumn by

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living gardening | 53

less showy single displays. The other parent of this hybrid group union will be either C. patens or C. lanuginosa. The former is native to China and Japan, with blue or white flowers borne at the same times as those of C. florida. The latter is intriguing since the species was long thought to have become extinct in its native China, but was rediscovered in 2008. Perhaps its most endearing qualities, passed on to its progeny, is the plants’ ability to flower repeatedly from late spring until late summer (most hybrid cultivars being singles).

Group 3: Late-Flowering Species and Hybrids With needs broadly the same as their early-flowering counterparts, the hybrids are particularly suited to informal settings, where they can achieve their growth potential of 3m or so without cutting back, since flowers are borne towards the tips of new season’s growth. Once again, Looking for old DEUTZ tractors F1M 414, F1L 514 1936-1959

propagation by layering offers the best chance of success. Most varieties can trace their lineage to either large-flowered C. jackmanii hybrids or smaller-flowered C. viticella (species and hybrids), each being moderatelyenergetic and often highly coloured. Late-flowering species, while less showy, are of interest since they’re energetic climbers and are easy to propagate from semi-ripe late-season cuttings, by layering or from seed. Larger varieties like C. tangutica (from Central Asia) follow their bell-like flowers with highly ornamental feathery seed heads. More suitable where space is limited are the C. texensis varieties, which as their name suggests, hail from North America. Straightforward to propagate, they’re hardy down to -15°C and can withstand slightly drier conditions than most. Flowers are bell-shaped and predominantly pinks or reds. Among the more highly scented clematis are C. flammula varieties, some of which produce a profusion of pure white blossoms, and are native to Southern Europe and the Middle East. Finally in this group we find Clematis campaniflora, a native of Portugal (but happy in cooler climates), which looks a picture when climbing through a tree or large shrub, with small bell-like flowers of pale powder blue. As regards planting, always check any instructions on the label, but a general rule is to plant 5-10cm lower than they were in their nursery pot or container. Then satisfy their prodigious energy requirements by giving them regular feeds throughout the summer. Group 1 clematis need no pruning, those in Group 2 can be pruned very sparingly in early spring, while Group 3 plants may be cut back hard in early spring, to promote healthy new growth.

Call Jon on 05 49 87 29 71 E:

Mark: 06 42 04 72 72 Debbie: 06 42 04 58 71 Siret: 802 354 944 00034

‘Apple Blossom’ – pale-pink single, almond-scented ‘Balearica’ – crimson-flecked white single, winter-flowering evergreen ‘Montana Grandiflora’ – large pure white single, vigorous ‘Montana Tetrarose’ – rose-pink single, cedar-scented

Group 2:

‘Marie Boisselot’ – large white single (aka ‘Madame Le Coultre’) ‘Nelly Moser’ – large, abundant pink-streaked white single ‘Niobe’ – long flowering, deep claret-red single ‘The President’ – long-flowering, violet purple single

Group 3:

‘Jackmanii Superba’ – freeflowering, rich-purple single ‘Purpurea Plena Elegans’ – dusky-purple double ‘Tangutica’ – lantern-shaped yellow, followed by fluffy seed heads ‘Ville de Lyon’ – elegant crimson single

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FRIENDLY PROFESSIONAL SERVICE Competitive prices, try me for a quote SIRET 47994761600021

Gardening | Home Maintenance

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

Agent and installer for several rectangular & shaped pools including Seablue & Astral Pools

Transport, Pools

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

Siret: 813 442 860 00017


These local businesses are waiting for your call!


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



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

Les Rivières, 19260 TREIGNAC

Brad Quarless

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

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

Building Services, Artisans

L’Atelier de Fer Fraser W. Eade

Parquet & wood floor renovation “Specialist in floor restoration” Covering all of France ~ Assurance Décennale


For all your flooring needs

Tel: 07 86 72 08 91 Email: FB: bradquarlessfurnitureandfloorsanding

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

Siret: 8415819290020

Jeff’s Metalwork

Siret: 827 978 636 00013

Home Services

Nick Wright

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

05 55 71 41 75 Siret: 512 945 874 00018

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

BECK CHERRY PICKER HIRE Nacelle Telescopique

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




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

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

Wooden shutters made, restored and spray painted Metal shutters sandblasted Exterior / Interior walls airless spray-painted


Depts 16 & 17

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

Siret: 851 051 334

Over 30 years’ experience All areas covered Contact Alan Tel 05 45 21 72 01 Mobile 07 80 00 51 65


MV Services

Mick Van Ackeren T: 07 50 63 19 37

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

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

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

Etudes  Conception  Surveys Maintenance  Service  Remedial

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

Building services, Artisans


Siret 482 718 640 00022

Siret: 491827705 00022




depts 79, 86 & 16

Andy Quick

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

Siret: 499 474 302 00035

Building services, Artisans





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

E: ~ T: 05 49 27 22 67


Assurance Décennale

Mobile: + 33.(0). Email: All work is fully guaranteed and we are fully insured. Our services are available 6 days a week, no-obligation free estimate and no call-out fee up to 70km.

Quality Roofing & Building

for you

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

Siret 53210969100024



UPVC windows, doors & ConserVatories sPeCialists

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

10 year warranTy on all products installed

~ Covering south west franCe ~

Tel: 05 46 70 25 87 Kitchens & Bathrooms from A-Z All leading Brands All associated minor works, modifications and repairs also undertaken e.g.. replace Kitchen worktops, taps, toilets etc. Dept. 16, 17

Covering 1h radius around Mareuil 24340

05 46 49 78 30 / 06 70 40 66 01

~ Free quotes ~ Decennial insurance

website: email:

07 82 19 22 37


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

Barry Baldwin


Cabinet Maker & Joiner

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: Based in 17240

05 49 87 09 63 Siret: 48115588500017

Siret: 848 507 042 00010

Furniture Restoration Manufacture of staircases, doors & cupboards 16240 La Fôret de Tesse T: 05 45 30 39 85 Covering depts 16, 79 & 86

Siret: 804476 034 00017


Graham Medhurst Renovations 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:

Ian Dickinson BSc (Hons)

ID Planning & Design Planning and designs for permis de construire and déclaration préalables for extensions, renovations, conversions and new builds. Departments: 16, 17, 24, 79, 86 & 87 Siret: 492 277 918 00024

Tel: Mob:


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 incentives for systems installed by Enershop as we

Tel: 07 67 04 07 53


hold the QualiSol and QualiBois accreditation. Our website has lots of information on our services which include : • Solar thermal domestic hot water • Wood gasification boilers • Wood / Pellet boiler stoves • Pellet boilers • Accumulation tanks • Air source heat pumps


• Central and underfloor heating systems • Swimming pool / hot tub heating


Building services, Artisans

Imajica Joinery


Building services, Artisans


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


Affordable UK Designs

Fitted Kitchens, Upvc & Aluminium Double Glazing

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

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

Building services, Artisans

Adrian Amos Specialist Carpenter/Joiner

Siret: 508 248 747 000 18

05 45 31 14 58 / 06 63 20 24 93

ANDY MS Multi Services

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

05 46 49 78 30 / 06 70 40 66 01

website: email: siret:50263448800014


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

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

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

SIRET: 513 577 809 00017

ReIiable, Affordable Maintenance & Renovation Service

Tel 05 17 30 18 35 Mobile 06 33 85 65 66 Javarzay, 79110 Chef-Boutonne Siren: 478 608 185 00011

Ambroise PRÉE Plumbing - Heating Chimney sweeping Full service with certificate (boiler, fuel, wood, gaz) Installation of Wood Burners Registered RGE QUALIBOIS Fully insured with over 15 years’ experience Tel: 06 58 86 55 91

30km around 86400 (Saint Macoux)

English spoken Siret: 900 570 490 00012

Siret: 789 563 392 00016

Building services, Artisans


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

Jb Plumbing

Fully qualified & fully insured All electrical works including; Rewires Renovations Repairs Additions Swimming Pools 3 Phase Fuse board installations etc. Tel: 06 40 41 74 20 Bradley.W.Electrical

Based in dept 79 near Sauzé-Vaussais Fully insured Siret: 804 390 862 000 14

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

05 46 86 07 61 Siret 49376573200015


Kitchen & Bathroom exterior painting installation Paper hanging, tiling, Tiling flooring & dry lining Plumbing Repairs ADAM BLACKABY Artisan Peintre Tel: 06 29 90 24 89 E:

Experienced, French Registered Electrician

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

T: 05 45 98 07 25 M: 06 23 18 30 95

David GABARD T: 06 71 83 16 69 / 05 49 87 27 29 Areas 16, 17, 24, 33, 79, 86 Siret: 441 490 992 00027

These local businesses are waiting for your call!

E: 2 Verrières, 86400 CHAMPNIERS

Covering south 86 & 79, north 16

living music | 65

FROM Upbeat THE HEART We profile a million-selling artist due to headline at Cognac Blues Passions 2022


ver the years NouvelleAquitaine has produced many creative forces, but the enduring success of singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist Francis Cabrel is unparalleled. During a career spanning almost 45 years he’s released 22 studio, live and compilation albums plus almost 60 singles, whose combined global sales are estimated to have passed the 25 million mark – and rising. Born to parents who had settled in Agen (47) from north-eastern Italy, Francis was given his first guitar at the age of 13, after hearing early hits by Bob Dylan and other US performers on the radio. Gradually he learnt enough English to translate the lyrics into French, decode the arcane craft of songwriting and apply his new-found skills to creating his own compositions. After plucking up the courage to play them to others, the favourable reactions he received gave him a new-found self-confidence which enabled him to overcome his natural shyness, and before long he was performing in public with other musicians. While the line-ups came and went, Francis stayed on course and continued to gain experience. In June 1974 he entered a Sud Radio song contest in Toulouse, and beat 400 other hopefuls to win the competition and a 2,000 franc prize. The winning song Petite Marie (dedicated to his wife Mariette Darjo)

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Transmission: Xtrac 6-speed sequential manual

BRAKES: • Alcon monobloc six pot front calipers • Alcon monobloc 4 pot rear calipers SUSPEnSiOn: • Öhlins 5-way adjustable dampers WHEELS: • TWS magnesium 12.5” x 18” front • TWS magnesium 13.0” x 18” rear weighT: 1,245 kg

appeared on his first studio album Les Murs de Poussière, released in 1977. Unhappy with his record company’s attempts to tone down his accent, Francis disowned the promotional single release by CBS but kept the song in his concert repertoire, finally releasing it as a single from his 1991 live album D’une ombre à l’autre. This time Petite Marie spent 14 weeks in the Top 50, with sales of over 125,000 and continues to receive frequent plays on FM radio. Over the years the releases have kept coming, his concert tours have consistently sold out and now his YouTube play figures confirm his huge popularity – Je t’aimais, je t’aime, je t’aimerai alone

showing a staggering 54m views as we went to press. So what exactly hits the button among his loyal fans? Clearly he’s a highly accomplished singer and guitar player, but what sets him head and shoulders above his contemporaries is undoubtedly his ability to address his chosen subjects with exquisitely crafted lyrics which somehow connect to the listener. For proof of this contrast the raw emotion of La corrida (which sees the pointless barbarism of a bullfight through the eyes of the beast about to die) with the simple tenderness of Je l’aime à mourir. The latter appeared on his 1979 album Les Chemins de Traverse (600,000 sales in France) and as a single (another 700,000 copies). It was then covered in both French and Spanish by Shakira, and immediately hit the Number 1 spot in France. The list of other artistes who have recorded his songs includes Johnny Hallyday, Murray Head and US salsa band DLG. Despite countless concert performances not only in Europe but also in Québec, Tahiti, New Caledonia, Réunion and Mauritius, Francis still calls Lot-et-Garonne home and has supported multiple charitable organisations, including Les Restos du Coeur, having participated in a string of concerts by Les Enfoirés. You can catch him on 8 July at Cognac Blues Passions.




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Sam Carpenter

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16, 17, 79 and west Vienne

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

66 | living Language

Pardon? I

always love the beginning of the year when lexicographers take stock of word use and dictionaries decide which words have made the cut and deserve a place in new print editions. I especially love it because the words added in English will no doubt be causing headaches for bilingual dictionary teams and translators across the world if the word hasn’t made it into common usage there yet. Take the verb ‘adulting’. Last year, the Oxford English Dictionary added the verb ‘to adult’ to their dictionary. I confess that’s probably one of my favourite social media memes where the dog lies flat out and says ‘I can’t adult today.’ I know how he feels. Whether or not you approve of turning nouns and adjectives into verbs, you can imagine the joy of translating this expression into French. Given the French love of sticking ‘ing’ on the end of words to make them into nouns, I don’t think ‘adulting’ would be too much of a leap to keep it in its English form. Prétendre être un adulte, se conduire en adulte or jouer à l’adulte don’t have the exact same ring. Le smoking, le relooking and le brushing have long since been accepted as anglicisms for a dinner jacket, a makeover or restyle and a blow-dry at the hairdressers. Why not l’adulting? It’s not just millennials who struggle with doing boring, mundane, grown-up stuff. French did give us the beautiful adulescence to describe those adults who seem permanently trapped in adolescence, though. Other words are less trendy and more useful. ‘Contactless’ made its way into the dictionary in 2021, no doubt prompted by the pandemic. Contactless collection or contactless payment is more and more fashionable, especially

New Year, New Words by language expert Emma-Jane Lee

that many French companies now have les agents conversationnels or les dialogueurs on their French web pages, we definitely need to make sure we know what they’re called in French. It certainly doesn’t help that Belgian philosopher Pascal Chabot wrote a short text about a chatbot. ChatBot le Robot, de Pascal Chabot sounds like a hideous new age tongue-twister or virelanguage. Which Ts to pronounce?! Is ‘ch’ a sh sound or a ch sound? Thank goodness, then, that ‘contactless’ translated effortlessly to sans contact. A life sans contact made its way into with the rise of website chatbots who seem to manage everything much more English language dictionaries in the form of WFH. Télétravailler is long established politely and efficiently than humans these days. The chatbot who helped me in France, although that term has also found its way into the dictionaries on sort out my contact lens order was so polite and so very human I did wonder if this side of La Manche. ‘Working From it was just some person behind a screen Home’ doesn’t have the same panache as typing the answers. Un assistant virtuel télétravailler, even if both mean sitting makes more sense for ‘chatbot’, since at home at your laptop in your pyjamas I think I’d find it hard in French not to with a bowl of cereal trying to log on think of Puss-in-Boots if I pronounced it to your latest Zoom meeting. sha-botte or the most hideous chatte-botte. French in its turn has added its own Nevertheless, many French people words to the dictionary. Une infox is are giving un chatbot a go despite the one word that’s been added to French difficulties of pronouncing it. Given the dictionaries in recent years. This rather dubious use of chatte in French neologism is ‘fake news’ in French, although I’ve heard plenty of ‘fake news!’ language, not at all dissimilar to how accusations from French politicians the word ‘pussy’ has fallen out of use and commentators in recent months. in English when referring to a cat, a booted profanity doesn’t make ‘chatbot’ L’information fausse does lend itself a natural translation into French. I can beautifully to being shortened to infox. still imagine some trying to articulate it as Perhaps that’s the worst thing about sha-bo. French has always been relatively languages. You went to the trouble to rule-driven compared to English, and the learn one back in school and then it bot at the end of the word has often been keeps changing. pronounced French-style. After all, robot Emma is a jack-of-all-language-trades, isn’t pronounced with the ‘t’ on the end. writing English textbooks, translating, Un assistant virtuel isn’t perfect: virtual marking exam scripts and teaching assistants have been human up until now. languages. She lives near La Rochefoucauld Perhaps agent conversationnel is better? with her growing menagerie. See What about un dialogueur? Given the fact

L i ving

PUBLISHER: Kathryn Dobson FEATURES EDITOR: Roger Moss Advertising: Jon Dobson Art editor: Nadia Van den Rym repro & Production: Justin Silvester Regular contributors: Caro Feely, Susan Hays, Jessica Knipe, Emma-Jane Lee, Nikki Legon, Mike Morris, and Stig Tomas. magazine WITH THANKS TO: John and Gill Bowler, Julia Moss. Photography: Shutterstock or Roger Moss unless indicated. Cover image: Saint-Jean-de-Côle, Dordogne (24) © ROGER MOSS Published by: Anglo Media & MArketing, 2 Rue Buffefeu, 86400 Linazay FRANCE. Poitiers: 533 624 128 Printed by: Rotimpres S.A. Dépôt légal: A parution Issue: 83 ISSN: 2270-2709.

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

Immobilière du Haut Limousin 41 avenue de la Gare - 87210 LE DORAT Tel. : 06 43 84 34 17

137 150€ FAI - DARNAC 4-bed family home built in 2013. Set on 2350m2 plot with good views. 10 mins to Bussiere Poitevin. Energie: D Climat: A

5.5% fees Ref 974

61 600€ FAI - LIMOGES T2 apartment (1-bed) 41m2. On 7th floor in small 8 floor residence. With cellar, parking place and balcony.

Energie: E Climat: n/a 10% fees Ref 1016

95 400€ FAI - ORADOUR-ST-GENEST 3-bed stone house with large garden and hangar. Cellar, heating, garage, garden, field with hangar.

58 240€ FAI - LUSSAC-LES-EGLISES Pretty village house with attic and garden, close to shops. 2-bed, small outbuildings, well.

82 500€ FAI - LE DORAT 3-bed house built in 60s with basement. Fitted kitchen, lift, insulated attic, large plot of 1600m2.

28 000€ - MAGNAC LAVAL Charming village house with garage, courtyard with garden nearby. 2 bedrooms. Offers.

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