Living Magazine - June July 2021

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L i ving magazine

June July


Summer plus A taste of summer

Saint-Émilion uncorked 2CV: Less is more

~ Passionate about life in south west France ~

living editor’s letter | 3


to our June/July issue

ummer is here! The longer, sunnier days certainly make a big difference. With the welcome acceleration of the vaccination roll-out and the proposed reopening timetable, we can begin imagining that life might just be returning to some level of ‘normality’. We can start to plan days out, pack our picnics and perhaps even enjoy a meal on a terrace with friends. And LIVING is here to help inspire you! Join us on a trip to Saint-Émilion, the UNESCO World Heritage Site on our doorstep. Delve into the town’s history as we guide you through its cobbled streets and, of course, you will want to taste the wines from this renowned terroir with the help of our local expert. A little further north, families will love what is on offer in the idyllic countryside of the Ouest Limousin over the summer months, where you are certain of plenty of space and a warm welcome. You’re going to want to hop into a 2CV and head onto the open road once you’ve read our feature on ‘the tin snail’ revealing its heritage and why the car has become a world-famous symbol of France. Personally, I hope that all British readers know by now that residency permits must be applied for by 30 June. We’ve certainly played our part since the referendum in protecting your rights and telling you about the progress, so it’s a relief to reach the end of this chapter. To round things off, we take a look at how French citizens abroad are regarded (and supported) by the French State - could this be a model for the UK in future? Meanwhile, we thank everyone who supports this magazine – all the advertisers and subscribers who have stuck with us through recent challenging times. Brexit followed by a pandemic was never in anyone’s business plans! But we are coming out stronger, so you can rest assured that LIVING will continue to bring you all that is great about the region for years to come. If you would like to ensure that you never miss a copy, simply subscribe over the page. A bientôt! editor


British nationals: if you need help applying for your residency by the end of June deadline, there is free support available, but time is of the essence!

Read online at

4 | living contents


50 29



Practical Advice Your questions answered


Nikki Legon’s Cuisine Scrumptious recipes for summer dining



High Summer Sunny days with Susan Hays and family



Our unique crossword by Mike Morris



Local news from around the region

A profile of Saint-Martin-de-Ré in Charente-Maritime



Medieval Saint-Émilion

Living Property Pages


Roger Moss visits the UNESCO World Heritage Site

Keep it Colourful



Caro Feely guides you through the local wines

Your guide to summer events of the musical variety



An icon of France, we take a spin in the world of ‘the tin snail’

Emma-Jane Lee takes a trip in time

Saint-Émilion Wines



Flying the flag An insight into how France supports their citizens abroad


Puzzle Break


Year-round colour for all gardens

Curtain Up (at last)


Business Directory


The best local services and suppliers waiting for your call!

any Enquiries? editorial & subscription: or phone + 33 (0)5 49 87 29 71

advertising: or phone Jon on +33 (0)5 49 87 29 71

L i v in g magazine

June July


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News round up

New Rail Links

Charente-based company ‘Le Train’, headed by a former Director of SNCF major projects, has applied to become the first private highspeed train operator in France, following the opening up of the domestic passenger services market. If they are successful in getting the necessary permissions the company intends to procure about ten high-speed trains, each with 350 seats, to operate on the main axis linking Arcachon – Bordeaux – Angoulême – Poitiers – La Rochelle, with some weekend services extended to Nantes and Rennes. They hope to be in service from December 2022, running six trains a day, with more at weekends, although this depends on the evolution of the pandemic. Currently journeys from Bordeaux to Rennes take up to 5 hours 20 minutes via Paris, and it’s hoped that the new services will reduce this to 3 hours 27 minutes. Meanwhile, a project to link Toulouse to Paris directly (avoiding Bordeaux) has been accelerated to become operational for the Olympics in 2024. Costing €4.1 billion, journey times will reduce from 4 hours 30 mins to just 3 hours.

Double Proof

Online shoppers will notice a difference when it comes to paying for purchases. From 15 May it’s no longer possible to pay with your bank card and a code sent by text message – instead all online purchases require ‘hard’ verification. Now shoppers will need to provide proof of ID through a password, a mobile device or USB key – or through digital or facial recognition. The move has been introduced gradually since the beginning of the year, with goods over €2,000 requiring hard verification from 1 Jan, €250 from 15 March and €100 from 15 April.

New Ambassador

It’s all-change at the British Embassy in Paris this summer, as Ambassador Lord Llewellyn leaves to take up a new diplomatic posting elsewhere. His successor Menna Rawlings will be the first ever woman in the post, after 45 men. Also moving on is Deputy Head of Mission Matthew Lodge, who becomes Ambassador to Greece. Both Llewellyn and Lodge have visited the region on several occasions to meet with British nationals, and we hope these visits will continue when the new team take up their posts. Menna Rawlings has had a long diplomatic career, recently completing four years as British High Commissioner to Australia. She will be supported by Theo Rycroft who was previously Director for EU Exit in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. We look forward to welcoming them both to south west France.

dates to remember

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

Early Warning

Concerns are already being raised after a dry start to the year has left subterranean water levels very low. While some areas in the region are already identified as ‘Alert’ on the Government’s Propluvia map, one area in Charente is already marked as ‘Crisis’. Of the last 50 years only three have been drier than 2021, and farmers are already feeling the impact of 55% less rainfall than usual. While grass growth was strong in February, it soon slowed down, and with it the production of hay and straw in areas like the Limousin.

Holiday vouchers

After a year of confinements, many young people are struggling to afford a holiday, so the 2021 ANCV scheme will be welcome. Launched in 2014, the programme ‘Depart 18:25’ provides vouchers to help those on low income, grants, apprenticeships or volunteering on the civic service scheme to get away. Vouchers have a value of up to 200€ and can be used on a variety of holidays, both in France and further afield, should regulations allow. To check if you are eligible and to see how to apply, visit:

Subscribe today > see page 5 for info

Île de Ré


News from around the region...

Surgeres Île de Oléron




Saintes Cognac Royan





les charentes Beatles Live! ANGOULEME



For the first time, Rod Davis, a member of The Quarrymen, is playing in France at the inaugural Beatles Live festival to be held in the park of Château de Mornay (17) on Saturday 3 July. Building on the success of the long-running ‘Beatles Day’ in Belgium, this festival will bring together fans, musicians, exhibitors and speakers with one common theme: the band. Rod Davis will perform the ‘John Lennon & The Quarryman Story’ on stage in the evening, followed by tribute band Patchwork playing all the Beatles’ greatest hits. Tickets cost 25€ (under 16s free) and reservation is strongly recommended due to limited capacity. The park opens at 3pm, so there’s plenty of time to enjoy the exhibitions and screenings before settling down for the evening’s entertainment. There will be food trucks on site. See for full details and to reserve places.

Don’t Miss! Cassinomagus The site of Gallo-Roman thermal baths near Chassenon (16) is ideal for socially distanced days out this summer. SPECIAL events: 5 & 6 June: Rendez-vous au jardin 19 & 20 June: National Days of Archaeology 24 & 25 July: The Gallic Wars - activities and exhibitions with historical re-enactments Check before leaving home.

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Join in

Théâtre Tricolore, a popular group of enthusiastic amateur performers based in the Jonzac-Pons area, is looking for new members of all ages and nationalities. All talents are welcome – singers, actors, dancers, musicians – and no audition is necessary. If the stage isn’t for you, they also need help backstage as well as with publicity. Vice-President Tania Golds says: “It’s lots of fun! We’re looking forward to restrictions relaxing so we can start a new production, but meanwhile hope to meet outdoors during the summer for socially distanced get-togethers.” If you would like to join the group, email Tania at

Trouve Mon Galet

‘Find my pebble’ is a game which has spread through France since 2018 and now counts some 60,000 followers on social media. There is a group specifically for Charente-Maritime, where hints are shared about the locations of hidden painted stones around the region. Simply find a stone, take a photo of your treasure and re-hide it for the next hunter. From childish drawings to real works of art, the stones are multiplying as more people take part, and painted pebbles regularly get taken from one site to another. To take part see: TrouveMonGalet17.

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News from around the region...

Energy Savings As part of the France Relance project, the Communauté de Communes des 4B in the south of Charente has received a grant of half a million euros to carry out six energy saving projects. After an audit of commune buildings, three schools, a leisure centre, an employment centre and a gymnasium are all receiving facelifts which will reduce their energy consumption. The overall bill comes to 1.2 million euros, with the remainder being raised by the communes. This award brings the total grants so far awarded to the département to 5 million euros, an important injection of cash into the local economy.

Samuel Champlain

From the pages of our February edition, LIVING readers will be familiar with Samuel Champlain, who crossed the Atlantic from Brouage to found Quebec and become the first governor of Nouvelle-France. Rochelais author Joël Selo was so fascinated by the story of Champlain that he has spent years researching and interpreting historical documents , upon which he has based his new novel ‘L’Etonnant Destin de Samuel Champlain’. A retired hairdresser and history buff, Selo is familiar with the many controversies surrounding Champlain, and the differing accounts of his life which exist on both sides of the Atlantic. He doesn’t claim to know all the answers, but hopes his novel throws some fresh light onto how a boy of modest means became one of France’s foremost explorers. The novel (in French) is available from local bookstores and online.

Île de Ré

LA ROCHELLE Surgeres Île de Oléron


CHARENTE-MARITIME (17) Marennes Saintes Cognac Royan


Rouillac Jarnac



ANGOULEME Barbezieux Aubeterresur-Dronne

News from around the region...

les charentes Photo Exhibition

Oscar winner

Alongside French producer Florian Zeller, who received an Oscar for his film ‘The Father’ (for which Anthony Hopkins took the Best Actor award) was a former student of LISA, Angoulême’s sound and image lycée. Mexican Michelle Couttolenc had already won a BAFTA for her work and received her latest award as part of the team which won Best Sound for the film ‘Sound of Metal’.

Bringing together artists who produce narrative works around a central theme is the focus of the Emoi photography festival held in Charente each year. ‘Diversion’ has been chosen for this summer’s exhibitions, which aim to ‘revive energies, blurring the lines to arouse curiosity and create conversations’. Guest of honour is Parisian photographer and installation artist Georges Rousse, who uses perspective creatively in his constructions, which are then immortalised in a photograph. Some 21 photographers, including Daniel Nassoy and video maker Gérard Chauvin, have been selected to exhibit across 12 sites in and around Angoulême. For full details of the exhibition sites and timetable, see: The festival is planned to run from 10 July – 15 August.

Bio Market

The farmers’ markets at the Ferme de Chassagne near Villefagnan have restarted for the 2021 summer season, their 10th year. Held fortnightly, they bring together a selection of local bio producers of everything from pulses to honey and meats. The Friday night markets open at 6pm and are convivial affairs, with barbecues and live music – just bring along your eating utensils, buy and cook your food, and picnic at the farm. You won’t want to miss the fresh bread from the on-site bakery; check the website beforehand for any foods which are best pre-ordered. The planned dates for this year are 4 June, 2 & 16 July, 6 & 20 Aug and 3 Sept. Watch for any last-minute changes on Facebook (@fermedechassagne) or the website:

Restaurant Le Bonnieure “Hidden Gem” “Great little venue” Tel: 05 45 39 67 66 Open Wednesday - Sunday 12h-13h30 & 19h-21h 106 Avenue de la République 16260 Chasseneuil-sur-Bonnieure

Lunchtime menu for €13.50 (except weekends) Limousin beef & homemade chips Salads Childrens’ menu Vegetarian options Reservation recommended English spoken

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Restaurant le Scorlion

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House boats for Hire

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News from around the region...

^ ^ Châteaux en Fête

The events of Périgord chateaux in Dordogne and Lot-et-Garonne until mid-June are being promoted under the banner of Châteaux en Fête. Visit their website to see the plans for many of the area’s most popular chateaux in one place. A searchable map makes those close to you easy to find. As LIVING went to press the details of many events were still being added but they include free tours, shows, demonstrations and more. www.chateaux

Tourism Boost


The deconfinement plans have been welcomed across the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, much of whose economy relies on visitor revenue. After Sarlat-la-Canéda a record-breaking second half of the 2020 season following the lifting of lockdowns, accommodation owners are once again seeing their reservation calendars filling fast. Unlike normal years, it has been residents of local cities like Bordeaux and Toulouse who are looking to escape their urban lifestyles through the pandemic, which have made up for missing foreign tourists. Last year saw an increase of 17% in overnight stays in Dordogne between July and October, and a similar boost is expected this year. However, tourism attractions did not see the same kind of growth, as visitors preferred to stay near their accommodation, and avoided crowded areas. With all the COVID-19 protections in place, the hope is that this year local attractions and restaurants will also enjoy a much-needed boom in visitor numbers.

News from around the region...

In uniform in 1948

Osez Joséphine A petition is under way to have the remains of entertainer and Résistance agent Joséphine Baker interred in the Panthéon in Paris. Born in America in 1906, Baker became a French national in her thirties, after having taken the country by storm. She was a renowned dancer (one of the most celebrated at the Folies Bergère in Paris, in fact) and became an icon of both the Jazz Age and the Roaring Twenties. During WWII, Baker aided the French Résistance, housing agents at her Dordogne home, the Château des Milandes near Sarlat. As a famous entertainer she was able to travel around Europe, making notes in invisible ink on her music about airfields, harbours and German troop concentrations, which were then relayed to London. She carried on her


Château de s Milandes

Résistance activities in the French colonies of North Africa, pinning notes into her underwear and counting on her celebrity to avoid strip searches. After the war Baker received the Croix de Guerre, the Rosette de la Résistance and was made a Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur. Baker adopted twelve children from around the world, raising her ‘rainbow tribe’ at Milandes, although she lost the

Visit the new Marché de la Dronne at SaintFront-la-Rivière - every Saturday morning from 9am-1pm.

The Marché de Céramique at BussièreBadil, which was postponed from May, will now run from 25-27 June. Mimos, the Périgueux mime festival, is scheduled to take place from 7-10 July. See:

At the Folie s Bergère in 1927

chateau in 1968 due to unpaid debts. The petition, named Osez Joséphine, will be considered by President Macron on 3 June. The hope is that he will decide that Joséphine Baker should receive France’s highest honour reserved for national heroes, joining Marie Curie and Simone Veil.

French elections

For those who are eligible (which does not include British citizens unless they have an additional EU citizenship), the country heads to the polls on 20 and 27 June for both regional and departmental elections. The Presidential election follows next year. Nouvelle-Aquitaine President, socialist Alain Rousset, is facing competition from Edwige Diaz (RN, formerly the Front National), Geneviève Darrieussecq (LREM), republican Nicolas Florian, ecologist Nicolas Thierry, and anti-capitalist Clémence Guetté.





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St Jean de Mon


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St Gilles Croi

LA ROCHE SUR-YON Les Sables d’Olonne




La Tranche sur Mer



NIORT aise

Sévre Niort


News from around the region...

Deux-sèvres & Vendée

Iron an

After the success of the inaugural race in 2019, Ironman 70.3 returns to Sable des Olonnes (85) on 4 July. Offering 50 qualifying slots for the World Championship 2021 in St George, Utah, plus an additional 25 qualifying slots exclusively for female athletes from the Women For Tri Initiative, places were snapped up and the competition is expected to be fierce. The 70.3 races are half the distance of the standard races: a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run. The swim starts at the Promenade Clémenceau, with athletes competing along the canal before continuing around the sea wall back to land. From the beach the cycle stage turns inland through the forest before heading back to the promenade where the athletes run to the Lac de Tanchet, including a gruelling section along the beach, before returning to the finishing line in the town centre. Spectators are welcome to cheer on the competitors. See:



Les Chemins de la Rose, a unique jardin à l’anglaise in Doué la Fontaine (49), possesses over 13,000 rose bushes set among paths and ponds. The 4-hectare site is open from May to November, along with the specialist rose nursery next door. Every year, in association with a specialist grower, they create, produce and market new roses, such as the recent “Camp du Drap d’Or”, in homage to the diplomatic meeting between King François I and Henry VIII of England in 1520. The traditional Rose Festival takes place over the weekend of 5-6 June, a time when many of the roses are at their finest, and will bring together rose lovers and collectors. Check their website for full details:

Wildlife photography The Centre d’Etudes Biologiques de Chizé (CEBC) at Villiers-en-Bois (79) are holding a photography competition with two categories (‘Biodiversité locale’ and ‘Insolite’) open to the public for the first time. The winning entries will be exhibited at the international wildlife documentary festival held annually at Ménigoute, and the photographers will be invited to spend a day with a researcher from CEBC. Entries must be received before 31 August, see:

© Virgil Decourteille

The 5th Vendée Gliss paddle boarding championship originally planned for May will now take place at Saint-Jeande-Monts (85) on 2-4 July.

Rose Festival

News from around the region...

Photo Ballade

British photographer Lee Jeffries is the guest of honour at this year’s Festival Photographique de Moncoutantsur-Sèvre (79). Jeffries is famous for his graphic black and white portraits of homeless people in both Europe and America, whom he sees as testimonies to the difficult living conditions of those who are isolated, forgotten and damaged by a life of suffering. Held from 26 June to 26 September, the festival mixes indoor and outdoor exhibitions winding through the village streets with workshops and conferences. Find the programme of events at: www. festivalphoto

Puy du Fou abroad Vendée-based theme park le Puy du Fou has opened a 30-hectare attraction south of Madrid, just two years after testing the market with a night-time show. Expected to welcome 600,000 visitors this year despite the pandemic, the park represents an investment of 183 million euros and is the first of three parks abroad planned by Puy du Fou president Nicolas Villiers. Four daytime shows, each lasting 30 minutes, will chart Spanish history from the 10th-15th centuries and will be supported by four authentic 13th century villages with artisans at work.

Mad Hatter’s Kitchen Le Logis, Le Breuillac, 79190 Caunay Tel: 0549 27 67 29

Serving freshly cooked food just for you! Bar open Thursday, Friday and Saturdays from 6pm, choose meals from our ever changing menu boards from 7 - 9pm Sunday lunch every Sunday from 12.30 onwards reservations advisable - bar open for drinks only. Regular music events being added so please check website for new details.

Saturday, 19 June from 6.30pm live music with THE MONDAY NIGHT PROJECT please reserve a table for food. 13 & 14 August, save the dates for our two-day WONDERLAND HOP!





Chauvigny Montmorillon

Le Dorat

Charroux Civray

Bellac Nieul



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





Youth Aid

According to recent figures, one fifth of people in France aged 15-25 are unemployed, a situation which has worsened during the pandemic. Many are not able to apply for benefits, having not previously been employed, but this is set to change at the end of the summer when a new monthly support worth €500 is set to be introduced. If a young person is not in training or working and has no income, the aid will still be allocated as long as they agree to take part in an intensive job hunt. The details are still being finalised but it is expected that the scheme will help thousands of people who are currently unemployed.

Eco Airport

The Aéroport de Poitiers has signed up to a 3-year programme designed to assess, improve and promote biodiversity across its site. Joining 35 other airports (including Orly and Charles de Gaulle) they have made a commitment to the Aéro Biodiversité association. While this might be seen as simply a sensible move in light of the airport’s budget discussions with Maire de Poitiers Léonore Moncond’huy (Green), they have already taken several steps in the right direction, starting back in 2018 with a voluntary commitment to reduce carbon emissions and the replanting of 55ha of meadows. Aéro Biodiversité has already identified more than a hundred plant species on the site which is also home to ground nesting birds whose habitat elsewhere is under threat. The future of the airport has recently been the subject of discussions, but Senator Bruno Belin took the opportunity to confirm that while the links to the UK might cost 600,000 euros, the benefit to the region was nearer 12 million euros. In addition, the airport allowed the region to act quickly in the first COVID-19 wave, when high-risk patients were medevaced to the CHU de Poitiers.

Fly Tipping

Visitors to Limoges during May might have seen instances of local fly tipping (dépôt sauvage) turned into crime scenes, in a campaign to increase awareness of the increasing cost of the practice. “Every week almost ten tonnes of rubbish are collected in the streets of Limoges and its suburbs,” explained Sarah Gentil, Vice-President of Limoges council, adding: “This is unacceptable.” The cost to the city is already 500,000 euros each year, and the situation became worse during confinement. Anyone caught fly tipping can be fined up to €1,500.

News from around the region...

Change of Use

Link Road

The proposed autoroute between Poitiers and Limoges, with a target completion date of 2035, is gradually moving forward, as the team behind it prepare for the proposition to go before a ‘Commission Nationale du Débat Public’ in June, a vital step. The route is not yet defined for the project, which will cost one billion euros, 60% of which will be financed by the future autoroute concessionaire, while the State and local communities will fund the remainder. There are expected to be 8 interchanges between Poitiers and Limoges, with a remote toll system. Tolls are expected to be around €12 for light vehicles, with a reduction for local residents, so they don’t end up paying twice.

Uranium mining in Haute-Vienne has a chequered history. While the last mine shut in 2001, court proceedings continued for several years against mining company Cogéma concerning “pollution, abandonment and waste deposits”, although they were finally cleared in 2006 with a court decision that the raised uranium levels in local waterways came from natural sources. One of the quarries situated near Mailhac-sur-Benaize, a quiet village of 268 inhabitants in the north of the department, was closed in the mid-1980s and the site was restored by the company. Waste rock was capped and the settling ponds backfilled, before the whole site was enclosed by fences. Since then only the pompiers and a local diving club have been allowed access to the water-filled quarry. In 2020, however, restrictions on the site were lifted, allowing the Maire to plan a solar farm covering 6 hectares. By renting the land to EDF for solar panels the village will receive an income – an idea which is now being looked at for other sites.


The annual ‘Sport & Collection’ motoring event in aid of cancer research at Poitiers CHU will be held at the Circuit Val de Vienne (86) on 11-13 June. Entry €12-35 depending on choice of access areas. Under 12s free.

Les Nuits Musicales de Cieux (87) dedicated to the guitar and its diverse musical genres are planned to take place from 22-25 July. Check their site for up to date information: www.



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12 | living promotion 18

Escape to Ouest Limousin, an idyllic countryside retreat

isitors and residents alike love the activities available in Ouest Limousin, and they’re more than welcome. “We love having English speakers in the area; they’re friendly and enthusiastic tourists, and those who settle permanently support local businesses all year round…” says Christophe Gérouard, the president of the Communauté de Communes Ouest Limousin. “I hope that we continue attracting them, as they truly enrich life here – they are always welcome.” The Communauté de Communes

Ouest Limousin is an administrative body bringing together the communes of Champagnac-la-Rivière, Champsac, La Chapelle-Montbrandeix, Cognac-laForêt, Cussac, Gorre, Maisonnais-surTardoire, Marval, Oradour-sur-Vayres, Pensol, Saint-Auvent, Saint-Bazile, Saint-Cyr, Saint-Laurent-sur-Gorre, Saint-Mathieu and Sainte-Marie-deVaux. The ‘Com-Com Ouest Limousin’ lies in the heart of the LimousinPérigord Natural Park, within reach of Limoges, Périgueux, and Angoulême. The beautiful natural environment is scattered with lakes and offers a wide range of accessible activities, making it a relaxing destination for all the family. The countryside is crisscrossed with footpaths winding through forests, across fields and around lakes, so

is ideal for dog walking. The Voie Verte des Hauts de Tardoire green lane follows the old rail tracks from Oradour-sur-Vayres to Châlus (where Richard the Lionheart died). It’s flat, shady and off the road, making it a perfect excursion for all the family. At either end you can rent bikes and e-bikes. For road cyclists there are 10 circuits – Boucles Cyclotouristiques – of varying difficulty, leading you down quiet lanes and through charming villages. If you prefer to explore by car, visit a myriad of stunning châteaux along the Richard the Lionheart route, or challenge yourself to our family-friendly treasure hunt – get an instruction booklet online or at one

living promotion | 29 of our Tourist Offices. Relax in the sun or get sporty at the lakes of Saint-Mathieu or Cognac-laFôret. Saint-Mathieu’s lake is nestled between cow pastures and woodland, and the track around it is enjoyed by dog walkers and fishing enthusiasts. Check out the timber fitness challenges along the way. Parking is free next to the campsite, so you can spend all day relaxing on the golden beach, whose

Thursday Buy local produce direct from the farmers and enjoy your meal outside. From 6pm, free parking, dogs allowed. > 1 July in Oradour-sur-Vayres with live music from 7.30pm > 8 July in Champagnac-la-Rivière > 15 July in Maisonnais-sur-Tardoire with live music from 7.30pm > 22 July in Saint-Auvent > 5 Aug in Gorre > 12 Aug in Sainte-Marie-de-Vaux > 19 Aug in Saint-Cyr > 26 Aug in Cognac-la-Fôret

marked swimming area is supervised by lifeguards. The warm shallows are ideal for toddlers, there’s a floating diving board moored further out or you can rent a pedalo. There’s also a snack bar, restaurant, shaded picnic tables, volleyball court, children’s play area, public conveniences, miniature golf, and campervan facilities. Cognacla-Forêt lake’s sandy beach is a lovely spot for children, and has a play park, snack bar, a campsite and paths for walks or mountain bikers. The small beach is supervised by lifeguards during July and August. This summer both lakes will host free children’s activities, including pony rides and

bouncy castles, as well as paddleboarding, archery, mountain biking and pétanque tournaments. Explore the Boubon forest in Cussac en famille; it has a wheelchairaccessible path leading to a viewpoint with picnic tables, plus a host of other circuits including geocaching with Terra Aventura. Discover the ‘Trou du Maquis’, where members of the Résistance hid during World War II. Commune with nature during a walk around Masselièvre lake in La Chapelle-Montbrandeix and enjoy a picnic by the water, or inside a handcrafted cabane du feuillardier – a traditional woodworker’s cabin made from chestnut branches. The perfect way to end your day is by meeting local producers and sampling specialities. Our evening farmers’ markets provide a charming taste of rural French authenticity. Local producers gather in a different village each week, offering an array of dining options; meet the farmer, choose your produce and have it barbecued for you, to enjoy with a glass of wine at trestle tables. You’ll also find cheeses, patés and foie gras, fresh vegetables, salads, quiches, crêpes, and fromage blanc, as well as chips and a beer tent. Don’t miss the musical markets on 1 July in Oradour-sur-Vayres and 15 July in Maisonnais-sur-Tardoire – a delicious end to a perfect day!

at the lakeside Thursdays 2-6pm, at the lake in Saint-Mathieu or Cognacla-Fôret, from age 3. > 15 July, Cognac-la-Fôret: Bouncy Castles > 22 July, Saint-Mathieu: Bouncy Castles > 29 July, Saint-Mathieu: Vintage Wooden Toys & Games > 5 Aug, Saint-Mathieu: Juggling & Magic Workshop > 12Aug, Saint-Mathieu: Pony Rides > 19 Aug, Cognac-la-Fôret: Pony Rides

2€ per workshop: > 6 July, Cognac-la-Forêt lake: 10am-12 noon Paddle Boarding; 2-5pm Archery; 6-8pm Trail Running. > 13 July, Saint-Mathieu lake: 10am-12 noon Mountain Biking; 2-5pm Archery; 6-8pm Pétanque Tournament. > 20 July, Cognac-la-Forêt lake: 10am-12 noon Mountain Biking; 2-5pm Archery; 6-8pm Pétanque Tournament. > 27 July, Saint-Mathieu lake: 10am-12 noon Paddle Boarding; 2-5pm Archery; 6-8pm Trail Running. Please double check that our events are still running to avoid disapointment.

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20 | living places to visit The definitive overview from the base of the clocher



We take a look at a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the heart of an illustrious wine area WORDS: Roger Moss


living places to visit | 21

photos: © David Remazeilles (Gironde Tourisme)

The 32m high Tour du Roi


pproach Saint-Émilion from Bordeaux or Libourne and you’ll see the medieval town perched imperiously on a limestone plateau, but should you arrive from the opposite direction then it’s the world-famous vineyards which will make the biggest first impression. Covering around 5,400 hectares of what in growth terms is the right bank of the Gironde, they actually overlook the valley of its celebrated tributary the Dordogne, their boundaries having been first

defined centuries ago by the then ruling Duke of Gascony, one Edward I of England. Press on into the heart of the town and well before you get there it will be obvious that the town’s modern prosperity is still firmly rooted in wine production. In fact, any wine lover could devote many happy hours here to immersing themselves in just about every conceivable aspect of wine discovery and enjoyment, not least as an accompaniment to fine dining. If that sounds a little two-dimensional, rest assured that Saint-Émilion has far

more going for it than its reputation as a wine producer. For one thing the site itself is remarkable, the town’s attractive pantiled skyline having evolved on a horseshoe-shaped limestone plateau before spreading to the natural amphitheatre below. As for the name, the Saint in question was a Benedictine monk from Brittany who retreated here in 750, and lived until 767 in a cave which he’d excavated from the rock. After his death the site became an important halt for the increasing numbers of pilgrims bound for

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22 | living places to visit There were worse Rue places de lato be confined Tertre thisdu year Tente than the world’s deep blue seas

photos: © David Remazeilles (Gironde Tourisme)

The cobbles were not made from local stone, " but were transported all the way from England Saint-Jacques de Compostelle. Eventually monks from the local monastery decided to create a new church and reliquary large enough to accommodate them. Following the Saint’s own example, it would be hewn entirely from the solid limestone of the plateau, a feat which began at the dawn of the 12th century and would take a further three centuries to complete. Against formidable odds the result of their labours has survived and is still consecrated, and while from outside the Église Monolithe might not stop you in your tracks, the dimensions of the three-aisled interior are astonishing – 20m x 38m and 12m high, making this by some margin Europe’s largest underground church. Poised immediately above it is a massive belltower (’clocher’)

which over the course of time was heightened and topped off with a slender stone spire. A prominent landmark, 196 steps will take you to the parapet of the Gironde’s second tallest ‘flèche’ (after the Cathédrale Saint-Michel de Bordeaux) to appreciate panoramic views of the town and the surrounding vine-draped landscape. Competing for domination of the skyline is the nearby Tour du Roi, a 32m high fortified donjon dating from the 13th century. The massive square tower is defended on three sides by a deep moat while the remaining side facing the town falls away via two steep terraces. Its construction began in 1237 by order of Henri Plantagenêt, King of England and Duc d’Aquitaine, as part

Visit Blandine and Anne-Laure at their family’s domaine. Every day at 10am, 3pm and 5pm. Have a real immersion in the World of Cognac and Pineau des Charentes. Reserve your tour : tel : + 33 6 62 38 37 06 / + 33 6 80 41 87 34 Chez Grimaud - 16480 Chillac @VignobleConteFilles


living places to visit | 23

the old town. Ahead, in Rue La Porte Brunet lies the former Couvent des Cordeliers, constructed by Franciscans during the late 14th century after an earlier structure outside the town walls had been destroyed during the Hundred Years War. In addition to living accommodation the new complex included a church and cloister, a garden plus a chai and cave. During the French Revolution, however, the occupants were expelled and the site sold as a bien national. Eventually the abandoned Romanesque cloisters were rediscovered and served as an atmospheric location for shooting scenes for La Mariée Est Trop Belle (1956), starring Brigitte Bardot. Finally in 2005 the site received its long-overdue Monument Historique listing, and has since undergone patient restoration. The elegant cloisters now look pristine, while the convent garden which once grew vegetables and

The cloisters of the Couvent des Cordeliers

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photo below: © les cordeliers

of a general strengthening of Louis VIII’s outdated existing town defences. Today the tower summit is not merely a fine viewpoint, but also hosts the closing ceremonies of colourful twiceyearly town parades by ‘la Jurade’, a modern-day revival of an ancient confrérie dedicated to maintaining both the quality of Saint-Émilion’s wines and their global reputation. The tower wasn’t the only 13th century structure protected by moats, which also added to the defensive capabilities of the mighty stone ramparts that once enclosed the upper town. Despite the passage of time substantial sections of the walls remain in place today, along with one of the original six fortified gateways which secured entry to the town. La Porte Brunet has today lost its original drawbridge but has otherwise survived largely intact, to offer an impressive curtain raiser to further discoveries in

24 | living places to visit

photos: bottom: © David Remazeilles (Gironde Tourisme); top left: © les cordeliers; top right: saint-Émilion tourisme

Take a tour in an electric tuk-tuk

medicinal plants is now a sheltered café style terrace, whose menu items include Saint-Émilion macarons and Crémant de Bordeaux. Less immediately obvious are vast reserves of the sparkling wine and others sleeping soundly all year round at a constant 13°C among the network of galleries which lie some 20m below the site. Today’s visitors can discover them during guided tours revealing the Champagne-style processes by which local wines are transformed into awardwinning sparkling Crémant de Bordeaux.

Since the galleries actually extend to around 3km you’ll get to see more of the secret underground world as well as the winemaking by opting to take a tour by a novel electrically powered tuk-tuk. Back at ground level, the fine viewpoint opposite the convent reveals clearly how the town developed on two distinct levels. Connecting them are ancient narrow, steeply-sloping streets known as ‘tertres’. Among them there are many sights to be seen, but it also pays to glance downwards from time

A base for touring, by car or bike Having something like the Dordogne so close at hand is a definite plus point for anyone thinking of including a spot of touring in a visit to the town, for it offers a total change of scenery after so many tempting vineyards just waiting to be visited at every turn. If you prefer to explore things on a bike then you’ll have the option of following ‘Entre Vignes Et Dordogne’ – a 30km circular cycle route which starts and finishes at the tourist office and takes in a succession of points of interest. They include beauty spots, historic sites, villages and vineyards, with flat sections of the riverbank at the halfway point where you can take a break and find a picnic spot. Pick up a leaflet with route guidance or download a PDF copy from On the other hand, if the idea of some nice, flat riverside cycling sounds like an ideal way to taste some post-confinement freedom then you could just follow the Dordogne – all the way to Bergerac, if you’re up for it.

to time, and not only to be aware of the unevenness underfoot. While doing so you can contemplate the unlikely fact that the cobbles themselves were not made from local stone but were transported all the way from England. Like most things associated with SaintÉmilion, this bizarre example is linked to the wine trade, for the stone served as ballast to stabilise sparsely laden vessels which sailed from England to take on cargoes of wines and spirits from Bordeaux. The ballast being no longer needed for the return journeys, it was simply discharged upon arrival onto the quaysides and then transported to wherever it might be useful on French soil. Historically, of course, just about any bulky or heavy commodities would have been shipped in or out of Saint-Émilion by barge, for just a few kilometres west of the town lie the banks of the Dordogne, making some final sweeping meanders around Libourne en-route for the Gironde just above Bordeaux. For wine producers the river proved to be a priceless asset. There’s lots more of historic interest to see in and around the town, and when things cool off at the end of the day you can stroll along a section of the ramparts to find the perfect spot from which to take in the setting sun slowly turning terracotta rooftops to gold against a backdrop of hazy, vine-clad hills. When the show is over it only remains to peruse a few menus, find a table at your chosen restaurant and enjoy some of the fine dining for which the town is renowned – paired to perfection, of course, with one of SaintÉmilion’s own world-famous wines.

Le Château de Duras

The Château de Duras is located in the Lot-et-Garonne at the heart of South-West France. It is an extraordinary monument combining several eras: from the Middle Ages, through the 17th century to the Revolution and into contemporary times. The DurfortDuras family, elevated to the rank of Duke in the 17th century, transformed the medieval fortress into a splendid country residence. During your visit you will be able to discover the Château’s history and architecture through the 30 restored rooms in this classified Historic Monument. Explore the Hall of Ghosts, see the animated models and discover the external walkways which are unique in France to complete the tour. Visit it on your own or with an audioguide (in Fr or En).


4D show: Immerse yourself in the history of the Château and its legends with this 40-minute sound and light show. July and August: Tue, Thu and Sun at 10.30pm on both sides of the Château. Falconry Show: Discover the surprising world of falconry with birds of amazing abilities. A fascinating show that will amaze young and old alike! Everyday at 2.30pm from 24 July to 22 August (duration 40 mins). Practical Information July & Aug: Open daily 10am-7pm (9.30pm on Tue, Thu, Sun) September:10am-1pm and 2-6pm Chateau Entry: Adult 10€, students and 13-18 years 7€, 5-12 yrs 5€, under-5s free, reduced entry 5€-9€ Chateau+Falconry+EQuestrian (24 July-22 Aug): Adult 13€, students 9.50€,13-18 yrs 9€, 5-12 yrs 7€, under-5s free, reduced entry 7€-11€.

Jousting Tournament: Watch as Gaillard de Durfort, Lord of Duras, and Edward of Woodstock, known as ‘the Black Prince’, confront each other. Who will be the winner? Every day at 5pm from 24 July to 22 August (duration 40 mins). Equestrian fire show: Discover the amazing marriage between horses and flames where the rider and his horse play with fire. Saturday 31 July, 7 August, 14 August and 21 August at 10pm at the foot of the Castle. Village Visit After visiting the Château, discover the village with the help of a free audioguide from (available in both in French and English).

Audioguide 2.50€ (Fr & En)

Place du Château, 47120 DURAS T: +33 (0)5 33 14 00 38

26 | living wine


Stone and terroir

The limestone used for medieval buildings of Saint-Émilion (and beyond) were quarried here. The resulting galleries or tunnels stretch for an estimated 200km beneath the village and the nearby vineyards, and offer the perfect humidity and temperature for storing wine. For winelovers, the stones tell us about the limestone plateau and south facing slopes that drop away from it – home to 80% of the classified growths, and one of the secrets of the quality of these wines. Even within this small appellation there are more than twenty different official soil types.

The red wine style

All Saint-Émilion wine is red, most of it predominantly Merlot, which represents 60% of the vines planted, followed by 30% Cabernet Franc. A classic blend of Cabernet Franc would be majority Merlot, then Cabernet Franc with sometimes a touch of the other allowed red grapes – for example, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec.

Appellation and classification

Saint-Émilion is a commune or village appellation, a designated and


photo: © David Remazeilles (Gironde Tourisme)


ich in history and culture, Saint-Émilion is a fabulous village and much more; this Kingdom of Merlot has seduced wine lovers for millenia. Ausonius, a famous Gallo-Roman aide to Caesar and a poet, planted the first vines of Saint-Émilion in the 4th century AD. The premier Grand Cru Classé A Château Ausone, is thought to be where Ausonius’ villa and vines were established in around 350 AD. But it was Émilion, the hermit monk after whom Saint-Émilion was named, who set the village on its trajectory of fame. The crowds of pilgrims his miracles attracted would discover not only the place but also its wines. As the medieval village grew up around his cave the vineyards spread beyond the original 50 hectares in Gallo-Roman times to what is now around 5,400 hectares.

Wine expert Caro Feely throws some light on the world’s most recognised wine commune appellation, home to plummy rich red wines

next classification is due in 2022. If that sounds a bit confusing, keep an eye out for the next edition, in which I’ll explain Grand Cru Classés and Grand Cru systems in France. Many Saint-Émilion estates welcome visitors and offer a wide range of wine tourism. Visit the Saint-Émilion Tourist Office online or when you are there, to see who is open for tours and what is on offer, as the range of tours is constantly evolving and growing. I adore Saint-Émilion – the magnificent vineyards, the fabulous wines, the people and, of course, the stunning village itself. The hermit Émilion sensed something special here, and you can still feel it today. There’s a sense of wellbeing in the bowl which holds the village, along with a timelessness and peace, despite the inevitable crowds of peak season. Here’s to us all being able to visit this gem in person this summer.

protected named wine region, or in EU regulatory English: a ‘Protected Designation of Origin’ (PDO). Saint-Émilion is unique in having two appellations covering exactly the same general style of wine and geography. The only differences are the rules and quality associated. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Experience the amazing Saint-Émilion from the appellation’s rules are stricter than comfort of your home with Caro Feely’s the Saint-Émilion appellation. For Virtual Saint-Émilion Tour and Red Wine example, yields are lower and the Course: wine must be aged for longer Château Feely is a biodynamic and organic before it is bottled. Once an wine estate with accommodation, wine tours, estate has at least ten years vineyard walks and an accredited Wine Spirit of bottled history in the Education Trust (WSET) wine school. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru appellation they can apply to be classified – a rigorous and expensive evaluation which comes around every ten years. Right now, about 10% of the vineyards (82 estates out of around 800) are classified. The

28 | living promotion

Le Ruffecois uffec is a friendly market town with a huge 12th century Romanesque church – pick up a brochure revealing over 27 remarkable Romanesque churches from tourist offices. To the southwest lies one of the most important concentrations of neolithic monuments in all France. Here 6,000 year-old dolmens and tumuli (ancient burial sites) are gradually being excavated and faithfully restored by researchers to their original appearance. Key locations include Vervant, Tusson and Fontenille. Close by are three characterful villages to discover: Tusson preserves the 15th century residence used by Marguerite de Navarre, sister of King François I; Nanteuil-en-Vallée’s abbey was founded in 780 and the village has medieval

Downloa d the Loo pi app and disc over walk s and cycle routes featurin g local s ites of intere st.

The River Charente meanders among gardens, ancient monuments & Romanesque treasures – the perfect place antique garden. In the Charente valley south of Mansle lies the 12th century to discover secret France

abbey of Saint-Amant-de-Boixe. See things differently with a relaxing canoe/ timber-framed houses and an arboretum; kayak journey on the beautiful River Verteuil-sur-Charente has a huge fairytale Charente – there are hire points at Mansle, Réjallant and Taizé-Aizie. chateau beside the River Charente. A few km further south is the lovingly New for 2021: There are now 12 restored 12/15th century Château de heritage and nature walks around ‘les Bayers. The village of Saint-Fraigne’s Villes et Villages Fleuris‘ supporting the church interior has Historic Monument environment and biodiversity. Find decoration by Louis Mazetier. Near them at Aigre, Barro, Bioussac, La Faye, Paizay-Naudouin Embourie are the Mansle, Moutonneau, Ruffec, SaintChâteau de Saveilles, an elegant 14th Fraigne, Saint-Groux, Verteuil-surcentury fortified residence, and the Charente, Vouharte and Xambes. Châteliers Gallo-Roman villa, with an Visit the newly-opened shop at Maison Cognac Gautier, one of the oldest cognac houses, in Aigre. Finally, don’t miss our summer brocante and producers’ markets in our towns and villages, 2 CV car hire in Montignac, donkey walks plus horse and carriage rides, or the five Inspector Rando fun trails for children.

Office de Tourisme Ruffec: 05 45 31 05 42 Office de Tourisme Mansle: 05 45 20 39 91 Pays Ruffécois Tourisme

7 Bioussac’s Parc de 1 l’Abrègement has installation works by renowned artists 3 Andy Goldsworthy & Antony Gormley.

repurposed objects at the family-friendly Jard’Imagine.

Mansle’s Parc Floral J. P. Lanson

Saint-Fraigne’s seasonal Nanteuil-en-Vallée’s 6 Jardins Éphémères Jardin de l’Agentor feature fleeting gardens arboretum. by artists & designers.

2 In the village of 4 Tusson’s magical Bioussac are fantastic Jardin Médiéval creatures created from takes you back in time.



Step into an ancient villa at Embourie’s Jardin Gallo-Romain.

living motoring | 29

City chic: a pristine ‘70s 2CV in Bordeaux

‘Deudeuche’ Once the cheapest


ot so long ago you would see them everywhere – hardly surprising, since between 1949 and 1990 the company sold almost 4 million ‘deux chevaux’. However, their design began to take shape on the drawing board before WWII, a time when mechanisation was set to transform agriculture and the pace of life in rural France. Ever the visionary, André Citroën set his sights on rural families, a sector of society for whom the motor car seemed an impossible dream. To tempt them to abandon their horse and cart would mean

four-wheeled transport around, a Citroën 2CV now sells for big money. We meet ‘the tin snail’ mass-producing a low-maintenance vehicle capable of transporting four people and 50 kilos of luggage at 60 km/h, while consuming just 3 litres of fuel every 100 km. What’s more, it would need to sell for around a third of the price of a typical family saloon. At the time of Citroën’s untimely death in July 1935 development and tooling

costs for the innovative Traction-Avant had almost bankrupted the company, which had been rescued by tyre giant Michelin. The ‘toute petite voiture’ project clearly appealed to Pierre Michelin, who appointed ex-aircraft engineer André Lefebvre from Voisin and Michelin’s own Pierre-Jules Boulanger to head the development team faced with turning their challenging brief into a viable production vehicle. Their response was certainly radical, and ‘extrêmement rustique’: early prototypes featured a two-cylinder engine with a lawnmower-style manual starter, a roll-back canvas roof which extended to provide a boot lid, a single headlight and a dipstick to check fuel level. With the outbreak of WWII and subsequent occupation the company hid three prototypes, somehow resisted

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30 | living motoring

The elusive (and valuable) twinengined Sahara

Owners’ club meet in the Marais Poitevin


Fresh-air motoring, 1950s style

German demands to reveal its design documents and continued covert development throughout the war years. When peace returned the prototypes emerged from hiding and the team began applying numerous refinements (including an electric starter and a second headlight) before the design was finally deemed ready to reveal to the public. The grand launch came at the 1948 Paris Motor Show, and despite a few comments comparing the roll-back roof to a sardine tin, the Citroën stand in the Grand Palais was besieged and order books filled. Cars began rolling off the assembly line at Levallois in June 1949, but demand soon far outstripped even round-the-clock production capacity, to the point where a triage system was hurriedly introduced. Buyers wishing to place an order would be required to complete a company dossier, which would then be appraised to prioritise customers with the most urgent needs.

The much-loved fourgonnette (van) version

Even so, anyone lucky enough to have their order accepted might still have to wait 3-5 years before finally getting behind the wheel of their vehicle. Not surprisingly, the object of their desires differed radically from the early

development prototypes, and would continue to evolve. To save weight and production costs Lucien Girard’s 375cc flat-twin engine was now cooled mostly by air (and partly by its own oil) and the planned monocoque body in

living motoring | 31

The 2CV powered Ami 6

The company offered buyers just the entry-level 2CV and the glamorous DS/ID...

Survivors: pre-war development prototypes

costly aluminium had been abandoned in favour of a separate lightweight all-steel body and chassis designed by Flaminio Bertoni – the man responsible for clothing both la Traction and its successors, the sleek ID (‘Idée’) and DS (‘Déesse’). Despite eternal tedious jokes about tôle ondulée (corrugated iron) the production cars proved to be remarkably rugged and their styling actually followed sound Bauhaus principles – the lightweight seats, for example, could be

lifted out in seconds to use for a picnic. Once things calmed down the cars became familiar features on the roads of France, if not exactly prominent ones, since they were only available in grey until 1960, when beige, blue, green and yellow breezed in. The cars’ ability to be driven for hours flat-out (initially just 69 km/h) with no ill effects endeared them to drivers, although life itself was moving inexorably faster. Over the years engine capacities increased to improve performance: a move to 425cc in 1954 produced an extra 10 km/h, with a further 6 km/h on tap from 435cc after 1970. Owners of final 2CV 6 series cars (1970-1990) got a full 602cc to play with, along with a top speed of around 116 km/h, although reaching 100 km/h from a standing start still took a leisurely 30+ seconds. Anything with such modest performance might sound Join us, Melanie and Jean-Christophe, at our delightful Hotel de Charme on the banks of the Vienne. Relax in our outdoor, heated swimming pool and our on-site restaurant open to guests (and friends) for dinner Mon-Sat (7-9pm, reservation recommended). Daily Menu du Jour featuring regional specialities. Mon-Thu: 3-course meal 22€, Fri & Sat: 25€ 1 hour from Poitiers, close to Le Vigeant race track. Event venue hosting up to 44 people - weddings / meetings and more. Welcome drink offered to all guests booking through LIVING!

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like the opposite of a status symbol, but flower power, the oil crisis and the rise of the green movement turned things on their head during the 1960s and 70s, sparking an upturn in demand for 2CVs. In April 1976 the company commemorated production of 5 million 2CV-based vehicles with a run of just 200 examples of the 2CV 6 SPOT – short for ‘Spécial Production Orange Ténéré’. An instant sell-out, it would inspire a succession of limited editions including the Beachcomber, Charleston, Cocorico, Dolly, Jeans and the bright yellow 007 emulating the unlikely James Bond getaway car featured in ‘For Your Eyes Only’ (1981). The Acadiane van was also reworked to create the Week-end, with side windows and removable rear seats, for use as both a workhorse and family transport. Rarest of all, though, was the 2CV Sahara 4x4, with two engines and two gearboxes operated by a single gear lever. In 2019 one of the 100 or so remaining examples changed hands in California for 95,760 euros. Citroën certainly got value from those plucky little engines, using them to power not only the 2CV but also a range of small vehicles like the Ami 6, Dyane, LN, Méhari and Visa Club. The little ‘deuche’ was never cheap to produce but served the company well – in fact, back in the 1960s, while developing other models, Citroën offered buyers just the entry-level 2CV and the glamorous DS/ID. The string of variants which eventually followed came and went, while the basic 2 CV outlived them all, until killed off by tightening crash test regulations and emission controls. In July 1990, two years after French production ended, the very last ‘deudeuche‘ left the Mangualde plant in Portugal. So ended a record-breaking production run of 42 years.

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

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Idiade 7309: 4-bed Charentaise property with spacious rooms. Beautiful courtyard with large stone outbuildings - 400m2. Private garden with pretty dining areas. Also included, 17C windmill just 2 km from the house! 50mins to Angoulême LGV. DPE en cours

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Idiade 7229: Well-planned 3-bed contemporary bungalow with spacious lounge and kitchen area. Master bedroom has ensuite. Large covered terrace, second terrace, office / extra bedroom, independent garage. A must see! DPE B

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living living placesculture to visit | 35 21

Flying the Flag With the loss of their EU citizenship, UK nationals resident in France face new challenges. Kathryn Dobson asks what the UK Government can learn from France’s strong support of its citizens abroad


rime Minister Theresa May announced: “If you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere” in October 2016 as the red lines for Brexit were laid out. She was taking to task the rootless managers of British businesses who behaved “as though they have more in common with international elites than with the people down the road” but her words resounded across the continents. The number of UK nationals abroad, now commonly referred to as its diaspora, is one of the largest in the world. According to a recent study by a researcher at Lancaster University, the Government assumes that Britons abroad do not want or need to engage with the

UK and so policies for its citizens abroad are characterised by providing comprehensive information whilst remaining passive in their engagement. The ambivalence of Britain to its citizens abroad is a long way from how France views its estimated 2-3 million citizens living outside its borders. Often highly skilled, they are seen as ambassadors for the country and are recognised as valuable assets who can promote all aspects of France. In return French citizens benefit from a significant support network developed over the last seventy years. Historically, France has been a country with more people arriving than leaving although emigration has increased over the past 20 years. Of the 1.8 million

French citizens who are registered in consular population registers just over a third reside in the EU. The largest community is found in the UK (147,500), which is similar to the estimated size of the British population in France, although their demographics are different with only 15% over 60 years of age and 34% under 25.


Within Government, the responsibility for French citizens abroad falls under the remit of the Ministère français pour l’Europe et les affaires étrangères or French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and the French diplomatic network is the third largest in the world after the US and China.

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36 | living culture France has opted to give its diaspora direct representation in both the Upper and Lower Chambers of the national Parliament (see our feature in December edition for more details on how the Sénat works). Based on the distribution of French citizens abroad there are 11 geographically defined constituencies in the Assemblée Nationale each of which elects one MP, with 12 reserved seats in the Sénat. French citizens retain the right to vote in French elections for life and can participate in votes either directly in the consular or diplomatic premises of their constituency or by appointing a proxy. In parliamentary elections they are able to cast an electronic vote removing the need to receive and return postal ballots. President Macron recently wrote to French citizens abroad reassuring them of the State’s support during these exceptional times and promising to continue to improve services to them. These are already generous compared to other European countries, with consular services having significant discretionary powers to support and repatriate in case of emergency and hardship.


French pensioners receive their up-rated pensions across the globe by submitting an annual ‘proof of life’ certificate. Under specific circumstances they are also able to receive means-tested benefits. For families, some support such as maternity benefits and help with school fees is available plus there is discretionary cash support for those citizens abroad facing severe economic hardship. These are managed by the Consular Council for Social Protection and aid (Conseil consulaire pour la protection et l’action sociale, CCPAS) while on returning to France, France-Horizons offers social assistance when required. The French State also financially supports several associations abroad that offer local assistance to citizens.


Despite the fact that emigration from France only accelerated in the second half of the twentieth century, an official decree in 1948 created the Conseil supérieur des Français de l’étranger or High Council for French Abroad which was replaced in 2004 by the Assembly for French Abroad (Assemblée des

‘‘President Macron recently wrote to French citizens abroad reassuring them of the State’s support during these exceptional times’’ Français de l’étranger, AFE). The AFE is responsible for issuing non-binding opinions to issues of relevance to French citizens abroad through its network of 90 councillors, each elected for 6 years and based in 15 different constituencies around the world. The Assembly meets at least twice a year and benefits from a General Secretariat which includes government officials, ensuring that voices of French nationals are heard and key issues raised. Culture is an area of significant investment, beginning with the Institut Français which underwent reform in 2010. These French Institutes promote French culture abroad and are often the hubs of French communities abroad. The Alliance Française promotes the French language and culture abroad and boasts a long history dating back to 1883. Like the Institute, it maintains a close link with French citizens abroad.

And the UK?

British nationals abroad lack effective representation having no direct communication along the lines of the AFE nor having useful elected representation. UK citizens who have not lost their vote after 15 years out of the country, vote in their old constituency where their issues are unlikely to be represented. In fact, many MPs refuse to engage with their overseas constituents. The UK Government is making some moves towards engaging with their citizens abroad with the promise to remove the 15-year voting rule. However, this is not the first time this has been pledged and there are very real concerns about the other measures that are proposed in the same bill. The introduction of voter ID would disenfranchise disadvantaged UK citizens (who are unable to afford passports or driving licences) at the same time that citizens abroad were returned their vote

which is an uneasy pairing. The British Council, a charity partly funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, promotes UK culture, language and business overseas and dates back to 1934. A series of funding cuts have reduced its activities significantly and its future is in doubt after the publication of its 2019/20 annual report which highlighted the lack of funding guarantees past March 2022. The UK does benefit from a relatively strong diplomatic service, but this lags some way behind 3rd place France in global league tables coming in 11th place. Across the EU, the impact of the loss of consular services and skills has been evident throughout Brexit – after all, for the past twenty years there was little point developing services that were not required for EU citizens. Now that loss is felt as the British Embassy in Paris has struggled to catch up with the evolution of the British community in France during this time. While the French Embassy in London have contact with their registered citizens, here in France even the number of British residents is unclear, let alone where they live and what they do. Furthermore, there is no consular budget for supporting British citizens facing hardship; instead charitable institutions like SSAFA and the British Charitable Fund here in France are expected to step in. Meanwhile the positive contribution British citizens could make to ‘Global Britain’ through their ‘soft power’ (by influencing local opinions when living and working abroad) does not appear to be valued by the UK. The question now is whether the tipping point has been reached when British citizens abroad feel so abandoned that they simply have no desire to support UK initiatives. If the UK is to reverse this situation and harness the power of its estimated 5-6 million citizens living globally then the French model offers many suggestions of steps that could be taken. The first, and most important, would be to make efforts to rebuild the relationship damaged by Brexit by showing the British community abroad that they are valued and no longer considered ‘citizens of nowhere’. Alongside publishing Living Magazine, Kathryn Dobson is a member of the Steering Team for British in Europe, the coalition representing British nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland.


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38 | practical living

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

What is included in a property sale?


I am in the process of selling my house and I would like to know what I have to leave behind when I move out...

garden lamp post is fixed to the ground and you intend to take it, let the agent and the buyer know straight away. Better still, remove it before the property is viewed. And to add even more clarity, draw up a list of items which will stay and include it in the compromis de vente.


This is a great question, with a somewhat complicated answer! We have all heard horror stories from people who have moved into a house that has been stripped bare of almost everything (I once took possession of a house only to find that all the doorhandles had been taken). Looking at the relevant text of the Code Civile (articles 517 – 526), it is clear that a law written in 1804 does not really apply very well to modern times. It talks about pigeons in dovecotes, beehives, alcohol stills and so on, but the principles it lays out are used today. There are three types of “immovable” items which should remain with a property when sold: – Items that are immovable by their nature. At its most elementary level this means those which adhere to the ground. This basic group is made up of those things which simply cannot be moved without

destroying the property, and includes walls, roofs, plumbing, fireplaces, etc. It also goes a bit further and covers such things as plants (in the ground, not in pots), shutters, guttering, etc. – Items that are immovable by their destination/use. This second category covers all immovable property which is permanently attached to the building. This may include items such as sanitary ware (baths, showers, WCs, basins, etc.), bespoke fitted kitchens and sun blinds. As a rule, if the removal of the item will cause damage to the property, it should stay. – Items that are immovable due to their relationship with the

property. This applies more or less to intangible rights such as easements, rights of way, rights of use and so on. However, there is no definitive list, so to a certain extent it can be a matter of interpretation as to whether an item or object should be considered as an immovable, integral part of the property. Under the 1804 code there is no requirement to leave a light fitting, but then again, current safety regulations mean that you are not permitted to leave bare wires hanging from the ceiling. The best advice is therefore to be very clear from the outset what it is you intend to take. If an outside

The principles to bear in mind are that if the removal of an item renders the property unusable or if its removal damages the property, then it should stay. If you are in any doubt, ask your agent or your notaire and, of course, be sure to leave any pigeons that are hanging around!

Charles Miller is a partner in Charente Immobilier based in Jarnac (16). He has 16 years’ experience in the property business in France.

practical living | 39

Turning your savings green...


I was recently reading a UK newspaper article on ethical investing. What are ethical investments, and how do they differ from more traditional funds?


As people are becoming more aware and concerned with world politics, events and the environment, an increasing number are using their combined financial power to push corporations into focusing on their ethical position, as well as their shareholder returns. Ethical investments are those which take into consideration

social, moral and governance factors when determining where your money is invested. These can include climate change, the environment, animal testing, democracy, workers’ rights and also socalled “sin stocks” – gambling,

tobacco, alcohol and the arms industry. Funds which focus on ethical investments are called ESG Funds, which stands for “Environmental, Social, and Governance”. Each fund has a sustainability rating, allowing you to see how they compare with other funds, and offers full transparency in where the money is invested. As of 31 December 2020 there are approximately 1.7 trillion dollars invested in ESG Funds, representing an increase of 29% during the year, which shows how ethics are becoming increasingly important

consideration for investors. Recently I have seen an increase in the number of funds available, as investment companies are taking notice of those investors who are demanding that they have this choice. You can hold ESG Funds within a pension fund or an Assurance Vie and can choose to be invested 100% or just allocate a portion of your total portfolio. As with more traditional funds, ESG Funds are available across the risk spectrum. If this is an area which interests you, ask your adviser about these funds or contact me for further information.

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

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Living at

40 | living nikki legon’s cuisine

Looking forward to relaxing with friends & family outdoors? Here are some scrumptious but simple recipes so you can make the most of your time together…

Nikki Legon's

cuisine Summer Salad

Summer Salad Ideal to serve with avocado toasts and tortillas 6 cherry tomatoes, halved 6 large radishes, sliced ½ cucumber, sliced 1 cooked beetroot, sliced ½ red onion, sliced 6 basil leaves 6 mint leaves For the dressing 1 small lime, juice only 2 tbsp olive oil salt and pepper

Tortilla Chicken Wrap

METHOD Place all the salad ingredients into a salad bowl. In a small bowl add the oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper, stir to combine. Pour over the salad.

6 tortilla wraps 500g cooked chicken, sliced 2 tomatoes, cut into chunks ½ red onion, chopped small jar of salsa, mild or hot 2 tbsp mayonnaise chopped salad leaves

Tortilla Chicken Wraps

METHOD Wrap tortilla in foil and heat through in the oven on a medium heat. Mix together the chicken, chopped onion, tomato, salad leaves, salsa and mayonnaise. Remove the tortillas from the oven and add the filling evenly. Fold up the base and roll.

A firm favourite with all the family, experiment by mixing and matching your favourite salad ingredients...

Avocado Toasts

living nikki legon’s cuisine | 41

Avocado Toasts Perfect for all times of day… 3 slices of bread, toasted 1 ripe avocado salt and pepper toppings of your choice METHOD Slice the avocado in half

Pork Ribs with Barbecue Sauce serves 6

2kg pork ribs 1 large onion, chopped 30ml water 30ml olive oil 475ml tomato ketchup 80ml brown sugar

METHOD Blend the water and onion to a paste. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan, add the onion paste and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix thoroughly, and cook on a low heat for 20 minutes.

Spatchcock Chichen

3 garlic cloves, crushed 15ml cider vinegar 15ml tomato purée 15ml Worcestershire sauce 1 tsp Liquid Smoke (optional) 1 tsp mustard ½ tsp cayenne pepper

Add the ribs to a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add a tbsp of salt and cook the ribs on a medium heat for 45 minutes. Remove and finish off in the oven or on the barbecue, basting with the sauce. Serve with a baked potato and summer salad.

Spatchcock Chicken with Roasted Vegetables 3kg chicken 300ml chicken stock 150ml white wine 1 head of garlic, cut in half 2kg of mixed vegetables, chopped into chunks 4 sprigs of rosemary 4 sprigs of thyme 2 tbsp olive oil salt and pepper

Pork Ribs with Barbecue Sauce

and scoop out the flesh. Place into a bowl and mash with a fork, season with salt and pepper and place onto the toasted bread. Top with the topping of your choice. As well as the ones shown, for breakfast top with a slice of ham and poached egg, for brunch cucumber and smoked salmon are delicious. For supper, try prawns tossed in Marie Rose sauce.

for the sauce 3 tbsp honey 1 lime, juice only 1 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar 1 garlic clove, crushed 1 tbsp chilli sauce

METHOD Preheat the oven to 180°C. Dry the chicken and cut out the backbone. Turn the bird over and press down to flatten. Rub both sides with olive oil and season. Place the chopped vegetables into a large baking tray, add the olive oil and herbs. Place the chicken on top and cook for 45 minutes until the legs pull away easily. Move the vegetables and chicken onto a warmed platter, cover and keep warm while you make the sauce. Add all the sauce ingredients to a small saucepan with the juices from the roasting tin. Heat through to make a thin sauce. Pour over the chicken and serve.

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42 | living nikki legon’s cuisine Roasted Spicy Aubergine

Roasted Spicy Aubergine serves 6

6 medium aubergines oil for brushing salt and pepper 3 large red peppers 3 large tomatoes 2 red chillies 2 cloves garlic, crushed 2 tbsp chopped parsley 6 tbsp breadcrumbs 6 tbsp grated Parmesan or vegetarian hard cheese METHOD Thinly slice 3 strips from the

Kiwi Popsicle

length of the aubergines so they sit flat and discard the trimmings. Place the aubergines on a baking tray and brush with oil. Season, then bake for 15 minutes at 200°C. For the filling, chop the red peppers and tomatoes into chunks. Blitz in a blender with the red chilli and garlic until finely chopped but not mushy. Transfer to a bowl and add the parsley, fresh breadcrumbs and cheese. Season to taste. Remove the aubergines from the oven and slice each one along the middle. Spread the flesh apart making a dip, then evenly pile the mixture on each aubergine, pressing in well. Sprinkle with oil and the grated cheese. Bake a further 20 minutes at 200°C.

Kiwi Popsicle 6 kiwi fruits 120g white caster sugar 120ml fresh lime juice 6 popsicle moulds and sticks METHOD Cut 5 kiwis in half and scoop out the flesh. Blend with the sugar and lime juice until pureed. Pour into the moulds. Peel the remaining kiwi and slice into 6, place one into each mould. Cover the moulds, push in the sticks and freeze until solid.

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:


J (€10 includes food - €5 goes to charity) U Sat 12: LIVE MUSIC: McKenzie N Sat 19: LIVE MUSIC: Bennett & Seags E Sat 26: LIVE MUSIC: Martin Lavanasch

All entertainment starts at 7.30pm in June Sat 3: LIVE MUSIC: Chris Kern

La Brousse, J Wed 14: QUIZ NIGHT 16700 Londigny U (€10 includes food - €5 goes to charity) tel; 05 45 29 05 07 L Sat 17: NUTFEST Y All entertainment starts at 8pm in July FB: @aubergedunoyer

All Day Friday: fish & chips, scampi too - 10€ (full menu also available) Roast every Sunday: 12-3 | Chambre d’hôtes

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


The Transition Period is over but UK Nationals legally resident in France before 31 December 2020 must apply


Agreement Residency Permit

Yes! UK Nationals and their dependants who wish to remain resident in France must apply for the new Withdrawal Agreement Residency Permit, even if they already have a Carte de Séjour.

for the new Withdrawal

before 1 July 2021

HOW WE CAN HELP? Contact our confidential helpline for information and support, or send us an enquiry via our website:

Supported by

Our team of experienced caseworkers can provide information and support for UK Nationals who may need help making their residency applications. HOW DO I APPLY? All applications must be made online via the official French Government portal https://contacts-demarches. before 1 July 2021.

French Residency Support Project

Helping UK Nationals in France

call 05 32 80 00 05

Monday to Friday 09:30 – 12:00 & 13:30 – 16:00. Saturday 09:30 – 12:00. We cover Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Occitanie, Bourgogne Franche-Comté, Centre Val de Loire, Grand Est and Corsica, however our services are available across France for those applying for residency under the Withdrawal Agreement.

44 | living family

Avec les enfants ––––––

High Summer






d’Oléron are more firm favourites, along with the endless sands of La Grande Côte. However, if crashing about in the waves or lying on a baking beach are not quite to your taste there are always small coves, especially around Royan. Nestled into the low-lying cliffs, they provide some respite from the sun at certain times and also a great sense of charm. Here you’ll find seafood restaurants just waiting to tempt you, and where you can sit staring out at the waves. One of our absolute favourite days out still has to be cycling around the Île de Ré. With so many of us, it’s easier to rent bikes when we get there, as short of buying a trailer we’ve yet to find a good solution to hauling kids, adults and bikes all in one vehicle. But if you’re more sensible than us and have a smaller tribe then taking your own is certainly the way to go. But don’t worry, for there are plenty of cycle hire shops and more than enough bikes to go around. We each take a backpack and set off with a good picnic and plenty of sun-cream on a good long ride, before a break at one of the beaches for a swim to cool off before lunch. An hour or so of lying on the sand and we’re off again, and before we know it time has run away with us –



The summer means a lot to children. There’s plenty of sun, usually some water is involved, raucous laughter and splashing, lots of ice-cream and long evenings to enjoy with friends and family. At this stage of the year a trip to the beach is surely high on everyone’s list. Only the other day I was driving along, chatting to our youngest daughter and together we were reminding ourselves how incredibly fortunate we are to live with such a huge coastline within easy reach. To the west the Atlantic stretches as far as the eye can see. The Charente-Maritime has 463 kilometres of coastline of which 230 kilometres are around the offshore islands. It’s truly a dream come true to live here. Add the neighbouring departments to the north and south and we really are spoilt for choice. Here there’s something to suit all ages and all tastes. Sometimes we’ll opt for the rugged wild sands near the Phare de La Coubre, an historic lighthouse which is still in use today close to La Tremblade. If you feel like a little exercise, or if the kids need to burn off some energy, climb the 64 metres to the top. The long stretches of beach on the Île

it’s always a mad dash back pedalling as hard as our legs will take us to return our rented wheels on time. Any trip to the beach in the summer might require some serious planning to avoid traffic-jams and parking issues, so avoid the peak times for arrival. If you want to make it an all day affair, plan to get there in the morning and you’ll be fairly safe, otherwise my top tip is to go between 12 and 2, the classic French lunch hour, when parking spaces are usually easy to come by and the beach is relatively quiet. This is what we frequently do, as we’re never ready in time to spend a full day at the beach. No matter how hard we try, by the time we’ve raised slumbering youngsters on summer vacation from their beds, organised a picnic and got everyone out of the door, the morning has passed us by. There’s something about larger numbers that seems to hinder speed. Our children are scarcely kids any longer; being all teenagers or beyond, they’re old enough to be the ones making the picnic themselves, yet getting us all out of the door in less than an hour seems an impossibility that I’ve simply had to come to accept!

living family | 45

is generally green, fields are full of crops in the best condition of their short lives, flowers and butterflies are everywhere we turn and the landscape is dominated by massive swathes of yellow sunflowers. Swimming in rivers is enormously popular here and you’ll often find places renting kayaks, paddle boards and small electric boats. It’s a different atmosphere from the beach, but definitely one worth experiencing. At the end of the day there really is something and somewhere for everyone, in what is the best possible place to enjoy summers in France with the family. 1




Another favourite time for us, and also great for guaranteeing no traffic jams, plenty of parking and lots of free sand space for beach games, is the evening. Often we’ll take supper with us and leave around 5pm. Spending time on the beach on a balmy warm summer night, as the sun starts to dip slowly towards the horizon, is simply magical and has certainly become a firm favourite with our family. If, though, you simply can’t stand the idea of salt and sand, which are the only drawbacks to days on the coast, there are always the inland waterways. Here time passes slowly and life is very different away from the gatherings of crowds. Early summer


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





8 8

It’s time to relax in a shady spot in the garden and see if you can find the theme to our crossword compiled by Mike Morris. If you need them, the answers are on page 52. Clues Across 1. End of house initially battered in storm. (5) 4. Construct with raw materials, among other things? (7) 8. The French going to the opening of experimental shelter. (3) 9. Grant affairs can be major or minor when embraced by reformed ex-PM? (9) 10. Former flier witnessing end of traveller on body of water? (5) 11. Endless fate for moderation after first person makes a speech? (7) 13. Heated soft gee to be cooked where you might watch in thrall? (4, 2, 3, 4) 16. Fits in last second adjustment? (7)

18. Mutiny! A nice mess you’ve made! (5) 19. Passages left off igloo shape construction? (9) 21. Film is all about her? (3) 22. Those shifting stuff less disturbed about seeing the back of removal office worker? (7) 23. Accept first of grandchildren can go with partner to rave. (5)

9 10


11 12



12 14


14 16

16 17 Clues Down 1. Former champ in delight at 20 arriving in biblical region? (7) 2. Bars a geek for upsetting and smashing things? (9) 19 20 3. Sanction first of English men to depart after ban. (7) 24 4. Runs in to start organising young cinema hopefuls 22 wanting to do this? (4, 4, 5) 5. Antelope found in the 12. Referenced in today’s crossword English countryside? (5) puzzle; Inca theme? (3, 6) 6. French king, a man of iron 14. Carrying after first dropping going mad, shall be nameless. (3) off engraving work. (7) 7. Male/ Female takeover 15. That lady stirring tea after establishing factories on opening of tuckshop restored land? (5)

Show how much you


17 18 21

22 21


in the same place? (7) 16. De-creases? (5) 17. Quite enough of former lover not being in illustration? (5) 20. Dawson maybe tipping over condiment in Calais? (3)

Living at


Are you thinking of buying o Over 10,000 properties on our websites • Thousands of international clients ready to buy


Gironde €399,000 Ref: A04441 - Elegant 5 bedroom townhouse, 2min from the river, with garden, and separate apartment.

Vienne €61,600 Ref: A04387 - Renovated 2 bedroom house with garden and parking space, in a quiet village.

Dordogne €178,200 Ref: 114400 - Charming 3 bedroom stone village house with covered terrace and garden.

Charente €518,000 Ref: 110541 - 320m² 7 Bedroom maison de maître with studio, pool, 5500m² garden and view.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.


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

4% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

Charente Maritime €277,130 Ref: 10484 - Character 5 bedroom house with garden, outbuildings and 3 car garage.

Charente Maritime €954,000 Ref: A04389 - Exceptional 5 bedroom family home with lovely garden and heated pool, 5min from La Rochelle.

Creuse €214,000 Ref: 120553 - Beautiful 4 bedroom 18th century village property with original features.

Vendée €280,000 Ref: A04540 - Tastefully renovated 5 bedroom house with gîte/B&B potential.

7% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

6% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

7% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

7% agency fees included paid by the buyer.







Dordogne €158,000 Ref: T13528 - Renovated 2 bedroom property with garden, terrace and garage.

Haute Vienne €26,000 Ref: A04392 - Nearly 250m² of garage and loft space for residential or commercial use. Huge potential.

Dordogne €310,000 Ref: 121032 - 6 Bedroom farmhouse with multiple outbuildings, guest house and garage.

Deux Sèvres €172,800 Ref: 120621- Renovated 3 bedroom property with private parking.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.

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

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.





Creuse €288,900 Ref: 120663 - Renovated 5 bedroom property, with courtyard, barns and terrace.

Dordogne €267,500 Ref: 107271- Beautiful 3 bedroom property with mezzanine, pool and garage.

Charente Maritime €297,460 Ref: 115728 - Renovated 5 bedroom traditional house with garden and swimming pool.

Dordogne €197,950 Ref: 119505 - 3 Bedroom village house with garden, swimming pool, garage and dovecote.

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

7% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

7% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

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





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Deux-Sèvres €129,999 Ref: A04466 - 3 Bedroom riverside property. Beautiful longère in a lovely location.

Deux-Sèvres €130,800 Ref: A04442 - Detached bungalow with 4 bedrooms and an outbuilding.

Charente €189,000 Ref: A04529 - Attractive 4 bedroom house with stunning views, covered terrace and 1 ha of land.

Charente €535,500 Ref: A04484 - Charming 5 bedroom property on a large plot of land with pool, in a quiet hamlet.

9% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

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

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.

5% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

Haute-Vienne €99,000 Ref: A04266 - Lovely location! Detached, 3 bedroom house with ground floor bedroom, in a hamlet.

Vienne €80,000 Ref: A04313 - Ancient property, tastefully renovated shaker style. Panoramic garden views.

Vienne €124,600 Ref: A03821 - Absolutely charming 4 bedroom riverside property ready to move into.

Charente-Maritime €210,600 Ref: A04208 - 100m² 4 bedroom country house and a 7500m² plot of land.

10% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.

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

8% agency fees included paid by the buyer.









Vendée €605,000 Ref: A03908 - 10 Bedroom, entirely restored 366m² property with pond and outbuildings.

Vendée €385,000 Ref: A03868 - 200m² 4 bedroom house on a plot of more than 7 ha with river access.

Haute-Vienne €290,000 Ref: A04255 - Beautiful 2 bedroom house with land and wooded garden.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.





Bent u Nederlands (sprekend), wilt u werken vanuit huis en ambieert u een carrière als makelaar?

DAN ZIJN WIJ OP ZOEK NAAR U! Neem vandaag nog contact met mij op!

Joppe Louwrier+33 (0)5 53 60 82 77 +33 (0)5 53 60 84 88

L i ving



Changing Places Living on the coast is a dream, but why stop there? For those with deep pockets, Saint-Martin-de-Ré offers island escapism in an enviable location just off La Rochelle, and which became more accessible in 1988 when roll-on, roll-off car ferries were replaced by the 2.6km-long Pont de l’Île de Ré. Crossing France’s second-longest bridge (which peaks at 30m above the waves at its midpoint) is an exhilarating experience, and there’s a tangible change of mood from the moment you reach island soil. The Île de Ré is actually an archipelago linked by roads and dedicated cycle routes, and on the northern shore of the largest land mass we find the island capital of Saint-Martin-de-Ré. During the 17th century the port prospered handsomely from trade links with the West Indies and Canada, a golden seafaring era recounted vividly in the Musée Ernest Cognacq, while the cobbled quaysides are still paved with stones which arrived here as ballast on tall sailing ships. Surrounding the port are massive star-shaped fortifications which were strengthened in 1692 by

Vauban, France’s greatest military engineer. Today you can stroll around the seaward ramparts, which provide an atmospheric backdrop to daily life unfolding below. Marina style moorings in the port are now a fashionable haunt for leisure sailors, who tie-up beside still active local fishing boats, and entertain diners on the elegant terraces of a string of quayside restaurants. Supplying their local produce and freshly landed fish and seafood is a daily covered market tucked away nearby – a down to earth touch among the craft boutiques and gift shops located among streets packed tightly within the town walls. In the heart of it all the summit of the belltower of the Église Saint-Martin offers panoramic views of the town and the coastline. Visible just beyond the eastern ramparts is the Citadelle, a smaller star-shaped structure completed in 1692 to strengthen the town’s coastal defences. In 1873 it became a high security penitentiary (a role it continues to fulfil) and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Beyond that, between Route de La Flotte and the coast, a

Saint-Martinde-Ré (17)

The Atlantic Coast’s very own Saint-Tropez? We find out more... second, more recent residential area packed with white limewashed villas, tempts potential property buyers searching for a Saint-Martin address.

Making connections Péage Tarifs None for full-time residents, while the island’s résidence secondaire owners pay 2€ all year round for each aller-retour. For visitors with a car there’s an 8€ péage levied for each return trip (rising to 16€ between 20 Jun-11 Sept) to fund bridge maintenance and environmental protection projects on the island. Distances/drive-times by road from 17410 Saint-Martin-de-Ré La Rochelle: 22km/30min Rochefort: 54km/48min Niort: 85km/1hr 11min Saintes: 95km/1hr 13min Poitiers: 158km/1hr 53min Nantes: 159km/2hr 15min Bordeaux: 206km/2hr 18min TGV & TER rail services: TGV services from Gare SNCF de La Rochelle to Niort, Poitiers, Paris, Bordeaux, Bayonne, etc. TER Nouvelle-Aquitaine services from La Rochelle to Angoulême, Niort, Poitiers, Royan, etc.

L i ving

Property Sovimo immobiLier Ref. 34239


213 950€ HAI

(198 100€ plus 8% fees payable by buyer)

Availles Limouzine (86). Ideal B&B, 3-bed pretty semi-detached cottage. 2 adjoining barns, pool, terrace exposed south/west, courtyard and adjoining land with well, set on 5839m2.

Ref. 34232 Agence Eleonor Estate Agency 36-38 rue du Temple, 24500 EYMET T: 05 53 27 83 45 Eymet, Villeréal, St.-Cyprien, Monpazier, Bergerac, Lalinde, and Issigeac

DPE: n/a

135 000€ HAI

(205 000€ plus 8% agency fees payable buyer)

Confolens (16). Quiet, town centre location with all shops. Renovated 3-bed house, garage/boiler room/utility room, gas heating, mains drains, adjoining courtyard.

Ref: 9387-EY 246,000 € HAI DPE: Vierge A beautiful large stone property located in a village with amenities. This house is full of character and consists of a kitchen, living room, laundry room, dining room, 4 bedrooms, veranda and cellar. Garden with fruit trees, a workshop and a garage. Taux d’honoraires 16,000€ (7%) inclus à la charge de l’acquéreur.


Ref. 34230

110 000€ HAI

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

Near Aigre (16) on quiet housing development. Detached 2-bed 2007 bungalow. Fitted kitchen/lounge/living room,elec heating, septic tank, garage, adjoining land set on 1114m2.

Ref. 34229


194 400 € HAI

(180 000€ plus 8% fees payable by buyer)

3km to St Claud (16). Pretty renovated 4-bed cottage, without neighbours. 2 bathrooms, electrical heating, septic tank, terrace, detached outbuilding, adjoining land set on 7343m2.

Ref: 9358-VI 420,000€ HAI DPE: Vierge Former 6-bedroom presbytery full of architectural curiosities such as stone sinks, stone arches, terracotta tiles, decorative floors and mullioned windows. This house also offers superb views of the hilly countryside and is not overlooked. ExclusivE to Agence Eleonor. Taux d’honoraires 20,000€ (5%) inclus à la charge de l’acquéreur.

Ref. 34228


172 800€ HAI

(160 000€ plus 8% agency fees payable buyer)

Confolens centre (16). Ideal for investors, 4-bed house + 2 flats. House has outbuilding with 1 bed & shower room/wc. Garden, well. 1-bed flat to rent, 2-bed flat rented 370€/mth. Set on 446m2.

Ref. 34227


77 000€ HAI

(70 000€ plus 10% fees payable by buyer)

Close to Confolens. Detached renovated cottage, 2 bedrooms, attic to convert. Oil heating, septic tank, well with motor pump, adjoining land with shed, set on 1965m2.

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

Ref: 9317-MO 670,000€ HAI DPE: C immaculate property comprising a main house, 3 gites and 2 swimming pools on 3 acres of flat meadow land, only 5 minutes’ drive from Monpazier. Taux d’honoraires 31,905€ (5%) inclus à la charge de l’acquéreur.

50 | living in the garden Euphorbia puts out lots of colour

Hellebores flower when little else does

in the garden

Keep it colourful

Violas just keep putting out flowers

Camelias bloom in early springtime Canes have a multitude of uses in the garden

living in the garden | 51

Winter jasmine adds a warm splash of colour


As we soak up the summer sun we reflect on ways to bring Some varieties are multicoloured year-round colour to our gardens

mong the few benefits of the long periods of confinement which we’ve all had to endure has been the chance to spend a lot more time than usual in our gardens. When the world has apparently gone mad at least we gardeners are able to keep our own sanity intact. The downside, of course, is that while we can take pride in the successes we’ve achieved so far, we soon start to notice all the refinements we could make. For many of us that includes ensuring that whatever the season we’ll have some splashes of colour here and there to lift our spirits, so off we go. It’s easy to overlook the effect of the little things, but even in the bleakest midwinter a minor miracle can still appear, in the shape of the humble Snowdrop. True to their French name of ‘Perce-Neige’, they can indeed pop through one of our rare coverings of

snow, to remind us that there’s still plenty happening down in the soil. Native to our region is Galanthus nivalis, although in eastern France you’ll also find Leucojum vernum, identified by its slightly showier bell-like flowers. They’re woodland plants, so tolerate a little shade and appreciate moist but not waterlogged soil. The bulbs produce small ‘offset’ bulbs around the main ones, which should be removed from time to time to maintain healthy plants and for replanting to increase your stocks. Hot on their heels are the perky winter and spring-flowering Crocuses, which can again be white, or more usefully cultivated to add a welcome blaze of purple or vibrant yellow. Members of the Iris family, they have three stamens, while the similar-looking autumn crocus (Colchicum) has six. Plant the corms in a sunny, well-drained location and left to their own devices they’ll

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Ceanothus: a true blue sensation

multiply and return each year, around the time when winter-flowering hardy Cyclamen (Cyclamen coum) are also blooming. Being woodland plants, the latter prefer dappled shade, so are suited to areas beneath trees, where they’ll benefit from leaf mould. In addition to their pink or pure white flowers they’re great colonisers, and in time will spread to create a cheerful carpet of blossoms. If, on the other hand, you have some vacant wall space then the yellow flowers and dense evergreen foliage of winter-flowering Jasmine (Jasmine nudiflorum) will fill the gap nicely. It will require some support, unlike its fellow olive family member the Forsythia – ‘Forsythie’ in French – which announces the coming of springtime with vibrant yellow displays before a single leaf has appeared. In addition to varieties native to the far east and the Balkans there are hybrids, perhaps the most


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Show how much you Living at

52 | living in the garden

for more cartoons by stig see

more muted pastel shades of their companions. In late February and early March that’s really something, and if left undisturbed Hellebores can continue flowering and providing pollinating insects from midwinter right through to late springtime. In fact, they’re not only hardy and remarkably long-lived but actually seem to thrive on cross-pollination, so regardless of what variety you plant, you’ll soon have Rhododendron all kinds of variants appearing as they blossom is brief expand their territory via self-seeding. but spectacular Talking of which, nothing self-seeds (apart from the Dandelion, obviously) widely-grown being Forsythia intermedia – whose genus embraces hundreds of quite like the Mediterranean Euphorbia spectabilis, with the paler-flowered, (Euphorbia characias or Euphorbia des variants. The familiar wild hedgerow weeping Forsythia suspensa being suited form is Primula vulgaris, in addition to Garrigues) – just as well, as they really to larger spaces. All require cutting don’t like being moved. We can forgive whose classic yellows and whites you back immediately after flowering, since might consider growing the sibthorpii their invasive tendencies, though, since flowers are produced on new growth. their presence will inject a welcome subspecies, which produce pink, red Talking of yellows brings us to the touch of colour, coupled with an exotic and purple flowers. Like all woodland Primrose – ‘Primevère’ here in France outline which is hard to ignore. What’s plants they prefer at least partial shade (but will tolerate the less intense spring more, they’re hardy evergreens which sunlight) so should do well under trees. can survive drought, coastal salt spray and full sun, so stick around to provide To increase stocks simply divide them colour and interest for most of the year. after flowering. So surely there must be a price to pay? So far we’ve looked at individual Well, like many plants they’re toxic, plants and shrubs whose overlapping and will remind you of the fact if you flowering periods should provide us try to prune them without some form with a continuous display of colour at of protection to avoid skin and eye least somewhere around the garden. However, combining them, whether by contact with their milky latex sap. Rather more picky about their design or by chance as things self-seed, proposed locations are Camelias, can produce some very interesting results. Take for example what happens which bloom in late winter or early springtime. Where you put them will when another familiar perennial – require careful thought, however, as the Daffodil (Narcissus or ‘Jonquille’) – meets the Hellebore (Christmas Rose or they’re lime-haters, so will need to be planted in beds prepared by digging ‘Rose de Noël’). On a practical level, the in terre de bruyère to lower the soil pH Daffodils no longer sway uncertainly in the breeze, but rise confidently from – just like Rhododendrons and Pieris, the supportive, slightly lower-growing in fact. The other factor to be aware of is that the exotic-looking flowers Hellebores clustered around them. As are delicate, and will spoil if warmed for the visual effect, the combination Primula subthorpii can enliven a is truly striking, the Daffodils injecting abruptly by early morning sunlight shady spot while still frozen after a chilly night, vibrant stabs of colour among the

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living in the garden | 53 flowers in springtime. One of the most popular is ‘Trewithen Blue’ which, as its name suggests, originated in Cornwall, and can really take off in our soils and climate. Alternatively, there are autumn flowering varieties and attractive dwarf variants ideal for adding interest to our borders – talking of which, don’t overlook the staying-power of our tough little friend the Viola (Fr Violette), some of which like Viola cornuta can Kalmia latifolia just keep on giving right through the is a worthwhile seasons. non-native addition The same is true, of course, of more brightly coloured hardy evergreen plants so be sure to site them in a spot which like Euonymus fortunei, several varieties May-June with a profusion of pale the sun won’t reach until a little later. of which possess variegated foliage of pink flowers borne in clusters. They’re worth the initial effort, though, They’re slow-growing shrubs, and vibrant greens and golds. Choose a and there are countless cultivars typically make around 2m in height and variety whose growth potential will suit producing single, semi-double and the location you have in mind. spread here, although in their native When winter and spring give way double flowers in a whole range of Canada and North America they can to the glories of summer it’s worth colours. reach 8-10m. The only downside? planning the addition of colourful plants Talking of early-flowering garden If ingested, all parts are toxic to to help keep our spirits up through exotica, there are few more stirring animals (who tend to avoid them). what might otherwise feel like the low sights than a Magnolia in full bloom. If you have a fairly sheltered south-facing wall then a Ceanothus times in the gardening year. If there Named after French botanist Pierre (‘Californian Lilac’) could be a handsome are currently gaps in the succession of Magnol, the Magnoliaceae genus is addition. Most are evergreen, with colour and some vacant spaces in the ancient and widespread, embracing dense foliage and will produce welcome garden we can get planting and remedy both evergreen and deciduous species. displays of distinctive blue or pink both when autumn returns. The former include the familiar stately Magnolia grandiflora trees, while early-flowering varieties are mostly deciduous (many of them blossoming before the foliage appears). Most commonly available in garden centres are the slow-growing, slender-petaled Magnolia stellata (or ‘Star Magnolia’), the more vigorous pale-pink Magnolia soulangiana, the dark purple Magnolia nigra and popular hybrids like Magnolia ‘Susan’ (soulangiana x nigra). Another non-native beauty is Kalmia latifolia (Laurier d’Amérique or Laurier des Montagnes), a hardy evergreen for a shady, well-drained spot prepared for Magnolia adds an acid soil-lovers. Keep it well watered in early touch of exotica summer and it will reward you during


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elcome to our comprehensive Business Directory, packed full of the best English-speaking services suppliers across the region. Whatever you need, our advertisers can help you and, in return, just tell them you saw their advert here and you will help to keep Living Magazine free. If you have a business in the region and would like to showcase your services to our thousands of readers, we can help. With over 1,000 stockists, Living is the leading English-language magazine covering your area. Advertising starts from 35€ per month on our monthly payment scheme. “Your expertise with advertising is surpassing my expectations. Lots of new clients now finding me via Living. Thank you!” Karen Jones, Solutions “The majority of clients who find me through adverts are from Living. The area the magazine covers is vast which is why I am a long term advertiser.” David Cropper, Stump Grinding

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

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For Outside Living • Terraces & Patios

• Summerhouses

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

• Roofs • Fencing • Blockwork • Pointing

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

• Rendering • Outside Rooms


Did you know?

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

Pools, Associations

• Renovation

SIRET 47994761600021


Cleaning, Bike Hire, Pools

ARC EN CIEL Nettoyage Professionnel

Alcoholics Anonymous

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


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


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


All Departments: Remote or On-Site Data Privacy Guaranteed 06 29 61 47 88 Siret: 889 641 726 00019

Building Services

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

05 53 52 36 05 Peter Latus BA(Hons)

L’Atelier de Fer Artisans, Plant hire

Fraser W. Eade


For all your flooring needs

Forgeix, 87200 Saint Junien

05 55 71 41 75 Siret: 512 945 874 00018

Ideal for presents

Registered with the Chambre de Métiers et de l’Artisanat

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

Siret 81968203000013

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

Contact Paul on 06 60 07 54 78 or 05 45 84 27 75

Ian Dickinson BSc (Hons)

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

Tel: Mob:


Jeff’s Metalwork

General Engineering Turning, Milling, Welding Quality & Precision Guaranteed

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

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

Made to measure, personalised signs on 20mm thick oak Inlaid uppercase lettering 38 - 58 - 80mm tall Edge beading Teak oiled/lacquered for internal or external use

Call Sally on 07 80 00 51 65 Based 16140, can post

HAVE YOUR SHUTTERS SEEN BETTER DAYS? Wooden shutters made, restored and spray painted Metal shutters sandblasted Exterior / Interior walls airless spray-painted Over 30 years’ experience All areas covered Contact Alan Tel 05 45 21 72 01 Mobile 07 80 00 51 65


Domestic / Commercial locks Safe cracking / Lock picking Door & window servicing Car / vehicle lockout service Free estimates No call out fee Non-destructive entry Mobile key cutting service 24/7 Will travel to all areas

ALPHA LOCKSMITHS 0780 50 16 20

Siret: 827 978 636 00013

Website Construction & Maintenance


Siret 823 260 450 00015

IT, Flooring, Artisans

Windows, OSx/iOS, Linux, Android

Nick Wright

SIRET: 853 256 691 00017

PCs, Networks, Laptops, Tablets, Phones

Les Rivières, 19260 TREIGNAC

Chimney Sweep OAK SIGNS


IT Service & Support Computer Help & Advice Problem Solving Repair & Maintenance


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

BECK CHERRY PICKER HIRE Nacelle Telescopique

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


These local businesses are waiting for your call!




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

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

Imajica Joinery

Covering 79, 86, 16 & 17 Siret: 851 051 334

Mick Van Ackeren T: 07 50 63 19 37

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

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

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

05 49 87 09 63 Siret: 48115588500017

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

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

Siret: 848 507 042 00010

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

Etudes  Conception  Surveys Maintenance  Service  Remedial

Tel: 06 04 14 84 86 southwestfrancefosse

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

Building services, Artisans

South West France Fosse

See all our work on

Building services, Artisans


• Tube & Fitting Scaffold • Free Quotations • Fully Insured

Graham Medhurst Renovations




Siret 800 969 438 00020

JM Roofing Carpentry ~ Roofing

Clay Tile Roofs All Timberwork Metal Sheet Hangars Full 10 Year Décennale Insurance French & English Speaking Depts covered 16, 17, 24, 79, 86, 87

All Zinc Work Velux Windows Exterior Insulation T. 07 70 37 15 98 Email:


Building services, Artisans

depts 79, 86 & 16

Andy Quick

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

Siret: 499 474 302 00035

E: ~ T: 05 49 27 22 67


Assurance Décennale

Quality Roofing & Building

for you

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

Siret 53210969100024 These local businesses are waiting for your call!



UPVC windows, doors & ConserVatories sPeCialists

10 year warranTy on all products installed

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

~ Covering south west franCe ~

Tel: 05 46 70 25 87



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

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

Covering 1h radius around Mareuil 24340

Mobile: + 33.(0). Email:

05 46 49 78 30 / 06 70 40 66 01

~ Free quotes ~ Decennial insurance

All work is fully guaranteed and we are fully insured. Our services are available 6 days a week, no-obligation free estimate and no call-out fee up to 70km.

website: email:

07 82 19 22 37

Do you have a DIY job that you are unable to do or don’t want to do?

ReIiable, Affordable Maintenance & Renovation Service

Depts 16 & 17

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

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

Adrian Butterfield

u u

Siret 482 718 640 00022

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

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

Do you need help with:

• • •

Odd jobs Tiling, Painting Plumbing Plastering, Rendering • Kitchen fitting, Carpentry • Sandblasting • General Maintenance Call Adrian on 05 49 69 00 24 or 06 41 55 85 35, or email: for a FREE estimate Over 20 year’s experience Siret: 843 784 638 00010


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

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

Tel: 07 67 04 07 53


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



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

Building services, Artisans



Siret: 789 563 392 00016


Kitchens & Bathrooms from A-Z

Building services, Artisans


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


Affordable UK Designs

Fitted Kitchens, Upvc & Aluminium Double Glazing

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

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

Building services, Artisans


Adrian Amos Specialist Carpenter/Joiner Bespoke Joinery & Renovations Doors - Shutters - Stairs Flooring - Kitchens

Tel 05 17 30 18 35 Mobile 06 33 85 65 66 Javarzay, 79110 Chef-Boutonne

Building services, Artisans

Siren: 478 608 185 00011

ANDY MS Multi Services

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

05 46 49 78 30 / 06 70 40 66 01

website: email:

Barry Baldwin PAINTER & DECORATOR Cabinet Maker & Joiner Furniture Restoration Manufacture of staircases, doors & cupboards 16240 La Fôret de Tesse T: 05 45 30 39 85 Covering depts 16, 79 & 86

Ambroise PRÉE

Plumbing - Heating Chimney sweeping


Full service with certificate (boiler, fuel, wood, gaz) Installation of Wood Burners Registerer RGE QUALIBOIS Fully insured with over 15 years’ experience Tel: 06 58 86 55 91

30km around 86400 (Saint Macoux)

English spoken

Siret: 831 980 487 00019

ADAM BLACKABY Artisan Peintre T: 05 45 98 07 25 M: 06 23 18 30 95

Siret: 508 248 747 000 18

05 45 31 14 58 / 06 63 20 24 93

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

Areas 16, 17, 24, 33, 79, 86 Siret: 804476 034 00017

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

Siret: 441 490 992 00027

Peter Amor Electrician

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

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

05 46 86 07 61 Siret 49376573200015

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

Conformity Inspections

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

Insurance, Help & Advice


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

SIRET: 513 577 809 00017

These local businesses are waiting for your call!

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

living music | 65



or a while things were looking distinctly shaky, but it seems that we’re finally about to get back into summer festival mode again. Obviously we can expect a few post-pandemic changes but by playing our part in keeping everyone safe we can support the event organisers. Things kick off on 25-27 June at Bonneville (16) with the eclectic mix of live events we’ve come to expect from Les Sarabandes: On the same weekend the Respire Jazz Festival fires up in the Parc de la Mairie de Montmoreau and at the Abbaye de Puypéroux (16), culminating with the 17-piece Dedication Big Band. Full details here: In previous years the Free Music Festival at the Lac de Montendre (17) has attracted huge crowds, so we can expect this year’s smaller edition, running from 2-3 July to be a sell out. Let It Free presents headliners PLK and TRYO. More: The 3 July will also find the Beatles Live Festival happening at the Château de Mornay (17), with exhibitions, screenings and live music details here: As we went to press details of this year’s Sites en Scène were still under wraps, but the organisers promise that theatre, concerts, festivals and other events in Charente-Maritime, so keep an eye on all the latest news at: The region’s big

Curtain up (at last...) With at least some familiar events finally announced, we take a look at the live music highlights which had been scheduled to go ahead as we went to press.

event, 2021 Cognac Blues Passions, isn’t happening. Instead we’re promised a host of smaller seated events through the summer, under the title Swing tout l’été – all will become clear soon at: Meanwhile, the ever-popular Les Heures Vagabondes has secured funding for a handful of free concerts around the Dépt de la Vienne featuring locallybased pro acts – full details soon at: On 10-14 July La Rochelle’s Vieux Port will host Les Francofolies, whose impressive line-up includes: Jean-Louis Aubert, Laurent Voulzy, Francis Cabrel, Benjamin Biollay and many more: From 17-24 July in the Dordogne valley the 45th Souillac en Jazz festival features daytime street music plus evening concerts from acclaimed musicians from throughout Europe. Details of times, venues, etc. at: At the other end of the cultural spectrum, the 50th annual Festival de Saintes’ classical concerts run from 17-24 July in and around the medieval Abbaye aux Dames. New this year: informal initiatives including public access to rehearsals. Full details: Further south, on 16-17 July Villages Sessions presents concerts in the chateaux of Villebois-Lavalette and La Mercerie (16) and at Gurat: Meanwhile, over in

Benjamin Biollay will be at Les Francofolies

Brive-la-Gaillarde (19) Le Plan B by Brive Festival fires up over the weekend of 22-25 July, with Jean-Louis Aubert headlining. Full information: Then from 20 July 9 August the 14th Festival 1001 Notes presents 11 classical music concerts by world-class performers including William Christie, at interesting venues including the ancient abbey church of Solignac (87): From 16 July- 4 Aug Royan (17) will host Un Violon Sur La Ville – a series of 20 classical music concerts in and around the town - details here: Meanwhile, inland at Caunay (79) on 13/14 Aug we have the Madhatter’s Wonderland Hop - keep an eye on: So, against all odds, we’ll have a musical summer, with the soundtrack of your choice!


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

16, 17, 79 and west Vienne

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

66 | living Language

Pardon? W Tu vins? Je vins!

ith the dust still settling from Brexit, I’ve found several of my British friends renewing their interest in the French language, with a good number preparing to take DELF tests for work purposes or even planning on undertaking the formalities for French naturalisation. I’m sure many of us would not be saddened therefore by recent news that the passé simple is declining in use. Speaking personally, I seem to have undertaken seven years of French at school without even being aware of the passé simple, his older sibling le passé antérieur or even his more popular friend, le subjonctif and all of his merry conjugated friends. This is despite having studied Molière and Sartre. How can a whole tense pass you by? To be honest, it’s probably a good job. The French passé simple seems destined to put anyone off the language for good. The only thing that’s remotely appealing about it is how ugly it is. According to one of my French friends, people don’t speak the passé simple so much because it is so very ugly to say. I’m not sure she’s right: it’s difficult to understand how a whole population could mainly use the passé composé when speaking rather than the more accurate passé simple just because they don’t like the sound of it. Yet I find that ugliness quite attractive in some ways. Take the simple past of ‘to do’ and ‘to be able to’: nous fîmes and nous pûmes. Don’t even get me started on how exactly they translate as I’m still lost in enjoying the delight of those very ugly îmes and ûmes endings. The vous form is even more deliciously ugly îtes and ûtes. Vous fîtes and vous pûtes. You did and you could. You can see why it’s perhaps

finding itself a little passé in terms of language evolution, joyfully ugly as they may be. Rolling those âtes and îtes and ûmes around in your mouth is enough to take the romance out of any language. Still, if you read regularly in French, you will certainly trip over the passé simple and his strange circumflexes and endings. I’m a big fan of reading familiar fiction in French, not least because it seems to bring out a different side in my favourite characters. If you read history or read novels in French, I know you’ll have seen that the passé simple gets much, much worse than the occasional strange and unfamiliar sound, though. Usually, the predictability of the endings of verbs means you can at least work out what you’re dealing with, how the conditional -ait gives you a clue that’s different from the future -a, for example. And there’s usually something that helps you work out what verb you’re dealing with, even if nobody can really explain how the future and the conditional of être becomes se, just to trip up non-native speakers. But once you know that serait is from être and you’ve got an idea about the ending, it’s

Take a trip in time with Emma-Jane Lee, our language expert easy-ish to work out that serait means he or she ‘would be’. But the passé simple throws you off in more ways than one. It’s often the unpredictability of the beginnings that leaves you looking at a word having next to no clue about anything. Just when you’ve kind of sussed that il fit starts with an ‘f’ and so does faire, that il put starts with ‘p’ and so does pouvoir, up pops avoir that starts its passé simple with ‘e’ and être that starts its passé simple with ‘f’. Thus, you may find yourself looking at ils eurent and ils furent wondering what exactly it is that you’ve got yourself into. French changes from being a fairly familiar beast from a recognisable taxonomy into a hideously unrecognisable monster that haunts your darkest dreams. The comfortable and familiar venir that took you a while to find friendly with its irregular je viens and nous venons becomes the confusing je vins (I wines?) and the frightening nous vinmes. No wonder it’s a tense left to reading. Who dreamed up je naquis, nous allâmes, nous tînmes and vous dûtes for ‘I was born’, ‘we went’, ‘we held’ and ‘you had to’ respectively? Still, any French people learning the dreaded préterit have it just as bad and remembering that the simple past of ‘bring’ is brought, the simple past of ‘ring’ is rang and the simple past of ‘cling’ is clung reminds us that English can be just as fun for those trying desperately to get their head around the verbs. These oddities, curiosities and linguistic anomalies are the best bits of language, though, if you ask me. 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

L i ving

PUBLISHER: Kathryn Dobson FEATURES EDITOR: Roger Moss Advertising: Jon Dobson Art editor: Nadia Van den Rym Production: Justin Silvester Regular contributors: Caro Feely, Susan Hays, Emma-Jane Lee, magazine Nikki Legon, Mike Morris, and Stig Tomas. WITH THANKS TO: John and Gill Bowler, Julia Moss. Photography: Shutterstock or Roger Moss unless indicated. Cover image: Picnic with white wine and summer fruits © Ekaterina Iatcenko / Shutterstock Published by: Anglo Media & MArketing, 2 Rue Buffefeu, 86400 Linazay FRANCE. Poitiers: 533 624 128 Printed by: Rotimpres S.A. Dépôt légal: A parution Issue: 78 ISSN: 2270-2709.

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

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