Living Magazine Dec 19 / Jan 20

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December / January 2020


AS Another year comes to a close, here at LIVING we’d like to say a giant thank you to everyone who makes this magazine possible. As for many local businesses, this has been a challenging year, given all the external pressures from the impact of a stalled Brexit to rising prices. So it has been heartwarming to hear from many of our advertisers that LIVING has delivered for them once more. This is thanks to you, our readers, for completing the circle of LIVING so our advertisers continue to come back year after year. We’d like to say an especially large merci to the select band of readers who think LIVING is worth supporting and have donated to our Ko-fi fund - you are our LIVING treasures! And last, but by no means least, thank you to our fantastic contributors and deliverers who go that extra mile each edition. So onto 2020, what will it bring? Will the UK finally leave the EU or will we Brits in France be living in limbo for another 12 months? For the past 3 years I have fought hard for our rights on both sides of the Channel with the British in Europe team as well as locally. As a result, this magazine has been able to bring you the latest information in every edition so you can prepare. But, this volunteering has been at considerable cost to my family and our business so my New Year’s resolution is to redress this balance and hand the Citizens’ Rights baton on to others. Please remind me of this if there is another extension! In the meantime, we wish you a wonderful festive season with friends and family,

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News from around the region

Our unique crossword by Mike Morris

It might be wet and windy outside but there is much that can still be done in your garden



Winter Blues Busters Ten ways to become better acquainted with the region and inject a splash of colour into your winter


All Eyes Turn to MÉCA Jessica Knipe visits Nouvelle-Aquitaine’s new cultural centre with big plans to bring contemporary art to all


“No Limits” For skiers, at least, ‘freedom of movement’ still has real meaning as Roger Moss discovers

Puzzle Break


Practical Advice We put your questions to our professional experts


Citizens’ Rights Kathryn Dobson reveals the latest news for British nationals living in France


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Reflections & Rotations


Living Info Useful contact information you will want to keep close to hand


Alternative Christmas Spins A new look at the traditional Christmas play list

Nikki Legon’s Cuisine


Delicious recipes for festive menus

More French language fun with expert Emma-Jane Lee


Add some Seasonal Sparkle Celebrate with sparkling wines this Christmas


Annual Traditions


Susan Hays reflects on family rituals, both old and new

A profile of Châlus in Haute-Vienne

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

News round up Healthcare reforms

Bordeaux Marché de Noël

Combine a Christmas shopping trip or a visit to MECA (see page 22) with a tour of the Grand Marché de Noël de Bordeaux. Located in Les Allées de Tourny near the Opéra from 27 November to 29 December, over 100 wooden chalets will be filled with handmade gifts from across NouvelleAquitaine, a traditional carousel and plenty of opportunities to enjoy toffee apples, vin chaud and local dishes. Find the full details at


ve only It may feel like they ha l after oo sch to ck just gone ba tmas ris Ch the t Toussaint, bu us, with on up be n soo holidays will breaking students across France r and be cem De 20 up on Friday uary. Jan 6 ay nd Mo returning on ar’s Ye w Ne d an y Christmas Da l on Day, both jours fériés, fal . Wednesdays

Nationwide, seven million people with a low income benefit from health cover support under the CMU-C or ACS schemes, where the ‘top-up’ portion of healthcare costs is covered in full or in part by the State. On 1 November the two schemes were combined and re-branded as Complémentaire Santé Solidaire (CSS). For those who are on CMU-C, there will be no change. Those on ACS now have the choice whether to continue with their current mutuelle or to switch to CMU-C (without penalty from their current mutuelle provider) and pay a monthly contribution according to their age group: 8€/month for under-29s, 14€ for 30-49, 21€ for 50-59 years, 25€ for 60-69 and 30€ for over 70s. They will also benefit from the costs being paid directly from the insurer to the health provider. If this impacts you, you should have received a letter explaining the changes, or you can apply directly to receive it on ameli-fr. Meanwhile, some glasses and dentures will be fully reimbursed from 1 January 2020 (with hearing aids following in 2021), honouring an election promise by Emmanuel Macron. According to a survey in 2018, patients paid an average of 43% of the costs for dental prostheses, 22% of optical costs and 53% for hearing aids.

Sizzling Summer

The outstanding weather this year has been credited with helping the region break previous tourism records. As well as strong domestic figures, Spanish Sarlat-lavisitors returned, and overall the Canéda inland departments showed strong growth, with Deux-Sèvres and Charente up 8.4% and Haute-Vienne up 5%. Rural and green holidays performed strongly. However, British holidaymakers fell overall by 8%, which has been put down to Brexit and the drop in the value of the pound. Here at LIVING we have seen a significant decrease in marketing efforts to attract British tourists and this must also play a role. Dordogne has been hardest hit by the drop in visitor numbers.

Île de Ré

LA ROCHELLE Surgeres Rochefort

CHARENTE-MARITIME (17) Marennes Saintes Cognac Royan


Rouillac Jarnac



ANGOULEME Barbezieux Aubeterresur-Dronne

News from around the region...

les charentes

Angoulême has been awarded the designation of UNESCO Creative City, joining Limoges and three other cities in France. “All over the world, these cities, in their own ways, make culture the pillar, not an accessory, of their strategy,” says UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “This favours political and social innovation and is particularly important for young generations.” Angoulême has received the award within the Literature category (Limoges joined the network in 2017 in the Crafts and Folk Art category) based upon its close relationship to la bande dessinée which is celebrated annually at the international festival – see Diary Dates. As well as a museum dedicated to the art, many walls in the city are adorned with colourful murals, attracting tourists to the area. Globally, some 246 Creative Cities are now recognised, across seven different themes.

© Dept17

Île de Oléron

River dredging

In an effort to reduce floods and restore the aquatic habitat of the Charente river between Rochefort and Saintes, the Charente-Maritime department and the French state are investing seven million euros in dredging over the next 6-8 years. In an ingenious project, sediment sucked from the riverbed, using a specially designed suction arm, will be deposited in two large settling reservoirs. Once the sediment has settled it will be dried, before being mixed with soil to improve local agricultural land. The cleaned water will then be returned to the river. Ultimately, it is hoped that 200ha of land will benefit from over 600,000m3 of sediment. Dredging by the ‘Grande Mulette’ is already underway and will continue until March 2020 before restarting in November.

Tour de France 2020 There was much excitement when the route for the 2020 Tour de France was announced, with a rest day and 3 stages (9, 10 and 11) planned for Poitou-Charentes. Having set out from Nice on 27 June, the riders will arrive in Charente-Maritime on Monday 6 July, following two gruelling mountain stages in the Pyrénées. The following day they’ll set off from the Île d’Oléron and cycle 170km north along the Atlantic coast via Royan, Rochefort and La Rochelle, finishing in Saint-Martin-deRé. Wednesday sees the peloton back on the mainland, where they will leave Châtelaillon-Plage and head inland, racing the 167km to Poitiers with a 1.5km sprint finish into the city centre. Then it’s a short hop east for Thursday’s departure from Chauvigny for Stage 11

to Sarran in Corrèze where, after two days on the flat, they will face the challenging climb up the Suc au May, which will prepare them for Friday’s mountain course in the Massif Central. The race finishes with the traditional Champs-Elysées laps of honour on 19 July. As well as being an amazing spectacle of endurance, the arrival of the Tour in the region for 3 days will bring an important boost to tourism, with many accommodation providers already fully booked. An estimated 10-12 million spectators will watch the race from around the world, showcasing the region and promising to boost visitor numbers in 2021, too. Nearly eighty per cent of visitors to the race are families (with 20% coming from

abroad), many of whom will incorporate the race into a longer holiday in the area. For full details as they are released, see

Île de Ré

LA ROCHELLE Surgeres Île de Oléron


CHARENTE-MARITIME (17) Marennes Saintes Cognac Royan


Rouillac Jarnac



News from around the region...

les charentes FOR FOOD Slipper Saviour? LOVERS ANGOULEME



photo : © Philippe Juhel

Time is running out to rescue the last Charentaise manufacturer of the celebrated slipper or pantoufle charentaise. First produced in the 17th century, the soles were originally made from scrap felt, a by-product of the local paper and pulp industry. The upper parts of the slippers were made from the surplus production of local weavers producing material for Navy uniforms. The current design dates back to 1907 when Dr Jeva near La Rochefoucauld introduced brightly coloured plaid patterns. In 2018, the four remaining manufacturers in Charente, including the historic Rondinaud factory, merged under the umbrella of La Manufacture Charentaise (LMC) but the company has experienced poor sales. Trying to target high-end, younger buyers, the company abandoned their traditional supermarket customers, resulting in their sales quickly going into freefall, despite the slippers receiving a protected geographical indication label earlier in the year. The company was placed in receivership in July. Three possible buyers have since pulled out and time is running out for the business, which is based in Rivières near Angoulême. According to Maire Michel Cuny, around 1,000 jobs will be impacted locally, although production will still continue in the Fargeot factory in Thiviers, in neighbouring Dordogne.


If you head down to the beach at Royan you might be surprised to see a long line of walkers in the sea, even in mid-winter. Welcome to the world of Longe-Côte where participants walk in water up to the diaphragm, with or without the help of a canoe paddle. Clothed in a full wetsuit with aqua slippers, the paddle helps the individuals to balance and steer, as they walk among the currents. Practised by many older people, the sport develops the core body muscles in a weight-reducing environment, particularly important for anyone with joint problems. Regular competitions are held along the Atlantic coast, the aim being to walk as far as possible around a 250-metre circuit in an hour. Winners manage over 3km. The sport was first practised by a trainer in Dunkirk in 2005, being adopted by the Fédération Française de Randonnée Pédestre in 2013. The regional championships will be held in April next year, so there’s still time to join in the preparations! Find out more at:

Local chefs have joined together to compile 36 recipes inspired by the fresh regional produce available at markets local to Royan. ‘Cuisinez le marché du Pays de Royan’ by Editions Sud Ouest costs 15€.

Bégonia d’Or

Behind a modest shop front lies a skilled team of embroiderers keeping alive a centuries-old Rochefort (17) tradition which is today much soughtafter by leading fashion houses, including Chanel, Lacroix, Valentino and Givenchy. The tradition dates back to the times of the Rochefort Arsenal when, between campaigns, flags and uniforms needed to be embroidered with the finest threads. The first gold embroidery workshop was opened in 1930 by Renée Maillet and the Bégonia d’Or now employs 20 women, who continue to embroider, among other things, dress uniforms. The workshop is run by Sylvie Deschamps, Maître d’Art in gold thread embroidery, and it is once again opening its doors to guided visits weekly (English is spoken). Visits take place on Tuesdays, cost 8€ per person and tickets can be purchased via

News from around the region... The third ‘Orchidées Passion’, an international exhibition of orchids, will bring the exotic to Jonzac (17) from 6-8 December. For full details see


Construction toys are in the spotlight at the La Rochelle exhibition centre over the weekend of 14-15 December. Leg & Play attracts 150 participants, with events dedicated to Lego and Playmobil, including giant construction projects and exhibitions by collectors.

Entry costs 5€ for over-15s and 3€ for 3-15 year-olds. Doors open from 10am to 7pm. Jazz à St Sat runs from 9-19 January, with over twenty concerts in and around SaintSaturnin (16), from Angoulême across to Cognac. For details see Laugh off the January blues at Ruffectival on 18-19 January at La Canopée, Ruffec (16), with magicians Les Chapeaux Blancs and Nicolas Del Pozo alongside several circus arts performers. A 2-day pass costs only 22€. See

Carols at Christmas

The French Protestant church in Saintes will be holding its annual English language carol service on Saturday 14 December at 6pm. This traditional service with readings and carols is open to people of all faiths (or none), all nationalities, all languages and all ages. Equally traditionally, the service will be followed by mince pies and mulled wine. “Last year’s service was very well attended, and it was clear that people welcomed the opportunity to gather together to sing some well-known carols”, said the president of the church, Rob Gill Carol. “Carol services have an enduring appeal and at times of uncertainty it’s all the more important to remind ourselves of the eternal truths to which Jesus’ birth bears witness,”. Find the church at 2 cours Reverseaux, close to the town centre.

The annual Bande Dessinée festival returns to Angoulême (16) later than usual from 30 January-2 February.

Marché at the Manoir

Don’t miss the 18th Christmas Market at Manoir de Longeveau, a former cognac estate in south Charente. Festive fun, food and shopping are promised at this year’s fair being held on Sunday, 1 December from 10am to 5pm. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride in the beautiful countryside, sip mulled wine and explore the stalls located across the domain, with an array of gift ideas, beautiful decorations, clothing, artisan food and drinks. A selection of sandwiches, cakes and mince pies will be on offer alongside a wide range of hot and cold refreshments throughout the day. With Christmas carols & Père-Noël in the diary too, there is no better way to kick off the festive season! Le Manoir de Longeveau, Golf d’Aubeterre, 16390 Pillac; tel: 05 45 98 55 13;;

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Île de Ré

LA ROCHELLE Surgeres Île de Oléron


CHARENTE-MARITIME (17) Marennes Saintes Cognac Royan


Rouillac Jarnac



ANGOULEME Barbezieux Aubeterresur-Dronne

Weekend of 29 Nov-1 Dec Don't miss L’Abbaye de Bassac (16): Fri-Sun

The Christmas story comes to life at the Marché de l’Avent at this historic abbey near Jarnac. Manoir de Longeveau, Pillac (16): SUN

Enjoy the Marché de Noël from 10am to 5pm – carols, mince pies, carriage-rides and lots of stalls.

Saturday: *Marennes-Hiers-Brouage (17), Puyréaux(16), Salles Lavalette (16)

Sunday: *Chazelles (16), Jonzac (17), St-Sever-de-Saintonge (17), Yvrac-et-Malleyrand (16)

Sat & Sun: *Montendre (16), Aigrefeuille-d’Aunis (17), Saint-Quantin-de-Rançanne (17), Saint-Sauveur-d’Aunis (17), Saint-Trojan-les-Bains (17)

from 17 > 30 December 18 December *Rouillac (16) Le Vingt-Sept combines a Marché de Noel with two festive theatre performances, open from 10am to 5pm.

December *La 17-24 Tremblade (17) The highlight of the Christmas market is a street theatre and fireworks on 23 December.

21 December *Surgères (17) Celebrate the arrival of Father Christmas with a parade and show for children starting at 3pm.

22 December *Chassenon (16) Seventy stalls make this the perfect place for last-minute presents and festive fun, 9am-5pm.

*Ars-en-Ré (17)

29-30 December

Forty festive stalls for the New Year, doors open from 10am-6pm.

News from around the region...

les charentes

Festive Fun Our pick of seasonal events around the region

Weekend of 6-8 December Don't miss Rochefort(17): Fri-Sun The Grand Marché de Noël opens on Friday afternoon, with a wide variety of stands under cover and a live crèche. Santa will visit at 4pm on Sunday. Combine with a trip to the open-air ice rink, one of the prettiest in France (29 November-12 January).

Royan (17): SAT La Fête des Lumières parade sets off from La Poste roundabout at 6pm, meandering to l’Église NotreDame for a giant light and firework display at 7pm. Ice rink opens on the 6 December with Royan on Ice on 15 December.

Soyaux, Angoulême (16): Sat & Sun Extended to 2 days this year, over sixty stall holders gather, many with unusual items which are perfect for gifts. Inside and outside l’Espace Matisse from 9am: 7pm.


Saint-Porchaire (17): Sat & Sun A Christmas Market in the wonderful setting of Château de la Roche Courbon’s theatre and barn. Local stalls and a visit from Santa.

(17), Montbron (16), Pons (17), Rouffignac (17),

Dolus-d’Oléron (17), Mansle (16), SaintFort-sur-Gironde (17), Sainte-Lheurine (17)

Sunday: *Aubeterre (16), Chabanais (16), Jonzac

Sat & Sun: *Rivedoux Plage (17) Nanteuil-en-Valée (16)

Weekend of 13-15 December Don't miss Châtelaillon-Plage (17): Sat & Sun The end of the year celebrations begin with the Fête de Sainte-Lucie on Saturday, when children with lamps and candles form a procession through the town at 6pm. The Marché de Noël opens on Saturday and runs through until 29 December with a live crèche on 20-23 from 7pm when 70 volunteers bring alive scenes from the nativity. For the brave, join with 500 others in ‘la Baignade des Banquisards’ the annual dip in the Atlantic waters, at 2pm on 29 December. Cognac (16): Fri-Sun Market and entertainment will enliven la Place du Solençon. Saint-Amant-de-Boixe (16): Sat & Sun Les Artisanales de l’Abbaye – discover the unique works by local artists, an ideal opportunity to find those hard-to-get presents. 10am– 6pm.

cember *- 115 De Janu ary

Saintes (16) Les Noëls Blancs head to Russia this year, with a Russian village, skating rink and events.

Garat (16): Sat & Sun Château de la Tranchade’s atmospheric Marché de Noël features a costume parade on Saturday evening between 6 and 7pm (entry costs 5€ for the parade).

Saujon & Mornac (17): Sat & Sun At 2.30pm, climb aboard the Père Noël Express, run by the Train des Mouettes, for a special ride to visit Father Christmas at the Mornac-sur-Seudre Marché de Noël.

Friday: *Confolens (16), Saint-Genis-d’Hiersac (16) Saturday: *Angoulins (17), Brossac (16), L’Éguille (17), Préguillac (17), Saint-Pierre-d’Oléron (17), Saint-Thomas-de-Conac (17)

Sunday: *Archiac (17), Baignes-Saint-Radegonde (16), Brie (16), Champagne-Mouton (16), Les Mathes (17), Ruffec (16), Villebois-Lavalette (16)

All dates were confirmed at the time of printing. Please double check the details before travelling long distances in case of last-minute changes.


Calls will be answered by a local counsellor









News from around the region...

Mushroom Bonanza

favourite: This year proved a bumper year for the Périgordine cèpes. In October 2018 one tonne of them were sold in markets, but in 2019 an exceptional 1.6 tonnes were sold over the same period. According to the Treasurer of the Association Cèpes du Périgord, Anne-Marie Pouzerges, this is the best harvest for more than ten years in northern Dordogne. However, in the south of the département the harvest was much smaller, puzzling local professionals and forcing the cancellation of the traditional markets at Monpazier and Villefrance du Périgord later in the season.

Christmas Services

The Chaplaincy of Aquitaine is holding carol services across Dordogne and Lot-et-Garonne, beginning on the 1 December at Bertric Burée and Limeuil. For the full list of services see

Swimming with Sardines After 50 years of service the communal swimming pool in Bergerac, Picquecailloux, will soon be closing its doors, as the new centre at the Zone d’Activité des Sardines opens in April 2020. Costing ten million euros, the centre will offer a competition pool, leisure pools and more. Built from carefully chosen local materials, the project team are proud of the ecological aspects of the new 2,600m2 building, with the pool heated by geothermal heat pumps and the roof clad in solar panels. Adults will enjoy the wellbeing area with a plunge pool, saunas, hydromassage showers and private beach area, while children will love the kids’ pool with water jets and other fun elements, surrounded by more indoor beaches. The competition pool has seating for 100 spectators. Located near Decathlon and served by the ring road, public transport and a cycle track, parking will be free.


Fête de la Truffe

As winter comes and tourism dies down in Sarlat, the truffles take over! From December to mid-March a truffle market is held under the watchful gaze of the local truffle federation every Saturday from 9am to noon. The highlight of the season is the Truffle Festival held on the third weekend in January, with a packed agenda of tastings, workshops and even digging demonstrations. Finish your visit with a tasting of ‘Croustous’, a tapas made in Périgord and featuring the local delicacy. Other regulated markets are held throughout the season at Sainte-Alvère, Excideuil, SaintAstier, Terrasson, Brantôme, Ribérac, Bergerac, Périgueux, Thiviers, Sorges and Saint-Geniès.

Domestic Violence

An average of one woman is killed every three days in France, the third highest rate in Europe. As a response, legislation is being strengthened and a thousand new shelter places funded. In addition, a large media campaign has been launched to support a new online platform, all under the title ‘Arretons les Violences’. A helpline (3919) has been opened where concerns can be reported anonymously, and incidents can also be declared online. Anyone needing urgent assistance should still call 17, where responders are being trained to better understand the dangers of domestic violence. Find out more at: arretons lesviolences.

News from around the region...

Don't miss

Festive Fun Our pick of seasonal events around the region

Montpon-Ménestérol: Fri & Sun

Marché de Noël on Friday and a Vide-Jouets for Christmas toys on Saturday. Saint-Meard-de-Gurçon: Sun

SWAT Winter Fayre on behalf of animal care associations open from 10am-2pm, with stalls and refreshments.

Sunday: Brantôme, Campsegret, CarsacAillac, Fonroque, Jumilhac-le-Grand, Lanquais, La Chappelle-Faucher, Meyrals, Molières, Saint-Aulaye, SaintSaus-Lacoussière, Saint-Pancrace, Siorac-en-Périgord, Verteillac, Villamblard

er 4-31 Decemb

Sarlat r la Visit the popu eated cr , ge Christmas villa alets with over 70 ch ents ev and lots of free ice an nd organised arou is th of t ar rink, in the he n. w picturesque to

Weekend of 7-8 December

Weekend of 13-15 December

Don't miss

Don't miss

Saint-Astier: Sat Free organ and saxophone concert at 5pm, followed by Fête de la Lumière, when the village lights up in spectacular ways.

Biron: Sat & Sun Saturday afternoon and all-day Sunday, in the village centre. Père Noël visit, treasure hunt and more.

Saint-Victor: Sun Join in the Foulées du Père Noël – run the 10km or 17km race or join the Randonnée Pédestre from 9am. Children can take part in the 800m race. Santa hats and costumes recommended!


Saint-Geniès: Sun The Marché de Noël runs alongside the regular market, which also sells fresh truffles for your Christmas feast.





Saturday: Eymet, Issac,

Chenaud, La Roche-Chalais, Lalinde, Milhac-de-Nontron, Peyrignac

Chavagnac, Mussidan

Weekend of 21 dec-22 dec

Sunday: Lisle, Queyssac, Vaunac

Sat & Sun:

Saturday: Neuvic Sunday: Belvès

La Coquille, Terrasson-Lavilledieu


Write to Santa

Children have until 17 Dec to write to Santa here in France if they would like a reply, or they can email him if they prefer! Write to Père Noël (no stamp or address needed) or email him at pere-noel.

Téléthon 2019

Since 1987 the Téléthon has been uniting volunteers across France to raise money to fight neuromuscular diseases through a weekend of events, including a 30-hour programme screened by France Télévisions (France 2 and 3). This year gene therapies capable of repairing the genetic defects which cause many of these diseases are centre stage, with the slogan ‘Let us multiply victories’. Between 2004-8 over 100 million euros were donated annually, but this dwindled to under 86-million euros last year. Join in events over the weekend of 6-7 Dec to see whether the 90-million euro barrier can again be surpassed.

Périgueux Opening with a parade at 6pm on Saturday 30 November, Père Noël drops in regularly to this fair in the heart of the city. Ice rinks, carousel, chalets, carriage rides and shows await you, before you visit the city’s illuminations. The market is open daily from 10am-7pm (Sunday opens at midday). On Fridays and Saturdays opening is extended until 9pm, with accompanying music. Join the guided ‘Balades aux Flambeaux’ at 7.30pm on 22 & 29 Dec (2€ per person, reservation required) and don’t miss the son et lumière at the Cathedral each evening between 6.30-7.30pm.

24 Nov - 5 Jan Issigeac Artisanal Christmas market with 25 stands open 10am-noon and 2-5.30pm. Closed Sun and Mon afternoon, free entry.

Show how much you

Living at

All dates were confirmed at the time of printing. Please double check the details before travelling long distances in case of last-minute changes.

Weekend of 30 Nov - 1 Dec


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Bressuire Parthenay



Les Sables d’Olonne

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News from around the region...

Weekend of 30 Nov - 1 Dec Don't miss Maillezais (85): 30 Nov-1 Dec & 7-9 Dec Immerse yourself in the atmospheric Oriental market at the Abbaye de Maillezais with its 70 stalls. Festive food, entertainment and more, with doors closing on Saturday at 10pm. Saint-Loup (79): Sat & Sun One of the area’s largest Christmas markets opens from 3-11pm on Sat and 10am-7pm on Sun. 15,000 visitors will enjoy the chateau illuminations, ice rink and large Christmas market. Saturday: Beaussais (79) Sunday: Brioux-sur-Boutonne (79), Falleron (85), Faye-sur-Ardin (79), La Meilleraie-Tillay (85), Mouzeuil-Saint-Martin (85), Nanteuil (79), Saint-Gelais (79) Sat & Sun: Bouin (85), Jard-sur-Mer (85), Le Bernard (85), Saint-Hilaire-la-Palud (79)

Weekend of 20 dec-22 dec Don't miss Bressuire: Sat & Sun Visit the illuminations and artisanal market before joining in the 4km ‘Les Foulées de Noël’ on Sunday for charity. Les Herbiers: Sat & Sun Les courses du Père Noël – do something a little more energetic! Ultra Trail, Nordic walking and cross-country races. Saint-Maixent l’Ecole (79): Sat & Sun ‘Faites des Lumières’ light show with an artisanal market selling gifts, in the Abbey cloisters from 10am – 9pm.

Sat & Sun:

ber 7-24 Dece(7m 9) Niort

tre A popular city-cen a good th wi t rke ma Christmas food d an s selection of artist ice an ts, en ev e liv , producers , ns tio na rink and illumi s onto including projection ening ev ch the Donjon ea until 10pm.

Bretignollessur-Mer (85)

Deux-sèvres & Vendée

Festive Fun Our pick of seasonal events around the region

Weekend of 7-8 December Don't miss


Les Sables d’Olonne (85): Sat Dating back to the 13th century, and traditionally the start of Christmas festivities in the town, La Foire aux Voleurs offers over 120 stalls and free entertainment.

Apremont (85), L’Aiguillon-sur-Mer (85), Menomblet (85), Nalliers (85), Saint-Michel-en-l’Herm (85)

Doué-la-Fontaine (49): Sat & Sun 70 exhibitors in the atmospheric setting of troglodyte caves, 5€ entry, under-12s free.

Sat & Sun:

Sunday: Saint-Symphorien (79), SainteHermine (85), Sainte-Verge(79) La Chapelle-Saint-Laurent (79), La Mothe-Saint-Héray (79), Landeronde (85), Longeville-sur-Mer (85), Luçon (85), Neuil-les-Aubiers (79)

Weekend of 13-15 December Saturday:

Don't miss Neuil-sur-l’Autise (85): Fri-Sun Three ticketed concerts by three outstanding choirs form the 17th Festival des Voix de Noël at the Abbaye. Tickets cost 12€ with under-7s free. Montréverd (85): Sat & Sun Inspired by traditional tales of knights and princesses, the 8th Festival de Jeune Public at the Logis de la Chabotterie has free events and plenty of Christmas cheer. Les Sables d’Olonne (85): Sun La Balade des Pères Noël, an annual costumed motorcycle rally with 1,600 bikes, departs from Challans in late morning, to arrive in Montaigu from 4.30pm.

Aizenay (85), Lairoux (85), Poiroux (85), Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez (85)

Sunday: Foussais-Peyré (85), La Châtaigneraie (85), Le Langon (85), Moutiers-les-Mauxfaits (85), Nesmy (85), Vix (85), Xanton-Chassenon (85)

Sat & Sun: Angles (85), Cerizay (79), Givraud (85), Fontenay-le-Comte (85), La Roche-sur-Yon (85), Les Sablesd’Olonne (85), Saint-Gilles-Croix-deVie (85), Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez (85), Sansais-la-Garette (79), TalmontSaint-Hilaire (85), Thouars (79)

OTHER FESTIVITIES 26 November Sainte Soline (79) The Ark79 Christmas market opens its doors from 10am-4pm with stalls, Santa, mulled wine, mince pies and more.

carefully placed by twenty volunteers into scenes designed by leading ‘santonniers’ such as Fouque, Carbonel and Escoffier. Twenty nearby shop windows carry on the tradition.

29 Nov-26 Jan

27 Dec-early Jan

Beaulieu-sous-la Roche (85) From 2-6.30pm daily, marvel at the scenes created in the 8 different miniature villages, some of which are automated. 700 figurines known as ‘santons’ are

Chez Les Houmeaux (79) This tiny hamlet near Lezay goes to town, with a light display in aid of charity. Started in 1994, more than 20,000 visitors now enjoy the illuminations each year.

All dates were confirmed at the time of printing. Please double check the details before travelling long distances in case of last-minute changes.

Coquilles Saint-Jacques

In the town bearing the same name, suppliers of scallops gather on the morning of 14 December to sell their wares, coming from as far afield as the Baie de Saint-Brieuc on the Breton coast. Last year stallholders sold over a tonne of the shellfish, with supplies running out by 3pm (an improvement on the previous year, when the market had coincided with the funeral of Johnny Hallyday, leading to poor attendance). The market at Saint-Jacques-de-Thouars (79) opens at 9am.

Church Services All Saints Vendée 8 December: Lessons and Carols at Puy-de-Serre, 11am 15 December: Christingle Service at Puy-de-Serre, 4pm 24 December: Christmas Eve Service at Puy-de-Serre, 4pm See

Fairy tail

Discover more about the region’s folklore at the Historial de la Vendée’s latest exhibition ‘Mélusine, Secrets d’Une Fée’ running until 1 March 2020. More than 180 artworks, several lent by Parisian museums, explain the origins of the Mélusine myth, offering interpretations of the fairy serpent and her metamorphoses across the centuries. Entry costs 8€ with under-18s free, open Tues-Sun from 10am-6pm.

Fibre optic Large governmental infrastructure projects are renowned for delays and overspends, but not so the installation of fibre optic across Vendée. Initially scheduled to be completed in 2025, the goal to complete this ‘building site of the century’ has been accelerated to 2023 by partnering with a private company for the areas in and around La Roche-sur-Yon and Les Sables d’Olonne, according to Yves Auvinet, President of the Conseil Départemental. Initially 13 principal towns have been connected, and now the work is underway to reach far into the countryside with the aim to connect all residents. Requiring some 15,000km of cabling, the overall investment in the project is 312 million euros.

Natural endings

Opened in 2014, the first alternative cemetery in Niort (79) is proving popular with families and is now seen as a model for other cemeteries across the country. Designed to be in keeping with the city’s sustainability policy, the Cimetière Naturel de Souché is set in a wooded area with simple landscaping. All the necessary procedures following death have been revised to be ecologically friendly, with the body or ashes returned to the earth as naturally as possible. Chemicals are kept to a minimum, with biodegradable coffins or urns and no artificial flowers, marble tombstones or concrete vaults are permitted; just a limestone marker. In the Garden of Remembrance ashes can be scattered with the name of the deceased engraved onto a brass leaf to be hung nearby. Find out more at



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Charroux Civray

Bellac Nieul



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





Festive Fun

Weekend of 29 Nov - 1 Dec

Our pick of seasonal events around the region

Don't miss Chauvigny (86): Fri-Sun A busy Christmas market combined with Téléthon events make this a popular date in the diary. Open until 10pm on Friday.

Flavignac (87)


Bosmie l’Aiguille (87): Sun For an Xmas fair with a difference, visit the Marché de Noël et Foire à l’Orange which offers products from the Spanish

Le Dorat (87), Lizant (86), Saint-Martial-sur-Isop (87),

Weekend of 20 dec-22 dec Don't miss Saint-Benoît, Poitiers (86): Sat Don your Father Christmas outfit and join in the Course des Pères-Noël, a 7.5km fun run with 1,500 participants which raises money for ‘Un Hôpital Pour les Enfants’. Bellac (87): Sat A popular evening market with a good atmosphere and over 80 stalls, perfect for last minute gifts and some Christmas cheer from 4-10pm. La Souterraine (23): Sun Combine some last-minute shopping with a day out in Creuse at this wellknown market. With 150 stalls, free animations and a visit from Father Christmas, it’s a great way to get into the festive spirit!

Friday: Saturday: Saint-BonnetBriance (87)

Sat & Sun: Loudun (86)

Don't miss Bersac-sur-Rivalier (87): Sat Eighty stalls, festive events and carriage rides between 8am-6pm


Blanzay (86),

Weekend of 6-8 December

Château-Larcher (86): Sat From 3-11pm, join in the fun around the chateau during the Féerie de Noël. Shows, stalls, nativity scenes and refreshments will entertain both young and old.


Sunday: Bussière-Galant (87),

Châlus (87), Nieul (87), Saint-Sylvestre (87), Val-d’Issoire (87)

Les Cars (87), Vicq-sur-Breuilh (87)

Sat & Sun: Montmorillon (86)

Weekend of 13-15 December Friday: Saint-Laurent-les-Eglises (night market, 87)

Saint-Yriex-la-Perche (87), Monts-sur-Guesnes (86), Saint-Germain-les-Belles (87)



Ambazac (87), Charroux (86), Couhé (86), Bonneval (87), Dournazac (night market, 87), Vouillé (86),

Arnac-la-Poste (87), Blond (87), Compreignac (87), Magnac-Laval (87), Saint-Junien (87)


mid-Dec - end Jan

Poitiers (86) A 45m Ferris wheel in Place Leclerc is the centrepiece of this year’s festivities and stays open until 5 Jan. Christmas chalets will dispense cheer and more, while the Parc de Blossac will host a traditional fête foraine from 7 December.

Blanzay (86) Each year, the extravagant nativity creche (photo below) in the church grows a little more, as do the numbers of visitors who come to pop a coin in the slot and light up the animated scenes carefully installed by volunteers.

21 Dec - 5 Jan FUTUROSCOPE Poitiers (86)

29 Nov-31 Dec

Limoges (87) A favourite with of families, visit the es ur nt ve ad e Don’t miss th Christmas village, ed ac -p st fa y, nn adorable Yeti, a fu take Le Petit Train to . Enjoy the 3D Christmas tale see Santa, go skating ll around the or ride down the luge. illuminations, stro and even pose for There are plenty of Christmas village a nt Sa free events to discover ith w o ot a family ph and shops will be open h. ig on his sle on the Sundays leading up to Christmas.

region of Pédralba alongside more traditional fare.

All dates were confirmed at the time of printing. Please double check the details before travelling long distances in case of last-minute changes.

News from around the region...

La Source

After being surprised at the prices in local brocantes, professional furniture restorer Robert Rose and wife Kate realised that there was a market for carefully chosen, reasonably priced pieces, and so La Source was born. Opening its doors in March 2019, La Source is based in an old hair salon in Saint-Martinl’Ars (86) which has been carefully restored to keep its traditional charm. Individual items are checked for condition, treated and mended where necessary, before being displayed. As well as larger items, they stock a wide range of mirrors, tableware, vintage Le Creuset, prints and pictures. With Christmas just around the corner, they also have vintage toys and classic French pieces to make the perfect gift. Robert also offers a professional furniture restoration service, including painting. Find La Source at 5 Place de Souvenir, 86350 Saint-Martin-L’Ars; tel: 06 40 05 37 77 and 07 57 52 00 08. They open from Weds-Sat from 10am-5pm and Sun afternoons.

City Crossings

In Poitiers, for the inaugural edition of ‘Traversées’, twenty artists have installed contemporary works of art in emblematic spaces around the city, from the Palais des Ducs d’Aquitaine to the Musée Sainte-Croix. The leading artist is Kimsooja, a Korean artist based in New York. All the works will be on view until 19 January and there is a full calendar of supporting events for this urban exhibition, staged at a cost of 1.4 million euros. The aim of the exhibition is to invite Poitevins to rediscover their city and to interact with the artworks, from a giant 18m-long table in the Salle des Pas Perdus in the Palais to a mirror floor at the Tour Maubergeon. Entry is free from Tuesday to Sunday, 11am-6pm, and full details can be found at www.

Christmas Services

Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd will be holding church and carol services across the region – find the details at

Les Halles

A six-million euro project to renovate the market hall, built in 1887 in the centre of Limoges, has been completed and Les Halles have re-opened, allowing the permanent stall holders to move back in. The 800m2 historic building has been challenging to refurbish, not least because of limited access to the site. Restoration of the hand-painted porcelain frieze around the exterior of the building, depicting the trades to be found inside, required painstaking attention, first to clean all the tiles and then to retouch them. In addition, the windows have been replaced, a new floor laid and the market stalls rebuilt, all under the watchful eye of Bâtiments de France. As well as an improved internal layout and larger entrance, there is now a new area for events, tastings and demonstrations, as well as an exhibition space for contemporary ceramic works of art. In total there are now 35 stalls and 2 restaurants, each with a terrace. Les Halles are open Tue-Wed 7am-2pm and Thu-Sun 7am-3pm. See:

16 | living places to visit


Low-season calm, SaintMartin-de-Ré



We live in a desirable location, and getting better acquainted with it is the perfect excuse to bring a splash of colour into winter.

ith the creation of Nouvelle-Aquitaine we suddenly found ourself privileged to be among the 5.8 million or so who now call the largest of all the regions of France home. However, an area of almost 84,000km2 takes some getting to know, but doing so brings with it a better sense of belonging – ‘un sentiment d’appartenance’. While this might seem a strange time of year for doing anything other than staying close to the fireside, heading off for a break in unfamiliar surroundings can be a great way to shake off the winter blues. Repeat as necessary and you’ll be rewarded with a whole new appreciation of the different scenery, gastronomy and cultures which make up our regional identity. Sound good? Great, but the possibilities can seem bewildering, so we’ve collected a shortlist of highlights to help you plan your perfect getaway, whether for just a fun day out or to spend a few days completely free from the daily routine.


Market day in Sarlat

living places to visit | 17


Bordeaux has year-round nightlife


Island escapism: Saint-Martin-de-Ré

How does the idea of Saint-Tropez transported from the distant Mediterranean to the nearby Atlantic Coast sound? It’s not as far-fetched as you might imagine, given the Île de Ré’s upmarket image and sought-after yacht moorings. Aerial views reveal a sheltered setting on the lee of the island, with densely packed clusters of Roman-tiled rooftops and an ancient port set within Vauban’s trademark star-shaped fortifications added in 1681. During a fine spell (and there are many here) take a seat at one of the quayside restaurant terraces and feel the winter sun recharging your batteries – and if you’re staying for a few days then you have a tempting choice of premium accommodation, at low-season rates. i


architectural treasures, and you’ll have time to appreciate them all without having the summer tourist crowds for company. Here in deepest Périgord they know how to make dining a memorable occasion, too, so it’s probably best not to think too much about the calories. i


City buzz: Bordeaux beckons

Elsewhere possessing the title of Cité Mondial du Vin would be reason enough to sit on your laurels, but there’s much more to Bordeaux than fine wines. The city is booming, thanks to an


Catching the Atlantic surf, Biarritz

Market days: Sarlat-la-Canéda

Inland historic towns aren’t all at their most lively outside summer months, but Sarlat’s celebrated traditional markets have been attracting traders and buyers for centuries and continue to do so (in fact, they rate as the second most important in the region after Bordeaux). From 4-31 December the place de la Grande-Rigaudie and place du14 Juillet will host the annual Marché de Noël, with illuminations, an ice rink, evening concerts and activities for children. In the surrounding narrow streets lie

18 | living places to visit


The vast Gouffre de Proumeyssac

inspired regeneration programme which transformed the once-desolate rive droite into a highly-fashionable place in which to live and work, with the bonus of classic views of the architectural treasures which lie just across the river. Bordeaux’s shopping experience will leave your head spinning, after which you can unwind in one of the dazzling selection of dining opportunities, from hip bistro to gastronomic blow-out – accompanied by local wines, of course. i

La Rochelle ssssss picture xxxx


Around the Vieux Port, La Rochelle


The Cathedrale Saint-Pierre, Saintes

living places to visit | 19 turn, and it’s brought vividly to life at the excellent maritime museum, whose exhibits aren’t just scale models in glass cases, but also include full-sized vessels, some of which you’re free to board. Nearby are La Rochelle’s world-famous aquarium, two medieval towers built to protect the harbour from attack and a selection of quayside restaurants renowned for fresh fish and seafood. Hidden behind the harbour lies a network of streets lined with boutiques, bars and much more. i

6 4

An aristocratic air: Biarritz

People come here with very different expectations, and Biarritz doesn’t disappoint them. Surfers come hoping to ride the awe-inspiring Basque coast breakers, adding a youthful dimension to daily life in this stylish coastal retreat. The villa built by Napoléon III and Empress Eugénie is still here, and even today you never know who you might catch sight of, although much of the appeal to the rich and famous has always been the promise of a discrete, low-profile escape. You can do the same, and wander through the old fishing port before dining on some of the day’s catch. i


Baywatch: Bassin d’Arcachon

Set on the shores of a vast natural harbour, this former peaceful fishing village was transformed into a stylish resort at the height of the Belle Epoque period by wealthy families from Bordeaux. In recent years the style

inspired a colourful redevelopment of the town centre, which has regular markets and a vibrant café culture. Alternatively, wander among the original villas in the Ville d’Hiver, relax in a spa, try a yoga session on the beach or head round to chic Cap Ferret on the opposite tip of the bay. For something more bracing, the astonishing Dune de Pyla lies just a few km south of Arcachon. i


Going underground: Gouffre de Proumeyssac

In Périgord you never know what might lie beneath your feet, and it’s a safe bet that you wouldn’t be expecting this remarkable curiosity. Whatever the weather might be doing above ground makes no difference when you descend into a different world – a vast subterranean chasm of towering stalagmites and stalactites which has been


Café culture, Arcachon

Harbourside history: La Rochelle

Having one of France’s best short break destinations right on our doorstep is something which is all too easy to take for granted, but if you haven’t been for a while you’ll fall in love with it all over again. The Vieux Port has history at every


20 | living places to visit

Turenne, one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France

astonishing visitors for over a century. Today it’s readily accessible, but you have the option, if you wish, to descend in a basket, like the earliest visitors did. The site is just a couple of km from the riverside market town of Le Bugue, or you could make an excursion while staying in Sarlat. i


Big-town buzz: Saintes

Saintes has a stimulating cultural calendar including concerts, exhibitions and children’s craft workshops, all in an atmospheric, historic setting. There are colourful twice-weekly markets, too, monthly grand fairs plus a healthy selection of bars, bistros and restaurants. If the weather is fine take a riverside walk past the huge Arc de Germanicus and other features from the Roman era, en-route to the Abbaye aux Dames. There are year-round opportunities for visitors to discover the vast medieval abbey complex (today a centre for musical activities and events) through concerts, audio guides, exhibitions and more. There’s also a musical carousel, each ride producing a different composition. i


Deepest Limousin: in & around Tulle

Tucked away behind the 13th century Gothic Cathedrale Notre-Dame (whose restored cloisters now house a museum


The mountains of the Pyrénées are the real thing

of religious art and local traditions) lies the historic heart of this ancient centre of fine lace-making. Narrow streets are lined with time-worn stone facades of five or even six storeys, while those in nearby Ave Charles de Gaulle feature timber upper galleries, as seen down in Basque country – shop or enjoy a meal while watching daily life unfold in time-warp France. Talking of which, Tulle’s National Accordion Centre displays over 500 of these and other instruments, and you can see how accordions have been manufactured and serviced for over a century by visiting the

world-famous Maugein workshops. Finally, Tulle could also provide a base from which to discover character villages like Curemonte, Turenne or Collonges-la-Rouge. i


A white Christmas: the Pyrénées-Atlantiques

Yes, we also have real mountains, where it’s not unusual for snowfalls to surpass even those of the Alps. NouvelleAquitaine’s territory encompasses three mountain resorts: Artouste (14002100m), Gourette (1350-2450m) and La Pierre Saint-Martin (1527-2153m). In addition there’s also dedicated Nordic ski terrain at Iraty (1327m), Issarbe (1450m) and Le Somport (1600m). All locations are close to the Franco-Spanish border, amid spectacular scenery and are very much family-focused. There’s downhill and cross-country skiing for all abilities, plus a range of other activities including dog-sledding, guided snowshoe walks and parapente. Alternatively, you can simply take it easy and watch it from the balcony of your hotel or self-catering apartment – or enjoy some relaxing spa-style pampering. i That should give you plenty of inspiration, and hopefully a renewed enthusiasm to head off and see for yourself some of the many attractions of our region, whatever the season. The bigger picture:

Celebrate Christmas in Style

Mad Hatter’s Kitchen

Serving freshly made good food just for you!

Fri & Sat evening menu €25 ~ Traditional 3-course Sunday lunch €19


Come along to Mad Hatter’s for all your seasonal entertainment!

Fri 6 Dec: Peaky Blinders themed evening and meal Sun 15 Dec: Seasonal Christmas lunch with Christmas carol performance by the clarinetists! Christmas Day: Traditional all-inclusive Christmas lunch with all the trimmings. New Year’s Eve - Hot Buffet with live music, bar New Year’s Day - Champagne Buffet Reservations required: ring or e mail for more info 0549 27 67 29 / Le Logis, Le Breuillac, 79190 Caunay

Restaurants open over the festive season

À L’ABRI DES PINS Restaurant en Charente

Christmas & New Year’s Day Lunch €57 €68 with Drinks & Coffee

Join us over Christmas & New Year Open on Christmas Eve (for lunch & dinner) and Christmas Day for lunch. We’re closed on Boxing Day but otherwise open every day Tuesday to Sunday lunch inclusive.

This charming domain is located in a natural protected area, 8km from Angoulême. The property, enclosed by 80ha of pastures and woodland with a beautiful lake of 10 ha, opened its doors at the end of June 2009. This XIX century manor house has 12 individually decorated rooms. You will be guaranteed a warm welcome in our panelled restaurant with a real fire perfect for winter festivities! Domaine du Chatelard

1079 Route du Chatelard 16410 DIRAC TEL: +33 (0)5 45 70 76 76 English Spoken

New Year’s Eve Dinner €80 all inclusive Philippe & Yveline offer traditional French Cuisine using fresh local ingredients

Bourras 16200 Mérignac T: 05 45 35 81 27 or 06 31 64 85 14 Repas gastronomic

Sat 30 Nov: LIVE ~ 8pm ~ Bennett & Seags


Book your Xmas lunches 1-23 Dec ~ 20€ for 3 courses Wed 11: QUIZ NIGHT ~ 8pm (€10 includes food - €5 goes to charity) Mon 16: OPEN MIC ~ 8 pm Tue 31: NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY! with free buffet

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all our customers!


Wed 8: QUIZ NIGHT ~ 8pm (€10 includes food - €5 goes to charity) Sat 25: BURNS NIGHT ~ Mackenzie Mon 27: OPEN MIC ~ 8 pm

La Brousse, 16700 Londigny tel; 05 45 29 05 07 FB: @aubergedunoyer

See our FB page & website for more info Every Friday is fish & chip night, scampi too - 10€ (full menu also available) Roast every Sunday: 12-3 | *NEW* Chambre d’hôtes

22 | living places to visit

Nouvelle-Aquitaine’s cultural centre may be anchored in Bordeaux but sharing its works across the region is central to all that it does, as Jessica Knipe finds out…

All eyes turn to


ising from Bordeaux’s left bank like a stark cultural totem pole, the recently inaugurated Maison de l’Économie CréAtive et de la Culture – or ‘MÉCA’ – is as mesmerising an objet as the Cité du Vin which frames the city on the other side of the river Garonne. Built in the Quartier de la Paludate, where the old abattoirs used to be, the 18,000m2 building is home to various organisations brought together to champion the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region’s cultural affairs. The cultural cooperative, which cost 60 million euros to build, was designed by Bjarke Ingels, the Danish architect behind Google’s new HQ in London. Under its roof, the Fonds Régional Artistique Contemporain (FRAC), the Office

living places to visit | 23 President Rousset. “Our ambition is for a new generation of cultural politics which support young contemporary creation, and which has all the tools to distribute it dynamically throughout the entire Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.” Regrouping cultural agencies representing film, literature, theatre and more under one roof also paves the way for more ‘cross-fertilisation’ of the arts. “Culture is more than food for the soul to nourish society; it’s something we should never ignore, for democracy, for fraternity, for collective intelligence…”

Artistique de la Région NouvelleAquitaine (OARA) and the Agence Culturelle de la Région NouvelleAquitaine (ALCA) welcome around 200 troupes, artists and authors each year. They develop their acts or artwork in the MÉCA’s workshops and showroom, before taking them to the wider world. Its simple complexity is a striking testament to the fact that NouvelleAquitaine has a broad, rich and vibrant cultural community. The region is France’s second largest in terms of film production, and the FRAC acquires and preserves a 1,200-strong contemporary art archive, curating and circulating

the works with both in-house and travelling exhibitions, to share their cultural value with the region at large. In the 80s, when the FRAC’s collection was established, contemporary art was very different, for there were few collections in France. But the government, which at the time wanted to decentralise power and culture from Paris, made an unprecedented move to collaborate with the regions. The MÉCA building is one of current Nouvelle-Aquitaine President Alain Rousset’s steps to unite the organisations working to develop the region’s cultural assets. “The inauguration of MÉCA has opened a new chapter of cultural decentralisation,” explains

explains Mr Rousset. “It’s also a space for development. Culture carries meaning, and I want to bring back that meaning to the heart of the NouvelleAquitaine.” Providing this space, and time for interaction, has resulted in the creation of over 400 events supported by the region each year, including 30 big exhibitions (of which three or four are in-house), all revealing the diversity of the region’s treasures. Before the move into MÉCA, the FRAC Nouvelle-Aquitaine had just 400m2 in which to showcase its collection, which when it wasn’t being displayed was spread between three different storage areas. Now all the works are stored together under one roof and the exhibition space has tripled to 1,200m2, enabling a larger share of the collection to be shown each time. The FRAC’s mission is to collect, circulate and communicate: supporting young contemporary artists by collecting their works, circulating art Photos: TOP LEFT & TOP RIGHT: © laurianghnitoiu; BOTTOM LEFT: © Alexandre Dupeyron; ABOVE & RIGHT: © O. Panier des Touches

24 | living places to visit

Full access For those who can’t make it to the travelling exhibitions, the FRAC is currently digitising its collection to display on a website aimed at schools. The works will be modelled in 3D, so visitors will be able to see above, below and all around them, getting even more out of them than visitors to the MÉCA. When the website is finished you’ll be able to see it at:

Photo above: © jean-michel destang ; Photo right: ©laurianghnitoiu; Vase and print © Jean-Christophe

Suzanne Husky ‘The Last Frontier du vivant’, 2015

to regional residents and communicating descriptions of the art. That means not only thoroughly explaining the artwork in the exhibitions in booklets, but also with the help of ‘flying mediators’ who circulate around the gallery ready to answer any questions. It’s not a museum, it’s a collection and it’s treated with all of the love and enthusiasm that such an endeavour entails. The wide, airy space allows for ambitious, rich shows curated not only from the region’s archive but also other public and private collections. From 7 December 2019 until 21 March 2020, MÉCA will be showing “Narcisse ou la Floraison des Mondes”, a cross-media

All the details The FRAC gallery, on the 5th floor of the MÉCA, is open to the public Tuesdays to Saturdays from 1pm-6.30pm. Tickets are on a Pay-As-You-Feel basis, with a minimum of €1. Visits can be planned in English, in braille or in sign language, and there are one-hour Family visits for parents and children from the age of 6 every Wednesday at 4.30pm. Call 05 47 30 34 67 for more information, or see

such as Les Nuits Romanes, for example, was a big blow to towns in the north of the new region. But MÉCA isn’t just a bastion for the Bordelais. Not only do its shows assemble artwork from the region’s three FRACs (MÉCA in Bordeaux, Arthotèque in Limoges and FRAC Poitou-Charentes in Angoulême), but thanks to its mobile ‘MÉCAno’ Lois Weinberger display units, the foundation’s artworks ‘Green Man’, 2004 can travel throughout the region, bringing culture into the countryside. Mobile projects are created together exploration of the representation of with organisations such as hospitals, flowers in art today, with photography, retirement homes, schools or centres painting, sculpture and video works for migrants, who get the choice of of 57 artists including Bas Jan Ader, most of the FRAC’s collection to share Jeff Koons and Lois Weinberger. with their own visitors. On average What of the rest of the Nouvellein France, less than 30 per cent of an Aquitaine residents who live too far art collection moves around each year, from Bordeaux to travel to MÉCA to yet for the FRAC, more than half the get their culture fix? When the new collection visits the rest of the region. regions were created in 2015, reuniting The nomadic policy and organisational the Poitou-Charentes with Limoges philosophy behind the MÉCA speaks volumes about the regional anchoring and Aquitaine, funds were pooled of its international collections; the together to provide bigger budgets to future for art in Nouvelle-Aquitaine is be spread over a 84,061 km2 area. As a result, many events were slimmed bright, and it intends to reach each and down, and the loss of smaller festivals every one of its residents.

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€498,200 FAI

€197,950 FAI

Idiade 768: Charming and beautifully renovated property with 4 large bedrooms, beautiful bathrooms, 1 bedroom gite, pool and pretty garden. 7 km fromSt Jean D’Angély.

Idiade 5751: Charming Charentaise Longere with spacious reception rooms, ground floor bedroom and 3 beds on the 1st floor. Central heating. Enclosed and private garden.

DPE: C - Honoraires à la charge du Vendeur

DPE: D - Honoraires à la charge du Vendeur

€550,000 FAI

Idiade 6179: Beautiful town house in the heart of St Jean D’Angély with spacious rooms, elegance and elements of a bygone age but the comfort of the present day. 5 beds, 4 baths, 4 wc. Small workshop / independent room off the beautiful terrace which is perfect for entertaining! Large garden. Furniture included DPE: D Honoraires à la charge du Vendeur

€954,000 FAI

Idiade 6471: Superb 10-bed Manor house sat in 38 Ha with stunning views. Large barn ripe for conversion. Isolated but only 6km from shops. 30 minutes from Limoges Airport (87330 La Val d’Issoire). DPE: Vierge - Honoraires à la charge du Vendeur

Wishing all our clients a very Merry Christmas!

26 | living places to visit

“No limits” For skiers, at least, ‘freedom of movement’ still has real meaning – it’s all about connections WORDS & PHOTOS: Roger Moss


ith over 250 ski resorts of all sizes spread across the Alps, Pyrénées, Massif Central, Jura and Vosges, we can head off for a ski break whenever and wherever we choose. No other country even comes close to that kind of choice, and you could spend a lifetime trying to ski them all without ever having left France. Sooner or later, though, the urge to ‘ski without limits’ is sure to tempt you to ski across the border for a change of scenery, more varied cuisine or just so you can tell your friends that you’ve been there. Happily, you can ski straight into another country and back again from a select handful of resorts located so close to their borders with Italy or Switzerland that the piste networks and lift systems on each side operate as one, so let’s look at what you can expect in ski areas offering this kind of international experience. Perhaps the best-known, particularly among skiers from the UK, is the Portes du Soleil, the collective title for seven ski villages in France and their five counterparts in Switzerland. Located east of Geneva between Lac Léman and Chamonix, their combined terrain offers near-limitless skiing for all abilities among the dazzling scenery of the Massif du Chablais and Valais areas. Most Brit-focused of the villages is Morzine, which offers 77km of cross-country and Nordic ski trails. The main attraction, though, is lift access to over 150km of groomed downhill

Awe-inspiring views from l’Aiguille du Midi, above Chamonix

living places to visit | 27 Courmayeur, on the Italian side of Mont-Blanc

“you can ski straight into another country and back again from a handful of resorts...”

runs from up to 2466m, both above the valley and shared with its slightly more upmarket neighbour Les Gets (both villages carry the family-friendly ‘Famille Plus’ label). Armed with a full Portes du Soleil lift pass you can ski over 600km of groomed pistes, 30 snowparks, boarder-cross and ski-cross runs and much more, linked by some 200 ski lifts. Add endless off-piste/ ski-touring opportunities and the only limiting factor is your fitness level. For the highest altitude, snow-sure skiing look to Avoriaz, which is also closer to the Franco-Swiss frontier. Even closer, though, is Châtel, a charming traditional-style village whose Super-Châtel high-speed gondola will haul you smoothly from the heart of the village up to within 50m of the border. One onward chairlift drops you in the Swiss sector above Morgins, with few clues that you’ve just swapped countries. It really is that quick – but keep your passport with you, just in case. The snowy mountains and colourful villages of Switzerland look just as you always imagined them, but if you’re more attracted to ‘la bella Italia’ then you have some interesting options, starting a little further south at La Rosière, perched 1850m above the Tarentaise valley. There’s a friendly vibe, and things recently edged further upmarket with the addition of France’s first Hyatt Centric hotel. Just above the village is the Col du

Petit Saint-Bernard (2188m), gateway to Italy’s Aosta Valley. In winter the

route disappears altogether under the thick carpet of snow which transforms the mountainsides between La Rosière and La Thuile into the magnificent Espace San-Bernardo ski area. Skiing between the two brings a real sense of adventure, one particularly long cruise following the meandering route of the mountain road, with a superb restaurant along the way for real Italian dining. Just up the valley from La Thuile is French-sounding Courmayeur, another friendly village with its own great skiing, and a popular excursion for skiers from Chamonix. The Mont-Blanc tunnel provides a quick link between the two, although there are far more interesting ways for experienced skiers to cross the frontier. On the French side the muscular Aiguille du Midi cable car will drop you just below the breathless 3842m summit, either to ski back down via the world-famous ValléeBlanche or to take a sensational 5km ride across snow-covered glaciers on the Panoramic Mont-Blanc cable car. You’ll arrive at the Pointe Helbronner (3466m) to ski off-piste or take another epic cable-car ride down to Courmayeur. Either way, it’s an experience you’ll long remember. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a more relaxed border crossing then I can recommend Montgenèvre

28 | living places to visit

Scenic skiing above La Thuile Lunch, Italian style

(1860m), one of my all-time favourite ski resorts, near Briançon in the Hautes-Alpes. It’s a long drive from the UK, but perfectly viable for France-based skiers. The attractive village became even more so some years ago when a road tunnel rerouted Turin-bound traffic safely out of sight, and calm descended on the front-de-neige. Since then things have taken off, with new self-catering apartment accommodation for skiers keen to make the most of Montgenèvre’s own excellent skiing, plus doorstep access to a whole lot more across the Franco-

Pyrenean possibilities?

By now you’re probably wondering about possibilities in the Pyrénées. Well, Artouste, Cauterets, Gavarnie, Gourette, Le Mortis, Luz Ardiden, Peyragudes, Piau Engaly, La Pierre Saint-Martin and Saint-Lary Soulan all sit beside the border, but so far none is lift-linked to ski resorts in Spain. One day, perhaps – the Pyrénées do receive heavy snowfalls.

Epic snowfall in the Portes du Soleil

Italian frontier, just 2km away. Feel like having lunch in Italy? No problem; take a high-speed chair-lift ride and ski down into Claviere (1760m), or explore over 400km of groomed pistes in the vast Via Lattea (Milky Way) area, which links the terrain of Claviere, Cesana, Sansicario, Sestriere and Sauze d’Oulx. Naturally, along the way there’s also near-limitless off-piste potential. The cherry on the top is that skiing this far south gives you more sunshine, combined with significant snowfalls, thanks to high altitudes. Tempting, isn’t it? And right now it’s looking even more so, for while others continue to obsess about border issues, it looks as though we can quietly continue to enjoy skiing without limits.

living places to visit | 29

Insurance for cross-border skiers We know that EHIC cards are set to disappear in the event of a no-deal Brexit, but they have never covered potentiallypricey on-mountain recoveries in the event of an accident. If you already have French personal accident insurance then check the policy, as winter sports could well be included in (or added to) your existing cover.

Perfect conditions in Courmayeur

If not, then specialist insurance cover for skiers is a wise precaution, so we asked Michael Pettifer of ski and travel insurance specialists MPI Brokers for his thoughts: “Skiing over borders has been an insurance matter for years and is particularly relevant

where insurers have different rates per country. At MPI our premiums are lower for France, so for skiing in the Portes du Soleil, for example, our Territorial Limits wording is: You are insured to travel to and within the country or countries shown under the heading ‘Destination’ on your certificate, and for up to 24 hours at any one time in a neighbouring country. This also deals with those travelling through Geneva to ski in France.” A final option is to purchase Carré Neige or similar per-day comprehensive cover when you buy your lift passes.

Returning to Montgenèvre from Italy Above La Rosière, en-route for La Thuile

Chairlift from Montgenèvre to the Italian links

30 | living family

Avec les enfants ––––––

Annual traditions

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even included a hen once the cats had fled; I seem to recall that the photo took over an hour to complete! This is one of our family traditions that we seem to have managed to keep on course as the 20th century came to an end and its successor has taken hold. Thinking about it made me wonder how Christmas holiday seasons evolve as people grow older. The simple fact that this spans two centuries sounds far more impressive than it is, but I began to question what happens outside our little family world to create that evolution. We have other traditions of course – some old, and some relatively new – but it surprises us just a little how seriously the young in the family now seem to take them. The new ones include the buying each year of TWO turkeys (French ones are so small but so tasty and delicious compared to the huge offerings from the UK). One is to be cooked on Christmas Day and the other three days later, just to continue the festive fare all the way through to the New Year. This means an endless supply of soup for supper, which takes me back to my childhood, my mother and the Aga that glowed softly with

© photo above:; images & emotion

warmth at the heart of the kitchen all winter. This is a very old tradition, and one which no doubt goes back centuries in many families. Another newish tradition we have now is the annual trip to Rochefort for skating under the Christmas lights, where Roddy and I watch the kids rush around a crowded rink while we sip mulled wine on the sidelines, often with friends. We might break a little with tradition this year, though, and ensure some wrist guards are worn by Gigi, who suddenly caught an edge and fell just one second into the adventure last year, fracturing her wrist. Skating is such a ritual now that it is discussed for weeks beforehand and no matter how warm or cold it is, it’s still a great occasion for getting out gloves, scarves and Christmas hats. It goes hand in hand with wandering around the Christmas market among little wooden cabins which have been set up selling all manner of festive goodies. And of course we’ve introduced the children to hot roasted chestnuts, cooked in front of their eyes over a charcoal fire and typically sold



At a time for reflection, family rituals, both old and new, are once again in our thoughts. Every Christmas Day, sometime between breakfast and lunch, when there is a lull in the festivities, we line up as a family under the Christmas tree for our annual photograph. A camera is found, attached to a tripod, and a self-timer function is activated. Many photos are taken, and then retaken, typically with only Roddy happy with just the first one - he simply does not care much what he looks like and is anxious to get back to the kitchen and check on the turkey, for he is the master chef on Christmas Day. All the girls, however, complain at something in each photo, and I admit reluctantly that I am included in this group. It’s normally at least 30 minutes before we are all satisfied. Sometimes we are successful in keeping all the pets in view too, but most years the cats are long gone after the first flash, and Bentley and Evie need some coercion to remain in the frame - tasty tidbits are in abundance, of course. One year we





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living family | 31

walks. Another tradition occurs during lunch on the 1st of January, when we announce our New Year’s Resolutions. It’s strange how the children have embraced this, with recent resolutions all very mature in comparison to those of years gone by. Happily, we have found our once small people have all become deep thinkers, and changes to world order are always on their minds at this time of year and much in discussion, so New Year’s Day lunch lasts for hours! 1




in paper cones. Long before we set foot on the ice we will have begun opening our Christmas advent calendar. During our first year at the house here we made one from an old white louvred shutter and a clutch of 24 glass yoghurt jars, into which we insert a nightly whimsical treat. They are tiny simple little gifts and even though our house is now full of teenagers they still find it as exciting as they did when they were eight or nine. On Christmas Eve the final one to be opened is always slightly different. This jar contains clues and these in turn lead to a giant treasure hunt around the house before the real treasure is found. The old traditions continue, of course. Among them are the aforementioned soups, board games around open fires (this can be a serious business, too) and long

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

As we head into another New Year we wonder what 2020 will bring. We pray that there will be peace in war zones, and we always take a moment to raise a toast to those no longer with us. I remember doing just this as a child and we’ve kept this going, passing it onto the next generation of our family. We’ve embraced the old rituals, we’ve added our own new ones and included many French traditions too. It’s a great way to end one year and begin another.






8 8

While away a winter’s evening with our cryptic crossword compiled uniquely for LIVING readers by Mike Morris. Once you have found all the answers, the theme will reveal itself. But don’t despair, if you need a helping hand, the answers can be found on page 64.

money still to be paid? (4, 5) 21. Greek character, the first to publish historical intrigue? (3) 22. Call round eastern states offering a new life? (7) 23. Practise on relay before dawn? (5)

9 10


11 12


12 14


Clues Down 1. Laid back queen starting Clues Across 17 to sell ice-boxes? (7) 1. Vince perhaps providing 2. Grab a live bomb taxi for the French? (5) 16 in posh area? (9) 4. From the start we always 3. Eastern administration legalised monarch to follow the being resolved? (7) greenest form of transport? (7) 4. One method advocated 8. Fossil fuel found buried 19 for saving the planet said to be in boiling geysers? (3) carrying less weight now? (5 - 8) 9. A screen no better to 5. “Love to Heather”, expressed make an echo? (9) 10. Found lofty home after being an in informal language? (5) 6. Scotsman being the last unknown in disunited Ireland? (5) 22 to ski Austria mountain? (3) 11. Natural damage, or noise? (7) 7. Tiger, for example, has this 13. A massive project for us all; please have TNT prepared! (4, 3, 6) as a target as an attitude to protect the planet? (5) 16. Ballet group showing up, 12. Landlord locating essential part and as the cast? (7) of castle in inner enclosure? (9) 18. Comes across as joints 14. Give angels a recipe on the radio? (5) for Italian dish. (7) 19. Socialists including FA in

14 16




18 20



22 21

24 26

15. Appear in court to try out a condition on one of unknown value? (7) 16. Energy I extracted from tar mixture is sustainable? (5)

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17. Eastern kind of plain clothes policeman covering piping centre? (5) 20. Short complaint reportedly left by plane? (3)

Living at

32 | practical living

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

Vehicle insurance


I need to insure my vehicle here in France, what differences are there from the UK?

Just as in the UK, it’s illegal to have a vehicle on the road without insurance, but there are a number of differences compared to the UK market: Any vehicle that goes on the road, including ride-on mowers and the like, must be insured. If your vehicle is still registered with a British registration number, you might only get temporary cover whilst you are carrying out the French registration process. I recommend you carry this out well before your current policy runs out, as it can sometimes take a while. The French company will ask for a relevé d’information from your current insurer. This is your proof of no-claims bonus. It takes 13 accident free years to achieve full

no-claims bonus here, so provide as much information as possible. If you are not listed as a named driver or, for whatever reason, you have not had a vehicle for a while, you risk being considered a new or novice driver, which carries a hefty policy excess. While youngsters can start to learn to drive from 15, they cannot drive unaccompanied under the age of 18, even after successfully completing both parts of their driving test. Advise your insurance broker as soon as any young driver gets their full license and get them listed as a habitual driver in order to build their own no-claims bonus. An upside to French policies is that they have a breakdown insurance included in the fee – check whether this is from home or only away from home. You may want to upgrade for these cold winter mornings if your car isn’t reliable! If your car is being repaired and you are offered a hire car by the garage, ask if you are expected to insure it, and at fully comprehensive cover or otherwise. In this event, call your insurers and ask if they can do this for you free of charge, or a small fee, or risk paying a heavy policy excess in the event of an accident. Should you lose your license through loss of points/alcohol/ illegal stimulants, you are under a legal obligation to advise your insurance company of this fact, as you would be in the UK.

Miriam MIDDLETON is bilingual and advises clients on all aspects of French insurance, both personal and professional. Agence Billaud, 16260 Chasseneuil-sur-Bonnieure; email: agence@; tel: 06 76 65 81 67 Assurances Solutions - ORIAS 13001728 - 13001611 (www. - SIRET 790 805 303 00019, Garantie Financière et RC Professionnelle Police CGPA C110110.

Monetary gifts

This allowance is cumulative with another of €31,865 granted every 15 years for gifts of money, I’d like to give each of my children a lump if the parent is under the age of 80 and the child is an adult. sum. How is this Beyond that, tax is to be paid. treated in France? The threshold of €31,865 When we talk about applies to children, grandgifts in France, we think children, great-grandchildren, more about the gift of nieces and nephews, still providing a property rather than a sum that the donor is under 80-years of money. Both are valid and old and the receiver is an adult. permitted in France, but they do The formalities are less comnot have the same formalities. plicated than with a property A gift of a property will – either the donor or the automatically be carried out recipient have to complete tax before a Notaire to be registered form 2735-SD and lodge it with at the Land Registry. A gift of the tax administration. Again, money is known as ‘don manuel’ this is not an obligation but is and French law does not recommended, especially if you prohibit parents from helping are a French resident. Monetary their children by giving them gifts will need to be declared money. However, the gift still when the donor dies, in order to has to comply with certain settle the estate and re-establish legal and tax rules. parity between the children. The don manuel is not taxable until it is declared or made Christophe known to the tax administration. Dutertre is In practice, the monetary gift a bilingual Frenchbecomes taxable if the receiver qualified declares it to the tax adminisNotaire with tration, if the receiver has been over 22 years’ granted a gift by the same experience, donor or inherits from him, or 15 of which when the don manuel has been were working brought to the attention of the in law offices in Monaco and tax administration in response to with the banking industry in a request or a tax audit. Luxembourg. FranceTaxLaw The don manuel will be taxed specialises in French and European the same way as any other gift notarial law and advises clients with the following tax allowance: on all aspects of civil or tax law. A parent can give up to; tel: +44 €100,000 to each child without (0)20 8115 7914; email: info@ paying gift tax, every 15 years.


practical living | 33

How tax-efficient is Assurance Vie?


I have heard that an Assurance Vie is a good, tax-efficient way of investing. Is this so?

I am often asked why an Assurance Vie policy is a sensible way to invest your hard-earned savings as a French resident. Here are three good reasons explaining how they can be tax-efficient: 1. If you do not withdraw money from your Assurance Vie, investment growth need not be included in your annual tax return calculations. 2. If you do withdraw money from your Assurance Vie, tax is applied to the growth element

only, as a percentage of the overall investment pot. This means tax is not applied to the whole withdrawal. 3. In the event of your death, when calculating the Inheritance Tax liability, funds within your Assurance Vie are treated differently and favourably compared to the rest of your estate. You receive an allowance of €152,500 per beneficiary and the balance is taxed as follows: a) Amounts between €152,501 and €700,000 are taxed at a rate of 20% b) Any balance above €700,000 is taxed at 31.25% The allowance is reduced if you

take out the Assurance Vie when you are above the age of 70 to €30,500 in total. Everyone’s circumstances are different, so it is important

to take professional financial advice, from a regulated company, before deciding whether an Assurance Vie might be right for you.

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

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Citizens’ rights after


Kathryn Dobson, a member of British in Europe’s steering team, examines the latest developments for British nationals living in France as the Brexit debacle drags on


Another edition of LIVING and we find yet another cliff edge averted, another extension agreed. But has anything really changed?

REGISTRATION Here in France, there was one important step forward in early October when the online portal for residency permit applications was unveiled (see CdSapp). While it was only due to come into action on 1 November if there was no deal, it was useful to see the format and the simplicity of the application process. If it goes live the majority of British citizens will be able to use the portal to apply, and swapping an existing permanent residency carte de séjour for a non-EU one looks straightforward. For the potentially significant minority who have a more complicated situation, there is the opportunity to add comments and ultimately present additional documents. So far we have not heard whether the online portal will be used for pre-Brexit applications or in the case of a deal.

GENERAL ELECTION Back in the UK, all eyes are on the upcoming General Election while Brussels watches on bemused as yet more layers of confusion are added. Will we leave on 1 January, 1 February, in 6 months time or never? If you have been out of the UK for less than 15 years, you can vote in the election but you will need

to move fast and avoid using the post see our information panel.

CITIZENS’ RIGHTS Despite all the discussion about reopening the Withdrawal Agreement, which may or may not have happened, depending on which side of the negotiation table you sit, no significant changes have been made to the citizens’ rights text contained within it. As far as our rights are concerned, remaining in the EU and keeping our current rights would be by far the best outcome, followed by a deal, while no deal would be disastrous for many. Even with a deal, there is no certainty of the final rights we would have after the transition period, which is still due to end on 31 December 2020.

OUTREACH Meetings While Government officials are in purdah running up to the election, there is limited value in holding outreach meetings as the discussion would necessarily be curtailed. For this reason, the proposed November meeting in Civray (86) has been postponed until after the election. In reality, this means in the New Year, as many of us will be travelling around Christmas and venues are fully booked for festivities. NOTE: As links to government websites tend to be long, we use the shortener to help. Type the link into your browser and it will redirect to the correct page.

Municipal elections are held every 6 years in France. The next election will take place in March 2020 and to vote, you must be an EU citizen and registered on the electoral roll of your commune by 7 February (not 31 December, see If you gain French nationality after 7 Feb then, exceptionally, you have until 5 March to register. If Brexit is again delayed past March then Brits will be able to vote. However, if a deal has been done and we are in a transition phase or if we have crashed out without a deal, Brits will no longer be EU citizens and will lose the associated voting rights.

INDEPENDENT INFORMATION The French Government site has now been translated into English ( and the UK Government continues to update its ‘Living in’ guide ( but where should you go for quality independent information that clearly explains the implications for individuals in France? Kalba Meadows and LIVING’s Kathryn Dobson, both members of the British in Europe steering team, have got together to provide a new information website specifically for France and which will also include details from meetings with officials from Paris, Whitehall and Brussels. Bookmark it to ensure that you are kept up-to-date with the latest important information:

living brexit | 35

BRITISH IN EUROPE NEWS EVIDENCE TO THE HOUSE OF LORDS Jeremy Morgan QC, vice-chair of British in Europe was invited to present evidence to the House of Lords EU Justice Committee on 22 October 2019. Given the scope of the committee, the evidence he provided was focused on the areas that are in AFCO PRESENTATION the gift of the UK, namely: On 8 October Jane Golding, co-chair of • Continued uprating of UK state penBritish in Europe, and a representative sions past the three years proposed. from the3million were invited to • Continued provision of EU reciprocal present to AFCO, the influential healthcare. Constitutional Affairs Committee in the • Retention of the existing right of UK European Parliament which is chaired citizens returning to the UK to bring by Antonio Tajani. This is the second their non-UK families with them. visit to the committee, the first having • Retention of rights re student fees taken place in November 2017. and finance for UK citizens resident in Both organisations challenged MEPs to the EU past the proposed 7-year limit. stand up for the rights of the 5 million • Government policy and messaging (UKinEU and EUinUK) after having about EUinUK and the importance promised much to us over the past 2 of reciprocity. years. Given the threat of an imminent • Communication campaigns to reach no-deal Brexit, they stressed that the British citizens in EU countries. time to safeguard rights is now and that A written paper was submitted which if an extension is agreed, ring fencing can be read on the BiE website. As a our rights needs to be a priority. result, Lord Morris, Chair of the EU

Justice Sub-Committee, wrote to James Duddridge, Under Secretary of State at DExEU, supporting the calls made by BiE. The paper and subsequent letter can both be read on the website.

VOTING IN THE UK GENERAL ELECTION As we send the magazine to print we are counting down the final days of registration to vote in the upcoming General Election. If you have been out of the UK for less than 15 years and were on the electoral roll before you left, you can register for a vote in your old constituency. All registrations to vote from abroad must be completed by midnight on 26 November - many electoral offices accept scanned documents to speed up the process. All you need to register is your National Insurance number and passport - the process itself is simple. However, registration is just the first hurdle to jump. The bigger one is how to make sure your vote is counted. In previous votes, such as the 2016 referendum and 2017 election, many postal ballots were not received in France in time to be returned. It is unclear how many of the returned ballots reached their destination

in time to be counted as incorrect postage-paid envelopes were sent to some, and others were caught in slow post. This time, the situation is more precarious. Not only is the timescale very short, nothing has been put in place to overcome the issues faced in the last two elections so it is likely that many voters will not receive their postal vote packs in time. In addition, there is the Christmas rush, planned strike action in France from 5 December that could block transport routes, and potential strike action by the Royal Mail. To avoid the post, you will either need to return to the UK to place your vote in person or, as recommended by many electoral officers, find a proxy to place your vote on your behalf. A ‘postal proxy’ takes a longer time to set up and relies on the aforementioned post. The best option is a ‘personal proxy’ but they have to vote in person in your

place - not just in your constituency, but at your designated polling station. This may make things difficult if you no longer know (or trust) anyone living there or nearby. There are options to help to find a reliable proxy (some are specific to those wanting to vote to remain): 1. BiE and the3milliion have joined together to find proxies. Find out more at: 2. Join the FB group ‘Remain Proxy Voters’ at: 3. Join your local ‘For Europe’ in UK via Facebook and ask there 4. Ask for suggestions at the local office of the party you wish to vote for. But get your skates on, if you want to change your existing proxy or postal vote, the deadline is 5pm on 27 November and if this is your first proxy or postal vote it must be registered by 5pm on 4 December.

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36 | living nikki legon’s cuisine

With Christmas around the corner, Nikki shares some of her favourite recipes for entertaining friends and family...

Nikki Legon's

cuisine Festive Crackers

Pearl Barley & Mushroom Soup

Festive Crackers A delightfully easy aperitif to serve with drinks before dinner bag of cooked prawn crackers 250g cream cheese 1 large tablespoon mayonnaise 1 tbsp chives finely chopped 20 cooked large prawns Small tub of salmon caviar Method In a bowl, mix together the cream cheese and mayonnaise until soft and creamy. Add the chives and a spoonful of salmon caviar, mix gently. Place a spoonful of the mixture on each cracker. Top with a prawn then a little salmon caviar.

Pearl Barley & Mushroom Soup

METHOD In a large saucepan, heat the butter and sautĂŠ the thinly sliced onion and sliced mushrooms for 10 minutes serves 6 on a medium heat. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. 15g butter 1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced Drain the pearl barley thoroughly and add to the pan with the stock and 100g button mushrooms, sliced diced carrot. Season to taste. 100g pearl barley, soaked overnight 1 litre of vegetable stock (substitute Bring to the boil and then simmer for with beef stock for non-vegetarians) 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the potatoes and cook for a 1 large carrot, peeled and diced further 10 minutes or until all 225g potatoes, peeled and diced the vegetables are tender. 300ml of single cream Stir in the cream and season to taste. salt and pepper to taste

Crab-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

living nikki legon’s cuisine | 39

Crab-stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

50ml chopped fresh parsley ¼ tsp Cayenne pepper 20ml lemon juice 20ml oil

serves 6

Method Heat the oven to 190°C. Melt half of the butter in a small pan and cook the chopped onion until soft, stirring. Leave to cool. In a bowl combine the crab meat, breadcrumbs, beaten egg, thick cream, and parsley. Add the cooled onions, mix until well blended.

18 medium-sized Portobello mushrooms 60g butter 1 onion, finely chopped 250g fresh or frozen crab meat 125g fresh breadcrumbs 1 large egg, beaten 50ml thick cream

Sumptuous Christmas Pie serves 6

2 onions peeled, finely chopped 2 leeks, finely sliced 1 tbsp olive oil 3 garlic cloves, crushed 225g mixed mushrooms of your choice, cleaned and sliced 35g cranberries, frozen or fresh 340g tin butter beans, chopped 250g cooked chestnuts, sliced 50g hazelnuts, chopped 2 tsp fresh thyme 1 tsp Dijon mustard season to taste with salt and pepper For the pastry You can buy ready-made or make a vegan hot water crust pastry: 115g of vegetable suet 330g plain flour ½ tsp of salt Method Gently fry the onions and leeks in the oil for 5 minutes. Add the garlic,

mushrooms, cranberries, butter beans, cooked chestnuts, hazelnuts, thyme and mustard. Continue cooking for 10 minutes. The mixture will be fairly dry. Season with salt and pepper then remove from the heat. Preheat the oven to 180°C. To make the pastry, heat 150ml water in a saucepan. When boiling, add the suet and stir vigorously, remove from the heat. Place the flour into a large bowl and stir in the salt, add the water and suet mixture. Carefully fold the mixture together into a ball then place onto the work surface and knead for 5 minutes. Lightly grease a 20cm loose bottomed deep pie dish. Take three quarters of the pastry and roll it out to fit the dish. Add your pie filling, fold over any excess pastry towards the centre of the pie. Roll out the remaining pastry to make a lid and place it on top of the pie. Trim any excess. For vegans, brush a little soya milk on top or brush with egg wash for vegetarians.

Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Stir in the lemon juice and set aside. Heat the remaining butter and oil in a large frying pan. Sauté the mushrooms for 2 to 3 minutes each side until lightly browned. Place on a large shallow dish, hollow side up, and fill with the crab filling. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender and the crab mixture has heated through. Garnish with a sprig of parsley and serve.

Sumptuous Christmas Pie

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38 | living nikki legon’s cuisine Pork Chops with Caramelised Fruit

Sole Meunière Makes a tasty change from turkey

Pork Chops with Caramelised Fruit serves 4

4 large pork chops salt and pepper 4 sprigs of rosemary oil for frying knob of butter for frying the chops knob of butter for frying the pears 2 small shallots, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 pears cut into four, deseeded 8 orange segments 8 large black grapes Method Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan and fry the pork chops until golden. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and remove from the pan. Place into a medium heat oven. Using the same pan, add the onions and sautĂŠ for 2 to 3 minutes with the rosemary. Pour over the chops. Add fresh butter to the frying pan and caramelise the pears on both sides until tender. Add the orange segments and grapes to heat through. Remove the pork chops from the oven, place onto hot plates and arrange the pear quarters, orange segments and grapes alongside. Sprinkle with the remaining juice.

serves 6

6 Dover sole 8 tbsp plain flour 6 tbsp of light olive oil 100g unsalted butter 200g unsalted butter 1 large lemon, juice only 3 tbsp of small capers 2 tbsp, chopped parsley 12 lemon slices Method Cut away the skirt bones and, if they

Black Olive Christmas Tree Biscuits

have not been cleaned, open up the gut and clean out all of the intestines. Wash well to remove any blood. Place the flour in a wide flat dish and season with salt and pepper. Toss the fish in the flour coating well, shake off any excess. Heat the oil and 100g of butter in a large frying pan. Add the fish and cook for 2 mins each side, place into a medium heat oven and continue to cook the rest of the fish, they should be a lovely golden colour. Wipe out the pan and return to the heat, add the butter. Heat until it melts and turns a very light brown. Mix in the capers, parsley, lemon juice and swirl around before pouring over the fish.

Christmas living nikki legon’s cuisine | 39 Pudding Trifle

Sole Meunière

Christmas Pudding Trifle A delicious way to use up leftover pudding

Black Olive Christmas Tree Biscuits

punnet of raspberries 2 tbsp Grand Marnier 300g leftover Christmas pudding 250g mascarpone 300ml thick cream mini meringues

80g plain flour 30g grated Parmesan cheese or vegetarian cheese 60g butter 1½ tbsp of milk 40g black olives, pitted and finely chopped salt and pepper

Method Crumble the Christmas pudding. Place into the glasses and sprinkle with raspberries (or you could use sliced mandarins). Beat the mascarpone and cream together with the Grand Marnier. Layer the glass with cream then pudding and fruit, top with cream and mini meringues and more fruit.

Method In a bowl, whisk together the flour and Parmesan with a pinch of pepper. Add the butter and mix with your hands, rubbing the butter into the flour until you get a sandy texture. Pour the milk and add the chopped olives to the dough and mix together. Roll out the dough into a long sausage shape, wrap in cling film and leave in

the fridge for three hours to chill; it is then easier to cut into 5mm slices. Alternatively, roll out flat to 5mm thickness and chill for 1 hour, use a Christmas tree cutter cut into shapes. Prepare the baking sheet and preheat the oven to 150°C. Place biscuits onto the baking tray, cook for 10 minutes until golden. Cool for 10 minutes before storing in an airtight container, or freeze for later. Serve with your favourite cheeses.

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:

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

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40 | living wine For your special bottle of sparkle this season, try a Crémant de Bordeaux

add some seasonal PHOTO ABOVE: © Favoreat Design / M. Anglada



sparkling wine has gas trapped in the bottle, usually, but not always, the result of a second fermentation created by adding yeast and sugar to a still, dry wine. It can also be the result of manufactured carbon dioxide (CO2) piped into the wine, just as you do to drinks at home with a soda stream. We usually associate the best quality sparkling wines with the ‘méthode traditionnelle’ second fermentation in the bottle, examples of which include Champagne, Crémant de Bordeaux and other French ‘crémants’. By contrast, ‘manufactured’ cola-style sparkling wines are usually the simplest and least expensive. There are some techniques in-between, like Prosecco, where the sparkle is usually from a second fermentation in a tank; and ‘pet nat’, a natural or ancestral method where some of the original gas of the first alcoholic fermentation is trapped in the bottle. The style has been made fashionable by the natural wine movement. Second fermentation in the bottle brings extra biscuity or brioche flavour as a result of maturation on the lees and adds complexity to the end product. This method also produces a finer bubble than manufactured CO2.

Sparkling wines are an established part of big occasions like Christmas and New Year. We all love the opening ‘pop’ and the spirit of celebration which goes with this style of wine. We asked Caro Feely to tell us more about this festive favourite...

The grand dame of sparkling wines is Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Champagne. Champagne is a wine region covering around 30,000 hectares (74,000 acres), thus of similar size to Burgundy and about a quarter of the size of Bordeaux. A Russian client told me recently that Champagne is one of only a handful of French wines that has its own word in Russian: ‘Shampanskoye’. Champagne starts life as a still dry wine and through the process of the second fermentation in the bottle ends up sparkling. The ‘dosage’ – adding a small amount of the original wine, usually with sugar added to it to replace the lees removed at the end of the

second fermentation – means it can end up as anything from no sugar added ‘brut nature’ or ‘zéro dosage’ to sweet (‘doux’, with more than 50g of residual sugar/litre after dosage). Even ‘brut’ – dry sparkling wine – usually has up to 12g per litre of sugar (up to around 2 teaspoons equivalent per bottle) added in the dosage. Beware the term ‘sec’, which we associate with dry in still wine, as when applied to sparkling wine it means 17-32g of residual sugar. Champagne is usually white but is made from a white grape and two red grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. While most champagnes are a blend of grapes and vintages, you will also find the terms blancs de blancs – ‘white from whites’ for those made from Chardonnay – and blancs de noirs, ‘white from blacks’, for those made from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. These wines differ in their aromas and flavours. Blancs de blancs will have a brighter, more zesty character with aromas of citrus, white flowers and white fruits, like white peach and green apple. Blancs de noirs will be a little more powerful and round, with aromas of yellow fruits like peach or plum or red fruits like cherry. Blancs de blancs and blancs de noirs pair

living wine | 41

Keep up to date

Château Feely is a biodynamic and organic wine estate with accommodation, wine tours, vineyard walks and an accredited Wine Spirit Education Trust (WSET) wine school ( Stretch your wine world with the WSET level 2, with Caro, 26-28 March 2020 – readers will receive 10% off if booked before the end of 2019. Keep up to date at the Château Feely blog at Subscribe to the newsletter at caro@ or find on FB and Instagram. And don’t forget Caro’s books about the Feely adventure make great stocking fillers!

Pinot Noir grapes underpin countless classic Champagnes

with different dishes. The liveliness of blancs de blancs can be great with appetisers or seafood, while the rounder style of the blancs de noirs means they can be good with main courses of white meat like poultry. Smoked salmon is a classic pairing with brut champagne or crémant. For your special bottle this season seek out a small producer like biodynamic Champagne Fleury or one of the lovely

local organic Crémants de Bordeaux – good for our region’s economy, the environment and for your pocket. If your local shop doesn’t have one, ask for it so they know there is a demand, or even better, search online and buy direct from the producer. Joyeux Noël et Meilleurs Voeux pour 2020! Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2020! May it be filled with good friends and great wine.


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Thinking of buying o Over 15,000 properties on our websites • Thousands of


Charente €61,000 Ref: 96440 Pretty 4-bed stone house in a lovely hamlet location. Good roof and double glazing.

Vienne €256,800 Ref: 99473 Large 3-bed, 3-bath stone house with heated pool and 11,870m² of land. In a quiet area.

Vendée €117,720 Ref: 95314 Renovated 3-bed cottage with original features, garage and outbuilding, in a quiet hamlet.

Deux-Sèvres €256,800 Ref: 105419 Vast property comprising a 2-bed house with 5-bed annex, 1-bed gite and outbuildings.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.


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

7% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

Vendée €79,000 Ref: 104303 Cute 3-bed village house with workshop, garden and garage. Short walk to the shops.

Vienne €328,600 Ref: 105093 Magnificent 4-bed manor with views over the valley, large garden and adjoining wood.

Vendée €310,000 Ref: 98217 Large 4-bed house with outbuildings, 1673m² of land and inground pool. Close to the shops.

Deux-Sèvres €256,800 Ref: 100923 Large detached house with 2-bed gite and in-ground pool. In a peaceful hamlet, close to shops.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.

6% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

7% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

7% agency fees included paid by the buyer.









Charente-Maritime €71,500 Ref: 99016 Semi-detached 1-bed property of 80m² with 1136m² garden and garage. Quiet setting.

Vienne €259,957 Ref: 98153 Charming 2-bed house with 1-bed gîte, pool, courtyards and gardens. Close to historic Richelieu.

Vendée €240,750 Ref: 81992 Elegant country house with pool, 15kms from La Rochesur-Yon and 25kms from the beach.

Deux-Sèvres €162,000 Ref: 97799 Wooden house of 3 bedrooms, in secluded location with over 1 ha of fields and woodland.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.

7% agency fees included paid by the buyer.


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

8% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

Dordogne €99,000 Ref: 104548 3-bed house of 105m² with manageable garden, on the edge of a pretty village.

Vienne €214,000 Ref: 103781 Spacious property comprising 3 self-contained flats and a 4-bed house, on 9750m² of land.

Vendée €147,150 Ref: 106000 Well-maintained 3-bed house with pool and garden with countryside views. 1h from the coast.

Deux-Sèvres €178,200 Ref: 102966 South-West facing 4-bed house with above ground pool, workshop and second house.

10% agency fees included paid by the buyer. DPE F

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

9% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

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Charente-Maritime €191,160 Ref: 100679 Superb 3-bed house with large garden of 1484m² & pool. Fully renovated to a high standard.

Charente €280,000 Ref: 105591 Stylish old mill, in a quiet setting, with attached apartment, barns and 6000+ m² of land.

Dordogne €318,000 Ref: 102447 Character 4-bed house with garden of 1055m² and stone outbuildings. Great location.

Haute-Vienne €249,500 Ref: 56596 Stunning 5-bed stone farmhouse with garage and large garden in a pretty hamlet.

8% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

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

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

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




Charente-Maritime €183,600 Ref: 102317 Deceptively spacious 4-bed house with large garden with stream. 30 mins away from Cognac.

Charente €155,870 Ref: 105727 Beautiful 3-bed stone house with pool, sun terrace, 1071m² of enclosed garden and parking.

Dordogne €213,000 Ref: 99207 Pretty barn conversion of 3 beds with 2630m² garden. 16km from Bergerac airport.

Haute-Vienne €214,000 Ref: 89374 Magnificent medieval house comprising 2 successful gîtes with gorgeous views, in lovely Bellac.

8% agency fees included paid by the buyer. DPE N/A

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

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.


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

Charente-Maritime €152,600 Ref: 103235 Charming 3-bed, 2-bath house with 2469m² garden in a hamlet close to lively Aulnay.

Charente €234,000 Ref: 97872 Elegant 4-bed country house with heated pool, lovely 2287m² garden and open views.

Dordogne €252,000 Ref: 87876 Elegant 4-bed stone house with spacious rooms, original features and landscaped garden.

Haute-Vienne €133,500 Ref: 10062 3-bed farmhouse with 2 huge barns, small cottage to renovate and 6 acres of attached land.

9% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

6% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

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

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.




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chÂlus (87)

Changing Places

We visit an unassuming market town with signs of a turbulent past

The Parc Naturel Régional Périgord-Limousin covers an area of 1,900km2, and contains quite a few surprises, for both visitors and the 51,000 residents. It takes in sizeable chunks of both Haute-Vienne and Dordogne – or Limousin and Périgord, if you prefer – although for much of the time the distinctions are far from obvious, the landscape being quite sparsely populated and much of it covered by forests. That makes it a promising location for anyone thinking of exchanging the pace of town life for something quieter in ‘la France profonde’. However, that doesn’t mean that nothing has ever happened here. In fact, Châlus witnessed the death of the illustrious Richard Coeur-de-Lion in 1199 when his troops laid siege to the Château-Chabrol, a stronghold which occupied a strategic position between Aquitaine, Limousin and Charente. Having positioned himself beyond the reach of the defending longbow archers, Richard fell victim to a poison-tipped arrow fired from a revolutionary weapon of medieval warfare: the crossbow. Today the 11th century cylindrical donjon still

former railway track between here and Oradour-sur-Vayres. There are bike hire points along the way – or, if you prefer, you can follow it on foot or rollerblades, and it’s fully accessible to those with a disability (see www.voieverte-enlimousin. com). Châlus is also well-served by road, the busy N21 trunk route from Limoges and Périgueux passing close by, while leaving the town centre undisturbed. There are markets on Friday mornings, except those following fairs on the second Thursdays of each month, or dine with friends at one of the summer evening farmers’ markets with live music.

dominates the remains of the chateau, and a climb to the 25m summit rewards visitors with panoramic views of the town and the Tardoire valley. Down in the heart of the town is another important medieval survivor. Built in 1280 by Géraud de Maulmont (advisor to Louis X’s queen consort Marguerite de Bourgogne), the Château de Châlus-Maulmont was partially destroyed during the Revolution, served as a prison and was eventually abandoned. The preserved remains give an intriguing idea of the imposing scale of the chateau around which the town originally developed. In 1908, Châlus received a visit from one Thomas Edward Lawrence, who had been cycling around much of France to research the influence of the Crusades on French military architecture. His stay in the town is recorded by a granite plaque displayed near the former Hôtel du Midi, for after completing his thesis his exploits in the Middle East would earn him his own place in history books as Lawrence of Arabia. Today cycling is encouraging many more people to discover the town, thanks to the creation of the Voie Verte des Hauts de Tardoire on a 13km stretch of

Making connections Distances/drive-times by road from Châlus: Limoges: 39km/40min Périgueux: 61km/1hr Bergerac: 110km/1hr 52min Angoulême: 79km/1hr13min Saint-Junien: 33km/33min TER & TGV rail services: TER Nouvelle-Aquitaine services from gare SNCF de Bussière-Galant (6.5km) to Limoges, Angoulême, Montluçon, Paris, etc. TGV services from Angoulême to Paris, Bordeaux, Poitiers, Bayonne, etc.

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Property Sovimo immobiLier DPE: n/a

Ref. 34095

110 000€ HAI

(100 000€ plus 10% fees payable by buyer)

Close to Confolens (16), renovated detached cottage, 3 bedrooms, electrical heating, hangar, adjoining & separate garden, all set on 807m2.

Ref. 34088

35 750€ HAI

DPE: n/a

(32 500€ plus 10% fees payable by buyer)

Close to Champagne Mouton (16). In a hamlet, semi-detached cottage to renovate, 1 bedroom, 2 rooms to convert, septic tank, 2 small outbuildings, adjoining land + opposite plots, all set on 2800m2.

Character Properties in France

DPE: n/a

Ref. 34091

156 600€ HAI

(145000€ plus 8% agency fees payable buyer)

Roumazieres (16). In a village, detached 3-bed character house. Attic to convert, oil heating, main drains, detached garage, adjoining wooded land set on 6448m2.


Ref. 34083

583 000€ HAI

(550 000€ plus 6% fees payable by buyer)

Esse (16), near Confolens. Exceptional, rare equestrian property set on approx 32ha (79 acres) of pasture. 4-bed house with septic tank. Ring for horses. Quarry. 6 boxes, saddlery, outbuildings. 2 ponds for water.

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E xc

Vareilles, Creuse, €139,900* 3-bedroom renovated stone house with garage, double-glazing and stunning countryside views. Spacious rooms, calm location. Walking distance to a restaurant. DPE: vierges

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Haimps, Charente Maritime, €349,000* Impressive 4-bedroom with original character, large downstairs bedroom with ensuite, plus 2-bedroom gite, barn with new roof. 5 minutes from the town of Matha. DPE: F

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Ref. 34077

93 500€ HAI

(85 000 plus 10% fees payable by buyer)

Chabrac (16). In countryside, pretty 3-bed farmhouse set on approx 1ha 80 (4 acres). Convertible attic with 2 bedrooms, oil heating & wood, old septic tank, outbuildings.

Ref. 34089


73 700€ HAI

(67 000€ plus 10% fees payable by buyer)

Confolens (16) centre town. Secure commercial shop for sale. 2 accesses, 2 reserves included one with security door. Above, pretty 3-bed flat. Bright living rooms, fitted kitchen, all comforts.

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

Rochechouart, Haute Vienne, €265,000* 3-bedroom with large pool and views, 2.5 acres, large garage. Recent electrics, double-glazing, septic tank, well-insulated. Between Saint Junien and Rochechouart. DPE: D

Chaillac sur Vienne, Haute Vienne, €265,000* 3-bedroom, almost 3 acres, 5km from Saint Junien, 6km from Rochechouart. Double-garage, large terrace, mains drains, double-glazed, under-floor gas heating. DPE: C 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 Agence Eleonor Estate Agency 36-38 rue du Temple, 24500 EYMET T: 05 53 27 83 45 Eymet, Villeréal, St.-Cyprien, Monpazier, Bergerac, Lalinde, Lauzun, Issigeac and Sainte -Foy-la-Grande

Ref: 7325-EY 461,100€ HAI DPE: C Stunning property with a 3-bedroom house and 2 fully renovated and equipped 2-bedroom gites. It also benefits from a stone barn, swimming pool, duck pond and 2 acres of garden with fruit trees. Taux d’honoraires 26,100€ (6%) inclus à la charge de l’acquéreur.

Ref: 8213-EY 178,200€ HAI DPE: Vierge Beautiful stone 3-bedroom village property benefitting from a large light lounge with a cosy wood burner and original fireplace, just a couple of minutes’ walk from the centre of the lively bastide of Eymet with shops restaurants and bars. Taux d’honoraires 13,200€ (8%) inclus à la charge de l’acquéreur.

Ref: 8214-EY 645,750€ HAI DPE: C Stunning property in an amazing setting! Entry via electric gates and a sweeping drive takes you to a lovely, old stone 3-bedroom house (2 extra bedrooms partially completed). Set on nearly 10 acres of land with a large swimming pool and a private 2.5-acre lake with island. Taux d’honoraires 30,750€ (5%) inclus à la charge de l’acquéreur.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our customers

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Property 47 rue Gambetta 17400 Saint Jean d’Angély Tel: 05 46 32 00 59 06 13 66 51 73 and 06 33 91 96 53

118 800€ HAI Ref 9763

265 000€ HAI Ref 9808

In a lovely setting, this house just needs a finishing touch. 1 828m² land. 3 bedrooms, 1 ensuite. Workshop/garage.

Stunning detached character property with 3 788m² pretty gardens near the river. 4 bedrooms. 2 garages and a workshop.

330 750€ HAI Ref 9804

150 000€ HAI Ref 9244

House in town centre with all amenities. 384m² land. 4 bedrooms. Double glazing. Mains drainage.

Charming detached 3-bed stone house with character, entirely renovated. 1 762m² gardens. Outbuildings. Perfect holiday home.

176 550€ HAI Ref 9740

44 800€ HAI Ref 9809

Beautifully renovated 3-bed stone house in village near Aulnay. 650m² gardens with fruit trees. Double glazing throughout.

Old stone village house to renovate completely with small garden, 1 large bedroom, mains drainage available. Bargain! Great investment.

DPE : vierge Price net : 110 000€

DPE : vierge Price net : 250 000€


DPE : C Price net : 315 000€

PRICE: 173,000€

In a quiet and practical location (20 minutes from Brive-la-Gaillarde, 30 minutes from Périgueux) Built in late 2010, habitable space 111m2. 5 rooms including 3 bedrooms. 2 independent garages of 30m2. Well-maintained 1500m2 garden. Close to shops, next door to the Doctor’s surgery. E: Tel: 06 89 68 86 34

DPE : C Price net : 165 000€

DPE : vierge Price net : 139 000€

DPE : G Price net : 40 000€

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Property Reseau ArthurImmo Saintonge - 300 properties for sale

Contact Christine: or 06 50 51 74 95

158 250€ HAI

274 300€ HAI

Exclusive to our agency, this charentaise house has lots of charm and original features. It is situated in a vibrant village with a village shop/ post office. Modern kitchen, utility room, sitting room with stone fireplace and snug, entrance with original floor tiles, bedroom, downstairs shower room and toilet. On the 1st floor: 3 bedrooms and dressing room, 2nd shower room with toilet, large bright landing area. Enclosed garden with huge garage and store room. DFE: E Price net: 150 000€

Beautiully presented modern 4-bedroom house within walking distance of town. The house is bright, light and airy and decorated to a very high standard. There is a bedroom with ensuite on the ground floor, dining room, kitchen and large sitting room with french windows onto the terrace and garden which is spectacular, fully enclosed with heated pool and orchard beyond, 3205m2. On the first floor there are three further bedrooms and a bathroom. DFE: E Price net: 260 000€

Ref: A1083

Ref: A1082


17 Place Sanson, 17160 Matha: 05 46 58 53 57

L’immobilière Saintongeaise

11Rue de Gambetta, 17400 St Jean d’Angély: 05 46 59 06 00

Le Petit Logis

8 Place A. Briand, 17470 Aulnay de Saintonge: 05 46 58 64 14

65 Avenue de la République 16260 CHASSENEUIL-SUR-BONNIEURE Easy to find opposite the Mairie 05 45 68 05 50 or 06 17 76 75 20 Ref. 5161 - 272,400€

Ref. 5154 - 231,990€

CHATEUNEUF/CHARENTE (16). Charming BAIGNES-STE-RADEGONDE (16). In the house built on 17,499m² plot with no close heart of the village, a bourgeois residence neighbours. Perfectly maintained with approx. with architecture inspired by the Art Deco 220m² of living space. Beautiful living room movement. Authentic with period features and with fireplace. Office and bathroom. 1st floor: approx. 230m² of living space - major work will 3 beds, bath. Independent suite with dressing be required. Beautiful reception rooms, 5 beds room and bathroom on the ground floor. / 2 baths on the upper floors. Dependency. Enclosed garden, orchard, truffle field, meadow. Private garden of about 1800m². DPE: C (Fee paid by buyer 4.77% / 12,400€)

DPE: D (Fee paid by buyer 5.45% / 11,900€)


30 000€ HAI - Ref: 188JS16

28 000€ HAI - Ref: 177JS16

Charras: Charming village house to renovate, with a beautiful covered balcony. Attached is a garage/barn and 675m² plot.

Montbron: Character stone village house to renovate, garden, double garage, central heating, mains drains and 800m² gardens.

DPE: n/a 11% fees included

DPE: vierge 12% fees included

1, rue St Mathias 16300 - BARBEZIEUX Tél : 05 45 78 61 01

70 500€ HAI - Ref: 169JS16

159 000€ HAI - Ref: 164DK16

Lacs Charente: Detached stone farmhouse with attached barn to renovate. Gardens 2/3 acre plus option on 3.5 Hectares.

Charroux: Fully equipped Bar-Restaurant, 5 Bed Hotel & 3 Bed appartment, picturesque village in the south of the dept ‘Vienne’.

DPE: vierge 8.5% fees included

Ref. 5120- 241,980€

Between BARBEZIEUX and SEGONZAC (16). Farmhouse in the heart of cognac countryard, a few kms from the amenities. large rooms in nearly 310m² of living space. Lounge, dining room, hall, bright ergonomic kitchen. 1st floor: games room and 5 beds. Refurbishment and finishing work required. Large outbuilding. Approx.1.9Ha of land, part enclosed. DPE: Vierge (Fee paid by buyer 5.21% / 11,980€)

DPE: E 6% fees included

Ref. 5003 - 102,300€

10kms east of BARBEZIEUX (16). Attractive, old house with 130m² living space on an enclosed plot of 1441m² with well. In a dominant position, the setting and view are very pleasant without being isolated. Interior work is necessary. Attached barn of 30m², traditional chai to the rear. 70m² lean-to. Cellar. DPE: D (Fee paid by buyer 7.68% / 7,300€)

257 250€ HAI - Ref: 184JB79

241 500€ HAI - Ref: 203JS16

Chef Boutonne: Stunning traditional town property. 8 beds, ideal B&B, pool with paved terrace, outbuildings and garden.

Montbron: Detached Country Home with superb views, barns, workshop, big pond and 3 acres of land.

DPE: D 5% fees included

DPE: Vierge 5% fees included

50 | living in the garden

Snow is a fleeting visitor, so make the most of the view

in the garden

Reflections & Rotations There’s much more to winter than mild, damp spells, but when there’s little we can do outdoors a spot of fireside gardening can still pay dividends.

living in the garden | 49 Purple sprouting broccoli

Prepare some frost protection


he kind of prolonged wet spells which have been an unwelcome feature of recent autumns can be frustrating when what you really want to do is to get outdoors and tidy up the garden. While the damp conditions can feel chilly, a glance at the thermometer often tells a different story, for when it’s wet then it’s also relatively mild. In fact, shortly before we went to press the latest meteorological figures to be released revealed the uncomfortable fact that the past five years have produced the five mildest autumns on record. While climate change threatens polar ice and wreaks havoc in the oceans, the impact on our gardens has so far been largely positive, at least inland. Our plants, not surprisingly, have been busily extending their growth periods

and sending out lots of new shoots, something which has created extra work for us as we try to keep things in shape. Prime offenders include Ceanothus, Elaeagnus, laurel, Photinia and more energetic roses. Not that everything can be merely trimmed. Throughout most of the region our lawns tend not to go completely to sleep over winter, so we’re accustomed to giving them a run over with the mower now and then, but the combined effects of mild, wet autumns can send them into a growing frenzy. Mowing wet grass is obviously never a good idea, so we now have to just shrug and accept the slightly unkempt appearance until a few dry days have passed, and we finally have a chance to get things back into shape. When that’s out of the way we

Andy Coope

Garden design, hard landscape construction and planting service based in Montmoreau (16). Kew trained, RHS show garden contractor & designer, 30+ years’ experience. Full references available. Richard 07 88 29 54 37 Siret: RCS Angoulême 851 973 198 00019

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

Charente, Vienne, Deux Sèvres

GENERAL HANDYMAN 05 49 87 81 17 / 06 95 41 78 49 All types of gardening undertaken Wood cut, split and stacked Gite management/Changeovers Key holding/House checks Pet/house sitting Groundworks including gravelling and small patios

Siret no 853 531 838

752 604 256 00012

might just have time to enjoy a spot of relaxed contemplation while looking around at what changes another year has brought to the garden. Once winter has finally set in these are precious times, particularly if we’re fortunate enough to get some of the uplifting crisp, frosty mornings with steely-blue skies we remember from past years. In December and January the dormant season is well and truly upon us, so if you’ve stored your harvest and protected your plants (not forgetting those in the relative safety of a greenhouse) there really won’t be a great deal of work which can be done in the garden. Hopefully you’ll have left some wildlife-friendly areas in quieter, less visible corners, and will have attracted some over-wintering

Call a Kiwi House & Garden Care Lawnmowing Van Jobs Clark Judd 06 47 84 04 65 45 mins around Montbron (16)

Garden Services

Pool Care Property Management

05 45 25 05 37 Anything you cannot do,Show or do nothow much you Living at wish to do, please give me a call. Siret: 842032401 00015


Not all our| hedgehogs hibernate

living in the garden

for more cartoons by stig see

Salsify is a dandelion family member

occupants. Unlike their cousins across the Channel, our hedgehogs aren’t all inclined to hibernate during the winter months, so don’t be surprised if you glimpse them scuttling around on frosty nights. They still need somewhere to call home, though, so resist for now any temptation of tidying heaps of leaves or trimmed branches and shoots, just in case they’re sheltering wildlife. Instead it’s the perfect opportunity to do a little armchair gardening and to plan for the seasons which lie ahead, ideally while sitting beside a crackling log fire (mulled wine is optional). As far as the vegetable garden is concerned, how did last season’s harvest turn out? For many of us it was a strange year for tomatoes, which steadfastly refused to ripen, despite plenty of long, hot sunny days. We’ll probably never know what held them back, but mysteries like these happen

from time to time, and in gardening nothing is ever certain. Happily, for every disappointment there’s usually some kind of pleasant surprise, and we end up having produced too much of one crop and too little of another – or having periods completely devoid of a particular vegetable. Either way, now is the time to take heed of past experiences and work out a fresh three- or four-yearly crop rotation system for next season, and decide well in advance where and when everything will be planted or sown. That means deciding which varieties are compatible, in the sense that they have similar needs in terms of soil and preparation. For example, double-dig and add well-rotted manure in one bed and you can plant it with peas, broad beans, dwarf beans and haricot beans. Prepare a second bed by single-digging and adding lime and organic fertiliser

Buy the latest collection of


by Stig Tomas on Amazon UK

Protect before a cold snap

living in the garden | 51

Christmas is parsnip time

and you can plant cabbages, Brussels sprouts, purple sprouting broccoli, kale, calabrese, swede, kohlrabi and turnips. Now comes bed number three, double-dug and with well-rotted manure added, after which you can grow onions, leeks, celery, lettuce, butternut squash, tomatoes and sweetcorn. Your fourth bed will need single-digging and add well-rotted manure, for planting with potatoes, parsnips, beetroot, carrots and, if you wish, trying some salsify (a useful root



Covering all areas

Siret: 808 903 074 00017

All aspects of tree care from planting and pruning to reductions and removals. Hedge cutting, ground clearance and maintenance. Fully insured & registered. 27 years’ experience.


Facebook: @hommeverttreesurgery


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Time to plan next year’s crops

Siren: 452 821 101

“It was a strange year for tomatoes, which steadfastly refused to ripen..”

vegetable belonging to the dandelion family). Popular in Victorian times, it’s now making a comeback, since it can be sliced and made into a gluten-free pasta, grated and roasted into cakes, coated in egg-flour batter and fried, or sliced for gratins. Once you have all the beds allocated, prepared and planted you can keep things productive by sticking to the chosen plan and simply rotating it – clockwise or anti-clockwise – each year. As far as rhubarb, asparagus, artichokes (both globe and Jerusalem, or ‘topinambour’) plus perennial culinary herbs are concerned, their needs are simpler and you can keep them in a permanent, non-rotated bed or two. Talking of crop rotation, it probably goes without saying that it’s an age-old practice and an essential one if we’re to keep our plants healthy and avoid disappointing yields. Most varieties will really benefit from being moved

52 | living in the garden Mulch suppresses weeds and protects roots

Disinfect secateurs while pruning to avoid spreading disease

need to dig out as much of the soil as possible and replacing with some from elsewhere in the garden. Obviously, that’s probably not a practical option for whole beds of herbaceous plants, but if you find that previously successful varieties suddenly seem to be less vigorous than in previous years there’s a simple fix: just prepare a bed for them elsewhere and you’ll bring back all the colour you’re missing. Finally, it only remains to add a timely reminder to take the necessary steps to protect tender plants well before the first frosts, which have the ability to sneak up on us without warning. If you have a well-lit (but not over-heated) space for them indoors Artichokes are decorative as well as tasty

Salsify is making a comeback

around to a different location for each growing season, but perhaps less widely appreciated is the fact that it’s not only vegetables which are concerned; shrubs also suffer from soil sickness – or more correctly ‘replant sickness’. For example, we need to be particularly wary of moving roses, whatever the reason, for if we simply plant a new rose in its place it is unlikely to thrive, no matter how much fertiliser or manure we apply. If it’s really essential to replant then for the best chance of success we’ll

then water sparingly during winter months, and keep a general eye on them to spot any problems early. If you have to keep any plants of borderline hardiness outdoors, then protect the roots of anything immobile with straw and the foliage with fleece designed for the purpose. Those in tubs will have their best chance of survival if you give them the same treatment, ideally close to a south-facing wall, raised slightly off the soil (to aid drainage and allow air to circulate) on bricks or stones, and sheltered from icy winds. We, on the other hand, will be doing our best to keep snug “when winter winds they do grow cold...”, while waiting for the return of springtime.

practical living living useful info || 53 51


As a new year beckons, it’s time to update our list of useful information...

ORANGE: English-speaking helpline: 09 69 36 39 00 To report a fault online: EDF: 24-hour breakdown line: 09 72 67 50 + dept. number Helpline in English: 09 69 36 63 83 email: Gas leaks: 01 43 35 40 87

18: Emergencies

Calls the sapeurs pompiers (fire brigade) who also deal with medical emergencies and should be the first port of call in life-threating situations.

15: SAMU (Service d’Aide

Médicale d’Urgence) - urgent medical sitautions.

17: Police (gendarmes). 112: European Emergency

number - may have English speakers. Be ready with your name and where you are calling from and do not hang up until told to do so.

114: Hearing-assisted emergency calls.

115: Emergency shelter. 119: Child abuse. 196: Sea and lake rescue. 197: Terror/kidnapping. 3919: Domestic violence. 116000: Missing children. 01 40 05 48 48: Anti-poison centre (Paris).

Dordogne (24): 2 rue Paul Louis Courier, 24000 Périgueux;; 05 53 02 24 24. Deux-Sèvres (79): 4 rue du Guesclin, 79000 Niort;; 05 49 08 68 68. Vendée (85): 29 rue Delille, 85009 La Roche-sur-Yon;; 02 51 36 70 85. Vienne (86): Bâtiment Haussmann Impasse des Écossais, 86000 Poitiers;; 05 49 55 70 00. Haute-Vienne (87): 1 rue de la Préfecture, 87000 Limoges;; 05 55 44 18 00.

Allô service public: for general administrative information; tel: 3939 8.30am-6pm; The main government site is found at:

L’ASSURANCE MALADIE (AMELI, formerly known as CPAM):; tel: 36 46 or 08 11 70 36 46 (Mon-Fri, 8.30am-5.30pm). If needed, English speakers will return your call within 48hrs.

URSSAF; tel: 3957 to be directed to your local office (8am to 6.30pm)



BRITISH EMBASSY & CONSULATE Paris Embassy: 01 44 51 31 00 Bordeaux Consulate: 353 Boulevard du President Wilson, 33073, Bordeaux; tel: 05 57 22 21 10 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association Forces (SSAFA):; tel: 33 553 249 238; email: The British Charitable Fund, Paris:; email: Counselling in France: For a qualified therapist; Alcoholics Anonymous:; 05 49 87 79 09 or 05 55 76 22 65

Many administrative processes have moved online, particularly carte grises Cancer Support France: and driving licenses. For advice and someone to talk to Charente (16): 7-9 rue de la Préfecture, locally:; CS 92301, 16023 Angoulême; email:;; 08 21 80 30 16 0800 240 200 Charente-Maritime (17): 38 rue Réaumur, CS 70000, AVF: help with 17017 La Rochelle; integration into www.charenteFrench life; Contact SOS Help (similar to the; Samaritans with professionally 05 46 27 43 00. trained listeners); tel 01 46 21 46 46;


Business Directory ADVERTISE WITH

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elcome to our new look Business Directory, packed full of the best English-speaking services suppliers across the region. Whatever you need, our advertisers can help you and, in return, just tell them you saw their advert here and you will help to keep Living Magazine free.

Vendée (85)

CharenteMaritime (17)

If you have a business in the region and would like to showcase your services to our 100,000 readers, we can help. With over 1,000 stockists, Living is the leading English-language magazine covering your area. Advertising starts at just 70€ttc per two-month issue (or 35€ttc on our monthly payment scheme). . “We have placed several adverts with Living Magazine and each time our expectations are exceeded...As soon as the advert is placed the orders start coming in.” Shelly, eco-tabs

DeuxSèvres (79) Vienne (86)

Charente (16)

Haute-Vienne (87)

Dordogne (24)


Ring Jon on 05 49 87 29 71 or email Pay monthly by debit/credit card.

Food Shops


Christmas items available from mid October Having a party? Iceland platters and party food available too. *Turkeys available to order* Check our website to see what other treats are available.

Domaine de la Goujonne 17270, MONTGUYON

Now taking Xmas orders


05 46 48 32 44

Home-grown Limousin beef, hung for 14 days, and pork, butchered on site so all cuts available. English-style sausages, bacon and gammon. Free-range poultry. Farm shop and seasonal markets see website for details. Farm fresh handmade pies, cooked goods, regional & seasonal produce. Regular Pop-Up Shop and Pie Nights Mobile Event Catering Handmade Bespoke Cakes by Sue 10 route de Vilenne, 36200 Celon 02 54 25 34 73 / 06 84 61 52 39

ELLIOTTS BOUCHERIE We post throughout France via Chronofresh, 24 hours from dispatch to your door. Check our website for full details. Elliotts Boucherie are based in north west France where we have been supplying local customers for many years. Our premium quality meat is sourced in France but butchered the English way.

See for all our products and prices, and Delicious range of handcrafted English style sausages. follow us on Facebook Bacon dry-cured on premises. Homemade meat pies, pasties, pork pies, scotch @elliottsboucherie eggs, haggis, sausage rolls and more. WE'RE NOW TAKING CHRISTMAS ORDE RS Free-range turkeys, geese & capons. Boned & rolled Turkey breast, Gammon joints, Pigs in blankets, Cocktail sausage rolls, Pork pies Pickles and condiments, Plus lots more!!

** We supply Dick and Angel from Escape to the Château **

Dedicated deliveries/orders email: Elliotts Boucherie: 8 Place de la Houssaye, 53120 Gorron, Pays de la Loire Tel: 02 43 30 46 89



...making an entrance

100% QUALITY OAK GATES Offering a truly bespoke service, all our gates are made-to-measure to your requirements in our own workshop A single 3m* oak 5-bar gate including galvanised fixings and oak posts. Supplied & installed for only €699

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A pair of 2m* oak 5-bar gates including galvanised fixings and oak posts. Supplied & installed for only 799€

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E: or Tel: 05 45 78 66 95

Our bi-lingual team are waiting to pamper you. CACI trained and registered to perform non-surgical facelifts and more. Ring now to book your appointment. ~ PLUS! Wedding hair & make-up team ~

26 rue du Commerce, 86400 CIVRAY Renaissance - hair, beauty, nails Tel: 05 49 87 16 33

Couleurs de Vie


Official stockists of Chalk Paint™, a decorative paint by Annie Sloan.

Tues 19.30-20.45 / Weds 10.15-11.30

RESTORATIVE YOGA Thurs 10.30-11.45




Impasse Brisson, Le Souterrain, 16200, Courbillac

Regular Sunday yoga brunches

Located between Cognac, Jarnac & Rouillac

Thurs 13.30-14.45

ContaCt LuCy thompson for bookings: 05 49 87 36 26 Facebook: French Yoga Garden


Your source for Annie Sloan Products. Workshop courses and commissions undertaken. Siret: 802 327 635 00016

RENAISSANCE - hair, beauty, nails


Please contact to make an appointment Tel: 05 45 67 70 62

 Colour matching service available  Free Technical advice and support  Tester pots available The paint the professionals use

Brico17paintsupplies 09 61 62 46 15 Large selection of home fabrics, made-to-measure curtains, bedlinen, wallpaper & paint. Friendly English-speaking staff in a cosy atmosphere! Tues to Fri 9h-12h30 & 14h-18h30 Sat 9h-12h30 &14h-18h comptoirdecodangely

14, rue de l’hôtel de ville, 17400 Saint-Jean d’Angély Beside the market square. Phone: 09-83-72-34-90

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

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

Siret: 813 442 860 00017

Home Decoration, Cleaning

ARC EN CIEL Nettoyage Professionnel  Authorised suppliers of Crown Trade and Sandtex Trade paint based in Charente-Maritime (17)

Well-being, Paints

Siret: 509 861 902 00013

Visit Alison, Stephanie, Laura & Julie at...


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

BH Assurances

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

Contact Isabelle directly Mobile: 06 17 30 39 11


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

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

Personal, Professional, Business Insurance & Investments Car – Home – Health – Life – Travel – Savings – Retirement


Motor, House and Contents, Health, Business, Life Insurance and Savings

Alexandre HULOT Bilingual Insurance Agent

AGENCES PHILIPPE BOURDIN 3 Place d’Armes, 16700 RUFFEC Tel: 05 45 31 01 51 or Commercial site at SuperU, 79190 SAUZE VAUSSAIS Tel: 05 49 07 61 10

05 46 59 01 75

36 rue Grosse Horloge, 17400 ST JEAN D’ANGELY E: W:'ANGELY Expert Expat Advice 15 years of personal experience living & working abroad

E: No ORIAS: 07009808


Document non contractuel à caractère publicitaire à jour au 05/03/2015 - Aviva Assurances, Société Anonyme d’Assurances Incendie, Accidents et Risques Divers au capital de 178 771 908,38 € - Siège social: 13 rue du Moulin Bailly, 92270 Bois-Colombes - Entreprise régie par le Code des assurances – R.C.S NANTERRE 306 522 665.

No Orias: 13004664

We find the best insurer for your needs at competitive rates

MOTOR, HOUSE, MEDICAL, TRAVEL, BUSINESS For information and quotes contact Penny G.S.A.R. 05 53 40 15 71

HELP WITH ALL FRENCH ADMINISTRATION MATTERS Administrative Assistance & Solutions Private Individuals & Small Businesses English / Français / Português & Espagnol

Same road, new number!

30 rue du commerce, 86400 CIVRAY M: 06 33 11 64 05

PROFESSIONAL ENGLISH/FRENCH TRANSLATOR Translating is often about more than just the words. Being French, I understand the culture as well as the language ensuring that your communication is as effective in French as in English. Contact me for translations of all kinds of professional and personal documents including websites

Isabelle.rougier-dousseau 06-77-08-87-29


INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL ADVISER The Spectrum IFA Group with over 20 years’ experience advising expatriates throughout Europe on all aspects of financial planning.

Tel: 05 55 89 57 94 Mob: 06 15 28 54 82

E: 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 »

Do you want to improve your French but find you can’t get to lessons? Insurance

Ask for Corinne

For all your insurance needs in France

Special discount for new owners - 50% off the first year Fully comprehensive covers at competitive prices and all explained in ENGLISH. We respond quickly to enquiries and in the case of accidents or claims, we are here to help. Offices at Champdeniers and St Pardoux (79). Come and visit us.

Agence Michallon Tel:



Siren No 520 382 805

Insurance, Help & Advice

Free, no obligation quotes. Ask for Samantha, our English member of staff, with over 25 years’ experience in insurance.

Orias: 07007057

English Speaking

Would you prefer to learn in the privacy of your own home? Try Frantastique, the online course with fun, daily lessons, for FREE for one month and see your French improve. Simply sign up on our website

These local businesses are waiting for your call!

Long established service at reasonable rates Depts 16 & 17 Expert in French Administration Business set-up Personal taxation Legal matters Phone calls & meetings Andrew Harrison

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


Charente Assistance Garden Maintenance | Pool Care | Gîte Services | Home Maintenance |

Home Satellite Services

Experience you need....Results you want

Learn French from the comfort of your home on Skype with a friendly French native teacher. For all levels Personalised lessons from anywhere at any time For all types of learning objectives 15 years’ experience

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

Personal Taxation – Carte Vitale – Business set ups CPAM – French Administration – Tax regularisation and much much more…. Tel. 09 70 40 81 17

Call Rick Denton now on 06 46 25 30 87 or Email:

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

Your Local Sky Expert Contact Steve for a free, no-obligation quotation on: 07 80 03 25 64 or 05 49 48 18 44 E:


Based in Poitiers and covering 86, 79, 16, 17 & 24

Claude’s Cat Hotel

Siret: 841733769 00019


Siret: 822 175 527 0016

Les Chaillauds 16220 MONTBRON Tel: 05 45 24 01 45

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

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

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

15 mins from La Rochefoucauld & 20 mins from Rochechouart


Full trade references available

While France has a lot to offer, living the dream can be tough at times, especially when trying to get things done. This is where my comprehensive administration and translation support services can help. I solve your most pressing needs - related to business, health, vehicles, residence, education, taxation and building (and anything else you can think of) - while supporting you to navigate the bureaucratic maze so you stay in control. Drawing on nearly 20 years of living and working in France, I understand the systems and know how to negotiate to get things done - without the drama (and even with a sense of humour!).

“Jenny’s professional, friendly and calm approach puts you at ease” Karin Light

“All the hassle and problems were quickly reduced to minor inconveniences…” Chris McGovern

FRENCH COMMUNICATION SERVICES FB: frenchwordsmith 06 79 85 58 84 Available across 86, 87, 19, 36 & 37 SIRET 504 587 924 00011 MMA Professional liability insurance

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

Help & advice, Translations

Guiding you through the bureaucratic maze so you can focus on what matters…

Animal care, Transport

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

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

Help & Advice, Satellite

The Fixer


Affordable UK Designs

Fitted Kitchens, Upvc & Aluminium Double Glazing

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

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

SIRET: 513 577 809 00017

Transport Services


The UK’s Premium Pet Transport Company

‘Your French Connection’

Regular trips throughout Europe

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

Services tailored to your needs DEFRA Type 2 licensed, custom built vans

Full or Part Load Removals To & From France UK: +44 (0) 1622 690 653 FR: +33 (0)5 45 89 49 57 Email:

Transport, Holidays T: +44 (0)7855 401 102 T: +44 (0)1656 670 856

UK Registration 543 77 60 UK

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

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


George White

European Transport Special rates to SW France 13.6m / 45ft trailer Full/Part loads Removals - Vehicles - Materials Owner Driver RHA member Tel: +44 (0)7768 867 360 Fax +44 (0)1773 570 090 Fr Mobile: +33 (0)6 23 03 85 59

Bright and modern A/C, 2-bed Mobile Home in a fantastic location on Prairies de La Mer with its own private beach. Bars, restaurants, water sports facilities and spa centre on-site.

For details, email

These local businesses are waiting for your call!

05 45 36 19 09


© Cormar Carpets

LET JON THE CARPET MAN KEEP YOU WARM THIS WINTER! While those warm sunny days by the pool, during a summer when record high temperatures were set across France and the rest of Europe, become a distant memory, it’s time to consider how to keep warm this winter. Obviously it is important to keep the home well insulated but that’s not always easy in an old French property, mostly constructed during a time when insulating the home was not top of the list of priorities. But in these modern days we are constantly advised to save energy and proper insulation is the best way to keep energy costs down........ A good quality carpet fitted over a decent underlay is a popular and affordable solution to keeping the heat in those colder rooms in the house. In fact a saving of up to 15% of heating costs is possible using a fully fitted carpet over a hard floor. And, of course, the increased comfort and ambiance added to a room with a luxurious wool carpet is another big plus! So give Jon a call and let him show you how to keep warmer this winter!

E: jonthecarpetman

SHOWROOM ADDRESS Les Rivières, 19260 TREIGNAC 09 63 56 23 10 / 06 42 19 82 12


For all your flooring needs

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

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

05 55 71 41 75 Siret: 512 945 874 00018

Tel: 06 17 73 56 87 Mob: 07 77 83 77 10 or 0044 7917 03 02 49

Pool services

Swimming Pool Cleaning & Maintenance

• seasonal cleaning and maintenance contracts

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

siret: 838271518

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


UPVC windows, doors & ConserVatories sPeCialists

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

10 year warranTy on all products installed

~ Covering south west franCe ~

Tel: 05 46 70 25 87

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

SIRET 47994761600021

• winter close downs phone: 09 62 64 50 14 mobile: 06 43 03 77 18

Ornate interior / exterior designs Gates constructed / refurbished Industrial furniture General Welding ~ Over 25 year’s experience ~

R J Coulson

• spring opens


Jeff’s Metalwork


Our philosophy is very simple, whether your budget is large or small, we offer you great value for money. So why not enquire about our pools? From design, excavation to installation, we offer you a full package, leaving you to enjoy your time. We also offer a landscaping service.

Fraser W. Eade

We buy and sell left hand drive cars, French & British registered. Delivery and collection across Europe - regular trips throughout France. New and used, tax paid and tax free. +44 (0) 1256 461173

Getting your pool re a d y for the summer!


L’Atelier de Fer

Flooring, Metalwork

Left Hand Drive Place


stallation Delivery & in

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Furniture for France

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

Chimney Sweep

Can you help?

Nick Wright

As LIVING Magazine grows, we are looking for help to deliver the magazine in the following areas:

L i ving



magazinE oct | nov 2019

• Certificates issued for every sweep • Over 10 years’ experience • Covering departments 16, 17, 79 & 86

Rouillac, Châteauneuf, Barbezieux, Jonzac and surrounds


a personal message to our readers from nouvelle-aquitaine President alain rousset

Business Directory

Garden inspiration cathar country Practical advice & Much More

Find the best local companies, all in one place!

~ Passionate about life

in south west france


If you have spare time and would like to meet more people, or are a business looking to reach new customers, this could suit you.

Registered with the Chambre de Métiers et de l’Artisanat Siret 81968203000013

If you think you could help us, please drop an email to to discuss what would be involved. We look forward to hearing from you!

Ian Dickinson BSc (Hons)

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

Tel: Mob:

BECK CHERRY PICKER HIRE Nacelle Telescopique

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


Metalwork, Fencing, Artisans


Contact Nick on email: or T. 05 45 71 33 36 Siret: 827 978 636 00013

Building services

Chimney sweep, Building services


Tel: 06 46 49 73 45 Email:

These local businesses are waiting for your call!

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

05 53 52 36 05 Peter Latus BA(Hons)



Enershop – renewable energy heating systems for your property

Tel: 07 67 04 07 53



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

05 46 49 78 30 / 06 70 40 66 01

Wooden shutters made, restored and spray painted, metal shutters sandblasted Exterior/Interior walls airless spray-painted Over 30 years’ experience

AMC CONTRACTS Tel 05 45 21 72 01 Mobile 07 80 00 51 65




Depts 16 & 17

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

Swimming pools Septic tanks Roofing & General building Piscines, Fosses septiques Toitures et Bâtiment général Free Devis Decennial insurance

Fosse septiques: Toutes eaux, Micro stations, Compact systems, Special flood zone Groundworks, Foundations Land clearance

Machines & driver 0.75 tons to 13 tons French spoken 15 years’ experience Covering depts. 16, 86, 87

E: T: 06 48 17 20 94

Tel 05 17 30 18 35 Mobile 06 33 85 65 66

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

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

Javarzay, 79110 Chef-Boutonne Siren: 478 608 185 00011

Building services, Artisans

GK Bâtiment Général



16100 Chateaubernard 05 45 36 46 70 / 06 72 21 80 27 All depts in Nouvelle Aquitaine covered

website: email:

06 43 03 77 18 09 62 64 50 14 gkbatimentgeneral@



Building services, Artisans

Kitchens & Bathrooms from A-Z

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

Siret : 484 738 166 00012

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

Siret 482 718 640 00022

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




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

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


Building services, Artisans


Imajica Joinery


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

the roof, the whole roof and nothing but the roof

Experts at working with slate & clay Over 40 year’s experience

Building services, Artisans

Siret: 48115588500017


R J Coulson

• complete range of building services • renovations and refurbishments

Part or full renovations Roofing Plaster boarding All building works undertaken

• pointing/rendering

Tel: 05 49 27 52 99 Mob: 06 74 95 21 00 E: Based 79190

• roof repairs

Siret 487 581 209 00011

Covering 1h radius around Mareuil 24340

For a free estimate call 06 35 11 27 31 Strictly Roofing – Malcolm Cooke

05 49 87 09 63 Keith Bassett

Renovations / new builds Roof repairs Velux installation Guttering Insurance claims

• block work

Building services

For You and Your French Home

• plastering • kitchen and bathroom installation • tiling • patios terraces

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

• painting and decorating

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

South West


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

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

France Fosse

We are the only dedicated installer Trained - Approved - Recommended BY SPANC Can you trust your installation to anyone else?

Over 30 years of experience

Accredited installers for the leading makes of compact filters and microstations Biorock - Ecoflo - Phytoplus - Elloywater - Hydroclear

Tel: 06 04 14 84 86

See all our work on southwestfrancefosse


These local businesses are waiting for your call!

~ Free quotes ~ Decennial insurance

07 82 19 22 37

English & French Plastering specialist Floor screeding - Tiling Concrete Floors - Spray Render, Monocouche & pointing etc. 30 years’ experience, 8 in departments 86 & 16 Large portfolio References available Call Michael for a free quote

05 45 71 33 57 or 06 33 62 77 72 Email: Siret: 792 862 09600015

Find us on Facebook


Les Les Bons Voisins Voisins

property management throughout france


no job too small, no project too large

exceptional service at competitive prices

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

. admin help . translation

friendly people providing professional help to home owners in france

Specialist Carpenter/Joiner

Cabinet Maker & Joiner

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

Furniture Restoration Manufacture of staircases, doors & cupboards

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

16240 La Fôret de Tesse T: 05 45 30 39 85 Covering depts 16, 79 & 86

Siret: 804476 034 00017

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

Conformity Inspections

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

Siret: 441 490 992 00027

Domestic Plumbing and Heating

website: email: Tel: 06 58 86 55 91 Based in 86400 Saint Macoux English spoken

Plumbing - Heating Chimney sweeping

EMERGENCY CALL OUTS 24 hours / 7 days a week

Siret: 831 980 487 00019

Kitchen & Bathroom installation Tiling Plumbing Repairs

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

Tel: 06 29 90 24 89 E:

Contact Ken Fey 16220 Rouzede Tel: 05 45 23 76 49 M: +44 (0)75 99 17 90 39 E:

Based in dept 79 near Sauzé-Vaussais Fully insured

Siret: 838 623 437 00012

Siret: 804 390 862 000 14

depts 79, 86 & 16

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

05 46 86 07 61 Siret 49376573200015

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

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

Leaking roof - 48hr response!

Andy Quick

The Roofing & Renovation Company Established in 2007, registered artisan with Décennale & Civile Responsabilité Insurance E: ~ T: 05 49 27 22 67 Siret: 499 474 302 00035

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Building services, Artisans

Ambroise PRÉE

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


ADAM BLACKABY Artisan Peintre

Jb Plumbing

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

05 46 49 78 30 / 06 70 40 66 01

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

Areas 16, 17, 24, 33, 79, 86

ANDY MS Multi Services

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

Siret: 508 248 747 000 18

05 45 31 14 58 / 06 63 20 24 93

Peter Amor Electrician


Building services, Artisans

Adrian Amos Barry Baldwin

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

living music | 65

Alternative Upbeat Christmas Spins Is the eternal recycling of the same Christmas hit playlist starting to drive you nuts? We might just have the answer...


ew things in life are as predictable as the sounds which fuel the run-up to Christmas and the New Year. The idea might be to add some festive jollity, but each year it all kicks off earlier than before, and there’s only so many times you can hear seasonal hits from the 70s and 80s before a sense of cosy nostalgia turns to boredom. Whether we love them or loathe them, they’re all lodged in dusty corners of our brains, waiting to be brought out with the tinsel, baubles, fairy lights and mounds of other stuff we pack away dutifully, year after year. When it comes to seasonal crimes against music, there’s no escape from mind-numbing supermarket sound systems, so if you’re planning a get-together with friends and family, you might be dreading the thought of dusting-off those Christmas hit CDs one more time. If so, think laterally, for there’s a rich seam of lesser-known tracks out there with refreshingly alternative takes on Christmas. Your musicsavvy friends will be seriously impressed. To kick things off in style, Cheap Trick’s “I Want You For Christmas” is a shameless rework of the band’s 1978 rock standard “I Want You To Want Me”

(you might want to edit out the zany novelty ending..). Slightly more punktinged is Sparks’ 1974 offering “Thank God It’s Not Christmas”, from the band’s “Kimono My House” album. Upping the energy level, The Kinks’ 1978 “Father Christmas” is a forgotten gem worth rediscovering. For something a little more reflective, Scritti Politti’s “Snow In The Sun”, released in 2006, floats along unobtrusively. Or perhaps you prefer a more contemporary feel, in which case Toronto-based Dragonette’s, “Merry Xmas (Says Your Text Message)” should fit the bill, or maybe Train’s “Shake Up Christmas” (93 million YouTube plays and counting). Margo Guryan’s “I Don’t Intend To Spend Christmas Without You” is redolent with late-‘60s la-la-la bubble-kitsch. She’s a New Yorker, but close your eyes and it could be Françoise Hardy. The song was later covered on their fanclub-only Xmas98 CD by Saint Etienne, who had previously released their own “I Was Born On Christmas


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

16, 17, 79 and west Vienne

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

Day” in 1993, featuring guest vocals from The Charlatan’s singer Tim Burgess. For a soulful, retro, notquite-Motown feel, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings gave us “Just Another Christmas Song” (2014), with just about every seasonal reference thrown in. If that appeals, her “It’s A Holiday Soul Party” packs a whole album’s-worth. Another upbeat, soul-tinged track is Clarence Carters slightly risqué “Back Door Santa” (1968), covered much later for no obvious reason by Bon Jovi. How about a seasonal novelty number? Look no further than the 10 year-old Gayla Peevey’s 1953 release “The Christmas Hippo Song” – a.k.a. “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas”. They don’t write ‘em like that anymore. When things start to wind down (or you’re flagging), it could well be time to deploy something a capella, like “That’s Christmas To Me” by Pentatonix. But hang on; we’re in France, so to wind things up it just has to be Johnny Hallyday’s “Mon Plus Beau Noël”.

66 | living Language

Pardon? T

he joys of translation! Sustainability may well be a global theme with Extinction Rebellion and the climate crisis on everyone’s lips, but it’s not the easiest subject to translate into French. Nor, for that matter, are many new words that we adopt every year in either language. It’s time for a romp through a few words and phrases to see which might be ‘single use’ and which might ‘go the distance’. Even the word ‘sustainability’ isn’t as easy as you’d think to translate into French. The word sounds as if you should just be able to Frenchify it a little, perhaps sustainabilité, but it’s not the case. ‘Sustainable’ in an English-French dictionary gives you durable or longlasting, but for me, that has no real sense of the environmental benefit of the term when we use it in English. The Latin that once linked soutenir with ‘sustain’ has more-or-less evaporated, leaving soutenir, to hold from below, meaning something much more akin to ‘support’. Just to make matters worse, ‘support’ also has a French false friend, supporter, both coming from the Latin for ‘to carry from below’. The last few dozen times I’ve heard supporter in French, it has been in the sense of ‘I can’t tolerate this or that’, je ne supporte pas… Je n’accepte pas… je ne tolère pas. So we’re still left without a perfect translation of ‘sustainable’ into French. I suppose I’ll just have to tolerate la durabilité environnementale. I don’t suppose it would be half as confusing if ‘sustain’ didn’t mean something quite different in English from ‘sustainable’. Our own language doesn’t make it very much more simple. The word entered English in its current form in 1924, the same year as ‘flight deck’, ‘Geiger counter’, ‘radiation sickness’ and

L i ving

Lost in translation? Emma Jane Lee, our language expert, takes a look at some recent additions

been used in the sense of denouncing or naming the person who harassed you as balancer means ‘to grass on’, ‘to snitch on’ or ‘to rat on’. Balancer is also a colloquial word used to mean ‘throw away’ in French. You might think it sounds strange to hear balancer des ordures, not least if you’re as old as I am and you think of balancer meaning ‘to weigh up’ or you connect it to la balance or ‘scales’. Tossing out your rubbish, balancer des ordures, means something very different than weighing it, that’s for sure! It’s not uncommon to hear of kittens or puppies ‘malarkey’, so it has turned out to with the same expression balancer des be a pretty sustainable word. chatons or balancer des chiots which means It does beg the question about how to dump or dispose of them. Balancer is many words or phrases that emerged definitely finding ways to recycle itself! Another modern term, ‘single-use’, is in 2019 will make it through the next hundred years, or even make it through much easier to translate: à usage unique. ‘Disposable’ is another English word that into French. Will we still be talking sounds so much like it must come from about the ‘cancel culture’ and ‘climate French that you might be tempted to crisis?’. Even in 2019, climate crisis is wing it and translate it with disposable easy enough to talk about in French: which is not a word in French. In fact, la crise climatique or le réchauffement ‘disposable’ in its modern sense of single climatique. But ‘cancel culture’ is not so use or throw-away, only came into use easy to translate. ‘Cancel culture’ is a recent phenoduring the 1960s. Of course, in the sense menon of a boycott of a celebrity of being available, disponible is fairly close whose behaviour or beliefs have been to the French, but you can’t describe questioned - a cultural backlash by fans cutlery, nappies or napkins as disponible if you mean jetable or disposable. who think their celebrity heroes need With all this confusion, I’m glad to change. French articles about this that biodégradable, pollution, recyclable phenomenon are calling it la ‘cancel and permaculture are almost the same culture’ to get around this translation nightmare. Who knows how sustainable in French as they are in English. Translation is not always easy even that term will turn out to be? The #MeToo movement to call out toxic and with the most sustainable of terms. exploitative behaviour is a similar term, Emma is a jack-of-all-language-trades, and #MeToo has been more widely used writing English textbooks, translating, in France. #Balancetonporc is a wonderful marking exam scripts and teaching translation of #MeToo conjuring up languages. She lives near La Rochefoucauld meanings of both ‘throw away your pig’ with her growing menagerie. See and ‘grass on your pig’. In French, it’s

Editor: Kathryn Dobson FEATURES EDITOR: Roger Moss Advertising: Jon Dobson Art editor: Nadia Van den Rym Production manager: Justin Silvester Regular contributors: Caro Feely, Susan Hays, Jessica Knipe, magazine Emma-Jane Lee, Mike Morris, Nikki Legon and Stig Tomas. WITH THANKS TO: John and Gill Bowler, Julia Moss. Photography: Shutterstock or Roger Moss unless indicated. Cover image: Hedgehog in winter © Coatesy/Shutterstock. Published by: SARL AMM, 2 Rue Buffefeu, 86400 Linazay FRANCE. Poitiers: 533 624 128. Printed by: Rotimpres S.A. Dépôt légal: A parution. ISSN: 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 any company you are dealing with is registered in France and/or elsewhere around the world. Articles in this issue do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher.

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