ADVERTISER January 2012 - Issue 25 FREE www.normandyadvertiser.com GRATUIT
PARIS-NORMANDY ROUTE – IT’S TIME TO SPEAK OUT Consultation on new line nears an end – Page 4
The priorities for 2012 Exclusive interview with regional President Alain Le Vern PAGES 2-3
Budget for a brighter future TIGER FEAT
FULL STORY PAGE 5
Zoo’s white cubs get ready to go public
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2 Normandy 2012 NORMANDY
2012: Budget reduced
Contact us With a story, email: normandynews@ connexionfrance.com (please include a daytime contact number)
EDUCATION, transport and development top Normandy’s agenda this year, as the region decides how best to use its budget. Despite a drop in spending power as local authorities feel the cuts, Normandy still intends to invest in the future. The biggest spend will be on education – 28 per cent of Haute Normandie’s €918 million budget will go on schools, in particular lycées, followed closely by apprenticeships and professional training for the unemployed. Improving regional transport is another priority, with19 per cent of the budget. “Our actions will concentrate on large projects for our region and its residents,” said Alain Le Vern, president of the HauteNormandie region, adding that policies would focus on encouraging “a strong dynamic in the area”. In Basse-Normandie, broadband and other technological developments are also high on the agenda. Rebecca Lawn looks at the key policies
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New venues to boost sports and arts scenes LEISURE THE cultural scene will get a big boost this year with the openings of museums and stadiums, as well as work on a new music centre. Sports enthusiasts will be in their element, with the openings of the Grand Stade in Le Havre and the Palais des Sports in Rouen this year. Music fans will have to wait a while longer, as work on the Scène des Musiques Actuelles, a concert hall and music studio in Evreux, will continue this year, and is expected to be finished by the second half of 2013, when it will hold the 30th “Le Rock dans tout ses états” music festival. Local representatives in Haute-Normandie have also voted to give €150,000 to
Photo: © pm - Fotolia.com
the Association Centre Abbé Pierre-Emmaüs, a resource centre, exhibition space and memorial site in honour of the late Abbé Pierre, who founded the Emmaüs movement against social exclusion. The site, in Esteville, 30km north of Rouen, will open on January 22. One of the largest ongoing projects is that of restoring
the island character of the Mont Saint-Michel, in order to stop it from becoming landlocked due to sediment building up. Work began in 2005 and is set to be complete in 2015. Preparations are also underway for the World Equestrian Games 2014, which are to be held in Normandy. Some 500,000 spectators are expected to attend, with competitors coming from 150 countries. The region views the games as an opportunity to invest in organisation and development and is calling for projects to improve services for professionals and develop training and competitions. Normandy is the top equestrian region in France, with 100,000 horses and an industry employing 10,000 people.
An artist’s impression of the
Better rail and road links to boost local economy TRANSPORT
The region must continue to be a driving force in the area’s development
Laurent Beauvais President Basse Normandie considerably reduce the time it would take to get to Paris – down to 1h15 from Le Havre, 45 minutes from Rouen, 1h30 from Caen and 2h30 from Cherbourg. Rouen would get a new train station. Normandy will also buy new trains for the ParisGranville line this year. As for the roads, work on the RN27 between Rouen and Dieppe should be finished this year, and an extra €20 million will go towards the final 18km stretch of the
Photo: © mysterecrux-flickr.com
MILLIONS of Euros will be set aside in the budget for the new Paris-Normandie line. As well as offering a faster journey to Paris (with trains running at speeds of up to 250km/h), the line should see improvements in links between towns in the region, which the council hopes will improve job prospects. Speaking at a recent council meeting at L’Abbaye-auxDames in Caen, Laurent Beauvais, president of the Basse-Normandie region, said: “As the BasseNormandie region has little debt, the fifth region with the least debt in the country, we are able to increase our borrowing by 20 per cent to continue to invest. “The region must continue to be a driving force in the area’s development.” The public debate concerning the new line is currently underway, and will continue until February 3, after which further studies will be carried out before any work begins. There are currently three different route proposals. Two scenarios would see a 45-minute link between Rouen and Caen (half the current journey time), whereas the third scenario would mean a 1h07 journey, but would provide good links between Le Havre and Caen. All three proposals would
A150 between Yvetot and Barentin, with work beginning in 2013. The region is also keen to make public transport more accessible to those with disabilities, investing €80 million in making changes to regional express train (TER) stations over the next couple of years. The work includes raising platforms, making travelling easier for the hearing- or visually-impaired, and putting in lower ticket booths, ramps and lifts. Meanwhile, the first carsharing scheme in the country has been created in BasseNormandie, cutting transport costs and helping the environment. In partnership with local associations such as Eco-Mobile in Caen and L’Etape in Vire, the region will encourage colleagues to share their daily commute. In three years, the region hopes that 500 businesses will have put in place a car-sharing agreement (www.covoiturage-basse-normandie.fr).
Faster rail journeys and better links between towns in Normandy are a priority for the region
You could soon be paying for train tickets, shopping and cinema tickets using your mobile phone
Cutting-edge internet and mobile technology DEVELOPMENT BROADBAND is high on the agenda, with work ongoing to equip households in the region. Orange is set to provide homes in Rouen with fibre optic cable by 2015, making it the first town in Normandy to be equipped with fibre to the home (FTTH). Basse-Normandie is also set to become the first region in France to use a new system called “EasyMove”, developed by the Pole TES, an e-secure transactions group. EasyMove works by using a card or a mobile phone app. Currently, 90 per cent of mobile phones can use this technology. Money can then be preloaded on to the card or
At the moment, we have a pocket full of cards. This will make life easier as it can be used for many things Jean-Pierre Le Couedic President, Pôle TES
phone and used to pay for items, meaning residents will not have to to identify themselves each time they buy something. Jean-Pierre Le Couédic, president of the Pôle TES, explained: “At the moment, we have a pocket full of cards – one for the library, another
for the swimming pool. This will make life easier as it can be used for many things.” The first machines will be set up in 2012, starting with transport. Basse-Normandie will fund €300,000, just over half the total cost of the project. The scheme will then go national in three years’ time.
Normandy 2012 3
but priorities stay strong ‘Employment the way to a brighter future’ Alain Le Vern, President of HauteNormandie, spoke exclusively to Rebecca Lawn of the Normandy Advertiser about the issues facing the region in 2012
Repairs for schools, and training for medical staff EDUCATION LYCÉES and universities will get extra money to spend on maintenance work and student grants. Whilst a lot of work was done on schools in HauteNormandie last year, there are plans to carry out repairs in lycées in Gisors, Yvetot (Lycée Raymond Queneau) and Rouen (Lycée Pierre Corneille). Several lycées will also be equipped with sports halls. Work on the new professional hotelier school in Ifs in Basse-Normandie will begin at the start of this year. As for higher education, the region will put in place grants for students in health and social care, and an investment of €28 million will go to a new medical faculty near Caen, set to welcome 4,000 students when it opens in 2014. Gaëlle Pioline, vice-president of the Basse Normandie
We’re investing a lot in healthcare training and work has started on the new medical faculty Gaëlle Pioline Vice president Basse-Normandie
Regional Council, believes that the move will have longterm benefits for the region. She said: “We’re investing a lot in healthcare training and work has started on the new large medical faculty. We are concerned about the number of doctors in the region, especially in rural areas, and the fact we have difficulty attracting new ones. “Hopefully the university will help attract them.” Supporting Maisons de
Santé Pluridisciplinaires, centres where doctors and other medical professionals work together, is also a priority in the hope that it will attract young doctors who might be put off by the idea of working alone in a rural setting. One recently completed project is the Pole Régional des Savoirs (regional knowledge hub), in Rouen, which holds the Cité des Métiers and about 15 cultural, environmental, health and training associations. Entirely financed by the region, it will open on January 12. At the other end of the educational scale, Rouen is planning to reconstruct the Rose des Vents crèche on the Plaine de l’Aigle. Work will begin mid-2012 and it is expected to be ready for the rentrée in 2013. As part of its Agriculture and Nutrition programme, the region wants to encourage schools to use local produce in children’s lunches.
The Cité des Métiers, part of the Pôle Régional des Savoirs in Rouen, which is due to open this month
What are your priorities for the year and why? Our priority will be to honour the engagements made in the area of our competences (teaching, professional training and apprenticeships, transport, economic development), to reduce unemployment, encourage investment, prepare for the adaptation of our area to large changes concerning energy and increase the number of medical professionals. This will be the year of preparing the future of Haute-Normandie in terms of economic, energy and social development, with the launch of the second stage of the Appel à projets Energies (projects concerning renewable energy and energy conservation) and the modernisation of transport infrastructures (renovation of regional train stations, carrying out important road works) Which projects mean the most to you for next year? To fight against the unemployment of young people who’ve left school without qualifications, the Haute-Normandie region is putting in place a Contrat d’accès à la qualification (CAQ). Open to any young person aged 16 to 25 who is not in work or education, the CAQ should help 1,000 young people a year to gain a qualification. Throughout the world, unemployment of young people has reached record levels. In France, as in the rest of Europe, they are having more and more trouble getting into the job market and when they do succeed, they get in very late. The solution comes through orientation and training but, of the 14,000 people benefiting each year from training financed by the region as part of the Programme Régional de Formation Professionnelle (PRFP), almost half are young people under 26. However, the majority of these training schemes demand a minimum level of education, which leaves out the least qualified. And studies show that it’s the least qualified who suffer the most unemployment (they are three times more likely to be unemployed than others). It is therefore essential to increase our efforts to enable them to get back into professional training in order to get them out of the trap of unemployment and job instability. The region also aims to speed up the renovation work in train stations and rest stops, as well as their surroundings, such as access and car parks, by involving the relevant authorities.
Our region has a long history of industry and has been strongly affected by the crisis. Our policy is therefore in favour of employment, to prepare for the future of our area Alain Le Vern President Haute-Normandie Starting with the rentrée in 2012, young people going into their first year of higher education will receive help from the region with the transition, whether they need to buy books, go to the cinema, watch shows or practise a sport. Young people often face financial difficulties during their first year of higher education, sometimes even causing them to abandon their studies. That’s why the region wants to help them, with a donation of €100, which should help around 16,000 students. The necessity to invest in education goes further than the simple question of the skills of our area and can be summarised in the Kant quotation: “Man can only become man by education”. Transport networks are the arteries that irrigate areas. A region that is well connected is synonymous with economic development and well-being for its residents. That is why we’re working to develop and encourage public transport.
Photo: © auremar - Fotolia.com
Scènes des Musiques Actuelles concert hall in Evreux, which is due to open next year
Given the current climate, how do you improve the regional economy? In this sort of context where the margins of manoeuvre are reduced, you do have to be careful. However, you mustn’t be fatalistic! Our region, which has a long history of industry, has been strongly affected by the crisis. Our regional policy is therefore in favour of employment to prepare for the future of our area. We also support farming – a sector that takes up 66 per cent of the regional area and employs almost 25,000 people – by encouraging the conversion to organic crops, giving a helping hand to farmers looking to set up, and developing agriculture by modernising livestock buildings and promoting quality produce. Haute-Normandie is rich in diverse talents; we accompany them so that each one can find its path. That is part of the economic development and influence of our area.
Young people who leave education without qualifications are struggling to find employment
€20m drugs haul at port
Last chance to have say on rail line
Mont changes ‘will deter visitors’
CUSTOMS officers seized 346.5kg of cocaine at Le Havre port. The drugs, found in a container from the Dominican Republic, have an estimated value of €20m.
Toll prices cut on A88
LOCAL traffic officers are to start using electronic tablets to send information about traffic fines directly to the authorities to follow up rather than issuing paper tickets.
See Dieppe from the sky SEE parts of the city you have never seen before in Dieppe from the Sky, an exhibition of 40 photographs by municipal photographer Erwann Lesné. The show runs until January 16 at L’Espace Communication, Rue des Maillots.
Photo: © Tokuriki-flickr.com
A SUBSCRIPTION price has been launched to cut toll prices for regular users of the A88 between Caen and Sées. The tolls are so high that drivers have been avoiding the new motorway.
Drivers face direct fines
WORKS at Mont St-Michel are drawing to a close after six years. The large dam project has been completed, but there is still some argument over visitor access to the attraction. The old causeway is to be removed and replaced with a light bridge between now and 2015, meaning that the old car park will disappear, so a new one has been constructed some 2kms from the island. “We’ve made the new car park the same capacity as the old one,” said a spokesperson from the management
association overseeing the works. The shuttle bus from the car park, which is due to start operating on April 28, will stop nearly a kilometre from the car park and only go to within 350 metres of the island, meaning visitors will have to walk over half the distance between the car park and the Mont St-Michel, a round trip of about 2.5km. Dedicated shuttle buses will run from the car park to the drop-off point for those with limited mobility, but local traders depending on tourism fear the walk could deter visi-
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tors. They have been lobbying for a full shuttle service between the car park and the island. However, the spokesperson said: “This site is an exterior attraction. It comprises many levels and stairs. Visitors have always had to walk to the site. It is often cold and windy, and the nature of the Mont St-Michel is that you have to walk and climb stairs.” The association says it does not have a budget for a full shuttle service. However, it has instructed an engineer to review the problem.
THE consultation phase of the project to construct a new Normandy-Paris train line comes to an end this month. There is still a lot of talking to be done, however, with nine meetings this month. Since the consultation was launched last October, the plans have changed. The authorities say scenario A and B have been abandoned in favour of a new plan, called scenario AB, which, they claim, represents the best of both of the old schemes without any of the drawbacks. The new route, they say, will result in a journey time between Rouen and Caen of about 50 minutes. At €6 billion, it will also cost less than scenario A (€6.5 billion) or B (€6.3 billion) However, critics claim journey times to Paris are unlikely to be substantially faster than they were at the end of last century. The new AB route will go via Evreux but the line will split into two branches to decrease journey times between Rouen and Caen. It will run alongside the A13 to minimise the environmental impact of the project. Detailed plans and maps can be viewed, and opinions voiced at www.debatpublic-lnpn.org.
Sarkozy’s museum plan wins support PRESIDENT Sarkozy has suggested that a new museum could give the Normandy economy a vital boost. Speaking to a forum in Avignon, he said culture could help pull France out of the current crisis. The president wants to decentralise culture as much as possible, and suggested the construction of a Musée d’Orsay in Normandy. The region is known for its links to Impressionist painters and in Le Havre, “Muma” (The Musée d’Art Moderne André Malraux) boasts the second largest collection of Impressionist works in the country after the Musée d’Orsay. Museum spokesperson Marie Agnès Godin says French Prime Minister François Fillon has also mentioned this project, but she says the museum has not heard anything from the government on the subject and has no connections with the Musée d’Orsay. “I like to believe in dreams,” she said. “Perhaps it will be possible one day, but for now, it is not on the agenda.” A similar scheme in Metz, the Centre Pompidou-Metz, was inaugurated in May 2011 and has resulted in a general upturn in Metz’s economic fortunes. In Giverny the Musée des Impressionnismes is working very closely with the Musée d’Orsay. The museum will open for summer 2012 on April 1.
Normandy’s white tigers get ready to go public by SAMANTHA DAVID IT’S only a month until animal lovers can visit the white tiger cubs at Cerza Zoological Park, just outside Lisieux. The cubs, one male and one female, were born in October and are due to be named this month. Suggestions are being made by the people who have “adopted” the white tigers, but the final choice will be made by their keepers.
Photo: © Gerard Lacz
The most common family name in Normandy is Lefebvre or Lefevre, which means “blacksmith”. The second most common name in the region is Marie, which means Mary. According to the figures from INSEE* for children born between 1891 and 1990, the third most common name is Duval, meaning “from the valley” and bringing up the rear in fourth place is Martin. The top 10 most popular family names also includes Leroy (the king), Jeanne, Langlois which means English and Petit... which means little. So far there are no British surnames in the lists. *INSEE - The French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies.
It isn’t a question of money, it’s a question of conservation and breeding.
Camille de Roux-Zallier
Cerza Zoological Park “They will definitely have names that reflect their Asian heritage,” says Camille de Roux-Zallier, from the park. “We won’t be calling them after cartoon characters.” White Bengal tigers are the result of a genetic mutation which, although it makes them beautiful, also means they cannot survive in the wild, as they would be easily spotted by their prey. A fully-grown male can weigh up to 200kg, and a female up to 150kg. An adult
Photo: © oscab - Fotolia.com
Charge up your car at council car parks
RECHARGING stations for electric cars are to be installed in Le Havre later this year, at a cost of about €240,000. All 13 council-owned car parks are to be equipped with two parking bays for electric cars. For €2, drivers will be able to plug their cars into a slow charger which will completely top them up, giving them enough power for 150kms. There will also be a fast charger, which in just one hour, will provide enough power for a car to be driven up to 15kms. There will also be sockets for electric motorbikes. The recharging stations have been in the pipeline since 2010. Daniel Ozanne, of Le Havre town council, said: “We waited for other places to install recharging stations first, because we didn’t want to get it wrong.” The council has also acquired 10 electric vehicles for use by its employees. In Rouen, the council already has five electric vehicles in its fleet, using two recharging stations, and it has already voted to make parking free for electric vehicles. In Yvelines, Renault plans to start producing its electric model Zoe later this year. The town is also planning to install about 250 recharging stations.
Did You Know?
White tiger mother Lisa plays with her cubs, which were born in Cerza zoo in October eats about 25kg of meat a week, and at Cerza this is divided into five meals; the tigers fast for two days a week to replicate natural feeding patterns. The cubs are now starting to be weaned, and trying their first taste of meat, although they are expected to continue suckling for a few months. They will be on display with their mother, three-year-old Lisa, in an open-air enclosure and it is hoped father Ganesh will be with them.
Visitors will be able to see the family from two vantage points along the “yellow route” around the park. The cubs will remain at Cerza for about 18 months before going to other zoological parks in Europe, where it is hoped they will join breeding programmes. They will not be sold. “We never talk about prices for our animals!” says Mme de Roux-Zellier. “We talk only about the facilities they will have, and how they will be cared for.
We never sell our animals. We trade with other zoos, but it isn’t a question of money, it’s a question of conservation and breeding. “Tigers are very expensive to keep. It costs tens of thousands of Euros just to build an enclosure, so we need to know that their new homes can afford to keep them.” The park, which attracts about 300,000 visitors a year, closes in December and January for a “winter hibernation break”. It will re-open on February 1.
La Couronne restaurant in the centre of Rouen is the oldest inn in France. In fact, it is so old, that when Joan of Arc was burnt in Place du Vieux Marché in front of it in 1431, the restaurant had already been in business for 86 years. The Normandy dialect shares a number of features with the Yorkshire dialect arising from the Old Norse tongue common to both areas. This influence extends not only to general speech but also to place names and terms for landscape features. For example, dale meaning valley is found in both dialects.
6 What’s On
January 1 Zénith de Grand-Quevilly, New Year Concert 16.00 – Start 2012 with some traditional New Year fare: Strauss of course, and Tchaikovsky, and waltzes from Italian opera, with the orchestra of the Rouen Opera under its director Luciano Acocella. The programme varies from year to year, but the emphasis is always on music for dancing.Tickets €25, €30, under 11s €18.75, €22.50. Call 0810 811 116
notice board Photo: © David Morganti
January 20-22 Les Puces Rouennaises (Flea Market). Friday 10.00-21.00, Saturday 10.0020.00, Sunday 10.00-19.00 – This is one of the biggest second-hand markets in Normandy, with everything from the finest antiques to the merest junk. A bit of bargaining will surely get you a good deal somewhere in the five packed halls of the Parc des Expositions. Entrance €6.20, child €5.20 Call 0891 701 703 (€0.25 per minute)
Let’s go fly a kite!
GET the New Year off to a good start by donning a hat in the Norman colours and plunging into the sea. The Bain Normand is at midday on New Year’s Day on Deauville beach opposite the Centre Nautique. Hundreds of people turn out to watch this every year.
Taste of Munch THE Edvard Munch exhibition at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Caen ends
Photo: © Nelson Simoneau
Taking the plunge
learning to fly a kite – getting a kite in the air at all is exciting enough – but this club goes much further. They are real enthusiasts, and the club has two teams (one male, one female) of acrobatic kite flyers who are aiming to enter the World Acrobatic Kite Flying Championships later this spring. They work hard on formation acrobatics, teams of people flying kites in a pre-arranged choreography. They enter competitions too, with other kite-flying clubs in the region, organise weekend activities and go to kite festivals across France. You don’t need your own kite to start off. The club’s website (http://lmntair.info/cvf/) has all information, including pictures showing how you can make your own kites.
January 22 Conservatoire Camille Saint-Saëns, Recital: Posthumous works of Chopin 16.00 – This is part of a series during which Laurent Lamy will play all the works of Chopin, including those never published in his lifetime.The pianist studied at the Chopin Academy in Warsaw, and his rendering of Chopin comes in a direct line from pupil to pupil from the composer himself. Today’s programme includes nocturnes, Polonaises, waltzes, mazurkas, rondos – and a series of variations on the German national anthem. Tickets €10, concessions €5, under-12s FREE. Call 06 81 00 14 39
The crazy kite fliers practise their art on Ouistreham beach
FLYING a kite is a fun way to make the most of blustery, windy weather and if you join a club, it’s also very social. The Club Cerf Volants Folie (The Crazy Kite Club) is based in Ouistreham and their president, Mme Thérèse Joud (06 13 32 11 26), says they already have at least one anglophone member. They practise flying their kites on the east end of the beach at Ouistreham most weekends, depending on the weather, and that’s the best place to go and meet them if you’re interested in joining the group. Phone Mme Joud first, so that you’ll know what time they’ll be there. If your French is a bit rusty, don’t worry – she’ll give you the number of a bilingual club member. You can join just for the joy of
January 17 Le Cadran: Isabelle Boulay 20.30 – The red-haired beauty from Quebec, Canada, is now one of the leading voices of French chanson.With a 15-year career, four albums and over two million copies sold, Isabelle Boulay fills theatres, whether in Montreal or Paris. Her style is an intriguing and moving mixture of classic French song and country music. Tickets €44, €38. Call 02 32 29 63 00
on January 22, so this month is the last chance to get along and enjoy the 70-odd works on display.
THE weekend of January 27-29 sees a series of debates in front of the Caen Memorial. On Friday, upper school students will argue for the Rights of Mankind, on Saturday it will be the turn of student lawyers and on Sunday the lawyers will take the floor. The jury will be led by Tunisian Arab Spring activist Abderrazak Kilani.
January 23 Centre Culturel Guy Gambu – Kiev National Opera Ballet: Giselle 20.30 This classic production of one of the major masterpieces of the romantic repertoire features 50 dancers in the tale of a young peasant girl and her noble lover Albrecht. Known as the White Ballet, it is a sumptuous rendition of sweetness, mystery and melancholy.Tickets €38. Call 02 32 64 34 64
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Photo: © Opera Kiev
What’s On 7
Photo: © HGB
January 1 Last day of the Fête du Chocolat 09.00 – For the past two weeks, the streets of Villers have been chocolate heaven; chocolate-making workshops, special offers in various shops, chocolate compettions… It might be worth popping along to see what bargains the close of the festival brings! Call 02 31 87 01 18
January 13-15 56ème Salon National Des Antiquaires, Brocanteurs et Toutes Collections 10.00-19.00 – 100 dealers from all over France and abroad will gather in the Parc des Expositions for this traditional annual show. Refreshments, of course, will be available on site. Entrance €5, under-10s FREE Call 06 15 11 20 27
THEATRE January 22-28 Théâtre de Caen, La Traviata (Verdi), Sunday 22 17.00,Tuesday 24 20.00,Thursday 26 20.00, Saturday 28 20.00 – Verdi’s fabulous adaptation of Dumas’ Dame aux Camélias, a story of love, riches, betrayal and tragic destiny, in a production which was a triumph at the festival of Aix-en-Provence.With the Orchestra of Lower Normandy augmented by the Orchestra of Caen, the choir of the Dijon Opera and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, directed by Nicolas Chalvin.Tickets from €40 to €65, students €15 to €30, under-14s €15 to €27 Call 02 32 30 48 00
ART and MUSIC
January 11 Music to accompany the Exhibition: Romantic Visions of the Channel Coast, 18.00 in the Museum, 19.30 Concert in the foyer of the Theatre – The Romantics were enthusiastic about almost everything, and especially the connection between the different arts.The music of composers such as Beethoven and Félicien David blend perfectly with the pictures in the exhibition.The group Cercle de l'Harmonie performs two different programmes. Price: €5.00 including a guided tour of the museum at 18.00. Call 02 33 23 39 30
January 21 Le Quai des Arts,Three Travelling Musicians 20.30 – It’s a long way from South India to Catalonia to Provence, but along this ‘Route des Gitans’ (Gipsy Road) music gradually becomes enriched. Louis Winsberg (bass) and Renaud Garcia-Fons (guitar), both virtuoso jazz and flamenco players, have travelled the road, and on the way teamed up with Prabhu Édouard, the most popular French exponent of the Tabla, traditional Indian drums. Between them, they produce their own universal musical language. Tickets €12, concessions €8. Call 02 33 39 69 00
Photo: © Pascal Victor ArtcomArt
Photo: ©Renaud Garcia-Fons ©Klaus Henning-Hansen, Louis Winsberg ©Francis Guerrier, Prabhu Edouard ©Sarah Maitrot
January 28 Cajun Music 20.30 – Music and dancing in the Salle des Fêtes with the group Cajun Experience and their guests Eric Martin and the Cajun Ramblers. Cajun music, like Cajun cooking, comes from Louisiana, an area once French and known as Acadie (Acadian, Cajun, see?). So it’s country music with a French accent.Tickets €7. Call 02 33 73 73 34
Photo: © Cajun Ramblers/Cajun Experience
Photo: © P.Hussenet Musée du Vieux Manoir Orbec
Photo: © Musée Thomas-Henry
Until February 26 Exhibition: Romantic Visions of the Channel Coast, Tuesday to Saturday 10.00-12.00, 14.0018.00; Sunday 14.00-18.00; closed Monday – Before closing for three years of renovation, the Musée Thomas-Henry offers this exhibition of 70 pictures from the museums of Dieppe, Calais and Cherbourg. Long before the Impressionists came to Normandy, the artists of the Romantic movement – Turner, Bonington, Isabey among them – had already discovered the Channel coast. Passion and sentiment were their motivation, whether depicting storms, shipwrecks or the lives of fisher-folk. Entrance FREE Call 02 33 23 39 30
January 31 Espace Culturel, l’Orchestre du Grand Consul 20.30 – World Music from Normandy! This eclectic group pays homage to the cultures which have nourished the popular tradition, from the Balkans to Spain and Algeria and on to Brazil. A real song of discovery, this is the best way to go around the world in 80 minutes! Tickets €8-9, child €4-5 Call 02 33 89 20 30
Photo: © firstname.lastname@example.org
golden rules to stay fit for French life
AT THIS time of the year, it’s tempting to cocoon ourselves in front of the log fire, open a bottle (or two!) and plan DIY jobs and visits for the coming months. But actually, this is the moment when we need to get a grip on postChristmas wobbles. Otherwise, that “comfortable” paunch could become a big problem, leaving us less mobile, breathless and unable to cope with garden and household tasks. After all, there’s no point in living in the world’s most popular, (and arguably most beautiful) tourist destination, La Belle France, if you are too fat to have fun. Here are eight easy ways to lose pounds, improve fitness and feel healthier:
Photo: ChantalS - Fotolia.com
Aim for a balanced diet It is easy to overdo the bread, cheese, and creamy sauces. You can eat them all – just not at every meal. In 1968 French nutrition expert Michel Montignac launched his “Montignac Method” of eating for health: consume less fat, and choose foods with a low glycaemic index such as wholegrain cereals, vegetables and fruits. They take longer to break down as energy in your body than high index “baddies” such as chocolate, chips and beer. It works. Plan meals like this: fruit and wholegrain toast for breakfast, a vegetable soup or salad for lunch, and fish or meat with vegetables, a little cheese and bread for supper. Enjoy pâtisserie specialities but for Sundays only. When you eat at a restaurant, the plat du jour is often the healthiest item because it is simple, good food without expensive, high fat extras.
Photo: ATOUT FRANCE/Fabian Charaffi
We move to France for a better way of life, but too many of us get carried away with the wonderful food and wine, forget to exercise and become flabby and unfit. SALLY ANN VOAK reports.
Aim for a balanced diet Drink good wine Find a fitness friend
Go local Plan your days Dress à la mode
Driv e Disc less walk over ing
Ditch the car for ordinary trips – dust down the bicycle and get it dusty again on the extensive range of paths Drink good wine If you live in a wine producing area, (or even if you don’t), savour the best vintages. Exquisite wine should be your goal; make sure you enjoy every mouthful. Sip slowly, and pour small amounts. French apéro and digestif favourites such as pastis, Calvados, Armagnac, and eau de vie are dangerous – it’s too easy to drink too much. Drink water before you switch to alcohol, throughout meals and especially during drink sessions with neighbours. Discover walking France has Europe’s best network of marked footpaths so use them. Aim for an hour’s walk every day, winter and summer, a longer expedition at weekends. Style should be brisk, arms swinging, with good shoes. A stroll round the market doesn’t count. Extend your range by using walking poles, they help your knees.
Go local Ask about leisure facilities at your mairie or tourist office. Even if there’s no pool or tennis club near you, a school may well open its gym or courts to residents during evenings or holidays. Check out municipal gym and swimming facilities (expect a charge of about €100 a year, or less) before looking though the Yellow Pages. You could pay up to €1,000 a year for a private gym membership, so do your research and don’t be tied down to an annual contract. Find somewhere you can swim away from the crowded coastal resorts. It is the best all-over exercise of all and municipal pools often run aqua-fit classes (cours collectifs) which are great fun. Plan your days Life here can easily centre on food, so shift
the balance to action. Do something that gets your heart pumping. You are never too old to take up canoeing, rafting, sailing, cycling, horse riding or even parapente. Playing bridge, poker or dominoes does not burn calories. Do some research before the warmer weather and take advantage of the many activities your area has to offer. Drive less If you live miles from the nearest town, you need your car, but vélo is best for local journeys. Load the bike on the car, and explore your area properly. Use the network of voies vertes, the “green routes”, which often follow old railway lines. Dress à la mode Unless you are a farmer, there is no excuse for wearing jeans and T-shirts all day. Keep a few smart outfits, and go posh in the evenings. Check waistbands carefully. No, that skirt did not shrink in the wash! Find a fitness friend Your French copains will be delighted to accompany you on hikes, bike rides and coastal or country walks. You’ll learn about the terrain and wildlife and improve your language skills at
A different strategy for keeping weight off Are you overweight? Have you tried every diet and failed to keep the weight off? It may not be what you are eating, but what is eating you, says Glenys Forrester MANY of us, particularly following the recent festivities, are going into the new year with a resolution to lose the weight this year and keep it off forever. Before you embark on another diet, ask yourself the following questions: When do you find yourself reaching for food? What are the foods that you most want to eat?
What is most often the reason that you give up on a diet? Are your present eating habits resulting in an illness such as diabetes or heart disease? Most people begin a weight loss programme with good intentions only to find themselves losing a few pounds, but then quickly being drawn back to old eating habits. Research has shown that we not only eat when we are hungry, but also when we are lonely, stressed, bored, unhappy, angry, disappointed or depressed, and so on. These are some of the feelings that may be undermining your good intentions. Further research shows that eating stimulates the pleasure centres in the brain and there is no doubt that food brings us pleasurable feelings, which may
be at the heart of many failed diets. It is an interesting fact that even when someone knows that their eating behaviour is making them ill, they still find it difficult to change. In order to lose weight and keep it off forever we need to examine when and why we eat the way we do and find other ways to deal with the more negative feelings that send us searching for the chocolate or having that second helping of dessert. There is no secret to losing weight. There are no pills or potions that will keep the weight off us forever, such remedies will only ever give temporary results. Moreover we cannot lose weight to please someone else. The decision to change our eating habits must be ours alone, but it helps if friends and family are supportive. We may already know
that we need to eat the right foods in the right quantities and also that we need to exercise more, but becoming aware of what issues may be behind our eating habits is an essential place to start. Dieting is a lonely process often filled with failure, perhaps it is time to try something different. Glenys Forrester of MGF Counselling Services is not a dietician and is not offering a diet programme, but has many years of experience in cognitive behavioural psychology, in relation to health, particularly in the field of eating disorders, such as binge eating, anorexia and bulimia. Exploring the reasons behind your eating habits with her might be the first step to resolving your weight problems and to a healthier, happier life.
05 53 50 07 28 email@example.com www.mgfcounselling.com www.relationshiprecover.com
Glenys Forrester at MGF Counselling believes that understanding why you eat is the best strategy for achieving long-term weight loss
So many activities are easily available across the region KEEPING fit in Normandy – and perhaps keeping your New Year’s resolution – has never been easier than it is today, with the proliferation of clubs and sporting associations across the region. So here are some hot tips to get you started:
Golf Normandy is renowned for its courses and their spectacular views, especially at Etretat and Omaha Beach. Even better, most are blissfully un-crowded. All 40 clubs are open to nonmembers making the sport affordable and accessible. Many French golfers use English golf terms – chip, birdie and green – and you can get in the mood by checking out some forthcoming golfing tournaments; especially the Gourmet Pro Am competition which takes place every spring and culminates in a cordon bleu dinner. Mike Allen and his family take to the countryside to keep fit
Alex Charles takes his pet dog to help keep him going when the going gets tough
Fight the flab by keeping active and watching diet
the same time. CHEF Mike Allen and his French wife Sonia keep fit by cycling, walking – and working 120 hours a week. If you just eat lots Mike, 39, faces the temptation of great of cheese, butter, French cooking every day because for the last 18 months he has owned and run La Ferme and baguettes you des Mares, a guesthouse, restaurant and cookwill pile on weight ery school in Saint-Germain-sur-Ay, near Lessay in the Cotentin, Normandy. Mike Allen He has good advice for other Brits and says that the apparent ability of French people to tuck into Walking is the simplest good food without gaining form of exercise – no weight isn’t really so puztraining required zling. “They enjoy smaller, regular meals, allow time to let it digest (so they feel satisfied), and drink less than people do in the UK. Halfbottles of wine between two people are quite usual, especially at lunchtime. “I kept my weight in check when I first came here by converting an old stables into this business. Now, I stay in shape easily.” Mike, Sonia and their four-year-old son Evan enjoy cycling along the voies vertes and walking on the nearby salt marshes, gathering edible wild plants such as samphire and seakale, which feature on Mike’s menus along with I no longer feel local vegetables, fish and meat. He says: obliged to match “Another tip is to change your menus regularly. We do that at the restaurant, so clients have my guests drink a chance to enjoy variety. for drink “If you just eat lots of cheese, butter, baguettes and tartes aux pommes, delicious Alex Charles Photo: ATOUT FRANCE/Pierre Torset
though they are, you will pile on weight.” Alex Charles’s waistline expanded when he moved to Roujan, in Languedoc-Roussillon, eight years ago. The former “Essex boy”, now 44, runs a property and tourism website, web design business and guesthouse with partner Greg Taylor, 41. Both men had been working in advertising before making the move to France. “I quickly realised that my lack of fitness was caused by sitting for hours at my computer, guzzling cheese and drinking lots of local wine,” says Alex. “When you get up at 6.30 every morning to start work, it’s no fun if you start the day feeling bloated and groggy. It’s beautiful here, so why waste time nursing a hangover? “We decided to try the French way of keeping fit. “We live just 20 minutes from the coast, and plan our days around activities such as swimming, sailing, tennis, kayaking and walking. We prefer this kind of outdoor exercise to working out in a gym. “We didn’t have a clue about the little marks on the side of the road indicating the network of footpaths here, so we learned about it. “The Topo-guide books show lots of routes and the website of the Fédération Francaise de la Randonnée Pédestre (see below) has so much information. They are brilliant. “Also, I no longer feel obliged to match our guests drink for drink. After all, they are on holiday, but we live here.”
FITNESS TIP: Look for websites that can help you shape up. Here are some we recommend www.weightwatchers.fr
Weight Watchers’ French website has useful cooking and exercise ideas and French recipes – free to everyone. You can also join this slimming club online and get help with your fitness campaign.
Visit the Fédération Française de Hatha Yoga website and type in your numéro de département for the name of your nearest qualified teacher. These exercises and breathing techniques beat stress and firm up your body.
If you fancy any kind of walking the Fédération Francaise de la Randonnée Pédestre has hundreds of suggestions, backed up by maps and links to 3,350 member clubs. You can also sign up to help maintain the network of 180,000km of signposted paths or learn how to navigate
Run by mountain expert Roger Moss, this site combines the best of summer and winter leisure in the French mountains with tips, routes and lots of advice
One of the absolute best ways to admire Mont St-Michel is hacking across the sands on horseback. No experience needed – hard hats are supplied – turn up in warm clothes and sensible shoes, even wellingtons. Hacks are offered all over the region, along forest trails and beaches, through woods and parks. There are also 300 pony clubs and riding centres where you can take regular lessons, and some boast indoor facilities for rainy days. Get in practice for the World Equestrian Games, which are to be held in Caen in August 2014.
Line dancing Line dancing is a great way to get fit and to meet people, and is taking off all over France. There are many clubs in Normandy, with one of the most active being Western Partners, in Breteuilsur-Iton, Eure. They run classes and put on displays and their website includes video clips so you can get up to speed on the dances. They also list comprehensive details of other clubs in the region and further afield. Get in the mood, by browsing the S’habiller country section for shops and internet sites selling spurs, fringed jackets, cowboy boots and western hats.
Western Partners in Breteuil-surIton puts on regular displays
Fishing Normandy is blessed with sea all round and lots of rivers, wetlands, lakes and canals, making it one of the best areas for salmon fishing, and is also known for sea-trout and carp. The waterways are also not crowded. Find out where to buy a local fishing licence at www.federationpeche.fr using the interactive map to locate the nearest fishing association. Contact them for information on what to fish for and where.
Water-skiing With 400km of coastline, opportunities to mess about on the water are never far away. Water-skiing is exhilarating and gives a thorough workout – especially for the thighs – and you can find it at all the coastal resorts. Take lessons and learn how to impress through the French Waterskiing Federation website (www.ffsn.fr) to find a local club. Don’t let the cold put you off: once wearing a wetsuit you won’t feel it and clubs lend them out. Once you have caught the water sports bug, why not also try sailing, windsurfing, surfboarding or even kite-surfing?
Walking-hiking There are nearly 2,000km of walking paths in the region and signing and other infrastructures are generally excellent. It is however, only common sense to take maps, a well-charged mobile phone, some high-energy snacks and drinks and appropriate clothing with you when you head out. The Grande Randonnée (GR) paths are part of a network of trails covering the whole of France and even leading into other countries. The website www.gr-infos.com has a comprehensive listing. Just click on any GR and it takes you to a page describing the path, views, difficulty, etc. For those whose walking preferences are more urban, don’t forget the spring sales start on January 11.
10 Food / Pets
Plenty more fish in sea – or are there? After she was chosen as the first BBC MasterChef in 1990 JOAN BUNTING was soon writing a food column and doing local radio for the BBC. Now the former advisory teacher has retired and moved permanently to her home in France, but she is still keen to tell readers about good food I HAVE been described as a picky eater. Actually, there are not many things I can’t eat, but there are several things I won’t eat; and rapidly climbing that list is fish from unsustainable sources. This is not too difficult to do if it is me buying the fish. Most fishmongers and fish counters are quite good – but could do better – at stating the origin of the fish they have on sale, and with some basic knowledge I or anyone else can make an informed choice. In the UK, things are even easier because more outlets for fresh, frozen or canned fish have the produce clearly marked. I have noticed that the label in question (the Marine Stewardship Council scheme) is beginning to appear on frozen and canned fish in France. The problem for me arises when eating out. In many restaurants in both countries I tend to be met with a blank look or a Gallic shrug if I inquire about the provenance of the fish on the menu. For me this is a pity, because I often prefer fish to meat. In 2010, the EU Commission estimated that 90% of EU fish stocks were over-fished and last year an agreement was reached promising sustainable stocks by 2015, and to phase out
Mackerel Fillets with Dill and Lemon This easy to prepare mackerel dish makes an ideal fish supper
the ludicrous practice of “discards” by which dead fish exceeding quotas are thrown overboard. So, what should we be eating if we care about sustainability, and what should we be avoiding? Here is a brief list of suggestions with French names to help. To avoid: Atlantic and North Sea cod (cabillaud) unless line-fished, Atlantic halibut (flétan), dogfish (roussette), European eel (anguille), European hake (merlu), bluefin tuna (thon rouge), plaice (plie/carrelet), sea bass (bar) unless line caught and skate (raie). To eat: coley (colin/lieu noir), gurnard (grondin), lemon sole (limande), mackerel (maquereau), megrim (cardine), pollack (lieu jaune) and whiting (merlan). Then there is salmon. Wild or farmed, Atlantic or Pacific? Without doubt, wild Alaska salmon is the best choice, fresh frozen or tinned. Atlantic salmon and many farmed salmon – and other fish, incidentally – do not fall into the sustainable category. Farmed fish can present all manner of environmental concerns. All salmon are carnivorous, and in order to feed farmed salmon, wild fish have to be caught and processed. It takes three tonnes of wild fish to produce one tonne of farmed and it has been said that farming salmon is like raising tigers for meat! Plus there are the problems of disease and parasites, as well as the antibiotics and other substances used to control them. The best way of avoiding these horrors is to choose organic (bio) farmed fish. Fortunately, such fish are becoming more widely available to consumers in France.
Tried and tested by us A Normandy Advertiser team member has put this recipe to the test... “This recipe was delicious and quick and easy to make. Perfect for a mid-week meal or busy parents who want to cook healthy food for the family. I served this with a simple green salad and all the family enjoyed it!”
CUT OUT & KEEP!
Photo: © Joan Bunting
INGREDIENTS - SERVES 4 4 mackerel which must be as fresh as possible, filleted 2 tsp dill seeds 3 lemons
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped Sprig fresh dill 3 tbsp olive oil Salt and pepper
METHOD Heat the oven to 180°C. Wash and dry the lemons, then slice thinly. Put the slices in the bottom of an oval ovenproof dish. Mix together the chopped chilli, the dill
seeds and the chopped fresh dill. Add salt and pepper and rub this mixture over the fillets. Lay the fillets on the lemon slices and sprinkle with a little olive oil. Cook in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes.
Which wine should I drink with this? Caline Montfort, of Julien de Savignac wine merchants (www.julien-de-savignac.com), says: Bergerac sec 2010, € 5.95. This dry white wine is refreshing and offers delicate fruit, citrus and herbaceous notes which will marry beautifully the flavours of the fish with citrus and dill.
UK changes ease travelling with pets Welcome to a new column with advice on legal, welfare, health and other issues concerning pets. SAMANTHA BRICK finds out more about the new rules on pet travel THE NEW year signalled changes to the pet travel rules introduced by the UK government agency DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). These will affect many of the estimated 100,000 pet owners who travel to and from the UK with pets each year. It is expected that the changes will be greeted as a positive move as DEFRA estimates that they will save £7 million in fees and allow much more freedom to travel. Readers who regularly travel with cats or dogs to the UK may already be familiar with PETS (Pet Travel Scheme) and hold a “pet passport” for each animal. These are mandatory for dogs, cats and ferrets. The passport contains details of the pet’s unique microchip number
Pet Care and corresponds with the chip that is normally positioned between the shoulder blades of the animal, behind the neck. Dog owners who bought their pet in France may find that it has been tattooed with its identification number instead. Perhaps most importantly of all, every passport will contain confirmation of an up-to-date vaccination against rabies. Until 2011 the most onerous part of using the PETS scheme was the rabies procedure; the vaccination was given, this was then followed by
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a blood test four weeks later to confirm that the vaccination serum was in the animal’s blood. Only when confirmation was received could the animals travel, and even then it would not be allowed entry into the UK until after six months had passed from the date of the blood test. Tick and tape worm treatments, given by a vet, were also necessary just before each entry back into the UK. Last June DEFRA announced that it was relaxing its rules on animals
travelling between EU member states – including France. The move came because, since the inception of PETS in 2004, there have been no known cases of animals infected with rabies legally entering the UK. Now the revised rulings mean that while all pets will still need to be vaccinated against rabies, the blood test has been abolished and DEFRA has also reduced the six-month waiting period to just 21 days. Finally, pets will no longer need to be treated for ticks before their
arrival in the UK. DEFRA is still in discussion about the continued controls on tapeworm for dogs so, for the time being, owners must continue with the tapeworm treatment. Owners with puppies should be aware of the rules for anyone planning to take puppies into the UK: pets must be at least three months old and have reached the minimum age for vaccination – this can vary so check with your vet in advance as this will be stated on the vaccine manufacturer’s datasheet. The pet passport and paperwork will still be inspected on entering the UK but historic problems over tick and tapeworm treatment should be vastly reduced. These accounted for most animals being refused entry; most often because the treatments were not given within the defined timeframe (the tapeworm treatment is required 24-48 hours beforehand). If you travel regularly with pets it is worth becoming familiar with the new rules and checking up-to-date information at: www.defra.gov.uk/ wildlife-pets/pets/travel
Tel. 06 58 01 82 76 Web. www.seulementnaturel.eu Email. firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
IF YOU would like to hire staff in France, then check out the site Pôle Emploi (www.pole-emploi.fr). It has lots of useful information about the different types of contract, and can help you find someone. You can either place an advert directly on their site, or go and see them, and they can then handle matters for you. An apprenticeship can offer you the opportunity to have a young person working for you, who will be trained at a college to gain a professional qualification (normally on a two weeks on, two weeks at college basis). Employing an apprentice can give you certain advantages in relation to social charges and tax credits. In broad terms, the contrat d'apprentissage is a contract of employment for two years between you and the employee. It is open to young people between 16 to 25, but there are provisions to take on older people, for example if they have a disability. You can hire an apprentice from the age of 15 if they have finished their first cycle of secondary education. You pay them a percentage of SMIC, which will vary according to their age. For example, an apprentice between 18 and 21 should be paid 41% of the SMIC in year one of their contract. The SMIC is €9.19 per hour. There are tax credits of €1,600 per apprentice, and up to €2,200 in certain cases.
A Happy New Year to all readers, and thank you so much for the lovely comments about the column in 2011. I’m happy to write about anything business-related that interests you, so feel free to get in touch with your ideas. In this edition we look at business resolutions for the year ahead.
Photo: © Elnur - Fotolia.com
Photo: ©michaeljung - Fotolia.com
Hiring an apprentice could be great for your business
How to take on a stagiaire You need to contact your local college to offer a student placement. This will need to be covered by a convention de stage, which is an agreement with the education establishment for you to offer the student a period of work experience and training towards certain objectives linked to their course work. There is no obligation to pay the stagiaire, but you can offer to pay their travel expenses (their parents very often have to ferry them to and fro!), or make a contribution towards their college costs. The dates when students are available will depend on their educational establishment, and therefore may not tie in with you own busy periods. Good luck with finding someone!
JUDY MANSFIELD has lived and worked in Calvados for
Your top 10 resolutions
Benefits of hiring a young trainee
Formalities You will need to send the contract within the five days of its conclusion to the body that you belong to, eg Chambre de Commerce. The apprentice has to organise a place at the educational establishment themselves, but you have to respect the periods when they are on study leave. This might be inconvenient if, for example, you have events lined up. For more information on the apprentice contract, go to www.emploi.gouv.fr/_pdf/fiche_contrat_apprentissage.pdf
SO, the festivities are over for another year, the turkey is finished at last, the tree is out for composting and it is time to get back to work. Forget the gym, and ditch the diet – they never last. Resolve instead to work smarter than you did last year. Here are my top 10 resolutions for every business. How many will you do? 1. Write up your Business Plan and review it every month. Ensure that everything you do relates to one of the targets in your plan, and if it doesn’t, ditch it. 2. Money Hour – Set aside an hour each week to deal with money stuff. Pay bills, send out invoices, price up a couple of jobs, check over your bank account, review insurance renewals… Whatever it is, do your money-related thing then. Write it in your diary and do it at the same time every week. (Mine is 56pm on a Monday evening, then I know it is done for the week and out of the way). 3. Improve your business relationships. Review everyone with whom you come into contact. Look at which ones are, or could be beneficial, which ones are too onesided (ie all the effort and giving comes from you), and which ones are frankly damaging to your business. Get rid of the damaging or draining ones, and then look at the ones that could do with a bit of attention and TLC. Resolve to improve those relationships over the year. Your business will improve as a result. 4. Get a good photo taken, and get it done professionally. There are professional photographers in the Normandy Business Group who will take a portrait picture. YOU are your brand, not your cat, nor the kids. Use that same photo across the internet, your website, your Facebook business
Shake off that hangover and make some business resolutions for 2012
Learn something new. If you stand still, you will stagnate.
page, your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts etc. 5. Social Networking – Resolve to either learn about it, or to use it better. Download TweetDeck or Hootsuite to manage updates to all your accounts. It will save you time and be good for your website rankings too. We will be holding more of our popular Social Networking MasterClasses in 2012, for NBG members only. 6. SELL more! Sell, sell sell. After all, this is why you are in business, yes? Make sure your business plan includes a sales plan and resolve to increase your top line (ie your sales figures) at least to improve on last year’s results. Identify your best prospects and pursue those until you achieve the sales. 7. Remember, CASH is KING! Don’t let money slip through your fingers. Your cash flow is what keeps your business alive and allows you to order stock, to pay bills, and puts food on your table. Chase your customers for your unpaid bills, negotiate great (or better) terms from
Judy can be contacted through The Advertiser or by email: email@example.com. She is also on Twitter at @NormandyBizGp
your suppliers. ALWAYS pay your bills on time – it avoids surcharges and maintains goodwill with your suppliers. 8. Learn something new. If you stand still, you will stagnate. Resolve to learn a new skill. Check out AudioBoo and YouTube and bring your website alive with something for your clients and customers to watch or to read. Look out for future NBG MasterClasses on all sorts of topics. 9. Prioritise your workload. Don’t fall into the trap of doing what you like and avoiding the boring or difficult stuff. It will still be there and will just become more boring and difficult. Deal with it. Start every day with a To Do list, and make sure
everything you do is linked to your Business Plan objectives. 10. Join Normandy Business Group! We are at www.meetup.com/normandy-businessgroup. We believe in Business Networking with a social twist. Welcoming, fun and friendly, with the aim of supporting one another. Normandy Jelly co-working group is at the Jug and Jazz in Ger on Tuesday, January 3.
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
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Are you concerned that your dog has stiff joints? Joint problems in dogs are not just reserved for those entering their senior years, it can occur in younger dogs too. Joint Aid for Dogs is a natural solution that helps a dog’s joints to maintain flexibility of movement and supports the normal repair of cartilage and synovial fluid JOINT problems are a common complaint with dogs both old and young. Most of the time with older dogs it is a gradual slow down and a noticeable stiffness when rising after a sleep. Of course, these same problems can affect younger dogs too - an injury can cause the early onset of arthritis or even ligament problems more commonly associated with football players. “If you take your pet to the vet regarding their joint stiffness, usually the first
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natural solution that is cost effective and easy to use. The dose is given once daily in the form of small pellets directly into the food. It is wheat and gluten free and contains two naturally occurring antiinflammatory products. The product is safe to use with any dog over the age of 18 months, regardless of any other type of medication they may already be taking. Joint Aid simply assists the body in the natural regeneration of joints, ligaments and tendons. “Like with any new product there are always concerns and I’m happy for people to contact me if they have any questions,” said Melissa. She added: “Our pets are not just animals, they are members of the family and much loved. Joint Aid can truly help them to experience less discomfort and a better quality of life.”
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What a waste! Every person in France throws out seven kilos of food still in its packaging each year and outdated home appliances and poor insulation mean higher energy costs. REBECCA LAWN looks at going green to cut bills A FEW changes to your home can not only help the planet, they can also cut your household expenditure. “Reducing your impact on the environment is first and foremost about reducing waste – water, energy, packaging and food,” says Laureline Bourit at France Nature Environnement association. “This can often also mean saving money.” Nearly half of a home’s energy consumption is taken up by heating and cooling it. At the moment, your house could be losing energy – and costing you money – because it is letting heat escape. You should also make sure that your loft is insulated and, if possible, the walls. Half the heat lost from uninsulated properties is lost through the roof or the walls. Environment and energy management agency ADEME says 30% of the heat is lost through the roof, 25%
through walls and around 1015% through single-glazed windows. That makes it easy to see which area should be targeted first if money is tight as loft insulation brings benefits quickly and cheaply. It is simple enough to do if you are fit but anyone laying glass-fibre wool should wear gloves and goggles as it can cause skin irritation. Costing between €3 and €8 a roll, it is recommended to have at least 200mm thickness for best performance. Bubble-wrap can be a quick and easy source of insulation for the likes of skylights as it will still allow light to shine through. Elsewhere, ensuring your boiler is properly maintained can cut energy consumption by 8-12% and turning down your heating thermostat by one degree centigrade can save 7% on your energy bill. Old appliances can also be a drain on your house’s energy
and the fridge is the main culprit. If yours is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it with a more energy-efficient model but if that isn’t possible then make sure you are using both fridge and freezer properly. Keep them full and not just cooling “air”. Look for the Energy Star symbol on fridges and other kitchen appliances as they operate more efficiently. New washing machines control how much water is used by measuring the water level and tumble-driers have humidity detectors that stop the machine automatically as soon as the clothes are dry. You can also opt for energyefficient light bulbs which, although they are more expensive to buy will reduce your electricity bill and last much longer than traditional – and now obsolete – types. However, remembering to do the little things can help the environment just as much as the grand gestures – and you do not need to spend anything while doing it. Switch appliances off rather than leaving them on standby because leaving them on standby means you are paying for not using them... and
The food we waste Photo: © celeste clochard - Fotolia.com
FRENCH environmentalists highlighted a UK study from 2009 that showed that of the food that is thrown out each week by families around 80% should not have gone in the bin. Just 18% of the food waste was “real” waste such as meat bones, egg shells, pineapple skin, tea bags; another 18% was “avoidable” – food and drink that some people do not eat, such as bread crusts or that can be eaten when a food is prepared in one way but not in another (potato skins) – and 64% “totally avoidable” waste such as bread, apples or meat. In addition, 54% of the food that was thrown out had not been used in time and just over 40% was the result of too much food being cooked, prepared or served.
the total can mount up. Studies have shown standby can add up to about 13% of your total electricity usage. When it comes to recycling, the first rule is what – and how much – you buy. “90% of people say they don’t waste food, but in France seven kilograms of still-wrapped food is thrown away by each person a year,” says Bourit. Instead of throwing out food or garden waste you can put it in a compost heap where it will rot down to make a natural alternative to using synthetic fertilisers. Take the food out of its wrapping before putting it in the compost bin and if the wrapping is cardboard or paper it can be recycled too. However, do not put meat or cooked food on the compost heap. Plastic bags cannot be recycled – only reused – so it is best to reduce the number you use or swap to cloth bags or a shopping trolley. “These seem like small gestures but together they can have a big impact,” says Bourit. One of the biggest yet simplest things you can do is to be aware of how much water you use – turn off the tap while brushing your teeth or while shaving and take showers instead of baths. That has been especially important over the past year with France having had one of the warmest and driest autumns in living memory. Water levels in aquifers across the country have fallen below normal and are not being replenished quickly so you can make a difference in the future by putting a water butt in your garden to collect rainwater. Use this “free” resource to water your garden or for the first wash of your car.
CHRISTMAS and New Year celebrations often leave lingering souvenirs with carpet stains either from the feet of visitors or the dreaded spill of red wine. You can use simple non chemical cleaners to get them clean and keep them clean. You will also be helping the environment. Get out the vacuum cleaner! This might be an obvious statement but vacuuming is the first important step. It removes the deeply embedded dirt which over time can wear out the carpet fibres. Do it every week – but if you can do it more often then all the better! Removing stains The most basic natural stain remover is the following: ½ cup salt ½ cup borax ½ cup vinegar Mix the ingredients together to form a paste. Apply to stains using a clean, white cloth, rub in and leave for a few hours. Vacuum when dried. If you have young pets you will know how difficult it can be you remove urine stains and smells. This natural mixture works on both the acid and alkaline components. 1 cup vinegar 1 cup water ½ cup baking soda Mix ingredients together and put into a spray bottle. Blot any urine patches with paper towels then spray on the mix, blot off excess and let dry. Repeat until odours disappear. Dried-in Stains Use this mixture for more ground-in stains. Use with care and test on a hidden area to ensure it does not discolour: baking soda white vinegar liquid glycerin soap (or washing-up liquid) bleach Mix equal amounts of water and vinegar and rub into the stain with a cloth. Blot and leave to dry. Cover stain with baking soda. Mix ¼ cup of bleach and ½ tspn liquid soap; pour this on to the baking soda so the soda dissolves into the carpet. Rub well into the fibres, blot and leave to dry. Once dry vacuum the residue. Repeat if necessary. Do not be tempted to scrub your carpet with a brush as this will only damage the carpet's fibres. Precautions Keep cleaning solutions out of reach of children and pets – even if they are natural . Do not let children or pets near the treated areas until all residue has been thoroughly vacuumed up. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for all carpets and always test cleaners on a hidden patch first.
Matt Gilks 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.
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Now is the time to harvest cabbages and spinach
Sow the seeds of a successful spring YOUR garden is probably looking pretty dormant at this time of year so now is the time to prepare so it will look at its finest when spring does arrive. During January, gardeners can prune, sow certain seeds and make all the preparations necessary for the warmer days that lie ahead. In the vegetable patch, protect your leeks and artichokes from frost if you are in more northerly climes, and harvest your chicory heads. If you did not sow your onions on Christmas Day in keeping with the tradition, January is a good month in which to do so. Shallots can also be planted now – use planks to avoid compacting the soil. You can plant fruit trees in January, avoiding days when there is frost, as this will damage the roots. Prune all fruit trees, particularly red fruit varieties and trees trained along a wall, such as apples and pears. Add manure or mature compost and remove any slugs and snails. Cabbages and other members of their family can be harvested and perpetual spinach (beet leaves) and chard will be ready for the table. On a sunny day, empty your potato sacks, throwing away any potatoes that are rotten to prevent the rot from spreading. Keep the plot tidy and check that tree supports are still solid in the ground. Ensure greenhouses are secure during winter bad weather and wash the glass, so that your plants receive maximum light. If temperatures fall, insulate your greenhouse with bubble-wrap, taking care not to restrict ventilators, as your plants will need good ventilation at this time of year. Check any heating sources, making sure there is adequate fuel for paraffin heaters and sufficient ventilation for gas heating. In the flower garden you can still plant and prune roses during the winter, if you haven’t yet done so. Protect young rose bushes from frost using straw and do the same for fragile plants such as camelia, which will be particularly vulnerable if it snows. There will be a chance to see the fruit of your labours as the first bulbs push through the cold soil. House plants will not need much water during this season, but they will probably be suffering from a lack of light. It is a good idea to group them around natural light sources, or provide them with artificial light. Most plants such as hibiscus should be kept in a cool room (around 14C) during the winter months, to ensure that you will go on to have prolific flowers in the summer. Happy New Year, gardeners!
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Vire, Calvados The property offers: an open plan fitted kitchen/dining room, a lounge with exposed beams, stone fireplace and wood stove, 2 double bedrooms, a shower room with a wc and a storage/ boiler room. ENERGY RATING = Not given REF: 41848
Trun, Orne Spacious and well renovated accommodation comprising living room with fireplace, fitted kitchen, dining room, 3 bedrooms, 2 showers, 2 wc and sunny balcony. Good views over garden. ENERGY RATING = Not given REF: DOM1330
Flers, Orne A splendid house with high ceilings, entrance hall, sitting room, dining room, eat-in kitchen, wc, cellar, 4 double bedrooms arranged over 2 floors, 2 bathrooms, loft room/potential 5th bedroom. REF: 79
Sourdeval, Manche Lovely stone house in a rural location. Comprises 4 bedrooms, detached stone outbuilding, with granite fireplace. Heating via electric radiators and wood-burning stove. REF: 13476scb
ENERGY RATING = Not given
ENERGY RATING = D & C
Domfront, Orne Stone house built in 1772. Totally refurbished. Excellent condition. Formally 2 houses (could be house and gîte). 4 bedrooms, garage, workshop and 880m2 garden. 800m to shops. Outstanding value. ENERGY RATING = Not given REF: DOM1357
Saint-André-de-l'Eure, Eure 4 bedroom cottage built in 1973, in perfect condition. Amazing landscape area, fence, field, vegetable garden with water, raspberry bushes, rhubarb, sorrel. Tiled 20m² maisonette, with electricity. ENERGY RATING = E & F REF: IFPC21211
Pont-Audemer, Eure Farmhouse restored to a very high standard having 3 double and 1 single bedroom, a dormitory for 6 single beds over a double garage/workshop and a swimming pool. 4 en-suite bath/shower rooms. ENERGY RATING = Not given REF: DOM1292
Dieppe, Seine-Maritime Partly restored, with 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms in usable wing, and second wing with great potential including 'grand hall' with minstrels gallery. Solid roof throughout. Sunny, grassed courtyard and outbuildings. ENERGY RATING = Not given REF: IFPC20301
PROPERTIES AROUND FRANCE
Eaux-Bonnes, Pyrénées-Atlantiques This beautifully renovated property includes a kitchen, a dining room, large luxurious lounge, 2 bedrooms, a bathroom and a large master bedroom with an ensuite bathroom. Very rare and an exceptional property. ENERGY RATING = Not given REF: 0985
Montmorillon, Poitou-Charentes House comprises of large lounge, dining kitchen, pantry, 3 bedrooms, bathroom, sep. WC and established lawned gardens. Apartment providing immediate income, if required, or ideal for Grandparents. ENERGY RATING = Not given REF: IFPC19770
Bourgogne, Paris Ile-de-France It includes a large lounge with a fireplace and dining room. There are 3 bedrooms, a converted modern kitchen entirely fitted, a bathroom and toilet. Garage, woodshed, barn, and Bourguignone arched cellar. ENERGY RATING = Not given REF: IFPC21311
Les Houches, Rhône-Alpes The apartment comprises an open plan living and dining area with kitchenette, leading onto a balcony shared with the double bedroom. In addition, there is a twin bedroom, bathroom and separate WC. ENERGY RATING = Not given REF: KANDAHAR 2
Genouillé, Poitou-Charentes This property is known by locals as “le petit chateau” It is a house full of character with 5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, large entrance hall with delightful staircase to the 2nd floor attic. Overlooks a wooded valley. ENERGY RATING = Not given REF: FP-23397BB86
Mougins, PACA Small cottage with access to the entrance through the garden, covered terrace with possibility of a summer kitchen, entrance, open plan living/dining room, kitchen area, 2 bedrooms open onto a terrace, toilet, bathroom. REF: 4055MG-GH
ENERGY RATING = Not given
MARC Dufournaud, the organiser of the huge Tonnerres de Brest festival this summer, is inviting everyone in Normandy to come and join their Breton neighbours at the event. Mr Dufournaud heads up the association, Brest Evénements Nautiques, which organises the huge four-yearly maritime festival, which this year runs from July 13 to 19. It will involve about 2,000 traditional “tall” ships, 15,000 sailors, 130,000 embarkations, 5,000 volunteers, 2,000 musicians and is expected to attract up to a million visitors. “Of course you have
Marc Dufournaud, organiser of Les Tonnerres De Brest, talks to SAMANTHA DAVID about the festival of the sea and issues an invitation to the residents of Normandy to come visit to be organised!” he says. "And I am, but I don’t like the word “boss”. I prefer to think of myself as a co-ordinator, a teamleader, an enabler.” Mr Dufournaud has lived in Brest for Photo: © Brest Evenements Nautiques
25 years although he is originally from Lorient and says running the association is his dream job. He says it is interesting and exciting but most of all full of human contact. It is a matter of pride, he says, to be in a job so closely associated with the sea. “The sea,” he continues, “is of huge importance in the world; economically, culturally and environmentally. About 70% of the world’s population live within 50 miles of a coastline.” But he points out that, however strong the sea might seem, as an ecosystem it is also fragile and vulnerable. The Tonnerres de Brest features a Scientific Village aimed at raising awareness of the importance of safeguarding the sea and keeping it clean. Boats, he says, are the link between humans and the sea. So, although the festival is famous for traditional sailing ships, it also features all sorts of other vessels. “Anything and everything that floats!” But the Tonnerres de Brest is not all water-bound. “It’s a fête on the quaysides as well as on the water,” he declares. “The music and other entertainment is an integral part of this celebration of this corner of France and its traditions.” But more than organising a huge festival, more than attracting seafarers from around the world to France, M. Dufournaud sees his work as helping to construct strong communities and make links between people. “The Tonnerres de Brest will be the ideal occasion for all our neighbours in Normandy to discover Brest,” he says.
Photo: © Brest Evenements Nautiques
Join us to celebrate seafaring heritage
Marc Dufournaud, organisier of Les Tonnerres de Brest, left