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95c | ISSUE 13 | AUGUST 2012



WOLVES and pet dogs left free to roam at night are being blamed for a spate of attacks on sheep farms in the Lozère. Owners are being advised to keep their dogs shut in overnight following several cases of sheep-worrying. Armed rangers are on night patrol and have permission to shoot over the heads of any stray or aggressive dogs. However, they are not authorised to kill the dogs, much to the anger of sheep farmers. In a series of attacks, dozens of sheep have been killed and many more injured. One farm near Langogne lost 30 sheep in one night. Further attacks have been reported in Florac, Hures-la-Parade, Mas-SaintChély, Montbrun and Vebron. Police have rounded up several stray dogs and taken them to the pound, but the attacks continue and traps have proved ineffective. Sheep farmers leave their sheep to roam freely at night. There are local fears that the sheep have been the victims of a re-emerging wild wolf population in the region. For some years there have been reports of wolf sightings in Lozère, two photographs have been taken of lone wolves, and one set of wolf droppings has been found. It is a controversial issue as wolves are a protected species.


Warning to dog owners after spate of attacks on sheep

€4 million expansion to airport under way by SAMANTHA DAVID


A MAJOR project to expand Montpellier airport to accommodate more passengers and make journeys easier has begun and should be finished in time for 2013’s peak summer season. The airport is to have a new departure hall meaning the existing one will be dedicated to arrivals only. The new building has been designed to complement the current one and will have two levels. Security and scanning will be housed on the ground floor and upstairs there will be an expanded duty free shop (250m2 instead of 70m2) and 500m2 of other shops and food outlets. There will also be workspaces and free wi-fi for 10 minutes. Work has already been completed on a new arrivals hall, with new luggage conveyor belts. The aim is to make transiting the airport faster and more convenient so airlines can make faster turnarounds. The expansion will cost around €4million, entirely financed by the airport. More than 1.3 million people pass through Montpellier airport every year. The figure has

risen steadily since tourism became more mainstream in the 1970s, reaching a peak of 1.75 million people in 2000. Since then, numbers had been in decline but have started to grow again, up 5% since January. Low-cost airlines arrived in 2002. The latest addition is Volotea Airlines, which has launched two new links from Montpellier to Nantes and Strasbourg. The European Commission is currently inspecting the airport’s books carefully to see if any competition laws have been broken by offering Ryanair financial help to serve Montpellier. The airline has billed the airport for each passenger at a rate of €9 each, which amounted to some €4.5million between 2002 and 2006, and in 2009 and 2010, the regional council paid Ryanair around €2million. Ryanair says that, without the payments, it would be forced to pull out of the airport.

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Languedoc Pages

August 2012


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Contents News What’s On Feature Leisure Time

1-7 8-11 12-13, 24 14

Food and Pets 15 Directory 16-17 Home and Gardening 18-19 Property and Finance 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 24 for the Dordogne): 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: - Aude - 20 rue Saint Michel, BP 605, 11876 CARCASSONNE CEDEX 9, Tel: 04 68 11 24 00 | Gard - 6 rue du Cirque Romain, 30923 NIMES CEDEX 9, Tel: 04 66 36 48 00 | Hérault - Quartier de la Mosson, 35 rue La Haye, 34937 MONTPELLIER CEDEX 9, Tel: 08 20 00 34 35 | Lozère - Quartier des Carmes, BP 104, 48003 MENDE, Tel: 04 66 47 23 48 | Pyrénées-Orientales 26 rue Petite la Monnaie, BP 59926, 66021 PERPIGNAN CEDEX 9, Tel: 04 68 35 75 00 PREFECTURE: Aude - 52 rue Jean Bringer, BP 836, 11012 CARCASSONNE CEDEX Tel: 04 68 10 27 01 | Gard - 10 avenue Feuchères, 30045 NIMES CEDEX 9 Tel: 04 66 36 40 40 | Hérault 34 place des Martyrs de la Résistance, 34062 MONTPELLIER CEDEX 2 Tel: 04 67 61 61 61 | Lozère - 2 rue de

La Rovère, 48000 MENDE Tel: 04 66 49 60 00 | Pyrénées-Orientales 24 quai Sadi Carnot, 66951 PERPIGNAN CEDEX Tel: 04 68 51 66 66 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: Aude - Regular meetings are held (in French) in Carcassonne | Gard - Regular meetings are held (in French) in Nîmes, Alès and Cèze | Hérault - Regular meetings are held (in French) in Sète Agde Beziers, Bédarieux and Lodève. Montpellier: English-speaking group (closed) meets Thursdays at 18:45-20:15, doors open at 18:30. Ganges: English-speaking meeting (Willing to Grow Group), with meetings (closed) Tuesdays 18:30-20:00 in the Foyer des Jeunes, near the Schools on rue E. Gounelle, 34190 Ganges. | Pyrénées-Orientales Céret, Le Barcares-Village, Thuir, Vernet les Bains and Perpignan 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: france@ssafa. AVF: help with 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 Consulate Marseilles: 24 avenue du Prado, 13006 Marseilles. Open: 09:0012:00 and 14:00-17:00 Tel: 04 91 15 72 10 (after hours emergency call this number for answer phone emergency service) PUBLIC HOLIDAYS THIS MONTH August 15 - Assumption Day

Languedoc Clubs and Associations Alliance Franco-Anglaise du Languedoc Roussillon Association aimed at assisting English speaking newcomers to integrate through conversation classes and social events. Contact Neil Todd: 04 67 37 99 52 Association Echanges Association offering cultural exchanges in French or English and bringing together various nationalities for meetings every two months. Social events for people in the area plus English lessons. The main activity for English speakers is a "pot luck" meal together for informal discussion and games and so on. Contact Emma Tikunova: 04 68 60 38 99 or 06 01 79 97 27

Appassionata Choir The Chorale Appassionata welcomes new members. We rehearse in the Salle Polyvalente at Bassan,from 19.45 to 22.00 every Tuesday. Membership is international,- we sing everything - classical to jazz. Contact Rhona Goujon 04 67 36 05 83 ESKA English Speaking Kids Association A new non-profit association called ESKA - English Speaking Kids Association which has been set up in the region to bring together English-speaking children of various ages to enjoy different kinds of activities in English. All children of all nationalities are welcome to join in the activities accompanied by their parents or guardians. Meetings take place in LunelViel. 04 67 82 36 62

Canoeists explore the Pont du Diable, a Unesco-listed heritage site in the number two-ranked Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert

Peaceful Hérault village is one of France’s best

A VILLAGE in the Hérault has been crowned one of the best in all of France, beaten to the top spot of the very best by just one rival in the Lot. Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert was voted into second place in the France 2 poll seeking France’s favourite village. The television series asked people to vote for their best village from a list and then presented a short video about each one, starting with 22 and working up to number one. The competition attracted 66,000 voters online. The villages were chosen because they were all on the list of France’s most beautiful villages, Les Plus Beaux Villages de France, and renowned for their architecture and natural surroundings. Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert is a beautifully preserved medieval village, stunningly located at the meeting point of the Gellone river valley and the Hérault river. On a pilgrim route, it is home to the Unesco world heritage sites of the 15th century Abbey of Gellone and the Pont du Diable. It holds several festivals a year, including a medieval one in June. All this has already won it the labels of one of the most attractive villages in France and one of the Grands Sites de France.

A narrow village road in Saint-Guilhem Tourist office representative Aude-Lise Theule said: “It’s a village with exceptionally strong links with the past, and it

is set in an area of natural beauty - but what makes it unique is the spiritual force that you feel here.” She explains that the village has always been a retreat, a place for meditation and spiritual renewal: “It’s a bit out of this world, away from the stress of everyday life.” People come to see the abbey but then stay on to explore the village because of this feeling, Ms Theule said. “I can’t describe it in words, you have to come and experience it for yourself. You can feel that it’s a sacred place for religious people and anyone wanting refreshment and spiritual peace. You’re close to the heavens here.” Most of the restaurants and shops in the village are open all year round, as is the abbey, and outside the main summer season people come hiking in the area. Ms Theule said the main tourist season runs from Easter to All Saints Day (November 1), but local visitors come all year round. She added that swimming at the Pont du Diable also attracts people in the summer months: “It’s a wonderful place to cool off.” The winner in the France 2 poll was Saint-Cirq-Lapopie in the Lot and the other runner up, in third place, was Barfleur in the Manche, Normandy.

Dry weather prompts higher forest fire risk FIREFIGHTERS across the region are urging people to be extra-vigilant this summer as a long spell of mostly dry weather increases the risk of forest fires. In one afternoon alone in July there were four fires in the Pyrénées-Orientales, in Corbère, Terrats, Pollestres and Ille-sur-Têt. Five teams of fire fighters, 70 officers in all, were called out and the fires were safely extinguished, but roads were closed and more than 30 hectares of land destroyed. The Institut Pour La Forêt says that almost all forest

fires are caused by humans. Eight out of 10 fires are caused by carelessness during agricultural or forestry work, children’s games, DIY projects, cigarette stubs and barbecues, they say. About 14% of forest fires are started deliberately. It is therefore imperative to observe all the safety regulations, and ensure that summer visitors are aware of them too. One way of protecting property from forest fires is to make sure that land surrounding the house does not become overgrown. It is also important to keep

fire-breaks (strips of empty land in forest areas) clear. Do not deposit building materials or rubbish on them and do not park there. People are also advised not to light fires in woodland areas and not to smoke there at all. Before lighting a bonfire even in your own back garden, consult the local mairie. You may find it is forbidden, or that you need a permit. If you light one in the summer months without asking, and it goes out of control, you could find yourself being charged for the costs of calling out the fire brigade.

New water restrictions in the Aude THE EASTERN half of the Aude department has been placed on drought alert, with new restrictions in place for the rest of the summer. The Orbieu and Argent-Double rivers and underground reservoirs in the Corbières area are particularly low. Personal washing of cars is banned, except for trade vehicles carrying food or medical supplies. Gardens cannot be watered between 8.00 and 20.00 and private swimming pools cannot be filled up. The rest of the department is on a lower level of warning, with residents asked to keep their water use as low as they can.

Languedoc Pages

News 3

August 2012

No agreement in sight over €200m bill for canal trees

35 teacher job cuts reversed

Cigarette ring caught in Aude POLICE have arrested 13 people suspected of being behind a major cigarette smuggling ring in the Aude. Arrests were made in Carcassonne, Berriac, Lézignan-Corbières and Limoux in which 800 cartons of cigarettes were seized. Police estimate that the fraud amounts to several hundred thousand euros.

17 new MPs in the Assembly THE Languedoc-Roussillon has 17 new MPs in the National Assembly, out of a total of 23, including a Front National representative in the Gard – lawyer Gilbert Collard (pictured below), who picked up 42.8% of the local vote. Photo: Thesupermat/Wikimedia

Speed camera spots proposed THE first “average speed” cameras – which measure how fast a vehicle is travelling over a longer distance than conventional speed traps – are coming to the region later this year. The Hérault préfecture has suggested five particularly dangerous sites to the interior ministry. The Gard has asked for four cameras, including two on the A9, and the Aude has applied for one to be fitted on part of the A61. The other three departments in the region have not suggested any locations.

City celebrates water-polo win MONTPELLIER water-polo club are celebrating after being crowned French champions for the first time in the club’s history. The team beat south-coast rival CN Marseille, which has 33 titles to its name. It is the latest in a string of sporting successes for the region’s teams: Montpellier-Hérault came top of football Ligue 1 earlier this summer and Montpellier Agglomération are the French handball champions.

LOCAL councils and landowners have failed to reach an agreement on how the bill for replacing diseased trees along the Canal du Midi is to be split. The cost of the work has been estimated at €200million over the next 10-15 years as 42,000 ailing trees need replacing. Alain Chatillon, the senator-mayor of Revel in the Haute-Garonne who has been leading the research into the massive project says further investment is also needed to fund other work such as improving the cycle paths beside the canal and making it easier for hotels to be built near the water’s edge. The plane trees which line the banks of the Canal du Midi are infected by Ceratocystis Platani, a fungal canker which does not respond to any known fungicide or pesticide and which kills the trees within five years. Some 2,000 of them have already been felled. All the trees lining the main canal will eventually have to be felled, which could threaten the canal’s Unesco World Heritage Site status. Ecologists say the solution is to replant with ash trees and plane trees which are resistant to the disease. Ceratocystis Platani was originally imported from the US at the end of the Second World War via munitions boxes made of infected wood.

Authorities seem to have things in hand. I think they’re reasonably efficient Louise Gronow Barge owner

Getting hold of the money is the thorny issue. The regions of Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées are prepared to pay up to a third of the cost, and the government is also expected to pay around a third, but the original call for landowners alongside the publicly owned and managed canal to pay the remaining costs has been met by silence. Mr Chatillon’s report now suggests a co-operative strategy involving the French government, and Voies Navigables de France (VNF), which currently manages the canal and national water agencies, as well as regional and local authorities and landowners. People sailing boats on the canal already pay for the privilege via the purchase of a tax disc and the report also suggests that the price could be increased, raising up to €200,000 per year.

Photo: illustrez-vous -

THE region will have 35 new primary school teachers in September, as part of President Hollande’s promise to increase the number of staff in schools – 1,000 new posts have been created throughout France. However, another 118 teaching positions are being closed because of retirement – meaning there is still a net loss of 83 posts.

42,000 trees along the Canal du Midi need to be replaced over the next 10 to 15 years but who pays is a thorny issue What is needed, according to the report, is the creation of a public interest group comprising all the various bodies that will finance the canal: the State, the VNF, the regions of Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées, as well as the water agencies and the Association des Communes du Canal des Deux-Mers which includes all the communes which border the canal. This group would take decisions concerning the management of the canal, which would then be carried out by VNF. Mr Chatillon said in his report: “It’s only right that the people who pay the bills should have a say in making the decisions.” Louise Gronow, who runs a holiday barge, Enchanté, on the Canal du Midi said she was not too concerned about the felling of the plane trees. She said: “The authorities seem to have things in hand now and have started felling the trees that need to come down, which is good. I think they’re being reasonably efficient although I suppose they probably are arguing over who pays the bill.” She feels that the plane trees would not have lasted forever anyway: “It was about time. As the trees got older and more brittle, there was a slight concern about them becoming dangerous. This way the trees are being renewed and properly maintained, which is good.” She also thinks the publicity surrounding the disease which is killing the trees has been positive and has focused attention on the canal: “Hopefully we’ll get more funds and once the trees have been replanted there will also be money for dredging as well.”

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4 News

Languedoc Pages

Producers hope merger will safeguard local wine trade

Montauban woman marries dead soldier

Val d’Orbieu and Uccoar in the Aude hope joining forces will boost exports but management are hoping to increase this to around €100million. The merger comes at a time when both co-operatives have been through their own difficulties. To survive the economic crisis, Val d’Orbieu has had to sell some of its more prestigious assets including

Listel and the Châteaux de Bordelais. For its part, Uccoar, which sells bottom of the range wine, has been through a period of internal strife between the board and shareholders which resulted in the management being ousted earlier this year.

THE mayor of Montauban has become one of only a handful of public officials in France to carry out a posthumous marriage. Twenty-five-year-old corporal Abel Chennouf, one of the soldiers killed in March by serial killer Mohamed Merah was married to his long-term girlfriend Caroline Monet at the mairie, just weeks after she gave birth to their son. The family of the deceased told reporters that they wanted the ceremony delayed so that all members of the family could be there. However, Montauban mayor Brigitte Barèges said that the paperwork was all in order and as Caroline Monet insisted on proceeding with the ceremony, there was no legal way her request could be refused. The ceremony was performed in the absence of her husband’s family. Posthumous marriage was introduced in France (and in Germany) during the First World War and then again in 1959 in response to the Malpasset disaster, in which a five-year-old damn in the Var burst resulting in the deaths of 123 people. The concept was originally to legitimise children who were conceived outside marriage at a time when

Photo: 17e régiment du génie parachutiste

Photo: LituFalco -

TWO of the Languedoc’s largest winemaking cooperatives are merging to form a new giant company that aims to become one of the top producers in the world and safeguard the future of winemaking in the region. The link-up between Val d’Orbieu and Uccoar in the Aude has been in the air for many years but has never been achieved. However, now, in the face of falling wine consumption in France, French producers have to look to exporting their wines abroad and the two groups decided that forming a co-operative would make this significantly easier. The new group will have annual turnover of around €300million, compared with the two biggest groups, joining the top rank of Languedoc wine groups, behind Castel with €1.2billion and Grands Chais de France with €801million. Shareholders have already agreed to the merger, which will take place in stages over the rest of this year. Management have refused to say whether or not the merger will lead to redundancies, instead stressing that they are planning to re-evaluate all sectors of the business and invest heavily – in the region of €10-15million - in improving the group’s work. Between 15-20% of turnover is expected to come from Châteaux and fine wines, 60% from branded and table wine and the rest from bulk sales. For the moment, exports account for around €60-70million of turnover a year

August 2012

Abel Chennouf, killed by Mohamed Merah, was married posthumously illegitimate children had fewer legal rights than their legitimate siblings. These days, posthumous marriage is more or less legally meaningless since the day the marriage is celebrated, it is also ended by death. A posthumous marriage does not give any inheritance rights, for example. It does however give a child the right to take both parents’ names. There are around 60 posthumous marriages a year in France, and each one has to be specially authorised by the president. Otherwise, the same dossier is compiled as for a conventional marriage (excluding of course the signature of the deceased) and the same paperwork prepared.

Scrum down for 1,100 in world rugby record Photo: Patricia Fournier/ERPSL

1,100 people took part in the world record attempt at Pic Saint Loup, awaiting validation A RUGBY club near Montpellier has broken the world record for the largest rugby scrum, with a megascrum of 1,100 people. The record attempt included men, women and children from six years old to over 80. Pic Saint Loup club president Isabelle Gely said: “We know the numbers precisely because the security team at the stadium in Montpellier said we couldn’t have any more than 1,100 so we gave out numbered tickets to all the participants.” Participants were also given souvenir white T-shirts to wear, all except a few people, who wore black T-shirts and were positioned in the scrum

The Guinness Book of Records are taking their time, but we’re confident we’ve broken the record Isabelle Gely Club president

so that “Pic St Loup Rugby” was spelled out when a photograph was taken from above. The Guinness Book of Records is currently in the process of validating the record, which was officially witnessed and recorded by a solicitor. Ms Gely added: “They’re taking their time, but we’re confident we’ve broken the record.” The current record of 840 people is held by an Irish team: “Our Irish players were slightly hoping we wouldn’t manage it, but they took part in a good spirit.” The club has 293 members and teams for everyone from under-sevens to a mixed touch rugby team.

Languedoc Pages

News 5

August 2012

Train line shut for all August

Slow start to tourist season TOURISM bosses in the region have reported a less than satisfactory start to the summer season, according to a survey of 2,000 businesses led by the Languedoc tourist board. About half of respondents said takings in June were stable compared with the same month last year, while the other half reported a decline. Campsites, holiday villages, spas and river cruise operators were among the most optimistic about the level of reservations.

Major roadwork in city centre

THIS year’s cherry harvest in the Languedoc has been catastrophically bad, say producers. They estimate that around 60-70% of the crop was spoilt by heavy rains in June which waterlogged the fruit causing it to split before it could be harvested. Frédéric Plombat at the Maison de la Cerise in Paulhe (Aveyron) said: “Cherries are very fragile and this year was a really bad one for cherries in the Languedoc region.” Many producers saw the majority of their cherries sold for processing into juice or other cherry-flavoured foods, at far lower prices than they are paid for high-quality table cherries. Mr Plombat points out that most producers have other sources of income however. “Cherries are too unstable, too insecure,” he says. “No one just cultivates cherries.” Many orchard owners in Languedoc also produce yellow Mirabelle plums, peaches and apricots as well as cherries. Mr Plombat added: “The trouble is, last year was a bumper year for cherries but the Mirabelle crop was very poor – and this year, it’s the cherries. We don’t yet know about the Mirabelles. We just have to cross our fingers. “Insurance exists but it’s incredibly expensive so most people don’t have it. If the crop fails, then the farmer loses out and that’s the end of it.”

Cherry producers have to rely on other fruits as well to make a living – and most cannot afford to get insurance

Languedoc is France’s third biggest cherry producer „ 50,000 tonnes of table cherries are produced in France every year and the Languedoc-Roussillon is the third biggest region (13%), behind Provence (35%) and RhôneAlpes (33%) „ Worldwide, cherry production has increased by 17% over the past

City landlords face limits on rent level Photo: Jean-Louis Zimmermann/Flickr

DRIVERS passing through Montpellier are advised to avoid the Quai du Verdanson until March 2013 because of major roadworks. Queues of up to an hour have been reported in recent weeks while work is carried out to change the carriageway layout and introduce cycle lanes and wider pavements, which has cut the number of open traffic lanes to just one.

Cherry farmers feel squeeze with disappointing harvest Photo: Maison de la Cérise

PART of the railway line from Béziers to Neussargues is to remain closed all this month for essential tunnel repair work. Trains will be replaced by coaches from Bédarieux to Saint-Chély because of the works in the Boissière tunnel. Track operator RFF said the summer holiday was the best time to carry out the €4m repairs, despite protests from local authorities about the impact on tourism. Rails are also being replaced and some steep banks reinforced. The line is due to reopen on September 1 and an information line is open for travellers: 0800 88 60 91.

Flying school bosses arrested TWO men have been arrested for setting up a flying school without the necessary licences and approval. The company in Nîmes had bought two planes from Russia to offer training and experience days, but investigators found they were not properly registered and only one of them was fit to fly. Police were alerted to their work after ads appeared in the local press offering the chance to learn to fly, with prices starting at €600 and going up to €4,500.

More cameras for city centre MONTPELLIER city council has installed 20 more public CCTV cameras as part of a plan to have 170 in the city centre by 2014. The latest installations bring the current total to 126. Five of the new cameras are mobile and will be used for major public events such as festivals or sporting fixtures. The whole project will cost the city €600,000.

Montpellier is one of 41 cities affected by the measure RENT increases are to be capped in Montpellier from this September, the government has announced. The city is one of 41 urban centres where rents will be government-controlled. This means that when a tenant moves out, or renews a rental contract, the rent cannot be hiked up higher than the government ceiling. Exceptions can be made where large scale works are carried out and where it can be shown that the property was undervalued compared to other similar properties in the area. The government says the measure is needed to ensure that housing remains affordable. Property owners on the other hand say that the move will result in a shortage of rental properties on the market, and the construction of deliberately low-cost, lowquality housing. Across France, average rents

have risen 3.4% in the past year, versus inflation of 2.1%. Almost 40% of tenants say they spend more than a third of their income on rent each month. Property owners can only increase rents for sitting tenants by the rate of inflation. But in between tenants, figures show that rents for a property often rise by between 5 and 7%. Rent rises between lettings were capped between 1989 and 1997, until the Socialist government scrapped them. The current government estimates however that reintroducing the controls will result in savings of around €75 a year for most tenants and will also make the rented property market more fluid because, it says, at the moment tenants do not dare move for fear of being financially penalised – finding themselves with higher rent for a similar property.

10 years. The three leading producers in Europe are Turkey with 590,000 tonnes, Poland (250,000 tonnes) and Italy (126,000). „ The Maison de la Cérise in Paulhe has a small museum displaying traditional farm implements used to harvest cherries, a shop sell-

ing all sort of products made with cherries (including a range of cosmetics) and organises a series of events including guided evening walks through the orchards, horse and cart rides and musical events. or call 05 56 59 00 98.

6 National News FRANCE’S No1 car-maker, Peugeot Citroën wants to cut 8,000 jobs across the company and close its factory at Aulnay-sous-Bois in 2014. More than 3,000 jobs will go at Aulnay, 1,400 from its factory at Rennes in Brittany and another 3,600 – including 1,400 from research and development of new models – from various administrative, research and sales functions. Social Affairs Minister Marisol Touraine said she could “not accept something like this” and added that the firm had received €4billion in state aid in the past few years. Union leader Bernard Thibault of the CGT said the union would take action, as the real impact in terms of jobs in the rest of the country could “triple or quadruple” the job losses. Peugeot Citroën said sales had fallen 15% across Europe in the first three months of the year meaning operational losses of €700million.

Bac exam results are down – and up OVERALL results in this year’s Baccalauréat are down – due entirely to a large drop in the pass rate for the vocational Bac Professionnel. However, despite this, pass rates were up in most other exam types, with a 90.8% pass in the scientific strand and 89.1% for the economic and social sector. The overall rate fell from 85.6% to 84.5% but the rate for the general Bac was up 1.4% to 89.6% and the technological Bac was up 1%. However, the professional Bac fell 5.6% to hit 78.2%.

‘Stop and question’ police rules to stay PLANS to reform the way police stop and question people in the street are to be dropped. It had been planned for police to give receipts to the people they stop as a way of avoiding abuses where people are stopped and possibly searched because of their race. However, police unions were said to be “strongly opposed” to the move and the data watchdog Cnil was worried about potential data collection if police kept a record of who had been given receipts. Interior Minister Manuel Valls does

August 2012

Paris police reveal Vel d’Hiv shame


Peugeot Citroën to cut 8,000 jobs

Languedoc Pages

PARIS police has opened its archives on one of the darkest periods of its history – the “Vel d’Hiv Roundup” in July 1942, when the Vichy regime mobilised police and gendarmerie to round up Jews on behalf of the Nazi occupiers. In all, 13,152 men, women and children were picked up and held in the Vélodrome d’Hiver cycling stadium before being shipped to German camps, from where, it thought, fewer than 100 returned. The exhibition – The Vel d’Hiv Roundup: the police archives – runs until September 15 in the mairie of the 3rd arrondissement and includes lists of arrested Jews, accounts of goods seized, intelligence service notes on their state of mind etc.

New laws and rates come into force

Three down, one to go for quadruple amputee swimmer QUADRUPLE amputee Philippe Croizon has swum across the Strait of Gibraltar, the third stage of his bid to swim between the five continents. He and his able-bodied swimming partner Arnaud Chassery took five hours and 20 minutes to swim the 16km between Europe and Africa, swimming from Tarifa on the southern tip of Spain to Ciress on the Moroccan coast near Tangier. Philippe, using not favour the change, according to RTL radio station. Other proposals are still being looked at as the plan was an election promise by President François Hollande. These could include a return to police having numbers on uniforms or having cameras fitted on uniforms or on a neckband.

Legal bid to restrict Livret A accounts PEOPLE will be stopped from opening more than one Livret A savings accounts under a decree proposed by the Conseil d’Etat. The practice of having more than one of the non-tax-paying accounts is already illegal, but is widespread due to weak penalties. Now the Conseil d’Etat wants to

prosthetic limbs with flippers attached, and Arnaud have already swum from Australasia to Asia (crossing from Papua New Guinea to Indonesia) and from Africa to Asia (from Taba in Egypt across the Red Sea to Aqaba in Jordan). Next month they plan to complete the project by swimming across the Bering Strait from a Russian island to a US island in Alaska and may meet President Obama.

oblige banks to consult tax authorities before allowing someone to open an account, which has a savings ceiling of €15,300 and currently an interest rate of 2.25%.

the new Ayrault government’s plans for gas prices to be limited to the rate of inflation – or 2% – as opposed to the 4.1% which GDF has said that it needs.

Retrospective price increase for millions

France borrows at a negative interest rate

LAST year’s gas price freeze by the Fillon government has been ruled as unlawful – and millions using gas face a retrospective price increase for fuel they have already paid for. France’s top administrative body, the Conseil d’Etat, annulled the freeze, which lasted from October to the start of January, which means the average household will have to pay an extra €40 for last year’s gas. The ruling, after a plea by gas supplier GDF, has now cast doubt over

FOR the first time ever France has been able to borrow at a negative rate – that is, it will pay back less than it borrows – and joins a select group of countries, including Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands, which have been able to do so this year. The feat comes as investors seek safe places for their money, worried about instability in southern Europe. France had only intended to borrow €7.7billion but was offered nearly three times as much and Agence France Trésor was able to negotiate the lower rate. Threemonth bonds are at -0.005% and six-month ones at -0.006%.

Unesco hails the Dordogne heritage UNESCO has named the Dordogne river basin a biosphere reserve and added it to the list of natural heritage sites in France. There are 10 other labelled sites in France and the 24,000 km2 basin joins Mont Ventoux in the Vaucluse, the Cévennes and the Camargue. Unesco recognised the river, which rises at Puy de Sancy and crosses six departments, as being remarkable for its well-preserved natural setting and the exceptional cultural heritage and art de vivre linked to it.

California bans sale of foie gras PRODUCTION and sale of foie gras was banned in California on July 1 but it has not affected French-based suppliers too much as they already find it hard to sell in the US due to tough import rules. Restaurants risk fines of $1,000 a day if they serve the delicacy, as California’s politicians say the forcefeeding with grain – gavage – required is cruel.

NEW decrees came into force last month that see, amongst other things, the minimum wage rise 2%, social charges on dividends and interest rise from 13.5% to 15.5% and a ban on outdoor advertising signs to be lit at night. Speeding car drivers will also now face a fine if flashed in Belgium after a reciprocal agreement on crossborder offences – and must now carry a breathalyser kit in the car. It is also now cheaper to make or receive mobile phone calls in other EU countries, with a new limit of 29 centimes a minute for making calls (down from 35) and 8 centimes for receiving them (as opposed to 11).

Police told to stop using Tu and Toi INTERIOR Minister Manuel Valls has told senior police to call a halt to the use of “tu” and “toi” when officers address people, even those who are insulting or abusing them. Using tu/toi (called tutoiement) can be seen as a way of speaking down to people and he told the new promotion of commissaires at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de la Police near Lyon: “I ask that police retain a certain professional distance in keeping a cool head in every circumstance and avoiding the use of tu/toi.”

Métro and RER will get internet access SOME smartphone users will be able to access the internet in the Paris Métro after a deal between transport authority RATP and phone operator SFR. RATP is looking to install new technology to make the internet accessible throughout the network by the end of 2015, including the RER A and B local train network. From October SFR users will be able to connect in the areas around two key stations in central Paris – Châtelet and the Gare de Lyon. RATP hopes that it can come to agreements with the other major mobile operators and last month it installed free wi-fi in 48 stations.

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News 7

August 2012

Church roof with panoramic views saved from closure VISITORS to the Camargue can continue to enjoy beautiful panoramic views of the area from a church roof viewing platform that has been saved from the threat of closure after a seven-year legal battle. Visitors in the seaside town of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, the capital of the Camargue, on the Gard/Bouches-duRhône border can relax knowing that the roof will remain open to the public every day except Sunday mornings during Mass. The roof, which has panoramic views across the Camargue and out to sea, was due to close but the plans were challenged by the mairie through a series of court cases which have now finally come down on the side of the mairie. Churches in France are maintained and managed by the secular local authorities. This is the result of a series of

Opera house reopens after €20m revamp

agreements completed between the Catholic Church and the French government when the State was disassociated from the Church. The church at SaintesMaries-de-la-Mer is well known for having been built as a fortress, with a roof which doubles as a watchtower. Access to the roof and its beautiful views costs €2.20. The church is also well known for housing a statue of Black Sara in the crypt. This statue, often mistaken for a black Virgin Mary, has a rich history of conflicting stories behind her. What is sure however, is that she is the patron saint of Roma, Manouche, Tzigane and other travelling people who come from all over Europe to worship her in May. The statue is carried out to sea, accompanied by serried ranks of horse riders in a ceremony symbolising her first arrival in the town.

Many of the improvements to the Opéra Comédie are behind-the-scenes but visitors will notice the enlarged stage area

Photo: Twice25/Wikimedia

The church wanted to close off its roof to tourists but the local mairie intervened in court

MONTPELLIER’S famous opera house, the Opéra Comédie, has reopened its doors with a production of Mozart’s classic, The Marriage of Figaro, after restoration works which have lasted 20 months and cost €20m. Much of the work is invisible to the public, but brings the building into line with modern safety standards. For example, the orchestra pit has been strengthened so that any part of it can support any instrument. Air conditioning and acoustic treatment have also been added. Backstage, the organisation of the space has been changed so that musicians and artistes can move around more easily. New scenery docks and equipment have been installed so that touring companies can get their scenery into the theatre more easily. The stage itself has been enlarged so that it can take more grandiose productions, and a space below the stage has been added to allow for stage lifts. Access to backstage and administration areas has been created for people with reduced mobility. Wardrobe and electrical workshops have been renovated. As well as the backstage works, the auditorium has also been given a facelift and here, the idea was to restore rather than modernise. The proscenium arch has been re-gilded and all the decorative features restored to their former glory. Air-conditioning and humidifying equipment has also been added to help opera singers, whose voices had been troubled by dry air.

Decorative features of the auditorium have been restored to their former glory

History of a local landmark „ The Opéra Comédie in Montpellier was first built in 1755 when it was used exclusively for theatrical productions. „ After a fire in 1788, it was rebuilt but a century later in 1881 the theatre was once again engulfed in flames. So keen were the people of

Break-ins and street thefts on rise Photo: woldike -

A 27% hike in the number of burglaries in Perpignan has prompted police to set up a special unit. In the first six months of this year there were 930 burglaries in the city– 230 more than during the same period last year. Even the Restos du Coeur charity in Perpignan, which feeds the destitute, was burgled eight times in the past year. To respond to this growing menace, a new unit of four police officers has been especially dedicated to clearing up these crimes by co-ordinating efforts and information across the region. Results are encouraging and they say that they are now solving 30% of burglaries. Meanwhile reports are increasing of a new type of street robbery, in which gold chains and necklaces are torn from the necks of women. The victims are often older and frail. Police say this crime has increased due to the increasing prevalence of shops offering good rates to buy

Perpignan police say they now solve 30% of all burglaries scrap gold, some of which are not overscrupulous about asking the origins of items offered for sale. Police are reminding homeowners that they are running a scheme again this year for anyone who is leaving a property empty while on holiday, a nationwide initiative called Opération Tranquillité. If your property is going to be empty

for any weeks during July and August, householders should inform the police before leaving. The police will keep an eye on the property, adding it to their daily rounds until you return. They also advise checking shutters, doors and locks to make sure they work properly. You should also either arrange for your post to be forwarded, or kept at the post office, or for your post box to be emptied by a neighbour during your absence. If possible, police advise getting someone to open and close the shutters, and turn the lights on and off from time to time in order that the property does not look empty. The police note that many people leave large sums of money in the house, and jewellery. They advise against this, and say that all jewellery should be photographed, valued, insured and ideally left in safe-keeping somewhere rather than left on the bedroom dressing table.

Montpellier to have a theatre, that a temporary wooden building was constructed on the Esplanade in just 59 days so that the show could go on while the new permanent building was taking shape. „ The current building, finished in 1888, was

designed by JosephMarie Cassien Bernard who was a pupil of Charles Garnier, the architect of the Opéra National de Paris. „ It houses the original Three Graces statue, a copy of which adorns the Place de la Comédie.

8 What’s On

Languedoc Pages

August 2012

Until August 5 Festival de Carcassonne – Every year, the beautiful city of Carcassonne hosts a cultural festival packed with events for everyone: theatre, dance, classical, and popular music. It is one of France’s largest festivals, and the fact that the medieval city is a designated Unesco World Heritage Site only adds to the appeal. For jazz fans, the Harlem Fantasy Orchestra will be performing, a group that pays tribute to the early years of Duke Ellington, as well as Thomas Dutronc, a French jazz guitarist. Alternatively, the rock star Alice Cooper will be bringing the house down at the JeanDeschamps Theatre. Perhaps best of all, some of the entertainment is FREE, while other concerts start at around €39. For more information, visit







Castelnaudary FOOD



August 2-4 Festiv'Allier – This eighth edition of the festival showcases some of the new and upcoming French artists, as well as exciting circus acts. Perfect for a family day out, the concerts take place in the centre of the town, on a colourful stage courtesy of installations by Delirium Lumens. For the programme visit

August 21-26 Fête du Cassoulet – This food festival gives centre stage to its regional dish, cassoulet, a slow-cooked casserole. Enjoy eating the product at sites all over the town, and attend free music concerts. Michael Jones, welsh singer/songwriter, is the guest of honour and patron of the event. Don’t forget to come dressed in blue and white, the colours of the festival.

Hérault Pyrénées-Orientales Cap d’Agde

Vernet-les-Bains OUTDOORS

Photo: Aslii Girgin

OUTDOORS August 25 - September 2 Brescoudos bike week – For those in possession of a motorbike, why not see the area in style? Coordinated by the Brescoudos bike club, this twowheeled adventure has been running since the 1980s. For €120, in one week, bikers feast on good food, and participate in plenty of organised activities and festivities. E-mail or visit

August 5 The Canigou race in Vernet-les-Bains – Taking place on the first Sunday of August for the past 30 years, this gruelling 30km race sees walkers and runners set off from Vernet and climb to the 2,100m summit of the Canigou mountain and back. The race honours intrepid ice-carriers in the early 20th century who would climb the mountain, cut blocks of ice from the hillside and take them back to the village to sell.

Languedoc Pages

August 2012




Pick of the rest in Languedoc Photos: Le Petit Biterrois/Flickr

All August La Bambouseraie – This botanical garden contains numerous varieties of bamboo and tree. It is a continuing source of inspiration for many artists and painters.Tickets €8.60.

August 3-7 Uzès festival (Gard) – Street theatre, live music, sport and bull-running in the medieval town. August 4-5 Organic food fair in Couiza (Aude) – More than 100 producers and artisans will be showing their products. Includes plenty of tastings and various street performances.


Sommières WINE

August 7 Honey festival in Vernet-les-Bains (Pyrénées-Orientales) – A day of tastings, demonstrations and sale of local honey

August 15 Sommières wine fair – Local winemakers in this beautiful village in the foothills of the Cevennes organise tastings and other entertainment on Assumption day. Enjoy oysters, charcuterie and an impressive range of wines in the shade of plane trees and learn the art of wine tasting at a series of workshops. 10.00-21.00, entry €3

Photos: Ville de Montpellier

Photo: © belahoche -


August 7-9 Pre-historical festival in Tautavel (Pyrénées-Orientales) – Back for its 21st year, this event is held at the Tautavel prehistoric site and museum about 25km from Perpignan. There is a prehistoric village to explore, plus workshops and local produce on sale. A prehistoric dinner is also available on reservation.


August 17-20 Mende festival (Lozère) – Four days of entertainment for all ages, including street parades, games, music and fireworks. August 22 Chevalissimo Saint-Cyprien (Pyrénées-Orientales) – An impressively choreographed horse show celebrating Spanish culture, including live music from a gipsy band. August 30-September 2 Feria de Carcassonne (Aude) – Brass bands, salsa, flamenco and much more at this major street festival. There will also be plenty to eat and drink - a great opportunity to celebrate the city and its culture.

Peyrepertuse FAMILY

Montpellier FESTIVAL

Until September 7 Les Estivales de Montpellier – A great event for wine-lovers, the event takes place every Friday, from 18.00 to 23.30.Visitors can taste wine from 35 different winemakers each week, accompanied by tapas and sea food.The ambience is made merry with free dance and musical entertainment. Call 04 67 34 70 00

August 10-15 Feria de Béziers (Hérault) – Thousands of visitors are expected for this major event, with bullfighting corridas, street parties, parades, concerts and celebrations of Occitan culture.

August 8-9 Peyrepertuse medieval festival – This is one of the biggest medieval festivals in the Languedoc region, held every summer near the town’s castle.There will be theatre, demonstrations, combats, fireworks and a medieval banquet

10 What’s On

Languedoc Pages

August 2012

Breath-taking air displays above Languedoc beach MEMBERS of France’s airborne acrobatic team, the Patrouille de France, are putting on two spectacular demonstrations above one of the region’s most popular seaside resorts this summer. Beachgoers and anyone enjoying an early evening apéritif in La Grande Motte, on the Gard-Hérault border, should look up at 19.30 on Tuesday, August 7 and 21 for the not-tobe-missed shows, organised by pilots from the award-winning Aéroclub Hérault Languedoc Roussillon. Also taking part in this year’s shows is a group of young sapeurs-pompiers from

Montpellier, who can normally be found at the controls of the Canadair fire-fighting planes that protect the region’s forests. Once the displays are over and the planes back on the ground, pilots will be on hand to meet the public and discuss their work. The August 7 show is best seen from the beach near the town centre, around the Place de l’Epi. For the August 21 show, the best vantage points are slightly further along the coast to the west, in the Quartier du Couchant. To find out more, visit the tourist office on Place 1er Octobre or call 04 67 56 42 00. Photo: Mairie de la Grande Motte

Popular Hérault seaside town La Grande Motte is the venue for two spectacular airborne acrobatics displays from the Patrouille de France (above) on Tuesday, August 7 and 21

Languedoc Pages

What’s On 11

August 2012

What’s On in the capital

See Richter through the years

Babar celebrates his 80th

Weekend of live music August 24-26 – Rock en Seine is one of Paris’s biggest live music events and, despite the name, it covers a broad range of contemporary French and international


music genres, over three days at the Domaine de SaintCloud, west of the city. More than 50 acts will play, including the Waterboys, Sigur Ros and Noel Gallagher.

Still time to enjoy Paris beach OUTDOORS Until August 19 – Visitors to Paris in the first half of the month can still catch the city’s urban beach, back for its 11th year on the right

bank of the Seine, from Pont Neuf to the Pont de Sully, with sunloungers, ice-cream, restaurants, children’s activity areas and much more. Entry is free, open 8.00 to 0.00.

Bring a picnic to the cinema

Photo: Nathalie Prebende

Until August 5 – Curated by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, this wideranging exhibition is more than just a chance to remember some of Tim Burton’s best-loved films – from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland to Sleepy Hollow and Sweeney Todd. It is also an opportunity to discover Burton’s talents as a painter, photographer and inventor of colourful, amazing sculptures. La Cinémathèque Française, 51 rue de Bercy (12e). M° Bercy. Open daily (except Tuesday) 10.00-20.00, late night Thursday until 22.00. Entry €11, under-18s €5.50.

Garden gigs all over city MUSIC All summer – The bandstands in Paris’s parks and gardens host more than 200 free open-air concerts this month and next. Performers range from local conservatoire music students to the official Paris metro staff choir, and a number of UK schools and youth bands who have been invited over to perform to a Parisian audience. The full programme is online at ParisBandstands

OUTDOORS August 1-12 – The Cinéma au Clair de Lune festival brings French and foreign films (in version originale) to screens in iconic locations including Montmartre and the Place des Vosges. Entry is free – just turn up with a blanket, chair and a picnic.This year’s selection of nine films includes Blake Edwards’ 1958 romantic comedy The Perfect Furlough, based in Paris, and the 1967 musical classic Les Demoiselles de Rochefort. Films start at 21.30. Meanwhile, the Parc de la Villette has an open-air cinema festival of its own until August 26. Screenings include Good Bye, Lenin, Virgin Suicides, Superman and Hair – and they are all free, but if you want to hire a chair it costs €7 for the evening. See the full programme online at

FAMILY Until September 2 – To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the popular French cartoon elephant, created by Jean de Brunhoff, the Musée des Décoratifs has an exhibition of 100 original sketches and a range of Babar-themed toys from the 1930s to today. Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 107 rue de Rivoli (1er). M° Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre or Pyramides. Open Tuesday-Sunday 11.00-18.00 (late opening until 21.00 on Thursdays). Entry €9.50, under-18s go free.

Admire palace’s dancing fountains

Until September 1 – The gardens at Versailles are the setting for another season of sound, light and water shows in August. Watch the fountains dance as night falls, accompanied by music and lasers.The show ends with a firework display. Every Saturday, 21.00-23.20. €23, under-18s €19. www.chateauversailles

Photo: Mat’s Eye/Flickr

Until September 2 – From historic wartime broadcasts and the pirate era to today’s broad spectrum of styles and tastes, radio in all its forms and the French public’s long-lasting attachment to the medium is the focus of this exhibition. The show includes plenty of archive audio, guided visits each day at 15.30 and a discovery trail for children. Musée des Arts et Métiers, 60 rue Réaumur (3e). M° Arts et Métiers. Entry €5.50.

Photo: Romain DUBOIS/Wikimedia


CINEMA Photo: Gerhard Richter

Until September 24 – The work of leading German artist Gerhard Richter, whose creations last year achieved higher prices than those of any other living artist, is celebrated with a retrospective exhibition at the Pompidou Centre to coincide with his 80th birthday. Richter’s work was first exhibited at the centre in 1977 when the museum opened. The exhibition is arranged chronologically, from his early 1960s photography to the abstract digital works of today, made using computer software.Tickets giving full access to the Pompidou Centre and all its exhibitions cost €13. Open daily except Tuesday, 11.00-21.00, late on Thursdays until 23.00. Pompidou Centre m° Hôtel de Ville or Rambuteau.


Making waves

In the mind of Tim Burton

12 Education

Languedoc Page

Find your way through the French education system French schooling is often of good quality but the system is different in almost every respect to what expats may have been used to in countries like the UK. Here we look at some of the key elements parents and young people should be familiar with. school or an international school in France are among other alternatives. State education State education is under the control of the Ministre de l’Education (presently Vincent Peillon) and is open to everybody. It is a highly centralised system under which, at least in theory, every pupil at a state school should be following the same curriculum from the same textbooks and be at the same place in the curriculum as those at the same level in every other school in France on a given day. The reality, however, may differ from this aim (not least, due to individual teachers’ whims). French schools generally place less emphasis on extra-curricular activities than British ones do, and these are often done outside of school. Physical education is nonetheless part of the curriculum (at both primary and secondary levels) and bodies called associations sportives scolaires may work in partnership with schools to introduce children to certain sports and organise local, regional and national sporting competitions. France being a secular state, there is no religious education in state schools. It is actually illegal for pupils to exhibit any religious symbol (such as a crucifix) or to wear anything that

The baccalauréat Education leads to a nationally organised exam at the end of the school career, the baccalauréat. This is essential in moving on to higher education or to many careers. It can be a major hurdle. The pass rate varies, but there is always a percentage of those who fail and have to redoubler (repeat the last year’s classes.) Redoublement can happen at any stage of a child’s school career and its usefulness is the subject of much debate School holidays The academic year starts in September and continues until after the summer exams, which finish around mid-June. Apart from public holidays, there are breaks of a few days around All Saints Day (Toussaint) and over Christmas and New Year, with a mid-term break in February, the peak time for winter sports, and two weeks around Easter. Until a few years ago all schools took their holidays simultaneously, causing traffic jams and crowded ski and beach resorts. The country is now divided into three

regions for the winter and spring holidays, the dates being staggered between the regions. Many schools offer breaks at state or departmentally run hostels (colonies de vacances) in holiday areas. A child progresses through three obligatory stages: école maternelle and école élémentaire, which make up French primary school (l’école primaire) and then collège. Where l’école is referred to, this often means primary school. The three-year “sixth form” equivalent is called lycée. Boarding schools Boarding schools (internats) exist at all levels in both public and private sectors and a directory can be found online at It can be a practical choice where, for example, parents are often absent. Private schools There are some 9,000 private schools, the large majority of which are Catholic. More than two million children attend these, or 17% of the total in schooling. Listings can be found at: They fall into several categories: „ Those operated under a “contract of association” with the state are by far the most numerous. They are staffed by the state, follow the state system and receive a local authority running costs contribution – from the mairie for primary school, department for collège and region for lycée. Par-


FRANCE has a sophisticated education system that has often been admired by its neighbours and is internationally recognised as being of a high standard. Nonetheless, in recent years, it has faced difficulties in maintaining these standards. As elsewhere there are problems of funding and, in certain areas, of discipline and violence in schools. As a generalisation, teachers and pupils have tended to become more militant and less motivated, though of course this is not universally true. In these respects France is no different from Britain. There are both private and state schools and it is usual to put your child into the free state system unless there is a particular reason not to do so, such as when the child has special needs or the parents are absent and a boarding school is necessary (though boarding is also available at some state schools). Religion is another factor, with most private schools being Catholic-run, whereas state ones have a secular ethos. University education is heavily subsidised and available to those living in the university’s catchment area and who have the necessary entry qualifications (baccalauréat). This has tended to cause overcrowding. Above the universities in status and reputation are the grandes écoles. These are outside the main university system and entry is by competition, which is fierce. These produce most of France’s leaders, especially military and political. Bear in mind that the environment and education within the French system are usually entirely in French. Children of primary school age usually adapt well and become bilingual. Older ones may find it more difficult if they are not already competent in French. Certain French schools have “international sections” where part of the teaching is in English (see later). Alternatively, a crash course in French before your move should help. You might also look at ongoing extra sessions with a home tutor (which attract an income tax credit if done by an accredited firm). If your finances stretch to it, a UK boarding

has a religious significance (for example, a headscarf).

Expat children of primary school age usually adapt well and quickly become bilingual, but teenagers might find it harder to adjust


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Education 13

August 2012 Photo: lightpoet -

Lycée studies are towards the baccalauréat, necessary for university entry and many careers

It is a highly centralised system under which, in theory, every pupil at every state school should be following the same curriculum and be at the same level as every school in France on a given day. The reality may differ from this aim

ents contribute between €400 and €750 per child per year, included in which is payment for such elements not included in the national curriculum, such as religious instruction. „ Those operating under a “simple contract”. A similar arrangement to the above, this concerns fewer schools and only applies in the primary sector. In some respects it is less bound to the state system (teachers are paid as private workers as opposed to state civil servants) but they are nevertheless supervised and inspected and follow the state curriculum. „ Non-contracted schools. These have much more freedom and their fees are paid by parents in full. There are fewer of them and they include the private international schools (see below).

Outside the national education system there are a number of private international schools, often working towards the International Baccalaureate (IB). An international school in Paris, for example, has pupils of 50 nationalities (the majority being British) and prepares pupils for GCSEs. English-language schools can be found at Note that some schools in the French system have an international “section”, leading to the taking of the international option of the baccalauréat (OIB), a French bilingual and bi-cultural examination which should not be confused with the IB. There is also a “European school” in Strasbourg, which is a French state school and allows pupils whose mother tongue is English to study mainly in that language and to take a “European” baccalauréat version, alongside pupils whose main language is German or French. The International baccalauréate This is an exam run by the International Baccalaureate organisation, based in Geneva, founded in 1948. The IB diploma is not offered by French state schools. Strong commitment is required to take and succeed in the full course and it is possible to take just certain parts of it, although pupils who do so do not receive the full diploma. The full course involves taking six subjects, one from each of five subject groups and one from group six or from a permitted substitute from another group.The IB is accepted for entry into universities in most countries. The papers may be taken in a variety (or a mixture) of languages. It covers a wide spectrum, which has led to criticism in the UK that it is too broad and insufficiently specialised as an introduction to further studies.

Education in France helpguide – new this year The Connexion newspaper publishes a helpguide to education in France, covering the whole system from maternelle to university and the grandes écoles plus continuing education for adults. School meals and transport and assurance scolaire (school insurance) are among other topics discussed.

Download a copy for €5 at or call 0800 91 77 56 to have a printed version sent to you


We live in the UK and my daughter decided she wanted to go on a University exchange in France for a special program. A friend of mine suggested I try an FX company to pay her tuition and send her money and I was pleasantly surprised when I did. I usually use my bank because I thought it was easier but this way I can transfer money into my daughter's account equally quickly and save money in the process. M. Barnes

Lessons learnt from having three boys in French school

Natalie and Mike Strange with sons Sebastian, Toby and Rufus NATALIE Strange moved to France from East Sussex in 2005 with her husband Mike and three boys Sebastian (now 15), Toby (13) and Rufus (eight), settling near Limoux in the Aude. Rufus settled into school the easiest, starting at the very beginning of the cycle. Ms Strange says: “I’ve had to help him the least with the homework. He seems to grasp things quickly.” But Sebastian and Toby found it much more difficult at first, and homework time involved re-teaching what had been covered in class. “I used to dread weekends,” she says. “I spent hours and hours going over it with them. They’re at collège now and I’ve let go.” Toby is dyslexic and the family invested in home tuition, which attracts a 50% income tax credit, which has paid off: “It was really helpful and it gave him a confidence boost. Having two languages is a mountain for a dyslexic person.” They also took him to see a speech therapist, and this was fully reimbursed by social security. Toby has not had to repeat a year, which Ms Strange believes would have been detrimental to him. However, she feels she had to do a lot of work herself to get help for Toby, which she thinks would have been better handled by school staff in the UK. When Sebastian, the eldest, started school he was placed one year lower than the rest of his age to compensate for the language problems (he was born in November and the school admissions year runs from January to

December). “I sometimes regret that,” says Ms Strange. “I should have pushed. I think for him socially it feels difficult.” However, he sat his brevet last month and is looking forward to lycée in September. He is becoming bilingual and bicultural, surpassing his mother’s level of French. “Sebastian is very conscious of me speaking English to him in a shop, about being more French when we are out in the open,” she says. “He corrects me on my French. I just don’t think he should be embarrassed about it. French kids are intrigued about England and the English.” On a general note, she says: “I feel that French teaching isn’t as creative as English, even in secondary school.” There are fewer experiments in science and creative areas, such as art, are underexplored, prompting Sebastian to pursue his photography hobby elsewhere. Contact with other parents is limited – there is less of a culture of chattering at the school gate: “That’s something I felt was quite sad. There was a strong community with the parents and here I feel it’s very much just collect the kids and go.” However, there are regular parent-teacher evenings every term and she says parents are strongly encouraged to have a role in their children’s education and check they are not slipping. She is also impressed with the number of tests pupils are given – one or two every week – and the ability to check the marks online.

14 Leisure Time

Languedoc Pages

August 2012

Sponsored by I will be at the Mirepoix Night Markets on August 9 and 23 - 18.00 - 23.00

French-themed crossword Across


2. In French as in English, sport for two teams of seven swimmers (5-4) 8. Franc portion (7) 9. Organ of the body, le siège des émotions et sentiments (5) 10. Wise shrub whose aromatic leaves are used for seasoning (4) 11. Prospero’s daughter in Shakespeare’s The Tempest (7) 13. Spa city in North Rhine-Westphalia otherwise known as Aix-la-Chapelle (6) 15. Octogenarian Vichy France chief of state (6) 18. Useful outil for stargazing in France (7) 20. Long dress for formal occasions (4) 23. A legal right (5) 24. Monmartre-born artist Maurice _______, who specialised in cityscapes (7) 25. Gas providing a very hot flame discovered by Edmund Davy, then rediscovered and named by French chemist Marcellin Berthelot (9)

1. French Mediterranean city named after the Greek goddess of victory (4) 2. Eponymous fish in 1988 film starring John Cleese and Kevin Kline (5) 3 and 22. Fabric with a repeated pattern, often of a pastoral scene (5,2,4) 4. City in Champagne-Ardennes region which was the traditional scene of the coronation of the kings of France (English spelling, with an H) (6) 5 and 21. Irish playwright and poet buried in the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise in Paris (5,5) 6. Geographical area encompassing islands and seas in the Pacific (7) 7. “Of all the crosses I have to bear,” said Churchill of his relationship with de Gaulle, “the heaviest is the Cross of ________” (8) 12. Singer Johnny who co-starred with Jean Rochefort in L'homme du train (8) 14. Marseilles-born former Manchester United star Eric _______ (7) 16. Fencing term adopted from French (2,5) 17. “In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to ______”, Proverbs 14:23 (6) 19. Qualification honorifique given to a person (5) 21. See 5 22. See 3

Most answers are in French, with the exceptions of Across: 11 and 20 and Down: 2, 4, 6, 17 and 5/21. Answers can be found at the bottom of page

What’s in a word? .com - Fotolia



machine-gun. However it had more to do with a change in the law. In October 1920 the French government passed a law which prevented bakers from starting work before 4.00, no longer leaving them enough time to prepare the standard round loaf, called a boule, in time for breakfast. The slender baguette solved the problem because it could be prepared and baked much more rapidly. Nor is the baguette even a French invention, unfortunately. Like so much else in the baker’s window, from the croissant to the pain au chocolat, the baguette first made its appearance in Austria, which is why so many such delicacies are still referred to as viennoiseries. At least the baker’s shop itself still retains the original French name of boulangerie, even if it does now produce far more than just the traditional round loaf, or boule, which gave it its name.


„ 6 FRANCE’S youngest MP, aged 22, belongs to which famous family of politicians?

„ 2 WHO said they would “roll out the red carpet” to wealthy French people and businesses put off by high tax rates in France? „ 3 WHICH town in the Corrèze is putting on tours allowing visitors to "follow in the footsteps of François Hollande"?

„ 7 WHICH travel operator has bought ferries from collapsed firm SeaFrance and is returning them to regular service on the Channel?

„ 4 THE WORLD of French sport paid tribute to Thierry Roland recently, who died at the age of 76. For what job was he famous?


Photo: Dave Hamster/Flickr

IF YOU go into a boulangerie and ask for a baguette, you would know exactly what to expect – one of those wonderful long, French loaves that are known the world over. But less than a couple of hundred years ago, when Napoleon’s armies were rampaging through Europe, from Spain to Egypt and northwards to Russia, a baguette meant something quite different. It was the ramrod used to pack the charge into a musket, ready for firing in battle. It also doubled as a cane for whipping unfortunate soldiers, who were punished by running the gauntlet between two lines of infantry-men. Recalcitrant soldiers carried the scars of such beatings until their dying day. So when did the military ramrod change into a harmless and delicious loaf of bread? It must have had something to do with advances in military technology, which made the muzzle-loaded musket redundant in the face of the carbine, the rifle and the


„ 5 LONDON is hosting this summer’s Olympics. Which city came second in the bidding process?

„ 1 WHICH celebrity couple, who had a home in Plan-de-la-Tour (Var) have split up after 14 years together?

Photo: Jessica Genetel/Wikimedia


The France quiz

by Paul Masters

CROSSWORD ANSWERS. Across: 2 water-polo; 8 centime; 9 coeur; 10 sage; 11 Miranda; 13 Aachen; 15 Pétain; 18 lunette; 20 gown; 23 droit; 24 Utrillo; 25 acétylène Down: 1 Nice; 2 Wanda; 3&22 toile de Jouy; 4 Rheims; 5&21 Oscar Wilde; 6 Oceania; 7 Lorraine; 12 Hallyday; 14 Cantona; 16 en garde; 17 penury; 19 titre (or title) FRANCE QUIZ ANSWERS: 1 Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis; 2 David Cameron; 3 Tulle; 4 TV football commentator; 5 Paris; 6 Le Pen; 7 Eurotunnel


by John Foley

Languedoc Pages

Food and Pets 15

August 2012

Fresh tuna for a light summer’s lunchtime

Medium-cooked tuna, peppers confit and balsamic caramel



„ 50ml groundnut oil (huile d’arachide) „ 4 fresh tuna steaks For the peppers confit: „ 80ml extra-virgin olive oil „ 2 yellow peppers, de-seeded and chopped „ 2 red peppers, de-seeded and chopped „ a few spring onions „ salt and pepper

Freshly caught from the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts, tuna is in plentiful supply at markets – and there is much more to it than just an ingredient in a traditional salade niçoise

For the balsamic caramel: „ 200ml balsamic vinegar „ 30g caster sugar


ance and is fished all year round in tropical waters, mainly for canned products. Like salmon, tuna is rich in omega 3 (which is good for the cardio-vascular system) and contains vitamin B3, which helps the nervous system. Serving possibilities are endless: whether grilled or pan-fried with vegetables, baked in a gratin or lasagne with some spinach and ricotta, shaped into balls with pasta and a tomato sauce, or of course the traditional salade niçoise and the sandwich equivalent, pain bagnat, with olive oil, olives, eggs and anchovies. Alternatively, pick up some brightly coloured peppers from your garden or the market, and a chilled white or rosé wine, and try this recipe for a light al-fresco lunch or dinner.

„ Prepare the balsamic caramel by combining the balsamic vinegar and caster sugar together in a saucepan. „ Bring to a simmer over a moderate heat. Continue to simmer until it has reduced by half and thickened. „ Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (gas mark 6). „ Arrange the peppers and spring onions in a roasting tray. „ Season and drizzle over half of the extra-virgin olive oil. „ Roast for 10-15 minutes until soft. „ Remove from the oven and pour over the rest of the olive oil.

Photo: Radvaner/Photocuisine

FORGET the tins from the Seychelles available all year round – this time of year is ideal for buying freshly caught tuna steaks in France. Market traders sell tuna from the Gulf of Gascony or the Mediterranean from June until November and most commonly thon blanc, with its light pink flesh Other varieties exist, most notably thon rouge or bluefin tuna which is very popular for sushi and has been the subject of much controversy. Bluefin tuna is an endangered species and has been over-fished in recent years – prompting protests from Greenpeace including a 2006 blockade of Marseille port. France banned bluefin tuna fishing very early this season when quotas were reached. There is also tuna albacore, which has a yellowy appear-

Serves: 4 Preparation: 20 minutes Cooking: 25-30 minutes

„ Cover and leave to cool to room temperature. „ Rub the tuna steaks with the groundnut oil and season with salt and pepper. „ Heat a cast iron frying pan over a high heat until hot. „ Sear the tuna steaks for 1-2 minutes on all sides, then transfer to the oven to finish cooking for 4-6 minutes.

„ Transfer the peppers and spring onion to the oven at the same time as the tuna steaks go in to reheat. „ Reheat the balsamic caramel at the same time over a low heat. „ Spoon the peppers and spring onions on to serving plates. „ Top with the tuna steaks and spoon the balsamic caramel on top.

Time to ramp up the flea prevention

SCRATCHING is generally the first sign that your pet is infested with fleas. Use Betadine to clean any small bites, cuts or sore patches on your pet’s skin. Bites on humans tend to come in little rows of three small, flat, incredibly itchy red spots. Check for fleas around the eyes and ears of your pet and underneath the tail. If your pet has dark fur, use a flea comb to search for what looks like fine black grit but which is in fact, flea droppings. If your pet is clear, then your prevention plan is working and should be continued. If not, you need to ramp up the action. The best known and most effective treatment on the market is probably Frontline, a small tube of liquid which you buy from

Photo: TheSupe87 -

August is prime time for fleas, so treatment and prevention should continue at full strength until at least the end of November, says SAMANTHA DAVID

Pet Care the pharmacy and apply to the nape of your pet’s neck. If it does not seem to be working, try applying half to the nape of the neck and half between the shoulder blades, and increase frequency to two rather than three weeks. If your pet is allergic to Frontline, try Stronghold which is more expensive but better tolerated by animals with sensitive skins. These treatments take two to three days to work and in the meantime, flea powder can be a useful instant treatment, but wear an overall and

This column is sponsored by

Insecticide shampoos are instantly effective, but not long-lasting apply it outside well away from the house, or the fleas will simply jump off your pet on to the sofa and live there until they can move back home at a later date. Insecticide shampoos are instantly effective on dogs but only last until the dog meets a new flea. Collars are vital and effective against the sand

flies which carry leichmaniose but alone will not protect against fleas. If despite all this, your pets still have fleas and humans in the household are also being bitten, it is possible that your furnishings and carpets are harbouring a reservoir of them which is constantly re-infesting your pets. Remove loose covers

from sofas and armchairs and check the seams for flea eggs. They will look like fluff but be harder to pull away from the stitching. If you are not sure, get all loose covers, cushion covers and other soft furnishings dry cleaned or put them through the washing machine at 60°C. Then sprinkle specialised insecticide powder (from the pet section of DIY shops) over your carpets and furniture, paying attention to the sides of the arms and the divisions between the backs and bases of sofas where fleas could hide. Leave the powder for a day and then go to war with your vacuum. You will need a flattened furniture attachment to get into all recesses. Vacuum all curtains, carpets (on both sides) and furniture (inside and out, underneath and round the back) and when you have finished, take the vacuum outside and change the bag immediately. Throw it straight into the dustbin. Chickens are commonly infested with fleas, so try to keep cats and dogs away from chicken runs and if you or your children handle chickens, wash your hands afterwards.

Tel. 06 58 01 82 76 Web. Email.

16 Directory

Languedoc Pages

August 2012

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

LANGUEDOC DIRECTORY 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 „ By advertising in our directory you get the chance to run advertorials (the articles you see on these pages). We are currently offering these at a two for one price, so two x 1/4 page advertorials, maximum 400 words plus photo, costs just €200HT. A minimum two month break between publishing applies and the second advertorial is a repeat of the first. If you wish to change the second there is a €25 fee together with a €15 fee if you want us to provide a photo.

„ We will keep you up to date with features and special events in your area of France in all our publications which could help to boost your business. „ We include the text from your advertisement in our online directory for no extra charge. „ Want to advertise in our national paper The Connexion or sister papers in other regions? Call our sales team for more information.


Professional building and renovations in Aude With a satisfied network of clients throughout the Aude and the Languedoc-Roussillon region, Aude Artisans are happy to complete any renovation, construction or building work in the area, says James Gordon Roe WITH over 26 years of experience in the renovation and construction industry, professional carpenter James Gordon Roe, of Aude Artisans, has all the know-how required to manage a building project from the start through to completion. Having worked in the Aude region for a decade, James has experience renovating a variety of structures, including listed buildings in the medieval city of Carcassonne. He has completed work for people who live in the region, as well as those who own a second home in Aude

but live elsewhere. “We offer a full range of home improvement, building and maintenance services,” said James. “We understand that having building work on a property can make for a stressful time, especially if the owner doesn’t speak the language or if it’s a secondary home, so we handle the whole process.” Aude Artisans offers a wide range of services, including plastering and tiling, bathroom and kitchen design and installation, joinery, electrical work, floor laying,

PETER JOHNSON SARL Business & Financial Services French taxation specialists (25 years experience)

Mobile: 06 21 04 89 37 Office: 04 93 29 34 32 Email: Siret n° 479 554 784 RCS Grasse

parquet floor, shop fitting and landscape gardening. “By sourcing all materials and offering weekly emails with photos that keep owners up-to-date, we try to make the process as stress free for clients as possible,” said James. His personal expertise, however, does not stop at property exteriors - Aude Artisans can also help clients inside the home. As a professional carpenter, James

We offer a full range of home improvement, building and maintenance services

ARCHITECT UK Architect, Design, Dossiers for Planning Applications and Project Management. Based in the Aude and Herault. Tel 04 67 89 57 64

Le Palais des Chats Exclusive hotel for cats

3km from Beziers.

English: John 04 67 36 63 38 French: Ian 06 81 16 39 30

Pete's Roofing Covering the Gard

All types of roofs renewed / repaired Velux roof windows - Guttering

Siret no : 44383409800016

Tel: 05 63 56 39 11 Email: Web: SIRET N°: 41976643100011

VILLASOPHIE Your architect in Languedoc Roussillon Design permits and plans for new builds and renovations

04 68 20 04 31

Project Management

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

Roofing, Scaffolding Heavy Structural Building

Sam Stokes - 06 14 38 10 29

04 68 98 03 24


Artisan Developments







Artisan Builder - All Renovation Works Pool Installation/Security - Aude Tel: 06 37 64 40 58 Email: Siret 48515658200028

Renovation / repairs - References supplied Established 30 years- 10 in France

Siret No: 50066265500017

Siret: 51271440300015

Bi-lingual architect SW France: feasibility studies, ecological design, renovation, planning, project management.


BUILDER/CARPENTER/PLUMBER Tel: +33 (0) 4 68 20 29 91 Mob: +33 (0) 6 07 27 37 56 E mail:

Tel +33 (0) 4 68 77 05 96 Email:


Professional building work in Aude

04 66 72 75 84

SATISFYING CUSTOMER NEEDS in Joinery and Building works since 1980. MIni Digger available.

04 68 96 40 80 Email: Website:

Home from Home

09 66 42 50 10 06 19 95 87 50

Paul Hockings

35 minutes from Perpignan Collection/delivery available Carol and Stuart Metcalfe

Boutique cat and dog hotel

can create a wide range of items for any room in the house. “We manufacture shutter doors, garage doors, stairs, windows and bookcases to clients’ specifications,” said James. In addition, James and the team also offer a maintenance service, using their expertise to solve the problems homeowners are sometimes unsure of how to fix. “Properties are always in need of upkeep, so whether the job is to eliminate rot in the railings, or there is a door that needs hanging, we can do the work and source all the materials where necessary,” added James. For more information, or to discuss any building and carpentry needs, call or email James who will provide advice and a very competitive quote.

Dept 66 / 11

Fully project managed property renovations. Comprehensive building, planning & design services. Languedoc Roussillion

Tel: 04 67 25 29 38 - Mob: 06 73 17 02 73 Email: or

Web: or

Ward Building Services Renovation to Decoration Extensions, Kitchens, Bathrooms, tiling, stonework, Patios, terraces. Free estimates Tel: Mike 04 68 24 45 05 / 06 33 28 48 72 Email: Siret: 50400085200013



Tel. 06 72 42 07 04 DEPT 66 Siret: 494 683 931 00021

Languedoc Pages

Directory 17

August 2012

General Builder Established 2011 in the Aude Can manufacture shutters, doors, stairs windows and kitchens Tel: +33 (0) 4 68 78 72 51 Mobile +33 (0) 6 19 95 87 50 10 Email:


Sarah Wafflard Sworn Translator Interpreter

Language services at reasonable rates for individual & business clients Email: Tel: +33 (0) 9 61 22 37 41 Siret No: 501 541 031 00016

CERTIFIED TRANSLATIONS All legal translations by FrenchEnglish speaking sworn translator Tel: 06 79 99 75 20 Email: Covering AUDE and all Departments within 100 km of CARCASSONNE.

Property-legal-birth cert., driving licences traductions assermentées Valid everywhere with 25 years of experience

Don’t waste your time with amateurs

Regions : All FRANCE Karen RENEL-KING Tel: 06 18 03 18 38 Email: Fast and affordable

Siret :489 920 124 00018

We design professional websites, highly Google-ranked, that sell.

Tel: 04 67 38 17 64 Email: Website: Siret: 450 096 193 00021

- Regions covered: All

Siret: 38058374000028

Les Jours Heureux 66

FRENCH INSURANCE IN ENGLISH For people who live in / own property in France Straight-forward, honest advice on the best house, car, life & health insurance policies for you Over 15 years experience in French insurance markets English, Dutch & German spoken. Philippe Schreinemachers Tel: 05 62 29 20 00 Email: RCS Auch B479 400 657 - Regions: All France

The Spectrum IFA Group Regulated, qualified and experienced advisers providing independent financial advice. Investments, retirement, inheritance planning, Insurance, mortgages. Mail: for your nearest adviser. With care, you prosper. Ad No. 16706

For all things Property in Dept 66!

Sky In France

Sky, Freesat & French TV Supplied & Fully Installed

Office: 05 63 59 85 16 Please see our main advert in the Connexion


Need someone to help with property maintenance problems, home improvements, renovations, Exteriors, Gardens & Pools. Contact Anthony Main 0033 (0)468 783 696 email: Siret 4846 8735 500012

Area 34 only

Colombiers Property Services Professional Property & Pool Management in Herault. Handyman Services also available. 10yrs experience - Siret reg.

Drain Clear

Contact Details Michael Murray 0467775894/0671526193

Interior & Exterior Drain Clearance

Looking for a property? Let us search for you And save money Contact Susannah on

Tel: 04 67 24 31 42 Mob: 06 52 75 24 45 Email:

DICK FOWLER CONSTRUCTION Pool design and build Also other house renovation and construction works Phone: 06 70 91 12 17 Ad No. 18691

Camera inspection & high pressure jetting Covering (66) Mob: 06 43 22 86 15 - Tel: 04 68 51 80 46

Women’s International Club Mediterranée meets in Florensac 2nd Thursday each month. All nationalities welcome

Tel: 04 67 77 19 06

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

Smithy’s Ferronnerie

Metalwork & Welding - Gates Balconies Handrails - Fences Staircases - Pergolas Anything You Want! 04 68 94 28 64 or 06 73 95 92 57

Holiday Villa Rental in the Languedoc & Provence We offer a friendly and personal touch service through our in-depth knowledge of all properties and local areas. Property Management Services available.

Tel: 04 67 49 17 94 Email:

Keysitting Property Services

For all drainage problems call James Southern

We look after your home in your absence Providing an extensive range of services for your complete peace of mind

FAB Property

Your Helping Hand to the French Health System

Tel: +33 (0) 4 99 57 05 89 Mobile: +33 (0) 6 68 89 23 30 Web: Email:

Save up to 25 % Tel: 04 68 32 06 17 Email:

Exclusive Healthcare

Perfect Property Management Quality House & Swimming Pool Management in the Languedoc

Siret: 479 317 620 00025

on Septic Tank installation


and contact me: Ruby Laura Goold 06 38 73 15 62

Siret No: 497 605 550 00019

Tel: 04 67 89 36 98 Mob: 06 73 96 84 87

All interior, Exterior woodwork References, Portfolio available

Siret: 51215779300013


Property Sales Management & Holiday Rentals All year round maintenance service Visit the website:


Efficient, Reliable Changeover and Maintenance Service Visit our website Contact Adele / Iain Tel: 06 43 54 46 91 email:

Project Management of any works, repairs, renovations, extensions

UZES 00 33 (0) 6 78 47 37 58 Ad No. 15493

ANGIE NETTOYAGE Domestic and Commercial Cleaning You'll be swept away by our service! Call Angie

+33 (0) 4 94 40 31 45

French Without Tears


One to One Language Course. Tuition with Accomodation Tel: 06 78 15 19 29

For all your UK Tv and Radio solutions

Skydigi - based in Languedoc 04 68 87 18 30

Siret: 521701474 - Ad No. 17685


PERPIGNAN Translating, interpreting, hand-holding Distance tuition by MSN/Skype Homestay language courses Workshops +33 (0)4 68 38 91 69

Need some help? High-quality translating, language and intercultural training at reasonable prices Connecting Cultures

Tel: 0033 (0) 4 67 82 36 62

06 34 64 22 70 or 04 34 10 29 06 email:

Justin Harrison, Central heating Engineer/Plumber and David Hodgskin, Electrician Full renovations / repairs in Aude 06 65 06 05 74 06 33 38 87 38 Ad No. 17780

Ad No. 19225

Alexander Technique relieve pain and learn how to move with freedom and ease UK certified

Wendy McKnight - 06 38 88 27 79

Psychotherapy & Art Therapy Explore yourself Debra Rogers 06 31 23 33 43 US licensed Near Pezenas 20 years experience

Digi TV Solutions Installation of UK and French TV, and broadband via satellite. We also install home cinema and surround sound systems. Specialist in gites and hotel multipoint systems.

Tel: 04 68 27 10 51 Siret: 503480675 00019

Advertise your business from just €75HT

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

ALPACA WOOL and KNITWEAR Knitting Yarns, Accessories, Fleeces For Spinning email: Siret 529 235 053

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

Get even more impact by adding an Advertorial from €200HT. This popular advertising option allows you the space to explain what your business offers using a combination of words and photos. Call Clare on 0800 91 77 56 or email

18 DIY

Languedoc Pages

2012 Helpguide to Healthcare in France INFORMATION YOU CAN TRUST ON LIFE IN FRANCE O




Explains how France’s healthcare system works and gives a breakdown of the reimbursement system covering doctors, dentists, opticians and mental health specialists. Explains how to register with a GP and other practical information including pregnancy, cancer screening, disabilities and pharmacies. Especially written for Britons living in France. Published July 2, 2012


The 2012 helpguide is now on sale for €7.50 for a downloadable or printed version Excluding (printed version does not include p&p) P&P You can order at the helpguide section of or call (free from France) 0800 91 77 56 or 0844 256 9881 from UK (4p/min) to pay by credit card

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Outdoor kitchens: more than a BBQ MAKING an outdoor kitchen can be fairly straightforward. First, decide where to locate it. Choose a flat space, not too far from the water supply with no branches which could overhang a barbecue. An area of hard standing or concrete is useful but not essential. It simply depends on whether style-wise you are aiming for Robinson Crusoe or Saint-Tropez. Installing a kitchen sink is easy, especially if you already have a water supply or, at least, a rainwater butt in your garden. Cheap, second-hand stainless-steel sink tops are easy to find at places like Emmaüs (find a local one online at and very often come with the taps still attached. Once you have got one, you need to build a support for it; out of bricks and mortar if you want it to last but there is no reason why it should not sit on two dry stone end walls or even two trestles if it is only designed to be there for the summer and you do not mind it being a bit rickety. Stake trestles for extra stability using washing line and tent pegs. Otherwise cut a hole in an old table and sit your sink top into that. You will then need to cap off the hot water supply and rig a hosepipe to supply the cold tap. For the outflow, think about your garden and either run the used water into an irrigation system or a water butt for later use. Supply a sink plug to prevent water being wasted and tie it to the tap so it does not get lost. If hot water seems like a must, investigate the systems sold in camping shops. They are inexpensive and essentially consist of a plastic bag of water which you hang up in the sun each morning so that it is hot by the end of the day. Once you get this far, it is not complicated to add a work surface and if you want to keep it clean, tiles might be a good idea but make sure they are safe to be frozen; normal decorating tiles for indoor use will crack at the first frost. A very slight slope forwards will help prevent puddles of rainwater forming and make your tiles last longer. Installing a barbecue can also be as complex or simple as you chose. At its most basic, it could be a hollow in the ground surrounded by large stones, but of course the most fun project is to build the base from bricks and mortar, topping it off with a fireproof slab and adding a work top to one side. When installing firebricks, remember to use fireproof cement as well. You can also buy fireproof sealing mastic. The barbecues you buy from DIY stores including a chimney may need planning permission and even if they do not, in the interest of world peace it may be a good idea to consult your neighbours before building one right beside a boundary fence.

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D I Y tips

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August 2012

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Sinks and work surfaces can be easily set up outside

Languedoc Pages

Home and Garden 19

August 2012

Photo: Eric Marquez/Flickr

Gardening Facts

Sponsored by

Photo: Anatoliy Samara -

Water restrictions can make August a difficult month

How does your garden grow? Shade sails are an increasingly popular option and are great at letting heat escape and keeping the sun’s rays out

Tips to beat the heat IN THE midst of the hottest summer month, thoughts turn to staying cool and comfortable. Traditional systems such as ceiling fans can be bought at large homeware stores such as Leroy Merlin, Mr Bricolage and Castorama. Prices can vary widely, but tend to be between €50 and €150, depending on size. Although less popular in France than in the US, you can choose to install air conditioning (climatisation). There is a wide range of units to choose from, and those fitted with a heat pump can also help with heating in winter. You can choose between a climatiseur monobloc which is hung on a wall or window, or a “split” one which is moveable. The attached units are more expensive but are generally more powerful. However, they should only be used in rooms or studios smaller than 30m2. For the “split” option, one of the units is placed outside on a wall or patio, and the other unit is inside. Air conditioning costs between €300 and €5,000 depending on the number of units you have and how powerful they are. When buying a new air conditioner, be sure to check it for size and noise. If you have an old central air conditioner, you might want to look at replacing the outdoor compressor with a high-efficiency unit. Once in place, maintain your air conditioner so that it works as well as it can – this includes cleaning the filter every month it is in use, as dust can reduce air flow. Ducted air is another method of air conditioning, although it can be more expensive. It consists of a single compressor and evapora-

Whether you are indoors or outside, there are many options available to you to help cool down in the height of summer. REBECCA LAWN explains more tor which then circulate filtered air. As for keeping cool outside, parasols and awnings can create much-needed shade. Sail shades from Australia are also becoming more popular in France. Supplier Colin Lawrence, from Shade Sails France says: “Of the European countries that we supply, France is

probably the fastest growing. “We attribute this to the need for shade – French people like to live outdoors in the summer and the sun is very hot – and also the French eye for style.” The shades are made of sail cloth, and come in triangular or square designs. Mr Lawrence adds: “The material is permeable and allows hot

French people like to live outdoors in the summer and the sun is very hot. The French also have an eye for style [when choosing a shade for the patio] Colin Lawrence

Shade Sails France (

air to escape from under the fabric, unlike traditional shade materials constructed from canvas, which tend to trap the heat.” The shades provide UV protection of over 92%: “They can be used to provide a temporary solution and just put up when the sun shines – simply by tying the corners to a building or tree. However, most installations are semi-permanent – the sail only being taken down in the winter.” When not in use, the sails can be folded and dry stored. Prices range from €120 for a 3.6m triangle to €255 for a 5m square, and they come in grey, sand and porcelain. Meanwhile, if you want to extend the summer for as long as possible, outdoor heating can help you to make the most of your garden, and there is a choice of patio heaters such as parasol, hanging and gazebo heaters, and free-standing electric heaters. They range in price from €119 to €459, and can be bought from large homeware stores. Photo: Cyril Comtat -

AUGUST is traditionally the month for gardeners to relax and make the most of their labours. The things-to-do list is short and light, mainly consisting of keeping an eye on everything. For many gardeners this summer however, August is a battle to keep the garden watered in the face of hosepipe restrictions and, in some areas, a total ban on watering flower gardens at all. Those gardeners with their own water source are to be envied but most bans do not include watering cans, and there is no reason not to use “grey” water (waste water which does not contain sewage) in the garden. At its most simple this can mean throwing the washing up water out of the window, but some dedicated gardeners also recuperate water from baths using a siphon. Collecting water from a washing machine is often the easiest however; the outflow hose is often simply hooked over the outflow pipe and can easily be attached to a hosepipe. Set up water butts in case it does rain. Leave the lawn slightly longer than normal to conserve water, but do not worry if it goes brown. It will turn green again the first time it rains. Put potted plants into half-shade where they will be able to conserve more moisture, and do not forget to mulch everything if you have not already done it. Melons and courgettes should be cropping nicely now, as should beans and tomatoes. Either swap or freeze the excess. Skinned and chopped frozen tomatoes are great in soups, pasta sauces and stews all year round. Look out for a recipe for deep-fried courgette flowers. Remember that cubes of vegetables pushed onto a skewer and brushed in olive oil cook very nicely on the barbecue. To keep the crops coming, hoe up weeds regularly. If water is restricted, it is better to give them a good soaking every other day than a light watering daily, which encourages roots to stay close to the surface. Vegetables that can be sown this month include spring and Chinese cabbage, chicory, winter lettuce, spinach and turnips. You can also start choosing bulbs to plant in the autumn for spring flowering. To keep flowers going, dead head regularly and feed weekly. Make sure tall plants are tied up in case of a summer thunderstorm. Check roses for pests and spray at the first sign of any infestation. Now is also a good time for some garden planning for next year. Choose bulbs for autumn planting, read through seed catalogues, and take some photographs for your garden diary – the successes as well as the failures. You might even sketch out a seeding plan for the spring (rotating is essential in a vegetable garden). Plan excursions to garden centres, famous gardens and parks for inspiration.

Air conditioning units attached to a wall or window are suitable for rooms under 30m2

20 Property

Languedoc Pages

August 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 Languedoc 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 LANGUEDOC




Near Espéraza These two adjoined village houses are located in the centre of Chalabre. In need of renovation offer the opportunity to create two holiday homes or a family home with rental house attached.

Hérault In a hamlet at 5 minutes from Lamalou les Bains, nice building plot, gently sloping, of 1450 m2 with dominating position and views.

Couiza, Aude This beautifully four bedroom restored, south facing, town house over 4 floors consist of new kitchen, new bathroom, a summer kitchen, a dining room, terrace and courtyard.

REF: 700032


REF: 10765-TNTLA87000E


REF: LAR-691




Ginestas A pretty two bedroom house situated in a very quiet location.

Quillan Three bedroom house detached house in good order with mature garden 760m2. Includes sitting room, dining room, fitted kitchen, large bathroom, terrace and separate garage.

Secteur Marseillette Beautiful four bedroom house includes opened kitchen on the living / dining room, two bathrooms, separate toilet, garden , garage and workshop.

REF: FP-25574LHS11


REF: 2193


REF: 110153659




Secteur Marseillette Charming and renovated three bedroom village house includes a living room, fitted kitchen, shower room, summer kitchen, veranda, terrace and garage.

Bize Minervois area Single storey, four bedroomed house comprises living room, kitchen area, sitting room, bathroom, dressing room and shower room and garden.

Secteur Trebes Former school built in the 1930 now a five bedroom house needs moderation set on 822m2 of land.

REF: 110154035




REF: 110154541




Secteur Trebes Five bedroom Semi détached house includes two lounges, US kitchen, two bathrooms, two wc and swimming pool.

Hérault La Farigoulette is a three bedroomed, south facing stone house consists of living, dining area, bathroom, shower room, separate WC, two terraces and swimming pool.

Hérault Stone wine barn converted to a very charming spacious four bedroom home with 700 m2 of very easy maintenance land largely stone paved.

REF: 110152502


REF: IFPC22011


REF: 10765-CA341000E




Near Béziers Good size ground floor four bedroom villa set on 1052m² of land.

Anduze Three bedroom house includes kitchen, living room, three showers, two toilets, terrace and outbuildings.

St-Andre-de-Roquepertuis, Gard This old three bedroom farmhouse which has been in the same family for generations has a great ambiance.



REF: 3477V


REF: 17749




Perpignan, Languedoc This four bedroom house Tucked away in the centre of Perpignan includes a secluded garden and garage.

Millas This beautiful four bedroom villa includes living, dining, kitchen, two bathrooms, two conservatories, terrace, garage, workshop and swimming pool.

Saint-Gervais Four bedroom house set on 4930m2 of land with two independent studios and two swimming pool.

REF: IFPC22318


REF: DH634


REF: 38313




Pyrénées-Orientales Three bedroom village house consists includes lounge, study, kitchen, dining area, shower room, garage, workshop and outbuildings.

Pierrerue Beautiful three bedroom designed villa with swimming pool.

Aude Elegant Maison de Maitre, entirely renovated comprises seven bedrooms, three bathrooms, large garage, two outbuildings and large garden on a private plot of 1050 m2.

REF: VH621


REF: 340631326


REF: 10765-PN450000E








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

Languedoc Pages

Business and Legal 21

August 2012

ANNETTE MORRIS has lived in Languedoc for over four years. She works as a freelance internet marketing consultant and website developer, helping businesses optimise their online presence. Annette co-runs and the Languedoc group of the Survive France network. Last year she started Languedoc Jelly, designed to promote the co-working concept to expats and English-speakers in France. In this regular column she shares her tips for the business community and would welcome readers’ questions and feedback.


Communication: how do you fare?


Useful Websites To contact Annette Morris, call 07 86 14 16 39 or email Photo: © peshkova -

Businesses today are juggling email, phone calls and social media – do not take your eye off the ball

Handwritten testament olographe states preference

How do we use inheritance law? My wife and I are pleased about the new EU inheritance regulation that was passed allowing British couples who live in France to make use of English law. However, I have heard we cannot make use of it until 2015 - is that true? Also, can you please clarify why it benefits Britons even though the UK has opted out?

Every business needs an understanding of public relations and good communication. Here we look at some dos and don’ts THE SUBJECT of this article was prompted by a recent case study involving a national estate agency operating in France. Despite leaving phone messages, filling out online enquiry forms, sending messages via Facebook and then Twitter, a cash buyer hoping to settle in Languedoc waited several weeks for a response. When the agency finally returned the call, they got the person’s

name wrong and were calling about a house in the Dordogne. Needless to say the buyer has engaged another agent. For those still hard at work in August, this could be the busiest month of the year. Unfortunately, it is during the busiest spells that we are most likely to take our eye off the PR ball. As most small businesses are now juggling emails and social media as

part of the marketing mix, oversights may be common – the good news is that they can be easily rectified. The human factor If emails are a standard method of communication for you, check (and re-check) the content before you hit the send button. A timely well written email can be incredibly effective. If you do send an email with grammatical errors or incorrect pricing or dates, do not ignore it but address it straight away by resending an email identifying the issue upfront – it will save you time in the long run. Adding a touch of humour can often help. The spam scenario You do not have much time to spend on Facebook but you felt you should set up an account for your business because everyone else seems to have one? Spam activity on Facebook is high – thousands of businesses beg for Likes and Friends. Other accounts may be posting links on your profile and if you are too busy to go and delete them your business page could be filled with spam. Adjust your profile settings so that posts by others are not visible on your timeline. You can also add your own page terms notifying page visitors that all spam will be deleted. Social media behaviour Free social networking sites are ideal for businesses with a limited marketing budget.

These technologies and platforms enable relationships to develop – but once connections are made everything else goes back to basic psychology and communication. Twitter used the tagline “Join the Conversation” – so are you using Twitter to talk to or at your followers? Sharing interesting information is important, but getting genuine involvement is key to social media success. If you are too busy to manage replies and discussions, let people know by updating your profile temporarily. You can always change it back. Du u tlk lk ths on twttr? Important messages cannot be conveyed in a speedy social media update of 140 characters. Avoid text speak – it will not do your business image any favours. Still no answer? If you are difficult to reach by telephone revisit your answering machine message. Can you personalise it? Consider updating it to include a link to your website, or an alternative number, or details of a special offer. Out of office auto-reply This simple and efficient part of many email systems is really worth considering if you know you will not have time to reply to emails for a few days. Most email accounts such as Gmail offer this facility for free and you can tailor your reply so your prospective clients do not feel ignored.

THE NEW regulation, which allows expats to state in a will that the law of their nationality applies to their whole estate is now “in force”, that it is on the EU law books, however in order to give states time to adjust to the new rules, they will not work in practice until summer 2015. Having said this, there is nothing to stop you making a French will now, including a clause saying you want “UK law” to apply to your whole estate. According to the Council of the European Union this is the correct wording, as the UK is the member state as recognised by the EU. Which law out of English, Scottish or Northern Irish is appropriate would be decided when the succession is dealt with, on the basis of rules set out in Article 28 of the regulation, which include a test relating to which country the deceased had the closest connection. There is nothing to stop you helping things along by specifying that you were born in or spent much of your life in a particular country; in your case, presumably, England. The easiest way to make the choice of law is in a French testament olographe, which should be handwritten and does not need to be witnessed. It is however recommended to take professional legal advice to make sure your will is clear and corresponds to your wishes. Generally English law is much freer than French as regards how much of your property you can leave to whom. Notably, French rules include fixed minimum portions for children, whereas in English law, subject to certain provisos, you can leave your possessions to whoever you like. English law does, however, allow a possibility that people who think they have been unfairly left without proper provision for maintenance, education or advancement in life may take legal action to seek a share. This only applies to dependents, not, for example, to adult children. Should you die after summer 2015, the wording in your French will would take effect. For added peace of mind, if you wish to, you could add a codicil to the will after summer 2015, confirming the validity of the dispositions in the will. Britons in France will benefit because France has adopted the regulation – it applies because they are resident in France (as it can also apply to nationals of other countries that are not signatories to the agreement, even non-EU ones). On the other hand, for example, French people who live in the UK will be unable to opt for French law to apply to their whole estate.


0800 91 77 56 (FREE FROM FRANCE)

22 Property

Languedoc Pages

August 2012





Orne, Normandy Lots of potential for this one bedroom stone cottage with private gardens and two storey barn attached.

Manche, Normandy This charming two bedroom stone house is set in 0.22 acres of land with outbuildings and a spacious garden.

Finistère, Brittany Two bedroom detached stone house with garden. In need of modernisation.

REF: FP-26630KR61


REF: 45039






Mantilly, Normandy Three bedroom detached stone house set of 1.72 acres lands

Ribérac, Dordogne Four bedroom Maison de Maitre comprises two reception rooms, adjoining barn and garden on two levels. In need of renovation.

Côtes-d'Armor, Brittany Two bedroom house with great potential, garden, garage and outbuilding.





REF: 13568s


Near Saint-Cyprien, Dordogne This one bedroom house comprises kitchen, living room, bathroom, large attic, cellar (36m2), courtyard and large garden.

Côtes-d'Armor, Brittany This two bedroom house has approximately two acres of land


REF: 3262



Monpazier, Dordogne Wooden two bedroom house comprises living room with open plan kitchen, bathroom, WC, back kitchen, storeroom, garage and workshop on a plot of 2532m2.

Cenac et St Julien, Dordogne Three bedroom charming medieval village has been tastefully restored. Includes large living area with open kitchen, dining room, lounge with fireplace, shower room and attic.

REF: 200242


REF: 300172



Sommery, Normandy This lovingly renovated three bedroom detached house and only a 45 minute drive to the ferry port at Dieppe.

Corgnac-sur-l'Isle, Dordogne This three bedroom in good condition set on 1400m2 of land consist of bathroom, lounge with fireplace, fitted kitchen and garage.

REF: 10947-33846931


€164,300 Manche, Normandy Beautifully presented house set on an acre of land comprises kitchen/breakfast room, dining room, lounge, and utility room.

REF: 13817s


€185,500 Bourey, Normandy Three bedroom detached stone property set on 1.13 acres of land. In need renovation.






REF: FP-26426SS24



REF: L10077



REF: IFPC21441



REF: FP-25745DH22



REF: 700054



Beaumont-du-Périgord, Dordogne This renovated two bedroom Perigordian stone house has a heated swimming pool and is just 25 mins from Bergerac airport.

Heberville, Normandy This attractive three bedroom Normandy-style house has a large garden, two outbuildings and is just a 45-minute drive from the ferry port at Dieppe. ENERGY RATING = Not given

REF: 10947-38411933


REF: 700269



Botlezan, Brittany Beautifully restored three bedroom farmhouse is set in grounds of around 4000m2.

Seine-Maritime, Normandy Former Monastery set in 12 acres in a secluded valley, this six bedroom Farmhouse includes outbuildings.

REF: FP-25655JCF22







Les Forges, Brittany This three bedroom country house has been totally renovated to a very high standard. Consists of two large reception rooms, kitchen, garden, pond and swimming pool.

Monpazier, Dordogne This beautiful four bedroom house includes hall, living/dining room with chimney, kitchen, bathroom, two separate WC, garage, WC, utility room, kitchen and garden of 3100m2.

Hautefort, Dordogne This two bedroom beautiful stone perigourdinde with character is set in 690m2 of land. Comprises a living room with fitted and equipped corner kitchen, shower room and large basement. REF: 39568


Côtes-d'Armor, Brittany This stunning five bedroom detached property arrange over three floors.

Hambye, Normandy Three bedroom renovated beautiful property has a feature granite fireplace which is offset by the traditional Normandy openbeamed ceiling.

REF: 200428


Eure, Normandy This beautiful traditional Normandy house is situated on the edge of Brionne which has excellent facilities for both shopping and leisure


REF: 10947-38441066


Côtes-d'Armor,Brittany Two bedroom house well maintained of about 820 sqm of land. Comprises dining area, living room, bathroom, garage and laundry room, workshop

Seglien, Brittany Four bedroom charming stone house has been renovated on 3 levels. Includes lounge/living room, kitchen, laundry room, shower room, garage and garden. REF: 278




Belvès, Dordogne Old Perigourdine rural house comprises three bedroom, , living room/dining room with open plan kitchen and old chimney 42m2, terrace, large cellar and old bread furnace. REF: 200533

REF: 47001

REF: 2883

Nontron, Dordogne This lovely two bedroom little house is an ideal holiday cottage.

Manche, Normandy Two pretty little two bedroom houses with charming gardens, wood store and workshop. A great opportunity to buy a peaceful holiday home hideaway!!


REF: 100561



Plouguenast, Brittany This pretty two bedroom detached country home offers the chance to have a fantastic holiday home.

REF: FP-26406DH22

REF: BVI0004873



REF: IFPC20915



Languedoc Pages

Property and Finance 23

August 2012



Jeremy Cook, chief economist at foreign exchange company, World First, talks about the Euro and other currencies.

Eure, Normandy Three bedrooms house with original features includes terrace, double garage, outbuildings and garden.

REF: IFPC21434

Sponsored by +44 20 7801 1050



FINANCE Answered by

Exchange rate changes pose a problem

Gourdon, Dordogne Four bedroom bungalow with 1970 m2 of land comprise fitted kitchen, lounge/dining-room, bathroom, en suite, utility room, terrace, garden, outbuilding and swimming-pool. REF: 300428

Currency Notes

UK gain may be taxable in France


Photo: © philippe Devanne -

€288,900 Finistère, Brittany Five bedroom renovated house makes a great family or holiday home.

REF: FP-26820JC29


€315,000 Eure, Normandy Spacious `colombage` six bedroom house comprises kitchen, two reception rooms, three bathrooms, two separate toilets and garage. REF: DOM1293


The on-going instability in global markets has caused exchange rates to fluctuate dramatically, which presents real problems for anyone who is moving money overseas, says Jeremy Cook of World First.

€335,000 Near Bagnoles-de-L’Orne, Normandy Detached 16th century 'Maison de Maître' has been renovated. Includes four bedrooms, kitchen/dining room, living room and outbuildings. REF: BNO-355


€350,000 Brantôme, Dordogne Superb traditional house and barn conversion offers four bedrooms, one with en suite bathroom, open plan kitchen/dining, sitting room, two further shower rooms, balcony and utility room. REF: BVI0007043


€371,000 Côtes-d'Armor, Brittany Three bedroom Water Mill set on 6.8 hectares of land.

REF: 2864


€399,000 Côtes-d'Armor, Brittany This impressive four bedroom country house with exposed beams, two granite fireplaces and terracotta flooring this is a house full of charm and originality. REF: 700586


€449,000 Beynac, Dordogne Perigordian style three bedroom house set on 1842 m2 of land. Includes lounge/dining-room, kitchen, bathroom, en suite, shower room, terrace, summer kitchen and double-garage. REF: 300531


€518,000 Bayeux, Normandy Elegant 18th century five bedroom manor set on 2.5 hectares of land. Consists of reception rooms, three bath/shower rooms, two large outbuildings, barn, stables and garages. REF: DOM1419

No-one can really predict euro rates


IT SEEMS strange to think that the debt crisis in Europe has only been going on for just over two years. For those of us in the markets it feels like it has been dragging on a lot longer. What started in Greece then leaked into Portugal, jumped to Ireland and then back to the Mediterranean to hit Italy and Spain. Throughout the crisis it has been obvious to those of us on the outside that the Eurozone was never truly sustainable without the political and fiscal union that comes alongside monetary policy unification. A scenario which has come a few steps closer to becoming a reality following the recent agreement on bank recapitalisation which was heralded as a 'breakthrough moment' at the end of June. The on-going crisis has led to legitimate speculation about countries leaving the Eurozone and even provoked conjecture that there will be a complete dissolution of the single currency - although there only a few who believe that this will be allowed to happen. Unsurprisingly, this has caused a weakening of the euro, which has reached near four-year lows against the pound in the last few weeks. If we look at the figures there is obviously an issue which needs to be taken seriously: On June 29, 2011 - £200,000 would buy you €223,287. By June 29, 2012 - that same £200,000 would buy you €249,598. Before this recent euro devaluation, UK bank account holders moving money to Europe have been one of the most frustrated parties throughout the financial crisis as, despite the fears over the Eurozone, the euro has remained relatively overvalued versus the pound. A recent poll of banks and brokers has expectations of where GBP/EUR will be trading in 6 months' time from as low as 1.11 to as high as 1.39. The truth is that nobody really has any idea what will happen. While there is the opportunity for a decent round of upside there is also the possibility that these recent gains into the 1.20s may vanish before our eyes. Either way, volatility in the currency markets is likely to remain a challenge for those managing overseas funds for the foreseeable future. There is a significant amount of risk surrounding the Eurozone at the moment and trying to predict upcoming moves is becoming increasingly difficult. Some careful forward planning is certainly a wise move when it comes to managing your international payments.

For more information about making international money transfers with World First visit the website or call +44 20 7801 1050

Seek advice if you are unsure what you need to declare I am unsure about what income from the UK needs to be declared in France. For example, do I need to declare things that are tax-ffree in the UK, like premium bond winnings and income from ISAs? Also if I have to declare this income do I need to convert it in to euros? THE SHORT answer is yes – UK premium bond winnings and the income and profits from ISAs, PEPs and TESSAs may be exempt from UK tax but are taxable in France and therefore need to be declared. So too do maturity proceeds from UK endowment policies and the withdrawals from UK single premium life policies, both of which are exempt or at least tax-efficient in the UK. In addition, income such as share dividends, bank account interest, interest from UK gilts and rental profits from UK property also need to be declared, as do UK pensions, salaries and self-employed profits. If such income is taxed at source, it is important to provide evidence of this when submitting your French tax declaration as, providing France has a double taxation treaty with the source country, it is likely the tax already paid can be set against the tax assessed in France and only the balance becomes payable. In the ongoing quest for increasing the French tax take, the spotlight has been shone on trusts and trust income paid to residents of France, and the fines and penalties applying if not declared, as well as on undeclared nonFrench bank accounts, have been stepped up. Furthermore, the 25% Pension Commencement Lump Sum usually paid by UK pension schemes at retirement has been highlighted as a useful source of additional tax by the French, although quite how this is taxed and even how it should be declared on French tax forms is still to be clarified. Such income needs to be declared in euros and this means income arising in sterling or other currencies needs to be converted accordingly. For one off sums, this is best done at the rate of exchange applying when the income is received – clearly, if the income is paid into your French bank account it will be converted on receipt. However, if the income is left in your UK bank account, it will be necessary to obtain an appropriate exchange rate for the day in question. Alternatively, an official average exchange rate is published annually and this might be the simplest route for regular income such as a pension. But it is worth doing the sums to see which is beneficial as either method is usually acceptable. For those new to France, it makes sense, particularly if you have multiple sources of income, to ask for professional help, perhaps at least for the first tax declaration you make, in order to ensure you present the information correctly and neither pay too much tax nor risk an investigation at some later point which will be time-consuming and expensive.

24 The Back Page

Languedoc Pages

August 2012

The easy way to jump from a plane You do not have to go up 15,000ft in the air to experience the thrill of skydiving – a newly opened indoor centre in the Aude is offering the same experience and attracting visitors from seven to 77. SAMANTHA DAVID found out more from one of the centre’s ex-army founders IF you have ever wanted to fly like Batman, a new indoor freefall centre in Lézignan-Corbière (Aude) could make your dreams come true. FlyZone was dreamed up by a trio of ex-French army paratroopers, Vincent Van Laethem, Gérard Capdevilla et José Da Conceicao, and opened its doors earlier this summer. The three men started it as a way of extending the activity and introducing the wind tunnel to France. Promising excitement for people of all ages, body flying is essentially indoor skydiving – you launch yourself into a wind tunnel and experience freefalling in a controlled environment. Mr Van Laethem says: “We opened at the beginning of May and we’ve been busy most weekends, but quieter in the weekdays.” Over the first year, they are hoping to attract 100,000 visitors of whom 25,000 they hope will take a flight, and they say they have already done 80,000 beginners’ flights. During the summer months, they are hoping to attract holidaymakers. “It’s a new way of having fun,” he says. “But it’s more than just a thrill. You are actually learning the techniques to practise a wonderful sport. “As for the sensation, well, it feels the same as jumping out of a plane but it’s really safe so entire families can share the experience. They can’t actually fly in the wind tunnel at the same time, but they’re very close to each other, they can see each other and all fly in the same session. “So it’s a way of sharing a new experience, which you can’t with skydiving because you’re alone, and apart from anything else, you have to be over 15 [to skydive] so children can’t join in.” Not to mention the fact that the wind tunnel can function even when outside it is dark, raining or there are high winds. Although the wind reaches speeds

It’s completely safe but it feels dangerous. It’s definitely an adrenaline hit Vincent Van Laethem Co-founder, FlyZone

Beginners and professionals are enjoying the facilities in Lézignan-Corbière, set up by former paratroopers Vincent Van Laethem, Gérard Capdevilla and José Da Conceicao, who have plans to build others in France

Facts and figures „ Prices start at €65 for a single short flight. Photos and a DVD cost €20 extra. You do not need any extraordinary level of fitness, just reasonable health and strong shoulders. The main muscle groups used are in the shoulders, back and neck. No special clothing is required. For further information see or phone 04 68 48 20 41. „ Aérokart in Argenteuil (Val d’Oise) near Paris is the only other wind tunnel in France open to the public. For full details, see „ The first person to fly in a wind tunnel was Jack Tiffany, in 1964, in Ohio, US. The first recreational one was called the Levitationarium and was developed in Canada in 1979. „ A wind tunnel was used in the closing ceremony at the Torino Winter Olympics and another one made its appearance in Moscow’s Red Square during the preview of the 2014 Winter games.

of 270kph in the wind tunnel, Mr Van Laethem insists that there is absolutely no danger. “It’s completely safe,” he says, “but it feels dangerous. It’s definitely an adrenaline hit.” They also provide facilities for professional skydivers training for the French and world championships: “Teams come for intense training. It’s physically tiring when you’re not used to it but once you are, you can fly for up to an hour a day.” Beginners only fly for a minute or so at a time. The centre also, not surprisingly, has a good working relationship with the army. They train people from a skydiving school as well as parachute regiments. Asked why he and his colleagues decided to build a wind tunnel, Mr Van Laethem laughs: “Skydiving is addictive, but in a tunnel it is even more so because it’s more technical and detailed. “We all still fly, less regularly of course, but it’s still an addiction. You add the technique you can learn in a tunnel with the adrenaline rush from doing it in the sky and it’s seriously fun.” Freefall parachuting used to be dangerous 20 years ago, he says, and even more so 40 years back, but with modern technology and techniques, it is now “not as dangerous as diving with sharks”, he adds. There is a huge history of parachuting and aviation in France, but the paperwork to get the centre up and running was tricky, not to mention getting the €5.5 million of funding they needed. “We did it properly, we got all the right authorisations, it was a hardcore process but now we’re taking it step by step. We created 24 jobs. “We’ll see in the future how it goes. Maybe we will open wind tunnels all over France. Why not? It’s the beginning of a very long story. But now we have acquired all the knowledge, once you know how to do it, you can do it again.” His last advice is to search the internet for deals: “There’s usually a special offer on somewhere,” he says.

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Languedoc Pages - Augut 2012  

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