Living Magazine Oct/Nov 19

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L i ving FREE!

magazine oct | nov 2019

Exclusive: A personal message to our readers from Nouvelle-Aquitaine President Alain Rousset

Business Directory

Find the best local companies, all in one place!

Garden Inspiration Cathar Country Practical Advice & Much More

~ Passionate about life in south west France ~

October/November 2019

16 50 FOR THE BRITS AMONGST US, the last three years have been a rollercoaster and one that appears not to be stopping any time soon. We’ve lurched from cliff edge to cliff edge (with the stress that brings), all the while waiting to hear our fate. Here at LIVING we thought you would appreciate a message from the President of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, a region which so many of us call home, so asked whether he would care to comment. The heart-warming letter we received by return, which you can read over the page, was a much needed pick-me-up. Not only are we very welcome but Alain Rousset wants us to remain here where we belong. To help you escape politics for a while, we’ve also been busy packing this edition with great things to do. How about a short break to Cathar country? Why not take the family on a quest? While the days may be getting shorter, we’ve found plenty of fun events for your diary. LIVING has even gone behind the scenes at Futuroscope - it’s not only a great day out for the family, gardeners will find inspiration too. We really hope you enjoy this edition, we work hard to bring you the region’s best. Do consider helping us through these turbulant times by donating just 6 euros - this works out at only 1€ an edition for a year for LIVING to be delivered to a stockist near you! À bientôt!

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News from around the region

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

A profile of Mallezais in Vendée



Cathar Country The sun-soaked landscapes of the Languedoc haven’t always been so relaxed, as Roger Moss reveals


Make the Switch? Zero-emission transport could combat climate change, so is it now a viable option for everyday motoring?

Citizens’ Rights


Autumnal Reflections Susan Hays looks forward to making the most of our Indian summer


Puzzle Break Put your feet up and pit your wits against our crossword by Mike Morris



Autumn is the perfect time for getting out and about – or go on a quest, as Jessica Knipe finds out

Recipes that are perfect for autumn gluts and fun foods for festive evenings!

Connect with Nature


Practical Advice We put your questions to our professional experts

Nikki Legon’s Cuisine


A Brief History of Wine Vineyard owner and wine tutor Caro Feely guides us through the history of the local wine trade

How to keep ‘Living’ free for you Buy from our advertisers and tell them you found them in ‘Living’ 100,000 readers 1,000 stockists

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Living Property Pages


Green Future Futuroscope, one of Europe’s best-known family attractions is also surprisingly inspiring for gardeners


En Vogue! We celebrate Disques Vogue, France’s answer to Blue Note Records


Pardon! More French language fun with expert Emma-Jane Lee


Business Directory The best local services & suppliers

64 Places To Go around the region

For all editorial & subscription enquiries: or phone + 33 (0)5 49 87 29 71 For all advertising: or phone Jon on +33 (0)5 49 87 29 71 Postal subscriptions start at only €38 for a full year see



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

News round up

Fête de la Science

Running from the 5-13 October throughout mainland France, the national science week offers thought-provoking events across all the scientific fields. There are hundreds of events planned, many at schools, universities and museums with local libraries and more getting involved. Most events are free and aimed at encouraging the whole family to take part. To help you find those near you, there is an interactive map on the website

Night trains

Rentrée changes

With this year’s rentrée comes a change in the mandatory age for education. Previously set at six by the 1882 law authored by Jules Ferry, children must now attend some form of early education from three years. Previously, there was some leniency regarding absenteeism for children between 3 and 6, however, this new law tightens up the regulations with parents who do not comply risking a fine of up to €1,500. For students in further education, the need for their own social security and insurance plans disappeared with the new academic year. They now automatically remain part of their parents’ plans and should have received an email clarifying their situation at the rentrée.

days off

Across the region, pupils break up for Toussaint holidays on Friday 18 October and return on Monday 4 November. All Saint’s Day is a jour férié on Friday 1 November. Armistice 1918 is on Sun day, 11 November.

Over the past decade, night trains have disappeared from many of the schedules here in France. However, with the climate concerns surrounding frequent flights, there is a renewed appetite for re-instating a network of high capacity overnight trains. Sleeping up to 800 passengers, the network would link to similar networks across Europe, with Austria already committing to relaunch night trains. The campaign group behind the idea ‘Oui au Train de Nuit’ have launched a Change petition to support their plan which has already garnered over 160,000 signatures. Within our region, stations at Bordeaux, Limoges, Brives, Nantes and Tours would be hubs.

La semaine du goût

Adults and children alike are invited to learn more about their food and how it ends up on their plates during La Semaine du Goût (7-13 October). Celebrating its 30th year, organisations offer a mixture of free and ticketed events from tastings and seminars to demonstrations. Chefs visit schools and universities to take classes, offer tips and advice, and many education establishments take up the challenge to design a week of creative menus for their canteens. The emphasis is on tasty, healthy, sustainable food sources and meals from an early age, and the week has strong support from the Government. To find out what is happening near you, visit

living regional news | 5 With all the uncertainty around Brexit, LIVING asked Alain Rousset, the President of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, if he had a message for the many British citizens living in the region. He immediately replied with a letter, written in English, asking the British community to remain part of the region. Read his letter in full below…

Dear Friends,

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP right: LA ROCHELLE (17); CHAUVIGNY (86); (79) BRANTÔME (24); La Roque Gageac (24); Poitiers (86); Marais-poitevin

many British are part In our vast and beautiful region, ition, dating back to of our lives. It is a long rooted trad Alienor d’Aquitaine. king or travelling in our Indeed, whether you are living, wor l presence, our cultures lands, we are used to your colorfu doing so, living side by intertwining for the best. And by lot from each other. side, I believe we have learned a itaine Region, I cherish what we As President of the Nouvelle-Aqu something: Brexit or no Brexit, built together. So, let me tell you letting anything come in the way I have no intention whatsoever of tionship. of our special and centuries-old rela munities, you have every right In short, as members of our com nd to. Be sure that Nouvelleto live your lives the way you inte l always lend you a helpful hand Aquitaine – also your region – wil main” is not an option. along the way. In this matter, “re ause you are here to stay. It’s a heartfelt appeal: my own, bec All the best, sincerely,

Alain Rousset

the Regional President of aine uvelle-Aquit Council of No

Show how much you

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Île de Ré

LA ROCHELLE Surgeres Île de Oléron


CHARENTE-MARITIME (17) Marennes Saintes



Rouillac Jarnac




ANGOULEME Barbezieux Aubeterresur-Dronne

News from around the region...

les charentes

Autumn Traditions


Angoulême Cathedral

Scaffolding has enveloped the façade of the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre which dates back to 1120. Last cleaned in the 1970s, the stonework has become discoloured and the 72 statues decorating the front require specialist care. The work is expected to take 15 months. However, the beautiful Trésors held in the three treasury rooms will remain open to the public during the work. Follow the old steeple staircase to be astounded at the contents, from the majestic 17C Madonna and Child on a Murano glass bead pedestal to the collection of gold and precious stones. These are all overlooked by three monumental stained glass windows, the largest of which is made from over 10,000 pieces of glass. During October and November, there are guided visits in French to the three rooms on Tue to Fri at 2.30pm and Sat, Sun at 2.30pm and 4.15pm - entry costs 5€. Buy your tickets 15 minutes ahead of the visit at the Musée d’Angoulême.

Dinosaur Finds

Palaeontologists at Angeac-Charente (16) have unearthed a two-metre long thigh bone over the summer. Weighing half a tonne, the bone comes from a giant sauropod dinosaur which would have lived on the marshlands 140 million years ago. Since the excavations began in 2010, the site has offered up a treasure trove of over 7,500 bones from 45 different dinosaur species. Each year, when the lake dries out, up to seventy palaeontologists arrive to painstakingly uncover the bones and bone fragments, and this is one of the most important finds so far, reconfirming that this is an excavation site unparalleled in Europe. “This femur is huge! And in an exceptional state of conservation. It’s very moving,” enthused Jean-François Tournepiche, curator at the Musée d’Angoulême who will soon be exhibiting the bone. Due to the importance of the site, an additional 3,000m2 neighbouring plot has been bought for excavation. Previously a cognac vineyard, the vines have already been removed to allow access to the layers of earth below.

© musée D’Angoulême

The 10th Fête de la Confiture, held on the weekend of 5-6 October will be jam packed with activities for the whole family. As well as the popular confiture competition (open to all with prizes for amateurs, professionals and children, contact asap to enter) and the producers’ market, there will be jam-making demos by multi-award winning founding president of the Ordre Culinaire International, Philippe Gardette. Children will love the carousel and fireworks with all the family enjoying the guided visits of the ephemeral gardens and the church with its frescoes. SAMEDI There will also be (multilingual) q 14h/minuit workshops in basket weaving, DIMANCHE q 10h/18h a 2CV rally, and visits to the old school museum. Starting at 2pm on Saturday 5 October and 10am on Sunday, two-day tickets cost just 3.50€ (under 15s free). Call 05 45 21 57 65 or visit for more info.

News from around the region...

COgnac Sales

The latest figures issued by the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC), the trade body for cognac, show that the popularity of the local drink is booming. In the 2018/2019 season, 211 million bottles were shipped with a value of 3.4 billion euros. The NAFTA zone (Canada, USA and Mexico) continues to grow, receiving nearly 98 million bottles, with the USA taking the lion’s share (94.3 million bottles). Overall, 98% of cognac is exported with Singapore (26.6 million) and China (24.8 million) following the USA’s lead. The UK (10 million) is in fourth place with sales in France in only fifth place. To fulfil this growing demand, an additional 10,000 hectares of vines are being planted over the next three years, taking the overall vineyard to 86,000 hectares. However, cognac growers are concerned at recent mutterings from the White House where there is discussion about increasing tariffs on wines and spirits from Europe. And then there are the uncertainties of Brexit to contend with…

Marché Britannique

We’re already on the countdown to Noël with early-bird Christmas markets starting in November. Don’t miss the long-established British Market at Les Adjots (16700), just north of Ruffec, on 17 November from 9am to 5pm. With over 35 stands, and snacks available all day, this popular market will get you into a festive mood. Run by the local Loisirs Animation Adjotois association, this annual event is popular with the French and British alike, with mince pies and Christmas puddings being savoured by all!

Maurice wins

The case of Maurice, the crowing cockerel whose owners were taken to court in July for him being too noisy (see the last edition of LIVING), concluded in early September when the Rochefort court decided in Maurice’s favour. Explaining the ruling, Maître Papineau said: “Under French law, it is necessary to prove a nuisance, and this has not been done”. The plaintiffs who complained about Maurice’s early morning crowing were instructed to pay one thousand euros compensation to Maurice’s owners and legal costs.

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Rouillac Jarnac




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News from around the region...

les charentes Autumn Agenda La Rochelle (17) > 2-5 October La Rochelle Jazz Festival returns with a number of free and ticketed events. Headliners include the Hot Swing Sextet and Mike Wheeler.

A Walk in the Park

Now a fixture at the Château de la Roche Courbon diary, the annual evening 8km walk and the daytime 14 and 23km cross country races will take place on 19 and 20 October. 700 walkers and 1,500 runners took part last year along with 200 children who completed their own, shorter, course. Crossing the gardens and the forests before returning through the Château itself makes the runs unique while the evening walk, with the garden course lit by torchlight, takes you back across the centuries. Registration is required (from 8-18€ depending on the course, meal extra), see

La Rochelle (17) > 5-6 October For gamers, Atlantic Lan runs from 5-6 October at the Maison de la Charente-Maritime. Angoulême (16) & SURROUNDING AREAS > 4-19 October The 25th Piano en Valois brings talented pianists to venues across Angoulême and nearby villages. See their website for the full programme. Chaniers (17) > 12-13 October The long-running minerals, fossils and shells exhibition and market will open its doors from 9.30am-1pm and 2-6.30pm. Entry is free.

La Semaine Bleue

A week dedicated to raising the awareness of the contribution made by retired individuals to all aspects of our lives, as well as sharing the concerns and difficulties they face takes place from 7-13 October. Details of local activities can be found on

Chevanceaux (17) > 20 October For autumnal fare, head to the Fête des Marrons Entry is free. Saint-Genis-deSaintonge (17) > 17 November The annual Foire aux Arbres is open from 8am-6pm La Rochelle (17) > 11-17 November Screenings of international documentaries, conferences and more are promised at the Festival International du Film et du Livre d’Aventure. Cognac (16) > 14-17 November Littératures Européenes Cognac celebrates authors from Lille, Brussels and Amsterdam with seminars, workshops and readings. Angoulême (16) > 29 November-1 December Gastronomades, the festival of all things edible, fills the centre of Angoulême with activities for all the family.

News from around the region...

L’Angoumois returns ©Fane Adonf 2014

Devastated by a fire in 2012, the Angoumois, a 38m sterntrawler built in 1969 and designated a monument historique, has returned to its moorings at the Bassin des Chalutiers in La Rochelle after a seven-week refit costing 183,000 euros. A flagship of the Musée Maritime, the trawler is once again open for visits after the extensive repairs to address fire damage which nearly destroyed her. The museum is open daily from 10am to 6.30pm.

Rally dates The Dunes et Marais all-terrain rally, part of the French national championships, departs from Royan from 8am on Saturday 5 October with the return leg on Sunday leaving St Sulpice de Royan from 7.45am. Teams come from around Europe with 132 taking part last year across the four classes. For full details see The 63rd edition of the Rallye d’Automne at La Rochelle takes place from 15-17 November alongside the Charente-Maritime Historic. Route details are only released at the last moment at



Head to the Grande Plage at Fouras-lesBains (17) for the Fort Boyard Challenge over the weekend of 12-13 October. Watch as windsurfers, stand-up paddlers and Polynesian outrigger canoe teams battle it out to round the Fort and return to land. See

Calls will be answered by a local counsellor









News from around the region...


Autumn Agenda Campsegret > 5 October The Great Phoenix Book Fair will be open from 9.30am-3pm with proceeds benefiting the Phoenix Association.


Chestnuts Galore

As the evenings draw in, nights beside the fireplace herald in the chestnut season. For centuries these prickly treasures have contributed an important part to the area’s economy as well its gastronomy. Many local autumnal dishes feature chestnuts, from jams to mash and they’re even milled into flour, while roasting them over an open fire is an ageold pastime. High in fibre and trace elements, they have long been stored through the winter to feed humans and animals, traditionally being dried in small buildings where the nuts were laid out on the first floor while a flameless fire was carefully tended on the ground floor. Called the ‘arbre à pain’, the two main varieties grown in the region are Marigoule, a brilliant reddish-brown and the Bouti de Bétizac, a bright red chestnut developed to resist disease. To find out more about the traditions, visit the eco-museum Maison de la Châtaigne dedicated to the nut and other local delicacies at Villefranche-du-Périgord. The village also hosts one of the largest chestnut gatherings over the weekend of 19/20 October, this year celebrating its 30th year. The Fête de la Châtaigne also celebrates the local cèpes, combining tastings and themed meals with competitions, a market and even a blessing from the Confrères de la Châtaigne de Villefranche-du-Périgord. Also on the 20 October is the annual gathering to celebrate both chestnuts and conkers higher up the Dordogne Valley at Beynat (19190).

Bassillac > 12-13 October Celebrating its 30th edition, the Festival de Bande Dessinée (comic strips) has a busy agenda. Fifty authors will be present and there will be workshops, conferences, signings and a book fair. Find all the information at

collections from local artists and creators alongside workshops and a market. Entry costs 2€, see for opening hours. Sarlat-la-Canéda > 12-16 November Sarlat Film Festival draws in stars from across the industry with a packed programme. See www. for details nearer the event.

Nontron > 25-27 October The 10th Salon Rue des Métiers d’Art will be showing the latest

Tourism slow down

The first figures published for the Dordogne’s tourism season show that while visitor figures to the key attractions like Sarlat and Lascaux held up, tourists from other countries were down with British visitors falling steeply, by 23% in July, a slump that was put down to Brexit and the poor exchange rates alongside better weather in the UK. However, the département benefited from the good weather in April and May.

Summer in Sarlat

News from around the region...

Winter Markets

La Ronde des Villages

Join other walkers to explore the PĂŠrigord Noir over the weekend of the 12/13 October. The route, organised by the Tourist Office and over 600 volunteers, is circular and passes through 19 villages, a total of 134km. Choose whether to walk for one or two days, plus which parts of the loop you would like to follow. A free bus service shuttles walkers back to their departure point, and there are food and drink stops in each village offering local specialities. Places are limited to a maximum of 4,199 participants so registration in advance is required at where you can also find the route map.

While many markets and brocantes wind down over the winter months, the Verteillac brocante goes strong all year round. On the first Sunday of each month some 80-100 stallholders display their wares drawing bargainhunters from across the region to this attractive village. Call 06 64 00 98 86 if you would like to reserve a place. Over at Le Bugue, the Tuesday market celebrates an astonishing 700 years of commerce after King Philip IV granted permission for the events in 1319.

Verteillac’s monthly brocantes carry on all year round


St Jean de



La Roche sur-Yon

Herbiers y


Bressuire Parthenay



Les Sables d’Olonne

e La Tranch sur Mer


St-MaixentL’école Melle

News from around the region...

Deux-sèvres & Vendée

Autumnal colours Where can you go to see the beautiful colours of the season? We have a few suggestions…

Forêt d’Aizenay (85)

Just 16km NW of La Roche-surYon, this 420-hectare forest is criss-crossed with signposted walks. On the eastern side is the Sentier de Souvenir, a moving memorial commemorating five US airmen who crashed in 1944. Open all year round.

Arboretum de la Croix Verte (79)

Visit solo or take a guided tour and discover 2,000 species of trees and shrubs at Beaulieu-Sous-Bressuire. This 15ha park is open all year and there are tours on some Sundays until mid-October - check for details.

Arboretum du Chemin de la Découverte (79)

Stroll along the recently renovated 6km track around Melle and pass through this fine arboretum of 1,800 trees and shrubs from across the world. Go on your own or organise a group of five or more people for a guided tour. It is open all year. See

Forêt de Chizé (79)

This vast forest of 3,435 hectares is a wonderful place to see autumn colour in the heart of an ancient setting. Back in the Middle Ages this was the biggest forest in the region.

Vendée Globe 2020

© Alixis Courcoux

The 9th Vendée Globe will leave Les Sables d’Olonne on Sunday 8 November 2020 and already the anticipation is growing. The ‘Everest of the seas’ has been tackled by 167 contenders to date with only 89 having completed the solo, non-stop, without assistance, race around the world. Non-stop means that the skipper is not allowed to step ashore beyond the high tide mark for the duration of the race and likewise, no-one other than the skipper can step aboard the boat. The only assistance they can seek is advice from the race doctor if they fall ill, along with design information from their technical team, but all routing and the repairs themselves have to be carried out alone at sea. French skipper Armel LeCléac’h sailed to victory in the 2016/17 race after 74 days at sea and only 15 hours ahead of Brit Alex Thomson. The boats and skippers are already preparing for the 2020 race, which promises to be just as hotly contested as the 2016 event.

Veggie menus From November, school canteens across France will provide at least one vegetarian menu per week, after the Assemblée Nationale recently gave the idea the green light. As part of a two-year test, schools will offer a vegetarian menu which can be based on animal proteins (dairy, eggs) or vegetables (cereals, pulses). During the test, schools will be measuring the wastage along with any financial impact, and parents have been reassured that the meals will be balanced and nutritious.

48 hours

For 2 days in October, sites across Nouvelle-Aquitaine will be offering free events to discover, learn about and protect the environment and local biodiversity. After a successful inaugural event in 2018, the region hopes to build upon the enthusiasm with more than 130 events already planned including several in Deux-Sèvres. Choose from a nature rally in La Crèche, helping out at the Poitou donkey centre at Dompierre sur Boutonne, tracking otters along the Sèvre Niortaise in Niort and more. Find events located near to you on the interactive map at openagenda. com/48hnature.

News from around the region...

Autumn Agenda La Roche-sur-Yon (85) > 14-20 October The La Roche-sur-Yon International Film Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary with over 70 screenings, many of them premiers in France, across diverse genres including

future talents. Details of the programme can be found at Ménigoute (79) > 29 October-3 November Nature films and documentaries are the centrepiece of the Festival International du Film Ornithologique. Conferences, workshops and an extensive market make this an important date in all nature-lovers’ diaries. See www. for the calendar of activities. Puy-de-Serre (85) > Saturday 23 November The Autumn-Christmas Craft Fair of All Saints Vendée will open its doors from 11am-3pm.

HOPE Book Sale

Plant Spectacular

Keen gardeners will be flocking to southern Deux-Sèvres over the weekend of 19-20 October to visit Domaine de Péré’s autumn plant fair. With over 120 stall holders arriving from across France and further afield, representing all aspects of gardening and associated trades, there is something for gardeners large and small. Specialist growers and horticulture experts share their advice and, with many arts and crafts on show too, it is also a great place for gifts and home décor. Doors open from 10am to 6pm with refreshments available all day. Entry costs 6€ with under-16s free and 1€ for students and job seekers. Domaine de Péré, 79360 Prissé-la-Charrière, see for full details.

This autumn, the ever-popular 3-day HOPE book sale will be held in their new premises at Sauzé-Vaussais (79) from Friday 18 October to Sunday 20 October. Browse through thousands of good quality books in both English and French, bric-a-brac, DVDs, CDs and more before enjoying refreshments in the café or tucking into Mr T’s Fish and Chips. For those with restricted mobility, there is early opening for books only from 2-4pm on Thursday 17 October. Note: if you are searching for a particular book, why not let the helpers know in advance and they will put it aside for a small charge. Doors open from 10am – 4pm.





Chauvigny Montmorillon

Le Dorat

Charroux Civray

Bellac Nieul



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





Au Nom de la Terre

“Pierre is 25 when he returns from Wyoming to find Claire his fiancée and take over the family farm. Twenty years later, the farm expanded, so did the family. Times are happy, at least at the beginning but the debts accumulate and Pierre is exhausted at work. Despite the love of his wife and children, he gradually sinks”. This explanation accompanies a new cinema release shot in Mayenne but inspired by the family history of its director, Édouard Bergeon, who grew up on a farm near to Poitiers. At the age of 16, he found himself, along with his sister and his mother, responsible for the family farm. Three years later he joined France 3 Poitou-Charentes as a journalist and moved into documentary and film making. He now tells the story of farming over forty years which gives a powerful insight into how rural life in this area has changed across the decades.

Animal Scanner

For pets in Vienne, the nearest scanners were in Niort, Bordeaux or La Rochelle until recently when thirteen veterinary clinics got together to install one in JaunayMarigny near Futuroscope. Together, they have invested 350,000 euros in the building and pay 5,000 euros per month for the equipment and then there are the staff costs and other overheads. They now employ one full-time radiographer and offer the scanner to other vets and individuals to use. While the cost is high (starting at 400€) the additional information that the 3D image provides allows for faster diagnosis and care. The animals require a light anaesthetic but other than that, the process is much the same as for their human friends.

Poppy Appeal

The RBL Linazay team have a tough act to follow after their largest-ever collection in 2018 when 18,431€ was raised with prolific local fundraiser Bob Liddiard donating 4,600€ from his London to Paris cycle ride. This year, collection boxes will be available from the third week in October until completion on Armistice Day. If you or your business would like one, please contact the Appeal Coordinator Ken Checkett through the RBL website at

Hitting Target

The development of the Center Parcs Le Bois Aux Daims site represented a significant investment for the Vienne département promising both to attract tourists and to employ locals. Five years later, a review has been carried out by Cabinet Protourisme which has measured the impact of the investment and the results are encouraging. The département will spend nearly 205 million euros on the development between 2013 and 2024 and this year the project breaks even as planned. Last year the park had 520 employees over half of whom live in the area and, over ten years the Bois aux Daims will help to create 5,000 direct and indirect jobs. The impact on other local tourist attractions and accommodation is less clear. There is local concern that the park acts as a magnet for tourists who then don’t visit elsewhere. The study estimates that 27% of visitors do visit other local attractions which equates to 585,000 visitors over the ten years of operation between 2015-2024. Center Parcs ‘Le Bois Aux Daims’

News from around the region...

Autumn Agenda Poitiers (86) > 4-6 October The centre of Poitiers welcomes Les Expressifs, a festival packed with free performances in and around the local streets. LIMOGES (86) > Friday 18 October Don’t miss La Frairie des Petits Ventres in the old town. From 6pm, 40,000 visitors descend on Rue de la Boucherie which is

packed with stalls offering local foods and sharing the patrimoine limougeaud. This year, following a recent fire, access is by the bottom of the street only. Châtellerault (86) > 18-20 October The 4th Salon Maison de Châtellerault opens its doors at the Parc-Expo du Chillou with over 130 exhibitors. See

It’s a laughing matter

Given the political situation in both the UK and US, it is not surprising that this year’s cartoon festival at Saint-Just-Le-Martel (87) has work from a plethora of anglophones. Steve Bell, the award-winning Guardian cartoonist who has been drawing the If series since November 1981, is centre stage with an exhibition featuring work from the past forty years. Also showing are the Scottish Cartoon Art Studio with a series of press cartoons by Scottish and Northern Irish artists reflecting the tensions of the past three years with Brexit looming. ‘Trump and Iran’ features American cartoonists inspired by news from the New York Times while ‘Gagged’, by British illustrators, reflects the repression and censoring of artists worldwide. There is a homage to local politician Gérard Vandenbroucke plus collections, both present day and historic, from around the world. Running from 28 September to 6 October, the full programme can be found at

Garden Lovers

Don’t miss one of the most popular events in the Limousin for gardeners and nature lovers alike, the Fête des Plantes, du Jardin et de la Nature held in SaintJunien on Sunday 27 October. Held at the Salle des Congrès du Châtelard, there is plenty of space to browse over eighty stalls where local nurseries will show roses, fruit trees, shrubs, perennials, aromatics, palms, irises, climbers, heather, carnivorous species, succulents, cacti, bulbs and more! Alongside them, artisans will offer their wares, many made from local, natural materials, with clay, glass, iron and wood all in the spotlight. Take part in a randonnée faune-flora, join a conference about soil and watch a demonstration of Raku pottery or planting an autumn herbarium; there are events all day long. Finally enjoy traditional soupe potagère or head to the restaurant which, as well as other options, will be serving a Lebanese menu. Entry is free and the doors open from 9am to 6pm. See lesamisdesfleursdest-junien. or contact 06 87 58 26 29 or for more information.



Zone Commerciale de SAVIGNÉ (86400) - Tel: 05 49 87 07 78

Cathar Country 28 | living places to visit

The sun-soaked landscapes of the Languedoc haven’t always been so relaxed, as we’re about to reveal. WORDS: ROGER MOSS

The 12th century Pont Vieux de Béziers


ust 20km or so from the balmy shores of the Mediterranean lie the wild, rugged landscapes of the Hautes-Corbières, home to some of the most spectacular scenery which France has to offer. It’s fine touring country, but centuries ago the area witnessed some of the darkest events in French history. The story begins with the rise throughout southern France of a religious sect known as the Cathars, or ‘Albigensians’ – a reference to the town of Albi, which became a prominent centre of Cathar faith. Among their more radical beliefs was the idea that God could be addressed directly with no need of the Catholic Church, whose teachings they rejected outright. Their distrust went further, for they considered its acquisition of land and wealth to be immoral, and accused the

clergy of greed, hypocrisy and lechery. From their humble beginnings as a peasant movement, Cathar beliefs were soon adopted by artisans, writers, poets, merchants and even disillusioned members of the clergy, while sympathisers among the nobility included Eleanor d’Aquitaine and her daughter Marie de Champagne. Faced with such an unprecedented crisis (and after peaceful means had failed) Pope Innocent III approached King Philippe II of France to mount an invasion of the South, to stamp out the rampant heresy once and for all. The ensuing horrific and bloody campaign was glorified with the title of the Albigensian Crusade, which began in earnest on 22 July 1209 with the siege of Béziers. Catholic inhabitants were offered the freedom to leave unharmed, but many stayed and fought

right: © Ville Albi

The Château de Peyrepertuse

living places to visit | 17 Defenders’ view from the Château de Quéribus

left: © G.DESCHAMPS - CRT Occitanie; right: roger moss

“Today your Holiness, twenty thousand heretics were put to the sword..” The town of Albi and the River Tarn

alongside the Cathars. When asked how to tell Cathars from Catholics, Papal legate and Cistercian abbot-commander Arnaud-Amaury is reported to have replied: “Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius” (“Kill them all; the Lord will recognise His own”). The overheard comment soon reached the troops, who forced open the doors of the Eglise Sainte-Marie and slaughtered thousands of men, women and children, before killing and mutilating thousands more elsewhere. When it was all over Arnaud-Amaury wrote to Pope Innocent III: “Today your Holiness, twenty thousand heretics were put to the sword, regardless of rank, age, or sex. After this great slaughter the whole city was despoiled and burnt...” Six days later his forces reached Carcassonne, whose siege would not last long once water supplies had been cut. This time both the inhabitants

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Carcassonne, scene of Papal Inquisitions in 1234

The Palais de la Berbie and the bishop’s gardens, Albi

The horrors of the Inquisitions

“Remaining Cathars were systematically tracked down and forced to repent or be burnt to death...”

and those who had sought refuge in the walled town were spared and permitted to leave, albeit ignominiously and near-naked. After the fall of Carcassonne prominent French nobleman (and 5th Earl of Leicester) Simon de Montfort replaced the Papal legate as commander of the Crusader army. Faced with this show of force Albi, Castelnaudary, Castres, Fanjeaux, Limoux, Lombers and Montréal were all moved to surrender with little or no resistance. During the next ten years or so the campaign continued with further attacks on Lastours, Minerve, Termes, Montferrand, Castelnaudary, Toulouse, Beaucaire, Avignon, Marseille and other known Cathar towns. Remaining Cathars were systematically tracked down and forced to repent or be burnt to death as heretics, until many who were unwilling to give up their faith finally decided to seek refuge in several remote mountain fortresses. The largest (and today the most visited) of the Cathar Country chateaux is Peyrepertuse, spread across several levels of a slender limestone crest in the Hautes-Corbières. The windswept site around 800m above sea level has been occupied since the Gallo-Roman era and became a royal fortress in 1258. Reaching the citadel today still involves climbing flights of steps cut into the

The defensive ramparts of Carcassonne

stone in 1242, but your efforts will be rewarded handsomely with panoramic views, the topmost viewpoint adding an overview of the whole site. Peyrepertuse retained its garrison of troops for centuries, so the fleeing Cathars (and ‘faidits’ whose property had been seized in retaliation for their opposition to the Crusade) sought sanctuary elsewhere. Many found it in another nearby stronghold which was already home to several Cathar monks. Poised on a

living places to visit | 19 The red brickwork of ‘Albi-la-Rouge’

Sainte-Cécile d’Albi, the fortress cathedral

sheer pillar of limestone, the striking outline of Quéribus rises assertively beside the perched village of Cucugnan, on the modern-day boundary between Aude and Pyrénées-Orientales. Built around 1020 to defend the northernmost territories of Aragon (now NE Spain), the fortress became a French possession when the border was realigned. For a while Quéribus enjoyed immunity from the wars raging elsewhere, but in 1255 King Louis IX ordered its seizure. The ensuing siege lasted just three weeks, although most of the Cathars had already managed to slip away, many finding a less hostile environment across the border. For their brethren elsewhere, however, things had not ended quite so well. At Montségur, 20km south of Mirepoix, 10,000 troops mounted a siege which lasted for 10 months. When the defences were finally breached the Cathars were given a two-week truce to reflect and renounce their faith. Over 200 still refused to do so, and perished in a

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The ruined citadel of Peyrepertuse

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The emblematic outline of Mont Canigou

funeral pyre constructed at the foot of the site. Today the events of the ‘Prat dels Cremats’ (‘Field of the Burnt’ in Occitan) are commemorated by a stone pillar bearing an incised Cathar cross. The Albigensian Crusade would drag on for forty-five years, eventually escalating beyond its original objective into a full-scale war to bring the South under the direct rule (and savage taxation) of the French monarchy. However, the horrors of the Crusaders’

any individual who had died without confessing their known heresy should be exhumed and their remains burnt. Mental images like these are chilling enough, but the Cathar strongholds aren’t the only sites which symbolise the climate of terror during the Albigensian Crusade. The most potent example is found in Albi, whose skyline has been dominated for over five centuries by the brooding outline of a monstrous, fortress-like cathedral. This unsettling first impression was precisely the intention of its creator, one Bernard de Castanet, among the most hated and feared of all the Inquisitors. He became Bishop of Albi in 1277 and conceived the idea of using military campaigns weren’t all the population had to worry about. In 1234 Pope Gregory IX established Papal Inquisitions in Albi, Carcassonne and Toulouse, to try individuals accused of heresy. Those found guilty or who confessed (often after being tortured), and who refused to renounce their faith were condemned to death by fire. Not that death was necessarily an escape; Bernard Gui, Inquisitor of Toulouse actually decreed that

The Cathar retreat of Aguilar

Peyrepertuse sits on a slender limestone ridge

living places to visit | 21 The Château de Quéribus bears the scars of a troubled past

ABOVE: 16th century manuscript showing Pope Innocent III excommunicating the Albigeois, plus Simon de Monfort’ troops

the sizeable fortune which he had extorted from the unfortunate Albigois to fund the building of the cathedral. In a similarly cynical gesture, Pope Jean XXII later donated proceeds from the Siege of Castres. The result today is a cathedral like no other, with walls over a metre in thickness, and stabilised by twenty-eight massive rounded bastions, their smoothly curved surfaces designed to resist stonethrowing siege engines. The whole structure is constructed from millions of pink, Roman-style bricks which turn to fiery gold at sunset. Just metres away, on the banks of the River Tarn, is the Palais de Berbie which Bernard de Castanet created as his private residence, and whose defensive fortifications suggest that the hated inquisitor slept no more soundly in his bed than his intended victims. Either way, his cathedral sent a clear message to the people of the south: never again would the church or the state tolerate the slightest hint of insurrection. Regardless of your views on religious belief, you’ll find that the sites

associated with these turbulent events are spectacular places to visit. We’ll be watching with interest the outcome of a combined bid for UNESCO World Heritage Site status by the citadels of Aguilar, Lastours, Montségur, Peyrepertuse, Puilaurens, Quéribus and Termes, plus the medieval city of Carcassonne. See: https://citadelles

And for wine lovers...

The Hautes-Corbières and the surrounding area are well worth getting to know, being home to AOC wine territories like Corbières, Côtes-du-Roussillon, Fitou and Minervois, not to mention the numerous producers who contribute to the highly successful Vins de Pays d’Oc.

Do you want to improve your French but find you can’t get to lessons? Would you prefer to learn in the privacy of your own home? Try Frantastique, the online course with fun, daily lessons, for FREE for one month and see your French improve. Simply sign up on our website Show how much you

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Zero-emission transport could combat climate change, so is it now a viable option for everyday motoring?


ke the

ardly a day goes by without fresh evidence emerging to tell us that time is fast running out for a rescue plan for Planet Earth. Global wake-up calls like these have a positive side, though: the very fact that we all contribute in some way to environmental pollution means that we can all help reverse things, not least by rethinking how we get around. It’s no longer a matter for debate, in fact, for the government has already committed to implementing sweeping changes which will soon affect our daily lives. The country which

Renault Twizy

brought us the 1€ LED lightbulb and home insulation initiatives is currently tightening controls on vehicles powered by fossil fuels, and offering financial inducements (see our factfile panel) to encourage motorists to purchase less- or non-polluting vehicles. With around 70% of the French labour force commuting to and from work by car, and those of us who live in rural areas relying heavily on our vehicles, the coming conversion process should bring substantial and lasting environmental benefits, particularly if we switch to Battery-Electric Vehicles. So, what are our ‘BEV’ options right now? You might be surprised, for while ‘citadines’ like the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf remain the eco-friendly market leaders, motor manufacturing giants have been quietly developing a whole host of serious contenders for the open road. That said, if you just want to get around locally then all-electric motoring actually kicks off

living MOTORING | 25

Vintage vibe: Devinci Lucie

“I have to hire the battery...”?

ABOVE: © Devinchi cars; LEFT: © Audi AG; BoTTOM LEFT: © Groupe Renault BELOW: © PSA Citroën

with something more off-the-wall. Launched back in 2012, the Renault Twizy looks a bit like a two-seater moon buggy (three will fit sideways into a normal parking space) and has a range of just 100-120km between charges, yet last year sales were up 45% to 4,000 worldwide. The reason? Well, they make perfect sense in our large towns and cities – and South Korean delivery and postal services are snapping up the cargo version, prompting the company to move production there from Spain. Meanwhile, most of us will simply be considering a non-polluting replacement for our diesel or petrolpowered family car or MPV, which raises the thorny issue of day-to-day practicality. On the upside, when you register a ‘vehicule propre’ you’ll be exonerated from Carte Grise fees

(currently €41/CV in NouvelleAquitaine) before saying goodbye to service station refuelling and soaring prices at the pumps. You’ll also enjoy access to urban areas denied to fossilfuelled vehicles, your servicing charges should drop dramatically and with instant and flexible power on tap, you’ll no longer need to change gear. If you’re tempted then you’ll now be wondering just how far you can drive before recharging and where to find recharging points. For everyday driving both BEVs and Plug-in Hybrids can be charged at home, ideally off-peak to take advantage of preferential ‘heures creuses’ tariffs such as EDF’s ‘Vert Électrique Auto’. Away from home things are moving fast in

Well, yes – because the batteries in question are complex and costly to manufacture, not so long ago accounting for about half the total cost of a vehicle. Today the proportion is roughly a third, and is expected to drop to around 20% by 2025, as the supply chain expands to meet increased electric vehicle ownership. Currently both PSA and Renault source their electric vehicle batteries from China, Korea or Poland, a far from ideal arrangement which spurred the government to announce a €700 million investment over the next five years to enable France (in partnership with Germany, which has pledged €1 billion) to become a self-sufficient leader in electric vehicle battery technology.

the deployment of public charging points. By July 2019 France had over 28,000 installations, many of them subsidised by the government’s €16 million ‘Advenir’ programme to help


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26 | living MOTORING local authorities add new points near residential or employment locations. There’s more good news: energy suppliers are finally addressing potential owners’ understandable scepticism about using a fully electric vehicle on longer journeys. Sorégies, for example, has partnered with APRR, SANEF and VINCI to offer ‘Corri-Door’ fast-charging points every 80km on autoroutes and in nearby commercial centres – and we do mean fast. Just 20-30min is claimed to be enough to fully charge any fully electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle, at a price of €3.50 per

Tesla Model 3 Model S & Model X at Supercharger station

1/4 hour for ‘Pass Izivia’ subscribers. Alternatively, just like mobile phone top-up cards, pre-loaded passes are on sale close to the terminals – users then launch charging via a smartphone app or an SMS message. For more information: Of course, regular longer journeys merit something more refined than a city car, a factor which has created booming sales for US manufacturer Tesla. With a range of upwards of 500km, 4WD and around 3sec 0-100km/h acceleration, Silicon Valley has set the bar very high indeed for competing established giants like Audi, BMW, Citroën, Jaguar, Mercedes, Peugeot, Renault and VW. So, the electric switch is coming, and sooner than you might think.

Making sense of different technologies ‘Mild Hybrids’: Not strictly electric vehicles, since all their energy is from fossil fuels, but with the starter motor replaced by a small electric power unit to assist acceleration, allow ‘engine-off’ coasting at cruising speeds and enable the engine to be stopped and started instantly at traffic lights, etc. Most also generate current to recharge the battery. For owners: The cheapest, lightest and leastcostly hybrid systems, but they’re complex and achieve modest fuel savings, so they now tend to be used for boosting performance. ‘Series or Parallel Hybrids’: A larger electric power unit can drive the vehicle at low speeds and low-load situations, so the fossil-fuel engine can be downsized. For owners: There’s worthwhile fuel economy, lower emissions, and no range constraints, although the initial investment is higher.

Plug-In Hybrids, or ‘PHEVs’:A step closer to fullyelectric motoring, with a larger battery which can be recharged by the engine, by power generated under braking or by connecting to a power point. For owners: Greater electric-only distances are possible, with extra fuel economy and even lower emissions. The downsides are heavier battery packs, plus greater complexity. Battery Electrics, or ‘BEVs’: The name says it all – at least one electric drive motor powered by a big battery pack. For owners: Theoretically the least complex of all the new-generation vehicles, but with complex software managing the thousands of individual cells which make up the batteries. Acceleration is almost instant, progress is silent and there are zero emissions, but range is limited by

the availability of charging points. Hydrogen Fuel Cells: The idea of oxidising hydrogen to create an electrical charge for a battery powering electric motors has been around for many years – what held it back were costs, bulky components and limited infrastructure. However, recent tech miniaturisation has made things more commercially viable, which has spurred interest from companies like Honda and Hyundai. For owners: Fill up with Hydrogen and you’re ready to go, silently and with harmless water vapour your only emissions. However, Hydrogen prices fluctuate wildly and refuelling points remain limited, although Hydrogen Mobility Europe, a long-term flagship project, promises to establish a pan-European network of hydrogen refuelling stations.

ABOVE: © Tesla ; LEFT: © Groupe Renault

Renault Zoe charging initiated by smartphone app

Land Art sculpture in rt the Mysterr’a 7) (1 e az m

living days out | 27

+article en Français

Navigate Mys terr’art by app smartphone or printed maps

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Autumn is the perfect time for getting out and about – or go on a quest, as Jessica Knipe reveals. Mysterrra park stimulates all five senses


he heat of the summer has finally died down, the leaves are doing their magical colour-changing trick… but anyone with growing children will know that getting them to go for a long walk can have its challenges, even for the most ‘outdoorsy’ of families. Add a treasure hunt and a mobile phone into the mix, though, and you’ve got a sure-fire winner, every time. Relatively unknown until last year, geocaching has now exploded across France, particularly along its western coast. The idea comes from the US: using a GPS or a mobile app, players navigate the great outdoors, answering questions and finding clues which ultimately lead to the location

of a ‘cache’, i.e. a hidden treasure that you can take home, as long as you leave something of equal value in its place. It’s a simple concept for an open-air treasure hunt that can take players on anything from a short walk in the woods to a serious cross-country hike. Websites like and provide an exhaustive list of caches in France, classified according to the size of the cache – from ‘Micro’ (less than 100 ml) to ‘Grande’ (over 20 litres) – as well as its difficulty and terrain (stars out of five). But this information can be a little dry for families just wanting to have a bit of easy-to-access fun while learning about their surroundings. Museums around the world have

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Mysterra covers over 11 hectares of pine forest in Charente-Maritime

An old lavoir is always a welcome site on a long walk, here near Burie (17)

L’automne, c’est la meilleure saison pour une promenade – ou pour une chasse au trésor… La chaleur de l’été s’est enfin estompée, les feuilles démarrent leur spectacle coloré mais les chefs de famille savent que pour convaincre même les plus actifs des enfants d’aller se promener, le chemin est souvent semé d’embûches. Rajoutez une chasse au trésor et un téléphone portable, par contre, et vous partez gagnants à tous les coups. Peu connu jusqu’à l’année dernière, le géocaching s’est maintenant répandu à travers la France, particulièrement le long de la côte atlantique. L’idée nous vient des États-Unis : armés d’un GPS ou d’une application mobile, les joueurs naviguent en plein air, répondant à des questions pour trouver les indices qui mènent vers une ultime ‘cache’, c’est à dire un trésor caché que le joueur peut emporter, du moment qu’il laisse quelque chose d’équivalent en échange. C’est un concept simple pour une chasse au trésor grandeur nature, qui peut aller de la petite balade en

One of the Mysterra (17) clue locations

forêt à une véritable randonnée de fond. Les sites tels que France-Geocaching. fr et listent de façon exhaustive les caches de France, les classant selon leur taille (de ‘micro’, ou moins de 100 ml, à ‘grande’, de plus de 20 litres) ainsi que leur difficulté et leur terrain (d’une à cinq étoiles). Mais ces informations peuvent être un peu assommantes pour une famille qui cherchent simplement à se divertir tout en s’informant sur ses environs. Les musées du monde entier ont réalisé que l’utilisation de plateformes numériques permet aux visiteurs de mieux interagir avec leurs collections, en créant un réel intérêt à travers les âges. De même, les offices de tourisme ont compris le potentiel du géocaching comme outil de promotion de leur région, réalisant qu’en réinventant la façon dont les gens interagissent avec les monuments, ils peuvent attirer toute une démographie de visiteurs à découvrir leur patrimoine.

Art and nature converge in the cache of Port d’Envaux (17)

Les Vals de Saintonge, par exemple, ont publié ‘Explorer Autrement’, un livret qui présente 33 cartes pour explorer les différents sites de leurs territoires, chacune accessible sur papier ou avec une application GPS à télécharger. Mais personne en France n’a encore mieux maîtrisé cet outil que la région NouvelleAquitaine : en 2018, plus de 720 000 joueurs ont participé aux quêtes créées par ‘Tèrra Aventura’, l’application gérée par les offices de tourisme de la région. Il existe maintenant plus de 400 caches étalées à travers les 12 départements de Nouvelle-Aquitaine, animées par de sympathiques personnages numériques qui trament des histoires et posent des questions adaptées aux enfants, encourageant les familles à partir à la rencontre de leur environnement. La cache ne se révèle qu’une fois que toutes les bonnes réponses trouvées, laissant les enfants

“There are now over 400 caches spread across the 12 départements of Nouvelle -Aquitaine.” explorer les murs ou les sous-sols pour trouver la bouteille qui contient leur badge. Il y a toujours un clin d’œil complice entre les inconnus qui repèrent un badge sur le chapeau ou le sac à dos de l’autre. Un téléphone et une connexion internet ne sont pas essentiels, puisque les questions peuvent être téléchargées à la maison avant d’être imprimés, mais si vous en avez un, il y a le plaisir ajouté de voir votre progrès sur la carte interactive. On peut aussi estimer le nombre de mètres avant la prochaine question, pour parer à l’inévitable « quand est-ce qu’on arrive ? » Cet esprit d’aventure, d’interaction et de découverte est si efficace que lorsque le maire de Montendre (17) s’est perdu dans les bois en vélo, il a décidé d’y construire un parc entier atour de l’idée : Mysterra. Le parc de labyrinthes à naviguer par GPS se situe au cœur de 11 hectares de forêt de pins, et les scénarios inventifs sur application mobile y encouragent une découverte éducative de la culture et la biodiversité locale. Crée en consultation avec une agence d’ingénierie environnementale, le parc entier parvient à respecter la nature tout en divertissant les familles friandes de technologie. Mais alors pourquoi ne pas juste aller se promener, sans mobile ? On n’a pas besoin d’un téléphone ou d’un labyrinthe ou d’un badge pour explorer la nature, si ? « Tèrra Aventura est certes une application numérique accessible via une tablette ou un smartphone, » admet Sandrine Derville, vice-présidente du Conseil régional de Nouvelle-Aquitaine en charge du tourisme. « Mais c’est aussi et surtout une façon ludique de faire découvrir le territoire aux petits et aux grands, au travers d’énigmes sur le patrimoine, l’histoire, la gastronomie ou l’environnement. » Dans le cas de Mysterra, la dimension numérique permet de redécouvrir un même parcours trois fois, avec un scénario différent pour chaque enquête. Conçu tel un Cluedo géant, avec des énigmes qui révèlent les indices, le labyrinthe Mysterenquête peut se faire en compagnie de chevaliers médiévaux, d’un professeur de laboratoire ou d’une communauté intergalactique. Les enfants courent d’un

Local artists are celebrated in the cache of Loix-en-Ré (17)

realised that using digital platforms to allow their visitors to interact with their collections can create real interest for all ages. Similarly, tourist offices have realised the potential of using geocaching to promote their regions, realising that by reinventing the way people interact with their landmarks, they can attract an entire demographic of new visitors to discover their heritage. The Vals de Saintonge, for example, created a booklet called ‘Explorer Autrement’, presenting 33 maps to different areas in their vicinity, each being accessible using the booklet or with a downloadable GPS map. But no-one in France has cottoned onto this new tool better than the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region; last year over 720,000 players took part in the free quests created by ‘Tèrra Aventura’, an app run by the region’s tourist offices. There are now

hidden Geocaching can lead to through e slid this treasures, like -Belle (79) sur lesCel of ods wo the Show how much

living days out | 29 over 400 caches spread across the 12 départements of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, led by friendly digital characters who weave stories and ask questions adapted for children, encouraging families to get out and interact with their surroundings. The cache is only revealed once all of the questions have been successfully answered, at which point the kids get to search for their badge inside holes in walls or in bottles buried underground. There’s always a knowing wink from the stranger spotting a badge on the hat or backpack of a fellow geocacher. A phone and an internet connection aren’t essential, as the questions can be downloaded and printed out, but if you have one there’s the added fun of watching your progress on the map as you move forward. You can also see

Caches can reveal surprises like the man-made lake of Guizengeard (16)


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30 | living days out Mysterrart adds intrigue at Mysterra

indice à l’autre, sans même penser à se plaindre qu’ils ont mal aux jambes… Il y a les géocaches culturels, aussi, qui utilisent monuments et anecdotes historiques pour résoudre chaque étape du challenge. Une simple ballade à travers même le plus beau des paysages ne vous permet pas toujours d’apprendre grand chose sur son passé et son importance patrimonial : « Certes, c’est un beau lac, mais saviez-vous que c’est en fait une carrière transformée, et c’est pour cela que son eau est si turquoise - la faune locale ne s’y est pas encore totalement implantée. » Ou encore : « Joli vignoble dans lequel nous nous promenons - mais saviez-vous que ces raisins se destinent pour le cognac, et que ces vignes appartiennent à Hennessy ? » Ces informations sont évidemment accessibles à l’avance, et les offices de tourisme pourraient vous les apprendre aussi, mais c’est tellement plus facile d’y aller directement avec son téléphone, sans parler du fait que la plupart sont gratuits et ouverts 365 jours par an. Alors la prochaine fois que vous décidez de partir en promenade automnale, considérez le géocaching. Ca donnerait presqu’envie de se perdre dans les bois…

cache The Tèrra Aventura geo ks in Plassac (33) overloo the Gironde estuary

tired” to be heard. how many metres are left before your next question – useful fodder against the Then there are the classic cultural inevitable classic: “Are we there yet?” geocaches which use landmarks and The sense of adventure, interhistorical facts to unlock each step of action and discovery that geothe challenge. A simple stroll through caching delivers is so effective that even the most beautiful of landscapes when the mayor of Montendre (17) wouldn’t necessarily tell you much got lost in the woods one day, he about its past and cultural significance: “Yes, it’s a lovely lake, but did you know decided to build a whole theme park that it used to be a quarry until it was around the idea: ‘Mysterra’. Creating mazes with the help of interactive GPS transformed into a lake, that’s why its maps, the park uses 11 hectares’-worth water is so turquoise – the local fauna of pine forest and inventive app-based hasn’t settled into it properly yet.” Or: “Nice vines we’re walking through – scenarios to promote a playful but did you know that these grapes were yet educational discovery of local used for cognac and that the vines belong culture and biodiversity. Designed in to Hennessy?” consultation with an environmental You could get this information by engineering agency, the whole park researching each site and asking the manages to respect nature while local tourism office for information, entertaining phone-savvy children but it’s so much easier to grab your and adults alike. phone and go, not to mention the So why not just go for a good fact that it’s mostly free and open 24 old-fashioned walk? Who needs hours a day, 365 days a year. When a phone or a maze or a badge to you’re out for your next autumn stroll, explore the great outdoors? “Sure, Tèrra Aventura is a digital application consider building it around a geocache. accessible via a tablet or smartphone,” It will make getting lost in the woods explains Sandrine Derville, that lot more interesting. vice-president of the region’s tourism council, “but it’s also, and above all, a playful way for kids and adults to discover our region, thanks to puzzles based around its heritage, history, gastronomy and environment.” In the case of the Mysterra mazes, the digital dimension also gives you the option to discover the same woodland using different scenarios. Set up as a giant ‘whodunnit’ with online challenges that unlock vital clues, the Mysterenquête maze can be completed with scenarios set either in medieval times, a scientific lab or an intergalactic fantasy. The kids run from one clue to the The mazes of Mysterra next, with barely a “my legs are encourag e children to listen to the tr ees

If you go down to the woods today…

Autumn is the perfect time to use geocaching to discover our region. There are even some quests specially tailored to the season: Throughout the school holidays, Mysterra organises new quests around the theme of Halloween, with special decorations, a treasure hunt for sweets on 31 October and a temporary game around the history of the Jack-O’-Lantern. For more information see: For two weeks of the autumn break, Tèrra Aventura runs a special ‘Zamélà’ cache, which changes location each year. This year the treasure will be hidden in La-Teste-de-Buch, so after you’ve found it you’ll be able to pop up to the Dune du Pyla! Download ‘Tèrra Aventura’ from your app store or visit: for more details.





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We offer an established, dedicated, English-speaking department staffed with customer service representatives and financial advisors in order to facilitate and to meet your needs. Crédit Agricole Charente-Périgord regional branch, cooperative organisational structure with variable capital, approved as a credit institution - Head office : 28-30 rue d’Espagnac, Soyaux (Charente) - Registered on the Angoulême companies register, under the number 775 569 726 - Insurance broker registered on ORIAS, the French Organisation for the register of Insurance Intermediaries, under the number 07 008 428. © Photo credits : Jean-Marc Barrère - Design : Maïa - 07/2017.

32 | practical living

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Why would I need ‘Prévoyance’ insurance?

Your life in France may bring with it new challenges whether you are self-employed, perhaps for the first time, employed or retired. It is natural to have concerns - what if you fall ill and can no longer work, pay bills, or what will become of your family if you are fatally injured? For these eventualities there are insurances called ‘Assurance Prévoyance’. Unfortunately, the State will pay you little or nothing during a period of economic inactivity if you are self-employed. For such times there are insurance policies should you be signed off from work by your doctor due to illness or an accident. You can decide how many days you are sick before the payments start (la franchise), and the amount necessary to make up the loss of earnings. Some policies will cover the hire of a replacement for you,

your business costs or even the cost of convalescent care until you can take the reins again. If fatally injured, it’s possible to provide a lump sum to your spouse to maintain the family home or make a regular payment to your children to continue their education. Those of you in employment will receive payment in accordance with the convention collective applicable for the company you work for. Part will be paid through CPAM and part through your employer’s insurance. It will be paid after an agreed number of days of certified sick leave. It’s also worth bearing in mind that if you are in the process of buying a house or even a car with a bank loan, you are obliged to take out an insurance to cover the loan. You do not need to buy these from the bank; there are competitive policies on offer elsewhere which can be personalised to meet your requirements.

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

Buying & selling property


Can you explain the contract options for buying and selling property?

When two parties intend to enter into an agreement for a property transaction, they first sign a sale agreement detailing the terms and conditions of the sale including the price. Whether you have an Estate Agent or Notaire preparing the contract, they will both have to explain to both parties that this contract can take the form of a unilateral promise of sale (promesse unilaterale de vente or PUV) or that of a binding contract (compromis de vente or CdV). Estate agents tend to offer a CdV since a PUV is an ‘authentic deed’ and so can only be completed by a Notaire. For buyers, since a reform in 2016, there is an important difference between the two forms of contract if the seller wishes to pull out. A PUV is unilateral, meaning that only the Promisor (or seller) makes a commitment to sell. The Grantor (or buyer) can then opt to buy or renounce, his renunciation leading to the payment of the deposit only (indemnité d’immobilisation) to the seller. Suspensive conditions may be included in the contract. However, the buyer benefits from an option, called ‘levée d’option’, which corresponds to the deadline given in the contract to opt to purchase. Until this option is exercised, which in practice usually coincides with the completion at the Notaire’s office, the sale is not complete. So, if the buyer decides not to complete, he will still pay

the deposit to the seller, but no further action or judicial proceeding can be undertaken to force him to buy. Once the PUV is signed though, the seller must complete the sale. With a CdV, the contract is a binding sale and both parties are committed unless there are suspensive conditions in place. If these conditions are not fulfilled by the agreed date, the parties may decide to extend the validity of the contract by mutual agreement until fulfilment of all the conditions. Otherwise, if a term ‘extinctive’ has been provided in the contract, the CdV becomes void. If one or other party decides to pull out, a round of notifications, bailiffs, solicitors, legal proceedings and months or even years of court hearings will be required to try to finalise the sale. Christophe Dutertre is a bilingual Frenchqualified Notaire with over 22 years’ experience, 15 of which were working in law offices in Monaco and with the banking industry in Luxembourg. FranceTaxLaw specialises in French and European notarial law and advises clients on all aspects of civil or tax law.; tel: +44 (0)20 8115 7914; email: info@

practical living | 33

Financial regulation in France


I know that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) covers financial regulations in the UK, but who are the regulators in France?


Regulation of financial services is very important to ensure consumer protection and corporate supervision. In France there are two main regulators,

Anacofi and Orias. Anacofi covers the investment advice you are given: www. qui-sommes-nous. Orias is the regulator for professional advisers who sell Life Insurance, which includes Assurance Vie and investment bonds: You may also hear about the EU legislative framework

MIFID II. This has the aim of standardising practices across the EU, improving protection and increasing transparency for the consumer, by covering the following points: In addition to target market information, the product manufacturer must provide information about: 1. the product’s expected performance; 2. the manufacturer’s distribution strategy and distribution channels; 3. stress testing relevant to the

risk profile of the target market; 4. conflicts of interest; 5. charges and costs. It is also important to note that whilst the UK is a member of the EU, FCA regulated companies can currently passport services into Europe; however, there is no guarantee this will continue once the UK leaves. Always ensure your adviser is qualified and that you know who regulates them and from where they are regulated, as not all countries adopt the same procedures.

Amanda Johnson works as an Independent Financial Advisor with The Spectrum IFA Group. T: 05 49 98 97 46 or 06 73 27 25 43;; « The Spectrum IFA Group » is a registered trademark, exclusive rights to use in France granted to TSG Insurance Services S.A.R.L. Siège Social: 34 Bd des Italiens, 75009 « Société de Courtage d’assurances » R.C.S. Paris B 447 609 108 (2003B04384) Numéro d’immatriculation 07 025 332 - « Conseiller en investissements financiers, référence sous le numéro E002440 par ANACOFI-CIF, association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Financiers »

Brexit proof your pensions and investments We’ve got you covered Haute-Vienne - Tony Farrell - Tel: 06 15 28 54 82 Vendée - Maeve Hoffman - Tel: 06 42 00 27 96 Charente-Maritime - Brian Furzer - Tel: 06 25 36 30 65 Dordogne - Tony Delvalle - Tel: 06 89 02 84 74 Deux-Sèvres - Amanda Johnson - Tel: 06 73 27 25 43

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

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Citizens’ rights after


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

How long will Boris Johnson remain Prime Minister?

Having written these updates for nearly three years, it feels as though each time they start the same way - we are not sure what will happen in the few days between the magazine being printed and being delivered. This one is no different!

REGISTERING IN FRANCE With a no-deal Brexit becoming a very real possibility since our last edition, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe recently asked the ministries to step up their activity, namely to: “strengthen communication and information provision for citizens and businesses, in order to encourage economic operators and individuals to intensify their preparation for withdrawal without agreement”. At the same time, he announced that a long-promised centralised online registration scheme for British nationals living in France would go live in October, although no specific date was given. If or when Brexit happens, all British nationals resident in France must apply for a new residency permit or carte de séjour (CdS) - you will have noticed the communication from the UK Government earlier in this edition. For those who have been able to get a permanent CdS (10 years), the process to change was set out in the French decree published earlier this year. Your application will need to be

supported by your: 1) valid passport 2) current CdS It will cost 100€ plus 19€ processing fee. There have been no details published about the process for those who have no CdS or for those with a 1-year or 5-year carte. According to the legislation, Britons will have a 6-month window to make their registration application after the ‘effective date’. If there is a deal, the effective date would be the end of the transition phase, currently December 2020. If there is no deal then Brexit-day is the effective date, so if Brexit happens on 31 October, then Brits must have applied by the end of April 2020. Applications will be made through the central system and then processed by local Préfectures. Details on how this will be done, what human resources will be made available etc. have not been publicised. There are concerns about how long the waiting time will be, particularly for those not holding a CdS yet. We hope that these details will be clarified in the coming weeks.

UK PENSIONS After significant lobbying by British in Europe, the UK Government have guaranteed that pensions will be uplifted for 3 years and not just one. While this is still woefully short, it does allow time for further negotiations.

There has been much discussion about access to healthcare but here in France, there has been provision made both under deal and no-deal for the immediate future. For anyone already paying into the French system (workers, pensioners for whom France is the competent state), nothing will change. For those receiving reciprocal healthcare via an S1 (UK pensioners, crossborder workers and their families), under a deal there is a transition period through which things will be as they are now. During this time, negotiations will be underway for the post-transition status (yes, exiting the EU is just the end of the beginning phase and there is still a lot to sort out for UK nationals living in the EU). Under no-deal, in the French legislation there is cover for one year while a bilateral agreement is negotiated or individuals move onto France’s PUMa system (Protection Universelle Maladie). See for detailed information.

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

living brexit | 35

A Message from the British in Europe Steering team

“Recently the BiE steering group met in London. Our first priority was to review how, and indeed whether, we can continue to operate going forward, particularly from January 2020 onwards. The current steering committee members have contributed their professional skills on a voluntary basis for almost three years now. This has involved many hours and personal and pecuniary sacrifices that will not be sustainable for much longer. At our one-day meeting we made a good start to the reappraisal of our future. Our plan is to continue full steam ahead with advocacy over the next three or four months, at the same time as we thrash out options for the coalition’s future. There is

Register to Vote

If you have been out of the UK for less than 15 years, and were on the electoral roll when you left, make sure you are registered to vote in any upcoming General Election or referendum. It is possible that there will be the same issue with late postal ballots that there has been in the past - you are strongly advised to register a proxy to vote on your behalf or even consider returning to the UK to vote in person. voting-when-abroad

a series of variables like funding and whether or not there is another extension. For example, if Brexit does go ahead on Halloween, our role as a campaigning group for citizens’ rights would morph towards monitoring the implementation of national contingency plans or, in a better scenario, the citizens’ rights section of a Withdrawal Agreement. Throughout the autumn BiE and the3million will continue to press for the ring-fencing of citizens’ rights. We will point out in Brussels, London and in member states that Britons in Europe face a huge loss of rights as we transition from EU citizenship to third-country-national status, with little scope for oversight from the European Commission. We will explain how, with No Deal, we will be under twenty-seven different legal systems and contingency plans, many of which are sketchy or depend on reciprocity from the UK. In parallel, we will continue lobbying the UK Government for lifelong pension

uprating, for home university fees, for a long-term commitment to support S1 healthcare and social security coordination and for the right of Britons to return to the UK with their family members. For all of us this is a gruelling and distressing process. Even at this late stage, we are being used as bargaining chips and it feels as if we are being forgotten by our own government and penalised by the EU for the sins of some of our country’s politicians. However, for the moment at least, our only alternative is to carry on fighting. So, let’s brace ourselves for another spell on the rollercoaster and do what we can. Remember that we are a team of grassroots volunteers and, in order to carry on defending your rights, we need your support more than ever.”

UK Immigration changes Some important changes have taken place to UK immigration law that will impact anyone whose spouse, partner or close family member is not British. In the past, as EU citizens, British individuals wishing to return to the UK with non-British family members were able to return via the ‘Surinder Singh’ route. These rules derive from an old court case, which established that the right in EU law for a person to move from one EU member state to another (i.e. to exercise free movement rights) must include a right to return, otherwise they would be deterred from moving in the first place. This means that if you’re exercising your right to return to your home member state (the UK), you’re doing so under EU law. In turn, this means that it’s EU law that also applies to your family members returning with you - not the UK’s domestic rules. However, with Brexit and the loss of EU citizenship this all changes and we are thrown into the hostile environment immigration legislation. These rules regularly change, often without notice, and include strict income requirements

for the returning UK national. At the time of printing, the UK national would have to be earning a pre-tax salary of £18,600 for their spouse or partner to apply for ‘leave to enter’, plus £3,800 for the first child and £2,400 per additional children. There have already been discussions about increasing this to nearly £30,000 or implementing a points-based system. Alternatively, the nonBritish family member would themselves have to meet the full immigration conditions. The new immigration rules on returning UK citizens that were published on 9 September provide a grace period during which Surinder Singh rights will still apply. These range from 31 Dec 2020 to 29 March 2022 depending on your individual circumstances. Once these grace periods come to an end, and should Brexit happen, many families will face a difficult choice. Returning to the UK, say to look after elderly parents, with your non-British partner may be much harder than previously. For more details about this subject, see

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36 | living family

Avec les enfants

s n o i t c e l f e R l a n Autum


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opportunity. But now the schoolwork is back on the kitchen table, and the smell of woodsmoke curling from chimneys perfumes the air with a homely comforting fragrance. Sweaters have replaced beach towels on hallway pegs and suddenly it’s autumn again - a time for reflection, to look back on a year half-spent but with much still in store. There are wonderful memories of summer to dwell on, and a couple of months of relative calm before breezes scatter the last of the leaves around the garden and the madness of Christmas comes whirling through the door once again. Autumns in the CharenteMaritime tend to be more of an Indian summer experience than periods of cold and dampness, with wonderfully warm days, plenty of sunshine and lunches often still eaten in the garden. The evenings are occasionally mild enough to dine outdoors too, with glorious sunsets that send us scurrying for our cameras. We picked up an old cauldron recently from a local brocante to use as a fire-pit for those nights when we want to sit under the stars, but there’s a little nip in the air. We enjoy hot mulled wine, and the kids toast marshmallows; somehow staring into the flames brings out the storyteller in us all and many a fun evening is spent telling outlandish tales. Now is also the time for long country walks at weekends, when the weather’s not so cold that you need a coat, but still cool enough to actually



When sun-block gives way to woodsmoke it’s time to make the most of our Indian summers. It seems like only yesterday that we were traipsing sand around the house, licking ice-cream off sticky fingers and cutting into melons at every





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want to do more than just amble. It’s a much better time of year for exercise, and cycling comes back on the menu after the heat of summer. It’s our favourite activity at this time of year, and we typically make an annual pilgrimage across to the islands for a day; the crowds have gone and the vineyards have turned into a blaze of golden foliage. Above all, though, this is the season for foraging – the blackberries and sloes have faded for another year but instead we now plan our mushroom sorties, and even though we try to be one step ahead of the local experts, we rarely are. They seem to have a sixth sense for knowing when certain fungi are ready in long-forgotten thickets. Hunting for mushrooms is of course a French national pastime and it’s one we have all fully embraced, complete with the requisite visit to the pharmacy to have our champignons verified as being edible. When we first came here the children were hesitant to pick up anything that might kill them instantly, so I think we had fed them far too many stories of possible death

living family | 37

children squealing out into the garden. However, this year our homemade fire-pit has been employed almost constantly, still using the old chestnut roasting pan which was left behind by previous owners and looking like something from the 1800s. But it works and goes hand-in-hand with family evenings spent in the simplest of manners, but with copious amounts of enjoyment, plenty of giggles and wonderful conversation. What more could anyone need?





from poisoning. Now, however, they’re less cautious, willing to collect but still not so willing to eat! The other great treats to enjoy right now are wild chestnuts. Keeping tabs on which local giant is about to drop its spiky rewards, and then gathering them right away; roasting them is a much-appreciated family pastime. We used to do this in the summer kitchen, crowding around a built-in fireplace, and as we lit the fire the smoke would bring the spiders abseiling down from the ceiling, sending the


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









Our unique cryptic crossword from Mike Morris is the perfect way to while away an autumnal evening. If you get stuck, you can have a peek at the answers on page 64… CLUES ACROSS 1. Small county very strong in organising children’s tests? (6) 4. Effect of part of play on one member? (6) 8. Fellow turning back to sign agreement? (3) 9. It’s down to Mr. Switch to get expensive cars for gangsters’ wives? (5) 11. First among poor and defenceless found a home? (3) 12. A toy few Greens could use; it goes against their whole philosophy. (5, 2, 6) 15. Sinister, lacking energy, but has given me a pick-me-up? (4) 16. The first of high earning weekly newsreaders to be axed? (4) 20. A beer to slow up condition of complete control? (8, 5) 21. Mine dug up, possibly putting you on a winner? (3)

23. Wise to pay out every month? (5) 24. We are told the river in question is in Wales? (3) 25. Uncover former partner’s pretence? (6) 26. The way to get high just on a whiff? (6) Clues Down 1. Stringy product of yew coming after transgression? (6) 2. Leaders of army in distress getting help? (3) 3. For fun, get less drunk and you may achieve nirvana? (13) 5. Set printers; I’m confused so mistakes are made. (13) 6. Magnitude of current article on politician? (3) 7. Lawyer implicated in playthings given as presents? (6) 10. Existence of the French on conditional expression? (4) 13. Solitary renditions working both ways? (5) 14. Refresh end points of cutter edge on fine saw? (5) 17. A lot of straw put around


11 10


13 12


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22 24

24 25


island race contest? (6) 18. Toff’s college strikes a bum note? (4) 19. Enthusiastic for introduction of tourists to Shakespeare’s forest? (6)

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22. Spanish agreement lifted from soft drink that provided energy? (3) 24. Put on no resistance to misery? (3)

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38 | living nikki legon’s cuisine

As the leaves turn golden, here’s our selection of Nikki’s tried and tested autumnal recipes with added seasonal fun!

Nikki Legon's

Roquefort Paté


Roquefort Paté serves 6

100g Roquefort cheese, crumbled 250g cream cheese, eg St Môret 15ml crème fraîche 30ml fresh parsley, chopped 15ml chives, finely chopped 25g hazelnuts, finely chopped Method In a bowl, combine the crumbled Roquefort, cream cheese and crème fraîche. Beat together. Fold in the chives, parsley and nuts. Shape the mixture into a cylinder and wrap in clingfilm, or place directly into a decorative bowl, and chill. Serve on wholemeal bread.

Mini Beef Moussaka

Mini Beef Moussaka serves 6

3 large aubergines 450ml milk 40g butter 40g flour 75g Gruyère cheese, freshly grated 50ml olive oil 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped 5 large tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped 1 tsp oregano ½ tsp cinnamon 300g sliced beef cut into strips (for vegetarians omit

the beef and add 500g minced Quorn) Method Halve the aubergines lengthways and remove the flesh from the centre. Chop the scooped-out flesh and score the skins with a knife. Melt the butter and blend in the flour, stirring constantly. Cook for two minutes to make a pale roux. Gradually add the milk and cook on a low heat stirring till thick and creamy. Season with salt and pepper, leave to go cold. Brush the skins with olive oil and place them in a baking dish. Cook in the oven 20 to 30 minutes. Heat the remaining oil in a pan and

Tomato and Apple Chutney

living nikki legon’s cuisine | 39

sauté the garlic. Add the chopped aubergines and cook for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add the oregano and cinnamon and cook for a further 2 minutes. Finally, add the strips of beef and sauté for a further 2 minutes. If using Quorn, simply brown in a little oil then add to the mix and sauté for a further 2 minutes. Place all the mixture into the aubergine shells, spoon over the cheese sauce and sprinkle a little more grated cheese on top. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes until golden.

Tomato and Apple Chutney Perfect for your tomato and apple glut… makes about 3 litres

2.5 kg ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped 175g firm apples, peeled, cored and chopped 800g light brown sugar 520g onion, chopped 520g raisins 2 green peppers, deseeded

Marrow and Ginger Jam Ideal for your overgrown courgettes Makes 8 x 450ml jars

8 large lemons (unwaxed as you will need the zest) 4kg marrow, peeled and cut into small pieces 4kg jam sugar (with added pectin) 200g fresh ginger, grated Method Zest the lemons, then cut in half and juice them, keeping the juice, shells and pips.

Marrow and Ginger Jam

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and chopped 4 tsp salt 1 tsp ground ginger 800ml cider vinegar Method In a large pan, add all the ingredients and bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once the sugar has dissolved, boil the mixture, uncovered, for 45 to 50 minutes until the fruit is tender and the chutney has thickened. Cool then transfer to sterilised jars and seal.

Tie the shells and pips into a muslin bag. Put the marrow into a preserving pan or large saucepan with 4 tbsp of lemon juice and cook until the pieces are turning translucent and soft, and the pan is dry. Add the rest of the juice, the zest, ginger and the muslin bag. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the marrow has softened completely and the jam has reached setting point. Pot the jam into sterilized jars and keep in a cool dark place as the flavour of the jam will intensify over the next few months.

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40 | living nikki legon’s cuisine

Bonfire Night Toffee Apples

Vegetable Pie

Vegetable Pie with Walnut Pastry serves 6

3 tbsp sunflower oil 2 onions, chopped 1 large red pepper 1 large yellow pepper 1 small cauliflower, cut into florets bunch of broccoli, cut into florets 12 cherry tomatoes, halved 1 large carrot, peeled and diced 1 large leek, white part only 50g butter 50g plain flour 1 tsp cayenne pepper grated nutmeg to taste salt and pepper to taste For the pastry 500g plain flour 200g butter or margarine 150g walnuts, blitzed in the blender to a rough crumb cold water Method Boil a large pan of water. Add salt, then individually cook the vegetables (except the onion), drain and cool. Reserve 600ml of cooking water. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and cook the onions until softened adding to the cooked vegetables.

For the bechamel sauce, melt the butter and add the flour, stirring to blend. Cook on a medium heat for 2 minutes then slowly add the reserved water until you have a thick creamy sauce. Flavour with cayenne pepper and nutmeg and then season to taste. Mix this sauce into the vegetables and keep cool. For the pastry, sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the fat until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the nuts and then bind together with cold water. Roll out a circle to fill your pie tin. Cut a large circle of greaseproof paper, crumple it and then open it out. Place it over the pastry and fill with beans. Blind bake at 180°C for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and parchment and fill with the vegetables. Cover the vegetables with foil and bake a further 20 minutes.

Bonfire Night Toffee Apples serves 8

8 Granny Smith apples 400g caster sugar 1 tsp lemon juice 4 tbsp Golden Syrup Method Tip the sugar into a large saucepan, add the lemon juice and 100 ml of water and bring to a simmer. Cook until the sugar has dissolved, swirling the pan gently to move the sugar around - do not stir. Add the Golden Syrup and bubble the mixture until you reach 150°C on a sugar thermometer. If you don’t have a sugar thermometer, test the toffee by dropping a small amount into cold water, it should harden instantly. When it’s ready, push a long stick into

Pumpkin Soup

Scary living nikki legon’s cuisine | 41 Halloween Hot Dog Mummies

each apple and tip the pan, rolling the apple in the caramel. Lift out and allow any excess to drip off before placing on parchment paper.

Pumpkin Soup serves 8

3 onions, finely chopped 3 tbsp oil 1½ kg pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks 1 litre vegetable stock 200ml cream

turn golden. Pour in the stock, season to taste and cook a further 10 minutes or until very soft. Add the cream and bring back to the boil, purée with a stick blender until velvety. Make the croutons into ghost shapes or squares, and fry until golden. Decorate the top of the soup with cream in the shape of a spider’s web and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.

a corkscrew. Place on the baking tray and brush with egg, cook for 25 to 30 minutes. Before serving, decorate with eyes – I use a blob of mayonnaise and a piece of black olive for each.

Scary Halloween Hot Dog Mummies

For the croutons 2 tbsp oil 6 slices of bread, crusts removed pumpkin seeds (optional extra)

serves 8

Method Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a frying pan, gently cook the onions until soft but not coloured. Add the pumpkin to the pan and cook for 8 to10 minutes, stirring, until it starts to soften and

Method Heat the oven to 200°C. Grease a large baking tray. Unroll the puff pastry and cut into 16 long strips. Wrap each sausage in a strip of pastry winding it around like

1 sheet of ready rolled puff pastry 16 hot dogs or chipolatas 1 egg, beaten

Are you a British national who values your rights to live and work here in France? Support the ONLY organisation standing up for you through Brexit. DONATE TODAY AT

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

À L’ABRI DES PINS Restaurant en Charente

Philippe & Yveline offer traditional French cuisine using fresh local ingredients Fixed menu from Weekdays 15.50€ Weekends 24€/27€ (2/3 courses) Open lunchtimes Tues -Sun

T: 05 45 35 81 27 06 31 64 85 14

Without your help, we cannot continue.

Repas gastronomique

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

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42 | living wine The rooftops and vineyards of Saint-Émilion

A brief history


of wine

he first evidence of wine made from grapes dates from about 8,000 BC, in what is now Iran. Ancient Greek writers and poets praised wine and used it as a metaphor – Homer’s ‘wine dark sea’, for example, has prompted much discussion about the colour of the Mediterranean at that time (around 8th century BC) and/or the colour of wine. Some have even postulated that the wine they drank was blue, although I think that’s a red herring. Homer was probably referring to the sea at dusk with the red setting sun on dark water, as I am sure the wines would have had similar colours to those we have today. Modern day Georgia and Armenia also share a deep wine heritage. The oldest remains of a fully equipped winery were discovered in Armenia a few years ago and date from around 4,000 BC. Botanists’ analysis of the remains from that ancient cellar revealed that the wine was made from Vitis vinifera grapes – the same grape family we use for most grape winemaking today. A lead archaeologist on the site said the wine would likely have been comparable to a modern unfiltered red and may have had a similar taste to Merlot, perhaps not dissimilar to our own unfiltered

Wine has been part of human development since the mists of time, as Caro Freely reveals. organic Merlot Feely Résonance that we grow today. South West France, with its famous regions like Bordeaux and Bergerac, also has an illustrious history. We don’t know precise dates, but well before the Romans conquered the southwest region in 56BC the Pétrucores tribe planted the first vines and made wine in the Dordogne Valley. I love the Bergerac wine appellation’s comic style poster of a coy prehistoric beauty with a modern glass of red wine posing in the Lascaux cave but alas, there is no proof of wine going back quite that far (c17,000 BC) yet. The famous Roman poet Ausonius planted vines in Saint-Émilion in the 4th century AD. It’s estimated that at the time about 50 hectares in total were planted, yet today the appellation covers 5,400 hectares. The Romans contributed much to wine through research on grape varieties, weather, growing conditions and winemaking. Detailed information on Roman farming can be found in texts

like Columella’s ‘De Re Rustica’ (meaning ‘On Rural Affairs’), the most comprehensive and detailed of Roman agricultural works written in the first century AD. Visiting Gallo-Roman museums like the extensive Vesunna Domus in Périgueux and the Gallo-Roman villa situated on the edge of Montcaret village, just off the D936 between Libourne and Sainte-Foy-la-Grande, reminds us of how important wine and

Le Cité du Vin, Bordeaux

living wine | 43 Château Feely (www.chateaufeely. com) is a biodynamic and organic wine estate with accommodation, wine tours, vineyard walks and a certified Wine Spirit Education Trust wine school (courses in November and March). Contact Caro for more details, or via Facebook. You can also read the Feely’s adventures in Caro’s book series.

Maison des Vins, Bergerac

its culture were to the Gallo-Romans. After the fall of the Roman empire the knowledge and tradition of winemaking was kept alive by monasteries. Four of the five main monastic orders in France established a base in Saint-Émilion, leaving beautiful churches and cloisters which, along with their excellent wines, have made the village world famous. One cloister – le Cloître des Récollets – actually backs onto the new Quai Cyrano, part

of the Maison des Vins in Bergerac. The period of English rule – 1152 to 1453 – was important to South West France’s wines, as it offered export markets via England and her trading partners. The waterborne route via the Dordogne river from Bergerac to Bordeaux and then out to sea via the Gironde, offered an energy-efficient method of transport for heavy goods like wine and timber. For a full wine experience with a significant dose of

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wine history I recommend a visit to the Cité du Vin museum in Bordeaux, which will take a good half day. Throughout its long history, no other beverage has rivalled the emotions and excitement that wine has created. With so many places which embody this rich history around our own region, why not explore some of them with a few relaxed autumn visits? Cheers!

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Vienne €99,000 Ref: 94432 Character 3 bed village house in good condition with second house, land and garage.

Vienne €246,100 Ref: 89139 Former mill house with 2 bedrooms, garage and 1 acre of garden crossed by the Charente river.

Vendée €109,000 Ref: 67642 Lovely 5 bed house with outbuildings and large attic easily convertible into further rooms.

Deux-Sèvres €304,950 Ref: 85324 Elegant 6 bed Maison de Maître with large courtyard, in the centre of a town with amenities.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller. DPE N/A

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

9% agency fees included paid by the buyer. DPE D

7% agency fees included paid by the buyer. DPE C


Vendée €82,500 Ref: 102741 Cute 2 bed detached cottage with garden. Ideal holiday home in a lovely area.

Vienne €349,800 Ref: 87362 Magnificent 5 bedroom, 3 bath, stone house set in beautiful gardens with a pretty stream.

Vendée €299,600 Ref: 89759 Grand country house with outbuildings set in 2 acres of land with lake and a natural spring.

Deux-Sèvres €249,310 Ref: 102814 Stunning 3 bed house, full of original features, with pool, terrace, garden, and outbuildings.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller. DPE N/A

6% agency fees included paid by the buyer. DPE C

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

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

Charente €94,600 Ref: 65925 5 bed house to renovate, with large barns, workshop and gardens. 3kms from Ruffec.

Vienne €125,000 Ref: 103945 Spacious and attractive 4 bedroom town house with garage and garden in a quiet location.

Vendée €266,965 Ref: 87419 Tastefully renovated 4 bed house, partly used as an up and running B&B, with 3300m² of land.

Deux-Sèvres €140,000 Ref: 68290 Pretty 4 bed house in a peaceful hamlet, with outbuildings and garden. Close to all amenities.

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

9% agency fees included paid by the buyer. DPE D

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

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

Deux-Sèvres €88,000 Ref: 77145 Delightful 3 bed cottage with its own enclosed grounds and original features.

Vienne €150,000 Ref: 105010 Lovely 5 bed property, with large private garden with orchard and well, in a peaceful village.

Vendée €147,150 Ref: 91467 Renovated 4 bed house with spiral staircase, large fireplaces, outbuildings and 1800m² garden.

Deux-Sèvres €149,850 Ref: 89436 Renovated 3 bed farmhouse with garage and in-ground pool in a peaceful hamlet location.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller. DPE F

Agency fees to be paid by the seller. DPE E

Agency fees to be paid by the seller. DPE N/A

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

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Charente-Maritime €147,150 Ref: 102682 Beautifully restored stone village house of 4 beds with lovely garden.

Charente €699,000 Ref: 81269 Exquisite estate made of 3 houses, spa, garages, cellars, and 1,5 ha of land. 3kms from Jarnac.

Dordogne €180,000 Ref: 100497 Immaculate 3 bed bungalow with pool, garage and views in Villefranche de Lonchat.

Haute-Vienne €348,000 Ref: 89793 Stunning equestrian property offering 2 houses, 3 barns, 3 stables, 2 hangars, pool & 3.5 ha of land.

9% agency fees included paid by the buyer. DPE E

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

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

6% agency fees included paid by the buyer. DPE C

Charente-Maritime €147,150 Ref: 52390 Character house of 3 beds and 2 baths, with courtyard, garden and garage. Close to Matha.

Charente €304,950 Ref: 102241 Superbly renovated village house of 4 beds and 2 baths and a 3 bed gite. Lovely views.

Dordogne €329,950 Ref: 92870 Beautiful 4 bed house with 2 lakes, garage, above ground pool and over 3 acres of grounds.

Haute-Vienne €214,000 Ref: 103986 Superb 4 bed barn conversion mixing original features with modern comfort. 6032m² of land.

Agency fees to be paid by the seller. DPE D

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

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

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

Charente-Maritime €267,500 Ref: 99540 Spacious 7 bed house to renovate, with high ceilings, and large garden. 5mins from Surgères.

Charente €299,600 Ref: 79671 Renovated 3 bed house, with cottage to renovate, barn, over 1 acre of land and geothermal heating.

Dordogne €160,775 Ref: 78586 Renovated 2 bed farmhouse with open living area, attic, outbuildings and 1773 m² of land.

Haute-Vienne €149,500 Ref: 25021 Fabulous 3 bed stone house with pool and garden, in a hamlet, 8kms from Rochechouart.

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

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

9% agency fees included paid by the buyer. DPE E

7% agency fees included paid by the buyer. DPE G

Be a part of our award winning team If becoming an independent property sales agent interests you, contact Head of Recruitment Lorraine Deuré: 05 53 60 82 77 - +33 (0)5 53 60 84 88

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Changing Places



he Marais Poitevin received the Grand Site de France label in 2010, shared with a membership currently numbering just 46. The handful of very special places sharing this prestigious accolade have two things in common: finely balanced environmental ecosystems and large numbers of visitors which might threaten them. Management therefore requires great sensitivity and long-term commitment, so the award recognises sustainable development policies which preserve the landscape and ‘spirit of the place’ while offering visitors a warm welcome, with the participation of residents and others involved in daily life locally. Living somewhere with a solid commitment to the quality of life has its advantages, particularly in a location which is both attractive, yet relatively undiscovered. Maillezais might just fit the bill, and is well worth visiting, not least for evidence of its curious history. Prior to the 11th century Maillezais was actually an island, despite its highest point being just 18 metres above sea level. The land all around was then drained by a complex system of canals to make

previously impenetrable marshlands habitable. As at Brouage, the water has long since retreated, but you can still see the old sea walls fortified by Henri de Navarre beside the Abbaye Saint-Pierre de Maillezais, whose monks participated in the drainage efforts. The Benedictine abbey became a cathedral in 1317 (until the diocese moved to La Rochelle in 1648), but was largely destroyed during the Wars of Religion. The romantic ruins are now open to visitors, putting Maillezais on the tourist map. While the visitors make for the abbey, the town itself feels relaxed and unpressured, with some interesting architectural features, including a noble Baroque-influenced mairie and the pleasingly ornate creation occupied by the Office de Tourisme Sud Vendée. Just across from it is a robust Romanesque église completed around 1140 and dedicated to Saint Nicolas de Myre, Patron Saint of mariners. Sacked during the Wars of Religion, it became a saltpetre workshop during the Revolution, before undergoing several restoration campaigns. The interior, though, is far more attractive than you would ever imagine when

Maillezais (85)

We visit a surprising town in Vendée standing outside, gazing at the sculpted Romanesque detailing of the apse. The star attraction, though, is the wealth of vivid imagery around the western portal, which really comes to life once afternoon sunlight warms the stonework and throws the detailing into sharp relief. At first glance it all feels far removed from the classic images of ‘la Venise Verte’, but aerial views reveal a complex canal system with an idyllic access point and boats for hire tucked away among the overhanging trees at the foot of the abbey, with more nearby, plus a wealth of routes for both on and off-road cycling.

Making connections Distances/drive-times by road from Maillezais: Fontenay-le-Comte: 13km/18min Niort: 28km/36min La Rochelle: 50km/51min La Roche-sur-Yon: 71km/51min Surgères: 36km/43min TGV & TER rail services: TGV services from Niort, La Rochelle & La Roche-sur-Yon to Paris, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Bayonne, etc. TER Nouvelle-Aquitaine services from gare SNCF de Fontenay-le-Comte to Niort, La Rochelle, Poitiers, etc.

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Property Sovimo immobiLier DPE: n/a

Ref. 34079

79 200€ HAI

(72 000€ plus 10% fees payable by buyer)

Availles-Limouzine (86). Near shops! Large 4-bed RENOVATED stone house, on 2 floors, 175m2 as livable space. Convertible attic, separate small garden, garage, mains drains.

Ref. 34071

151 200€ HAI


(140 000€ plus 8% fees payable by buyer)

Confolens (16) in quiet area - 2 min walk to town centre. 1960 bungalow on converted basement. Basement: equipped flat (poss rental). Upstairs: 2 beds, 2 balconies, oil heating, garden, mains drains, set on 1242m2.

Ref. 34072

Character Properties in France

DPE: n/a

237 600€ HAI

(220 000€ plus 8% agency fees payable buyer)

E xc

Exideuil (16). Rural, pretty, renovated stone farmhouse, on approx 3,26 acres. 3 beds, winter garden with spa, covered terrace. Detached barn with stable, 2 wood plots.

Ref. 34063

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E xc

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


151 200€ HAI

(140 000€ plus 8% fees payable by buyer)

Brillac (16). Modern renovated bungalow, nice inside. 3 bedrooms, oil central heating, oil & pellet stove, mains drains, porch, garage, swimming pool (which can be dismantled) with terrace, adjoining land with shed.

E xc

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

E xc

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Ref. 34055

149 000€ HAI

(137 960 plus 8% fees payable by buyer)

Ref. 34077

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


93 500€ HAI

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

Abzac (16). Pretty, furnished 1948 village Chabrac (16). Quiet rural setting, shops 7kms. house, completely renovated. 3 beds, 25m2 Pretty stone farmhouse set on approx 1ha 80 (approx 4acres), in one block, 3-bed house, garage, air/water heat pump, raised terrace, adjoining land with shed, well, set on 1127m2. 114m2 living space. Large barns, stable, hangar.

Chaillac sur Vienne, Haute Vienne, €265,000* 3-bedroom, almost 3 acres, 5km from Saint Junien, 6km from Rochechouart. Double-garage, large terrace, mains drains, double-glazed, under-floor gas heating. DPE: C Tel: 05 65 70 10 49 Email:

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

Please contact us if you have a character property to sell, we have a devoted team located throughout the area.

*agency fees charged to the seller Agence Eleonor Estate Agency 36-38 rue du Temple, 24500 EYMET T: 05 53 27 83 45 Eymet, Villeréal, St.-Cyprien, Monpazier, Bergerac, Lalinde, Lauzun, Issigeac and Sainte -Foy-la-Grande

Ref: 8174-EY 194,400€ HAI DPE: G This magnificent manor house is in need of complete renovation. Comprising Pigeon tower, entrance, dining room, lounge, kitchen, nine bedrooms, garage, cellar and just over an acre of garden. Not a project for the faint hearted but restored it would be magnificent.

All photos ©Lundgren Photography

Taux d’honoraires 14,400€ (8%) inclus à la charge de l’acquéreur.

Ref: 8195-EY 399,500€ HAI DPE: D Situated in a small hamlet yet just a few minutes’ drive from the pretty villages of Lauzun and Eymet this attractive stone property is set in just over nine acres of mature gardens with a pool and a gite. Taux d’honoraires 19,500€ (6%) inclus à la charge de l’acquéreur.

Ref: 8185-EY 1,050,000€ HAI DPE: D In the heart of a village with shops and restaurants and just 25minutes from Bergerac airport is this beautiful chateau divided into the owner’s private accommodation and separate bed & breakfast. Set in two and a half acres of mature gardens with a pool and an ornamental pond. Taux d’honoraires 50,000€ (5%) inclus à la charge de l’acquéreur.

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Private Sale


4km north of Rochechouart area in small, quiet village. Ground floor: large living/dining room with small kitchen plus cellar. 1st floor: bedroom with terrace and shower room, wc. Surface: 74m2. In front of house, a barn of 159m2 can be used as a garage. Field of 894m2 located 100m from house. DTI completed in 2016. E: Tel: 06 31 46 19 27



PRICE: 173,000€

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

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Ref. 5153 - 334,400€ HAI

Ref. 4823 - 520,000€ HAI

DPE: D (Fee paid by buyer 4.5% / 14,400€)

DPE: C (Fee paid by buyer 4% / 20,000€)

South BARBEZIEUX (16) - In a bucolic enviBARBEZIEUX (16) - Between BORDEAUX and ronment at the heart of a small village - superb ANGOULEME - At the town gates, exceptional bourgeois residence of 377m² built on a property set on 6ha. The 19th C residence 4530m² enclosed park with pool. Two recep- offers approx. 580m² of living space as well as tion rooms on the ground floor, study, kitchen an independent apartment of 67m². Traditional extended by a utility room. Upstairs, 7-beds with lavoir, fountain and pond. A 500m² barn with shower room and laundry room. Garage with impressive proportions plus other outbuildings games room over. For lovers of authenticity! complete this remarkable property!


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

Ref. 4954 - 384,000€ HAI

BARBEZIEUX (16) - In the town centre, this very beautiful bourgeois house of character with elegant architecture has approx. 450m² living space on 3 levels. Beautiful reception rooms, parquet floors, and woodwork. Part of the house can be totally independent, currently divided into 4 studios. Pleasant terrace and garden with trees. Beautiful stone outbuilding, dovecote. DPE: C (Fee paid by buyer 3.78% / 14,000€)

Ref. 5088 - 370,190€ HAI

Near BARBEZIEUX (16) - Traditional barn attached to house, fully renovated and tastefully finished. Large rooms -106m2 day room, living room with library, home cinema, utility. Upstairs, a large mezzanine office and 3 beds, including vast master suite that benefits from a suspended wooden terrace. Possibility to expand. Outbuildings, garage, on plot of 1760m². DPE: A (Fee paid by buyer 4.28% / 15,190€) Idimmo, Prestige & Châteaux 42 Rue Grosse Horloge, 17400 St Jean D’Angély. Tel: +33 (0)5 16 51 90 52

€498,200 FAI Honoraires à la charge du Vendeur

Idiade 768: Vervant. Charming 4-bed property possibly the Dower House for the adjacent château. Main house of 295m2. Beautifully renovated 65m2 Gite. Pretty outbuildings. DPE C

€192,600 FAI Honoraires à la charge du Vendeur

Idiade 6296: Surgères. Spacious town house. Ground floor bedroom, 39m2 living room, kitchen, 25m2 heated veranda overlooking private walled garden. 3-beds and bathroom upstairs. DPE Vierge

Show your house at the French Property Exhibition, 25th & 26th Jan ‘20 at London Olympia. Call us today for your FREE Valuation!

€165,850 FAI Honoraires à la charge du Vendeur

Idiade 5341: Contré. Large Longère. Ground floor is in a raw but habitable state: kitchen, lounge, bed & bath. 1st flr needs complete renovation. Large barn. Wooded parkland 5195m2. DPE Vierge

€176,550 FAI Honoraires à la charge du Vendeur

Idiade 6354: St Jean d’Angély. Spacious bungalow with large basement living area. Ground floor: living/dining, kitchen, bath and 3 beds. Basement: 2 beds , bath, 3 rooms. Workshop 85m2. DPE E

Natural landscaping | adds a human touch


living Garden visit

The ‘Arbre à Vent’

garden visit

Green future One of Europe’s best-known family attractions is also surprisingly inspiring for gardeners.

‘Le Champ aux Papillons’

Specimen trees provide shade on hot summer days

living Garden visit | 51 ‘Lilas des Indes’ (Lagerstroemia indica) flowers all summer


he Parc du Futuroscope’s giant ‘pavillons’ are instantly recognisable and hard to ignore, just as French architect Denis Laming intended when he conceived them (along with much of the surrounding skyline). It’s no mean achievement, then, that their assertive outlines manage to integrate so successfully into the 60 hectare site. For that visitors have to thank the adventure park’s natural soft landscaping features, so we decided to see for ourselves just what is involved in gardening successfully on an epic scale. If you’ve yet to visit Futuroscope then when you do you’ll be surprised by your first impressions, for the familiar neo-futuristic features actually

appear distant, glimpsed beyond softer, more naturalistic forms of the ‘jardin florissant’ – swirling beds of dahlias, echinacea, gaura, hardy geraniums, perovskia and a host of other colourful herbaceous plants. Somewhere beyond them lies the park’s secure boundary, hidden from view by neatly clipped hedging and tracts of mixed woodland. The result is a sense of having stepped into another world, which of course is what Futuroscope is all about. The flower gardens which greet visitors are merely a foretaste of some 32 hectares given over to the park’s 137 species of trees, shrubs and other plants, all lovingly tended each day by Patrick Doré and his 11-strong team

Andy Coope

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

of gardeners, who also maintain the park’s extensive grassed areas. The effect everywhere is colourful and upbeat – precisely the qualities Artistic Designer Olivier Héral is seeking when drawing up each season’s planting plan. It’s then up to Patrick to choose which varieties to plant in order to provide the colours which Olivier has specified for each area. To keep them all in pristine condition during our long, hot summers an integrated irrigation system waters each zone for 30 minutes three times per day. Nevertheless, some degree of drought resistance, combined with extended flowering periods and attractiveness to bees are among the plus-points which Patrick will bear in

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52 | living Garden visit

for more cartoons by stig see

Variegated agaves and ornamental grasses

mind when making his plant selections. Beyond the flower gardens the perimeter path enters a tree avenue providing welcome shade on hot days. Among the more remarkable species represented are Araucaria araucana (Chile pine or ‘monkey-puzzle’ trees), whose lifespan can exceed 2000 years, Morus australis (‘plane-leafed mulberry’), which can withstand frosts down to -34°C and Ginkgo biloba (or ‘maidenhair tree’), which can trace its lineage to prehistoric times. Beneath them is Le Champ aux Papillons – multiple long lines of metal butterflies created to celebrate the contributions of the 20,000 individuals who have worked in France’s first theme park since its inauguration in 1987. Many have added their names and messages to

Buy the latest collection of


by Stig Tomas on Amazon UK

Naturalistic and clipped forms create a real parkland feel

‘Paper bark’ birches and pines

living Garden visit | 53

Swathes of redstemmed gaura

“Here in the park the teams have allowed the trees to develop into pleasing, almost sculptural forms” in many parks, larger gardens and urban settings. The subtlety of the Magnolias’ large off-white flowers is upstaged, however, by the vibrant deep pink colours of Lagerstroemia indica (lilas des Indes, or ‘crapemyrtle’), which are frost-hardy to -15°C and typically flower from midsummer until late autumn. An increasingly familiar sight



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in our gardens, they’re often pruned over-enthusiastically in an attempt to maximise their flowering potential, a practise which doesn’t do a lot for their outlines. Here in the park, however, the teams have allowed the trees to develop into pleasing, almost sculptural forms. Judging by their smooth branches, visitors seem to appreciate their tactile qualities, too. Lagerstroemia have become familiar features of the Allée Principale, between the Jardin des Énergies and the elevated walkway across the Mission Éclabousse boating lake, but now they frame something with which gardeners will be much less familiar. As befits a high-tech adventure park, the high-profile setting now has as its centrepiece the ‘Arbre à Vent’ –

Siren: 452 821 101

the symbolic creatures’ wings. In addition to providing shade, these and other tree species play important roles in the overall visitor experience at key locations around the park. For example, with many years’ growth now behind them, groups of mature specimens are able to conceal what might lie ahead until the last moment, creating theatre-style drama when one of the major architectural features finally comes into view. As a bonus, many of the trees are exotic flowerbearing species, the most familiar being the stately Magnolia grandiflora, the first examples of which reached French shores from North America around 1711. Long-lived and evergreen, they do well in our soils and climate, qualities which have seen them planted

Planted beds are joined by sculptures by Jean-Louis Toutain

54 | living Garden visit A team of gardeners cares for the park’s planted areas

yes, a ‘wind tree’. Developed in France to bring wind power with minimal visual impact to urban locations, the 72 ‘leaves’ of this remarkable creation are actually miniature turbines so efficient that they can begin generating electricity from just half the wind speeds required by conventional wind

Colourful first impressions

turbines. Just one tree could in theory supply the everyday needs of a family of four (excluding heating), although here it simply recharges visitors’ mobile devices via 15 double USB hook-up points around the raised flower bed in which it’s ‘planted’. As an interesting and thought-provoking design exercise, the ‘Arbre à Vent’ certainly fits Futuroscope’s spirit of innovation, but ultimately it’s the park’s extensive natural landscaping which offers a meaningful glimpse of a greener future. It also demonstrates the value of carefully planned boundary planting. Futuroscope’s near neighbours include the A10 autoroute, the Paris-Bordeaux TGV line, a busy trunk road plus the original Tours-Poitiers railway, yet once on site visitors are blissfully unaware of the outside world. Never underestimate the power of gardening.

More of Futuroscope's featured species Amélanchier ovalis: This deciduous member of the rose family is commonly known as ‘snowy mespilus’ or ‘serviceberry’ and is native to much of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. It produces white flowers in springtime, followed by sweet and juicy edible blue/black berries. Given light shade, fertile soil and regular watering, they can attain 2-3m in height and produce red hued foliage in autumn. Cotinus coggygria: The ‘arbre à perruque’ or European

smoketree is an evergreen native to southern Europe, central Asia, the Himalayas and northern China. A member of the Sumac(h) family, its vigorous growth pattern can take it to an impressive 6m in height. Frost-resistant and heat-tolerant, they do well in our slightly alkaline soils and make quite a visual impact, with rich seasonal foliage tints. The show-stoppers, though, are their dense clouds of exotic-looking pink blossoms, an effect which inspired the French common name (‘perruque’ = wig).

Koelreuteria paniculata: Commonly known in France as ‘le Savonnier’, this deciduous tree from China and Korea produces bright yellow flowers in summer, followed by seed pods which turn red in autumn while foliage develops rich golden hues. In the past the pods were crushed to produce soap, hence the common name. In addition to its ornamental value, it can also withstand extremes of heat and cold, and given well-drained soil and a sunny location can attain around 12m in height.

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E: or Tel: 05 45 78 66 95

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


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

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

Contact Isabelle directly Mobile: 06 17 30 39 11


Food shops, Yoga


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

Domaine de la Goujonne 17270, MONTGUYON

Now taking Xmas orders


05 46 48 32 44

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

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 N° ORIAS : 07020908



GAMMON, dry-cured back BACON, PORK PIES & PASTIES, British-style SAUSAGES (plain pork, Cumberland, Lincoln, pork & leek etc.) Delivery available to most areas in Charente, Haute Vienne, Dordogne

Siret: 509 861 902 00013

Beauty, Décor, Satellites

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

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


Tues 19.30-20.45 / Weds 10.15-11.30

RESTORATIVE YOGA Thurs 10.30-11.45

Suppliers to leading restaurants


Our own Fresh whole TURKEYS, crowns, cuts and turkey sausages available for CHRISTMAS. Last orders Nov. 10th

Regular Sunday yoga brunches

Thurs 13.30-14.45

ContaCt LuCy thompson for bookings: Tel: 07 69 09 16 03 05 49 87 36 26 Facebook: French Yoga Garden SIRET 848 719 42300016

Home Satellite Services

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

RENAISSANCE - hair, beauty, nails


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

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

Your Local Sky Expert

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

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

@homesatservices Siret: 841733769 00019


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

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

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

These local businesses are waiting for your call!

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


A Professional, Reliable Service - Everytime Charente Assistance have been providing a high quality and reliable service to their clients for over five years and they are pleased to announce the arrival of Darren Cox to their team.


Ruffec N10

Darren will be covering the northeast Charente (see map) providing home, garden and pool services. Owner, Richard Waldeck, comments: “the area between Ruffec and Confolens has always been a bit too far for us to properly cover but with Darren living in the heart of this area, he is perfectly placed to be right at the centre of it all.”






Roumazières-Loubert N141


Darren has been living in France for three years and brings, not only experience to the team, but an understanding of how important customer satisfaction is. He says: “I am looking forward to taking responsibility of this part of the Charente knowing that I have the whole Charente Assistance team to back me up wherever and whenever needed.”


Property Management | Gardening | Pool Care | Garden Machinery Maintenance

N10 N141 - - Orias: 07007057

English Speaking

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

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

Alexandre HULOT Bilingual Insurance Agent

05 46 59 01 75

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

E: No ORIAS: 07009808

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


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

No Orias: 13004664

For all your insurance needs in France

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

Agence Michallon Tel:

For information and quotes contact Penny G.S.A.R. 05 53 40 15 71 Tel. 09 70 40 81 17

Experience you need....Results you want Fluent French speaker with over 15 years professional ‘hands on’ experience assisting expats in France

Administrative Assistance & Solutions Private Individuals & Small Businesses English / Français / Português & Espagnol

Same road, new number!

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

HELP & ADVICE Long established service at reasonable rates Depts 16 & 17 Expert in French Administration

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

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


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

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

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

www.Start BusinessIn

Business set-up Personal taxation

Personal Taxation – Carte Vitale – Business set ups CPAM – French Administration – Tax regularisation and much much more….

Legal matters

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

Tel: 05 46 96 44 11

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


Phone calls & meetings

Expert help and advice

Andrew Harrison

Est. 2009

SIRET 453 520 298 00010

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

Help & Advice, Immo

The Fixer



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

Help & Advice, Language

INDEPENDENT BROKERS We find the best insurer for your needs at competitive rates


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

Ask for Corinne


Affordable UK Designs

Fitted Kitchens, Upvc & Aluminium Double Glazing

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

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

ARC EN CIEL Nettoyage Professionnel

Couleurs de Vie  Colour matching service available  Free Technical advice and support

Official stockists of Chalk Paint™, a decorative paint by Annie Sloan. Your source for Annie Sloan Products. Workshop courses and commissions undertaken. Impasse Brisson, Le Souterrain, 16200, Courbillac

 Tester pots available The paint the professionals use

Located between Cognac, Jarnac & Rouillac Please contact to make an appointment


Tel: 05 45 67 70 62

09 61 62 46 15

Claude’s Cat Hotel

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

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

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

Siret: 813 442 860 00017

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

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

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

15 mins from La Rochefoucauld & 20 mins from Rochechouart


Full trade references available

Transport services

Les Chaillauds 16220 MONTBRON Tel: 05 45 24 01 45

Siret: 822 175 527 0016


Siret: 802 327 635 00016

Paints, Cleaning


 Authorised suppliers of Crown Trade and Sandtex Trade paint based in Charente-Maritime (17)

SIRET: 513 577 809 00017

These local businesses are waiting for your call!

© Cormar Carpets



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

E: jonthecarpetman

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

ANGLO FRENCH ‘Your French Connection’

Regular trips throughout Europe

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

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

REMOVALS - STORAGE - GENERAL TRANSPORT - EXPRESS SERVICE SPAIN - UK - FRANCE T: +44 (0)7855 401 102 T: +44 (0)1656 670 856

Full or Part Load Removals To & From France Tel: 0044 1622 296237 / 0044 1237 239255 Email:

1 cubic metre to full trailer loads - Dedicated express loads Warehouse drop-off service - Single box, part load specialist Professional export packing service

For a free quotation, call or visit our website: +34 952 79 34 22 +34 952 80 76 92

FRANKLINS REMOVALS Packing services Full/part loads to and from the UK Vehicles transported • Containerised storage Competitive prices • Transit /storage insurance Call Stephen or Ben Franklin on 0044 121 353 7263 or email UK Registration 543 77 60 UK

Trevor Bonner

Economical Removals & General Transport

George White

• Fully insured UK - France - Spain

European Transport

• Owner driver - friendly, personal service guaranteed

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

• Full & Part loads • 7.5T curtain sider with Beaver tail to load cars etc.

Call today!

Tel: 07 69 72 44 86 / +44 7871 975 859 Email:


UPVC windows, doors & ConserVatories sPeCialists

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

10 year warranTy on all products installed

~ Covering south west franCe ~

Tel: 05 46 70 25 87

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

Transport services

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

Transport services


The UK’s Premium Pet Transport Company



Delivery & in

FROM £99

Furniture for France

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


Tel: 06 46 49 73 45 Email:

L’Atelier de Fer


General Engineering Turning, Milling, Welding


For all your flooring needs

Forgeix, 87200 Saint Junien

Siret: 512 945 874 00018

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

PORT GRIMAUD Bay of St Tropez

Holidays, Vehicles

GK SWIMMING POOLS DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION Let your dream pool design begin right now! Our philosophy is very simple, whether your budget is large or small, we offer you great value for money. So why not enquire about our pools? From design, excavation to installation, we offer you a full package, leaving you to enjoy your time. We also offer a landscaping service. phone: 09 62 64 50 14 mobile: 06 43 03 77 18

05 45 36 19 09

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

Getting your pool re a d y for the summer!

BECK CHERRY PICKER HIRE Nacelle Telescopique

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


R J Coulson Pool services

Swimming Pool Cleaning & Maintenance

• spring opens

• winter close downs • seasonal cleaning and maintenance contracts

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

siret: 838271518

These local businesses are waiting for your call!

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


05 55 71 41 75

All your metalwork needs catered for Ornate interior / exterior designs Gates constructed / refurbished Industrial furniture ~ General Welding Tel: 05 49 64 97 25 Mob: 07 77 83 77 10 or 0044 7917 030249

Left Hand Drive Place



Quality & Precision Guaranteed

• 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

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

Over 25 year’s experience

Siret: 827 978 636 00013

Flooring, Metalwork

Fraser W. Eade

Jeff’s Metalwork



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

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

Tel: 07 67 04 07 53


Architectural Drawing Service

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

Renovating your next property? Dreaming of a new build? Let me help you. • Dossiers prepared • Permis de construire • Déclaration préalables

Siret 482 718 640 00022

Depts 16 & 17

Siret: 49377035800015

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

05 53 52 36 05 Peter Latus BA(Hons)



Chimney Sweep

Ian Dickinson BSc (Hons)

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

Tel: Mob:


• 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

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

Andy Quick

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

Siret: 499 474 302 00035

E: ~ T: 05 49 27 22 67

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

05 49 87 09 63 Siret: 48115588500017


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:

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


Building services, Artisans

depts 79, 86 & 16

Nick Wright


Building services, Artisans


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




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

Building services, Artisans

Building services, Artisans

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


Part or full renovations Roofing Plaster boarding All building works undertaken Tel: 05 49 27 52 99 Mob: 06 74 95 21 00 E: Based 79190 Siret 487 581 209 00011

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

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

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


R J Coulson

• complete range of building services • renovations and refurbishments

Building services

For You and Your French Home

• pointing/rendering • block work

• plastering • kitchen and bathroom installation

• tiling • roof repairs • patios terraces • painting and decorating

France Fosse €3650

COMPACT FILTER 5EH €3900 HTC (prices plus installation and TVA @10%)

Over 30 years of experience See all our work on our facebook page T: 06 04 14 84 86

Email: These local businesses are waiting for your call!

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

Find us on Facebook


Les Les Bons Voisins Voisins

property management throughout france


no job too small, no project too large

exceptional service at competitive prices

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

. admin help . translation

friendly people providing professional help to home owners in france

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

the roof, the whole roof and nothing but the roof

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

Specialist Carpenter/Joiner

Cabinet Maker & Joiner

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

Furniture Restoration Manufacture of staircases, doors & cupboards

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

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

Siret: 804476 034 00017

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

Siret: 441 490 992 00027

Ambroise PRÉE

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

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

Plumbing - Heating Chimney sweeping

EMERGENCY CALL OUTS 24 hours / 7 days a week

Siret: 831 980 487 00019

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

Peter Amor Electrician

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

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

Domestic Plumbing and Heating Installation & Repair of Woodburners Gas & Oil Heating All plumbing jobs large & small Contact Ken Fey 16220 Rouzede Tel: 05 45 23 76 49 M: +44 (0)75 99 17 90 39 E: Siret: 838 623 437 00012

Siret: 842 376 139 00015

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

05 46 86 07 61 Siret 49376573200015

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

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

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

Building services, Artisans

Jb Plumbing

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


ADAM BLACKABY Artisan Peintre

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


05 46 49 78 30 / 06 70 40 66 01

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

Siret: 508 248 747 000 18

05 45 31 14 58 / 06 63 20 24 93

PAINTER & DECORATOR Tel: 05 49 87 84 52 Mobile: 06 85 98 24 76 Covering 1 hour around Civray (86)

Building services, Artisans

Adrian Amos Barry Baldwin

Multi Services

Grass Cutting & Odd Jobs

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

Pool maintenance Tree Felling & Stump Grinding

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

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

Odd Job Tom

Building services, Artisans


66 | living Language

Pardon? W

hatever your energy levels, it’s always useful to have some handy expressions up your sleeve. Whether you’re bright eyed and bushy tailed, champing at the bit or you’ve run out of steam when it comes to languages, you should find some peppy expressions to add a bit of fizz to your French. Should you be completely worn out, you may find it useful to know two letters: HS. HS, ash-ess in French, is short for hors service or ‘out of order’. It’s useful to know if you see it stuck on a sign on a lift, but it can equally be used to describe a device that has run out of energy or is no longer functioning. It’s always handy to explain that your phone is HS, your car is HS, or you’ve had a busy day in the garden and you need to recharge your batteries. If you’re not completely done for, you might want to say you’re ‘punctured’ or ‘burst’. Crevé is a word you’d certainly use for a flat tyre, and if you feel like that, you can certainly say je suis crevé(e)! I love this image: it’s so evocative of feeling as flat as a pancake. Be careful though as it’s another way to say that someone has died. Mind you, we say frequently enough that something killed us or that we’re absolutely dead so the same is true of English. Just as we’d say ‘I’m worn out’ in English, you can say a similar expression in French: épuisé. Worn out, exhausted and drained are also covered by this wonderful word which is useful in so many circumstances. Shattered, plumb tuckered out and having run out of steam are expressions that don’t translate so easily into French. Luckily, épuisé covers a multi-

L i ving

tude of definitions of just how tired out you really are. Perhaps the French are less exhausted than English speakers on the whole - or maybe when it came to finding expressions for having reached the bottom of the barrel, the French found it épuisé. Should you find yourself full of the joys of spring and bursting with energy, you may also feel the need for a few phrases to help you through. If you’re a real dynamo, you can always say you’re a ball of energy in French: une boule d’énergie. You may even fart with energy. Péter is a good way to say you’re bursting with energy as well as bursting with wind. You can even be farting fire, péter le feu. If things go a little far, you might fart lead or fart a cable. Péter un plomb or péter les plombs or ‘farting lead’ goes back to the time when un plomb or ‘a lead’ was another word for a fuse in an electric circuit: too much electricity and you could blow a fuse. Of course, that’s an expression English speakers are more familiar with. Just as in English, if you blow a fuse, you might easily tomber en panne or break down. The same is also true with farting a

Emma-Jane Lee, our resident language expert, shows you how to pep up your conversations! cable. Péter un câble is another way you can blow a fuse. Ironic that English speakers have lots of expressions for being exhausted and French speakers for emotional explosions. All of these farting expressions using péter aren’t so French, though. English speakers might also be filled with beans, surely leading to péter le feu from time to time. Neither are energetic expressions related to fire so very unusual: you can certainly have fire in your belly in English. Another energetic expression in English that doesn’t translate quite so neatly into French is ‘having ants in your pants’. Of course, we all understand that itchy, frustrated energy, as well as the lovely rhyme of ants and pants, which doesn’t work so well with les fourmis and les slips. You may say in French avoir la bougeotte or to have the fidgets. Hopefully that won’t end with you ‘bouncing off the walls’... another lovely British expression that doesn’t translate well, rebondir sur les murs, which doesn’t mean anything in particular. As for being bright eyed and bushy tailed, you will no doubt elicit many looks of confusion should you translate this directly. Avec des yeux vifs et queue touffue might make your French friends think more of small furry rodents rather than metaphorical eager beavers. Another time épuisé finds itself useful: when you’ve exhausted yourself trying come up with expressions to describe your energy levels! Emma is a jack-of-all-language-trades, writing English textbooks, translating, marking exam scripts and teaching languages. She lives near La Rochefoucauld with her growing menagerie. See

Editor: Kathryn Dobson FEATURES EDITOR: Roger Moss Advertising: Jon Dobson Art editor: Nadia Van den Rym Production manager: Justin Silvester Regular contributors: Caro Feely, Susan Hays, Jessica Knipe, magazine Emma-Jane Lee, Mike Morris, Nikki Legon and Stig Tomas. WITH THANKS TO: John and Gill Bowler, Julia Moss. Photography: Shutterstock or Roger Moss unless indicated. Cover image: Futuroscope, Poitiers (86) © ROGER MOSS Published by: SARL AMM, 2 Rue Buffefeu, 86400 Linazay FRANCE. Poitiers: 533 624 128. Printed by: Rotimpres S.A. Dépôt légal: A parution. ISSN: 0753-3454. Living Magazine is free. Living Magazine est disponible gratuitement. All material may not be reproduced without the written permission of SARL AMM. Toute reproduction même partielle du contenu est interdit sans l’accord écrit du magazine. Please ensure you verify that any company you are dealing with is registered in France and/or elsewhere around the world. Articles in this issue do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher.

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