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Don’t let the banks cash in!

March 2014 Issue 137



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80 Too few English Queen and Obama to teachers in France attend D-Day services BACK PAGE

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First state visit since 2004 marks 70th anniversary of Normandy landings

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POOR provision of English teaching in French schools is driving a growing market in private language schooling – and there are not enough teachers to fill the gaps. Around 25% of English teaching positions in secondary schools (collège and lycée) were unfilled at the start of this school year. It is difficult for English mother-tongue speakers to fill such posts without French teaching qualifications but it means there are a growing number of jobs in the private sector. At the end of last year, private English teaching firm English First lamented that France was now the worst country in Europe for proficiency in English and had even fallen behind China in its latest English Proficiency Study. Parents are increasingly turning to private language schools and tutors to ensure their children learn English and adults see it as an increasingly important professional skill. Director of English teaching at the British Council in France, Andrew Burlton, says there is growing demand for tuition outside of the classroom. More than half a million people in France are learning English  Continued on page 2


The Queen was a driver and mechanic in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service during the Second World War

by OLIVER ROWLAND QUEEN Elizabeth and President Barack Obama will both visit the Normandy beaches on the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. The two will take part in commemoration services which have been called “a message of thanks and unshakeable friendship from the French people to the British, Americans and Canadians”. President Hollande invited the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and President Obama to take part and to meet veterans in marked contrast to the last official ceremony, for the 65th anniversary in 2009, when then-president Nicolas Sarkozy invited Mr Obama but did not invite the Queen. For the royals it will be a highlight of a three-day state visit from June 5-7 which will be the Queen’s first since 2004. They will join Mr Hollande and Mr Obama for the main ceremony on June 6, on Sword Beach, where British and Free French troops landed. On June 6-7 they will attend events in Paris and be received at the Elysée. Mr Hollande’s VIP guests will be among more than five million visitors who are expected to come to Normandy this June, with about 40% of them coming from outside France. Buckingham Palace confirmed the Queen and Duke’s visit and it is expected, though not yet confirmed, that the Prince of Wales will also attend. President Obama confirmed he would

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take part in the commemorations during President Hollande’s recent state visit to the United States. This will be the Queen’s fifth official state visit to France. A palace spokesman said: “A state visit means it is at the invitation of the French head of state. It would usually entail a visit to the capital, a ceremonial welcome and a banquet.” Full details of the programme in June will be released nearer the time. The Queen also attended commemorations for the 50th and 60th D-Day anniversaries in a non “state visit” capacity but five years ago, for the 65th anniversary, the perceived snub to the Queen was made worse when a French minister described the occasion “primarily a FrenchAmerican affair”. Ultimately, then prime minister Gordon Brown and Prince Charles took part on Britain’s behalf. A spokeswoman for the Normandie Mémoire association, Sophie Noël, said: “It is plain to see that the people of Normandy are very fond of the Queen and her family, that the Normans and the  Continued on page 8

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New cancer plan targets smoking 3 Canal du Midi trees could be saved 5 Turbine threat to monkey park 7 News across France in brief 10-11

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The Connexion

March 2014

Chefs fed up of Britons urged to ‘food porn’ pics vote in the UK SEVERAL Michelin-starred chefs want to ban diners taking smartphone pictures of their dishes as it is distracting and leads to cold food as waiters have to stand aside and wait. The chef at La Grenouillère in La Madelainesous-Montreuil (Pas-de-Calais), Alexandre Gauthier, complains of frequent camera flashes and has put a camera image with a strikethrough on the menu. He says it is out of keeping with the dimmedlight atmosphere and that staff have to stop work while these so called ‘food porn’ pictures are taken several times. “It’s tweeted, liked, comments are made and replied to and by then the dish is cold,â€? he says. Gilles Goujon, chef at the three-starred L’Auberge du Vieux Puits in Fontjoncouse, Aude, says he is trying to find the right way to get the message across without causing offence. He feels that food pictures “take away the surpriseâ€? of some of his dishes and “a bit of my intellectual property. “What is more, usually smartphone photos are poor and do not give the best image of our work,â€? added Mr Goujon.

THE UK’s Electoral Commission has launched a campaign to encourage more British expats to vote. It asks people to visit and says there is time to register for the EU elections on May 22 (forms are due back by May 6). Note, though, that if you do this you cannot also vote in France. Fewer than 20,000 expats were registered at the end of 2012 and almost half of expats who are not registered think they are. You must renew annually. Requests for postal or proxy ballots must be made, by May 7 or May 14 (if registering, include this). This time the electoral timetable has been extended from 17 to 25 days to give more time for postal votes to be returned – often a problem in previous years. It comes as expat Harry Shindler, 93, was handed his New Year’s Honours MBE medal. The Second World War veteran, who lives in Italy, was honoured for work for ex-servicepeople but the UK also acknowledged his championing for the end of the 15-year voting limit, saying he had “raised considerable support in the UK and EU� on the issue. n Connexion believes UK expats deserve dedicated MPs. If you agree type into your internet browser to sign a petition (10,000 signatures mean an official response).

Private tuition booms as schools’ English fails


™}| &REE -ANAGED Â…Š ‹ "ILINGUAL ,INE Âź †ÂŒzÂť„‡ 3UPPORT )NSTALLATION  EX VAT #  Â? ™} |Â…Š  ‹†ÂŒzÂť„ ,INE 5NLIMITED ‡#  Â?  Âź 2ENTAL #ALLS  PM ™}|Â… Š ‹†ÂŒ zÂť„‡#  3USPENDABLE Â? ™} 6OIP 3ATELLITE  Âź #ALLS "ROADBAND  |Â…Š  Mairies up for re-election this month PM ‹†ÂŒzÂť„ !SKABOUTOURFREECATCHUP46SERVICE |Â…Š  )UHHSKRQHIURP)UDQFHRU ‹†ÂŒzÂť„|ÂŒ ďƒ¨ Continued from page 1 via face-to-face teaching in a nonschool environment. Other methods include MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course), books, online tutorials, distance tutoring and informal methods such as joining conversation groups and watching films in their original language (VO). The British Council receives around 8,500 registrations a year for its programme of English teaching, coupled with promotion of British arts and culture. “Our struggle is to grow our services to keep up. I think the recession has created a highly competitive job market and English is now required to apply for a wide range of jobs,â€? said Mr Burlton. There are also 1,100 adults enrolled with the Council at any time during the year. “That’s grown significantly because there is an economic advantage to speaking English.

It’s becoming a requirement for lots of companies when recruiting and also for promotion,� he added. The reasons for learning English have changed, he said. While 20 years ago people learned English because they wanted to travel, or had a cultural interest in Britain, today career-orientated adults and students want the language as an addition to their skills, especially in sectors such as tourism, finance and marketing. “We teach writing emails rather than letters, answering the phone, having conversations in realistic situations. “We still do have people who are interested in literature and British culture but they are in the minority,� he added. Around 3,000 young learners (aged 3-17) are also enrolled with the Council. “Parents invest in helping their kids get ahead. And the French

TO TEACH full time in public schools you need to pass the French teaching concours CAPES (for collège or lycÊe) or CRPE (maternelle to ÊlÊmentaire). You may find a more flexible approach to qualifications by applying as a part-time teaching assistant in schools. The positions will not be as well paid as fulltime teachers and will likely be on temporary (CDD) contracts. The exact arrangements will


FRANCE’S 36,682 municipal councils are all up for re-election this month. All EU citizens who registered by the end of 2013 can vote. Europeans may also stand for election, as we explain in our elections special in Connexion 2. Here we interview expat candidates and a Franco-British mayor as well as

education system doesn’t have a strong record on helping children reach fluency in English,â€? said Mr Burlton. There is no shortage of work for English teachers in the private sector. “We’re always on the look out for qualified, experienced teachers. We recruit all the time and took on 30 new people last year. But we have high standards. We require a first degree, a post-graduate teaching certificate, or a PGCE, plus two years’ experience,â€? he added. Across the industry, CELTA is the most widely used qualification but teaching schools will vary in their requirements, and self-employed private tutors need only prove their worth to their clients. A CELTA can be gained intensively in a month and costs around ď Ľ1,600. Courses are run by several private institutions in France throughout the year.

depend on the level of English being taught and the type of school. Catholic schools, which operate on a separate system can be more flexible in their approach to employing teaching assistants. Lists of positions for the next school year are published in April. They are organised at a regional level and can be found through your Association RÊgionale de l’Enseignement-Catholique.

looking at predicted outcomes and the battle for a new Paris mayor. Elections often bring some curious situations - and this is true this month. In Corsica, Caroline Bartoli admits she is only standing so as to step down thus triggering a by-election allowing her husband, the outgoing mayor (who is temporarily disqualified), to stand

again. She caused amusement with a TV interview in which she was unable to answer questions about her policies. In Alsace a father and daughter who have not spoken for 15 years head rival lists; Catherine Muller hoping to oust Jean-ClaudeMensch, mayor for 25 years. “Things have to change,� she said.

The Connexion

March 2014

e1.5bn to save 80,000 from cancer

News 3

US holidays blamed for UK l Cigarette price rises to fund research l 150,000 people die each year pension delays SMOKING is the main target in an ambitious new anti-cancer plan with further price increases and extra aid for tobacco substitutes to cut the number of smokers. Cancer is the primary cause of death in France with 150,000 people dying each year and 44,000 of them – 200 a day – due to smoking. It kills more people in two weeks than die on the roads in a year. There are 350,000 new cases of cancer each year and about half could be cured but another 80,000 could be avoided. President Hollande has announced a e1.5billion plan to tackle the disease saying “prevention is the best investment� as cancer costs are estimated at e14bn a year. The risk of dying from cancer was not equal between the sexes – it accounts for a third of deaths in men and a quarter in women. Nor is it equal among workers with the risk of dying between the ages of 30 and 65 years for blue-collar workers double that of white collar workers. Mr Hollande wants the risks to be equal. He aims to extend tests for cancer of the uterus so more than 80% of women are tested every three years instead of today’s 60%. In all, 3,000 women a year are affected, with 1,000 dying. The change could cut deaths by 30% in

A NEW national mining company is being created to mine rare and valuable minerals that are vital for hi-tech products. The Compagnie Nationale des Mines de France (CMF) will look for elements like lithium, used in electric car batteries or germanium, used in fibre optics. A e400 million fund will allow tests in France, overseas territories and elsewhere, such as in French-speaking Africa, in partnerships with other states. It comes as a company has been given permission to try to restart gold mining at a site in Maine-et-Loire, abandoned in the 1990s. Varsican Mines says Saint-Pierre-Montlimart mine has deposits that would be accessible with modern techniques. Friends of the Earth said a tonne of abandoned mobile phones and computers had more gold than a tonne of mine rock.

Detectors warn drivers of wildlife INFRARED wildlife detectors have been rolled out across Isère after successful trials. The roadside detectors pick up animals such as hares, wild boar and deer and cause warning signs to flash. In neighbouring Switzerland such signs have been credited with reducing collisions with animals to zero. The installations are in connection with a European “wildlife corridorsâ€? scheme in the area, restoring or preserving bands of wild countryside to allow animals to move safely from place to place.

TWO women who have already seen French cancer care from the inside say the system is dedicated to the patient and even in difficult circumstances remains “humane� and “thoughtful�. US journalist and lecturer Anya Schiffrin caused a stir on her Reuters blog when she told of her father’s final days, dying of cancer in Paris, and said that after all the US Obamacare controversy France was the best. She told Connexion: “Of course it wasn’t pleasant – my father was dying but, structurally, so many things were just right. If he needed a meal he got it. Anya Schiffrin “Doctors came to my father together rather than him sitting around all day to be seen. His care came first – not making sure that the bills were paid.� Clare Comrie in Normandy has had three battles with colon cancer but says that at every stage she has been made to feel the health service is directed at her. “They react so quickly. When my doctor saw my test result he organised an MRI in Avranches the next day – then signed a prescription for a taxi as it was a long drive. Within five days I’d seen the surgeon and all through I’ve had the same medical staff treating me.� Clare Comrie 10 years. In the next five years an extended HPV vaccine plan for young women could even see it eradicated long term. He will also ease access to breast and

bowel cancer tests so low-earners will not have to pay anything upfront. Delays in MRI scans will be reduced from the present average of 27 days to 20

Eiffel nose doctor ‘should pay Paris to use trademark’ by OLIVER ROWLAND

A CHINESE surgeon offering to reshape women’s noses to resemble the curves of the Eiffel Tower may hit legal problems. Hundreds of advertisements have reportedly been springing up for surgeon Wang Xuming’s “Eiffel Tower Nose� procedure, showing women against a backdrop of the monument. It is said to be being fuelled by a growing demand for a more western appearance. The campaign has been running in large central city Chongqing. However “Eiffel Tower� is a registered trademark of the city of Paris and in theory people using it commercially are supposed to pay royalties. Trademarks lawyer Emmanuelle Hoffman, from Paris, told Connexion the brand is protected in “almost all possible categories� of use, although the case in point is an especially unusual one. It was typical for such protections to be enforceable in important foreign markets like China, she said, adding: “If the doctor wants to be respectful he should probably be paying royalties if he’s profiting from the name.� SETE, which runs the tower on behalf of the city, said it is looking into the issue. When it comes to the appearance of the tower, it is not protected and tourist or other replicas can be made with impunity – although the recently added

Tokyo’s version of the tower is nine metres taller, at 333m

THE recent late-payment of British state pensions is due to two bank holidays in America which have affected the US bank used to make pension transfers. The UK government uses Citibank to make transfers to pensioners abroad. Its payment files go through the US so delays can be caused by US bank holidays, a spokeswoman said. This has been the case for some time but two bank holidays have already delayed payments this year – Martin Luther King day on January 20 and President’s Day on February 17. Rumours that delays are due to a merger between Citibank and Bank of America, were “not true�, the spokeswoman said. She said the pension payments affected are those issued on the first and second working day before the bank holiday. “It therefore depends on the renewal cycle of payments as to who would be affected by the one day delay,� she added. “We are working to see if this can be resolved with Citibank.�


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French state goes hunting rare minerals

Cancer care is more humane in France

days by 2019 and e15million has been set aside for regions with a scanner shortage. Day surgery will also be doubled in 10 years and Mr Hollande has called for a “new system of price regulation� of the soaring costs of cancer treatments. He has told the health minister to come up with a tobacco reduction plan by summer that will include price rises. France has Europe’s highest cigarette prices – they have been raised recently by 80 centimes – but the number of smokers has increased over the past five years. The extra money from further price rises will be directed towards cancer research. Young smokers will also be targeted in new advertising campaigns based on the phrase: “Smoking before you are 17 means taking the risk of dying before you are 60�. Extra funds will help smokers to quit with the e150 aid for tobacco substitutes for young smokers extended to 25-30 year olds, cancer sufferers and those on CMU health benefit. School nurses will also be able to give advice on nicotine substitutes. Cancer survivors will also get help with a “right to forget� meaning they can no longer be penalised when applying for loans or insurance if the cancer has been declared to be cured.


flashing lights cannot be reproduced. This means that, alongside tourist items, it is probably the world’s most copied monument, with replicas in Tokyo, Las Vegas, Bolivia and Bulgaria. The Paris Las Vegas hotel and casino complex has a half-sized tower as well as a two-thirds-size Arc de Triomphe and hotel frontage resembling the Paris OpÊra. Tokyo goes further, its red and white painted tower is nine metres taller than the original.

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State admits role in RĂŠunion abductions

FRANCE has recognised “moral responsibilityâ€? for the forced repatriation of more than 1,600 children from the island of RĂŠunion to the mainland in the 60s and 70s. Twenty six of the children were present to see the motion pass in the National Assembly. The policy was created by then minister and RĂŠunion MP Michel DebrĂŠ, because of the island’s high unemployment and rising birth rate, at a time when France was suffering a rural exodus. From 1963-1982, the “stolen childrenâ€? were taken from their parents and placed in orphanages or with families in the French countryside. According to historians, many were taken without “real consentâ€? from their parents.

Picasso museum to reopen in Paris

PARIS’ Picasso Museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of the painter’s works, will reopen in June after five years of renovations. Around 5,000 works by the Spanish artist will be displayed in the museum, located in the capital’s Marais quarter, after its e52m refurbishment.

The Connexion

March 2014

Expats are major boost for economy by SAMANTHA DAVID ALTHOUGH 59% of people want tighter controls on European migrants, an EU study says immigration has been a great economic benefit to France, with young, active people moving mainly for jobs. The poll, in the run-up to May’s European elections, mirrors findings two years ago when 59% also called for the Schengen treaty on free cross-border movement to be renegotiated. However, an EU study has highlighted the positive economic impact of the arrival of young motivated workers who fill gaps in the labour market, provide growth in new sectors and counter the problems of an ageing population.

Lille was one of six cities cited in the study as benefiting from an influx of European newcomers, including the British. The city has been especially welcoming to EU citizens, with policies designed to attract and integrate migrant workers while encouraging inclusion and diversity. The vice president of Lille’s Centre Culturel Britannique, a non-profit library, Alison Shaw, says the city has changed greatly, becoming more vibrant and lively. “The city’s Eurostar station also makes a big difference because now Lille is a hub between London, Paris and Brussels so it is an attractive base for international people who travel often between the three cities. “There is a private international


International people make a place lively and encourage good shops, restaurants and museums to open Alison Shaw Centre Culturel Britannique

school here and a lot of the state schools have European sections. “There’s even a British army presence with the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps. So, people are very open to Brits, to speaking English, they’re very welcoming.� She says Lille has always been outward looking but is even more so now. “It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. International people make a place lively, encourage good shops, restaurants and museums to open, and then that attracts more internationals. As a result, the city is cleaner, the historic centre has been smartened up and areas regenerated... and property prices have risen too.� In the past, Lille had a reputation for urban and industrial decay but Ms Shaw says things have changed. “Boarded up windows are a thing of the past, Marks & Spencer is coming back, Apple are opening a shop, we have a branch of the Louvre.� While it is too cold for expats to retire there, she said many of the workers who arrive are sent by large multinationals as many of them have bases in the city. “Some people even live here and work in London because it’s so quick on the train.�

Photo: Atout France-Richard Soberka

4 News

Lille’s belfry is a symbol of its economic success

Maiden-names only plan for official forms

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WOMEN may soon find that official documents are sent to them under their maiden name â&#x20AC;&#x201C; even after marriage â&#x20AC;&#x201C; unless they specifically ask for their married name to be used. The move, which is part of the equality law going through parliament, has been criticised as an attack on the family, but reinforces a legal principle in use since the French Revolution under the Loi du 6 fructidor an II. It states that â&#x20AC;&#x153;no citizen may use any surname or first name other than the one given to them at birth.â&#x20AC;? This is why a womanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s married name is referred to as a nom dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;usage and has no legal standing in France. It is also why divorced women in France have no right to use their ex-husbandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s name and why official documents like a carte dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;identitĂŠ are always established in a womanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s maiden name, with the nom dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;usage added if they wish. If the new law is passed and applied, government departments would use maiden names by default unless otherwise requested. For non-French women living in France, the same rules apply whether or not their maiden

name has any legal standing in their country of origin. In order to have both names officially linked, women should ensure that both their nom de naissance and their nom dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;usage are used on all documents. In France, changes in civic status such marriage and divorce are all recorded on the original birth certificate so that eventually, once the death has been recorded, it becomes a complete record of that personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s civic life. MPs also say that displaying a womanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s marital status on envelopes and post boxes could be an infringement of privacy and is discriminatory because the martial status of men or same-sex couples is not displayed in this way. The move follows a ban on using mademoiselle in official correspondence. The government says that all men are addressed as monsieur and therefore all women should be addressed as madame regardless of age or marital status. Whether the change will be implemented is, however, a moot point since previous state guidelines on the matter have been largely ignored.

Phones tested British girl brings glamour â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and as digital wallets a cow â&#x20AC;&#x201C; as she meets the President ORANGE and Visa have started an experiment allowing people to use their smartphones as digital wallets. Strasbourg and Caen customers with phones equipped with near field communication technology (NFC) can swipe them over scanners at shops to pay for shopping. The money is taken from a virtual account, linked to a bank account or card and there is no need to use a pin for amounts less than e20. Dearer goods can be bought using a PIN on the phone.

A BRITISH student and friends from a Corrèze lycĂŠe brought some glamour to Paris Agricultural Show when they wore evening dress to meet President Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault. Elise Selley, 20, from Borrèze in the Dordogne, and students from LycĂŠe Agricole de Tulle-Navesas were at the show presenting a cow and calf as Connexion went to press and â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;glammed upâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; to highlight that agriculture is not all muck and mud. Elise, who has been in France since the age of 13, wants to be a vet and regularly mucks out pigs on the school farm. She said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a big moment in my life and All glam for Elise Selley a great privilege to be chosen to meet the president and prime minister; very exciting but difficult to know quite what to expect!â&#x20AC;?

The Connexion

IT IS HOPED a new anti-fungal treatment will save tens of thousands of 125-year-old plane trees on the Unescoheritage listed Canal du Midi. Researchers say the chemical-based treatment, developed at Toulouse laboratory Cetev, may halt the spread of the disease that has seen 6,000 trees felled. It has prompted canal managers Voies Navigables de France to suspend preventive felling – where trees 50m on each side of a sick tree are chopped down – after pressure from mayors who do not want to see the tourist attraction butchered. The Agriculture Ministry is now studying a request from the chemical manufacturers to test it as an alternative to spending e200million felling all 42,000 plane trees among the 192,000 trees lining the historic link from Bordeaux to the Mediterranean at Sète. Cetev director Philippe Bueste, however, warned that the treatment “could not save all the trees, some will still need to be felled”. Laboratory and tree tests had shown the treatment could prevent infection in healthy trees and halt further infection if caught in the early stages but could do nothing for those that were very sick.

FRENCH TV channels France 2 and France 3 have dropped Météo-France as their weather forecaster in favour of UK firm MeteoGroup. France Télévisions said MeteoGroup gave a better editorial and graphic service – and was 30% cheaper. MeteoGroup is Europe’s largest commercial weather forecaster.

Warning as scabies is on the increase DOCTORS have warned that scabies, a contagious itching skin condition caused by a parasitic mite, is on the rise. Dermatologists cited an increase in cases across southern France and say the main treatment, Ascabiol, has been in short supply for 12 months.

Prefecture says there is no new Lascaux HOPES of a second Lascaux cave in the Dordogne have been dashed as the prefecture said archaeologists had found nothing during an extensive investigation. A Montignac site was searched after its mayor was told farmers had found and then re-hidden a cave as they feared losing their land.

New mayor would rename the town YVELINES town Houilles may be renamed if residents vote in a new mayor – as candidate Bruno Comby does not want to be known as the “maire d’Houilles” which is pronounced as merdouille meaning “in the merde”. He wants to call it Oville as residents are already called Ovillois from ancient usage.

Mayors fear felling plane trees will destroy the amenity of the Canal du Midi Once the companies had been given the go-ahead they faced further tests to determine the doses needed and how many trees could be treated and possibly saved. “There are 42,000 plane trees and it costs about e5,000 to fell them, dig out the roots, burn the remains and then restore the canal banks – but, in reality, there are only about 400-500 sick trees at the moment and for each sick tree

they have to cut down 20 nearby trees. “If we stop these trees from being felled then we can treat the maximum number and prove the treatment works – and save these magnificent trees while avoiding spending enormous sums.” The treatment had been developed after work on the DNA of the fungus – Ceratocystis platani, called canker stain – was progressing too slowly and they decided to use that knowledge to find

New fait maison label is a recipe for fake maison A PARIS restaurateur has attacked the new law demanding that restaurants label meals made in their own kitchens as “fait maison” saying it should instead have forced restaurants selling “boil-in-the-bag” food to highlight their own methods. Xavier Denamur, who owns several leading cafe-brasseries, said he would ignore the law. “My clients already know my meals are prepared from fresh and I do not want continual tests from the fraud squad to see if my claims are true.” The law, contained in the Loi Hamon, penalises restaurateurs providing proper food and did nothing to target the 90% of restaurants who just reheated bought-in meals and for whom it was “business – and profits – as usual,” he added. He said the government had given in to the “food lobbies” and it was “shameful” that despite the new law people would still not know what they were eating when they dined in the majority of restaurants. “The food industry and the government have not learned the lesson of the horsemeat scandal and it it time consumers were given real information on where their frozen and reheated food comes from.” Similar concerns prompted the news magazine Marianne to devote eight pages to criticisms of the increased use of chemi-

Photo: Robert Hunter

French TV channels opt for UK weather

Photo: Voies Navigables de France

Canal du Midi trees could be saved by KEN SEATON

News 5

March 2014

chemicals that could attack the fungus. Voies Navigables de France director Marc Papinutti said he had called a temporary halt to the preventive felling – sick trees will still be taken out – after approaches from the mayors of Castelnaudary, Carcassonne and Sallèlesd’Aude, where the canal is a major part of the landscape. But he added that they were obliged by law to continue with the “prophylactic felling” on each side of sick trees once the time was right. VNF says that since the disease was first spotted at Villedubert in 2006 the felling has prevented the spread. It is trying to coordinate the felling areas along certain reaches of the canal so that replanted trees could blend in and restore the canopy as it was. It felled 3,800 plane trees in the eastern sector of the canal last year and is replanting with trees not susceptible to the fungus, such as silver lime at Villedubert and another variety of plane at Castelnaudary. So far, 1,000 trees have been replanted. The canker stain fungus was brought to France during the Second World War in US ammunition boxes. The fungus is spread by contact through the intertangled tree roots or by wounds to the trees caused by boats tying up to them.

Exchange rate for income tax forms THE time is coming to prepare for this year’s income tax declarations, including working out Sterling sums to be declared – and the correct exchange rate for them. Remember that if you are a resident of France then all of your worldwide income is potentially declarable in France. In theory income received in foreign currency is to be declared in euros at Banque de France rates on the day it was banked. In practice tax offices tolerate the use of an annual average. Methods recommended to Connexion by the Finance Ministry and Banque de France give, for 2013, an exchange rate of e1.1775 to the pound. In previous years there have been slight differences in rates suggested by local tax offices. The ministry told Connexion that the rules are How to not set in stone complete and there is some Fren ch small leeway if a Ta x NEW “reasonable” rate Forms 2014! is used. HORS SÉRIE M 07245 - 2H - F: 9,50 E - RD


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cals in everyday foods that were reducing their nutritious content and leading to a significant rise in obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart problems. Titled Malbouffe [Junkfood] it attacked industrial food production after agronomist Pierre Weill revealed in a book, “Mangez, on s’Occupe du Reste” [Eat up, we’ll do the rest], that their price-focused production methods meant increasing use of cheaper corn, soya and palmoil based products. These were implicated in many modern health problems due to a nutrient imbalance. Last month it was revealed that three quarters of French restaurants now have burgers on the menu and that, after the Americans, the French are the world’s largest consumers of pizza. The news comes as fast food restaurants were found to have attracted a 54% share of the food market for the first time.

for Britons living

The Connexion

March 2014

The Connexion

Fears for future of monkey park after go-ahead given for turbines

THE Director of a monkey park which attracts 200,000 visitors a year says he will move the site away if plans to build giant wind turbines nearby go ahead. Described by monkey photographer and conservationist Stéphanie Meng as “unique in France” and “the first place where you should go to meet primates”, La Vallée des Singes in the Vienne is home to over 400 animals of 30 species which roam free in its greenery. Its troupe of bonobos, one of humans’ closest relatives, is France’s only one and the world’s biggest. Two babies were born in 2012 and a female is expecting. Now director Emmanuel Le Grelle says he will seek offers from other areas, after the prefect gave the go-ahead to a plan to run eight 150m (including sails) turbines to the west and south-west. Overall approval for the scheme, sought by a Alstom subsidiary, has been given despite an unfavourable opinion from a public enquiry which said it would “spoil” the very rural area and reduce its attractiveness to tourists. Harm to visitor numbers and jobs at the Vallée was cited and the report asked:

Air ambulance could speed casualty care CASUALTY units may be given access to helicopters to speed treatment in areas with a shortage of doctors. GPs would stabilise patients while waiting for the aircraft to transport them to hospital in a new bid to cut “medical deserts”. Previous plans included newly graduated doctors being paid bonuses to work in affected areas.

Northern town is France’s poorest NORTHERN town Roubaix is the poorest of France’s 100 largest towns with 45% of its inhabitants living below the poverty line, surviving on less than e977 a month. The three next poorest are all on the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean. The best-off commune is western Paris suburb Neuilly-sur-Seine, on 7%.

More driving tests to cut waiting lists DRIVING test schedules are to be extended in evenings and on Saturdays to cut waiting lists. In all, 60,000 tests will be added, cutting the delay from six months to give young drivers less excuse for driving without a licence.

OAP homes cost more than pensions AVERAGE costs in old people’s homes have risen to e1,769 a month whilst the average pension is just e1,617. It is worse in Paris where average Ehpad places cost e3,294. Costs have forced families to send aged parents to neighbouring departments where costs are lower.

The park’s bonobo group is the world’s largest and has had breeding success “Can we risk the area’s tourism collapsing, when it is doing well but is fragile?”. Final planning approval for construction was expected on going to press. Mr Le Grelle said it is unheard of for a prefect to approve a scheme after an enquiry has found against it. A petition has 6,000 signatures ( Monkey-park-petition). His threat to leave is “serious”, he said, but will have to wait for the outcome of a

legal battle he plans in the administrative courts. In the meantime, he hopes, the plan will be on hold for up to seven years. He is also taking action against three councillors for one commune concerned, which he says backed the scheme despite them having an interest because they own land on which turbines will be built (which typically involves large rents). “I’m concerned about the aesthetics – we’re in a flat, open area and 150m turbines

Mayor wants to arm villagers with pepper spray THE mayor of a village in the Charente is buying in cans of pepper spray for residents to be equipped with as a defence against burglars in a bid to stop possible gun use. Didier Jobit, mayor of Magnac-Lavalette-Villars, a commune of 450 inhabitants near Angoulême, said: “Like a lot of rural areas we have a problem with burglaries. “However what is worse is that whereas before burglars used to go into people’s homes while the owners were away, now you are getting people going to houses to steal, armed, and they don’t care if the owner is at home or not. The ex-firefighter added: “A lot of people here hunt and have guns at home and I want to avoid people retaliating in kind and doing something irreparable. “We will order in safety material, like door chains and pepper spray, at a reduced price for the bulk purchase, and at the same time we’ll ask people to sign to say they will use it in defence if they are attacked at their home.” He said reports in the French press that referred to “tear gas” were “exaggerated”. “It’s the kind of pepper spray cans that women can carry in their handbags, anyone can buy them,” he said. “It’s not like the teargas cannisters the police and

the gendarmerie use. “I wanted the mairie to fund it but the prefecture said ‘no’ after the story came out in the press. I explained to them what I wanted to do but they say it amounts to arming residents. “So instead we will ask local people to pay for the material; it’s a different approach.” Mr Jobit had the idea after a local man, aged 72, was shot by an intruder at his home and injured in the jaw. The intruder was wearing a balaclava and came to his door, armed and demanding money. The pensioner, who is also a local councillor, tried to fight the man off. So far the police have not found the culprit, Mr Jobit said. He added: “A large majority of residents support my idea – the proof is they’ve started ordering already. “People here aren’t rich and have worked all their lives for what they have. They don’t want people coming to their houses and robbing them.” Figures for 2013 show burglaries rose 6.4% in urban areas and 4.7% in rural ones, compared to 2.2% and 11% in 2012. There were 1,021 burglaries committed a day in 2013. Have you been burgled at your home in France? Tell us about your experiences at

1.6km away would be like them being in the park. We wouldn’t have a natural environment. City folk come to get away from it all. The other problem is infrasound. It’s known that monkeys are more sensitive to it than us and it can detect it 5km away. “I don’t want to risk it affecting behaviour and communication, which could disturb social groups and breeding.” A suggestion by the prefect that hedges could be planted was “completely ridiculous”, he said, adding: “I think she agreed because the turbine lobby is powerful and Alstom is multinational”. A prefecture spokeswoman said the decision was based on a “fair consideration of all relevant factors”. It had consulted numerous official bodies, which had all given the go-ahead, apart from a local heritage service which had a general rule of avoiding building turbines. The Departmental Commission of Nature Countryside and Sites (made up of councillors and state officials, plus nature and business groups) had voted in favour by a majority. Impact studies had not shown significant affects on primates, she said.

Month 2013 News 7

Windfarm permission set to be simplified A LAW has been passed allowing faster permission for windfarm schemes in regions where there is most demand – ChampagneArdenne, Basse-Normandie, Picardie and Nord-Pas-de-Calais. Several authorisations currently required – all ultimately signed off by the prefecture – will be combined into a single permit, including an enquiry and approval process for installations which may have an environmental impact, planning permission, and procedures relating to trees and protected species. The plan is experimental, for three years. With turbines hooked up to the grid in 2013 down almost 15% on 2012 the government wants to speed projects up to attain objectives for renewable energy production by 2020. National Assembly vice-president Denis Baupin called it “a concrete application of President Hollande’s simplification drive”.

8 News

The Connexion

March 2014

Continued from page 1

whole world are looking forward to seeing them here on June 6.” Official bodies organising the 70th anniversary commemorations, including the BasseNormandie region and Calvados prefecture, said remembering the “Anglo-Saxon” contribution will be a major part of the celebrations this time, with “a message of thanks and unshakeable friendship from the French people to the British, Americans and Canadians”. Béatrice Boissée, head of the Mémorial Pégasus museum in Ranville, said that Prince Charles was likely to visit the museum. “It’s unofficial so far, but we are delighted. “He’s been twice, for the opening and for the 60th anniversary. “ It’s a great occasion for us, and particularly for our veterans and their families. A very emotional moment.” The museum is beside the site of Pegasus Bridge, which was taken by the 6th British Airborne

Division “Red Berets” as the first objective of the Normandy offensive to be gained. It was built to commemorate the involvement of British airmen in the campaign. Ms Boissée added: “The Normans are very attached to these commemorations. It’s like our local national holiday. It’s in our roots. “When you meet the veterans it’s extraordinary; they are so humble when you think what they did. “It’s a beautiful lesson of history, a beautiful life lesson. We owe them a great deal and still feel very grateful to them.” As well as the international heads of state ceremony on Sword Beach on the afternoon of June 6, she said other ceremonies are planned, such as at Bayeux Cathedral and cemetery and with events such as parachute drops. Father Laurent Berthout of Bayeux Cathedral, said they expect a member of the Royal Family to attend on the morning of June 6 when a “Peace Bell” will be blessed. As part of the blessing it will


Peace Bell will ring to mark D-Day sacrifices

The Queen’s last state visit to France was in 2004 when she was invited by President Chirac also be christened “ThérèseBénédicte” by Cardinal VingtTrois, Archbishop of Paris. The Queen’s name will be

inscribed on it as a “godmother” alongside names of people from the other countries involved in the landings. It will be rung for the first time on June 14, the date of General de Gaulle’s first speech in France and will ring again in future on the D-Day anniversary and on national days of the countries. Father Berthout said there would be an ecumenical service, including members of the Royal British Legion, leading Anglican Church clergy and delegates from all the countries, including Germany. He said: “In choosing Queen Elizabeth as one of the godmothers, we wanted to honour Great Britain for its commitment to the landings and the liberation of Europe. “We are very pleased that she and other members of her family will be coming because the British royal family is very

much present in Norman history over the last 1,000 years. “Among the millions who visit each year, the British and Americans are the most numerous in Bayeux. “In our cathedral there is a stained glass window that was given by the Queen Mother as a Second World War memorial and a lot of commemorative plaques from the First World War. So we feel a strong link to the Royal Family here.” Although no official confirmation is yet being given for any of the Queen’s visits, it is expected she will go to Bayeux War Cemetery, the largest of 18 Commonwealth war cemeteries in the region. In all, they contain 22,000 graves and Bayeux contains more than 4,600, the majority of them Commonwealth troops killed in the battle and more than 500 war graves of other nationalities, the majority German. The president

of the Amicale Culturelle Européenne, promoting AngloFrench friendship, Marc Lévy, said: “A lot of our British members will take part in ceremonies – in some cases their parents were involved in the landings. “The commemorations will be grandiose and this will probably be the last time it will be marked in such a big way and with people who took part. “Our members will be very pleased to see the royals here, and President Obama; it’s very important for the whole of Normandy.” He said Caen, capital of BasseNormandie where all but one of the beaches are located would be “closed for the official visits”. “I’ve heard Obama refused to sleep at the prefecture and preferred to sleep on a naval vessel which will be anchored offshore and he’ll reach it by helicopter from Caen. “I’m not sure what is planned, but the town hall has asked residents not to go out. Schools and museums and official offices will close for several days. I’m a student in Caen and everyone’s talking about it.” n STUDENTS of the grande école Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA), who go on to be top civil servants and politicians, have named this year’s graduating year the “Winston Churchill” year. It is a tradition to name each graduating year after a great man or woman. Students made the decision after an all-night debate. A spokeswoman said: “They wanted to hail the courageous statesman and strategist of the Second World War, host and defender of the Free French, one of the founders of the United Nations and a great man of letters.”

‘Capitalist’ Hollande went down well with Americans AS PRESIDENT Hollande prepares to host a British state visit, his own to the USA has largely been judged a success – especially in America. Hollande is the first head of state to receive such an honour from Obama since David Cameron two years ago and leading expert in international relations Philippe Moreau Defarges said he was well received by the Americans. The days of “Freedom fries” are long gone, he said. The Americans have a generally good opinion of France, boosted by the recent interventions in Mali and the Central African Republic, which Hollande’s pro-business speeches only improved. “From their point of view it was a nice surprise. They were expecting a red communist, someone dangerous, and they saw a French bourgeois, with social democratic ideas. He made a good impression, but having said that I think the visit will turn out not to have a very lasting impact – Obama is a president in grave difficulty, as is Hollande. Each will have to get back to work.” In France the visit caused more suspicion, said Mr Moreau Defarges, who is a lecturer for Paris and Brussels-based international relations institute

Ifri and a former diplomat. “They think Hollande is duplicitous and says what he really thinks in America and here he says what he thinks will please people. Here he sounds more socialist and protectionist but there he spoke very strongly in favour of business and supported transatlantic trade zones. He seemed pretty much a free trade capitalist. To the traditional left he seems like a liar, someone without convictions.” However French business people are not necessarily impressed either, Mr Moreau Defarges said. “The question is ‘does the president have authority over his majority?’ “If he does he can change things and get new laws passed, but if not he can say what he likes in Washington; it will have no importance. “He’s got a difficult year ahead, with unemployment and the fact that he must reduce public spending, which is going to be very hard.” Hollande’s trip included a visit to San Francisco’s Silicon Valley, where he underlined his wish to help start-ups by hugging the founder of the “Pigeons”, a French protest movement against tax increases for firms.


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10 News in brief

Two killed as train is hit by falling boulder

TWO people were killed and several others injured when a train derailed after being hit by a falling boulder in the Alps. Passengers were travelling from Nice to the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence town of Digne-les-Bains when the train was knocked off the rails between Annot and St Benoît. A boulder weighing several tonnes had fallen from a cliff overhead and crashed into one of the carriages. Around 30 people were travelling on the train at the time of the accident.

Fax ink error releases accused murderer

ONE of two men alleged to have murdered a DJ in 2010 has been freed from jail, after a technical problem with a fax machine at a court meant his hearing missed a legal deadline. The accused, named only as Amadou F, 24, was freed at Bobigny as a hearing did not take place inside the set 20-day period, after a fax from the prosecution was not received as there was no ink in the machine. Mr Amadou is alleged to have been among a group of people who gatecrashed a New Year’s Eve party in Seine-Saint-Denis in 2010, and beat the DJ, 31-year-old father-of-two Claudy Elisor, to death.

Blood pressure drug may be cure for autism

A COMMONLY used blood pressure drug may hold the key to ‘curing’ autism, a French study has found. In a paper published in the journal Science, researchers in Marseille suggest that a generic diuretic, long used to treat fluid retention in people with high blood pressure, may help treat the complex neuro-developmental disorder. Scientists have found that the drug bumetanide, if given during pregnancy, can reverse autism symptoms in newborn mice bred with a genetic condition that can cause autism in people, and in rats exposed to an epilepsy drug known to significantly increase risk of autism in children.

Scots excluded from independence vote

SCOTS in France will not be able to vote in this year’s Scottish referendum on independence – although French people living in Scotland can, it has been confirmed to Connexion. We asked for clarification from the Scottish Government, the Electoral Commission and local electoral registration officers on who would be eligible to vote in the Scottish referendum and found the vote will be limited to over 16-year-old British, Commonwealth and EU citizens living in Scotland, plus service personnel registered to vote in Scotland. Scottish expatriates are excluded from voting.

RYANAIR passengers can now use electronic devices such as tablets, smartphones, e-readers and MP3 players at all times on their flights. The budget airline has relaxed its rules on the use of personal electronic devices, permitting their use even during take-off and landing, as long as they are set to flight mode and all in-flight safety instructions are followed. Phone calls are still banned.

Frenchman turns tables on killer drinking game

A BORDEAUX man has won huge online support after coming up with a novel – and safer – approach to the social-media drinking “game” which has killed several people in the UK. Julien Voinson, 23, was given 24 hours to film himself downing an alcoholic drink in one go, post the video to the internet, and challenge three friends to do the same as part of the notorious “NekNomination” game. However, instead, he was filmed offering sandwiches and bottles of water to a group of homeless people and now his video and gesture has been shared thousands of times on Facebook and been copied by many. Three people are thought to have died in the UK alone after taking part in the drinking challenge.

Thousands of jobs on offer at Magic Kingdom DISNEYLAND Paris has launched a recruitment drive for up to 8,000 people in 2014. It expects to fill between

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ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners crushed three tonnes of ivory at the base of the Eiffel Tower to underline France’s determination to stamp out the illegal trade. Green movement figurehead Nicolas Hulot, attending the event, said: “We are the first in Europe (to do this). It is a very strong signal of France’s commitment to combat the illegal trade in endangered species.” Mr Hulot spoke about the plight of the elephant in Central Africa, where poaching has ravaged the elephant population, which is now estimated to be only around 500,000. “This is a step, certainly not the end of the fight,” he said, adding that ivory poaching “is not only an environmental problem but also a major safety problem because the money is reinjected into other trades, destabilising parts of Africa.” In December, France said it would strengthen its stance on the illegal ivory trade, seizing imports, strengthening powers of investigation and doubling fines for traffickers. The ivory trade is on the rise again despite a moratorium imposed on international trade in 1989. “Ivory is of interest to speculators (and) collectors but also to the Chinese middle-class whose dream is to own a piece of hanko (seal) ivory,” said Céline Sissler Bienvenu, of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, France. “To reduce demand in China, we run awareness campaigns to make it clear to buyers that each piece of ivory comes from a dead elephant.”

Ryanair allows electric devices during take off

The Connexion

March 2014

Tax authority may hit Google with e1bn bill TAX authorities in France are looking to claim as much as e1billion in unpaid tax from Google, according to Le Point magazine, which said the levy would be a record for a redressement fiscale. The tax office charges unpaid taxes and often additional penalty payments which vary depending on whether the under-declaration is thought to be deliberate or not. Last June tax inspectors examined Google offices in Paris as part of an investigation into the multi-national’s tax policies. In 2012, Google’s Paris offices declared that its revenue was e192.9m. It made a net profit of e8.3m and paid e6.5m in tax.

Dentists strike to charge higher basic rates DENTISTS closed their doors as part of a national strike. The National Confederation of Dental Trade Unions (CNSD), which represents a third of France’s 37,000 dentists, said its members were protesting against a freeze on the state rates for basic dental care. They are demanding improved pay for basic dental health care, and want better reimbursement for patients for more involved and expensive procedures.

Ban on liquids on planes to be gradually eased

Chinese buyers are reinvigorating the trade in illegal ivory

6,000 and 7,000 temporary positions, plus 1,000 permanent full-time jobs, of which 200 will go to young people under the age 26. A minimum of 25 positions will be offered to seniors. There are also 1,500 places for students seeking internships, half of which will be paid.

Netflix eyes September launch in France

NETFLIX, an online TV streaming service, is looking to launch in France. The company and French politicians have been engaged in talks, as French officials look for ways to end illegal downloads of US television shows. The managing director of France’s SACD (Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers), Pascal Rogard, did not confirm the rumours of a September launch but said it was “credible and possible”.

Orange warns against hoax refund email

ORANGE has warned customers not to be fooled by an email said to be from its accounts department and warning of a VAT error on bills. The emails say it overcharged by calculating VAT at 80% rather than 20% and customers should click a link to be repaid. The emails started after personal details of 800,000 customers were revealed to be stolen.

Smart car leads list of ‘most stolen’ vehicles

SMART’s ‘Fortwo’ compact car, the luxury BMW X6 and the Renault Twingo were the three most-stolen cars in France last year. Auto Plus magazine compiles an annual list of the top 50 with statistics from 15 insurers, mutuelles and banks who between them insure 20 million vehicles in France.

THE 100ml limit on liquids that passengers are allowed to take on board aircraft in the European Union is being gradually relaxed. Liquids bought in duty-free, such as perfumes and alcohol, will be put into sealed bags and allowed through airport security for transit passengers on the second and subsequent legs of a journey. The bag can be taken in hand luggage on to the next plane. Other changes include relaxed rules on medication and food products that meet special dietary needs, such as baby food.

102-year-old beats his own cycling record

FRENCH cyclist Robert Marchand has beaten his own one-hour cycling record in the 100+ age category. Mr Marchand, who was born in Amiens on November 26, 1911, covered 26.9km, beating his previous record by 1.6km. He also holds the record for someone over 100 riding 100km, which he completed in four hours, 17 minutes and 27 seconds in 2012. Crowds cheered the Lycra-clad centenarian as he completed his attempt at the National Vélodrome in Paris.

France should frack, says sailor Fontenoy SAILOR and environmentalist Maud Fontenoy has come out in favour of fracking. Ms Fontenoy said in an interview with Le Parisien that the controversial process of extracting natural gas from shale rock deep within the earth would cut energy costs. The only known way to extract the gas, hydraulic fracturing, was banned by the Sarkozy government and last year President Hollande banned drilling for shale gas. Pointing to the rise of fracking in America, Ms Fontenoy said: “The exploitation of shale gas across the Atlantic has become an ecological asset for the US, significantly reducing consumption of coal, and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by 450 million tonnes over five years. “The exploitation of shale gas would lower the cost of energy in France. In the US, it represents a third of the gas supply and is set to create 600,000 jobs by 2020.”

Photo: Thierry Caro

RAIL travellers will benefit from free wifi in more than 120 stations by 2015, the SNCF has announced. A pilot internet service begins this month in Lille-Flandres and Avignon stations. Another 40 Parisian and regional stations will go online by the end of June 2014. Currently, customers of SFR can access wifi hotspots in some of France’s 3,000 stations.

Three tonnes of ivory tusks crushed at Eiffel Tower

Photo: © IFAW/E. Bouvet

Free wifi at 150 railway stations by 2015

A SMALL Hérault town has declared war on billboards. The historic town of Lavérune, which dates back to the 1st century, has implemented a by-law prohibiting advertising hoardings in its ancient streets. An order banning billboards was issued by mayor Roger Caizergues to overturn a rule that would have allowed large billboards – up to 12m2 – as Lavérune, with fewer than 3,000 inhabitants, is deemed to be inside Montpellier urban area.

Star collects award after ‘rude Paris’ comments

GM decision due before spring planting season

FARMERS are at loggerheads with government officials who want to ban them planting genetically modified corn. The Senate recently rejected a bill prohibiting the cultivation of GM corn, giving farmers the opportunity to plant Mon810, the only GM corn crop cultivated in Europe. France banned Mon810 in 2008 and again in 2012, but the Conseil d’Etat administrative court, overturned the moratorium each time, as it did not meet European law. Organic farmers have written to the ecology minister calling for an “urgent ban” on all GM crops. The ministry says a decision will come before next month’s planting season.

Women Resistance fighters to join Pantheon heroes

TWO women French Resistance fighters Germaine Tillion and Geneviève de Gaulle are part of a group of four new people to be interred in the Pantheon, an honour accorded by parliament to “national heroes”. They will be joined by resistance fighter Pierre Brossolette and former Education Minister Jean Zay. The only other women so honoured were Marie Curie and scientist Sophie Berthelot who was buried alongside her husband, chemist and politician Marcellin.

Wolf shot and killed just 150km from Paris

THE remains of an adult wolf have been discovered 150km east of Paris, the first time one has been found so far north in France in almost a century. The animal had been shot dead in the commune of Coole, in Marne. Wolves have previously been spotted in Aube, HauteMarne and the Ardennes as well as in the Alps. They are protected in European law. The National Office for Hunting and Wildlife (ONCFS) has launched an inquiry.

Waiting times for eye tests rise to average of 77 days

WAITING for an eye appointment will take on average 77 days – with patients in Loire having to be patient for more than seven months. A survey of 2,643 ophthalmologists found people in cities are best served with those in Paris and Marseille having only a 25-day wait, with 27 days in Bordeaux. Residents in the Loire can wait up to 205 days. In Finistère the wait is 190 days while Isère is third-worst with 186 days.

School exam dates for 2014 released

EXAM dates for the baccalauréat have been released. The written tests for première students are: History-Geography for the Bac S, June 23; French for the Bac ES and Bac S and French and Literature for the Bac L, June 18; Sciences for the Bac ES and Bac L, June 20. Written tests for the Bac are from June 16-23. Results will be given from July 4 and orals for those with borderline marks will be until July 9. Written tests for the Brevet are on June 26 and 27. General education tests for the CAP and BEP are on June 11 and 12.

Johansson is engaged to a French journalist

Pesticides blamed for bee deaths and honey loss

HOLLYWOOD star and Paris resident Scarlett Johansson may regret recent public comments when she accepts an honorary César, weeks after she labelled her fellow Parisians “rude”. The 29-year-old actress, who is engaged to French journalist Romain Dauriac, will receive an honorary award in recognition for her contribution to cinema at the star-studded ceremony at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris on February 28. She may also receive a frosty reception, however. Last month, she told US chat show host David Letterman that Parisians’ reputation for a being impolite is well-deserved. She said: “When I first got there, I thought people were not that whole kind of rude Parisian thing. You know - people aren’t rude, they are wonderful. “Well, that was before I was a mainstay there - then people decided that once I wasn’t going away they could just be really, terribly, rude to me.”

A TEENAGER has been charged with endangering lives in Nancy after filming an aerial view of the city centre using a remote-controlled drone. The 18-year-old posted the video on social websites where it was viewed tens of thousands of times. Now Nancy’s prosecutor has accused him of flying the drone in a populated area without a licence. He said drones could be dangerous if they fell on to someone. There was also a special risk in towns of violating other people’s privacy.

edition The surprising rise and success of French caviar

Meet readers who are volunteer firefighters Property focus on Var and Bouches -du-Rhône

Jackson fans win damages for stress of singer’s death

HONEY production has halved in the past THREE French fans of Michael Jackson have 20 years from 33,000 tonnes to just 15,000 won symbolic damages of 1 each after a last year – and beekeepers blame the use of court agreed the singer’s death caused them certain pesticides. They say mortality rates ‘emotional harm’. of bee colonies have been rising, averaging The trio were among 34 fans suing Mr about 15-30% per year. Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray, for the sufNeonicotinoid pesticides, which fering they said they endured. were first used in the 1990s, Murray was jailed in 2011 for his are being blamed and the part in the singer’s 2009 death from You can read e es EU has imposed a twoan overdose. Orleans district court th on e or m bsite ruled that five fans – three French, year ban on some. we r ou on s ie or st However, chemical firms one Belgian and one Swiss – had have challenged this. proved emotional suffering and www. should receive 1 damages each. e. nc ionfra They had supplied the court Flying car takes connexcom with medical certificates to support to the skies their claims. A FLYING car that can reach 100kph on the road, take off in 100m, fly Hollande in hard-sell bid for three hours at 3,000m at up to 80kph to foreign businesspeople and run on SP98 unleaded petrol has caught the eye of French military sources. BOSSES of 30 foreign-owned companies Called Pégase and being developed by were on the receiving end of a charm company Vaylon Strasbourg, it is partoffensive by President Hollande when he dune buggy and part-paraglider and could invited them to the Élysée Palace in a bid be on the market next year. to attract more foreign investment. Although the 100,000 price tag might Mr Hollande outlined promises to boost put off private buyers – plus the need to employment and investment in his “responsihave a microlight pilot licence – that has bility pact” and pointed to “business-friendly” not deterred the military’s Directorate reforms on tax and employment laws. General of Armaments (DGA) which has He was hoping to give another boost to the invested 60,000 in the project. economy which grew 0.3% in 2013 with possible foreign investment giving extra impetus. See also – Pact of responsibility P44 Drone teenager in court

over aerial video


6m of mobile phones stolen in warehouse raid

THIEVES escaped with between 5m and 6m worth of mobile phones and laptops in a raid on a Val d’Oise warehouse. A gang of 15 broke into the warehouse in Eragny, about 30km north of Paris, and although they did not appear to be armed they were able to “neutralise” the five employees still working in the building. Le Parisien said the gang loaded a truck with pallets of stolen goods.

Photo: wikimedia

Village declares war on billboard advertising

News in brief 11


The Connexion

Making sense of French social charges

PLUS ... - What is the equivalent of ‘Lasting Power of Attorney’ in France and how does it work - What guarantees are there if new goods are faulty and shops will not comply with the law These and many more practical tips and topics about life in France. Don’t miss out on a copy:

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12 Mediums

The Connexion

March 2014

‘You see clairvoyant crooks a mile off’

A growing number of people in France are regularly visiting fortune tellers. SAMANTHA DAVID meets two mediums and gives it a try for herself ONE IN five Frenchwomen and one in 10 men regularly consults a medium for advice on everything from love and careers to questions of property and business. It is a big industry – with a seance ranging from e60 to e300 – and reports suggest the industry has done well from the crisis, as more people seek advice on what the future will bring. Fortune telling or voyance was only legalised in France in 1994 and there are no formal regulations or training bodies governing it. So fortune-teller and author of La Voyance en Question, Vincent Pailliez, says that finding a medium can be a minefield and the world “is awash with crooks pretending to be clairvoyants”. He says: “Many just dish up the same old stuff to anyone and everyone, even to people who don’t need their services. “You can spot them a mile off. They want ridiculous sums of money for a consultation via internet, they try to persuade people not to take decisions without consulting them first, and they never ever admit that they simply can’t see anything.” He says sometimes he just gives people their money back: “If I can’t see anything useful, if I can’t be helpful, I just tell them straight out. Often, to be really honest, they don’t need a clairvoyant. “Sometimes they need a psychologist to help deal with problems, sometimes they can work things out themselves, sometimes they just need to communicate better with their loved ones, and sometimes listen – we’ll all find out what the future has in store for us. All we have to do is be patient and wait.” But Mr Pailliez, who is based in the Gironde, does not put all the blame on the clairvoyants: “Some people come to me for silly things, like their dog has gone missing. I can’t tell them where their dog is! “Others don’t know when to stop. They consult one person and get one interpretation of the future, so to check they consult someone else, and on it goes, like an addiction.”

Vincent Pailliez says he cannot help everyone through fortune-telling He adds: “I try to show people that it’s useless knowing you’re going to be run over by a lorry next year, or your house is going to burn down. This is the type of knowledge that spoils the present. It’s not helpful.” Not that he can change the future, he says: “I prefer to tell people certain things look likely, so they should take steps to guard their health or get their finances in order, for example.” Mr Pailliez is not surprised by statistics pointing to the growing popularity of voyance: “There are an awful lot of women with relationship problems. They want to know if their partner really loves them, whether he’ll stay, whether he’s got someone else. “Many are a bit desperate and will do anything not to be single, so of course they’re anxious and want reassurance. “Increasingly nowadays I also get people asking about money issues.” Medium Soraya works at the webbased radio station and says: “I inherited my gifts from my family. My grandfather was a voyant too so I’d say it was definitely a gift rather than a skill. “But I always wanted to be a journalist, so that’s what I studied but while I was at college I was asked to present a radio programme about

We try it out

Samantha was surprised at some of the insights Soraya had

Connexion journalist Samantha is a sceptic on fortune-telling but despite giving just her name, date of birth and job, her seance with Soraya gave her a surprise Soraya says: “You are very sensitive, feel things very profoundly, live life very intensely. You are determined but sometimes get distracted. Generally you are very intuitive. You should cultivate that gift. “I see big changes coming. You’ve changed your life a lot in 12 years. But be careful. You’re habitually very energetic and active but you need to rest now. Especially don’t over-tire yourself with the projects you’re pursuing. “I see one particular project giving rise to many new off-shoots. “Next year I see you taking a new direction, finishing a book which is currently underway. There you will get recognition for your work, and I see a white book cover. This new book will please people, they will like it. You will have a success. “I see you moving house in the summer, but don’t throw yourself into decisions on the new house too quickly. Take your time and see that there are no hidden traps.” Samantha says: “I flatter myself that I’m sensitive and hard-workfortune telling and that’s how I got into broadcasting. “I use various methods for getting into contact with a person, getting a visual image of them in my mind’s eye: tarot, chakras, astrology and pure instinct. “I only ask for a first name and a date of birth but of course I’m also paying attention to the person’s voice, their way of expressing themselves. “Sometimes, quite rarely, I get nothing and then it’s better to stop. “People consult mediums for all sorts of reasons. Obviously love is a big subject, people want to know if the person they’ve met is going to be special in their lives. They often want to know if their partner is faithful. “They also consult on career issues.

ing but the analysis of my personality would probably fit anybody. On the other hand, some of the other details are uncanny. “There’s no way Soraya could have known that we plan to move during 2014, or that I was ill durLots of bosses ask whether to hire this person or that one, to be sure they’re making the right choice. “People also often ask which direction they should take, should they retrain? Would this profession suit them better than that one? “But an interesting question that I’m increasingly asked now, since the economic crisis, is about property. People ask me about selling their houses. “Is the price right? Will they ever sell? Which estate agent to use? “I see what I do as giving guidance from the spiritual world in order to help people. Sometimes I see negative things but then I use my judgment. “Some people want to know, they want to be warned, but others are so fragile you sense they need reassurance

ing 2013 and am supposed to be taking things easy. “Also, how did she know I’ve just finished designing a new book cover, which is mostly white? “As for success coming my way, I’m crossing my fingers!” so it’s best not to mention it. Others consult mediums too often. Occasionally people will start contacting me every week or every fortnight, and then I refuse to read for them. “Unless something exceptional happens, people only need to consult a medium once or twice a year. But sometimes there can be a confusion. “A medium isn’t a psychologist, or a career advisor, or a priest. “We can’t tell exactly what’s going to happen in the future. What we can do is illuminate the personality, explain upcoming trends and say what kind of events are likely or unlikely. “Sometimes we can see a clear picture and give advice on how to act. But really, no one can foretell every detail of the future in advance.”

The Connexion

Culture 13

March 2014

French are fascinated by â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;enemyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Brits A new book in French takes an affectionate and humorous look at the love-hate relationship between France and the English dating all the way back to 1066. One of the authors, Catherine Monroy, tells JANE HANKS why the French are so curious about their neighbours â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and how champagne was a British invention Why did you write this book, Anglais, nos ennemis de toujours? I have always been an English-speaker and studied English at university. As a journalist and writer I wanted to find out just what has brought our two countries together in such a complex relationship. For centuries the two countries were at war with each other. At the same time each one has always had a fascination and an admiration for the culture of the other - while also being quick to delight in the otherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s misfortune. The fact that Napoleon III was detested in his country meant he was adored on the other side of the Channel and when Churchill wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t understood in the UK he was certainly admired in France. More recently David Cameron said he would welcome any French millionaire who might wish to escape Hollandeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tax rises on the rich â&#x20AC;&#x201C; while France said it would roll out the red carpet to fleeing UK businesses if Britain quit the EU. It seems that there has always been a mirror between the two countries and I wanted to explore that. Do you think the French are interested in reading about this relationship? Yes, the fascination by the English for the French is reciprocated but perhaps we are less willing to acknowledge it than our neighbours from over the water and I do think the French are more protectionist. I have found that the English have always been ready to leave their country, find new ideas and exploit them. For example, tennis started in France with a game called jeu de paume in the 14th century when a ball made of wool was hit against a wall with the palm of the hand. It became a hit and in the 17th century â&#x20AC;&#x201C; there were 1,800 salles de paume in France. The name was transformed to tennis from â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tenez Messireâ&#x20AC;? to warn the opposing player that service was about to be played. But it died out after the Revolution and just one salle was still in existence in France in the 19th century. Meanwhile the game had spread to England â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and Henry VIII famously

Catherine Monroy hopes the book will be published in English

created the first tennis court. By 1873 it had developed into lawn tennis â&#x20AC;&#x201C; which went back across the Channel in the late 19th century to be greeted with disgust by the Parisian press that an English game had been taken up by French sportsmen. And was champagne really a British invention? Yes. In my research I found that when wine from across the Channel was put into glass bottles newly invented in the 17th century in England by Sir Kenelm Digby bubbles formed and produced the first sparkling wine. The British then discovered the use of cork in Portugal and stoppered the bottles â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and added sugar cane imported from the Caribbean to speed up fermentation. What we now know as champagne became the height of fashion in London well before Louis XV replaced Burgundy as the drink for state occasions. The French have always preferred to say that it started with Dom Perignon â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but even champagne has a long history between the two countries. Do you think there are many myths based on our shared history? Yes, a great deal. For example the story of the Burghers of Calais, famously represented in the sculpture by Rodin. In the French history books the bourgeois de Calais are the heroes after Edward III of England promised to end the siege of the town in 1347 if six of the richest men would sacrifice themselves. They were to come to the king barefoot with a rope around their neck and present him with the keys to the city. The story goes that the kingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wife


our shared history? Crucial. It all started there. The English have never forgiven the French for invading their land. It meant that French was the official language of the courts in the UK for 200 years and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s difficult to believe now that English was the inferior language. It wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t until Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales, in his native language rather than French, that English began to make its mark. There are still close language links between the two countries. I found a report by language scholar Henriette Walter who discovered that there are 3,221 words shared by the two countries with very little difference in spelling, such as juge/ judge, mariage/marriage and parlement/parliament (which comes from the French to speak, parler). What have you found to be the main differences between the two countries? There are so many cultural differences, rivalries and prejudices. Cheese for example. The French see themselves as the champions of cheese but the British retaliate saying they in fact have far more varieties â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 700 as against 400. Attitudes to sex â&#x20AC;&#x201C; in the UK it is unacceptable that a politician should cheat on his partner and get away with it while the French are far less concerned. There is a feeling that a President is rather the â&#x20AC;&#x153;royal familyâ&#x20AC;? of the French, that kings have always had mistresses and so the latest revelations about François Hollande are nothing to get excited about. The French have long thought the English to be devious, â&#x20AC;&#x153;la Perfide Albionâ&#x20AC;?, egoistic and hypocritical while the British think the French are arrogant, dirty and barbaric.

pleaded with him not to kill these brave men ready to give up their lives for their townsfolk and they were spared. But with further investigation I have discovered that a modern historian has found that the presentation of the burghers of Calais

Each country has always had a fascination and an admiration for the culture of the other â&#x20AC;&#x201C; while also being quick to delight in the otherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s misfortune

before the king was symbolic â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a diplomatic nicety negotiated in advance and that their lives were never in danger. There is also still a lot to be discovered about Joan of Arc, crucial to EnglishFrench relations. And there are the tales of Robin Hood and King Arthur which have roots in both countries. The connections between us are incredibly rich and it so interesting to research and keep finding out more fascinating facts. Your book is historical and chronological starting with the Battle of Hastings in 1066. How important is that date to

Would you like your book to be published in English? Yes and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m hoping the publishers will agree to do so. I am very keen to communicate with the British. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve just started a blog in English which talks about all aspects of French life in a way I hope will appeal to our â&#x20AC;&#x153;best enemiesâ&#x20AC;? from across the Channel. n Anglais, nos ennemis de toujours by Catherine Monroy with HĂŠlène van Weel is published by Larousse. http:// catherinemonroy.

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14 Comment

Heirs and disgraces


EWS that the average cost of living in an old people’s home exceeds the French average pension (see page 7) will be greeted with an empty laugh in the UK, where it is more a question of how big a multiplier the differences are represented. Currently, the British government is struggling to find a solution to the problem of people who made what seemed adequate provision for their old age only to find that even selling their home may not provide enough. Their children, who might have expected to inherit some of their parents’ wealth, may be in no better place to help out. Blame the wholesale privatisation of old people’s homes. Anyone who saw Gerry Robinson’s BBC programmes last year will be under no doubt about the outcome: care is of the cheapest and least-qualified kind and profit is the sole objective. Subsequent scandals over the brutal treatment meted out to helpless old people only emphasise the need for reforms that go well beyond the money involved. French pensioners should be glad it is different here but that does not mean it is too soon for the government to address the problems of an ageing population. It is easier to take difficult decisions before they become impossible ones.

Welcome to busy bees


F YOU were one of the pioneers of direct dealing between producers and consumers, you may by now have given up on it. Paying regular sums for baskets of fresh fruit and veg too often proved a not very profitable way to partake of a glut. And not everyone likes all fruit and vegetables equally: one man’s broccoli may be another man’s rhubarb. Take heart, however, at the arrival of the Ruches qui dit Oui (see page 43), which may address earlier attempts’ shortcomings. Grouping suppliers and consumers around convenient collection points greatly extends the ranges available and the economy of scale on transport can mean real savings in money and carbon alike.

Weather or not


IVEN the UK’s horrible weather in the first months of 2014, France 2 & 3 TV channels may now be regretting changing weather forecasters (see page 5). Unless the object was to cheer viewers with the thought that, while their weather may not be great, it could still be worse, they may now be better off joining the growing number of people relying on real or supposed clairvoyants for information (see Page 12). At least one fortune teller admits “no one can foretell every detail of the future in advance”.





Bordeaux’s Place de la Bourse masterpiece of the Belle Epoque, and superbly rejuvenated and preserved in all its beauty by Alain Juppé during his mayoralty. Its vistas, shops, restaurants and cultural attractions are stunning. It is a showpiece of all that is best about France. Pol Roger: France is supreme when it comes to alcohol – claret, burgundy, Chablis, cognac and of course champagne. And there is no better champagne on earth – indeed, probably no better drink on earth – than Pol Roger’s white foil, produced with love and care in Epernay. Winston


There are lots of reasons to love France...

Churchill drank it by the gallon, and he knew a thing or two about wine. France should be intensely proud of the amount of joy it has given to the world through this handsome beverage. Plateau de fruits de mer: French cuisine is magnificent, although the tendency to smother things in elaborate sauces can become mildly irritating. What


the French are really good at is taking their best local produce and letting it speak for itself – and in most coastal resorts (as well as inland) you will find somewhere presenting glorious and delicious selections of seafood that are simply the most sumptuous on the planet. And the French are the only people to make one see the point of the humble whelk, or bûlot. Dinard: My favourite place in France, the jewel of the Côte d’Emeraude. It has elegance, refinement, the most civilised French people go there for their holidays, the coastline and beaches are beautiful and never too crowded, even on a hot August day. With fine shopping (including a superb bookshop), magnificent food and (in our experience) more than its share of summer sunshine, it knocks the Caribbean into the proverbial cocked hat. Leclerc: I never visit France without taking back a boot-load of French goodies from a Leclerc hypermarché, the finest supermarket on the planet. There is nothing to touch it in England – eat your heart out, Waitrose – not just in its range of fresh food, but also its tinned delicacies and amazing selection of fine wines. If the management had sense they would open in Britain and would soon corner the market. Le boeuf sur le toit: Paris is overpriced, increasingly squalid, has a growing law and order problem and needs




to be taken in hand. But it remains one of the world’s most ravishing cities. My favourite restaurant there I choose not so much for the food – which is fine – but for the stunning art deco interior and the sense of cultural history – the former jazz club Le boeuf sur le toit in the Rue du Colisée, just off the Champs-Élysée. Cocteau’s sketches still adorn the walls, Milhaud wrote a piece of music in the place’s honour, and only a little imagination is needed to transport you back the Paris of the 30s. Le cinema Français: Where to start? Although, irritatingly, French films increasingly mimic American ones with special effects and predictable plots, at their best they still lead the world. The lineage is awesome: Jean Renoir, Jacques Tati, Jean-Pierre Melville and Jean-Luc Godard right down to Claude Chabrol and Agnès Jaoui. My favourite films? Les Diaboliques, Rififi, Rififi – a favourite Touchez pas au grisbi, Le Deuxième souffle, Le Dîner de cons, Mesrine and Le Goût des autres. Claire Chazal: When Mme Chazal started to read the news on TF1 about 20 years ago billboards carrying her picture appeared all over France promoting her show. It is said they were taken down after men, distracted by them, crashed their cars. Although now she is d’un certain âge, she remains quite capable of repeating this feat, and rather like Claire Chazal Catherine Deneuve is a tribute to the spectacular agelessness of French womanhood. Simon Heffer is also a columnist for the Daily Mail




HERE’S nothing new about young men behaving stupidly. Whether rich young men of the Bullingdon Club kind or stupid less well-off ones vomiting after a Saturday night binge drinking, they are responding to the challenge of society’s expectations of acceptable behaviour. What is new, though, is the way the NekNomination “game” has extended its drink-too-much challenge virally and used chain-letter techniques to draw in more and more people. Add to this the fact that “players” are encouraged to raise the demands of the challenge and deaths were inevitable. All this makes the response of Frenchman Julien Voinson of Bordeaux (see page 10) all the more worthy of credit. Although very much fitting the challenge age profile, Julien not only rejected the challenge but neatly turned it on its head by issuing his own Smart Nomination: to do something socially responsible rather than stupid. It is encouraging to find such an attitude in one relatively young and the more so as his challenge may be spreading as virally as what it set out to counter.

concerned member of the ever-growing army of Connexion readers wrote last month to take issue with me for constantly writing rude things about President Hollande. I had not thought this a controversial stance, since the President enjoys 19% approval rating, the worst in the history of the Fifth Republic, and those who think he has turned France into a basket case are led by about four-fifths of his fellow citizens. The reader suggested that for a change I write about what I like about France, which I am only too pleased to do. (For the record, my predictions for next month’s municipal elections, which I otherwise would have written about, would have been a massive loss for M Hollande’s socialist party, and big gains for the UMP and, more particularly, the Front National. But more of that next month.) Here, in no particular order, are this francophile’s top 10 things about France: Ravel: I came to French culture not just through learning the language at school but through the music of Maurice Ravel. Rameau, Berlioz, Bizet, Debussy, Fauré, Saint-Saëns, Franck and Widor give France a considerable musical heritage: but then came Ravel, the most inventive, exciting, brilliant genius ever to write music in France. If you don’t know him, or know only Boléro, try his two piano concertos, his chamber music and his suite Daphnis et Chloé, and you will be hooked. Proust: Ravel led on naturally to Marcel Proust, his eccentric contemporary, who wrote the greatest novel in the world – A la recherche du temps perdu – and captured a glittering and turbulent period in French life more vividly than one could imagine possible. He is superb in translation: but Proust wrote the best French imaginable, and if you can read it in the original for heaven’s sake do. Bordeaux: I love the wines, but the city is sublime – my favourite in Europe, and competing with Sydney and New York as my favourite on earth. It is a

Photo: Phillip Maiwald

An alternative to suicide

March 2014

SIMON HEFFER, the renowned political commentator and historian, turns his gaze to France



The Connexion

ORGANISERS of the Semaine de la Langue Française, an annual week-long celebration of the French language taking place this month, are asking the public to invent new French words. The event runs from March 15-23 in France and 70 other countries and includes a crowd-sourcing exercise that asks members of the public to come up with new words. Suggestions on a specially-created collaborative website ( have so far included platiniste for DJ, paysage sonore for soundscape and auto-achat for drive-thru. Leading authors, actors, singers, rappers – all of whom make a living from language – have also been invited to share their favourite words, their most hated words and a word they have invented. (See some suggestions to the right.) At the end of the festival one new French word selected from all those posted by the public on the official Facebook page will be chosen by a jury as the “new word of the festival”. It could one day make it into the French dictionary. The festival’s collaborative approach is a far cry from the work of the Académie Française, set up by Cardinal Richelieu in the 17th century, which decrees “good usage” in French, mainly through publishing a dictionary which takes decades to compile. The Académie also gives the final go-ahead to proposed French alternatives to Anglicisms – which it is obligatory for French officials to use when drafting legislation. Separately, new additions to the dictionary are announced every May – last year’s included galocher for French kissing, plus Anglicisms such as low-cost and street art. Marie-Hélène Drivaud, editorial director at Le Petit Robert dictionaries, says: “We have people in our company whose job is to hunt out new words. They read a wide range of documents, especially the press, to find neologisms. “As soon as a word becomes commonly used, we include it on a shortlist. “A committee then selects the words that should be included in the dictionary and our lexicographers are responsible for writing the definitions.”  To find language events near you during the festival, see Around 1,500 different events are planned in France alone, including exhibitions, workshops, readings, concerts and competitions – in libraries, museums, hospitals and even prisons.

Photo: DR

Sémillance - it means liveliness of spirit. I find it pretty, it’s like a firework

Faïza Guène Her first book Kiffe Kiffe Demain was published in 2004. As well as writing novels, she has directed several short films.

Revive: Sémillance It means liveliness of spirit. I find it pretty, it’s like a firework. Erase: In general, all

Anglicisms in the office, which

I feel really do not have their place and biloute. [This came to prominence after the success of Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis. It’s a northern expression for penis which also means friends.]

Invent: L’alterance

It’s a word that mixes otherness and tolerance – to accept and respect otherness, even in its difference.

My favourite and most disliked words

François Morel

Actor, writer, singer and presenter on France Inter Revive: Pimpant [Meaning dapper or seductive] The word is not often used, though it’s alert like a fire engine siren. It’s an alliteration, it trumpets, it radiates, it’s fun. Generally we should rehabilitate all French words which express joy, vitality, gaiety and hope. Erase: Collant [in the sense of tights] should be replaced by the Quebecois bas-culotte. How can you say the world is fine when the same word can mean ‘a person you can’t get rid of ’, ‘a piece of sticky tape’ and an item of underwear? Invent: Portabuller Using your phone to do nothing. (A pun on portable and buller ‘idling’)

Photo: ©RERO


Photo: © wikimedia

Revive, erase, invent to keep French alive

Language 15

March 2014

Photo: ©Franck Lopez

The Connexion

Oxmo Puccino

Beat poet and musician Revive: contre-aimer [to love when going back to something] I love its meaning and the time for reflection that it provokes while you read it, or hear it. Erase: street art The notion of 'street' is misused and surrounded by received ideas. It's perhaps too early to put it in the dictionary and plus, Anglicisms are not my forte. Invent: La gristesse It's a contraction I like. A suffix which makes the grey more black and a prefix which makes the sadness darker still. It's a word that illustrates the line of cause and effect, when the grey of outside darkens the spirit while you are in a state of sadness.


Word sculpture artist Revive: La vacuité It means that everything and everyone depends on others to exist. Everything is interdependent. On our own, we are nothing. It’s these interactions that bring sense to life. Erase: Workaholisme An excessive investment of a person in their work at the expense of social life. [Marxist writer] Guy Debord celebrated the “abolition of work in the sense of an alienated activity separated from life” while we go in the other direction. I just hope the appearance of this word in the dictionary puts us on guard. Invent: La simplexité It’s a theory that makes something very complex seem simple.

Recent dictionary additions

Francophonie facts and figures

 chelou – From the word “louche”, signifies something/someone very strange. “Elle est trop cheloue”.  bien-pensance – Conformist, conservative, a set of political/social values favouring the status quo.  zumba – the dance fitness programme  googliser – to look up on Google. For example: “il s’est fait googlisé par son employeur” (his employer Googled him).  survitaminé – a person full of energy or a machine with a lot of power  transgénérationnel – cultural practices that appeal to multiple age groups: “Doctor Who est transgénérationnel”  goncourable – standing a good chance of

 220 million people in the world are French speakers – that is 3% of the world population.  They are spread across all five continents: 87.5m in Europe, 33.6m in North Africa/Middle East, 16.8m in America, 79.1m in sub-Saharan Africa and 2.6m in Asia.  13 countries have French as their sole official language: France, Monaco, Benin, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Mali, Niger, Togo, Burkina Faso, Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea and Senegal.  In another 16, French is one of several official languages: Belgium, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Comoros, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Switzerland, Chad and Vanuatu. 

Doctor Who is a transgénérationnel show winning the Prix Goncourt, France’s top literary prize  sondagier – adjective relating to opinion polls: “Le chef de l’État est en forte baisse sondagière” (the president’s popularity is strongly declining in the polls)  préquel – from the English word: a work telling a story that precedes that of an earlier work

16 Letters

They said it … Vincent Peillon

Photo: Julien KNAUB - FTV.jpg

You can’t succeed in school without serenity, without pleasure Education Minister tells Le Monde he wants school to be enjoyable and to build confidence, not cause stress

6m16 on my first try!!! It’s incredible, I still haven’t come down Renaud Lavillenie

Pole vaulter from Cognac tweets his excitement after beating world indoor pole vaulting record that had stood for 21 years

Photo: wikimedia

Asked by presenter on TF1’s Le Petit Journal if she talks to her husband about current affairs, former first lady says he is no longer interested and has changed a lot

Photo: flickr

Michel Barnier

French European commissioner alludes to British euroscepticism after UK asks for aid due to floods

President replies in English to Obama’s compliment that they must make do with Washington in winter not Paris in the spring, a place which he said “warms the heart”

Bonjour. That’s the extent of my French... bienvenue mes amis Barak Obama

The American president tries out his limited repertoire of French expressions in a speech alongside Mr Hollande

They say ‘if you don’t manage it you’re going to be punished’. We must stop this talk. We’re not in a playground Pierre Gattaz


The president of the business body Medef criticises the idea that firms should make promises on issues like jobs and training in return for lower taxes as part of ‘pact’

In a century or so I will be perfectly bilingual Jean Dujardin

Photo: © wikicommons

The actor explains why he is not able to comment on Hollande’s English. He is currently promoting his new film Monuments Men with George Clooney (with whom he has been compared)

Exploitation of shale gas is an ecological asset Maud Fontenoy

Sailor and environmental campaigner told Le Parisien fracking had benefitted the USA and could cut French energy costs

Photo: © JT 20 Heures

François Hollande

A survey reveals that 34% approve of the ideas of Marine Le Pen’s Front National. AF: Many of us expats would be given our marching orders if she ever came to power! At the very least we would be denied many of the basic rights to which we are entitled within the EU.

RA: It’s high time politicians listened to the people of their country. Membership of the EUSSR and euro is destroying French economic progress, and the influx of Muslim immigrants is creating ghettos and crime.

Bernadette Chirac

It’s cold in Washington, you’re right but it is a beautiful day, a great day for America and France

Facebook members give their views on the stories of the day on our Connexion page – Join us to join in at

AC: If she ever got in she wouldn’t need to chuck me out. I would leave voluntarily.

Retirement’s bad for you

In the European Union one has responsibilities, but also rights

Rise of FN is bad for expats

Parliament decides official bodies should use married women’s maiden names SS: I’m all for that. Why should a women lose her unique identity on marriage? AT: It was bad enough when I was “Miss” being called “Madame”. Now I am “Madame” and they want to use my “Miss” surname. I am proud to have my husband’s surname, why bother getting married if you want to keep your maiden name. All these sad rampant feminists who want their cake and to eat it!

SJ: It’s good to know that the French government has got its priorities right - this is, of course, so much more important than sorting out the economy, getting the jobless total down, improving the non-existent customer service and generally dragging the country into the 21st century in terms of competitivity! France’s top administrative court suspends a temporary decree that allowed DIY stores to open on Sundays SG: Of course they should open if they want to! I’m sure the economy would improve if the archaic 2-hour closing for lunch, many businesses being shut on Mondays and no Sunday trading were re-considered and amended. Longer store hours would surely increase the number of staff and lessen unemployment. JH: I think you are all wrong who assume that S unday opening for big stores would be good for the local economy. Small shops employ more people on better wages than the giants and the profits remain within the economy. GE: Isn’t one of the reasons we moved to France that we appreciated the peace and calm and their emphasis on placing family values before chasing money?

The Connexion

In praise of the beauty and discipline of France

I AM Indian and from my childhood have harboured a desire to visit France. The country is known for its culture, literature, performing arts and a plethora of aesthetic activities throughout the ages so when I had the chance to visit (my son being there) I was beside myself with joy. As I left Charles de Gaulle airport, the drive down through Fontainebleau was awesome. When juxtaposed with tourist spots in India, I find a stark contrast that made Fontainebleau so alluring. The palpable difference lies in the prevailing silence and serenity. We sped from Paris to Montigny and I felt a captivating and unique silence that lent a double charm to the natural beauty. Added to it was the discipline cultivated by people. Abiding by rules and regulation is a part of cultured society. Nature bestows charm but to make the ambience beautiful both human beings and nature play a pivotal role. This is what I observed in France. There were no honking cars, no blaring microphones marking festive occasions, no street fights, nor clamour on the road. In the stores, people moved about without bustle. Everywhere, people were naturally disciplined. Perhaps the wide roads of autumn trees create a picturesque view but discipline is the backbone sustaining the glory and beauty of a country. Sutapa BANERJEE, Kolkata

Socialists saved country

ONE character trait typical of we French is complaining about everything and when I read The Connexion I note with pleasure that health reimbursements, taxes, heating allowances etc – everything gets complained about, which proves our British friends are well-integrated. On a more serious note, I come to Simon Heffer’s criticisms about France and its left-wing governments. More context is necessary. From 1975 to 1981 electricity in France was produced by oil, of which the price rose more than ten-fold during that period, while the Germans produced theirs using (low-priced) coal, thus causing a large inflation differential between France and Germany. At the same time (right-wing) President Giscard d’Estaing, afraid for his re-election, asked business leaders not to lay people off before the election. The situation was catastrophic for the Socialists in 1981. They opted for a Keynesian politics of relaunching the economy via demand. They nationalised large banks and businesses and massively invested in modernising, resulting in one of the world’s highest productivity levels – but there were three million unemployed. Retirement reforms resulted. The government was obliged to devalue the franc twice. It launched a campaign to fight inflation - 14% in 1981 and 4% in 1986. France returned to the first rank of developed nations thanks to this. Far from having handicapped it, the left, made its recovery possible. Henri PARATON, by email

The EU should help us to vote

VOTING rights for expats is one of the few areas where the EU needs more power, not less. Every EU country should operate a system which is either identical, or at least very nearly so, to every other one. The French system of separate MPs to represent expats, rather than expats voting in their old constituencies in their own country, is attractive. Expats do not have as much connection or involvement in the affairs of their home country as people who continue to live there. If expats are properly registered, a system where, say,

expats voted for purely expat MPs on the basis that, say, three expat votes were the same as one national resident vote, that would seem fair. If the UK ended up with five or six MPs to represent expats, with half being for those resident in the EU, with a roughly equal amount being available for those in the old Commonwealth and those in the rest of the world, that would seem about right. Expat MPs would have the right to vote on all issues, but it will be clearly understood that their main priority would be to represent the interests of expats. The British 15-year rule is

nonsense. Any expat should be able to decide himself whether he still wishes to vote in the UK, or whether his ties to another EU country are greater, in which case he should vote in that country. Neither British or French governments should have any involvement in that. It should be a matter between himself and the EU, with him advising the EU of his preferred voters roll and them doing the rest. Richard LAWRENCE, by email If you support the idea of dedicated MPs for British expats, sign the petition at http://epetitions.

Why we oppose school changes

YOUR January article on school hours gave the wrong impression about schools’ reactions to the changes. I am part of our schools parents’ association and we are in contact with many different schools in our region. There are very few schools which are against the changes. What they are against is the implementation of these changes, which were brought in with no discussion whatsoever. In order to create the extra half-day of classes, the current 24 hours of classes are to be spread over four and a half days. This equates to a reduction of 45 minutes classroom time, every day. This 45 minutes is to be used to offer something beneficial to the children. The theory is sound and has many supporters, however take a closer look at how it will be implemented, for example, the question of staffing:

March 2014

Teachers are not allowed to work more than 24 hours a week, therefore extra, qualified, staff are required during the 45 minutes “activity” time. Under current guidelines, in a school such as ours where there are only 250 children, this equates to finding a minimum of 20 extra staff. We have been informed that we are not allowed to group the 45 minutes together in order to offer something to truly benefit the children. Therefore, each of these 20 new members of staff must turn up for only 45 minutes every day. At a basic rate of 9.53 an hour, this equates to them earning only 7.15 per day. Funding for this project, when you look into it, equates to only 50 per child, per year. What type of activities can be offered at this rate? Sarah BARNES, by email

Your tax advice saved us 1,000 I JUST wanted to thank you for the information you published some months ago regarding the tax situation on revenue from rented property in the UK. You said that from French tax years 2011 or 2012, income derived from UK property and subject to HMRC taxation would not be subject to tax here in France for Brits living in here. Having read this I duly went along to our local tax office, showed your column, and eventually, after about six months of collecting the relevant docs etc, we received a rebate of approximately 1,000. Richard TAYLOR, by email

We already paid for the NHS HEALTH minister Lord Earl Howe talks about stopping ‘health tourism’ and said ‘we must make sure the system is fair to the hard working British taxpayers who fund it’. Does he not understand that the vast majority who have been able to move to France have paid into the British NHS for their working lives and therefore hard working taxpayers who have funded the system? David YOUNG, by email

The Connexion

Letters 17

March 2014

The Connexion letters pages are sponsored by

Ding-dong over church bells Squatters are thieves and should be punished

THANK you for the interesting article in February’s edition regarding squatters and banning their eviction during the winter. As a landlord, I would like to share my feelings and would love to hear from your readers on their ideas of solving the housing crisis. If I were to go into a supermarket and steal food because I was hungry, I would risk being stopped and required to pay for what I took illegally. I also might risk being arrested and serving a prison sentence. However if I squatted in someone’s home or if I didn’t pay rent I owed to my landlord, I could probably stay there for months or years without any consequences. Why is it that people who work and save to invest in property, and provide housing for tenants, are then given no rights when people steal from them? Most owners have to repay their loan and are unable to go months without their rents being paid. After paying charges, repairs and taxes, there is little left. Now we have organisations who think that a person who needs shelter can take it without giving anything back to the owner. Where did we get the idea that society owes people food, work and housing? Events arrive in one’s life that make us re-evaluate

Letter of the month

our situation and make changes. Fortunately, there are individuals and organisations who assist the needy in making their problems easier to bear. But shouldn’t giving to the needy be a voluntary effort, rather than a forced one through obligatory government charges and taxes? If owners of rental units were assured that they would be paid or recover their investment when their renters couldn’t or wouldn’t pay, France would see plenty of housing come on the market. Why doesn’t the French government encourage private charity by allowing a 100% reduction in giving to non-profit organisations? As an immigrant to France, I couldn’t imagine the French taxpayer giving me subventions through allocations familiales, free healthcare, subsidising my rent, or receiving unemployment benefits. All non-French guests wishing to visit France should easily be admitted. They should have sufficient resources to support themselves and have a return ticket to their country. If this was impossible, they should have a sponsor in France who would guarantee that they were fed and sheltered. Tom FLYNN, by email

TOM FLYNN wins the Connexion letter of the month and a subscription to Connexion for a year (or an extension if already a subscriber.) Please include your address in correspondence; we can withhold it on request. The editor’s decision is final.

M&S France is 33% more I RECEIVED an email from M&S UK offering me 20% off on underwear. I promptly picked out thermal vests and socks only to learn that I had to go to Marks & Spenser France to place an order. I found that they too were offering 20% off. However I have no intention of placing an order. The price for the vest pack I wanted, in euros, was 33% more than that on the UK site, after doing the appropriate conversion. That is an absolute rip–off for which there can be no justification. The implication is that those of us living here are all idiots which I find that very demeaning. I suggest if you are tempted to use M&S France you carefully check their prices against the UK site Terry O’CONNOR, By email

Write to: The Connexion, Patio Palace RDC, 41 Avenue Hector Otto, 98000 MONACO or

We couldn’t let France educate our children

I THOUGHT our dream of moving to France as a family of four would go smoothly. We both spoke French, the kids had had lessons and we had lived in France, pre-children, for three years. We had also been expats around the world for the previous eight years. However, the research did not prepare us for the harsh reality of French schooling. The difficulties of finding a property for our tourism business and my husband getting work in his field could all have been overcome. However, the French school system could not be got around, as the area we chose for business reasons did not have private schools which might have offered the kind of education we had experienced in other areas of the world. The system was too rigid, inflexible and almost backward-looking in its attitude to education. It was not going to offer our children the quality and options available back in the UK. So after much soul-searching we decided to come back and put our French dream on the back-burner, to be revisited when education was not a consideration. We have met a number of people who returned because of education, and spoken to friends here who have French relatives who all agree that they would rather educate their kids somewhere else other than France. Sue WILSON, by email

RE: Church bells silenced by court order in the February edition. We live in a small village called Soumensac and are plagued by annoying church bells. They ring seven days a week at 7.00am, noon (73 times) and 7.00pm (65 times). It is absolutely ludicrous. Just how many rings does it take to notify people of the time? Kim DEAKINS, by email

I’VE lived in La Romieu, Gers, for 14 years, within 50m of the bell tower. It dings every half hour 24/7, the 7.00am wake up peal, plus the call to mass, death notices, funerals, and marriages. I sleep with my windows wide open in the warmer nights and the bells don’t bother me. They only bother me when they stop ringing due to technical issues. If people whinge at bells, cockerels, cows and Rafales flying over, they need to learn to live with it all, or move to a desert island. If they are

newcomers, they should have checked out the situation before setting up camp. Deal with it. Richard WHITTEN, by email OUR house in the Pays Basque is less than 100 metres from the church. We know the hour and half hour 24 hours a day, twice, as with most churches in France, we receive a reminder a couple of minutes after the first strike. What is wrong with these people? They need to get a life. Buying a house in a village usually means church bells, so if they do not like church bells buy somewhere else. They ought to try living near a mosque, or will they ask for all animals in the village to be moved out of earshot? Those darned cockerels make one hell of a noise at dawn. Shame on the tribunal that imposed those harsh and ridiculous sanctions. Murray KENT, by email

Bio farming is natural, not hunting IN HER rhapsodic account (I’m a woman, a former vegetarian – and I hunt) about meat that “hasn’t been pumped full of hormones and other chemicals”, Samantha Brick seems totally unaware that wild animals carry diseases that are transmissible to humans. Specifically, boars are known reservoirs for hepatitis E, tuberculosis, leptospirosis and trichinellosis (Royal Society paper 2000). I just hope Ms Brick takes great care handling brain matter and entrails. Hunting is not about protecting the environment; hunters are not conservationists. They feed the animals so that they will get used to coming to a certain spot

Mixing up a lot of names to help find addresses

JUST WANT to share this useful tip with your readers after many years of struggling to give our email address on the phone – just write it on a stiff piece of card using the Nato phonetic alphabet, or the French version which uses and peoples’ names, and keep it by the phone. It will save a lot of frustrating minutes as you struggle to disentangle G’s for J’s etc. Plus, don’t forget, many French people express their surname first and then their prenom, so if a French email address doesn’t work, try reversing the order of the names – vive la différence! Audrey SEMPLE, by email

where they can be killed more easily. They pollute the gene pool by introducing non-native species or hybrids into the wild (partridges and yes, boars). They kill the largest and best specimens thereby weakening animal populations. They lobby the government for illegal extensions of the hunting season into migratory periods (geese) – and get them, too. If Ms Brick wants to be close to nature, I suggest she does so with a camera. And if she’s serious about providing safe meat for her family, I suggest she purchases organic and free-range meat. Ian DAVIS, St. Restitut

Brittany Ferries fails to justify charges for dogs

LIKE Peter Waugh (letters, February 2014) I’ve also taken up the cost of dog travel with a ferry company – in my case Brittany Ferries. I have no other complaints about Brittany, I think the service and accommodation are first class, but the cost of dog travel on the crossings from Portsmouth do not reflect the amount of work involved. I agree that taking the dog from France to the UK does incur some work, but we get nothing during the reverse crossing – there isn’t even any preference in loading. Quite often we have been on the top car deck and the last to be unloaded. The poor dog has travelled for six hours and

needs to get onto terra firma as soon as possible. Brittany Ferries says the cost covers such items as “maintenance of the scanners” and “deep cleansing of the car deck”. I don’t accept that they deep cleanse the car deck because of dogs (dogs are not allowed out of the car at any time) and the scanners could be maintained from the charges made for the return to the UK. I repeated to them that I was not concerned about the France-UK leg of the journey. They replied “it is a commercial decision to charge and that they didn’t intend to reply to any more of my emails”. So there we are, it’s a case of pay up or shut up. Paul TYLER, by email

Business lessons from the world Suggested additions to the French lexicon FRANCE is collapsing economically but the French fail to see it. In the rest of the world, business runs to provide whatever the customer demands, quickly and efficiently, with a professional approach at a competitive price. The rest of the world conducts business in English, which is the language of the world. France has a different method. The French business model is a business to entirely suit those running it, without any regard for the customer. Goods and services are slow and unprofessional, and prices are high. Quality is often poor and guarantees and customer care

are non existent in many cases. You can take it or leave it. Telephone calls are not returned, letters are ignored, emails are routinely rejected and business websites are worse than useless. French is the only language they will entertain and if you do not like it tough luck. They simply could not care less what this attitude is costing them billions in lost revenue. Unless France acts quickly it will sink like a rock under a powerful commercial sea. France can be a great country again but a shift in thinking from schools and beyond is needed tout de suite. John AVON, by email

THANK you to readers who sent in ideas for new French words following an item in our newsletter about the semaine de la langue française et de la francophonie this month (see Page 15). Many of them made us smile. Here are a few of our favourites. Popiner: To visit someone without an appointment or prior notice – ‘pop in’ in English Centoff: A coupon offering just a few centimes off a product. Tim GILLESPIE, Chavenay Une legumiste -a lover of vegetables. La portiquephobie - Fear of imposition of ecotax. Mark BENNETT, Billio

Our Dutch neighbours and we decided there was not a word in French to use for close friendship. Amitié is too formal so when we share a meal, for example, our farewell greeting is now a word we have invented: amicalité. So we Merci pour l’amicalité after a get-together. Robert WALLACE, by email Nothing revolutionary, but something which would make understanding easier (especially for those for whom French is a second language) would be the adoption of separate words for seventy and ninety. If we could have septante and neuvante, for example, shopping, telephone numbers, etc. would be so much easier. Keith JEFFRIES. By email

18 Practical


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March 2014

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Pharmacists may make exceptions for foreign travel

Where do I get a conformity certificate for my car? I NOW live in France and want to register my car here but I need a certificate of conformity. Could you tell me how to obtain this and if there is a cost? B. A. A European certificate of conformity is an official document issued for all vehicles built to be sold and registered in the EU, confirming it has been tested and meets EU approval standards. If you require one for a British-bought car so as to register it in France it is usually simplest to contact the UK manufacturer for a copy (though if a France-based supplier exists it may also be able to help, especially if the same models are sold here). Check its British website for contact details. You need to supply a copy of your car registration document and a fee is payable - the amount depends on the manufacturer. For example Ford UK charges £84 and Porsche charges £106. Volkswagen UK states it only supplies certificates in German directly from its factory logistics operation in Germany and charges e50. It claims it is not necessary to have one in the language of the country in which you wish to register the car.

How can I take legal action against my insurance firm? YOU dealt with the small claims court in a recent edition. I believe I will have to make a similar type of claim against our insurance company but our claim will be in excess of e4,000. How would I go about making such a claim and is there an ombudsman system? E. W. IF YOU have already complained to the company and the response has not been satisfactory, then it is possible to apply free of charge to a médiateur – a mediator, who will study the problem and give a response within around three months. Your insurance contract should include their details or otherwise you should ask the firm to supply them. You will need to supply details of the problem, including dates when relevant events occurred, and copies of paperwork, notably your last correspondence with the insurers, showing that you have been through internal complaints. You will also need to give your insurance contract number and any dossier number for a given claim. If all else fails and you need to go to court, where, as in your case, sums of more than e4,000 are involved then the application is to the tribunal d’instance, or, if more than

As a general rule it is not possible to be issued more than a month’s supply of medicine at a time, apart from in the case of drugs which are available in three-month formats for certain long-term illnesses. However an exception can be made when someone is going abroad for more than a month, with provisos concerning certain medicines subject to maximum prescription periods and ones that can only be issued subject to regular health checks. This is only possible if the patient is likely to have difficulty obtaining the same medicine where they are staying, eg. it is not suitable for a stay in an-

e10,000, grande instance. Being assisted by an avocat is optional in the former but required at grande instance.

What is the legal position of a community gardien? I WOULD like information on gardiens and their contracts and salaries. We live on a small 10 villa domaine and we are getting conflicting information on what the law says about this. J. H. The contract of a gardien (caretaker of a building or gated community etc), is ultimately the responsibility of the syndicat de copropriété, not to be confused with the syndic. The former is the owners as a group, who should have at least one annual meeting at which important matters are agreed in relation to the management of the shared areas and services; the latter is a management company to which practical day to day running is delegated. In practice the syndic will deal with the gardien on behalf of the syndicat, even if the latter is legally his or her employer. Their pay is calculated using coefficients that vary according to qualifications and extent of responsibilities, from level one to level six. They are then paid in one of two ways: “category A”, based on a salary for a “full time” job, with a set number of hours, and “category B”, based on an itemised number of specified tasks, with each task given a corresponding “value unit”. Usually, a gardien also has onsite accommodation as part of the contract. If you need detailed information about the arrangements where you live you would be best advised to talk to the syndic.

What are my rights on water from neighbour’s land? IS it illegal to discharge rainwater onto your neighbour’s property? I find myself in this situation and am being subjected to great discomfort, flooding etc. J.L. Article 681 of the Code Civil states that it is illegal for rainwater to pour off your roof onto a neighbour’s land. On the other hand, if rainwater falling on your neighbour’s land then runs onto yours by way of the natural slope of the land, then the neighbour is not considered at fault (article 640) If the problem cannot be resolved amicably, the options include using the conciliateur (local mediation) service, or taking the neighbour to court (tribunal d’instance), where they could be fined.

other part of France and it cannot be for more than six months. To obtain this exception, the doctor has to state their approval on the prescription to a certain quantity of the medicine being supplied in one go due to a foreign trip. The patient also has to have the agreement of their local health authority (Cpam). You must apply with a copy of the prescription and an attestation “on your honour” in which you state your full name, address, phone number, social security number, nationality, place where you will be staying abroad, departure date, length of stay and reason for the stay. If the Cpam agrees it will send a document to be taken to the pharamacist along with the prescription.

MY British MOT is about to run out - what can I do? I HAVE miscalculated and ended up with a UK registered car at my house in France the MOT for which runs out on March 1 whereas I did not plan to bring it to the UK until mid-April. What can I do? S.R. A DVLA spokesman said that where an MOT has run out the owner is allowed to arrange an MOT test and drive to the centre for the test and then from the test centre to their registered UK home. He confirmed this would include driving it from France to a pre-arranged test in the UK. You would therefore be best-advised to arrange to drive immediately for an MOT on your return – unless you reschedule an earlier return.

What are rules on French capital words and accents? IS THERE a rule on whether French words should have accents on capitals? B.L. Strictly speaking accents should be used at all times on capitals as well as on lower case letters as they can clarify meaning and pronunciation or distinguish between words that otherwise look the same. However a tradition of them not being used in printing dates back to moveable type, when it was often found to be simpler to avoid them – notably because the lead pieces of type were of standardised sizes and an accent could make letters too high. What is more, French Azerty keyboards have special keys for typing lower case accented letters but none for accented capitals (while they can be done on computers, it requires putting in special codes). Practices vary from one publication to the next, for example, Le Monde’s website uses them if words are written entirely in capitals but not otherwise (technically, in French in the first instance the letters are called capitales, as opposed to the usual majuscules). Hav­ing said this the Académie Française “deplores” the habit of omiting them out and recommends they be used consistently. Practices in handwriting also vary with people often leaving them out, though an accented À is frequent, to distinguish from the third person of the verb avoir.

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Oliver Rowland

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French marriage regimes

What are the French marriage regimes? There are two main ones: 1: Séparation de biens. Here all property owned at the time of the marriage and bought during it remains owned by the person who paid for it or was given or bequeathed it and only the individual’s possessions are at risk if he or she is in debt. Due to the latter factor this arrangement may suit, for example, couples where one spouse is self-employed and does not wish the other spouse to be at risk for business debts. Where property is not clearly owned by one or the other partner, it is deemed to be owned half and half if it has been acquired by means of income accruing during the marriage. This may apply to the matrimonial home if the deeds state it is jointly owned but do not specify precise portions of the purchase price to be paid by one or other of the spouses. In the case of death the surviving spouse has only the usual legal rights, eg. as a minimum to go on living in the family home if in the name of the deceased spouse. Whether he or she also has full or partial ownership depends on whether he or she already owned a share, the contents of the deceased’s will and whether or not the deceased had children (in which case they would be entitled to part of the estate). In a divorce each party gets property which belonged to him or her. It is however possible to acquire small elements in shared ownership, such as a car or items of furniture. 2: Communauté universelle Here all assets acquired after marriage are owned in common apart from certain personal items like clothing or certain kinds of income such as compensation payments received as damages for personal loss. Assets belonging to either spouse before marriage

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IF YOU are married and live in France your assets and liabilities will be subject to a set of rules, known as a matrimonial regime. This applies regardless of whether you were married here or abroad. Connexion explains some of the main points relating to this. From a French standpoint, these rules will always apply if the marriage is celebrated in France or if the first matrimonial home after a marriage abroad is in France. If the marriage is to be celebrated in France, it is advisable to consult a notaire beforehand so they can invite you to consider options ranging from common ownership of everything - to each person retaining all of the property they brought into the marriage and that bought or given to them during the marriage. English law does not recognise marriage contracts. A couple married in Britain but now living in France will be treated as falling under the second example above, known as séparation de biens, unless a decision is taken to change this. A change is possible as long as the couple has been married for two years and/or has not previously changed the regime in the last two years. The default position for a French marriage, however, where no other choice is made, is communauté réduite aux acquêts, meaning property acquired since the marriage (excluding inherited property) is jointly owned. These regimes affect how property is owned within the marriage (including homes, money in bank accounts, businesses etc) and what happens in the case of divorce or on death as well as the liability for business debts. It is important to bear their effects in mind when buying a home. There are several different regimes and it is also possible to “tailor-make” the actual marriage contract with tweaking for specific items of property.


March 2014

In France’s view all marriages are subject to one of various legal regimes may be brought into common ownership when this contract is entered into, or excluded according to the couples’ choice. All matrimonial property is potentially at risk for joint or individual debt arising after marriage. This regime can be helpful to ensure all of the marital property, eg. homes, goes in full to the surviving spouse after the first death, notwithstanding French rules of forced inheritance. In the case of divorce, property would be shared half and half. Honorary avocat Gerard Barron of Boulogne-sur-Mer said: “Couples owning holiday homes in France but who remain UK resident may also adopt eg: communuauté universelle restricted to their French property, and often do when they realize they ought to have adopted a tontine clause on purchase but did not receive appropriate advice at the time.” What other options are there? As mentioned, the default arrangement in a French marriage is communauté réduite aux acquêts. This is equivalent to communauté universelle for purchases made during the marriage and for most forms of income but each spouse remains sole owner of property they brought into the marriage and of gifts and inheritances received during it. In the case of divorce or death the property held in common is split half and half. Communauté réduite aux meubles et acquêts is similar. All money and other property is placed in common ownership except real estate owned before the marriage. Modified versions of these last two are possible, with clauses stating, for example, that a surviving spouse may inherit all the jointly-held property or that the spouses will have unequal shares in the marital property, rather than half and half ownership. Finally, participation aux acquêts is similar to séparation des biens, but if the marriage ends then the spouse who has acquired less property during the marriage is eligible for compensation amounting to half the difference between his or her possessions accrued during the marriage and those of the other spouse. How can a communauté regime help with planning inheritance matters? It may be one way of ensuring that ownership of the family home (or of everything, in the case of communauté universelle) goes to a surviving spouse and there is not a situation of joint ownership with children, who otherwise have an automatic right to inherit a portion of the deceased’s estate under French law (one half for a single child, a third each for two or

three-quarters shared by three or more). Note however that the new EU regulation on inheritance will also allow more freedom in terms of bequests with effect from August 17, 2015 as Europeans resident in France will be able to opt for the inheritance law of their country of nationality (eg: England or Scotland) to apply to their whole estate. This benefit does not however come into play automatically; the default rule is that only half of the property goes to the survivor. For property to go to the survivor in full you need to include a specific clause in the contract specifying this, which may relate to certain specified property or all of it. Children of the marriage only inherit after the death of the second spouse (and will only benefit once from the children’s e100,000 tax allowance). Such an arrangement could however be challenged through the courts on death if there are children from the deceased’s previous relationships who would otherwise lose out later (ie. because on the death of the second spouse those children may receive nothing from his or her estate as there is no blood relationship). If this is a concern you may wish to take specific legal advice. How do you change your existing matrimonial regime? You must visit a notaire, who will discuss the best regime and contract clauses and draw up and register the appropriate contract. The notaire is required to obtain the agreement of adult children to the proposed change and creditors are informed by publication in a newspaper. If one or other of the spouses has children who are minors, the new contract must also be approved by the family division of the tribunal de grande instance. If the parties are not yet married, they should consult a notaire beforehand. The cost involves various administrative charges plus the notaire’s own fees and varies greatly depending on the couple’s circumstances and the values of property involved. If it is necessary to go to the family judge, you will also need an avocat, whose fees for this are typically around e1,000 or more. What would happen if we change regime and move back to the UK? The effect will be fairly limited. In terms of inheritance, French law – including the marriage contract - would still apply to any property situated in France, but would not apply to UK-based property. As for divorce, if the divorce is started in England, then English law as to fair division of the assets will apply and the English courts will not see themselves as bound by the matrimonial contract.

Talking Point

Bob Elliott from telephone and broadband provider, UK Telecom, answers your queries Q. How can I stop the cold calls that irritate us daily? Our phone/internet is provided by SFR/Neuf. N.C. A: Many will be aware of the Telephone Preference Service that UK residents can subscribe to and that is free. It allows you to register your wish not to receive unsolicited marketing calls and telemarketing companies who do not respect the wishes of those listed can be subjected to very heavy fines. In France there is a similar service that is only available to Orange subscribers and is known as the “liste Orange”. As you use one of the many other service providers you can also choose not to be included in either the phone book or its online version. Known as the “liste rouge’” the service is free. You will have to provide an email address and a contact number. If you did not register when setting up your service you can do so online at www. Once completed, your details will be removed from both print and online directories. In addition your number will not be released to telephone number services. Do remember that it may take some time for all unwanted calls to cease, especially those that are from callers using the printed directories as this will only change when the new directories are published. Another official list specifically aimed at stopping cold-calling - www.pacitel. fr - was set up in 2011, which you can also join free of charge. Five large professional federations including many of the companies which cold call, pledged to respect wishes of those who signed up. However it has been reportedly somewhat ineffective. A version with more teeth has been promised as part of a new consumer rights law that was due for a final vote on going to press.

See for more information on services in France. T: UK +44 1483 477 100  T: from France 0805 631 632 Sponsored Feature

Euro Sense Elisabeth Dobson from foreign exchange brokers, World First, answers your questions on the European property market Q: WE read (Connexion February edition) that Britons are looking in stronger numbers again to buy property in France. What advice would the team give in relation to making the best deal with currency exchange to anyone house-hunting in the next few months. C.P. A: If you are thinking about buying property in France, the best advice I would give you is to seize the moment! Over the past few months, we have seen an upturn in the performance of the UK economy and, therefore, sterling is stronger. This means that people looking to buy in France are able to get a better property than they would have done at, say, this time last year. So while house prices in France have remained fairly stable – a 0.9% increase in the last five years according to recent figures – in real terms, the cost has actually reduced. The pound/euro exchange rate recently hit its highest level in a year, and against the euro, sterling was close to a 32 month high. As I write, it is consistently above 1.20, with £200,000 getting you around €240,000. Over the course of the last year, it has twice been down as low as 1.15 (March and August), further highlighting how far your money goes now. Transferring £200,000 when the rate was at that level, you would have got €230,000 – a staggering €10,000 less than you would get now. That could make the difference between getting and not getting the house of your dreams. But you never know when the exchange rate might move against you again, and with that in mind, you might consider choosing a forward contract. This allows you to fix an exchange rate in advance. Then, if the exchange rate does go against you, you will not miss out, having already secured the rate you agreed.  Email your currency queries to

For more information about making international money transfers with World First visit the website or call +44 20 7801 9080

He quickly made enemies in the “rebellious” profession, and his latest reforms have lost attention to protests over gender lessons but unions are starting to accept that former teacher Vincent Peillon may be the Education Minister they wished for by PAUL McNALLY and PETER HAWKINS HE passed the baccalauréat at 16 and ran a smoked salmon import firm before turning his hand to teaching. Now Education Minister Vincent Peillon is at the centre of one of the most controversial reforms of François Hollande’s presidency – a shake-up of primary school timetables with the return of either Wednesday or Saturday morning class. Peillon seemed to have the ideal profile to win support and respect from France’s 800,000 school teachers. A thinker, an academic achiever and a qualified professor who spent more than a decade teaching lycée pupils, he became education minister following François Hollande’s 2012 election promising a reversal of the Sarkozyera of teacher job cuts. But instead of receiving praise for pledging 60,000 extra staff for schools, Peillon has found himself at the centre of some of the harshest criticism levelled at the Socialist government – with what some have described as a rushed and reckless attempt to reorganise the school timetable after parents and teachers complained that the long hours of a four-day timetable, introduced under the Sarkozy government, were leaving children exhausted. He wasted no time announcing the move, just 24 hours after his appointment to Hollande’s government. By September 2013, only 20% of schools had implemented the change with the rest required to follow this autumn – but several local authorities, principally those held by the right, say they will refuse to apply the new timetable. Journalist and communications consultant Jean-Luc Mano says the job of education minister in France is “cursed” and the portfolio “is one of the most difficult to manage”. He wrote in a blog post: “Teachers are always critical of power. It’s a rebellious profession, heavily unionised. The profession is a bit like a citadel that’s under siege – every time someone mentions change or reform, they feel they are under attack. This reform was clumsy, rushed and not properly discussed with unions. That was Vincent Peillon’s gravest error.” One key concern is that the shorter school days – with lessons mostly focused on the mornings – requires costly changes to school transport and after-school activities. Some say the government is not providing enough money to fund the changes. French investigative news website Atlantico said Peillon was “handling the discontent well”. Le Monde described him as “a man of contrasts” – a thinker and academic as well a pragmatic politician. “He has a warm character, often funny, but can become abrupt, even rude, when the tension mounts. He strongly advocates that the Socialists should be tackling difficult subjects.”



The Connexion

March 2014

Biography n 7 July 1960 – Born in the west Parisian suburb of Suresnes

This reform was clumsy, rushed and not properly discussed with unions. That was Vincent Peillon’s gravest error Jean-Luc Mano, journalist

n 1976 – Passes baccalauréat at the age of 16 n 1980 – Graduates with degree in philosophy. Works for a rail firm before setting up his own smoked salmon import firm n 1984 – Becomes lycée teacher. Awarded the agrégation, the highest competitive diploma in teaching, two years later n 1992 – Doctorate in philosophy n 1994 – Begins work for Socialist party national bureau n 1997 – Elected MP for the Somme, for a single term n 2000-2002 – Socialist party national spokesman n 2002-2004 – Researcher at national scientific centre CNRS n 2004 – Elected MEP n 2007 – Official spokesman for Ségolène Royal’s failed presidential campaign n 2012 – Education Minister in François Hollande’s government n 2014 – Standing for re-election to European Parliament

Vincent Peillon: ‘He has a warm character, often funny, but can become abrupt, even rude, when the tension mounts’

Has professor Peillon learned his lesson? Brought up in a family of Communist intellectuals, Peillon received a strict education from his father, Gilles, a secretive man who ran one of the main banks handling transactions between western Europe and the Soviet Union. His mother Françoise, a Jew from Alsace, was research director at the health institute Inserm. Peillon became interested in philosophy after his grandmother gave him René Descartes’ Discourse on the Method as a 12th birthday present. His first job after getting his philosophy degree aged 20 was for the Compagnie des Wagons-Lits, the rail firm formerly behind the Orient Express. Working on the ParisCopenhagen line, he would smuggle smoked salmon back to the French capital and went on to formally set up his own import firm before spending 10 years as a lycée teacher in Calais, Lyon and the Nièvre. A keen reader of socialist and republican writers such as Jean Jaurès, Edgar Quinet and Pierre Leroux, Peillon’s political activities began as a militant for a Trotskyist movement, before making contact with Pierre Moscovici, now finance minister, and getting involved

with the French Socialist party in the early 1990s. He wrote speeches for the Socialist president of the National Assembly, Henri Emmanuelli, joined the party’s national head office where he became friends with Lionel Jospin, and became the party’s official spokesman in 2000. He rose through the ranks and gained prominence in 2007 as the official spokesman for Ségolène Royal’s presidential campaign. Hopes of winning a ministerial post in 2007 were dashed when Ségolène Royal was defeated by Nicolas Sarkozy – but his time came five years later on the election of François Hollande. Peillon himself has two daughters from a first marriage and two sons from his second marriage to the Nouvel Observateur journalist Nathalie Bensahel. His reign has seen a revival in the politicisation of the curriculum. The government launched a programme called the ABCD de l’égalité, to teach about the problems of stereotyping gender and sexual identity, and the equality of men and women. This was then seized on by an organisation calling itself the Equality and Reconciliation group, whose founder Alain Soral was a

former member of the National Front, which organised a boycott of schools on the basis that a “gender theory” was being taught where teachers were explaining to children that they were not born male or female. Despite government and academic claims that such a “gender theory” was not being taught, and did not in fact exist, the Manif Pour Tous mobilised between 80,000-500,000 people (depending on police or organiser figures) to march against it in Paris at the beginning of February. A week later, the leader of the UMP, Jean-François Copé, brandished a picture book entitled Tous à poil (Everybody get naked) at a press conference, claiming it was on a government list of books recommended for teachers, and adding that it was an affront to moral standards. In fact the book was only part of a list of teaching aids in the Drôme and sought to desmystify the human body for children. Misinterpretations of the national curriculum, deliberate or otherwise, aside, Peillon in mid-February announced his next reforms. These include more time and money

for teaching in education priority zones (Zone d'éducation prioritaire), to make teaching in difficult areas more attractive and stabilise staff turnover. In some cases salaries could be doubled. The first new measures will begin at the start of the 2014 school year, before being rolled out in 2015. The first ZEPs were set up in 1982 to tackle inequality, but have been increasingly seen as areas for educational experiments or to send inexperience teachers. In less-troubled areas, teachers will be allowed to accrue more time for development outside of teaching, such as training or improving relations with parents and pupils. Unions welcomed the measures as a “relaunch” of education priorities. The head of the largest education union, the Snes-FSU, Frédérique Rolet, said that they were “more than an adjustment”. But some argue that changing the school timetable and adding extra-curricular activities does not go far enough. Teacher and blogger Philippe Szykulla writes: “It seems obvious today that every pupil has their own rhythm and needs – no single pace suits all. What’s more, a school pupil in 2013 is connected to the wider world through their smartphone. They have a much broader vision of society, but the curriculum has failed to evolve: it is slowing down pupils’ progress.” France still lags around 20th position in the OECD’s annual comparative study of education systems in 60 countries worldwide. How well the reforms are implemented will be a deciding factor in the Socialists’ popularity going into the next presidential elections in 2017. Hollande himself said in his victory speech: “Judge me on my two main pledges: justice and youth.”

TheConnexion Connexion March Month2014 2013 The

Practical: Property 21

A NEW law bringing in a raft of measures affecting the housing market, including several governing landlords and tenants and owners who rent out their second homes to tourists in certain areas, is due to enter the statute books this month. The so-called Loi Alur is aimed at encouraging more and easier long-term rents and could have an impact on holiday rentals by making shortterm furnished holiday lets in areas experiencing housing shortages more difficult than annual leases. This is already the case in Paris. Here Connexion looks at some of the key points.

The law, put forward by Housing Minister Cécile Duflot, creates new rent controls with a maximum chargeable rent, allows new cooperative ownership of properties, registers multiple-ownership properties (copropriétés), imposes an obligation on copropriétés to pay into a repair fund, gives more power for intercommunalités or groups of councils to decide housing plans, extends the winter truce during which tenants cannot be evicted and brings in a type of rent guarantee to cover unpaid rents. It is due to come into force before this month’s municipal elections although some sections will not start until next year or January, 2016. One section of the law may force some holiday rental owners to get two sets of permissions to continue to rent short-term. People renting out or exchanging their main homes for a few weeks in summer or winter are not affected by the changes – they are aimed at furnished secondary homes that are used for holiday rentals and thus not available year-round. It will apply in large cities (more than 200,000 residents) plus the departments round Paris and in around 28 zones tendues (towns with more than 50,000 residents where housing is in short supply). However, mayors in these 28 towns must decide to apply the new law and it is thought the vast majority will not do so. If applied, owners would need permission from the mairie to change the property’s use from residential to commercial and also to get approval from other owners if it is in a block of flats. Mairies may, after a council vote, decide to give a block authorisation to avoid the need for individual changes of use because they are at present obliged by law to create a new residential property if a residence is changed to commercial use. Owners, or their agents, will also have to obtain permission to offer furnished short-term rental from the majority of other owners in blocks of flats (copropriétaires) as there have been rising complaints from neighbours in properties with holiday rentals. While holiday rentals may be profitable for the owner, the government wants to free up secondary homes for year-long furnished rental to help

Photo: Marie-Lan Nguyen

Housing law rewrites property market rules

Housing Minister Cécile Duflot pushed the bill through parliament to ease housing problems tackle the severe shortage of housing. The situation has been brought into focus by the sharp rise in the use of internet rental sites such as Airbnb and HouseTrip which are seen as costing hotels business, with the hoteliers claiming some holiday rental owners are not paying national and local tourism taxes. Rental agencies will in future have to get a signed statement from property owners that they are abiding by the law. The penalties for not getting authorisation are heavy: up to e25,000. Paris has been enforcing similar measures for the past two years as the massive demand for permanent homes highlights what the city sees as a massive waste with around 20,000 holiday properties lying empty for parts of the year. The result is that rents for scarce properties are rising

at more than 3% a year – a point tackled in another measure in the law to restrict rent rises. This will see the creation of a new rent control framework in the larger cities and 28 zones tendues with the setting-up of a body to gather statistics on local rent costs for typical properties and then set a loyer de référence which will fix upper and lower limits for rents. Leases with rents more than 20% higher than the reference rental at the time of signing could face a reduction. The law also sets up a rent guarantee scheme to encourage more owners to make housing available to rent. Fears of unpaid rents deter many owners from renting and mean that if they do let out property they demand high deposits and high minimum salaries for tenants before handing over the keys.

The Loi Alur, after much debate, creates a form of rent guarantee that gives owners some reassurance. However, despite it being one of President Hollande’s election promises, the garantie universelle des loyers (GUL) will not be compulsory. It will be written into the rental contract as a way to cover unpaid rent but owners can opt to reject it if they prefer to take a deposit. The attraction for owners is that the guarantee will come into effect quicker than commercial guarantees do – which means less rent is unpaid – and the government will have a hand in pursuing unpaid rents, with defaulters being pursued unless they have suffered an accident de vie such as losing their job. Cooperative ownership has been one of the key projects of Ms Duflot and the law introduces measures to allow people to set up housing cooperatives to build between five and 20 properties. Such projects can typically see savings of up to 15% on new-build houses. Ms Duflot has also championed moves to force owners to improve rundown properties and the move to oblige copropriétés to pay into a repair fund for works also gives mayors and state officials powers to order that repairs be done. The law creates a “right to rent” and gives local councils the power to withdraw this right for rundown rented properties until they are brought up to standard. Property agencies will no longer be able to demand one month’s rent from tenants as their fee as their “frais d’agence” have been cut. Tenants will now pay part of their costs for certain acts, with proprietors responsible for the rest of the fee as they are deemed the main beneficiaries. The maximum levels will be set by decree but are expected to be around half of what tenants pay at present. Urban planning decisions will also be changed with groups of communes being given more power. Ms Duflot said the change would allow intercommunalités to create urban plans reflecting their own areas whereas at present smaller communes do not have the funds to do so. It would see houses built where needed. The move has been controversial as it takes powers away from individual mayors and the transfer of powers can be vetoed if voted out by more than 25% of communes covering at least 20% of the population. Tenants get some aid with a two-week extension to the winter eviction truce, which is now from November 1 until March 31. These same dates are used for the energy truce, when power companies cannot cut off defaulters. New regulations are also being put in place to ensure estate agents are properly trained and informed about the law and its restrictions.

We speak to those in the property market to get their views on new law HOUSING Minister Cécile Duflot said the law would help tackle the problems in the housing rental market which had seen rents soar over the past decade and outstrip the ability of ordinary families to pay. She said parliament had supported the main measures of the law, including new rent controls, the rent guarantee, regulations for estate agents, changes in agency fees and measures to improve rundown properties. Consumer and tenants’ rights group Association Nationale de Défense des Consommateurs et Usagers said, however, she had failed to create a new obligatory universal rent guarantee to give owners protection against unpaid rents as owners would still prefer to demand a large deposit from tenants. The new garantie universelle des loy-

ers was too complex “and was not attractive to either tenant or property owner” especially as it did not cover the full extent of any unpaid rent. Saying rent default was, “a minor problem in the housing market” the group said the new GUL guarantee risked being used only by owners renting to low-income groups, where the default risk was higher. It was strongly opposed to tenants having to pay any part of agency fees as it means “billing them for services they have not requested”. The agency’s contract was with the owner and it could not act for both sides, it said. Henry Buzy-Cazaux, of the Institut du Management des Services Immobiliers, said the GUL could see the “eventual end of the deposit” as it offered support for both sides of the tenant-owner divide.

Lawyer Laurent Lamielle, of property magazine De particulier à particulier, said it was not certain mairies would get involved in forcing holiday rental owners to apply for change of use. They could decide to give temporary blanket approvals to rent holiday homes and, unlike Paris, many did not have serious housing problems. There would also be a lot of work involved in preparing for the changes which are complex, not well known and possibly expensive. However, he said holiday rental owners could face pressure from copropriétaires tired of the continual comings and goings of holiday makers and other disruption. They could vote at a general meeting to ban holiday rentals from the apartment block. INTERNET accommodation rental agency Airbnb said the changes would

not affect the vast majority of its owners as 80% rent out rooms in their main homes while gite owners are in rural areas with no housing shortages . “Under the proposed law, if you rent your primary residence, the process would remain unchanged: if you wish to make your home available to travellers, you may do so if you follow some basic rules including receiving written agreement from the owner. “Regarding proposed rules for the short-term rental of properties that are not a primary residence, in the vast majority of French cities, the rules will not change: short-term rental will not be subject to new restrictions. “In larger cities, the short-term rental of a non-primary residence will be permitted. Cities will not have the authority to ban short-term rental of these properties, but they will be able to define specific criteria or require

hosts to apply a for a change of use.” The Confédération Nationale du Logement, which represents council tenants, said rent controls would be inflationary as they were set on rents that were already too high and would raise rents at the bottom of the scale. PROPERTY owners federation UNPI called the law “absurd” with the new rent controls being over-complex and with the clear aim of reducing rents. President Jean Perrin said they could be satisfied that the rent guarantee scheme had been watered down but the rest of the law was “so horribly complex” it would discourage people from investing in the rental market. “The Loi Alur is a good example of the absurdity of catch-all laws to which we are sadly accustomed, no matter what party is in government.”

22 Money


AN innovative farm funding plan is proving to be a real-life cash cow – giving investors a return of 6%, nearly five times that of France’s most popular savings account the Livret A. Yvelines farmer Jean-Baptiste Galloo came up with an idea where people invest in his cows and get a return in kind, not money, based on the Middle Ages-era bail à cheptel or contrat de gazaille system. He said: “I started four years ago after the banks refused me the loan I needed to grow the farm. I wanted a way to allow my customers, who all live locally, to be able to work with me and become more involved in the farm and the animals. “When I read about bail à cheptel I remembered customers talking about wine investment where people were paid in bottles of wine. I thought

that they could invest with me and be repaid in farm produce. “I started with 10 cows in 2010: people paid e1,800 for each and we signed a four-year contract where I promised to give them vouchers for e108 each year to buy our meat or other products. They also get a 3% discount on all purchases.” The e108 voucher equals a 6% return on their investment but Mr Galloo said both sides got much more out of it as the investors were also customers and would bring their families to see their cow, learn about farm life and buy farm goods. Being paid in kind means there is no tax and Mr Galloo covers the feeding, rearing and health costs of the animals. The first leases come to term later this year and Mr Galloo then buys back the cows at their original price. More than 100 other people now want to join the scheme and take them over.

The meat has to be picked up at his Ferme Aux Quatre Etoiles at Auffargis (see One family travels from 100km away to get theirs and see the cows. A farmer in Ariège, MidiPyrénées is now also offering the scheme and Mr Galloo said he would like to see some sort of “crowdfunding” plan so others could benefit. He said the plan had more than met his hopes and added: “It saved my life. I would no longer have been able to farm if I had not found this. “It allowed me to avoid dealing with the bank and my customers like the idea of investing in the local economy.” A similar scheme is offered by the Rhône company Gestel which gives a cash return on investment. In this case there is no link with a specific farm and the money is spread across dairy herds throughout France.

Photo: Jean-Baptiste Galloo

Invest in a cow – it helps farms survive and can give 6% return

Mr Galloo’s Prim’Holstein cows provide his milk

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March 2014

2014 French income tax guide - earlybird offer! FRENCH income &’:HIKRME=ZU^ZUY:?k@a@a@c@p" tax forms will be sent to homes in April and must be completed by the end of May or NEW ! early June, 2014 dependent if filed online or 9.50 on paper. We will be publishing a full helpguide with the 2014 information needed to make your declaration. Specifically aimed at Britons living in France, the guide will be available, as a printed or downloadable version, from April 1, 2014. If you have a question on French income tax send it to We will be answering a selection in the guide. The guide will be sold from April 1, 2014 for e9.50 but all orders received before that date benefit from our early-bird offer of e7.50 (plus P&P). So order now at or call 0800 91 77 56 (mornings) or email with a phone number and we will call you.

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March 2014


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It’s all change for rules on capital gains on shares

Loi Madelin policies can save you tax

Send your financial queries to

Hugh MacDonald at I READ that a system of reductions exists for capital gains on shares sales, depending on the length of ownership. This is the first time I have seen a reference to this. I have previously declared the full capital gain. B.C. New measures are applicable for share sale profits occurring from the 2013 tax year and the tax rate is that which applies to income tax since the gains are now added to income and taxed accordingly. Taxation of capital gains has usually been done correctly by the tax office so there should not have been an issue with this, you just need to be careful in how the gains are declared as the tax office will automatically apply tax (and the social contributions) on what it is that is declared. Whereas previously capital gains were taxed at a set rate of 24% this has now changed and they are taxed according to the ordinary bands but after reductions of the taxable gain for length of ownership. For shares owned for at least two years and less than eight this is 50%; after eight years it is 65%. These abatements are only applicable to income tax and not the social contributions. All share capital gains should be declared on form 2074 as an annexe to the main 2042 tax declaration.

Can EDF take money out of account? CAN EDF take money from my bank account without telling me? I signed a standing order a few years ago for an agreed amount to de debited each month. Usually at the end of the year they send me a new list of debits for the following year and credit my account with any overpayments. Last time I received no list and I checked my bank account and found over e660 had been debited without warning which made me go overdrawn and incur bank charges. What can I do to stop this happening again? M.B. Sadly what you signed was a direct debit authority, not a standing order, the difference being that with a

It’s time to get your calculator out again

standing order it is you that makes payments to a third party and with a direct debit it is the third party that has access to your account to take whatever is needed to pay their bill. All organisations are bound to tell you so I do not think the issue is them not telling you but more that you have not received the letter confirming the amounts to be taken from your account under the direct debit authority. We have had much of this in our area, due mainly to the fact that after La Poste had numbers added to all addresses but not everyone notified all of the service providers of the change. As a result, the address is considered “incomplete” and La Poste presumably delivered the letter elsewhere - for it never to be seen again. It may be worth checking with your local post office that they do not have a stock of undelivered letters. As to stopping it happening again, that may not be easy, since the delay is invariably seven days, from which there is the time for the company to print the bill and put it in the envelope and then post it to account for so it is unlikely that you will actually have notification before the payment is due. All this is part of the drive large organisations are having to encourage people to go paper-free. The best solution is instead of having the payment made from your bank account directly, to have it taken from your bank card. Now, here again, be careful. There are generally four types: 1. Operates in France. Funds taken instantly the charge is made; 2. Operates in France. Funds taken at the end of the month; 3. Operates internationally. Funds taken instantly the charge is made; 4. Operates internationally. Funds taken at the end of the month. You need the one where the funds are taken at the end of the month but evidently the bank charge is higher as you go down the list of the types of card. The advantage of this is that you not only have the delay from the organisation until the payment is taken, but you then have the delay before the payment from your account is made to clear your bank card balance. If you have access via the internet to your bank account, this makes it easier to see where

The Connexion welcomes reader queries and publishes a selection with answers every edition. However, please note that we cannot enter into private correspondence on money topics. Queries may be edited for length and style. Due to the sensitive nature of topics we do not publish names and addresses on these pages, just initials.

things are at, since you only have one account to consult. You could also see with the organisations if they are able to send text messages since these will arrive ahead of the paper notification.

Was tax on car parking space fair? WE RENT car park space next door and underneath our building. Last year we received a taxe d’habitation demand for it for the first time after we had been here three years. As a parking space is not for living in, is this right? C. H. Any property owned or rented gives rise to taxe d’habitation and foncière, the former being due by the person using it, the owner paying the latter. A charge on a private parking space is legitimate. As to the reason for the delay in charging, then the first is that the charge is only due on the person in the property on January 1 each year, unless whoever does pay the charge decides to time apportion it between the people who have shared the property during the course of the calendar year but in that case this is an arrangement between the users of the property. For this reason, if you were not using the property on January 1 of the first year you had use of the parking space, then that is one year for which you would have avoided the charge. The second reason is sometimes it takes time for the information about the new people in a property to filter through to the relevant departments that issue these bills, so yes, there are occasions when years are missed. Thirdly, when people move out, sometimes the tax office does not have the new address to which to send the bills that are relevant to them. Consequently, it is only when the tax office finds the previous tenant, that they learn of the new tenant - you - and, with time taken to find all this out, as for the above point, years can be missed. However the charge can be levied for the current and the previous tax year. The tax office will evidently issue the current year’s charge first but may, subsequently, issue the previous year’s charge.

The information on these pages is of a general nature. You should not act or refrain from acting on it without taking professional advice on the specific facts of your case. No liability is accepted in respect of these articles. These articles are intended only as a general guide. Nothing herein constitutes actual financial advice.

SELF-EMPLOYED people on the régime réel tax system (where expenses are tax deductible) can benefit from a special system encouraging them to take a range of insurances, the Loi Madelin. This includes small firms of all kinds, apart from auto-entrepreneurs and people on the simple “micro” regime which allows for set expenses deductions. It includes people running businesses paying impôt sur les societies, such as Sarls (limited companies). The most common categories to benefit are firms of the BIC type (eg. artisans and commerçants) and BNC (professions libérales). Loi Madelin insurance contracts come in four kinds, with the aim that (within certain ceilings) insurance premiums are deductible from your taxable work income. The aim is to help the self-employed fill in the gaps in their social security cover as compared to employees. This is because the self-employed are often, depending on sector, more poorly protected and notably they have no right to unemployment benefit. The contract kinds are: n A private retirement pension n A top-up health policy for the individual and dependents n A policy to replace work income in the case of having to stop due to illness, or to insure against death or incapacity (called a contrat de prévoyance) n An involuntary unemployment policy In each case the amount deductible depends on certain calculations, based on the Plafond Annuel de la Sécurité Sociale (PASS), a figure which for 2014 is e37,548. Note that the sums are only deductible for income tax purposes, not for the calculation of the social charges. Since the benefit is in the form of a tax deduction, only firms paying relatively large amounts of tax will benefit fully. Therefore before taking out such policies it is important to check what they provide compared to the cost after any deductions you will be able to make. Retirement pensions: These allow you to build up an extra pension to be drawn as regular (taxable) income when you retire. Deductions can be made of sums up to either: 10% of the PASS (e3,754.80) or 10% of the work income up to the value of the PASS, then 15% for the part above this. The maximum income that can be taken into account is 8 x the PASS (e300,384). Top-up health policies and contrats de prévoyance: The deduction that can be made for these is 7% of the PASS plus 3.75% of the year’s work income; with an upper limit of 3% of 8 x PASS (ie. a maximum deduction of e9,011.52). Unemployment insurance: Deductions can be made up to the most favourable of the two between: 1.875% of the work income (up to a maximum of 8 x PASS) or 2.5% of the PASS (e938.70). It is advisable to take professional advice as to whether policies are suited to your circumstances.


The Connexion

March 2014

Get the best out of your UK pension fund while in France This column is by Bill Blevins of Blevins Franks financial advice group ( who also writes for the Sunday Times on overseas finance. He is co-author of the Blevins Franks Guide to Living in France. THE VITAL rule for financial planning and protecting your wealth is that all your wealth management structures are designed around your personal circumstances and objectives. This includes your investments, tax planning and pension funds. If circumstances change you need to review and amend arrangements accordingly. Both moving to France from the UK and retirement are significant life changes. On top of this you have a new tax regime to get to grips with – and a very complex, frequently changing one at that! Protecting wealth also means making sure neither you nor your heirs pay any more tax than necessary. So you must look at the most tax-efficient way of holding assets in France. Taxation of pensions in France n Income from pensions derived from professional activities, and generally from private pensions, are taxed the same way as salaries: paying tax at scale rates, of up to 45%. The parts system applies as with other income and private pensions get a 10% deduction (maximum e3,660). n Most UK government and local government service pensions remain taxable in the UK. They are not taxed in France, but the income is taken

into account when determining your income tax rate in France, and so can increase your tax bill. n Genuine annuities receive discounts of between 30% and 70%, depending on your age. n Lump sums from UK pension funds are taxable in France at a flat rate of 7.5%. n All pension income is additionally subject to 7.1% social charges, but if you hold EU Form S1 your pension income is exempt. Options for your UK pensions Pensions are a key part of retirement planning but are a complex area for UK expatriates, with rules frequently changing. Take great care to assess options available before transferring your fund or starting to draw your pension. Options for UK expatriates include staying in your current scheme; income drawdown or flexible drawdown plans; Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs); Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) and buying an annuity. You must establish how each works for you, the pros and cons, tax implications, whether you can pass the balance on to chosen beneficiaries etc. Selecting the correct option is a minefield for the unwary – a wrong choice could adversely affect you and your spouse for life. The new pension legislation in 2011 brought about some significant reforms. One particularly interesting change was to split “Drawdown Pensions” into “Capped Drawdown” and “Flexible Drawdown”. With capped drawdown you can choose the frequency and amount of income, and alter it as

necessary, but HM Revenue & Customs imposes a cap on how much you can take each year. Flexible drawdown was a radical change, and can provide attractive opportunities for those eligible. There is no limit to the amount of income that can be drawn each year; you can even take your entire fund out in one go. To opt for flexible drawdown you must meet the Minimum Income Requirement (MIR) and other requirements. This means having a secure pension income of at least £20,000 in payment (in your own right or as a dependant) in that tax year. This can be a combination of state pension, lifetime annuities, registered pension schemes (conditions apply), secure payments from overseas pension schemes and top-up payments from the Financial Assistance Scheme. Income drawdown, pension income from other sources, and QROPS and QNUPS (Qualifying Non-UK Pension Scheme) do not count. Flexible Drawdown can be an interesting option for those who: require income flexibility; want to delay taking an annuity; wish to maintain control of the investment strategy; want to pass the funds to heirs; need flexibility over income levels to protect against exchange rate fluctuations, and can accept some degree of risk in order to build a potentially bigger fund. The opportunity to take 100% of your fund out at once can be a particularly interesting option. It would enable you to take the funds and reinvest them inside other arrangements that are more advantageous for you here in France. When you take a single lump sum out under

flexible drawdown, it is taxable in France if you are resident here, and is likely to be taxed as a lump sum. Many would consider a 7.5% tax rate a relatively low amount for the benefits you may be able to achieve elsewhere. You will also escape the social charges if you have Form S1. For example, you could consider transferring the funds into an Assurance Vie. These policies offer significant tax benefits in France, especially the longer you hold them. A wide range of investments can be held within an Assurance Vie, giving you flexibility and choice. Not all Assurance Vie are the same, so it is vital the one you choose provides the most advantages and suits your aims, needs and circumstances. Many people have collected various pension funds over their working lives, such as Personal Pensions, Company Pension Schemes and AVCs (Additional Voluntary Contributions). You may be able to put these to better use now too, so make sure you review all of your pensions at the same time to reach the best overall solution for you. You could make life a lot simpler and more cost effective by consolidating various plans into one arrangement. Opting for flexible drawdown needs careful consideration. You must know all the facts, understand the implications and evaluate all the options before taking a decision. Expert advice is vital to select the best options and for tax planning.

Tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices, which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; an individual should take personalised advice.

Photo: © Vincent Isore IP3 press 2


Rachel Khoo’s regional dishes P12

People / places / culture / lifestyle

Goodbye Mr Delanoë!P5



Battle for Mme le Maire

INSIDE We got elected


Meet the expats who stood in local polls and won seats on their councils

The British Embassy celebrates 200 years of its Paris home - and asks readers for their co-operation stories

CX2 – Pages 6-7

CX2 – Page 7

A little piece of paradise


A beautiful spot offers tranquil lakes and woodland but watch out for snakes

Why driving along a busy road is the best place for nature-lovers to spot birds of prey

CX2 – Pages 8-9

CX2 – Page 8

What’s on

It’s festival time for film-lovers with Printemps du Cinéma PLUS – Our pick of the best events in France CX2 – Page 10

Quoi de neuf Books and Bright new products puzzles CX2 – Page 11 CX2 – Pages 14-15 Food Big picture The perfect recipe for leftover red wine CX2 – Pages 12-13

Netting olive harvest CX2 – Page 16

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Paris Feature Mayor

Connexion 2 March Month 2014 2013

As conservative candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet this month faces Socialist Anne Hidalgo in the race for one of France’s most high-profile elected posts MARCELA KUNOVA examines the personalities and policies

IN A country whose politics are arguably more dominated by men than most of its neighbours, the novelty of two women battling for the mayoral seat of Paris has attracted plenty of attention. In fact, quite a few things are new in the upcoming mayoral elections. Not only has Paris never seen two female candidates running for the top position but the French have never witnessed such personal and emotional campaigns than those delivered by the PR machines behind the right-wing UMP’s Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet (commonly known as NKM) and Anne Hidalgo, standing for the Parti Socialiste. The highly-personalised websites, which look more like Facebook profiles than political campaigns, offer rare gems from the rivals’ private lives. In one photograph a young Hidalgo, sporting two cute plaits, is posing in the classroom while NKM shares with you her recipe for soufflé au chocolat and the confession that it is the only dessert she can make. But why would two politicians recount the ins and outs of their family life in the style of a women’s magazine? According to academic Virginie Martin, a prominent French political commentator, political storytelling is à la mode. This way, not only do politicians appear more transparent but they may also reveal the details of their private lives before someone else spills the beans.  Ironically, this overindulgent campaign comes in the aftermath of the latest saucy presidential ‘scandal’ involving François Hollande and his supposed long-standing mistress, Julie Gayet. The contrast between President Hollande striving to preserve the final part of his privacy and the celebrity-style mayoral campaigns of the two leading candidates is surprising. But perhaps the most astonishing aspect of the Paris 2014 web campaign is how the candidates’ websites are both suspiciously similar to that of the German

Chancellor Angela Merkel. It almost seems that women in politics feel obliged to play on the public’s emotions rather than keep a clear, professional line. Prof Martin said many French people still believe female politicians are softer, more honest and bring “feminine values” into the political ring. Back in 2007, the Socialist Party’s presidential candidate Ségolène Royal heavily played the gender card. Although Royal then gained important support from prominent feminist organisations, her image of a modern Joan of Arc (such as posing as “Liberty Guiding the People” for Le Parisien) has undermined her credibility. Despite Royal’s failure, Hidalgo knows that being openly feminist butters up her left-leaning voters and she gladly delves into women’s empowerment talks. She can afford it – her illustrious career in local politics has now become something of a byword for her competence, an asset that Royal crucially lacked. NKM finds herself in a more delicate situation as a woman with a stereotypically masculine career – she graduated from Ecole Polytechnique, served in the navy, and went on to become a scientist. “NKM must comfort her conservative voters who are still very attached to the traditional gender values,” Prof Martin said. “She can have a scientific career but on Sunday she has to prepare a soufflé au chocolat for her husband. She must reassure France that she is still able to fulfil her woman’s duties.” Cake-making apart, NKM comes across as a posh Parisian, educated at an elite school, who progressed quickly in national politics. This is an appealing asset for the upper-crust Parisians, notorious for their much lower participation in local elections compared with national politics. In contrast, Hidalgo, the Spanish-born daughter of immigrants who got her French citizenship aged 14, highlights her early involvement in the local structures of the Socialist Party and her long career at the Paris Town Hall. Though less in the limelight, the race includes several other candidates: of green party EELV is deputy mayor in charge of pre-school childcare; businessman Charles Beigbeder, who founded, among others, Poweo, is standing for “Liberated Paris” after being thrown out of the UMP; Paris councillor Danielle Simonnet represents anticapitalist Front de Gauche and Wallerand de Saint-Just, a Picardy regional councillor, represents the Front National of which he is head of the Paris branch.


Soufflé recipes and plaits com

Anne Hidalgo (right) comes face to face with a cut-out of herself at a protest demonstration in Paris

- but away from the PR what are candidates’ priorities HOUSING HIDALGO says housing is her priority, saying prices are now so high that in theory 70% of Parisians today qualify for social housing. The reality however, she says, is that it can take years to obtain a state-subsidised rental property. She wants to increase social housing to 25% in the city by 2025 and 30% by 2030. She proposes converting empty offices into flats, building 160ft towers blending offices and private housing, and encouraging authorities to buy flats that are up for sale but beyond people’s reach. NKM pledges to help aspiring homebuyers by building new homes for the middle-class who, she says, are being forced out by high prices.

TRANSPORT NKM claims she would start a transport “revolution”. She wants to extend the underground service until 2.00 on weekdays and to all night at weekends and to make public transport free to students. She wants to cut the number of trucks in the centre, encourage electric vehicles and make the five Paris Portes pedestrian zones. Hidalgo has similar plans including longer opening hours for the underground and progressively excluding tourist coaches from the centre. She plans to double the number of cycling routes, create a scooter hire scheme called Scootlib and limit car speed to 30kph away from the main city routes.

SECURITY GIVEN that NKM relies mostly on conservative voters, she has unsurprisingly put security at the top of her seven-point vision for major change. Among her propositions, she pledges to create a neighbourhood police presence, a service which was removed by Nicolas Sarkozy a decade ago. She also wants to increase the number of CCTV cameras and to clamp down on aggressive begging, a controversial move dreamed up by ex-president Sarkozy that saw the deportation of hundreds of Romanians.

Hidalgo adopts a milder tone of voice. While she has similar ideas on video surveillance and neighbourhood police – she notably wants “green and anti-noise brigades” to help keep the streets clean and quiet at night – she promotes prevention as a main solution to security concerns. She notably plans new community centres for young people, in a crackdown against criminal groups who exploit vulnerable Roma women and children. Working in cooperation with the prefecture, she wants to build secure shelters to care for these under-age victims.

CHILDCARE–EDUCATION HIDALGO dedicates much of her “Paris That Dares” electoral programme to children and teenagers. Given the massive lack of quality childcare, she pledges to create 5,000 crèche places and a pilot project for a 24-hour nursery for parents who work nights. Young drivers who pass their test can look forward to one year’s free car hire in the Autolib, scheme, which will also be available to Parisians who ditch their car. Hidalgo also promises 1,000 new lodgings for students and researchers and a secondary school Erasmus programme connecting world cities.

NKM cannot wait to overturn last year’s governmental reform of the school timetable which saw three hours of class on Wednesday, formerly a day off for French primary pupils. She even set up a website to encourage parents - who she says were not kept well-informed - to complain about it. NKM wants to keep all crèches open until 7.30pm on working days and to promote community-managed nurseries which will look after children from 7am to 10pm. Both candidates have said they want to increase the number of schools that are accessible to disabled children.

ParisFeature Mayor

March Month 2014 2013 Connexion 2

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Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet addresses a debate in her battle for leadership of the city

HOUSING campaigner Patrick Doutreligne welcomes candidates’ effort to address the capital’s housing crisis. “Both candidates pledged to respect the law that requires 20% of social housing and to focus on the middle class,” said Mr Doutreligne, managing director at Fondation Abbé-Pierre. However he highlights the confusion about what candidates call “the middle class”. For Hidalgo, a middle-class family would live in social housing, while NKM means fairly well-off professionals who are the majority in Paris’ central arrondissements. Mr Doutreligne emphasised the difficulties facing the Parisian middle class. “Nationally, a middle-class family with two children would earn 2,500 a month. In Paris, they must be earning at least 5,000 or 6,000 a month, or it would not be possible for them to survive,” he said. Many agree that the housing shortage will not be solved without extending Paris to its outlying areas, as happened with Greater London. “We are the only country in Europe where housing prices didn’t fall despite the economic crisis. We have two million more jobseekers since 2008 and it had no effect on housing prices,” Mr Doutreligne said. The problem is caused partly by foreign buyers who push up housing prices. Some districts have up to 90% foreign residents and even wealthy French are struggling to pay the higher prices. “Paris is an extremely attractive city and today it’s almost impossible that prices will go down,” said Mr Doutreligne.

It seems women in politics feel obliged to play on the public’s emotions rather than keep a clear, professional line

and what will they change if elected ECONOMY - BUSINESS AND JOBS HIDALGO promises a “fair and social economy” empowering small entrepreneurs, reinforcing local and green economies and encouraging more diversity and innovation. However she also hails what Bertrand Delanoë has achieved so far, calling Paris “the digital capital of Europe” and “one of the great capitals for innovation”. Under her the city would continue the “immense work” done in projects like start-up “incubators”, she says. A “young entrepreneur pack” would give access to cheap services and she would create new co-working and teleworking spaces and incubators in an “innovation arc” from Porte de Versailles to Clichy-Batignolles. NKM, on the other hand, claims that each year “thousands of jobs are not created because good ideas do not get the support that they deserve”

and therefore Paris is starting to fall back compared to international competition. Under her Paris would be a place where “it is easy for your ideas to blossom”, she says. She stresses the importance of including entrepreneurs and academics in decision-ma king and wants to organise monthly brainstorming meetings which will feed into a new long-term development strategy. She plans to invite entrepreneurs to participate in her regular visits abroad to help them find investors and promises a scheme to label approved “business angels”. The city will match funds they give to small businesses and start-ups. She also wishes to break the taboo of Sunday working and allow evening and Sunday opening hours for shops outside of the state-defined tourist zones.

ENVIRONMENT THE Socialist team has focussed on expanding green areas with 20,000 trees, 100 hectares of roof gardens, and larger pedestrian zones. Greener commutes should also be made easier thanks to new electric buses, bike and scooter hiring schemes and car sharing. Hidalgo also proposes investing 250 million in a “Swim in Paris” plan including filtering the water of the Daumesnil Lake in the Bois de Vincennes and opening if for swimming as well as creating other new outdoor and indoor swimming venues and “itinerant” pools to place on vacant plots.

Property price crisis

Photo: © wikimedia


me out in Paris mayor fight

NKM’s environmental programme seems more ambitious. She plans to turn an old railway around Paris into cycling route and develop a system for controlling and managing traffic signals using detectors embedded in the road. Two prominent ‘green lungs’ – Bois de Vincennes and Bois de Boulogne would be “cleaned up and made safer” and an electric shuttle service would run to give Parisians better access. School trips would be organised. NKM also wants to cover over the périphérique so the suburbs are less cut off.

Paris Mayor

Connexion 2 March 2014

Locals give differing views HIDALGO has one advantage in public opinion – she casts herself as the successor of Socialist mayor Bertrand Delanoë, a generally popular, and familiar, figure in the capital. He has achieved significant improvements during 13 years in office (see following page) which makes Hidalgo, as one of his deputies, seem a natural replacement as he steps down. Fred, a 30-year-old chemist from the 17th arrondissement, says she is definitely his choice. “She knows Paris inside out,” he said. “I prefer to put my trust in continuity and stability of what is already established. “I think what Anne Hidalgo has done for Parisians so far makes her the best candidate for mayoral position.” In Fred’s opinion, NKM has been parachuted into the campaign by her party and he doubts she is strong enough to become a leader of the French capital. “She sees herself already as a winner but her campaign lacks solid propositions,” he said. NKM often looks like she is trying to catch up on Hidalgo’s popularity. She casts herself as the middle-class champion who will sort out Paris’ long-standing problems such as the housing shortage, crime and air pollution. To tone down a swanky image, she does not hesitate from being seen smoking with homeless men or from calling the Parisian underground a “place of charms” with unexpected pleasures. However Fred believes Hidalgo has the right priorities to help ordinary people. “I want the

future mayor to put a cap on the sky-rocketing housing prices in Paris,” he said. “Soon no-one will be able to buy a home. If the trend continues, I will have to move out to outlying areas.” Together with the housing crisis, security is the biggest problem in the capital, Fred said. “There are some streets where I would never wander alone,” he said. “Under Delanoë, some progress has been made in the 17th and 18th arrondissements but the future mayor will have a lot on her plate.” However, NKM knows she can count on strong support from many of Paris’s better-off voters who express exasperation after more than 10 years under the ruling Socialists. Cécile, 26, a lawyer from 7th arrondissement, said: “NKM has a vision of wealthy Paris without misery and with more security. Besides, I can’t be bothered paying council tax to finance social housing and other stupid projects. “Generally speaking, Hidalgo hasn’t come up with anything new. NKM plays on Parisians’ comfort, I love it.” Although most polls show Hidalgo ahead, she may eventually be hurt by President Hollande’s low ratings. NKM is trying to exploit perceived failures of the Socialists’ legacy, such as rocketing home prices, poor transport in outlying areas, and pollution, blamed mainly on traffic. Cécile is also concerned about safety. “I will vote NKM because I am very keen on longer underground service hours. As a woman, I want to live in a city where I feel safe.”

Registered EU residents can vote EU citizens living in Paris have the right to take part in the elections – as in any of France’s local mairie ones - as long as they registered by the end of last year, However they do not directly vote for the mayor – they vote in their arrondissement. After the share-out of seats, those arrondissement councillors who are near the top of their party lists also become City of Paris councillors and it is they who will officially elect the Maire de Paris after the initial elections, although the role naturally can be expected to go to the winning party’s designated candidate. After the elections, on March 23 (and possibly March 30) there will be 163 Paris councillors and 364 arrondissement ones. While Britons are the fourth largest EU nationality in Paris, as a group they are not especially “civic minded” according to past results: Germans, Belgians and the Dutch are the nationalities most likely to vote bearing in mind their relative population size, followed by Italians and then the

Spanish and Portuguese. A total of 4.5% of the Paris population are from other EU nations compared to 4% in Berlin and 10% in London. There have only been three mayors of Paris in the latest incarnation of the role: Jacques Chirac (1977-1995), Jean Tiberi (1995-2001) and Bertrand Delanoë (2001-2014). The city was for centuries run by the Provost of Merchants, a role initially concerned with commerce, which ended during the Revolution, when the last one was shot. The city then had eight mayors from 1789-94 until the position was again abolished, with brief resurrections before it disappeared again after1870-71. The city was then governed by the Prefect of the Seine, appointed by the government. With the dismantling of the department of the Seine in the 1960s, a department of Paris was created, headed by a president, who later reforms made into a “mayor of Paris”, with new powers, heading a Conseil de Paris, which is at the same time both a departmental council and a mairie.

All of France’s 37,000 communes are up for elections this month, not just Paris, and usually the local elections go against the government. This time however two opposing factors will play a role, politics expert Paul Bacot told Connexion. On the one hand disarray on the right, on the other an unpopular Socialist president and government.

Photo: Lafite_Wostok_Press_Maxppp

Hollande’s plummeting popularity likely to boost vote for the right

Photo: wikimedia

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The president’s poor poll ratings may not bode well for the left

THIS month’s local elections could be close-run, says political science expert Professor Paul Bacot, a lecturer at Sciences Po, Lyon. The predictable swing (this time to the right) as a protest to the national government is likely to be tempered by the right’s relative weakness and on the other hand by the unpopularity of President Hollande and the Socialist government. This comes after 2008’s municipal elections when Sarkozy’s right-wing UMP was in power and there was strong support for the left. Prof Bacot said: “Traditionally in France what we call the intermediate elections [local ones falling between national ones] are generally favourable to the national Opposition and difficult for the majority. So, theoretically, we should have municipals that are relatively easy for the right. However, there are several other factors this time. “On the one hand, in many towns held by the left the record of the departing mayors is considered good. That could limit the predicted defeat for the left. Secondly, the right is in a poor state – divided, without a strong leader, different from the left six years ago which was well organised. There will probably be some defections among the left’s voters but there could also be some on the right, due to this. “Then there is a third element – the Front National is rising. Where it gets over 10% in the first round it will be able to stay in the race for the second round and so we ask what the UMP and [Jean-Louis Borloo’s centre-right party] UDI will do. Surveys show a significant part of the right-wing electorate would agree to an alliance with the FN but the UMP’s leaders know it would be hard for them to justify and politically costly. “Finally, each day we have the impression that the left in power are creating new problems for themselves, and are going astray with new misdemeanours, so there’s a risk things will be very difficult for the left after all.” There may be some real surprises, Prof Bacot said. “There could be an enormous landslide for the right that throws the left out of a lot of mairies. However it’s quite possible that the left will come out relatively well. They will certainly have losses, but there’s uncertainty.” Prof Bacot said the effect of local elections going against the national majority is often strongest at just such a time as this – about two years after national elections, when there is a feeling of disappointment that the government has not done everything it promised to do. A TNS Sofres poll found that 34% of French people “agree with the ideas of the Front National” and 27% would consider voting for them. Commentators put this partly down to leader Marine Le Pen’s relatively good image, with 56% saying she “understands the daily problems of the French” and 58% that she is “capable of bringing people together

Each day we have the impression the left in power are going astray with new misdemeanors, so things may be very difficult for them Politics expert Paul Bacot

beyond her own party”. Respondents were also more likely to see her as representing a “traditional, patriotic right” (46%) than a “extreme, nationalist and xenophobic” one (43%). Even so, key planks of her manifesto lack support, such as leaving the euro (only 29%) or favouring French people for jobs (24%). Prof Bacot said: “The rise is partly due to the fact the UMP is facing major difficulties – it puts out contradictory statements; can’t find a strong leader... so that leaves room on the right. Also, as the left is in power, the FN attracts all those who are strongly opposed to it, the most dissatisfied. Some on the right think the left is deliberately focussing on things that get certain segments of the population riled up, which they say also helps the FN, such as gay marriage or laws on the family.” Prof Bacot said areas where the FN has most support are those with high unemployment and a feeling of losing out against globalisation and Europe. Researchers also note a rise in suburbs about 20-40km outside large cities, he said. The results in the largest cities will be key in terms of how the elections look for the government. “If the left keeps Paris, Lyon... even if it has bad results elsewhere, that will be good for it. I think it will, but it’s complicated,” Prof Bacot said. The fact that voting in Paris, Lyon and Marseille is by arrondissement, not for the council as a whole, makes the results hard to predict. This year also sees changes in the election rules - in communes of 1,000-3,500, panachage is now banned, that is, striking out names from party lists and adding ones from other lists. People will have to vote for complete lists, which previously applied only from 3,500 inhabitants. There will be no more individual candidates and lists must have equal numbers of men and women. This is likely to cause complications and prevent some people from standing, Prof Bacot said. It may also cause more spoiled votes than unusual if people do not realise the rules have changed.


I’m proud to be remembered as the ‘aphrodisiac mayor’ of Paris

Photo: © Vincent Isore IP3 press 2

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He brought effective transport solutions to the city, Seineside holidays for Parisians and even credits himself with a population growth. Now Bernard Delanoë is leaving, OLIVER ROWLAND looks at his achievements

Photo: wikimedia

STILL popular with most Parisians, Bertrand Delanoë is stepping down from his role after 13 years in the job and an impressive 37 as a city councillor. His reign will be remembered especially for public transport improvements – new bus and cycle lanes, bringing the Ile-de-France tramway to Paris, opening up the Seine banks to pedestrians, Vélib bikes and Autolib cars – and such cultural and entertainment events as the Nuits Blanches, Paris Plages, free wifi in parks and free entry to municipal museums. However, Mr Delanoë recently told journalists that he is most proud of the fact that population growth has taken off and the average age has dropped. “I am an aphrodisiac mayor,” he said. After years of decline, his two mandates have seen the figures grow by more than 125,000 and, for the first time in 50 years, Paris itself has grown in population more than the surrounding petite and grande couronnes. His biggest regret? Taking longer than planned in the fight against unfit living conditions. “We thought we could do it in six years and it took ten, and there were fires and deaths in the meantime,” he said. Paris Plages, pictured below, is one of his more popular ideas and has been running since 2002.

In July and August the rive droite and the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville are turned into “beaches” with sand, palm trees and games to give a taste of a beach holiday to residents unable to leave for the real thing. Nuits Blanches, another well-known scheme, involves museums and public institutions staying open all night and hosting artistic performances. Meanwhile the 15 municipal museums, including the Carnavalet, Petit Palais and Cernuschi, have all been free for their permanent collections since 2001. The Cité de la Mode et du Design cultural complex was developed on the south bank, and now includes Art Ludique, an entertainment art museum. A recent poll found 77% of residents were pleased with Mr Delanoë’s cultural and leisure policies. His achievements also notably include boosting social housing and nursery provision, including turning the former mayor’s apartments in the town hall into a large crêche with private garden. Responding to critics in a column in Le Monde Mr Delanoë recently said he is “proud to have tackled unfit housing and to have allowed the city to attain a level of 20% of social housing including financing 70,000 homes since 2001.” For tens of thousands it had meant “the end of

living in squalor,” he said. Over his 13 years he said more than 150,000 families had accessed social housing. He said he had also promoted it in planning rules, requiring developers to build 25% of social housing as part of developments of more than 800m2. Contrary to the cliché that immigrant populations are all forced to live in the banlieue, he added that out of the ten Ile-de-France communes or arrondissements with the largest influx of immigrants, eight were in Paris, with three having more than Saint-Denis. The city also met the national average in terms of low-income residents. In a farewell speech to Paris councillors, Mr Delanoë also spoke of his pride that Paris is seen internationally as Europe’s most innovative city, for example, in levels of business start-ups and in the numbers that are involved in high-technology, as well as being one of the world’s most attractive and lively. “It’s not me that says so, but The Economist and The Harvard Business Review,” he said. Mr Delanoë was elected in 2001 and again in 2008 and is stepping down in keeping with his belief that elected politicians should not stay in office for more than two terms. He is also a staunch opponent of le cumul des mandats (holding two or more elected offices at different levels of government). He resigned as a senator for Paris on his election as mayor and did not nominate any arrondissement mayor among his deputies. He was born in the then French protectorate of Tunisia in 1950 before the family moved to the Aveyron when he was 13. He went into politics aged 23 and was called to Paris by Socialist leader François Mitterrand, who had noticed his public-speaking skills. Elected to the city council in 1977, he has also been a Paris MP (1981-1986) and senator (19952001) and was also formerly official Socialist Party spokesman, one of the party’s top jobs. He initially went for the leadership in 2008 but backed Martine Aubry instead following a controversy when his self-description in a book as “libéral” (free-market capitalist) was latched onto by rival Ségolène Royal.

His election as mayor in 2001 saw a left-wing city council for the first time in more than a century and was partly put down to divisions among the right. Some papers also identified support from a new social group, the “bobos” (bourgeois-bohème). Mr Delanoë was one of the first French politicians to come out as gay, in 1998, and was victim of a knife attack during the first Nuit Blanche, by a mentally-ill man who said he hated “politicians, especially homosexuals”. He has been active against discrimination of all kinds. Critics note his reign has been described as marked by incessant roadworks and increased congestion, and that there has been no significant drop in pollution. He has also been accused of favouring eye-catching ideas over in-depth reform. They also point to failure to hold back property prices or reduce social divides and to raised taxes and public spending. In a 2001 book, Comptes et Légendes de Paris, journalist Dominique Foing claimed town hall spending rose 44% between 2001-2011 and taxes rose by 70%. A failed plan to build social housing on part of the Parc Sainte-Périne led to accusations of being a “concreting mayor”. He tried and failed to win the 2012 Olympics, accusing Tony Blair and Sebastian Coe of not respecting Olympic rules. Responding to rumours of a return to national politics, Mr Delanoë said in his official farewell speech that he wanted to take a step back and was no longer interested in power. He leaves the council with a feeling of “harmony”, he said. The last council meeting he hosted, last month, also had an upbeat feel, with councillors on both sides standing to applaud and Mr Delanoë hailing the efforts of his right-wing predecessors Jacques Chirac and Jean Tiberi. Breaking with the backslapping, however, one UMP councillor raised a news magazine’s criticisms of a large pay-off to the head of the tourist office, who was said to have been removed due to a possible conflict of interests. However Mr Delanoë said the remark was neither “classy nor skillful or appropriate,” adding: “For these last 13 years there have been attempts to question my honour, but it has never worked because there was no real foundation to them.”

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Connexion 2 March 2014

We joined our local councils to COMMUNITY life is the passion of Adrian Cox, a conseiller municipal in the commune of Arromanche-les-Bains in the Basse-Normandie region, where he has lived for 14 years. Mr Cox, who runs a bed and breakfast near the wartime Gold Beach, was asked to join his local council by the mayor. The 600-strong population is represented by 13 councillors. “I had been involved on the school parentteacher association and then joined the local entertainments committee. The mayor asked me if I wanted to join. I think he found it useful to have an English person on board.” As well as meetings and translation work, Mr Cox is immersed in the tourism and celebrations surrounding D-Day. He is particularly interested in the local museum which attracts 400,000 visitors a year. He relishes his public role but admits it was difficult at first. “It took me a long time to really understand what was going on. I do often feel that I’m not properly informed – and sometimes I think that’s maybe because I’m a Brit. But I think it may also be the way it works over here – where no-one really tells anybody everything. And I am really a double outsider – because nearly every one of the councillors went to school together so they’ve got a whole history together that I cannot be part of.” Mr Cox also says it can be frustrating at times: “There is a cultural difference. In meetings I find they never seem to get down to work and sort out the details – the meetings seem to be full of chat and arguments which don’t address the real issues. However, that’s just the way it is.” But Mr Cox loves being active in his town and hopes to be re-elected. He is passionate about the D-Day events and gives a great deal of his time to organising them. “You can make a difference, make things happen in the place where you live. It makes you feel at home. When I walk around the village everyone says hello and everyone knows me. It’s very deep. There are great bits and there are bits which are maddening and don’t go so well. But it’s all such a rich experience – you’re really living a life here.” JEAN TAYLOR also describes her six years on the council of Saint-Paul near Tulle in the Corrèze as very positive. She has had a holiday home in the small (population 300), pretty, traditional village for 20 years and retired there in 2003 where she had always been very involved in village activities. When she was asked whether she would be prepared to add her name to one of the electoral lists in 2008 she first wanted to know what it would involve. “The woman who became mayor needed 11 people on her list and as I knew one of the other members they came to my house one evening to ask whether I would be prepared to join. They thought I would be a good choice because I knew so many people in the village and the fact that I was English would mean that I would have a new and different viewpoint. I said I would only


Penelope Fillon, the British wife of the former French prime minister is running in this month’s municipal elections, showing that you do not have to be French to stand. Mme Fillon declined to be interviewed but JANE HANKS and SAMANTHA DAVID talk to other expats who have joined their local councils

Adrian Cox addresses the crowds for a D-Day ceremony with the mayor and military representatives in one of his many duties in public office

500 Britons in local politics DR Susan Collard is a senior lecturer in French Politics and Contemporary European Studies at the University of Sussex and has examined the integration of expats on conseils municipaux. She has a home at Saint-Gervais-des-Sablons in Basse-Normandie and has sat on her local council. Statistics for 2001 – when EU residents started standing for election – showed just 16 British councillors - but statistics were compiled only for communes with populations of more than 3,500, leaving out 34,000 communes. In 2008, Dr Collard persuaded the French authorities to include smaller communes and the figure rose to 405 – 167 men and 238 women – although she believes there are at least 500 as not all

join if there were no politics involved, which was fine, and after a lot of thought I agreed.” Mrs Taylor was an English head teacher and was given the role of looking after matters concerning the local school. “I would go and talk to the teachers and find out what they needed and go back to the council with suggestions. One improvement we made was to get a digital white board introduced into the classroom – which involved meetings with the local education authority. And the school is about to get a canteen. We’ve made improvements and it’s enjoyable to be part of that.” Mrs Taylor says at first she did a lot of listening: “You have a lot to learn because the political system is really different and I think it is best to first understand what is going on before you make too many suggestions. Then you earn the trust of the other members. At first I took copious

communes returned their figures. It is a drop in the ocean, she said, but nonetheless it is a positive step. “I think it is European citizenship at its most meaningful. It was made possible by the Treaty of Maastricht and if the UK leaves the EU that right to sit on local councils will go, which would be a great shame,” she added. “Mayors are often thrilled to have them on board. It can be difficult to find people willing to stand for election in a small community.” Dr Collard is continuing her research i nto the participation of all non-national EU citizens in local councils in France - and especially the British. Readers who want more information or to take part in a survey can email her at notes – in English – and if I didn’t understand something I was able to go and see someone else on the council who would explain it to me. I was very lucky because I got on very well with the other councillors. Unusually for a small country village, the mayor is a young professional woman in her thirties – and we were six women and five men on the team. She is very dynamic and her meetings are run very efficiently.” As well as council meetings and meetings connected with the school, Mrs Taylor says her tasks were varied – such as helping out with village meals, attending ceremonies at the Monument aux Morts and participating in an exhibition honouring the village’s First World War dead when she was asked to add an English experience. “They’re always interested in another point of view – which is a sharing thing and very good.” This time Mrs Taylor won’t be standing for re-election. “I was asked, which is very flattering but unfortunately I’ve moved house and will now live too far away. I’m pleased I did it and I’ll continue to help the village in practical ways. I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in their local community.”

DAVID KEAST has served on his local town council at Jumilhac-le-Grand, Dordogne (population 1,250 with 14 councillors) for the past six years and regrets the fact he too has had to move and cannot stand for re-election. The Dutchman has worked in England and has translated the council website into Dutch and English. He retired to the town in 1999 after a career in engineering and marketing and has been able to use his professional experience on the council where he has been President of the Communication, Welcome and Integration Committee and the Electricity Supply Syndicate. When Mr Keast was approached, he felt the mayor was looking for a token foreigner. “I told him that wasn’t what interested me and that if I joined it was to be on the same basis as the others. After some discussion he agreed and it’s worked very well.” He says there were no politics involved in the role. “We are a group of volunteers who work together to look after the community. “You don’t need politics when you’re discussing filling in potholes. I would say the council is centre-left and I would describe myself as centre-right. We have a communist on our team – but it doesn’t matter because you’re not making policy decisions.” Mr Keast said he had to find his way round the system. “I have learnt a lot in the past six years and it took some time to figure out all the bureaucracy. I’ve got a lot out of the experience. I wanted to play an active role and it’s been very interesting. I’ve met loads of people. When I set up the website for the council I wanted to make sure newcomers knew about it and so whenever anybody moved into the area I went to their home and met them to welcome them. “My French has improved vastly and I have been greatly involved in the life of the town. I’ve really enjoyed doing it and I’m dreading putting it down, I’d really rather continue.”


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France’s only British mayor says the job is difficult but urges others to take dual nationality and give it a go

PENELOPE Fillon, the British wife of the former prime minister, François Fillon, is standing for the first time in local elections for Solesmes in Sarthe. Penelope, who was born in Llanover, Wales, met her husband while on a gap year in Le Mans. Her sister Jane is married to François’ brother Pierre. ALAIN Lalabarde is running for mayor in the local elections in Montcuq, Lot, this month and says that having an Englishwoman on his list is an advantage. “We have lots of English people living in the commune and Rosamund Williams has been involved in many different associations and activities so she’s very integrated. Having her on the council will be a way of including the British. “The British have different ideas from the French and the mix of the two is really positive. They have brought the village back to life; we now have a larger population, with more money. They have renovated lots of old houses and brought lots of cultural life. We all see the benefits.” Rosamund Williams says it is the first time she’s put a toe into political waters. “I’ve had a second home in France for more than 20 years but moved here permanently in 2003 and I moved to Montcuq five years ago with the firm intention of integrating into village life. I am very active within the church, I teach catechism and I’m on the parish council.” She says that the previous council included an Englishwoman who is stepping down to do other things and who put her name forward to Alain Lalabarde. “But I hope I was asked because I’m personally energetic, as well as because I’m English! “People in the commune do know who I am and I hope that the Dutch, British and other EU citizens living here feel I can represent them and include them in village life.

FOR 19 years, Ken Tatham has been the mayor of Saint-Céneri-le-Gerei in Orne, but now he is setting his sights on Europe. “Originally I got involved because my French girlfriend was a councillor and was keen. She encouraged me to get dual nationality and then I put my name on a list of candidates at the local election.” (British people can be on the local council but must have French or dual French/British nationality to be the mayor or the adjoint.) “Everyone on the list was voted in and then I was elected as mayor by the council. It’s a huge slice out of your life, being mayor. “You get paid around 500 a month to cover your expenses but in many ways it’s a full time job. “After 19 years I’ll get a small pension, less than 100 a month so it’s not something you do for the money. And in fact it’s now becoming quite hard to find mayors in France. “People don’t want to do it, and in many villages there is only one list. Some of my colleagues were hoping to stop this year but have had to carry on because there’s no-one to replace them.” He says that being English has been an advantage. “I think I brought something fresh to the role. I brought pragmatism to running meetings, made them start on time and stopped them being airy-fairy, getting off the subject. I like people to follow the agenda, I time each subject to keep the discussions disciplined. “We don’t meet on Friday night, but on Saturday morning so people are eager to leave for lunch. That stops meetings going on for too long. In the mornings, I start proceedings at 10am for the same reason.” “It’s important because I feel that too often the non-French population don’t get involved in what makes the village tick. They join in with lots of cultural things but less so on the administrative side, particularly when they aren’t very fluent in French. “I want to get more young, active retired people involved because they have so much to offer. 13% of over 55s in this canton are non-French, and the population of Montcuq is 1,300 so that’s a lot of people. “Our aim is to ensure that the village thrives and grows if possible. “It’s important to keep shops and services in the village because like the rest of France, it’s an ageing population. The death rate is higher than the birth rate so we have to take steps to keep the village alive. “We want to attract young artisans and we want to make Montcuq attractive for children and young people by providing more sports facilities. We have maternelle, primary and middle schools here so that brings in families.” “It’s a challenge, I feel very humble because being nominated shows that people think I’m integrated into the village. I would definitely encourage other British people to do the same. “We tend to use one word where the French use ten - we’re more direct. We also tend to be more proactive than the French. We see something needs to be done, hold a fundraiser and get the job done. But French people tend to assume the authorities ought to do everything.”

Like all villages, Saint-Céneri-le-Gerei has to work hard at keeping the population stable and attracting tourists to keep the village alive. “We work hard on tourism and attracting press coverage. We’re also one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France so we get 4-5,000 tourists passing through the village every weekend in the summer. That means we have a grocery/teashop, four restaurants and a café which isn’t bad for a population of only 140. And of course me being British attracts media coverage. I’m unusual, so we get journalists coming to interview me. Being on the television doubles your visitor numbers.” He is very clear about British people joining in civic life. “Whatever your nationality, if you live in France you should help to run it, you should vote. I would encourage people to take dual nationality, it’s easy and you can keep your British nationality as well. I’m the only British mayor in France but there should be many, many more. I would definitely encourage people to put themselves forward. British people are much more hands on, they see a problem and work out how to fix it but the French thrive on subsidies but subsidies are going to disappear.” He is looking forward to life once he steps down from the mairie, with plans to increase his political activity with the UDI in Europe and helping out with the local food bank, and Lions Club. “I’ll definitely travel more and spend more time with my wife - and I’m going to write a book about my time as mayor,” he said.

Who can stand and how to do it The Treaty of Maastricht gave all citizens of a EU member states the right to vote and stand as candidates in both European and local elections in the country of their residence, even if they are not a national of that member state. France applied these regulations for the first time in 2001. To be a candidate here you must be at least 18 years old, be resident in France and pay at least one of the local taxes in the commune concerned (taxe d’habitation, taxe foncière or the business tax, cotisation foncière des entreprises). A limited number of councillors per commune may own property in the commune but not live there all the time – so it could be possible for a person with a second home to be elected as long as they were deemed to be resident in France. However only someone with French nationality may become mayor or deputy mayor. If you want to be elected you must be part of a list of candidates – and most British people who become councillors were asked to join an existing list. You cannot stand alone as a candidate.

Photo: wikimedia

marks serve the community Embassy 200 years in Paris

BRITISH ambassadors had to constantly move from house to house while performing their official duties in Paris until the Duke of Wellington bought a prime property from Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister in 1814. Now 200 years after the purchase from the Princess Pauline Borghese, Ambassador Sir Peter Ricketts is celebrating the bicentenary including recognition of the anniversary of the date in October when the Duke actually paid up. The Hôtel de Charost in rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré and its beautiful gardens have a fascinating history. In 1870 when the Prussians besieged Paris the embassy converted one of its wings to a labour ward to prevent eventual conscription of its subjects into the French army. These days it is more fraternity than maternity. “Embassy events will showcase Britain and France working together on some of the major issues for the future,” said Sir Peter. “In celebrating the 200th anniversary, I am keen to keep up this great tradition of using the historic house as a place to work together.”  Marking the bicentenary, the embassy staff are looking for British expats in France to send in their personal stories (preferably along with a photo) to, especially ones which illustrate a theme of Franco-British cooperation, “because Franco-British relations are not just about what governments and official bodies do together but about people contributing in a whole range of ways to Franco-British understanding”. They can be anything from a one-liner to a couple of pages, including who you are, what you do, why you came to France, why you stay and what you love about it. The embassy will use a selection on its various internet platforms (social media etc) during this celebratory year.

12 years of cancer support

THE volunteers behind Cancer Support France have a tough task ahead of them this month. Founder Linda Shepherd is stepping down after 12 years and a new president will be selected at the AGM on March 20. The organisation is a network of independent affiliated associations that have developed in recognition of the needs of English-speaking people affected by cancer. Shortly after arriving in France in 2000, Linda went for a routine appointment for a HRT prescription. The visit was the start of her treatment for breast cancer. During her recovery, Linda set up the charity to beat the language barrier. “The health system provided a wonderful service but many people were struggling with the language and if you don’t ask questions, staff presume you either know the answer or don’t want to know,” she said. “There was a necessity which needed tackling and we were encouraged by medical staff.” Contact CSF on 05 45 89 30 05 or email

Appeal for used stamps READERS can recycle French stamps for a great British cause as the Royal National Institute of Blind People needs the equivalent of £5m worth of stamps from around the world to meet their appeal target. Stamps should be torn with a small border to prevent damage and sent to RNIB, PO Box 6198, Leighton Buzzard, LU7 9XT. The stamps are worthless if the perforations are cut off. “Please spread the word of our appeal to anyone and everyone. Why not put a status on your Facebook page if you have one? We can’t provide more than 60 services to blind and partially sighted children and adults without your support,” said Mrs Terri Bush, who is running the appeal.


NATURE NOTES – March This column is written by Anne Fourier from Aspas, the national French charity protecting wild animals. For more information on its campaigns or to joinm and receive a free copy of its magazine, Goupil, visit:; call: 04 75 25 10 00 or write to: ASPAS, BP 505 – 26401 CREST CEDEX

Good time to see birds of prey as they use car lights to hunt AT this time of year motorway drivers can often catch a glimpse of majestic birds of prey hovering over roadside verges in a dangerous hunt for food. Snowy and frozen landscapes make the hunt harder, forcing the birds even closer to traffic as headlights pick out rodents scurrying into the undergrowth. But swooping so close to high-speed traffic can be a deadly pursuit and the birds often come off second best. Eagle-eyed drivers may spot a common kestrel (faucon crécerelle), which is a little falcon about the size of a turtle dove but not as plump and certainly not capable of catching one. The kestrel is easy to identify because it has mastered the hover, which is called the Saint-Esprit or Holy Spirit - said to represent an avenging angel, pouncing on the small rodent below. Voles and mice make up 90% of a kestrel’s diet and the birds will normally hunt within about 1km of their nest but in winter will look much wider afield. At the moment they are looking for partners and, if successful, will aim to breed with eggs typically being laid in April or May depending on the food supply. The other common raptor you will see is the buzzard. With varied plumage and a varied diet, it is much bigger but less active in flight, often seen soaring and gliding, perhaps in wide circles and sometimes in groups. However, the common buzzard is also often seen perched on a high tree branch or on a fencepost. It is called the buse variable in France because its colour varies between almost completley white and almost completely brown. Like the kestrel the buzzard pounces upon rodents but it will not pass up the opportunity to enjoy a juicy earthworm or a shiny snake. Scientists who study reptiles sometimes lose out when a buzzard takes a snake that has been tagged with a little radio transmitter to check its movements – and then this is found amongst a pile of regurgitated snake scales in a buzzard feeding site. A hawk has such good eyesight that one could perch on top of the Eiffel Tower and see without difficulty a mouse scurrying about below on the Champ de Mars. Their vision is so acute that they have sharp sight The captivating kestrel over 20% of their field surveys its prey of vision, when the best humans can do is about 2.5% under the same conditions. Surprisingly, they also have an astonishing sensitivity to ultraviolet rays and this helps them catch mice and other rodents. These small mammals habitually take the same routes and regularly mark their progress with small jets of urine which reflect ultraviolet light. Buzzards, falcons and other raptors follow these traces keenly as they lead them to their next meal. Raptors are useful birds in the countryside as they can eat an enormous quantity of rodents which cause damage to farming crops by eating grain or the roots, young leaves or shoots of crops. Due to this role - and because they are good scavengers and clean up roadkill - the birds are recognised and protected by law. Where to find the kestrel and buzzard The buzzard is found in every département and above all in open countryside. They need the open spaces to hunt and trees to be able to look down and spot prey. They are more numerous in winter because the climate means that migrating buzzards arrive from more northern and eastern countries where the hard frost has set in. Kestrels are also seen throughout France and especially in places where the countryside is open – that means you will not see them in forests as they are not adapted for hunting between the trees. How to get close Despite what you may think, it is not difficult to get close to kestrels or buzzards, especially in a car. They have no fear of cars and you can watch them from quite close without causing them any trouble. However, if you cut the engine, try to get out of the vehicle or even just open a window to hold glasses or a camera you could scare them off. Obviously on the open road you should leave bird-spotting to passengers!

Connexion 2 March 2014

High art and sma The serene and beautiful Lac de Vassivière in Limousin, its islands and works of art are a hidden gem to visit before the summertime hordes arrive. GILLIAN HARVEY ventures out on its waters in an occasional series where Connexion journalists talk about a special place near to where they live in France WITH its contemporary art centre, which has featured artists such as architect Yona Friedman and Cyprien Gaillard, and fascinating sculpture walk through scenic woodland, you would expect the Ile de Vassivière to be bustling with life throughout the year. However, this tiny island nestling at the centre of Lac de Vassivière is, outside the high season, a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. The lake itself is a 1,000-acre expanse, created in the 1940s as a source for hydroelectricity, and hosts a variety of sporting activities with canoeing, yachting, and water-skiing being some of the most popular. During July and August, the many sandy beaches around the lake teem with visitors as families flock to the cool water and scenic surroundings but throughout the rest of the year, the beaches remain largely empty despite the often clement weather in the Limousin. As I pull into the car park at the edge of the lake, I have a choice between walking, a taxi boat and a tourist train funded by local businesses to transport me to the centre of the island. Opting for the train, I soon find myself rattling over the uneven tarmac of the bridge and mounting the steep slope to a café in the pretty château on the island, which serves a welcome cup of coffee on my arrival. Fully restored, I walk through its herb garden, near a field of black donkeys and make my way to the art gallery that stretches its way across the horizon. The gallery, the Centre International d’Art et du Paysage de l’Ile de Vassivière, is a work of art in its own way: designed by Aldo Rossi and Xavier Fabre, its curves and circles are based on the idea of a ship’s keel. At its head there is an enormous viewing tower in the shape of a lighthouse. The viewing tower itself is not for the faint-hearted, or sufferers of vertigo. Inside, metal stairs wind in a steel spiral, hugging the inner wall of Early evening on the Lac de Vassivière

the building. As I struggle up the steps, I vow to myself that I won’t look down at the sheer drop onto concrete below. Sweat-inducing though it is, the view from the tower when I stumble out onto its narrow white platform is impressive. The beauty of blue and green against a white autumn sky is breathtaking. What’s more, the view also reveals an art-work not visible from the ground: carved into the grassy surrounding is a strange figure. Known as The Unicorn of Vassivière, created by Yona Friedman, the strange figure is drawn on the ground using clay and is only completely visible from the top of the tower. Nearby, a silhouette of a dog, Balkis, can be seen playing – this was created using buckwheat grains. The gallery hosts a variety of different exhibitions and has played host to works by artists such as Pierre Bismuth and Hubert Duprat as well as Friedman and Gaillard. Indeed, hidden art seems to be a theme on this modest island, the last dry patch of the drowned land once owned here by the Vassivière family – as was the château. On leaving the art gallery, I notice a strange metal mound on the other side of the field. On closer inspection, it is no simple lump of lead – it’s a replica German war helmet, the size of a small van. Quirky and unusual sculptures abound in this wooded haven – the island’s sculpture walk boasts around 50 works, including some by Andy Goldsworthy and Marylène Negro.

This little island is said to be where the snakes fled to when the valley was flooded

Photo: ©Eric Roger

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One of the more unusual pieces, Casting, by Roland Cognet features a large section of tree-trunk, plus its double, reproduced in concrete. It is only on close inspection that visitors can tell which is which. This juxtaposition is meant to represent the natural surroundings of the island and their connection with the manmade art centre building. Another head-scratcher is Ever by Kimio Tsuchiya, an egg-shaped sculpture standing three metres high. Peering through the gaps in the structure, you can see the remains of old chairs, gradually decomposing inside. Finally, a personal favourite is Sport France, a collection of sports equipment stretching across a flowery meadow. For me, the real beauty of the sculpture walk is discovering the many unusual installations tucked between trees or hidden in the meadows. The art is unassuming and unobtrusive and there is something quaintly wonderful about stumbling over a piece and trying to discover its meaning and purpose. Even if art is not your thing, there are many more attractions at Lac Vassivière: several inlets on the water’s edge have been made into sandy beaches, enjoyed by families in the summer. For peace and tranquillity, head for the small beach at


March 2014 Connexion 2

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all craft unite land and water A view across the lake, which is often busy in summer but unabashedly tranquil in winter

Photo: Ciap Ile de Vassivière/ Jean Denis Frater

The Centre International d’Art et du Paysage, designed by Aldo Rossi et Xavier Fabre, in an early winter snowfall

A bird’s-eye view of Les voyages extraordinaires (le voyage à la licorne spatiale), 2009 by artists Jean-Baptiste Decavèle and Yona Friedman

Untitled, 1992, by Andy Goldsworthy, part of the sculpture trail at the Centre International d’Art et du Paysage risk pedalling out and finding myself too exhausted to return, I elected for a small electric boat, which crawled along at a slow but steady pace across the still waters. Half an hour later, I found myself near a small island, Snake Island, which is reported to be where all the snakes ended up when the valley was flooded. Tourists are not encouraged to clamber onto this grassy mound and, not wishing to risk a bite, I toed the line, turned my little bobbing

boat around and prayed that I would make it back to the café on time at this snail’s pace. A single day is not adequate to explore the many different beaches and enclaves of Vassivière, and certainly not enough to sample the many activities available. But one thing is for certain – with pastimes to please every member of the family, and all the peace and tranquillity the beautiful surroundings afford, it is well worth a visit.

Photo: ©JMPericat

Broussas, making a pit stop on the way at the pottery gallery on the way. If water sports are your thing, try the sailing school at Vauveix, which offers catamarans, windsurfers, dinghies, canoes and pedalos. For families, one of the most popular beaches is the sandy Auphelle, which has unusual and innovative play equipment including a wooden house, submarine and an enormous pirate ship, sunk into soft woodchip, to clamber over and slide from. The café Escale that sits lakeside offers a range of meals as well as traditional crêpes with a variety of toppings, hot and cold drinks and icecream sundaes with flavours ranging from coconut to cherry. Its main draw, however, is the boat trips it offers around the lake. Choose from a simple, guided tour, or board the restaurant boat, on which you can have a three-course meal and a twohour boat ride for around 30 per head. For those who wish to venture forth on the water under their own steam, the café hires out small pedal boats by the hour, as well as tiny electric craft. Not brave enough to

Photo: Courtesy Centre international d’art et du paysage

Photo: Ciap Ile de Vassivière

A peaceful moment in the autumn sunshine

A children’s play area brings many families to the sandy Auphelle beach

Reached on foot, by tourist train or water taxi, the Ile de Vassivière boasts a café as well as its sculpture trail and boat hire

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Connexion 2 March 2014

Ballet and books, ciné and D-Day walks

Swan Lake – various dates in March St Petersburg Ballet Theatre will be presenting its interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, a ballet in three acts with 60 dancers and a full live orchestra, across France this month. Starting in St Malo, it moves to Metz, Biarritz, Marseille, Montpellier, Nice, Rennes, Mont-deMarsan, Niort, Limoges, Nantes and Chambery – plus dates in April.

Photo: Frédéric Chehu/Saut Hermès

Biarritz v Bayonne rugby – March 1 Rugby is rarely seen as a game where great rivalries grow but in the Pays Saut Hermès – March 14 - 16 Paris Grand Palais welcomes equestrian fans with the Saut Hermès showjumping competition organised by the fashion house. The greatest riders in the world gather in the Grand Palais for events for both professional riders and young riders under 25, visitors can enjoy an outstanding horse show and encounter many different aspects of the equestrian world. Tickets from 50.

Paris carnival – March 2 Most of the big French carnivals finish in February and are usually spread over several days (or weeks for Nice). Paris, however, concentrates on a single day in March with a festive parade, costumes, jugglers, actors and musical events starting at 14.00 from Place Gambetta to the Hôtel de Ville. The cow at the head of the procession evokes the Promenade du BœufGras, the old name for the Paris Carnival. The event was revived in 1997 after a gap of 50 years . Nice Carnival closing ceremony – March 4 The burning of the carnival king and fireworks mark the end of this year’s food theme. The Menton lemon festival nearby finishes a day later. Deauville Asian Film Festival – March 5 - 9 The Normandy seaside resort showcases the diversity of contemporary Asian cinema with five days of celebrations, encounters and screenings. Passes can be booked online. Europajazz Festival, Le Mans – March 15 - April 5

WITH news that the Queen will visit Normandy in June for the D-Day commemorations, the first tribute events start with a Freedom Walk on March 2 to Gold Beach and an exhibition from March 15 visiting 14 badly-hit communes. The Randonnée de la Liberté leaves the sailing school at Asnelles at 9.00 for Gold Beach where British troops landed, and Port Winston at Arromanches. See the effects of the fighting in the Sortir de la Guerre exhibition telling of the rebuilding after the three-month Battle of Normandy that left hundreds of communes ravaged and thousands of civilian victims. It starts in Ouistrehem then Aunay-sur-Odon on April 1.

Created in 1980 as the Le Mans Jazz Festival, this is one of France’s biggest celebrations of contemporary jazz music with performers from all over Europe. More than 45,000 visitors are expected for this, the 35th festival. Printemps du Cinéma – March 16 - 18 This weekend cultural initiative lets cinema-goers attend any film performance for 3.50. Set up in 2000, it attracts audiences of millions to cinemas that have not had the best of years in a bid to reopen their eyes and share the passion for film. Paris Book Fair – March 21 - 24 France’s top event for bookworms as well as industry professionals, the Salon du Livre in Paris welcomes 1,200 publishers and 2,000 authors from 37 countries over 55,000m2 at the Parc des Expositions, Porte de Versailles. The fair is itself a labyrinth of new literature and there are 4,000 book signings and hundreds of talks. Indochine in Toulouse – March 25 Still selling albums and concert tickets after a 32-year musical career, French pop/rock act Indochine play

Photo: © Calvados-Tourisme

Summer 1914: Nancy and Lorraine in wartime – Until September 21 When war broke out in 1914 Nancy and Lorraine were immediately in the front line and this exhibition looks at the Battle of Grand Couronné, one of the key moments where old-style warfare came up against modern thinking for the first time. August and September forced the French forces to rethink strategies that were still anchored in the 1870 war and the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine.

Basques the red of Biarritz Olympique and the blue of Aviron Bayonnais are never worn together. Spice is added because the clubs were in merger talks earlier this season only to split angrily. If Bayonne are winning expect to hear the fans’ famous war cry Peña Baiona.

Photo: © Thierry Houyel

CLOCKS spring forward early on March 30 for l’heure d’été. March is also notable for the return to school after the half-term holidays (the holidays are staggered to avoid having too many families on the ski slopes at the same time). In Zone C pupils head back on March 3, Zone B is on March 10 and Zone A is March 17.

Normandy starts D-Day tributes

Photo: © Thierry Houyel

There are no public holidays in France this month but there are still plenty of events to give you a break from the – as the French say – daily Métro, boulot, dodo (train, work, sleep). Here is our selection.

the Zenith in Toulouse from 20.00. It is part of their France-wide Black City Tour 3. Robin Des Bois, Lyon – March 26 - 30 Musical drama offering a contemporary take on the classic tale of Robin Hood, played by M. Pokora. Five nights at the Halle Tony Garnier. Tickets from 35 to 80 are available from Fnac, Carrefour and other usual outlets. Rock The Pistes Festival at Portes du Soleil – March 26 - 30 This radical music festival gathers five bands for five days of gigs on the ski slopes! All skiers and snowboarders in the Portes du Soleil area get in for free, using their ski pass. For the first

time there are three gigs at each site, with two ski-slope events and one at the foot of the slopes. They are on March 26 in Avoriaz, 27 in Morgins, 28 Châtel, 29 Les Crosets - Champéry and 30 Morzine - Les Gets. Paris Art Fair – March 27 - 30 Paris Art Fair brings together some 144 international galleries at the Grand Palais, presenting a panorama of modern and contemporary art which also includes photography, design and art books. China is guest of honour this year to mark the 50th anniversary of the recognition by France of the People’s Republic of China. This edition showcases work by many generations of artists with galleries from Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, and Westerners specialising in Chinese art.

Historial de la Grande Guerre reopens – March 1

The museum at Péronne in the Somme reopens this month after being closed since mid-December. Its lay-out is being turned around to start making full use of more of the 70,000 objects held in its collections. The first exhibition of 2014 will be on the sounds and music of the war, Hear the War/Entendre la Guerre: sons, musiques et silence en 14-18, and will include the birth of jazz. It opens on March 27. Each year until 2018 a new room will be renovated with new collections and designs and the museum’s theme will change to focus more on giving an understanding of the war’s complex causes and many consequences. The first room to be changed is Before War and it will have the theme of the influence of wars before 1914 on the preparations for the “Great War”. More information – 03 22 83 14 18

What’s New?

March 2014 Connexion 2

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Make sure of a soft landing

How to pull off the perfect coup

SWEET dreams of international travel are given a boost with the launch of a new line of pillowcases featuring the three-letter Air Transport Association (IATA) code which is allotted to airports around the world. The codes are normally seen on baggage tags, tickets and at check-in desks and have been made the central feature of the pillow cases, with each destination featuring its own design. The collection was launched this year by American designer Captain Greg and includes codes for London, Amsterdam, Paris, New York and Los Angeles. You also have the chance to decide which airport will be added next to the collection by

SPRING is the perfect time to start thinking about keeping hens and gathering fresh eggs. Truffaut garden centres have a wide range of readymade hen houses from the pretty to the practical. The different models can house from 2 to 12 hens and come with a covered sleeping area with perch, easily accessible laying box and outer area which is reached by a ramp and covered with chicken wire. There are various styles from traditional shed type to “cottage” appearance in pink or pale blue. They are built from pine and come in kit form with instructions. Prices start at 145 for two hens to 625 for 12. This one, called palace confort, is for up to four hens and is 299.

voting on the brand’s website. Choices include Sydney, Toronto and Berlin among others but visitors to the site can also suggest their own favourite airport. The covers sell online at $19.90 and can be shipped worldwide.

Painting for a purer home TWO new paints from the French company Onip aim to do more than just help you decorate. Clean’R paint transforms molecules of the chemical formaldehyde into a tiny water vapour drops, thus making the air in your home cleaner. It costs around 16 a litre V33 anti-noise paint contains glass microbeads filled with air creating a cushion which the makers say tackles traffic

noise, shrill sounds or a noisy neighbour. It costs 44.90 for 2.5l of undercoat and 49.90 for 2.5l of paint.

Jewellery that glows in the dark AN LED lights up this necklace, making it a perfect accessory to a little black dress. Made of porcelain from Limoges or silicone, it comes in various forms including birds, hearts and a glowing Saturn. The pieces cost from 96 to 108 and the designer says they are made by talented craftspeople using the best materials.

Quoi de


9 new trends, products, designs, info and ideas across France

Remote security

Come for coffee and feed the fish

HOME security company Myfox has brought out a new standalone wifi camera which, it claims, takes just three minutes to install. Like many other new gadgets this one links with your smartphone, tablet or computer so you can see and hear what is going on in your home at any hour of the day or night. If an unusual presence is detected you will be alerted by email. You can shut it down if it is not needed and there is an option for a video to be taken and stored on the Cloud if a presence is detected.

FOR a talking point in your living room - how about a coffee table which doubles as a freshwater aquarium? The aquarium is equipped with a pump and filtration system, heater and lighting. You would, however, need to be passionate about fish as it costs 715 for oak and white finishes, 745 for concrete and 960 for the largest.

A NEW smartphone from America is now on sale in France. The Moto X has arrived from the Google-owned company Motorola and can be bought in France, Britain and Germany. The 4G phone is priced at 429 without the sim card and is powered by Google Android software. It has two original features - touchless control so it can respond to your voice without you having to pick it up and a quickuse camera that you can activate with just two twists of the wrist to minimise your chances of missing a good shot. It weighs 130g and the makers say it fits into hands perfectly. The battery is quoted as lasting up to 24 hours depending on use.

Ikea finally unveils new kitchen design No cables are needed because it connects to wifi and so can be positioned more or less anywhere you choose. The recommended retail price is 179.

Perfume smells of macaroons

IF YOU have been tempted by the current revival of eating macaroons, you can now carry their fragrance with you all day long with the new Nina Ricci spring perfume, La Tentation. Olivier Cresp from Nina Ricci has worked in a unique collaboration with head pastry chef Vincent Lemains from Ladurée, one of the best known makers of macaroons in the world, to come with the fragrance. They say it combines Italian bergamot and grapefruit with Bourbon vanilla, white musk

New smartphone

and sandalwood, complemented by a macaroon ‘accord’. The new eau de toilette costs 58 for 50ml. It comes as another typical French delicacy has proved the inspiration for an eau de toilette from L’Artisan Parfumeur. Jour de Fête eau de toilette is inspired by dragées the almond-covered sweet traditionally given to guests at weddings, baptisms and other family celebrations in France. It features almond and vanilla blended with iris and wheat notes. It costs 70 for 100ml.

IKEA has unveiled its new modular kitchen system aimed at replacing its Faktum design which has been in use since 1992. The new range, called Metod, has a collection of basic units and drawers which can either be covered with different façades or maintained in simple black or white. All units are in multiples of 20cm x 20cm so you can design your kitchen with as much flexibility as possible, says Ikea. It claims that there are 16,000 different possibilities and the units can easily be switched around once installed because, for example, the upper cabinets are hung on a sliding rail system. Ikea says prices depend on the combination chosen but claims that prices remain modest. According to Ikea, households in France change their kitchen less frequently than other European countries – only once every 23 years - and it is therefore important to get it right! For customers who have the old system stores in France will continue to stock Faktum replacement units for the next two years.

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Connexion 2 March 2014

BBC’s Rachel Khoo gives new flavour to regional dishes CLASSIC French regional dishes get a reworking as Rachel Khoo, the star of BBC2’s The Little Paris Kitchen, took a trip around the country looking at local specialities and giving them a modern touch. Following the success of the first book and TV series, her latest book builds on their stand-out feature: that all the recipes were created in her tiny kitchen, so should work everywhere. Now My Little French Kitchen sees her travel from Alsace to Normandy and Brittany then to the Basque Country and the Dordogne picking up little gems on the road. Speaking directly to the people who live in these areas, she found out how they preferred local produce and passes on the tips to readers along with recipes that can be used anywhere. She noted that there was a lack of a younger generation in France ready to take on the traditional artisanal food roles but hoped the passion and pride of those already involved would rub off on others. She travelled France by train, plane, bus, car and bike and even found herself driving a minibus as she hunted original recipes to create new-style old

My Little French Kitchen is published by Penguin, price £20 dishes using her own fresh approach to all things edible. Rachel said: “When I visit producers I always like to find out how they like to eat what they produce. Usually it’s the simplest way of cooking: a quick blanch, a lick of flame on the barbecue or a speedy steam. “While visiting the Perroto family’s asparagus farm, Monsieur preferred his white asparagus blanched and served with a knob of butter and a sprinkle of salt, whereas Madame whisked up a quick asparagus omelette with a splash of white wine and served it with some Bayonne ham. “When I was there, I tasted white spears fresh out of the

ground. They were so sweet, delicate and crunchy that they barely warranted any culinary attention whatsoever, but rarely will food miles be so minute.” In Bordeaux, she discovered that even in the wine capital of the world, sometimes you cannot quite finish a whole bottle. “That’s when this marinade [for roast red wine chicken] comes in handy. A loitering leftover glass of red wine can make for the perfect marinade. “If leftover wine is rare, donate a little glass from your bottle of red and enjoy a spectacular dish to accompany the remainder of the bottle.” Down on the surfers’ paradise of the Basque coast she found a way to combine the locals’ love of seafood fresh from the Bay of Biscay with the tasty local pork in her pork and clams with cider and butter beans. “The rocky, ragged coastline is punctuated with stretches of windswept beach but surf ‘n’ turf is not what you would traditionally think of as Basque food but it’s my homage to the Basque love of pork with the addition of some gems from the ocean: clams. These are thrown in right at the end, adding a lip-smacking saltiness to the broth,” she said.

Porc et palourdes au Cidre accompagnés de flageolets – pork and clams with cider and butter beans Prep time: 25 mins Cooking time: 2-2½ hours Serves: 4-6 as main course INGREDIENTS  13 cloves of garlic, peeled and flattened  1 onion, peeled and finely chopped  2 tablespoons butter  1kg pork shoulder, tied  1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley  375ml dry cider  4 tablespoons cider vinegar  4 bay leaves  2 sprigs of thyme  1 litre vegetable stock  4 small apples, peeled and cored  1 tablespoon brown sugar  1 teaspoon sea salt  10 black peppercorns, crushed  1kg clams, cleaned  1 x 400g can of haricot or butter beans (drained weight 230g), drained and rinsed INGREDIENTS  Fry garlic and onion in butter on a medium heat until translucent. Add the pork shoulder and fry on all sides until golden.  Tie string around parsley stalks to make a tight bundle. Cut off leaves (save for later) and add

stems to pot with cider, vinegar, bay leaves, thyme, stock, apples, sugar, salt and peppercorns. Bring to a gentle simmer.  Skim any scum that comes to the top using a slotted spoon.  Simmer very gently for 2 to 2½ hours, or until the meat is tender and falling apart.  Remove the meat from the pan, set aside in a tray and cover with aluminium foil. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.  Pour cooking liquid through a fine sieve into a bowl, discarding the remaining bits. Rinse out the pot with water before pouring the cooking liquid back in.  Bring the juices to a boil and add the clams and beans. Bring back to the boil and cook for a further 3 minutes with the lid on.  Check that the clams are open and taste for seasoning.  To serve, shred the pork meat using your fingers or a fork and serve with the clams and beans. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley. UNE PETITE ASTUCE – TIP  Any leftover pork will be delicious in a roll with a dollop of hot spicy mustard: the perfect postsurf snack.

Connexion 2 Feature CX March 00 2014

Prep time: 30 mins Cooking time: 20 mins Makes: 8 / Serves: 2 INGREDIENTS  8 white asparagus spears  3 eggs  100ml milk  a small bunch of chives, finely chopped (approx. 15g)  8 slices of Bayonne or Parma ham  salt METHOD  Trim off the tough ends from the asparagus spears and peel the lower part about 5cm up the stem. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the asparagus to the boiling water and blanch for 4–5 minutes, until they are just tender (test with a sharp knife). Plunge into a bowl of iced water to stop them cooking.  Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium to high heat.  In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, chives and a pinch of salt.  When the pan is hot, remove it from the heat, pour in a small ladleful of the egg mixture and quickly swirl it around the pan to make a large pancake.  Return the pan to the heat and cook for a couple of minutes. Using a palette knife, gently peel back the pancake and turn it over.  Cook for another couple of minutes or until lightly golden.  Repeat with the rest of the batter. Keep the pancakes on a plate and cover with foil while you make the rest.  Cut each pancake in half and wrap one half and a slice of Bayonne ham around each asparagus stem. LES PETITES ASTUCES – TIPS  You can replace the chives with any other aromatic herbs you might have, such as dill, parsley or marjoram.  If you want to keep this vegetarian, add a handful of finely grated mature cheese to the egg mixture and omit the ham.  Faire en avance – get ahead. The asparagus can be cooked a day in advance, kept in the fridge and eaten cold.

Prep time: 30mins Marinate: 30 mins to overnight Cooking time: 1 hour Serves: 4-6 INGREDIENTS  150ml red wine  100g tomato paste  3 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked  3 sprigs of marjoram, leaves picked, or ½ teaspoon dried  100ml red wine vinegar  1 whole chicken (approx. 1.5kg) cut into 8 pieces  salt and ground black pepper  500g baby potatoes, washed  3 onions, peeled and quartered  6 carrots, peeled and cut into quarters lengthways INGREDIENTS  Mix together red wine, tomato paste, herbs and red wine vinegar. Season chicken pieces with plenty of salt and pepper then place in a plastic bag with the marinade. Shake the bag to make sure each piece is well coated. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  In the meantime, put potatoes in pan of cold water, put lid on and bring to the boil. Boil for 1–2 minutes, then drain in a colander.  Place the onions, carrots and potatoes in a large baking dish or

tray (big enough to fit the chicken and the vegetables) and pour over 125ml of water.  Preheat the oven to 200C.  Remove chicken from fridge and arrange the pieces, skin side up, in a layer on top of the vegetables in the dish. Pour the rest of the marinade over the chicken.  Cover with a sheet of baking paper or foil and roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Remove the baking paper or foil and baste the chicken with the cooking liquid.  Roast, uncovered, for another 15 minutes or until the skin is crisp. Serve immediately. LES PETITES ASTUCES – TIPS  Buying a whole chicken always works out more affordable. If you aren’t up for dissecting it yourself, ask the butcher to cut it into pieces for you or, failing that, cheat and go for chicken thighs.  If you’re unsure whether the chicken is cooked through, pierce with a sharp knife and the chicken juices should come out clear.  Faire en avance – get ahead: Veg and chicken can be prepared up to a day in advance, then pop it all in the baking tray and cook as indicated in the recipe.

10-year project to move the world’s largest vine collection

A UNIQUE collection of vines, the largest in the world, is to be uprooted and moved from the site in the Hérault it has occupied since 1949. The Centre for Genetic Vine Stock run by the French national research centre, at the Domaine de Vassal is situated on the coastline between Sète and Agde and has more than 5,000 vine varieties from 50 countries including hybrids, new types and wild varieties. It was started in 1876 to find a solution to the phylloxera pest crisis and later moved to the Mediterranean coast where it has been for over 60 years. Director Blaise Genna said the move - due to rising rents and the threat of higher sea levels is regrettable but will not prevent the centre from carrying on its valuable work. “It is a genetic bank of vine types which can be researched and sent all over the world. It means that varieties that go out of fashion can be kept safe here. For example in the 1980s many vineyards replaced their old stock with Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay and when the market was saturated they could come back to us to replant with other vines,” he said. The centre is run by INRA, the Institut National de la Recherché Agronomique. The French research institution is dedicated to scientific studies concerning agriculture. It will relocate to Gruissan in the Aude in a move that will take up to ten years to complete. The move is hotly contested by the trade union CGT which says the management should have acted faster to secure the future of the Domaine de Vassal. Union administrator Pascale Tillard said it was incomprehensible that INRA did not attempt to protect the 19-hectare site from a rent rise – it should have negotiated to buy it a long time ago, he said. He claimed it will be an immensely complicated task to move the vines without destroying them – and costly. “6 million is a great deal of money for a public body to find – and that’s how much it will be. Already the workers are beginning to prepare the plants. The whole world of vines is at Vassal. I am bitter about the move,” he said.

Unesco bid for Burgundy vineyards

Photo: Wikimedia

Asperges blanches habillées – White asparagus in blankets

Poulet rôti au vin rouge – roast red wine chicken

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Connexion 2 Month 2013 Food / Wine

BURGUNDY vineyards and the Champagne region will be submitted as candidates for UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2015. The ministry of culture and communication hopes Burgundy’s wine-making traditions, historic landscape and unique terroir will gain recognition as a region worthy of international protective status. Burgundy produces more than 100 appellations of wine including Pouilly-Fuissé, Montrachet, Chablis and Mâconnais. Champagne will also be presented for, among other things, the 120km of wine cellars that lie beneath Reims and the collection of champagne houses lining city streets. ©Connexion / afp/ relaxnews

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Connexion 2 March 2014

Did you know?

The Lavender Keeper Fiona McIntosh £7.99 Allison & Busby ISBN: 978-0-7490-1344-8

TENDER moments and harsh words give an inkling of what is to come as peaceful lives in the Luberon lavender fields are shattered as Luc Bonet’s family arrive fleeing occupied Paris. Not far behind are the Germans come to round up the Jews. The brutality of the Germans – and his local gendarme – sparks fury in Luc who can only look down from his lavender fields as his family is seized. But when his

A French Novel Frédéric Beigbeder Fourth Estate £14.99 ISBN: 978-0-00737136-5

WITH a disarming intro by Prix Goncourt winner Michel Houellebecq, who criticises some of the words we are about to read, we discover the author in a police cell and with only the shouts of fellow-prisoners and the smell of “under-cooked microwaved stewed beef ” for company. Charming. Having been caught snorting cocaine in a Paris street he is stuck in his cell with nothing to do but try to remember the things he cannot remember: Starting with his childhood. Flashbacks give him hints; perhaps a good little boy, perhaps always in the shadow of his big brother, perhaps divided feelings towards his parents as they veered towards divorce. He claims only a single clear memory – of walking along a beach with his grandfather – but as he recalls those days other memories start to build up. His first kiss, his brother’s conquests; his parents’ divorce and his mother’s affair; sharing a room with his brother and, after moving out, regretting it forever. Funny in a way, and eerily readable, Beigbeder’s self-portrait may be more revealing than was probably intended.

grandmother is assaulted he can bear it no more and has to be held back desperately as he tries to go to her aid. Deliciously sharp writing brings these characters to life. The story begins to be pulled together when SOE agent Lisette Forestier arrives and we are suddenly in the middle of Occupied France and going through the terrors they face.

Luc, who was raised by a wealthy Jewish family, joins the Resistance after his family disappears only to meet Lisette who is to infiltrate the German high command through the bed of a senior officer. Colonel Markus Kilian has his own secrets and could face the Gestapo and the firing squad for them but Lisette gets too deep under his skin. Plots, treason and heartache combine in an irresistible historical romance that keeps the pages turning way after you meant to stop.

The 20-minute book review Connexion journalists read the latest French releases. In the interests of fairness, each gets 20 minutes’ reading time Empires of the Dead £16.99 David Crane, William Collins ISBN: 978-0-00-745665-9 THE NAME Fabian Ware will probably mean nothing to you but you will be well aware of his legacy: the British and Commonwealth war cemeteries. An ambulance commander in the First World War, he was appalled at the treatment of those who had died for King and Country and started to record details of their graves – work which was quickly taken up by others and, in the teeth of much opposition, led to the Graves Registration Commission. Soldiers were long seen as the dregs of a society that did not want them and there were few recorded graves or monuments across the world, even for officers. Change started after the “scum of the earth” won Waterloo and then the creation of a more classless army that fought in the Crimea, Thin

Red Line and all. By the end of the First World War their names are no longer forgotten. The author asks: “How does a Christian society remember its Muslim, Hindu or Jewish dead? How do you begin the vast task of commemorating the million casualties of a war that obliterated every vestige of human identity?” In this moving book he credits one man with doing so. Fabian Ware was an ex editor of the Morning Post when he headed to the Front and needed all the qualities of newsman and diplomat as well as a pragmatic streak to achieve the task that was to lead to the War Graves Commission. Lutyens designed simple non-denominational gravestones, Gertrude Jekyll suggested British flowers in cemeteries and Kipling the motto for unknown soldiers, “known unto God” – without Ware they would not have had the chance.

Paris used to have own time The Unloved £8.99 Deborah Levy, Hamish Hamilton ISBN: 978-0241-14659-0 THIS IS an English country house murder with a difference. Set in a French chateau, it is an English woman who is murdered and the only witness is “unloved child” Tatiana. But these people are all unloved and, through Levy’s efforts, unlovable as she sketches their lives, habits, inclinations and of course their secrets. All their secrets. Tatiana is not the only unloved child and as this slightly chaotic tale unfolds it becomes clear that their stories are key to understanding some part of what has made them so detached from reality. Stories of love and rage but also of desire, sadism, addiction and brutality told in a gentle mocking narrative that veers from the Normandy landscape to the horrors of Algiers and the friends’ Christmas dinner. There is a vast gulf between the loved and the unloved and here it is laid bare.

Armagnac – A life lover’s guide Geoff James, Plastic Pen Publishing £13.95 ISBN: 978-1-909093-33-1

Clouds Over the Montagne Noire Catherine Parr, Createspace £6.34 ISBN: 9781479348152

THIS is an apt title as Armagnac can apparently treat ailments including “redness and burning of the eyes, hepatitis, gout, cankers and fistula” plus skin wounds. All that and more is to be found in this sublime little book that gives a potted history of Gascony, its eau de vie and the best producers. Although it resembles a bit of a personal voyage through the vineyards and chais/caves of the area – and was a very obvious pleasure for the author – there is an abundance of information on the different styles, flavours and characteristics of the drink. For anyone planning their own Armagnac voyage of discovery, this is a very useful guide.

WE MEET an awful lot of people in the first few pages of this book on life in a Languedoc wine-growing community – too many to begin to understand what is going on. A wine-grower commits suicide after a hailstorm costs him his harvest, girls on a French exchange school trip (that will leave one pregnant), a young girl and boy who seem to have little in common as she loves him and he detests her... For a couple deciding to make a fresh start in the area, Lynne and Alex have a lot to learn – and someone is intent on making their life even more difficult. As they become more involved in the community, they discover that life is full of machinations.

At 2am on March 30 clocks will go forward an hour in France and in the UK at exactly the same time. However before Greenwich Mean Time became the international standard, France had its own meridian line and the two systems did not quite match. The Paris Meridian Line was established in 1667 with the building of the Observatoire de Paris, where a room is dedicated to it (pictured above). In 1729, a 31-metre brass line was laid in the Cassini Room. It can still be seen today with its raised opening allowing the sun to shine on it. Science historian at the Observatoire de Paris, Nicolas Leste-Lasserre says the French meridian line ran from Dunkirk in the north through Paris and to Perpignan in the south. “There was a few minutes’ time lapse between Paris and London. In 1884 GMT was established as the international time standard but France kept to its own time until 1911 when a law was passed establishing GMT here.” The old line is marked in Paris by a series of 135 small brass plaques laid in the ground. They show N and S to mark north and stretch over a 9km route which includes the Louvre and the Luxembourg Gardens.

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Quiz / Puzzles

March 2014 Connexion 2

Photo: © Wikimedia

2 Whose 1876 masterpiece commonly known as ‘Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette’ is routinely described as ‘the most beautiful painting of the 19th century’? 3 Which well-known song contains the words ‘Bonsoir, old thing, cheerio, chin-chin’? 4 Originally an adjective referring to a region in central France, what name was given to an ‘enclosed automobile with an open driver’s seat’? 5 When translated, which French city’s name means the harbour? 6

What garnishing is indicated by the culinary term ‘à la veronique’?


Which French tennis player did Pete Sampras defeat in the 1997 Wimbledon final?


Which beach, used in the D-Day invasion of Normandy as part of Operation Overlord on 6 June 1944, is the westernmost of the five landing beaches?


In August 2013, who said that France was the ‘oldest ally’ of the United States?

10 When seeing whose 1876 masterpiece ‘The Absinthe Drinker’ did critic George Moore say of the female subject, ‘What a whore!’? 11 In France, a citron vert is what fruit? 12 Which French film director made an acting appearance as a scientist in the 1977 film ‘Close Encounters Of The Third Kind’?

Photo: © Wikimedia

13 Which battle, a major English victory, took place in the Hundred Years’ War on St Crispin’s Day in October 1415? 14 What girl’s name is the historic capital of the former Duchy of Lorraine? 15 In which 1973 prison film did Dustin Hoffman play the character Louis Dega? 16 Michael Schumacher recently underwent emergency surgery in which city at the foot of the French Alps? 17 French adventurer Raphaël Dinelli has announced plans to fly across the Atlantic in 2015, in a plane powered only by seaweed and what else? 18 Name the French stand-up comedian whose performances were recently banned because of their overtly anti-Semitic content, who is back on stage with a toned-down version of his show. 19 Which French footballer was recently placed third in the FIFA Ballon d’Or, to determine the world’s best footballer in a particular year? 20 France’s data protection watchdog recently fined which global search engine 150,000 for failing to comply with its privacy guidelines for personal data?

Find the anagram! Work out our quiz and take the first letter from the answers to the questions above and rearrange the letters to spell the name of a French river. When a person is the answer, use the first letter of their usual surname. Questions 2, 12, 13 and 14

French-themed crossword Note: apart from 23 across, the answers are French words or names Across 1. Sparkling wine designation (7) 4. Plante aromatique – particularly good in salmon dishes (5) 7. A sour or bitter word (5) 9. Tintin’s terrier and constant companion (5) 10. Money or property a bride brings to her husband at marriage (3) 11. Ambulance and emergency service (4) 12. What to say to a troublesome enfant (6) 15. Artist and writer Albert ______ who, together with René Goscinny, created Astérix (6) 16. City in the département of Vaucluse with the best-preserved Roman theatre in Europe (6) 19. Bordeaux wine region named after its gravelly soil (6) 20. Magazine ____ Mondial, which annually gives awards to top European league football players (4) 21. Gallic value added tax (1,1,1) 23. Spanish wine popular in England but less so in France (5) 24. Pear variety named after 19th-century docteur who introduced a system of ‘canepruning’ of vines for trellises (5) 25. Vasque dans la cuisine – useful for washing food or dishes (5) 26. Alfred _______, young artillery officer whose trial and conviction for treason created a political scandal (7) Down 1. Mushroom sauce served with rabbit, venison and other game dishes (8) 2. Commune at the foot of the Cévennes and a sous-préfecture of the Gard département (4) 3. Often necessary to affix when using La Poste (6) 4. Somewhere else (8) 5. Musical study (5)

by John Foley

6. and 8 ____ de _____ – top of the range (4,5) 8. See 6 13. Enduring singer-songwriter Charles ________, sometimes described as France’s Frank Sinatra (8) 14. Cookbooks are full of these formules (8) 17. Artistic and intellectual capital of Lorraine, whose architectural gems include the

Place Stanislas (5) 18. Cunning carnivore – au museau pointu et au pelage roux (6) 19. Served with vegetables (5) 21. Colloquially, a ‘hit’ – 13 down had one with ‘She’ (4) 22. ‘Je dors comme un caillou, je mange comme un ____ et je bois comme une éponge’, Gustave Flaubert (4)

French quiz answers 1 Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2 Renoir, 3 ‘Good-byee’, 4 Limousine, 5 Le Havre, 6 Grape, 7 Pioline (Cedric), 8 Utah, 9 John Kerry, 10 Edgar Degas, 11 Lime, 12 Truffaut, 13 Agincourt, 14 Nancy, 15 ‘Papillon’, 16 Grenoble, 17 Sunshine, 18 Dieudonné, 19 Franck Ribéry, 20 Google Anagram answer - TARN

Two nations have over 50 million French-speaking inhabitants. France is one but which African country is the other?

Crossword solution: Across 1 Crémant; 4 aneth; 7 aigre; 9 Milou; 10 dot; 11 SAMU; 12 arrête; 15 Uderzo; 16 Orange; 19 Graves; 20 onze; 21 TVA; 23 Rioja; 24 Guyot; 25 évier; 26 Dreyfus Down 1 chasseur; 2 Alès; 3 timbre; 4 ailleurs; 5 étude; 6 haut; 8 gamme; 13 Aznavour; 14 recettes; 17 Nancy; 18 renard; 19 garni; 21 tube; 22 ogre


Answers may be in English or French, the choice usually suggested by the clues. All accents ignored. Across 1 Site of Napoleon’s tomb imposing unreasonable island levies (3,9) 9 Was he destroyed by a tram? No. by Charlotte Corday (5) 10 Recklessly rides over French overflow (9) 11 French start but English start right … (9) 12 … but not in France, it’s said (5) 13 French glasses shattered; find French porcelain instead (6) 15 Sequentially, sample lost from Alpes-Maritimes, sadly (8) 18 Let timer reset; I am a landlord (2,6) 19 The way the good man carries his palm, possibly (6) 22 Too soon to press for payment; that’s uncalled for (5) 24 Ideas icon suggested concerning French bishop’s territory (9) 26 Inside he laughs, about books that is, to begin with in France (9) 27 You, say, rate badly with another in France (5) 28 Émigré suggests questionable foreign policy (6,6) Down 1 Camel is out for French molluscs (7) 2 Weird science first on the rugby field (5) 3 Ten met ten improbably – but clearly in France (9) 4 French department keeps account of French daring (6) 5 Impossible: I’d never model when upturned (8) 20 French have a den in Aintree for a 14 Merit of botched tail dive in France 6 French screen depicts how city change (7) (8) managed (5) 21 French exchange to be about bear 16 Said to be where it all comes out on 7 Role mad – impossible to achieve there (6) the East Anglian coast (2,3,4) nobility (7) 23 Birds’ nest sounds rum (5) 17 Sell girl a day in France (8) 8 Good man follows fashion – that is 18 51 unite in uproar, but it’s useless in 25 Two articles about books of reserved in France (8) yesteryear in France (5) France (7)

Crossword solution:

Test your general knowledge of France in our Connexion quiz with a twist

Cryptic bilingual crossword

Across 1 Les Invalides; 9 Marat; 10 Deversoir; 11 Commencer; 12 Noeud; 13 Sevres; 15 Seriatim; 18 I’m letter; 19 Street; 22 Undue; 24 Diocesain; 26 Interieur; 27 Autre; 28 Regime change. Down 1 Limaces; 2 Scrum; 3 Nettement; 4 Audace; 5 Inverted; 6 Ecran; 7 Earldom; 8 Modestie; 14 Valedite; 16 In the wash; 17 Vendredi; 18 Inutile; 20 Taniere; 21 Bourse; 23 Eerie; 25 Antan.

French Quiz

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CX 16

The Big Picture

Connexion 2 March 2014

AT first glance, there appears to be a striped torrent cascading through this crowded olive grove near Nice. But a closer look reveals the ground is covered with coloured nets – ideal for catching falling fruit as eager farmers set about shaking the laden branches. The traditional way – still used in some areas – is to prod the olives with a pole called a gaule. Modern techniques are now replacing the ancient process and many trees face the force of pneumatic tools. Vigorous shaking causes leaves, twigs and olives to fall into the nets. They are then collected and put through machines which blow off the debris and retain the fruit. Our picture shows Castagniers, part of the growing area for the Olive de Nice, which has the distinction of having an AOP (European quality label) for three different products – table olives, olive oil and olive paste. The harvest runs from November through to April, starting near the coast and finishing in the higher mountain areas. Olives de Nice are of the Cailletier variety, grown only in the far south-east; a small black (or tinged with brownish-red) olive with a mild flavour described as having notes of woodland flavours, and even “cooked citrus”, according to French olive industry body Afidol. Afidol spokeswoman Alexandra Paris said: “Italy and Spain are the biggest growers. We have a small part of the world’s production – about 0.16% for oil and even less for table olives; but what’s particular to France is we’ve retained a great diversity of different kinds of olive, so also a lot of different tastes.” Olives are grown from the Languedoc-Roussillon to Paca and the Rhône-Alpes and include five kinds of table olive and seven oils bearing the AOP. Green olives have simply been picked at an earlier stage than black ones and all table olives are either soaked in brine (saumure) or pricked and packed in salt (piquées au sel), to make them palatable. The varieties you may come across include:  Olive noire de Nyons (Tanche variety) – black, wrinkly, from the most northern production area. It is described by its growers as smelling of green apples and fresh-cut grass, with a taste of almond or hazelnut and a creamy texture.  Olive noire de la Vallée des Baux-de-Provence (grossance) – reddish-black, tasting, says Afidol, of truffles and cèpes, yeasty bread, gingerbread and red wine.  Lucques – grown between Montpellier and Perpignan; green, crescent-moon shaped and


Olive harvest brings a sea of colour

tasting of fresh almond.  Olive de Nîmes (picholine) – green, with a firm flesh and flavours of butter and hazelnut. As for oils, all French types are virgin or extra virgin, produced in traditional ways. They range from subtle varieties, made with fresh olives which go well with fish and vegeta-

Olive trees are prepared for harvest with nets to catch the falling fruit at Castagniers near Nice

bles, to intense flavours from the most mature olives, matching with meats, oily fish and legumes. Olives kept in storage before pressing produce an old-fashioned flavour (goût à l’ancienne) which are a good accompaniment to game, salad and seafood.

Subtle oils have notes of fruits and flowers while intense oils are more reminiscent of vegetable flavours. Old-fashioned oils are compared to cocoa, mushroom, vanilla and candied fruits. They lack the touch of bitterness that can be found in the more intense concoctions.

Photo: © Leggett Immobilier

The Connexion March 2014



page special feature

– a region of contrasts

JUST UNDER 6.25 million Rhônalpins live in the eight departments of the Rhône-Alpes region – Ain, Haute-Savoie, Savoie, Isère, Drôme, Ardèche, Loire and Rhône. Home to the lakes of Annecy, Le Bourget (the largest in France) and Geneva, the second largest metropolitan region by population and size is traversed along its north-south axis by the important communication routes of the Saône and Rhône valleys. Some 86% of the population, on the increase to varying degrees in all departments, lives in urban areas. If you do not wish to be bothered by neighbours the commune of Rochefourchat in the Drôme is the least populated commune in France; the 2010 census recorded just one inhabitant! We start our property tour in Lamure-sur-Azergues which is north west of Villefranche-sur-Saône in the upper Azergues valley in the Rhône department. In villages here, you find old stone terraced houses at affordable prices, says Alexandra Michelland at Agence Michelland Immobilier, who recently sold a 45m2 house for 42,000. Houses along the D385 which runs through Lamure have

In Les Nants, Chamonix, this five-bed chalet with clear views of Mont Blanc is at 3,690,000 from Leggett Immobilier – while at Aixles-Bains, left, you can relax by Lake Le Bourget, France’s biggest natural glacial lake

Photo: Atout France-Fabrice Milochau

From large cities to remote mountainsides and luxury properties, to the least populated commune in France, the Rhône-Alpes is full of contrasts and literal highs and lows, says CAROLYN REYNIER. In the area, she finds stone, terraced houses available at affordable prices, and that often, the higher you climb, the chillier the climate and the lower the prices

lower values than others in quieter locations. In surrounding villages, proximity to Lyon is paramount thus property prices south of Lamure-surAzergues in Chambost-Allières and Grandris, for example, are somewhat higher. An old bourgeois house in Grandris, requiring some work and with 2,100m2 of land, recently sold for 245,000. North of Lamure you will pay less in, say, Poule-lesEcharmeaux, the highest village in the canton, or St-Nizier-d’Azergues. The

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Property Focus 25

agency is currently selling a 240m2 old stone property in Poule with 2,000m2 of land for 159,000. Houses in villages like Saint-Vincent-de-Reins or Saint-Bonnet-le-Troncy just to the west of Lamure are cheaper still. This area of pine forests, meadows (the Beaujolais vineyards are further north) and small winding roads appeals to nature lovers wishing to live in a rural setting. Young couples can afford to buy “something very acceptable” for 150,000-200,000.

There are none of the security issues associated with large cities – very few problems in the small rural schools, for example. “It’s really a quality of life, we’re only an hour from Lyon yet we have the impression of being far, far away. Luckily there’s the TV to watch the news and see what goes on elsewhere,” says Ms Michelland. Saint-Bonnet-le-Château in the Haut-Forez in the Loire, west of the préfecture Saint-Etienne, is a large village verging on a small town. Here

Muriel Brueyre at JB Transactions says you will find old stone properties, some renovated, some not. There is a lucrative rental market for those that have been converted into apartments and these tend not to change hands. What do sell are village houses with or without outside space – and the average price is not high, says Mrs Brueyre. You can find habitable houses requiring work (heating, double glazing) for 60,000-70,000. In hamlets around Saint-Bonnet a well restored stone farm house can be worth 180,000-190,000 or more. “But when they are worth more we can’t sell them.” A petite ferme requiring internal work but with roof and walls in reasonable repair would cost around 80,000. Properties in hamlets near access roads leading to the main SaintEtienne road are more sought after, reflected in higher prices. This is middle mountain country and roads can be snowed over in winter – there is ski de fond, cross country skiing, just 20km away at Saint-Anthème – so prices in the neighbouring commune Continues on page 26

Well-connected, wealthy and a natural beauty

Close to Largentière in the Ardèche, a renovated mas in grounds of 4,120m2 with pool and summer kitchen is available for 370,000 from IRS Immo

People are more afraid of being too remote, too far from the boulangerie Mireille t’Sas Javelas IRS Immobilier

Photo: IRS Immo

Continued from page 25 of Luriecq are higher than in SaintBonnet because Luriecq is at a slightly lower altitude, nearer the city and less cold, she says. Equally it is easier to sell property in Saint-Bonnet than in Usson-en-Forez, which is higher, colder, and further removed from SaintEtienne. Largentière, in the Parc Naturel Régional des Monts d’Ardèche, is one of the rare villages in the department with an urban architecture dating back to the Middle Ages, says Mireille t’Sas Javelas of IRS Immobilier. Families have not been keen to sell, so this medieval heritage has been somewhat overlooked. However, over the past few years not only has the property market expanded but so has Largentière from a tourism viewpoint, and houses are now coming to market. “In the old town there are certainly good bargains to be had.” Here, among narrow cobblestoned lanes where gardens are rare, she sells mainly renovated pieds-à-terre priced around 80,000 to 120,000 to Dutch, Belgian and British clients. Investors could buy an old sandstone

building for around 100,000 for conversion into four or five apartments. The village lies in a valley; move up the slopes and you find stone properties with land and views; prices start from circa 150,000. Today, proximity to main roads raises property prices. In the past, everybody wanted to be out in the country – the more isolated the location, the better, she says; prospective buyers now prefer to live closer to shops and services. “People are more afraid of being remote, too far from the

boulangerie.” Aubenas, the only large town in the southern Ardèche, is easily accessible from villages such as Chassiers, Tauriers, and Joannas. Mas with land and outbuildings sell from 250,000 to 1m for a property with, say, four or five gites, pool, spa – they are rare but do come up from time to time, she says. La Chapelle-en-Vercors in the Drôme, almost equidistant between Valence and Grenoble, lies at an altitude of 945m in the Parc Naturel ADVERTISING FEATURES

How to save money as an expat in France ise of a reliable rental income have lured thousands of foreigners to invest in property in the country. Some have restored traditional châteaux to their former glory whilst others have made their mark on more modern developments.

Turn the FX pain into gain France. The beautiful landscapes, colourful villages, and a true air of romance. The smell of the freshly baked baguettes every morning and the sparkle of Champagne as the sun slips behind the horizon. Elegant stone properties, rich in history and charming bistros around every corner.

Who would not want to live here.

A dazzling range of housing and the prom-

It’s easy to get swept away by the sweet smell of the wine and cheese or the charms of the town’s when you’re hunting for a property. However, at some point, practical considerations will creep in – like how you’re going to transfer your hard-earned money to France to seal the deal on your dream home. The world of foreign currency can be a strange and confusing place. If you’re making overseas transfers for the first time, it’s

easy to get a bad deal or lose a lot of money without realising it – until it’s too late. You might not know that, if you use your local or high street bank, you could lose thousands in transfer fees and unfavourable exchange rates. Whether you’re securing a holiday home, making an investment, transferring your pension or salary you’ll be better off with an experienced currency transfer specialists. Companies like Currencies Direct have been helping people transfer funds abroad quickly, simply and cost-effectively for more than 18 years. Using a specialist means getting a better exchange rate, and usually a lot less in fees and hidden charges. In fact, you could save up to 5% by choosing one instead of a high street bank.

Transform your language skills and life in France

Would you like to converse easily at the bank, at the mairie and at the doctor's, and pass the time of day, exchange recipes and share a relaxed aperitif with your neighbours? Life in France is transformed by knowledge of the language FOR those who wish to avoid the pitfalls of learning in a group, need a sudden boost of encouragement or seek to understand the underlying logic that makes grammar easier, then taking one of Claire Campbell’s French language courses could be a step in the right direction. “I took a history degree at Oxford and since then, over the last twenty years, I have taught languages, mainly to adults,” said Claire, who watches her courses grow in popularity each year. One satisfied customer wrote last year: “We came hoping to build on our existing French and improve our ability to

The Connexion March 2014 Photo: IRS Immo

26 Property Focus

communicate well with our French neighbours and friends. The five-day course we have had has really delivered the goods.” The courses are designed to help English speakers gain enough language knowledge

It is not just an effective language course, but also a real holiday

and confidence to be able to connect and converse with the locals, and to set the course for further study at home. More advanced learners benefit from dipping in to a variety of books and CDs, but the courses are particularly useful to beginners, who may find it difficult to cope with lessons elsewhere if only French is spoken. After their course with Claire in 2011, a husband and wife wrote: “Being able to discuss issues with a native English speaker was a great help. We were challenged without being disheartened and felt our skills and confidence increase as the days passed. We have both greatly improved our

restored. Although property near La Chapelle-en-Vercors, the main town of the local area with most of the shops and services, is the most sought after, other villages on the plateau – Saint-Martin-en-Vercors and SaintJulien-en-Vercors further north, Vassieux-en-Vercors and Rousset to the south – have their fans. Countryside prices are similar. You find typical drystone farm houses, 100-150m2, with roofing à deux pans, various outbuildings and anything up

Régional du Vercors close to the Isère border. Home to the French Resistance during the Second World War, La Chapelle was destroyed by the Luftwaffe and the Waffen SS in 1944. The first stone of the reconstructed village was laid on 28 June, 1948. Today, explains Claire Bellier of Bellier Immobilier, terraced stone village houses, in need of renovation, now sell for 150,000–180,000; you can pay 200,000–300,000 and more for those that have already been Savings speak louder

If you were to buy a property in France for 150,000 and transfer the funds with your bank, it would have cost you £131,960 (the bank’s exchange rate being 1.15, plus the £25 cost of the transfer fee and receiving fees of 1-3% of the euro amount). However, the same transaction with Currencies Direct would have cost you £125,000 (by eliminating the transfer and receiving fees from the picture, and using a much friendlier rate of 1.20). By knowing your options and choosing a foreign exchange specialist instead of your bank you could be saving £6,960. That might be enough to redecorate your new home. Or a maybe get a new little left hand drive car. Now, that’s something worth considering.

Rates on 07.02.2014

Let’s talk savings. Visit our offices: Ophira 1, Place Joseph Bermond, Valbonne , 06560 Email us: Call Matt Watson on +33 (0)329 271 459 ability to cope with verb tenses and conjugations. “Our confidence in listening and speaking has increased beyond our expectations of a two-week, mornings-only programme. We felt that Claire always had our interests in mind. “She was patient, careful and always gave more than 100%. We are both ex-teachers and in our judgement could not have wished for more.” As well as improving their language skills, visitors can also enjoy exploring the wild hills, visiting Cathar castles and tasting the local speciality wines. “It is not just an effective language course, but also a real holiday,” said Claire.

06 78 15 19 29

Soak up the South of France while improving your French

INSIDER VIEW Albiez-Montrond, his family’s native village. It is a small family resort ideal for learning to ski, he says; when his skiing improved he headed for Valloire and Les Sybelles. Aged 15 he took up cycling; the Alps are renowned for their mountain cols. “It was the cols that interested me then – that hasn’t changed.” The Savoie is also famous for its cheeses, some used in raclette and fondue savoyarde; another typical dish is diots, Savoyard sausages, with polenta. “They’re often heated up in white or red wine because we also have some vines in Savoie. “That goes down very well.” Diots in white wine is a typical Savoyard dish

Photo: Supermanu

THE iconic Opinel pocket knife was created by Joseph Opinel in 1890 in Saint-Jean-deMaurienne in the Savoie, where today his great grandson, Maxime Opinel, above, runs the eponymous museum. As a child he skied at nearby

Property Focus 27

Photo: Atout France/Jean François Tripelon-Jarry

The Connexion March 2014

Photo: Arêches Immobilier

to two or three hectares of land; there are old barns for renovation but much depends on their location and if they are connected to utility networks. You ski at the Col de Rousset and Font d’Urle; the area is protected by the Réserve Naturelle Nationale des Plateaux du Vercors; tranquil, not yet too commercialised, “still with a village ambiance.” Le Bourg-d’Oisans in the Isère lies at 700m, south east of the prefécture Grenoble, below the large ski resorts of Alpe-d’Huez and Les Deux-Alpes. Colette Olivier at Immobilière Olivier markets property from Vaujany to the north along the Bourg-d’Oisans valley, carved out by the Romanche, to Venosc in the south east. The most popular properties in the plain are renovated early 1900s stone farmsteads, which sell for around e190,000 to e240,000, usually with 500-1000m2 of land, but sometimes up to 5,000m2. If you prefer to carry out your own restoration, you will pay around e100,000. In Le Bourg-d’Oisans, apartments appeal to first-time buyers and to people working in the ski resorts where prices are beyond their means. In a small copropriété, she recently sold a 90m2 apartment, in need of sprucing up but with south-facing balconies, for e107,000; initially for use as a second home, it will become the main residence for the owners. The small skiing village of Allemont in the Eau d’Olle valley, from where a free shuttle drops snow-goers at the slopes, is popular and it is difficult to satisfy demand, says Mrs Olivier. You will pay e39,000 for a 22m2 garden studio here. Villard-Reculas with magnificent views over the Bourgd’Oisans plain and the Belledonne mountain chain is also sought after

Grenoble’s “bubble” cable-cars link the city centre to the Bastille hill giving great views of city and mountains

A mountain chalet for renovation at Arêches-Beaufort, Savoie, at e195,000 from Arêches Immobilier and more expensive; a 27m2 south-facing studio 100m from access to the Alpe-d’Huez ski area is yours for e75,000. In the Savoie, Michel Blanc Gonet at the agency Arêches Immobilier sells property in the Beaufortain valley around the alpine villages of Beaufort and Arêches; to the north lie the Val d’Arly and the Pays du Mont Blanc, to the east, Italy, to the south, the Tarentaise, the Vanoise National Park and the Maurienne valley. The architecture is quintessentially

alpine. Older chalets were built in wood on stone foundations; today, concrete shells are clad in timber upon completion and decorated with window boxes of red geraniums. Along narrow streets in Arêches you see examples of large, 18th century buildings housing two separate buildings under one roof – barn, stables, pig sty, chicken coops, cellar on one side, living quarters on the other. Property here is around the e5,000/m2 mark. You find apartments and detached chalets in and around

the villages. On the slopes outside Arêches, in chalets housing 11 apartments each, prices range from e170,000 to e450,000; you can pay between e350,000 and e650,000 for an individual chalet. You also find old farms requiring renovation with prices starting from around e150,000. Building land is available at about e150/m2. David Lucas in the Haute-Savoie sells top end chalets in the Chamonix valley through the Leggett Immobilier network. “There are one or two

INSIDER VIEW THERE is always something in the scenery around Chamonix to delight Gina Carver and Robert Morgan who love their view of the mountains. They live in the small village of Les Contamines, near Chamonix in the Haute-Savoie and it is perfect for them.

“It’s great. We moved here for the winter sports, but the summer season is just as good. The inter-season periods are quieter, which makes a nice contrast. It’s small, so it’s friendly. “It’s so beautiful here that it’s like living in a postcard. “We never get tired of looking at

the mountains. Sometimes they disappear for a day or two behind the clouds and then they come back. They’re always different. “I love looking at Mont Blanc. Even in the summer the glaciers are always there, twinkling away. “Most people work in tourism here or work from home. All the

children know how to ski, which is great and it keeps them fit and gets them outside doing something instead of sitting around indoors watching the telly!”

exceptional properties that probably won’t see the market that might reach double figures,” (in millions) he says, “but probably e4m or e5m is the real top end with the bulk of luxury chalets being around the e1m to e2m mark.” He recently sold a five-bedroom, high spec property for around e3m in the Moussoux area of Chamonix with south-facing views of the Mont Blanc and the Aiguille du Midi – “hence the very high demand for that area”. Prices in Megève to the south west can be “50%-100% more expensive depending on what and where you’re buying.” Again there are a few pockets which are particularly sought after – Mont d’Arbois, Rochebrune – as well as the centre if you are looking for an apartment or small townhouse. “You wouldn’t blink if there was a chalet for sale in Megève for e12m or e15m.” It will be big, 600m2 with annexes, staff areas, swimming pool – but build that in Chamonix and you would have a hard time selling it because, with some exceptions, people with that level of wealth prefer the “luxury” of Megève to the “derring-do” of Chamonix – the Ferrari to the Land Rover, he says. Montréal-la-Cluse, in the HautBugey, lies to the north west of Ain sous-préfecture Nantua and east of the Ain gorges. Here Nathalie Poncet at Régie Immobilière du Haut Bugey markets property in a 30km radius including Oyonnax and Dortan to the north and St-Germain-de-Joux to the east towards the Jura mountains. Properties here include traditional stone village houses and in the towns – Montréal, Nantua, Oyonnax – you find small apartment Continued on page 28

28 Property Focus

The Connexion March 2014

Property Watch


What your money buys

HERVÉ Dupond runs Terroirs et Talents, representing various family wine domains and based at the 13th century Château de la Terrière in Cercié at the foot of Mont Brouilly in the Beaujolais. His family has lived in the region for generations; he can trace his roots back to 1565 and Chiroubles, one of the ten Beaujolais crus. He lives in Pommiers, a village overlooking the Beaujolais vineyards to the west and the Saône valley to the east. “I’d say the best way to discover the region is by bicycle.” Hervé cycles with friends through the Beaujolais vineyards, marvellous cycling country where roads climb as steeply as alpine cols but for shorter distances, he says, and wherever you stop in the vineyards you have lovely views. “Beaujolais is just 25km from Lyon so we are in a relatively wealthy, dynamic area and close to the strategic north-south motorway,” he says. “We’re not far from Switzerland, Italy, the sea, mountains…”

First class 2 bedroom leaseback apartment, Ste Foy Tarentaise. This apartment is located on the 2nd floor. It offers 43m2 of living space and a large 37m2 terrace. Also comes with a ski locker and storage cave. 184,875 Ref: 15722RG73D

200,000 to 450,000


Continued from page 27

buildings and town houses. Montréal-la-Cluse itself is quite spread out. In the old village old terraced houses sit one on top of the other in tight formation; more modern, late-20th century houses occupy other sectors of the town. Properties are available for renovation – a 120m2 townhouse, with a small piece of adjoining land and near the Nantua lake, is on the market for 69,000. More substantial properties can be found in the surrounding countryside. At Matafelon-Granges west of Oyonnax, 180,000 will buy you a stone property made up of two buildings – 195m2 in total; one has been renovated, the other has not, so two separate dwellings could be created. The appeal of the Haut-Bugey is quality of life – “five minutes to get to work, it’s very practical”. In summer you can swim in the pretty Nantua lake – the town gives its name to that delicious crayfish butter sauce; in winter, there is skiing on the Retord plateau to the south east; and if your interest in the verdant scenery wanes, Lyon and Geneva are not far.

House and barn to renovate 5 mins’ drive to the ski slopes at Doucy-Combelouvière part of the Valmorel, Grand Domain ski area. This is an interesting renovation project for sale with loads of character and features. 110,000 Ref: 22460HB73

Photo: Atout France/Fabian Charaffi

Properties are still available for restoration

Under 200,000

Lovely modern 3 bedroom family house - comfortable, light and economical. In the Maurienne valley, ideal for ski chalet. Magnificent views of the surrounding mountains. Ideal for holidays throughout the year. 252,145 Ref:36711TB73

30 minutes from Chambery, architect house of 2004, great views, swimming pool Large detached house, bright, a beautiful garden with swimming pool. 126 m2, 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.

424,000 Ref: 35747TB73

over 450,000 FRENCH couple Morgane Brisset, 43, and her husband Philippe, 44, live in Lyon with their two children and run a fish and chip shop called “Made in Fish”. Morgane says Lyon is brilliantly located: “It is less than two hours to the ski slopes, and just a little more to the Mediterranean, so it’s perfect. “Italy and Switzerland are also just a short drive away. “Lyon is famous for its gastronomy and

it’s true that you can eat here very well for not a lot of money... including our fish and chips of course! “Architecturally it’s very beautiful, and the historic centre is a Unesco Heritage site attracting increasing numbers of tourists. It’s a relaxed city, easy to live in. “For families, it’s safe, affordable, and beautiful. We have lived in South Africa, Paris, and the US but this is better than all the rest!”

Huge ski chalet, great location, ready to go but with great potential. Sleeps 8, very sunny. Fantastic price for a huge ski chalet with enormous potential Combining a village location with a 15 mins walk to restaurant and a quick bus ride or car ride to the ski lift this really is a convenient chalet. 655,000 Ref: 26565HB73

All properties available through Leggett Immobilier Tel: 05 53 56 62 54



Join the ‘Best Estate Agency’ in France We are looking to increase our team of award winning agents. If you have decent English & French and want to earn high commissions then contact us today - we are recruiting in all departments.

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Use these pages to find English-speaking tradespeople and firms across France. For your security, we check that all French businesses listed in this section are registered. The listings are arranged geographically by the 5 landline telephone zones of France. P30 All of France All Tel Codes

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Advertise with us Directory adverts are available in 3 sizes, colour or black and white and a choice of standard or rounded frames.

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Increase your chances of selling - advertise privately By connecting buyers with homeowners, ARB French Property helps vendors to sell direct and cut costs ADRIAN and Jacqui Bunn, who run ARB French Property, have developed an innovative way for people to buy and sell property privately in France. “We offer a simple and clear website with a powerful online presence that targets ready-to-proceed, English-speaking buyers,” said Adrian. Selling privately works, but owners need to promote a property with clarity, accuracy and a high degree of exposure to ensure the advert is seen. “That is where we can help,” said Adrian. “In addition to a listing on our own site at, each of our adver-

tising schemes will include a listing on some of the leading property websites in the UK.” This includes sites such as Rightmove, where every property comes with a yearlong premium placement that will help make it stand out from all the others. ARB’s philosophy is that every home, no matter how big or small, should get the same high level of attention and marketing. “Our package is designed to complement local services,” said Jacqui. “We are here to help sellers find an English-speaking buyer while a local advert or agent may concentrate on finding French buyers. In the current market it is important for sellers to have multiple options when trying to sell.” For buyers, especially when going to the expense and time of travelling to view, it is essential that a property is presented with as much information as possible, even at the first point of enquiry. ARB works hand

in hand with owners to ensure that every advert has an extensive regional introduction detailing transport links and local services, a room-by-room description, up to 30 photos and a floor plan. A map reference can be provided too. “We have found the floor plan to be a really successful tool,” said Jacqui. “One that potential buyers appreciate, as it shows the flow of a home or the potential to alter.” Adrian says buyers also like to meet owners when viewing a property and to deal directly with each other. “As owners know their home better than anyone, they are also best placed to offer details about it, as well as additional information about the local area, such as schools, doctors and shopping,” he said. For English-speaking buyers, knowing they will be meeting an English seller without a language barrier helps too. This,


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March 2014

combined with the commission savings a private sale offers, adds to the attraction of buyers and sellers dealing directly. “We like to think ARB’s success is measured on our high levels of service and professionalism, the quality of each home presentation, and, most importantly, on results,” said Adrian. A recent seller provided the following comment: “Within a couple of weeks of marketing with ARB French Property we had three viewings, two second viewings and accepted an offer.” Another satisfied customer wrote: “ARB French Property offers a very attractive nononsense marketing package that certainly worked for us – within a couple of weeks of marketing our property we had accepted an offer.” For more information visit the website or contact Adrian and Jacqui directly.

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Directory 31



Make the White move to cut removal costs From household goods to vehicles and machinery, George White European can fulfil all of your transportation needs IF YOU are moving to or from southwest France, George White European can transport household goods, vehicles and almost anything else at surprisingly low prices. Having started international driving over 30 years ago - and obtaining an award from the International Road Transport Union for three million kilometres of safe driving George White can offer an experienced and reliable removals service. The team operate a range of large, multipurpose vehicles, typically operating along routes to and from the south-west of France. This allows costs to the customer to be kept low as the vehicles can be filled with other goods for much of the journey. “With smaller or less flexible vehicles, you may be paying the whole cost for the driver,

fuel, Channel crossing and return journey,” said George, “but by using part of a larger vehicle, costs can usually be shared.” It may surprise some to find out how small a consignment can be handled, and for what price. Depending on the areas being collected from and delivered to, the minimum load could be as little as 2 linear metres of removals, (which is 2.6m tall and 2.4m wide), from as little as £440 + VAT. At the other end of the scale, a full 13.6m long load (max 24 tonnes) of domestic removals can be handled for around £2,500 + VAT and fuel surchage, depending on the locations involved. For those who have more to move, there are great advantages, as George White European can even transport cars, boats,

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32 Directory


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March 2014


Demand soars for UK-style carpet fitting in France From canal boats to chateaux, as Jon and Andrea Prince’s carpet company Jon - The Carpet Man celebrates being five years old, interest in their high quality carpets has never been greater HAVING established his business in France in February 2009, Jon Prince, better known as Jon - The Carpet Man, is celebrating five successful years of trading in France. Jon originally started out working from his home as a “one man band”. Now he has his wife as a partner in the business, a dedicated van and driver to make collections of flooring and accessories from the UK, and two teams of UK-trained fitters. These ensure that customers’ carpets



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Tel: 05 65 37 79 64 CHRISTAL POOLS

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or call   DEMPSEY TREE SURGERY CONTRACTORS British trained & qualified tree surgeon All tree work undertaken.

Tel: 05 45 65 96 86 Mob: 06 61 90 04 92

are expertly laid. Jon believes the business has grown so much in recent years due to their substantial experience in the UK industry. “Although the business is five years old, we have 30 years’ trade experience in the UK to draw on,” he said. “We specialise in flooring, particularly carpets, and that fills a gap in the market, especially in the expat community where people want good quality carpets fitted over underlay.” With their experience Jon and Andrea have built up good relationships with manufacturers and suppliers, and are able to offer thousands of samples of the most up-to-date ranges. “Wherever you are in France, quotations are always free and without obligation,” said Jon. Andrea’s role is to take care of the office and administration side of the company. “We try and respond swiftly to all calls and emails, and keep customers informed

of progress with their orders, through to satisfactory completion,” said Andrea. “This obviously is appreciated by our clients as we’ve received scores of emails and letters thanking us for the finished work.” Whether customers want a budget quality cord to cover the floor while renovations are carried out, or a top-quality pure wool shag pile luxury once the work is done, Jon can offer something to suit everyone. “One of the best things about working here in France is the diverse properties we work in,” said Jon. “From modern villas to chateaux, Paris apartments to Alpine ski chalets, and even ocean-going cruisers to canal narrow boats, we’ve supplied and fitted flooring to them all over the past five years. “So whether customers have a penthouse apartment in Monaco or a mobile home by the sea – they shouldn’t hesitate to call us,” said Jon.


Mobile Homes For Sale

FLYING TO STANSTED? Don't pay airport prices!

New and pre-owned available in France, (Pas-de-Calais, Brittany, Vendée, Dordogne,Languedoc-Roussillon and Côte d’Azur). In the Vendée now and would like to view?

For car, van, MPV & Minibus hire contract ALLEY CAT CAR & VAN RENTAL

Advice on all aspects of living in France, buying/selling, French administration, residency, etc... Competent, experienced. Contact me now for your free consultation.

Rachel THOMAS-BONNET +33 (0)6 62 78 39 77 Visit me at

SSAFA FRANCE The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association

International Freephone:

0044 (0) 1782 90 80 70


QUALITY NEW PARTS FOR ALL CARS Including Clutches, Brakes, Alternators Service Kits, Starter Motors & Headlights.


for ex-servicemen and their families living in France

Email: France-wide answer service Tel: 05 53 24 92 38 The national charity helping serving and ex-Service men, women and their families, in need Registered Charity No. 210760. Est 1885

CARPETS! 05 55 73 63 16


Your Helping Hand to the French Health System

Vehicle Livery - Business Signage Displays & Digital Printing Get your business seen! 0450 753887

+ ()     

All regions covered - Siret 48327342100014

Tel: +44 (0)1279 436236

Jon Prince, above, runs Jon - The Carpet Man with his wife Andrea

STILL SEARCHING FOR THAT SPECIAL SOMEONE ? Let ‘Connecting People’ search for you (France/UK). Professional/focused matching process No initial Fees - Only payable on mutually agreed Introductions. No loss/only gain ! Call Sylvia : + 33 (0) 6 22 76 95 30 Or + 44 (0) 75 0191 1409 to know more Or email :


Help available

Exclusive Healthcare

Call Carol on: 0033 (0)618 515 652

Don’t miss an edition Subscribe to The Connexion from e30 a year. Tel: 0800 91 77 56

Working in dept: 16, 17, 24, 87 Siret: 48930027700014


Offsite from £2,995 inc VAT or sited from £5,995 in the Vendée.

05 55 73 63 16 / 06 42 19 82 12

TELEPHONE 0034 692 930 326

Cars wanted both UK right hand drive or French left hand drive Also part-exchange. Collection in the UK or France. Polite service. Please email, text or telephone and we will call you back. or Tel 06 68 43 42 50

The Left Hand Drive Place

Whitney Road, Daneshill, Basingstoke, Hants Tel: +44 1256 461173 Fax: +44 1256 811541 Choose from 60 british or French registered LHD cars from £1,000 to £30,000. If we haven’t got what you want we can get it for you. LHD/ RHD cars taken in part exchange. French registered cars also bought for cash. Delivery anywhere in France.

Specialists in supplying quality New and Pre-owned French registered vehicles We buy LHD/RHD vehicles Part-exchanges welcome Unlike UK LHD specialists we handle all the paperwork and re-register the vehicle in your name at our premises! French registered, English owned company

Tel 0033 (0)4 74 43 89 51 or 0033 (0)6 84 85 04 61 LANDROVER*MG* ROVER*JAGUAR* AUSTINMORRIS PARTS ElEcTronic DiagnosTics & gEarbox rEpairs WWW.LANDYPOINT.NET


Kilrush Cars Limited a large selection of European

Left Hand Drive Cars one owner - FsH - c.o.c

Tel: 00 44 (0) 1252 782883

CAMDAMP LTD Terminate your timber problems Specialists in timber treatment in France

For more details telephone 0044 1223 425110 region: all France Fast satellite broadband & SkyTV

Product installation & self installation & support Up to 40 times faster than fixed line ADSL connections UK IP address, VoIP available Flexible packages +33 6 24 68 17 28

STAR SATELLITE British TV in France

BskyB Qualified - For All Your Satellite Needs

Tel: 05 53 80 63 93 Email: contact Web:

Regions: Dordogne and surrounding Departments Siret: 50196266600019


Freesat TOOWAY Superfast Broadband

Tel 05 55 78 72 98

The Connexion

March 2014

Directory 33



Furniture for France launches new-look website With ever more customers using their phones and tablets to search and shop, Furniture for France has updated its website to ensure its internet presence works effectively on all devices STATISTICS show that as many as 40% of web users are now browsing and shopping via handheld devices. As a result, Furniture for France has recently reconfigured its website to ensure it is user-friendly for all those accessing the internet while on the move. The company’s website now displays perfectly on mobile phones and tablets, giving customers searching for furniture a far better experience. Managing Director Brian Muir also says they have taken the

opportunity to improve the presentation of all the furniture images, including close-ups and videos, and that all the popular fabric and leather options for sofas can now be viewed online. “We hope the new website will improve our customers’ online experience and enable them to make better-informed choices,” said Brian. “We have also launched a Twitter feed to keep customers better informed of new arrivals and special offers.” With customer service as the key driver behind any decision that affects the company, it is no wonder that Furniture for France is experiencing a record number of new customers through word of mouth. “We always knew we had to do two things,” said Brian, “not just offer great quality furniture, but deliver it to customers when we said we would, no delays, just arrive, install and drive away knowing that furniture was good for a life time.”



Latest Sky & Freesat decoders supplied & installed Sky subscriptions available without UK address.

Office:      Siret -  Bespoke renewable energy heating systems including solar, wood-fired, ASHP, UFH ... More information on our website.

Tel : 05 53 57 30 01

Air Conditioning,Refrigeration EU Accredited.

* Maintenance * Servicing * Installation * Recharging

All types of systems.

Contact Philip Brown 05 53 83 47 51. Mob. 06 48 54 19 70. Email. Siret. 75 041196 900017

Depts. 47, 24, 33.

Mobile Homes for Sale

Excellent range of new and ex rental mobile homes with prices from £2,995 + TVA. Ideal for living accommodation whilst renovating property or as a holiday home.

Carisma Holidays 00 44 (0) 1923 287 327

Help in France

Your one stop shop for help with anything throughout France! Administrative assistance Relocation services Property purchases And much much more.... Underfloor Heating

Electric, Ideal for Extensions/Renovations and New Builds. Supplied in full kits ready for installation Tiles, Stone or Wood/Laminate Floors Insulation Boards Full Quotations Chaleurosol SARL

Tel: 05 62911674 Email: Web: Regions: All France - Siret: 502962772


SKY, Free Sat, Free To Air

BOXES FROM e139, Installations from e389 NOW PROVIDING VIDEO AND AUDIO HOME MONITORING No Contract or Monitoring Fees!

+33 (0)5 62 66 08 25

Now, the company is so confident that their customers will be happy with the furniture that just a 50% deposit is required – the balance is not expected until delivery. “If for any reason customers are not over the moon, we will take it back and refund their deposit, no arguments,” said Brian The company’s showroom, established in 2009, gives clients the opportunity to see the furniture first hand. “The quality of the furniture is above all most important to us,” said Brian. “We have selected solid, sturdy ranges that we believe offer great value. Having the showroom means that customers can see and feel the quality for themselves before making a purchase.” One aspect that makes ordering through Furniture for France particularly attractive is the company’s impressive delivery service. “Because we have furniture coming in by the truck load, we can pass on the transport savings to our customers by

Weekly services to & from France

Full or part loads, 4 wks free storage, 30 Years experience

Bar & Guild Member Contact: Anglo French Removals Tel: +44 (0) 1622 690 653 Email:


SELF STORAGE DOVER Convenient, Flexible, Secure Working with your Movers 24/7 Access


Tel: +44 (0) 1304 822 844






FULL OR PART LOADS Call 00 44(0)1253 725 414, email:

Burg European Removals Based in the Htes-Pyrenees Full and part loads from France-UK UK-France

Telephone: 00 33 (0)5 62 33 92 68 00 33 (0)6 78 90 34 73 00 44 (0)7873 695 730


UK - FRANCE - UK Full and part loads You pack, we move, you save! 0044 (0)1327 264627 UK Email:

The popular Belmont sofa, part of the fixed-cover range offering delivery charges from just £99,” said Brian, adding that customers can pay in pounds sterling or euros. The company is also very proud of its “no excuses” delivery policy and always pledges to stick to the date and time that the customer has arranged. “Having travelled over one million kilometres on French roads we know all

about getting about in France,” said Brian. “We look forward to welcoming new clients in 2014 and offering them new ways to view and order our furniture.”


Love French Interiors

Full & part loads Timings to suit you! Storage France & UK Removal boxes & Sundries Local surveys & clearance

French Reproduction Furniture Hand crafted from mahogany. We also have fully customisable bespoke furniture. Delivery throughout France. Call us or shop online at


WWW.BRITSERV.COM Tel FR: 02 99 98 31 81 UK: 0208 144 3538

Man, van service - Reliable ex-police UK-France-UK - Fully insured

Part Load Specialists SAVE 75%

Removals to / from France Get Free Quotes +44 (0)203 005 6000

CURRY CUISINE Authentic Curry sauces / spices Produced in India. ALSO gluten free & vegetarian.

Tel: UK 0871 218 64 25 Fr: 05 55 71 73 87





• Weekly Service • Full & Part Loads • Container Storage • BAR Members • On-line Quotation • Internet Shopping Deliveries

00 44 1722 414350 Company Regn No: UK 5186435 TVA / VAT No: UK 864 7217 04

George White European Transport

Special rates to S/W France 13.6m/45ft trailer - Full/Part loads Removals/ materials/vehicles 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

FRANCE & UK COLLECTION D  R F  P L

REALISTIC PRICES Call Steve:      Siret: A

0044 (0) 20 3474 0092

Reg 0553 4834 Siret 502 961 840

All France

Milen light Haulage Ltd.

05 55 22 31 46 06 46 49 73 45


For all your favourite UK groceries shop at the well established

Chinese Tractor Parts

Mahindra/Lenar parts, service items, technical information. Advice for tractors and machinery Adrian Davidson 0044 (0) 1373 812 613

Spex4less.Com High Quality Prescription Glasses Online Save Money On All Your Prescription Eyewear

Villager, Hunter, Aarrow & Stratford Stoves Esse Cooking Ranges

Quality Stoves Delivered throughout France

Tel: 02 97 74 73 48 Based in Josselin 56

WOODBURNERS Ash Grove Stoves Supplier of Hunter - Parkway


Clean Burn - Fire Visible Boiler versions available Deliveries all over France Prices on our website Lowest Prices Guaranteed Tel: 00 44 (0) 1392 861579

Furniture for France

A wide range of quality indoor furniture and sofas supplied and delivered direct to your French property saving you time and money. New showroom "Meubles New Ideas" near Brive(19) now open. For full colour brochure please e-mail or call 0033 (0) 6 46 49 73 45 or 0033 (0) 5 55 25 02 68

Woodwarm Stoves France

Efficient British Stoves that stay in overnight Call us on: 04 68 47 05 44 or 06 04 14 51 57

Helping to make your environment friendly Siret: 513 896 308 00014

English Paint Delivered to France

Quality paint, style and service to make your home in France beautiful 0044 (0) 1422 845 262

34 Directory


New property partnership formed in the Dordogne Guyenne Immobiler and Classic French Homes have joined forces to offer an extensive range of low- to high-end properties DORDOGNE-based Guyenne Immobilier and Classic French Homes have just formalised a new partnership and have recently moved into new premises in Eymet. Guyenne Immobilier has offices in both Eymet and Miramont de Guyenne and has been selling, renting and managing property in and around these areas for over 20 years. Classic French Homes was established in 2006 to promote prestigious properties to an international market and are the exclusive representatives in the Dordogne for Knight Frank, which is considered to be one of the world’s leading and most respected real estate agencies. As each business covers different property price bands, this new collaboration will offer a wide collection of properties to

buyers looking for houses in this part of south-west France. “Eymet is the most important town in the Dordogne for the international property market and we feel that a more prominent high street presence will not only increase awareness in our brand, but also provide stimulus to the local property market,” said Antony Bryan, Managing Director of Guyenne Immobilier. “Since recovery appeared over a year ago at the lower end of the market it has taken some time for the middle and upper sectors to follow suit.” Antony explains that towards the end of 2013 Guyenne Immobilier noticed a gap in the market due to an increase in demand for property in the e500,000 to €900,000 bracket. “Linking up with Classic French


Chenil Les Mille Calins

Leaps Ahead!

High Quality Greeting Cards 300+ Designs FREE DELIVERY in Europe *Award Winning Website* *Pay Securely Online* *Outstanding Service* *Money Back Guarantee* *Many Exclusive Designs*

English Run

5 Star accommodation for Dogs/Cats l l l l l

Underfloor heated kennels Qualified staff Top Quality food and exercise Only 45 minutes south of Caen Convenient Ferry Access Telephone 02 33 37 49 19 Emergency 02 33 38 41 32 Fax 02 33 38 44 16

The companies’ new premises in Eymet

SARL Steve & Wendy Foster Renovations

Electrical - Plumbing - Tiling Doors & Windows - Stud-walls - Insulation Tel: 02 98 26 43 95 Mob: 06 68 25 46 54

Highly experienced English builder based in Orne All Renovation & Restoration works undertaken

Tel: 02 33 38 63 35 Mob:06 36 78 89 99 Siret: 481 842 532 00014


All types of work, Exterior-Interior, New - Renovation-Repair. Entreprise Bown Robert

Tel/Fax: 02 97 51 10 11 - Mob: 06 38 34 20 78 Email:

Siret: 424 531 069 00013

To advertise here call freephone in France 0800 91 77 56 / from UK 0844 256 9881 (4p/min)

Greetings Cards

Birthdays, Anniversaries, Special Occasion, Christmas, Hand-made and Open - From e1.00 Free P&P available

Tel: 02 97 60 27 21

Plans Planning Permisions Brittany Mike Welby 0296875737

Wellesley House Surveying Registered and Based in Brittany

Property Surveys

Brittany/Normandy/Loire - English Style Contact: Nick Warner Tel: (France) +33 (0)296 31 83 30 Email: Web page: SIRET No. 452 539 273 00014

TIMBER PRESERVATION Eradication of rot and woodboring insects 20 year product guarantee Tel: +33 (0) 679274563 Email: Siret 488081233

Areas 14/50/61

Stuart Barker Plastering 35 years experience:

Boarding l Insulation l Floors l Tiling Painting l Block Laying l Digger Works Tel: +33 (0) 2 98 93 87 43 Mobile: +33 (0) 6 23 67 84 17 Email: Siret No.: 511 627 341 00015

Full / Part Renovations, carpentry, masonry, plastering, tiling, kitchens, replacement windows and doors.

Tel: 06 71 05 60 82 Email: Siret : 47942748600010

marketing materials that are syndicated between three agencies which are acting competitively yet collaboratively. Both companies are also working in the holiday rentals market. Classic French Homes’ website features a selection of highend rental properties and Guyenne Immobilier has just launched a new bookings service for holiday rental properties in the Dordogne. “We are looking forward to exploiting the same synergies that exist in our respective sales portfolios with those for our vacations rentals,” said Stewart.

English TV in your French Home

Guyenne Immobilier 05 53 63 22 27 Classic French Homes Sales: 06 76 45 32 25 Rentals: 06 83 28 75 24

English registered cars House insurance - Health cover

Professional installations in Brittany & Normandy

1800 British clients trust us 02 96 87 21 21 Dinan, Brittany



Mail-order throughout France Free, friendly, helpful advice

02 97 74 24 56



02 97 60 08 23

Home l Car l Health l Business l Banking Locminé, Morbihan 56500

Help & Repair Linux • MS • OsX

Tel: 09 66 40 09 87

Tree Surgeon Stuart Lee

Prestige Painting & Decorating Services

Every aspect of Decorating, Interior & Exterior, Wall Papering, Tiling, Sealants Work, Power Washing, Wood Treatments Contact Adrian or Lena Baker

Tel: 02 96 83 97 49

Mob: 06 58 04 51 46 Siret 51442634500013 - Covering Depts 22, 35, 56

Qualified, Insured, Equipped Stump grinder and Woodchipper

02 99 68 43 46


Le Jardinier Expert Tree Surgeons Dangerous Trees & High Hedges Stump Grinding Covering all departments up to 150km from Rennes 02 99 68 43 46 - 07 86 53 67 26

Siret 48423125300010

Rod Reeves



Bruno Bonnier

Homes will ensure that there is an agent in Eymet well equipped to cater for vendors in this price sector,” he said. Classic French Homes has traditionally dominated the top end of the market and sells properties at e1 million or above. However, for some time now the company has wanted to develop its presence into e750,000-plus sector. “Up until now we haven’t had the capacity to expand without diminishing our enviable lead in the above e1 million bracket,” said Stewart Cook, Managing Director of Classic French Homes. “Working closely with Guyenne means we can extend our marketing services to this sector – such as professional photography, floor plans and elevated photography – by leveraging the economies of scale that Antony is able to offer, without reducing the quality of our work.” Both companies are confident that by joining forces they can offer clients the best of both worlds. Benefits include exclusive campaigns with comprehensive coverage, without over exposure, and exquisite Tel. 02 31 09 26 54

St Malo, Dinard, Dinan

Mains Drainage Connections Septic Tank Installations Member of the ‘Charte de Qualité des Côtes d’Armor’ Digger and Driver up to 20 tonnes to hire Groundwork and all aspects of Masonry Paving, Decking, Gardening & Fencing References available

March 2014

ANDREW DANIELS Full & part renovations, Drives, Land clearance & Fosse Installation, Footings, Block laying, Digger & Dumper hire Tel Andrew: +33 (0) 679274563 Email: __________________________

Mesnil Renovation

Siret: 538 583 60000019

The Connexion

35yrs Experience - No Job Too Small Quotations on request. Tel: 02 31 09 13 17 Mobile: 06 26 95 68 21 Siret: 48101774700025

Chris Hutt - ASH Home Tech. English TV & Superfast Internet for Everyone. Friendly, Honest Service & Advice. Satisfaction Assured. Instant Quote & Book. +33 (0)2 33 91 69 29

Andrew Morgan

Electrician For All Your Electrical Work Small or Large

Tel: 02 31 67 34 40 Email:

Est In France 2007, Fully Insured

Regions 14, 50, 61 Siret 49427469900011

Agnes Crompton-Roberts

Avocat, experienced in the handling of most Anglo-French legal issues Email: Tel: +33 (0)9 62 33 58 84

The Connexion

March 2014

Directory 35



Reduce fuel costs with a wood-fired heating system A wood-fired heating system can reduce your annual heating bills considerably in comparison with gas, oil and electricity, says Michael Swan, who provides bespoke heating systems for homeowners through his company Enershop DUE TO ever-increasing fuel prices, people are now looking for more energy efficient and cost-effective ways to heat their homes. A wood-fired system is the perfect choice, due to the plentiful supply of wood available in France. These systems can be used to heat domestic hot water, central and underfloor heating and even

Liana Mobile Hairdresser

Huelgoat and its surrounding areas Discounts available for group bookings

02 98 99 90 51 - 06 66 38 31 11 Email:

a swimming pool. As credit d’impôts are available for Enershop’s systems, they also have realistic payback periods of between three to five years. There are many different types of woodfired systems available, so clients’ needs are always discussed to ensure they make the right choice based on their lifestyle, property and budget. “Wood boiler stoves are aesthetically pleasing and are usually located in the main living area of the property,” said Michael. “There are many different styles available, both traditional and contemporary, but all the wood boiler stoves supplied by Enershop incorporate the latest stove technology with high efficiency ratings.” Wood boiler ranges and cusinières are also available with cooking facilities, whether using a hot plate, oven or both. Wood gasification boilers are another option, they are housed in an outbuilding

or an uninhabited well-ventilated room. “These boilers produce large amounts of heat at high efficiencies,” said Michael. “We have produced tutorial videos explaining wood gasification boilers, including the lighting procedure and so on, and these can be accessed from the company website.” All the above wood-fired systems can be combined with other heating sources, such as solar thermal and air to water heat source pumps and produce an all-yearround, cost-effective and efficient system. “The system at our property comprises a wood gasification boiler, with solar thermal panels, linked to an accumulation tank,” said Michael. “Both the gasification boiler and solar panels work effectively at different times of the year and so complement each other perfectly. “We estimate that we save at least e4,000 a year in heating costs in comparison with

Kitchens & Furniture

ROOFS REPAIRED / REPLACED Siret: 497 736 272 Ad No. 18809




Contact Anthony Main 0033 (0)468 783 696 email: Siret 4846 8735 500012

Project Management

Registered Insured New Builds, Renovation Building Permits Authorisation Insurance claims Negotiation & Support l





Sam Stokes - 06 14 38 10 29

Ward Building Services

02 33 14 09 55 06 75 14 83 74

Renovation to Decoration Extensions, Kitchens, Bathrooms, tiling, stonework, Patios, terraces. Free estimates

Siret: 494799968

Floor Plans & Rightmove Listing Save Money No More % Commissions

05 53 57 30 01

Having an alarm fitted is cheaper than you think. XP Alarms supply, install and demonstrate the latest systems in English throughout Languedoc Rousillon.

Call Malcolm Cooper on 06 45 16 66 31 or go to Texecom Registered Installer Siret: Coopers 521 993 501

SkyDigi Tel: 0044 (0)1803 469367 All Regions Covered

British, Irish & French TV/Radio Full Installations l Products & Maintenance l Friendly Service 04 68 87 18 30 l


Carcassonne area. Comprehensive range of services from odd jobs to property management

We are an English Estate Agency with buyers looking to buy in the Pézenas and Narbonne areas

Siret: 50052701500019


Tel: Mike 04 68 24 45 05 / 06 33 28 48 72 Email: Siret: 50400085200013

company for further information.

Is your home safe?

Karl - 06 04 45 63 57 / Paul - 06 34 95 19 71

Need someone to help with property maintenance problems, home improvements, renovations, Exteriors, Gardens & Pools.

oil, gas or electric.” Enershop provides a bespoke solution for each individual property. For more information on the complete range of products, visit the website or contact the

Insulation, Velux, Guttering, Beam-work, Terraces, Structural, Building Maintenance


Chimney Sweep Woodstove Installer Property Management

Make savings on household bills with a wood-fired heating system from Enershop



Handyman France Geoff & Anne 0033 (0)4 68 71 88 80 0033 (0)6 18 87 31 69

S I F

Sky, Freesat & French TV Supplied & Fully Installed

PLUMBING & HEATING 53 for all plumbing and heating work, also kitchens and tiling Tel: 02 43 04 85 54 - Mob: 06 11 31 83 08 Email: Siret: 482 232 899 00013 Regions Covered: 53 and 61

Office:     

MB Services

Architectural Consultant

Planning Permissions, Project Management, Surveys, Consultations, New Builds, Renovations

Email: .

Tel: +33 ( 0 )6 30 60 31 98 Depts 11/09/34/81/30/31/66 - Siret : 494 943 996

ASCOT IMS is proud to announce the creation of the BRITISH BUSINESS CENTRE



Regulated & Independent Insurance Broker

Judith Evans - Director - 06240 Beausoleil

Tel: 04 92 10 77 70


Dedicated English speaking Advisors & Claims Handling n Quotes sourced from variety of major insurers n Review of all your Insurance requirements Health (Top up & Private), House, Car, Business / Commercial, Marine, Pensions & Investments

Siret No: 411 673 106 00018


WOOD STOVE STUDIO Wood burning stoves and Cuisinieres from

Charnwood Cleanburn Esse Hunter Parkray Stovax on display at our dept 61 showroom

Selkirk chimney and flexible liner Full installation service Tel 02 33 12 57 26 Siret 498 597 632 00013 Roofing, Scaffolding Heavy Structural Building

Registered & Insured - Depts 66 / 11

Montpellier based Renovation, Installation, Maintenance

04 68 98 03 24

E-mail: Mob: 06 51 29 15 10 Depts: 34 - Siret: 79738448400011

P' R


Covering the Gard

A     /  V   - G

     Siret No: 

Graham Fox – Fully Qualified 25+ Years Experience Friendly, Informative Reliable High Professional Standard E-mail: Tel/Fax: 04 68 45 46 28 - Mob: 06 67 55 30 29 Depts: 11, 34 - Siret: 49443828600010

Email: Tel: 04 68 32 41 20 Web: Please see our main advert in the Connexion

36 Directory


Still searching for that special someone? One year on, Sylvia McGeachie’s Connecting People Service - which adopts a focused approach to helping individuals find a new partner - is doing well and is set to grow throughout 2014 OVER the last twelve months, Sylvia McGeachie has been working hard to help people connect and her efforts have proved to be very successful. “The process works and a good number of matches were made in 2013,” she said. “Last year confirmed my original thoughts and experiences behind setting up this business. I think it is very difficult for non-French single people in France to find that special person.” Barriers preventing people to interact include cultural, language, location and

technological issues, says Sylvia, who has found that people find themselves here alone for many different reasons. Sylvia finds that many individuals are retired, perhaps living alone, with family back in the UK or another country, but because of their passion for France and its lifestyle have decided to stay. “They then find out how difficult it is to recreate their original dreams, which generally existed with a previous nonFrench partner,” said Sylvia. “Individuals have to work hard to integrate and even then it’s difficult. However, finding that right match can bring those dreams alive again.” Sylvia believes there is a need to match these individuals in a more personalised, professional and enjoyable way. “People need to meet in a way that reduces the challenges and frustrations often encountered with internet dating,” she said.


BSc CEng MIStruct E



Kennels and Cattery english owned le Chenil des lauriers Villeneuve sur lot (47) A real home from home for your pets when you cannot be with them Tel: 05 53 70 51 78 Siret: 478 623 944 00013

Structural defects & subsidence Structural Surveys Design Calculations & Drawings Project Management PI Insurance

email: Tel: 0033 (0)562 08 38 89 Mob:06 73 06 59 07

Bilingual Architect in Aquitaine

offices in 33580 Monségur & 24590 Salignac-Eyvigues

t/f 05 56 61 49 35 m 06 79 92 95 88 CHARTERED SURVEYOR Martin Hauxwell BSc (Hons) MRICS

Property Surveys and Comprehensive Project Management Service +33 (0) 977 81 80 37 Siret : 451 999 387 00025

The Cats Inn

Professional care for cats and dogs. You are welcome to visit our accommodation 24440 Labouquerie near Beaumont du Perigord siret nr: 494 122 468 00023

ROOFING SPECIALIST www. Call now for a free estimate Tel: 05 46 58 77 70 Mob: 06 35 94 71 07 DEPTS: 17,16 & 79

Plaster The Lot Qualified English Artisan

Plastering, Pointing, Crepi, Tiling, Plasterboard, Insulation, Painting Call: 05 65 10 76 90 Email: siret: 53068838100017 regions Covered: 46, 19


General Builder City & Guilds qualified RENOVATIONS l UNDERPINNING l ROOFING ALL WORK GUARANTEED - Mussidan(24)

Tel: 05 53 80 42 91 Mob: +44 759 286 5010 Email: Siret: 51352715000017

PARKES + DucElliER ArChiTeCTs French and British Registered Architects & Designers Dossiers for Permis de Construire Déclarations Préalables Interior & Landscape Design Ordre des Architectes No. 1867

Tel: 05 53 09 33 45 Fax : 05 53 09 36 12 e: W: Depts: 16,19,24,33,87 siret: 488 165 564 00011

Previously, Sylvia was a Global Human Resources Executive searching for the best candidates for the organisations she worked for. As the sole female executive on company boards for 16 years, she has brought a wealth of relevant knowledge, skills and experience to Connecting People. “I have a passion for this business, for life, and a positive attitude in general,” she said.

Ironwood Motif

Wrought Iron Work Handrails Gates Railings Pergolas Stairs l





Inside & Outside l Made to Measure l Dept 46 Tel: 05 65 30 53 99 Email: Web: Siret 48119863800019

Hopkins Renovations General building work. 22 years building experience in France. Full Assurance Décennale, near Monflanquin

05 53 36 34 59/ 06 08 71 53 49 Siret number: 417 916 574 00011


Building & renovation Traditional or Modern Interior or Exterior Experienced, Reliable & Friendly Service


Siret No.520 980 269 00010

Le Pouget

I have adopted the motto, for every teapot there is a lid. my goal is to help individuals find that matching lid

siret:47935547100026 - Ass.Decennale depts 16, 17, 79

Luxury Cattery - Cales near Lalinde - Very Spacious - Lots of Love and Attention Tel: Paula 05 53 24 14 42


ROOFING SPECIALIST 25 years experience Contact P.S.Deighton Tel: 05 59 81 43 50 06 75 96 28 32 Regions Covered 31,32,40,64,65 Siret 503 931 388 00014

Building Renovation Digger / Driver Hire, Fosse Septiques, Excavations & Driveways Tel: 05 53 79 77 61 or 06 89 27 11 83 Email: Website:

Bergerac Renovation & Building From groundwork, microstations, masonry, interiors, to rooves. Free estimates & advice Tel: 05 53 81 60 73

Professional management of renovations, new builds and design.

My role is to present to you with the house of your dreams, within budget, legal and on schedule.

The Connexion

March 2014

“I’m results and relationship orientated, so matching individuals in a good way gives me both the challenge, pleasure and motivation that I need,” said Sylvia. Whilst she is committed to helping people find a good match, Sylvia wants her clients to be fully engaged and intent on staying committed to making the Connecting People process work. “The Connecting People motto is: ‘For every teapot, there is a lid,’ and my goal is to help individuals find that matching lid.” Connecting People operates on a “no initial fee payable” basis. Fees are only payable upon mutually agreed introductions. “So there is nothing to lose, but everything to gain,” she said. Sylvia McGeachie MSc Org Psycho; BA (Hons) (Psycho); MBPsS; Ch.FCIPD +33 (0)6 22 76 95 30 +44 (0)7501 911409

Sylvia is a successful life and business coach




Renovation, project management, fitted kitchens from UK supplier, upvc, wood & Alu windows, Plastering, Fosse septic, roofing, guttering, maintenance & repairs. All aspects of building work carried out. Fully insured - Assurance décennale Tel: 06 79 05 98 85 / 05 53 58 92 13 Email: Web: Depts: 24, 46 & 47

ALL ELECTRICAL/ PLUMBING WORK Underfloor Heating/ Aerothermie Premiere service guaranteed St Yrieux / Brive / Perigueux / Sarlat

Tel: 06 37 09 55 13 Website: Email: Siret: 489 542 589 00010

Brian Macey - Electrician maintenance, breakdowns, renovations, rewires, new build, interior & exterior 30 years experience

Siret: 49899034000016

Tel: 05 55 97 18 10



Repointing, Plasterboarding, windows, doors installed. Translations, planning permissions. Tel: 06 43 25 85 68 or 05 53 56 19 86 Email: Regions Covered 24,16,87 - Siret: 51913926500010

Siret: 517 566 196 00013 Regions Covered: 19,24,87

ELECTRICIAN Experienced & French Registered. Available for all types of electrical work. Insured and guaranteed. Areas: 16,17,24,47

K i W i

Tel: 05 46 86 07 61 email:

The international construction company that specialises in renovation. With our inhouse team of bi-lingual architects, designers and qualified trades, we follow your dreams from A-Z Dept 40 & 64

Kennedy Electricite Services


• Conception / Plans • Masonery • Plastering / Painting • Tiling • Septic Tanks and Drainage • Demolition works • Construction • Renovation T. 05 58 55 35 22 M. 06 03 18 53 31

Hautefort Renovation

Professional Building & renovation services

NE24 & bordering 87,19 & 46

Charles Fleming 0553501239 or 0684530839

Siret No. 49376573200015

Installation, rewires and repairs. 20+ years experience. Fully insured. Contact Justin or Melissa Kennedy. Tel: 05 55 56 37 36 Email:

Regions 87/24/16/23/19

Siret 503 417 04000014

Aveyron & Surrounding Areas Electrical and plumbing installations and repairs Fully registered Supplier of 16mm Hep20 water & heating pipe work and fittings. Tel: 05 65 29 49 25

Email: Siret 477 655 542 Tel: +33 (0) 6 16 95 48 49 Siret: 50114963700016 - Ad No. 16825


Renovation and constRuction of buildings and swimming pools. new timbeR fRamed constRuctions. negotiation of diveRse pRoducts

Tel/Fax: 05 53 56 68 87 Email:

LEGGETT IMMOBILIER studio Selling a House? Buying a House? lavalette The best in 3 to 5 day residential photo-holiday courses and 1-day photo-workshops.

Email: 4 Venelle des Ursulines, 16320 Villebois-Lavalette

For South Charente/Charente Maritime Sales and Purchase contact ELIZABETH TRUNKFIELD

06 04 43 93 51

The Connexion

March 2014


JOIN ARBFRENCHPROPERTY.COM Floor Plans & Rightmove Listing Save Money No More % Commissions Tel: 0044 (0)1803 469367 All Regions Covered

House hunting? Or selling your French house? Contact me!

+33 (0)6 88 89 93 62

Siret: 49008150200018 - Regions Covered: 12, 15, 81

Everything French Real Estate

Promoting French Properties for Sale in the Australian Market Place



Contact Alain: 05 53 92 50 00 Email:


Tel: +33 (0) 674 161 112 +33 (0) 534 305 133

MOUNT GREEN TREE SURGERY All aspects of tree work undertaken Professional service with over 15 yrs exp Realistic prices

Wastewater treatment systems

IN DEEP PISCINES Maintenance, leak detection, servicing, repairs

Tel: 05 53 22 79 18 / 06 84 68 84 92 Web: Email:

Regions: 24, 33, 46, 47, 82 - Siret: 504 576 802 00038

NEED A DIGITAL HEARING AID? Why pay French prices?

Home visits and consultations SW France Email: or write to HEARING ASSESSMENT CENTRE 99 Heron Place, Bramwell Way, London E16 2FL

Colour 31 page guide FREE for a limited period

Tax returns submitted on line. Double taxation relief Call Tony Hull C.A.S.A Registered Agent with HMRC.

GARDEN SERVICES Creation, Garden Maintenance, Tree Surgery, Felling Property Services

Tel. 05 65 34 09 91

Working dept: south 19, 46


Business accountancy, tax, payroll and legal services

All Gardening Work - Cutting Strimming - Hedge Trimming Clearance - Property Services

Contact Alison or Yannick Tel : 05 55 17 60 00 Email: Web site:

siret : 48293447800017

- Design - Creation - Garden management

High quality work by qualified gardeners

05 53 75 05 48 06 89 79 05 02 email: website

A Garden Design and Build Company

Pools, Integrated Systems & Automatic Mowers Tel/Fax: 05 56 61 49 35

Free first visit & quotation - 33 Monségur/24 Sarlat

Mob: 06 79 92 95 88

Tel 06 20 00 25 93 Email:

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

Just Kitchens

Individually designed German made kitchens Professionally installed Competitively priced Email: Tel: 05 62 58 03 64 32170 MIELAN & 32230 MARCIAC

Siret: 49372365400015


NO ANNUAL CONTRACTS OR MONTHLY PAYMENTS. Wireless or wired. Cameras with 24/7 recording + Internet access. Security lighting.

Tel: 06 27 76 95 91 E: W: regions covered: 24, 33, 17, 16 sirEt 50793843900019

STAR SATELLITE British TV in France

BskyB Qualified - For All Your Satellite Needs

Tel: 05 53 80 63 93 Email: contact Web:

Regions: Dordogne and surrounding Departments Siret: 50196266600019

Affordable Granite Worktops at competitive prices Cutting and polishing available Tel: 06 47 08 51 24

Siret: 79279978500011


Regions Covered: 24 46 47


ElEctronic Diagnostics & gEarbox rEpairs

with operator. 1.5T machine - ideal where access restricted. All types groundwork, drainage, barn and land clearance undertaken. e25 per hour.


Tel: 05 45 24 58 85

05 45 62 27 20

siret: 48309812500014

region: charente

Air Conditioning,Refrigeration EU Accredited.

* Maintenance * Servicing * Installation * Recharging

All types of systems.

Contact Philip Brown 05 53 83 47 51. Mob. 06 48 54 19 70. Email.

Working in dept: 16, 17, 24, 87 Siret: 48930027700014

Contact Barry On Tel: 05 53 29 03 52 Mobile: 06 24 07 31 14 E: Dept 24 - Radius 50 kms Sarlat

Siret 479 503 179 00018


Tel: 05 45 65 96 86 Mob: 06 61 90 04 92

Garden Maintenance Hedge Trimming - Strimming Groundworks / Diggerworks General Property Maintenance Property checks/Keyholding Photo updates

region: south West Siret: 4526 2188 1000 21


Changeovers * Gardening * Key Holding Pool Maintenance * Cleaning

British trained & qualified tree surgeon All tree work undertaken.

Garden & Property Services

ISO Sky / BBC Installations British TV Installations ADSL regardless of location t: 06 80 55 06 09 E: W:

Traditional pressure treated five bar gates. All sizes and fittings from e130 - Delivery available tel: 05 55 60 14 18




TV & Broadband Via Satellite

Siret 441 490 992 00019

Depts - 24,46,47 Tel: Bob & Tracy 05 53 30 28 52 Email:

Jardins du Périgord


Odd jobs to property management. Experienced and reliable. References available.

Adam Blackaby, Artisan Peintre Tel 05 45 98 07 25 Mob 06 23 18 30 95 Email:


Please go to website to see all the services we offer or call Mark


Call Matt Strawbridge on 05 53 95 80 27 E-Mail

Roots & Shoots Tree Surgery

Christopher Yankah

All interior/Exterior Work Paper hanging, tiling, flooring & dry lining

Tel: 05 53 57 13 35 Email: Registered Chartered Accountants

mob: (+33)(0)6 17 44 58 95 tel: (+33)(0)5 56 45 63 20 fax: (+33)(0)5 56 99 24 63 email:


Depts: 47, 46, 82, 32, 24


For more information call 00 33 (0)5 45 98 25 37

Alarm calls up to 4 numbers if activated.


SIRET: 50252222000024


for rural home owners and self-builds. Free costing and commissioning. French Ministry Certification. Call AV 2M our exclusive partner in the regions 16, 17, 24,33:

Siret 79105861300013


We do not only sell & install We also repair digiboxes NOW!! All freesat systems available

siret: 400 415 246 00026




FINNINGER & HELBACH Gmbh le petit Fouine, 16210 curac tel/Fax: 00 33 (0)5 45 98 25 37 email:

LEGAL AID accepted | Dually educated GB/ France

Tel: 05 65 37 79 64

E: Siret: 515 155 471 00011

- Business set up and registration - Business accountancy - Income tax, Wealth tax - Payroll and legal services

Depts: 24, 47, 33 - Siret 51021272300017


Tel: Kevin on 05 55 95 32 56

Registered Chartered Accountants


Energy Renewables, Central Heating, Bathrooms & All Plumbing works Tel: 05 53 58 67 19 / 06 86 14 38 15 Email:


Depts 87, 23, 19, 24, 46, 15 & 63

SAPEG expertise et conseil


Established in France for over 20 years


Directory 37


Siret. 75 041196 900017



Contact Ian at 07 60 06 87 60 Siret no : 51114297800010


(city & guilds) 35 years experience. Bathrooms, kitchens, central heating. Based St Foy le Grande.

WOODBURNING STOVES Traditional & Modern Heating & Cooking Stoves. Over 30 different models in stock. Official French distributer for midtherm flue pipes. Also large selection of household furnishings, décor items & giftware in our showroom.

Deux Sevres (79) Tel: 05 49 69 97 26 Web: Email: Siret No 480 148 527 00017

Depts. 47, 24, 33.


For all UK and French TV requirements Satellite internet installation available Established: 2000


AARROW YEOMAN STOVAX VILLAGER France agent - p.E.p leisure ltd UK 08717174097 Fr 0553732521

Depts. 24, 33. tel: 05 53 57 00 16 - Mob: 06 61 53 13 50 Email:

Tel: 05 53 06 08 65 Mob: 06 70 74 06 07 email:

siret:4974 1837 200019

Siret: 48443232300018

regions all France

38 Directory



Chats du Quercy Cat rescue and Rehoming Charity


Where each cat recieves the best possible care and attention from the day it is admitted to the moment of its adoption. Please call to make an appointment on

05 63 53 35 91 81170 Cordes sur Ciel

Wood Stoves



Is Alcohol Costing You More Than Money?

Call 0553816073

Call Alcoholics Anonymous.0820 200 257 Siret : 49197537100015


HOME - CAR - HEALTH We insure UK registered cars ENGLISH SPOKEN

(call Angeline) - 02 33 49 12 34 Guardian/House sitter available for immediate start. Long term required. Multi-skilled In building maintenance/ landscaping and gardening South Of France preferred. Tel: 00447751158999 Email:

FOR SALE / OTHER ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS South West France Have you a problem? Or Call Douglas Christine

PROPERTY FOR SALE €198,750 LUC SUR AUDE Total summer accommodation for 12. Visit website: Tel: 06 43 86 25 45 Email : 11190 LUC SUR AUDE English Cards (Phoenix). Le Touquet/Wissant markets (holidays). To request brochure: Tel: 03 21 85 28 99 Independent STONE BUILT HOUSE (1860s) in the Haut Languedoc regional park. In good condition, still has many original features. 9 Rooms, occupying 180m². Independent studio apartment, garage and parking for other 2 vehicles. outbuilding, 3000m² land. Offers on 159,000€. Tel: 04 68 32 61 42 Email:



If you are thinking of giving an animal a home, please consider adopting. We have many cats and dogs looking for loving homes. Please visit us at: PhoenixAssociationFrance

Les Amis Des Chats


Cottage in The Mayenne for Sale. 68,000 € Details on website. Tel: 02 99 47 83 22

promotes sterilisation to improve the well-being of stray and pet cats in the rural villages of SW France.

MAKE FRIENDS - HAVE FUN English Centre, Fécamp, Normandy needs voluntary English speakers for various activities.

TOP PRICE FOR VINYL RECORDS 05 63 94 08 91 or 82120 Marsac

to help run our charity shops and events. Donations are also gratefully received at Les amis des chats, 82150 Roquecor. See how you can support us by visiting

02 35 27 43 26

AUTHORS Synopsis and sample chapters welcome, please send to Austin Macauley Publishers Lts CGC - 33 - 01, 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LQ 00 44 9 (0) 207 0388212 All Genres considered


Registered charity no: W821000447

Advertise to Australians wanting to buy places in France NOW through Australian website specialising in French property

Useful telephone numbers EMERGENCY NUMBERS 18: Emergencies: Calls the fire brigade (Sapeurs Pompiers), but they deal with medical emergencies and are usually the first port of call in rural areas. 112: Emergency calls from your mobile: Be ready with your name and where you are calling from and do not hang up until told to do so. 114: Emergency calls (hearing assisted) 17: Police (gendarmes). 119: Child abuse. 1616: Sea and lake rescue. 01 40 05 48 48: Anti-poison centre 09 726 750 + your department number (eg 24 for the Dordogne): Gas & electricity emergencies 3237: (€0.34/min) Outside hours GP and pharmacy information (also available on UTILITIES

ORANGE Website in English: To report a fault online: (click on the UK flag). English-speaking helpline: 09 69 36 39 00 OTHER TELECOMS (French helplines): SFR: 1023 (+ 33 6 10 00 10 23 from outside France); FREE: 1044; BOUyGUES: 1034 (+33 668 634 634 from outside France) EDF: 24 hour breakdown line: 09 726 750 + your department number (eg 24 for the Dordogne): Gas & electricity emergencies Helpline in English: 05 62 16 49 08 From outside France: + 33 5 62 16 49 08; Email: GOVERNMENT AGENCIES 3939 ALLO SERVICE PUBLIC: 3939

(+33 1 73 60 39 39 from outside France) langue/english/ CAF:; Tel: 08 10 25 14 10. ASSURANCE MALADIE: English-speaking helpline: 08 11 36 36 46 URSSAF: English-language website: EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES UK Bordeaux: 05 57 22 21 10 Marseille: 04 91 15 72 10 British Embassy (Paris) 01 44 51 31 00 UK PASSPORT ADVICE + 44 208 082 4729 (cost of call plus 69p/min on card) OTHER EMBASSIES Irish, Paris: 01 44 17 67 00 US, Paris: 01 43 12 22 22 Canadian, Paris: 01 44 43 29 02 Australian, Paris: 01 40 59 33 00

Hundreds of practical questions are answered in Connexion helpguides. Order downloads at www.connexion JOBS OFFERED

The Connexion

Property sales agents required Seeking confident, bilingual, motivated sales persons in all areas of France to increase our property sales portfolio.


Interested? Want to knoW more?

email : call : 05 45 98 00 98

To advertise here call freephone in France 0800 91 77 56 / from UK 0844 256 9881 (4p/min)


IMMOBILIER RECRUITMENT More clients More commission More support

If you are confident, highly motivated, bilingual, organised, enjoy the sales process and above all love property, then we want to hear from you. For all enquiries and more information email:

BEAUX VILLAGES IMMOBILIER • Independent sales consultants required. • Eymet, Brantôme, Sarlat (24), Duras (47), Gourdon, Cahors (46). Other areas considered. • Like people and property, hard work and providing a service? Speak two languages? • Free training provided. • Contact us: 05 56 71 40 78

NZ, Paris: 01 45 01 43 43 South African, Paris: 01 53 59 23 23 OTHER INFO CLEISS: Social security advice when moving between countries: 01 45 26 33 41 (afternoons, Tuesdays or Thursdays, or mornings on other week days). Some advisers speak English. AFIF (funerals information): 01 45 44 90 03 SPEAKING CLOCK: 3699. WEATHER: 08 92 68 02 + dept. LAST INCOMING CALL: 3131, then ‘5’ if you wish to connect. OTHER HELP IN ENGLISH COUNSELLING IN FRANCE: for a qualified therapist near you or counselling over the telephone; ALCOHOLICS ANONyMOUS: Regular meetings are help (in French) across the country. For a list of local groups, see www.alcooliques-

March 2014

CARS FOR SALE SKODA FABIA ELEGANCE 1.2 TSI LHD Automatic Petrol. Dept.62 registered March 2013. Excellent condition. Vehicle in Boulogne. 11,750 Euros

LUNAR ASTARA 392 CARAVAN, 2 berths, 2003, many extras, perfect condition, 1500€ (North-East) Tel: 03 84 67 09 21


Café Church Bergerac

An English speaking approach to contemporary Christianity


Tea and Cake from 5pm Cafe Church from 5.30pm - 6.45pm Sponsored by and held at L'Eglise Evangelique Libre de Bergerac, 5 Rue Durou

For details of other meetings or Peter Shire 05 53 22 74 08

Looking for Christian Fellowship? Contact Pastors Brenda and Tony Lenthall

02 31 77 07 03 SOS HELP: similar to the Samaritans, listeners who are professionally trained; Tel 01 46 21 46 46 (open 3pm-11pm daily); CANCER SUPPORT FRANCE: for advice and someone to talk to: National Office: email:; Tel: 05 45 89 30 05. SOLDIERS, SAILORS, AIRMEN AND FAMILIES ASSOCIATION FORCES (SSAFA): In France: 05 53 24 92 38. Email: france@ssafa. ELIZABETH FINN CARE: Help for Britons and Irish people facing hardship. French caseworker Mary Hughes: 04 68 23 43 79 BEREAVEMENT SUPPORT NETWORK for those grieving for a loved one and needing to talk. Tel: 04 94 84 64 89 / 06 32 35 31 24

FREE Subscribe to our FREE newsletter sent to your inbox every Friday lunchtime. Subscribe at:

The Connexion

March 2014


Directory 39

Community What’s On TALES of RAF Bomber Command and the Lancaster bomber are the topic at AIKB’s March 1 talk in the Salle Polyvalente, Gouarec, Brittany. Hosted by John Cundy and John Hanson, it starts at noon. Tickets are e12. Star-gazers from the Lancaster talk can ask about the Bomber’s Moon on a trip to the Planétarium de Bretagne at Pleumeur-Bodou on March 19. Astronomer Charles Wiles will help explain. e10, child e8. SUNNY BANK charity hosts a Posh Paraphernalia sale on March 6 at The Grange, 815 Chemin des Gourettes, Mouans Sartoux, near Cannes, from 10.00 to 15.00. There is also an Open House on March 15. Details 04 93 47 94 20 or CANCER Support France national president Linda Shepherd steps down this month and her successor will be chosen at the CSF agm on March 20 at La Salle des Associations in Benest from 10.00. Elections will also be held to replace retiring treasurer, Andy Shepherd and secretary, Jane Thomas. CSF Haute-Vienne – agm March 5, at the Mairie, Videix at 14.30. Details Sue Ware 05 55 00 31 15 CSF Charente Plus – agm March 18. Aquitaine Chaplaincy marks Ash Wednesday on March 5 and also celebrates World Day of Prayer on March 7, with services around the chaplaincy on the theme Streams in the Desert. Among the services are 16.00 in Ribérac hospital chapel; 18.00 in Talence, near Bordeaux, at Temple, 283 Rue Frédéric Sévène and 20.00 in Villeneuve-sur-Lot Temple, 31 Rue du Général Blaniac. Details are available from Amy Owensmith on 06 07 04 07 77 or ONE OF Britain’s oldest cathedral choirs is heading to Poitou-Charentes next month when Salisbury Cathedral Choir joins La Rochelle-based ensemble Col Canto for a concert in the Eglise de Notre Dame in La Rochelle at 17.30 on April 6. The Salisbury choir has a history extending over 900 years and will sing three 16th century meditative pieces, two works by Greig and Mendelssohn, plus Giovanni Gabrieli’s magnificent Psalms 100 and 128. Col Canto will sing pieces by Rachmaninov, Villette

and Duruflé before the Salisbury choir joins them for some Brückner and Duruflé. Tickets e10 at door, e8 in advance – 06 32 96 63 14 or Other dates: April 4, Cathédrale Saint-Pierre Angouleme, 21.00; April 5, Saintes, Abbaye aux Dames, 20.30; April 7, Royan, Eglise Notre Dame, 18.00; April 8, Jonzac, Eglise Saint-Gervais, 20.30; April 9, Cognac, Eglise Saint-Antoine, 20.30. Details: or from David Forsyth on tel: 02 51 52 84 76 THÉÂTRE Tricolore returns “home” to the Théâtre du Château in Jonzac, Charente-Maritime, on March 21-23 with its production Good Day Good Knight, which promises “lots of fun and laughter and copious songs and dance to entertain all the family” with the Knights of the Round Table. Ticket prices remain e10 and under-18s e5 for the shows on Friday 20.00, Saturday and Sunday at 15.00. ACTOR and writer Tony Stowers is performing a show on the difficulties of being an immigrant at the Salle Jeanne d’Arc, Champtoceaux, Maine-et-Loire on March 1. Held each hour from 14.30, entry is free. Called Les Couleurs, it is in French and inspired in part by Justice Minister’s Christiane Taubira’s problems last November in Angers. RECEIVE advice on pruning at Gill Pound’s gardening workshop at La Petite Pépinière, Avenue de la Montagne Noire, Caunes-Minervois, Aude on March 12 from 10.00 to 16.00. This is the first of two courses she is offering this spring, with another on gardening with Mediterranean native plants on April 4. Details or call 04 68 78 43 81

The Connexion is pleased to publicise charity and not-for-profit association events without charge. Email details of events, including contact information, plus charity / association registration information to NB: space constraints mean we cannot guarantee every event will be publicised.

Find hundreds of community contacts online at Click COMMUNITY on the left-hand column

40 Directory


The Connexion

March 2014

Houses for sale across France PROPERTIES FOR SALE

Click Property for Sale box on the left side of and enter the reference listed below to find out more about properties

Buying or selling a property in France? We can help.

click on Property for Sale on the left-hand column and enter the reference code shown under the property.

Our website carries details of more than 14,000 homes for sale across France. We also feature properties for sale in this dedicated section of the paper each month. To find out more about any particular property, go to -

For sellers, the adverts are also displayed across a range of popular English-language websites and are seen by thousands of potential buyers EVERY day. Our 3+3 package costs just e200TTC and gives you three months online advertising as well as a print



Le Dorat: Limousin Close to shops, pharmacy, schools etc. spacious house of about 130m2 of living space. Three rooms on the ground floor: kitchen, lounge and former shop. 1st floor: large landing with storage. Four bedrooms, bathroom with shower and separate toilet. ENERGY RATING = E & G REF: 6063


REF: 853


ENERGY RATING = not given


e120,000 Loiret, Centre: Manche Well presented, modern 3 bedroom bungalow with an en-suite master, built 6 years ago and benefits from a garage, utility room, driveway and small fruit orchard.

REF: IFPC24191

REF: ADQ0050130


e143,000 Clermont-l’Hérault: Languedoc-Roussillon Town house renovated with taste, 85m2 living space with open kitchen, 2 bedrooms, bathroom and showers. Possible extension for 3rd bedroom. Attic. Electric heating low consumption. Workshop. Garage. ENERGY RATING = not given REF: 340133254

e180,000 Thiviers: Aquitaine Consisting of: living room, dining room, kitchen, utility room, 6 bedrooms, nursery bedroom, 3 showers, 1 bath, 5 toilets, secure storage room. Attached to the house is a large outdoor dining space 10 by 5 metres approx. covered with a wooden pergola. ENERGY RATING = D & E REF: IFPC15483


Cahors: Midi-Pyrénées Situated in a hamlet just outside a pretty rural village between Villefranche du Perigord and Cazals. There are neighbours to the rear of the property, on the other side of the pretty village square, but the house looks over its own land. 2 bedrooms, very large garden. ENERGY RATING = E & C REF: L2905

Property showcase

Plénée-Jugon: Brittany Located in the heart of the most glorious countryside this pair of houses with over a hectare of land could be a truly stunning rural home and everything you’ve ever dreamed of. With one house habitable and one to renovate it’s the perfect combination. ENERGY RATING = not given REF: FP-7899LG22

ST. Fraigne: Poitou-Charentes A really attractive property with potential. It is immediately habitable with possibility to extend in the attached barn Fosse septique 3000 litres ok, roof in good condition. lovely mature garden.

Marseille: PACA IDEAL INVESTMENT Apartment type 3 very good condition, bright living room, kitchen, two bedrooms, balcony, cellar, easy parking. View. Gated.


Contact us on 0800 91 77 56 (freephone in France) or email e84,000

Carhaix-Plouguer: Brittany Located in a very peaceful residential street, this pretty 3 bedroom house is habitable right away, nothing to do, and in good condition. Beneath the house is a large basement used presently as a garage and storage area (all insulated). ENERGY RATING = not given REF: M1151-2914298


Bagnères-de-Luchon: Midi-Pyrénées Duplex apartment of approximately 43m2. Perfect condition, very bright. Mezzanine, parking and private cellar.

advert in three editions of The Connexion. Our 6+6 package is our best value option at e330TTC and provides the same but for six months via each channel.

REF: 8930210

ENERGY RATING = not given


Plouguernével: Brittany Detached stone and slate “longere”, situated in a hamlet, with a wooded garden area of 1,800m2. Hangar used as garage. Septic tank. No double glazing. Oil central heating and hot water heater. The closest neighbour is 50 metres away. ENERGY RATING = not given REF: PERRET3357

Châteaulin: Brittany Situated within enclosed land of 1,500m2 with large south facing terrace, this 4 bedroom property is ideal for a family. It sits in a small town 7 minutes from the motorway and 5 minutes from St Segal. Many renovations done: windows, electricity, insulation. ENERGY RATING = not given REF: ADY0050544



Montmorillon: Poitou-Charentes Exceptional split level property overlooking the River Gartempe and facing a beautiful mill on the opposite bank of the river. Located in a conservation area of natural beauty in a hamlet comprising 2 properties, the second being a small holiday house. ENERGY RATING = E & A REF: 6002

Civray: Poitou-Charentes This lovely detached 3 bedroom house will offer you total privacy in a privileged setting. Set on approximately 5,000m2 of land, the property radiates peace and quietness.





Coulounieix-Chamiers: Aquitaine Beautiful Perigord House in quiet place, 10 minutes from Perigueux, built on basement and benefiting attic: 4 bedrooms, veranda, terrace, two kitchens, two toilets, 1 bathroom, 1 toilet, 1 mezzanine office, living / dining room. ENERGY RATING = D & E REF: 61-3927

La Tania: Rhône-Alpes This is a lovely ski in/ski out apartment in the village of la Tania, which is at the heart of the 3 Valleys ski domain. The apartment has 30m2 of living space comprising a kitchenette leading to the living area and a balcony with views of the village. ENERGY RATING = F & C REF: LA7369843



Rostrenen: Brittany Unique contemporary residence built in the 80s in lovely setting offering spacious and light accommodation on a mature plot of 1.25 acres. Glazed on majority of southern aspect with several sheltered terraces and patios light, airy and practical. ENERGY RATING = not given REF: LEMEURJM553

Beaumont-le-Roger: Upper-Normandy Village house for sale with amenities nearby including the ground floor kitchen open living / dining room, shower / toilet. 1st floor: 2 bedrooms, 1 with shower room / wc and fireplace. 2nd floor: bedroom with bathroom. ENERGY RATING = not given REF: 1925

Use our wide distribution in France to get your property sold! A property advertorial is the ideal - and cost-effective - way to market your property and costs just e300ht for two editions

PROPERTY ADVERTORIALS showcase your house in a quarter page space on the property pages, like the ones on page 41. To book, or for details call 0800 91 77 56 or email

The Connexion

March 2014

Directory 41



Beautiful villa in stunning location, 20 minutes from Nice airport MAGNIFICANT villa for sale on the Cote d’Azur in a pocket of calm and nature, with a view over the mountains, and only 20 minutes from Nice airport and beaches, and 10 minutes from shops,

With a living space of 170m2 this two-story independent villa sits on 2,000m2 of land with lots of trees. It is located 5 minutes from the renowned village of Tourrettes-sur-Loup, the capital of violets. A large living room of 40m2, three

bedrooms, two bathrooms, one being 10m2 with a large Italian shower and bath. There is a free standing pool 7.5m x 4m. Underfloor heating and hot water is supplied via an air exchange heat pump.

The land is flat and fully landscaped. A spacious and secluded garage of 24m2 with an automatic electric door. Attic to convert of 80m2 Private sale e690,000 Telephone: 00 33 4 93 59 38 35 Mobile: 00 33 6 52 89 68 42

The hilltop village of Tourrettes-sur-Loup with views out to the Mediterranean Sea




Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët: Lower-Normandy A very large country house with gite and separate cottage, in a rural location. This property offers spacious, flexible accommodation, with many period features and beautiful views over the countryside. ENERGY RATING = D & D REF: LBVImmo463

Clermont: Picardy House comprising ground floor: entrance hall, living room with fireplace, toilet, bathroom, kitchen and reception room of 72m2, first floor: landing, three bedrooms, bathroom with toilet and an office and a loft of 50m2 on the ground (can be divided into rooms). ENERGY RATING = not given REF: AFE0020190

Quillan: Languedoc-Roussillon Detached villa with 728m2 mature garden, terrace, Garage & 2 independant flats all with a magnificent view towards the mountains. The house comprises fitted kitchen; utility room; living room with insert fire; 3 bedrooms with fitted wardrobes; Bathroom. ENERGY RATING = D & C REF: 2369




Sarlat-la-Canéda: Aquitaine Have your own new house built in pure traditional Dordogne architecture on any building plot of your choice around the beautiful medieval market town of Sarlat in southern Dordogne. English speaking builder with impeccable 20 years track records. ENERGY RATING = A REF: Prayssac


Donzenac: Limousin 10 minutes from Brive, mansion on beautiful park of about 6000 sqm with swimming pool. It consists of a ground floor living room with fireplace, kitchen and large open terrace piece. Upstairs, 4 bedrooms, one with en suite bathroom. bathroom. Large attic. ENERGY RATING = E & F REF: 269-733

REF: 215-1304


Poituo-Charentes: CharenteMaritime Spacious 3/4 bedroom Bungalow, with double glazing and electric radiators throughout. 11kw log burner in lounge and 6 minutes walk to the beautiful sandy Nauzan bay beach. ENERGY RATING = E

Lyons-la-Forêt: Upper-Normandy Spacious contemporary house set in mature, landscaped gardens of 2,300m2 20km from Rouen. Finished to a very high standard with a total of 160m2 habitable space. Good sized outbuilding could be converted. ENERGY RATING = F & D REF: DOM1553



Mondragon: PACA Lovely single storey house, very neat and decorated with exquisite taste, 122m2 on 1120m2 of land, beautiful living room with fireplace, kitchen, 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, walk-in shower, 2 toilets, double glazing and louver shutters PVC windows. REF: ADW0051821

Cosne-d’Allier: Auvergne Stunning renovated stone house with a lovely location on a plot of almost 1.2 ha with outbuildings and a swimming pool. Offers 200m2 living space with 5 bedrooms and is currently in use as a chambre d’hôte. ENERGY RATING = not given



REF: IFPC24099

Saint-Pol-de-Léon: Brittany Close to the beach. A large house with dependences. Lounge with wood stove, fitted out kitchen laundry, four bedrooms, showerroom, bathroom. Garage. Dependence.

Dourdan: Paris Ile-de-France Spacious house of 170m2 comprising ground floor: entrance, living room with wood burning stove, fitted kitchen, bedroom with bathroom and shower spa, wc. Upstairs patio, bathroom, three bedrooms, one with shower room, wc. REF: ABZ0050839

REF: 63001111



ENERGY RATING = not given

Brioux-sur-Boutonne: Poitou-Charentes Country house in very good condition with 4 bedrooms and kitchen of 31m2, lounge of 30,7m2, living room of 30m2, veranda of 42m2. Second house of 76m2. Outbuildings. Swimming pool. Secluded and closed land. ENERGY RATING = D & D REF: 4642




Draveil: Paris Ile-de-France On a plot of 804m2, character house of 110m2 habitable space. It offers 5 bedrooms and a living room with fireplace. It also has a basement and a large garage for two cars.

Honfleur: Lower-Normandy Fully renovated house is set in 0.49 acres of garden. The house offers 210m2 of living space and comprises a vast living room with a fireplace, fully fitted kitchen, 5 bedrooms, 2 shower rooms, 3 WC and a linen room. 2,000m2 of garden. ENERGY RATING = not given REF: 52604

Tours: Centre The house includes an entrance hall, fitted kitchen, scullery with access to courtyard. A living room, dining room, 4 bedrooms, shower, wc, bathoom with shower. 2 large attic rooms. A vaulted cellar, small cellar. Private sanitation. Fuel oil fired central heating.. ENERGY RATING = E & E REF: 240




Joué-lès-Tours: Centre Building with 12 apartments located near the faculty of Southern Tours. With 7 parking spaces. The 12 studios are furnished and rented. Gross rent is e48,500 / year.

Biot: PACA Peaceful, yet in the heart of the village of Biot, this charming terraced house is in very good condition with beautiful open views to the countryside and mountains. The living room and kitchen open onto a sun terrace. 3 bedrooms. ENERGY RATING = not given REF: 4692MG-EB

Hautefort: Dordogne Renovated 5 bed mill-house on the Auvezere river with own island and extra large, private swimming pool. The property benefits from 400m2 floor space & 36,000m2 land.

REF: AYU0050332

REF: AVX0043732

ENERGY RATING = not given

ENERGY RATING = not given

REF: IFPC24072



The Connexion

March 2014

Get your TV back after satellite change Satellite coverage Source: SES –

MANY readers lost satellite TV services last month after the BBC and other UK broadcasters switched channels from an Astra satellite in orbit over the Equator to a newer and better focused satellite, called Astra 2E, which is “nearby” in space and whose signal was supposed to miss out France. Satellite manufacturers SES Astra said 2E was “designed in accordance with the wishes of our customers, who do not have broadcasting rights for mainland Europe”. The BBC and ITV said they wanted the signal focused on the UK and UK TV licence-payers while Sky, which uses the 2E and 2A satellites, said its contracts permitted customers to view programmes

Astra 1N – old coverage

Astra 2E – today’s coverage

in the UK and Ireland only. Switching to Astra 2E redrew the coverage map with a much tighter focus on the UK, as can be seen from the BBC’s maps, above: at left is the old Astra 1N “footprint” and, right, 2E. It shows why northern read-

ers are wondering what the problem is all about – many of them are still in the satellite hotspot and have no difficulties. However, there is much less “spread” to the south. The situation was like having a flat in a high-rise block

A SAD FAREWELL It is the end of an era as we say goodbye to Linda Shepherd this month. Linda was the founding president of CSF which, in its infancy, was a single association called Cancer Support Poitou-Charentes (CSIPC). It was started to meet a perceived need following Linda’s own cancer diagnosis and the subsequent difficulties coping with a both a different language and health system. Since that first step CSF has grown from a single association to a network of affiliated associations numbering some sixteen, together with links to several others and a national committee to coordinate issues and ensure best practise and that ideas are shared. Active Listeners (those who actually support those in need) are trained to exactly the same standard using a package that, although originally designed for CSF by MacMillan UK, has subsequently been modified to more closely meet our needs. In addition to the network of associations, CSF also runs and moderates a forum for use by anyone who wishes to discuss and share issues. Linda’s legacy includes not only the network of associations, but the links that she forged with both La Ligue Contre le Cancer and the Institut National du Cancer (INCa). These links have enabled CSF to translate booklets and leaflets on French healthcare and cancer that are valuable to all associations in meeting the needs of clients. In addition, CSF is shortly to finally sign an agreement of partnership and cooperation

with La Ligue which not only recognises the professionalism of CSF but will provide a great deal of information, and credibility with healthcare professionals. To date CSF has actively supported some 1300 people. We wish Linda much health and happiness as she takes up her ambition to become an ordained minister, a process she has already started. Linda we owe you more than can be expressed here!

CSF NATIONAL AGM - 20 MAR The CSF national AGM will be held at the Salle des Associations at Benest, Charente at 1030hrs on Thursday 20 March. Refreshments will be available from 1000. It is at this meeting that Linda will formally step down after almost twelve years at the helm

CSF-DS AGM – 24 MAR The CSF Dordogne Sud AGM will be held at the Institut du Tabac, Domaine de la Tour, Bergerac at 1100hrs on Mon 24 Mar. Refreshments will be available from 1030hrs and the meeting will be followed by a buffet lunch. Those wishing to attend are requested to notify their intention in advance to 05 53 08 20 53 in order to aid catering.

National Support Line: 05 45 89 30 05

Source: SES –

LIFE changed abruptly for many expats in France last month as they lost BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 television services almost overnight. This was due to a switch to a new satellite to give better viewing for TV licence-payers in the UK. KEN SEATON has put together a short guide to the changes and several possible solutions to restore some or all of your favourite viewing

beside a football ground: you got a great free view of the game but did not pay for it. Then, the football club decided to build a stand and shut off most of the view. The answer in the high-rise would be to move to a higher floor and a similar option is best for many expats in the south: get a bigger satellite dish. However, the real answer depends very much on your own situation: geographically, technically and financially. Results can vary for readers living just a few kilometres apart; they will also depend on the equipment you have and also on what you are prepared to pay. Online discussions with customers and suppliers imply that the heaviest problems cover departments along the Pyrénées and the Mediterranean with more central departments having a varied response depending on locality. Many viewers lost the Channel 5 signal (which moved to Astra 2F) last year and have now lost all channels. Some signal may return using different channel numbers but this is likely to be short-term, possibly due to atmospherics, and may vanish when SES Astra fine-tunes the 2E signal this month. The next step is to check that dish alignment has not been affected by winter storms. If you do not know how, speak to a satellite engineer who, for a normal call-out fee, will check it and if there is still no signal give suggestions on what you need. Those suggestions will likely involve a new larger dish and/ or a new LNB converter. The quality of both dishes and LNBs varies but they are vital to pick up a good signal, much more so than the latest set-top box, which can only work with the signal it is given. Costs for a bigger dish and LNB vary widely and they are more difficult to set up and target than smaller ones so getting in an expert is a good idea unless you are very confident. Do not be in a rush as SES Astra has not finished its fine-tuning – and make sure to work with a proper engineer with Siret number, offering a devis. Planning laws do not allow dishes on the side of buildings – yet many are – and with sizes up to 1.8m being suggested for areas near the Spanish border, these must be sited in a garden or a roof not visible to passers-by.

A whole fleet of Astra satellites sit a few miles apart at 36,000km above the Equator giving TV and internet services

Different communes have different restrictions in their règles d’urbanisme so check with your mairie, especially in historic areas, for what is needed by the DDE, Direction Départementale de l’Équipement. Dishes over 1m need planning permission although checks in the Dordogne, for example, found that Bergerac had no restrictions in place, while Eymet had restrictions only inside the historic bastide. If getting channels by satellite is not an option then, depending on your internet speed – you will need about 2Mb for TV and 4Mb for HDTV – you may be able to use services such as a Virtual Private Network or IPTV service. VPNs set up a proxy internet link to the UK through which traffic is routed and this masks your computer’s real location, allowing you to watch live internet TV on your computer. If you do not want to watch on your computer, or if you do not have a Smart TV, this can be routed to your TV with an HDMI cable (for best quality), or VGA plus sound cables. Some products, such as the new Airtame or Google’s Chromecast, use your computer’s Wifi to send a signal to an HDMI receiver in the TV and avoid a mess of wires. VPN also allows use of BBC iPlayer and other catch-up TV services and will cost a few pounds per month. BBC Radio is available on your computer but there are restrictions on some content. The BBC also offers some shows on BBC Worldwide but

not day-to-day programmes. An IPTV set-top box is being offered to many as it connects your TV to a UK site giving full programming. The kit comes with a remote control and a monthly subscription. Other paid-for sites such as FilmOn and Aereo offer films and live programming but are being accused by broadcasters of violating copyright by rebroadcasting channels without consent. The European Court has also said that one site,, and others rebroadcasting live TV on the web without permission are pirating content. Firefox or Chrome web browser users can get the free MediaHint or Hola add-ons that let you watch internet media streaming services with live TV, and iPlayer. They may not be a long-term solution as they too face a legal challenge. If your main home is in the UK then Slingbox can “placeshift” your cable or satellite signals by streaming them over the web to your French home. If all else fails, French companies offer TV and internet by satellite but they are aimed at the French market for people in isolated areas. They have few English channels. One bonus of the French interest in English is that mainstream TV here carries foreign series and films which, although dubbed, are also available in VM or version multilangues. Change the language of the broadcast with the set-top box remote and you can watch CSI, NCIS or Sherlock in English.

The Connexion

March 2014

PRACTICAL: Business 43

A helping hand for south-west businesses TWO new faces give a new look - and added energy - to international business links in the south-west as Corize Van Rensburg and Roger Haigh join the local Franco-British Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the Corrèze and the Dordogne. Both will be working to give aid and training to incoming businesses who need to learn how to set up to work in a French environment. They will also help to develop export trade using the expertise of the wider CCI network in France and elsewhere. Corize, a South African who recently took French citizenship, has been working for three months in Brive-laGaillarde after living in the area for nine years. She says that the FBCCI provides an interactive business network with many social and business events a year plus a platform for promotion and communication. She highlights the strengths of the Corrèze with its wide variety of industries, ranging from forestry and timber; foods such as magret, foie gras and veal; tourism and international companies such as the night goggles manufacturer Photonis and others which provide a wide range of opportunities on the doorstep. Rugby with Top 14 club Brive to the

Corize van Rensburg with Franco-British CCI president Robert Lewis fore, is also an important part of life and central to many business networks. Central, too, for Corize as it brought her to Brive when her South African husband Charl joined the club. In Dordogne, Swiss-born Roger will be introduced officially to businesses and CCI members at a special event on March 20 but he is already known to many in the department’s No1 industry, tourism, as he has been co-director

of the Ecole de Savignac hotel management school since 2007. He starts work with the Dordogne FBCCI in June. He aims to boost links with industry and others in a bid to stimulate both inward investment and exports and sees the department’s natural beauty and tourist industry as a key attraction. He also points to its leading position in the luxury goods market with companies such as Hermès, Guy

Laroche, Sauvagnat umbrellas, Texier bags ... and Dordogne caviar. Although they are in neighbouring departments they will not be battling over contacts as, like other FBCCI groups, they will be working together and aiming to put their members in touch with the people who can help them develop their businesses with legal, financial and marketing advice along with vital tools for negotiating. With FBCCI groups from Caen in the north to Nice and the Côte d’Azur in the south, they have an unrivalled free network of contacts who can give advice on all aspects, from starting up the smallest auto-entreprise to putting together major export contracts. Membership costs vary between departments: in Corrèze, for example, a new auto-entrepreneur will pay e160 while a small business with two or three staff will pay e250. Larger companies can get Corporate or President’s Forum membership where the cost will be e4,000. Corize, who formerly ran her own golf products company, said they want to attract investors to invest in France and start businesses, grow the businesses to create jobs and then to become a focus themselves to bring new industry into the departments.

Buying local is made easy and cheaper BUYING locally-produced food directly from the farmer or grower is becoming easier with the rising success of La Ruche qui dit Oui – a concept that brings consumer and farmer together and cuts long-distance food transport. The (literally translated) “hive that says yes” network has grown over three years to have more than 300 “hives” linking 26,000 customers and 1,800 farmers across France via the Ruche website ( Farmers offer produce for sale on the site’s local page and customers can see what is available, order and pick up their purchases from a central base on a set day. It cuts travelling and so offers quality food at attractive prices. No money changes hands as sales are paid for by credit card on the site. Caroline Maire in Montignac, Dordogne, who started a Ruche this year, said it was a way “to know who is producing the food you eat - and where and how.” She has nearly 200 registered customers who look to buy the meat, dairy, vegetable, fruit, bread, honey and jams on offer.


The Connexion

March 2014

I like your â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;pactâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; - now mineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a pint please IN January President Hollande announced a â&#x20AC;&#x153;pactâ&#x20AC;? between the state and businesses as part of plans to make France more prosperous and boost employment. While there have been mixed reactions from business leaders in France (see right), his ideas have found support across the Channel with praise from British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has introduced several similar policies in the UK. The Conservative leader said France was â&#x20AC;&#x153;on the right trackâ&#x20AC;? with the so-called â&#x20AC;&#x153;responsibility pactâ&#x20AC;? during a recent visit by Mr Hollande to Britain. He said he thought the pact would help to increase investment and create jobs which would be good for the UK as well as a significant trade partner of France. The pact will see a lowering of business social charges and simplifications. Mr Hollande says the aim is more production. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have to produce more and produce better; we must improve our offer,â&#x20AC;? he said. Here Connexion looks in detail at what is involved in the pact.

Mixed reaction from unions and business groups

What is the timetable? Initial talks have already been held with employersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; bodies and unions. A report on social security funding was due on going to press, including looking at how to make up the funding loss from the cotisations familiales. In April Mr Hollande said the government will â&#x20AC;&#x153;launch more simplification measuresâ&#x20AC;?. Discussions will conclude at a big â&#x20AC;&#x153;socialâ&#x20AC;? conference in the spring and a document will be drawn up formalising the pact. In the autumn there will be a framework law for 2015-17 planning the outlines of public finances and social security funding, taking account of the pact. The 2015 Finance law, voted by the end of this year, will include a first raft of business tax modernisations, the president said.


What does it involve? n The headline element is the abolishing, by 2017, of the cotisations familiales â&#x20AC;&#x201C; social charges paid by employers at 5.25% of the gross salary towards funding the family allowance system. The aim is to improve profit margins. n The CrĂŠdit dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ImpĂ´t CompĂŠtitivitĂŠ Emploi (CICE) continues, with its rate increased as of this year. This is an income or corporation tax credit for firms with employees. It amounts to 4% of salaries paid in 2013 and 6% as of 2014. It is restricted to salaries up to 2.5 times the minimum wage and does not apply to those above this. If you qualify, you should check how to claim it for 2013 (see CICE-info). It is also possible to have part as an advance payment. n By 2017 Hollande also promised a general modernisation of business taxation with â&#x20AC;&#x153;fewer taxesâ&#x20AC;?. n Regulations will be reduced. MP Thierry Mandon and Guillaume Poitrinal, ex-head of business property group Unibail-Rodamco, will run a â&#x20AC;&#x153;Simplification Councilâ&#x20AC;?. This will be ongoing until 2017 and will review 10 key acts in the life of a firm with the aim of making these steps â&#x20AC;&#x153;easierâ&#x20AC;?. n In return Hollande said firms will have â&#x20AC;&#x153;fixed objectivesâ&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; defined nationally according to work sectors - in terms of hiring people, employing young people and senior citizens, work quality, training, and dialogue with unions. A body will be set up to monitor this.

Reader question answered

David Cameron invited François Hollande for lunch in Oxfordshire pub the Swan Inn in Swinbrook. The pub told Connexion the president ordered a half of the local real ale, Hook Norton. The owners also offered him a small glass of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;very good Chablisâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;

BUSINESS organisation Medef welcomed less tax and social charges to boost productivity - which it said it had been asking for - but criticised obligations in return. Referring to the governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wish that he should negociate with unions over these, Medef head Pierre Gattaz, visiting America, told journalists: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got to stop governing by constraints... People saying â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to force you, if you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t manage there will be penalitiesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;... Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s intolerable, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not in the playground.â&#x20AC;? However Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault blamed â&#x20AC;&#x153;jetlagâ&#x20AC;?, saying he hoped Mr Gattaz would undertake discussions as agreed on his return. Small and medium-sized businesses body CGPME said firms have faced â&#x20AC;&#x153;growing complexity and discouraging taxationâ&#x20AC;? and proposed its own ideas for tax reductions, saying the pact is â&#x20AC;&#x153;vagueâ&#x20AC;? so far. However its president, Jean-François Roubaud, said â&#x20AC;&#x153;there has been a positive effect on firms from the pact announcementâ&#x20AC;?, though he could not give figures as to extra jobs that might result. The president of the FĂŠdĂŠration des Auto-entrepreneurs, GrĂŠgoire Leclercq, said it was not expected to have an impact on the auto-entrepreneur system. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more about simplification for larger companies, rather than sole traders like us,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t pay specific family allowance contributions â&#x20AC;&#x201C; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s contained as part of a standard social security package which is expected to neither go up nor down as a result of this.â&#x20AC;? Unions reacted with suspicion. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s one more gift to the bosses,â&#x20AC;? said the large CGT union in a statement, denouncing a â&#x20AC;&#x153;deal between the president and the head of Medef â&#x20AC;? and a lack of clarity as to how the government would make up for the cotisations familiales.

If you have a work query send it to

Do B&Bs have to put up notices about sexual harassment and smoking laws? MY WIFE and I run a B & B with a modest turnover and have received an email telling us to put up information on a host of workplace laws, about sexual harassment, sex equality, smoking etc. It links to a site called Centre National du Droit du Travail where I can buy these for e89. Do we really need these for a small establishment like ours? S.L. We checked with a local Chamber of Commerce and Industry as to obligations on chambre dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;hĂ´te


owners with regard to putting up information. An adviser said they are limited to information on pricing and on emergency exits and safety procedures. Concerning prices per night and for breakfast, for example, they should be put up outside as well as in the reception area and on the bedroom doors. As for the other matters, such laws only have to be posted up in businesses with employees, which does not seem to be your case, unless perhaps your wife has employee status as a conjointe salariĂŠe, having said which in an arrangement like yours, it

would be more common for her to be your associĂŠe (equal partner) or collaboratrice (parner who helps in the business without being paid). Even then, said the CCI, â&#x20AC;&#x153;for a small family business thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no need for all these laws to be posted upâ&#x20AC;?. We note also that the site linked to is owned by a commercial publisher, even though it claims to be â&#x20AC;&#x153;approved by LĂŠgifranceâ&#x20AC;? (a government legal information service). On the general matter of obligations to put up legal notices, where these are required it is true that

they are numerous. Just the basic ones, in theory from one employee, include details of the local work inspection service, of a work doctor, safety and fire advice, how the convention collective (workplace rights agreement) can be consulted, sex equality, working hours, weekly rest periods and paid holidays, harassment and discrimination laws, available posts in the business, no-smoking rules, how to consult a list of professional risks associated with the sector, and details of unions. Further elements are required from 11, 20 and 50 employees.




The Connexion

March 2014

Monaco tax rebate decision due soon

RESIDENTS of Monaco with homes in France should receive a decision next month on whether they may expect rebates for tax paid on these homes if they were kept for personal use and not rented out. Tax officials in Menton say they are waiting for government confirmation, but should know more within weeks. A ruling last year of France’s top administrative court, the Conseil d’Etat, against the law (Article 164C of the tax code) which taxes non-French and non-Monegasque people with homes in France for their own use, is expected by tax experts to take immediate effect. They say there will be no declarations this year and it will be possible to apply for reimbursements. However an official at the Menton tax office, to which those concerned have previously had to make tax declarations, said they still have not been updated. “We think it is probable that there will be no 164C this year, that there will be no declaration, but people will have to call us in April to be sure,” she said. “We’ve had some peo-

We’ve had people contacting us, asking for reimbursements, but for the moment we can’t do anything Menton tax office

ple contacting us asking for repayments for past years, but for the moment we can’t do anything since we don’t really know the official decision – although no doubt it won’t be long.” The law states people who are not tax residents of France but who have homes there for their own use must pay income tax on them on a sum equivalent to three times the market rental value of the property, unless they already have French source income of a higher amount, in which

case they will be taxed based on that. This is modified by tax treaties with other countries, however the one between France and Monaco means neither French residents nor Monegasques, have to pay French tax under this law. However people of other nationalities, such as Britons and Americans, have had to up until now. The position changed with a ruling on December 26 by the Conseil d’Etat that the article breaks European law on the free movement of capital. Tax experts expect many people will be able to reclaim tax paid in 2013, 2012 and 2011, by making a réclamation contentieuse – a letter contesting the previous tax, providing legal arguments and evidence to the effect that the person has a right to a dégrèvement (reimbursement). The ruling is also expected to mean that reimbursements could be claimed for the same years with regard to the higher-than-usual capital gains tax that has been levied when a person living in a non-EU country like Monaco sells a French home.

PRACTICAL: Property 45

Win a e2m Ardennes home in a e10 quiz

The house has 520m2 of living space, a 200m2 outbuilding and a 1.5ha field A HOME-OWNER from Prez in the Ardennes has come up with a novel way of selling her e2 million home – by a quiz that participants pay e10 to enter. Natacha Baudier, 39, wants to leave the area this summer so, having failed to find a buyer for a reasonable price, she is offering her home (valued by an expert from a popular property website) to the winner of a general knowledge and logic quiz. With a closing date approaching last month, she had only around 100 entrants, so has now extended the competition to August 18. She put the small number down to an initial lack of publicity. Participants pay e10 by Paypal and are then sent two questions (in French) by email. Because it involves an element of skill

Ms Baudier states her quiz will not fall foul of strict rules against organising a “lottery”. She said: “There’s no chance involved, so it’s not a lottery or tombola. The winner will be the person who responds as nearly as possible to the responses I have given a notaire. I will approve the game if I’ve got 150,000 participants and there will be new questions for finalists if there is a tie.” She said the game was approved by the notaire, who will collect answers securely and choose the winner, though an initial classification will be made using software. Finalists may be asked to reply to final questions in person, she said. If the game is annulled due to insufficient participants, money will be refunded. See www.devenez

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46 PRACTICAL: Property

LegalNotes Tiny House

Q: With regard to the European Succession Regulation [which changes rules on which country’s laws are used to decide inheritance rights], we have been advised that the effective date of its application is August 17, 2015. Is this a definite date or does it depend on France bringing in the necessary changes in its own laws before then? As a follow-up, is there any chance that France could introduce the rules earlier, if it was so inclined? J.W. A: Commonly known as Brussels IV, the European Succession Regulation actually came into effect on August 16, 2012, however its provisions will only apply from August 17, 2015. There is no expectation that individual member states including France (but excluding the UK, Ireland and Denmark, which have opted out of the Regulation) will bring forward the date of application of the new rules. I also consider it unlikely that the French Government would

bring forward the implementation date as this is likely to be met by challenges from individuals who have already arranged their affairs based on the published date. The provisions will apply to the death of an individual on or after August 17, 2015. It is, however, perfectly possible for individuals resident in France who are not French nationals to make a Will now electing that, provided they survive until at least August 17, 2015, on their death they want UK law (or the law of whichever country they are a national) to apply to their worldwide estate on death. Those with dual nationality can choose whichever country’s law they prefer. As many readers may already have gathered from articles on this topic previously published in The Connexion, as the UK, Ireland and Denmark have opted out of the Regulation, its provisions will not apply to a UK, Irish or Danish national resident in his or her own country who also has property in France. After their death French Succession Law will govern who inherits his or her real estate in France.

Tel: +44 (0)113 393 1930 

Sarah Bright-Thomas of Bright Avocats answers a reader query Q: In my area there are new laws on garden fires and interior log fires. Advice from the mairie in Villecroze (Var) suggests it may no longer be possible to burn garden refuse and chimney fires may also be banned, a worry for those of us who reply on this for winter heating. S.C. A: Rules on such matters vary, subject to rulings by the prefecture and local mairie bylaws, so it is best to follow the mairie’s advice. As a general rule garden bonfires are highly regulated. In your area there are exceptions outside the “red” period of the year (the dry summer months), for example, for people who live near forests and need to clear scrub and

brushwood as part of forest fire prevention, or where the burning is to destroy harmful organisms infesting the waste. Even so there are conditions and prior authorisation from the mairie. As for chimney fires, the most widely publicised ban in France has been one relating to Paris and the Ile-de-France, which means that from January 1 next year open fires will be banned in the region and in Paris itself burning wood will be totally banned. The reasoning is that open fires emit fine particles of pollution. Other areas have also been considering similar bans. A mairie official for your commune told us a recent rule states fires should be of the enclosed type only, known as an insert or cheminée à foyer fermé.

Tel: 05 61 57 90 86  If you have a legal query send it to We select questions for answer every edition

March 2014

is more than a shed – it’s a real home

IT MAY look at first glance like a common or garden shed but this Tiny House is in fact a fully-fitted mobile home sleeping two in relative comfort. It can sit on any piece of land without needing planning permission and so is ideal for visitors, as a spare room or a gite. Normandy builders Michaël Deslages and Bruno Thiery got the idea from a friend, Yvan Saint-Jours, the founder of La Maison écologique magazine, who had seen one in the US and asked them to build it so he could see what it was like to live in. He spent last summer in the new Tiny House and says it was a great success. Michaël said: “He had seen the Tumbleweed house in the US and wanted to try it himself. Afterwards we had many messages from people wanting details. “Last year we built two Tiny Houses and we are building a third and preparing a catalogue for an Open Day to show people what we can do.” The basic Tiny House is based on a wooden frame mounted on a normal steel trailer and has a maximum 2.5m width to be able to travel on the roads. It is 5m long with a 1.40m terrace and, with the towing bracket, makes a total of 7m in length. Outside height for the typical pointed sloping roof is 4.1m and this gives a useable interior height of 2.1-2.2m. In all, the Tiny House and trailer will weigh in at around 3,500kg and can be driven anywhere in Europe and elsewhere on an ordinary BE towing licence. Michaël, 42, who is also a paysan boulanger who grows his own wheat, says Bruno is the project manager. “He is a carpenter and did his Compagnon du Devoir (high level) apprenticeship. “He came up with the solutions to the problems we found when we redesigned the Tiny House to meet French norms and be ecological. “It is made from local Douglas fir timber and the cost depends on the exterior finish and interior fittings needed. At present it has one door and nine windows but we can deliver the basic building on the trailer minus only the exterior and interior fit-

Michaël Deslages and Bruno Thiery outside their next Tiny House

tings for e15,000. “Depending on what the customer wants, we can build a fully-fitted Tiny House for around e25,000 and a fully-autonomous one with solar panels and water filters for between e33-35,000.” “It can be unbolted from the trailer with a simple 19mm spanner – although to place it without the trailer on land you would need planning permission as it is no longer a movable object. Michaël says it is more attractive than a caravan but with a toilet, kitchen, shower and bed has the same attractions. It has been tested on the road up to 110kph. He plans to rent land in Rennes so his son can live in it when he goes to university as flats in the city are expensive. You can find more details at BELOW: Bruno at work on the latest Tiny House, which is based on the original US Tumbleweed Tiny House Company model, right and below right


Barbara Heslop of Heslop & Platt answers a reader query

The Connexion


Your questions answered

What can I do about noise and smells from farm? I SUFFER due to the proximity of a neighbour’s farm animals. I wonder where to find information on matters like: the distance cattle sheds, sheep pens and manure piles must be away from houses; regulations about noise and smells; well, water and land pollution, requirements for buildings (treatment of waste, regularity of cleaning out) etc. D.H. As a general rule problems of this kind come under the heading of trouble anormal du voisinage – that is neighbour nuisance and covers issues such as noise, smells, spoiling the view etc, that are over and above what may be considered reasonable behaviour. In the case of noise, for example, it is considered “abnormal” if noises are repetitive, intensive or long-lasting. In such cases it is worth enquiring at the mairie, which may have specific local bylaws regulating such matters; it is also advised in all cases that you initially make contact with the person to try to solve the problem amicably. A step up from this is using the free local conciliateur (mediation) service ( Otherwise, avenues for legal action include a complaint to the

police municipale or gendarmerie, who can make on-the-spot fines, or otherwise action may be taken in a local tribunal de proximité or tribunal d’instance court. In this case obtaining evidence, such as having a huissier (bailiff) visit to note the problems, is advised. In the case of nuisance from a farm, however, the principle of anteriority may apply, meaning you cannot complain about normal agricultural activity that existed before your home was built. Having said that, courts have ruled that if the nuisance exceeds what is reasonable for the type of business, you may still have legal grounds. Furthermore, livestock farming is subject to certain specific environmental protection rules including those on pollution and noise. A national spokeswoman for France’s chambres d’agriculture – the local agriculture industry bodies for each department – said if necessary your chambre (in Agen) should be able to advise on specific rules applicable to farms in your area (see: Animal welfare charity CIWF, meanwhile, said you should speak to the departmental veterinary services if you consider the farm may not be respecting rules on the way that the animals are kept (



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48 The Back Page

The Connexion

March 2014

Classic CitroĂŤn Traction marks its 80 years by KEN SEATON

AS CITROEN reaps the benefit of headlines praising its new C4 Cactus and its 91mpg fuel consumption it is also set to honour another mouldbreaking car, one of the C4â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s legendary predecessors: the Traction Avant, launched 80 years ago next month. The Traction Avant was a new style of car when first seen on April 18, 1934 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; with AndrĂŠ CitroĂŤn naming it after its front-wheel drive. Built on a welded monocoque it was lighter than its rivals and very robust â&#x20AC;&#x201C; shown when CitroĂŤn organised a crash test where the car was driven off a cliff. With its distinctive low-slung looks dominated by the long bonnet, large headlights and giant CitroĂŤn chevrons, the Traction Avant became an icon of the pre-war and wartime era. Its road-handling made it a favourite with police â&#x20AC;&#x201C; older people in the UK know it as TVâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Maigret car - the Gestapo and the Resistance but also gangster Pierrot le Fou, whose gang all drove Tractions. Now, CitroĂŤn is planning a birthday party on April 18 in its ChampsElysĂŠes showroom and owners and fans are planning events in many countries with a giant rally on September 13-14 at La FertĂŠ Vidame chateau in Eure-et-Loir, beside the top-secret CitroĂŤn test centre. Jean-Louis Poussard, president of organisers La Traction Universelle (see, said they planned to have 700 vehicles

Traction Avant with other iconic CitroĂŤns ... the 2CV and the DS with, below, the new C4 Cactus with amazing 91mpg fuel consumption and air bumpers to protect panels

for the rally in the chateau park. First opened in 1938, FertĂŠ Vidame was where CitroĂŤn tested the next Traction Avant, the six-cylinder 15/6, the 2CV and the DS. Modern CitroĂŤns and Peugeots are all tested there on what is Franceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest walled estate. It has 40km of two-metre high wall to stop prying eyes. However, security restrictions mean Traction owners will not get a chance to run on the neighbouring test circuit. Mr Poussard has restored two Tractions and is on his way to doing a third. Restoration takes about 1,200 hours but he said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;They are very easy to work on and little goes wrong!â&#x20AC;?

He and several dozen other owners headed to Skye in Scotland in 2012 for a rally there and not a single one broke down on the 1,500km trip. Traction Universelle has 1,400 members across France but also has links with clubs worldwide, including the UKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Traction Owners Club. Member Bob Street, who lives in Oxfordshire and Haute-Garonne, said many of their cars were built in Slough. He has two Tractions, a right-hand drive Slough-built model called the Light 15 and a French-made Normale 11, that is left-hand drive. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I like to use them whenever I can in summer. They are great fun for driving to the shops

and people always come up to chat. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They are also very robust and easy to work on â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and I am putting together an article for our club magazine on how to fit power steering to make parking easier. With that long stretch to the front wheels and front-wheel drive the Traction will give you muscles like Popeye when you try to get it parked! Power-steering makes it much more manageable. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Many owners like to keep their cars original, and keeping the original black is very common but others repaint them in more exciting colours. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My Light 15 is a beautiful cream colour because it was used in a wedding

hire business! I bought my first Traction after speaking to neighbours and friends in Haute-Garonne where they were all talking about the cars they would love to own. I saw mine and loved it, too.â&#x20AC;? Although the Traction was mainly built in France, others were built in Belgium and Denmark with right-hand drive models made in Slough. Bob said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Many ended up in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa as the UK government wanted post-war car production exports to bring in money. â&#x20AC;&#x153;These were Britainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s former colonies and in the same way there are many Tractions in Vietnam and other parts of French Indochine. Vietnam has its own version of the convertible, called the Saigon DĂŠcouvrable, a Traction with the roof cut off to create a cabriolet. A real Traction DĂŠcouvrable can sell for up to ÂŁ150,000 so you need to watch out for â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;bargainsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;.â&#x20AC;? Today the Traction is a cult car and that is perhaps best seen with students from the Collège Jean Moulin Montceau-Les-Mines who launched a e36,000 bid with the Fondation du Patrimoine heritage fund for backing to restore a 1940 Traction Avant 11B. Many classic car clubs will be holding events with Tractions Avants on display this year, but the major events are on May 31-June 1 at Roost Warendin, Nord; June 7-9 in Bergerac, Dordogne, August 8-10 at the EuroCitro rally in Le Mans, Sarthe, and Traction Universelle on September 13-14 at La FertĂŠ Vidame.

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From Citron to CitroĂŤn via Titanic

THE first Traction Avant was actually named the 7A, for its 7CV car tax rating (like the later 2CV) but was so-called to distinguish it from other 7CV Propulsion Arrière cars. More than 759,000 Tractions were built from 1934 to 1957, including 26,400 in the UK. The Traction aluminium alloy transaxle was later used in John Cooperâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s F1 race cars and won the 1959 world championship. CitroĂŤnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s chevron logo came after AndrĂŠ CitroĂŤn designed a steel helical gear which he used in a double mesh. The chevron shows the contact between the gears. His gears were used in the Titanicâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s steering system. The first CitroĂŤn, the 1919 Type A, was one of the first to offer a pre-built body. Previously owners bought a bare chassis and paid coach-builders to fit their own bodywork. Car giant Henry Ford offered his Model T in â&#x20AC;&#x153;any colour so long as itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s blackâ&#x20AC;? and CitroĂŤnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 1922 C2 was only available in yellow â&#x20AC;&#x201C; fans call it the Citron. CitroĂŤnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s MĂŠhari was different â&#x20AC;&#x201C; it came in two tones of beige.

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137 connexion march 2014  

The Connexion March 2014, France's English Language Newspaper

137 connexion march 2014  

The Connexion March 2014, France's English Language Newspaper