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L i ving Gorgeous FREE!

magazine aug | sept 2018


great Days Out Micro-breweries & much more

Business Directory

Find the best local companies, all in one place!

~ Passionate about life in south west France ~



L i v in g

The ultimate


guide Le



August/September 2018

Full of Fabulous ideas for summer





Great days out exp lore the reGion

Festivals, Fun For all the Family & much more

the Best Beaches & BeautiFul villages

What a pleasure the blue skies are after so much rain! Hopefully the good weather is here to stay and in anticipation we’ve packed this edition full of great days out. Our own garden has gone into overdrive so it will make a change to see some beautifully kept ‘Jardins Remarquables’ - we show you the ones that are near you. We’ve also explored historic Abbaye de la Réau in south Vienne, a stunning location which is being brought back to life by a talented and dedicated family. Normal house renovations pale in significance beside this project! Don’t miss their grand fête at the end of September. Many of you will be delighted to hear that micro-breweries are springing up across the region. They provide both tasty beers as well as meeting points for local communities. We talk to four owners about the reality of running your own brewery in south west France, which must seem like the dream job to many readers. And finally, do please look through our Business Directory. We work hard to bring you the best companies across the region that you can trust - there is no better local directory. Remember to tell them that you saw them in Living - by doing so, you help us to keep Living free. À bientôt

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Snippets News from around the region


Abbaye de la Réau Roger Moss visits a sensational historic site which has recently emerged from its slumbers and the family who plan to bring it back to life


Just brew it! Nouvelle-Aquitaine microbreweries are putting beers on the map as Jessica Knipe finds out


Practical Advice We ask our professional experts your questions


Citizens’ Rights How are the recent events in the UK impacting the potential rights of British citizens living in France?



Family life in CharenteMaritime with Susan Hays

We profile Sarlat-la-Canèda, a town whose historic features have made it world-famous

Summer Musings


Puzzle Break Our crossword by Mike Morris


À la Basquaise Nouvelle-Aquitaine has a wealth of tastes as chef JeanChristophe Roger shows us


Wine & food pairing Caro Feeley discusses pairing for non-meat eaters


Nikki Legon’s Cuisine Spicy recipes for hot summer evenings directly from Nikki’s kitchen


Hook, Line and Sinker Ron Cousins takes a look at a surprisingly popular fish

How to keep ‘Living’ free for you Buy from our advertisers and tell them you found them in ‘Living’ 120,000 readers 1,000 stockists

Help us to continue delivering Living Give 6€ at


Living Property Pages


Truly Remarkable The hallmark of botanical excellence here in France


Upbeat Our round up of live music events


Pardon! Emma-Jane Lee raises her glass with some popular expressions about wine


Business Directory The best local services & suppliers

64 Places to go around the region

For all editorial & subscription enquiries: or phone + 33 (0)5 49 87 29 71 For all advertising: or phone Jon on +33 (0)5 49 87 29 71 Postal subscriptions start at only €35 for a full year see

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Visit the gardens of six different countries at Les Jardins Européens at Salles de Villefagnan in Charente (France, the UK, Scandinavia, Italy, Spain and Greece). Open throughout the summer by appointment,

les charentes you can explore the history of the gardens using an app on your smartphone or tablet – a unique experience for all the family which doesn’t disturb the peace for other visitors. This year the gardens will be welcoming over forty exhibitors to their plant fair on Sunday 9 September in conjunction with festiv’Sales. On sale will be a wide variety of plants (bamboos, grasses, bulbs, perennials, roses, irises, aromatics, flowering plants, topiary plants…) as well as artisanal products from bird boxes, wooden garden furniture, tools, metalwork, sculptures, soaps to delicious jams, honeys and organic produce. A BBQ with salads are on offer at lunchtime and the garden’s tea room will have cakes and refreshments all day. Entry is 3€ which includes a raffle ticket and free for under-18s. 9 rue du lavoir, 16700 Salles de Villefagnan. See www. or ring 06 61 34 01 86 (English spoken) for more information or to visit this summer.

Since 2006 the Fort Boyard Challenge has brought paddle-boarders, windsurfers and more to Fouras-les-Bains. With lots of events and stalls, the festival is fun for all the family and will be held over the weekend of 22/23 September.


PHOTOS: © WIKIPEDIA & office de tourisme Rochefort Océan

European Gardens

News from around the region...


The La Rochelle boat show, Le Grand Pavois, runs from 26 Sept – 1 Oct with the spectacular firework and harbour parade planned for Saturday 29 Sept.



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For great days out and the best of the summer events, pick up a copy of our Ultimate Summer Guide 2018, it’s FREE, or read it online at



YOUR HANDY GUIDE full of fabulous ideas for sum mer







News from around the region...

Wedding Creations

30 years on

The Ile de Ré has never been more popular than it is today with wealthy residents and holidaymakers alike, in no small part down to the bridge which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Now, it only takes 3-4 minutes to make the 3km crossing (assuming no jams) whereas pre1988, it used to take 45 minutes by boat with a wait of up to 5 hours to board. Not surprisingly, the bridge was an immediate success: 1.5 million vehicles used it in the first year, and 3.47 million in 2017. It is now seen as a vital link to the mainland, but it took 12 years of legal battles before the work could start as the local communities were concerned about the impact it would have on the 85km2 island. Since the opening of the bridge, the number of houses on the island has doubled (22,135 in 2013, 60% second homes) and the population goes from 18,000 in winter to about 125,000 in summer. “The attractiveness of the island has led to a dramatic increase in the price of land,” emphasizes the mayor of La-Flotte-en-Ré, Léon Gendre, an historical opponent of the bridge. “An agricultural plot, which was worth 1.07 euro per square metre, sells for up to 600 euros now, even more if it has been designated building land. The bridge has created huge fortunes for landowners and real estate professionals but it drives out locals who cannot rent, let alone buy.”

Trained at the BeauxArts of Toulouse and a graduate of the fashion school Esmod International Paris, Vanessa Gastou worked in stage costumery in Paris before moving into readyto-wear sales. Looking for a more peaceful life with her Charentaise partner, Vanessa relocated to just outside Angoulême to bring her dream of making unique and individual wedding gowns to life. Each bride has her own story and personality and by working closely with her clients, Vanessa is able to design a dress which makes sure that they feel as beautiful as they look on their special day. “For my creations, I prefer beautiful materials, natural, organic or Oeko-tex fabrics, but I never restrict myself. I like mixtures of styles and materials, I blend and combine them. I also love to give a second life to vintage lace and pre-loved fabrics that I search out,” she explains. “I draw my inspiration from my childhood imaginary world, literature as well as theatre, and also the history of art and fashion.” So, if you want a beautiful handmade gown that combines your dreams with original French glamour, call Vanessa (who speaks English)

at her workshop C’Prime to make your appointment. 1 Impasse Terrier de la Grand Pont, 16400 Puymoyen; tel : 06 61 10 84 59; FB @atelier cprime; Visit by appointment: +33 (0)5 46 26 80 65

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Swimming Pools Gym Restaurant Bar 24-hour security Navette Car hire

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Art & Bois

News from around the region...

les charentes

The biennial festival celebrating art and wood will take place at Breville (16) near Cognac over the weekend of 18/19 August. This year the theme is ‘bois et verre’. Watch sculptors and other artisans at work, visit the exhibitions and enjoy the market. For the full programme visit

The Tempest

After an acclaimed run of ‘The Comedy of Errors’ last year, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men are returning to Maison St Louis at Passirac (16480) with ‘The Tempest’ in September. Performed in the open air with Elizabethan costumes, music and dance, the UK’s premier allmale theatre company will once again enthral the audience as they perform Shakespeare’s spellbinding masterpiece. This play of soaring poetry, high comedy and tender love, Shakespeare’s late, great gem, examines the power of true love, our capacity for vengeance and what it takes to forgive. Bring a chair and a picnic, and spend a glorious summer evening watching this enchanting, fast-paced production of one of Shakespeare’s finest plays. Tickets cost 20€ with under-16s free. Performances take place on Friday 7- Sunday 9 September at 7pm. Tickets can be booked online at www.maisonstlouis. com or ring 05 45 78 23 42.



Association Cats are holding their annual Craft Fair on 16 September at the Salle de la Fabrique, 16450 St Laurent de Ceris. Doors open 10am-5pm with free entry and refreshments on sale all day. All proceeds go towards trapping, sterilising and releasing feral cats. Find out more on FB @AssocationCATS. The Frairie de Chives (16140) takes place over the weekend of 25/26 August. On Saturday join in the pétanque tournament from 2pm, while on Sunday the brocante takes place from 8am to 7pm. Private sellers are free of charge – just reserve by sending an SMS to 06 75 95 63 13. Food and drink and children’s amusements will be available all weekend.

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The go-to English speaking trailer dealer • With a permanent stock of over 20 new Brian James and Indespension trailers we will have something to suit your needs, and at the best prices. • All our trailers are homologated for registration in France, and include transport to our premises. Cheaper and more convenient than travelling to the UK, buying something sight unseen and then fighting with the homologation process back in France. • While-you-wait Carte Grise service for cars, vans & trailers already registered in France. • Trailer servicing, Parts supply and Mini-Digger hire.

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News from around the region...

les charentes

Journées européennes du Patrimoine

© Julien Chauvet - Ville de La Rochelle

Celebrating its 35th anniversary, the 2018 European Heritage Days have ‘the art of sharing’ as their theme. Held over the weekend of 15/16 September across 50 countries, the days promote the shared culture and values that bring Europeans together. Locally, the weekend offers a unique opportunity to see behind the doors of historic buildings, often with guides, as well as attend special events. More than 17,000 historic monuments across France will welcome visitors, a lot are for free, with many inviting school groups on the Friday too. Visit your local tourist office to find out what is planned near to you.

L’Hôtel de Ville Revealed

5 years after a fire ravaged La Rochelle’s Hôtel de Ville, the tarpaulins covering the new timbers and roof were finally removed in June. Meticulous work has been carried out on the Renaissance façades and exterior sculptures to copy the originals which were lost. Inside, work is in progress, notably on the ceiling of the future municipal council chamber. Of the original 200m2 painting, only 40m2 could be saved after 4 months of intense restoration and there is still much more to do as the interior work is scheduled for completion in September 2019.

Wingly Imagine BlaBlaCar but for flights. That is exactly what internet entrepreneurs have done with Wingly. If you thought taking a flight in a private plane was only for the rich then think again as pilots from across France, Germany and the UK now advertise their spare seats on the platform with many at rock bottom prices. Several pilots fly out of La Rochelle, Saintes, Jonzac and Royan, offering scenic views of the coastline and islands – ideal for summer visitors or as a special treat. All pilots use light aircraft ranging from 2-6 seaters, carry extra insurance and meet all necessary regulations with everything clearly explained on the website at

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Discover the river Charente from Angoulême to Rochefort - ‘the most beautiful river of the kingdom’ according to François I. Enjoy the local wildlife, meander through historic towns and villages. Visit cognac and pineau producers and delight in the local gastronomy. Above all, relax in peaceful surroundings and have an unforgettable holiday... For 2-10 people Min 2 days, mid-weeks or weeks 1 hour from Bordeaux, Poitiers & Limoges Brochure free on request

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News from around the region...


Ghostly goings on

Step back in time to the summer of 1579 when, on the eve of her wedding, Aurore, the only daughter of the Lord of Bridoire, was mysteriously found dead in her bed. At the same time leprosy struck residents of the Château de Bridoire and the rooms were sealed. All was frozen in time...until now! Visit the Château on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings until the end of August to take part in a ghostly adventure. Search for clues as the ghost of the Princess reappears, condemned to wander the corridors until her murderer is found. The game takes up to two hours and is available in both French and English but is not suitable for nervous individuals or children under 7. Reserve your place via their website ( Good luck!

Break out

Tasty dates

Foodies will not want to miss La Fête de la Gastronomie at Ribérac on Saturday, 22 September. Workshops, demonstrations, tastings and more make this a popular event for all the family. For those in east Dordogne, head to Sarlat for their fête on 22/23 September with their speciality pommes de terre sarlandaises (potatoes fried in goose fat).

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Escape games continue to grow in popularity and the Dordogne has not avoided the craze. As we go to press, the Château de Bourdeilles (above) is launching the first virtual-reality historic game which takes you back to 1307 and the final years of the Knights Templar. Available in English, it is suitable for over 12s. Enigm’antic, based in Périgueux, has three escape rooms, while in Sarlat you can break out of a 16C tower. Alternatively, the atmospheric medicine museum housed in the Hôtel-Dieu at Hautefort has opened a game over the summer months. For these you will need to take a French speaker with you or risk being locked in forever…

Visit La Belle Maison for inspiration and great service Little Greene paint & wallpaper Bluebellgray fabrics & soft furnishings Plus, events in our atelier including furniture painting classes, upcycling, Pilates and yoga See FB for full details

/ La Belle Maison,10 Avenue de Marmande, Allemans du Dropt, 47800 Lot-et-Garonne Tel. 05 53 64 37 43

News from around the region...

Living on!

Art Sale

Dutch artist Herm Driessen lives and works in Ségalas, Lot et Garonne, 30km south of Bergerac where he creates intriguing metal sculptures. Local farms have provided the raw materials: old plough blades, axes, forks, barrel rings and more. To this he adds other metals and the final sculpture is weathered in the open air before a special oil is applied to give the surface a beautiful patination. However, it is now time for Herm and his wife to move to a new home so he is holding a once-in-a-lifetime sale featuring the fifty works of art in his atelier and garden. Most are metal although three are ceramic. You can view similar pieces on his website at or request a price list with full information from You are welcome to visit Herm at home or ring him on 05 53 84 25 88.

Le Plus Beau Marché

France has spoken and voted on it’s most beautiful markets. One per (old) region has been chosen by viewers of TF1 with Issigeac winning in Aquitaine. With over 200 stallholders throughout the summer, the market spreads out from the centre of this pretty medieval bastide town each Sunday morning from 8am-1pm. Special mention was made of the large British clientele who are regulars as well as the tourists of all nationalities who flock to the market. The advice is to get there early if you want to miss the crowds before relaxing at one of the pavement cafés for a spot of people watching. Royan won the vote in Poitou-Charentes with Brive-la-Gaillarde topping the table in Limousin. Near Bergerac airport


There’s nothing quite like having a glossy, top-quality magazine packed with information from around the region delivered nearby, where you can pick up a copy as soon as it’s published. The dedicated team at Living work hard to bring you interesting features and local news, all illustrated with stunning photography – but we’re now facing rising paper and distribution costs. But don’t worry; with just a little help from our loyal readers we’ll continue to print plenty of copies of Living and deliver them across the region. Helping is simple: if you think that a printed edition of Living is worth €1, then please donate €6 each year to our support fund. And if Living is in your gîtes or used as material for your classes, then please consider donating a little more. If you have a Paypal account, just visit – or if you would prefer to send us a cheque, please make it out to Living Magazine and post to 2 rue Buffefeu, 86400 Linazay. Thanks! If we can share the increased costs a little, the Living Magazine you know and love will continue to be available near you.


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News from around the region...

Visit la Commanderie

Halfway between Melle and Saint-Jean-d’Angély, the white towers with their slate roofs identify Château de la Commanderie at Ensigné (79). With a history dating back to the Knights Templars in the 12th century, the Château bordered the pilgrims’ path to Aulnay-de-Saintonge. The current owners Bénédicte and Patrick Durant invite you to step back in time each September when they host a medieval festival to coincide with the European Heritage weekend, this year on 15/16 September. Come and see costumed knights, magicians, comedians and jugglers, explore the art exhibition and the many market stalls including a plant fair. Take a guided visit (English spoken) to see behind the walls which are up to 1.7m thick in places and to discover the history of the Château. Refreshments are available all weekend. Doors open from 10am-6pm with entry costing 4€ (under 12s free).

La T ransf ontenaisienne

Cycling the 10km Transfontenaisienne is easier than spelling it! The recently renovated walking and cycling route around Fontenay-la-Comte (85) is already proving popular with the recent passing of La Tour and now the good weather is here. The circuit is actually a combination of three different routes which lead to Maillezais, Mervent and Poirésur-Velluire as well as being part of other existing circuits such as Vendée Vélo. Download the brochure from www. and explore this pretty Ville d’Art et d’Histoire - follow the Vendée river in the shade of trees before turning to the east of the town past manicured potagers, then head back into the countryside to pick up the Seillot valley.

Deux-sèvres & Vendée


A recent report from Centre d’études biologiques at Chizé (79) contains alarming news: France has lost between 35 and 40 per cent of its birds, depending on the species, in the last 25 years. In a pair of studies, scientists have found that dozens of species have seen their numbers decline, in some cases by two-thirds. The common whitethroat, the ortolan bunting, the Eurasian skylark and other once-ubiquitous species have all fallen by at least a third, according to a detailed, annual census. A migratory song bird, the meadow pipit, has declined by nearly 70%. The primary culprit, researchers suggest, is the intensive use of pesticides on vast tracts of monoculture crops. The birds themselves are not being poisoned, but the insects on which they depend for food have disappeared. France is not alone though, recent research has estimated that flying insects have declined by up to 80 per cent across Europe. In response, the team at Chizé, have developed a new agricultural model which shows that reducing herbicides and pesticides by up to 30 per cent need not have a negative effect on harvests. While the situation is not seen as irreversible, it is clear that urgent action is required to prevent an ecological catastrophe. Eurasian skylark

News from around the region...


It’s festival time at Mad Hatter’s Kitchen and this year Mystery Jets, the Bootleg Beatles and Dr. Feelgood are heading the line-up. Set in the walled garden of a French logis deep in the Deux-Sèvres countryside, the festival is now in its eighth year. Come and camp for the weekend to enjoy the full festival experience and make the most of the food and drink on offer. Circus acts and children’s entertainers during the day set the scene alongside stalls, acoustic musicians and open-mic, before the main acts begin from 4pm. You

can even rent a bell tent for the duration – what could be simpler? The festival kicks off at 12pm on Friday afternoon (10 August) and will wind down on Sunday evening (12 August). This is a truly unique, family-run festival where relaxing and enjoying great acts close-up are the main aim. And, if you have friends and family who would like to join you, they even offer a coach service directly from Paris. See www. madhatterswonderlandfestival. com for all the details and to book tickets.


Long summer evenings on jours fériés are never complete in France without fireworks. Here are just a few of the ones on offer in August in the Vendée: Sunday 12

Notre-Dame-de-Monts: an evening of enterntainment before fireworks at around 10.30pm

Tuesday 14

La Faute-sur-Mer: music from Mélisse before the fireworks begin Apremont: fireworks at the Château d’Apremont L’île d’Yeu: a concert followed by fireworks at the port

Slow down! Don’t forget that single carriageway roads without a central barrier now have a maximum speed of 80km/h, down from 90km/h. Speed cameras have been reset so remember to add a few minutes onto your journey times.

Wednesday 15

Brétignolles-sur-Mer: family fun, dancing and fireworks L’Aiguillon-sur-Mer: fireworks set to music «Allumez les étoiles» Jard-sur-Mer: fireworks from 10.30pm La Tranche-sur-Mer: fireworks as night falls Saint-Jean-de-Monts: fireworks on the beach from 10.30pm, make sure you are in situ between 9-10pm.

Can you help us with deliveries of Living Magazine across Deux-Sèvres? Château de Cherveux As featured in Living

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Facebook: ChateauDeCherveux Tel: 06 43 46 98 26

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






Don’t miss the 2018 Festival des Lumières at Montmorillon (86) from 23-25 Aug. Based around the age of Enlightenment, the festival combines music, theatre and storytelling with both ticketed and free events suitable for all the family. L’Atelier Le Grand Village based in Massignac (16) is holding an exhibition of lithographs and weaving at the Prieuré de l’église des Salles-Lavauguyon (87) running until 16 September. Entry is free and doors open daily from 3-6.30pm.

Aire de Repos

A new app has been launched to help travellers on long journeys. Aire de Repos tells you not only the services available on the autoroutes but also those within 3km of an exit. Just choose your destination and the application will highlight your options for stopping including the brand, what services are on offer, the price of fuel and the weather. In return, users can rate the stopping points to help other users in their search.


Each year, on the first Sunday of September, the Haute-Vienne council organise ‘Randonnez-vous en Haute-Vienne’ when some 3,000 walkers join one of five courses. Don’t worry, this is not a competition, simply an opportunity to join in a fun day out with other walkers which ends with a big get together with free entertainment at Santrop from 4pm. Choose between hikes of 7km, 10km, 18km and 29km or an 8km Nordic walk and reserve your place on www.haute-vienne. fr. Entry costs 3-4€ and there are buses to and from Limoges train station.

Fun and Games at Saint-Mathieu After 3 years of uncertainty, the lake at Saint-Mathieu (87) is now under the management of Camille and Louis, an enthusiastic young couple who are working hard to revitalise the campsite, gîtes and surrounding area. “It’s a beautiful, tranquil location so we take great care to work with the natural environment and to protect it,” explains Camille. “In conjunction with the Local Council and the Tourist Office we’re able to offer lots

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of activities for all the family throughout the summer and many of them are free. For something a bit different, why not stay in one of our yurts or bring your tent to stay in the campsite.” You don’t even need to remember your picnic as Alain and his team will be happy to serve you drinks, snacks or full meals at the Cabin au Lac. FB: @Stmathieulelac; www.saint;; Tel: 06 88 82 21 49 (English spoken).

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





Be aware

An ambitious plan to reclaim a green space in the centre of Poitiers has come to fruition with the opening of the Îlot Tison. With a budget of 2.3 million euros, the city has reclaimed the banks of the Clain river, removing run down buildings from the south of the île des Près Roy to create parking with a 40m long bridge spanning the river to a landscaped urban park. An ancient sawmill, abandoned for over 30 years, has been overhauled to become a community hall and welcome area while two water turbines have been refurbished with another two added to generate electricity, helping to fund the development.

For great days out and the best of the summer events across Vienne, pick up a copy of our FREE Ultimate Summer Guide 2018 or read it online at


After the excitement of the Tour de France, the 51st Tour du Limousin will be contested from 15-18 August. Nineteen professional teams will take part with many international cyclists – full details can be found on the website at where you can find full route maps to plan your day out. The four stages are: 1st: Saint-Just-le-Martel (87) to Bonnat (23) - 172km 2nd: Rouffiac (24) to Coteau de Grèzes (24) - 176km 3rd: Egletons (19) to Uzerche (19) - 190km 4th: Bellac (87) to Limoges (87) - 163km

Îlot Tison

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Tour du Limousin

L i ving

After several complaints, the Conseil General of Vienne (86) has again confirmed to residents that they have no agreement with any company to contact residents about grants for house renovations, particularly regarding energy saving. Be careful of revealing information to companies ringing up and be vigilant if they visit - additional work they may recommend may be unnecessary and will not attract a departmental grant. If you have any questions about energy saving grants, please ask a French speaker to ring the Direction de l’Habitat on 05 49 49 86 86.

THE ultimate





YOUR HANDY GUIDE full of fabu ideas for sumlous mer







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living places to visit | 17

Abbaye de la Réau We visit a sensational historic site in Vienne which has recently emerged from its slumbers WORDS & PHOTOS: Roger Moss

Two important footpaths pass the abbey


he architectural heritage of the world’s top tourist destination is an expression, in finely-crafted stone and brick, of a uniquely French spirit of ambition, creativity and sheer, dogged determination. Relatively few visitors, however, realise that many of our most celebrated historic monuments would not be with us today but for the efforts of the visionary individuals who resolved to rescue each of them from potentially terminal decay and restore them, with infinite patience, to their full splendour. Given the scale of the challenges they faced, it’s hard not to be impressed by the end results. Elsewhere, though, there remain countless historic sites for whom time is fast running out, and whose owners are working against the clock to save them for posterity. If you’re fortunate enough to visit an important building which still has a big restoration project ahead of it, you’ll be rewarded with a privileged insight into the essential spirit of the place and its life-story. Experiences like this can quicken the pulse, a sensation which the present owners will all have felt when they decided to throw caution to the wind, buy it and breathe new life into it.

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A little history

A 15th century defensive tower survives beside the abbey church

That’s certainly how it feels when stepping into the atmospheric time capsule that is the Abbaye Royale de la Réau, a remarkable fortified abbey near Saint-Martin L’Ars in southern Vienne. The peaceful rural location beside the river Clain, at the meeting of the ancient provinces of La Marche and Poitou, would have been perfect for a secluded monastic retreat founded during the 12th century under the patronage of Aliénor d’Aquitaine. A century or so later the abbey was enlarged by its community of Augustinian Canons, while its influence increased steadily through associations with outlying priories as far removed as Anjou and Brittany. La Réau’s fortunes were changed abruptly, however, by sweeping reforms of the clergy which followed the Concordat de Bologne (1516), and again when France was thrown into a prolonged period of turmoil by the Wars of Religion, during which the site became heavily fortified. The resulting period of decline goes some The kitchens adjoin the refectory

way to explaining why today there are few signs of the moat and enclosing walls, although a couple of substantial towers have survived to indicate the scale of defensive construction undertaken. A new beginning was sparked during the 17th century when Cardinal Louis de La Rochefoucauld founded the Congrégation de France, whose member Canons restored rigorous religious observance in the Augustinian

T he 12th century abbey church

So much for historical context; now it’s time to explore, starting with the 12th century abbey church. At first glance it might look like our familiar regional Romanesque style, with a couple of small turrets added to defend the western facade and a slightly pointed arch to the main portal and the window above. Inside, though, the scale is startling, and would have been even more so before the great Anjou-style Gothic transept arch was

abbey of Sainte Genevièvre in Paris, along with over fifty monasteries throughout France. In 1791, however, La Réau’s five remaining resident Canons were abruptly ejected when the site was seized by the forces of the Révolution and declared public property. For some years it served as a boarding school but was purchased by Nicholas du Verrier de Bouzac, whose family and descendants retained ownership until 1990. The abbey enjoys a calm, riverside location

living places to visit | 19 Post-Revolution embellishments

“Guided visits are available, but visitors are also encouraged to explore things for themselves, at their own pace.’’ walled-up during the 18th century, in a failed attempt to support the bell-tower above it. When it collapsed, the tower severely damaged sections of the nave and apse vaults, which were demolished to save the body of the building from a similar fate. Outside, traces of elegant Gothic detailing hint at the cloisters which once adjoined the nave. The good news is that the present owners’ (see factfile) ambitious plans include restoring the abbey church along with the site’s other monastic buildings.

T he vast, elegant logis

Constructed on an even grander scale, and looking for all the world like a gracious stately home, the main abbey building is complemented to perfection by simple, yet elegantly laid-out formal gardens whose lines of geometrical clipped yew sit within lawns and gravelled paths. It’s all lovingly tended, and suggests a scene unchanged for centuries. Much of that impression is a testament to the efforts of 18th century Prior François Hénin, who oversaw the extensive campaign of restoration which cleared structures which were beyond redemption and gave the present body of the abbey, both inside and out, its present-day Renaissance inspired elegance. Guided visits are available, but visitors are also encouraged to explore things for themselves, at their own pace. Either way, stepping into the cool interior on a hot day is like wandering onto the film-set of a period drama, yet this is the real thing – a miraculous architectural survivor which preserves the echoes of the long and remarkable history it has witnessed. In fact, here and there, standing among the period everyday household items with which the rooms are furnished, there’s also

An air of calm in the refectory

a curious sense of seeing everything through the eyes of former occupants. Particularly evocative are the rooms whose functions are most obvious, including a dining room with huge oak refectory tables and benches, fully-equipped kitchen and laundry rooms, a 19th century

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Clipped yew adds a formal touch

Vellum adorns the scriptorium

Echoes of monastic life

For more cartoons by Stig see

library and music room, plus a Louis XV-style drawing room. Stepping further back in time, there’s also a medieval rib-vaulted salle capitulaire (chapter-house) and a scriptorium used by monastic scribes, complete with hung parchments. Another striking feature is a monumental stone staircase designed by François le Duc in 1862 in the style of those in the abbeys of Saint Savin and Celles sur Belle. Climb it and you’ll discover a light, airy gallery with beautiful russet-

coloured tomette floor tiles. Despite its timeless appearance, it was actually created during the 18th century to replace a dimly-lit communal dormitory with a series of individual rooms providing their occupants with less austere accommodation. Today the atmospheric interiors reflect both simple 18th century monastic life and their later use as more comfortable family accommodation. The scriptorium has also been lovingly recreated, and there’s another atmospheric survivor –

a serene tiny chapel housed within the 15th century tower. Back on the ground floor, a scale model shows how La Réau once looked. The extent of it all comes as quite a revelation, although what remains is still hugely impressive, with many features we haven’t even been able to mention. We’ll therefore let you have the great pleasure of discovering them for yourself from time to time, to see how this ambitious restoration project is progressing.

living places to visit | 21

A scene from later family occupation

New owners, big plans... The Abbaye de La Réau received official Monument Historique status way back in 1941, but it wasn’t until 2017 that it opened to visitors. For the opportunity to finally see it for ourselves we must thank Michel and Noémi Guyot, who purchased the site in 2016, just 24hrs after they first set eyes on La Réau. “I’m part of an association which identifies châteaux and other monuments at risk, and chanced upon the abbey on the web. We drove here

Don’t miss

the Grande Fête: 30 September La Réau’s first public event for centuries promises to be a spectacular affair, with something for countryside lovers of all ages. The packed programme includes equestrian events, hot-air balloon flights, parachute drops, ploughing contests, pony and donkey races, heavy horses, replica medieval siege engines, birds of prey flying demonstrations from Les Géantes du Ciel, classic car and motorcycle displays, wines, gastronomy, crafts and much more. It’s also a perfect opportunity to see the abbey, if you haven’t already done so. Details of this and other events at La Réau:

to see it and loved everything about it...”, recalls Michel. “We’re not millionaires and had little in the way of savings, but a bank was supportive and agreed to help us with the purchase.” No doubt they were reassured by Michel and his brother Jacques’ track record of having previously rescued the Château de Saint-Fargeau and transformed it into one of Burgundy’s most dazzling visitor attractions. “As a family-friendly attraction, we’ve been warmly welcomed by both the commune of Saint-Martin-L’Ars and the Département de la Vienne’s tourist agency”, says Michel, “but to restore La Réau we’ll need to welcome 10,000 visitors each year, with every admission going directly into the project.” It’s a challenge, but Noémi is optimistic: “In time we hope to go further, perhaps establishing a training facility for masonry skills acquired while the abbey church is stabilised and rebuilt.”

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+article en Français

Mike inspects the latest production at Périgord Beers

Just brew it Nouvelle-Aquitaine’s celebrated gastronomy includes oysters, cognac, pineau… and now beer.


words & TRANSLATION: jessica snipe

ur list of regional delicacies is long, and significantly dominated by its biggest export, wine. But for all its deliciousness, it has been somewhat lacking in one area – until now. In 2014 the region only counted a handful of micro-breweries, but these days, thanks to an increase in worldly drinkers who are looking for something other than what they call “fizzy pop”, the west of France has over a hundred craft ale breweries (and counting). It’s this thirst for beers from home which pushed Mike and Val Polvey to launch Périgord Beers. Having moved to France from Hampshire 13 years ago, they decided that the only thing they missed, apart from family and friends, was a really nice beer. “The main difference between the French method and ours is the barley,” explains Mike. “We use two-row barley and on the continent they grow six-row – that’s the

number of grains per row on the head of the barley stem.” The other difference is the yeast: “To make what’s called a real ale,” Mike continues, “you use a yeast which ferments quickly... normally four days at 20˚C. French ‘bière’ is generally a lager, made with a yeast fermented for roughly three weeks at around 10˚C.” The learning curve was steep, but thanks to courses in the UK, masses of research and conversations with other brewers, Mike and Val amassed the knowledge to create a range of nine variations of Périgord Beers, with endless opportunities to make more: “There are four principal ingredients,” says Val, “but within those there are 200 different varieties of barley, 200 different hops, 100 strains of yeast… The combinations are literally in the millions.” Just up the road is Charentales, whose founder David Parfitt got off to a head-start with his project: as a doctor of microbiology, yeast already held no secrets for him. With an understandably

scientific approach to the process, he chose to follow the “German Purity Laws” which control what goes into each beer, for a completely natural result. “We only use water from the Charente, malts, hops and yeast. That’s it!” says Kara Jenkins-Parry, who runs the brewery while Dr Parfitt is away. “The air in the beer comes partly from the wheat we put in, which gives it good head retention, and partly from running the beer though our conventional English hand pumps, with a “sparkler” – a tap end with lots of holes – to lighten and give it texture.” Charentales make a traditional best bitter, a black beer and an IPA, which seems to be the real marker of a micro-brewery. The Americans have run with the IPA concept so successfully that now some of the beer retailers in New York are bigger than the wine shops, but IPA has a very British history. “IPA is Indian Pale Ale,” explains Kara, “from when British ale was sent across

living people & business | 23

MIke & Val Polvey

La gastronomie de la Nouvelle-Aquitaine est célèbre : ses huîtres, son cognac, son pineau.... et maintenant sa bière. La longue liste de spécialités régionales a toujours été dominée par son plus grand export, le vin, mais jusque maintenant, il y avait quelques lacunes dans un certain domaine : en 2014, la région ne comptait qu’une poignée de micro-brasseries de bière, mais aujourd’hui, grâce à l’augmentation du nombre de voyageurs qui recherchent autre chose que ce qu’ils appellent « une limonade », l’ouest de la France compte plus d’une centaine de brasseries artisanales (et ce ce nombre ne cesse d’augmenter). C’est la soif d’une bière « comme à la maison» qui a poussé Mike et Val Polvey à lancer Périgord Beers. Ayant quitté le Hampshire pour la France il y a 13 ans, ils ont décidé que la seule chose qui leur manquait, en dehors de la famille et des amis, était une bonne bière brittanique. « La principale différence entre la méthode française et la brittanique est l’orge, » explique Mike. « Nous utilisons de l’orge à deux rangs et sur le continent ils cultivent du six rangs. C’est le nombre de grains par rang sur la tête de la tige de l’orge. » L’autre différence est la levure. « Pour

faire ce qu’on appelle une vraie bière brittanique, » poursuit Mike, « on utilise une levure qui fermente rapidement, normalement quatre jours à 20˚C. La bière française est généralement blonde, faite avec une levure fermentée pendant trois semaines à environ 10˚C. » La courbe d’apprentissage était raide, mais grâce à des stages en Angleterre, des masses de recherche et des conversations avec d’autres brasseurs, Mike et Val ont amassé les connaissances nécessaires pour créer une gamme de neuf variantes de bières, et la possibilité infinie d’en faire plus : « Il y a quatre ingrédients principaux, » dit Val, « mais parmi eux, il y a 200 variétés d’orge, 200 variétés de houblon, 100 souches de levure.... Les combinaisons se comptent littéralement par millions. » Un peu plus loin, en Charente, David Parfitt avait déjà une longueur d’avance sur son projet Charentales : la levure n’a aucun secret pour ce docteur en microbiologie. Son approche naturellement scientifique l’a mené vers la « Loi de la Pureté » allemande, qui contrôle chaque ingrédient pour un résultat sans artifice. « Nous utilisons de l’eau charentaise, du malt, du houblon et de la levure. C’est tout ! » dit Kara Jenkins-Parry, qui dirige la brasserie en l’absence de Dr Parfitt. « L’oxygène dans la bière provient en partie du blé que nous y mettons, ce qui lui donne un bon corps, et aussi du passage à travers nos tireuses anglaises traditionnelles, avec un bec de tirage à trous pour l’alléger et lui donner de

la texture. » Charentales produit une « best bitter » classique, une bière noire et aussi une IPA, qui semble être le véritable marqueur d’une micro-brasserie. Les Américains ont adopté le concept de l’IPA avec un tel succès que certains revendeurs de bière à New York sont maintenant plus grands que les cavistes à vin, mais l’IPA a une histoire très britannique. « IPA veut dire Indian Pale Ale, » explique Kara, « de l’époque quand la bière britannique été envoyée jusqu’aux soldats qui combattaient en Inde dans les années 1700. » Après un si long voyage, la bière était quasi-imbuvable. « Les brasseurs ont découvert que le houblon bouilli ajoutait non seulement de l’amertume, mais aussi des qualités antiseptiques. En brassant une bière avec huit fois plus de houblon que d’habitude, l’alcool et l’antiseptique la préservait.

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24 | living people & business the seas to soldiers fighting in India in the 1700s.” By the time the beer had travelled all that way it was almost undrinkable. “Brewers found that if you boil hops in the beer, it adds not only extra bitterness but also an antiseptic quality. If they brewed a beer with eight times more hops than usual, the strong alcohol and antiseptic preserved it.” It would then be watered down to become drinkable, and so began the hoppy success of micro-breweries across the world. Being a micro-brewery doesn’t necessarily mean making British craft ales, though. In the Limousin, Patrick and Anne Van Aubel brew rather more Germanic and Dutch style beers from their Brasserie Bel Air. That’s more to

David Parfitt of Charentales

producers need to get their commune living, that’s a real objective.” A new life in the sun is also what Denise and Hugh Davies came chasing after with their Bière de la Bastide, in the Dordogne. After high-flying careers in the oil and gas industry, the pair decided it was time to retire to their house in France, with perhaps a little project to fill the days. As they drove past a building being emptied, Hugh mused about what a great location it would be for a micro-brewery and the seed for a new life was sown. “It started as something that I wanted The Charente micro-brewery will officially celebrate its opening on 18 August

do with their roots – not only are they originally from Maastricht in Holland, but Patrick is the fourth generation of a dynasty of Dutch brewers. Beer is in his blood. When Patrick’s dream of running his own brewery came true the couple had already been in France for over 25 years, seeking refuge from their hectic city schedule on a deer farm. “I took over my friend’s French brewery,” says Patrick with a smile in his voice. “It had been making six very European beers – blonde, ambré, brune – but now I’m making some more English, Irish and even American beers.” His latest baby is a dark wheat beer: “It’s a German Dunkelweizen, and it’s the first beer of its kind around here.” But for all of his success, Patrick is wary of over-stretching himself. “Two brewers I knew closed down because they were working like mad,” he says.

Being a micro-brewery doesn’t necessarily mean making British craft ales, though. “After five or ten years, they were burnt out. It’s very human to always try to answer demand, but I need to remind myself: don’t grow bigger!” It’s as much about business acumen as it is a life lesson. The measure of success is perhaps not money, but about what makes you happy. For Patrick, that’s community: “People complain about the countryside being dead,” he says, “but it’s not true.” To prove his point, every Wednesday he and other local producers organise a big get-together, with tables set up for the whole village to feast in pure Gaulois style. “More small

A mash paddle helps extract sugar from the malted barley in liquor

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Supporting local events is important to Charentales

» On ajoutait de l’eau à la bière à l’arrivée, et c’est ainsi que naquît le succès houblonné des micro-brasseries à travers le monde aujourd’hui. Mais être une micro-brasserie ne signifie pas nécessairement brasser seulement des bières artisanales britanniques. Dans le Limousin, à la Brasserie Bel Air, Patrick et Anne Van Aubel proposent des bières plutôt germaniques et hollandaises, puisque non seulement ils sont originaires de Maastricht en Hollande, mais Patrick est la quatrième génération d’une dynastie de brasseurs

néerlandais. La bière est dans son sang. Lorsque le rêve de Patrick de diriger sa propre brasserie s’est réalisé, le couple était déjà en France depuis plus de 25 ans, à la tête d’une ferme de cervidés. « J’ai repris la brasserie française de mon ami, » dit Patrick, le sourire aux lèvres. « Elle produisait déjà six bières très européennes - blondes, ambrées, brunes - mais maintenant je fais plus de bières anglaises, irlandaises et même américaines. » Le dernier bébé de Patrick est une bière de blé noir : « C’est une Dunkelweizen allemande,

Checking progress

Brasserie de Bel Air uses traditional copper vats to brew its beer sold under the La Bergère brand (above)

Mais être une microbrasserie ne signifie pas nécessairement brasser seulement des bières artisanales britanniques. et c’est la première de son genre par ici. » Mais malgré son succès, Patrick se méfie du surménage. « Deux brasseurs que je connaissais ont fermé parce qu’ils travaillaient comme des fous, » dit-il. « Après cinq ou dix ans, c’était le burn-out. C’est très humain de toujours essayer de répondre à la demande, mais je dois me rappeler de ne pas trop grandir ! » Il s’agit autant d’un sens des affaires que d’une leçon de vie. La mesure du succès n’est peut-être pas l’argent, mais ce qui nous rend heureux, et pour Patrick, c’est la communauté : « Les gens se plaignent de la mort de la campagne, » dit-il, « mais ce n’est pas vrai. » Pour prouver son point de vue, tous les mercredis il organise avec d’autres producteurs locaux un grand rassemblement à la gauloise, avec des tables longues auxquelles le village entier vient se régaler en riant. « Davantage de petits producteurs ont besoin de faire vivre leur commune. Ça, c’est un réel objectif. » Denise et Hugh Davies sont aussi venus à la chasse de cette jolie vie au soleil avec leur Bière de la Bastide, en Dordogne. Après une longue carrière dans l’industrie pétrolière et gazière, le couple a décidé qu’il était temps de se retirer dans leur maison en France, avec peut-être un petit projet pour remplir les journées. Alors qu’ils passaient un bâtiment en cours de déménagement, Hugh s’est dit que ça serait l’endroit idéal pour monter une micro-brasserie. La petite graine de leur nouvelle vie était semée.

26 | living people & business

slightest bit put out,” he laughs. “I love beer, but I don’t like all beer!” As people read, travel and experience new flavours, they are more open to trying new things. Mike Polvey has already noticed the shift with Périgord Beers: “It’s a very to enjoy doing,” says Hugh. “It’s as closed market here, but people want specification,” he explains, “and we use much about lifestyle as making money.” the hops’ flowers and leaves, as opposed change. We now have more French Despite setting out to do something on a to the pellets favoured in France.” visitors through the doors for tastings The importance of the ground barley is than the expats we had set out to target.” very small scale, Hugh’s past experience crucial – in France brewers usually grind Charentales’ Kara Jenkins-Parry feels working as a director for beer giant their barley themselves, but grinding Bass Charrington caught up with him, the same way: “When we first started, levels are very difficult to keep consistent. people warned us that the French like and soon he had a six-barrel brewery, “The French wine industry is used to producing about 6,000 bottles a week. only a specific type of beer, but they do being in control of every single element,” like real ale – they just don’t get much of So much for retirement! “What makes a craft ale different”, says says Hugh, “but in the UK, big brewers an opportunity to try it,” she explains. Craft ale isn’t about to knock wine off Hugh, “is the brewing method along with have always relied on the expertise of the top spot in France any time soon, the ingredients. “We use malted barley their ‘maltsters’. If you don’t get the but with microbreweries like these from the UK which is ground to our crushing consistent every single time, getting more active in spreading the your beer will change every time, too.” Another key element in Hugh’s word, this is one trend that should prove Find out more... experience is water: “When Bass to be a worthy rival. started brewing in the 18th century,” he Périgord Beers explains, “the water at Burton-on-Trent La Brasserie Artisanale de Saint Saud had exactly the right mineral content Moulin de Maziéras, for a high quality bitter.” Further afield, 24470 Saint-Saud-Lacoussière breweries would analyse the water and add the appropriate minerals to make Charentales it similar to Burton. The process has 1 chemin des Fayolles, become known as “burtonisation” and is 16240 Paizay-Naudoin-Embourie used worldwide within the industry. Of course, Hugh burtonises his own Join in the official opening on 18 Aug water. “Good quality bitters need slightly with tastings, games, food and music softer water, but the water is very hard around here,” he says. “I add next to Brasserie de Bel Air nothing, but I do take some time to try Bel Air, 87300 Saint-Bonnet-de-Bellac and replicate what was always considered the best water for making bitter.” Bitterness is not usually something the Bière de la Bastide French palate favours, but that doesn’t 10-12 rue Saint-André, Denise displaying Bières de la Bastide at worry Hugh one bit. “If someone says 24540 Monpazier the local Intermarché they don’t like my beer, I am not in the

living people & business | 27

Tasting samples and notes are ready for clients

Hugh Davies, of Bière de la Bastide

« Au début, c’était quelque chose que je voulais faire pour le plaisir, » dit Hugh. « C’était autant une question de mode de vie que d’argent. » Mais bien qu’il ait décidé de faire quelque chose à très petite échelle, son expérience en tant que directeur pour le géant de la bière Bass Charrington l’a rattrapé, et bientôt il avait ouvert une brasserie de six barils, produisant environ 6,000 bouteilles par semaine. Tant pis pour la retraite! « Ce qui rend nos bières différentes, » dit Hugh, « c’est la méthode de brassage, et les ingrédients. Nous utilisons de l’orge maltée du Royaume-Uni, qui est broyée selon nos spécifications, » explique-t-il, « et nous utilisons les fleurs et les feuilles de houblon, contrairement aux granules utilisés en France. » L’importance de l’orge maltée est

Cleaning out the vats is heavy work

cruciale : en France, les brasseurs broient généralement eux-mêmes leur orge, mais les niveaux de broyage sont très difficiles à maintenir. « L’industrie viticole française a l’habitude de contrôler chaque élément du processus, » dit Hugh, « mais au Royaume-Uni, les grands brasseurs ont toujours compté sur l’expertise de leurs ‘malteurs’. Sans un broyage consistant, la bière sera différente à chaque brassage. » Un autre élément clé selon Hugh : l’eau. « Quand Bass a commencé à brasser au 18ème siècle, » explique-t-il, « l’eau de Burton-upon-Trent avait exactement la bonne teneur en minéraux pour une bière amère de haute qualité. » Plus loin, les brasseries analysaient l’eau et y ajoutaient les minéraux appropriés pour la rendre semblable à Burton. Le procédé, connu sous le nom de « burtonisation », est utilisé aujourd’hui dans le monde entier. Bien sûr, Hugh burtonise son eau aussi. « Les bières de bonne qualité ont besoin d’une eau un peu plus douce, mais l’eau est très dure ici, » dit-il. « J’ajoute presque rien, mais je prends le temps d’essayer de reproduire ce qui a toujours été considéré comme la meilleure eau pour produire une bonne amertume. » L’amertume n’est généralement pas quelque chose que le palais français recherche, mais cela n’inquiète pas du tout Hugh. « Si quelqu’un dit qu’il n’aime pas ma bière, je ne suis pas du tout blessé, » dit-il en riant. « J’adore la bière, mais je n’aime pas toutes les bières ! » Au fur et à mesure que les gens lisent, voyagent et expérimentent de nouvelles saveurs, ils sont plus

Club de la Bière meets to watch the World Cup

ouverts à essayer de nouvelles choses. Mike Polvey est témoin de ce tournant avec Périgord Beers : « C’est un marché très fermé ici, mais les gens veulent du changement. Nous avons maintenant plus de visiteurs français aux dégustations que les expatriés que nous ciblions au départ. » Kara Jenkins-Parry de Charentales ressent la même chose : « Quand nous avons commencé, les gens nous avaient averti que les Français n’aiment qu’un seul type de bière, mais c’est faux. Ils aiment aussi a bière brittanique – ils n’ont juste pas vraiment l’occasion de l’essayer ! » La bière artisanale n’est pas prête à faire tomber le vin de son piédestal en France, mais avec des micro-brasseries comme celles-ci pour la défendre, c’est une tendance qui devrait s’avérer un rival digne de ce nom.

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Financial Planning


What are the benefits of meeting with a financial advisor here in France?

receive an inheritance, face a challenging illness, change jobs or relationships, or simply redefine your work/life balance. Regular reviews should examine whether existing arrangements are still Regular financial appropriate for you. reviews with an When approaching authorised adviser who lives and works locally are retirement our financial generally very worthwhile. They needs change. Aspirations of maximising capital growth ensure that all investment and typically switch to protecting tax planning opportunities are savings and generating future being fully utilised. Tax treatment of income and income. Pension planning is a investments differs significantly technically complex subject between countries and there where reliable advice is essential are solutions available in France as there may be scope to increase which provide investment the value, flexibility and security flexibility to match individual of your retirement finances. objectives and risk profiles. A In later life awareness of good financial adviser will tailor our mortality increases and a solution which is fully aligned speaking to a professional with your personal circumstances. who understands the French Situations can change. You might succession laws provides vital


peace of mind. Whether you want to register for our newsletter, attend one of our road shows or speak to me directly, please call or email

me on the contacts below and I will be glad to help. We do not charge for our financial planning reviews, reports or recommendations.

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;; « 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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The Spectrum IFA Group is a founder member of the Federation of European Independent Financial Advisers. • TSG Insurance Services S.A.R.L. • Siège Social: 34 Bd des Italiens, 75009 Paris • R.C.S. Paris B 447 609 108 (2003B04384) « Société de Courtage d’assurances » « Intermédiaire en opération de Banque et Services de Paiement » Numéro d’immatriculation 07 025 332 – « Conseiller en investissements financiers », référencé sous le numéro E002440 par ANACOFI-CIF, association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Financiers »

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Citizens’ rights after


Kathryn Dobson examines the latest developments for British nationals living in France as their post-Brexit rights are negotiated

© Joel Rouse/Crown Copyright

Theresa May at Chequers

under the Withdrawal Agreement as explained in previous editions. However, key rights such as free movement are still not agreed, and we have no idea if they will be - they are part of the future relationship negotiations which are under way now. The UK government has been very vocal that free movement will completely cease which

does not bode well. On the other hand the European Parliament has pledged to keep our free movement rights as a red line, i.e. they would not sign off an agreement that did not include the guarantee of continued free movement for those resident in the EU at the end of the transition period. In this event, we would have until the end of the

Second-Home Owners

Many of our summer readers are not resident in France – what will any shade of Brexit mean to second-home owners?

As Living goes to press, the UK government appears to be in crisis with both the Brexit Secretary and Foreign Secretary resigning over the not-so-agreed Chequers accord. While other resignations cannot be ruled out, it does seem that Theresa May will continue as Prime Minister for the moment (a prediction that could easily be proved to be wrong by the time you read this!). It is likely that the EU will not accept the UK proposal as it stands as it separates the indivisible pillars – freedom of movement of goods, capital, services and labour – and the Irish border also remains an issue. Meanwhile, another hard Brexiteer, Dominic Raab has been chosen to be the new Brexit Secretary. All of this leaves Brexit, and with it our rights, in a sticky position.

At this stage, Brexit can go one of three ways: 1) Brexit is cancelled, nothing changes for UK citizens living in the EU. 2) the UK leaves with a deal (however good or bad) and a transition period (likely to be until the end of 2020). Citizens’ rights would be protected

For years, many people coming and going from a second home in France have only been concerned that they were in the UK for the requisite 183 days to maintain residency. However, strictly speaking, spending more than 90 consecutive days in France without becoming legally resident has always been unlawful. Since France is the only EU state not to require EU citizens to report their presence after 90 days in the country, and because there are no real immigration controls at airports or Channel ports, authorities have turned a blind eye. After Brexit things will change. After transition (if indeed there is one), British citizens living in the UK lose their right to free movement as they will no longer be EU citizens, instead becoming ‘third country nationals’. Only those British

citizens legally resident in France will have their rights protected under the Withdrawal agreement (if one is signed). This means that second homeowners will then only be able to spend 90 days out of every 180 days in the Schengen area. Once their 90 days are up, they cannot then enter Schengen until the end of the 180 days. This will be managed by the new ETIAS system already planned for introduction across Schengen by 2020. Consequently, if you are used to being able to spend more than 3 months in France each summer you will need to consider applying for a long stay visa each year which currently costs 269€ per year per person. To keep up-todate with more detailed information as it becomes available, see the RIFT website at

living brexit | 33

British in Europe is the largest coalition group of British citizens living and working in Europe. With representation across the EU27, they actively campaign for the rights of UK citizens in the EU (UKinEU) and support EU citizens in the UK (EUinUK). British in Europe have been instrumental in the protection of rights so far and continue to be sought out by both sides of the negotiation for their expertise and knowledge. Staffed by volunteers, BiE now needs your help. Donate today to ensure they can continue to protect the rights of British citizens living in Europe. transition period to sort out paperwork. A carte de séjour (CdS) would be helpful in this process. 3) the UK leaves the EU on March 29,

British in Europe gather for the recent march in London

2019, with no deal and hence, no transition period. This would be chaotic for all and would effectively leave Brits living in France in no-man’s land. Overnight we become ‘third country nationals’ but with no time to get the requisite paperwork in order – effectively we would be unregistered immigrants. This is the scenario when a CdS would be very helpful in establishing rights. Unless the draft legal texts of the Withdrawal Agreement were ratified, none of the citizens’ rights already agreed would stand so all

rights would need to be renegotiated and appropriate processes put in place. Citizens’ rights would be fighting for negotiation time against other sectors such as trade, transport etc. The October European Union Council meeting (EUCO) is regarded as the next key date in the process. Since the agreement needs to be signed off by 27 states and the European Parliament prior to the end of March 2019, this is the time at which the final details, of which there are many, need to be confirmed.

CarteS de Séjour There continues to be much discussion over the need for a Carte de Séjour (CdS). While not a legal requirement for EU citizens, they will be very useful if you need to prove that you are a) lawfully resident here and b) your date of entry – two critical pieces of information for establishing your rights. In the case of ‘nodeal’, those with a CdS will be able to be processed onto any new statute relatively easily. Those without will need to wait in the queue and may be required to provide more evidence before being accepted. While all EU citizens have a legal right to a CdS, not all Préfectures are happy with the additional workload that the applications are bringing. Despite confirmation from the Ministère de l’Intérieur to all Préfectures of the right of all EU citizens to request a CdS, we are finding great disparity in their approach as this round-up of the experiences of RIFT members shows: Charente (16) – overall are very helpful and have an online appointment booking system with new appointments released regularly. Now booking late 2018. Charente-Maritime (17) – online booking

system but often no appointments available so keep trying until new ones are released. Wait times are relatively short (6-8 weeks). Corrèze (19) – no appointment booking system, simply turn up and wait. Some people are being refused so make sure you take all required documents and are clear on your rights. Creuse (23) – no appointment necessary, take your documents with you and wait. Dordogne (24) – they have recently introduced an online booking system but only a few appointments are released at a time so you will need to keep trying. Booking now for the end of the year. Gironde (33) – by post only and are apparently not processing cartes for Brits. Indre (36) – online booking system with appointments within a few weeks. Lot-et-Garonne (47) – email or go in person for an appointment with only a wait of a few weeks. Deux-Sèvres (79) – now booking appointments in Aug 2019. Anecdotally, it has been reported they are only booking two appointments per day for Brits.

Vendée (85) – ring or email for an appointment within a few weeks. Vienne (86) – at a recent meeting with the office of the Préfète they asked that all British living in Vienne apply now for appointments (via telephone, keep trying) so they can manage the workload. They are very sympathetic to the challenges we face. Now booking early 2019. Haute-Vienne (87) – no appointment booking available. Instead, send in the required documents/forms and wait for an appointment to be confirmed. If you are not comfortable speaking French, it is advisable to take a French speaker with you to all appointments. For details on the applicable legislation and the official list of documents to take (although it appears some Préfectures are asking for additional documents) visit the RIFT site:

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32 | living family

Avec les enfants

Summer musings...

At this time of year it’s perhaps all too easy to forget the trials and tribulations of winter – the muddy boots, the wet coats, hauling firewood on nights when the rain comes hissing in from the west, and dogs shedding dirt and footprints among furniture. I love to remind the children of all of this when they start to complain about the heat and the mosquito bites of summer. But that’s one of the joys of living in an area where there really are distinct seasons – where there are not

just the discomforts to set one’s idyll straight, but also the comforts of each part of the year to enjoy. Summer in the Charente-Maritime is, in general, a season of fun. Notwithstanding the ominous looming of the new school year, August and September are still a time of plenty, when the potager remains in full production, the market stalls still brim with summer fruits, and the fish stalls have far more of a selection than they do when the wind is howling at Christmas. Along with the seasonal abundance, though, disquieting thoughts echo distantly as we shop, bringing some chilling reality to life.  First, there’s the fish. Roddy has spent much of his life at sea and knows his fish intimately. It was he who brought a chord of horror into our summer when he advised us to no longer eat sardines and mackerel. One day he showed me why – he gutted a fish in front of me and there, in the stomach lining, were numerous microscopic beads of plastic and polystyrene, proof that the Anthropocene age is here to stay; these beads were so tiny I would never have noticed them, but he had been looking for them after hearing similar tales of woe from fellow fishermen. A bit of research shows this to be a huge problem now, and something that is not just the content of a National Geographic investigation, but an actual reality which might affect anyone who eats fish. Instead we’ve been eating a lot of demersal fish this summer – creatures from the depths, as against the surface, where the plankton feeders live. Plastic packaging is in for a bumpy ride, I think; a wicker basket and unwrapped produce from the market are a happy alternative.  We were recently having a long lazy Sunday lunch with some French friends, a local couple who think alike to us, and for an appetiser we served thin slices of melon. Our local Charentaise variety are a huge part of summer dining here and something of which we never seem to grow tired. We were seated around our large outdoor table under the lime tree, tiny shafts of dappled sun dancing on the table’s surface while we savoured the sweet taste of juicy, ripe melons, the children eating them like candy. Then,

surprisingly, the topic of conversation became more intense. The couple have a friend who grows melons commercially in Spain, and his frank admission as to how the fruits were sweetened and accelerated to maturity left them quite shocked, and when the farmer said he didn’t eat them himself they did a double-take. It’s difficult to find out more about this allegation, but it’s something to think about. Watermelon is far safer, the rind and skin being much thicker, and it has far fewer additives and other spurious ingredients as part of the crop. Watermelon is substantially better at resisting insects and disease, so there’s far less need for pesticides and other treatments. The general opinion, though, is to always buy local – everything in France is labelled with its origin, and if you stop at a roadside stall don’t be afraid to ask where the produce comes from. Better still, grow your own – something we‘ve done for three years now, quite happily, the climate here is ideal and the sheer pleasure of picking our own delicious melon and slicing it around the table makes it doubly worthwhile. The list of what needs to be thought about now in our season of plenty extends further, of course – one has to consider one’s honey purchases, resist stoically the influx of meat from eastern Europe and ponder over this year’s distinct lack of songbirds and insects. Our children will need our guidance more than ever before as the years pass, a fact of which I am only too aware, as ours have started to leave the nest.

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

living PUZZLE | 33 1







8 8

9 10

Take a break from the sunshine to challenge your grey cells with our unique cryptic crossword compiled by Mike Morris. As always, there is a theme to find once all the clues have been solved. If you need them, you can find the the answers on page 64.

CLUES ACROSS 1. Seaside playgrounds but, we are told, may not be open in July and August? (5) 4. VS exchange of letters on how to make summer wear for hooligans? (7) 8. Firing pet organisation spells the end for digital extension. (9) 9. Celestial body, followed by seekers, burn hat for instance. (3) 10. Pan Southern States? (5) 11. Sodium I steal myself in African destination? (7) 13. My Marie should turn up to see the film after the young ones. (6, 7) 15. Get in for a clean-up, however upset with western city. (7) 16. Entertainers could have had a

hand in exposing this villain on the beach? (5) 18. Fat product sticking to the back of the vessel. (3) 20. “I mean anti re-establishment is dead!” (9) 21. Charles losing direction for an hour, turns up in North Wales. (7) 22. Drops in sensing easily seduced principals after a party. (5)


11 12





12 14

14 16




Clues Down 1. Commonly spoken US agent 20 following constraints of duty in Wales. (5) 18 19 20 2. Obliged to participate, the French say no to former endless 24 unfurnished term. (9) 3. Filter primary elements of solution 21 in each vessel examined. (5) 4. Horrible base tone with awkward hitch not good for holiday out like this? (7) pastime. (3, 2, 3, 5) 12. Done sadly, done badly, but in which 5. As regards marriage, tail off on was found a glimpse of stocking? (5, 4) retracted play on words. (7) 13. Swedish singers given time within 6. Idiot boarding Santa’s sleigh. (3) limits of Swedish holiday. (7) 7. Apply cunning about international 14. Wrap up tournament win easily with organisation of province; hope it turns

17 21



a hiding. (7) 16. Usually before with meaning given in cop lie detector. (5) 17. HD transmission providing notices for actions. (5) 19. Rubbish tipped on the hill? (3)

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Basque ‘sang de bœuf’ colours

Freshlycaught tuna

À LA BAS Fishing boat treturns to Sain Jean-de-Luz

Distance is no object to Jean-Christophe Roger when sourcing the very finest quality regional produce for his celebrated Restaurant Le Terminus in Angoulême.


hen we last met Jean-Christophe we had the great pleasure of accompanying him on one of his regular visits to outlying morning markets to buy freshly landed fish and seafood for the day’s menu at Le Terminus. It’s an almost daily ritual he’s happy to undertake, although the distances involved are as nothing compared to the other journeys which take him down into deepest Basque country, the source of some of his most prized seasonal ingredients. He clearly considers that the time and effort involved are more than justified, so we were intrigued to find out more. “Each region has its own distinct personality, and a gastronomic imprint which remains securely anchored both here and further south in Dordogne, Gascogne, the Landes and on both French and Spanish sides of the Pays-Basque. We should never forget that Henri

IV was not only King of France but also of Navarre!”, he says, with the pride of someone with a passionate commitment to the preservation of regional identity. Putting his principles into practise at Le Terminus is what motivates Jean-Christophe to set off on long round-trips to regions like le Pays-Basque, where he can meet trusted specialist producers face to face and select his purchases from the very best they have to offer: “The finest Jambon Serrano, for example, is still produced by the slow, painstaking traditional methods which date back many centuries”, he explains. Other traditional Basque delicacies, however, are now much less wellknown than in the past: “The ‘chasse à la palombe’ is a very important Gascon cultural tradition practised since the 13th century, in which migrating pigeons are trapped in vertical nets. This obviously means that their flesh remains completely untouched, unlike those shot with guns.” The Basque coast is also revered as a major centre for traditional fishing, explains Jean-Christophe: “From now until October we’re into the season for tuna fishing, with both blue-fin and highly-prized albacore species being landed at ports like San Sebastián and Saint-Jean de Luz, the town in which

Essential ingredients for Basque sauces

living food | 35

Migrating pigeons (‘palombes’)

Jambon Serrano

QUAISE... Louis XIV was married. These beautiful and valuable fish are line-caught, to respect the marine environment, and the tails are fitted with a tag showing provenance details including the boat which caught it, the date on which it was landed, the port and of course the inspection team.” While on the subject, he’s also keen to point out the fact that ”Fishing is just one of the many cultural links which have existed for centuries on both French and Spanish sides of the Pyrenées – if you take the train to the summit of the peak of La Rhune you can see right along this stretch of coastline”. Thanks to the recently upgraded TGV line, today’s visitors are able to reach Bayonne in 4 hours from Paris, and can be in Angoulême in just half that time. Well before the faster services were introduced, however, the menus at Le Terminus were already influenced by Jean-Christophe’s ideology of openness to a changing world, his inspiration drawn from far and wide. “The term ‘fusion cuisine’ is currently in vogue, yet at Le Terminus it’s something we’ve been doing for at least ten years”, he observes, with some amusement. “We’ve also long been aware that not everyone speaks French, although most of the world now understands at least some English. We therefore produce our menus in both languages and ensure that at least one member of our team will be on hand to welcome and assist the growing number of anglophone guests

who dine with us at Le Terminus. Elsewhere in France it’s not always the case, but while our approach might seem progressive, to us Les halles it’s simply an important link de Biarrtiz in the chain of hospitality – a longstanding tradition of welcoming guests which we take great pride in upholding.” That said, dining at Le Terminus can also be a surprisingly accessible indulgence, as Jean-Christophe is keen to point out: “We offer a two-course formule déjeuner at just 15,50€, and our extensive daily à la carte menus also include a choice of four envie végétarienne dishes, plus the southwest’s Charentais and Bordeaux wines, Cognac and Armagnac.” Finally, being located just a few steps from Angoulême’s Gare TGV has also prompted the restaurant to respond to the steadily increasing numbers of rail travellers who find Visit Restaurant Le Terminus themselves with only a short time 3 place de la Gare, 16000 Angoulême to spare between transfers, yet wish Tel: 05 45 95 27 13 to dine well: “We understand their situation, so at Le Terminus we have Lunch: Menu at 15.50€ introduced a special lunchtime formule express, which we can Lunch and Evening: Menus at 28€ or 35€ and à la carte prepare for them almost immediately.” Something which hasn’t changed Restaurant-Le-Terminus is that each day’s menu at Le Open all year. Mon-Sat; lunch (12-last Terminus, created in response to orders at 2pm) and dinner (7.30pmJean-Christophe’s morning market last orders at 10pm). English spoken. visits, appears from 11.45 am at:

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40 | living wine

Wine &Food pairing for autumn Our wine expert Caro Feely explores pairings for non-meat eaters


ast year a nudge from a vegan friend was the catalyst for developing a pairing option for vegetarians and vegans for the wine tours at Château Feely. Since then they have become a firm favourite. Our recent creation of a pairing partnership with Michelinstarred chef Vincent Lucas, the creative dynamo behind Etincelles in the Dordogne, continues the theme of offering vegan and vegetarian options. Most people tend to focus on meat and fish when discussing wine and food pairing, so that’s exactly what I did in the last issue. Mea culpa, however. Vegetarian food has just as much right to good wine pairing, and great pairings can transform any food experience. While on this theme it’s worth mentioning that not all wine is vegetarian- or vegan-friendly. Wines are often fined (clarified) with egg white or isinglass, a fish collagen. Even organic wines can use these fining agents. At Château Feely we don’t use any of these products – we prefer our wines unfined, for our tasting tests have indicated that fining strips some of the flavour.

Before getting into some of my favourite vegan pairings, a quick reminder of the three core principles of wine and food pairing covered in the last edition: * Seek balance between the weight of the wine and the richness of the food. * Have at least as much acidity in the wine as there is in the food. * Mirror or contrast the aromas, flavours and intensity.

Simple food can offer great pairing options: * Melon (ideally the orange ‘honey melon’ variety) straight up with a pure Sémillon white wine is truly delicious; the acidity is in balance, and honey and melon flavours can be found in Sémillon. * Radish and butter with barrel-aged Sémillon. The buttery aspect of the barrel-aged Sémillon works with the butter and the spiciness of the radish brings out the flavour in the wine. * Freshly-picked courgette, finely mandolin-sliced and marinated in lemon juice and olive oil for at least 15 minutes paired with a moderateclimate, pure Sauvignon Blanc. The

pea/asparagus of fresh-picked courgette and the lemon go beautifully with Sauvignon Blanc. This is another good example of mirroring the flavours in the food with the aromas/flavours in the wine to create a successful pairing. * Tomato, basil, garlic with balsamic and olive oil with a spicy no-sulphite Merlot Cabernet blend or a Sangiovese

Château Feely is a biodynamic and organic wine estate with accommodation, wine tours, vineyard walks and an accredited Wine Spirit Education Trust wine school. You can find more about wine and food pairing, recipes, wine, and organic farming and living on the Château Feely blog or read about the Feelys’ adventures in Caro’s three-book series. See www. for details or contact Caro at

living wine | 37

* Dhal lentils with coconut milk and barrel-aged Sémillon or Chardonnay. Typically for ageing white wine we select ‘light toast’ for the inside of barrels used, which can bring coconut aromas perfect for complementary flavours with the coconut milk.

Caro and Seán with daughters Sophie and Ellie

What about sweet options for our vegans? There are many wonderful pairings, but two of my favourites are: * Pure, dark organic chocolate (at least 70%) and a no sulphite added Merlot/ Cabernet Sauvignon blend. * Rich dates with almond butter topping and botrytis Sémillon dessert wine red. The red needs to be fairly acidic – a soft, warm-climate Merlot won’t work.

More complicated dishes with more ingredients also follow these principles. For example: * Orange, fennel, rocket and red onion salad with mustard, orange juice and olive oil dressing paired with a Languedoc red redolent of herbs and orange. * Pea and lemon risotto with pure

Sauvignon Blanc (similar reasons to the courgette above) * Mushroom risotto (or mushroom pasta) and aged Merlot or Bordeauxstyle blend. The aged red will give forest floor, truffle and mushroom notes which will be perfect with this kind of food. * Summer chickpea salad (chickpeas, onion, basil and tomato with chilli) and a spicy (ideally organic and no sulphite added) Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec.

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A vegetarian guest’s recent comment concludes better than I can: “I thought wine and food pairing didn’t concern me, since people always talk about fish and meat. I was so wrong – what a difference!” Here’s to a happy autumn of great wine and food pairings! If you have favourite wine pairings, a question or a wine theme you would like to hear about, please get in touch. I would love to hear from you.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION Email Tel 06 02 10 05 96

38 | living nikki legon’s cuisine Lamb koftas

Sticky chicken wings Mint and yogurt dressing

cuisine NikkiLegon’s

Spicy and delicious dishes from Nikki’s kitchen to go with our hot summer days…

Lamb koftas with mint and yogurt dressing 1 tbsp olive oil 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed 2 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp ground coriander 1 tsp ground ginger 1 tsp paprika chilli flakes to taste 500g minced lamb (agneau hachée) 2 tbsp chopped coriander 2 tbsp chopped mint leaves salt and freshly ground black pepper For The Dressing small bunch of mint leaves, chopped finely ½ tsp toasted cumin seeds

4 tbsp Greek yogurt freshly ground black pepper 1 tbsp lemon juice METHOD If using wooden skewers, soak in water for 10 minutes. Place a small frying pan over a medium heat and heat the olive oil. Add the onions and garlic, cook until softened. Add the spices, and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring. Set aside to cool. Put the lamb into a mixing bowl, add the cooled onion mixture, the chopped herbs and season. Mix well with your hands. Take a small piece of the lamb and fry for a few seconds, taste and adjust your seasoning. Roll the lamb mixture into the size of golf balls and shape onto the skewers, pressing them into a sausage shape. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until firm.

living nikki legon’s cuisine | 39 Spicy sea bream

Deep fried whitebait For the dressing, add the mint and cumin seeds to the yogurt. Stir, then add the lemon juice and black pepper to taste. Cook on the barbecue or in a griddle pan for around 10 minutes on a medium heat. Rest for 5 minutes before serving with a little salad and the dressing.

Sticky chicken wings 1kg chicken wings or thighs For the marinade ½ tsp sesame oil 2 tbsp lime juice 2 tbsp white wine 60ml soy sauce 2 tbsp honey 60ml tomato ketchup 2 tbsp hoisin sauce 2 tbsp oyster sauce 2 tbsp chilli paste 4 cloves of garlic minced 1 tbsp minced ginger ½ tsp five spice powder For the garnishes 1 tbsp sesame seeds finely chopped chives lemon quarters METHOD Combine the marinade ingredients in a large bowl or zip lock bag. Add the chicken and coat well,

leave aside for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 180°C, line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Shake excess marinade off wings and place on baking tray, keeping the remaining marinade for basting. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, basting twice and pouring the remaining marinade over for the last 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and chives and serve with the lemon quarters.

Spicy sea bream with a light tartare sauce serves 2

1 whole sea bream (dorade royale) about 500g descaled, fins removed and gutted with head left on 100ml Greek yogurt 2 tsp garam masala 1 tsp chilli powder 1 tsp sweet paprika 1 tsp salt For the tartare sauce 100ml crème fraîche handful of fresh coriander, chopped finely 2 gherkins ½ red chilli, chopped finely ½ lime, juice only ½ tsp sea salt

METHOD Make 3 to 4 slashes along each side of the fish. Mix the yogurt with the garam masala, paprika and salt. Rub the paste into the fish, then coat well including inside the cavity. Marinate for 20 minutes. Heat the oven to 180°C. Cook the fish on a lined baking sheet for 25 to 30 minutes. For the light tartare sauce, place the crème fraîche into a bowl. Add the coriander, chopped gherkins, chopped chilli, lime juice and salt, mix well. Remove the fish, check that its done by pulling the flesh; it should part easily. Serve with the tartare sauce.

Deep fried whitebait Serves 4

500g whitebait (eperlans or anchois) 75g plain flour 2 tsp cayenne pepper 1 tsp salt lemon wedges to serve METHOD Heat the deep fat fryer to 180°C. Pat the whitebait dry with paper towels. Mix the flour, salt and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Working in four batches, toss the whitebait in the seasoned flour, then drop into fryer and fry till golden and crisp. Drain on paper towels, season with salt and serve with lemon wedges.

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Vegetable tortillas 40 | living nikki legon’s cuisine

Roasted spiced aubergine

Vegetarian tortillas serves 4

4 tbsp oil 4 to 6 large mushrooms 2 avocados, peeled, stone removed and crushed 2 tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped finely 1 small red onion, finely chopped 1 chilli, red or green, deseeded and finely chopped juice of 1 lime salt 12 small tortillas 4 tomatoes, chopped into chunks 2 avocados, peeled, stone removed and sliced 1 red onion, sliced thinly METHOD In a frying pan, add oil and cook the sliced mushrooms. To make the guacamole, mix the crushed avocado, finely chopped tomatoes, chopped onion, chilli, and lime juice. Season with salt and roughly mash together. Warm the tortillas and into each place one spoonful of guacamole, then slices of fresh avocado, some chopped tomato, the sliced red onion and top with the warm mushrooms.

Spicy vegetable casserole 150 ml olive oil 3 large onions sliced 1 large aubergine, diced 4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced 225g green beans, sliced into short pieces

1 head of broccoli, divided into florets 2 tbsp garam masala 2 tsp chilli powder 1.2 litres vegetable stock 1 red and 1 green pepper, deseeded and sliced ½ cauliflower, divided into florets 100g mushrooms sliced 4 large tomatoes quartered 2 bay leaves 225g lentils, cooked to al dente 200g can sweetcorn salt handful of chopped herbs METHOD Heat the oil gently in a large casserole. Soften the onion in the oil for several minutes, then cook the aubergine until it has absorbed plenty of oil. Add the potatoes, beans and broccoli, to the onion mix and stir well. Sprinkle over the garam masala and chilli, stir well. Add the stock, peppers, cauliflower, mushrooms, tomatoes, and bay leaves. Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add the lentils and the sweetcorn and simmer a further 5 minutes. Season to taste and add a handful of chopped fresh herbs before serving.

Red pepper and aubergine chutney makes 6x 500ml jars

1 tbsp sunflower oil 2 large onions, diced 2 aubergines, cut into small dice 6 red peppers 6 large garlic cloves, chopped 1 or 2 red chillies, chopped, depending

on your taste 2 tbsp coriander seeds and 2 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted in a dry frying pan 1 tsp hot smoked paprika 1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed 500ml red wine vinegar 400g granulated sugar 600g tomatoes, deseeded and diced METHOD Cut the peppers into quarters and lay on a foil-lined baking tray. Place into a hot oven, turning after 10 minutes, cook till the skin is blackened. Remove from the oven and fold over the foil to make a pocket. When cool, remove the skin and chop the flesh into small pieces. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onions, aubergines, peppers, garlic, chilli, coriander, cumin and peppercorns. Cook over a medium heat for 15 minutes until reduced by half. Add the red wine vinegar, sugar and tomatoes. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until the chutney is thick and the liquid has evaporated. Spoon into sterilised jars and screw on the lids. Store for at least two weeks or up to 3 months, and keep in the fridge after opening.

Roasted spiced aubergine with crispy kale and pine nuts serves 4 170g white miso (fermented soybean paste) 60ml mirin (sweetened Japanese rice wine) 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar 3 tbsp minced ginger

Red pepper and aubergine chutney

living nikki legon’s cuisine | 41 Spicy vegetable casserole

2 tsp caster sugar 2 tbsp sunflower oil 2 large aubergines 6 large kale leaves, washed and dried thoroughly 2 tbsp olive oil 4 tbsp roasted pine nuts salt

tray. Bake in the oven with the aubergines for about 18 minutes, turning them every 5 minutes till crisp and a little charred. Sprinkle with a little salt. To serve, place the aubergines onto hot plates, top with the kale and sprinkle pine nuts over. This is also delicious topped with crumbled feta cheese.

METHOD Heat oven to 190°C. In a bowl mix the miso, mirin, rice wine vinegar, ginger, sugar and sunflower oil until well blended. Slice the aubergines in half, then slice off the outer edge so that they sit flat. Place the aubergines onto a foil-lined baking sheet and coat well with the sauce. Place into a hot oven for 10 minutes, remove, turn them over and baste again with the sauce. Repeat after 10 minutes and then cook for a further 5 minutes until cooked through and golden. Roughly chop the kale leaves and put into a bowl, add the olive oil and toss to coat. Place onto an oiled baking

Mango lassi 3 to 4 ripe mangoes, peeled 400g Greek yogurt 2 tsp ground cardamom 4 to 5 tbsp sugar (depending on the sweetness of the mangoes) 1 tsp rose water 2 limes, juice only METHOD In a blender add the mangoes, yogurt, sugar, cardamom and rose water. Blend on high speed to make a very smooth purée. Serve it thick as a dessert or add a little milk and blend with some ice cubes to make a long drink.

Mango lassi

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

Maison Toussaint Visit the picturesque Bourgogne region and stay at our luxury B&B set in the heart of the Morvan regional park. Visit nearby chateaux and historical towns, enjoy the Burgundy cuisine and wines, and relax in our lovingly restored 1850s home. Sumptuous breakfasts, guest lounge with TV and free wifi, private courtyard for summer BBQs and cocktail evenings. Table d’hôte & Salon de Thé

À L’ABRI DES PINS Restaurant en Charente

Philippe & Yveline offer traditional French cuisine using fresh local ingredients Fixed menu from Weekdays 15€ Weekends 22€/27€ (2/3 courses) Open lunchtimes Tues -Sun

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

T: 09 66 89 55 97 T: 05 45 35 81 27 06 31 64 85 14 2 Rue du Chateau 58370 Larochemillay Support Magazine by buying us a ko-fi for 3€ at

42 | living Angling

Hook, line & sinker…


Our resident fisherman Ron Cousins looks at a surprisingly popular fish…

n an age when carp fishing seems to be the piscatorial majority interest on both sides of the Channel it may come as a surprise to learn that when leading UK angling weekly Anglers Mail invited readers to vote for their favourite species, that wasn’t the fish which topped the list. Many fisheries have carp which have been named by the angler who caught them first, and there’s much excitement when ‘Old Joe’, ‘Oddtail’ or some other named fish is caught yet again; but the fish that received most votes has reversed that by giving its name to whole generations of anglers and non-anglers. The winning fish was the tench, a species believed to have been named after the French term for medieval fish farmers who manned stew ponds to provide fish for monasteries and estate owners. A few prominent people with the name of the fish were John Tench of London, granted arms by Charles 1 in 1626, Sir Francis Tench, High Sheriff of Essex in 1712 and Major General Watkin Tench, whose life at sea included capture by the Americans in 1778 during the War of Independence and by the French in 1794 during the Napoleonic War, before becoming a successful author by writing about his experiences. The tench (‘tanche’) has the Latin name Tinca Tinca, is a member of the Cyprinid family and could have won the vote on looks alone, with its well-rounded dark olive green body, powerful paddle-like fins, tiny scales and small red eyes. The body is covered with a slime that was once believed to have healing powers, not only for the fish that rubbed against it but by applying it to human wounds, and this earned it the name Doctor Fish.

Because of this protective slime, a tench should be handled carefully when caught and never held in a cloth. Tench over 6kg have been caught in France, but most coming to the net are 1kg to 2kg and a fish over 3kg is considered a specimen. We’re now at the best time of year for tench fishing as the fish are at their fighting best, but while the sun is out the best catches are usually taken early in the morning or by fishing from evening to darkness. Tench are well spread out over the region but prefer to live where the bed of the river or pond is silt with weed and plenty of food in the shape of chironomids and snails. Because of their ability to survive low-oxygen conditions and even hibernate, tench can be found in small farm ponds and sections of abandoned canal which are mostly ignored but can provide great fishing for those who do give them a try. The most likely areas for tench on lakes and ponds are near weed beds or where reeds grow into the water. It’s also easy to spot where tench are feeding on the bottom by looking for large numbers of tiny bubbles rising to the surface, as the fish root around for food. Dropping a baited hook among them should guarantee a bite. Feeding in regular small helpings of cooked hempseed or small feeder pellet baits will keep the fish together while pellets, worms, maggots, sweetcorn or bread are all baits that will produce results, and in ‘The Compleat Angler’ Izaac Walton recommends a paste made up from brown bread and honey. When bites ease up on one bait, try another, and keep switching to keep catching. Light float tackle is all that is needed, with hook sizes between 16 and

A happy angler with a 2kg Tench

10, depending on the size of bait being used, and because of the power generated by those fins the line should be at least 2kg breaking strain so that they can be steered away from the weed as they are played to the landing net. A through action 3.75m to 4m rod should be up to the job, but if you decide to concentrate on catching tench there are purposebuilt rods available, such as the range of Drennan and Fox Specialist Tench rods. Chances of a big catch are greatly improved if it’s possible to pre-bait the area to be fished on the evening before, by putting in free offerings of pellets or sweetcorn together with some fish-meal based groundbait. Another trick used by seasoned tench catchers, instead of throwing in the free food, is to use a rake head on a rope to stir up all the natural food in the silt. Float tackle isn’t best for river tench, as they tend to spend their time along the edge of the mid-river boat channel, where there’s usually good summer weed growth. As a stationary bait is essential, the best approach is using a swim feeder that delivers bait and groundbait together and holds it steady on the river bed. Bites are indicated by movement of the rod tip and any quiver tip rod – a sensitive flexible tip fitted at the end capable of casting 2gm will be suitable. Being voted the angling nation’s favourite is sure to encourage more anglers to fish for tench and increase membership of The Tench Fishers (, and when you see the olive beauty that fought all the way to the landing net shake a muscular fin and wink its little red eye, you realise that if anglers fishing in south west France were asked to choose their favourite fish it’s odds-on it would be Tinca tinca – so good they named it twice.

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Property Immobilière du Haut Limousin

€212,000 FAI Ref: A2018122 DPE: en cours Must see! Central Aubeterre, south facing. 3-beds with kitchen & living room, oil heating, double glazing. Large garage, patio, private garden.

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

41 800€ HAI - THIAT Enclosed hangar with 2 large doors, 6 windows, 260m2, elec & water. Ideal for small business.

(€200,000 net + 6% fee paid by buyer)

€875,000 FAI Ref: A2018126 DPE: B Magnificent domaine in the Val de Lizonne. 13 beds, restored in 2002, exceptional 180° view, pool. Wooded south-facing garden.

55 000€ HAI MAGNAC LAVAL 3-storey town house - pleasant and habitable immediately. 3 beds, small terrace, garage and parking space. 306m2 garden nearby.

(€840,000 net + 4% fee paid by buyer)

€268,180 FAI Ref: A2018133 DPE: en cours Near Montmoreau, 6-bed 17C logis set in 4ha with stream. Habitable but requires TLC. Plenty of potential. Enclosed courtyard, outbuildings.

DPE: C 10% fees Ref 654

DPE: n/a 10% fees Ref 1678293

(€253,000 net + 6% fee paid by buyer)

€378,000 FAI Ref: J2018108 DPE: D Beautifully renovated 4-bed logis near Chalais. Master suite with dressing, attached barns, pigeonnière. 8,000m2 wooded land. (€360,000 net + 5% fee paid by buyer)

137 800€ FAI - MAGNAC LAVAL Elevated house on basement. 5 bedrooms, kitchen, living room, attic and garden. DPE: D 6% fees Ref 784

€267,120 FAI Ref: J2018131 DPE: D 5-bed Maison de Maître, ideal situation for B&B with pretty gardens at Brossac. Master suite, attached barns, new slate roof and heating.

23 500€ FAI - LE DORAT 916m2 building land with small barn in the town centre with CU. Ideal for building or an artisan. DPE: n/a 17.5% fees Ref 719

(€252,000 net + 6% fee paid by buyer)

€149,800 FAI Ref: J2018108 DPE: D Large watermill to be restored at Châteauneufsur-Charente. 245m2 ground floor, 180m2 attic. Hangar and approx. 3.5ha land with riverbank. (€140,000 net + 7% fee paid by buyer)

44 000€ FAI - LE DORAT 2-bed (one with terrace) townhouse with kitchen & living room. 80m2 living space. DPE: n/a 10% fees Ref 794

27 000€ - LE DORAT 3117m2 building plot in attractive countryside. CU. All services connected except sewerage

Call Jonathan Ingremeau on Or visit Agence AT’immo at 80 rue de Barbezieux, 16210 CHALAIS

DPE: n/a 22.7% fees Ref 739

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Thinking of buying

OUR PICK OF THE BEST IN VIENNE Y UNDER 250K Y Contact Leggett Immobilier, winner of ‘Best real estate agency in

Genest d’Ambiere €164,997 Ref: 65824 Ideal lock up and leave. Beautifully presented property, garden & outbuilding.

Dordogne €159,950 Ref: 81041 Nicely renovated house and garden with 3 en-suite bedrooms. Ideal for small B&B.

Vienne €477,000 Ref: 88424 Beautiful 19thC château with more than 2Ha of land. Great business potential.

Maine et Loire €205,200 Ref: 86208 Superb house with heated pool, conservatory and 1Ha of land in a tranquil setting.

5% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

7% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: E

6% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: E

La Puye €243,960 Ref: 64201 Traditional 3 bed house featuring cathedral ceilings, pool, 4.9Ha and barns.

Charente Maritime €299,600 Ref: 83223 Immaculate home in a quiet hamlet and close to the market town of Coulonges.

Vendee €445,200 Ref: 89210 Situated in the Marais national park is this lovely property with almost 1Ha and a pool.

Charente Maritime €117,650 Ref: 81879 Studio apartment with large balcony and seaviews in an exclusive area of Royan.

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

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: E

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: D

7% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: E

St Savin €199,800 Ref: 80542 Traditional style 4 bed / 3 bath property just a few minutes from an historic town.

Vendée €130,800 Ref: 88270 Spacious property with pool on the edge of a village. Walking distance to amenities.

Charente €77,000 Ref: 89326 An old farm, longère and collection of outbuildings for renovation on a large plot.

Maine et Loire €352,450 Ref: 88578 Beautiful 4 bed / 2 bath home with a vaulted wine cellar, close to a large village.

8% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: D

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

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: N/A

6% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: D

Saires €204,750 Ref: 56748 Two stone houses to modernise set around a courtyard with pool and barns.

Charente €224,700 Ref: 89514 3 bed / 2 bath house with numerous outbuildings, large garden, views and close to a river.

Dordogne €420,000 Ref: 89452 Character 3 bed / 2 bath house in a great location with pool and land with river frontage.

Charente Maritime €178,200 Ref: 79661 Charming Charentaise house with possibility to renovate further. Close to a market town.

5% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: E

7% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: D

5% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

6% 8% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: D



or selling a property? France’ five years running. We have over 500 agents across France ready to help you.

Charente €267,500 Ref: 89458 A haven for nature lovers - 3 bed house in over 3.4Ha of private land with carp lake.

Dordogne €114,450 Ref: 89503 Isolated fishing cabin set in over 3.3Ha with solar electricity, woodland and three lakes.

Maine et Loire €466,400 Ref: 89359 Impressive Maison de Maître with extensive outbuildings. In the centre of Segré with shops.

Charente Maritime €349,800 Ref: 86235 Delightful country house with pool, beautiful gardens and restored dependances.

7% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: D

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

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: N/A

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: C

Vendée €199,999 Ref: 81609 Lovely 4 bed renovated white stone farmhouse with large garden and outbuildings.

Vienne €399,000 Ref: 70414 Fantastic equestrian property featuring a farmhouse, over 12Ha of land and a lake.

Charente €24,000 Ref: 75480 Plot of land for sale with amazing views. Planning permission recently granted.

Vienne €76,000 Ref: 89381 Sweet 1 bed cottage with large garden, barn and hangar. Peaceful countryside location.

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: N/A

5% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

33% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

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

Deux Sèvres €328,600 Ref: 89179 5 bed / 3 bath hamlet property, close to the market town of Coulonges.

Charente Maritime €299,000 Ref: 87674 A well designed and well renovated property with pool. Surrounded by pretty vines.

Deux Sèvres €125,350 Ref: 64717 Attractive edge of village 4 bed house with terrace and garden. Close to shops, bars etc.

Haute Vienne €46,000 Ref: 89441 2 bed cottage with cellars, small garden and separate land. 1st floor to renovate.

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: N/A

5% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: C

9% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: F

15% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: F

Starting a new life in France? Want a new career? Leggett are always looking to recruit new sales agents, so if you are looking for a job in France, drop us a line.

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Changing Places Despite the passage of time, the ancient heart of Sarlat appears as little changed as the hauntingly beautiful landscapes which surround it, an area referred to as le Périgord noir. To first-time visitors Sarlat can feel strangely familiar, its dazzling architectural heritage having provided authentic settings for countless film productions, and it’s easy to see why. For centuries the town was heavily fortified, and while the walls themselves have mostly gone, the area which they enclosed so effectively has survived largely intact. That includes a medieval street plan which simply evolved to fit the confined space, rather than being laid out with the geometrical precision of nearby bastide towns like Domme. Other key features become more obvious when seen from above, something which couldn’t be simpler, thanks to the town’s ascenseur panoramique – a sensational glass-walled lift installed within the bell tower of the redundant 14th century Eglise SainteMarie. A few seconds is all it takes to reach the 35m summit of the tower, for bird’s-eye views of a skyline characterised by tall, elegant merchants’ houses of golden stone. Their distinctive, steeply pitched rooftops were necessary since

the roofing material employed was not slate but ‘lauze’ – pale limestone slabs weighing around 500kg/m2. The church below this dramatic vantage point is now an indoor market hall, a transformation conceived by internationally renowned architect Jean Nouvel, who grew up in Sarlat. On Saturday mornings a more traditional market scene unfolds in the adjoining Place de la Liberté, as colourful stalls laden with local produce attract both locals and summer visitors, here to buy, browse or merely soak up the atmosphere from the terrace of the Hotel de la Mairie brasserie. As a result, Sarlat’s now world-famous markets have long since outgrown the square and filled the neighbouring streets. Don’t miss the stalls filling the entire length of Rue de la République or the tiny Place des Oies, for centuries the scene of live goose markets (a tradition upheld on Fest’Oies weekends in early March). Other spots have interesting stories, too. Rue des Consuls contains elegant 14th-17th century Gothic and Renaissance hôtels particuliers of counsellors, magistrates and clergy, plus the huge, grotto-like 12th century Fontaine Sainte-Marie, which once provided the town with drinking

sarlat-la-canéda dordogne (24)

We profile a much loved town whose historic features have made it world-famous. water. Sarlat is a quite extraordinary place to explore, especially at midday or in the early evening, when things are cooler and calmer. Its village-like character also means that Sarlat could be a unique yet surprisingly practical place to call home, as property buyers from the UK, Holland and Germany have already discovered. Best of all, the town offers an object lesson in sensitive restoration, as befits its global celebrity status. Making connections... Distances/drive-times by road from Sarlat-la-Canéda: Brive-la-Gaillarde: 50km/57min Périgueux: 65km/1hr 08min 70km/1hr 22min Bergerac: Limoges: 138km/1hr 45min Bordeaux: 166km/2hr 56min Toulouse: 179km/2hr 28min Rail services – la Gare de Sarlat: TER via Libourne to Bordeaux (for TGV Paris, etc.) Shuttle to Souillac for Agen, Paris, Toulouse, etc. Find out more - official site of Sarlat Périgord Noir Office de Tourisme, whose French pages are more detailed than their English counterparts.

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Agence Eleonor Estate Agency 36-38 rue du Temple, 24500 EYMET T: 05 53 27 83 45 Offices at Bergerac, Beynac, Monpazier and Villeréal

Ref: 7196-EY €498,200 HAI DPE: E A 6 bedroom stone house located on the edge of a village within walking distance of a bakers’, and bar. The property consists of a 2 bedroom gite (80m2) and a one bedroom apartment, a hanger, an attached barn of 120m2, a swimming pool and 6.5 hectares of land. The property is surrounded by magnificent views. Taux d’honoraires 28,200€ (6%) inclus à la charge de l’acquéreur.

Ref: 7211-VI €370,087 HAI DPE: Vierge Superb stone property composed of 2 houses. The main house offers a spacious open plan kitchen / living-room, covered terrace 3 bedrooms, bathroom and shower-room. The guest house comprises a lounge dining-room, kitchen, 3 bedrooms, office, bathroom and shower-room. On approximately, 1.43 acre of land with a 11.5 x 5.5m pool, old pigsties and a well. Taux d’honoraires 22,507€ (6.5%) inclus à la charge de l’acquéreur.

Ref: 6883-EY €498,200 HAI DPE: D Fabulous stone property a couple of minutes from the village of Eymet - large lounge separate fitted kitchen and dining room four bedrooms and a bathroom a separate one bedroomed guest apartment with its’ own kitchen lounge bed and bathroom. Set in just under of an acre of garden with lovely views, heated pool games room a large barn and hangar. Taux d’honoraires 28,200€ (6%) inclus à la charge de l’acquéreur.

Sovimo immobiLier Ref 3892 88 000€ HAI

Ref 3666 119 460€ HAI

Situated in a pretty village with bakers, bar/restaurant, nr Chef Boutonne. Attractive stone house with fitted kitchen, utility, boiler room, lounge, bedroom, bathroom, fabulous convertible attic, attached barn + large garden. 10% agency fees incl paid by buyer. DPE:E

Large stone country house with original features, 6000m2 of land, barn, edge of a small village nr Lezay. Entrance hall, kitchen with flagstone floor, dining, lounge, wc, 1st floor 2 beds, shower room, 2nd floor attic to convert. Centrally heated + conforming fosse. 8.6% agency fees incl paid by buyer. DPE:en cours

Ref 3916 180 000€ HAI

Ref 3903 187 250€ HAI

90 200€ FAI

(82 000€ plus 10% fees payable by buyer)

Charente (16), close to Confolens. Renovated detached cottage, 2 bed, outbuilding, courtyard and garden set on 890m2.

Ref. 33920

Fabulous location for this charming spacious stone property with swimming pool, character living room 36m2, fitted kitchen, summer room, study, 4 beds, 2 baths, garage, workshop, private lawned gardens set on 3700m2. Nr Civray. 7.3% agency fees incl paid by buyer. DPE:C

Super spacious renovated farmhouse oozes a wealth of traditional features, exposed stone, beams etc throughout. Attached outbuildings, bread oven, lovely summer bedroom + large lawned gardens set on 2515m2. Nr Sauze Vaussais. 10% agency fees incl paid by the buyer. DPE:D

DPE: n/a

Ref. 33917

88 000€ FAI


(80 000€ plus 10% fees payable by buyer)

Availles Limouzine (86), in a big market town with shops. Detached house with all comfort, 2 bedrooms, oil heating, detached garage, well, main drains, adjoining garden. Ref. 33885


Ref. 33922

55 000€ FAI

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

Charente (16) close to Confolens, secondary roadside, detached habitable cottage. 3-bed, building, septic tank, wooded land set on approx 2000m2.

Ref. 33926

(320 000€ plus 6% fees payable by buyer)

Usson du Poitou (86), nr shops in beautiful park with 2 islands. Restored 19C watermill. Potential B&B & Gite. Oil mill with grindstone, gearing, wheel in good condition. Possibility to generate 6KMH of elec. Pool, sauna, jacuzzi. All on 2ha.

93 500€ FAI


(85 000€ plus 10% fees payable by buyer)

Ref 3849 249 570€ HAI

Immaculate well-presented property offering 183m2 of living space, super fitted kitchen, living room, utility, 5 beds, 3 en-suites, family bathroom, garage, lawned gardens, open view, heated 10 x 5m swimming pool, sauna + walking distance to Brioux sur Boutonne. 6.2% agency fees incl paid by buyer. DPE:B

Ref 3887 345 000€ HAI

Stunning detached stone property situated in a private enviable position, on its own, surrounded by beautiful open countryside close to Celles sur Belle. Offering an incredible 240m2 of living space, lots of original features, a large barn, outbuildings + land of 6655m2. 5.5% agency fees incl paid by the buyer. DPE:C

79, Grande Rue, 79190 Sauzé-Vaussais Tel: +33 (0)5 49 07 76 88


Confolens (16), centre town, ideal building for income. 3 x 1-bed flats. Grd flr: flat 45m2 with courtyard rented 330 €/mth.1st flr with courtyard: flat 59m2, rented 350 €/mth. 2nd flr: flat 59m2 to rent 300€/mth. Attic, gas heating, mains drains.


339 200€ FAI

Ref. 33928


113 400€ FAI

(105 000€ plus 8% fees payable by buyer)

Confolens (16), 5 mn walk from the town centre, in a quiet area. Bungalow with basement, 4 bedrooms, gas heating, garage, mains drains, adjoining garden.

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

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Beaux Villages Immobilier and Guyenne Immobilier, in Eymet, are delighted to announce that they are working in close partnership. This means more buyers needing more properties!

Properties selling fast! If you are selling, tap into our award-winning marketing We offer: A valuation based on current local market conditions A dedicated contact to guide you through the whole process Worldwide marketing through our own website and market-leading portals There is no charge for our service unless we sell






Beaux Villages Immobilier Tel : 00 33 (0)8 05 69 23 23

E :


Platinum Plus The new way to sell property privately

Sell your home

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Recruiting sales agents in Nouvelle Aquitaine 47 rue Gambetta 17400 Saint Jean d’Angély Tel: 06 13 66 51 73 728,000€ FAI Ref 8976

286,200€ FAI Ref 9009

• Includes FREE visit to photograph, measure and floorplan • 12 months advertising • All properties listed on Rightmove, Primelocation, Zoopla and many more

Stunning 7-bed 15thC Château with 27,973m2 walled gardens, 12m x 6m pool, tennis court. Wonderful original features. 2km from Aulnay-de-Saintonge.

Beautiful Charentaise house entirely renovated. 3 beds, heated pool, 786m2 gardens. Spacious and light, no work to do. Charming hamlet, 5km from Saint-Savinien.

181,900€ FAI Ref 8888

472,500€ FAI Ref 8706

Stunning property to renovate - 4 beds, 3950m2 + 1-bed gite. Outbuildings inc. barn, stables, garage. 3km from amenities. DPE: D Price nett: 170 000€

Beautifully renovated 8-bed Charentaise house + chambre d’hôtes business. Pool and 3,069m2 gardens. 4km from amenities. DPE: D Price nett: 450 000€

89,000€ FAI Ref 9014

624,000€ FAI Ref 8988

Charming Charentaise 3-bed house to renovate with 907m² enclosed land. Kitchen, garage, covered terrace. Oil fired heating. DPE: Vierge Price nett: 80 000€

Successful gite business, 3-bed house + 2 luxury 3-bed gites. All restored to high standard. Heated pool 11m x 5m. 2km from Loulay. DPE: C Price nett: 600 000€


Price nett: 700 000€


Price nett: 270 000€

• 0% commission • Nothing more to pay

+44 (0)1803 469367 |

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Character Properties in France

Rochechouart, Haute Vienne, €225,000* Walk to town, fabulous views, mains drains & gas. DPE: vierge

Saint Leger Magnazeix, Haute Vienne, €265,000* 4-bed, 3-bath, great kitchen, half an acre, barn. DPE: D

Ansac sur Vienne, Charente, €281,500* Beautiful 7-bed, riverside garden, garage, barn. DPE: D

Bessines sur Gartempe, Haute Vienne, €299,600* 5-bed, barns, stables, garages, workshop, 50 acres. DPE: E

See more online: Tel: 05 65 70 10 49 Email: Please contact us if you have a character property to sell, we have a devoted team located throughout the area. *agency fees charged to the seller

Idimmo, Prestige & Châteaux 42 Rue Grosse Horloge, 17400 St Jean D’Angély. Tel: +33 (0)5 16 51 90 52 €335,000 with gite €259,000 without gite

Spacious and well maintained Maison de Maitre surrounded by large, mature garden with drive and pool. Terraces front & back allow for a choice of sun or shade. Large 91m2 attic offers further extension with windows and new roof (2016). Secluded 2/3 bed gite (72m2 living area) with own garden. Garage with storage at the entrance to the gated driveway. 5 mins walk to town centre. DPE: D Ref: idiade 3843

Well renovated house. Downstairs: large living room, kitchen, bathroom, separate wc. Garden-facing conservatory and a downstairs bedroom. Upstairs are 2 further bedrooms and a bathroom. Beautiful pool area, with easily manageable garden and outbuildings . 20 minutes from Cognac, 30 minutes from St Jean d’Angély, Matha 10 km. DPE: C Ref: idiade 5318


Honoraires à la charge du vendeur

This superb Maison de Maitre 4 km from Tonnay Boutonne is in need of complete renovation. The slate roof was completely replaced in 2014 which avoids a large expense! A charming property with many outbuildings which would make a spacious home or chambre d’hôtes. DPE: en cours Ref: idiade 5346

This large longère is in the village of Contre, 5km from Aulnay. The ground floor is in a raw but habitable and charming state with a kitchen, lounge, bedroom and bathroom. The first floor is in need of complete renovation. Various outbuildings; large barn currently used as a garage. All set in wooded parkland of 5195m2. Perfect for anyone who wants to live on site whilst renovating. DPE: en cours Ref: idiade 5341

Honoraires à la charge du vendeur

Honoraires à la charge du vendeur

E xc l u s i v e


Honoraires à la charge du vendeur




Honoraires à la charge du vendeur

Honoraires à la charge du vendeur

Near Melle, comfortable and well laid out house built in 2008 using quality materials. Chestnut floor throughout. L-shaped lounge, good sized open-plan kitchen, 5 bedrooms (master with en-suite downstairs) with potential for another. Garden with bowls area and mature shrubs. Geothermal underfloor heating downstairs and electric radiators upstairs. Attached garage with driveway. DPE: en cours Ref: idiade 5198

This large house has been renovated with care using quality materials. On the ground floor is an office of 24.3m2 which could also be used as a downstairs bedroom, a living room of 95 m2, kitchen, utility room, laundry and access direct into the garage from the house. On the first floor are four bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. A comfortable and spacious house well worth a viewing. DPE: D Ref: idiade 5218

22 | living gardens

Blanquefort, Parc de Majolan

Salignac-Eyvigues, Jardin du Manoir d’Eyrignac

visiting gardens

Summer finds many of us visiting gardens in search of inspiration, so we look at the ‘Jardin Remarquable’ label – a hallmark of botanical excellence. Words: Roger Moss

Bellevigne, Jardin du Chaigne

Saint-Porchaire, Parc et Jardins du Château de La Roche Courbon

Vézac, Jardins de Marqueyssac

living gardens | 51

Bioussac, Parc et jardin de l’Abrègement

For most of us, attending to routine tasks in the garden is something of a solitary activity, although in an often hectic world that’s actually no bad thing. Moments of solitude are ideal for calm reflection, perhaps on how we might make a few changes here and there, although sooner or later, when inspiration dries up, it’s time to head out and see what other people have created. Fortunately, if you feel like doing just that then you’re spoilt for choice, and you won’t have far to look. In Nouvelle Aquitaine alone no fewer than 58 gardens currently benefit from official recognition of their special qualities,

in the form of the coveted Jardin Remarquable label. Established in 2004 by the Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication as part of a move towards recognising the value of parks and gardens which open to the public, the label looks beyond the rigid criteria requirements for sites with Monument Historique protected status. Instead, the new label embraced the diversity of spaces large and small, in styles ranging from historic to contemporary. It also considered factors like composition and integration into the landscape, in addition to more obvious things like botanical and historical

value, day-to-day care and (since 2008) respect for the environment. The label is awarded for a period of five years (renewable) and brings with it listings in documents distributed by the Ministère de la Culture, consideration during local/town planning decisions, plus provision of road signage similar to that used to indicate historic monuments. In return, owners agree to undertake regular careful garden maintenance, to open to visitors for six hours per day on at least 40 days annually and to participate in at least one national event, such as Rendez-vous aux Jardins or Journées Européennes du

Show how much you

Living at

Préfète de la Vienne Isabelle Dilhac discovers le Jardin de Fortran

52 | living gardens

Patrimoine. In addition they must offer visitors documentation explaining the site’s history, layout and botanical plan, and undertake to display prominently an official enamelled plaque showing the Jardin Remarquable emblem.


The award ceremony at Fortran

tourism bodies, Jean-Pierre Provost, Maire de Linazay, Bernard Merlet, Président de l’Association des Parcs et Jardins de Poitou-Charentes, representatives from the Direction Régionale des Affaires Culturelles Nouvelle-Aquitaine (DRAC), etc., plus Isabelle Dilhac, Préfète de la Vienne. In other words, a We welcome another surprisingly heavyweight gathering for Jardin Remarquable a rural commune with a population of Regardless of size or location, when a around 225. After the formal unveiling of the Jardin garden has been successful in its bid to join the elite group of JR holders it’s no Remarquable plaque by Mme Dilhac, we were given a guided tour of the garden mean achievement, and the owners are by proud owners Alain Didriche and left in no doubt as to the magnitude of the honour being bestowed upon them. Michel Moquette, who have worked tirelessly since 1980 to transform a That was brought home to us, almost literally, when we were invited to attend modest, unexceptional parcel of land the inauguration ceremony of the latest into a veritable oasis of verdure. Four Jardin Remarquable plaque just a couple of fields away from LIVING’s editorial base in southern Vienne. For once we didn’t need to drive somewhere to get a story, and the alternative of a relaxed bike-ride reminded us just how good the countryside is looking right now, and how our fellow gardeners work hard each summer to create colourful floral displays. The Jardin de Fortran, however, is in The plaque is presented to a league of its own, as we discovered in garden owners Alain Didriche and Michel Moquette the company of fellow journalists, local




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Environmental Code protection Another related form of listing is offered by the Code de l’Environment. Its purpose is to preserve spaces on French territory which are considered of particular interest in view of their scientific, landscape artistic, historic or even ‘legendary’ qualities. The official recognition which follows the listing of a natural site or monument effectively places its destiny under state control, with specific official approval being required for any modification or change of appearance, however small. Even an application for listing provides a degree of protection, requiring those in charge of works to inform the relevant administrators of any planned projects likely to modify the state or appearance of the site in question. That said, such robust protection against modification or destruction of a site does not preclude responsible management or promotion of the remarkable landscapes or built environments to which it is generally applied.

years have passed since we introduced the garden to LIVING readers, and if we were impressed then, we’re even more so now, not least since Alain and Michel have somehow managed to preserve their striking box (Buxus sempervirens) topiary from attacks by voracious box moth caterpillars. Given the widespread near-decimation we’ve witnessed elsewhere, it’s a remarkable achievement, and reflects the owners’ total dedication to their garden. The ‘living architecture’ of the box not only provides year-round visual interest and structure, but also significant protection to other plants from bitter winter winds. The garden also offers an inspiring object lesson in permaculture including covering exposed soil with layers of straw and other natural matter (‘paillage’) to minimise evaporation and thus the need for watering. The owners also manage areas of the

living gardens | 53 garden in such a way as to attract butterflies and beneficial insects. The garden has also recently acquired another attractive feature, in the shape of a stone-built house dating from around the 17th century and due to be demolished until Alain and Michel

stepped in and purchased it. It will no doubt add significantly to the already heavy workload of its new owners, but its future, like the garden which it adjoins, seems assured – and features like this fit neatly into the selection criteria for a Jardin Remarquable.

Jardins Remarquables in Nouvelle-Aquitaine

Charente Bioussac: Parc et jardin de l’Abrègement Mouthiers sur Boëme: Jardins du Logis de Forge Saint-Projet SaintConstant: Jardins du château de Puyvidal Bellevigne: Jardin du Chaigne CharenteMaritime Celles: Jardin de Vie Saint-Denis d’Oléron: Jardins du Phare de Chassiron Saint-Denis du Pin: Jardin de Pomone Saint-Dizant du Gua: Les fontaines bleues du Château de Beaulon Saint-Pierre d’Oléron: Jardins de la Boirie Saint-Porchaire: Parc et Jardins du Château de La Roche Courbon Corrèze Neuvic: Parc-Arboretum de Neuvic d’Ussel Ségur-le-Château: Parc-Agricole et Pysager du Chédal Saint-Fréjoux: Jardin d’Arsac Ussel: Jardin de la Ganille Creuse Crozant: Jardin arboretum de La Sédelle

La Brionne: Jardin de Val Maubrune Deux-Sèvres Beaulieu-sous-Parthenay: Jardin du château de La Guyonnière La Coudre: Les jardins de Cistus L’houmois: Les jardins du Gué Melle: Arboretum du Chemin de la Découverte Dordogne Le Buisson-de-Cadouin: Jardin de Planbuisson Carsac-Aillac: Jardins d’Eau de Saint-Rome Domme: Jardins du Château de Caudon Florimont-Gaumiers: Jardin de la Daille Hautefort: Jardins du Château Issac: Jardin du Château de Montréal Paunat: Jardins de la Chartreuse du Colombier Saint-Cybranet: Jardin de l’Albarède Saint-Médard-d’Excideuil: Jardin d’Hélys-Oeuvre Salignac-Eyvigues: Jardin du Manoir d’Eyrignac Terrasson-Lavilledieu: Jardins de l’Imaginaire Thonac: Jardins du château de Losse Vélines: Jardins du Sardy

Vézac: Jardins de Marqueyssac Gironde Blanquefort: Parc de Majolan Bordeaux: Jardin Public Bordeaux: Parc Bordelais Lugon-et-l’Île-du-Carney: Jardin du Fond de l’Or Néac: Parc du château de Siaurac Podensac: Parc Chavat Landes Dax: Parc du Sarrat Lot-et-Garonne Baleyssagues: Jardin de Boissonna Marmande: Jardin du Cloître Notre-Dame Marmande: Jardins de Beauchamp Temple-sur-Lot: Jardin de Nénuphars des Pépinières Latour-Marliac PyrénéesAtlantiques Cambo-les-Bains: Jardin de la villa Arnaga Momas: Jardins du Château de Momas Viven: Jardins du château de Viven Vienne Aslonnes: Jardins du prieuré de Laverré Bonnes: Jardin du château de Touffou Brigueil-le-Chantre: Parc du Bost Chalendray: Jardin du château de la Motte Linazay: Jardin de Fortran


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Quality Furniture - Convenient Delivery FURNITURE for France is now in its thirteenth year of supplying quality furniture to properties in France. The company specialises in providing clients with a service that offers good quality UK-sourced furniture, delivered direct to your property in France from just £59. Liaising with its customers from the initial enquiry through to furniture installation, ensures they are kept informed every step of the

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JON THE CARPET MAN’S SHOWROOM OPENS After 10 years of supplying top quality carpets & flooring all over France, Jon the Carpet Man has reached another milestone...... a brand new showroom has been incorporated within their extensive warehouse building! “We have been searching for suitable premises for some time,” says Jon, “and moved into this building last year to begin to develop it to suit our requirements.” The warehouse has plenty of storage with extra capacity to cope with the continued expansion. There is also a large office to

work from, but the main reason for the move to the new building is the large 150m2 showroom. As Andrea explains: “although we are happy to make free, no-obligation home visits, there is a limit to the number of ranges we can take out. The showroom allows visitors to see thousands of different samples at once!” The displays from major manufacturers continues the long working relationship Jon has with his partner companies. On show are the ranges offered by Cormar

Transport Services, Pools


Carpets, Abingdon Flooring, Brockway Carpets, Adam Carpets, Alternative Flooring, Axminster Carpets, Westex well as many others. So whether you’re looking for carpets, vinyl, natural flooring, wood floors or laminate – you now know where to come. If you are travelling some distance to visit us please let Jon or Andrea know you are on your way – we are still a small family owned business, so it sometimes is necessary to both be away from the office!



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ELECTRICIAN Experienced, French Registered Electrician Available for all types of electrical work renovations, small works, gate automations etc. Insured and guaranteed Areas 16, 17, 24, 47

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Building services, Artisans

Robert Walker PlombeRie

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t:+33 (0)5 45 70 20 98

living music | 65

M It’s still showtime! UpBeat

Our summers are also great festival seasons – and there’s lots more live music to come...

Each year summertime just seems to fly by, but there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy the wealth of live concerts which add to the enjoyment of life in Nouvelle-Aquitaine. The second part of our annual rundown of notable events includes reminders of August highlights flagged up in advance in our last issue. Until mid-Aug the Département de la Vienne is presenting 11 great free concerts as part of its hugely-popular Les Heures Vagabondes. Staged in towns and villages around the département, this year’s line-up includes Axel Bauer, Marine Kaye, Léa Paci and Vitaa: The 3/4 Aug finds Rochefort’s Stereoparc Festival DJs delivering a 100% electro programme, beside the town’s celebrated Corderie Royale: www. Charente-Maritime’s party mood continues with Sites en Scène’s wide-ranging events in interesting locations, both on the coast and inland. As always, music features prominently alongside theatre, dance and street art. Son-et-lumière and pyrotechnic shows add spectacular touches to Jazz en Feux at Château d’Oléron (13-16 Aug) and La

photo:© roger moss

Plus Belles Musiques de Films

at La Flotte (12 Aug). The festival ends at Saint-Jean d’Angély on 7–9 Sept with a musical interactive exhibition, theatre, circus performers and a festive ball: Inland, on 10-12 Aug the Mad Hatter’s Wonderland Festival will be in full swing in a beautiful setting near Sauzé-Vaussais (79), this year featuring The Bootleg Beatles, Mystery Jets and Dr LUXURY MOBILE HOME PORT GRIMAUD Bay of St Tropez

Feelgood: www.madhatters Meanwhile, for lovers of classical music the Festival Musique et Patrimoine en Vienne et Gartempe

series of concerts showcases young talent, plus soloists from around the globe. It runs from 17-30 Aug, and the venues include the Abbaye de Saint Savin and the Château de la Lande, Montmorillon: On 24 Aug Verteuil-sur-Charente combines its annual night market with Verteuil en Musique 2018, a free concert in the heart of the village and featuring Les Fontaines Bleue and The Jawbreakers. Not far away, Festi’Aigre (a fundraising event for l’Association Les Enfants du Savoir) presents Les Négresses Vertes and many more acts on 18/19 Aug in the Parc des Charmilles in Aigre (16): From 25 Aug–1 Sept the Festival Dans les Jardins de William Christie presents classical music concerts featuring young artists from the Juilliard School in New York, in a magnificent ‘Jardin Remarquable’ at Thiré (85): Further south on 10/11 Aug the Château d’Exideuil (24) hosts Hoop Festival 2018, with music, contemporary dance, local produce and a whole lot more. www. Alternatively, in and around Périgueux the 27th Festival Sinfonia is a renowned baroque music event running from 25 Aug-1 Sept. Blues fans in Limousin can look forward to Buis Blues Festival at Le Buis (87), which runs from 15-18 Aug. Four evening concerts feature Kaz Hawkins,


Café de la Gare


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Acousta Noir, The Broadcast and others. There are also free activities for small children: In Deux-Sèvres the 5th Rock En Sèvre takes to two big stages in Niort’s Place de la Brèche on 2 Sept. Entry is free and should deliver a great night of rock, pop and rap and reggae. Something for everyone? It looks that way, but many more events will help you enjoy the warm evenings of late summer. A web search will find them, so enjoy the music!

66 | living Language

Pardon? L ooking back over the columns from previous years, it seems strange that I’ve not spent a little time mulling over the lifeblood of France: the fruit of the vine. If you’re out wining and dining, if you’re after a cheap bottle of plonk or something of superior vintage, hopefully some of these expressions will add a little flavour to your French. As you’d expect, there are many more expressions to do with wine in French than there are in English. We do have the rather rhythmic ‘wine and dine’ which doesn’t translate easily into French, not least because English speakers use this expression as a verb and no such thing exists on this side of the channel. If you’re ‘wining and dining’ your partner, you could say dorloter, which means ‘to spoil’ or ‘to pamper’, but it doesn’t just mean treating them to a good dinner. Not only that, you really wouldn’t use dorloter to talk about taking clients out to schmooze them. Offrir à manger à or inviter à manger just don’t have the same sense of entertaining lavishly and really showing someone a good time, complete with the ulterior motive behind wining and dining which is usually implied in English. One would hope that, if you are being wined and dined, you don’t end up with the local cheap plonk. The French have some lovely words for cheap, poor-quality wine, including the indelicate sound of picrate. One definition of un pic is a pickaxe, and une rate is a spleen, so le picrate always makes me think of a spleen-pickaxe. I’m sure the wine does a similar thing! You can also call cheap wine la piquette. This is an

L i ving

actual alcoholic drink that was given to slaves and servants in Ancient Rome, made with a second or third pressing of all the gunk remaining from the first pressing. You can also call it la vinasse which is as ugly a sound in French as it is in English. One thing is for sure: it’s not a way to refer to the wine you’ve been given if you’re being wined and dined! The French have so many words for cheap wine that you could easily get lost in them: un gros rouge or ‘a big red’ is one of those. This mass-produced cheap red wine gives rise to the expression le gros rouge qui tache or ‘the big red that stains’. There are several theories about why you might call a wine one that ‘stains’, but if someone says they’re drinking ‘the big red that stains’, it’s not that they’ve spilled it already to make sure. And if you hear le petit bleu, it’s not much different. Although le petit bleu sounds like the opposite of le gros rouge, they’re both ways to refer to a bottle of plonk. Not only are there many ways to refer to wine, but there are also expressions

Emma-Jane Lee, our language expert, raises a glass to some French wine expressions… with wine that might not make sense if you are of a literal frame of mind. One of these, ‘when the wine is poured, you need to drink it’, quand le vin est tiré, il faut le boire, relates to the fact that you shouldn’t let wine stand for days when you’ve opened it. In terms of finding an English expression that means the same thing, I think I prefer ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’, which will perhaps be a new expression for our francophones. ‘Going the whole hog’ also fits too, in terms of following through on something, as does ‘You’ve made your bed, now you’ve got to lie in it’. For me, it also has a sense of ‘no use closing the stable door after the horse has bolted’ too - you can’t put wine back in the bottle. There’s no turning back - all you can do is get on with it. I’ll finish with one of my favourite ways to describe a boozy evening. Une soirée arrosée or ‘a sprinkled evening’ may sound like you had a few evening showers, but it’s an expression to mean that you had a really boozy do. Sadly, if newspaper reports about a national shortage of vin rosé are to be believed, your soirée arrosée probably won’t be washed down with France’s most popular summertime beverage, rosé pamplemousse. Not pink grapefruit as you might think, but the grapefruit-rosé wine cocktail that’s perfect for long summer evenings. So if you’re wetting your whistle, why not try out a few of those fruity expressions? Here’s to a very good vendange! Emma is a jack-of-all-language-trades, writing English textbooks, translating, marking exam scripts and teaching languages. She lives near La Rochefoucauld with her growing menagerie. See

Editor: Kathryn Dobson FEATURES EDITOR: Roger Moss Advertising: Jon Dobson Art editor: Nadia Van den Rym Production manager: Justin Silvester Regular contributors: Ron Cousins, Caro Feely, Susan Hays, magazine Jessica Knipe, Emma-Jane Lee, Mike Morris, Nikki Legon and Stig Tomas. WITH THANKS TO: John and Gill Bowler, Julia Moss. Photography: Shutterstock or Roger Moss unless indicated. Cover image: Jardin du Manoir d’Eyrignac © Gordon Bell / Published by: SARL AMM, 2 Rue Buffefeu, 86400 Linazay FRANCE. Poitiers: 533 624 128. Printed by: Rotimpres S.A. Dépôt légal: A parution. ISSN: 0753-3454. Living Magazine is free. Living Magazine est disponible gratuitement. All material may not be reproduced without the written permission of SARL AMM. Toute reproduction même partielle du contenu est interdit sans l’accord écrit du magazine. Please ensure you verify that the company you are dealing with is registered in France and/or elsewhere around the world. Articles in this issue do not necessarily reflect the views of the magazine.

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