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PAGES 95c | ISSUE 10 | MAY 2012


Beach fun – P8

News and What’s On for Côtes d’Armor, Finistère, Ille-et-Vilaine and Morbihan

OWN-BRAND LABEL MAKES ITS MARK FOR REGION Thousands of jobs in €7bn windfarms

Full story – Page 3

Join the world’s biggest rock band

MUSICIANS are being asked to join the world’s biggest rock band in a bid to get into the Guinness Book of Records – by beating an Avignon music school’s current record of a 227-player band last October. Thierry Houal, of Musiques d’Aujourd’hui Pays de Lorient, said: “We hope to beat that – with 300 musicians! You just have to play an instrument, be between seven and 107 years old and commit to two rehearsals and one performance.” Rehearsals are on May 11/12 and June 19 before the performance outside the Grand Théâtre de Lorient on Saturday June 23, to coincide with the Fête de la Musique. There are four songs on the set list – The Kinks: You Really Got Me, Les Rita Mitsouko: Andy, Black Keys: Lonely Boy and ACDC: Highway to Hell – and music and tablature can be downloaded from the website Thierry said: “But the record is just the start: we hope if we put 300 musicians in the same band, they’ll all start setting up their own projects – and fill Brittany with music!” He added British musicians were more than welcome: “We love British music. Inscriptions are pouring in. Music schools, whole bands, choirs, all sorts of people of all sorts of ages... it’s going to be a blast!”


Dylan, Sting, The Cure play Brittany festival

Page 5

THOUSANDS of jobs will be created and millions of euros of new finance invested with the building of a windfarm at Saint-Brieuc as part of a €7 billion deal agreed by the government. The first electricity from the windfarm is expected to come in 2018, after the first of 100 five megawatt wind turbines is built on the 80km2 site 17km offshore. The project is expected to be complete by 2020. A consortium led by Spanish energy group Iberdrola and engineering company Areva was chosen by the government for the contract. Two further sites in Normandy at Fécamp (near Le Havre) and at Courseulles-sur-Mer (north of Caen), plus another site in Pays de la Loire at Saint-Nazaire have also been selected for new windfarms. These contracts went to a consortium led by energy giant EDF and engineering company Alstom. More deals are on the horizon, prospective sites already having been selected in Normandy, at Le Tréport (near Dieppe) and in Pays de la Loire at Noirmoutier. They are all part of a wider development project, involving both UK and Germany, which will see northern Europe become the world's largest wind energy production area. With total investment of €7bn in the project, it is expected to provide up to 10,000 new jobs Î Turn to page 2

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2 News PAGES

Thousands greet Tara’s round-the-world scientists


With a story, email: (please include a daytime contact number) With a subscription or advert query call: From France: 0800 91 77 56 (freephone) From UK: 0844 256 9881 (4p per minute) or by email: sales@ Brittany Pages is published by: English Language Media Sarl, Le Vedra, 38 rue Grimaldi, 98000 Monaco. Directrice de la publication: Sarah Smith. Printed at Nice-M Matin: 214 Route de Grenoble, 06290 Nice Cedex 3. Environmental policy Brittany Pages is printed on recycled newspaper, using a printing company which adheres to stringent regulations to reduce pollution.

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Contents News What’s On Feature Coffee Break

1-7 8-11 12-13 14

Food Directory Home and garden Property

15 16-17 18-19 20-23

Useful 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. 17: Police (gendarmes). 119: Child abuse. 1616: Sea and lake rescue. 01 40 05 48 48: Anti-poison centre (Paris) 08 10 33 30 + your department number (eg 76 for Seine-Maritime): Gas & electricity emergencies UTILITIES FRANCE TELECOM Website in English: To report a fault online: (click on the UK flag). English-speaking helpline: 09 69 36 39 00 (from France); + 33 1 55 78 60 56 (outside France). ORANGE: English-speaking helpline: 09 69 36 39 00. SFR: 1023 (+ 33 6 10 00 10 23 from outside France). FREE: 1044. BOUYGUES: 1034. EDF: 24 hour breakdown line: 08 10 33 30 87; Helpline in English: 05 62 16 49 08; From outside France: + 33 5 62 16 49 08; Email: GOVERNMENT ORGANISATIONS CAISSE D’ALLOCATIONS FAMILIALES CAF:; Tel: 08 10 25 14 10. L’ASSURANCE MALADIE (AMELI, formerly known as CPAM – the health service):; Tel: 36 46 (MonFri, 8am-5pm) English spoken. URSSAF: English-language website: - Finistère - 29455 Brest Cedex, Tel: 02 98 76 42 42 | Côtes d’Armor - Saint-Brieuc, 53, boulevard Clémenceau, 22093 Saint-Brieuc Cedex 9, Tel: 02 96 77 47 01 | Morbihan - Vannes, Zone d’activité de Laroiseau, 2 rue Anita Conti B.P.10323, 56018 Vannes Cedex, Tel: 02 56 56 25 25 | Ille et Vilaine Rennes, 6, rue d’Arbrissel, Quartier Beauregard, 35052 Rennes Cedex 9, Tel: 02 23 46 82 00 PREFECTURE: Finistère - 42 boulevard Dupleix, 29320 QUIMPER CEDEX, Tel: 02 98 76 29 29 | Côtes d’Armor - 1 place

du Général de Gaulle, BP 2370, 22023 ST BRIEUC CEDEX 1, Tel: 02 96 62 44 22 | Morbihan - 24 place de la République, 56019 VANNES CEDEX, Tel: 02 97 54 84 00 | Ille et Vilaine - 3 avenue de la Préfecture 35026 RENNES CEDEX 9 Tel: 02 99 02 10 35 OTHER HELP IN ENGLISH COUNSELLING IN FRANCE: for a qualified therapist near you or counselling over the telephone; SOS HELP: similar to the Samaritans, listeners who are professionally trained, Tel 01 46 21 46 46; NO PANIC FRANCE: for help with anxiety disorders; Tel: 02 51 28 80 25, ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS: An English-speaking Alcoholics Anonymous group meet at the Mairie at Paule, 10 Km from Carhaix in Finisterre (29). The open meetings are weekly on Tuesdays at 14:00; there is wheelchair access. 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 01 64 54, Email: AVF: help with integration into French life; OTHER INFO YELLOW PAGES: SPEAKING CLOCK: 3699. WEATHER: 08 92 68 02 + dept. number. LAST INCOMING CALL ON YOUR PHONE: 3131, then ‘5’ if you wish to connect. BRITISH CONSULATE British Consular Services, Paris: Postal address: British Embassy, BP111-08, 75363 Paris Cedex 08. Tel: 01 44 51 31 00 Tel (after hours Emergency Service only): 01 44 51 31 00 PUBLIC HOLIDAYS THIS MONTH May 1 - Labour Day, May 8 - VE Day May 17 - Ascension Day May 28 - Whitmonday

Brittany Clubs and Associations Association Dis-Want Scrignac Meeting Monday evenings during school term times at Scrignac school, a mixed French and English discussion group. Informal atmosphere and special events including excursions. Pauline Bruce: 02 98 78 20 02. Association Giroulis: Jeu de Peindre Play of Painting: A different approach to painting (using the Arno Stern method), open to all giving the opportunity to paint as freely as possible, for oneself with natural colours. Maryse Prat: 02 98 93 90 60 Cine Club Part of the Franco-American Institute in Rennes: free and open to members of the institute. English language films once a month on a Thursday (details are on the website, which is always kept up to date). At 7, Quai Chateaubriand, Rennes (35). Marie de la Villebrunes: 02 99 79 89 23

May 2012

Club Cricket de l’Oust Cricket Club based in Serent (56). Friendly games of cricket throughout the summer against other teams based in north-west France and also against UK touring teams. Jon Ward: 02 97 70 61 38 Compagnie Legitime Folie Drama club for all ages. Situated at 135bis boulevard Jacques Cartier, Rennes (35). Blandine Jet: 02 99 51 99 29 Kora Cantas The adults’ choir at the Carhaix Music School. All welcome, whatever your experience, but basses are urgently needed! Practices on Monday evenings from 19:30 - 21:30.Elizabeth Conan: 02 98 93 08 20 Association Oberenou Bulad Arts and crafts, including painting, patchwork, crocheting and spinning.

SCIENTISTS aboard the round-the-world research vessel Tara Oceans were stunned when they returned to Brittany from their 2½ year expedition to be met by a crowd of 5,000 and a flotilla of around 200 small boats. The reception committee sailed out of Lorient Harbour to welcome them home and Eloise Fontaine, of Tara Expeditions, said: “It was extraordinary! We didn’t expect it at all. “There were kayaks, dinghies, yachts, little speed boats, fishing boats, rowing boats, even the Customs officers turned out!” She and the rest of the Tara team spent the voyage researching marine plankton, which has been described as the pulse of our eco-system. Eloise said: “We wondered if anyone would be interested; but the public are fascinated. “There’s a real public thirst for first-hand knowledge. People want to talk directly to scientists. “Plankton is such a vital part of the eco-system, and our photographs were beautiful too – so the people who had followed the adventure



Brittany Pages

Hundreds of small boats and thousands of well-wishers turned out to welcome Tara home via our website or on Facebook really did want to come and meet us.” The expedition team spent hours talking to the crowds about their discoveries and future plans, signing autographs and shaking hands. “They were overwhelmed to

realise how much public support they have. The environment is so important, but it’s not mentioned in the election campaigns, politicians don’t talk about it. But, evidently, the people do care about it.” Later this summer Tara heads to Dublin and Brest

and then Paris before preparing for her next expedition: an Arctic expedition to research plankton along the Northwest Passage will start in May 2013. To follow the adventure, to donate or to find out more, visit

Windfarm plan gives jobs for thousands Î From

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spread across Brittany and Normandy. First jobs will be created in the building of factories in Saint-Nazaire, Brest, Cherbourg and Le Havre for the construction of the 600 wind turbines needed for the first tranche of the project. Eventually there will be around 1,200 wind turbines 20km off the French coast. Maintenance plants are also to be built in La Turballe, Saint-Brieuc, Ouistreham and Fécamp and, as further contracts are awarded, it is expected the area will become a wind turbine manufacturing hub. As well as providing jobs in building the factories, then the turbines, there will also be jobs on the ships to maintain and service the windfarms and extra jobs created indirectly, providing vital infrastructure. The first four windfarms are expected to produce 2,000mW of electricity, and as further farms are built, this is expected to rise to 6,000mW by 2020. The government backed the Courseulles-sur-Mer site in the face of objections it would disfigure the area of the Second World War Normandy landings. However, ministers said it would boost renewable energy production and put the country at the head of an emerging new global industry.

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Look after those that matter. Jennie Poate, Regional Manager Tel French Head Office: 05 56 34 75 51 Email: French finance in plain English Siddalls France SASU, Parc Innolin, 3 Rue du Golf, 33700 Mérignac - RCS BX 498 800 465. C.I.F. No E001669 auprès de ANACOFI-CIF association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Financiers et Courtier d’Assurances, Catégorie B - ORIAS 07 027 475. Garantie Financière et Assurance de Responsabilité Civile Professionnelle conformes aux articles L 541-3 du Code Monétaire et Financier et L 512-6 et 512-7 du Code des Assurances.

Brittany Pages

News 3

May 2012

The Je Relocalise campaign has been running for six years and uses French and Breton

by SAMANTHA DAVID NOWADAYS the “Produit en Bretagne” logo is a familiar sight in shops across Brittany; the project to encourage consumers to buy local has been running for 19 years and covers a broad range of services and products as well as foodstuffs. It was started by four business leaders in the mid-90s who were looking for a way to encourage sales and create jobs. Through market testing, they realised consumers preferred to buy local and set up a nonprofit association to encourage this. Today 260 local companies are members of the association, between them employing around 100,000 people and turning over in the region of €15 billion a year. Each member pays an annual contribution to the association which then uses the money for marketing and promotion, such as a 2006 series of awareness-raising adverts in the Parisian Métro under the theme “Relocalise your shopping” and this year electing its own government of “relocalisation”. “It was very successful!” said the director of the association, Jakez Bernard. “We used Breton in the adverts too, and raised awareness of our logo to around 50%.” It was also important, he said, because there are nearly a million Bretons living in Paris. “We want homesick Bretons to know that they can buy products from Brittany all over France.” The association is in itself a symbol of the working culture of Brittany. “The Breton esprit is very collective, very sharing and communal. We like working collectively. “Individual bosses are so busy today, they don’t have time to do everything themselves.” He said that people in Brittany get there faster by sharing their savoir JAM-MAKERS Les 4 Saisons are based in Finistère (29), and are long-standing members of the Produit en Bretagne Association, having joined in 2000. Chief executive Pascal Lepoutre said: “I support the principle of thinking local. We are very involved with the association, and belong to several sub-committees working to develop employment in the region.” They lobby for local jobs, and carry out marketing and advertising

Photo: Jack Fossard

Local logo is a guarantee of jobs and quality produce

AFTER running for 42 years the Lorient Festival Interceltique – this year from August 3-12 – is “a central part of our cultural identity” says director Lisardo Lombardia. It had been in the ‘Produit en Bretagne’ association for six years as it was a good way to work with others in the cultural field: “The cultural life is at the heart of what we do. We’re very proud to be involved. It does not just put us in touch with other actors in faire and co-operating – even with their market competitors. Members also benefit from consumer trust in the logo. “Polls show that consumers see our logo as a mark of quality. They know where it’s made and that makes them trust that it’s made properly.” Companies undergo a rigorous evaluation process to join the association in the first place and then to encourage the public to buy local in order to support jobs in Brittany. “Today’s consumers look for products which are healthy, which are sourced locally and made from local produce so they can trust that it’s wholesome.” He added: “I mean, no-one wants to buy powdered milk from China, do they?” Consumers are becoming more

the same field, it means we can act together.” It was also a more effective way of promoting Brittany not just locally, but across France and even Europe. Every year the festival attracts a minimum of 700,000 people with music, cinema, dance, storytelling, poetry, talks, conferences, classes, competitions, clubs, local markets, traditional local sports, gastronomy and of course links to other Celtic cultures. “It’s important for Brittany to have a strong cultural image, distinct from other regions in

every product is also individually evaluated. “Our criteria are very strict. We’re even more strict than the government,” Mr Bernard said. The acceptance criteria depend on the product but include the sourcing of the ingredients, the way that they are processed and transformed, packaging, working conditions, food security, everything is evaluated at all levels. aware that their buying choices have an effect over and above which jam they have for breakfast. “Locallymade products are greener simply because there’s less transport involved. It’s a movement which is happening all over France. “People want to be environmentally friendly.” Originally from the north-east of France, he also has a jam-making company in Provence, and is also working there to sell his products to local markets in order to create local jobs. “Positioning yourself and

France,” he said, “not just for business and investments, but on the human scale, it’s our heritage, our culture.” He added: “Everyone needs an identity; everyone needs to know who they are and where they live. If people buy things with the ‘Produit en Bretagne’ logo, they can be sure they’re supporting the local economy and cutting the expense and pollution from transporting goods into the region from elsewhere.”

The association encourages member companies to be as green as possible in their processes and general way of functioning, by sharing best practice and new experiences. “But fundamentally, the association was founded to create jobs and that remains its aim. We also aim to retain companies in Brittany and we support companies to prevent them going out of business.”

The association also promotes the message that buying locally is a way of preserving local jobs, Mr Bernard said. “That’s why what we do is important.” Next year they will celebrate the association’s 20th anniversary with a raft of events and promotions. Not least of which will be going to the Agricultural Show in Paris... to take the local message to the capital.

having a strong identity on the market is very important, so having a local identity is very useful.”. For him, the difference in Brittany is the people really do want to work together and have a genuine will to work and build local businesses which capitalise on their solidarity. “I think the public are fed up with globalisation, finding the same products everywhere. They want

something authentic, something which isn’t standardised, but which is personal, traditional, which has roots in the local community.” And, finally, he says he has a special message for readers of Brittany Pages. “Especially for our British friends living here we launched our new lemon curd in 2011, so look out for it in the shops. And we make marmalade. We use bitter oranges from Seville and I think it’s the best marmalade in the world! So look out for these two products specially made with Brits in mind.”

4 News

Brittany Pages

May 2012

Schools excel St Emilion, the wine town, is in bac results

Did you know?

ONE OF the world’s most-revered wines and wine-growing areas owes its origins to a Breton hermit who gave his name to both Saint-Emilion town and the wine. The 8th century monk Emilion was originally from Vannes and left his family and his home region for life in a monastery in what was to become today’s Charente-Maritime. He joined a monastery in Saujon, Santonge. According to legend, when he was in Brittany he was a baker for a count and was known to help the poor by smugging loaves out for them. The count became suspicious and one day asked what he had under his tunic. Emilion replied that it was firewood he had gathered for the poor and, when he lifted his tunic by a miracle the loaves had turned into firewood. Later, when in Saujon, some jealous monks hid the tools he needed to get his bread out of the oven but, undeterred, he simply walked unharmed into the oven and then back out again. He later became a hermit and began to live in a cave in the forest of Les Combes, to the north-east of Bordeaux – the location of modern Saint-Emilion. This area had been the site of the villa belonging to Decimius Magnus Ausonius, a 4th century Roman poet

Photo: Fab5669/Wikimedia Commons

named after a Breton monk

The St Emilion statue in Vannes and teacher who once taught the future emperor Gratian. Bordeaux was then known as Burdigala. Ausonius planted vines on the estate. The grand cru classé A Château Ausone takes its name from him.

Emilion is said to have carved the cave himself as a refuge from Saracen raiders and he lived there for the next 17 years. His bed was a simple recess in the rock. One of his miracles was to divert the nearby river so that it gushed from the ground near his cave as a spring. His reputation for generosity and for miracles spread and he soon attracted other Benedictine monks as disciples and they built a chapel which over the years turned into a monastic complex on the cliffs above the site. When Emilion died in 767 his fellow monks began to dig catacombs and a monolithic church carved out of solid rock. It has become one of the most famous churches in the world, with carvings of angels playing the viola. There is no record of Emilion ever growing grapes or making wine and it was only in the 12th century that winemaking became established and the area started to get a reputation for quality and fine wines. It was the middle of the 19th century before St Emilion wine got its noble reputation. Nowadays, visitors to St Emilion start their visit at the Hermitage Cave, while in Brittany the saint is remembered with a river and a fine church named after him. There is also a statue that was erected in Vannes in 1990.


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TRADITIONAL languages Breton and Gallo are fighting for survival in Brittany, say activists who want more support to keep them alive. Neither is now spoken as a monolingual mother tongue, and it is difficult to get accurate figures on the number of speakers – estimates range from 80,000 to 300,000 – and their fluency. In 2009 it was estimated only a handful of monolingual Breton-speakers remained, most very old. And, although 14,000 primary school children are enrolled in bilingual classes across the region this is only 2.5% of all primary school children in Brittany, as compared with 40% in Pays Basque and 12% in Alsace. France 3 broadcasts some programmes in Breton, such as their web TV channel Brezhoweb, and the language is well represented in the arts, and is used and taught by a range of cultural associations via a variety of festivals and events. It is however almost never used in any legal or administrative settings. Breton is a Celtic language connected to Cornish and Welsh and is the only living Celtic language not to have any official status. Gallo is a romance language from the same linguistic fam-

92.9% (up from 91.8% in 2010) although Grenoble and Nantes matched it. The pass rate for the bac technologique was also impressive: 87.1% (up from 86.6% in 2010) compared with 82.8% (up from 81.9%) in the rest of France. The only authority which enjoyed better results was Nantes with a pass rate of 88.7% (up just a shade from 88.4% last year). In line with the rest of the country, results for the bac professionnel fell: the rate was 88% (down from 90.7% in 2010) compared with 84.1% (down from 86.5%) across the rest of the country. In this section, neighbouring académie Caen scored strongly with 88.4% (down from 89% in 2010), Grenoble scored 89.9% (up from 89.7% in 2010 and Nantes improved its rate to 90.5% (from 90.1% last year).

Airline happy with flights AIRLINE CityJet says it is happy with its new service from Brest Airport to London City which is showing 70% occupancy. The service, starting at €79 each way, increases to four flights a week from June 19-August 30 and should sell out during the Olympics. It comes as Ryanair has dropped Brest-Luton flights.

8,000 in protest to keep local languages alive

Tarif de Convention?


SCHOOLS in Brittany have better-than-average “bac” results according to figures just released. The collated results show that 34,283 pupils in the Académie of Rennes sat their baccalauréat exams in 2011 and, overall, 89.8% passed, down just slightly from 89.9% in 2010. Across France the average was 86%, up from 85.8% in 2010. Only two académies did better with their overall results: Nantes had a pass rate of 91.1% (up from 90.3% in 2010) and Grenoble again hit last year’s rate of 90.4%. For the bac général the Académie of Rennes can also be proud: the pass rate was a stunning 92.5% (up from 91.3% in 2010) compared with 88.5% (up from 87.4%) in the rest of France. Only Strasbourg beat those figures with a pass rate of

ily as French and was once spoken widely across Brittany and parts of Normandy. Today it is less visible than Breton, although used in some signposting in Rennes and Nantes, its heartlands. Around 8,000 people joined a demonstration in Quimper recently to show support for the languages and demand that the government ratify the European Charter on National and Minority Languages. The charter has been stalled for a number of years as it contradicts the constitution, which says the only official language is French. President Sarkozy and National Front leader Marine Le Pen have both said they will not ratify the charter, but socialist candidate François Hollande, Green candidate Eva Joly and centrist François Bayrou have all said they are in favour of ratification. Signing would not make minority languages official, but would give recognition and open the way towards financial grants to help preserve the element of French cultural heritage. This year the International Celtic Congress is to be held in Guingamp in July and will lead calls for more support for Breton and other traditional languages.

Brittany trains are best in France BRITTANY has the best local trains in France as the TER (Transport Express Régional) network has won the Grand Prix d’Or from magazine Ville, Rail et Transport. Judges took into account punctuality – 96% of trains are on time – as well as convenience and welcoming service. In addition, judges approved the region’s innovative Korrigo ticketing scheme and low fares generally. The network carries more than 10 million passengers a year which is 5.7% more than last year and 57% more than 10 years ago. Plans are afoot to encourage this growth with €144 million of investment approved this year, not only in track and rolling stock but in the 116 stations across the network. A further €90m will be spent on running expenses. Larger trains, and doubledecker carriages are also on the cards meaning each train could carry 1,500 passengers. Mainline stations like Rennes will also be renovated in order to increase capacity. „ The Korrigo swipe card works on almost all transport systems in Brittany and contains tickets, travel passes, ID, reductions and vouchers. It is free from mainline stations or at bretagne under En 1 Clic.

News 5

May 2012

Dylan to play at Carhaix festival

Erika disaster verdict set to be thrown out by SAMANTHA DAVID

MUSIC legend Bob Dylan will play the Vieilles Charrues festival on July 22 in Carhaix, as part of a world tour that includes several gigs in France. Organisers for the festival, known as An Erer Kozh in Breton, confirmed the date after weeks of rumours on Twitter and Facebook. The line-up for the weekend-long festival includes Sting and The Cure plus Victoires de la Musique winners Brigitte and Hubert Félix Thiefaine. Fans say Dylan (71) has been on tour since 1988 but recently there have been rumours he has recorded a new studio album with members of his tour band and invited guests. He will also be playing Nîmes on July 15, Lyon on July 18, and Bayonne on July 20 before heading to Carhaix.

Water levels low but no bans – yet DRINKING water levels are still low after an abnormally dry winter, say department officials, who warn that some rivers are expected to run dry – with the Rance having only a third of its normal levels. Supplies should last out the summer but there will be no water to waste and they are advising households to save as much water as possible, before watering and hosepipe bans make it obligatory.

€400,000 helps elephants and lions WORK during the winter at Pont-Scorff zoo near Kerruisseau (56) has been a boost for both the animals and visitors. In all, €400,000 was spent on renovations and improving the enclosures, which involved creating a larger, outdoor space for the elephants and new platforms for the lions. The white Kruger lions now have new toys and raised lounging platforms which make them easier for visitors to see. For more info on the zoo see

Farmers fail to hit organic target

ENVIRONMENTAL pressure groups fear that oil company Total is about to win its appeal over the guilty verdict which blamed it for the 1999 Erika tanker disaster which caused widespread devastation and pollution damage on the Brittany coastline. They expect that the public prosecutor will announce at the Cour de Cassation on May 24 that the verdict must be annulled as France had no jurisdiction in the case. The Maltese-registered tanker broke up in international waters and any case should have gone ahead in Malta. If confirmed, the decision will dismay and anger environmentalists across the world – because the sinking of the Erika saw oil contaminating 400km of coastline, wrecking fishermen’s livelihoods and causing the deaths of a possible 75,000 seabirds.. Total was fined €375,000 and it and three other firms were ordered to pay €192 million in compensation after being found guilty of causing the pollution. MEP and Former French environment Minister Corinne Lepage – who represented Breton communes in the case – said if the decision went ahead it would be “catastrophic”. It would signal that oil companies have “impunity and can do anything they like”. The single-hulled Erika, which was 25 years old, had been sailing from Dunkirk to Livorno with 20,000 tons of oil and broke in two when she hit a heavy storm. Total lost an earlier appeal, in 2010, and Jean-Claude Hervé, of campaigning group Coordination Marée Noire, said: “It’s completely unacceptable that Total should get away without accepting their responsibility in this affair.” He said the Erika was on her


Brittany Pages

Volunteer clean-up crews try to clean large patches of oil pollution on a beach on the Ile du Croisic final journey: “That’s why Total was found guilty of ‘imprudence’ – because it knew it was taking a risk; it knew that the ship was about to be scrapped. “They knew it wasn’t seaworthy but they went ahead anyway.”

The problem, he said, was large oil companies saw pollution fines as simply the price they paid for transporting oil in ships which sometimes sank or ran aground. “They feel that once they’ve paid up, everything’s OK.”

Another Maltese ship aground LAST December, Maltese tanker TK Bremen ran aground on Kerminihy beach at Erdeven during a fierce storm, spilling fuel oil into the sea and sparking a huge clean-up operation. Crews in boats and on the beach worked round the clock to clear the oil to prevent further environmental damage and possible poisoning of valuable shellfish stocks. The tanker – stranded high and dry on the beach – was cut into pieces and loaded on to lorries to go for scrap metal. Today the beach bears few signs of the disaster and has been re-opened to the public. Once the water quality has been tested, it will open to swimmers again this summer.

Druids, Dali and incredible trees

BRITTANY and France are falling behind in meeting the government’s objectives for organic agriculture under the Grenelle environmental agreement. While the aim was for 6% of farms across the country to be organic this year only 4.4% of farms in the region meet that: 1,529 farms with 3.2% of the possible land area. Farmers blame the lack of incentives such as tax breaks to make them look at bio working.

Traders targeted in €2,000 phone con TWO SHOPS in Dinan have fallen victim to a telephone conman who has defrauded them out of pay-as-you-go phone cards. The traders, a tobacconist and a mini-mart, received calls from abroad from a man saying he was verifying codes of recharge cards. Each was asked to give the numbers of cards they had in stock – and, once they did so, the card credit was sold on the black market. Each shopkeeper lost the €2,000 value of the cards.

Total appealed against the judgment because it did not want people to be able to say Total was careless, he said. “It doesn’t want its money back. It’s such a small amount to Total, it doesn’t care about it. It wants to be able to say it was not at fault.” But, he said: “People who pollute must pay for the clean-up – fines pay for this, for restoring the environment and compensating people affected. We want to see a change in the law so instead of oil companies paying for the pollution they’ve caused, they actively try to avoid it in the first place.” Mr Hervé warned that if Total was to win then all offshore oil platforms would be exonerated from responsibility too. “They will be able to do what they like with impunity.”

This yew tree at St Lormel is said to be 1,000 years old – same era as the church

SOME of the most remarkable trees in Côtes d’Armor (22) have been given a new lease of life in a booklet published by the Conseil Général which gives details of 60 of the finest. The book provides maps and details of where to find the trees and explains what makes them remarkable. Some have simply grown into strange or surreal shapes as if they had been designed by Dali or Picasso, while others are very old or very large, and others still are remarkable for a rich human history. The oak tree at Tronc Joly in Bulat-Pestivien has a hollow in its trunk which is big enough to hide three people. Believed to be one of the oldest oaks in Europe, it was said to have hosted a library inside it that had been set up by 18th century monk LaGraët. A few kilometres away, at Pedordel, near Moustéru, a small group of conifers marks the spot where historians believe druids used to hold ceremonial and religious rites. Among the trees the remains of a vestigial alter can be seen. Apart from making the trees better known, the aim of the booklet is also to help preserve them – making them more visible makes them less likely to be felled. There is also a plan to erect signposts so walkers can find these trees more easily. The booklet, Des Arbres Remarquables en Côtesd'Armor, is free from the Conseil Général and some shops, or can be downloaded from the council website Enter “arbres remarquables” into the search engine.

6 National News

Brittany Pages

May 2012

News from across France

Social security deficit falls PROGRESS is being made on the problem of the social security deficit, new figures show. The good news was announced by director of the health branch of social security, Frédéric Van Roekeghem. The deficit of the branch (concerned with funding/reimbursement of healthcare) was €8.6 billion last year, down from €11.6 billion in 2010 – which is €900 million better than had been predicted. The comments contrast with the views of employers’ body Medef, which recently said the state health insurance system was “on the verge of bankruptcy”. It has urged the presidential candidates to prioritise a radical overhaul.

Photo: © lightpoet -

Brangelina’s wedding plan

tury chapel there. However, Brad’s agent, Cynthia Pett-Dante, said : “Yes, it’s confirmed. It is a promise for the future, and their kids are very happy. There’s no date set at this time.”

Efforts to keep taxes down RESIDENTIAL taxes for the coming year are being kept roughly in line with the past year, as mayors and departmental councils have reined back increases in the taxe d’habitation and taxe foncière. However, that does not mean impôts locaux are staying the same. Local taxes are levied on the theoretical potential rental value of the property, which is set at national level each year, and that has been increased by 1.8%. This means households will face a minimim 1.8% rise even where local councils have decided to maintain taxes at the 2011 level.

Soap spillage shuts motorway

WHILE Hollywood was abuzz with the news that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are to get married, it brought little reaction in the couple’s French “home town” of Correns, in the Var. Staff at the mairie knew nothing of the wedding. The couple own the Château de Miraval in the commune and there have been rumours that they were keen to tie the knot in the 16th cen-

TRAFFIC was disrupted on the A4 autoroute north-east of Paris after an HGV carrying liquid soap crashed, tipping its contents out. The accident, which involved a car, happened on April 12, between Sainte-Aulde in Seine-et-Marne and Orxois in the Aisne. The 40-tonne lorry veered into the verge and turned over, injuring the driver and dumping liquid soap tubs which broke open on the road. The motorway was closed in the Strasbourg direction, but was reopened later in the day.

Disneyland marks birthday DISNEYLAND Paris is 20 years old. With 250 million visitors since it opened in 1992, and 15.7 million last year, Europe’s top attraction is marking the date with a new night-

VISITORS to the Louvre can learn about the Old Masters with an audiovisual guide provided on Nintendo’s 3DS handheld console. The device has replaced the Paris museum’s electronic tour devices and allows visitors to see where they are at any moment on the map using the gadget’s dual screens. Through the Nintendo visitors can listen to interviews with curators and lecturers and get descriptions of more than 700 objects.

time show and a revamped parade. The park was originally known as Euro Disney, but was relaunched as Disneyland Paris in 1994 after poor hotel occupancy and takings. A second park, Walt Disney Studios Park, opened in 2002. Despite high visitor numbers, the company registered a loss last year, of €56 million, despite a rise in its turnover of 5%, to €1.3 billion.

Police ‘sold off seized goods’ SENIOR police officers in Lille, Roubaix and Tourcoing are under investigation for selling seized goods to help pay the running expenses of their police stations. The head of the Direction Départementale de la Sécurité Publique du Nord, Didier Perroudon, said since 2008 police had been selling off items found after burglaries or raids and which could not be traced back to an owner. Judges had ordered the items to be destroyed. The officers had used the money to buy lightbulbs, paint for an office wall or road maps. It was thought there had been no personal gain. Three superintendents and several officers have been investigated

intercommunal body from 20002010. The commission says it “doubts these measures were in conformity with directives relating to state aid to the aviation sector.” It is also looking into €8m in grants to the CCI for the running of the facility and grants to Véolia linked to the number of Ryanair services, as well as commercial agreements made between Rynair and Véolia and reduced airport charges.

Cost of living still rising INFLATION remains high in France, according to figures from official statistics body Insee. Average consumer prices were up 0.8% in

March over a month, and 2.3% over a year. Food is up 0.7% over the month and 3.7% over the year. However, Insee noted price falls in pharmaceuticals and electrical items like IT equipment , cameras, TVs, hi-fis and telephones.

Call for French food labelling CONSUMERS have called for a new food label to be created, to highlight products that are produced in France.

Nine out of 10 said there should be a collective Label France for food products, but added they did not want to pay more for the privilege as they found food too expensive. A poll, conducted for the National Association of Food Industries (Ania), found that two thirds of customers usually chose the cheapest products. However, they said food producers deserved a fair price for products. More than two thirds of respondents “trust French food businesses to ensure product safety”.

Lifts ‘could cause death’ AROUND 15,000 French lifts could kill or injure users, according to the Fédération des Ascenseurs (FA). Urgent upgrades – such as making sure doors are safe – were supposed to have been made by the end of 2010, but 8% of lifts are still illegal, the FA says. Nonetheless the FA says accidents are down (250 last year) and, since 2000, fatal ones have been cut by two-thirds. There have been 11 deaths since 2006.

Photo: © lightpoet -

AFTER two gangland shootings in 24 hours in Marseille, Interior Minister Claude Guéant has announced an extra 1,750 surveillance cameras across the city. The body of a 26-year-old man was found riddled with bullets in a seafront car park in the 8th arrondissement. The man was known to police for drug trafficking. Hours earlier the body of gang member Farid Tir was found in similar circumstances outside his home in the 3rd arrondissement. Guéant was speaking at the opening of a new Centre de Supervision Urbaine in Marseille which, he said, was the first stage in a project to have 1,800 cameras across the city.

Tour Louvre on Nintendo

Photo: ©PHOTOPQR/LE PARISIEN/Olivier Corsan

More CCTV after shooting

Airport under investigation THE European Commission has opened an “in-depth inquiry” into public financing at CarcassonneSalvaza airport, used by Ryanair. It wants to find out if grants made to bodies running the airport over the last decade are legal with regard to competition rules or may have favoured Ryanair. Similar enquiries are under way in Marseilles and La Rochelle. The airport was central government property until 2007 when it was transferred to the regional council. Véolia Transport took over last May. Its infrastructure benefited from €11 million from the region, department, town and

Fuel sales fall as prices rise PETROL prices have hit a new record, with SP95 averaging €1.6664 a litre across France. As prices have continued to rise since the end of 2011, however, fuel sales tumbled 3.5% in the year to March. Petrol prices in some Paris stations have been above €2

for several months. Diesel, the most common fuel in France with 80% of consumption, has also seen its average price rise after a modest fall last week. It now costs €1.4362 a litre, up from €1.4347 last week, but still far short of the mid-March record of €1.4584. Only the higher-octane SP98 petrol saw a fall in price: from its record of €1.7121 last week to €1.7095

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Brittany Pages

News 7

May 2012

South Africa beach is no substitute for real thing THE French Tourist Board “Go To France Now” site says it all: “Sometimes you just need to get away and where better than to a country that, while so close to home, often seems like a different world?” – except the Brittany pictures were, indeed, a different world. The advertising campaign for beaches in Brittany showed fine beaches – but in South Africa, to be precise. When the slip-up was exposed by a photographer, the other-worldly feeling continued: the replacement images used were of a beach in Florida. “It has made people laugh,” says a spokesperson at Tourisme Bretagne, “and, I believe, increased website traffic for several days! So there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but it’s a shame they didn’t ask us beforehand. Because it’s true that the photo they used looks a bit like a Brittany beach...” The £600,000 campaign, France, Come and Play, is aimed to lure people across the Channel to avoid the Olympics – and the photographs have now all been replaced by genuine photographs of Brittany beaches. See more (real) photos of Brittany’s beaches, at or better still go and see for yourself.

Retirements may make finding a GP a lot harder by SAMANTHA DAVID FINDING a GP could become a lot more difficult in a few years as a quarter of the ones currently working are due to retire over the next five years. With 66% of the GPs in some areas being over 60 years old there are fears some areas could become medical deserts: areas where the density of GPs is below the national average of 290 GPs per 100,000 people. Aurélien Robert, of the Agence Régionale de Santé (ARS), said: “There are currently no medical deserts in Brittany but we are looking to the future as the situation is patchy. Some areas could find themselves with problems in the future.” Communes all over the region are looking at ways of attracting newly-qualified GPs, and retaining them. “We put people in touch with each other, and we can help doctors and other medical professionals draw up projects for multi-disciplinary centres. We even give people grants of up to €10,000 so that they can employ a specialised consultant to help with the plans.” “It’s a question of setting up the right working conditions to attract new doctors, so they want to come here,” he said “We can’t force them to come. We have to entice them.” Group practices are popular because instead of GPs working alone all hours of the day doctors can share costs and responsibilities with other GPs and medical professionals. It’s easier to work flexible hours and/or part time, which is an important consideration for increasing numbers of female GPs juggling domestic and professional lives.

Where it isn’t feasible to set up a group practice, GPs can create virtual group practices or “pôles” which do not share premises but do share responsibilities for and information about patients with other doctors and medical professionals. This means they can limit working hours and take holidays without leaving patients in the lurch. These new arrangements are better for patients too, Mr Robert said. They still have a personal GP

but in an emergency, even if their own doctor is absent, they still have access to someone who has their medical notes. Another idea, is to encourage medical students to do internships and work experience in group practices in Brittany. “They can see how it works and see that working as a country GP does not mean being isolated and overworked. It’s also an opportunity to get to attached to the region!”

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8 What’s On

Brittany Pages

Côtes d’Armor

May 2012


FESTIVAL May 27 Plage en Fete, all day – This is a great family day out where the whole beach is filled with activities and free events. It’s a day of celebration ... come and enjoy a variety of sports as well as inflatables, trampolines, face painting, pony rides, golf, and fun fair games in a friendly atmosphere! All the action takes place on the beach and the boulevard.Try the tree trail, mini tennis, or even the golf range. A bar will be open and snacks will be available, so come along and party! FREE to take part. Call 02 96 41 81 52 or visit


Finistère Fouesnant

Photo: © Chris leachman -


May 5-8 Breadmaking and more, Chapelle de Kerbader – Come along for a rustic day of bread-making that the whole family can enjoy, including a collection of old tractors. FREE entry. Call 02 98 51 18 88


Plomeur SPORT

May 1-6 Championnats du monde de Stand-Up Paddle – At one of France’s best surf beaches, here’s an international competition for stand-up paddle, the latest adrenaline-fuelled watersport. Come and see how the experts handle the challenging waves at Pointe de la Torche and enjoy the atmosphere. FREE to spectate. Call 02 98 76 21 31,

Photo: © Stefan Körber -



Photos: © OT Saint-Cast-le-Guildo

Photo: © Photoroller -


May 6 Orchid Walk, Cano racecourse, 14.00 – Come with your boots and your cameras to marvel at the fascinating and beautiful orchids, and the insects that rely on them. Open to everyone aged 10+, this is a mesmerising experience, in meadows filled with flowers and butterflies. FREE to participate, please register beforehand. Call 08 25 13 56 10

Côtes d’Armor May 4 Yannick Noah Acoustic, Hermione, 20.00 – One of France’s most famous and successful celebrities, and reputedly one of the nicest chaps in show business, this former tennis champion has now been a chart-topper for years.With hits from his latest album, Angela Hello, his new show is more intimate than previous stadium venues as it’s acoustic, but it’s still likely to be high-energy! €45 standing, €55 seated. Call 02 96 33 32 50 or visit

Saint Brieuc


What’s On 9

May 2012






Photo: © Henri Riviè

May 11-12 Rally National Automobile – Starting on the Friday when the vehicles are checked over in the town centre, the fun really begins on Saturday at 09.00, with two timed runs, then the main racing circuits follow that. Departures are from the Place de l’Eglise and the finish line is in the town centre, expected at 22.00. Come and enjoy the cars both vintage and modern, and remember your camera. FREE.

Côtes d’Armor

Photo: © aragami -

Brittany Pages

Photo: © michael luckett -



MUSIC May 6,12 and 27 Sailboat excursion – This unique excursion on a traditional sailing ship departs from Lézardrieux, on one of three beautiful vessels.Take a packed lunch with you and follow in the footsteps of Henri Rivière, a local painter who was inspired by these seascapes. €45 for adults, €40 children under 14. Call 02 96 22 16 45 or visit

May 14-16 Bagad Cesson-Sévigné – To celebrate its 20th anniversary, this Breton musical group is holding several events over three days.The first is a concert at the Carré Sévigné on the 14th and a Fest Noz Breton-style party on the 15th, then on the 16th at 11.00 there will be a parade through the town centre. Some events are FREE, some ticketed. Call 06 60 76 28 96 or visit

Pick of the rest in Brittany May 4 Arts du Cirque, Langueux – A true spectacle, this show of two clowns with their less-than-perfect juggling, slapstick and music is pure entertainment. €6 to €14 02 96 52 60 60

Pont-Aven – You are invited to attend a concert by talented musicians from Moscow and Armenia.Works include Brahms and Khatchaturian. €15 and €10

May 5 Festival Breizh Africa, Finistère, Brest – Now in its fifth year, this festival celebrates and commemorates the abolition of slavery. In the festival village there are musical shows, dancing, and food with a true African flavour. FREE participation 02 98 44 24 96

May 12-13 Côté Jardin,Vannes – The elegant gardens surrounding Vannes ramparts are filled with exhibitors, displays and stalls. Here you’ll find everything from plants to ceramics, composters to decorative extras and professionals ready to advise on your own back yard. FREE for visitors

May 6-8 Pony Championships Ille-et-Vilaine, Iffendic – Held at the Centre Equestre de Tremelin west of Rennes, this event is part of the championship for the whole of Brittany. Stunning horses, skilled riders and plenty to admire. FREE

May 13 Braderie, Bruz – More than 450 private stalls and 70 professional stall-holders. Drinks and snacks available, plenty of activity and a great chance of finding a bargain. €1.50 02 99 52 17 25

May 9-11Cyrano de Bergerac, Le Quartz, Finistère, 20.30 – A masterpiece of French theatre: the story of Cyrano, whose large nose makes him so self-conscious that he can’t pursue his beloved Roxane. €26.50 for adults, €13.50 children 02 96 22 16 45

May 25-27 ArtRock festival, Saint-Brieuc – Every Whit weekend, crowds descend on this Breton town for the Art Rock Festival, which is to some extent the event which kicks off a season of festivals in Brittany. Expect to see Charlie Winston, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Shaka Ponk and many others. For the full programme, check out the website.

May 12 Fête Mondiale du jeu, Créhen – Head for the Salle Omnisports in this town west of Dinan and Dinard, where you’ll find all the games you can imagine, from board games to team games. Rediscover old favourites and find new challenges – plus it’s all free! May 12 Concert des Préludes, Eglise de Nizon,

May 27 Dérobée de Moncontour – This daytime festival is a traditional, open-air party in the town centre, with dancing and music. Procession at 15.30 to the Place Penthièvre where the party starts at 16.00. FREE to take part. 02 96 73 49 57

At the time of going to press The Brittany Pages checked, to the best of its ability, that the details of events listed on these pages are correct. However, as such information can change, please always check with organisers beforehand that there are no changes to the programme.

10 What’s On

Brittany Pages

May 2012

Get Involved!


Taking horses to heart

Promote your club or community event - email

THE Epona Trust, between Avranches and La Haye-Pesnel in Manche (50) offers a refuge to abused, ill, neglected and old horses and ponies. They currently have around 65 animals on their home farm. Ann Heighington started the charity in 1977, two years after she arrived in France. “But I’ve always saved horses,” she says. “I had a charity working with Dartmoor ponies in the UK.” The Trust has around 200 members and runs an extraordinary range of fund-raising activities. “Subscriptions alone just wouldn’t pay for all the animals we’ve got here,” says Ann. “So we have a sponsorship scheme, we hope for donations, we have stalls at vide greniers, and a charity shop on the premises. “We’re also organising a trip to the UK for our subscribers and we run themed parties like the Alice in Wonderland tea party. People dress up as characters from Alice and they have tea with strange-coloured cakes and

drinks, entertainments and games. A lot of French people come to those!” Their open day on May 27 will be just as lively. “Oh yes, people can come and interact with the horses, and hopefully adopt or foster them, but there will be plenty of other amusements: line dancers, horse and carriage rides, and karaoke in the evening. “There will be stalls and a craft market too. We don’t charge anyone for their pitches, we just ask them to make a donation if they have a good day. The idea is to promote the charity, make some money and get some people interested in adopting and fostering.” In an average year, they only find adoptive homes for 3-5 horses, mainly admits Ann, because they’re very fussy. Adoptions have to be right, she says. But fostering arrangements are easier to organise and she has a lot of horses fostered out in the summer. Contact The Epona Trust via email or by phone on 02 33 61 88 41.

Brittany Pages

What’s On 11

May 2012

What’s On in the capital


Newton’s iconic work for French title Nova and the British Vogue (right) Photo: Michael Schamis/Wikimedia

Fly high at funfair FAMILY

Photo: besofa/Flickr

Until June 3 – The Foire du Trône is a massive late spring funfair on the edge of the Bois de Vincennes, with rides galore, including a giant ferris wheel and all the usual stalls. A flat-rate pass (€29.99) buys access to the 10 big rides and other discounts. Open daily from 12.00 to midnight (1.00 on Saturdays). Metro Liberté (line 8) or 87 bus from Gare de Lyon.

French take on top Broadway puppet show Until May 27 – Sesame Street meets South Park in this musical comedy, which sees human actors performing and singing alongside puppets. The French interpretation is based on the phenomenally successful Broadway and West End shows and runs until the end of this month.Théâtre Bobino, Rue de la Gaîté (14e). Metro Gaîté (13) or Edgar-Quinet (6). €27 to €80.


Art events opened Suburban swing at Rare exposure for Degas nude works May 11-14 – The edgy, working class eastern Paris district of Belleville (pictured) hosts its annual artists’ open house event, offering the chance of a glimpse into the lives and work of local artists. More than 200 artists work in the free event, daily from 14.00 to 21.00, with studio tours, discussions and other activities. All mediums are represented, including painting, sculpture, street art, photography and video for the expected 50,000 visitors.

Photo: LPLT/Wikimedia


Versailles jazz fest

May 9-15 – Less than half an hour on the train from the centre of Paris, Versailles will host more than a dozen concerts, in a wide range of venues from restaurants to the town’s main market square, featuring established and up-and-coming French jazz, soul and choral performers. Some concerts are free, others range from €13 to €31.


Photo: Wikimedia Creative Commons

May 22 to June 10 – The best tennis players in the world will compete through seven gruelling rounds for the French Open title over a fortnight, and almost half a million fans are expected to flock to Roland Garros stadium on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne to cheer them along. Spanish star Rafael Nadal (pictured) was last year’s champion in the men’s tournament, and Na Li from China picked up the women’s singles trophy. Tickets range from €17 to €169 depending on your choice of days and courts. Metro Michel-Ange Auteuil or Michel-Ange Molitor (line 9), or Porte d’Auteuil (10).

Photo: Helmut Newton Estate

EXHIBITION Until June 17 – Since Australian photographer Helmut Newton’s death in 2004, there has been no retrospective of his work in France, even though he did much of his work here, particularly for the French edition of Vogue. A new exhibition at the beautiful Grand Palais aims to fix that – and show that Newton was much more than just a fashion photographer. Bringing together more than 200 of his provocative photographs, mostly original or vintage prints made under Newton’s supervision, the exhibition also includes press records, and a film made by his wife, June. Open daily, 10.00-22.00, except Tuesdays and May 1. Open late on May 19 for the Nuit des Musées. Grand Palais, Metro Champs-Elysées Clémenceau (1, 13) €11, concessions €8.

Photo: Helmut Newton Estate

Provocative photos explore fashion, money and power

World tennis greats play French Open

Until July 1 – The Musée d’Orsay hosts the first major French retrospective of Edgar Degas’ work in almost a quarter of a century. Organised in collaboration with the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, it focuses on the artist’s depictions of nude models throughout the course of his long career. It features several works that rarely see the light of day because of preservation issues. Open daily, 9.30-18.00, late night on Thursdays, closed Mondays and May 1. Metro Musée d’Orsay (RER C) or Solférino (12). €9, concessions €6.50.


12 Golf

Brittany Page

Glorious golf courses that w With hundreds of golf courses in France of all shapes, sizes and for all abilities, how do you know where to start? RAY CLANCY shares some tips on picking the right course, and the right gear to accompany your golfing trip WITH its varied landscape and topography, France is ideal golfing country and today there are more than 550 golf courses which cater for everyone from beginners to advanced. Such a variety means, however, that you need to choose your course carefully to get the best of a day’s golf, as the terrain can vary widely. By the sea in Normandy there are links courses (which are quite exposed) and inland in the Dordogne, for example, you can find courses with wooded areas and more protection from the wind. One of the most vital considerations for many golfers in France is the 19th hole. Indeed, former French professional golf champion Daniel Lefèvre reckons it is one of the most important points to consider when trying a new course or when going on holiday. “It is always agreeable to try out and enjoy the restaurant and bar facilities in the clubhouse. If you are on holiday it also gives you the chance to try some local specialities,” he says. “I also recommend looking at the culture and history of a course. It can be an opportunity for golfers and their families to discover a new area.” Some golf courses are famous for their food. An example is the Château des Vigiers near Bergerac in the Dordogne. There is a formal restaurant, a brasserie and a club bar which also serves snacks. The château dates

Golf gear fashion: the new black WHEN it comes to fashion on the golf course, black is the colour for 2012 – not just graphite shafts and driver crowns but, increasingly, clubfaces to match. Of course, black, gunmetal and other dusky finishes are not new, but what started out with a few anti-glare wedges has turned into a fully fledged fashion statement available as standard this season. Most bigger clubs have their own shops with the very latest gear.


Demand for French family breaks remains strong Final 2011 sales figures from The Hoseasons Group reveal bookings for France finished at three times the volume they were 10 years ago. ACCORDING to those 2011 sales, Brittany, Normandy and the Dordogne are the most popular regions for UK holidaymakers; with families, by a ratio of 3:1, the biggest fans. And it is therefore no surprise to learn that three per cent of breaks included a pet, and longer durations of 14 nights+ accounted for 40% of all bookings. The final statistics also show that UK holidaymakers to France don't plan too far ahead with 36 per cent of them making a booking within three months of arrival at their chosen holiday property. France has been a popular choice for British family holidays for gener-

ations due to its accessibility, alluring culture, world beating wines and sublime food. And a self-catering holiday in France still represents great value for holidaymakers as well as fantastic opportunity for holiday home owners. Simon Law, VP Property at The Hoseasons Group, commented: "Our booking figures for renowned brands like cottages4you and French Country Cottages clearly show that France continues to be one of the most popular European destinations, particularly with our database of holidaymakers which is one of the largest in the industry.

"For property owners, these figures underline the importance of choosing the right partner to market your holiday home and our owners are secure from the start knowing that they are working with a British holiday letting agency that is fully licenced and bonded to operate in France. "In addition, owners have access to a full agency service from our Head Office on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales as well as support from a team of 15 bilingual regional managers based across France. And of course, superb marketing underwritten by a group budget of

£27million is what drives the allimportant bookings". Gerald and Victoire de Maleville are a great example of owners working very successfully with the Hoseasons Group. In 2010, they secured 34 weeks of bookings and in 2011 sales were up by as much as 18 per cent. Husband and wife team Gerald and Victoire started renting out holiday cottages as a way to restore some of the beautiful buildings inherited from Gerald's parents and for him, the properties have become a business. In 2007 he decided to take a three year break from his job as commercial development director at Moet and Chandon to concentrate on the renovation project and has big plans for self-catering in the

Dordogne. Gerald was the architect behind the renovations and personally oversaw the building work, whilst his wife Victoire, who has an excellent eye for colour and design, took care of the decoration and furnishings as well as adding the final touches to ensure perfection. To date, the couple have renovated four properties within the Sarlat area of the Dordogne and each has been beautifully restored, combining classic architectural features with modern fittings and quality furnishings. Gerald said: "The general standard of the properties has to be high for today's holidaymaker. They are looking for a home from home, with the facilities they would expect in their own residence. We take great


Golf 13

May 2012

will suit you to a tee Main photo: Xiongmao - Side photo: Alexander Raths -

Tech tips: best golf gadgets „ THE MOST novel introduction in equipment, according to Golf Today, Europe’s leading online golf resource, is the Adams Speedline 9064LS where the shaft length can be varied by sliding different-sized metal spacers into the hosel section and compensating for the change in swing weight by switching a colour-coded sole screw. It claims to give an ideal trade-off between the speed advantages of a longer shaft and the control benefits of a shorter one. „ NEW technology is fast-moving in the golf world and GPS technology in particular has reached a new level for 2012. New gadgets give detailed green mapping features offering distance to mid-green ridges and they come pre-programmed with tens of thousands of courses, with all data revisions and software upgrades downloadable free of charge. „ OTHER glamorous gadgets include the Insight iTrainer, a box that clips onto the shaft of your club and delivers instant analysis on swing shape and club face angle as well as various dynamic data. Then to get in trim there is golf ’s answer to the treadmill, a pulley based home exercise unit for developing swing strength.

This beautiful course on the outskirts of Biarritz in the Basque country provides stunning views – but if you are a first-timer and want something less exposed and more easy-going, try an inland course in a wooded area which will offer more protection from the elements

back to 1597 and it offers gourmet golf packages with spa facilities. The golf course is suitable for beginners and advanced players. In the busy summer months, booking in advance is essential and it is worth checking to see if certain days of the week are members only. Mr Lefèvre also recommends choosing a course according to your style of play. He says: “There is no point in picking a wooded course if you don’t like trees around the fairways and likewise a links course can be too flat and windy for some players.” He adds that it is also worth considering the distance to get to the golf course and the difficulty level. “For beginners I recommend a good nine-hole course or one of the easier 18-hole courses without lots of trees and water. The aim should be to enjoy your day,” he explains. For example, Saint Laurent in Brittany, which has hosted both the French professional championship and the National Open, has fairways that weave through an oak and pine forest, but the trees are well spaced and offer protection from the wind. It has been named as one of the nation’s top 40 courses and is suited to players of all standards. There is a nine-hole course as well. Both Normandy and Brittany have some spectacular courses and some much soughtafter clubhouses. Golf d’Omaha Beach is on the shore close to one of the famous D-Day landing beaches of the Second World War. It is popular with Americans, as is Cicé-Blossac in Brittany where the greens and tees are built

For beginners I recommend a good nine-hole course or one of the easier 18-hole courses without lots of trees and water. The aim should be to enjoy your day

French golf is so much more relaxed FRENCH golf clubs are unstuffy compared to UK ones, says one expat golfer. Nicholas Allbeury, president of his local club, is “enjoying the best golf of [his] life”. He likes the lack of dress codes. “In England you must wear collared shirts and have socks pulled up to your knees and shorts down to your knees. If not, people rush across the fairway to berate you. In France you can virtually wear anything. I came here to relax and have quality of life. The French understand it’s a game.” There are no segregated tee times (such as men-only from 8.00-11.00) and in competitions men, women and juniors play together. “In the UK men play together, here there’s égalité. A woman or a junior tee off a bit closer to the green, to compensate for the strength difference, that’s all. We have a chat on the fairways and get to know each other well. There are no cliques of better golfers or old pals and no culture of fourhour rounds. In the UK if you play slowly, as older people often do, people shout to ‘get a move on’. Here it doesn’t matter.” Woman have handicaps up to 56 and men 36, as opposed to 36 and 24 in the UK, allowing players of lesser ability to chart their progress rather than being “stuck”. Annual fees are cheaper - €395 for a couple, all-inclusive. In the UK a single member usually pays at least twice as much. Pitch and putt also thrives, said Mr Allbeury - a simple, “fun”, golf which, at his club (Mauriac Golf Club, Cantal) is played on the standard course, but starting nearer the green. It improves the short game and putting and is also ideal for the elderly. He added: “There may be some differences at some of the posher Paris clubs or championship courses, but I can speak for my experience in rural French clubs.”

Daniel Lefèvre

French professional golf champion upon sand so are very fast draining and therefore playable throughout the year. One of the most chic is the Golf Barrière de Deauville, while Champ de Bataille is regarded as one of Normandy’s best. For beautiful views it is hard not to beat Golf d’Etretat on the North coast of Normandy, which looks over the famous cliffs. A lot of golf courses in France are more environmentally friendly in terms of using recycled water for the greens but also in terms of protecting local flora and fauna. Courses have been sympathetically developed to make the most of the spectacular natural surroundings and you are just as likely to see an ancient standing stone on the golf course as off it.

Nick and Carol Allbeury with dog Hugo

NG FEATURE pride in making sure we fit the best quality bathrooms, kitchens and decorate the properties to be modern, comfortable and welcoming, whilst retaining the relaxing atmosphere and traditional features of these wonderful buildings. Victoire added: "The Dordogne has good summer weather and offers holidaymakers many activities. As Francophiles will know, there are lots of historical places to visit nearby including the medieval city of Sarlat with its famous twiceweekly market, many ancient châteaux including Castelnaud, Beynac and the ancient town of Domme known as the 'Acropolis of the Dordogne' with its quaint streets, boutiques and restaurants. There are also lots of places for walking and cycling but it is especially good fun to hire a canoe at nearby Vitrac and drift gently down the river stopping off at one of the

many pebble beaches to enjoy a lazy picnic or to swim in the Dordogne’s clear and unpolluted waters. "We chose French Country Cottages when they were recommended to us by a satisfied owner. The Dordogne is very popular with English visitors, so it seemed sensible to choose a company that could market our properties to such a wide audience and secure bookings on our behalf. We've had some great photography taken to show the properties at their best both online and through the brochures, which are great for getting our properties seen by thousands of potential customers." Simon continued, "Like Gerald and Victoire, those who travel to the country regularly or who already own a property there are always so passionate about what it has to offer and we are actively encouraging Francophiles to share their experi-

ences via the France Fan Club blog. Launched in February 2012, we hope this will provide a forum for fans of France to exchange tips and share their fondest family holiday memories, inspiring more families to enjoy all that France has to offer." With a major property recruitment programme underway, the 2012 portfolio is the strongest yet, carefully selected by a skilled team of holiday letting specialists. Property owners considering letting their holiday home can find more information at or; if you prefer to call then dial (+ 44) (0) 1282 845541 and ask for either David or James who will be happy to chat through your options in either English or French! To get involved in the France Fan Club, simply send your tips and memories to

14 Mind Matters

Brittany Pages

May 2012




French-themed crossword

What’s in a word?



1. Acrobat Jules _______ who popularised the one-piece costume now named after him (7) 4. Troubled president of Syria (5) 7. Woollen cloth with a tartan or crisscross pattern (5) 9. Relating to the nose (5) 10. Jacques ____, comic actor and Monsieur Hulot film director (4) 11. British feature film of 1966 based on the story of Joy and George Adamson and an orphaned lion cub named Elsa (4,4) 13. Unfinished but classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, The Last ______ (6) 14. Drink, often mildly alcoholic, taken after a stronger one (6) 17. Satirical, earthy writer best known for La Vie de Gargantua et Pantagruel (8) 19. Highest adult male voice (4) 21. According to George Bernard Shaw, “_____ is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children” (5) 22. Disrespectful British nickname for Napoleon (5) 23. Bird of prey’s nest – typically in a high inaccessible place (5) 24. Slice of pain or jambon (7)

1. Best-selling novella written and illustrated by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (2,5,6) 2. Department in Languedoc-Roussillon whose capital is Carcassonne (4) 3. Revolutionary leader overthrown by Robespierre and guillotined (6) 4. Potent alcoholic spirit once known as la fée verte (8) 5. Power produced by the conversion of sunlight into electricity (5) 6. Early photographic process named after its French inventor (13) 8. Room immediately below a building’s roof (5) 12. City in the Haute-Garonne and birthplace of 1 across (8) 15. Pièce in a house for receiving and entertaining guests (5) 16. In a brasserie, house wine is often served in this (6) 18. Born in the Lot department, this Charles became a Hollywood star in the 1930s and 40s (5) 20. Seventies pop group whose breakthrough song begins with the words “My my, at Waterloo Napoleon did surrender” (4)

by Paul Masters


HAVE you ever noticed how some words simply do not translate? It is especially common with words which do not have any exact equivalent in the other language. When this happens, the foreign word is often simply absorbed, like sushi or bungalow, which have become part of standard English. Something similar has happened with charcuterie – there is not an obvious translation. Some dictionaries suggest “pork butcher”, or even delicatessen, a word imported from the German. But these hardly do the word justice, and to really understand what the word charcuterie means we have to dig a little bit into its history. Its roots are to be found in the old French chair cuite, which translates as “cooked meat”, and this points to the first distinction between the charcutier and the boucher, who, of course, sells raw meat. It is the skill and artistry of the charcutier which produces the astonishing range of cooked, salted and dried meats,


mostly derived from pork, and which include such delicacies as pâté, rillette, and sausages of every type imaginable. This whole trade was based upon the requirements of food hygiene, in the days long before the invention of commercial refrigeration, since pork is a meat which spoils very quickly after slaughter. To avoid cross-contamination between the slaughterhouses, butcheries, charcuteries and fisheries, they were all physically separated in France during the Middle Ages, in a move which the charcutiers resisted fiercely at the time, since they lost control of the slaughter and supply of their own raw materials. But in the long term, this added competition led them to fight for survival, and the vigour of the present market is in no small measure the result of their success.

The France quiz „ 6 SCIENTISTS are to build the world’s biggest optical telescope in which French department?

„ 1 A MAN in Pérols, Languedoc, is suing fast-food giant KFC after finding what item in his Tower chicken burger?

„ 7 THE DOG star of which French film has been given a special invite to the White House for a dinner with President Obama?

„ 2 HOW many candidates were there in the first round of the French presidential elections?

„ 8 ACCORDING to a recent survey by recruitment firm Apec, which is the best region in France to live in?

„ 3 WHAT French vegetable has been at the centre of a price fixing scandal? „ 4 WHICH well-known French actor has agreed to play Dominique Strauss-Kahn in a movie – but only because he does not like him?

„ 9 WHAT French product are farmers in the Hérault feeding their cows in a bid to make them happier, and their meat more of a delicacy?

„ 5 WHICH French theme park has been named the best in the world by the American Themed Entertainment Association? Puzzles by



CROSSWORD ANSWERS. Across: 1 Léotard; 4 Assad; 7 plaid; 9 nasal; 10 Tati; 11 Born Free; 13 Tycoon; 14 chaser; 17 Rabelais; 19 alto; 21 youth; 22 Boney; 23 eyrie; 24 tranche Down: 1 Le Petit Prince; 2 Aude; 3 Danton; 4 absinthe; 5 solar; 6 daguerréotype; 8 attic; 12 Toulouse; 15 salon; 16 pichet; 18 Boyer; 22 Abba FRANCE QUIZ ANSWERS. 1. A screw. 2. Ten. 3. Chicory. 4. Gérard Dépardieu. 5. Puy du Fou, Vendée. 6. Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. 7. The Artist. 8. Rhône-Alpes. 9. A litre of wine a day.


by John Foley

Brittany Pages

Food/Pets 15

May 2012

Rich nutty grains that make a lovely loaf

Quick spelt bread


After winning the first BBC MasterChef in 1990, JOAN BUNTING was soon writing a food column and doing local radio for the BBC. Now she has retired and moved permanently to her home in France, but she is still keen to tell readers about good food

This bread keeps well for 2-3 days and is delicious with cheese or toasted. It is suitable for some wheat-intolerant people INGREDIENTS „ 750g épeautre flour „ 1 packet easy blend yeast (lévure de boulanger – found in the same section as flour etc in small sachets)

ate soft brown bread with a nutty flavour and texture quite unlike any I had tasted in France. Chef told us that he had made it with épeautre flour. Now that I knew what to look for, épeautre grains and flour popped up all over the place: supermarkets, markets and specialist épiceries. I still assumed it was exclusively Provençal. But a couple of years later, in the UK, the link was made. I was sent a sample of flour, produced from an ancient grain called spelt. As chance would have it, I had that morning also discovered an English reference to épeautre. Over the years, the rise in popularity of organic (bio) and whole foods has seen the availability of spelt/épeautre grain and flour in many health-food shops and supermarkets throughout France and the UK.

Photo: Joan Bunting

ON THE high plateau, below Mont Ventoux, the Romans left a legacy every bit as interesting as their architecture – spelt grains that supplied the flour thought to have been the original ingredient of macaroni. The Romans knew that on thin, stony soils in a savage climate a variety of wheat called triticum spelta flourishes far better than other grains, and the first written reference dates back to 301AD. Many years ago, we had hare civet accompanied by what I thought was brown rice. The grains were deliciously nutty and chewy, a perfect foil for the rich meat. Madame explained it was épeautre, a traditional grain grown on the plateau and used in Provençal cooking centuries before rice was grown in the Camargue. In another restaurant, we

„ 2 tbsp olive oil „ 1 tbsp salt „ 500ml warm water

METHOD „ Mix the flour with the salt and yeast, then stir in the oil. „ Add water to make a firm, but not too stiff dough. „ Turn onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. „ Return to an oiled bowl, cover and leave in a warm place to double in size. „ Knead briefly again then

divide into two pieces and form into cigar shapes or put it into a loaf tin. „ Either slash the top or sprinkle with some crushed grains. „ Cover again and leave to prove and set the oven to 220°C „ When doubled in size, bake the loaves in the pre-heated oven until they sound hollow when tapped on the base.

WHICH WINE SHOULD I DRINK WITH THIS? „ The nutty taste of épeautre goes well with red wines. Or, if you are enjoying it with cheese, try a Sauternes (white)

Helpful tips to ward off harmful ticks

THE PET care industry in France is worth an eye-watering €125m each year. Much of this is spent during the spring and summer seasons, when the annual pet budget is taken up with the preventative treatment of fleas and ticks. Ticks (tiques) are one of the major hazards for pet owners who live in the French countryside or close to rural areas. They are small parasites that feed off other animals’ blood. Disease can be transmitted through the blood from the bite of an infected tick – therefore it is prudent to use preventive treatment against them. The onset of tick fever can be rapid and often prove fatal for your pet. Symptoms include fever, blood in the urine, weight loss, lethargy

Photo: CallallooFred -

Tick and flea treatments are a wise investment to avoid your pet getting infected. SAMANTHA BRICK looks at what is available – and how to treat an existing problem

Pet Care and loss of appetite. Call your vet immediately if you suspect your pet has contracted this disease. Get into the habit of checking yourself and your pets thoroughly for ticks when you get home from a walk. If you find a tick on yourself or your animal, remove it with a specially designed tick remover. You can normally buy these devices at the pharmacy or the vets. Sold as a twin pack, they typically cost less than €5. If you do not have a tick remover, use sterilised tweezers and gently

The pet column is sponsored by

You should discuss the most appropriate form of treatment with a vet remove the tick by the head. Be warned: try not to crush the body or leave any parts embedded within your animal’s skin as it is these areas that can carry the disease. After removal, clean the area with an alcohol solution. There are various preventative treatments on the market for sale in supermarkets and online, and prices vary enormously. While it is tempting to buy the cheapest products, it is sensible to discuss with your vet

the most appropriate treatment for your pet, according to where you live and local outbreaks of disease. Direct application products such as Frontline and Advantix need to be used every month. Tick and flea collars are another option, but may not be appropriate for use in conjunction with certain other treatments, so consult your vet first. Check your pet’s weight so you know to use the exact strength of drugs too.

Another nuisance comes from fleas (puces). There are almost 2,000 species of them, and unfortunately one of the biggest disadvantages in having pets is the fact that they are an ideal breeding ground for them. If you are not vigilant, within days, you could be host to a full-blown flea infestation. If your pet is scratching or you notice flea bites on your arms and legs after being in contact with your animal then you need to treat them immediately. You can get rid of fleas temporarily with a flea comb – drown the fleas captured within the comb by ensuring you have an adjacent bowl of hot soapy water. Unfortunately, combing out fleas is a temporary measure. The advice on preventative products for ticks is also relevant for fleas. If your infected pet is in contact with your home furnishings you will need to treat these too. Conventional products are available from homeware (bricolage) stores. However, once a flea infestation in your home is under control, it might take a couple more treatments to kill the remaining fleas and those that go on to hatch.

Tel. 06 58 01 82 76 Web. Email.

16 Directory

Brittany Pages

May 2012

Advertise here ALL YEAR from just €75HT Call free on 0800 91 77 56 or email




English-speaking firms near you For your security, we check that the French businesses in this section are officially registered with the authorities

Find registered tradespeople quickly and easily ANIMALS Small established family run

J. S. H. Easy Access specialist in Ramps, Handrails, Door Frames, Non-Slip Surfaces, Wet rooms

Quality care for your pet

Tel: 02 96 23 97 58 - Mob: 06 26 53 91 03 Email:


02 98 73 91 10 - 06 33 44 71 17

Free Quotes, Dep 22/29

Siret : 519 571 392

SARL Steve & Wendy Foster Renovations


Electrical - Plumbing - Tiling Doors & Windows - Stud-walls Insulation

A PROPERTY TO SELL Tel: 02 98 26 43 95 Mobile: 06 68 25 46 54 Email:

Siret: 492 349 931 00013

Canine Behaviourist

Solving your dog and puppy problems using calm, assertive and positive reinforcement methods Tel: 02 96 36 65 61 Mob: 06 45 79 01 67 Email: Siret. 481 238 483 00012

Building Renovation & Property Maintenance Covering all of Brittany Shaun Lake

Tel: 06 31 26 16 21 / 02 97 43 57 81 Web Address: Email: Siret no: 500405089


Breeder of Dutch Sheep, Ouissant sheep and Kune Kune Pigs Call Carole on 02 97 34 70 44


If your job is worth doing It's worth doing well ANDREW ALLEN - ARCHITECT

02 96 83 47 25 JEREMY SMITH Made to measure wooden staircases

Tel: 02 56 33 50 11 Mob: 06 04 17 26 65 Email: Web:

Tel: 02 96 21 23 67 Mob: 06 43 79 37 54 Email: Siret: 512004024300014

Plans Planning Permisions 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


Fabrick 22

Solving all your Building Needs Office in Dinan Centre

SARL BCBP Stonework, Renovation Groundwork, Gardening Full and Part Renovations & Conversions Connection to Main Drain and Septic Tank From Mini-Diggers to 20t Diggers Paving & Decking Perfect English Spoken

Bruno Bonnier Tel: 06 71 05 60 82


CHARLES HAIGH CONSTRUCTION Renovations - Extensions Alterations - Dry Lining Excavations - Fosse Septiques Covering Depts 22 & 29

Tel: 02 96 44 26 20 Email: Siret: 453 231 920 00019

FRENCH REGISTERED ARCHITECT Design - Planning permissions Project management - All building types and sizes

St Malo, Dinard, Dinan

Siret : 47942748600010

BRETON BUILD Carpenter, roofer and general builder specialising in the renovation of traditional Breton Properties. 02 97 38 57 61 Regions 29/56/35/22

Stuart Barker Plastering

Siret: 489 314 278 00032

Boarding Insulation Floors Tiling Painting Block Laying Digger Works Tel: +33 (0) 2 98 93 87 43 Mobile: +33 (0) 6 23 67 84 17 Email:

Jon Oram

35 years experience:

Siret No.: 511 627 341 00015


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

Tel/Fax: 02 97 51 10 11 Siret: 424 531 069 00013

LA CASSIERE Installer of all types of sewerage systems, agent for BIOROCK. All groundworks undertaken. Tel: 02 96 26 22 56 Mobile: 06 11 18 22 19 Email:

Plastering Rendering Pointing Limework Tiling Decorating Renovation Restoration All Aspects of Work Undertaken

Tel: 02 98 99 77 46 Mobile: 06 25 78 93 63 E-mail:

Bilingual English Electrician/Plumber Registered and insured in France

Mike and Pam Derby

Tel: +33 (0)2 96 84 86 28 Email: Web: Siret: 480 938 083 00015

CLC Building & Property Maintenance

Thistle Renovations Ltd

Timber Treatment, Preventative & Remedial Woodworm & Dry Rot, Plastering, Pointing

Siret: 519 572 135 00019

Siret 503 281 438

02 96 29 59 41 COMPUTERS, TV, PHONE,

Infortech PC & Mac Computer Engineer From teething troubles to total trauma We Can Help! Tel: 02 98 71 14 91 / 06 32 30 70 54 Email: Siret: 489 684 696 00011

ESTATE AGENTS Property for sale in Brittany Buying / Selling property in Morbihan Translation - Negotiation - Advertising Currency Exchange

Tel: 02 97 67 17 93 Mob: 06 27 14 51 14

English and Fluent French speaking agent, always needing more houses for sale, 8 years experience TEL FR: +33 (0) 6 19 17 34 61 TEL UK: +44 (0) 7880 501 116 Siret: 519 751 465


English registered cars House insurance - Health cover 1700 British clients trust us 02 96 87 21 21 Dinan, Brittany

HOUSES ON INTERNET Sell your property to a worldwide audience using our global network. Our fees are the lowest in France, our results are the best. WWW. HOUSESONINTERNET.COM

Tel: 05 55 65 12 19 GARDENS & POOLS

Renovations, Repairs, Conversions, Extensions

Highest Quality Handmade Sheds

Troleron 29530 Plonevez du Faou

Outbuildings, Animal Houses, All Garden Furniture Made to your specifications

Tel: 06 59 71 50 29 or 02 98 86 95 37 Stonework z Block work z Plastering z Plasterboarding z Roofing

Email: Ad No. 17612

BUSINESS & WEBSITES Tel: 02 96 39 27 67

ADVERTISE FOR FREE Mobile PC repairs Mobile: 06 28 11 31 60 Evening: 02 96 13 14 48 Contact Paul - Operating Dept22 Radius 30km Corlay 02 97 70 68 83 06 04 16 58 05


Les Bocages

David Robins Royal Forestry Society trained Arborist Felling, pruning, planting all aspects of tree care. Tel: 56160 LOCMALO Siret No. 480 997 584 00028

Le Jardinier Tree surgery services All tree work undertaken within 150km of Rennes. Specialists in dismantling difficult / dangerous trees, wood chipper, stump grinder, extreme hedge cutting.

FREE CONSULTATION +33 (0) 7 86 53 67 26 Siret: 483 859 203


Exclusive Healthcare Your Helping Hand to the French Health System

+33 (0) 4 94 40 31 45

Anna Pathfinder Your life coach in Brittany

Tel. 02 99 44 38 09 HEALTH & BEAUTY


Mobile Hairdresser Huelgoat and its surrounding areas

Discounts available for group bookings

02 98 99 90 51 - 06 66 38 31 11 Email: INSURANCE & FINANCE AXA INSURANCE

Guillaume POISSANT


02 97 60 08 23

Home Car Health Business Banking Locminé, Morbihan 56500


Ian Torode

Garden Centre and Garden Maintenance Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday or on 'RDV' Le Garly 56480 Ste. Brigitte

Servicing / repairs for most makes of vehicle / garden machinery. Car Help - Advice - Parts.

Tel/Fax: 02 97 27 62 19 - Mobile : 06 75 39 25 79 Email: Web:

Web: e-mail: Tel: 02 56 22 90 12

Siret: 40029026800020

Brittany Pages

Directory 17

May 2012


‘Going beyond’ insurance advice - in English Clients of BML Anglo-Agence get help with health, translations and many other areas relating to life in France BML Anglo-Agence is a traditional French agency, offering insurance and finance advice – but with a twist: all the staff are either British or bilingual and are there to help with any problems you face living in France. “All the team have experience with both UK and French insurance. This is vital for us, so we can explain the differences between French insurance and British insurance, some of which are fundamental, for example the notion of private liability,” said agency owner Trystan Street. “Some companies also offer policy translations, however, just a translation creates a false sense of security. This is

why we take time to explain the fundamental differences. Otherwise when we claim it is always too late,” said Trystan. The clients of BML Anglo-Agence receive help in all aspects of their daily life when dealing with French administration. “It could be a new circular from their CPAM which contains important information that they don’t understand. We are able to translate it, as well as explaining any follow-up action they need to take. Sometimes clients say they don’t like to bother us but actually, every time someone brings us a problem it increases our collective knowledge. “You can be sure that at least 50 other

people have received the same communication and have the same problems, so we are prepared for their calls,” said Trystan. “We are there to help with tax returns, registering cars, joining social security, setting up a small business, inheritance and so on. “In the month of May I give around 85 hours of work to help fill out the income tax returns for our clients, for free, with a smile,” he added. “We don’t charge because we have always said that we work in a close community where word of mouth and reputation are extremely important. All we ask is that if customers are satisfied then they tell their friends about us.” The agency was started in 2002 by Alain Montagnon who saw the potential of the English-speaking community.

Bespoke solutions from Dinan building company Fabrick 22 continues to win exciting new contracts throughout Dinan and the surrounding areas thanks to a continued focus on individuality and quality FABRICK 22, formed by Matthew Tucker in 2009, is a family run building company located in the historic town of Dinan. With over 20 years’ experience as a specialist carpenter, Matthew started his career renovating protected timberframed buildings and continued working in all areas of bespoke carpentry. “We tend to focus on projects that have individuality and character,” said Matthew. “Whether a new build or renovation project, we try to bring a little extra for the client.” From a team of just three people, today the company employs eleven staff spe-

cialising in all the main areas of the building industry. “Our team has a mix of both French and English tradesmen and it has taken time and enormous effort to recruit the best individuals for this type of work,” said Matthew. “Our fully equipped workshop is ideal for creating beautiful oneoff items that complement our main activities.” Fabrick 22 also works with numerous trusted sub-contractors both in the immediate area and further afield. “Each member of our team speaks a degree of English from bilingual to competent, allowing us to work with English and

French clientele alike,” said Matthew. Quality workmanship, solid advice and guarantees provided for all work carried out have contributed to the company’s continued growth over the last few years. Keeping updated with the ever-changing French regulations is also an area where Fabrick 22 has proved effective. “Working with experienced professionals, such as architects, in addition to our own administrator, helps us to keep abreast of the regulations,” said Matthew. “An essential part of the continued growth of any company in this industry is keeping staff up to date with new building standards,” said Julien, the company’s bilingual office manager. “Our memberships to industry bodies, such as CAPEB, ensure we have access to the latest training.” Another service Fabrick offers is the

Bring in the A-team to renovate your property Working with an architect can lead to a hassle-free property development experience, explains architect Andrew Allen ANDREW Allen has been working as a professional architect in France since 2000, following a career of practising and lecturing in the UK and overseas. He has recently moved to larger premises in Dinan where a new architect has joined the practice allowing a greater scope of projects to be covered. Andrew works across the whole of Brittany, in parts of Normandy and has had projects as far away as Cognac, but the distance he can travel really depends on the job. However, no matter where the work is, what usually makes for a successful project, he says, is meeting clients at an early stage. “The earlier the client gets in touch, the better working relationship we can

develop,” said Andrew. “Even contacting us prior to a property purchase can be a great advantage and prevent disappointment down the line. Often the client doesn’t consider important things early on in the planning process, but we can bring these to their attention.” Planning consent is very localised in France, explains Andrew, and so home owners should never automatically assume that work can be carried out. “Sometimes a property may fall outside of a constructable zone or there may be a limitation on the size of a construction, or it may be in a protected zone or conservation area,” said Andrew. “As we frequently deal with historic buildings in the centre of Dinan, we can spot and

help resolve these kinds of problems for the client.” Another area that Andrew finds people underestimate is cost and particularly those involving renovation work. “Quite often old properties need more work than anticipated and clients need to be made aware of exactly what will be required,” he said. Architects can reduce the budget of a building or renovation project so that the cost of bringing the architect on board is covered by the reductions made overall. “I always like to talk to a client early on in order to discuss the project requirements and my fee so that they know this from the outset - and there is generally nothing to pay up front,” he added. Clients are always relieved and grateful for the comprehensive support that

The team at BML Anglo-Agence help clients with income tax returns - for free Their English client base grew so large that a separate agency was set up which now has 1,800 clients. Trystan puts the success of the group to their philosophy of ‘going beyond’. “Our agency has always been about going beyond, not just for our knowledge of insurance and finance for

private individuals and businesses, or our after sales services, but for all things you might face living in France,” said Trystan. 02 96 87 21 21

pre-purchase assessment of property. “We are keen to advise potential customers before they buy a property,” said Matthew. “You would be amazed how often people buy property thinking a lick of paint will make it home - it can be soul destroying when we get asked to look at problems after it is too late.” This service can be arranged throughout Brittany and Normandy. Matthew has just announced the launch of a sister company, Jerzual, which specialises in heating, plumbing and electrical installations. Jerzual will work alongside Fabrick 22 as well as offering a separate service to clients. “Combining all these services under one roof allows us to pass the cost saving onto our customer,” said Matthew. 02 96 39 27 67 Andrew can provide. “Discussing the intial project requirements with us and having follow up meetings to talk over design issues is all the client needs to do - and these can even be carried out via the internet if required,” said Andrew. “Anything involving the authorities is covered by us. We also have access to experienced builders and artisans so that we can easily obtain estimates or put clients in touch directly should they prefer.” Andrew Allen Architects takes on small and larger projects, both new build and renovation. “In Dinan, for example, as the historic centre is protected, we can get involved in very small projects, such as replacing windows and doors or even changing colour schemes,” said Andrew. “But, obviously, the further afield we go for very small jobs it becomes uneconomical to us and the client - however, we always try to help clients out as much as we possibly can.”

Fine replica hand-cast plaster moulding in a 19th century Dinan town house

Architect Andrew Allen has just moved to larger premises in Dinan 02 96 83 47 25

Gas, electricity and plumbing service launched Jerzual, a new Dinan-based company, is offering customers high quality gas, electric and plumbing solutions FABRICK 22 has announced the creation of its new sister company following overwhelming demand for Englishspeaking professionals qualified in specialist areas of the building industry. Matthew Tucker, the director of the building company Fabrick 22, grouped a plumber, electrician and gas heating engineer together to join forces on his existing projects and to offer a separate service in the areas surrounding Dinan. “Hardly a week goes by without a customer needing help with plumbing, heating or electrics” said Matthew. Fabrick 22 specialises in custom-made and bespoke building solutions. Having grown to eleven staff, the family run

company takes pride in offering a friendly and proactive service. “The Jerzual team is a fantastic addition, grouping all tradesmen under our roof,” said Matthew. “Combining all the services allows us to make significant cost reductions that can be passed onto our customers.” The experienced Jerzual trio offers a full range of services, including certified gas heating, repair and installation work. “They even speak English, be that with varying degrees of success,” said Matthew. “Pascal and Pascale are confident while Jesse is truly bilingual.” Jerzual will undertake feasibility studies to optimise the efficacy of any heat-

ing system, whether an exising system or a proposed, new installation. “Insulation, insulation, insulation - it’s irrelevant how much money you spend on a heating system if your house lacks the correct insulation,” said Matthew. From June, Jerzual will also be carrying out the installation of septic tanks. “Our bilingual fosse installer brings 20 years’ experience of working throughout Brittany,” said Matthew. The company can organise the preinstallation survey and obtain the relevant permissions. “With the increased tightening of the regulations, it can be difficult for homeowners to understand which type of drainage system best fits their needs,” said Matthew. 02 96 27 16 53

The Jerzual team (L to R): Pascal, electrician; Jesse, plumber; and Pascale, heating engineer and plumber

Directories continued on page 18

18 Directory / DIY Ed Chalkley: Maitre Artisan Complete Interior Renovation with all trades undertaken. Registered Carpenter.

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CLASSIFIEDS Toyota Avensis 1.8CDX For Sale. Petrol. 2001. R/H Drive, French Registered. Mileage:125,000. FSH. New gearbox/shocks/springs/tyres. Leather interior, electric sunroof/windows. 6CD Player. Immaculate. Photos available. â‚Ź1,300. Tel: 0297754880 or email: Watercolour Painting course SW Brittany with John Bailey, 25th -29th June 2012, Seaside location in Finistere, ÂŁ150 tuition details Tel: 00 44 (0) 1285 760 659 Email:



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Published April 1, 2012, to include the latest information


Choose between PDF digital edition or paper copy posted to your French home

The 2012 helpguide is now on sale for â‚Ź9.50 for a downloadable or printed version (printed version does not include p&p)

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May 2012

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Lack of maintenance can turn pools green very quickly MANY things can cause algae to form in swimming pools. Lack of maintenance and a hot spell are enough to turn the water from blue to green in the space of a few days. Follow these steps and soon the green gunge will be gone. The first thing to do is to get into the pool and brush off as much of the algae as possible. Next check the pH levels – they should be between 7.2 and 7.6. High pH levels affect how well the chlorine works so it is important to get the balance right. Once you have assured the levels are correct, turn on the pool filter and add a chlorine based shock treatment that can be bought from DIY stores. Follow the instructions on the box for dosage. You should leave the pool filter running 24 hours a day. If after 12 to 24 hours there does not seem to be much improvement, add a second dose of shock treatment and repeat as many times as needed until all the algae have died (they should be a white or greyish in colour when dead). Be careful when using the shock treatment. Always put the water in the recipient first and add the chemicals afterwards, never do it the other way round. The next job is to clean all the dead algae out of the pool. Start by vacuuming the pool. Try not to let too much of the algae get trapped inside the filter. Thoroughly clean the pool filter to ensure no algae has lodged itself inside. Finish by testing the chemical levels in the pool. To keep the algae away it is advisable to add an anti algae pool chemical once a week. General maintenance of swimming pools To maintain a clean swimming pool all year round it is necessary to pay careful attention to the chlorine levels. They should never fall below 1.0ppm. Chlorine kills both algae and harmful bacteria. „ Daily: If the pool is used intensively in summer then it is good to check pH levels every day. To raise the pH levels, add sodium carbonate. To lower the pH levels add sodium bisulphate taking care to dose according to the recommendations on the box. „ Once a week: Skim out any dead leaves or debris that may have fallen in. If not using an automatic pool sweep, vacuum the pool weekly to remove any debris that has settles on the bottom. Brush the sides and bottom of the pool. Clean dirt marks from around the water line especially if sun tan lotion is being used. To do this, use a chlorine-compatible tile and liner cleaner. „ Once a fortnight: The longer the pool water is filtered the cleaner the water is, so try to keep the filter running continuously when people are using the pool. It is important to clean out the filter at least once a fortnight. „ Once a month: Check alkalinity and calcium hardness.

(QJOLVK79LQ\RXU)UHQFKKRPH • • • • • • • • •




Brittany Pages

Home & Garden 19

May 2012

Darling buds of May

Gardening Facts

Photo: © Stefan Körber -

les bocages

WHAT easier way to welcome spring into your home than with flowers? This month you are spoilt for choice. Garden roses have started coming, as have a few of the long tulips, aquilegia, lilacs and bluebells. While blues and greens give a room a sense of calm and tranquillity, vibrant reds and orange are more dynamic, and pinks and lavenders set a romantic scene. Current trends in flower-arranging include monobotanic (all one type of flower) and monochromatic (all one colour). For a contemporary look, put the flowers in groups of uneven numbers instead of dotting them around. But for an English country garden look, mix lots of textures and foliage. When arranging, the largest and darkest flowers tend to be placed near the base of the arrangement, whereas smaller and lighter ones are put towards the edges. Put the more open flowers at the base – do not stick them at the top of the bunch as it looks unnatural. Try experimenting with different shapes, textures and colours to bring out certain flowers – placing all your flowers facing forwards can look a bit dull. Little arrangements of just one flower have their place, too, and can be striking. Lilies of the valley bunched in apéritif glasses look lovely when placed three in a row in separate glasses, for example. On a practical note, when choosing flowers, ask your florist for the freshest varieties in stock and pick ones that show a bit of colour. If you are bringing

There are alternatives that will give great results

Ditch peat for greener options PEAT moss, tourbière in French – is a fairly new product to the garden. And it is with us mainly thanks to those passionate plant collectors, the Victorians. Firstly, what is peat and why do we buy bags of it each spring? Put simply, turf in its natural state is coal that is harvested two million years too early. Left in situ, covered and subjected to the earth’s changing face, it would become buried plant material that when compressed and heated would turn into coal, oil or gas. But instead this decomposed moss is stripped from boglands across Europe and America in increasing amounts, due to larger scale machinery now available. So where do the Victorians come in? At first peat was burned as a source of heat, but then the Victorians discovered the allure of the Himalyan and Eastern European highlands and grew passionate about all things acidic – azaleas, hydrangeas, rhododendrons and camellias. These needed humus-rich soil, and peat started to be used in increasing amounts to keep the soil acid. To give it its due, peat moss is light, friable, a good additive to a heavy clay, holds both water and air well and is valuable for starting seedlings because of these qualities. However, peat is a slowly-accumulating material and the more that it is stripped off the boglands, the more the landscape that actually produces it is degraded and the productivity decreases. It is a seriously threatened landscape that is becoming increasingly rare. So for a greener potting shed and potager, what steps can you take? These days there are a number of materials that can be added to soil or potting mix for good results. For the border which contains acid lovers – heathers, rhododendrons, camellias, etc, fresh chipped bark is a better material as it does not dry up and blow away. Pine needles are a natural acidifier and can be collected and scattered at the base of acid lovers. For potted plants, leaf mold and coir fibre are a better way of ensuring water retention and air circulation. Coir fibre does not shrink as much or blow away as peat tends to do and leaf mold half way down a tub rots nicely and provides a moisture retaining barrier. For seedlings, mix coir with the soil thrown up by your local neighbourhood mole to get a light fluffy starter mix. Add a little bone meal, engrais phosphaté, (25 g per kg soil/coir mix) for added mineral take-up and you have a perfect starter mix for most seeds.

The size of the arrangement should fit the size of the area – small flowers on a huge table will get lost

Photo: mangostock -

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Spring is the perfect time of year to experiment with some flower-arranging. Expert CLAIRE CHALKLEY shares some recommended tips and techniques

Red and orange flowers can give a dynamic, vibrant look to an arrangement any of your own flowers in, cut them in the morning before 8.00 or late at night. When the flowers are cut during the day and have had the sun on them then it is too late and they just do not last as well. Make sure that the vases are spotless and remove leaves that will be under the water in the vase as they will rot. I advise leaving the flowers in a bucket with water in a cool place before doing anything with them for a couple of hours. Cut the stems at an angle, as it gives them a greater surface area from which to drink. To keep your flowers for as long as possible, change the water every few days, and make sure that the arrangement is not placed in a room where it is getting a lot of heat or draught, as the flowers will wilt quickly. When it comes to where to place your

flowers, the size of the arrangement should fit the size of the area – small flowers on a huge table will get lost. However, if you plan on putting the arrangement on the dining room table, do not have it so high that guests can't speak to those across from them. There are lots of different, sometimes unusual, ways of presenting them. I recommend going to brocantes to find items – old bottles, little tea glasses, old cafetières, pottery – you do not have to buy a glass vase for it. Things you have already got can also work. The flowers just have to be cut proportionally to the jar. „ Claire Chalkley runs Les Couronnes Sauvages florists in Brittany ( Interview by Rebecca Lawn Photo: Sander -

Tel. 00 33 (0) 2 97 39 99 82

Photo: Brad Pict -

DAVE ROBINS - ARBORIST Trees inspected, crown-lifted, reduced or felled Hedges trimmed, renovated and pruned Forestry management plans prepared Free consultations and quotes Copious amounts of advice given

Head to a local brocante for unusual presentation ideas

Keeping it simple: a monobotanic arrangement of tulips

20 Property

Brittany Pages

May 2012

Houses for sale across France Buying or selling a property? We can help. 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 and enter the ref: code shown under the property.

age costs just €200TTC and gives you three months online advertising as well as a print advert in three editions of the Brittany Pages. Our 6+6 package is best value at €330TTC and provides the same, but for six months via each channel.

New Consumption and Emission Chart - e.g. Energy rating C & F refers to C for Consumption and F for Emissions

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

More details on all these properties - and how to contact the seller directly - can be found in the property for sale section of

For sellers, the adverts are also displayed across a range of popular English- speaking websites and are seen by thousands of potential buyers EVERY day. Our 3+3 pack-

Simply enter the code under each home to find out more PROPERTIES IN BRITTANY




Near Bourbriac, Côtes-d'Armor This 3 bedroomed detached stone house is situated in a countryside position in a nothrough road. Offered in good condition throughout having undergone many improvements.

Pontrieux, Côtes-d'Armor This 50s style traditional house is set in a 0.4 acre of land and comes with a garage and an outbuilding. The property also has 2 rooms, kitchen, lounge, bathroom and 1 bedroom.

Merdrignac, Côtes-d'Armor House close to amenities, situated in central Brittany. Living room, kitchen, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, laundry, WC. Full basement with 1 car garage, boiler room.

REF: KPS1244


REF: 42106


REF: M2011




Finistère, Carhaix-Plouguer This property is full of character and has been very nicely renovated. Habitable right away, good potential for rentals with the gîte and a 2 bedroom mobile home.

Merléac, Côtes-d'Armor This very pretty detached, recently-renovated stone cottage is in the most glorious setting, at the end of a lane in a quiet hamlet, the last house before the entrance to the adjoining forest.

Plougonver, Côtes-d'Armor This picture-perfect, detached, fully-renovated, traditional Breton farmhouse, with grounds of over an acre, sits in beautiful countryside and is within easy reach of the coast.

REF: M711-22914175


REF: 10947-32882002


REF: 10947-36690023




Saint-Connan, Côtes-d'Armor This delightful farmhouse is set in over an acre of land with 6 outbuildings. The property has excellent links to both ferry ports and airports.

Cléguérec, Morbihan Set in a small quiet hamlet, this pleasant, private, renovated house, offers 4 double bedrooms, a lounge/living room with fireplace and insert and fitted/equipped kitchen.

Rostrenen, Côtes-d'Armor This detached, neo-Breton villa from 1971, is in excellent condition. This is a wonderful property with airy rooms and a sunny conservatory. The house has 4 bedrooms.

REF: 10947-32717749


REF: 293


REF: BRE-393




Guémené-sur-Scorff, Morbihan This home-and-income property is set in the heart of town. It has a restaurant, owner’s accommodation, B&B/self-catering potential and also a self-contained letting property.

Ploërmel, Morbihan This detached farmhouse from 1901, with double garage, is located in a small, peaceful hamlet with virtually no traffic. It is in excellent condition both inside and out.

Lignol, Morbihan This gorgeous, detached Breton farmhouse (longère style), sits on a quiet and peaceful, slightly sloping, location in a tiny hamlet with just a few other houses. 5 bedrooms.

REF: 10947-32529757


REF: BRE-642


REF: BRE-608




Loudéac, Côtes-d'Armor A large Breton house which comprises a hall, kitchen and amnage team, a large living room and dining room with beautiful granite fireplace, 8 bedrooms, bathroom and shower, attic.

Côtes-d'Armor A fine country house set in an acre with fantastic views over its own land and rolling countryside beyond. Professionally renovated to an exceptionally high standard

Guingamp, Côtes-d'Armor Set in an acre of landscaped gardens and offering complete privacy, is this 5 bedroomed exceptionally spacious detached house.

REF: L10034


REF: KPS1135


REF: KPS 1490




Merléac, Côtes-d'Armor The house has, on the ground floor, an entrance hall, kitchen and amnage team with dining area, lounge and living room with fireplace and insert, a bathroom and WC.

Côtes-d'Armor A rare opportunity to acquire an 18th century manoir with 5 bedrooms. The property is situated at the end of a lane where there are no other houses and therefore offers a tranquil setting.

Côtes-d'Armor This type of property is a rarity. An ivy-clad stone house with adjoining garage, workshop and ancient watermill, all set around a courtyard and surrounded by a small river.

REF: L10016


REF: KPS 1787


REF: KPS 1571




Rostrenen, Côtes-d'Armor Large, completely renovated stone house retaining many original features. An extension has been added in a similar style to the main building. 4 bedrooms, outbuildings and pool.

Finistère This thriving and successful gîte business is being sold as a “turnkey operation” together with the owner’s 3 bedroomed house. A well-established business with further opportunity.

Fougères, Ille-et-Vilaine At the end of a rural lane, this superb property offers not only an idyllic setting with heated indoor swimming pool, but also proven revenue courtesy of the two charming holiday cottages.

REF: IFPC22052


REF: KPS 1507


REF: 3029








The adverts above cost from just €200TTC for three months of web advertising and three months of print advertising.

Let our distribution get you a sale. Contact our sales team on 0800 91 77 56 (freephone in France) or email

Brittany Pages

Business 21

May 2012

JIM ADCOCK moved to France in 2007 after many years’ experience in corporate and small businesses, including practical freelance support. He runs Stairs2, providing made-to-measure wooden staircases, and is a founder member of The Brittany Business Network. He writes regularly for the Brittany Pages on local business issues and welcomes your feedback, comments and input.

Price is not everything

LegalNotes Answered by

Photo: © Philandthehounds -


Reducing prices for individual users outside peak holiday season could mean an increase in profits for Brittany Ferries

Amongst feedback received since this column started was a suggestion that Brittany Ferries should be featured. Engaging with our readers is important, so this month that wish is granted. Whilst looking at Brittany Ferries, this article will seek to broaden the topic to relate to smaller businesses here in Brittany as well. THIS is not the place to discuss the merits of onboard catering and facilities, and while there are differing views on value for money, there are clearly issues for Brittany (and Normandy) residents who feel that at times ferry costs are too high. Over the past year, many of us have received emails offering special deals for 199 (£ or €). These are usually for three or five-day trips, however most of us have travelled at some point on a vessel that is nearly empty other than for commercial traffic. Looking from the outside at the business model, one can feel the competition is seen primarily as other channel sea crossing options, whereas a certain budget airline seems to regularly fill flights – sometimes with very low price offers. Both businesses have something in common; they both have pre-determined schedules and both have a certain amount of fixed cost per journey. Outside the main seasons, would Brittany Ferries not benefit from offering very competitive pricing to fill

more journeys, the argument being that even if they halve the price but double the

nesses – it should always be done in a calculated way. Price reductions alone are a reduction in profit margin, so always need to generate incremental business in some form or other. During a previous career I inherited a sales region for a branded industrial consumable products company where my predecessor had persuaded a number of distributors to buy container loads of a core

When reducing price, the bottom line should always be – look to the bottom line!

occupancy they break even. If they more than double the occupancy they are in positive territory, plus the on board spend the extra numbers attract. Should a representative from Brittany Ferries read this article and wish to discuss further, please feel free to contact the writer! How does this relate to other businesses? The above argument has been made for the ferry company to selectively reduce prices, but this is not the solution to all busi-

product for a heavy discount. The reality was that the distributors did not buy again

for a considerable period – all that actually happened was our margin had been seriously eroded. The solution was to increase the price for all quantities, including container loads but to a level still below full price – the result was we sold the same volume but made more money! When looking at using price reduction for a local business, one of the keys is to question whether it will generate extra business for a core product or service or simply reduce the profit. Exploring options for giving a price reduction on one item or activity in exchange for purchasing a second product or service that the client would not otherwise buy can generate a real profit gain. Using an improvement in payment terms can also be a valuable tool in some circumstances in exchange for price reduction. What it comes down to is when reducing price, the bottom line should always be – look to the bottom line!

Useful websites The Brittany Business Network: Business information:

To find SIREN numbers, check the following sites:

To contact Jim Adcock directly, email BRITTANY FOR EVERYONE PROMOTING BRITTANY

SPRING CRAFT AND TRADE FAIR Sunday 27th May 2012 10.30am to 4.30pm at Bar Le Manoir La Croix de L'ife 56490 Mohon CRAFT STALLS - TRADE STANDS BAR AND REFRESHMENTS

What are options for debt recovery? I AM a small business and have a bad debt of €650HT. I have heard a huissier is very expensive so are there any other means to recover this money? Is there an equivalent of the UK small claims court? T.S. ASSUMING that the debt is a civil debt, ie not a debt owed by another commercial entity, you can apply for an injonction de payer to the juge de proximité, a tribunal competent to hear of debt recovery claim under €4,000. The procedure does not call for a lawyer. To start the process, you apply to the first instance court, i.e greffe du tribunal d'instance, nearest to the domicile of your debtor. The claim is made either on a prepared form (Formulaire Cerfa n°12948*01) or, alternatively, on plain paper, listing: O All your details: name, address, occupation, date and place of birth, and nationality O Details as to the debtor: name, address O Detailed description of the claim e.g debt recovery for services rendered, goods supplied, O Amount of the money claimed with a schedule if appropriate of money owed O In support of your claim you must produce invoices, estimates, orders, letters etc..... Please note that all this information is important and necessary, otherwise the application will be invalid and will not be processed. The judge will consider the application and issue an injunction to pay order, which you must have notified by a bailiff within six months. This is required to ascertain that the debtor is aware of the order, and the date of service. If within one month from the date of notification, the debtor has not responded, you can apply to the tribunal and obtain that the decision be made enforceable against the debtor. The court costs are €35 and are paid when the order is issued, with what is called "fiscal stamps" . The bailiffs' costs are recoverable against the debtor. The debtor can challenge the order and apply to the tribunal to notify his decision to oppose the order. In this instance the judge will hear both parties in a mediation-type meeting with a view to obtaining either an agreement for settlement or if this fails he will issue a judgment. From January 2013, the first instance tribunals will be competent to hear such cases as the tribunaux de proximité are being abolished. With twenty years of experience in the Anglo-French legal systems, Agnès Crompton-Roberts, Avocat are the choice legal representatives SERVICES OFFERED INCLUDE ADVICE ON: LITIGATION O DEBT RECOVERY O PROBLEMS WITH FRENCH FIRMS O PROPERTY DISPUTES O BUSINESS SET-UP O PROBATE O FRENCH INHERITANCE LAW O CONVEYANCING O ACCIDENTS AND PERSONAL INJURY

Agnès Crompton-Roberts Avocat Tel: +33 (0) 962 33 5884 Mob: +33 (0)6 16 38 94 15

22 Property

Brittany Pages

May 2012





Monpazier Set in the heart of a pretty village and having a beautiful garden and terrace, this house consists of 3 reception rooms and 4 bedrooms.

Béziers, Hérault Renovated former village presbytery, with 4 bedrooms and an attic that could be converted. Nicely located in the heart of the village and with lots of original elements.

Sourdeval, Manche Lovely property in the countryside. 2 bedrooms, living/dining room, bathroom, WC, fitted kitchen, garages, cellars, garden with fruit trees and large field. Ideal for horses.

REF: L2901


REF: 10765-SL131000E


REF: IFPC21993




Aigues-Vives, Aude A charming village house full of character This house is semidetached, and located in a quiet area with views over the vineyards. Needs some minor renovations.

Montpon-Ménestérol Detached house in the Dordogne with large brick-built barn plus two open barns, workshop, winery and piggery. There is potential for extending into the large roof space.

Athis-de-l'Orne, Orne Attractive property situated in the beautiful Suisse Normandie valleys with garden leading down to the river. Ground floor features an entrance hall, kitchen and 2 reception rooms.

REF: 110153477


REF: IFPC19704


REF: 13552PO




Périers, Manche A very pretty village house with large garden and paddock situated in a quiet village location within easy walking distance of all amenities.

Mussidan, Dordogne 3 bedroomed, very spacious, clean, bright and airy home ready to move in now. The house has its own well, a small orchard and mature trees that provide complete privacy.

Hérault Delightful village house, restored with taste and well maintained, located in the centre of the village only about 250 meters from the Canal, offering 86m² of living space.

REF: 13439sdd


REF: IFPC19305


REF: 10765-SN158760E




Piégut-Pluviers, Dordogne This 3 bedroomed property, built in 2009, offers a large land area of 6000m² and a beautiful 1100m² pond.

Near Bedarieux, Hérault Renovated stone house with about 75m² of living space, 2 bedrooms, terrace, annex and courtyard of 145m².

Mortain, Manche Renovated stone barn in quiet hamlet with beautiful views. Impressive entrance hall with double staircase leading to minstrel gallery. 3 bedrooms.

REF: IFPC21026


REF: 10765-TNTVI155000E


REF: 13086POJD




Near Saint-Lô, Manche Beautifully presented house with just under an acre of gardens, in a quiet village. Comprising of a kitchen/breakfast room, dining room with large stone fireplace, lounge with stone fireplace.

Quillan, Aude Detached villa with lovely views, in a quiet residential part of Quillan. Ground floor has single garage, store room, 1 bedroom with shower and wc. Electric heating. Price negotiable.

Saint-Cyprien, Dordogne This property is situated in an idyllic, peaceful setting on over 8000m²/2 acres of land. The accommodation is all on a single level, with a large basement.

REF: 13817s


REF: 1892






Percy, Manche This stone house comes with 3 bedrooms, lounge, dining room with fitted kitchen, shower and bathrooms and has an attached outbuilding that could be made into further accommodation.

St-Pardoux-la-Rivière A 3 bedroomed home located in the Périgord Vert ready to move in to. The property benefits from oil-fired central heating. There is also an insert woodburner installed.

Hérault Charming, fully-renovated and furnished village house with 95 m² of living space including 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, with a sunny terrace. Well located in the a very quiet alley.

REF: 13444 MH


REF: BVI0006099


REF: 10765-PP186000E




Verteillac, Dordogne A taste for country living doesn't have to mean life in a rustic barn, as this 3 bedroomed, architect-designed village house proves. Flooded with light from the huge windows.

Hérault Great opportunity to own this detached villa offering 110 m2 of living space including a separate studio. The property has 3 bedrooms and terraces with panoramic views.

Bény-Bocage, Calvados This is a fully renovated property that's ready to go. There's gardens front and rear, with the obligatory stone barn, and fields to the front suitable for horses. Nearly 6 acres in total.

REF: 10947-29813626


REF: 10765-V209000E


REF: 13470 MH




Hérault In a magical location, a true step back in time, beautiful renovated medieval house ideal for yearround or holiday living, including 3 bedrooms, terrace and courtyard.

Burcy, Calvados Stone and slate "Maison Bourgeois" property, situated in a hamlet in a peaceful setting. Large outbuilding with a loft. Above-ground swimming pool.

Verteillac, Dordogne Entering the light and airy hall there is a beautiful wooden staircase leading to the first floor and to the first of 2 bedrooms with a shower room. There is also a study/bedroom at ground level.

REF: 10765-BB220000E




REF: BVI0004485




Bagnoles de l'Orne, Orne In a small village, this renovated old vicarage was built at the beginning of the 19th century. There are 5 bedrooms and a garden with some small outbuildings. Beautiful views.

Lalinde, Dordogne A modern craftsman built 3/4 bedroom house with swimming pool. Notable features include the high-quality oak fittings throughout and the very spacious open-plan living area.

Trèbes, Aude Detached house with 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 WCs, large kitchen, nice lounge and dining room with fire place, veranda, garage and laundry room. Land with garden shed.



REF: BVI0006221


REF: 110152943




Limoux, Aude Renovated 3 bedroomed character property with garden, covered terrace with summer kitchen and barbecue area. The house is fully renovated and has many original features.

St-Paul-Lizonne, Dordogne Modern house in great condition throughout currently run as a successful B&B but also offers the possibility of an independent flat/granny annex. 4 bedrooms.

La Mancellière, Manche This is a beautifully-renovated farmhouse approached by a long private drive with a gated entrance. It has large, fullyenclosed secure lawned gardens/orchards.

REF: 700020


REF: 700058


REF: IFPC22196











Brittany Pages

Property 23

May 2012




Lédenon, Gard This villa with pool is in a beautiful, completely fenced plot with two terraces. The property comprises a kitchen/dining room overlooking the terrace, 4 bedrooms and a bathroom.

Magny-le-Désert, Orne Beautiful longère in a peaceful setting close to the centre of Ferté Macé. This immaculate house is spacious and light.


REF: Q713

REF: 88

€278,200 Eymet, Dordogne This beautifully-renovated stone farmhouse is set on the hillside of the Dropt river valley not more than 10 kms from the Bastide town of Eymet in the Dordogne. ENERGY RATING = Not given

REF: DOM1328

REF: APS1952



Monpazier, Dordogne This attractive stone house is situated in a small hamlet overlooking the countryside. The house consists of an entrance hall, living room, kitchen, 5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 WCs.

Béziers, Hérault The house is well-maintained and in a good condition. Entance giving access to the living room, and the kitchen with French doors to the covered terrace. 4 bedrooms, bathroom. ENERGY RATING = Not given





Hérault Beautiful bourgeois home dating from the end of the 19th century in impeccable state, living space on 3 levels including 5 bedrooms and possibility to create a studio.

Courtomer, Orne The house is fully renovated and has a double-height living room with mezzanine and woodburner, a dining room with woodburner, an entrance hall, WC, a large kitchen and a utility room. ENERGY RATING = Not given

REF: 10765-PP308000E

REF: 130

Sponsored by ENERGY RATING = Not given

Get your business structure right ENERGY RATING = G



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€270,000 Vire, Calvados Charming thatched cottage, built in 1801, in peaceful setting. Beautiful views across the valley and the river. Well-maintained condition, but would benefit from some modernisation.


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Lots to consider when moving your UK business My family and I have just moved to France and I want to get my computer consultancy business set up under the French system. I’m not sure where to start – I’ve heard so many conflicting pieces of information; I estimate that I will keep most of my UK clients and want to win some new French clients. My sales in 2011 were £75,000. THE first step is to actually register the business – and its now that you need to consider the best business structure. You do not mention if you had a UK Ltd company, or if you were running a husband and wife partnership. If you did trade through a UK Ltd company, it may be practical and commercial to keep that going, as you will then be able to keep your UK business bank account and give your clients a seamless transition. If you were self-employed, you need to change where you were registered, as under EU social security rules, your business has to be declared in the place you are habitually resident. provides a wealth of information about the options available to you to work abroad – you need to go to the section Getting the structure right for the French business from day one will help avoid headaches later. If you set up a SARL (the equivalent of a limited company) you can opt to tax your business under the family income tax rules – so instead of paying corporation tax on your profits you pay income tax instead. This can give you a lower tax bill, as in France you get personal allowances for your wife and children. If you opt for the corporation tax regime, you can benefit from a 15% reduced rate if the majority of shares are owned by you personally, otherwise corporation tax is 33.3%. Your French business will need to be registered formally with the authorities, and you will be given a SIRET number. With sales of £75,000 you will need to be registered for TVA in France, but for any UK VAT registered clients you will be able to zero-rate the sale. The other critical factor in terms of costs for running your business in France is the business social charges (national insurance), which for your type of business will be around 38% of earnings – see URSSAF for current rates and further information on creating a consultancy business in France –

24 People

Brittany Pages

May 2012

Frank airs his expert views on how to get a top job in radio TIM FINAN talks to Frank McWeeny, a studio manager for the BBC who presented his first radio programme in French when he was 15 years old IT WAS a weekly hour-long music programme for Radio Laser which covers the Rennes area that gave Frank McWeeny his first taste of presenting. But McWeeny had started putting together music compilations in the station studio two years earlier, when he was 13. “I got some local bands to come in and did some interviews. They did live sessions and other stuff, which was great fun,” he said. “My father is English and my Mum is from Rennes. I was born in Bath and came over to live at Guichen in Brittany when I was two. “I grew up in France and stayed until I did my baccalauréat. After that I went to the University of Westminster in London to study radio production. I was 18 when I went to the UK.” Frank’s voice then began to be heard on the airwaves in London when he did music shows for student radio, French Radio London and a programme for an internet station called DIY radio which he is still doing to this day. Last month, he began a new job in London working as a studio manager for BBC news operations - Radio Four, World Service and Five Live news. “I am still doing my show for DIY radio on the side and eventually I would love to broadcast for the BBC. The main dream is definitely to become a radio presenter but I would have been crazy to have refused a job at the BBC when at the age of 21.” Frank has definitely not severed his links with Brittany and gets home two or three times a year, but his life is now London based. So does he consider himself a Bath

Frank exchange: McWeeny got a taste for radio at an early age at Radio Laser

boy, or a Breton boy or a London boy? “I don’t really know. People ask me if I think in English or in French. Sometimes it’s in English and other times it’s in French. And sometimes I dream in both languages at the same time.” Now he lives at Brick Lane in east London and takes the Tube to the BBC’s studios at Bush House in the city centre. “I’m going to be one of the last people to move from Bush House in four months because the BBC lease is ending and it is leaving. After that I’ll be going to Broadcasting House. I’m being trained and in about a month I’ll be working on the Today programme and The World Today. It will be fun, but very demanding, I expect. “In 10 years’ time what will I be doing? In some form or other I hope I’ll still be working for the BBC.”

People ask me if I think in English or in French. Sometimes it’s in English, other times it’s in French. And I dream in both languages at the same time

Law obliges radio stations to play French songs FRANCE has specific rules on how many songs in English radio stations may play. General radio stations must play 40% of French-language songs, of which 20% should be new music or by “new talents”. However, since 2000, the rules have been made more flexible. For radio stations specialised in “showcasing musical heritage”, the quota is 60% and 10%, while for stations aimed at a youth market the quotas are 35% and 25%. These quotas are applied to the time spent playing light music (not classical, or time talking etc).

These rules were first applied in 1994 and apply to private French radio stations. However Radio France has internal rules that state it must give the majority of time to French music and must promote new talent. Media watchdog the Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel recently rapped Fun Radio Nancy and Virgin Radio Nancy for not respecting last year the rules on percentages. New music is defined as songs released in the last six months, and “new talent” artists must have had sales below certain levels.

Brittany Pages - May 2012  
Brittany Pages - May 2012  

Brittany Pages, Brittany’s English-language monthly newspaper