Living Magazine - June/July 2023

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Business Directory Featuring the best local companies JUNE | JULY 2023 PLUS: GREENER GETAWAYS WALKS FOR ALL NATURE NOTES LOCAL NEWS and VIEWS & much more... Island Escapes

Are You A British National Living In France?

Do you ask yourself these questions?

• How does tax work in France - pensions/investments/savings?

• What happens to my pension when I move to France?

• I’ve heard of an Assurance Vie - what is it?

• Can I still keep my ISAs and Premium Bonds - will they still be tax efficient?

• Is it better to invest in property or put my money into an investment?

Get in touch with me & I can answer these and many more questions you may have. Rosemary Sheppard - Senior International Adviser Mobile: +33 6 38 86 99 70

to our June / July issue

This has been such a fun issue to put together - who doesn’t love the thought of long summer days, golden beaches and time with friends and family? I’ve really enjoyed exploring the islands just off the Vendée coast, it’s the first time we have featured them, so you are in for a treat! And it goes to show, even though we have been publishing LIVING for fifteen years, there is so much we have yet to explore and share with you.

We know that it’s a challenge for some of our readers to get out into the countryside, whether it’s young ones in pushchairs, being unstable or a wheelchair user, or simply anyone looking for an amble rather than a full-on hike, so we explore the latest developments which open up walking routes to everyone. Plus, if you want to get out on two-wheels but don’t fancy taking the car, we discover where a train ticket can take you and your bike this summer. It’s getting much easier to plan round trips where the only car journey is to the nearest station.

With so much going on around the region, it is impossible to fit it all into the pages of one magazine, so don’t worry, our popular Summer Guide to Poitou-Charentes is back, packed with days out and festival fun. We’re expanding it to include some of the most popular festivals and days out in surrounding areas. Just head to our website from mid-June and you will be able to read it online and download a copy to keep (although we will be updating it through the summer so do check back regularly).

Don’t forget that you can subscribe to LIVING and have it delivered wherever you wish, it’s the perfect way to keep in touch with what is happening, especially if you aren’t here all year round. And, if you are lucky enough to live here then subscribing is the easiest way to make sure you never miss an issue!

Meanwhile, the team at LIVING wishes you all a wonderful summer. Remember to take your sunscreen and water with you when you explore our recommendations, it looks like it’s going to be a hot one!

Read online at EDITOR A bientôt!
THE ultimate MAGAZINE L i v in g magazine .fr UPDATED FOR 2023 of FUN IDEAS for all the family Hundreds to Poitou -Charentes

EDITOR: Kathryn Dobson

SALES: Jon Dobson



Caro Feely, Gillian Harvey, Jessica Knipe, Emma-Jane Lee, Nikki Legon, Mike Morris, Roger Moss, and Rosie Neave.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Roger Moss or Shutterstock unless indicated.

COVER IMAGE: Ile d’Yeu © A. Lamoureux/ Vendée Expansion


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Please ensure you verify that any company you are dealing with is registered in France and/or elsewhere around the world. Veuillez vous assurer que toute société avec laquelle vous traitez est enregistrée en France et/ou ailleurs dans le monde. Articles and adverts in this issue do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. Les articles et publicités de ce numéro ne reflètent pas nécessairement les opinions de l’éditeur.


6 Snippets

Local news from around the region


Island Escapes

Roger Moss visits two enchanted islands off the Vendée coast, each with its own unique personality


Everybody Out!

Traditionally, hiking trails are not known for even surfaces so Jessica Knipe goes in search of options that are accessible to all


Puzzle Break

Our unique crossword by Mike Morris


Greener Getaways

Tired of long, costly drives and searching for somewhere to park?

We think that there’s a better way as Roger Moss explains...


Every Drop Counts

After a dry winter, Gillian Harvey explores how we can all help save water this summer
23 Business Directory Featuring the best local companies JUNE JULY 2023 PLUS: GREENER GETAWAYS WALKS FOR ALL NATURE NOTES LOCAL NEWS and VIEWS & much more... Island Escapes
FOR EDITORIAL & SUBSCRIPTION ENQUIRIES: Email us at, phone +33 (0)5 49 97 10 17 or write to us at the address opposite. TO FIND OUT HOW TO ADVERTISE WITH LIVING MAGAZINE: Email us at or phone Jon on +33 (0)5 49 97 10 17. Prices start at only €40 ttc per month. GET IN TOUCH 50 28 38 Practical Advice Your questions answered by our experts 40 Wine Days Out this Summer Caro Feely recommends five fabulous destinations in and around Bergerac and Bordeaux 43 Nikki Legon’s Cuisine Salad inspiration to keep you out of the kitchen this summer 53-65 OUR BUSINESS DIRECTORY THE BEST LOCAL SERVICES AND SUPPLIERS ARE WAITING FOR YOUR CALL!
48 Living Property Pages We visit Château d’Oléron in Charente-Maritime 50 Connecting to Nature There are many ways to learn about the world around us, as Rosie Neave discovers 66 Pardon! Emma-Jane Lee’s regular foray into French 35 43
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Visa Delays



After last summer’s devastating fires several measures have been put in place to help prevent the loss of more trees this year. From June, Météo-France will be publishing a daily vigilance forecast with four levels of risk. Based on a model developed by Canada, this data will allow organisations to anticipate fires in around 40 forests highlighted as at risk. Additional aircraft will be available to fight fires in Nouvelle-Aquitaine including a helicopter with water-bombing capability, four Air Tractors capable of water delivery, and access to further Canadairs should larger capacity planes be needed. Surveillance cameras will also be located in forests as humans are the source of many of the fires. These actions are against the backdrop of the recent report into France’s forests which has highlighted that they have lost more than half of their annual carbon storage capacity since 2010, a vital tool in the fight to limit climate change.

British visitors and second-home owners wishing to stay longer than 90 days in France are facing frustration as they attempt to complete their applications for a visa in the UK. Problems experienced by TLScontact – the private firm managing the required paperwork and biometrics – have resulted in a lack of appointments at its three UK centres, and as a result, formalities won’t be completed in time for early summer trips. In an effort to improve the situation, the application website is planned to close for updating from 26-30 May. It is hoped that this will help to alleviate the issues which are causing many to reconsider their

Le Tour, which this year starts in Bilbao, Spain, is arriving in our region on Friday 7 July for stage 7 with riders leaving Mont-de-Marsan and covering the 170km to Bordeaux. On Saturday, the peloton will chase the leaders from Libourne to Limoges (201km) before exiting the region on Sunday from Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat where they begin the climb to Puy de DÔme. The race reaches Paris for the final stage on Sunday 23 July.

CSS Update

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JOURNÉES EUROPÉENNES DE L’ARCHÉOLOGIE run from 16-18 June with family-friendly archaeological events at many historic sites across the region.

FÊTE DE LA MUSIQUE is held on the summer solstice, Wednesday 21 June, and is celebrated throughout France.

Giant bonfires and conviviality are promised on Saturday 24 June, the FÊTE DE LA SAINT-JEAN

France’s FÊTE NATIONALE falls on Friday 14 July so we can enjoy a 3-day weekend this year. Check locally for open-air events, often with fireworks (if conditions allow).

Airport Tram

After four years of work, and five kilometres of additional track, Bordeaux-Mérignac airport is now served by a tram from the city centre. With one change at Porte de Bourgogne, it is possible to travel from the Gare St-Jean to the airport in 50 minutes for only €1.70. You may need extra time at rush hour, and you must remember to validate your ticket (which can be bought online) on both trams. To plan your journey, see


Pierre Loti

Expected to be the centrepiece of celebrations around the centenary of Loti’s death, his house in Rochefort (17) has proved more challenging to restore than originally thought, and more expensive given recent global events. The reopening was first delayed until 2024, but it now seems that 2025 is more likely. Closed in 2012 for safety reasons, the 10-million-euro budget needed for the renovation project has increased to 15 million euros and is being financed by grants from the State as well as regional and local organisations. The house has had to be stripped completely and is now slowly being pieced back together with the help of specialist artisans. Meanwhile, Loti’s centenary will still be celebrated over the weekend of 10-11 June with a full agenda of activities, culminating in a costumed picnic on the lawns of the Corderie Royale on the Sunday.

Memorial Repairs

The imposing memorial to Résistance fighters and French soldiers killed in action at Chasseneuil-sur-Bonnieure (16) is shrouded in scaffolding while urgent repairs are undertaken. In the shape of a Lorraine cross combined with a victory V (the emblem of the Résistance), the 21m-tall monument was built from 1945 by German prisoners and inaugurated by President Auriol in 1951. Surveyed in 2014, it became clear that the monument was in need of urgent repairs which first began in 2017. This second phase includes widening of the forecourt and is expected to be complete by November. The monument is at the heart of the 2-hectare national cemetery where 2,255 soldiers and civilians who died for France are buried. The memorial also houses a crypt where the leaders of the Charentais Maquis are buried including Claude Bonnier, and more recently Hélène Nebout who died in La Rochelle in 2014, at the age of 97, and was one of the cofounders of the Maquis Bir-Hachelm.

Le Train

Plans for the launch of independent inter- and intra-departmental trains are progressing well with an expected launch date of late 2024. Founded by entrepreneurs and rail experts in 2020 near Angoulême and now based in Bordeaux, Le Train aims to offer 50 daily trains serving 11 destinations in the west of France from Rennes to Bordeaux which covers an estimated 3 million rail users. The tickets are to be offered at ‘stable and competitive’ prices, expected to be between €20 and €30. The company is now raising the 50 million euros needed to launch the service, having negotiated the purchase of 10 second-hand high-speed trains which will be refitted with a capacity of 350 passengers each.

NEWS FROM AROUND THE REGION... LES CHARENTES Île de Oléron LA ROCHELLE Royan Marennes Rochefort Surgeres Île de Ré CHARENTE-MARITIME (17) Saintes Rouillac Ruffec Jarnac Cognac Barbezieux Aubeterresur-Dronne ANGOULEME CHARENTE (16) CONFOLENS
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Tourism Plan

La Rochelle (17) is a magnet for tourists and the city relies upon the 527 million euros generated by tourism in 2022 along with the 7,000 jobs it supported. But while the recent strategy has focused on the Atlantic Coast with its beaches and leisure activities, there is a growing recognition that inland sites which are rich in heritage and nature are being forgotten. A new ‘balanced tourism’ plan has been put forward to promote inland hiking loops as well as provide more cycle paths which link with the extensive Vélodyssée and Vélo Francette cycle routes which pass through the region. And bicycle tourism is surprisingly beneficial, with the average cyclist spending €71 per day compared to €50 for non-cyclists. The hope is that this more balanced approach will help drive a more sustainable tourist trade, appealing to tourists in the shoulder seasons of May/June and September/October.

Water Sports Ban

The mayor of Dolus-d’Oléron (17) has issued an order to ban kite-surfing, kite flying and longe-côte (where people walk parallel to the beach, up to their waist in the sea) on the beaches of the town. When asked why in an interview with Le Littoral magazine, he explained that he wanted to avoid the juxtaposition of these activities with more classic beach activities. His move has angered local businesses and individuals who say they should have been consulted. Recently, a mayor was convicted of manslaughter following the death of a young girl in a designated swimming area, an incident that has made other mayors consider the safety of activities off their coastline.

Meanwhile, the debate about the impact of Airbnb continues to rage, with the city of La Rochelle receiving a record of 11,000 requests for social housing as more property owners opt for the more lucrative tourist trade where they can earn the same in a few weeks as for a year on the housing market. 25

Barbezieux pool

The council at Barbezieux-Saint-Hilaire (16) voted unanimously in early May to not open the communal swimming pool this year in light of recent leaks and the drought conditions. Built in the 1950s, the pool loses 140m3 of water per day and surveys have been unable to find the source of the leak. Combined with soaring energy costs, the council took the difficult decision to not re-open despite 7,000 visitors in 2022. There is expected to be a public outcry but there is no budget for the necessary renovation. NEWS FROM AROUND THE REGION...

Issigeac Academy

Each year the Issigeac International Music Academy, founded by Adrian Lithgow and violinist Ishani Bhoola, runs courses and workshops for amateur musicians which give them the exceptional experience of being taught by world-class professional musicians. This year, Amsterdam-based Dudok Quartet will be teaching and performing alongside Ishani Bhoola (right) with Helen Leek on piano (left). Three concerts will be hosted at the Maison des Services in Issigeac on 22-24 June with tickets costing €15. The Dudok Quartet will be performing Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich, while Bhoola and Leek have a programme of Bach, Elgar and Beethoven. For details, see

Chapel Restoration

The chapel at Château des Milandes, the former home of Joséphine Baker, has reopened to visitors after extensive repairs. Built in 1503 to house the tombs of the noble family, the chapel (to the right of the photo) was ransacked during the French Revolution before being used as a barn during the 19th century. Restored to a place of worship at the beginning of the 20th century, its interior walls were plastered, covering over extraordinary 16th century murals that have recently been rediscovered and restored. Joséphine Baker was married to Jo Bouillon in the chapel and several of her ‘rainbow tribe’ children were baptised within its four walls. Entrance to the Château costs €13.50 for adults and €9 for children (5-16 years). Tickets can be purchased on the Château’s website.

Tiger Brigade

The increasing proliferation of tiger mosquitoes is concerning the health authorities as the insects bring diseases with them. Périgueux has created a specialist team, the ‘Brigade du tigre’ who are tasked with informing the public about simple steps that can be taken to stop the spread of these mosquitoes, as well as how to identify them. In addition, the city is offering financial aid for Périgueux residents to buy two types of external traps - see the council website for details.


Twilight, the popular retirement home for dogs, will be celebrating its 15-year anniversary with a fête and party on Saturday 3 June at SaintPaul-la-Roche. See Twilight’s website or Facebook page for full details of both events and help them to raise the funds needed to look after their residents now and in the future.

Sweet Moves

Saint-Avit-Sénieur has a new venue promising regular professional shows including music, theatre and circus acts. Food will be cooked over a wood fire, with dishes made from local, organic ingredients and vegetarians will have plenty of choice. Board games and pétanque are also on the agenda in this relaxed setting at the foot of the UNESCO-listed abbey. The whole team, including owners Florie and JB, speak English so look forward to meeting LIVING readers. NEWS FROM AROUND THE REGION...
P ÉRIGORD D ro nn e Be ll e

Golden Globe Winner



A hero’s welcome awaited South African sailor Kirsten Neuschäfer as she won the gruelling Golden Globe Race in 233 days, 18h 43m 47s despite being becalmed just hours before crossing the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne (85) on 27 April. History was made as the 39-year-old became the first woman to win an around-the-world race via the three great capes. The winner was far from certain with only a week to go as India’s Abhilash Tomy and Neuschäfer traded places in the 29,000 mile race. Starting the race at all was a remarkable come-back for retired Navy commander Tomy (43) after a catastrophic accident during the 2018 race. A violent storm caused his yacht to roll, losing both masts and resulting in him breaking his back and becoming trapped below decks until he was rescued. He finished this year’s race only a few hours behind Kirsten Neuschäfer, in second place.

Getting Out & About

The 25th edition of ‘Les Plus Beaux Détours de France’ has been published, in conjunction with Michelin, featuring 108 of the prettiest villages and small towns (between 2,000-20,000 residents). Thouars (79, below) and Fontenay-leComte (85) both make the list, as do several towns in neighbouring departments. There is a short description (in French) of each location, which this year includes the number of electric charging points as well as restaurants and which day is market day, as well as a town plan. It is an excellent small guide to have handy when going on a road trip as you often pass near to one of their recommendations. Alternatively, the list can be consulted on the association’s website. The guide is available at the tourist offices of the locations mentioned or can be ordered on the website at

Do you have visitors coming to explore Deux-Sèvres, or perhaps this is the year you finally visit all those sites you haven’t quite made it to yet? If so, then send off for your ‘Carnet Escapades’ from Deux-Sèvres Tourism which offers reductions at 70 different sites and activities, from hot-air ballooning to visiting the animal park Zoodyssée. There is also an interactive map on the website with all the details so it is easy to see what is near to you and plan your route.

DEUX SEVRES (79) VENDÉE (85) Thouars St Jean de Monts de Noirmoutier St Gilles Croix de Vie Chantonnay Luçon La Tranche sur Mer Les Sables d’Olonne Les Herbiers Montalgu Bressuire NIORT LA ROCHE SUR-YON SévreNantaise St-MaixentL’école Melle Parthenay Sévre Niortaise


Slow Tourism

As part of the ongoing efforts to find new ways to enjoy the best of the region in a more sustainable way, the Parc du Marais Poitevin has teamed up with local specialists in nautical holidays L’Agence Pamplemousse. Together they have formed Au Bout du Marais and taken delivery of two electric river barges powered by solar panels and which each sleep 4-6 people in two cabins, or carry 12 passengers. The boats can be rented for a day, or for a weekend or longer to explore Marans to Niort which includes 60km of navigable waterways passing through ten villages with seven locks. With a maximum speed of 10km/h, there will be plenty of time to enjoy the wonderful countryside.

Natural Spaces

A ‘biodiversity treasure’ in Clussais-la-Pommeraie (79) has been purchased by the regional Conservatory of Natural Spaces. Consisting of a 23-hectare lake, 31 hectares of forest stands and 7 hectares of wooded moorland, the Bois de Chevais site was secured for just under €400,000. According to the first inventory carried out, the site is home to 19 heritage plants, six of which are protected, 65 butterfly species and 92 different types of bird. Now that the site is secured, a plan is being developed to protect and manage the site as well as to carry out a more detailed audit. The organisation now manages around 50 sites in Deux-Sèvres covering just over 2,000 hectares, a reflection of its unique geological situation which encourages the development of wetlands, meadows and woodlands.

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Poitiers Zen

According to a recent study by Le Figaro, Poitiers is one of the least stressful cities in France. Judged on a range of criteria from noise and traffic jams, to the number of yoga classes and cycle paths as well as the proximity of work to homes, Poitiers shot up to fifth in the list. Aix-en-Provence, Angers, Nantes and Rennes took the first four places, with Bordeaux at seven and Paris at 24.


The availability of water for irrigation has been in the news over recent months with the running battles between protesters and police at Sainte-Soline (79). This issue is not going away as the region consumes more water than is available at certain times of the year, with areas in Vienne already on drought alert. However, less than 1% of water in France is recycled and this represents a future opportunity. Current regulations are being reviewed for 2030 to allow for more wastewater to be used. In La Villedieu-du-Clain (86), a large-scale wastewater reservoir has been storing recycled water for 15 years and using it to irrigate field crops of wheat, corn and rapeseed. Instead of drawing up water from a borehole, the water supply comes from the nearby sewage treatment plant, with 170,000m3 of wastewater being filtered before being stored for irrigation. Rare in France, this wastewater reservoir was born out of necessity as the soil is poor at storing water and things become complicated after 2-3 weeks without rain. In exchange the borehole on the farm is used to supply drinking water locally.

Wolves Return

Wolves have been seen across the region for a number of years, having first entered France in the early 1990s from Italy. Dordogne, Corrèze and Creuse have all had confirmed sightings. The national wolf plan, which compensates farmers for the loss of any livestock and finances prevention equipment, was implemented in Haute-Vienne in 2021, since when a number of farmers have claimed for the loss of livestock. More recently, breeders near Montmorillon (86) have seen evidence of attacks. Wolves are a protected species under the 1979 Bern Convention and some 600 individuals are now estimated to live in France. Individuals can roam 30-40km in a day over large territories, and wolves are fearful of humans unless cornered, generally avoiding all contact. For more information on wolves, the French biodiversity office has a dedicated website at

POITIERS LIMOGES VIENNE (86) HAUTE-VIENNE (87) Montmorillon Bellac Le Dorat St-Mathieu Nieul St-Yriex-la-Perche Ambazac Charroux Civray Chatellerault Loudon Chauvigny Rochechouart
LA FERME de la Vallée des CerFs La Vallée des Cerfs • Chez Mairine • 86430 LUCHAPT Tel: 05 49 48 89 65 • 06 85 55 31 06 • Horse trekking from 1 hr up to 6 days - see website Farm visits by appointment on Weds & Sat 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. Homemade Food - Menu du Jour. Restaurant closed Sunday. 1 hour from Poitiers, close to Le Vigeant race track. Event venue hosting up to 44 people - weddings / meetings and more. Port de Salles 86150 Le Vigeant | Tel: 05 49 48 27 27 Welcome drink o ered to all guests booking through LIVING!

Visit Limousin

Giant Cormorants

A protected species in France, cormorants are once more being seen on the banks of the Vienne River and around Limoges, much to the delight of local wildlife groups. Fishermen are not so overjoyed, particularly those who rely on fish for their living. Each cormorant requires around 400g of fish daily and so they find the local fish farms breeding trout to release particularly inviting. No longer able to manage the cormorant population through hunts on open water after a successful campaign by the LPO, the local fishing federation needs to prove they are harming fish stocks before they can apply for a permit to control the population.

Prestige Porcelain

Limoges’ Adrien Dubouché National Museum has won a coveted third star in the Michelin Green Guide, one of only twenty museums to obtain this distinction and the first in NouvelleAquitaine. Housed in two historic buildings, the museum was completely renovated in 2012 when the buildings were linked to provide one contemporary space. The museum traces the history of ceramics and preserves the finest Limoges porcelain collection in the world. Of the 18,000 pieces stored, 5,000 are on permanent display alongside temporary exhibitions. The museum has also been awarded the ‘Musée de France’ label for museums whose collections are of major public interest. Open daily (except Tuesday) from 10am-12.30pm and 2pm-5.45pm.


Zone Commerciale de SAVIGNÉ (86400) - Tel: 05 49 87 07 78
The Haute-Vienne tourism team have caused some confusion with their rebranding as ‘Limousinnouveaux horizons’, or Limousin New Horizons, following a survey of 800 people which showed that residents saw themselves as Limousins rather than Haute-Viennois. When asked whether Creuse and Corrèze teams, previously part of the Limousin administrative region alongside HauteVienne, would be joining them under the Visit Limousin umbrella, Executive Director Yves Buisson explained that the aim was to promote Haute-Vienne although this does not prevent them working with all their neighbours on specific activities. Given that the region only disbanded in 2016 and is, therefore, well established in the minds of many, time will tell if the communication strategy is effective in overcoming the effects of recent history. NEWS FROM

Island Escapes

When you feel the need to take a complete break from the daily routine then perhaps it’s time for a little island escapism. Fortunately, turning that dream into reality is more easily accomplished than you might imagine, with some interesting options off the Atlantic coast. In previous issues of LIVING we’ve got to know both the Île de Ré and Île d’Oléron rather well, but until now two attractive islands a little further up the coast have somehow remained something of a mystery. The larger and better known is

Noirmoutier, which you can reach from the modest port of Fromentine (85) via an elegant 700m-long road bridge which opened in 1971. Prior to that, island access required a bit of advance planning, since avoiding often violent tidal currents meant taking the nearby Passage de Gois, a slender 4.3km long causeway practicable only at times of low tide. Perhaps not surprisingly, the name derives from ‘goiser’, a local dialect expression meaning ‘to wade’, so check tide tables carefully if you’re thinking of joining those who still choose to reach the

island via the classic approach.

Once across, you’ll discover that the island packs a surprising amount into its compact, low-lying landmass. Much of it is sheltered from Atlantic storms by sand dunes overlooking long stretches of magnificent sandy beaches. When arriving on the southern tip of the island you’ll find the local beaches on the western coastline, while the landward side’s light, fertile soils are devoted to producing the celebrated Noirmoutier new potatoes. Around half a dozen or so varieties are grown, the most notable being La Sirtéma,
Roger Moss visits two enchanted islands off the Vendée coast, each with its own unique personality. Reaching Noirmoutier couldn’t be simpler

picked between 15 March and 25 April and proud possessor of the prestigious Label Rouge status.

Most of the remainder of the southern sector has seen residential development, typically in the form of cheerful whitewashed villas with blue shutters. To soak up the island vibe (and access local beaches and campsites) ignore the modern dual carriageway which heads north and instead follow the D95, which will take you through a succession of unassuming small villages towards the shops and services of Barbâtre. Nearby on the eastern shore you’ll find the Sébastopol Polder Nature Reserve, some 132 hectares reclaimed during the 19th century and now managed as a wetland nature reserve by the island’s Communauté de Communes.

Beyond Barbâtre you’ll reach the narrowest part of the island, just 500m wide. Here you can continue ignoring the dual carriageway and skirt the bay of La Guérinière, home to over twenty windmills, some of which

overlook beaches and once served as day marks for fishermen and other coastal navigators. The area also has some great cycle routes and footpaths, including routes through the maritime pines of the Bois des Éloux, planted during the 19th century to halt the sea’s advance by stabilising the dunes.

There are more coastal forests around the north of the island, including the 110-hectare Bois de la Chaise, where maritime pines are joined by evergreen oaks, arbutus and mimosa. Just inland lies Noirmoutier-en-l’île, the island’s capital town, which in 2022 became a ‘Petite Cité de Charactère’. The historic heart is best explored on foot, the narrow streets around the 12th-century Château de Noirmoutier (which has exhibitions and a museum dedicated to the history of the island) being particularly atmospheric.

After visiting the town, you’ll find that the northern coastline possesses further stretches of fine sandy beaches, several campsites plus the colourful village of Le Vieil, whose laid-back

L’Île des Mimosas

Noirmoutier owes its colourful tagline to the annual midwinter spectacle of bright yellow blossoms of Acacia dealbata. The first specimens were brought from Australia by Captain Cook, established on the Côte d’Azur during the 19th century and introduced on Noirmoutier shortly afterwards. Today they’re found in sheltered, sunny locations, particularly the gardens of historic villas at Bois de la Chaise, where mature trees protect them from exposure to winter winds.

Noirmoutier retains over twenty windmills The 12th century Château de Noirmoutier Traditional salt farming is still part of the island economy

island style makes it a magnet for summer visitors. Not far away, on the northwest tip of the island, is L’Herbaudière, whose port once had a sardine fleet and remains a busy coastal fishing port. Today it has a large marina for company with 574 deep water berths, making it a highly attractive facility for leisure sailors.

Below L’Herbaudière much of the landscape is occupied by productive clay-lined salt pans fed by a network of canals, perpetuating an island tradition founded by Benedictine monks during the 5th century. The results of continuous evaporation beneath the island sun include the renowned fleur de sel – natural, unprocessed sea

salt rich in magnesium, potassium and other minerals, plus trace elements like manganese, iron and zinc. Widely appreciated for their culinary properties and health benefits, Noirmoutier sea salts are for many visitors perfect souvenir purchases. You’ll find lots more island inspiration at 18 | LIVING ISLANDS
The Île d’Yeu has idyllic sandy beaches

Meanwhile, a little further down the Vendée coast and around 17km offshore lies island escapism of a subtly different kind, courtesy of the Île d’Yeu. Despite having a surface area of just 23km2, the landscapes are remarkably varied, more exposed sections of the northern and western shores defying the Atlantic with their own rugged Côte Sauvage, while their eastern and southern counterparts have a succession of fine sandy beaches sheltered by dunes and tracts of maritime pines and evergreen oaks.

There’s a tangible sense of history, too, and the island’s appeal as a place of retreat and renewal is clearly nothing new, judging by the presence of several prehistoric menhirs and dolmens. Until around 7,000 years ago Yeu was attached to the mainland by a natural rocky causeway known as ‘le Pont d’Yeu’, sections of which are still exposed during low spring tides. However, ancient texts refer to ‘Insula Oya’, creating a romantic-sounding image

The Île d’Yeu sits 17km off the Vendée coast

which would eventually inspire the entire population of one Breton village to simply up sticks and settle here with their priest during the 16th century.

They would no doubt also have been aware of the island’s mild, sunny microclimate whose mid-winter temperatures seldom drop below 7°C, encouraging oleanders, camelias, hollyhocks, asphodels and countless orchids to produce spectacular displays, accompanied by the fleeting blossoms of what will become fruitladen trees and vines. The conditions also favour market gardening and other agricultural activities, with new initiatives currently being encouraged by ‘Terre Fert’île’ a project supported by the island’s Comité de Développement de l’Agriculture.

Fishing has also seen changes in

response to a need to conserve fish stocks but sole, sea bass, hake and linecaught albacore tuna and other species are still landed on the quaysides of Port Joinville. Beside the old port is a large marina with 658 berths, 233 of which are reserved for visiting leisure craft –an attractive stopover option, since the port is accessible at all tide states and sits almost exactly midway between those of Belle-île and La Rochelle.

It’s possible to bring a car, but the island has relatively little road traffic, making walking and cycling relaxing ways to see the sights, while affordable summer bus services circulate between towns, beaches, viewpoints and other popular locations. Alternatively, for a special occasion you could even take a helicopter tour from the Aérodrome de l’Île d’Yeu. Sited on the north-western

Getting to the Île d’Yeu

Compagnie Yeu-Continent operates a 30min high-speed catamaran service all year round from Fromentine. In summer months Compagnie Vendéenne operates a 45min service from Fromentine (April–Oct) plus a 1hr service from Saint-Gilles Croix-de-Vie (April–Sept).

For the timetable and booking info, visit LMyeu.

corner of the island, it has a modern tarmac runway for fixed-wing light aircraft and a sensational backdrop of the vast Atlantic.

Talking of which, what about beaches? Whatever your preferred setting, from small, sheltered coves and coastal creeks to glorious wide sandy stretches backed by dunes and maritime pines, you’ll find the perfect spot for some revitalising island escapism. Most are ideal for safe family swimming, in crystal-clear shallow waters with surprisingly mild temperatures and no dangerous currents – and riding lazily between them with truly magnificent unspoilt coastline for company takes the freedom of cycling to a whole new level.

For more information and insights, see



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


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


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

Zoo de La Palmyre is open all year round

1 April to 30 September: 9am to 7pm

1 October to 31 March: 9am to 6pm

Presentations of sea lions and parrots from Easter to Toussaint

05 46 22 46 06

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


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

ALL PHOTOS © F. PERROUX/ZOO DE LA PALMYRE Follow us on : @zoolapalmyre_officiel @ZooLaPalmyre
Moving you since 1986
Br i ngi ng your French d ream to l i fe


Jessica Knipe goes in search of trails that are accessible to all...

The rugged, lace-up boots. The bulky, tensed calf muscles. The panoramic view from the top of a cliff… You get the picture – it’s the evergreen cliché hiking shot, the one in every sports shop window. But what if you don’t live near a mountain trail? And what if you don’t have access, geographically or physically, to picturesque heights? Don’t let any of that stop you: thanks to some innovative new smartphone applications and inclusive associative initiatives, now you can still join in on the hiking fun!

The new Balade à Roulettes label (BR®), for example, is revolutionising the lives of those who depend on wheels to get around, whether that’s mobility impaired wheelchair users, people who rely on a zimmer frame, or simply new parents with their pushchairs.

A BR® trail is guaranteed to be short

and peaceful, with smooth surfaces and limited traffic, wide paths and plenty of rest stops along the way. Selected by the Fédération Française de la Randonnée (, the paths can be searched by region, technical difficulty and their attributes – a water

feature, a playground, points of local interest, restauration, etc. – and offer safe and fun ways for everyone to enjoy time outdoors.

Wheelchair users who are looking for something a little more exciting can also research wheel-friendly trails on websites such as, or by clicking on the “Respect” option on Rossignol’s On Piste app. The Respect Program lists not only sustainable, environmentally friendly trails, but also routes for people with disabilities. Working in collaboration with the Fédération Française Handisport, the paths

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encourage people with wheels to join in and explore routes throughout Nouvelle-Aquitaine and further afield, showing trails in order of difficulty and terrain, but also by the width of the path to see if a wheelchair will fit, as well as how smooth the surface is, and how high the obstacles are. “This tool helps users know whether an urban chair will work, or if a three-wheel or all-terrain version is necessary,” explains Emmanuel Buchoud, technical advisor for the FFH. “Able-bodied hikers can also find out whether they’ll need special equipment, or whether they’ll need a hiking partner to go with them.”

So what’s the difference with just following a normal footpath? “The accessible paths in place today are mostly cemented or made up of wooden platforms,” says Emmanuel. “It’s not exactly natural, more like

bringing the city to the countryside. They also only give access to a small portion of the larger hike, but there are plenty of other options available to people with disabilities.” That’s what On Piste is trying to bring to the table. For those whose impediment to going for a hike also includes a transportation element, large towns and cities have started to create inner city, urban hikes. Bordeaux is leading the way with its Grande Randonnée® label, the first of its kind in France: a 160-kilometre-long network of walks that are adapted to all and are split into 11 units from 40 minutes to a whole day of walking, it’s a way to allow city dwellers to enjoy the great outdoors without having to organise travel far from their home.

Parks, forests, rivers and marshes –they are all within easy access for those who live in the metropolitan

3-wheeled chairs can open up additional route options Some beaches have paths to help wheelchair users reach the sea such as here at Arcachon (33)

Top trails with wheels


This route is an exploration of the salt marshes of Oléron (17): how they work, their history, who works in them now, and how they compare to salt marshes around the world. It’ll open up all of your senses!


This path along the riverbank in Niort (79) is one for only the sportiest among you – although it has no steps and a smooth surface for wheel users, it does have steep hills to climb and different levels for HIIT training warm-ups.


Four different paths are accessible to bird watchers and nature lovers near Rochefort (17), with

information along the way to learn about what you can see. Here’s a pro tip though: birdwatching here is best done at high tide.


Part of Bordeaux’s GR® network (33), following the red and white arrows of this Super Balade will take you past the majestic Châteaux and utopian Le Corbusier homes built among the ancient vines of the PessacLéognan appellation.


Before the canals, anyone trying to join the Atlantic from the Mediterranean had to circumnavigate through the strait of Gibraltar – a 3,000-km detour. This 3km Balade à Roulettes® around Castets-etCastillon (33) takes you along the shady banks of part of the solution to that problem.

La Ferme de Chassagne at Villefagnan (16240) Summer Fridays, join us from 6pm on: 2nd June, 7th & 21st July & 4th August Meals and refreshments available & live music Food & drink from local producers, crafts, beer & fresh organic bread from our farm bakery and some 25 other stalls The team at ANB IMMOBILIER would be delighted to assist you with the sale or purchase of your property one FR EN ES languages spoken : The team at ANB IMMOBILIER would be delighted to assist you with the sale or purchase of your property - Innovative tools : virtual visit the drone FR EN languages spoken : The team at ANB IMMOBILIER would be delighted to assist you with the sale or purchase of your property - Innovative tools : virtual visit the drone FR EN NL ES languages spoken : The team at ANB IMMOBILIER would be delighted to assist you with the sale or purchase of your property - Innovative tools : virtual visit the drone FR EN ES languages spoken : Come and visit us at our new premises in Montbron (16) or visit us in Ruelle (16) or Le Gua (17). Are you looking to buy, rent or sell your house? Talk to the specialists in property in the Charentes and north Dordogne. Tel: 09 72 66 52 19
des Salines (17) Organic

area of Bordeaux. By choosing a point of interest to explore, the map suggests a route that is accessible by public transport, can accommodate people with disabilities, and allows an escape from the daily grind without having to organise overnight accommodation. Although those who are feeling a little more adventurous (and organised –book ahead) can stay in one of the “Refuges périurbains” designed for GR®

hikers. Unique and original pods set along the hiking paths, these refuges are inspired by the places that they seemed to have landed in, and are open to the general public, for free, as long as they are booked in advance (lesrefuges.

There’s no reason anyone should not be able to get out and about and enjoy more than the standard sights. Everybody out, it’s time to take a hike!

“Parks, forests, rivers and marshes – they are all within easy access ”

Find a shady spot and get your grey cells working to solve these unique clues set by Mike Morris. If you need help, take a peek at page 45.


7. PW changed on the spot; this is becoming a bit of a habit. (6)

9. As pledged, is found in Rome absorbed in planning daily starts. (8)

10. New optic prescription relieves pressure on the ear. (4)

11. Sadly Dane’s steer is to be made into soap. (10)

12. Extremely happy knowing “that’s the way to do it”? (7, 2, 5)

15. Being against a worker, the first person encountered. (4)

16. Extra department building on centre of commerce? (5)

17. Has to provide grape juice? (4)

19. Looter was disturbed by tunes being played by kinky musicians? (8, 6)

20. Nut strived hopelessly to become underwater risk taker in the films. (5, 5)

23. Well-organised cartoonist? (4)

24. Reserve investigation is shelved? (8)

25. Unmarried, living in sin gleefully. (6)


1. Half of London is following me in Bath cross-country event. (8)

2. Expert undercover police found in piles scattered on the street. (10)

3. Work starts on project using sunlight. (4)

4. Financial concerns evident when Spurs seen in battle with Rome and youth leader. (5, 9)

5. Generous? Well sort of. (4)

6. Hunt for brand on outskirts of cattle-ranch. (6)

8, 19. Simple love for doctor, often heard at 221B Baker Street? (10, 4, 6)

13. In dire straits could be called on to remember this; it’s essential to an equal amount. (5)

14. Choosing French name for home of crazy giant. (10)

18. How quickly someone is deeply upset? (8)

19. See 8 Down

21. Bomb university in end of season attack exercise? (4)

22. Turn away suddenly to avoid hesitation on day of European success? (4) 26 | LIVING DAYS OUT
26 27 1 7 9 10 10 12 14 15 19 23 20 1 19 2 2 21 3 8 11 16 4 10 24 3 9 13 22 5 25 4 6 17 21 5 14 17 23 7 12 11 6 18 7 12 24 25 26 27
A network of wheel-friendly paths gives access to Port des Salines (17)
Refuges périurbains offer basic accommodation on Bordeaux routes


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Charentaise Charm

Charente €265,000

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Character Property

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Ref: 83524 - Magnificent 12 bedroom 18th century logis and holiday cottages.

6% agency fees included paid by the buyer. Energy class: D Climate class: B

Stunning Views

Creuse €158,050

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9% agency fees included paid by the buyer. Energy class: E Climate class: B


Sitting Pretty

Charente €152,000

Ref: A20144 - Lovely 3-bedroom detached house in perfect condition.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.

Energy class: D Climate class: B


Ideal Holiday Home

Vienne €135,000

Ref: A12670 - 4-bedroom house with a garden, 100m from the river.

9% agency fees included paid by the buyer. Energy class: F Climate class: B


Deux-Sèvres €278,200

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Little Gem

Haute-Vienne €174,000

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5% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

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Spacious Family Home

Charente-Maritime €604,200

Ref: A20086 - Converted barn and cottage with 10-bedrooms and pool.

6% agency fees included paid by the buyer. Energy class: C Climate class: A


Gîte Potential

Deux-Sèvres €272,850

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7% agency fees included paid by the buyer. Energy class: E Climate class: E


Investment Opportunity

Charente €278,200

Ref: 95800 - 4-bedroom holiday home with pool on a gated complex.

7% agency fees included paid by the buyer. Energy class: D Climate class: B

Fantastic Farmhouse

Vienne €328,600

Ref: A12905 - 4-bedroom renovated house with outbuildings and gardens.

6% agency fees included paid by the buyer.

Energy class: C Climate class: A

Historic Home

Charente-Maritime €356,382

Ref: A12575 - Stunning 3-bedroom charentaise stone manor house.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller.

Energy class: D Climate class: D

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Greener Getaways

Tired of long, costly drives and searching for somewhere to park? We reckon there’s a better way.

France is huge, and creating the vast road network we now take for granted was a monumental undertaking which took generations of workers many years to complete. That wasn’t the case for the railways, however, which attracted huge investment and which within a generation had spurred an unprecedented wave of economic development. They also inspired ordinary people to explore the wonders of their great nation. Happily, the greater part of the French rail network remains intact, offering us environmentally sustainable opportunities to do likewise, so let’s look at some of the best rail-served and

bike-friendly getaway destinations. And since high summer is here, we’ll turn our attention towards the coast. Historic Bordeaux is well served by rail connections, and delivers all the vibrant, big city buzz you’re craving. It has also taken the bike-friendly concept to a whole new level, with over 1400km of bike lanes and dedicated itineraries for cyclists, plus free service points (with tools and tyre pumps) in popular locations. Space permitting, bikes can also travel free of charge on the tramway network during off-peak periods (9am – 4pm) or at any time for folding bikes. What’s more, on the first Sunday in each month (excluding January and August) you’ll find the heart

of the city blissfully car-free, so you can discover things at your own pace. But what about the coast? Well, the elegant belle époque resort of Arcachon owes its very existence to the rail services from Bordeaux which were inaugurated in 1857. Today the journey by TER takes just 49min and passes through the pine forests of the Landes before reaching the southern shore of the famous bassin, where you’ll find 77km of cycle routes. While you’re here take a quick ferry ride across the bay from Arcachon to très chic Cap Ferret, an idyllic spot on the tip of a slender, sandy peninsula.

Alternatively, onward TER services from Bordeaux’s Gare Saint-Jean will
PHOTOS TOP: © NICOLAS DUFFAURE / BORDEAUX TOURISM WORDS: ROGER MOSS Cycle routes through Bordeaux are a great way to see the sights

take you to some tempting possibilities further south on the Basque coast, the most obvious being Biarritz. Here you can watch the surfers riding the mighty Atlantic rollers, discover the original Port des Pêcheurs, get eye-to-eye with fascinating sea creatures in the Art Déco ‘Musée de la Mer’ aquarium or gaze longingly at the window displays of Hermès and other celebrated boutiques. There’s fine fish and seafood dining, too, something you’ll also enjoy in nearby Bayonne, which you can reach by following a dedicated cycle route beside the coast and the Adour river. The city’s medieval heart looks startling in the summer sun, as does the Gothic Cathédrale Sainte-Marie. Don’t miss the Art Déco interior of the Galeries Lafayette department store, though, or sampling the delights of local specialist tea sellers and chocolatiers.

A couple of stops further down the rail line from Bayonne are Saint-Jean-de-Luz and neighbouring Ciboure, two authentic Basque fishing ports with modest sandy beaches sheltered within a bay offering moorings and marina berths for leisure craft. You can cycle between them, and if you’re fit you can press on via the Corniche Basque to reach the magnificent sandy beaches and elegantly styled villas of Hendaye – or simply take the train. Either way, the colourful Basque resort and the old town will leave you in little doubt that tucked away just beyond the marina is the border with Spain.

Before we leave onward connections from Bordeaux, there’s another intriguing option if you feel like doing a circular tour by rail, with lots more away-from-it-all cycling country if you take or hire a bike. The TER line 42 leaves the Gare Saint-Jean and heads through the world-famous vineyards of the Médoc via Pauillac and Soulac-sur-Mer, another coastal resort developed by the railway company as a stylish getaway destination for wealthy families from Bordeaux. The largely flat landscape provides lots

Relaxing with a view at Saint-Jean-de-Luz (64) Early morning at Biarritz

Train travel with a bike

SNCF offers a range of options for those travelling with bikes. Flexibility varies according to the rail service you wish to use. Probably the most interesting for most of us are TER regional trains on which your bike travels free of charge. Be aware, though, that spaces are limited and can’t be booked in advance, so arrive at the gare in good time for the best chance of finding a space, then just hang or place your bike in a designated area. For longer TGV journeys on Ouigo Train Classique or Intercités you can reserve a bike space for 10€ (or just 5€ on Ouigo if you use a bike travel bag).

NB: on all services you’ll be responsible for your bike at all times during the journey, and must avoid inconveniencing other travellers. Info:

of relaxed cycling opportunities, or you can simply relax on one of the many stretches of golden, sandy beaches found on this unspoilt stretch of coastline.

Beyond Soulac the TER continues northwards to the Pointe de Grave, at the mouth of the Gironde, while in summer months you can transfer to a narrow-gauge tourist train and roll sedately for 7km or so through otherwise silent pine forests, with a

well-surfaced cycle track for company. Just below the Pointe de Grave are the port of Le Verdon and the adjoining Port Médoc marina, whose quayside restaurants are perfect for a relaxed lunch. Le Verdon is the departure point for the frequent ferry service to Royan, from which you can take the train via Saintes and Cognac to Angoulême, thereby completing an enjoyable and completely car-free circular grand tour.
Sea-front dining at Châtelaillon-Plage (17)
“Happily, the greater part of the French rail network remains intact”

Saintes is another prime candidate for a rail-based getaway, since it sits around the midpoint of TER rail services between Bordeaux and La Rochelle. The upper section passes through attractive spots including the riverside market town of SaintSavinien and the fascinating historic former naval port of Rochefort. The latter preserves France’s very last transporter bridge, while rail-accessible Tonnay-Charente possesses one of Europe’s earliest suspension bridges, completed in 1842. Beyond Rochefort the line reaches St Laurent-de-la-Prée, from which a gentle bike ride will bring you to Fouras, with a casino, a choice of sandy beaches and a mighty fort built to defend Rochefort’s dockyards from seaward attack. Cycle on and you’ll reach the Pointe de la Fumée with a tidal causeway out to the haunting Fort Enet. Meanwhile, the TER route follows the Atlantic coastline via the deservedly popular resorts of Châtelaillon-Plage, Angoulins and Aytré before reaching La Rochelle, another bike-friendly break destination which is a delight to explore on two wheels. The routes are gentle enough, and between the vast marina of Les Minimes and the commercial port of La Pallice you’ll pass through places you

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would otherwise never discover. You needn’t stop there, of course. A bus service from the Gare de La Rochelle will take you to the Île de Ré, although for now at least, taking a bike isn’t possible. You could, however, always cycle across or hire a bike from one of the many rental points on the island, whose 110km of itineraries for cyclists allow you to escape the worst of the peak season road traffic.

Above La Rochelle the TER Nouvelle-Aquitaine line passes through Marans then enters the Pays de la Loire network en-route for La Rochesur-Yon (which has a connection for Les Sables d’Olonne), Nantes and beyond. Bear in mind, though, that

La Rochelle’s main rail links are from Angoulême and more importantly, Poitiers (via Niort), which carries both TER and TGV services.

The high-speed direct services allow travellers from Paris to reach La Rochelle in well under three hours, although we’re in the happy position of having a head start on them. While TER trains can’t compete for out-andout speed, they do offer much greater flexibility in the choice of locations served – plus we get to see a lot more of our great countryside, and can travel with a bike at no extra cost.

In the next issue of LIVING we’ll be heading inland and looking at more green getaway destinations. 32 | LIVING GETAWAYS
Beach access at L’Aiguillon-la-Presqu’île (85) Tonnay-Charente (17) Royan marina (17)

Le 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 Durfort-Duras 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, then mount the tower to complete the visit. Visit on your own or with an audioguide (available in French and English).

4D show: Immerse yourself in the history and legends of the Château in a contemporary fantasy world with this 40-minute sound and light show. July and August: Tue, Thu and Sun at 10.30pm on both sides of the Château. Musketeer show: Between sword fights and stunts, the brigands will not escape the King’s Musketeers. Every day at 2.30pm from 8 to 26 July.

Falconry show: Discover the surprising world of falconry with birds of amazing abilities. A fascinating show that will amaze young and old alike! Every day at 4.30pm (8 to 26 July) or 2.30pm (27 July to 27 August).

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 27 July to 27 August.

Equestrian Fire Show: Horses, flames, acrobatics. A surprising show. Friday evenings from 28 July to 25 August at 10.30pm.


July & Aug: Open daily 10am-7pm (9.30pm on Tue, Thu, Sun) MId-season: 10am-1pm and 2-6pm

Château Entry: Adult 11€, students and 13-18 years 8€, 5-12 yrs 6€, under-5s free. Audioguide 2.50€ (fr, en) Château + shows (8 July-27 Aug): Adult 16€, students 12.50€,13-18 yrs 10.50€, 5-12 yrs 10€, under-5s free.

4D show: over 15 yrs 8€, 7-14 yrs 3€, under-7s free Village Visit: After visiting the Château, discover the village with the help of a free audioguide available in French and English from

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

Every Drop counts

Most of us enjoy the blue skies and sunshine of summer to the more inclement winter weather. But after a dry winter, reservoirs in France are below normal levels and almost a quarter of French departments are already facing usage restrictions.

Gillian Harvey explores how we can all help...

Earlier this year, President Macron announced a water crisis plan which includes over 50 ways in which to share, reuse and save water. And while a great many of his proposals need to be carried out at a governmental level (an average of 20% of water is lost to leaks in France), or apply to agriculture or business, there are lots of things we can do to save water, make the most of supply and keep our gardens as healthy as possible to boot.

Saving Water

One way to save a significant amount of water is to use ‘run off’ water many of us waste when waiting for hot water to come through a tap or shower. Paula Hirst from Deux-Sèvres saves water this way and gains around two litres a day: “I catch the run-off water from the tap to use on plants, dog bowl, kettle, bottle in the fridge, etc,” she says. “I also save washing up water for the garden if it’s not too dirty.”

As well as collecting water, it’s possible to reduce the amount of water you use in the first place by taking simple, thoughtful steps. Many of us are guilty of leaving the tap running when brushing our teeth, and who hasn’t spent a few extra minutes in the shower to reach the end of Bohemian Rhapsody before exiting (just me?). Taking care of any leaks or dripping taps can work wonders and, although we’re not advocating being dirty, it’s worth considering how often your clothing really needs to be washed.

Rainwater Harvesting

Of course, when it does rain, you’d do well to hang on to some of that free water falling from the sky. The easiest way to do this is by using a water butt – but you can maximise your yield by having more than one. Minimise waste by connecting two butts together and see your water bill plummet. “Make sure water butts are well covered for safety purposes and to reduce mosquitoes,” says horticulturist Ruth Howlett (who trades as Mme Jardinière) from Charente-Maritime. “And investigate whether your house has a cistern underground, many old French houses do so it’s worth exploring.”

Depending on rainfall and the size of your water butt, you may be able to save 20,000 litres of water or more this way. And the great news is, this water can be used freely in paddling pools and on flowerbeds, whatever restrictions are in place. An extra plus is the natural water may well be better for those with sensitive skin.

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How does your Garden grow?

Keen gardeners may shudder at the thought of having to reduce the water on their gardens, but as well as harvesting rain water to freely use on your precious plants, there are ways to use that water wisely and protect your plants from the worst of the dry weather.

Improve your Soil

“Improving your soil is absolutely vital,” says Howlett. “For example, use mulch around a plant to act both as a weed suppressant and to keep the soil moist for longer. If you’re trimming a hedge, shred the trimmings and put them back under the hedge.

Soil can also be improved by using compost. “Many mairies are giving out composters at the moment, so ask to see if that applies in your area,” recommends Howlett. “There are lots of articles on how to make decent compost online, and it really is easy.”

In addition, some recommend putting water retention gel in your pots, which can improve the resilience of the plant.

Plant Wisely

“Planting plants closer together can also help to preserve moisture,” explains Howlett. “It sounds counter-intuitive, but the proximity will actually mean they provide more shade to the soil. And do your research – choose your plants based on the climate and look around to see what grows well in your area.

Be Realistic

If you’re thinking of creating an English country garden, it’s probably best to think again. Rather than set yourself up to fail, consider plants that are better adapted to a climate that can reach 40 degrees in the summer. “I’ve noticed in French gardens they rely a lot on sculpture,” says Howlett. “In certain seasons it’s hard to have points of interest, but using old stone to form a rock garden, for example, can be a great way to keep your garden looking great without increasing the need for watering.”

Water Carefully

Watering in the early morning or evening will ensure that the plants get to make the most of the moisture before it evaporates in the heat. “Water at the base of the plants and if you can use water spikes to ensure as much water as possible gets to the roots. Try

making a little dip around the plant in the soil to make sure the water doesn’t splash or run away, but sits at the base of the plant.”

Use Grey Water

While it’s not ideal to use ‘dirty’ water on our flowerbeds, in a drought some water is better than none. “Plants are much more likely to die through lack of water than from a bit of soap,” says Howlett. “Use an eco-product that doesn’t contain petrochemicals when you’re washing up, and use it sparingly.” Others take this measure to extremes: “I know of quite a few people who were saving their bathwater last year,” she adds.

With a little forward thinking, a more mindful attitude towards water waste and a decent rainwater collection system in place, we – and our flowerbeds – can look forward to the summer without fear. 36 | LIVING WATER
Gillian Harvey is a freelance writer and author living in the Limousin. Her latest novel ‘One French Summer’ has just been released with Boldwood Books.

EXPLORE North Charente

Beautiful sunny days have returned! As we embrace the sunshine, leisurely strolls by the water, alfresco drinks on terraces, and the joy of sandals and t-shirts, we often find ourselves seeking a shaded retreat to cool down. The Nord Charente Tourist Office has some fantastic suggestions to help you make the most of the warm weather!

There’s nothing quite like a refreshing dip in the water to beat the heat. North Charente offers two fantastic swimming pools in Mansle (open in July-August) and Ruffec. For those who prefer the great outdoors, several supervised spots provide safe swimming throughout July and August. Not only is Le Réjallant in Condac a popular destination, but Trois Fontaines lake in Villefagnan and the swimming area at Portal in Vars are also charming locations to visit.

The Charente river is a real haven of peace and freshness. With four canoe bases you can discover the wild riverbanks with their lush greenery. Choose your vessel –be it a canoe, paddleboard, or pedalo – and set off on an adventure from Taizé-Aizie, Condac, Mansle, or Montignac-Charente.

For a more peaceful experience, several North Charente gardens are intertwined with water. The Jardins de l’Argentor in Nanteuil-en-Vallée are a must-see, boasting a majestic century-old red cedar tree, a charming plant labyrinth, and a picturesque footbridge over the Argentor

canal. Enhance your visit by exploring the village through the Terra Aventura geocaching trail or the Archistoire app. Les Jardins Éphémères de l’Isle Nature in St-Fraigne, which flood each winter, highlighting how important water is! At the Maison de l’Eau, the “Water from Above” exhibition unveils the role of satellites in understanding Earth’s water resources and the fragility and value of this essential lifesustaining resource.

However, water isn’t the only source of respite from the heat. The beautiful Charente stones of the region’s Romanesque churches offer a cool oasis. Collect the booklet from the Tourist Office and embark on a journey to discover Romanesque art, including must-visit sites such as the Abbey of St-Amant-deBoixe and Lichères. Ruffec, Empuré and Cellefrouin also merit a detour.

For a more leisurely pursuit, why not enjoy a film at Le Family cinema in Ruffec, which regularly features VOST movies?

Lastly, if you’re looking to quench your thirst, visit Tusson’s chez Gâteaux, where

Lydia’s shaded terrace invites you to enjoy lemonade and scrumptious cookies. Alternatively, the charming Lolly’s Tea Room in Nanteuil-en-Vallée, located near the church, serves generous slices of cake accompanied by iced tea or fruit juice –perfect for a relaxing afternoon treat.

Église Empuré Les Jardins de l’Argentor


Updating Property Energy Audits

QI had a complete set of energy reports completed for my house sale last year, but I am being recommended to have a new set after changes to the way less energy efficient houses are viewed. Can you explain why I need to get a new set?

AIt sounds as though your house may have been classed with an energy rating of F or G in the assessments that you had done. Last year, a new climate law was passed and, from 1 April 2023, an additional report called an energy audit (audit energétique) is required. The new legislation aims to reduce the number of houses on the market that the government brands ‘passoire énergétiques’ or energy sieves. These are properties which have been given a DPE rating (diagnostic de performance énergétique or energy performance certificate) in the two lowest bands, F and G.

There are two steps to the audit. To start with, you will need to make an appointment with a certified diagnostiqueur who will revisit your property with the person living in the property, and ask additional questions to those asked in the original DPE visit. These will include questions about whether you have had any work done to the property since the DPE assessment and, if so, if you got financial benefits from the government, e.g.: ECO PTZ, whether the property has access to a natural gas source, and so on. The diagnostiqueur will need a certain number of documents too, such as proof of utility consumption - electricity, water and gas - as well as heating usage. During the visit, the diagnostiqueur will also look at the location and orientation of the property, and write up a full description of each room in the property.

All this information is then used to work on six axes to improve the property's energy

rating: floorings, walls, ceilings, ventilation systems (e.g. VMC), windows, doors, and finally what the French call 'ECS' which includes the hot water, heating and sanitary systems.

The second step is more complex. The diagnostiqueur has to calculate the best solutions to improve the rating of the property. The new legislation requires this to be done in two stages, called scenarios. The first scenario details what is needed to change the rating of the property directly from F or G to B. The second scenario takes the rating gradually, in 3 different steps, to a B. The calculations are based on average prices for all the building supplies, labour prices and related costs (e.g. renting scaffolding etc.) required for the project which take into consideration the current market as well as any regional variations.

The audit report gives you (and your future buyer) an idea of what improvements are required to reduce your property’s energy consumption and raise your rating, a guide

to how much these works will cost and details of any financial aids you are eligible for. There is not any obligation to have the work done, although limitations are placed on buildings in categories F and G should you wish to rent the property out.

This is the first wave of the new scheme; it is expected that houses rated in band E will follow in 2025, and band D in 2034.

Jean-Cyril Leveille has been assessing properties for12 years and owns JCT Diagnostics Immobiliers. English & French spoken. 9 Pl. d'Armes, 16700 Ruffec T: 05 45 30 00 98


Assurance Vie Currency Options

QI want to invest in an Assurance Vie (AV) in sterling because the exchange rate into euros is not right for me now. My local bank says they can only invest in euros and that ONLY an AV taken out in France has inheritance tax benefits - is this true?

AEach bank has their own products and whilst some might offer currency flexibility, on the whole most French banks will only allow you to invest in euros. Reasons vary for wanting to keep money in sterling. It might be that money held in France is be-

ing sent back to the UK, or when one partner dies they feel they would rather move back closer to family in the UK, or the exchange rate seems unfavourable currently. Thankfully, there are number of professional, fully regulated, English-speaking financial advisors in France that can help. The main jurisdictions outside France offering AV solutions are Ireland and Luxembourg, with both countries home to several financial institutions providing French authorised products. This means that they have the benefits of a tax efficient and tax compliant investment in France, including the inheritance tax benefits. They also have the

added advantage of the ability to invest in different currencies and funds, and are portable between jurisdictions. So, if you decide to move to Spain or back to the UK, you can maintain the investment rather than having to encash it. Depending on your circumstances, this can present additional, valuable planning opportunities. To summarise the advantages of using a French compliant AV:

• Tax-free growth – funds staying within an AV grow free of French Income and Capital Gains tax.

• Simplified tax return reporting – considerable savings in terms of both time and tax advisor fees.

Amanda Johnson works as an Independent Financial Advisor with The Spectrum IFA Group.

• Favourable tax treatment on withdrawals – only the gain element of any amount that you withdraw is liable to tax. After eight years there is an added benefit of an annual income tax allowance of €4,600 for an individual and €9,200 for a married couple.

• Succession tax benefits – AV policies fall outside your estate for succession tax and the proceeds can be left directly to any number of beneficiaries of your choice (not just the ones Napoleon thought you should leave them to!). There are very generous allowances available to beneficiaries of policies taken out before the age of 70.

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 »

U s i n g a n A s s u r a n c e V i e

p r o v i d e r o u t s i d e F r a n c e -

w h a t a r e t h e b e n e f i t s ?

W i t h C a r e Y o u P r o s p e r

TSG Insurance Services S.A.R.L. | Siège Social: 34 Bd des Italiens, 75009 Paris | R.C.S. Paris B 447 609 108 (2003B04384) | « Société de Courtage d’assurances » Numéro d’immatriculation 07 025 332 – « Conseiller en investissements financiers », référencé sous le numéro E002440 par ANACOFI-CIF, association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Financiers »

L o o k i n g f o r a n s w e r s ?

A s k A m a n d a

Tel: 06 73 27 25 43

amanda johnson@spectrum-ifa com


Wine Days Out this Summer

Caro Feely recommends five fabulous destinations in and around Bergerac and Bordeaux


The Pessac-Léognan appellation begins a few minutes south of Bordeaux city. It is home to grand cru classés for both dry white and dry red wines, but it is their whites made from Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes that are perhaps the true stars of the appellation.

Château Smith Haut Lafitte, a grand cru classé, offers a fascinating place to begin your discovery. Book their Forest of the Senses tour (€16 for over-12s) which takes you on an auto-guided trail through art works and nature. Follow

this with lunch at La Table du Lavoir, the restaurant of Hôtel Les Sources de Caudalie, located on the same organic estate, where the menu du jour costs €45. After the forest walk you can add a tasting - two second wines for €15 per person or the two grands vins for €50 per person.


In Sauternes, Château Guiraud, an organic and biodynamic grand cru classé is a fabulous destination for discovering sweet wine and biodiversity. You could book their 1.5-hour tour (€23 per adult) then lunch at the charming La Chapelle restaurant on the property. For a more casual lunch Auberge Les Vins in Sauternes village comes highly recommended. Hikers will enjoy the three hour circular route around Sauternes (there are other options –shorter and longer). Download the map from the official Sauternes tourism website.


St-Émilion village is historic and beautiful, and the tourist office has suggestions of things to do on any given

day including walks, châteaux that are open to walk-ins, and guided visits. There are many restaurant choices in the village, but I recommend getting out into the vineyards. My favourites are Atelier Candale, east of the village, and La Terrasse Rouge to the west of the village on the border with Pomerol appellation. After lunch consider booking a guided visit of an organic vineyard like the lovely people at Château Bernateau or Château Coutet.


Monbazillac, near Bergerac, is renowned for its sweet wines, but many winegrowers make dry white and red wines so you are covered even if you are not a fan of dessert wine. The setting alone - on a hill with stunning views onto the Dordogne Valley and Bergeractown is worth a visit.

Château de Monbazillac has recently undergone a major renovation and the new visitors centre has an interactive tour that explains all things wine. With the standard ticket (€11 per adult) you get the tour, access to the historic castle and the opportunity to taste a wine of your choice from those available. The
Château Smith Haut Lafitte Atelier Candale PHOTO TOP MIDDLE R VALERIO

Maison des Vins, opposite the church, provides a map of the Monbazillac Boucle (a circular walk).

For lunch, book ahead for a luxury lunch at Michelin-starred Tour des Vents or go for a more relaxed casual platter at the delightful Maison Vari in the centre of the village.


Twenty minutes west of Bergerac and an hour east of Bordeaux city, Saussignac packs a mighty wine tourism punch for

its size. Two vineyards - both Best of Wine Tourism Gold trophy winnersoffer a wide range of visits in English. Make a day of it and book our Château Feely two-hour Discovery Tour (€30 per adult) which dives deep into organic farming and biodiversity with a guided visit and educational wine-tasting of six wines. Then, wander into Saussignac for lunch, a delightful new restaurant Mélange has opened in the village (the lunch menu du jour costs €22) and then visit Château Fayolle for the gardens

€349,800 FAI Honoraires à la charge du vendeur

Ref CAS42: Courant (17330). This lovingly and beautifully renovated house comes complete with furnishings! 5 beds, 3 baths with WC, office/child’s bedroom, dining room, 2 lounges, kitchen and back kitchen. Barn, garage and covered parking.

Ref LO30: If you are a lover of history this 3-bed house located in the heart of St Jean d’Angély is for you! 223m2 of living space, remarkable features and a partially convertible attic. Large garage of 50m2, an interior courtyard. Further building of 150m2

Caro’s powerful new memoir ‘Cultivating Change’ launches mid-June and will be available locally and online. Join Caro as she explores the climate crisis, marriage, yoga, food and biodiversity.

and winery tour (€8 for over-12s) in the afternoon. For those looking to avoid the car, Château Feely offers collection from the local train station Gardonne for bookings for half or full day visits.

Idimmo, Prestige & Châteaux

42 Rue Grosse Horloge, 17400 St Jean D’Angély.

Tel: +33 (0)5 46 33 19 13

€203,300 FAI Honoraires à la charge du vendeur

Ref CAS40: Fontaine Chalendray (17510). Spacious 3-bed village house with 2 reception rooms downstairs. 1 bed/bath downstairs, 2 upstairs (one with corner bath and wc). Additional small room upstairs, mezzanine, large garage of 64m2 attached to house.

€235,400 FAI Honoraires à la charge du vendeur

class: en cours

Ref CAS41: Bazauges (17490). Spacious village house with 195m2 renovated and a further 46m2 on the ground floor for its new owner to complete to their requirements - possibly 2 further bedrooms and a bathroom....the space is open to ideas!

LIVING WINE | 41 Do you Living Magazine? Subscribe today
€483,000 FAI Honoraires à la charge du vendeur
class: F
Château de Saussignac 42 | LIVING WATER

Fun summer days with long relaxing evenings, on your own or with friends and family, are just one of the joys of living in such a sunny climate.

Nikki shares some tasty, easy recipes so you won't be left in the kitchen...

Nikki Legon's cuisine

Asian Style Beef Salad

250g packet dried vermicelli noodles

1kg rump steak or bavette steak

300g mixed salad

½ cucumber, peeled, deseeded, and sliced

2 small carrots, peeled and cut very finely

4 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal

1 cup fresh coriander leaves

1 cup fresh mint leaves

1 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped

½ cup sliced shallots, cooked until golden and crispy lime halves to serve


thumb size fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated

²⁄³ cup sweet chilli sauce

2¹⁄³ tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)

¹⁄³ cup lime juice

3 tbsp brown sugar


To make the dressing, place the sweet chilli sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and grated ginger in a bowl and whisk to combine.

Place the vermicelli noodles in a bowl, cover with boiling water, and set aside for 10 minutes. Drain and cut into 10cm lengths.

Brush the steaks with the dressing. Preheat the griddle plate and chargrill the steak on high heat.

Rest the steak for 5 minutes, then cut against the grain into thin slices.

Place the noodles, mixed salad, carrot, onion, coriander, mint, beef, and half of the dressing in a large bowl and toss to coat in the dressing.

Arrange the salad on a large platter, drizzle the rest of the dressing over it,

and sprinkle with the peanuts and crispy shallots. Serve with lime wedges.

Chicken Chow


400g egg noodles

100g mangetout, chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 red peppers, seeded and chopped

4 spring onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal

1 carrot, sliced thinly

500g chicken fillets

3 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tbsp cornflour

2 eggs, beaten

3 tbsp oyster sauce

5 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tbsp sugar


For the sauce, mix together the cornflour and soy sauce in a bowl. Add the oyster sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sugar. Mix everything together until you have a nice smooth sauce. Cook the egg noodles according to the packet instructions. Drain and leave in a bowl of cold water.

Dice up the chicken.

Season the eggs with salt and pepper, beat together.

Add 8 tbsp of cornflour into another bowl. Dip the chicken in to the egg, then into the cornflour.

Heat a little oil in the wok and cook the chicken. Don’t overcrowd. Once it is all cooked, set the chicken aside. Heat the wok with a splash of oil and add the pepper, mangetout, carrots, and spring onion. Fry for 3 minutes.

LIVING CUISINE | 43 Do you Living Magazine? Subscribe today

Add the garlic and mix it in.

Now add the chicken, sauce, cook for 2 minutes, then add the noodles. Toss everything together and serve straight away.

Sizzling Beef Fajitas


200g ripe tomatoes, deseeded and finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 red chillies chopped

4 spring onions finely chopped

3 tsp brown sugar

2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

350g rump or bavette steak


2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp soft brown sugar

2 red chillies, deseeded and chopped

4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

2 tsp grated lime zest

3 tbsp lime juice

2 tbsp olive oil


1 large onion, sliced

1 large red pepper, deseeded and chopped

6 wheat tortillas

soured cream to serve lime wedges to garnish


To make the salsa, combine the chopped tomatoes, crushed garlic, chopped red chillies, finely chopped spring onions, brown sugar and

chopped fresh coriander in a bowl. Mix well and set aside for at least 20 minutes.

In a separate bowl, mix together the marinade ingredients. Place the steak in the marinade and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Drain off the marinade from the steak and reserve. Add 2 tbsp of the reserved marinade to the pan, along with the sliced onions. Cook for 5 minutes until the onions are softened, then add the chopped red

Mandarin Style Chicken Salad

1 cos lettuce, shredded

¼ red cabbage, thinly sliced

2 carrots, thinly shredded

150g mangetout, thinly sliced

3 spring onions, thinly sliced 250g cooked chicken, shredded

1 can mandarin oranges

pepper and cook for a further 4 minutes until the vegetables are cooked but still have a bit of crunch. Remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside. Add 2 tbsp of the reserved marinade to the pan and quickly cook the steak to your taste.

Return the vegetables to the pan along with a further tbsp of the reserved marinade. Cook until sizzling. Heat the tortillas according to package instructions. Fill each tortilla with the cooked steak and vegetables. Top with the salsa, sour cream and a squeeze of lime juice.

1 handful of coriander leaves, chopped 2 tbsp sliced almonds, toasted


¼ cup rice wine vinegar

3 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp avocado oil

½ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp garlic powder


Smashed Asian Cucumber Salad

2 cucumbers, halved and seeds removed

1 tsp salt

2½ tsp sugar

2 tsp sesame oil

3 tsp light soy sauce

1½ tbsp rice wine vinegar

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 tsp chilli oil

2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander


In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, red cabbage, carrots, mangetout, spring onions and shredded chicken. Toss well to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well. Stir in the mandarin oranges and toasted sliced almonds. Finally, sprinkle the chopped coriander over the top and serve.



Make the salad dressing by combining the salt, sugar, sesame oil, light soy sauce, and rice vinegar in a bowl. Stir to completely dissolve the salt and sugar. Set aside. Lay the cucumber halves onto a cutting board and smash with the back of your hand. Cut on the diagonal into bite-size pieces. In a large bowl, mix the smashed cucumbers with the prepared dressing. Add the crushed garlic and chilli oil, mix well. Sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds and chopped coriander over the salad and serve.


Did you know?

There are Englishspeaking lodges in France. Our lodge in Saintes (17) meets 6 times a year.

If you would like to find out more, email:

Freemasonry in France


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.

For help or information, telephone: 05 31 60 90 95 or visit: All enquiries are treated in the strictest confidence.

Lebanese Tabbouleh

1 cup of fine bulgur

2 bunches curly parsley

12 large mint leaves

½ cucumber

5 spring onions

3 large ripe tomatoes

2 lemons, juiced

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste


Put the bulgur in a bowl and cover with an inch of just-boiled water. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes.

Wash and dry the parsley and mint. Remove the stalks, finely chop the herbs together, and put them into a large mixing bowl.

Peel and de-seed the cucumber, slice it lengthwise into thirds, then chop finely. Chop the spring onions and tomatoes and add them to the cucumber, parsley, and mint.

Drain any remaining water out of the bulgur and add it to the vegetables. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper to the salad. Mix well, taste, and adjust the seasoning.

LIVING CUISINE | 45 Do you Living Magazine?
ACROSS 7. Wimple 9. Promised 10. Otic 11. Eastenders 12. Pleased as Punch 15. Anti 16. Trade 17. Must 19. Waterloo Sunset 20. Stunt Diver 23. Tidy 24. Bookcase 25. Single DOWN 1. Biathlon 2. Specialist 3. Opus 4. Money Pressures 5. Kind 6. Search 8. Elementary Dear 13. Alamo 14. Nominating 18. Speedily 19. Watson 21. Nuke 22. Veer

Thai Green Papaya Salad

2 tbsp crushed garlic (around 4 large cloves)

6 small red chillies

6 tbsp dried shrimp (if you cannot find this locally, order online)

200g palm sugar (or substitute with brown sugar)

½ cup lime juice

½ cup fish sauce (nam pla)

1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts

20 snake beans (or fresh green beans), cut up

400g cherry tomatoes, cut in half

500g green papaya (if you cannot find papaya, use green mango)

½ cup Thai basil leaves (or ordinary basil leaves)


Crush the peanuts (not too finely) and place them in a dish.

In a large mortar, pound the crushed garlic and chopped chillies into a paste. Add the dried shrimp and pound to crush them. Add the palm sugar, lime juice and fish sauce, and stir until the sugar dissolves.

Pour this dressing into a large bowl. Add the raw cut beans to the mortar and bash them to soften. Add them to the dressing.

Crush the cherry tomatoes and add them to the bowl.

Prepare the papaya by peeling the skin off using a speed peeler, cutting it in half and removing the seeds using a spoon. Using a julienne shredder, finely shred the papaya.

Add the shredded papaya to the bowl along with 3/4 of the peanuts, and toss well.

Once everything is coated in the dressing, immediately pile the salad onto plates, spoon the dressing over and sprinkle the rest of the peanuts and the basil leaves.

Serve straight away.

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

Dragon Fruit Salad

3 dragon fruit assorted tropical fruits, cut into bite-sized pieces

3 tbsp fresh mint leaves

3 tbsp honey


Cut the dragon fruits in half and scoop out the flesh. Cut the flesh

into small chunks and keep the skin aside.

In a mixing bowl, add the chopped fruits and drizzle with honey. Add fresh mint leaves and toss gently to combine. Fill the dragon fruit skins with the fruit salad. Serve the dragon fruit salad with ice cream or crème fraîche, if desired.




Energie / Climat: en cours 8% fees Ref 1064


LE BOUCHAGE (16) 4/5-brm Charming

Longere on 4820m2 (over 1 acre). Large 4/5 bed, 2-bath family home with separate access ideal for a gite. A well & citern, dble garage, carport, shed. DPE: D


LE BOUCHAGE (16) detached pretty 3-bed, 2-bath home, stunning kitchen, gas central heating, huge garage, easy-maintenance 265m2 garden. IDEAL HOLIDAY HOME, quiet setting. DPE: D


Near CIVRAY (86) stunning 4-bed, 2-bath home, chic décor, reverse-cycle heating/ cooling, with massive attached barn, small, easily-maintained, walled-front garden. DPE: D

T: 06 45 57 15 49

Agent Commercial


RUFFEC border, 2/3-bed, 2-bath detached village house, study, 1766m2 garden, new kitchen, dining, 2-car parking, conforming fosse, + 2 old stone houses to renovate, greenhouse. DPE: D


Near VILLEFAGNAN (16) spacious 233m2, stone, detached, character house full of original features . 3 brm, massive landing area, huge attached barn and another building suitable for gite conversion. DPE: E


S of RUFFEC, large 262m2 country house oozing character on 1.92Ha, 4/5 brm, 3 bath, enormous light-filled rooms. Countryside views, fruit trees, stream, outbuildings, pool (8mx4m). DPE: E

CUISINE | 47 Do you Living Magazine? Subscribe today We specialise in the sale of châteaux and prestige country homes with stone character You can entrust us with your valuation, the professional presentation of your home, targetted communications, qualification of buyers, proper feedback, and sale management 06 43 95 15 52 Andrew Portsmouth Sue Lake Nathalie Hoefnagels
Rochechouart, Haute Vienne €295,000* High-quality renovation newly done, 6-bed / 3-bath, in-town, terrace, garden, parking, barn, mains, DPE: C Melleran, Deux-Sèvres €164,500* 3-bedroom detached house with over an acre, 7kms from Chef Boutonne, new roof, double-glazed. DPE: F Availles-Limouzine, Vienne €95,000* 3-bedroom detached house on a quiet street near the river / town centre, garage, mains drains. DPE: F Please contact us if you have a character property to sell, we have a devoted team located throughout the area. Information on the risks to which these properties are exposed is available on the Geohazards website: *agency fees charged to the seller Tel: 05 65 70 10 49 Email: Visit our new agency: 20, rue du Maquis Foch, 16500 Confolens Le Gicq, Charente Maritime €293,000* 3-bedroom house, 2 gites, 9 camping pitches and sanitation block, heated pool, shops 5 mins, fibre DPE: E 41 avenue de la Gare - 87210 LE DORAT Tel. : 06 43 84 34 17 Immobilière du Haut Limousin 58 240€ FAI - DARNAC Ideal for holidays or to live a
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/ Climat: en cours
477 000€ FAI - LE DORAT (87) Beautiful 4-bed house with 3 ha of land, stables and arena for horses. Fully fenced, mains drains. Energie: D Climat: B 8% fees Ref 1062 42 560€ FAI - MAGNAC LAVAL (87) 1-bed house to nish renovating. 80m2 across 2 oors. Barn of approx 40m2 and small garden to front. Energie / Climat: n/a 12% fees Ref 1086 96 300€ FAI - SAULGÉ (86) 1989 3-bed bungalow with 3467m2 of land and outbuildings. Mains drains, garage, 5.5 km to Montmorillon Energie / Climat: en cours 10% fees Ref 1076 117,700€ FAI -LE DORAT (87) O ce with barn and land (with the possibility to convert). Ideal for artisan or small business. 100€ FAI - ROUSSAC (87) 4/5 bed spacious family house with SE facing terrace and garden. Garage, outbuildings. Requires refreshing. E Climat: G 10% fees Ref 1065



THE NAME IS INTRIGUING, AND the location, on the southeastern corner of France’s second largest island (after Corsica) doesn’t disappoint. Unlike the Île de Ré, access from the mainland is toll-free, via the Pont d’Oléron, which was inaugurated back in 1966. The 3km journey high above the waves passes the 17th century Fort Louvois plus the forlorn estacades (jetties) used by the original ferry services and joins island soil a couple of km south of Le Château-d’Oléron, its historic heart enclosed by substantial ramparts. The fortifications were constructed as part of a general strengthening of coastal defences after the siege of La Rochelle, and the elevated seaward section is dominated by La Citadelle, constructed by Vauban to defend the Charente and Rochefort’s naval dockyards from attack. Exceptionally well preserved, this panoramic viewpoint overlooks Le Château-d’Oléron’s original port, plus the Port Ostréicole constructed beside it in 1790 and still the domain of a fleet of oyster boats plus an assortment of small leisure craft. The port’s maritime heritage is perpetuated at the Chantier

Robert Léglise, Oléron’s last working centre of timber boatbuilding, which has saved and restored many of the island’s traditional boats and given them a second life.

On the quayside, a massive 17th century battery known as Le Fort Paté has been carefully restored and now provides an atmospheric setting for contemporary sculptures and other objets. There’s more creativity nearby among the lines of fishermen’s cabanes, many of which are now brightly coloured to reflect the wide-ranging activities of their talented occupants.

When you finally enter the walled town you’ll be struck by its geometrical street plan, laid out with military precision like those of nearby Rochefort and the medieval bastide villages found further south. While things eventually expanded beyond the original boundaries (today there’s more outside than within, much of it devoted to residential development) the original walled town doesn’t feel unduly confined. The mood is typical of the Atlantic Coast, in fact, with the classic combination of white facades and

We look at life on the largest of our Atlantic Coast islands.

vibrant blue or green shutters. Daily life unfolds in and around the broad market square of Place de la République, whose centrepiece is an elegant neoRenaissance fountain completed in 1851 in pale limestone. Morning markets are held daily during July and August (Tues–Sun throughout the rest of the year) and surrounding the square is a healthy selection of shops and services.



Rochefort: 35 km/33 min

Royan: 42 km/44 min

Saintes: 53 km/54 min

La Rochelle: 67 km/1 hr 03 min

Bordeaux: 169 km/2 hr 05 min

Niort: 100 km/1 hr 35 min

Angoulême: 129 km/1 hr 57 min

Poitiers: 174 km/2 hr 16 min


Rochefort’s Gare SNCF is served by TER

Nouvelle-Aquitaine Ligne Régionale’s 15 services between La Rochelle & Bordeaux, via Saintes for connections (including TGV) to Cognac, Niort, Poitiers, Limoges, Biarritz, Paris, etc. PROPERTY L i v in g

La Foncière Charentaise


Prix 309,750 € (Fees paid by buyer incl.)

Special 3/4-bed character property 13km from La Rochefoucauld. Cellar, large garage/barn, workshop, beautiful landscaped garden.

Ref: 9723 Energie / Climat: en cours

Prix 71,500 € (Fees paid by buyer incl.) 5-room house in the heart of Aigre to renovate with attic and cellar. Entrance hall, kitchen, loung, 2-beds and bathroom. Garden.

Ref: 9701

Energie: E Climat: E

Prix 174,900 € (Fees paid by buyer incl.)

Charming 3-bed pavilion with living room and fitted kitchen downstairs. Fenced garden with pool. Countryside views, garage and workshop area.

Ref: 9718 Energie: D Climat: D

Prix 139,100 € (Fees paid by buyer incl.) Townhouse with character in Angoulême area, with garden and parking space. Kitchen/diner, 2 bedrooms and office space. Calm area.

Réf: 6888 Energie / Climat: en cours

+ 33 (0)6 82 85 36 32 Cecile

OFFICE + 33 (0)5 45 21 78 38



Set on 2996m2

Classe Energie F Classe Climate G

(150 000€ + 8% fee payable by buyer)


ABZAC(16). In a village, charming restored 2-bed farmhouse. Convertible attic, gas heating, garage. Garden, well, shed. set on 1196m2 Classe Energie en cours Classe Climate en cours

(30 000€ + 10% fee payable by buyer)

ABZAC (16): Ideal holiday home, 1-bed house in small village. Kitchen/diner, bathroom. Mains drains, no

21 000€ HAI

(18,000€ + 3,000€ fee payable by buyer)

Ref. 34477

EPENEDE (16). In the heart of the small village, semi-detached house to renovate without garden, 2 bedrooms, main drains. Classe Energie n/a Classe Climate n/a

Ref. 34480 136 000€ HAI

Energie F Classe Climate F

3, place de la Liberté, 16500 Confolens

Tel: 05 45 85 45 65

Ref : 10449-VI - Location: Beaumont - Price: 256,800€

On the outskirts of a bastide town, this lovely character stone house is set over one level offering a living-room / dining-room with open plan kitchen, 4 bedrooms and 2 shower-rooms, plus a large attic on 1st floor. Set on just under 2 acres, with a swimming pool and a large barn.

Taux d’honoraires 16,800€ (7%) inclus à la charge de l’acquéreur. Classe Energie: G. Classe Climat: C

Ref : 10451-MO - Location: Monpazier - Price: 328,600€

Elegant village house, with courtyard and workshop, offering a living room, dining room with stone fireplace, a beautiful kitchen overlooking the inner courtyard, 2nd kitchen with dishwasher and laundry room. Upstairs, a large landing leads to four bedrooms, all with en-suite shower rooms and toilets.

Taux d’honoraires 18,600€ (6%) inclus à la charge de l’acquéreur. Classe Energie: C Classe Climat: A

Ref : 10219-EY - Location: Paunut - Price: 1,800,000€

On nearly 15 hectares of land,

Looking for a career in property sales? Want to be part of a team of motivated, independent property consultants?

Good news, Agence Eleonor are recruiting! You’ll be joining a great team, with free training and ongoing support through all stages of your development. Contact Terrie Simpson at info@ to find out more or arrange an informal chat.

We are looking for properties to sell!

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Taux d’honoraires 77,512€ (4.5%) inclus à la charge de l’acquéreur.
Agence Eleonor Estate Agency 36-38 rue du Temple 24500 EYMET T: 05 53 27 83 45 info@
this superb estate has several outbuildings, a 7-bed Manor house and a 4-bed Charterhouse, with the renovated barn offering a gym, office & a garage. The property is completed with a swimming pool, pro jacuzzi for 8 people, and equestrian facilities including 13 stables. Classe
Vierge. Classe Climat: Vierge
000€ + 8% fee payable by buyer)
SUR VIENNE (16): On riverbank, 4-bed detached house with basement, garage. Oil heating, mains drains, well.
600€ HAI
(25 000€ + 3,000€ fee payable by buyer) ORADOUR FANAIS (16). in a hamlet, great potential: 2 houses to be
and 2 barns, old septic tank, courtyard. Classe Energie n/a Classe Climate n/a Ref. 34464 28 000€ HAI (126 000€ + 8% fee payable by buyer) L’ISLE JOURDAIN (86).Beautiful
000€ HAI
completely renovated
town centre, 19C property with potential. Habitable 4-bed house with adjoining 2-bed house to renovate.
Classe Energie en cours Classe Climate en cours Ref. 34482 33 000€ HAI S O V M O Votre Agence Immobilière Familiale de Proximité S O V M O Votre Agence Immobilière Familiale de Proximité EXCLUSIVE EXCLUSIVE EXCLUSIVE

Pyramidal orchids (Anacamptis pyramidalis) brighten many meadows

Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) is plentiful Colourful hoopoes arrive from southern Spain and Africa each year Small birds like firecrests (above) and long-tailed tits are easier to spot once their call has been identified

Connecting to Nature

There are many ways to learn about the world around us, as Rosie Neave discovers...

Without a doubt, spending time in nature is good for you. It’s proven to support emotional wellbeing and even gentle walks in the outdoors are good for our physical health. While it’s lovely to immerse oneself in a whole grand landscape of sights, smells and sounds, it sometimes pays to take a more concentrated look at the small details too. I’m a great believer in finding practical ways to enjoy the natural world and advances in the digital world can play a significant role in this pursuit. Nature and technology might not immediately be common bedfellows, but there’s no reason why they can’t be mutually compatible and work together to unlock some of the mysteries taking place right under our noses.

If we imagine a natural landscape such as a meadow or woodland as a painted canvas, technology can help us see the individual brushstrokes that make up a great masterpiece. It enables the overall beauty of nature to be broken down into individual pieces of wonder to create a much more nuanced experience. Over the past year, I’ve been experimenting with different apps on my mobile phone to gain a deeper sense of the natural world. While some are admittedly better than others, I’ve been impressed by how they’ve been able to help fine-tune my senses and guide me into looking and listening more intently to what’s in front of me. I grew up in rural North Lincolnshire and since moving to Vienne, I’ve been quietly surprised by the different varieties of plant, animal and bird life that can

be found here. The rich migrant bird population has opened my eyes to species that I didn’t know before and whereas previously I would have relied on my small collection of bird books or the internet to identify them, I’ve been able to add another layer of learning by using an app to recognise their calls (see my recommendations later). While I’m accustomed to the arrival of cuckoos (Cuculus canorus), hoopoes (Upupa epops), swallows (Hirundo rustica) and swifts (Apus apus) in the Spring, my app has also identified that a pair of golden orioles (Oriolus oriolus) has arrived in the field next to my garden. On top of this, the app has helped me to look for individual birds once I’ve been able to isolate their calls. Small birds such as short-toed treecreepers (Certhia brachydactyla), firecrests (Regulus ignicapilla) and long-tailed tits (Aegithalos caudatus) are much easier to see when you can hear them somewhere around you. Using technology can make nature more accessible to those who perhaps don’t feel very confident outdoors. My two children, aged nine and ten, aren’t the most enthusiastic countryside walkers, but I’ve found that by using apps when we’re out and about they can engage with their surroundings in a way that they find interesting. It’s my hope that by using such a lighttouch way of learning, they’ll come to appreciate nature in a more holistic way. I’ve noticed that as the plants and flowers have flourished into life with the warm weather, we’re using a plant identification app a lot more, whereas during the damp autumn and winter months, they enjoyed looking at and identifying the mushrooms and toadstools that they found. Magpie Inkcaps (Coprinopsis picacea), Black Witches’ Butter (Exidia glandulosa) and Golden Jelly fungus (Tremella

LIVING NATURE WATCH | 51 Do you Living Magazine? Subscribe today
Garden waste, barns etc. cleared Unoccupied holiday homes checked For enquiries & rates tel: 07 72 38 84 60 09 63 68 12 49 Charente, Vienne, Deux Sèvres Siret no 853 531 838 2
Ladies & a Van HOMME VERT
Fully insured & registered. 27 years’ experience. TREE
DOMINIC L UNN 05 45 30 61 41 / 06 45 90 30 67 | Facebook: @hommeverttreesurgery Siret: 808 903 074 00017 Covering all areas GARDEN SERVICES | Gardening | Pool Care | Home Maintenance Offering a full range of
All aspects of tree care from planting and pruning to reductions and removals. Hedge cutting, ground clearance and maintenance.

PlantNet (free, iOS & Android)

This is easy to use and invaluable for learning more about wildflowers and plants. Using photography, the app suggests what you may be seeing, along with a percentage likelihood of it being that plant. It also provides a list of links for further information.

Merlin Bird ID (free, iOS & Android)

Developed by Cornell University, it has a feature to identify birds by sight and another one by sound. Standing in a wood, pressing record and seeing a list appear of the birds that are singing around me feels magical. Who knew you were hearing a blackcap, a stone-curlew and a nuthatch all at the same time?

Shroomify (free, with in-app purchases, iOS & Android)

This is a fairly basic mushroom app and I wouldn’t have enough confidence in it to eat anything it identified. Having said that, it’s good fun and handy for walking

through damp woodland or other fungus-rich habitats. You select different characteristics of the fungi you want to identify (gill shape, cap colour, size, etc.) and it provides a list of likely candidates.

CloudSpotter (€3.49, iOS only)

This is a brilliant app for those of us who live with the huge skies of south west France soaring above us. Photo-based, it helps identify different clouds and light phenomena. Users also contribute to citizen-science as data gathered by global CloudSpotters is used by NASA to help research the crucial role that clouds play in climate change.

INPN Espèces (free, iOS & Android)

This is the app from the Inventaire National du Patrimoine Naturel (INPN) which centralises and publishes information about geodiversity and biodiversity in France. It uses data uploaded by individuals to track and monitor flora and fauna across the country and is particularly useful for tracking invasive species. If there’s something you’re not sure about, you can upload pictures for verification by experts.

mesenterica) were all firm favourites. Using technology immerses them into nature in a way that I’m unable to do on my own. It stimulates their senses, encourages them to look more closely at what’s in front of them and creates meaning as they begin to understand more about the delicate ecosystems that the world relies on.

While there’s been some discussion in the media about the accuracy of some of the apps available and I wouldn’t recommend them for anything other than using them for fun (for example, it’s always better to be in the company

of someone experienced and who knows what they’re doing when it comes to foraging), they are one useful tool in creating confidence and knowledge in the countryside.

On a personal note, identifying regional wildflowers, birds and even orchids has helped my French as I’ve looked up the common names in both languages. Learning species and words that relate to my new home has been an unexpected avenue of learning and joy for me since moving to Vienne and has brought me closer into the local culture.

Rosie Neave is a nature coach who lives in Vienne. She will be hosting day-long nature retreats for women from September. For more information please go to her website at

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Les Rosiers

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These local businesses are waiting for your call!
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Vendée (85) CharenteMaritime (17) DeuxSèvres (79) Vienne (86)
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Pies & pasties Cakes & donuts Full English Breakfast Wed-Baking Classes Open 9am-2pm Tues/Thurs/Fri Le CaféCivray 24 rue du commerce, 86400 Civray 05 49 87 68 97 La Brousse, 16700 Londigny tel; 05 45 29 05 07 FB: @aubergedunoyer All Day Friday: fish & chips, scampi too - 10€ (full menu also available) Mon-Sat 12-3, 6-11pm | Roast every Sunday: 12-4pm | Chambre d’hôtes Sat 03: MUSIC NIGHT: Chris Kern Wed 14: QUIZ NIGHT (€10 includes food - €5 goes to charity) Sat 17: MUSIC NIGHT: McKenzie Sat 24: MUSIC NIGHT: Lewis Hall J U N E SEE OUR FB PAGE & WEBSITE FOR THE LATEST INFO - MORE EVENTS ADDED REGULARLY J U L Y Sat 08: NUTFEST FESTIVAL Wed 12: QUIZ NIGHT (€10 includes food - €5 goes to charity) Sat 22: MUSIC NIGHT: Chris Kern Caf�s, Bars & Restaurants Bars,Nutrition, Days Out
nutritional advice to make you feel your best
Giuliano Tel: 06 66 00 73 57
Nutritional Therapist and Health Coach
your complementary 20-minute discovery call Online consultations Bou�que Homeware Store In the heart of the Charente countryside, surrounded by farmland and vineyards, close to the beau�ful historic village of Poullignac. Bel Air, Pouillignac, 16190 Mobile 06 07 43 19 70 Siret - 89173343800016 Our purpose built cra� studio hosts monthly s furniture workshops and children cra� sessions. Furniture Workshops Guest Cra� Workshops s Cra� Par�es Our pe�te bou�que is filled with unique homewares and exquisite handmade gi� items lovingly cra�ed by local ar�sans. Stoney Oak Farm produce is also available. Come and meet our friendly flock of rescued farm animals, large and small - from giant rabbits, guinea pigs & goats, to hens & horses, ducks & donkeys, pot-belly pigs and Tula the talking parrot. re celebra�ng a special occasion or spending �me out with friends, enjoy an a�ernoon at the Bistro on our poolside terrace. Ar�san Pizzas - Daily Specials Advance booking is essen�al Open Thursday to Saturday Shop from 9h00, Bistro from 12h00. In the heart of the Charente countryside, surrounded by farmland and vineyards, close to the beau�ful historic village of Bel Air, Pouillignac, 16190 Mobile 06 07 43 19 70 Siret - 89173343800016 Our purpose built cra� studio hosts monthly adult s furniture workshops and children Furniture Workshops s Cra� Par�es Our pe�te bou�que is filled with unique homewares and exquisite handmade gi� items Stoney Oak Farm produce is also available. Come and meet our friendly flock of rescued farm animals, large and small from giant rabbits, guinea pigs & goats, to hens & horsbelly pigs and Tula Whether you re celebra�ng a special occasion or spending �me out with friends, enjoy an a�ernoon at the Bistro on our poolside terrace. Daily Specials Open Thursday to Saturday Shop from 9h00, Bistro from 12h00. Cra� Workshops In the heart of the Charente countryside, surrounded by farmland and vineyards, close to the beau�ful historic village of Poullignac. Bel Air, Pouillignac, 16190 Mobile 06 07 43 19 70 Siret - 89173343800016 Our purpose built cra� studio hosts monthly adult s furniture workshops and children s Furniture Workshops Guest Cra� Workshops Children s Cra� Par�es Our pe�te bou�que is filled with unique homewares and exquisite handmade gi� items Stoney Oak Farm produce is also available. Come and meet our friendly flock of rescued farm animals, large and small from giant rabbits, guinea pigs & goats, to hens & horses, ducks & donkeys, pot belly pigs and Tula the talking parrot. Whether you re celebra�ng a special occasion or spending �me out with friends, enjoy an a�ernoon at the Bistro on our poolside terrace. A�ernoon Tea Open Thursday to Saturday Shop from 9h00, Bistro from 12h00. In the heart of the Charente countryside, surrounded by farmland and vineyards, close to the beau�ful historic village of Poullignac. Bel Air, Pouillignac, 16190 Mobile 06 07 43 19 70 Siret - 89173343800016 Our purpose built cra� studio hosts monthly s furniture workshops and children cra� sessions. Furniture Workshops Guest Cra� Workshops s Cra� Par�es Our pe�te bou�que is filled with unique homewares and exquisite handmade gi� items lovingly cra�ed by local ar�sans. Stoney Oak Farm produce is also available. Come and meet our friendly flock of rescued farm animals, large and small - from giant rabbits, guinea pigs & goats, to hens & horses, ducks & donkeys, pot-belly pigs and Tula the talking parrot. Whether you re celebra�ng a special occasion or spending �me out with friends, enjoy an a�ernoon at the Bistro on our poolside terrace. Ar�san Pizzas - Daily Specials Advance booking is essen�al Open Thursday to Saturday Shop from 9h00, Bistro from 12h00. Bistro and Bar Bou�que Homeware Store Farm Tours Cra� Workshops In the heart of the Charente countryside, surrounded by farmland and vineyards, close to the beau�ful historic village of Poullignac. Bel Air, Pouillignac, 16190 Mobile 06 07 43 19 70 Our purpose built cra� studio hosts monthly adult s furniture workshops and children s cra� sessions. Paint A Piece Furniture Workshops Guest Cra� Workshops Children s Cra� Par�es Our pe�te bou�que is filled with unique homewares and exquisite handmade gi� items lovingly cra�ed by local ar�sans. Stoney Oak Farm produce is also available. Come and meet our friendly flock of rescued farm animals, large and small - from giant rabbits, guinea pigs & goats, to hens & horses, ducks & donkeys, pot-belly pigs and Tula the talking parrot. Whether you re celebra�ng a special occasion or spending �me out with friends, enjoy an a�ernoon at the Bistro on our poolside terrace. A�ernoon Tea - Ar�san Pizzas - Daily Specials Advance booking is essen�al Open Thursday to Saturday Bel Air, 16190 Poullignac 06 07 43 19 70 Open Thursday to Saturday Shop from 9, Bistro 12-16h (bar open until 18h) Afternoon tea Artisan pizzas Daily specials Booking Required Unique homewares Handmade gifts & produced created by local artisans Meet our friendly flock of rescued farm animals, large & small Craft studio hosts adult and children’s craft sessions & parties SIRET: 891 733 438 00016 From C4's 'A New Life in the Sun' Come and discover what makes our little alpaca farm so special lapetitefermedalpagas com 06 70 62 24 39 14 Rue René III Comte de Sanzay 79150 Prepare & give the alpacas their breakfast Bond with them on a walk around the chateau Tailormade visit & stay on our private glamping site or chateauview gite

Antique Rose


These local businesses are waiting for your call! 54 Takeaway, Shops Wellbeing, Pianos ALL OUR MEATS ARE LOCALLY SOURCED & OUR SAUSAGES ARE GLUTEN FREE Homemade Pâtés English sausages Bacon & Gammon 28-day hung Limousin beef Handmade pies & sausage rolls We’re regularly at local markets: Tue/Fri: Civray Wed/Sat: Ru ec Thu: Sauzé-Vaussais Sunday: Verteuil Boucherie Calluaud SAMANTHA CALLUAUD - 06 50 04 37 30 ROUTE DE CHAMPAGNE-MOUTON - 16450 SAINT CLAUD | FACEBOOK: BUTCHER CALLUAUD 26 rue du Commerce, 86400 CIVRAY Renaissance - hair, beauty, nails Tel: 05 49 87 16 33 RENAISSANCE - hair, beauty, nails Siret: 509 861 902 00013 * SOCIAL DISTANCING IN PLACE * Our bi-lingual team are waiting to pamper you. CACI trained and registered to perform non-surgical facelifts and more. Ring now to book your appointment. ~ PLUS! Wedding hair & make-up team ~ Visit Alison, Julie, Stephanie & Laura at... Large selection of home fabrics, made-to-measure curtains, bedlinen, wallpaper & paint. Friendly English-speaking staff in a cosy atmosphere! 14, rue de l’hôtel de ville, 17400 Saint-Jean d’Angély Beside the market square. Phone: 09-83-72-34-90 Tues to Fri 9h-12h30 & 15h-18h30 Sat 9h-12h30 &15h-18h comptoirdecodangely
framing for arts, crafts & memorabilia E: Tel: 09 77 00 66 38 Encadrement D’Art EI 87150 Oradour sur Vayres Siret : 892 358 342 00012 16, 17, 79 and west Vienne Tel: 05 45 21 16 13 E: SIRET: 51031234100017 MR. PIANO MAN All types of pianos restored, reconditioned & repaired Piano Tuning Ex-BBC London Piano Tuner with a lifetime experience in the piano trade
Furnure Restoraon & Sales Rm Renovaon Paint Workshops Visit at Bel Air, 16190 Poullignac OPEN: Thursday to Saturday 9-18h Tel: 06 07 43 19 70 Siret: 891 733 438 00016 TRADITIONAL PRIVATE CATERING Weddings, Birthdays, Associations, Corporate etc.
Mr T’s FISH & CHIPS mrt. 06 02 22 44 74 Mr T’s Fish & Chips Regular venues in 16, 17, 79 and 86, see website and FB for details

English Speaking Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd, Poitou-Charentes

A warm welcome awaits you at Sunday services in our centres in: Courcelles (17400) Cognac (16100)

Champagne-Mouton (16076)

Chef Boutonne (79110) and online

All details can be found on


Nettoyage Professionnel

Thank you to our Advertisers for helping to keep Living free 55 Email: revive-cleaning HARDFLOOR, TILE & GROUT UPHOLSTERY - CARPET JET WASHING FREE ESTIMATE Contact us today The Homecheckers For your unoccupied home solutions Key holding & property checks House & garden maintenance Meter reading Mail forwarding and more Short-term, long-term & flexible packages available, contact us for a free quote: 06 71 07 45 38 / +44 7481 475379 Based in 79190 Sauzé-Vaussais. Fully insured. Siret 901 854 836 00011 Cleaning Home Services
Key holding / conciergerie. Cleaning of commercial and domestic premises and window cleaning.
Rugs, carpet & upholstery steam shampoo extraction. Hard floors / surfaces treatment: marble, granite, terracotta etc & wood floor parquet. Swimming pool & garden maintenance. Office: 05 53 07 52 71 (9 to 18.00) Mobile: 06 31 31
76 /
70 39 83 96 Siret: 813 442 860 00017

Hello, my name is Isabelle Want. For the past 9 years, I have been working for Allianz as an asset manager. Being married to an Englishman and having lived in the UK for 8 years gives me a better insight into what British people are experiencing and what they need. Being French and born in the Charente has enabled me to offer some answers. I am, as always, available for any free advice on the following subjects:

- INHERITANCE LAW - who inherits, how much are death duties, what solutions exist

- TAXES - everybody’s fear! Annual tax forms in May, etc.

- INVESTMENTS - what is available, what rate, etc.

- LIFE INSURANCE - how to protect your loved ones

- FUNERAL COVER - preparing for the inevitable, unfortunately!

- TOP UP HEALTH INSURANCE - why you need it and how much it is

- INSURANCES - get a free quote to see if you can save money

We also have a dedicated bilingual person to deal with claims. And, finally, we have an English website with all sorts of useful information and tips on all of the above subjects.

Orias: 07007057


We find the best insurer for you, at competitive rates MOTOR, HOUSE, BUSINESS, TRAVEL For information and quotes contact Penny

MEDICAL insurance: top up and for Residency Permits

G.S.A.R. 05 53 40 15 71

English Speaking Ask for Corinne

For all your insurance needs in France

Special discount for new owners - 50% o the rst year

Fully comprehensive covers at competitive prices and all explained in ENGLISH. We respond quickly to enquiries and in the case of accidents or claims, we are here to help.

O ces at Champdeniers and St Pardoux (79). Come and visit us.

Agence Michallon


These local businesses
56 Help & Advice, Insurance Help & Advice
are waiting for your call!
BH Assurances 22 rue Jean Jaures 16700 Ruffec tel : 05 45 31 01 61 10 bld du 8 mai 1945 16110 La Rochefoucauld tel : 05 45 63 54 31 102 ave de la République 16260 Chasseneuil sur Bonnieure tel : 05 45 39 51 47 Contact Isabelle directly Mobile: 06 17 30 39 11 Email: N° ORIAS : 07020908 8 place Gambetta 86400 CIVRAY Office: M: Siret N o 520 382 805 00049 Administrative Assistance & Solutions Private Individuals & Small Businesses Translator: English (cert.), French, Portuguese (cert.) & Spanish Professional Liability Insurance HELP WITH ALL FRENCH ADMINISTRATION MATTERS
Call Rick Denton now on 06 46 25 30 87 or Email: Based in Charente and covering 86, 79, 16, 17, 24 & 33 Experience you need....Results you want Fluent French speaker with over 15 years professional ‘hands on’ experience assisting expats in France Personal Taxation – Carte Vitale – Carte de Séjour Business set ups - CPAM – French Administration Tax regularisation and much much more…. Siren: 818 390 916 Valérie PATARD 1, rue Basse 85370 Mouzeuil-Saint-Martin Tel: +33 (0)6 84 78 21 57 Email: Val Assist Translation Services PROFESSIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE HELP Translations, Health, Tax, Legal Paperwork, Telephone Calls, Property, Banking, Business Services, Residency Find out more: Val Assist provides clear explanations about the French system, advice on the best way to sort out problems and generally acts for people on their behalf in French. ASSISTANCE ALL OVER FRANCE Siret N°48825664500018 HELP & ADVICE HELP & ADVICE Established since 2004 Depts 16, 17, 79, 86 SIRET 453 520 298 00010 Expert in French Administration Carte de Séjour CPAM & ANTS Personal Taxation Legal matters Phone calls & meetings Tel: 05 46 96 44 11 Andrew Harrison 4 Business set ups - all regimes 4 Foreign rm set up and payroll 4 Customs assistance 4 TVA for ME’s and ME declarations 4 Residency Visa assistance 4 Tax returns - France 4 Carte Vitale, Carte de Séjour 4 Vehicle registration, driving licenses 4 Access to nancial aid 4 Legal paperwork 4 Dispute mediation 4 All administrative services and phone calls 4 Advice and assistance on government grants for homeowners EI / SIRET: 510046261 00010 SOLUTIONS solutions16700 Comprehensive administration services for individuals and businesses All areas of France covered Karen and her team of associates are here to help you with: Fully Insured Simplis Pro/ CNPM Mediation M: 07 80 44 37 00 Chemin des Gordins, 16700 Ruffec Call us for Accountancy Recommendations 06 87 92 68 22 A half hectare fenced eld with dog play platforms, picnic benches, wet weather viewing cabin, changing rooms, bubble entry… and more! 4 play sessions per week. Behaviour, agility & hoopers training. We are a super friendly canine community. Suaux 16260 Caniparc16
Insurance and asset management advice in English
The Fixer

There’s really only one way to choose a carpet - that’s to see it and touch it! - the way it feels plays a very important part when you’re selecting what suits you. While we still make free home visits (over 200 during 2022) with plenty of samples, you can come to our showroom and see the thousands of options we offer, whether you’re looking for carpets, vinyl, LVT ...... or anything flooring! As we go into Spring, why not come and see us at our showroom in Treignac (19260)there’s a couple of decent restaurants nearby or at the very least come in and have a coffee with us!

Obviously things have changed over the past few years and since Brexit we source a large part of our ranges directly from European manufacturers, which negates

any import or customs duties. In fact many Belgian companies, for example, send half their manufacturing output to the UK so they are the type and style we are used to seeing. This doesn’t mean we don’t still import from the UK - some of the best carpets in the world are manufactured in Britain, especially good quality wool materials - and we still have direct accounts with many of the more important UK suppliers.

So, we can offer the best that both the UK and European manufacturers offer with a huge range of samples here for you to see and feel!

As we are a small family business, please let us know if you are making a special journey to see us - we’d hate to miss you!

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.

Thank you to our Advertisers for helping to keep Living free 57 Transport Services, Concierge Animal Care, Flooring SHOWROOM ADDRESS 22 route de Gueret, Les Rivières, 19260 TREIGNAC what3words: underlay.numbing.decamp jonthecarpetman E: 09 63 56 23 10 / 06 42 19 82 12
CARPETS AND COFFEE! PM CARPETS & FLOOR ING For all your flooring needs • We supply and fit a range of carpets to suit all budgets • We also fit amtico, vinyl, wood and ceramic tile • Over 25 years experience, 100% customer satisfaction • Now selling a selection of wool and mixed fibre rugs Contact Paul on 06 60 07 54 78 or 05 45 84 27 75
Tel: +44 7845 272 242 Email: Quality UK furniture direct
From sofas to mattresses,
to dining tables,
away Look at our website to see the latest ranges available 20 years’ experience & great customer service PRE-loved to RE-loved Robert Mann Upholstery Service Tel: 06 45 61 60 85 Email: Robert Mann Upholstery Service Deux-Sèvres (will travel within reason) - Siret: 820 918 316 00028 Upholstery of sofas,
bedheads, campervans, antiques, etc…. robmannupholstery Insulated bedrooms, Individual exercise areas Heat lamps & Sneeze barriers Small family-run cattery Unit sizes regulated by FAB LOOF registered LE-CATTERY PENSION POUR CHATS 24400 SAINT LAURENT DES HOMMES Please call by to visit the le-cattery We look forward to meeting your feline friends Dan, Kirsty & family www le-cattery com kirstyflos@gmail com 07 81 59 59 39
f f f Furniture for France
to your door in France
for your bedrooms, dining room and lounge
one phone call
TREE KENNELS Anita Frayling - Le Baillat, 16220 Rouzede T: 05 45 66 14 62 E: Siret: 822 175 527 0016 15 mins from La Rochefoucauld & 20 mins from Rochechouart
Tree Kennels
These local businesses are waiting for your call! 58 Transport Transport These local businesses are waiting for your call! Quick installation - No ladders or scaffolding No risk of falling off roofs No direct contact with roof tiles Approved biocide products Fully insured, professionally registered drone pilots Access up to 65 metres Based in 24100, covering 24,17, 47 French & English spoken ROOF & WALL CLEANING by DRONE Siret: 912 900 206 Tel: 07 56 80 87 82 Email: Website: Packing services • Customs clearance Full/part loads to and from the UK Vehicles transported • Containerised storage Competitive prices • Transit /storage insurance FRANKLINS REMOVALS A family business established in 1985 o ering a quality, professional service Call - 0044 121 353 7263 or Email - George White European Transport Special rates to SW France 13.6m / 45ft trailer Full/Part loads Removals - Vehicles - Materials Owner Driver RHA member Tel: +44 (0)7768 867 360 Fax +44 (0)1773 570 090 Fr Mobile: +33 (0)6 23 03 85 59 Tel: 05 49 07 24 85 E: Franglais Deliveries Siret: 502 021 660 00019 Moving In France? Full & Part Loads Relocations in France Packing & Storage Options FRANGL AIS DEL IVERIES FRANGLAIS DELIVERIES The UK’s Premium Pet Transport Company Regular trips throughout Europe Services tailored to your needs DEFRA Type 2 licensed, custom built vans T: +44 (0)7855 401 102 T: +44 (0)1932 875 227 E: Tel: 09 83 70 01 33 | Mob: 06 61 25 41 09 YOUR ONE-STOP TRANSPORT SERVICE Cars, Boats and Caravans a speciality Full or part loads undertaken - a box to a full removal Full European coverage Secure storage available in France and UK UK depot available for deliveries Every item is covered by GIT and CMR insurances C J Logistics Full trade references Fully conversant withUKexports Collections & Deliveries All DIY building jobs Renovation work Barn/House Clearances Brico collections Dept 17, 16, 79, 85 Contact Ray The Handyman with a Van Siret: 532 526 001 00013
Tubs in France the home of Wood-fired Cotswold Eco Tubs For more information, please contact Nicola or Tim: E: T: 07 49 19 46 84 RELAX. REPLENISH. REWIND. Easy to install in even the most remote locations of the quietest air bubble/Hydro systems on the market Efficient wood-fired boiler - minimal electricity used for bubbles and LED lighting Robust wood and fibreglass construction means years of weather-resistant service Thoughtful design ensures they are hygienic and easy-to-clean Comfortable seating allows users to immerse their shoulders, perfect all year round Bespoke range of options and colour combinations NEW Wood-fired saunas available siret: 879 912 855 2, 6 and 8 person available Facebook: HotTubsinFrance | Google business: | LinkedIn: hot-tubs-in-france
Thank you to our Advertisers for helping to keep Living free 59 Transport, Home Services | Check out our website for more information about all our services Garden Services Pool Care Gîte Services Home Cleaning & Maintenance Owner/operator cost effective transporter Contact David Glenn Hundreds of successful cross Channel deliveries Read our 5-star reviews on Trustpilot “I would recommend Dave again and again” “Excellent service” Contact Nick on email: or T. 05 45 71 33 36 • Certificates issued for every sweep • Over 10 years’ experience • Covering departments 16, 17, 79 & 86 Registered with the Chambre de Métiers et de l’Artisanat Siret 81968203000013 Chimney Sweep Nick Wright Learn French the fun way! Sign up for your FREE 30-day trial: Siret: 889 641 726 00019 IT Help & Advice Problem Solving, Repair & Maintenance Website Creation & Management Data Security Guaranteed 06 29 61 47 88 Frapa IT Service & Support STORAGE SPACE FOR RENT Please email for more information: From 20m² to 500m² Close to La Réole (33190)
These local businesses are waiting for your call! 60 Pools & Pool Services BECK CHERRY PICKER HIRE Tel: 07 84 12 44 97 E: 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 Siret: 827 978 636 00013 Emptying of grease traps, fosse septiques, filtre compacts & micro stations. Cleaning & maintenance of all types of sewage treatment plants. T: 06 71 83 16 69 / 05 49 87 27 29 E: 2 Verrières, 86400 CHAMPNIERS Covering south 86 & 79, north 16 David GABARD • Installation • Renovation • Cleaning and Maintenance t: +33 (0) 549 290135 t: +33 (0) 785 372144 Based near Sauzé-Vaussais (79) Full Décennale Insurance siret: 897 609 293 For Pools For Outside Living • Terraces & Patios • Summerhouses • Roofs • Fencing • Blockwork • Pointing • Rendering • Outside Rooms Complete Pool Care Gardening | Home Maintenance POOLS BY JONATHAN Agent and installer for several rectangular & shaped pools including Seablue & Astral Pools FRIENDLY PROFESSIONAL SERVICE Competitive prices, try me for a quote Terracing and landscaping service also available ALL WORK GUARANTEED phone 0549840362 mobile 0622361056 SIRET 47994761600021 POOL PROBLEMS? CONSULT THE EXPERTS • Pool renovations • Hi-tech leak detection • Underground pipe repairs • Liner replacement and fitting • Automatic dosing systems • Pump/filtration/pool technical rooms • Pool heating/heat pumps • Maintenance/cleaning contracts • Home buyer/seller diagnostic reports ------ 20 years doing business in france -----06 3117 25 60 Pools, Cherry Picker Wooden shutters made, restored and spray painted Metal shutters sandblasted Exterior / Interior walls airless spray-painted Contact Alan Tel 05 45 21 72 01 Mobile 07 80 00 51 65 HAVE YOUR SHUTTERS SEEN BETTER DAYS? Over 30 years’ experience All areas covered

Southwest France Fosse

Thank you to our Advertisers for helping to keep Living free 61 Fosse Septiques, Plumbers Plumbing - Heating Chimney sweeping Full service with certificate (boiler, fuel, wood, gaz) Installation of Wood Burners Registered RGE QUALIBOIS Fully insured with over 15 years’ experience Tel: 06 58 86 55 91 30km around 86400 (Saint Macoux) Siret: 900 570 490 00012 English spoken Ambroise PRÉE Jb Plumbing & Renovations Kitchen & Bathroom Installations Plumbing repairs, Tiling Plaster boarding, Flooring, Decorating, Interiors, Electrical Tel: 06 29 90 24 89 E: Based in dept 79 near Sauzé-Vaussais Fully insured Siret: 804 390 862 000 14
Trained-Approved & recommended by SPANC Email: Installations of all types of Micro Stations / Compact lters and Fosse septiques 06 35 97 49 10 06 04 14 84 86

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

build, extension or a renovation, whether it is a cottage, chalet or château - the flexibility of our systems means there is a solution for all. We offer a free devis, with no obligation and no hard sell. Now is the time to consider a renewable heating system. There are reduced rates of TVA available and significant incentives for systems installed by Enershop as we

hold the QualiSol and QualiBois accreditation. Our website has lots of information on our services which include :

• Solar thermal domestic hot water

• Wood gasification boilers

• Wood / Pellet boiler stoves

• Pellet boilers

• Accumulation tanks

• Air source heat pumps

• Central and underfloor heating systems

• Swimming pool / hot tub heating

Tel: 07 67 04 07 53 Email: Website: Enershop WINDOWS

Over 20 years’ trade experience in both the UK & France with a dedicated British team, here to help your dream project become a reality

Aluminium, Wood and uPVC options available in all colours, manufactured in Europe. We feature brands such as KOMMERLING, CORTIZO & VEKA

These local businesses are waiting for your call! 62
Enershop – renewable energy heating systems for your property
+33 (0)754 55 60 86

A ordable UK Designs

Thank you to our Advertisers for helping to keep Living free 63 Phone: 06 38 68 72 53 SIRET: 514 636 257 00016 ALL WORKS COVERED BY ASSURANCE DÉCENNALE ▶ Drylining ▶ Ceilings / suspended flat / apex / joist infills ▶ Partition walls ▶ Hydro wet rooms ▶ Ensuites / walk in wardrobes ▶ Acoustic and thermal insulation ▶ Plastering skim and set ▶ Tape & jointing Established in France in 2009 ALL TYPES OF DRYWALL WORK COVERED ANDY MS Kitchens & Bathrooms from A-Z All leading Brands All associated minor works, modifications and repairs also undertaken e.g.. replace Kitchen worktops, taps, toilets etc. Dept. 16, 17 05 46 49 78 30 / 06 70 40 66 01 website: email: siret:50263448800014 Planning and designs for permis de construire and déclaration préalables for extensions, renovations, conversions and new builds. Ian Dickinson BSc (Hons) Mob: E: ID Planning & Design Departments: 16, 17, 24, 79, 86 & 87 Siret: 492 277 918 00024 M&M PROPERTY Painting & decorating services Tiling / Flooring Plasterboarding Suppliers of Crown Paints Providing a quality service since 2005 Kevin Smith 16100 Chateaubernard 05 45 36 46 70 / 06 72 21 80 27
Depts 16 & 17 Siret 482 718 640 00022
UPVC & Aluminium Double Glazing, Fitted Kitchens FREE PLAN, DESIGN & COSTING THROUGHOUT SOUTH WEST FRANCE - OTHER AREAS BY ARRANGEMENT UPVC Windows, Doors & Conservatories in all colours & styles. Aluminium and UPVC Bifold doors Made to ‘A’ Grades spec in French styles! www.a SIRET: 513 577 809 00017 Phone: 05 49 42 99 41 Mobile: 06 63 71 09 81 E: Building services, Artisans T: 07 80 53 54 11 E: Based in 17240 SEAN THEOBALD EI 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 Siret: 848 507 042 00010 JAMES RICHARDSON Imajica Joinery ESTABLISHED COMPANY, CONSCIENTIOUS & RELIABLE SERVICE For a superior finish in wood, tile, plasterboard and general restoration Specialising in kitchen fitting & creative challenges Siret: 48115588500017 05 49 87 09 63 Barry Baldwin 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 Siret: 804476 034 00017 Building services, Artisans Handyman Services No Job Too Small Household Repairs Small Plumbing Jobs Garden & Ground Maintenance Decking Repairs Key Holding Services Property Clear Outs Swimming Pool Maintenance Wood Cutting Charlie Ganly 07 77 85 41 34 16120 Chateauneuf sur Charente SIRET: 89854551200011 PAINTER & DECORATOR Interior and exterior painting Paper hanging, tiling, flooring & dry lining Areas 16, 17, 24, 33, 79, 86 ADAM BLACKABY Artisan Peintre T: 05 45 98 07 25 M: 06 23 18 30 95 Siret: 441 490 992 00027 L’Atelier de Fer Fraser W. Eade General Engineering Turning, Milling, Welding Quality & Precision Guaranteed Forgeix, 87200 Saint Junien 05 55 71 41 75 Siret: 512 945 874 00018 Jeff’s Metalwork E I Ornate interior / exterior designs Gates constructed / refurbished Industrial furniture General Welding ~ Over 25 year’s experience ~ Mob: 07 77 83 77 10 or 0044 7917 03 02 49 Siret: 811 895 309 00011
These local businesses are waiting for your call! 64 Ecuras 16220 AABA ROOFING FRANCE 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 E: ~ T: 05 49 27 22 67 Registered artisan with Décennale & Civile Responsabilité Insurance Covering depts 79, 86 & 16 Siret: 499 474 302 00043 The Roofing Company Andy Quick Zinc work ~ Guttering ~ Chimneys Repairs ~ Insurance Quotes SINCE 2007 ESTABLISHED ECNARFNI

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Thank you to our Advertisers for helping to keep Living free 65 Building services, Artisans Building services, Artisans T: 05 45 95 44 34 or 06 98 29 76 45 E: Graham Medhurst Renovations Established reputable builder in Charente From basic changes to complete renovations, bathrooms, kitchens, floor and wall tiling, dry-lining & more Guaranteed customer satisfaction Contact me for a free no-obligation quotation Based near La Rochefoucauld, covering areas 16, 86 & 79 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. Shaun B LLOYD A1SL COUVERTURE (ROOFING SERVICES) 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 Mobile: + 33.(0). Email: All work is fully guaranteed and we are fully insured. Our services are available
ANDY MS Multi Services Plumbing Electricity Plasterboarding Tiling Satellite dishes and Systems for the reception of UK and French TV No Job too Small Dept. 16,17 05 46 49 78 30 / 06 70 40 66 01 website: email: siret:50263448800014 Siren: 478 608 185 00011 Javarzay, 79110 Chef-Boutonne Tel 05 17 30 18 35 Mobile 06 33 85 65 66 ELECTRICIAN Experienced, French Registered Electrician Available for
types of electrical work renovations, small works, gate automations etc. Insured
Areas Siret
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and guaranteed

Pard on?

Is there anything more charmingly French than the café gourmand?

If there was one thing I did not learn in Miss Mullineaux’s French class, it was the existence of what is perhaps the best-kept secret of all: a smorgasbord of desserts that are perfect for the indecisive among us. What I love most about France is unarguably the French Holy Trinity: la boulangerie, la pâtisserie, la chocolaterie You can keep your châteaux and your mountains, your côte Atlantique and your lovely rivers. It’s the divine delights of the village that still make my heart sing. I hope there will never be a time that the scent of un croissant or une chocolatine, a freshly-baked flûte or un pain aux raisins doesn’t fill me with the most marvellous of sensations.

Discovering le café gourmand, though, was a special delight. If England has afternoon tea, complete with a light egg and cress sandwiches and Victoria sponge, the café gourmand is unapologetically sweet and rich. Not only that, it is the place where French chefs get to exercise their whimsy and their loves. If their menu du jour is dictated by what is in season and what’s fresh, the café gourmand is dictated by their péchés mignons - their little indulgences.

What I love second-most about the café gourmand and les desserts is just how terribly the names translate. I’m sure this is part of the secret. No tourist would look at café gourmand on the menu and think that they’ll get a little assortment of desserts. I’m not entirely sure even what the best translation would be. Tasty coffee? Large coffee? Coffee to savour? Gourmet coffee? None of those convey the sugary

pleasure of an assortment of divine miniature desserts and a fine shot of espresso.

And other pastries and desserts disguise their delights just as keenly. Who’d think that burned cream could be quite so delicious? No wonder English speakers kept to crème brûlée when stealing it for their own menus. Who’d want to eat a treat named after a beggar? Mendiants are popular at Christmas: the chocolate discs complete with nuts and dried fruits. You may also know the mendiant alsacien or Bettelmann, a kind of seasonal bread pudding. France has history where a variation of dessert names are concerned. One only has to eat a macaron de Montmorillon or a macaron de Nancy to know they’re not the dainty macarons Ladurée. It’s almost as if dessert chefs and bakers across France want to contribute to the surprise you’ll get, whatever you order.

Then there are the desserts and pastries which sound completely unappealing: la religieuse, le jésuite and le financier. Who’d want to eat a nun, a jesuit hat or a banker? Yet tell me I’ve got a delightful double-stacked profiterole, frangipane or crème pâtisserie wrapped in flaky pastry, or

Sweet moments with our language expert

a delicate almond sponge and I’d have trouble deciding. Behind the undesirable name lies a delicious surprise.

Having not excelled in geography at school, I can’t say any of the geographical names enshrined in pastry are any more appealing. Floating islands, mountains, capital cities and coastal towns don’t really whet my appetite. A floating island can’t possibly do justice to the creamy comfort of soft meringue and custard; Mont Blanc does not reveal the heavenly softness of the famous French dessert, and Paris-Brest conveys nothing of the transcendent experience of choux pastry and praline cream. I simply can’t imagine a pastry named LondonPlymouth being quite so delicious. When it comes to desserts and pastries, French likes to tease and tantalise. None of your Spotted Dick, your jam roly poly, your Eton mess. Dickens could not wax lyrical about the Cratchits’ tiny plum pudding in the way Proust does about the madeleines of his youth. No wonder the seminal experience of so many young exchange students remains their first trip to the French bakery, where they are dazzled by a million delights. A flaccid supermarket version has nothing on the flaky satisfaction of a fresh, buttery croissant eaten warm with the flattened bag laid out to catch all the crumbs. Opening a paper bag still feels like unwrapping a veritable treasure. It’s the same when you order a café gourmand: the surprise is all the more delightful! Emmaisajack-of-all-language-trades, writingEnglishtextbooks,translating, markingexamscriptsandteaching

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Ref: BVI66110 5-bed renovated farmhouse with natural pool and apartment.

Energy class: E Climate class: D

Fees: 6% paid by the buyer Net price: €375,000



Ref: BVI69594 Lovely 3-bed cottage in a tranquil setting with garage and 0.5 acre.

Energy class: E Climate class: E

Fees: 8% paid by the buyer Net price: €160,000



Ref: BVI69872 Pretty 2-bed village house with barn and château views.

Energy class: G Climate class: C

Fees: 9% paid by the buyer Net price: €100,000


VIENNE €95,000 HAI

Ref: BVI69448 2-bed / 2-bath cottage with guest annexe, garden and garage.

Energy class: G Climate class: F

Fees: 10% paid by the buyer Net price: €86,364

VIENNE €270,000 HAI

Ref: BVI68064 5-bed farmhouse with pool and outbuildings, 10 mins from Couhé.

Energy class: F Climate class: B

Fees: 7% paid by the buyer Net price: €252,337

DEUX-SEVRES €215,500

Ref: BVI62411 3-bed traditional village property with attached barn and garden.

Energy class: F Climate class: E

Fees: paid by the vendor


Ref: BVI68815 Superb renovated manoir with 5 gîtes, heated pool and set in 1.5ha.

Energy class: D Climate class: D

Fees: paid by the vendor

DORDOGNE €1,010,000

Ref: BVI67985 Stunning characterful home with unique gîtes near Sarlat.

Energy class: D Climate class: D

Fees: paid by the vendor +44 (0)800 270 0101 Siret : 501 191 720 00199 APE 6831Z Carte prof : CPI 3301 2018 000 027 010 TVA FR94501191720 Garantie financière : QBE assurance pour 110 000 euros Winner of Best Estate Agency France and Best Website France Join our team! - We’re recruiting independent property consultants across all areas of South West France. Want to know more? Contact Tina Anderson Tina Anderson, Head of Recruitment International
Associate of
Information on natural risk, such as flooding, can be obtained on the Geohazards website:

You’ll be whisked away by a mind-blowing storm in Chasseurs de Tornades, the only attraction of its kind in the world. 2022 Park World Excellence Awards & THEA award.

You’ll awaken the adventurer within, and become an astronaut in the Destination Mars space training centre. Thrills guaranteed!

With The Extraordinary Journey, you will fly around the world with your legs dangling free. As evening falls, you’ll dream with the new evening show, included in the price of admission!

Your curiosity will take you into a spectacular world!

-7€(1) per pers.

(1) The voucher is valid for Adults (aged 13 and over) and children (aged 5 to 12), exclusively for a 1-day dated-entry ticket purchased on the day of visit (i.e. 45€/adult down from 52€ - 36€/child down from 43€) and must be handed in at the Futuroscope ticket booths between 1st June 2023 and 7 th January 2024* (single-use voucher - 1 to 5 visitors only per voucher, for a visit on the same day).

Discount does not apply to other ticket types, dated-entry tickets booked in advance, undated tickets, or Group tickets. Offer cannot be applied retroactively or combined with other offers.

*Check the opening dates calendar on

Glory ParisD LAMING, ArchitecteFuturoscope NEW ATTRACTION