ADVERTISER December 2011 - Issue 24 FREE www.normandyadvertiser.com GRATUIT
University lecturer joins Le Pen team
Get your skates on at the rink p6-7
Dream house made of straw
Photo: ©VPHOTOPQR/PARIS NORMANDIE/BORIS MASLARD
Jobs on the line
Workers protest at the Petroplus refinery in Grand Couronne
FULL STORY PAGES 2-3
Ne pas jeter sur la voie publique
Town councils Workers take vow to fight plans action as factory closures announced for redundancies
Profits hit by costs of meeting environment laws
Send international money transfers the easy way. Your high street bank offers foreign exchange as part of its service. At HiFX, foreign exchange is our business.
¸ Bank beating exchange rates online or over the phone ¸ Track payments 24 hours a day ¸ Transfer from as little as £50 ¸ VeriSign security used by 97 of the World’s top 100 banks
Don’t let the banks cash in. www.hifx.co.uk
Contact us With a story, email: normandynews@ connexionfrance.com (please include a daytime contact number) With a subscription or advert query call: From France: 0800 91 77 56 (freephone) From UK: 0844 256 9881 (4p per minute) or by email: sales@ connexionfrance.com The Advertiser is published by: English Language Media Sarl, Le Vedra, 38 rue Grimaldi, 98000 Monaco. Directrice de la publication: Sarah Smith. Printed at Nice-M Matin, 214 Route de Grenoble, 06290 Nice Cedex 3. Environmental policy The Advertiser is printed on recycled newspaper, using a printing company which adheres to stringent regulations to reduce pollution.
Mensuel Depôt légal – a parution ISSN: 2106 - 7902 Find out more: www.normandyadvertiser.com
‘Catastrophe’ as key factory closures are announced Politicians reveal fears for the future of Normandy as decline in industry leads to job losses across the region
by AMY McCORMACK LARGE-scale redundancies have been announced at several key factories in Normandy, sparking fears for the future of industry in the region. Strikes have been taking place across the region as unions, employees and elected representatives fight back against announcements which will have a devastating effect on communities. Many of the factories involved are still viable concerns, with orders on their books. However, bosses are often choosing to relocate or scale down their business to take advantage
Connexion helpguides INFORMATION YOU CAN TRUST ON LIFE IN FRANCE
French inheritance law
The helpguide covers the key topics of who inherits automatically in France; rights to stay in the family home and the inheritance procedures after a death in the family as well as explaining some inheritance considerations everyone should consider before buying a property in France.
Download the helpguides at
or call FREE from France 0800 91 77 56 or for just 4p/min from the UK 0844 256 9881
of cheaper labour rates or the laws of countries not bound by EU environmental or safety regulations. The regional council’s president, Alain Le Vern, said: “This is a real example of how capitalism has lost its way: directors are allowing short-term returns for their shareholders to rule; they would rather close a factory altogether than let it sell to a foreign competitor to allow them a foot into a new market.” The M’Real paper mill in Alizay (Eure) looks set to shut down. This is despite the fact that councils and other agencies in the region spent months identifying companies which are willing and financially able to take over the site and continue production. Neighbouring companies, Azeo, a detergent manufacturer, and Sotrafer, which works in the metal industry, have also gone into administration. Petroplus in Petit-Couronne (SeineMaritime) will be ending the oil production branch of its business, even though the CGT union claims there are clients across France who are reliant upon its production. Honeywell, an American brake manufacturing company in Condé-sur-Noireau (Orne), announced its closure on the grounds that there is asbestos in the building, which would cost too much to remove. Richard Jacquet, the mayor of Pont de l’Arche, a village near the M’Real mill, said: “I would be lying if I told people who might lose their jobs that they will find another. “Everything is closing and industry is in a catastrophic state so they won’t find a job, at least not straight away.” This is not just bad news for the families losing an income. Town councils receive funding from the government based upon the number of residents who are employed in businesses in the area. Some councils will lose up to 10% of their budgets as a result of the closures. Mr Jacquet added: “We then end up living in a deprived area because we have no funding. It is jobs we need. Nothing else matters if you don’t have a job. It’s debilitating.” Workers from Petroplus and M’Real and Renault are fighting together to highlight what they believe to be the de-industrialisation of the region. They held a large-scale protest
Regional council president Alain Le Vern blocking rush-hour traffic going into Rouen city centre. CGT delegate for M’Real, Eric Lardeur, said: “Commuters were very understanding of our plight.” He added that there is still a fighting spirit among the workers, who refuse to give up while there are still viable options, but said people were concerned. “Some of those affected will have to sell their houses or they’ll have mortgages to pay off. It will be a catastrophe.”
Everything is closing and industry is in a catastrophic state. I would be lying if I told people they will find another job straight away. Richard Jacquet
Mayor of Pont de L’Arche
Where the jobs are likely to go Here are the companies involved and the number of jobs likely to be at risk:
Honeywell: An American brake pad factory based in Condé-sur-Noireau which employs 320 workers. The company announced its intention to consult on closure in October. It said this was to ensure that it could remain competitive. The management plans to gradually reduce activity and close for good in June next year.
M'Real: A Finnish-owned paper mill in Alizay which employs 330 staff and a similar number of temporary or sub-contracted staff. The management announced in May that it wanted to close the site and, although regional
authorities have identified two companies to take over the factory, the director still intends to cease business. There has been a picket line outside the factory since the announcement of the plans was made. Azeo: A detergent and cosmetics manufacturer also based in Alizay. The company has gone into administration leaving 72 jobs at risk. Sotrafer: A metal production company in Alizay, which has also gone into administration. The firm employs 17 people.
Petroplus: Swiss oil refinery in Petit-Couronne. The company wants to end oil production which would result in the loss of 120 jobs, out of 550 overall.
Councillors join the protest march against the closure of Honeywell in Condé-sur-Noireau
TOWN COUNCILS are standing behind their workers and pulling out all the stops to prevent “money-based decisions” from destroying their communities. When the management of M’Real in Alizay announced it was closing the mill back in May, dozens of community representatives and agencies pulled together, seeking out potential buyers and identifying serious propositions, so that the factory could continue. There are still two companies who are willing to take over the working mill. Richard Jacquet, mayor of Pont de L’Arche, near Alizay, said: “This is what I’ve been elected for. There is no point trying to do wonderful things for the town if people haven’t got a roof over their heads. “We can’t make promises if we are not getting behind the residents when the chips are down. This de-industrialisation can’t go on.” Councillors feel it is the state’s responsibility to step in and save businesses from going under. Furthermore, they feel their battle to generate new businesses in the area and create jobs for their residents is becoming fruitless. In Condé-sur-Noireau, when the town was
Mayors vow to join fight to keep factories open
Mayor of Condé-sur-Noireau Pascal Allizard
UNIONS are calling upon the Government to impose a law to ensure that factories complying with EU safety and environmental regulations are not at a financial disadvantage. Factories in Normandy spend a large amount of money meeting the strict criteria. This has repercussions on their profit margins. The problem is so serious that representatives from several industries are meeting senators to ask them to bring it to parliament. Petroplus CGT delegate Yvon Scornet said: “We are asking our politicians and Euro politicians for equal treatment in this area. “Of course we don’t mind respecting environmental and safety rules, but we should be compensated.” Mr Scornet added: “You can’t compare a refinery such as ours with all its security measures, working conditions and comfortable salaries with an Indian tanker producing 60 million tonnes of oil as opposed to our six or seven million.” Mr Scornet said the union
Photo: ©Eric Lardeur
Environment laws ‘affecting profits’
Workers from M’Real, Petroplus, and Saipol blockade the main road into Rouen just before rush hour representatives would be calling upon other factories to lobby for a law, particularly in the run-up to the general election. The paper industry has the same concerns, and delegates from M’Real and Petroplus have been working together. “Yes, there are economic problems, but there also
seems to be a will on the part of the government to not defend jobs or industry,” he said. Condé-le-Noireau’s mayor, Pascal Allizard, said that Honeywell was building a new factory in Romania, where wages are cheaper. This is also an issue in terms of competitiveness.
Enjoy the Christmas season in La Manche!
hit with the news that Honeywell planned to close down its high-maintenance building, the council offered to build another factory. The town’s mayor, Pascal Allizard, said: “There is no point creating 600 new jobs if they are then going to close a factory and take more than 300 of them away. This is a really bad blow for Normandy.”
Photo: ©Marie-Christine Calmon
Workers take action in bid to safeguard future
Pont de L’Arche mayor Richard Jacquet, right, talks to CGT delegate Thierry Philippot with deputy mayor MarieChristine Calmon and Socialist Party branch secretary Jacques Calmon
IF NORMANDY’S industry is failing, it will not go down without a fight from supporters. Hundreds of people have stepped out to back workers as they demonstrate against the closure of industries. At M’Real, staff have been on the picket lines since the announcement in mid October. More than 200 staff travelled to Paris to meet minister, Bruno LeMaire. They also organised an open day at the paper mill to show the community what it does. More than 2,500 people attended. “People were queuing for an hour to get in. The place is an exceptional industrial tool,” said Richard Jacquet, mayor of Pont de l’Arche. Groups of protesters from several factories have barricaded tollbooths on the dual carriageways leading into Rouen and blocked early morning traffic into the town. “Some people still believe in their future and want to fight for it,” said Eric Lardeur, CGT delegate at M’Real. Staff from Condé-sur-Noireau’s Honeywell factory, along with union representatives from factories in the area, marched to the Calvados prefecture.
F i n d d e Heritage licious local p ro d u c e t o m a k e y o u r s o i r é e s re a l l y s p e c i a l ! Graphic design: CDT50 Photo copyrights (all rights reserved): C. Prigent, J. Lacquemant for CDT50 & La Maison du Biscuit - X - 10/11
Go for Gastronomy an amazing tour of Mont Saint-Michel’s Christmas illuminations!
For further information, brochures and special deals, contact Manche Tourism on: + 33 ( 0 ) 2 33 05 98 70 / email@example.com or book online on : www.normandy-peninsula-holidays.com
were there, so for us to pick up a gold medal as a small brewery was fairly awesome. It’s a tremendous accolade.” This is not the first award the brewery, which has been making beer since 2001, has won. It also won the UK’s CAMRA Peterborough Beer Festival this year with a lager, Mysterious Lady. Mr Skews said the quality of the beer is down to the ingredients: “We grow a proportion of our own hops. We took them from England and planted them in Normandy and they are producing great results. “It’s wonderful to make a product that brings a lot of pleasure, but it’s also a great deal of hard work.”
NORMANDY now has its very own television channel. La Chaine Normande is available on digital channel 23. It broadcasts a daily news show and a mix of cultural, sports and political programmes about the region. For more information, see www.lachainenormande.fr.
Ikea draws the crowds Steve Skews has won an award for his Odo beer
Whale ‘died in collision’ FISHERMEN discovered the body of a 60-foot whale floating in the sea off the Normandy coast. Experts at the Research Centre for Sea Mammals said that the animal, a female razorback, must have been hit by a passing ship. The navy were called in to tow the creature to a suitable port, the Port d’Antifer, near Saint-Jouin-Bruneval. Once there, scientists from the research centre took laboratory samples to find out more about the whale. Fabien Demaret, an assistant engineer at the centre, said: “Bruising on the whale’s body suggests that it was hit and that’s how it died.”
Region gets TV channel
A MICRO brewery in Orne has won a gold medal for producing one of the best beers in the world. Le Brewery in Joué-du-Bois fought off competition from 500 breweries in 17 different countries to take home one of 10 gold medals from the world beer festival in Strasbourg. International judges spent three days tasting beers before they came to their decision. Normandy’s winning beer, Odo, an English stout, is made using Maris Otter barley and is a classic pre-war English beer. Owner of Le Brewery, Steve Skews, said: “The best brewers from all over the world
Steve’s stout a winner
A team of people then set about cutting the whale into pieces in order to dispose of it. The pieces were then taken away in a lorry to be burned.
SWEDISH furniture giant Ikea has opened a store in Caen. The shop, based in Fleury-surOrne, opened last month and 18,000 shoppers went along on the first day of trading.
Dentists in training A NEW €2.7 million training centre will be built to help meet a shortage in dentists. Students in their final year will study at the centre, based in Rouen’s University Hospital, and it is hoped that this will help to keep newly-trained dentists in the area. Normandy’s regional council has contributed €600,000 towards the project.
Storms delay Transat race THE FAMOUS Transat Jacques Vabre regatta left Le Havre three days later than scheduled this year, due to stormy weather. The race, sponsored by coffee manufacturers Jacques Vabre, ended in Costa Rica with a win for Jean Pierre Dick. The destination varies each year, but is always a coffee-producing region.
It’s never too late for pizza FRESHLY-made hot pizza is now available at any hour of the day or night from a vending machine in Sées. Caterer Christian Vanel makes the pizzas himself. They come hot out of the machine in Rue de l’Evêque.
Big day for soccer fans FRANCE’S national football team will play a friendly match in Le Havre’s national stadium next summer. It is not yet known who they will be playing, but the match will take place between the European Cup and the World Cup qualifiers.
Correction IN a story on page four of our November edition, entitled Artist gives post-war town a brighter future, we stated that Saint Lo is a Calvados town. It is in fact in the Manche. We apologise for the error.
Pedestrians get flash of inspiration think about their pace and A SPEED camera that what they might be missing: snapped pedestrians who “One thing I could not anticiexceeded a 3km per hour pate is that people would see speed limit brought people to it as a game to get it to go off. a halt in Rouen. People run in front of it and Artist Benoît Thiollent came up with the idea to make sure that visitors took a closer look at the city’s historical monuments. The artist spent the summer building the machine with the help of an electrician and designed it to replicate those on the roads, complete with flash. He placed it right next to a statue of the Bérat Brothers, famous for writing Normandy’s anthem, J’Irai Revoir Ma Normandie. Next to the camera he placed A passer-by checks out the camera a sign explaining its purpose. Then he they are intrigued about how stood back and watched the fast they are walking. It has reactions of passers-by. also enabled them to discover Mr Thiollent, 40, said: “The streets that they have never signs were aimed at gettinglooked at properly before.” people thinking ‘what on The project was part of a earth will they think up wider arts festival, Rouen next?’ Impressionnée, which looked “I wanted to see how people at residents’ perception of the would react to having laws town. Another of Mr imposed upon them and to Thiollent’s projects involves get them thinking about that. using shipping containers to People are astonished when create ad hoc art galleries in they see it.” the town centre. He said it had made people Photo: ©BenoitThiollent
Did you know?
THE crew of a trawler were astonished to catch a 400kg turtle, which had travelled thousands of miles from the Caribbean looking for food. The crew of the Ouistreham boat, Mélodie de la Mer, called upon the Turtle Treatment and Study Centre, based at La Rochelle Aquarium, for advice when they discovered the animal in their nets. After establishing that it was not injured, staff at the aquarium instructed the team to release the animal, which measured 1m60, back into the sea. Florence Dell’Amico, development officer at the centre, said the fact that it did not re-appear suggests its chances of survival were good. She said: “The animals travel to French shores to hunt for food, particularly giant jelly fish.” She added that the late summer had caused an increase in the number of Luth turtles in French waters and that they had recorded five times more than in previous years.
Medal for war heroine A WOMAN who hid and protected a Jewish boy during the Second World War has been awarded a medal posthumously. Madeleine Herbert-Lacroix, from Vire, who was 100 years old, died just days before she was due to be reunited with the boy, Jacques Goldnadel, who is now 78, and his family. The ceremony took place in her memory on November 13. The Righteous Among the Nations medal is awarded by the State of Israel to non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis. It is awarded by a commission headed by a Supreme Court justice according to a set of criteria and regulations.
Bodies found on balcony A MAN has been detained in a psychiatric hospital accused of murdering his sister and her boyfriend and leaving the corpses on the balcony of their flat. Neighbours called the police after hearing screams and furniture being moved around in the third floor flat in Rue Vernet, in Barentin, between Yvetot and Rouen (Seine-Maritime). The suspect, Yagouba Sall, 31, was examined and deemed mentally unfit for custody. The victims were his sister Cardiatou, 34, and her boyfriend Joachim, 37.
Law lecturer joins Le Pen advice team A LAW lecturer at the University of Le Havre has become a political advisor for Marine Le Pen’s general election campaign. Gilles LeBreton, who teaches public law at the university, will give advice to the far right political party Front National on its higher education policies. So far, he has taken part in a conference and produced a report for the party. Louis Alier, who is the head of operations for the Front National’s campaign, said that Mr LeBreton was not a member and had only become involved in the run-up to the elections. He said: “As an expert in his area, he is giving us advice on how higher education can be better run.” The university has sought to dissociate itself from the lecturer’s political activities and said that his work with the party was in no way connected to his contributions to the international and comparative fundamental law research
centre at the university. University president Camille Galap said: “The university wants to denounce inappropriate and tendentious links between a political party and the scientific work carried out by one of our research laboratories.” Mr LeBreton recently published a book, Sarkozysme et Droits Fondamentaux de la Personne Humaine, written with members of the centre. He had been due to give a reading at the La Galerne book shop, but this was cancelled after the announcement. Le Havre university has also denied claims made by certain newspapers that Mr LeBreton is tipped to become its next president. A spokesman said: “The president is voted in by the university’s administrative council in March and thus the new president cannot be anticipated in advance, regardless of allegiances to a political party or an election campaign for the next presidential elections.”
Improvements at the Mont MAJOR works are taking place on the Mont Saint-Michel. The work, which will be complete in 2015, includes a new car park, 45,000 trees, and an information centre. Visitors will then walk past a seawall and over a footbridge, arriving at the foot of the fortifications. A dam has been put in place to wash away the sands that have gathered in the bay around the Mont.
CHRISTMAS CAN be a difficult time if you are struggling with a drink problem, but there is help available. Normandy’s British residents can be particularly vulnerable at this time of year, according to BasseNormandie’s English-speaking Alcoholics Anonymous branch manager, Alan, who has been a member of AA for 15 years and involved in the Lower Normandy branch since 2001. He realised that the region would benefit from an English-speaking AA and set up AA Avranches. He said: “Alcoholism is a disease, whatever language you speak, and it is certainly exacerbated by the expat factor: cheap, readily available drink, denial about there being a problem, and language issues.” The support group meets weekly, and revolves around 12 steps. Alan said: “People have got to hit the bottom to come in. It could be the bottom where you have lost your
France in English News, interviews, practical info and more
Register for Connexion’s weekly FREE email newsletter
Find us in French newsagents or Freephone
0800 91 77 56 (France) or
0844 256 9881 (UK calls cost 4p/minute)
Photo: © AAAvranches
Hungry turtle Group is ‘life support’ quite a catch for problem drinkers
Members of AA Avranches meet to support each other family, job, home and selfrespect or a misery more difficult to quantify.” He said people who feel they have an issue should get in touch. “You have to change your whole life, your attitude. You have to change yourself, or there is a backslide. Only a tiny percentage seek help but many of them achieve long-term sobriety.” He added: “British people have a good chance of suc-
ceeding within our group. There is a life support system if they want to adopt it, but it’s not given to you on a plate. It has to be worked at.” There is also a support group for people living with alcoholics, Al-Anon. Avranches AA meets at 2.30pm on Thursdays. For full details, and for other meetings in the region, please see www. aabassenormandie.com
6 What’s On
Photo: © newgospelfamily.com
Photo: © Alan Wellstead
notice board December 17 Gospel Concert 21.00 – Concert in the church by New Gospel Family, the first French urban gospel group. Between 12 and 50 singers from Africa, the West Indies, Brazil and Europe will share all the emotion of gospel music and its message of love, peace and tolerance. Adult €15, Child €8, under12s FREE. Call 02 35 50 55 31
Photo: © Alysta - Fotolia.com
December 10-11 Latin Dance Senior1 World Championship 08.30 – Couples from every corner of the world compete in the Senior 1 age group in this highlight of the competitive dance year, held at the Halle Saint-Exupéry, Boulevard Gambetta.Tickets: December10 €35, December11 €20, both days €45. Booking: firstname.lastname@example.org
Join congregation for festive tradition
On your bike ROUEN has the biggest bike hire scheme in the country – and has just added 60 electric bikes to its collection. The city aims to become one of France’s first eco-communities. Borrowing a bike is cheap and easy and the organisation running the scheme, CREA, hopes that people will hire a bike and then decide to buy their own. There is a subsidised scheme available to help you to do this.
December 18-27 Christmas Skating Rink – A skating rink is installed in the Place du Général de Gaulle, in front of the Tourist Office. Sessions are 50 minutes and can be booked at the Hôtel de Ville from December 6.There will be skating demonstrations on December 17 at 7pm, and a Children’s Christmas Spectacle (complete with Père Noël) at 3pm on Christmas Eve. FREE, and skates can be borrowed on site. Call 02 32 24 04 43
The church has just moved into an 11th century chapel in GratotHomëel, near Coutances. It also has a church at Vezins (St Hilaire du Harcouët). A full programme and directions on how to get to the churches can be found at www.christchurchcoutances.com. From its new premises, the church will be able to carry out weddings, christenings and funerals.
There are more than 500 electric and fold-up bikes available. For more information visit the bike hire centre in Rue Jeanne D’Arc, Rouen or see www.la-crea.fr.
Santas on beach LOOK out for Santa speeding across Normandy’s beaches this month. The annual Father Christmas Sand Yacht race, in its sixth year, takes place on Omaha Beach on December 18. See www.eolia-normandie.com for more information.
Promote your community event, send details to email@example.com
Photo: © La Cité de la Mer_H.Drouot
IF YOU miss England’s Christmas traditions, why not pop along to a traditional carol service? Christ Church in the Manche is holding its annual Christingle service at 11am on December 11. There will be hot toddies and mince pies, and children will be given an orange with sweets, fruit and a candle to hold during a special hymn. The Priest in Charge at Christ Church in the Manche, the Reverend Peter Hales, said: “Many cynical people dismiss Christmas as a waste of time, but I love it, because for me it is full of warmth and love. It is a time of giving and caring; a time when we think about those people we love even though they may live far away. “For us expatriates in France the cards, letters and presents we receive are especially precious, because we are sometimes a long way away from our roots. The things that we receive are more than physical things, they are tokens of love,” he added.
Photo: © Ville d'Évreux
The English-speaking congregation at Christ Church in the Manche, and below, Priest in Charge, the Reverend Peter Hales
All December except Mondays December 5 and 12, and Christmas Day Cité de la Mer 09.30 to 18.00 – This fabulous attraction is open all year, but December is the time to take advantage of low-season rates. Learn all about the oceans, watch the fish, examine the exhibition of deep-sea exploration equipment, and don’t miss the chance to visit a submarine, the Redoutable. Allow all day – your ticket permits you to go out for lunch and come back in the afternoon. Adult €15.50, Child 5-17 €10.50, under-5s FREE (but no access to the submarine for tinies!) Call 02 33 42 38 12 Advance booking on www.citedelamer.getaticket.com
Le Val Saint-Père
All December Segway Rambles – On a crisp, clear winter’s day, why not go for a country ride on a Segway (also known in French as Mobilboard or Gyropode), one of those strange vehicles with two wheels side by side, which looks as if it should fall over but never does? Start with a few minutes’ training and then explore the paths and byways of the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel and its unique countryside. From €25 per hour; half-hour training €15; 20% discount for groups of five. Call 06 23 02 44 85 montsaintmichel@ mobilboard.com Photo: © mobilboard.com
Photo: © Kesu - Fotolia.com
Photo: © Elie Galey/Karen McFarlane Artists
Photo: © francoisemasset.com
m co a. -F ot oli ba ina m Tu p us ici Vin ©
December 11 Foire aux Dindes (Turkey Fair) 08.00 to 12.00 – This is the place to shop for your Christmas dinner. People come from miles around to the biggest turkey market in Normandy; turkeys (alive or dead) and regional products of all kinds (especially foie gras) are on sale in the Place du 2e DB and adjoining streets. Naturally, there will be a chance to taste turkey dishes, and music in the streets. Call 02 33 28 74 79
December 13 60th Anniversary Concert 20.00 – The Orchestre de Caen gives regular Tuesday concerts, and the first was 60 years ago, on December 18, 1951.The programme at the Grand Auditorium (Rue du Carel) will include favourite works of the founder and the conductor: extracts from Rameau’s ‘Les Indes Galantes’ and Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor.Tickets €18, children €11 Call 02 31 30 46 86 or book online at 3emeacte.com/orchestredecaen/
December 31 New Year at the Jazz café, from 20.00 – The traditional midnight meal in France is called a Réveillon. Where better to experience this than a village called Réveillon? All the more so when the local restaurant is the Réveillon Jazz Café. Entertainment is by David Garcia and his trio, with guests including singer Princess Doudou. It should be quite a night! Full menu with wine €64 Call 02 33 25 04 67 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
December 17 Église Montsort, Christmas Concert 20.30 – ‘The poetry of music and the music of words’ with Françoise Masset (soprano), Odile Locquin (actress) and Vincent Dubois (organ). Les Amis de la Musique of Alençon present a programme of music and poetry with three exceptional artists. Adult €13, children and members €9 (annual membership €15 includes one free concert and 30% discount on others) Call 02 33 80 66 33
From December 3 Basilique, Christmas Cribs of the World 09.30 to 17.00 – The Centre d’Accueil in front of Sainte Thérèse’s basilica, hosts a charming and extensive collection of crib scenes from round the world, with a special emphasis on the Santons de Provence. On the opening day, December 3, there will be a concert of traditional Provençal Christmas music in the crypt at 15.00. FREE entry, FREE parking. Call 02 31 48 55 08
Photo: © Orchestre de Caen
What’s On 7
December 3 Marianne Faithfull in Concert at le Cargo 20.30 – One of the great Sixties pop icons, Marianne Faithfull has had a long and varied career; princess of Swinging London, almost vanishing in the 70s, acclaimed as an actress in the 2000s, and now back on a world tour with her deeply emotional ballads and a voice scorched by life, tobacco and whisky. In Caen, she will be performing an acoustic show with Doug Pettibone. A local group, My Summer Bee, opens the show.Tickets €26.80 from www.digitick.com Call (Le Cargo): 0892 700 840
Photo: © François Ravard Management
Know the law and protect your heirs Expatriates with property and assets in France – and those with holiday homes here – need to be aware that French inheritance rules are strict and very specific. As the holiday season approaches and thoughts turn to families, it is worth looking to the future and taking steps to make sure that your estate passes down according to your wishes
Photo: © Monkey Business - Fotolia.com
IF YOU live in France you must clearly take account of French inheritance laws but these laws also apply if you are resident in Britain (or elsewhere) and have property, such as a holiday home, in France. These strict rules are often a cause of concern to expats. Many have contacted the European Union calling for reform and Brussels is now investigating the possibility of harmonising inheritance rules across all member states. For the moment, though, it is important that expats with assets in France are aware of the rules and how to make the best of them.
The Connexion newspaper publishes an easyto-read guide to inheritance laws in France, with advice on how to plan for them. Here we outline some of the main topics that it covers. French inheritance law can be divided into civil law (matters such as who can inherit) and tax law (inheritance tax payable by heirs). In civil law, France and Britain have similar approaches. For “moveable” assets (shares, money in bank accounts etc), the law of the last
residence of the deceased person applies. For real estate (houses, land etc), the applicable law is that of the country where the property is located: eg. English law for English assets, French for French assets. Regarding tax law, if the deceased was resident in France, French inheritance tax is payable on his or her worldwide assets and British tax may be payable on British assets (depending on the British rules), but would then be deductible from the French tax bill. If the deceased was resident outside France, French tax is payable on French real estate only. Subject to allowances and exemptions, French inheritance tax can be high, especially in the case of heirs with no close family ties. If you are not married or “pacsed” (in a French civil union), or in a recognised foreign civil union such as a British civil partnership, you will be treated as having no family ties and taxed accordingly. A spouse, pacs partner or British civil partner pays no tax, but the law does affect them significantly. Because your children have an automatic right to a certain percentage of your estate, a
surviving spouse may need protection. It is worth noting, however, that France does not recognise stepchildren, who are taxed as ‘strangers’ – at 60% – if they are left legacies. Brothers or sisters living in the same house as the deceased are not taxed on legacies provided they are single, widowed or divorced at the time of death; aged 50 or more or disabled, and have lived with the deceased continuously for the previous five years. Everyone else is liable to pay tax, with some rare exceptions. While Britain taxes the overall net value of the estate, French inheritance tax is calculated on each share in the estate. Once the net value of the estate has been calculated, it is divided into shares, each of which benefits from a non-taxable allowance depending on the beneficiary’s degree of relationship to the deceased (see table opposite). Whether there is a will or not, children are héritiers réservataires, which means they are entitled to a set part of the estate, which you cannot change by will (the same applies, in the absence of children, to a spouse). Should there not be a will, a person’s estate goes to the following, in order of precedence: children or grandchildren, or great-grandchildren; then to the mother or father; then to brothers or sisters, to their children or grandchildren and so on, to more distant relatives. In addition to this are rules protecting a surviving spouse where there is no will. In the presence of children, these include the right to a quarter share of the estate. If there are no children, the spouse will inherit the whole estate unless either of the deceased’s parents are living; in which case, each of the parents is entitled to receive one-quarter of the estate. Due to the strict rules, when you do make a will, you cannot, if you have children, simply transfer full ownership of your property to your spouse alone in your will; and you should not rely on one made in Britain. It may not be effective in France. The crucial aspect for expats relates to property and other assets held in France and the position of a surviving spouse or partner in the light of the automatic rights of children. Where a pacs or civil partner is living in the family home at the time their partner dies, he or she has the right to occupy the property for a year. In the case of married couples only, this right extends for the survivor’s whole lifetime and includes the furnishings of the home. The spouse may also let the house to someone else. The issue of “marriage regimes” is an important factor in France concerning property and inheritance matters. Notaires can advise on this when you buy property. Common forms of contract include communauté universelle, under which a couple owns a
When you make a will you cannot, if you have children, simply transfer full ownership of your property to your spouse alone
Photo: © Andrey Armyagov - Fotolia.com
home equally, or séparation des biens, where ownership is a percentage allotted to each partner. British married couples can visit a notaire to draw up a marriage contract in respect of French property. Otherwise, the wording on the deeds is crucial. A holiday home might be bought under an SCI, a company formed to own the property, in which case the laws of the home country will apply because it is considered a moveable asset. If you are going to live in France, purchase of a residence might include a tontine clause, under which the property is jointly owned and passes to the survivor, or a donation entre époux, which gives the survivor lifetime use of the estate and the right to ownership of a quarter of it, irrespective of children. Whether residents here or holiday home owners, it is essential to be aware of the differences from the system in your home country – and to take professional advice. The Connexion’s helpguide to French inheritance law can point you in the right direction and make you more aware of the questions to ask.
Where to go for help ENGLISH-speaking notaires can offer advice on writing a will or getting to grips with French inheritance laws.
Inheritance law helpguide The Connexion newspaper has an 18-page helpguide that takes you step-by-step through the complexities of French inheritance laws, explains how they affect expats and answers frequently-asked questions.
Download a copy for €7.50 at www.connexionfrance.com or call 0800 91 77 56 for a printed version to be sent to you
Calvados Bayeux – Dominique Engelhard: 02 31 51 60 00 Dives sur Mer – Eric Spoor: 02 31 28 12 12 Balleroy – Gerard Noir: 02 31 21 60 38 St Pierre sur Dives – Gerard Samson: 02 31 20 80 41 Noyers Bocage – Gonzague Vincent: 02 31 77 97 63 Caen – Jose Antoine Peltier: 02 31 26 59 00 Deauville – Maurice Perlemoine Engerran: 02 31 88 20 26 Vire – Patrick Durel: 02 31 66 20 00 Pont L’Evêque – Pierre Lemee: 02 31 65 65 00 Eure Bernay – Claude Ben Geloun: 02 32 43 00 05 La Neuve Lyre – Didier Plaine: 02 32 30 53 33 Etrepagny – Jean-Paul Gardin: 02 32 55 80 60 Pont Audemer – Sylvain Petitpas: 02 32 41 08 86 Louviers – Yann Legros: 02 32 40 00 58 Manche Mortain – Charles Le Besnerais: 02 33 59 00 50 Carentan – Francois Gravelle: 02 33 71 40 40 Granville – Jean-Michel Bourdon: 02 33 50 01 64 Barenton – Jerome Turczell: 02 33 59 45 03 Sourdeval – JM Beaupuy: 02 33 59 60 13 Ducey – Philippe Polidori: 02 33 48 49 48 St-Hilaire du Harcouet – Virginie Dabat-Blondeau: 02 33 79 32 32 Orne Alençon – Catherine Klotchkoff: 02 33 26 01 36 Putanges – Edith Brillant: 02 33 35 29 23 Flers – Geraldine Leprince-Durand: 02 33 65 00 37 Argentan – Lilian Martin: 02 33 67 01 20 Gacé – Phillipe Morel: 02 33 12 22 90 L’Aigle – Phillipe Sarthout: 02 33 84 26 16 Seine Maritime Notre Dame de Bondeville – Alain Puyt: 02 32 82 85 35 Dieppe – Alexandre LeVillain: 02 35 82 33 33 Rouen – Antoine Gence: 02 35 07 82 90 Les Grandes Ventes – Carole Pace Flork: 02 35 83 40 32 Sotteville les Rouen – Dominique Gruel: 02 35 72 62 94 Hericourt en Caux – Eric Laidebeur: 02 35 96 55 77 Notre Dame de Bondeville – Frederic LeCoeur: 02 32 82 85 35 Grand Couronne – Georges Bouju: 02 35 67 71 71 Le Havre – Georges Vaillant: 02 35 19 28 19 Yvetot – Marc Tesniere: 02 35 95 08 01 Totes – Patrice Danet: 02 35 32 91 01 Cany Barville – Patrick Brun: 02 35 97 80 88 Caudebec en Caux – Yann Eveillard: 02 35 96 25 89 Photo: © hannamonika - Fotolia.com
Relationship to deceased
Tax-free portion per share
Surviving spouse, pacs or civil partner
100% tax exempt
Direct heirs (ie. all children of the deceased, or, if they have died, their children)
Up to €8,072 - 5% ...then to €12,109 - 10% ...then to €15,932 - 15% ...then to €552,324 - 20% ...then to € 902,838 - 30% …then to €1,805,677 - 40% ... then 45%
Up to €24,430 - 35% ...then 45%
Nephew or niece
Other relatives to the 4th degree of relationship (eg. including cousins and greatnephews)
Brother or sister (apart from those exempt from tax, see above)
Foie gras for the festive spirit After she was chosen as first BBC Masterchef in 1990 JOAN BUNTING was soon writing a food column and doing BBC local radio. Now the former advisory teacher has retired and moved permanently to her home in France, but is still keen to tell readers about good food.
IT WAS our first Christmas in France when we realised that we were well into November and we hadn’t seen many signs of the impending festivities. My pudding and mincemeat were made, my cards bought, but where in town were the garlands, the lights and the stacks of goodies? How different it is from the UK where, a couple of years ago, I was horrified to see that the Christmas season was in full swing in October, with people shopping as if there was no tomorrow. In our corner of France at least, food and family are far more important than how much you spend on presents for all and sundry. I was utterly amazed as the food began to appear in the
shops at the beginning of December and couldn’t believe how much was being bought. Recent statistics show that the average spend per head on Christmas food is €118 in France whereas the nearest comparable figures I can find for the UK is £309 per household for the whole festive season. Conversely, the number of presents bought in the UK is more than twice the French average of €11 per adult. Because the main celebratory meal in France is the Christmas Eve réveillon it has a very different feel. The first time we were invited to one it was a revelation. The friend who cooked it had agonised for weeks over her choice of main course. Turkey or goose is not automatic here and in the end she served chapon (capon) with a truffle stuffing... and not a Brussels sprout in sight. This was preceded by caviar, home-prepared foie gras and a plateau de fruits de mer – a selection, she explained because some people, strangely, don’t like oysters! Cheese followed and then the Bûche de Noël. The table was gorgeous and it must have taken her hours. I now always make Marie-France’s duck foie gras with my own addition of muscat jelly.
To advertise your restaurant with us call 0800 91 77 56
INGREDIENTS For 4 - 6 Servings 1 fresh duck foie-gras 2 tsp fine sea salt 1 tsp ground white pepper 1 tbsp cognac 1 tbsp sweet muscat wine
(I use Beaumes de Venise) For the jelly: 150ml of the same muscat 3 leaves of gelatine soaked in water until soft.
Photo: © Frédéric Massard - Fotolia.com
Photo: © Joan Bunting
METHOD Put the foie gras domed-side down on a board, and with a small sharp knife carefully remove all the veins – this is vital, so if you have to separate the lobes don’t worry, they will stick together again when you cook it.
Cool for an hour then chill for at least 12 hours before serving – it will keep in the fridge for two or three days.
Put the prepared foie gras in a ceramic dish and add the seasoning and alcohol. Rub well in then refrigerate overnight. Next day pack the liver into a 50cl terrine, cover and place in a bain-marie in a preheated 150°C oven for 35 minutes.
Gently heat a couple of tablespoons of the wine, squeeze the water from gelatine and melt the leaves in the warm wine. Add the rest of the wine, stir well and pour into a suitable dish. Chill until set.
To make the jelly:
Inheritance Solutions French inheritance rules may mean that your worldwide estate will not be distributed according to your wishes.
Look after those that matter. Jennie Poate, Regional Manager Tel French Head Office: 05 56 34 75 51 Email: email@example.com
www.siddalls.fr French finance in plain English Siddalls France SASU, Parc Innolin, 3 Rue du Golf, 33700 Mérignac - RCS BX 498 800 465. C.I.F. No E001669 auprès de ANACOFI-CIF association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Financiers et Courtier d’Assurances, Catégorie B - ORIAS 07 027 475. Garantie Financière et Assurance de Responsabilité Civile Professionnelle conformes aux articles L 541-3 du Code Monétaire et Financier et L 512-6 et 512-7 du Code des Assurances.
Which wine should I drink with this? Caline Montfort, of Julien de Savignac wine merchants (www.julien-de-savignac.com), says: Clos L'envège 2003, Monbazillac €29. A very concentrated sweet wine made of botrytised grapes from our property of Clos l'Envège. It is an extremely complex wine with sweet aromas.
JUDY MANSFIELD has lived and worked in Calvados for
nearly nine years. She is an agent commercial, and worked at an estate agency in Lisieux for several years before branching out into business development, primarily for currency specialists First Rate FX and latterly for small businesses in Normandy.
Photo: © kotoyamagami - Fotolia.com
Your home’s energy rating will affect tax relief on rent
Renting property the Scellier way We’re looking at renting property to boost our income. Could you explain how the Loi Scellier could work to our advantage for tax deductions? We are a retired British couple living near Alençon. J.T. THE loi Scellier was introduced to encourage development in the building industry and improve housing stocks. Areas have to be designated “Scellier”, and some regions have seen lots of investment, but poor rental returns and low resale prices. That being said, most of the schemes are well managed and have attractive rent guarantees, and often finance available through the promoters. The way that it works for the taxpayer is that you have to make a commitment to rent out the property as someone’s main home. Under the classic regime, you can then get a tax reduction of 13% of the purchase cost (non BBC - Bâtiments Basse Consommation), spread over nine years, for a project entered into by December 31, 2011. The rules that apply for current projects only relate to new builds, and those with low energy rating (BBC) attract higher relief. In future, all loi Scellier projects will have to be to BBC standards. The latest French budget has dramatically reduced the tax advantages of the Scellier scheme, and with the proposed changes to the capital gains tax system (proposed extension of period of ownership required to get full exoneration from capital gains tax on a sale, from 15 years to 30 years), property ownership for lettings may not be such an interesting proposition. CSG will also be going up from 12.3 % to 13.5 %, and this charge will be levied on the rents received. There is also a provision in the 2012 Loi de finances to strip away fiscal advantages (rabot 10%) and this will apply to new Scellier projects not entered into by January 1, 2011. Whether this kind of investment is right for you depends on the other income that you have, and of course on the rental return of the project itself. Rents are typically much lower in France than the UK, but purchase prices for new-build are still high when compared to rental streams. For a €200,000 two-bed apartment, you might achieve €800 a month gross rent, ie a 4.8% gross return. The benefit of the tax reduction depends on how much French income tax you already pay on your pension and any other investment incomes. So if you currently do not pay French income tax, the tax reduction from the Scellier does not count for as much as if you were a higher rate French tax payer. However, once the Scellier period is over, you will still have a potential rental stream, or a property to sell.
Well, December marks the end of your year’s work in 2011. How was it for you? Did you meet your targets? Did you fall short of what you had hoped to do? Or have you no idea because you don’t actually have any targets? YOU should already have your business plan in place for 2012. Many people shy away from a business plan, thinking either that it is only for start-up business, when you are looking for financing, or that it is too complex for a sole trader to bother with. Nothing could be further from the truth. As the adage goes, “to fail to plan, is to plan to fail”. After all, how will you know when you have “got there”, if you don’t know where “there” is? There are some brilliant websites where you can get help in setting up your business plan, and it is an issue we will be discussing at future Normandy Business Group Meet Up sessions. It needn’t be complicated, but putting it together does need thought and effort, but after all, isn’t your business worth it? Think of the business plan as a map. There is a The first thing your plan needs is start point, an end a goal or vision – point, and various what exactly is it route that you want to markers achieve? along the way. These will show you how you are doing – are you meeting your budget targets in terms of income as well as expenditure? Incidentally, when I set my budget, I always take 10% off the income target, and add 10% on to the expenditure figure. I think of this as my contingency or risk – the ‘what if something goes wrong’ safety net. It probably makes accountants shudder, but I’ve always been a comfort blanket sort of a girl! The first thing your plan needs is a goal or vision – what exactly is it that you want to achieve? You will need a long-term goal – say five years, then
Photo:© Alena Hovorkova - Shutterstock.com
Plan ahead for successful 2012
If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there? more specific goals for three years, one year, six months and three months. As the period of time gets shorter, so the goal becomes more defined and focused. Any goal must be SMART: Specific Measurable Accurate Relevant Timely If you want to know more about SMART objectives, we will be holding a Normandy Business Group MasterClass on this subject in January, so if you haven’t yet developed your plan, now’s your chance! You have to be a member to come along to that, so if you haven’t already joined, you need to go to www.meetup.com/normandy-businessgroup Your business plan, according to Bev James, head of the Coaching Academy, in her excellent book Do it or Ditch It, will keep you on track, and help you keep control of your finances, cash flow, sales and strategy. It can inform your marketing, pricing, and stop you from either being woolly about what you should be doing, or from panicking when it all seems to be slip-
ping away from you. Your plan is your bible to refer to and you will be able to see which element needs tweaking. It is not something you do once a year, shove it in the drawer and forget about. Your business plan is a living breathing document that is continually being updated. If you are the heart of your business, then the business plan must be the brain! Most new businesses fail because of lack of planning – don’t become one of the statistics! Next month will be a look at the New Year Resolutions for your business, a bit more about your business plan, and we’ll be looking at Putting the Passion back into your business life. Just the thing for the dark January days! Merry Christmas to all readers, and all in the Normandy Business Group wish you and your families a very happy holiday. See you in 2012!
Business Bookshelf Bev James – Do It or Ditch It! ISBN 978-0-7535-3999-6 Robert Ashton – Brilliant Checklists for Entrepreneurs ISBN 978-0-273-74080-3
Judy can be contacted through The Advertiser or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org She is also on Twitter at @NormandyBizGp
ADVERTISER BUILDERS & RENOVATION
Chenil Les Mille Calins
David Pickering Complete Building Services
5 Star accommodation for Dogs/Cats
Specializing in Installation of Fosse Toutes Eaux - Mini Digger/Dumper Hire Email: email@example.com Tel: 02 33 17 24 82 Mobile: 06 20 14 73 69 Siret: 481 189 991
Underfloor heated kennels Qualified staff Top Quality food and exercise Only 45 minutes south of Caen Convenient Ferry Access
www.goldenwaypets.com Telephone 02 33 37 49 19 Emergency 02 33 38 41 32 Fax 02 33 38 44 16 NORMANDY KENNELS Small, caring and qualified English run kennels and cattery Contact Jon or Sue Tel 02 31 67 93 48 Near Vire Dept 14 www.normandykennels.com firstname.lastname@example.org Siret 48914001200019
Experienced couriers specialising in pet travel between France / UK / Spain or within France. Pet passport advice. Tel: 0044 (0) 1483200123 Email: email@example.com Web: www.animalcouriers.com
GENERAL BUILDER Roofs, Loft conversions, Plumbing & Electrical, Groundworks. Experienced team for all renovation work. __________________________
TIMBER PRESERVATION Eradication of rot and woodboring insects 20 year certificated guarantee covering all France Tel: Jim +33 (0) 679274563 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Full / Part Renovations, carpentry, masonry, plastering, tiling, kitchens, replacement windows and doors. www.buildersnormandy.com Tel. 02 31 09 26 54
Qualified and professional care of your pet while you are away www.AcornKennelsandCattery.com Tel: 02 33 49 63 22 Siret: 479 825 168 00012
PC repairs,upgrades, sales.help with internet connections, call out or bring to us.
Tel: Mark 02 33 90 64 93 Mob: 06 72 66 61 51 www.swcomputers.eu
including design, hosting and domain name
pennygraphics.net 02 33 90 92 15 CARPENTERS
Stuart Upton CARPENTRY & ROOFING Full 10 year Insurance Backed Guarantee Tel: 02 33 64 89 28 / 06 06 43 52 28 Email: email@example.com Regions Covered 61, 14, 50 Siret 48036552700013
English Carpenter/Joiner Michael Bambridge BSc Very experienced in renovation and carpentry including stairs and furniture
Tel: 02 33 50 40 24 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Siret: 48131662800017
All building works undertaken. Mini digger, Full Registered, 10 year decennale insurance.
Tel: 02 33 61 72 90 - Email: email@example.com Area: Near St Hilaire - Siret: 499 532 059 00015
John Shipton - 02 14 16 14 47
DEVILLE PROPERTY SERVICES
All kinds of handmade furniture and carpentry work. From door fittings to kitchens.
Barn & attic conversion specialists. We undertake all aspects of renovation & improvement projects. We legally employ English speaking staff & do not sub-contract. Full 10 year insurance backed guarantee.
Online through Skype with Sylvie Tel: 02 31 32 28 83 firstname.lastname@example.org www.frenchtutor.sylvielaine.fr
email: email@example.com siret 499 313 658
EDUCATION & LANGUAGE
Translation-Administrative Help Lifetime experience of the French system. Privacy Guaranteed Tel: 02 31 67 60 55 / 06 79 86 22 69
& LIVE ANIMALS
Areas: 14 , 50 , 61 Siret: 5026366000018
Siret: 451 736 318 00010
World Wide Pet Relocator Ministry approved
WWW.BOCAGE RENOVATIONS.COM For All Your Building & Renovations Works
GOLDENWAY INTERNATIONAL PETS
No. 61195004 – 61195001 Offices CDG Airport Paris Offices and Kennels Normandy Tel: 01 48 62 87 25 CDG Paris Tel: 02 33 38 41 32 Normandy www.goldenwaypets.com Siret: 397549551
Chenil du Val Kennels Small, friendly, professional kennel Special care/attention for your pets. Quarantine alternative
Contact Angie: Tel 02 33 17 17 61 Between Periers/Coutances/St Lo
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Siret 50993743900016
TEL: 02 31 67 76 90
Large or Small Projects ( Many can be Viewed ) Backed up by 10 year Insurance 14 years working in France
Tel: 02 31 67 62 51 Mob: 06 19 91 29 48
Email: email@example.com Siret: 48877612100011
BUSINESS & WEBSITES
Sworn Translations Help with the French system Interpreting, phonecalls Admin & paperwork Call Hilary on 00 33 (0) 6 10 69 05 53
Crafts at Les Landes Spinning and other crafts. Half, Full day tuition or residential B&B www.crafts-at-leslandes.com tel: 00 33 (0)2 33 960904 SIRET No 489 459 438 00011
LOW COST PRINT IN NORMANDY
NORMANDY FRENCH TUITION
www.AardvarkPrintandDesign.com 02 33 91 88 16 firstname.lastname@example.org
Small groups, 1 to 1 online, intensive courses, translation Tél: 02 33 65 39 73 Mob: 06 15 76 37 34 www.normandyfrenchtuition.com
Business Cards - Leaflets - Flyers - Postcards Banners - Vehicle Graphics - Colour Labels
To advertise here call freephone in France 0800 91 77 56 / from UK 0844 256 9881 (4p/min)
Acorn Kennels & Cattery
Advertise here ALL YEAR from just €165HT Call free on 0800 91 77 56 or email: email@example.com
NORMANDY ANIMALS & PETS
Qualified bilingual teacher
French Without Tears
One to One Language Course. Tuition with Accomodation www.cours-a-cucugnan.com Tel: 06 78 15 19 29 Siret: 521701474 - Ad No. 17685
All works guaranteed and carried out to French regulations standard. Tel: 02 31 67 34 40 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Regions Covered: 50,61,and 14 - Siret: 49427469900011
ESTATE AGENTS English and Fluent French speaking agent, always needing more houses for sale, 8 years experience email@example.com TEL FR: +33 (0) 6 19 17 34 61 TEL UK: +44 (0) 7880 501 116 www.NormandyandBrittanyhousesforsale.com Siret: 519 751 465
HOUSES ON INTERNET Do you want to sell your house quickly? Our fee is only 2.5% Find out how on: WWW. HOUSESONINTERNET.COM
Tel: 05 55 65 12 19 FINANCE & INSURANCE AllianZ Insurance
CAR HOME HEALTH
Insurance in Lower Normandy Christophe Marie, Vire - Tel: 02 31 68 01 96 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Siret N° ORIAS 07/022 348
€ U R R E N C Y
£ R A N S F E R
PIONEER FRANCE Best rates from the market leader email@example.com www.pioneerfrance.com/currency Tel: 05 53 07 06 27
€ U R R E N C Y
£ R A N S F E R
PIONEER FRANCE Best rates from the market leader firstname.lastname@example.org www.pioneerfrance.com/currency Tel: 05 53 07 06 27
AXA INSURANCE J. LECLUZE ST HILAIRE DU HARCOUET - 50600
HOME - CAR - HEALTH We insure UK registered cars ENGLISH SPOKEN (call Angeline) - 02 33 49 12 34
FOOD & CATERING
English registered cars House insurance - Health cover
10 years of brewing in Normandy
1700 British clients trust us 02 96 87 21 21 email@example.com Dinan, Brittany
Art is an Ale
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 www.insurance.fr Tel: 33 00 05 62 29 20 00 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org RCS Auch B479 400 657 - Regions: All France
Great beer for all occasions www.le-brewery.com Tel: 02 33 37 77 26 61320 Joue-du-Bois
Le Chateau de Crosville sur Douve Welcomes you to our new restaurant Varied menu each week Open Thurs, Fri & Sat evenings Sunday lunchtimes Tel: 02 33 41 67 25 / 06 98 76 60 60 Photos on www.chateaucrosville.com email: email@example.com
There’s no place like the Auberge For a delicious meal or a fun night at the pub the Auberge du Lac is ready to exceed all your expectations and plans for the bar THE AUBERGE du Lac is a Amanda and Marcus bar and restaurant that has have put together. just re-opened in Vezins, “The menu is Normandy. It is now under going to be modern the management of rustic with global Amanda Fleay, who will be influences,” said front of house and Marcus Amanda. An examGledhill, the chef, who is ple of the type of originally from Blackpool main dish served in and has more than 20 years’ the restaurant is filexperience in the kitchen. let of sea bass pan“We want to make the fried with chorizo Auberge du Lac the hub of and squid, served the community again,” said with Puy lentils. Amanda, explaining that There will be a when the restaurant became range of desserts, available they jumped at the but one of the highchance to run it and have lights will be a crème not looked back since. brûlée du jour, and “My fiancé, Marcus, Amanda and Marcus run the Auberge du Lac in Vezins traditional roasts on worked as a chef at the offer every Sunday. Auberge du Lac previously and my There is much excitement among Vegetarians will also be impressed mum lives just around the corner, so the locals surrounding the rewith what the restaurant has to it really is going to be a family-run opening, which is not surprising offer. “Vegetarian meals will be business,” added Amanda. given the new menus, theme nights GARDENS & POOLS
LANDSCAPE GARDENER Est 1994
Tel: 02 33 90 92 28 Mobile: 06 68 74 83 41
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Siret 49509842800016
Garden Clearance - Grass Cutting Hedge Cutting - Strimming and Weed Killing Tel: Charlie 02 33 91 78 05 Email: email@example.com St Sever Area Siret 49763502900018
Seans Garden Services Lawns – Hedges – Trees Overgrown plots cleared. Free quotes for one-off jobs. Call Sean 02 31 09 27 00 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Siret: 50139841600013
Auberge du Lac "Where friends meet"
Bar/Restaurant, Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Roast Our contact details are:
Barrage de Vezins, 50540 Tel: 02 33 48 03 48 www.aubergedulacvezins.com email: email@example.com Ad No. 17730
Kilrush Cars Ltd
A large selection of European
L H D eft
One owner - FSH - C.O.C Tel: 00 44 (0) 1252 782883
CHIMNEY SWEEP PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
152 Ave de Flandre 75019 Paris Tel: 09 81 72 17 02 Mobile : 06 61 32 77 91 Email : firstname.lastname@example.org www.templierssecuriteprotectionprivee.com
SARL QUESNEE HOME & PROPERTY SECURITY SOLUTIONS COMPLETE RANGE OF ALARMS GATES- GARAGE DOORS -CCTV FREE ADVICE & QUOTES
VIRE - 02 31 68 95 00 CAEN - 02 31 85 27 62
e-mail: email@example.com siret: 51114827200012
Groundworks including gravel drives, septic tanks, drainage, footings, concrete bases and landscaping. Based near Carentan (50)
+33 (0) 4 94 40 31 45
Tel: 09 54 61 28 51 / 06 71 28 00 66 www.dr-groundworks.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Your needs, your wishes 09 65 35 17 56 www.englishlanguagefunerals.fr
ALL ASPECTS OF PERSONAL & PROPERTY SECURITY EVENT SECURITY MANAGEMENT STUD FARMS
Stephen Ramsbottom - 0233172361
Your Helping Hand to the French Health System
ENGLISH LANGUAGE FUNERALS
TEMPLIERS SECURITE PROTECTION PRIVEE
ELECTRICIAN / PLUMBER and HEATING ENGINEER French Registered - Over 35 years experience David Christie - 02 33 51 05 91 Mobile: 06 31 97 58 15 Email: Christie.email@example.com Siret: 481 604 411 00019 South Manche
ENGLISH TV INSTALLER TV & Internet - all works guaranteed
CHIMNEY SWEEP Black Cat Services Expert English Sweep, Mess Free Registered, Insured. Certificate de Ramonage Issued
Tel : 02 33 50 84 91 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chimney Sweep Wood Stove Installation Property Management Iain Davison www.propertycarepeople.com Tel: 02 33 14 09 55 Email: email@example.com Siret: 494799968
www.ashnormandie.com Tel: 02 33 91 69 29 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Siret: 491 624 367
POWER & LIGHT SERVICES
REMOVALS & TRANSPORT
Tel: 02 33 70 88 24 Email: email@example.com Regions Covered: 50,14,61,22
SELF STORAGE FACILITY 61 SECURE SITE NEW STORAGE CONTAINERS COMPETITIVE PRICES Tel: 02 33 30 89 20 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.pjmselfstorage.com
Siret: 515 210 847 00015
Siret: 41153948300020 - Regions: All of France
ELECTRICAL & PLUMBING SERVICES ALL WORK FULLY INSURED.
posted on the specials board so veggies don’t have to eat the same thing each time,” said Amanda. The unique selling point of the new and improved Auberge du Lac is that, unlike many bars in France, it offers a warm and cosy atmosphere, with a roaring fire, in which to have a drink. There is also a bar menu that serves up British favourites, such as homemade pies and chunky chips. “As the warmer weather starts to return in spring customers can enjoy drinks in the beer garden that offers a lakeside view,” she added. The theme evenings will be abundant and include: a gourmet club, where customers can enjoy fine dining; curry nights; children’s fun days; major saints days; and sporting events, particularly the Six Nations which is being played in February in March. Amanda said: “During this tour-
nament the boys can buy a ticket for a pie and a pint and the girls for bubbles and a smoked salmon sandwich – or the former if they prefer, of course.” The Auberge is currently gearing up for its first Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve events. “Christmas dinner will be a blend of British and French food, so there will be turkey and all the trimmings, but also fillet steak, sole paupiette and tarte tartin of winter ratatouille among the menu choices,” said Amanda. They are also introducing other elements to make the venue even more special. “We’re going to have a deli counter selling pâté, chutney and marmalade,” said Amanda, adding that customers will receive 10% off any purchase on presentation of this advertorial in the Normandy Advertiser. You can visit the Auberge du Lac’s website and Facebook page for more information or contact Amanda and Marcus directly. Twitter users can follow at: @aubergedulac1. 02 33 48 03 48 email@example.com www.aubergedulacvezins.com
MOVING TO OR FROM FRANCE?
REFLEX MOODYS LTD SALISBURY
REMOVALS UK - FRANCE - UK
• Weekly Service • Full & Part Loads • Container Storage • BAR Members • On-line Quotation • Internet Shopping Deliveries
Weekly services to & from France
00 44 1722 414350 firstname.lastname@example.org www.reflexmoodys.com
Full or part loads, 4 wks free storage, 30 Years experience
Company Regn No: UK 5186435 TVA / VAT No: UK 864 7217 04
RETAIL & COMMERCE
Bar & Guild Member Contact: Anglo French Removals Tel: +44 (0) 1622 690 653 Email: email@example.com
S BERTIN COUVERTURE
15 Years experience in roofing and zinc New and restauration / Chimney Sweep
02 33 38 28 86
WOODBURNERS BY THE STOVE SHACK ESSE - HUNTER - WOODWARM
- Full lining and installation of all Stoves - Free Survey and Advice in Depts 14,50,61 - Stoves eligible for Credit d'impots - 20 yrs experience - HETAS and NVQ Qualified
With 10 years insurance - Siret: 50792761400010
DIRECT LOISIRS N°1 in all of France for direct sale of mobile homes and chalets. Looking for a plot by the sea?
DIRECT LOISIRS can offer sites to rent or buy in small residential parks.
Tel 02 33 17 25 21 firstname.lastname@example.org www.thestoveshack.eu
Visit our permanent display in Gavray.
Siret No 510 070 535 00016
tel: 02 33 91 16 80 www.directloisirs.com
UK - FRANCE - UK Full and part loads You pack, we move, you save! 0044 (0)1327 264627 UK Email: email@example.com www.fishfaceremovals.com
ZA Route de Coutances 50450 Gavray
WOOD STOVE STUDIO Wood burning stoves and Cuisinieres from
Cashin Camina Cleanburn Esse Hunter Parkray Stovax on display at our dept 61 showroom
INVICTA INTERNATIONAL LIGHT HAULAGE SERVICES
Selkirk chimney and flexible liner Full installation service
Store Collections, General Removals, Motorcycle Recovery. France, UK, Europe.
www.woodstovestudio.com firstname.lastname@example.org Tel 02 33 12 57 26
Tel: 02 33 64 99 31
Email: email@example.com SIRET Number 51407345.1-0001.5
Siret 498 597 632 00013
D & K REMOVALS
WOODBURNERS Ash Grove Stoves Supplier of Hunter - Villager
Light Removals to and from France. Best prices, best service. T: + 44 (0) 079705 30723 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Book now for the January issue - copy deadline 5th January call freephone in France 0800 91 77 56 / from UK 0844 256 9881 (4p/min)
Clean Burn - Fire Visible Boiler versions available Deliveries all over France Prices on our website Lowest Prices Guaranteed Tel: 00 44 (0) 1392 861579 www.ashgrovestoves.com email@example.com
Try wood for warmth D I Y t i p s As the cold weather sets in, it’s time to make sure your home will be warm. A wood stove can be a worthwhile buy, says REBECCA LAWN
How to get a new-look bathroom on a budget
Photo: © Hunter stoves
Photo:© Henrik Winther Ander - Fotolia.com
WOOD-BURNING stoves can save you money as well as making your house a lot warmer than a simple open fire. “If you have a typical French house with a big fireplace and open chimney, you’ll find that a lot of the heating will go straight up the chimney,” says Steve Hill from Ashgrove Stores, which supplies wood-burners across Europe and the US. “The benefit of having a woodburning stove is that it seals the chimney off and the air has to go through the stove.” The stoves are made of cast iron, steel or soapstone. Steel wood-burners increase – and decrease – in temperature more quickly and are generally lighter. Those made of cast iron require solid floors to support them. As for fuel, hardwoods are best but the main thing is to make sure it’s fully seasoned, timber that is
Hot tip: a woodburning stove in a large fireplace prevents heat from disappearing up the chimney
sap-free: “Otherwise it will smoulder,” says Steve. The size of the stove you need will depend on the size of the room you are heating, but there are other factors to take into account, such as insulation, double-glazing and the number of doors and
with a boiler that can be connected to the system. Again the size of the room it’s in is important, as Steve explains: “Boilers send more to the heating side than to the room. If it’s a big room, you’ll need a radiator as well.” When buying any type of wood-burner, check that it conforms to the European standard (EN 13240 for stoves). And remember that under French law, you need to have your chimneys swept at least once a year by a professional company. It’s not enough to do it yourself, even if many people do. It is also worth checking with your local council to see if there are other rules specific to your area. In urban areas, for example, chimneys generally need to be swept twice a year. If you use your chimney, this requirement will be in your home insurance. As well as having it cleaned, you also need to have a chimney liner. Make sure the fitter is registered and is accredited by an organisation such as l’Organisme professionnel de qualification et de classification du bâtiment. Once the work has been done and the chimney is working, you will need an annual certificate (certificat de ramonage) to prove it has been swept. Getting it professionally cleaned is also for your own safety as flues that become blocked can raise the risk of a chimney fire. Soot has now been classified as carcinogenic, so make sure you choose a sweep who uses a specialist hazard vacuum cleaner afterwards.
windows, so it is best to speak to a professional before making a decision. For a particularly large room there are double-sided stoves that can be placed in the centre. If you want a wood-burner that also powers your central heating, you need a stove
Subscribe NORMANDY ADVERTISER Packed with local news, features & events
France, in English News, interviews, practical info & more
3 ways to subscribe Online www.normandyadvertiser.fr www.connexionfrance.com Call FREE from France 0800 91 77 56 Or for just 4p/min from the UK 0844 256 9881 Lines are open between 9am - 1pm
Post this coupon to Subscription Services, BP 61096, 06002 Nice Cedex 1 Payment must be by euro cheque (from a French bank) or sterling cheque (from a UK bank). Cheques should be made payable to English Language Media
Fill in your details (in capitals please): Name: ____________________________________________________________________ Address: __________________________________________________________________ Town: ________________________________________Postcode: ____________________
You needn’t spend a lot to restyle your bathroom SO YOU have just bought a house complete with avocado bathroom suite dating from the 1970s, or perhaps your bathroom is just looking a bit tired. Well, there are some simple ways of revamping the salle de bains that won’t break the bank. First, empty the room completely so that you can spot all the cracks and holes that need to be filled. When the filler has dried, sand down the walls so that they are smooth. Next, clean the bathroom to remove as much mildew, soap residues and dust as possible – sugar soaps are very effective and inexpensive for this. The toughest place to clean is usually the grout, so you need to use a hard toothbrush or nail brush and scrub with bleach. You can also try using a steam cleaner. Repaint the walls using special bathroom paint so that it resists the humidity. If you have a large bathroom that is well aired, why not be brave and make a feature wall by decorating with a large print or colourful wallpaper? If your tiles are not the colour you want or are starting to look old, you do not have to replace them but simply give them a new lease of life by repainting them. Once the tiles are clean and dry, evenly apply a tile primer with a synthetic bristle brush. It is best to paint with vertical strokes. When the primer is dry, rub down the whole surface with fine sandpaper, remove the dust produced and apply the second coat of primer. After sanding down and cleaning again, apply the gloss coat with a natural bristle brush, again using vertical strokes making sure you catch any running paint. Wait until the first coat has completely dried before applying a second coat. Paints are now also sold in DIY shops that allow you to repaint sinks, baths and shower trays, but these are quite expensive. Give your bathroom furniture a new look by painting it or just cleaning up and changing the handles. There is so much choice now, from modern and novel to traditional or antique, and they make an immediate difference. Shower curtains are a prominent feature of the bathroom and hanging a fabric one immediately gives a more luxurious, warmer feel. To care for it, wash it in hot water about once a month. If you prefer a plastic shower curtain, a good tip is to wash it by putting it in the washing machine with a couple of towels – the friction of the towels will help to get it cleaner. Finish off your new bathroom look by adding a couple of scented candles and humidity-loving plants such as orchids or bamboo to add life and colour to the room.
Country : ____________________________________Telephone: ____________________ Normandy Advertiser ONE YEAR (12 EDITIONS) To a French address: €12 To a UK or other EU address: €24
The Connexion ONE YEAR (12 EDITIONS) To a French address: €33 (£30 by UK cheque) To a UK or other EU address: €44 (£40) Other addresses: €126 (£115)
Please note: Subscriptions must reach us by the 16th of the month to ensure delivery of the next issue. We would like to send you a weekly email with news and practical information about life in France. You can unsubscribe at any time. We will never pass your details on to a third party. If you do NOT want this please tick here NO THANKS!
Photo: © Hunter stoves
Landscape Gardening Service
Houses for sale in and around Normandy Buying or selling a property in or around Normandy? We can help. Our website www.connexionfrance.com 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 www.connexionfrance.com and enter the ref: code shown under the property.
Photo: © Fotovision - Fotolia.com
For sellers, the adverts are also displayed across a range of popular English-language websites and are seen by thousands of potential buyers EVERY day. Our 3+3 package costs just €200TTC
and gives you three months online advertising as well as a print advert in three editions of The Advertiser. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
More details on all these properties - and how to contact the seller directly - can be found in the property for sale section of
www.connexionfrance.com Simply enter the code under each home to find out more PROPERTIES IN NORMANDY
It’s harvest time for your winter vegetables
Picking, pruning and planning by STAFF REPORTER WHILE many people might think December is the time to shop and plan and that gardeners, like their gardens, benefit from a period of dormancy, there is still work to be done outside. In northern regions December can be a month of frosts and it is the time to harvest winter cabbages and cauliflowers. Brussels sprouts should be ready in time for Christmas and leeks can be harvested as required. Where there is a danger of severe frost, it may be worth transplanting a few to well-dug ground which will not freeze solid. Harvest celery and parsnips and store your carrots in peat, sand or a clamp if you have not already done so. Parsnips could also be left in the ground, so long as they are protected with straw. If you are storing vegetables over the winter, check for rot, removing any affected vegetables before it spreads. Check potatoes especially, paying attention also to any slugs, which may destroy one potato after another. December is not all hard grind and spadework. The pruning season has also started and some plants with woody stems can bleed if not pruned until early next year. Vines, birch and acers all benefit from early pruning. Vines can be pruned back to two buds from last year’s growth, to encourage new fruiting branches and larger foliage in ornamental varieties. Birch and acer should be shaped with care, as their elegance relies on the delicate growth of their branches. Shape in a regular fashion, without cutting into old wood, taking growth back by one branch within the canopy. Pears and apples, currants and autumn raspberries can be pruned any time between leaf fall and March. Stone fruit should not be pruned in winter, as retreating sap can take in an airborne fungus, “silver-leaf ”. This is a good time to plant roses to bring colour to your garden next spring and summer. You can plant at any time from now until spring, avoiding bad frost periods. Roses flower from the first year, except climbing varieties, which need two years to establish themselves. Choose a sunny south-facing spot with good ventilation, avoiding wind exposure and proximity to large trees. Roses can be in shade for a part of the day and suit different soil types, which are not waterlogged or very wet in winter or too dry in summer. In the flower garden, keep an eye out for moles and set traps if necessary. Ordering your seed catalogues now will give you time to choose next year’s bedding and perennial treats, while they are still in stock before the spring rush.
Matt Gilks Landscape Gardening Service Landscaping Service O Garden Products O Plants & Trees O Spring Bulbs O Reclamation and scrap metal service
www.mayenne53.com Tel 02 43 13 06 56 O email@example.com
Avranches, Manche Converted barn with large kitchen/dining room with french doors, utility room, large bathroom with separate shower and separate wc on the first floor. 2 very spacious bedrooms that could be converted in to 3. ENERGY RATING = Not given REF: IFPC21635
Mortain, Manche This recent house comprises a fully fitted kitchen, a lounge (28m2) with fireplace, a bathroom, 3 bedrooms and toilets. On the basement there is a garage and utility room. REF: 40504
St-Laurent-en-Caux, SeineMaritime This house comprises a lounge, a dining room with fireplace, a kitchen, a bathroom and 2 bedrooms on the ground floor. The first floor offers a bedroom and a convertible loft. ENERGY RATING = Not given REF: 38395
La-Haye-du-Puits, Manche This pretty stone house is set in 200m2 of land and comes with a garage and an outbuilding. The property offers a living room, a simple kitchen, a cellar, 4 bedrooms, a shower room and wc. Oil fired heating. REF: 39516
ENERGY RATING = Not given
ENERGY RATING = Not given
Le Teilleul, Manche The property comprises on the ground floor a kitchen fully equipped, a dining room with chimney, a bedroom and a bathroom with toilet. On the first floor there are 3 bedrooms, a shower room and toilet. REF: 41374
ENERGY RATING = Not given
Eu, Seine-Maritime The Farmhouse consist of 5/6 bedrooms, upstairs there are exposed beams part of which used to be a hop drying area. The main part of the house has a large kitchen/dining area with a reception room. ENERGY RATING = Not given REF: IFPC20915
Bagnoles de l'Orne, Orne This fully renovated 19th c. house has 5 bedrooms, with 3 on the first floor and 2 on the second floor which are part of an apartment that can either be integral with the house or independent. ENERGY RATING = Not given REF: NOR61CHA
Mortain, Manche The main house is a 5 bedroom family home with a large living room, dining room & kitchen. 2 bathrooms. There is gas central heating throughout & wood burning stoves in both the living room & dining room. ENERGY RATING = Not given REF: IFPC20874
PROPERTIES AROUND FRANCE
Le Blanc, Indre This beautiful old cottage has been fully renovated and provides delightful views across the river Anglin. The cottage has 2 double/twin bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, large landing with additional bed and a bathroom. ENERGY RATING = Not given REF: IFPC15159
Languedoc-Roussillon, Hérault In a hamlet at 10 minutes from a village with all amenities, stone house with more than 165m2 of living space, kitchen, living/ dining room, 4 bedrooms, workshop, garage and large attic, on a 250m2 plot. REF: 10765-TNTLESN225000E ENERGY RATING = Not given
l’Absie, Deux-Sèvres The house comprises an entrance, a living room, a sitting room with insert, a fitted and equipped kitchen and a wc on the ground floor. The first floor offers 3 bedrooms in which one has an en suite bathroom. REF: 37952
Troyes, Aube Completely restored house near golf course with 150m² of habitable space: living room with a fireplace, fitted kitchen, 35m² covered terrace, beautiful view, 3 bedrooms, 2 with shower rooms and toilets, large garage. ENERGY RATING = G REF: IFPC21727
ENERGY RATING = Not given
La Flèche, Sarthe Renovated in 2006 by English artisans the house benefits from; downstairs bathroom, kitchen diner, lounge, dining room, 4 bedrooms (2 with en suite) utility room and a garage.
Narbonne, Aude Comprising kitchen, living room with fire place, mezzanine, 3 beds, 2 bathrooms and veranda. Several terraces. Nice recent pool and wooden garden shed. Located in a protected and preserved area of the coastal area. ENERGY RATING = Not given REF: AV980
ENERGY RATING = Not given
Grandmother Anne-Marie Dessarzin has spent the last two years realising her dream – an eco-friendly house built of straw and mud. As the project nears an end, Amy McCormack spoke to her about it. A PENSIONER has sold her home and moved into a yurt, while she builds her dream house out of straw and clay. Last winter, Anne-Marie Dessarzin decided it was time to fulfil a dream. The 64-year-old grandmother put her house in Oherville on the market and looked around for the right piece of land to carry out her building project: a house with a wooden frame and walls made out of bales of straw. She said: “I knew a little bit about it, so I took the plunge.” As if building a house from scratch wasn’t enough of a challenge, Mme Dessarzin decided that in the meantime she would live in a yurt – a circular tent traditionally used by nomads in central Asia. She put her furniture into storage in a greenhouse and settled in. A year and a half later, the project is nearing its end. She told me: “My standard of living in the yurt is good. The only downside is that there is no insulation, so when it is cold it is very cold, and when it is hot, it is very hot.” Before she began building the house, Mme Dessarzin researched her craft. She met other people who were doing the same thing and watched them at work. She called upon an architect to draw up the plans, and friends then built the roof, so that work could begin on the walls. After months of hard work, things are finally taking shape. She said: “I’m not at work on my building
site all the time, and have worked out that I have only spent a total of 280 hours actually building the walls.” The techniques have been perfected over the months. “First I put the bales of straw in place and then apply the mud around the straw, filling in gaps around the windows with a mixture of mud and straw because, of course, the bales aren’t all the same shape,” she said. “Then you wait for it to dry. That is the slow part.” But it has not always been a case of Mme Dessarzin toiling away alone. Friends often help out, and specialists chip in too. “My friends cannot come every day,” she said, “but it has been really pleasant working together on something like this.” While she is building walls, Mme Dessarzin pictures herself living in her new home. “Every day I imagine what it will be like,” she said. “I started this project for ecological reasons, but I also did it because I like a challenge. I’d been talking about building this house out of straw for so long.” Mme Dessarzin should be able to move out of the yurt and into her straw house by Christmas. It will not be obvious how the house was built from the outside, so Mme Dessarzin plans to leave two sections of straw exposed as a reminder of the work involved. The project will have taken just two years. “I’ll be pleased to get in there for the winter,” Mme Dessarzin said. “Then I can get back to work on the garden.”
Photo: ©Anne-Marie Dessarzin
Building a dream from straw
Anne-Marie Dessarzin hopes to be celebrating Christmas in her straw bale home Mme Dessarzin believes more people should consider straw as a cheap and effective building method, and is keen to share her craft. She said: “If people are into DIY, straw makes great insulation. We’re expected to insulate our homes
more and more in this country, and this is a great way to do it.” There is a lot of support available and a community of people willing to help. For more information, see the website www.compaillons.eu