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Bienvenue to our first edition of 2017, a year that promises to be full of change and, potentially, some challenges! We know that the threat of Brexit and the advent of the Trump Presidency alongside the continuing refugee crisis mean that many of us are feeling uncertain about what lies ahead. Speaking regularly to our advertisers about their plans and listening to the concerns of our readers gives us a good sense of the sentiments across south west France. Here at Living HQ, we are facing the same challenges and uncertainties as we head into 2017 but we are also extremely thankful of all that we have. We live in a beautiful region where there is plenty to do that doesn’t cost the earth, we have a roof over our heads, and fantastic advertisers and readers who keep the magazine buzzing. Together we will make 2017 a year to remember! In this issue, we explore the history of a local chateau built by a Scot many centuries ago, take a tour around the Corniche de la Gironde and revisit wildlife rescuer Lydia Bordeau. We have local news, dates for your diary, delicious recipes and much, much more. Don’t forget to look through our Business Directory which is packed with excellent companies just waiting to answer your call - remember that they are the ones that enable us to bring you Living! By supporting these local businesses, you are supporting us too. À bientôt
News from around the region
We go on a trip around France with delicious regional recipes from Nikki Legon
A breath of French Ayr For five centuries the Château de Cherveux has stood as a monument to the ‘Auld Alliance’
Par la Corniche An unplanned detour took Roger Moss on a voyage of discovery along the Corniche de la Gironde
Nikki Legon’s Cuisine
A year in the Vineyard Caro Feely takes us through the next twelve months in a wine-grower’s diary
Say Cheese Fromage and more fromage with Alan Coxon
We catch up with real life wildlife rescuer Lydia Bordeau at CSFSP
Ruffec has long been a popular town in the north Charente for house-hunters as we find out
Sports for all!
Hook, Line and Sinker
Joining a sports club can be an excellent way to make new friends as Susan Hays finds out
Ron Cousins explores nymphing which is taking the fishing world by storm
Creatures Great & Small
Living Property Pages
How to keep ‘Living’ free for you Please support our advertisers and tell them you saw them in ‘Living’ Now available across 7 départements & adjoining areas: Charente (16), Charente-Maritime (17), Dordogne (24), Deux-Sèvres (79), Vendée (85), Vienne (86), Haute-Vienne (87) 100,000 readers 1,000 stockists
Tracing the Roots Exploring the origins of some of our favourite plants
Saxo-Sexy France has a longstanding love affair with the saxophone, we explore the history
Pardon! Our regular foray into French expressions with Emma Lee
Business Directory The best services & suppliers across the region
64 Places to go around the region
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ANGOULEME Barbezieux Aubeterresur-Dronne
News from around the region...
Five-year-old Arabelà (right) loves painting, baking, reading, jumping, and her little sister Beaulah. She has a special affinity with animals. She is also autistic. This means that life can be challenging for Bella but Mum Jodie also recognises the strengths that it gives her: “She notices the tiniest details, remembers every experience, enthuses over any small joy, and teaches a unique perspective. Bella may need help dressing and eating but she taught herself to read fluently before she was three and a half!” It is the family’s dream to give Arabelà an autism dog, one trained to comfort her, help her sleep through the night and keep her safe. Having moved to the Charente in July 2014, Bella and her family are now settled here and determined to make this dream a reality. To this end, Arabelàs Art has been set up to showcase her paintings which can be bought with funds going towards her new friend. You can see Arabelà’s paintings at www.arabelasart.com and follow her story on FB Arabelasart or donate to her fund at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/arabela.
Moving on For students nearing the end of their lycée and collége studies, the coming months are busy times. Not only are they preparing for their exams but they also need to carefully consider the next step in their education. To help understand the wide variety of options available, a visit to the Salon des Métiers de la Formation et de l’Orientation can be very helpful. Here they can talk directly to universities, lycées and other specialist education providers as well as discover the opportunities for apprenticeships and learn about different trades. The final one in the Poitiers Académie will take place on 3-4 February at the Parc des Expositions in Angoulême, entry is free. See www.fofe.fr for full details.
Looking ahead to a summer of fun!
• Festival International de Musique de Chambre en Charente – five weekends of world class chamber music in historic surroundings >> 6 May-4 June. • Rouillac is playing host to Les Sarabandes with its eclectic mix of street theatre, art exhibitions, games and lighting shows >> 23-25 June. • Enjoy jazz for all ages during the Respire Jazz Festival in the unique surroundings of the Abbaye d’Aignes at Puypéroux >>30 June-2 July.
• Cognac Blues Passions always boasts a strong line up of international stars and this year will be no exception. To date, Lisa Simone, Kenny Neal and three-time Grammy award winner Dee Dee Bridgewater top the bill >> 4-8 July.
Festival de Confolens which is celebrating its 60th anniversary >>9-14 August. • A new edition to the calendar this year is Fest’Aigre, a festival of musique solidaire >>19-20 August.
• La Fête du Cognac - music and Charentaise gastronomy on the quayside of this historic town >>27-29 July.
• Don’t miss Festi’ Classique – classical music concerts featuring international talents held in some of the most prestigious Cognac houses. >> 27 August-14 Sept
• Hot-air balloons fill the sky for the 20ème Coupe d’Europe de Montgolfières at Mainfonds Aubeville >> 2-6 August.
• Street theatre with a festival atmosphere at the Coup de Chauffe, Cognac >>2-3 Sept
• World music and dance come together at the
Many of the dates are yet to be finally confirmed, please check details before visiting.
News from around the region...
LGV Océane Changing places The countdown is underway to the opening of the LGV Océane line to Bordeaux which will enable passengers embarking at Angoulême to reach the new regional capital of Nouvelle Aquitaine in 35 minutes and Paris in 1h40. The new stateof-the-art trains have been unveiled and months of intense negotiations have taken place to ensure that the 29 million euros invested by the département results in a better service for its residents. It has finally been agreed that there will be 30 daily journeys between Bordeaux and Angoulême and 20 between Angoulême and Paris in 2017. Future projects to extend the line to Toulouse (2024), Dax (2027) and Spain (2032) will all ensure that the Charente is at the heart of a key European travel corridor offering new opportunities. The new line will be inaugurated on 2 July, 2017.
As part of the move to Nouvelle Aquitaine, the boundaries of Charente’s communes have been reviewed and redefined with 32 communes changing their district or arrondissement. Angoulême, Cognac and Confolens districts are all affected. 15 communes have been moved from Angoulême to Confolens (Ambérac, Anais, Aussac Vadalle, Coulonges, la Chapelle, Vervant, Maine-de-Boixe, Montignac, Nanclars, StAmant-de-Boixe, Tourriers, Vars, Villejoubert, Vouharte, Xambes). 14 communes have moved from Angoulême to Cognac (Bécheresse, Champagne-Vigny, Champmillon, Côteaux-du-Blanzacais, Douzat, Échallat, Étriac, Hiersac, Moulidars, Pérignac, St-Amant-de-Nouère, St Genis-d’Hiersac, St-Léger et Val-des-Vignes). Châtignac and St Laurent des Combes have moved from Cognac to Angoulême, and Saint-Adjutory has moved from Confolens to Angoulême. Changing districts can affect some Winter holi areas of daily life that are funded by the days fo r schools in Z district so residents of these communes one A should take note of the information (Nouvelle A q uitaine) provided by their mairie. In addition, will soon be the location of the sous-préfecture here! Students br changes, although with many e a k up procedures now available on line or via on Friday 1 7 Feb and the mairie, the need to visit the sousreturn to sc préfecture has reduced. The number hool of communauté de communes has also on Monday been reduced from 20 to 9 as part of 6 March the ongoing effort to reduce overall administration costs.
Official Stockists of Chalk Paint™ a decorative paint by Annie Sloan Your premier source for all Annie Sloan products, from Chalk & Wall paint, waxes, lacquer, brushes & stencils, to friendly advice and a cup of tea! Visit our showroom to be inspired with our latest creations, we are situated between Cognac, Rouillac & Jarnac.
• Workshops Techniques 1 & 2 (Annie Sloan approved tuition) • Commissions undertaken • Painted furniture sales • Objets d’art including paintings & glassware by local artists
Every Saturday’s demonstration day .. come and try Annie Sloan paint for yourself …. free tea, coffee & cake ! Impasse Brisson, Le Souterrain, 16200, Courbillac | Tel: 05 45 67 70 62 | www.couleursdevie.eu
Siret: 802 327 635 00016
Couleurs de Vie
Île de Ré
LA ROCHELLE Surgeres Île de Oléron
CHARENTE-MARITIME (17) Marennes Saintes
charenteNews from around the region... maritime
The Zoo de Palmyre is celebrating the arrival of two new residents. Firstly, Vienna, a 28-year-old female polar bear was transferred from Rostock Zoo (Germany) to La Palmyre in early November while a new polar bear enclosure is built at Rostock. She will be returned once this is ready. It was also recently announced that Bamia, a 13-year-old chimpanzee, gave birth to her first infant, a male, in November. There were concerns after the birth over her ability to feed the baby, but while his growth is slow, the team at the zoo are happy with his progress. The geographical range of the central chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) covers 7 countries with Gabon, Cameroon and Congo hosting the largest populations. They live mainly in humid lowland rainforests and swampy forests. The total number for this subspecies is probably around 140,000 individuals and it is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List which is why this birth is so important. The captive population in Europe only numbers about 40 individuals who are managed within the framework of a European Breeding Program (EEP) since 2015. See www.zoo-palmyre.fr/en.
Planning ahead Looking ahead to a summer of fun!
The association Vivractif helps those in difficulty to find a route back into employment. One of the ways they do this is through La Chinetterie based in Tonnay-Charente. Here household objects are taken in and given a new lease of life by the employees. You can help by either dropping off items that you no longer require or browsing in the 400m2 shop filled with everything from toys to cutlery. Clothes, objects and furniture can be dropped off from 8.30am-noon and 1.30pm5.30pm, Monday to Friday. The shop is open from 10am-noon and 2-6pm from Tuesday to Saturday. Zone de la Croix-Biron, 17430 Tonnay-Charente; 05 46 83 19 58; www.vivractif.com.
Abbaye aux Dames during the Festival de Saintes. >> 14-22 July • International and national groups in a lakeside setting at the Free Music Festival, Montendre. >> 23-24 June • The Festival international du film de La Rochelle welcomes films from around the world. >> 30 June-9 July • La Rochelle welcomes thousands of concertgoers to Francofolies to see DJ Snake, Christophe Maé and Kungs. >> 12-16 July • Enjoy classical music in the atmospheric surroundings of the
Musique en Ré features a mixture of free and ticketed classical concerts across the island. >> 19 July-2 August • Musicians from around the world join together for 3 days of music improvisation during the Festival En Accords at Tonnay-Charente. >> 20-22 July • Un Violon Sur Le Sable – picnic on the beach at Royan before enjoying an evening of wonderful music, all topped off by fireworks, truly one of a kind. >> 22, 25 & 28 July
• Fun street theatre in the seaside town of Saint Georges de Didonne Festival Humour et Eau Salée. >> 28 July-4 August • Martin Solveig headlines at Summer Sound, Rochefort. >> 3-6 August • Crescendo – international rock groups on the beach at Saint-Palais-surMer featuring Mabel Greer’s Toyshop who later changed their name to YES. >> 17-19 August Many of the dates are yet to be finally confirmed, please check details before visiting.
© F. Perroux/Zoo de La Palmyre
News from around the region...
Yoga & Cognac
After a negative reaction including two petitions that collected over 6,000 signatures, the project to open a McCafé on the Quai Duperré at La Rochelle has been shelved by MacDonalds, officially for budgetary reasons. The news was announced by Maire Jean-François Fountaine who was not in favour of the project but was unable to oppose it due to the possible legal costs.
Set in a beautiful French country manor house in the midst of the wonderful Cognac countryside, PraanaWellness offers a unique ‘getaway’ concept tailored to your individual wishes. PraanaWellness, the creation of Amanda Graham, truly believes in a balanced lifestyle and offers a refreshingly new approach to the concept of wellness retreats. As Amanda explains: “The choice is yours – relax by the roman pool, taste the delights of the Cognac region or zone out for an afternoon with some restorative yoga – simply enjoy!” This is tailor-made tranquillity at its best. To capture this mindset, which is at the heart of the PraanaWellness way, Amanda has introduced the special ‘Yoga and Cognac’ retreat for those who want an all-encompassing programme for the body, mind and soul. There is plenty of choice for everyone: yoga, meditation and massage coupled with indulgent organic cuisine, Cognac and wine tasting. Email Amanda@praanawellness.com or view www. praanawellness.com to reserve your place.
With the ongoing drive to merge administrative organisations, Charente Tourisme and Charente-Maritime Tourisme have joined to become ‘Les Charentes’. There are two objectives, to better support local tourism operators by merging resources and know-how and, secondly, to develop the attractiveness of the Charentes by promoting a region stretching from the Atlantic coast to the gates of the Périgord via the Cognac vineyards. New initiatives for 2017 include the launch of a Guide du Routard ‘Les Charentes’ in April and a press pack featuring œnotourism (wine tourism) in the region. Unfortunately for those offering accommodation to visitors from non-French speaking countries, promotion in English has been put on the back burner for the second year running.
www.residencesladifference.com firstname.lastname@example.org Visit by appointment: +33 (0)5 46 26 80 65
Saint Jean d’Angély
Hotel service from the comfort of your home... Le Clos des Granges is a life concept developed for over 60s in an environment ideal for a serene retirement
Gardening Swimming Pools Gym
Home Help SERVICES
Restaurant Bar 24-hour security Navette Car hire
SHOW HOUSE OPEN
News from around the region...
One Good Turn…
Dordogne Eymet Lawn Bowls
GoodTurn Cycles, France, is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to the idea that giving a ‘Hand-Up’ is one of life’s greatest joys and privileges. Run by Rebecca Tucker and Guy Sheridan, both of whom have many years’ experience living and working in France, GTC will provide training for motivated individuals to learn electric bicycle mechanics and technology, retail sales, customer service, and marketing...all in an English immersion setting. The goal is to prepare their trainees for positions in the electric bike and tourism industries, where their acquired knowledge and skill-sets from GTC will give them a competitive edge in the job market. GTC are gearing up for a Spring ‘17 launch in Allemans-du-Dropt (47) from their temporary space in the Place de l’Eglise between the boucherie and the tabac while they renovate their permanent home in the old chateau stables in the Place de la Marie. Rebecca says: “Please stop by to say hello, enjoy a coffee, and find out more about our mission and our bikes!” Alternatively, check out their website at www.goodturncycles.fr or visit their Facebook page at GoodTurn Cycles, France.
Planning ahead Looking ahead to a summer of fun!
bands in and around Riberac. >> 21-22 July (tbc) • Celebrate the langue d’oc with a traditional fête, La Félibrée, at La Douze. >>1-2 July (tbc) • Classical music in historic surroundings with Musique en Périgord Vert. >> 18 July-14 August (tbc) • Festival des Jeux du Théâtre de Sarlat, a festival of live theatre. >> 20 July-5 August • Le Grand Souk features contemporary
• International art, dance & music at the Festival Cultures aux Cœurs at Montignac. >> 24-30 July • Mimos at Périgueux welcomes international mime artists to the region, no language required. >> 24-29 July • Festival Forges et Métallurgie at Etouars live demonstrations from artisans dedicated to metalwork and forges. >> 29-30 July
• Baroque music concerts at the Festival Itinéraire Baroque en Périgord Vert. >> 27-30 July • 3,000 visitors marvel at scarecrows of all shapes and sizes at Festival des Epouvantails, Meyrals. >> 29-30 July • Itinérance Médiévale en Vallée du Dropt – medieval festivals in many local communes along the Dropt valley. >> 3-14 August Many of the dates are yet to be finally confirmed, please check details before visiting.
Having moved to Eymet in 2015, Tony and Judy Smith set about making their longtime dream into a reality. Tony takes up the story: “Judy’s father Len Parsons was the Kent County Singles Champion in lawn bowls and we belonged to Nutley Bowls Club in Sussex. The game was in our blood. On moving to Eymet, we decided to turn our back field into a full-size bowling green!” But not just any green, one capable of attracting international teams from around the world, complete with its own clubhouse. After surmounting the inevitable challenges in their way, the couple are now proud owners of an AstroTurf green and the foundations for the Parsons Meade Bowls Club clubhouse have been laid which will include changing rooms and toilet facilities. The club will be opened by the Eymet Maire in early spring. Tony and Judy are now asking interested players to get in touch. Coaching will be available and their aim is to enjoy both the beautiful French countryside and the sport with club members. Call Tony on 09 83 93 88 11 or 06 63 44 55 58 to find out more or email: judith email@example.com
News from around the region...
© D. Nidos
As with Charente, the move to Nouvelle Aquitaine has resulted in changes to the four arrondissements of the Dordogne, Périgueux, Bergerac, Sarlat and Nontron. Of the 520 communes, 72 have changed their district with the greatest change being to Périgueux which no longer spans the whole département from the Charente to the Corrèze. For the full list of changes, see www.dordogne.gouv.fr.
© D. Nidos
Located in Montignac, the Lascaux Cave, discovered in 1940 and granted UNESCO World Heritage site status, is a masterpiece of cave art. A major tourist attraction and a world renowned prehistoric site, the Lascaux Cave closed in 1963 to prevent damage. Some twenty years later, a detailed replica (Lascaux 2) opened to the public which has been seen by more than ten million visitors. In addition, an exhibition (Lascaux 3) has been touring the world since 2012. Lascaux 4, the International Cave Painting Centre whose mission is to develop, promote and educate on the wealth of paintings and carvings adorning the Lascaux Cave, has now been added to the portfolio. This state of the art visitor centre cost 66 million euros and takes visitors on a path of discovery through a full-size replica of the cave before moving on to a garden, workshop, 3D cinema and a gallery of imagination. Tours in English (one or two per day until the end of March) can be reserved on the website with tickets costing 16€ for over-13s, 10.40€ for 6-12 years and under-6 going free. The centre is open daily with a minimum of 2 hours recommended for the full tour. www.lascaux.fr.
AT CHEZ CARTIER, 16360 CONDÉON HANDS-ON COOKERY WORKSHOPS WITH REZA MAHAMMAD
Join celebrity chef Reza Mahammad for a hands on cookery workshop at his home in the Charente. Reza teaches a three-course Indian, Middle Eastern or Thai menu, conveying his passion and infectious enthusiasm for food and entertaining. Courses limited to 8. Participants create a delicious, authentic meal with Reza’s expert guidance. Lunch is enjoyed by all, served with wine and hosted by Reza. Timings: 10h30 - 16h30 Price per person: 175€/£150 DATES: 18th, 21st February; 6th, 8th, 13th, 15th April; 25th, 27th May; 10th, 12th, 17th, 19th, 24th, 26th and 31st August
Book before 31 March and mention LIVING to receive a 25€/£20 discount per person! www.chezcartier. com
St Jean de
s Les Herbier
La Roche sur-Yon
Les Sables d’Olonne
e La Tranch sur Mer
DEUX SEVRE (79) NIORT
News from around the region...
Deux-sèvres & Vendée
Planning ahead Looking ahead to a summer of fun!
DEUX SEVRES (79) • Terri’Thouars Blues kicks off the festival season with an international blues line-up. >>29 March-2 April
Epic Expo Transformation is catching the imagination across Deux-Sévres. A year ago, the Art and History Museum at Parthenay launched an appeal to the 44 museums across the Poitou-Charentes to bring together works around the theme of ‘Metamorphoses’ the narrative poem by Roman poet Ovid. First published in 8AD and considered his greatest work, the epic chronicles the history of the world from its creation to the deification of Julius Caesar within a loose mythicohistorical framework. The appeal was successful and some fifty works including paintings, sculptures and ceramics are now on display until 2 April. These include pieces by Rubens, Rembrandt and Rodin through to Man Ray, an American visual artist who spent most of his career in France and who was a significant contributor to the Dada and Surrealist movements. Entry is free and the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire de Parthenay is open Weds to Fri and Sunday. See www. cc-parthenay-gatine.fr for full details.
• Join in the Maraisthon, an eco-marathon at the heart of the Marais Poitevin. >> 18 June • Brioux-sur-Boutonne host a week long Festival au Village with theatre, songs, dance and more. >>30 June-8 July (tbc) • Caber throwing and more at the Highland Games, Bressuire. >>10-11 July • Festival Terres de Danses at Bressuire welcomes dance troupes from around the world. >> 12-16 July (tbc) • Festival de Bouche à Oreille at Parthenay features traditional music and dance from across Poitou-Charentes and Vendée. >>12-16 July
• Children from across the globe perform at the Festival des Enfants du Monde at Saint Maixent l’Ecole. >>12-17 July • Festival Ludique International de Parthenay featuring games of all shapes & sizes including board games and video games. >>12-23 July • Enjoy classical music in beautiful surroundings at Les Estivales d’Artenetra held at the Abbaye Royale de Celles-sur-Belle. >>July-4 August (tbc)
VENDEE (85) • Festival Acoustic at Le Poiré-sur-Vie with Cocoon and Asaf Avidan. >>17-19 March • Live concerts of emerging music at La 7ème Vague at Brétignolles-sur-Mer. >>26-27 May • Free live music and theatre events along the Vendée Atlantic coast with Le Déferlante de Printemps. >>20-28 May
Saved by the bell
• Festival A Tout Vent at Notre Dame de Monts where kites will be flying high all weekend. >>30 June-3 July • Le Déferlante, la vague à l’art, free live music and theatre events along the Vendée Atlantic coast. >>July-August • Classical music concerts in historic settings with the Nuits Musicales en Vendée Romane. >>11-31 July (tbc) • Les Musicales du Pays de Saint Gilles - an eclectic programme of free concerts. >>6-27 July (tbc) • Festival de Poupet offers live music in the natural surroundings of the Poupet valley. Jean-Michel Jarre headlines in 2017. >>19-21 July • Dans les Jardins de William Christie – classical music concerts by Les Arts Florissants. >>19-26 August Many of the dates are yet to be finally confirmed, please check details before visiting.
Closed in 2007 for security reasons, the Saint-Hilaire church at Mortagne-sur-Sévre (85), near Cholet, has been saved from demolition following a campaign by locals. The church houses three stained glass windows made by Vendéen master glass-makers Roger Degas and Louis Mazetier, remarkable for both their quality and subject matter which includes the Vendée war. One of the windows alone is 12m tall and weighs more than 4 tonnes. Thankfully, the funding for a stained glass centre has been given the green light and work is already underway, with the centre expected to open in 2018.
News from around the region...
© Bernard Renoux – DRAC Pays de la Loire
The latest exhibition at the Centre Régional “Résistance & Liberté” at Thouars (79) unveils the history of the internment of Romanies in France between 1940 and 1946. Using photographs and historical documents, the exhibition creates a dialogue around the appearance of the former internment camp at Montreuil-Bellay today and the events that occurred on this land from November 1941 until January 1945. The aim is simple and relevant to our world today, to show our shared European history and challenge the preconceived ideas about Romanies and their culture. By doing this, the exhibition encourages visitors to question why they are still targeted in the 21st century with prejudice, violence and racism. The exhibition runs until 11 June and is open MonFri 2-6pm until the end of March when it opens on Saturdays too. Tickets cost 4€ for adults and 2.50€ for 13 to 18-year-olds with a reduction for local residents. For full details, see www.crrl.fr.
Held every two years in Chef Boutonne (79), the Bouton d’Art is a fair not to be missed. Bringing together over forty talented artists and artisans over the weekend of 25-26 March to demonstrate and sell their wares, it is one of south Deux-Sévres unmissable events. This year the theme is ‘Metamorphosis’ – of glass, leather, metals, wood, stone, soil, rubber… Over the years, the Chef Boutonne Foyer Culturel has tried to find diverse skills to exhibit with most of the exhibitors coming from the region although some do travel from further afield. The welcome participants receive from both the public and the organisers has meant that they return time and again leading to its own challenge. How does the association bring in new talents while supporting those that helped the adventure begin in 2007? Come along in 2017 to find the answer! Entry to the fair is 5€ and free for under-18s with doors open from 10am to 7pm. www. foyerculturelchefboutonnais.fr
For anyone wanting to extend the excitement of the Vendée Globe then there is a new board game just for you! From the company that produces ‘La Balade des Fromages’, a game about French cheeses, you can now purchase the bilingual (French and English) board game Vendée Globe designed with the help of VG winner Michel Desjoyeaux. Suitable for 2-6 players aged over 7 years-old, you become skipper of your ship to sail around the VG course picking up action cards as you go. The games costs 39€ and can be bought online at www.jtslesjeux.com or at Leclerc at Olonne sur Mer (87).
vienne & News from around the region... haute-vienne
Planning ahead Looking ahead to a summer of fun!
VIENNE (86) • Festival Jazzellerault at Châtellerault features everything jazz with an international line up. >>12-20 May
• Les Vacances de Monsieur Haydn at La Roche Posay is a popular festival of chamber music drawing performers from across France. >>15-17 September
• 3 days of events from a brocante to concerts, a fun run and parade at Bandafolie’s, Bessines-sur-Gartempe. >>13-16 July
• Free festival dedicated to bringing live music to the Pays Mélusin, Festival Mélusik at Lusignan. >>9-10 June
HAUTE VIENNE (87) • Live theatre acts and workshops throughout the weekend at Festival Graines de Rue at Bessines sur Gartempe. >>1-4 June
• Live music in the park on the banks of the Charente at the Festival au Fil du Son, Civray. >>27-29 July
• Festival Urbaka at Limoges – street theatre in the heart of the city. >>21-24 June
• An international cast performs Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute’ in this galloroman amphitheatre during Les Soirées Lyriques de Sanxay. >>10-12-14 August
• Courses, exhibitions and more, all featuring pastels at the Festival International du Pastel, Feytiat. >>29 June-3 September (tbc)
• 18th century arts are central to the Festival des Lumières in Montmorillon. >>23-26 August
• Festival 1001 Notes at Limoges aims to popularise classical music and promote young talents. >>22 July-9 August
• Les Nuits Musicales de Cieux features all styles of guitar playing from flamenco to classical. >>19-25 July • Enjoy theatre and music from a range of great authors and composers at the Festival National de Bellac. >>21-24 July (tbc) • Festival du Haut Limousin at Villefavard – classical and jazz concerts by professionals from across France. >>28 July-13 August • Legend’Air – classic aircraft take to the skies above Saint Junien. >>9-10 September Many of the dates are yet to be finally confirmed, please check details before visiting.
salon des Vins
The Limoges wine fair is now in its 23rd year and welcomes over 12,000 visitors through its doors. Held from 17-19 February, it is the ideal opportunity to try wines from across the country as well as to enjoy the workshops and demonstrations on offer. In 2016, nearly 200 different wine and food producers shared their knowledge and specialities. The Salon des Vins de France is being held in the Parc des Expositions. Entry costs 6€ with under-18s free. See www. salon-vindefrance.com for full details.
Les Halles Carnot, the covered market on Place Sadi Carnot in Limoges, were built on the site of the former fish market in 1852. Partially destroyed by fire in 1864, they were rebuilt in 1880 but in recent years have seen a decrease in visitors as well as a reduction in stall holders. In an effort to reinvigorate the city centre, the council have begun a complete renovation of the 320m2 market hall which will last five months. As well as installing large windows, updating the electric and water systems and replacing the floor, a new meeting and tasting area including tables and chairs will be installed. Currently five stallholders rent a total of 75m2 of the hall and the hope is the 400,000€ facelift will bring both new stallholders and increased footfall from visitors.
News from around the region...
Nouvelle Aquitaine’s official logo has been revealed. Following the review of 119 submissions from 4 design schools, 2 agencies and the communication department of the region, the winner was a design by the region’s own team. Symbolising both the history and the modernity of the region, a lion’s head in the shape of the region faces west towards the Atlantic coast. Its mane represents the region’s waterways linking the inland regions with the coast, and the overall design references the emblem of Richard the Lionheart, son of Aliénor d’Aquitaine.
Do you want to travel and explore the world? From May 28, 2017, Limoges airport will be welcoming British Airways with four flights a week to and from London Gatwick. Step aboard one of their 144-seat airplanes for a world of connections: New York, Amsterdam, Jamaica, Lima in Peru…the destination is yours to decide. Check-in your baggage at Limoges and pick it up at your journey’s end – nothing could be simpler or quicker. And this new connection is ideal for anyone living south of London wishing to spend some time in and around Limoges to enjoy life ‘à la française’. Bon voyage! For full details and to book your flight, visit www.aeroportlimoges.com or www.britishairways.com.
Bruno Belin, President of the Conseil Départemental de la Vienne, has announced an ambitious project to build the ‘22ème pavilion du Futuroscope’, a multifunctional arena seating 6,000 people to welcome sporting and cultural events. Costing 20 million euros and expected to open in 2021, the arena will be constructed in front of the Palais des Congrès, close to the station, autoroute and N10, a site which has the added benefit of having ample parking already available. With no similar sized arena between Nantes, Angers, Bordeaux and Limoges, the aim is to provide a venue capable of attracting national and international performers and high level sports competitions.
As this edition of Living Magazine goes to press, all eyes are turned towards the Supreme Court. The judgement on the Government’s appeal regarding the triggering of Article 50 is expected towards the end of January and will help define the next steps in the Brexit process. Meanwhile, the House of Commons’ Select Committee ‘Exiting the European Union’ has received written evidence on behalf of the 5,000 plus members of ECREU. The same committee will be receiving oral evidence from representatives of British citizens in France over the coming days. These include ECREU representative Christopher Chantrey OBE who recently represented British nationals at meetings with the Assemblée Nationale here in France. In the UK, thanks to groups such as ‘the 3 million’ run by Frenchman Nicolas Hatton, pressure is
growing over the need to reassure EU citizens living in the UK that their future is secure. It is hoped that an announcement is imminent. Should this happen, British citizens across the EU would breathe a sigh of relief as we would no longer be regarded as ‘bargaining chips’. To add your voice to the campaign to maintain the rights of UK citizens in France, join ECREU at www.ecreu.com or on FB at Expatrights. A support group for those wanting to remain within the EU can be found on FB at RemaininFranceTogether.
living places to visit | 15
+article en Franรงais
A of French
16 | living places to visit
For well over five centuries a chateau in Deux-Sèvres has stood as a monument to a powerful bond between France and Scotland. We uncover a fascinating story... Words & Photos: Roger Moss Translation: Siddhartha
The gatehouse shows the original height of the walls
Set amid the softly billowing contours of the rural landscape west of Saint-Maixent-l’Ecole (79), the Château de Cherveux looks for all the world like a fairy-tale castle. Look closer, however, and its defensive features soon upstage any purely decorative touches. The passing years have claimed the site’s outermost wall or enceinte but the chateau itself (whose pale limestone was quarried less than a kilometre away) still looks formidable, an impression heightened by a deep moat which never dries out, thanks to a subsoil of impervious clay. Whoever built this remarkable creation clearly knew precisely what they were doing. Among the first to appreciate the area’s qualities were the monks who settled in nearby Cherveux-le-Vieux around 1100 after the ancient abbey and much of the town of Saint-Maixent had been consumed by fire. Soon, however, the location fell into the hands of the Maison de Lusignan,
a noble Limousin dynasty who fortified the site, only to have it confiscated in 1242 by Saint Louis and gifted to his brother Alphonse, Comte de Poitiers, when Hugues X de Lusignan fell out with the monarchy. Seven years later, after he fought alongside the king in Egypt and died in combat, the rift was healed and Cherveux was restored to its former owners. A further series of changes began in 1363 when Cherveux was seized by the English. It was first gifted by Edward III to William of Felton, Sénéschal (Governor) du Poitou, then passed to a succession of owners (including Charles VII of France’s Chamberlain, Prime Minister and Governor Guy de la Trémoille) before being sold to the Chenin family.
A new chateau built by a Scotsman
In May 1440 their daughter Louise Chenin married Scotsman Robert
The defensive moat never drains
Depuis plus de cinq siècles, un château monumental trônant au cœur des Deux-Sèvres atteste d’un lien puissant entre la France et l’Écosse. En voici la fascinante histoire. Blotti entre les douces ondulations du paysage de campagne, à l’ouest de SaintMaixent-l’École (79), le château de Cherveux ressemble fort à un château de conte de fées. Approchez-vous, cependant, et ses éléments défensifs ne tarderont pas à en éclipser les touches purement décoratives. Les années ont eu raison de l’enceinte du site, mais le château lui-même (dont les pierres proviennent d’une carrière calcaire située à moins d’un kilomètre) garde encore de sa superbe, une impression renforc ée par de profondes douves qui ne s’assèchent jamais, grâce à l’imperméabilité du sous-sol argileux. Visiblement, ceux qui ont bâti cet édifice remarquable savaient
living places to visit | 17
précisément ce qu’ils faisaient. Les moines figurent parmi les premiers à avoir apprécié la région pour ses qualités ; ils s’installèrent tout près de là, à Cherveux-le-Vieux, aux alentours de 1100, après que l’ancienne abbaye et la majeure partie de la ville de Saint-Maixent furent détruites par les flammes. Bientôt, néanmoins, le site passa aux mains de la maison de Lusignan, une dynastie noble originaire du Limousin qui fortifia le lieu, avant de se le faire confisquer en 1242 par Saint Louis, auquel Hugues X de Lusignan s’opposait, et qui l’offrit à son frère Alphonse, comte de Poitiers. Sept ans plus tard, après que Hugues X combattit en Égypte aux côtés du roi et fut tué au combat, les dissensions s’apaisèrent et le château fut restitué à ses descendants. 1363 vit le début d’une nouvelle série de changements lorsque les anglais s’emparèrent de Cherveux. Sous le règne d’Édouard III, il fut donné à Guillaume de Felton, sénéchal du Poitou, puis transmis à différents propriétaires (dont Guy de la
Below: A translation of the appeal from King James II
18 | living places to visit
“A further series of changes began in 1363 when Cherveux was seized by the English.”
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Cunningham, a man who had risen to considerable status as captain of one of Charles VII’s regiments and then of Louis XI’s Garde du Corps (see panel). Inevitably his privileged position attracted powerful enemies, whose accusations of treason saw Cunningham arrested and imprisoned in 1455. His fate could thereby have been sealed but for two impassioned letters from Scotland to King Charles VII. One was signed by Cunningham’s cousins and close friends (all Scottish nobles) and the other from King James II of Scotland, both documents attesting to Cunningham’s unfailing loyalty, with a plea that he be tried impartially and the facts examined, which would prove the allegations to be unfounded. The outcome was that Cunningham escaped the death penalty and was subsequently released.
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His position at the royal court and his valour in battle had been rewarded with sufficient means to construct the imposing 15th century chateau we see today. It remained in the hands of the Cunningham family for a century or so, was seized during the French Revolution and eventually sold by the State as a mere farm. In 1929, however, it was accorded long-overdue Monument Historique status and was purchased two years later by Lucien Redien, whose son François Redien has an infectious passion for his family home and its Scottish links. Some years ago they were revived when he met Jim Hutchison, who had moved to the village from Ayrshire, totally unaware of the Scots link. As their friendship developed they decided to create a charitable
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Autour de 882, un contingent de nobles écossais forma la garde du roi de France Charles III, perpétuant une tradition datant de l’époque de Charlemagne. La Vieille Alliance (« Auld Alliance ») fut établie par l’Écosse et la France en 1295, et les archers de la Garde écossaise, fondée en 1418 par Charles VII, combattirent aux côtés de Jeanne d’Arc contre l’Angleterre lors de la guerre de Cent Ans. En 1421, un corps franco-écossais commandé par John Stewart, 2e comte de Buchan, et Gilbert de Lafayette, maréchal de France, défit les troupes de Thomas de Lancastre à la bataille de Baugé. L’année suivante, les 24 archers de la Garde écossaise furent rejoints par 100 hommes d’armes, appelés « les 100 lances fournies de France », qui deviendraient plus tard la « Gendarmerie de France » (avant la création de la Gendarmerie Nationale en 1791). La Garde était tenue en si haute estime que de nombreux écossais furent récompensés pour leurs services en se voyant offrir des terres et des fonctions honorables, en France.
photo: © Thierry Roquet
Around 882 a group of Scottish nobles formed a guard for Charles III of France, continuing a tradition dating from the time of Charlemagne. Scotland and France forged the Auld Alliance (‘la Vieille Alliance’) in 1295, and Scots archers of la Garde écossaise, founded in 1418 by Charles VII, fought beside Jeanne d’Arc against England during the Hundred Years War. In 1421 a Franco-Scots force commanded by John Stewart, 2nd Earl of Buchan, and Gilbert de Lafayette, Maréchal de France, routed Thomas of Lancaster’s troops at the Battle of Baugé. The following year the 24 archers of the Garde écossaise were joined by 100 men-at-arms, known as ‘les 100 lances fournies de France’, who would eventually evolve into the ‘Gendarmerie de France’ (anticipating the creation in 1791 of la Gendarmerie Nationale). The Garde was held in such high esteem that many Scots were rewarded for their services with honourable positions and land in France.
The chateau was constructed on pentagonal plan
Trémoille : chambellan, premier ministre et gouverneur du royaume de Charles VII), avant d’être vendu à la famille Chenin.
Un nouveau château construit par un écossais En mai 1440, Louise Chenin, la fille, épousa Robert Cunningham, un homme ayant gravi les échelons de façon remarquable jusqu’à devenir capitaine d’un des régiments de Charles VII puis de la Garde du corps de Louis XI (voir fiche). Inévitablement, sa position privilégiée lui attira de puissants ennemis, dont les accusations de trahison aboutirent à son arrestation et à son emprisonnement en 1455. Son sort aurait pu être ainsi scellé sans deux lettres passionnées envoyées d’Écosse au roi Charles VII. L’une était signée des cousins et des amis proches de Cunningham (tous de
Carved boss of an owl in the guardroom
nobles écossais), l’autre du roi Jacques II d’Écosse, les deux textes attestant de la loyauté sans faille de Cunningham et demandant qu’il fut jugé avec impartialité et que les faits furent examinés, ce qui prouverait la fausseté des allégations. Cunningham échappa ainsi à la
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20 | living places to see
Crest of the Cunnigham clan
association – les Amis du Château de Cherveux – dedicated to encouraging historical research relating to the Auld Alliance, organising artistic and social events for French, Scots and other English-speakers, and restoring and preserving the chateau. As visitors taking a conducted tour will discover, while the State has funded a new roof and reconstructed a fallen tower, much of the interior still awaits restoration – Cherveux is, as M Redien puts it: “un château dans son jus...” It’s certainly atmospheric, though, and preserves a wealth of evidence of an eventful past.
Open Sat & Sun April–Oct. 10.00– 12.00 and 15.00–19.00. Other times by appointment. www.chateau-de-cherveux.com www.facebook.com/Chateau DeCherveux/
The vast roof timbers resemble the hull of an upturned boat
View from the inner courtyard
peine de mort et fut relâché par la suite. Les rétributions de sa fonction à la cour royale et de sa bravoure au combat lui permirent de construire l’imposant château du XVe siècle que l’on peut voir aujourd’hui. Ce dernier resta aux mains de la famille Cunningham pendant un siècle environ, fut saisi au cours de la Révolution française, puis vendu par l’État en tant que simple ferme. Toutefois, en 1929, il fut enfin classé Monument Historique et acheté deux
ans plus tard par Lucien Redien, dont le fils François Redien était animé d’une passion contagieuse pour sa demeure familiale et ses liens écossais. Ceux-ci furent ravivés il y a quelques années de cela par sa rencontre avec Jim Hutchison, qui quitta Ayreshire pour s’installer au village, ignorant totalement les liens qui unissaient le lieu avec l’Écosse. Alors qu’une amitié s’établit, ils décidèrent de créer une association caritative, Les amis du château de Cherveux, pour encourager les recherches historiques au sujet de la « Vieille Alliance », organiser des activités artistiques et sociales à l’intention des français, des écossais et d’autres anglophones, et pour veiller à la restauration et à la conservation du château. Comme le découvriront les touristes lors de la visite guidée, bien que l’État ait subventionné une nouvelle toiture et ait reconstruit l’une des tours qui s’était écroulée, une grande partie de l’intérieur attend encore d’être restaurée. Comme le dit M. Redien, Cherveux est : « un château dans son jus... » L’atmosphère y est assurément évocatrice, néanmoins, avec encore moult traces d’un passé mouvementé.
22 | living places to visit Commanding views from Bourgâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Place du District
Par la Corniche S
Sometimes an unplanned detour can take you where youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re more than happy to go, as the Corniche de la Gironde demonstrated.
WORDS & PHOTOS: Roger Moss
ome time ago, while returning from the Bay of Arcachon, I decided to avoid peak-time traffic around Bordeaux and instead enjoy a leisurely drive up to Lamarque to take the ferry across to Blaye, on the homeward side of the Gironde estuary. After a stress-free journey through peaceful countryside I arrived at around 6.15pm before a strangely deserted-looking pier and checked the timetable for the next departure, only to discover that the last crossing of the day had already left. The subsequent long drive home via Bordeaux provided me with ample time to think about returning one day and taking
living places to visit | 23 The Citadelle de Blaye
An invitation to explore, from Rue du Château Vieux, Bourg
that ferry crossing, ideally in the opposite direction. Fast-forward a few years to a perfect summer day which finds me finally rolling into Blaye, looking just as you’d wish to find it, beneath a cloudless sky. At first encounter the sous-préfecture of the Gironde wears the familiar timeworn visage of a place with an eventful past, the inevitable consequence of a strategic location on the banks of Europe’s largest estuary. All waterborne traffic movements to and from the port of Bordeaux are obliged to pass this way, so when Louis XIV’s military engineers François Ferry and Sébastien Vauban applied themselves to creating a defensive installation
they did so with characteristic thoroughness. Still clearly visible today are Blaye’s vast citadelle, Fort Médoc on the opposite bank in Cussac-Fort-Médoc and roughly midway between them on the Île Pâté, the Fort de Pâté. Collectively they form the ‘Verou de l’Estuaire’, effectively a security lock whose combined firepower would prevent enemy vessels attacking the vulnerable city of Bordeaux some 50km upstream. In 2008 the defences were listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. We’ll be returning to take a closer look at Blaye, its historic defences and its world-famous vineyards in a future issue of LIVING Magazine, but right
now I have a ferry to catch, so head back to the car and drive the short distance to the departure pier. Once again, it’s deserted, but this time I’m thwarted by our favourite national obsession: the two-hour lunch. However, a glance at the map suggests an intriguing alternative in the form of a road running beside the estuary’s eastern bank and, as I roll out of town and into fertile countryside, I pass a sign informing me that I’m now following the exotic-sounding Corniche de la Gironde. Almost immediately the route begins a gentle, steady climb past hillsides covered by candlewick lines of immaculately tended vines, while
24 | living places to visit
A well-maintained carrelet in Furt
Exploring Blaye in style
“A roadside restaurant menu includes eels, sturgeon and lamprey fresh from the estuary.” to my right occasional fleeting glimpses between trees reveal the shimmering expanse of the estuary, now some way below. When things open up a little there’s a roadside picnic area complete with benches and maps showing local attractions. I can think of worse spots from which to watch a Girondin sunset. Now the route descends into the village of Plassac where a roadside restaurant menu includes eels, sturgeon and lamprey fresh from the estuary. Just beyond it a right-hand turn into Rue du Port passes an archaeological museum and the site of a 2nd century Gallo-Roman villa before reaching a peaceful parking area on the grassy banks of the estuary. A couple of benches offer fine views, with slipways and a nearby carrelet for company. The village architecture includes a 19th century neo-Gothic chateau and sends a clear message of considerable prosperity generated by wine production and the 17-19th century activities of a modest port. Once back in open countryside the route passes between more (and
The fontaine du Saugeron (1895), Blaye
living places to visit | 25
flatter) vineyards, slipping into Côtes de Bourg territory while deviating slightly from the course of the estuary. Here and there, as befits a corniche, lines of cypresses add a pleasingly Italianate touch to the landscape. Next up is Roque de Thau, and a right-hand turn which takes me past a sleepy creek lined with a beached assortment of small boats and another scenic parking area on the banks of the estuary. Now the corniche tag feels entirely appropriate as I pass a succession of elegant 19th century villas built for the fortunate few who recognised a privileged location when they saw it. In the tiny hamlet of Furt I pause beside a well maintained carrelet, extending from the bank beside an upmarket restaurant whose al fresco summer diners get to enjoy sweeping views of the still broad estuary. Rising forlornly from the turbid waters just offshore is the wreck of the Frisco, a small tanker which has been here since August 1944. After taking on cargo at Furt’s tiny pontoon the Italian crew were overpowered by members of the Résistance and taken to be held
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26 | living places to visit
captive in a nearby commune. Shortly afterwards the Frisco was spotted by a patrolling German warship, which dispatched a boarding party to investigate. Finding her abandoned they set about scuttling her where she remains to this day, for removing the wreck proved to be too costly. The route continues passing more carrelets and villas to Le Rigalet which once possessed a steamer pier and collected a levy from each passenger. From now on the route climbs, and passes more period villas sited to make the most of the elevated views of the estuary, the lengthy Île Cazeau and beyond to the illustrious vineyards of the Medoc. Eventually the route veers abruptly inland via a steep hairpin climb to Bayon-sur-Gironde, where another corniche sign marks a right-hand turn towards the heart of the village. The landmark here is the 12th century Romanesque Eglise
The vineyards of Château Yquem
Bayon-surGironde’s 12th century Eglise Notre-Dame
Notre-Dame, whose tall clocher was added in 1877 and surmounted by a statue of the Virgin and Child by the Bordelais sculptor Mora. The church contains some fascinating details
(including a Merovigian era sculpted stone plus a carved capital from a Roman temple in Bordeaux) but is a fragile jewel, thanks to its site having been undermined long ago by stone quarrying galleries. Leaving Bayon, I follow the route past the vineyards of Château Yquem and pause at a roadside viewpoint with a useful orientation table and an information totem set high above the Gironde. There’s more safe parking beyond the viewpoint, before the road descends through cheerful hamlets set among the vineyards which announce my imminent arrival in Bourg, a name which will be very familiar to lovers of Côtes de Bourg wines. The town itself sits on a limestone outcrop where the Dordogne flows into the Gironde, a location which guaranteed an eventful destiny. The signs are everywhere, and doing justice to this remarkable place merits a return visit and a dedicated feature in a future issue. For now, I content myself with the commanding views from Place du District, whose venerable lime trees offer welcome shade from the summer sun. When I return I’ll head down to the old quayside far below for a closer look at things at water level, one of the many rewards for those who follow the Corniche de la Gironde.
Find out more
Information about Blaye and the Corniche: tourisme-blaye.com/en/ bourg-gironde-route-corniche Blaye-Lamarque ferry timetables, fares, etc.: transgironde.gironde.fr/ www.bourg-en-gironde.fr/
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34 | living WILDLIFE 28
4RED SQUIRREL (Sciurus vulgaris) When you clean your hedges or wisteria throughout the year, you might notice a pile of dead leaves which could be hiding a squirrel’s nest! That’s what happened to this little red squirrel who arrived at the CSFSP, like many others each year, weighing only 38g. We gave him the appropriate food preparation every 3 hours, day and night, for a month. We then had to teach him to eat, to peel whatever he would find in the wild, and even to climb trees and jump from branch to branch.
6 GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Dendrocopos major) Following a storm last year, the trunk protecting this spotted woodpecker’s family fell down, leaving him as the sole survivor. He was in shock when he arrived, with a few bruises, and was incapable of feeding himself without help. After a few weeks of recovery, he had retrieved the full range of reflexes and was released.
In the heart of the Vienne a wildlife rescue centre is saving the region’s biodiversity. Jessica Knipe meets Lydia Bourdeau of the Centre de Soins de la Faune Sauvage Poitevine
PHOTOS : Pierre Mercier
he last time we spoke to Lydia Bourdeau (Living Magazine June 2013) she had just moved her wild animal rescue and rehabilitation centre from a small garden with limited facilities to a full hectare of woodland, a 1,500m2 deer enclosure, a specialised aviary and a house with a whole floor dedicated to an animal infirmary. The CSFSP now welcomes around 1,000 animals a year, playing a major role in the protection of the region’s biodiversity. “The thing people don’t always realise,” says Lydia, “is that by taking care of just one individual animal we are sometimes contributing to the survival
of an entire species.” Born in Niort and raised in Châtellerault, she studied veterinary medicine in Paris before specialising in Belgium and practising in Brittany, where she tended marine animals including seals and dolphins. When the opportunity arose to open her own centre, Bourdeau didn’t hesitate for a second, and 13 years later, every minute of every day is still dedicated to her animals. “We don’t turn any animals away... even those which are considered pests,” says Bourdeau proudly. In fact, she goes one step further: instead of being euthanised, animals which cannot be released are
living WILDLIFE | 29
Great& small kept in the Centre as companions and mentors for newly-arrived patients. When meeting Lydia it’s hard not to think about Snow White whistling with a bird on each hand – except this particular Snow White has the licence to practice medicine. “I start each day in the infirmary,” she explains. While we’re talking, there are 27 animals which will need her close medical attention. “I tend to them all alone, although the cattle egret keeps me company – I don’t have a cage big enough for him, so he just follows me around as I take care of the others!” A staggering 98% of arrivals have
injuries due to human causes, of which a third are road traffic accidents. Other animals are in transit after having been seized by authorities controlling illegal trafficking. Sometimes the cases are even more sordid: this year, Lydia received a badger which had been rescued from torture in someone’s back garden and rushed it to the Centre. Lydia immediately operated and saved the life of the poor animal. The Centre is regularly involved in this kind of animal welfare rescue operation, working closely with other foundations such as Rainbow Animal Rescue, the Fondation Brigitte
5RED FOX (Vulpes vulpes crucigera) After her mother died in a leghold trap (although forbidden, each year these traps claim many victims), this 2½ monthold fox was found half dead, very weak and dehydrated. After several weeks at the CSFSP, she was rehabilitated and reintroduced to a protected area, where she can live in safety.
5LONG-EARED OWL (Asio otus) This nocturnal creature is recognized by its feathers and its orange eyes. This one arrived after being hit by a lorry and getting stuck in the vehicle’s grill. It’s only once the driver had stopped that he noticed him. His shoulder was dislocated and needed putting back into place, and he needed a lot of rest as well as some osteopathy. After a seven-week treatment, the owl took back to the night skies.
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34 || living 30 livingWILDLIFE WILDLIFE
5EUROPEAN HEDGEHOG (Erinaceus europaeus) Accidentally poisoned by ingesting “slug killer” (frequently used by gardeners, unfortunately), this hedgehog’s family was saved by CSFSP. Here, a baby no more than 10 days old, weighing only 45g, is waiting for its bottle to reach the right temperature. The CSFSP welcomes about 40 young hedgehogs each year. It’s important that they get a bottle (without milk, which is a violent poison for them) every 4 hours, day and night, for the first 3 weeks. They stay at the CSFSP until they weigh 800g.
Bardot and the SPA. The law prohibits unlicensed individuals from attending to wildlife in distress barring transport to the nearest rescue shelter. Individuals who decide to nurse wildlife within their home are punishable with a €15,000 fine and up to one year in prison. The presence of the CSFSP is therefore key to the survival of wild animals in the region. Despite the vital role which the CSFSP plays, there is next to no financial support from the State to help it achieve the €30,000 it needs each year to stay open. Lydia therefore relies mainly on individual help such as cash donations. For benefactors who like to know how their donations
La Brocante La Forge CLOSED FROM 1st February to 6th April
4HONEY BUZZARD (Pernis apivorus) This insectivore, migratory bird was the victim of a road accident. At least 3 weeks of treatment at the CSFSP were necessary because of a head injury that compromised his sight and balance. Once he had recovered, all of his fellow creatures had already left for the south, so he had to wait for the return of the migration to be returned to freedom. Road accidents represent almost a third of the arrivals of wild animals at the centre.
have been used Lydia recommends giving the centre a call to find out what she needs. At the moment, she welcomes anything from blankets and animal feed to simply lettuces (of which she goes through upwards of 30 a week), or even old newspapers to line the floors. Thanks to a donation from Living Magazine through Vivara, the aviary now has specialised birdhouses, designed to help birds readapt to the wild and leave voluntarily when they are absolutely ready. When asked about the future, Lydia becomes more guarded: “We are now part of the bigger Nouvelle Aquitaine region,” she explains, “and even though
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5EUROPEAN KINGFISHER (Alcedo atthis) This beautiful bird arrived after a collision with a window. This kind of accident is common for many birds, who can’t distinguish glass in certain lights. This results in varying degrees of head injuries, all coupled with initial paralysis and rapid hypothermia. It’s important to help them quickly, so that they can get back to their biotope in as few days as possible.
6BLUE TIT (Cyanistes caeruleus) This pretty little bird was the victim of a cat attack. Just one playful paw swipe is enough to be tragic. Cats carry diseases that can kill their victims if they don’t receive appropriate antibiotic treatment. This young blue tit was lucky enough to get to the CSFSP, and after 10 days of treatment she could get back to her favourite feeding spots. Our region’s animals are not immune to diseases carried by cats, which are actually “exotic” animals. Cats were introduced to France by humans, and are therefore not part of the food chain where wild birds are concerned. A simple bell on a secure collar (which can’t strangle the cat) could save many birds.
5EUROPEAN BADGER (Meles meles) This badger, named Mystie, was saved from torture in a hunter’s garden. She weighed only 3kg, had wounds all over, tics, fleas, rabies and a prolapsed rectum caused by stress and dog bites. The CSFSP rehydrated her, reassured her and nursed her to health. She was then sent to a specialised centre a few hundred kilometres away to live in a protected forest, and never face the same fate again.
the nine centres in the region are at least 400km apart, we will still have to share what tiny amount of help the State is willing to spare.” In fact, when asked about whether she is lobbying the State to fund this help, Lydia suggests that the best method for motivating a change in status for centres like hers is “from the bottom up” – talking at schools, for example. If children’s minds can be opened to the importance of her work, hopefully they will communicate her message to their parents, too. Who knows, some of them might even dream of growing up to be just like Lydia Bourdeau themselves one day...
How to save a life
To support Lydia’s work, donate via the CSFSP website (www.centredesoinsfaune sauvage.com) or purchase items directly from the CSFSP page on Vivara’s website at bit.ly/csfsp17 which will then be delivered to the centre
The CSFSP has just published a five-page document on Facebook explaining what to do if you find an animal in distress in your garden this spring. Here are a few tips: 3Don’t be tempted to nurse the animal to health yourself, unless you want to risk a fine and imprisonment. Call your nearest centre or veterinarian for advice. 3Protect yourself against claws or beaks with thick gardening gloves. 3Make sure the animal really is in distress (check for broken limbs or signs of blood) and stay calm – don’t cause alarm or stress. 3Cover the animal in a blanket, keeping it warm with a hot water bottle if necessary. In the case of a bird, keep its wings close to its body, but don’t block its beak shut. 3Most importantly, don’t give the animal anything to eat or drink. In the case of hedgehogs, the proteins in milk cause their intestines to expand and even explode. For more detailed advice, visit the CSFSP Facebook page or www.centredesoinsfaunesauvage.com
www.livingmagazine.fr www.livingmagazine.fr | 32
24 | living cycling 32 PROMOTION
Based in the historic market town of Saint Jean d’Angély, estate agency Idimmo, Prestige & Châteaux specialises in properties of elegance and character.
Established since 2012, this dedicated estate agency specialises in selling both typical Charentaise houses of character, and prestigious properties of elegance in and around the Charente-Maritime. Consisting of husband and wife, Laurence and Daniel Adeline, and their English colleague Carolyn Pratt, the Idimmo team can advise you on every step of your house purchase. With their expert knowledge of both the housing market and the legal process of purchasing property in France, they offer a complete service from the very
first contact through to arranging utility connections for new home owners - a real plus if your French is a little rusty. The team combines live exhibitions like ‘The France Show’ in London with communication via internet sites such as Rightmove and Green-Acres as well as their own professional website and extensive use of Facebook. This ensures that Idimmo maintains an international clientele of both buyers and sellers generating a buoyant portfolio of interesting properties for all budgets.
5-bed ex-farmhouse renovated to high standard with kitchen/diner conservatory, garage, large L-shaped barn and other outbuildings. Pigeonnier. 4km from services.
Light, open, large rooms and high ceilings. Walking distance to services. 4 beds, beautifully renovated, must see! Scope for additional extension. Double garage, garden.
Well renovated 3-bed Charentaise village house with large conservatory, exposed beams, situated in quiet corner of village with corner store. Enclosed garden and 11 x 5m swimming pool.
5-bedroom house with veranda, large garage and workshop. 2 beds in main house and 3 in guest wing. Pleasant village between Surgères and St Jean d’Angély. Conforming fosse.
Ref: 2420 DPE: En cours
Laurence, Daniel and Carolyn CONTACT DETAILS
Idimmo, Prestige & ChâteauX
42 Rue Grosse Horloge, 17400 St Jean d’Angély. Tel: +33 (0)5 16 51 90 52 Carolyn: +33 (0)7 81 40 87 38 Website: http://adeline.idimmo.net/ www.livingmagazine.fr
living cycling | 25
A secret jewel at the heart of St Jean d’Angély this mansion of exceptional quality, offers 330m2 of living space over 3 floors, garage for 2 cars, various outbuildings (workshop...), magnificent wine cellar and neat charming courtyard. Discreet, secluded, stunning property with the benefits of all amenities on its doorstep. Ref:3061 DPE: C
Thoughtfully renovated throughout using quality materials and taste. Spacious living room, lovely dining kitchen with 3 beds upstairs, one with a office or dressing room and a large shower room, plus family bathroom This house is a beautiful ‘blank canvas’ just waiting for you to add your personal touch! Ref: 3017 DPE: Vierge
5-bed house near Persac on a hill with views across the valley. Light and airy living room and dining room with central fireplace. 2 beds on the ground floor. Basement garage and other useful rooms. Further outbuildings, orchard, paddock, woodland and lake. Private drive to the house. Ref: 2994 DPE: D
Well maintained home, close to Surgères. Spacious kitchen/ dining room and large lounge with doors opening onto a terrace. Upstairs 2 large bedrooms one of which has doors opening onto a large balcony with a view of the pool and garden. Well worth a viewing. Ref: 2902 DPE: D
Well renovated and maintained 3-bed Charentaise in an enclosed park with various outbuildings. Attic space of approx 21m2 could be renovated to be a further bedroom. A further room on the 1st floor is used as an office. Kitchen/diner is spacious and has utility rooms next to the kitchen. A pretty house between St d’Angély and Matha. Ref: 2558 DPE: C
Beautiful 2-wing Maison de Maitre on the banks of a small river. Immediately habitable with oil heating in most rooms. Modern kitchen, acceptable bath/shower rooms. Mains drainage. 4 beds with room for expansion. Peaceful garden, courtyard and separate pool area even though only 2 mins on foot from the centre of town. Priced low for a quick sale. Ref: 2378 DPE: D
Idimmo, Prestige & Châteaux 42 Rue Grosse Horloge, 17400 St Jean d’Angély. Tel: +33 (0)5 16 51 90 52
34 | living family
Avec les enfants Sports for all!
Sport in France is a major part of many people’s lives, and for children there is a huge array of activities to suit everyone’s taste and budget. From individual sports, such as tennis and martial arts, to the traditional team sports of rugby and soccer, France is blessed with traditions and organisations that can help all ages do almost whatever they want. For most of us a visit to the local Mairie, will quickly reveal what is on offer in our area. If you have school age children ask them to ask their friends what they like to do, usually you’ll find another
direct route through to clubs and associations this way. Indeed, encouraging your children to do sport with their friends who are already involved in something is a tried and tested route to success. Almost all villages and towns in France produce a monthly or quarterly newsletter, and these publications are often a mine of information on what is available locally, complete with
phone numbers and websites. It’s here you’ll find details about martial arts, boxing, equestrianism, badminton, volleyball, petanque, handball, rambling and climbing, for example. Word of mouth is also invaluable and take every advantage of it. Indeed, after many years of arranging sports in France for my children, I feel that talking to people is the best way to get information - it’s
For more cartoons by Stig see www.artisart.com
certainly easy enough to get lost chasing shadows around a website but talking face to face with someone can produce some real surprises. If there is a sport you really want to get involved in, ask around. You may learn that the glossy municipal sports stadium in town is not the best place for your budding tennis star, but a small out of the way club in a village elsewhere has the best coach instead; and perhaps the stable you found in your local newsletter for a horse-
living living enfants family | 35 37 struck child is terrible, and you’re better off taking lessons five kilo-metres down the road. I have always been amazed at the length people will go to in order to help, suggesting who to talk to, offering a phone number and even meeting me at a chosen destination and making introductions. We have made many friends through sport here. Football and rugby are played throughout France, and there will always be a team locally, or a club, that can provide everything you need to take a child’s interest, or your own, forward. Tennis and cycling are also easy enough to get into as almost every village and town has a club that deals with these two enormously popular pastimes. Other sports may be more difficult to find, but they will exist too. There are plenty of opportunities to learn to sail, and kayaking and canoeing are also extremely well catered for if you
«If you have a sport, don’t hesitate to get involved» We talk to Dilys Watters, a retired teacher, about how coaching at US Civray Basketball (86) has added a new dimension to her life here in France.
“Ten years after hanging up my basketare near a river, large lake or the sea. Surf schools exist all along the coast and, if you are near the mountains, there are endless opportunities not just for skiing but also snow shoeing and cross-country skiing. One of the wonderful things you will find along the way though is that France is a land of opportunity, and you will almost always find something to take part in. If you’re no longer able to partake but would still like to be involved, do talk to your local club, you will be amazed how many associations may welcome some help in the clubhouse and behind the scenes.
ball whistle and moving to France, I was encouraged by friends to help at our local club who were searching for coaching staff. Having competed in international tournaments, I have always believed the language barrier to be non-existent in sport. The opportunity to coach a French team was, therefore, a challenge that I could not refuse. It is brilliant to work with youngsters again. Not only are they talented players, but they are also very forgiving of my lack of technical vocabulary. They are quick to both correct me and adapt to my strange coaching expressions! The club and parents have made me very welcome and I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting lots of new people. An added bonus is that my French has really improved. To be with such super youngsters is a privilege and I can highly recommend the experience, so if you too have a sport, don’t hesitate to get involved.” Dilys (right) with the Civray basketball team
Susan, husband Roddy and their five children live close to the coast in the Charente-Maritime where she shares her experiences on her popular blog at www.OurFrenchOasis.com.
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www.livingmagazine.fr www.livingmagazine.fr | 32
36 | living nikki legon’s cuisine Escargots à la Bourgogne
Pot au Feu
Nikki Legon shares some of her favourite recipes from her travels around France…
Pot au Feu Bourgogne
We have used the French names for the beef cuts required which are similar to brisket and flank. Serves 8-10
800g plat de côte 1 onion studded with 4 cloves 4 garlic cloves 500g gîte 500g macreuse 1 bouquet garni 10 whole peppercorns 1 tbsp salt 6 carrots 4 leeks 2 stalks of celery 4 small turnips or 1 celeriac 6 parsnips 6 potatoes 4 marrow bones (optional) bread for toast (optional)
METHOD If using the bone marrow, put the marrow into a bowl, add 1 tbsp of salt, cover with cold water and leave overnight. The next day, drain the marrow bones and place into a small saucepan. In a large saucepan put 3 litres of cold water, add the plat de côte and the clove-studded onion. Bring to the boil then turn the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour. Skim the greasy foam from the surface as it appears, use this to cover the marrow bones. Crush the garlic, peel the vegetables and chop into large chunks. Add the gîte and macreuse to the large saucepan with peppercorns, salt, bouquet garni, garlic, leeks and celery. Leave to simmer for 3 hours. Add the rest of the vegetables, cook a further 35 minutes till tender before checking the meat is cooked. Taste for seasoning.
living nikki legon’s cuisine | 37 Cassoulet de Castelnaudary
Brandade de Morue Cook the marrow bones for 10 minutes. Make the toast and push the marrow onto the hot toasts and serve. Remove the meat and vegetables to a large hot platter, cover with aluminium foil and place in the oven to keep hot. Filter the stock and serve in hot soup bowls with some fresh bread. Serve the meat and vegetables with cornichons, mustard, horseradish cream, and pickled onions.
Cassoulet de Castelnaudary Serves 6-8
1kg dried lingot beans, soaked overnight in 3 times their volume of water 500g poitrine de porc (pork belly), sliced thinly 250g poitrine de porc fumée cut into small cubes (lardons) 1 celery stick 1 onion studded with 2 cloves 1 carrot, peeled and chopped 3 garlic cloves sliced thinly 1 bouquet garni 4 Toulouse sausages 6 duck confit legs 25g of fat from the confit 50g breadcrumbs METHOD Make your bouquet garni – I like to use 2 bay leaves, 4 sprigs of thyme, and a small bunch of parsley tied together
with a thin leek. Drain the soaked beans and discard the soaking water. Put the beans in a large casserole dish or large saucepan, add both types of poitrine, the 2 onions that have been studded with cloves, the bouquet garni and cover with fresh cold water. Bring to the boil, just before boiling point turn the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Add the Toulouse sausages and simmer for a further 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Remove and discard the bouquet garni and the onions. Preheat oven to 160°C. Fry the skin of the confit until golden and crisp, add three of the confit legs to the large oven proof dish. Add a few vegetables and top with some of the beans and sausages. Repeat with another layer and press down. I like to fry my breadcrumbs in a little duck fat then sprinkle over the top of the casserole. Cook for 1½ hours till golden.
Escargots à la Bourgogne Serves 6
60g shallots, chopped very finely 40g garlic, chopped very finely 1 bunch of parsley leaves, chopped very finely 400g salted butter 6 dozen tinned snails in their shells
(or you can place them directly into a dish if you have no shells) ground fresh pepper to taste METHOD Soften the butter and mix in the shallots, garlic and parsley. Add pepper to taste and mix again. Wrap in cling film and firm up in the fridge for 1 hour. Open the tin of snails and rinse them well, drying them with kitchen paper. If using the shells, place a little butter into each shell then add the snail. Fill with more butter, place in the fridge till ready to cook. Cook for a few minutes in a hot oven till bubbling, serve with lots of crusty bread. If you have no shells, place the escargots in the dish and cover with the butter, cook till bubbling.
Brandade de Morue This whipped salt cod gratin is a speciality of Roussillon serves 6
1kg salt cod 1kg potatoes, cooked and mashed with 100ml milk 6 whole cloves of garlic 1 bay leaf 1 thyme branch 300ml crème fraîche 300 to 400ml olive oil 2tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley white pepper
38 | living nikki legon’s cuisine
Tartiflette au Reblochon METHOD Choose salted cod fillets that are thick with very white flesh. Rinse them under running cold water and then immerse them, skin side up, in a large bowl or pan full of cold water. Leave to soak out the salt for up 12 hours depending on their thickness, changing the water 2 or 3 times during soaking. Drain the fillets in a colander. Cut into large portions and put into a large pan skin side up. Add 3 litres of cold water, and the garlic, bay and thyme. Bring to simmer and cook over a low heat for 8 minutes to cook the fish. Do not let the water boil and remove the foam from the surface regularly. Remove from the heat then let it stand in the cooking liquor for 20 minutes. Carefully drain the cod pieces reserving the garlic, discard thyme and bay leaves. Allow to cool, remove the skin and bones and flake the fish with your fingers. Transfer to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, add the garlic. Heat the cream and with the mixer running at a medium speed, pour in the warm cream and the olive oil in a very steady stream alternating the cream and oil until smooth. Preheat oven to 200°C. Add the mashed potatoes and whip just long enough to fully incorporate. Season with white pepper and taste for salt. Place the mixture into a baking dish and sprinkle over some grated cheese. Bake in a hot oven for 20 minutes until golden, serve with toasts.
Tartiflette au Reblochon A Savoyarde speciality
¾ tsp baking powder 100g melted butter plus melted butter to brush over the madeleine tin
2kg red potatoes cooked with their skins on in salted water for 20 minutes 400g lardons 2 large onions, finely sliced 2 cloves garlic, crushed 100ml white wine 200ml thick cream 450g reblochon, halved and quartered salt and pepper METHOD Preheat oven to 200°C. Peel the potatoes if you wish, and slice thinly. Heat a frying pan until hot. Fry the onion, lardons and garlic for 5 minutes. Add the white wine and cook until the liquid has evaporated. Butter a gratin dish and layer the sliced potatoes on the bottom. Sprinkle on the lardon mixture, pour over a little cream and repeat with another layer of potatoes, lardons and cream. Place the reblochon portions alternately around the potatoes so you see skin on one piece and soft cheese on the other. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.
Madeleines de Commercy 2 free range eggs 100g caster sugar 100g plain flour 1 lemon juice and zest
METHOD Preheat oven to 200°C. Brush a 12-cup madeleine tin with melted butter, shake over a little flour to coat and tap out the excess. Whisk together the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine. Rest the mixture for 20 minutes before carefully pouring into the madeleine tray. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the mixture has risen a little in the middle and is fully cooked through. Leave to cool slightly. To serve, pour over some honey or serve with raspberries whilst still warm.
Gougère Buns These made a delicious accompaniment to a wine tasting in Burgundy
250mls water 80g unsalted butter 1 tsp salt 100g plain flour 4 eggs 150g grated Gruyère cheese ¼ tsp cayenne pepper a good pinch of grated nutmeg METHOD Preheat oven to 200°C. Boil together the water, butter and salt in a medium sized pan.
living nikki legon’s cuisine | 39
Gougère Buns Remove from the heat, add the flour all in one go and whisk together until fully blended. Leave the mixture for 4 minutes to cool just a little, then add the first egg and whisk thoroughly. Add the three remaining eggs, one at a time, repeating the same process. Tip in the cheese, pepper and nutmeg, whisk to incorporate fully and until the mix becomes smooth and shiny. Line a flat baking sheet with parchment. Place the mixture into a piping bag with a large nozzle and pipe walnut size mounds, 6cm apart. Smooth the tops with a wet spoon. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden, well puffed and light to the touch. Serve with a glass of Bourgogne.
Candied Fruit Jellies These simple jellied candies can be made with any fruit juice
1 litre of your favourite fruit juice, strain if necessary 1kg caster sugar 30g pectin METHOD Heat the fruit juice with the sugar and pectin, stir constantly until the mixture reaches 110°C. It should be thick but be careful as it can splutter. With some fruits, you might have to cook to 120°C before the mixture thickens. Pour into small silicone moulds or a 40cm tray lined with silicone paper to set. Cut into squares or push out of the silicone moulds and toss in caster sugar.
Nikki Legon is the chef and owner of the Hotel Restaurant Karina in Les Métairies, just outside Jarnac in Charente. She and her husband Austin have transformed an old cognac distillery into a luxury 10-bedroom hotel and restaurant. For more information: www.hotelkarina.net
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A warm welcome awaits you ……. Come and discover the Hotel Restaurant Karina, set in a haven of greenery, just 3km from Jarnac in the beautiful Charentaise countryside. Enjoy dining by the open fire in winter or on the terrace in fine weather with a choice of à la carte or fixed menus. In our bar, you will find the original copper alembic and here you can relax with an aperitif or choose something from our new bar menu. Menu du Jour (Tuesday – Friday midday): 15€ www.hotelkarina.net | firstname.lastname@example.org | 05 45 36 26 26
Wintertime at Château Feely
40 | living wine Almond blossom
A year in the
Vineyard Caro Feely, our wine expert, takes us through the coming twelve months…
ach year of wine-growing leaves us in wonder at how nature regulates her dance through the seasons using sophisticated techniques that we humans do not (yet) fully understand. The vineyard is an ever-changing palette of colours and activities. Farmers and, perhaps even more so, organic farmers must be tuned to the changing life cycles associated with the seasons. It is a beautiful, living place where animals, insects, vines and other plants thrive but it is also a place where ravageurs (pests) and maladies (diseases) can be found so it’s important to be vigilant. It is a hard slog at times, when the vine pieds (individual vines or ‘feet’) seem to multiply into never ending rows over this steep slice of paradise in Saussignac.
December starts the three-month pruning marathon. The vineyard can be shrouded in hoar frost but Seán takes off with his electric secateurs undaunted. The vines look dead, like bundles of twigs attached to vertical trunks, thankfully they are merely asleep.
We prune each vine down to one or two carefully selected canes that will be the bearers of next year’s bounty. It’s a skilled job requiring concentration and judgement. Once the cutting is complete the discarded canes must be pulled off the trellising. It’s hard work and a source of many injuries particularly to eyes as the canes can whip back unexpected (protective eye gear is obligatory). Those tendrils that looked so delicate holding the canes onto the trellising in summer have become hard and as tough as wire. In late February as the pruning marathon is nearing its end, we start attaching the vines’ canes down onto the trellis. Then it starts to warm up and it is a little more fun to be outside. Late March the buds start to swell and it is a mad rush to finish the tying down. Dorathe the dog
The buds turn from hard little green nodules into furry pink lumps, then the first fluffy pink leaf unfurls over a few days. It is beautiful and quick. It’s a rude transition from the relatively quiet start to the unbelievable speed and chaos of late spring. The vines can grow more than 10cm a day around this time.
Early summer is the most stressful time in the vineyard. Everything needs to be done at once. Treatments (against diseases like mildew - even in organic vineyards we must protect the vines but only with contact sprays rather than with systemic sprays), weeding, mowing, elevating the vines to the next level of growth, trimming the vine canopy if needed, and keeping track of the development of the flowering and subsequent grapes which change almost daily. With successful fertilisation (if we have good weather) fruit set occurs and the grapes progress at a rapid rate. From tiny, hard, green peas to soft, sweet grapes over a few short weeks. For the
living wine | 41
Caro and Seán with daughters Sophie and Ellie
Artichokes and borage
last few weeks very little should be done in the vineyard save perhaps some hand preparation like leaf removal. The days are long and can be very hot. Sometimes too hot. In the canicule (heat wave) temperatures have reached 45 degrees in the courtyard. The vines shut down and so do we. We must work from 5.30am to 11am as it is too hot to be outside in the afternoon. We start the countdown to the vendange (harvest) late August. Seán prepares the winery, washing and sterilising everything, walking the vineyard to check progress of the grapes and doing the first analysis of sample grapes. It feels like a waiting game, then its upon us and we are in the harvest hurricane.
Some vintages are more frantic than others but, no matter the circumstances, September and early October are hectic and often full of angst. As one of our most important moments of the year we can’t afford to miss a beat. We handpick everything at Château Feely in keeping with our biodynamic ethos. Then comes October and November, a time of rest for the vines, a time to take stock and to reflect on the hard work that was required in the run up to that most important time of year, the harvest. It is not necessarily a time for the winegrower to rest although the pace slows a little with activities like vineyard maintenance. The vines turn colour and become
Late spring at the vineyard
Caro can be found juggling their organic vineyard (www.chateaufeely. com), wine school, walking tours, holiday accommodation and writing in south-west France (15 minutes west of Bergerac). Read Caro’s series about their life in France in three tomes published by Summersdale Publishers; Grape Expectations, Saving our Skins and Glass Half Full due out April 2017.
a beautiful show of autumnal russet and gold. This is the time to lay down certain preparations to aid soil fertility which we do with a cow horn spray before we start the annual cycle with pruning again. We are constantly looking for new ways, and for improvements, but we often find that with this ancient métier traditional methods bring the best results.
42 | living food Award-winning chef Alan Coxon explores a French favourite…
Tastoens of the
Photos: roger Moss
talents add a real point of difference in flavour to such creations as ‘Le Curé Nantais’ (a soft cheese with a delicate flavour and made exclusively from fresh cow`s milk) from Pornic, or the Charente’s ‘Jonchée’ (a soft cheese made from cow’s milk and water which is flavoured with bay leaves and then rolled in dry marsh rushes). Further south, around Bergerac you’ll find ’Chaumes le Crémier’ from SaintFoy-la-Grande, with its pinkish-tinged, ast year you just couldn’t escape France), although the French still manage brie-style rind and soft, buttery melting to consume around twice as much. the political dramas which interior. In the Périgord Noir you might According to a report by the Interna- be lucky enough to come across a unique unfolded in the UK and USA tional Dairy Federation, first place for – and might also have noticed ‘Tomme du Sarladais’ from the Ferme de cheese eating goes to France, where the bemused reactions from many la Brunie, which proudly produces up to the average person consumes annually nations who described events as akin 5 tonnes of cheese per annum from its to a ‘French Farce’. This year, however, around 25.9 kilos. In second place, 60-strong herd of Montbéliarde cattle. perhaps surprisingly, is Iceland, with it’s France which is about to find itself The breed originates from Francheon the political stage, offering up more a figure of 25.2kg, while third on the Comté and is renowned for its rich, raw, podium is Finland, with an average fun and games as the nation’s voters creamy milk, some 10 litres of which are consumption of 24.7kg per person. prepare to take to the ballot boxes for required to create each kilo of the cheese. Britain, by comparison, falls outside the Presidential election. On the global front, international Historically, one of political history’s the Top 10 of global consumers with traders currently sell and distribute most famous quotes has to be from a mediocre figure of 11.6kg, some way around 2.4 million tonnes of cheese behind that of the US, which gets through annually, with a value averaging Charles de Gaulle who once bemoaned an average per capita of around 15.4 kilos. around 25 billion euros. With so many the challenge of governing a country It’s wonderful to see that a product which had 246 varieties of cheese. What consumers voting with their hard-earned like cheese, which has become a global he meant by it wasn’t that clear, but the cash for such a product, maybe those in implication was that France was as every staple, was originally created like so power, whoever they may be, should try many recipes, quite by accident. Etymo- discussing our political differences and bit as diverse as the cheeses it produced so lovingly. That being the case, Theresa logically, ‘fromage’, the French term for finding ways forward over a few cheeses cheese, is descended from ‘fourme’ or May must now be fully conversant and a glass of red, and realise what a ‘fourma’, relating to the basket in which better world this could become! with such a quote, owing to the fact the cheese curds were placed, pressed that Britain now produces even more or stored. Today, thousands of years varieties of cheese than France. In 2016 later, we can still witness and enjoy very more than half of the 5,000 entries for the International Cheese Awards, held in similar artisanal production methods. A trek around local regions can Nantwich, Cheshire, came from Britain, guarantee stunning flavours and so it’s great to see the British flag and textures of both cow- and goat’s-milk the country moving its creamy contributions into the international league varieties, but the real beauty of the table of cheese producers. In fact, the French cheese scene is that, unlike so UK currently churns out more than 700 many others, dotted around our regions varieties (100 more than present-day are stunning artisan producers. Their
L iPRACTICAL vingliving
PRETTY STONE COTTAGE
Village location between Civray + Gencay, renovated, ideal holiday home, D/G, CH, mains drainage, kitchen-diner, lounge, 2 beds, modern shower room, WC, garden. Ref 3397 49 500€ FAI (fees 10% inc)
LARGE PROPERTY WITH OUTBUILDINGS
Quiet hamlet location nr Chef Boutonne, excellent potential to create gites, kitchen, lounge, 3 beds, bathroom, 2 wc’s, 2nd floor attic, cottage, barns + land. Ref 3233 118 800€ FAI (fees 8% inc) DPE: n/a
NICE VILLAGE – NR SAUZE VAUSSAIS
Oozing character, renovated, kitchen-diner, lounge, snug, bath + shower room; master en suite, 2 further beds, super study area, driveway, garden. Ref 3412 139 750€ FAI (fees 7.5% inc) DPE: E
R4826 : 135 000€ FAI
An attractive 3 bedroom ‘longère’ set in a quiet hamlet close to Villefagnan. Walled garden on half an acre. The property has a roof in excellent order, but requires cosmetic finishing upstairs and downstairs.
DPE: F Fees included: 8%
DPE: n/a Fees included: 9%
FARMHOUSE NR CHEF BOUTONNE
Renovated, entrance, living room, fitted kitchen-diner, shower room, spacious master bed ensuite, 2 beds, shower, wc, attached barn, land 4170m2. Ref 3348 161 250€ FAI (fees 7% inc)
R4830 : 34 000€ FAI
NICE QUIET HAMLET LOCATION NR CIVRAY
STUNNING CHARENTAISE HOUSE IN 1.3HAS
Main Detached traditional property with features, Super location/setting2 nr Vivonne. through living room, fitted kitchen, 3 large house 3 levels, 378m , apt 105m2, stone bedrooms, bath + shower rooms, barn, barn, counter current pool 10 x 5m, lawned garden, woodland leads to river. garage, on land of 3750m2. Ref 3338 161 250€ FAI (fees 7% inc)
R4835 : 119 900€ FAI
Charming old stone house in a good condition, with a large attached barn, an attached garden and a detached garden. The roofs of the house and the barn are in a good condition. This property is situated in a hamlet not far from Champagne-Mouton.
Attractive 4 bed stone property in good condition with an enclosed walled garden and large barn. It has features traditional of the area such as exposed stone walls and beams. Within just a couple of kms there is a school, a bakers, 2 bar/restaurants and post office.
DPE: n/a Fees included: 13.3%
DPE: n/a Fees included: 8%
31 Place Des Martyrs, 16700 RUFFEC
Ref 3405 285 000€ FAI (fees 6% inc)
79, Grande Rue, 79190 Sauzé-Vaussais Tel: +33 (0)5 49 07 76 88 email@example.com
R4827 : 216 000€ FAI
2 independent stone houses (separated by a neighbours property) to renovate/modernise, each with 1 bed and one with scope to create more. Attached fenced grounds on a total plot of 2336m². Set in a pretty village, close to both the gorgeous villages of Verteuil Sur Charente and Nanteuil.
www.tic-ruffec.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tél: 05 45 71 00 46
www.agence-eleonor.com Agence Eleonor Estate Agency 36-38 rue du Temple, 24500 EYMET ~ Also at Beynac, Monpazier and Villeréal
Tél. : 05 53 27 83 45
Ref: 4883-EY. €648 900 FAI. DPE: C (5% fees inc) A great renovated property in the countryside with stunning views and comprises a main house with 3 bedrooms, a one bed apartment with a balcony and a covered terrace. Gîte with 2 bedrooms, a 2nd gîte with 6 bedrooms and a spa with a massage-room, sauna and a jacuzzi. There is also a barn and a heated swimming-pool with more than 2½ acres of land.
Ref: 4729-VI. €346 125 FAI. DPE: D Tastefully renovated 3 bedroom stone house with a 2 bedroom guest house/gîte, a stone barn and a swimming pool that sits on over ½ an acre of gardens. A lovely ensemble and a must see! (6.5% fees inc)
Ref: 4746-EY. €362 100 FAI. DPE: Vierge Pretty stone Perigourdine style house located near Bergerac. This large property has 6 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, a lounge, dining room and various outbuildings, a garage and approx 1.2 acres of land. (6.5% fees inc)
Ref: 4450-EY. €1 285 000 FAI. DPE: E (4.9% fees inc) A rare opportunity to purchase a hamlet comprising a large 13th century manor house with 5 bedrooms, a second 14th century manor house with 3 bedrooms, a 4 bedroom mill house and a 2 bedroom cottage all situated on just under three acres of land including several small islands. Fabulous investment opportunity!
Ref: 4878-VI. €136 250 FAI. DPE: E Perigordian style house with a ¼ of an acre of land, kitchen, living-room, 4 bedrooms, garage, storage room and oil fired central heating. In need of modernisation and reasonably priced. (6% fees inc)
Ref: 4216-EY. €151 200 FAI. DPE: Vierge Large village property in walking distance of the village of Eymet with a mature garden of just under half acre, a swimming pool, 3/4 bedrooms and a garage/ basement area. (8% fees inc)
Ref: 4862-EY. €278 000 FAI. DPE: E Old stone farm with 4 bedrooms, in a very pretty setting bordered by a river with 5.66 acres and comprises a main house and an independent apartment, a large attached barn/workshop/hangar and a further barn. Lots of scope for expansion. (6% fees inc)
Ref: 4705-EY. €540 000 FAI. DPE: C Fabulous 4 bedroom stone farmhouse, restored to a high standard with spacious accommodation and includes central heating, double-glazing, 2 covered terraces, swimming pool and landscaped garden of 1760m². (4.5% fees inc)
Ref: 3410-EY. €564 900 FAI. DPE: D (5% fees inc) Superb stone house in excellent condition, tastefully presented throughout and has 7 bedrooms, 3 reception rooms, an office, swimming pool, 2 garages and just under an acre of garden. This property has lots of charm and character with many original features including fabulous stone fireplaces, exposed stone walls and beams.
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Property Private Property Sellers Ltd
Helping your property stand out from the crowd. Property marketing is changing and in order to maximise your chances of selling we include a YouTube video with all our adverts. We use some of the most established websites, translated in 18 languages, 54 countries, and over a 100 websites. Full details of our marketing and client testimonials can be found on our websites.
IMMO FRANCE, PRIME LOCATION, ZOOPLA, GREEN ACRES, LIST GLOBALLY FREE YOUTUBE VIDEO - SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING - AV BOARD - PROPERTY STATISTICS FLOOR PLANS - PHOTOGRAHY - ENHANCED LISTINGS - TRANSLATION
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For more information contact our recruitment team: 0800 2534 4388 Email: email@example.com www.leggettfrance.com
Wanted Quality Properties! Allez-Français with hundreds of completed sales since 2002 If you are selling your French home, our knowledgeable local team would be delighted to meet you as soon as possible. We offer: A valuation based on current local market conditions A dedicated contact to guide you through the whole process Worldwide marketing through our own website and market-leading portals Access to thousands of buyers already registered with us
AWARD WINNING SERVICE SO
Beaux Villages Immobilier Tel : 00 33 (0)8 05 69 23 23 E : firstname.lastname@example.org
Recruiting sales agents in Nouvelle Aquitaine
Contact Nigel & Kim Cowles Tel: 05 49 27 01 22 Mob: 06 77 97 93 68 email@example.com
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MAZAGRAN IMMOBILIER VLLEBOIS Properties in Angoulême and South Charente www.mazagran-immobilier.com
Build Awards - Best independent Agent - France - 2015 & 2016
Only 2 minutes from Villebois, a renovated property in a hamlet. House with 7 main rooms (3 bedrooms but possibly up to 6), separate study, workshop, another outbuilding, garden. Everything in good shape, close to shops and school. DPE: D REF. 1506 220 500 EUROS (5% fees to pay)
Inside Villebois, a huge renovated village house with 5 big bedrooms, fitted kitchen, dining room, 2 sitting rooms and wine cellar. Private entrance to a courtyard with barn and workshop plus swimming pool in a south facing fenced garden. Ideal for a big family! DPE: D REF. 1503 372 000 EUROS (3.91% fees to pay)
New price for this beautiful renovated ‘Logis’ from the 17th and 19th C. 11 main rooms (6 bedrooms), keepers house of 4 rooms (2 bedrooms), renovated barn-workshop, tennis court, swimming pool, garage, on 12 acres of parkand land and 55 acres of woods! DPE: D
€90 000 FAI
Exceptionally Spacious Hamlet Property with 90m² Elevated Terrace and Gîte CB11061 DPE: Non Precise
Cathe Bower - Agent Commercial Tel: 0033 (0) 5 55 68 39 89 firstname.lastname@example.org Mob: 0033 (0) 6 09 60 60 82 www.PropertySalesInFrance.com
REF. 1419 644 800 EUROS (4% fees to pay)
A superb local french family castle located between Angoulême and Villebois, built in 3 different periods of time: 15th, 16th and 18thC. 18 rooms, 10 bedrooms, swimming pool, outbuildings, keepers house, beautiful park and woods. A magnificent property! DPE: n/a
REF. 1477 947 440 EUROS (6% fees to pay)
Please contact us if you are searching for a specific property in Charente or Angoulême
2 rue de l’église, 16320 Villebois Lavalette 00 33 545 230 101 email@example.com 9 place Gambetta 86400 CIVRAY Tél : 05 49 97 11 30 firstname.lastname@example.org www.agencemercure.fr
€154 000 FAI
Traditional Hamlet House with Attached Garden, 2 Garages and Extra Land with Pond CB11010 DPE: Non Precise
email@example.com +33 (0)610 71 26 92
www.piegut-immobilier.fr Buying or selling, you can be assured you will be accompanied through the whole process Piegut Immobilier is a well established and respected estate agency working in the Dordogne, Charente and Limousin. We have a team of multilingual agents committed to providing a comprehensive and professional service to all our clients whether buying or selling. Siren: 534155007
5, place Maréchal Leclerc 86500 MONTMORILLON Tél : 05 49 84 08 88 firstname.lastname@example.org www.agencemercure.fr
AVAILLES LIMOUZINE (86) Ref 22834 Price 179 000€ FAI (5.92% fee inc) In the heart of the village with all amenities, this house has been beautifully restored. 3 bedrooms, new fitted kitchen, central heating. Large enclosed mature garden of ¼ acre with 2 garages. DPE : C
SAINT ROMAIN (86) Ref 22843 Price 79 500€ FAI (10.42% fee inc) Ideal lock up & leave country home with 2 bedrooms, kitchen/dining room, lounge. Enclosed garden with above ground pool, garage. Quiet location. Can be sold furnished. DPE : vierge
MONTMORILLON (86) Ref 32456 Price 288 000€ FAI (6.67% fee inc) Magnificent character townhouse 175m², 3 bedrooms, woodpanelled drawing room, fitted kitchen. Courtyard garden 200m², 2 garages and other outbuildings. DPE : Vierge
LES HEROLLES (86) Ref 32529 Price 318 600€ FAI (8% fee inc) Large townhouse 250m² situated in historic heart of this town, 6 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, large reception room, courtyard & garage. Ideal for B&B project. DPE : C
CIVRAY (86) Ref 22693 Price 356 500€ FAI (8.03% fee inc) Imposing character property. 400m² habitable house (central heating, mains drains) requires modernisation, 100m² barn, 2 cottages to renovate, dovecote, etc… Set in 7654m², more land available. DPE : D
ROMAGNE (86) Ref 22851 Price 249 000€ FAI (5.96% fee inc) Succesful B&B : 3 guest en-suite bedrooms, 5 camping pitches and private owners accomodation approx 70m² . Quiet but touristic area just 45min from Poitiers airport, between Limoges & La Rochelle. DPE : D
MONTMORILLON (86) Ref 32516 Price 259 200€ FAI (8% fee inc) Excellent renovation of a “corps de ferme”. Main house of 180m², 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms. Guest house to finish, fantastic views from landscaped gardens 4450m². Carport, renovated outbuildings. DPE : E
5mn LE DORAT (87) Ref 32527 Price 194 400€ FAI (8% fee inc) Riverside paradise. Restored property, 3 bedrooms, handmade oak kitchen, 133m² total living space, artist studio & small house for restoration project. Wonderful garden and river views. Unique location. DPE : E
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Talk of the town
In each issue we highlight a town in the region to help you get to know the area. Here we visit Ruffec in Charente...
Talk of the Town is brought to you by
840 000€ FAI Sitting on the River Charente, this is the first time this mill has been on the market for 500 years. Quality 4-bed dwelling, 4 furnished apartments (already let) plus a working hydro-electric turbine. DPE: C Ref: 58044 5% fees included
272 850€ FAI Imposing longère situated on the outskirts of Ruffec. 3-beds, one doubling as a cinema. Bread oven in courtyard. River passes through the parkland garden making it a fisherman’s dream. DPE: E Ref: 53812 7% fees included
99 000€ FAI Lovely 3-bed house in Ruffec with extensive barns. Habitable but requiring modernisation and can be extended. Many original features, spacious rooms and extra land available. DPE: F Ref: 64814 10% fees included
Local knowledge you can trust
email@example.com +33 05 53 60 84 88
© Mairie de Ruffec
Properties near Ruffec
uffec and its surrounding area have long been popular with Britons and other nationalities looking to move to France. While a strong international community, the many services in English, and its proximity to convenient transport links to the UK help to tick boxes on the lists of many house buyers, Ruffec has much more to commend it. The north Charente town has a long history beginning when King Lothaire gifted the domaine of Ruffus to Guillaume Taillefer II in 963 as reward for his war efforts against the Normans. The town built a fortified chateau with the help of the wealthy Abbaye de Nanteuil, followed by a church and, little by little, established itself on a promontory dominating two rivers, the Lien and the Péruse. Charles VII and his son, the future Louis XI, visited at Easter 1443 when the dauphin nearly lost his life during a boat trip on the Charente. In the 14th century, the town had passed into the Volvire family through marriage and in January 1588, Lord Volvire was given the right to build a domaine of 36 communes and 200 noble houses, one of the greatest in the kingdom of France. The Romanesque church dedicated to Saint André was destroyed by fire in the 17th century. It was rebuilt in the Gothic style with only the original façade preserved. The town passed through several families until the Revolution when Ruffec was declared the capital of its commune. Later, during WW2, Ruffec became a centre for the Resistance, evacuating allied airmen to Spain, an act that was
immortalised by the film ‘The Cockleshell Heroes’ based upon the British commando raid Operation Frankton. Today Ruffec is home to nearly 3,500 inhabitants and its economy benefits from the town’s proximity to the N10 (Poitiers-Angoulême) as well as its train station.
Amenities Ruffec has a good section of schools both private and state-run through to lycées offering both pro and générale courses. The multimedia centre ‘La Canopée’ offers a library and a theatre with a strong programme of live shows including many suitable for French language learners. The local cinema shows some films in version originale. The town benefits from a rural setting with many water sports available on the nearby rivers as well as a popular bathing area at La Rajallent. Markets There are two markets each week on Wednesday and Saturday in the market place with a monthly foire on the last Wednesday. Transport With easy access to the N10 dual carriageway, travel to Poitiers and onwards is straightforward. Low-cost flights to the UK leave from Poitiers airport (45 minutes by car) as well as Limoges (1h15) and La Rochelle and Bordeaux (both under 2 hours). Ruffec train station is on the Poitiers to Bordeaux line with links to the main TGV network and soon the faster LGV network.
L iPRACTICAL vingliving
Property Sovimo immobiLier Ref. 33714
25 000€ FAI (10% fees included) Close to Availles Limouzine (86). Attractive piece of land bordering the river, ideal for anglers. With a wood chalet, all set on 3778m2.
49 500€ FAI (10% fees included) Nr Confolens (16), in countryside, 6km from shops, ideal for horses. Detached farmhouse set on approx 12 acres, cottage to renovate : 3 beds, stables with 8 horse boxes.
77 000€ FAI (10% fees included) Nr Confolens (16), quiet area, ideal for anglers. Holiday home, beautiful plot set on 2ha (4 acres) including 1ha (2 acres) lake (depth 4m60), shed 27m2 with building permit.
199 800€ FAI (8% fees included) Nr St Laurent de Ceris (16). In hamlet, 5 km from amenities, renovated farmhouse on approx 3 acres. 1 bed, 3 bath/wc, gas heating, old cottage to renovate.
76 700€ FAI (9.6% fees included) Confolens centre town (16), town house all comforts, 3 beds, electrical heating, attached garage, main drains, small garden at the back with shed and terrace.
54 800€ FAI (9.6% fees included) Nr Confolens (16), ideal for income. 2 semi-detached village houses: 1) 2-bed, elec heating, 2) 1-bed, utility room, attic, oil heating, barn, old septic tank, adjoining garden.
3, place de la Liberté, 16500 Confolens Tel: 05 45 85 45 65 firstname.lastname@example.org
48 | living Angling
Hook, line & sinker…
Angling expert Ron Cousins investigates the latest trout fishing technique taking French rivers by storm...
t’s not surprising that a species of fish that inspired Franz Schubert’s most famous quintet, a song composed by American folk hero Woody Guthrie and a book written by Ernest Hemmingway should have just been named their favourite species of fish by readers of the UK angling weekly Anglers Mail. The same fish - the trout - will also be number one for anglers in France on the second Saturday in March when the new season opens. Stock fish are released in the week before opening day at points along all the rivers, and at the 7am “off” on the big day the banks will be lined with anglers eager to transfer a few from the river to the frying pan. Most rivers are classed as 2ème Catégorie where maggots, worms and various grubs can be used as bait and these draw the big crowds. Anyone who associates trout fishing with fly fishing should concentrate on the fewer 1ère Catégorie rivers where, other than an artificial fly, the only bait allowed is a worm. One of the best of these rivers is the River Touvre, a true chalk stream that emerges from the ground as a full-blown river at Touvre and is quickly 100 metres wide. On its 25km journey to join the River Charente at Angoulême, the Touvre splits into channels with deep gravel runs and thick weed beds. These, together with the very clear water, make it ideal for a style of fly fishing pioneered on the clear, limestone streams of the Jura region on the French/Swiss border. ‘French-style long nymphing’ has proved so successful in international fly fishing competitions that it is now popular throughout Europe and also in America.
The results achieved by Julien Daguillanes, from Tarbes in the Pyrénées, as he represented France in the World Rivers Fly Fishing Championships demonstrated what could be achieved under very difficult fishing conditions when anglers switched to this new approach. The leader - the length of nylon that connects the fly line to the fly - is the key feature for this style of fishing. Traditional fly fishing relies on the weight of the fly line to carry the fly at the end of a 2 or 3-metre leader out over the water. This means there are many metres of the thick fly line lying on the surface which can frighten the fish if the water is clear. The new approach uses a specially made French leader which can be up to 15 metres. The nylon tapers from the thick end at the point where it is fixed to the fly line to the fine end attached to the flies. The business end usually carries three flies with a nymph pattern tied with a 3mm tungsten bead on the point, and lighter flies on the two droppers. A small strike indicator is fitted to the cast to show when a trout takes one of the flies. Most of the casting is done using the weight of the flies and the tapered leader to load the rod resulting in just a few metres of actual fly line on the surface and far less chance of spooking the fish. A 3-metre rod with a 3 or 4-line rating is ideal and should be held high to avoid the flies being dragged across the current rather than move downstream naturally with the flow. Good flies for early season on the river include emergers, March brown and pheasant tail nymphs plus a whole range of weighted nymph patterns. The upper River Dordogne is another
Stunning trout caught on the Touvre
water that responds to this way of fishing with interesting stretches between Argentat and Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne where the river splits in places and big trout can be expected. The River Doustre and River Maronne tributaries offer challenging fishing in fast, clear water where often a fly tied on a tiny size 16 hook will be the only one to outwit the wily residents. Early season flies for these include yellow dun, sedges, hares ear nymph and various nymphs tied with gold head beads. The same flies are also useful on the upper reaches of the River Charente where trout can be targeted upstream of Civray. If the idea of trying something different with a fly rod is appealing there’s lots more on the subject in a new book Nymphing the New Way - French Leader Fishing for Trout by Jonathan White or take a look at the videos of anglers fishing this way on YouTube. Whether you are bait fishing or fly fishing, opening day is always special and, when it’s on the table, a freshly caught trout will taste just as good whether it fell for a delicately cast artificial fly or a bunch of maggots. However, non-anglers may look at you in a new light if instead of telling them you’re going fishing you say you are off for a few hours French nymphing.
living business opportunities | 49
Find the ideal business for you
Thriving bar, restaurant & hotel business with owner’s accommodation set in picturesque, sought-after village with all amenities. Five fully-furnished hotel rooms, three-bedroom owner’s accommodation and room to expand. Reservations already made for 2017. The business offers quiz nights, live music and catering for community functions. Restaurant has wheelchair access. Husband & wife run team. Contact the owners direct. Private sale, offers in the region of €170,000 ono. Address: 86460 Mauprevoir Tel: 0033 (0)5 49 87 20 28 Email: email@example.com www.hoteldudiamant.com
‘La Charrue’ Venue Gites Campsite Restaurant For Sale in Dordogne (24)
Beautiful former 18th century posthouse set in 6 acres of parkland. 13km from historic Brantôme and directly off the main Angoulême to Périgueux route (D939). Ideally placed in the Parc Naturel du Périgord/Limousin with numerous chateaux, museums, caves and historic sites nearby. Recently restored to a high standard offering 3 comfortable gites (sleeping from 2 to 6 people), and 3 B&B rooms (sleeping 2, 3 and 4). 10 x 5m swimming pool and south facing terrace with kiddies play area. Restaurant rapide. Campsite with shower block, games field. Property comes with all equipment, ready to go. Currently run as a successful and flexible business with lots of potential for the new owners to make it their own.
Price: 720,000€ + notaire fees
T: +33 (0)553 56 65 59
Once in a lifetime business opportunity create your dream life in France now! Charming pub/restaurant in picturesque village, SW France for sale - €70k plus notaire fees. Sale includes the lease, license (cat IV), work materials; fixtures; fittings; ‘goodwill’. There exists the possibility of purchasing the freehold property consisting of: business premises; private accommodation; various storage areas (can be converted into a gite - planning permission already approved); separate two bed apartment, currently let long-term; various outbuildings; land by the river (ideal for a camp site or ‘holiday village’). Address: 86400 Voulême Tel: 05 49 87 19 20 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.ednas.eu
For Sale: established business and spacious living accommodation room and storage room, and A unique opportunity to own a thriving Fish & Chip business also has a large patio for cuswith a 5-bedroom house tomers to sit and eat. Our clients attached plus garage, hangar come from far and near, we are and summer house all standing open all year round. in a 1/4 acre of garden. The house is very well appointed We are situated in a lovely and half of it could be turned village in the Vienne (86) with into a B&B. boulangerie, post office, bar and La Sirene has been established church. almost 14 years, we have been The business has its own shop running it for 10 years and are including fryer, kitchen, prep now ready for retirement. Price: 295,000€ plus notaire fees. Email: email@example.com Tel: +33 967 35 50 70
48 | living gardening 50
Tree peonies are hardy, deciduous shrubs
Peonies are real showstoppers
Gardeners have been crossing international boundaries for many years, we take a look at some of the origins of some of our favourite plants
he seasons never sleep; instead they just keep moving on in the old familiar sequence, while jostling for dominance. Exactly how that pans out from one year to another is one of life’s mysteries, but one thing is certain: our plants have to cope with whatever nature delivers. It’s always been like that, of course, so natural selection has seen to it that the fittest have not merely survived but also thrived in their respective natural habitats. As gardeners, however, when we set about creating our own vision of an earthly paradise we naturally have an innate desire to bend the rules now and then for decorative effect. In fact, we’ve been importing and adopting non-native species since seafarers began bringing back samples of exotic looking plants from their long and often perilous voyages of discovery. They gave us not merely our beloved potato, but also a whole host of species which have since become so familiar that we now take them for granted when we see them in nurseries, most of whose business now centres on selling non-native plants.
In many cases the name tag gives the game away, most obviously those bearing a familiar sounding suffix like ‘sinensis’ (indicating Chinese origins). Here in France we’ve become accustomed to seeing spectacular summer displays of vibrant purple, courtesy of Wisteria sinensis, which self-seeds as soon as your back’s turned and then sets off on a mission to subsume your house. Europe’s very first Chinese Wisteria arrived in 1816 in the hands of Robert Welbank, an English captain, who had attended a dinner party hosted by a rich Chinese trader from Guangzhou (Canton) beneath a pergola covered by flowering Wisteria. The Chinese called it Zi Teng or ‘blue vine’, and Captain Welbank was so entranced by its beauty that the trader gave him some seedlings to take back to England. Three years later the plants bloomed for the first time, produced seed and soon became a feature in ornamental
gardens throughout Europe. Botanist Thomas Nutall decided to name the plant after his friend Kaspar Wistar, a physician and botanical patron. The story doesn’t end there, however. In France we know this rampant ornamental climber as ‘glycine’ – a name given to the native American Wisteria, Wisteria frutescens, a century or so previously, but Nuttal simply hadn’t realised that the plant had already been known and classified. He soon acknowledged his mistake, of course, but the name survives in most countries. Among the many other non-native species which are now grown widely in our gardens are the ‘japonicas’, which originated, as their name suggests, in Japan – or at least most of them do. Used in isolation, the name refers to a familiar flowering shrub now more commonly known as Chaenomeles, which was indeed introduced from Japan, where it is widely cultivated,
Euphorbia Collect leaves to Charasias wulfenii make a useful Mediterranean spurge mould
living gardening | 53
but actually originated in China. Early Victorians loved them, and they’re still popular today as wall shrubs or open bushes, since they add a welcome splash of colour in early springtime. They’re upstaged, however, by their more exotic compatriot, the Camellia. Widely cultivated in both China and Japan, their dislike of alkaline soils means that they need a little special care if we’re to grow them in our own far-from-acid soil. This isn’t as challenging as it sounds; they’re essentially woodland plants so give them beds enriched with terre de bruyère compost, apply an acidifying feed from time to time and they should be fine as long as you keep them well watered during dry
52 | living gardening
Rhododendron blossom heralds the approach of springtime
spells. They are, however, worth the effort. Camellia sinensis is the ‘tea shrub’ grown commercially for its leaves, which flavour your ‘cuppa’, but there are hundreds of other species, which have been joined by thousands of hybrids. The first living Camellias seen in England were single reds and single whites grown at Thorndon Hall, Essex, by Robert James, Lord Petre, in 1739. With the subsequent rapid expansion of the tea trade new Camellia varieties were imported by the British East India Company, and were associated with the wealthy patrons whose respective gardeners grew them. Typically they would have to wait a decade or more for the flowers produced by plants grown from their seed to appear, but were rewarded with many new varieties. By the 1840s the Camellia had become highly fashionable, and the premature death in 1847 of Parisian courtesan Marie Duplessis would
inspire both Dumas’ La Dame aux Camélias and Verdi’s La Traviata. Similarly early flowering, but with a very different character are Rhododendrons (and their close friends the Azaleas), which are native to Asia, Europe, North America, Russia, Australia – and that’s just for starters. They were observed in Armenia as early as 401BC, formally classified during the 16th century by pioneering botanist Charles de l’Écluse and introduced into Britain in 1656 from the Alps, where they still flourish. Like Camellia, they can become trees, and have similar soil pH requirements. However, ‘Rhodos’ are also plants which people tend to love or loathe, not least since Rhododendron ponticum has a tendency to sprout new shoots from its root system, making it almost uncontrollably invasive in UK woodland settings. For that we have to blame not the plants but those who planted them in the wrong settings, without an aware-
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living gardening | 53 like Lupins on steroids. Talking of which our old friend the Lupin, which we associate with English cottage gardens, turns out to be rather more well travelled. Native to North, Central and South America, Australia, New Zealand the Middle East, they were also widely planted throughout the Roman Empire, so it appears that we can add Lupins to the long list of things the Romans gave us. Not that they’re by any means purely decorative; those tall flower spikes produce lots of seed pods whose contents were consumed throughout the Mediterranean region and the Roman agriculturalists are thought to have planted Lupins to improve soil fertility. You’ll never look at them quite the same way again. The same goes for other familiar but non-native plants. Poppies (which can lie dormant for years until the soil is disturbed) will forever be associated with the battlefields of northern France, but the red ones seem to have originated around the Mediterranean. However, the vibrant yellow varieties which brighten our gardens come from California, the subtler, pale blue Mecanopsis came to us from the Himalayas, while the exotic large-flowered oriental showstoppers are natives of Azerbaijan, Georgia, northeastern Turkey and northern Iran. Then there’s Agapanthus – big, showy perennials which deliver ball-like displays of blue, purple, white and pink. Their ancestors of were brought back from South Africa (earning them the nickname of African Lily). The biggest surprise has been saved until last: countless rose varieties can trace their lineage not to France or the UK but to China, India, Burma, Persia and even further afield. What made them effectively our own was the process of creating hybrids, which peaked during the early 19th century under the patronage of Empress Jose-
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The assertive forms of Acanthus
phine of France at her gardens at Malmaison, and under the impulsion of early Victorian gardeners who were producing many now familiar creations in England. As you have probably already guessed, we’ve barely got started on tracing the origins of the long list of non-native species which we adopted so long ago that we now think of them as our own. While purists will continue to argue that their visual impact is ‘unnatural’, nature, like the seasons, has a habit of moving on and adding diversity to the world in which we live. As gardeners we do the same, and the landscaped spaces which we create would look very different had the early plant hunters not risked life and limb to seek out new botanical discoveries and bring them back for us to appreciate in our gardens.
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ness of their remarkable survival tactics. See the more spectacular varieties in full bloom, however, and it’s hard not to love them. Another familiar sight throughout France is the Acanthus which you’ll find adorning not only private and public gardens but also countless ecclesiastical buildings. Medieval stone masons sculpted Acanthus leaves as a motif on all manner of decorative stonework, continuing a practice first employed in ancient Greece (a Corinthian column with Acanthus foliation from a Greek temple has been dated to 450-420BC). Native varieties are found in places as diverse as south Asia, Australia, Africa, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, but ‘our’ Acanthus mollis came from Portugal, North Africa, Croatia and around the Mediterranean. Fine as its leaves are, however, it’s the flower spikes which really catch the eye, spearing upwards
Call me today on
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54 | living promotion
Expert advice <<
ENERGY advice By Paul Elliott from Ecopower
By Carl Hewson from Lion Rouge
Pellet prices Are you thinking of switching to pellets but need some help to work out the savings? Ecopower has been collecting data from several pellet boiler installations using their smart data monitoring system. Data is available on the pellet consumption versus the external temperature alongside the spend per day. The price of pellets has remained fairly stable for the last 10 years with the average price in 2016 actually decreasing slightly. There are now over 400 pellet manufacturing plants across Europe which helps to stabilise the price and availability. On average the pellet price is 3.85€ttc per 15kg sack if bought as part of a metric tonne pallet - usually 66-72 sacks with the pallet price around 277€ttc. The cheapest found this year was 3.45€ per sack, 248€ per pallet, but prices up to 5.44€ per sack were seen so it pays to shop around. These are undelivered prices. You can collect from supermarkets, brico’s etc. or arrange a delivery at a higher rate. Monitoring has taken place in several homes of around 150m2 heating area with recent pellet boiler installations and moderate insulation levels. Ecopower’s data shows that homes of this size will need just under 3 tonnes (3 pallets) of pellets for the heating season to maintain a comfortable 20-21 degree temperature. For a 200m2 home, 4 tonnes or 4 pallets will be needed. More specifically, on the coldest day this winter (-5
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degrees) 25kg of pellets were consumed or just under 2 sacks. On average for the months of Dec, Jan and Feb approximately 450-500kg of pellets were consumed or just over a sack per day. For the peripheral months of Oct, Nov, Mar and April on average 250kg of pellets were used per month. Based on these prices, the total cost of pellets per season for a 150m2 home was approx. 744-831€ttc. For a 200m2 home the cost is about 992-1108€ttc. “Obviously costs also depend on factors such as the weather, the comfort temperature setting, insulation levels and if you have any secondary heat sources. However, these figures will help establish if a saving could be made by switching to pellets,” says Paul. “But don’t store pellets too long – a year’s supply is sufficient as they can be affected by damp.” If you are thinking of making the move to pellet heating, now is the time to do your homework for a new installation in 2017.
to go with the heat and security benefits. And, of course, UPVC doesn’t require regular upkeep and will not rot, music to the ears of those renovating older properties. The modern argon gas filled of upgrading to UPVC windows double-glazed units are secured and doors is the difference that with gasket seals that prevent it makes to the general living draughts. Toughened safety glass conditions of your home. “More is standard and it is all held in place recently we have been replacing with high-security fixings along all lots of single glazed windows and the sides so beside reducing energy those with secondary glazing,” bills, your house is more secure. explains Carl Hewson from Lion Carl adds: “As well as standard Rouge. “The difference noted is windows and doors, we also huge and the impact to the home provide a wide range of arched is immediate, making the home and shaped products that are warmer and more comfortable popular here. We can provide in the colder months.” But it isn’t conservatories with glass roof just winter when the benefit is options and for those who are felt, on hot summer days the worried about the aesthetics of double glazing keeps the heat moving away from wood, we out without the need to close have some very good wood the shutters and spend the day effect finishes.” in darkness, an important feature here in sunny France. Lion Rouge provide products and The addition of UPVC windows installation across the Poitouand doors lifts the whole Charentes and Dordogne. Call Carl appearance of the house giving on 05 46 70 25 87 or visit their it a cleaner, tidier appearance website at www.lionrouge.eu
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Photo above: Ivory painted furniture with oak trim Photo left: Sofas available in a huge range of fabrics
Swimming pools, building services, artisans
pools - spas - security - chemicals - accessories POOLS BY JONATHAN Agent and installer for several rectangular & shaped pools including Seablue & Astral Pools
Celebrating 20 years of installing pools in France - genuine reassurance for the future. We will beat any like for like quote - just call us. Main agents for Christal Pools
FRIENDLY PROFESSIONAL SERVICE Competitive prices, try me for a quote
Ian Dickinson BSc (Hons)
Architectural Designer Architectural designs, planning applications & project management for extensions, renovations, conversions and new build. Departments: 16, 17, 24, 79, 86 & 87 Tel/Fax: 05.46.98.22.01
e-mail: email@example.com www.idarchitecturaldesign.com Siret: 81272725300013
SAND AND BLAST We provide a fully operated Sandblasting Service for Stone, Wood and Metal Perfect for stripping away years of grime & paint Contact us for a free quote or visit:
www.sandandblast.com Tel: 05 55 76 31 59 Mob: 06 77 40 95 92 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Covering 87, 36 & 23 but other depts considered
firstname.lastname@example.org - www.piscine-plus.com
+33 (0)5 65 37 79 64
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7, Ave Georges Pompidou 46300 Gourdon
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Emptying of grease traps, fosse septiques, filtre compacts & micro stations. Cleaning & maintenance of all types of sewage treatment plants.
Siret 482 718 640 00022
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firstname.lastname@example.org Peter Latus BA(Hons)
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16100 Chateaubernard 05 45 36 46 70 / 06 72 21 80 27 email@example.com www.mmpropertymaintenance.fr
T: 06 71 83 16 69 / 05 49 87 27 29 E: firstname.lastname@example.org 2 Verrières, 86400 CHAMPNIERS
CONTACT VIRGINIE AT
05 53 52 36 05
Kitchens & Bathrooms The Roofing & Renovation Company from A-Z All leading Brands All associated minor works, modifications and repairs also undertaken e.g.. replace Kitchen worktops, taps, toilets etc. Dept. 16, 17
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depts 79, 86 & 16 www.building-services-france.com Siret: 499 474 302 00035
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Part or full renovations Roofing Plaster boarding All building works undertaken Tel: 05 49 27 52 99 Mob: 06 74 95 21 00 E: email@example.com Based 79190
Siret 487 581 209 00011
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+44 (0) 207 220 1746
Authorised by the FCA
GARY MOORE HEATING 20 YEARS IN HEATING, 10 YEARS IN FRANCE Siret: 491827705 00022
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Building services, artisans
DOWN TO EARTH
Fosse septique and accredited Micro station installer
LION ROUGE Suppliers and installers of UPVC windows, doors and conservatories
Professional, friendly reliable service with competitive prices. From conception to completion, we will even do the paperwork. All drainage problems, groundworks patios & driveways. Established 10 years, french registered & insured All work guaranteed - Testimonials available on request
Covering departments 16, 17 & 33
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05 46 70 25 87 Jonzac, Charente-Maritime
www.downtoearthvienne.com Email: email@example.com
05 49 87 04 13
FOSSE FRANCE SOLUTIONS Fosse and Micro-station suppliers Th
tural W ay To
Independent supplier of affordable, reliable, high quality, environmentally friendly micro-stations and sewage treatment systems for both new builds and properties with a non-conforming fosse. All our systems are fully approved for use in France and we will not be beaten on price For a professional and friendly service, contact Clint: Tel: 05 45 85 47 40
firstname.lastname@example.org www.fossefrancesolutions.com UK registration 07 15 72 91
Electrical Installations Garden and Home Lighting Designs Integrated Security Alarms Fire Detection & Entry Systems Plumbing and Heating Total Project Management
Renovation Tiling ~ Drylining
Siren: 478 608 185 00011
Accredited Installers of Fosse septique, Compact Filters and Micro Station Systems For a guaranteed professional solution from initial application to achieving conformity Over 30 years’ experience
With 30 years experience I will see your project through from start to finish Contact Tony to discuss your requirements Tel - 0545644730 southwestconstruction @yahoo.co.uk
Carpenter ~ Joine email@example.com
www.southwestfrancefosse.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 05 45 91 75 41 Mob: 06 04 14 84 86
R & G Builders
Siret No 4825499610019
L.D Plastering & Building Top quality professional plastering & building works. All aspects of plastering and
30 years’ experience ESTABLISHED COMPANY, building work undertaken to the UK & France highest standard. CONSCIENTIOUS & English & French spoken Specialising in all aspects of RELIABLE SERVICE building and ground Stuart Nicholls Free advice and estimates plastering, works from full renovations/ For a superior finish Works & PL insured Port: 06.82.10.45.65 barn conversions to any small in wood, tile, plasterboard • Renovations & new builds alterations or repairs etc. Siret: 80254172200012 • Tiling • Plant & Skip Hire and general restoration Call for free advice or quotes. Tel: 05.45.30.69.28 • Roof repairs & replacement Specialising in kitchen We cover 150km from Confolens (16) 16420 Saint Christophe • Plastering • Lime Pointing fitting & creative Call Luke: 100% client satisfaction to date - references available on request 05 55 03 23 39 mob: 07 83 49 49 34 challenges 3 New Builds 3 Driveways 06 67 98 38 89 land: 05 49 83 08 60 3 Renovations 3 Windows and Doors russellhainesbuilder 3 Approved fosse septiques l.dplastering-building e Décennale InsurancSiret: @gmail.com Siret: 48115588500017 @outlook.com 3 Ground works 517 604 997 00018
05 49 87 09 63
property management throughout france
Les Bons Voisins
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 www.LBVfrance.com
t:+33 (0)5 45 70 20 98
Building services, artisans
ANDY MS South West France Roofing The Experts For all your roofing solutions from repairs to complete recovers Plus all associated carpentry work, wood and tile treatment Over 30 years’ experience
www.southwestfranceroofing.com Email: email@example.com Tel: 05 45 91 75 41 Mob: 06 04 14 84 86
R.S.PAMPHILION 05.49.29.58.22 Carpenter Specialising in Kitchens, Bathrooms, Renovations & Building Works
Registered Artisan with Décennale Insurance 79190 Clussais La Pommeraie E: firstname.lastname@example.org References available Siret: 509 487 534 00018
Fully qualified English electrician
DAVE ROSENBERG New or Renovation projects A complete service offered from start to finish Doors, Windows, Stairs, Kitchens etc. and associated allied trades
SIret: 480 026 560 00012
Interior and email@example.com exterior painting Specializing in Paper hanging, tiling, Gardening, Strimming, flooring & dry lining Hedge Trimming etc.,
05 49 87 20 76 / 06 95 41 78 49
Painting & Decorating, Building Works, Fencing.
firstname.lastname@example.org Areas 16, 17, 24, 33, 79, 86 Siret: 441 490 992 00027
Available for all types of electrical work renovations, small works, gate automations etc. Insured and guaranteed Areas 16, 17, 24, 47
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email@example.com Siret 49376573200015
Jb Plumbing Kitchen & Bathroom installation Tiling Plumbing Repairs Tel: 06 29 90 24 89 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Siret: 752 604 256 00012
Anything you cannot do, or do not wish to do, please give me a call.
Based in dept 79 near Sauzé-Vaussais Fully insured Siret: 804 390 862 000 14
Plumbing Electricity Plasterboarding Tiling Satellite dishes and Systems for the reception of UK and French TV Dept. 16,17 No Job too Small
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website: andyms.free.fr email: email@example.com siret:50263448800014
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based South 79 All work is fully insured, references can be provided
SiReT: 502 497 365 00010
T: 05 45 98 07 25 M: 06 23 18 30 95
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All departments covered
PAINTER & DECORATOR
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Large or small projects, from new builds, total rewires (including 3 phase) to Having additional sockets/lights installed to
Tel: 05 49 91 85 54 email@example.com
ADAM BLACKABY Artisan Peintre
06 67 96 66 87
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Domestic, industrial & commercial Call now for a free quote
Places to go
Places to go
Restaurants & bar s, Events, Associations and C lubs.
The Irish Belle
THE ENGLISH SCHOOL OF HYPNOTHERAPY IN FRANCE
Tea Rooms Confolens Siret: 50089497700015
www.alabonnevie.com 05 49 95 91 60 We will be open on Valentine’s Evening Tuesday 14th February. To book or for more details please call or drop us a line.
Please see our website for our opening hours 2 rue de la Panique, 79130 Le Beugnon
Traditional English Food Large choice of beers Quizzes and Events lepubdeshalles
Closed Wednesday 7 Place André Bujeaud, 85210 Saint Hermine Tel: 02 51 30 23 95 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Food served all day including bacon sandwiches, all-daybreakfast, baked potato with toppings, a side salad and more. Also selling Irish/English produce & Gluten-free products. Come and enjoy the cosy country ambience. Tuesday to Saturday 10h-17h (11h-16hWeds & 10h-16h Sat) 21 Rue du Maquis Foch, 16500 Confolens 06 14 12 54 61 / 05 45 31 23 31 FB: Mary Burke(Theirishbelle)
Therapy & Courses in Benest
An Introduction to Hypnotherapy, NLP and Resolution Magic! Can you retrain your brain to gradually stop the progress of an illness? Can you make an unwanted feeling disappear? Can you change the course of your life? Learn many fascinating techniques on this series of courses. Agendas and further details are on the website.
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Expat Citizen Rights in EU
Salon de Thé anglaise
A quiet spot to take a breath, relax with a cup of organic tea or coffee and a slice of gluten-free cake. Delicious cream teas also available with 24hr notice. Rue des Bouffanais, 16170 Auge-Saint-Medard (near Rouillac) Tel: 06 42 12 03 96
Fighting for the rights of UK citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK Join today to receive our newsletters and have your voice heard. Membership is free.
Opening Hours Thurs, Fri & Sat 10-12 & 2-5 Something Mooreish
Alcoholics Anonymous If you, or someone you know, has a drinking problem, join one of the English-speaking AA meetings across the south west of France. Alcoholics Anonymous is a Fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other so that they may solve their common problem and help others recover from alcoholism. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help others achieve sobriety. Tel: Angela on 05 49 87 79 09 or Roger on 05 55 76 22 65 www.aafrance.net
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As Living continues to grow, we need your help to keep the magazine free and widely available. We now deliver over 33,000 copies to more than 1,000 stockist across the region. If you enjoy the magazine and would like to help keep the magazine in stock in your area, we would love to hear from you. Perhaps you would be happy to deliver a few packets of the magazine every other month to local businesses and associations as you pass them? We are particularly looking for help in Dordogne (24), the Dronne Valley (16/24), west Charente-Maritime (17).
If you think you could help us, please drop an email to email@example.com to discuss what would be involved. It would be great to hear from you!
Helping Refugees To learn how you can help refugees here in France or in camps in Europe and further afield, join with thousands of other independent volunteers at France and Beyond. By working together, we CAN make a difference. Learn where to donate goods, what is needed locally, where you can take or send items to add to essential aid shipments or how you can donate directly to help refugees. Find out about sponsoring families here in France or how you can help children and teenagers begin to rebuild their lives.
Our aim is simple, to help you make a difference during this crisis. CalaisAndBeyondActionFromFrance
living music | 65
M SAXO SEXY UpBeat
Guitars don’t have all the limelight – France has a longstanding love affair with the saxophone.
r h Cd’hôtes
Number 15 Chambre d’hôtes Bed & Breakfast
15 Rue Principale 87440, Saint Mathieu Tel : 05 55 09 57 99 firstname.lastname@example.org
maker Jean Hilaire Asté) inspired him to design the saxophone. Sax continued to develop the instruments, but his patent expired in 1866, after which other players and manufacturers began to contribute their own modifications and refinements to the market, the most immediately obvious being a surprising variety of different construction materials. The original lacquered brass was joined by phosphor bronze, nickel (and sterling) silver, polycarbonates and even, to a lesser extent, wood. The motivation, leaving aside cost considerations, has always been the pursuit of that elusive sound quality which offers the player something special, and aficionados believe that even the lacquer or plating make their own contributions. That’s why you’ll occasionally see nickel-, silver- or even gold-plated instruments – the production cost of the latter being even higher than you’d imagine, since gold refuses to adhere directly onto brass but instead requires an intermediate layer of silver. All of which, coupled with the relative complexity of the instrument, means that the saxophone soon became something of a status symbol – and in France, très cool. Despite the contribution of Italy, Belgium and the USA the list of known makers worldwide who have produced pro-grade saxes is dominated by France, with almost fifty names, the most familiar being Henri Selmer of Paris. So why, exactly, did France take the ‘saxo’ to its bosom? Well, it’s probably largely down to the instrument’s ability
Café de la Gare Auberge du noyer
Bar & Restaurant Freshly cooked food, Menu du jour, Daily specials, A la carte, & live music Open daily except Sun eve, Tues &,Weds
La Brousse, 16700 Londigny tel; 05 45 29 05 07 www.aubergedunoyer.com www.facebook.com/aubergedunoyer
Bar ~ Snacks ~ Music ~ Pool
open till midnight Weekends 12-12, Lunch Tue-Fri Clothes swap Feb 5th - 4pm onwards March 24th live music See website for Arts & Crafts days
Sunday Lunch ~ Exhibitions Gourville (16170) Between Aigre & Rouillac
Tel: 0545 622516
FB: le bourg aka cafe de la gare
to deliver a soulful blue-note, particularly when combined with sudden pitch changes by ‘overblowing’ techniques. That made it perfect for soul, funk and of course jazz. Paris attracted great players like John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker and many more, inspiring today’s players who continue to explore new directions for Adolphe Sax’s remarkable creation. If you feel like immersing yourself in the 1950s Paris jazz scene then watch Bertrand Tavernier’s ‘Round Midnight’ (released in 1986), starring tenor-player Dexter Gordon with a supporting cast of jazz heavyweights including Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and John McLaughlin.
© wikipedia: OhWeh
he image of woodwind isn’t exactly sexy. At least that’s what Belgian instrumentmaker Adolphe Sax thought when he set about creating something which would pack real power and projection. The first prototype of what would soon become a whole family of new instruments appeared in 1840, using brass, not wood. Since they used a cane reeded mouthpiece and padded, clarinet-style keys they’re actually classed as woodwind instruments, although we tend to think of them as brass, an image reinforced by soul bands who use a magical combination of horns and saxes working together. Today the ‘sax’ – or ‘saxo’, as it’s known in France – comes in an assortment of variations, the most popular being the tenor and the alto. The soprano sax also has a devoted following, although in the higher register you’ll also find sopranino and sopranissimo saxes, while at the other end of the scale in baritone, bass, contrabass and even subcontrabass territory things are rather more unwieldy and so tend to be largely the domain of orchestral players. Having patented his instrument, Adolphe Sax moved from Brussels and set up in Paris in 1842. As a flautist and clarinettist, he had an intuitive understanding of players’ needs, and his experiences in refining the bass clarinet and the ophicleide (a large brass instrument with keys similar to a woodwind instrument, invented in 1817 by French instrument
66 | living Language
f you want to do a great job learning French but you feel like you’ve got your work cut out, you certainly could do worse than picking up a few expressions related to jobs. Of course, if you’re fairly fluent in French, it might feel like a busman’s holiday. With that in mind, let’s get down to business. It’s just what the doctor ordered! Many English expressions don’t translate particularly well into French. For example, how on earth do you translate ‘More tea, vicar?’ into French? I think that must be one of the most English expressions of all time. Others only have a very literal translation. Where we might say that something is just what the doctor ordered, meaning that it’s just what we needed, in French you would have to translate that more literally, saying c’est exactement ce que j’avais besoin or ça tombe bien, ca tombe à pic. That falls well, or that falls to a peak. Another English expression that doesn’t translate so easily into French might be ‘it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work that out’. In French, the expression is a little different. You aren’t a rocket scientist if you are a genius in France, but nul besoin d’être grand clerc or ‘no need to be a chief clerk’ in English. If you say il n’est pas grand clerc, it’s a sarcastic way to say somebody isn’t very smart. We might also say that we’re ‘sober as a judge’ or ‘drunk as a lord’. In French, that’s a little different. We can say ‘sober as a camel,’ or sobre comme un chameau, those well-known abstemious mammals. That doesn’t account for the fact that most people who say they’re sober as a judge are probably not! Other expressions are slightly similar. For instance, if you have a rather foul
L i ving
mouth, you might swear like a trooper or swear like a navvy. The expression in French is a little different, with jurer comme un charretier or swear like a carter. Then there are French expressions that are difficult to translate into English. For instance, only in forging do we become a blacksmith, or c’est en forgeant que l’on devient forgeron. You can see the meaning behind this easily enough, that you need to do something to become an expert at it, or ‘practice makes perfect’. When you have carried out something detailed and meticulous, in French you can say you’ve been doing the work of a goldsmith or c’est du travail d’orfèvre which means something is intricate and delicate, painstaking even. A similar expression that doesn’t translate very well in a metaphorical way is for someone who has the precision of a watchmaker. Carrying out something that is meticulous and precise in French would be avoir la précision d’horloger. If you’ve ever had a massively inflated bill with masses of itemised details and reductions, percentages and additions, you can call this les comptes d’apothicaire or apothecary accounts. If the bill is particularly exact and you find you’ve been charged for a knob of butter and a bread-
Learning French on the job with language expert Emma Lee stick on top of everything else, you can even say ‘the accounts of a penny-pinching apothecary’, les comptes mesquins d’apothicaire. As you’ll notice, many of these expressions include old-fashioned jobs, or jobs that we don’t hear of as much any more. The coalman being master of his own home is another expression in a similar vein. Charbonnier est maître chez soi or something along the lines of ‘An Englishman’s home is his castle’. You can also have the faith of a coalman, avoir la foi du charbonnier which means to have absolute, or blind faith in something. An expression that makes sense even if it doesn’t have an English equivalent is ‘the hour of the milkman’. If you’re up with the larks, you can also use an expression referring to a trade: l’heure du laitier or the hour of the milkman. If you’re up early enough to milk the cows, you’re up early indeed. Finally, you may think that there wouldn’t be many expressions with hangmen or executioners, but in French, if you are un bourreau des cœurs, it means you are a bit of a heartbreaker. Un bourreau can also be a cruel or vindictive person, so rather than it meaning ‘an executioner of hearts’ it means more that the person gets a kick out of hurting others in love. You may also hear un bourreau de travail which means a workaholic or someone who works without stopping. Let’s hope that these expressions are just the job for you and that you make short work of learning them. Emma is a jack-of-all-language-trades, writing English textbooks, translating, marking exam scripts and teaching languages. She lives near La Rochefoucauld with her growing menagerie. See www.english-tuition.weebly.com
Editor: Kathryn Dobson FEATURES EDITOR: Roger Moss Advertising: Jon Dobson Art editor: Nadia Van den Rym Production manager: Justin Silvester Regular contributors: Ron Cousins, Alan Coxon, Caro Feely, Susan Hays, magazine Emma-Jane Lee, Nikki Legon, Jessica Knipe and Stig Tomas. WITH THANKS TO: John and Gill Bowler, Julia Moss. Photography: Shutterstock or Roger Moss unless indicated. Cover image: Château de Cherveux © Roger Moss Published by: SARL AMM, 2 Rue Buffefeu, 86400 Linazay FRANCE. Poitiers: 533 624 128. Printed by: Rotimpres S.A. Dépôt légal: A parution. ISSN: 0753-3454. Living Magazine is free. Living Magazine est disponible gratuitement. All material may not be reproduced without the written permission of SARL AMM. Toute reproduction même partielle du contenu est interdit sans l’accord écrit du magazine. Please ensure you verify that the company you are dealing with is registered in France and/or elsewhere around the world. Articles in this issue do not necessarily reflect the views of the magazine.
LOCAL KNOWLEDGE YOU CAN TRUST
Buying or selling?
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Thinking of a new career in 2017 ? We are looking for sales agents in the area to join our winning team.
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