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May – June 2014 Issue 14

uercy Local The

The Region’s FREE English Magazine

Inside – Summer Birds, Salad Days, Moulin Rouge & Local Lavender Growers plus – Roman Roads, Malbec Wine, Shakespeare Tickets & Inheritance Tax...

2 FOR 1

5th - 24th May 2014 inclusive Quercy banner 138mmx20mm.indd 2

on lunchtime mains at Le Caillau for Quercy Local readers. Print out your voucher at




See page 13 for details.

31/03/2014 14:28


...Art de vivre etArt de déguster ! au Château de l’Hoste...

Restaurant open daily (for Lunch & evening)! Wine Bar open from tuesday to sunday ! 18h30 to 21h30! New : ! Convivial 2 courses Menu « table d’hôte » 
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...Vivre l’Art au Grenier aux Artistes... Throughout spring & summer season, discover the talented Artists in the village of Roquecor. paintings sculptures ceramics handicraft Art Gallery & tea room opens :


tuesday to friday from 10h00 to 12h00 & from 15h00 to 18h00 Saturday from 15h00 to 18h00 Sunday from 10h00 to 13h00



Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014



elcome to issue 14 of ‘The Quercy Local’ magazine. The first time we’ve had an issue in May – the first of our two extra issues for this year.

CONTENTS Local Lavender


A great mid-summer tradition is the visit by Antic Disposition; a London based

Produce Show


Theatre Company that brings a work of Shakespeare to various locations each

Salad Days


Summer Birds


August. This year the play will be Romeo and Juliet – you can find out more on p.20 and even win some front-row tickets to watch a performance. Booking early is advisable. Also, not-to-be-missed – La Caillau is offering QL readers a great dining offer – if you’ve never been to La Caillau before then this is the perfect opportunity to find out more, do see their advert on p.13.

Inheritance Tax


Win Shakespeare Tickets


Roman Roads 1X


Galerie 36


Quercy Entreprises – Steve Micklethwaite p.28 Moulin Rouge


Nothing trumpets the forth-coming arrival of mid-summer louder than flowering

English Church of Cahors


lavender. In this issue we’ve included details of two lavender producers from different

Outdoor Brunch


parts of the region. Both these producers provide great opportunities for people to

Starting a Vegetarian Restaurant


visit their farms and enjoy their products. If you haven’t before, then maybe this year

5:2 Diet


you should take the chance; a wonderful day-out when you’ve visitors to entertain!

Pruning, Politics and Pleasantries


The next edition will be out for the start of July, I hope we will see you again then.

International Malbec Days


Lot - Art Festival


Property News – From West to East


Quercy Enterprises – Andy Sayle






From our website you can - Subscribe to receive the magazine directly to your home, read the magazine on line and find our advertising rates. You can also keep in touch by following us on twitter @QuercyLocal or befriending us on Facebook –

ARBRESERVICES Matt Strawbridge Tree Surgeon Elagueur Arboriste

Tours 47340 Cassignas 05 53 95 80 27/ 06 45 25 65 58 SIRET NO. 5025222200004

The Quercy Local ISSN: 2116-0392. No part of this publication may be copied, used or reproduced without the written consent of the proprietors. No responsibility is accepted for any

claim made by advertisers. All content accepted and printed in good faith. Please check that all advertisers are registered businesses in France or elsewhere in their relevant home country. The Quercy Local is published by Red Point Publishing Ltd, (reg. in Eng. and Wales, No. 761556) It is produced by the Magazine Production Company, West Sussex, UK. Printed by Newman Thomson (UK). Editing in France – Anna Atkinson; Distribution managers (47) – Lorraine & Pete Knowles; UK admin/accounts – Vicky Byram. Regular contributors; Angela Clohessy, Lisa Stanton, Paola Westbeek, Angie Richards, Caroline Sweeney, John and Debbie Wilson, Jeanne McCaul, David Beddow and Anna Atkinson.


MANOIR LE BIGOURDA Chambre d’hotes / Bed & Breakfast

Opening in June 2014, new luxurious Chambre d’hôtes between Beauville and Bourg-de-Visa offering: • Quiet, tranquil gardens• Heated swimming pool • Table d’hôtes, by reservation • Wi-fi • Table tennis, library, bikes, boules, Children’s outside play area

Robert & Carol Ann Wheeler look forward to welcoming you to Manoir le Bigourda Email: Tel: 05 53 98 23 47 Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014


PENSION ’Bonnes Vacances’

Peaceful Cattery 5 spacious heated pens No dogs boarded TLC ensures ‘happy cats’ Per night: 1 cat 8e, 2 cats 10e, 3 cats 12e or 4 cats 14e Lavolvene, Belveze 82150 Please call me for more info or to arrange a visit 05 63 94 38 47 06 43 53 04 52 (mb)

Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014


Local Lavender & Lambs


erme de Lacontal (Touffailles, 82190) has been in Hélène Leplaideur’s family for generations. Her grandparents started producing lavender there earlier in the last century and ceased in 1968 when competition from the petrochemical industry drove the prices down. So the family, including Hélène’s parents, then continued as sheep farmers. Hélène and her husband Xavier who’d both had their own alternative careers, took over the farm in 2006 and decided to re-commence the historical relationship with both the farming of ‘lavande officinale’ and ‘Lacaune’ sheep. The farm has no water source and so it makes perfect sense to continue with a style of farming that requires little water. Historically, the Quercy region provided 10% of French lavender production. The Quercy’s growing conditions are virtually the same as those found in Provence; stony ground, hot summers and dry terrain. The difference being altitude; Provence is much higher and so their lavender plants flower a month later than those growing in Quercy.

Lavender Uses Before the discovery of penicillin Lavender oil was instrumental in fighting infections; it’s also known to soothe insect-bites and scratches. It’s still used in some organic vineyards to treat and protect the cut vine stems. A well-trusted therapy for stress and tiredness (for animals as well as humans) lavender oil has played a role in family well-being for hundreds of years. Sadly, modern regulation prohibits lavender growers from making statements about the efficacy of their products as cures or therapies. Similarly the rules governing the production of lavender for soap are aligned with those for cosmetic production; these can seem very arduous on small family businesses. Many cooks will already know that there are many culinary uses for lavender – both the flowers and also the oil. Recipes abound for their use in cakes, tea, ice-cream, meringues and biscuits. Lavender bags! Virtually everyone has or had a lavender bag in their clothes drawer – lavender stored with clothes makes a great deferent to moths and smells much sweeter than traditional mothballs!

Sustainability Hélène and Xavier are both passionate about making their farming activities sustainable and working towards an ecologically sound environment. Farming organically requires extra work – it is not possible to simply spray those weeds! The result is 100% pure organic lavender oil and a flock of ewes carefully bred on the same farm for over 40 years. A field of lavender lasts only 10 years and a new field needs to be planted for three years before a crop can be harvested. So the production of Lavender is a long-term commitment. Crop rotation is essential to ensure healthy land and the best quality product. This is where the sheep farming complements, as the fields can be rotated with grazing sheep and the production of feed crops. Many areas of Provence are now experiencing problems with their lavender’s health as they haven’t rotated their fields rigorously and soil is losing its nutritional value and problems with disease are being experienced. Provencal farmers have more problems finding alternative, viable uses to rotate with their lavender growing land.

Lambs The lacaune sheep were originally kept for the production of milk for Roquefort cheese. Historically The Quercy Local • May-June 2014

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the manure and go back on the land and helps to improve the soil quality and its ability to cope with drought conditions. As well as selling lamb meat Hélène and Xavier also use the sheep wool to make completely natural, woodfilled duvets and pillows. In the farm shop you can also find small ‘clouds’ of lambs’ wool which makes the best material for dispensing lavender oil.

The Shop Hélène has a wonderful selection of lavender products on sale. These include essential oils, soaps (prepared locally using their own oil) candles and dried lavender; each available as individual items or in lovely, rusticstyle gift-sets. You can also find lovely jars of lavender sweets and bags of lavender flavoured meringues, all delicious! You can also order your locally grown lamb meat and perhaps even invest in a truly natural new wool duvet! the Roquefort cheese producers would collect the milk. Those days are long gone and Hélène’s parents had to concentrate on the production of lambs for meat and wool. Over-time they had to increase flock numbers to keep pace with the decline in lamb prices, driven by imports from New Zealand. There is a wonderful symmetry between lamb and lavender production. After the distillation process, the lavender flowers are added to the flock’s bedding. This provides some protection from infection and allows the sheep to nibble the flowers, these then pass through

OPEN DAYS Sat. June 28 & Sun. 29, 10am – 7pm Ferme de Lacontal, Touffailles, 82190 Come and learn about lavender production, the distilling process and see the fields in flower. Craft and produce stalls. 05 63 95 78 12 At Touffailles, follow the signs ‘Bienvenue à la Ferme’ Free Entry – A great day out!

Lavender in the Lot


ome summer, passers-by of the hamlet of Massarrat – in a hidden corner of the Lot by the picturesque village of Lherm – will find a sea of blue with butterflies and bees hovering in the scent of lavender. Ian and Suzie Dick (he is a Kiwi) were inspired to grow lavender in the Lot after a chance visit to a village in New Zealand called Akaroa which, amazingly, is literally on the other side of the world! Their foremost task was to till the land which had last been ploughed 35 years earlier with two yoked oxen. The land had originally been used to grow vines, but Phylloxera wiped these out at the end of the 19th Century. Ian and Suzie discovered, much to their surprise, that lavender was a popular crop – especially around Vire-sur-Lot and on the Causse – during the difficult years that followed. Sadly, lavender has now virtually disappeared from the Lot.

The first 400 lavenders were planted at Lavande de Lherm during May 2003 – when one of the worst heatwaves ever experienced hit the Lot valley. Miraculously, all the plants survived, and the first bottle of lavender oil was presented to the Mayor of Lherm in 2005. Since then, they have developed a wide range of home-made lavender products which they market locally. The antiseptic qualities of lavender came to the fore during the 1st World War when it was used to dress casualties’ wounds in place of scarce medicines. Many Lot farmers grew lavender as a contribution to the War effort. Nowadays, there has been a wonderful revival in the use of lavender oils as their marvellous properties regain recognition. Not surprisingly, Ian and Suzie call it “Nature’s First Aid in a Bottle”. Now in its 11th year, Lavande de Lherm strives to produce pure essential lavender oils, of the highest quality, from the 2,500 plants and 30 varieties it now

Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014


grows. Suzie is the horticulturalist who selects, plants and tends – with loving care – the plants whilst Ian is the alchemist who uses a harvester from New Zealand and a still from California to produce – with equal care – the lavender oils which they use to hand-make all their products. In 2012, three of the oils from Lavande de Lherm won silver awards in the New Zealand Lavender Growers’ annual competition. Ian and Suzie have come to realise that they are able to produce lavender oil of the finest quality and are proud to keep alive the lavender traditions of the Lot. They get great pleasure from sharing their experiences and passion with the people of Quercy and visitors to this beautiful area. They welcome visitors, by appointment, throughout the year and run a “Tour and Tea” (booking essential) twice a week in June and July. Guests indulge in a relaxing afternoon discovering the joys of lavender, hearing their story, seeing the harvest and witnessing the distillation process whilst enjoying a refreshing cup of English tea in an atmosphere scented with lavender!

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014

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Village Produce Show

a great British tradition on your doorstep! Salon Horticole, Sunday 20 July 2014 at Salle des Fetes, Lauzerte Club de Jardinage de Lauzerte


f your childhood was spent in the British countryside I am sure that you will remember the village flower, fruit and vegetable shows. Our Grandpas nurtured their leeks and enormous onions, feeding them with a secret recipe known neither to man nor beast and then proudly produced tip-top specimens for the big day of the annual village show. My father favoured the flowers, giant chrysanthemums and dahlias, each kept with a protective paper bag over its head during the few days before the show. Those of us who brought our passion for gardening with us to the Quercy Blanc thought that it would be a good idea to show our French friends and neighbours a little of one of our British traditions. Hence the village produce show. This is open to all amateur gardeners who are resident in this area. However, don’t despair if you are not a gardener because we have included many different classes in this year’s competition. In addition to flowers, fruit and vegetables there will be classes for handicrafts, including embroidery, patchwork, knitting and crochet. Food classes include cake, bread, biscuits, jams and pickles. But this year there is more… Two new categories will be photography and homemade alcoholic drinks! So if you make a mean bottle of home-made wine, bring it along and let our judge decide. The judges will be French and English and two very experienced ones will be travelling over from the U.K. Entering any of the classes is very simple. Simply come along to the Salle des Fetes at Lauzerte on Sunday 20 July with whatever you would like to enter. Our team of volunteers will be waiting to register your entry from. The fee per entry is 0.50e. If this is your first time there will be stewards on hand to give you helpful tips on displaying your entry. For example, we display 5 tomatoes on a paper plate with sand underneath them for support. Sand and plates will be there ready for you! If for any reason you are not able to enter any of the classes, please come along in the afternoon to support us and enjoy a cuppa with scones, jam and clotted cream.

The timetable for the day will be: 08h30 – 10h15 registration and displaying of entries 11h30 Hall closed for judging 14h00 Hall reopens for public viewing and teas – everyone welcome 17h00 Presentation of trophies To obtain a copy of the schedule and entry form or for more information please email – – Looking forward to seeing you on the 20th July. Margaret Brown

Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014


WillowWeave Workshop VISITORS WELCOME BY ARRANGEMENT Come and learn about the versatility and beauty of willow and other pliable woods. Create your very own useful and decorative items for your home and garden. 05 53 87 69 33 DOT HUMAN – ARTISAN VANNIÈRE, Rustre, 47470 Cauzac – on D215 between Beauville & La Sauvetat de Savéres

Salad Season


e all know that salad is good for us, but what makes a perfect salad? The answer for me is growing my own. Freshly picked, crisp and vibrant, bursting with energy, I love to liven up my plate with a variety of colours and textures. I’m not a fan of buying lettuce. Not only is it pretty expensive, it’s hard to get what you want. You either go for the boring mono-leaf option, or buy a number of different lettuces which you then struggle to get through before they all go limp, or you buy a bag of mixed leaves – tempting, as you then have such a lovely variety of lettuces, but best not think too much about the chlorine wash or the bagging in modified atmosphere packaging, not to mention the odd little bit of lettuce that you always find that’s starting to go slimy. Growing your own, however, puts you totally in control of the salad that you’re serving up on your plate, and right now, with spring firmly established and summer on its way, it’s the perfect time to be producing your own beautiful, vibrant, healthy food. So what makes the perfect salad? I think it’s a really subjective opinion, and that’s what makes growing your own so perfect. Those mixed leaf bags always seem to have at least one lettuce variety that I don’t like. When I grow my own, I produce all of my favourites, so my salad beds are always full of luscious iron-rich dark green leaves such as baby spinach, lamb’s lettuce and rocket, and all the pretty, loose-leaf lettuces such as oak leaf. Variety does it for me, so I always stock up on plenty of different seeds so I can select different leaves each meal. An easy and cost-effective way to produce your own salads is to grow a selection of cut and come again varieties. Basically, that’s any of the loose leaved lettuces (which have open leaves and no heart) rather The Quercy Local • May-June 2014

than the hearting varieties that have a dense centre. Think frisee, lollo rosso, lollo bionda etc. One sowing of these lettuces can go a long way, as instead of lifting the whole plant, you can simply harvest individual leaves in the quantities you require, going straight from plot to plate for the freshest, most vibrant salad possible. Of course, you might want the added variety of hearting lettuces as well. These fall into three categories: crisphead lettuces, such as Iceberg, which have crisp, tightly packed, light-green leaves; butterhead lettuces, such as Marvel of Four Seasons, which have softer leaves that form a looser head; and cos (romaine) lettuces, such as Paris Island Cos and Little Gem, that have upright, elongated heads. As these lettuces are better suited to lifting the entire plant, then successional sowing in small quantities throughout spring and summer will give you a steady supply. If you’re feeling a bit experimental you could always try some more unusual, oriental lettuces. Komatsuna, Mibuna, Mizuna, Tatsoi – there are lots of varieties to choose from. Like spinach, these versatile leaves can be harvested young, on a cut and come again basis, for use in your salads, or left to mature for use

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What better way to start off the summer than a fabulous meal at Le Caillau. From 5th to 24th May inclusive, we are offering Quercy Local readers an exclusive deal: buy one main course at lunchtime and get one absolutely free!

2 FOR 1

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in soups and stir fries. They tend to be hardy and resistant to the cold, so can be grown in autumn and winter as well, making them a really useful addition to your potager. There’s more to salad than lettuce, of course. Crisp, raw vegetables add crunch to your plate and a rainbow of colours livens up the aesthetics as well as providing a broader range of nutrients. Coleslaw is a firm favourite in our house, and so is the lesser known Space Age Salad. Never heard of it? My kids love it: totally mad coloured carrots with fantastic names such as cosmic purple, atomic red and solar yellow – veggies don’t have to be boring! Everyone knows that tomatoes come in all different shapes and sizes, but it can be fun experimenting with growing a range of other vegetable varieties too. Perfectly rounded, snow white cauliflowers are lovely, but the spiky turrets of Romanesco cauliflowers, and the vibrant colours of Sunset (orange),Trevi (lime green) and Graffiti (purple) cauliflowers are great for livening things up a bit. And if you want to really make things pretty, try adding some edible flowers:

31/03/2014 14:29

Centaurea, Helianthus, Hemerocallis, Marigolds, Nasturtiums and Violas to name just a few – it’s surprising how many garden flowers are edible. Do be careful though and look up edible flowers from a reliable source as sometimes only particular varieties are suitable for eating. For instance, only Hemerocallis, the “Day Lily”, is edible, while other types of Lillium are poisonous. To be honest, growing up, I was a bit of a salad dodger. Salad, back then, was a couple of slices of cucumber, a few quarters of tomato, and a handful of lettuce leaves. I just didn’t realise that salad could be interesting. Now I know better. With such a huge range of plants to choose from, and a gratifyingly quick turnaround (radishes are ready to eat just 25 – 30 days after sowing, lettuce and baby carrots in about 30) then there’s no need to be salad-shy ever again!

John and Debbie (Le Jardin des Espiemonts), 05 63 64 68 76, Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014


Summer Birds Article and Illustrations by David Beddow –


y this time, most of the summer migrants will be back on their territories and breeding although there are still a few late arrival like Swifts just beginning to turn up. Look for them around towns and villages screaming their high-pitched call as they hawk for insects on sickle-shaped wings. With most of the species incubating eggs or feeding young, May and June tend to be a bit quiet on the bird watching front as birds protect themselves and their vulnerable young to predators. This secretive time and the fact that the leaves are back on the trees makes small birds much harder to see. On the other hand with mouths to feed the predatory birds will be more obvious circling on thermals and searching out their prey. Double check the more usual buzzards to make sure they are not Honey Buzzards with their much longer tail and wings and smaller head. Short-Toed Eagles will be about too. Although their silhouette is similar to a buzzard their much greater size makes them easier to identify. This large bird has an odd diet of lizards, frogs and snakes hence its other name - ‘the snake eagle’. These Eagles may be seen circling high on thermals scanning the ground for their prey. They may also, on occasions, hover but could never be mistaken for the much smaller and more common Kestrel. The Quercy boasts a long list of birds of prey. Summer visitors include the Hobby, a small falcon similar in size to a Kestrel but not a hoverer and a great aerial hunter of small birds including Swifts and Swallows. Montagu’s Harriers also nest in the area as do Black Kites, Honey Buzzards and Booted Eagles. The latter is a small eagle the size of a Buzzard and is very difficult to tell apart – keep your bird guide at hand. Although not local, Griffin Vultures, which can over hundreds of miles in a day, can sometimes be seen here but I suspect they drift down in search of food from the Massif Central where they breed. So along with the resident Kestrels, Red Kites, Buzzards, Sparrow Hawks and Goshawks there is plenty to look out for. A quick word about young birds: Most song birds tend to fledge early in the morning so if you have a cat this would be a good time to keep it in allowing the fledglings a chance to find their wings. If you find a young bird which has just flown the nest the The Quercy Local • May-June 2014

Hobby and Swallow

Night Jar, Barn Owl and Nightingale

Red Kite

Short-Toed Eagle

chances are its unseen parents will be close by. The young are very vulnerable when they are on the ground so if you can help them into a tree or bush, do, but in general all young birds should be left alone. Young owls in particular are very adventurous and often leave the nest before they are able to fly properly so should be returned to the nest if possible or gently placed in a nearby tree. Happy birding.

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Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014


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Inheritance Rule Differences Between UK and France

These objectives are normally:

By writing a will in France, only the rest of the estate can then be left to the survivor. Furthermore, it is the inheritors who are subject to French inheritance tax on their shares of an estate, and not the estate itself as applies in the UK. The tax rates payable are directly related to the relationship of the heir to the deceased, in other words, the closer the relationship, the less onerous the tax burden.

1. To exercise control over the eventual distribution of assets acquired throughout life.

e100,000 from each parent, with subsequent taxation on

It is unquestionable that most British nationals move to France in search of a different life style. Whether it is the health system, weather, culture or food (or a combination of them all) that play a large part in their decision making process there is still one area that usually does not change after the move and that is their estate planning objectives.

2. To ensure that these assets are distributed to chosen beneficiaries as tax-efficiently as possible. However, given the many differences between the legal and tax systems between the two countries it is likely that a different financial planning approach and legal procedures will be required to help achieve these objectives.

Wills Unlike in the UK, where a legally constituted Will is a key tool for controlling the distribution of assets on death a French Will offers limited scope for the free disposal of assets for residents with children. This is because French succession law gives children (both natural and legally adopted) the legal right to inherit a certain ‘reserved’ portion of a parent’s estate. The size of their entitlement will depend on the number of children involved and will vary between 50% and 75% of the deceased parent’s estate. The Quercy Local • May-June 2014

A child (direct descendant) benefits from an allowance of

a sliding scale from 5% to 45%. However, for beneficiaries unrelated to the deceased the 0% allowance is less than e2,000 with all sums received over this amount taxed at a punitive 60%! This has, therefore, significant implications for couples with children from previous marriages as stepchildren are categorised as ‘unrelated’ to a deceased step-parent. There are, fortunately, a range of estate planning techniques and forms of investment which can be used to by-pass the French succession law and mitigate taxation for the heirs. The key, as ever, is to take professional independent advice to ensure you are making the most of these opportunities. Peter Wakelin is Regional Manager of Siddalls France, Independent Financial Adviser, specialised in tax, inheritance, pension and investment planning for the British community. Telephone 05 56 34 75 51,

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Our fully equipped local workshop provides a full range of bespoke joinery. We can provide made to measure doors, windows, staircases, wardrobes, fitted kitchens, shutters, libraries, or even double glaze your existing windows. We can also supply flooring, skirting, architrave, mouldings and finished timber. To make an appointment for an initial consultation and a free personalised quote call us on 06 03 88 11 95. As a bilingual company, we can also liaise with a range of local ÂŤ artisans Âť to facilitate any size of project. (46, 47, 82). Mail :

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Charity Shop for good causes – Beauville 47470 Open: Tues/Wed/Fri 2-4pm, Fri/Sun 10-12am Enquiries:

Wedding guests to accommodate? Too many family members coming to stay? A reunion to plan or do you just keep getting asked for a recommendation for somewhere to stay? Luckily, Robert and Carol Ann Wheeler open their new chambre d’hôtes in June (Engayrac, 47470). Carol explains there’s lots still to consider... Did you ever watch those TV programmes like “No Going Back” where people moved to France and started a B&B or gîte business; then one hour before the first guests arrive they’re still painting the walls? Well, that’s my nightmare and although I know we’re far from this, I still wake up in the middle of the night thinking about a list of details that we need to turn into reality before the opening of our chambre d’hôtes in June. Details that we’ve compiled over years of travelling – such as how the guests’ experience could have been improved, how the pool could have been warmer, the bathroom a bit larger, the towels thicker; the beds more comfortable, with better quality bedding; and generally seeking more of a feeling of comfort/homeliness. My husband, Robert, is an antiques dealer, who in a previous-life worked, overseas, in hotel management. We moved to Engayrac, near Beauville in August 2013 with our two daughters, Frances 9 and Georgia 7. We found the house, instantly fell in love, and realised what a great place it would be to convert into a chambre d’hôtes. We’ve been restoring the house; retaining the charm and furnishing it with period furniture. We plan to offer antique restoration holidays in the future, but for now we want to concentrate on offering our guests a lovely experience.

We’re really looking forward to opening Manoir Le Bigourda in June… wish us luck! The Quercy Local • May-June 2014

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Pool design & construction

Traditional swimming-pools Liner – reinforced PVC Automatic water treatment Automatic cover – automatic cleaning Heat pump – Equipment - Chemicals


Swimming-pool renovation Liner replacement Maintenance & reparation





Suppliers of VIESSMANN

boilers & DAIKIN Heat pumps

30, avenue Louis Resses – 82150 MONTAIGU DE QUERCY T é l : 0 5 6 3 9 5 3 2 7 7 – e m a i l : c o n t a c t @ j l r i v i e re . c o m Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014


Restaurant ‘La Sirene’ Place de l’Hotel de Ville Montaigu de Quercy (82150) Varied cuisine and a warm welcome guaranteed May - June Lunch – 12.00-2.00, Tue to Sat Dinner – 19.00-21.00, Wed to Sat & groups (10 or more) any evening – (reservations in advance for evenings)

Reserve by phone on 05 63 94 44 82 email:

RESTAURANT VILLA SMERALDA Le Bourg - 47300 PUJOLS - Open from Tuesday Night till Sunday Lunchtime

Have a nice trip to Sardinia

Menu 15e (during the week) Tasting Menu 26e and 36e

English Spoken Win 3 pairs of front-row tickets for any performance of Romeo and Juliet this summer! How? Amongst the articles in this edition, there’s one reference to another of Shakespeare’s plays – simply email us with the name of this play before June 1st – please include your name and address and a note of which performance you would like to attend. Email to: On the 1st of June three ‘correct’ responses, will drawn from a hat! The winners will then receive their tickets by email directly from the production company. Details of the performance dates and locations can be found on the advert on this page. Good luck! The Quercy Local • May-June 2014

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ROMAN ROADS PART IX By Angela Richards


ur penultimate section of the Voie Clermontoise/Na Bruniquel before the final descent to Cahors has been problematic. After passing to the north of the D656/D12/D27 crossroads, near the mound with the cross, we followed a track roughly parallel with the D27, south of Les Salles and walked over some large stone slabs partially hidden in the grass. We were able to pinpoint the area and found that the local area is called Peyrefic. Research into place name is extremely interesting. The origins of the hamlets and fields can sometimes be traced right back through modern French, Occitan, Roman, and the pre-Roman language spoken by the local tribe of Gaul’s (Celts) called Cadurques. This is the case with the above mentioned area with the stones because the word PEYRE means stone. Continuing our journey we walked along a newly resurfaced farm-track covered in the local castine. This then joined up again with the D27 and the voie now appears to be underneath the modern D27 road surface, which we drove along till we reached the main crossroads in Trespoux-Rassiels. There is a turn off to the right beforehand towards a hamlet called Borde Rouge that apparently has several water sources and although we did not have time to search, there does appear to be one which has a stone arch. These were mentioned in a book written by E.Castagne in 1877. He reported that the fountains went back to the time of the Gauls and that coins and offerings were made over the centuries. These pagan beliefs continued well after Christianity was introduced. The area of Borde Rouge is also situated near the junction and crossroads in ancient times of the D67 with the D27. This was an ancient Gaul route (according to Castagne) that went from Montcuq

to Luzech (which is well known to be a Gallic Oppidum or Iron Age Fort), but this has caused some confusion because looking at large scale maps Montcuq does not line up and therefore this does not make sense. This area is full of enigmas and historical interest. Who knows how many Gallic and Roman roads criss-cross the region? At the crossroads in Trespoux-Rassiels there are two modern roads that go to Cahors. One is the D27 that continues straight across and goes past Les Gardettes and Lacapelle eventually arriving in Cahors near the Pont Valentre. We have written this off as being more medieval/modern. The turn to the right at the Trespoux crossroads sweeps downhill in a large arc going through the hamlets of Pech de Gal and Les Matthieux and driving this we felt it was also more modern. This left us with two tracks to follow, both of which start about a kilometre onwards after the crossroads at Trespoux from the hamlet called Les Gardettes. We split into two groups one heading towards Cahors and the other uphill from Cahors.

Choice Number 1 follows a dotted boundary line and passes south of a property called Dina, and joins up with the modern road after Bessieres.

Just a few metres away we saw a panel Chemin de Dina which follows a level valley route with lovely old stone walls which we decided to investigate as the other possible choice for the voie. The Quercy Local • May-June 2014

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This passes on the north side of Dina, ending up at Les Gardettes, which we have called choice Number 2. On voie 1 just south of Les Gardettes we saw a row of stones that looked like the old edge of perhaps the Roman Road.

In some areas there is very little left of the original track which in places is reduced to just a metre wide. However, further downhill stone walls have been built on both sides. As the territory is covered in stones, piling these up on either side of the road would have been the logical place when clearing the land.

We studied Geoportail IGN maps, cadastral overlays, Google satellite with elevations and finally the Napoleonic maps which have just gone ‘on-line’ on the Cahors Archives website. Both chemins could be the Clermontoise and eventually, when we meet up with researchers and archaeologists in Cahors, we hope to be given their views on which one is the actual voie. It is always possible that one was replaced by the other for some reason. As mentioned in Part VIII, we are not going to finish the last section of the walk into Cahors until we have

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The Quercy Local • May-June 2014


made contact with the various organisations in the Midi Pyrenees who may be interested in our survey and produced more of a report to give them. For the next few months we are going to be busy producing the Revue for the DRAC in Bordeaux, which means starting back in Agen to work on a complete set of details, photos, GPS references, and measurements of all the sections that are not constructed over with modern road surfaces right to border of the Lot & Garonne. At the same time we will decide whether to survey the Clermontoise from the known areas from Bouloc towards Cahors and Castelsagrat to Clermont Soubiran, or to investigate the strong possibility of an unknown Voie Romaine that goes south/north past Pervillac, Couloussac and Maux heading north towards the Lot and Duravel. We have now realised that our search to find the Roman voies that could lead to the discovery of Diolindum marked on the Peutinger map is something that we will never be able to finish on our own, especially as we wish to publish a thorough report of what we have surveyed which means a lot of research work as already mentioned. We are sure that if we can find the voies these should lead us to possible target areas, one of which we hope could be Duravel. We would like to request that if there are any Walking/

Randonee groups who would like to join in and receive an overall view of areas to research would they please get in touch. I will forward maps of specific areas of interest overlaid with what we believe are the possibilities and the list of websites showing old maps that they can use to assist with their research. If this idea takes off we could perhaps arrange a meeting periodically to go through the progress and potential finds/targets in each area. We also have a group of volunteer French and English translators ready to work on our reports in both languages. Angie Richards,

Quercy Builders (82150) Stone work and all aspects of renovation Subcontractors to the trade and a professional service to the public References available No obligation quotations 06 52 24 49 95 06 52 49 03 57

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The Quercy Local • May-June 2014


Isabelle Assante A life of travel and artistic achievement culminates in bringing a taste of both to her home town.


ith style, energy and an obvious passion for the pursuit of her art, Isabelle Assante is a woman who encompasses the sort of drive, determination and talent that you only imagine exists in fiction. Originally born in Montaigu de Quercy, Isabelle left to travel and work abroad, she was away from France for 20 years with most of this time being spent in the United States including Seattle, California and more The Quercy Local • May-June 2014

recently New York. Life in New York exposed Isabelle to a vibrant world of artistry, creativity and the dramatic world of theatre and actors. All of which inspired her own career as a play-write. Isabelle’s writing brought her both public acclaim and critical success. Notably in 2007 she won the prestigious Falstaff Prize for her play ‘Horatio’ a production which caused some real consternation among many ‘Shakespearean’ purists as the script

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explored the life of Hamlet’s enigmatic (and perhaps misunderstood) friend and confident. During her years in America, Isabelle also worked on some freelance travel-writing and photography assignments, this work proved to Isabelle that her great passion was photography; an art less overwhelminglyconsuming than play-writing had proved. So it’s not a great surprise to find that back in France and living again in Montaigu de Quercy, Isabelle has opened a photographic gallery. Galerie 36 shows Isabelle’s own work and periodically houses small sculpture exhibitions. Anyone who knows Isabelle will be aware of her artistry, stylish gallery, patient teaching and her ability to bring an understated style to all that she does. All of these abilities combine to support Isabelle in what is becoming one of her most popular and frequent commissions – the capturing of the spirit of love, life and family-joy during the region’s wedding season. This wedding-work now extends to a complete planning service. Who better than the person with the greatest eye for every detail to help you bring the whole event together? Isabelle’s other photographic work is divided between assignments for commercial organisations and private commissions; private commissions which allow her to produce some stunning and very individual portraits. There’s no way that Isabelle’s work could be described as ‘typical’ or ‘overly-safe’. It’s modern and edgy. However, even if you’re a ‘traditionalist’ you’d have to agree that these contemporary images provide the sort of captured moments that’ll be treasured for generations. These portrait opportunities are often bought as lasting gifts for family and friends. Calling all photographers or would-be photographers! Being able to make your camera work to the very best of its ability must be both exhilarating and

rewarding. But how many people can claim to have it all worked out so that they achieve the very best from their equipment? As well as teaching photography to beginners and the more experienced (groups and individuals); Isabelle also teaches people who simply want to know how to make the very best of the cameras they already own. Discovering a local need and providing an unexpected service is something that all new businesses find exhilarating. Led by demand, Isabelle now provides a service for digitalising old reels of film and thereby securing the survival of family and regional histories. Have you any old reels of film that you were wondering how to protect? Perhaps Isabelle has the solution. You can find out more about Isabelle’s work and find out more about the Galerie 36 at By Anna Atkinson

NEW EXHIBITION Jean-François DELORME, a sculptor in wood, earth and glass, begins an exhibition at Galerie 36 from May 17th to July 31st. The opening night will be on May 16th, 7pm. Please do come along.

Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014


Carpetman Why carpet? Why me? Just a quick venture into the mind of the Englishman who decided it would be a good idea to sell carpets to the Lino loving French population!


fter leaving rural England over 24 years ago for a job in Paris, it quickly became apparent that my two French words ‘Jean-Paul’ & ‘Baguette’ weren’t going to get me very far in a country I had only visited briefly two weeks before. Unless of course my local baker happened to be call JP ! Having a curious nature and the willingness to learn I managed to quickly pick up the basics which allowed me to ask the questions I really wanted to ask… “Why the Beret?” “Why the drooping cigarette?” and of course “Why is all the food so good?” My job in Art Handling was working closely with art galleries and interior decorators this is where I discovered my taste for quality products and beautiful interiors. So after nine years in Paris a lot happened very quickly, I met my Dutch wife, we got posted to New York and I was put in charge of a team of 35 installers. The demand and the pace of life in NY took some getting used to; it certainly was the city that didn’t sleep. Thinking there I would lose touch with France I was very surprised to find that we had a large amount of French clients who were very happy to get back to their native tongue, this kept the fire alive for our eventual return to France. After 5 year the decision was made! We are going to buy a house in the South of France to get out of the madness of the big cities and be able to live out our days... We bought an old farmhouse, no water, no electricity, empty for 35 years so plenty to do, quit our jobs in NY and with a 4 month old started our new life. 2 months on a camping site, a month at the neighbours, a year in one room and five years of hard work we

have a beautiful house and two children… what next? Oh yes still need to pay the bills. During the renovation I met the owner of the flooring shop and was offered a position in sales with an eye to helping them serve the English speaking community with their flooring solutions. Unfortunately for me I felt there was always something missing, the underlay was too hard and too expensive, the wood floors weren’t the best quality, and the fitting team lacked the ability to think outside the box. So that was it ‘Carpetman France’ was born, I did have a lot of help from an old school friend who has three shops in England, JC my business partner helped me with the red tape and the set up and of course my wife for her endless patience. Our 350m² shop has taken shape over the last year encompassing all aspects of flooring from Resin solutions to bespoke oak floors. Our fitting teams have already proved their weight in gold with their attention to detail and commitment to our service. With our new addition the Sikkens paint mixing machine and being an official supplier of Farrow & Ball paints, we can provide solutions to all of your decoration needs. Please feel free to contact us for advice regarding any of your projects. Or if you are in the area then feel free to call by for a cup of tea and pick up a read from our stock of charity books.


carpetman France

Carpet and Flooring supplied and fitted

Solid wood, underlay and gripper, vinyl, laminate, artificial grass, made to measure blinds, paint, stretched fabric for your walls and ceilings Visit our 350m2 showroom for inspiration

Lot 5b, 2 rue Voltaire, 82000, Montauban or contact us on 05 63 20 51 59 –

For a home visit facebook/carpetmanfrance The Quercy Local • May-June 2014

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Music for your Parties & Events Jazz, Folk, Rock ‘n Roll, Classical, Brazilian Solo Musicians or Groups Very reasonable prices

Richard Beswick


English Builder with 24 years experience

Robert Atkinson Estimates freely given Work can be seen References available Roofing l Stonework l Plastering l Tiling l Paving Blocking l Concreting l Door/Window openings Las Razes, Touffailles (82190), 05 63 94 32 80, Siret: 499 560 654 00026

Getting together for fun, friendship and romance

Expat Dating France is an on-line dating service for those of us who live here in France. We are a growing community and welcome friends and romantics from all over France. Come and join in and get involved with some of the nicest people around. We’re looking forward to meeting you! From Katie May and the team at Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014


Moulin Rouge The Moulin Rouge was co-founded in 1889 by Charles Zidler and Joseph Oller who gambled on buying the old White Queen Dance Hall (La Reine Blanche) with its crumbling, peeling façade and seedy reputation. In need of total renovation the White Queen was an unlikely venue for a rival show to the Élysée, which had cornered the market in wild and risqué dances.


ndeterred, the two set to work and with bold showmanship they erected a huge wooden windmill above the entrance and painted it red. The façade was decorated with glittering electric lights - considered a novelty at the time. Over the years this windmill was to become an icon of Parisian nightlife. It was designed to reflect the history of Montmartre’s rural past—when windmills dotted the hills around Paris. On 6 October 1889, the Moulin Rouge opened. Nicknamed by its founders as “The First Palace of Women” the cabaret quickly became a great success; quickly gaining a reputation for being the place for men to view girls who were as flexible as their morals. Although the famous Can-Can dance had been present in working-class ballrooms since the 1830s, the early days of the Moulin Rouge cemented its popularity. However, during the Moulin Rouge’s first few decades, the dance was little more than a bawdy dance performed by courtesans to entertain their male clientele. The ’modern’ Can-Can developed out of these wild quadrilles, becoming typified by women lacking underwear and whirling their skirts around in a dizzying high-energy dance display. At times the shows were downright vulgar and the Moulin Rouge caused much public outrage. During this time period, one of the music hall’s most notable patrons was artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who famously painted a number of famous Moulin Rouge scenes. Oller and Zidler’s next move was to entice Louise Weber, the top dancer from the Élysée, (also known as La Gouloue – The Glutton – due to her love of alcohol) to the Moulin. She was the wildest, most outrageous and daring dancer and a huge favorite with crowds. Provocative in her dancing style, she would swirl past tables, snatching drinks off patrons’ tables and whisking their hats off with her high-kicks. She was soon the main attraction at the Moulin Rouge and her show with her extraordinary dance-partner Valentin (The Boneless) was the hottest ticket in town. On 26th October 1890 His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII, booked a table

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014

to see the show whose reputation had crossed the Channel. Recognising him, La Gouloue, with her leg in the air and her head in her skirts, spontaneously called out “Hey, Wales, the champagne’s on you!” More drama was to follow from Oller and Zidler when they purchased a huge wooden elephant from the Exhibition Universelle (World’s Fair) of 1900 and installed it in the gardens. They made a spiral staircase entrance inside one of the legs and on a stage located in its stomach, dancers would perform sensual belly dances for a male-only audience. Later this elephant would feature in the contemporary Hollywood musical film Moulin Rouge, as a setting for Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor’s love story. Back in 1907, the Moulin Rouge continued to provoke and challenge. The semi-nude dancing

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sometimes gave way to provocative shows of another kind, such as the “Dream of Egypt,” put on by the writer Colette and her girlfriend, Mathilde de Morny, or “Missy” as she was known. Colette dressed herself as an Egyptian mummy and Missy as a male archeologist who would then un-wrap her. They finished the scene with an amorous kiss. The audience was so outraged that they rushed the stage, forcing the performers to run and lock themselves in the box office until the police arrived. The show was deemed to be scandalous and subsequently banned. The Moulin Rouge transformed over the years, from an unofficial brothel into a fashionable music hall; slowly losing its reputation as a place of ill repute. The Moulin Rouge went through many transformations over the years as it tried to find a place in French society. After WW1, it was turned into a cinema for a short time and then revitalized in the 1950’s with a diner-spectacle show. Currently, the Moulin Rouge still puts on shows with extravagant dancers wearing huge attractive costumes. Today dancer Louise Weber is buried in the Cimetière de Montmartre where there are usually fresh flowers on her grave. Something of her energy and daring still draws thousands of visitors to the Moulin Rouge today. By Angela Clohessy

Auberge de Miramont (Chez Bernadette) 82190

A very popular restaurant serving local specialities in lovely, cosy dining-room and in summer on the beautiful terrace. Great atmosphere and food. Popular for Great value lunches and special evening meals – reservations recommended Stephane & Karen look forward to welcoming you. Miramont de Quercy

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The Quercy Local • May-June 2014


English Church of Midi-Pyrénées & Aude

Update from the Cahors Congregation (please see our website for full contact information) Ascension Day – celebrated this year on Thursday 29th May The Ascension of Jesus is the Christian doctrine from the New Testament of the moment when the resurrected Jesus was taken up to heaven in his resurrection body in the presence of eleven of his Apostles. According to the doctrine, he was returning to his Father and his heavenly throne, and now sits at the right hand of God the Father in heaven. It is the fortieth day after Easter and is traditionally a Thursday. A quotation from Mark 16:9-20 tells the story: “He appeared first to Mary Magdalene. She went and carried the news to his mourning and sorrowful followers, but when she told them that he was alive they did not believe her. Later he appeared to two of them as they were walking into the countryside. They also went and took the news to the others, but again they did not believe that the Lord was alive. Then, when the eleven disciples were at the table, he appeared to them and reproached them because they had not believed those who had seen him after he was raised from the dead. “ In France Ascension Day is a public holiday and Government Offices are closed – it’s generally a very quiet day and many people take the opportunity to link the Thursday off with the weekend – faire un pont! There is no Ascension Day service at Terre Rouge. Pentecost Pentecost is a very exciting time in the Church calendar as it is regarded as the birthday of the Christian Church. The first Pentecost comes from a Jewish harvest festival called Shavuot. It is celebrated this year on Sunday 8th June. It is also known as Whit Sunday and at the Anglican Church in Cahors the service will be Holy Communion. The apostles were celebrating this festival when the Holy Spirit descended on them. It sounded like a very strong wind, and it looked like tongues of fire. The apostles then found themselves speaking in foreign languages, inspired by the Holy Spirit. People passing by at first thought that they must be drunk, but the apostle Peter told the crowd that the apostles were full of the Holy Spirit. Today it is the festival when Christians celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is celebrated on the Sunday 50 days after Easter. Christians understand that The Quercy Local • May-June 2014

God is in the three persons of the Trinity - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Pentecost is a happy festival. Ministers in church often wear robes with red in the design as a symbol of the flames in which the Holy Spirit came to earth. This is reflected in the symbols which are those of the Holy Spirit and include flames, wind, the breath of God and a dove. The biblical narrative of Pentecost is given in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. As recounted in Acts 2:1-6: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.” Again in France, the Monday is a public holiday and the day is a quiet one with people spending their day with friends and family. The welcome at the Octroi in Cahors We are now starting the Pilgrimage Season when over 7000 people travel on foot or bicycle to and from Santiago de Compostela – The Way of St James – and many are welcomed at the Octroi (the old toll booth) on the Pont Louis Philippe, mostly coming from Le Puy en Velay. From Chaucer’s time onwards many people have felt the need to undertake a pilgrimage – there are many great pilgrimages throughout the world and for all the major religions. A pilgrimage is a journey or search of moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person’s beliefs and faith although sometimes it can be a metaphorical journey into someone’s own beliefs. Many religions attach spiritual importance to particular places: the place of birth or death of founders or saints, or to the place of their “calling” or spiritual awakening, or of their connection (visual or verbal) with the divine, to locations where miracles were performed or witnessed,

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or locations where a deity is said to live or be “housed,” or any site that is seen to have special spiritual powers. Such sites may be commemorated with shrines or temples that devotees are encouraged to visit for their own spiritual benefit: to be healed or have questions answered or to achieve some other spiritual benefit. In Cahors we are part of a 1697 km pilgrimage way to St Jacques de Compostela in Santiago de Compostela in the north of Spain. Done in one go – it would take over 2½ months, although many people take it a lot more slowly. Pilgrims come from all over the world – mainly Europeans, but Chinese, Japanese, Americans and many more. In the Middle Ages, the pilgrimage to Saint Jacques de Compostela was one of three great pilgrimages that every good Christian had to do along with going to Rome and Jerusalem. For practical reasons, pilgrims eventually converge on specific pathways and

gathering places were formed from Paris, Vézelay, Arles and Le Puy en Velay. Via Podiensis that begins in Le Puy en Velay, and runs through Cahors, continues beyond to Moissac and Roncesvalles, is one of four major historic routes and one of the busiest. Under the Ways of Saint Jacques de Compostela, the city of Cahors has two world heritage monuments of humanity: the Cathedral of St. Etienne and the Pont Valentré. We in Cahors have a very special link with this pilgrimage, which is the little welcome house, called an Octroi, on the bridge Pont Louis Philippe. Volunteers from Terre Rouge – along with many other volunteers from non-church organisations – offer the pilgrims teas, coffee, biscuits, and dried fruit free of charge. They also offer assistance with booking hotels, hostels, gîtes and chambre d’hotes. The Octroi is open from 11-6pm from mid-April to the end of October. Also available is spiritual sustenance and this is available at the Cathedral in Cahors. This help is available from 4-7 – there is a blessing at 7pm after the 6.30pm Mass on Saturdays. Between 3,000 and 4,000 pilgrims visit the Cathedral and again volunteers from Terre Rouge are involved. If you need more information about the Anglican Church in Cahors, see

Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014


Outdoor Brunch

It’s Sunday morning and you wake up to blue skies and golden sunshine. There’s a whole day ahead of you to relax, read the paper, enjoy the outdoors, and of course, treat yourself to wonderful food; preferably, the kind that doesn’t require hours in front of the stove. You head to the market with an empty basket and soon enough it’s filled with goodies such as a bag of bright oranges, a barquette de fraises, a crusty baguette tradition, fresh baby spinach, sweet and juicy cherry tomatoes, eggs fresh from the farmer, perfect slices of smoked salmon and a tub of soft cheese. After a grand crème, you head home to make the perfect seasonal brunch; a well-deserved treat and the ultimate meal to welcome the laziest of days. Pressing the oranges, slicing the bread and putting those jewel-like strawberries on a pretty plate do not require a recipe. However, making this gorgeous omelette, the star of your brunch table, on the other hand, does.

Bon Appétit !

Rolled Brunch Omelette


Note: Use a baking tray measuring approximately 36 x 25 cm. The omelette rises as it bakes but will deflate when you take it out of the oven.

Preheat the oven to 200°C and line your baking sheet with parchment paper, leaving it to hang a little bit over the edge. Beat the eggs with the milk, flour, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the lined baking tray and bake the omelette for 7-8 minutes or until the top is no longer moist. Take the omelette out of the oven and leave it to deflate and slightly cool. Divide the cheese, tomatoes, spinach and salmon over the omelette and carefully roll from the shorter side, peeling the parchment paper off as you go. Slice the omelette into four or eight slices and serve.

Serves 4 5 eggs 2 tbsp milk 2 tbsp flour fleur de sel freshly-ground pepper 60 g cream cheese 8 cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced 30 g baby spinach 100 g smoked salmon

Paola Westbeek is a food, wine and travel writer with a good dose of joie de vivre. She is passionate about French cooking, old-fashioned chansons, Rembrandt and life. Paola is available for all kinds of recipe development and culinary advice. For more information visit or contact Paola at

Quercy Gite & Quercy Services Property Management, Maintenance & Holiday Rentals around Montcuq & Lauzerte. Project advice for renovations or rentals. Preparing estimates & finding tradesmen Overseeing, coordinating & monitoring projects. House, garden & pool maintenance Rental management – making income from your property. Marianne Charpentier Tél: 06 71 71 77 22 Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014



as Vegetarians France is renowned for its world-class cuisine, promising visitors a gastronomic treat! Well, maybe for some but it’s not usually the case for vegetarians, visiting or living here. We certainly found France to be a tricky place to dine when we came to live in the Lot (land of foie gras) several years ago.


rench restaurants are usually a minefield for vegetarians, but even accepting a diner invitation can lead to awkward moments. For instance, when we were made a dish by a neighbour that included ham, which we sadly had to decline, even though we were assured by the cook, they were ‘just small pieces of ham’. On another occasion we were served sausage soup. I had to re-explain our concept of vegetarianism to the patient host in the more direct terms of ‘but I’m afraid we don’t eat sausages’. There was some comment about how we really were very strict vegetarians and the sausage soup was duly removed and replaced by... sausage soup, minus the pieces of sausage that had been faithfully removed by our host! When we tried to include ourselves in the local fête, we managed to make it understood that ‘we don’t eat flesh from any animals’ and we were successfully offered a starter of egg salad, followed by a main course of (yes you’ve got it) egg salad with extra egg (a great cholesterol-booster). With meat-eating so ingrained in French culture, there’s a belief that vegetarians must have a terribly dull time, we found that the standard French response when we told them we were vegetarian (once they had stopped laughing) was: ‘but then, what do you eat?’ Some seemed genuinely bemused that we were still alive and we’ve even had the response ‘isn’t that dangerous?’ Once we’d accepted that it’s just not really socially acceptable to be vegetarian, there was only really one thing to do... start our own vegetarian restaurant! So that we could introduce people to the reality of vegetarianism which, after all, is really not that scary, nor lacking in taste or nutrition and is definitely not dangerous! So, several years ago now, we purchased just the thing fLife in Franceor two vegetarians – an old butcher’s shop and restaurant that had produced its very own foie gras. It hadn’t been used for 30 years and looked more than

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014

a little bit sinister, with enormous mincing machines and cupboards complete with dangling meat hooks. Not for the first time, we felt very glad to be vegetarian! Not only did the whole place require total renovation but as the restaurant hadn’t been open for 30 years, we had to set about gaining a new license, which meant spending months jumping through all the hoops of seemingly impossible French bureaucracy. We completed never-ending pieces of paper-work, consulted the Mayor’s office, fire brigade, hygiene officials and disabled-access experts. Finally it culminated in a commission with some of the highest officials you can summon in the Lot and it was finally agreed that we could open. At least now, if you visit Le Jardin de Cabrerets (46330), you can feel safe that we are officially fireproofed with up-to-date hygiene technology. We seem to be the only restaurant that I know with infra-red taps everywhere! We have disabled access and a disabled toilet and you can rest-assured that our tables are a safe distance apart and the colour of our walls and floors and the degree of luminescence from of our light bulbs has been duly noted and recorded in a file somewhere very important! So, with all that over, we could open, we just had the 4 other restaurants, already well-established in our small village, to contend with and some didn’t want new competition. For a while there were a few jokes about us in the village - two English vegetarians trying to start up a restaurant, in France? I think they thought whatever it was we were trying to do it wasn’t likely to be a winning idea. But we persevered and nowadays, when I walk past the other restaurants in our village I see a few changes, like the addition of a ‘vegetarian burger’ option to one of their menus and another has extended theirs to include... an omelette! So it seems perhaps we are doing something of interest after all and we may even be starting a quiet vegetarian revolution (in Cabrerets at least). Well, let’s

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hope so because not only is vegetarianism good news for animals but it’s also good for humans too! In fact, according to much research, vegetarian diets are often associated with a number of health advantages including lower cholesterol levels, lower risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure levels, lower risk of hypertension and diabetes, stroke and overall lower risk of cancer. ...and it’s good for the environment! Did you know that aside from degrading the land and polluting waterways, animal agriculture is responsible for high levels of green house gases emissions resulting from the methane emitted during animal flatulence? This according to UN statistics accounts for 37% of all methane caused by human-related activities and the nitrous oxide emitted from livestock manure has 296 times the global warming potential of CO2. 65% of all nitrous oxide resulting from human activity comes from animal manure! According to the UN animal agriculture is more hazardous to the environment than the effects of transport. Since starting our restaurant in a country where vegetarianism is outlawed in schools and the very concept is deemed by some to be positively ‘un-French’, we’ve been gained growing recognition and appear in the top 10 restaurants in the Lot on Tripadvisor – so some

people must be enjoying the food. Why not come and see for yourself and try something a little different that feels wholesome for body and mind? ALL our food is home-made; we offer varied dishes with influences from around the world, incorporating some of our own home-grown produce. We also stock organic beers, wines, teas and coffee and can cater for vegans, offer gluten-free options, and just in case you have with you a ‘less than willing’ vegetarian, we have a meat option too! You can see the full menu at By James & Louise Heath



12450 Luc-La Primaube - Tél. 05 65 69 41 20 - B 322 864 265 RCS Rodez

le spécialiste de l’h abitat

For that French home you’ve always dreamed of! Tel: 05 65 75 75 33

Annonce réalisée par la Caisse Régionale Crédit Agricole Mutuel Nord Midi-Pyrénées, société coopérative à capital variable, agréée en tant qu’établissement de crédit, immatriculée au RCS d’Albi sous le numéro 444 953 830, siège social au 219, avenue François Verdier 81000 ALBI. Société de courtage d’assurance immatriculée au Registre des Intermédiaires d’Assurance sous le numéro 07 019 259. Organisme prêteur, proposant des prêts habitat destinés au financement de biens immobiliers à acquérir, sous réserve d’acceptation de votre dossier de prêt immobilier. L’emprunteur dispose d’un délai de réflexion de 10 jours pour accepter l’offre de prêt. La réalisation de la vente est subordonnée à l’obtention du prêt. Si celui-ci n’est pas obtenu, le vendeur doit rembourser les sommes versées.

Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014



 ealthy Eating H for Life

Living in a region that is famed for its gastronomic produce can definitely have a negative effect on your waistline... by Belinda Berry


s New Year 2013 arrived I came to a realisation that I had to do something about the weight that had crept up on me over the years. I was feeling sluggish and shapeless and concerned about the prospect of diabetes and heart disease. I had tried various diets before but always gave up after a couple of months of deprivation and any kilos lost soon piled back on again. Then my husband found out about Dr Michael Mosley’s 5:2 fast diet. In the Horizon documentary “Eat, Fast, Live Longer” (August 2012) Mosley discovered that whilst only a little overweight, an MRI scan showed that he had too much visceral fat around his organs (thin outside, fat inside), a big risk factor for heart disease. His blood tests showed he was heading towards diabetes and his cholesterol was also way too high. He was keen to discover if there were ways to improve his chances of living a longer, healthier life. After meeting leading researchers he learned about the positive benefits that could come from calorie restriction and fasting - cutting your risk of a range of diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer. He devised a plan, which he followed for 12 weeks. His blood test results showed spectacular improvements, plus he lost weight. January 2013 saw the publication of “the fast diet” by Dr Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer, which covers the cutting-edge research and current thinking about weight loss, disease resistance and longevity and gives a practical guide on how to change your life for the better. As soon as I had read the book, I was eager to get started. Without radically changing our lifestyle, we incorporated two low calorie fasting days a week. The other 5 days we worked on getting our portion sizes under control. Nothing had to be excluded completely, but interestingly, the fast days helped by decreasing our appetite and encouraged us to cut back on some of the things that we knew were not helpful to us – bread, alcohol, pastry and chocolate. We started to enjoy more salads and fresh foods.

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014

Having learned that it is ok to be hungry, that one can get through the day without eating lunch, one starts to become aware of how often we eat for the wrong reasons. Because we are tired, bored or emotional. Because it is a habit. Because we have cravings. Because it is there. It became easier for me to stop eating before I was full. I stopped craving sugary and salty snacks. I found that I liked the clean feeling that follows a fast day, so that after a weekend of indulging in a few treats, it feels good to have a day of light eating.

So what does 5:2 entail? For just 2 days a week, you restrict your calories to about a quarter of your normal intake – so that’s 500 calories for women and 600 for a man – not a complete fast, but a significant reduction. On the other 5 days you eat normally. On a fast day, you can spread the calories if you wish, though there is thought to be greater benefit by leaving as long as possible between meals. Include a good amount of protein (lean meat, fish, eggs, nuts, tofu, pulses), which will make you feel fuller for longer and fill your plate with plenty of vegetables for fibre and nutrients. Sugar and starchy carbohydrates like rice, pasta and potatoes are best avoided as they quickly use up your calories, raise your blood sugar and can make you feel hungrier. Keeping to foods that are low on the Glycaemic Index will be helpful, as these tend to be more satisfying. Drink plenty of water and herbal teas. Plan your day and try and keep busy. Yes you will be hungry, but it comes in waves, it doesn’t last long. Have a glass of water and wait 10 minutes and the feeling passes. You can exercise if you wish, that can also help to suppress your appetite.

A typical low calorie fast day I find that I am no hungrier if I skip breakfast altogether, so usually I do that, saving all my calories for the

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Benjamin Cuzange Debt Collection Agent 09 79 05 78 30 / 06 82 79 44 94 Training in French Law Individual/Group Lessons Introduction to French Property and Tax Law

evening. However, it is perhaps less daunting at the beginning to start with a protein-rich breakfast like scrambled egg with smoked salmon, or a small bowl of porridge with a few berries. Throughout the day, black coffee, herbal tea, and plenty of water will keep you well hydrated. A cup of savoury bouillon has only about 10 calories and is warming and comforting and also helps to balance your electrolytes, keeping headaches at bay. For the evening meal, I usually prepare a simple vegetable soup, then lean meat or fish with plenty of vegetables and for dessert a little fromage blanc with a few berries or toasted nuts.

It works! After less than 6 months of following this way of eating, I had lost 14.5 kilos and reached my target weight, with a healthy Body Mass Index of 23 (down from 29.45). My husband lost 18 kilos. Even better, in the last year we have successfully maintained a healthy weight. Continuing to do two fast days most weeks allows us to eat and drink what we like on the other five and not to worry about the occasional indulgence. I love the fact that there are no exclusions and there is no need to feel deprived. I love the feeling of energy and positivity that I get from a successful fast day. I love being comfortable in my clothes. I’m no longer carrying around the equivalent of a huge suitcase – no wonder I feel lighter on my feet and more flexible! My blood pressure is normal. I sleep better. For me, losing weight is the most obvious evidence of better health, but there is masses of anecdotal evidence from those following this way of eating, who have reversed type 2 diabetes, improved auto-immune conditions, reduced occurrences of migraines, lowered blood pressure, have less asthma attacks and so on. The diet has an anti-inflammatory effect which is beneficial for many conditions, and of course we know that losing weight is so important for reducing our risk of heart disease, diabetes and breast cancer.

New flavourful recipes for every day I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of finding interesting, flavourful food that is filling but not fattening and getting creative with those few calories, using the wonderful produce and seasonal specialities that you can buy so easily at the local markets. When you don’t have much on your plate, it is all the more important that what you choose is tasty and satisfying. I use lots of fresh herbs, spices and small amounts of strong flavours to create zingy and delicious meals that leave you with the feeling of having eaten very well indeed, but not at all bloated or over-stuffed. By the end of the year, I had whole range of interesting ideas and realised that I now had the theme for my second recipe book to inspire others to embrace this easy lifestyle change. 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life is full of delicious recipes for fast days, family meals and entertaining. Each of the 170 recipes have individually calorie counted ingredients and nutritional information and are illustrated with colour photos. The book is now available on Amazon in print and kindle versions and is also on sale at Chimera bookshop in Montcuq. I hope my story will inspire and encourage you to take the steps towards improving your own health. 5:2 works, it is life-changing and easy to follow.

Example of a fast day meal:Mushroom and Celery Soup (36 calories per serving) Goats’ Cheese & Runner Beans with Warm Lardons (329 calories per serving) Pear with Amaretti Crumble (125 calories per serving) The Fast Diet by Dr Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer. Short Books. ISBN 978-1-78072-167-5 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life by Belinda Berry. Photography by Belinda Berry and Graham Berry. Createspace. ISBN 978-1-49435-153-3 Follow Belinda’s recipes on twitter @bp_berry, Facebook or at

Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014


Domaine des Sangliers is an independent, organic vineyard located in the hills of picturesque Puy-l’Evêque, one of the best terroirs of the Lot valley. We produce organic AOC/AOP Cahors, Vin de Pays du Lot and Vin de France red and rosé wines, and apéritifs. Family run, we personally undertake every step of the wine making process, from pruning to corking, all on the estate. Our aim is to achieve the highest quality product, naturally and ethically produced, at fair prices. For further information please visit our website or find us on Facebook.

Pruning, Politics & Pleasantries Pruning

Vines respect only their own schedule. La taille or pruning has been hampered, this year, by the heavy winter rainfall. Consequently, we have fallen behind. By the time you read this, it should (must) be finished. In the Cahors appellation, vines must be pruned according to strict criteria. At our tiny vineyard, the twenty thousand or so vines are pruned by hand (with only old fashioned secateurs – my electric ones broke last year, and have yet to be replaced). We cut back to two shoots, one bearing just two buds and the other, somewhere between four and ten, dependant upon the vine’s health and the quantity of fruit required. Once the vine is pruned each cut stem must be removed, a lengthy process, as the vine is a tenacious climber, each shoot having its own grasping tendrils, desperate to pull itself up towards the sunshine above. The tendrils have to be cut, rather than pulled from the wires. Every year I manage to cut through a wire towards the end of the pruning, as my hand gets stronger and I start to rush, in an effort to beat spring’s arrival and the rising of the sap. Once the unwanted healthy growth is removed it is laid in the centre of the rows and will be chopped into pieces to re-fertilise the soil; any diseased wood will be removed and burnt. Each of the longer stalks is then individually wrapped and tied to the lower section of the post and wire support system. This involves forcing them into an unnatural horizontal position, carefully trying not to snap them in the process! Every year, there are wires and posts that need maintenance or replacing, and this must be done after pruning, but before tying down. Luckily the view from the vineyard is stunning and more than makes up for the repetitive work, and it certainly beats sitting in an office full-time!


Speaking of offices, anyone who has been in France during February and March this year will surely have heard The Quercy Local • May-June 2014

about les élections municipales. This is another cultural minefield that I had managed to skilfully avoid – until now! I have been surprised at the level of feeling and passion, the French as a nation, have for politics; they are well informed and able to discuss issues in depth (as well as length!). Compared to the UK, the French have a high proportion of their eligible population actively voting. At school, children have lessons in éducation civique, their civic responsibilities, voting is seen as a duty here. The neighbouring village mayor was appointed by a two-vote majority – a great example for anyone saying that their vote won’t make any difference! This year, I was invited to become a new member of the incumbent Maire’s team, which was re-elected. Having seen the (unpaid) workload ahead, I have a new respect for local government, and all those who work in it. Hopefully, I will be able to help achieve some positive actions for our exceptional town, during the six-year term (yes, six!). I’m hopeful that it will also improve my language skills, which are (still) an endless source of embarrassment.


This month, I learnt when not to say bonjour! I started learning French more years ago than I care to admit, and have been here for almost a decade. Yet, here I am, still tackling the basic decorum of greetings! The ‘to kiss or to shake’ conundrum has always flummoxed me. Whichever one it should be, I’ll always do the other. Worse still, I realise just after I’ve done it! I recently found out that you must only say bonjour to someone once a day! Apparently, if you say it a second time, it’s terribly rude, implying that they are so insignificant that you have forgotten seeing them earlier on! Oh! Oops! I hope allowances are made for non-natives. So, on each of these multiple meetings, what should I have said? Re-bonjour, re, ça va, ça va depuis toute à l’heure, bonsoir, a simple nod or acknowledgement with the eyes – pretty much anything, except another bonjour! You should also only kiss or shake for one meeting a day.

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Well, thank goodness for that! I wonder how many working hours that takes up. Not that I am anti-kissing, especially if Brad Pitt should ever wander up this far inland! Although, one also kisses or shakes goodbye, so how many goodbyekisses am I allowed, I wonder? Between the tuing and vousing, the kissing and shaking, the oo and the u sounds, will I ever get to grips with this language and culture? At least I’m still learning, and a glass or two of organic Malbec seems to help!

Visitors are welcome to the property. We are open from June to Sept, from 2pm to 7pm. Wed and Sun by appointment; other dates and times by prior arrangement. A variety of tours of the vineyard and wine tastings are available year round. Learn about the organic wine making process, the basics of wine tasting, or just enjoy trying some new wines or aperitifs. Group and corporate bookings are welcome (musical entertainment/catering can also be arranged). Purchases can be made directly from the cellar door. Children welcome, disabled access. Always drink alcohol responsibly and in moderation; pregnant women are advised not to consume alcohol; don’t drink and drive.

Domaine des Sangliers – Les Sarrades – 46700 – Puy-l’Evêque. Kim-Louis & Lisa Stanton – 06 04 03 34 12 –

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TAC Property Services has had many years of experience as Property Managers; we provide a service that is competively priced, reliable and respectful of your property. Please visit our website to see the full range of services that we provide

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Bubbly Apero and Numerous Dips HOG ROAST with all trimmings Dessert and Coffee

Live music and Bar Saturday 12th July 7.00pm Salle de fetes, St Pantaleon All proceeds to cancer Poorpaws

research dog rescue

Tickets €22.50 or Vegetarians superbly catered for, please ask on booking

Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014









Cahors and Malbec ...on the map

By Jeanne McCaul, Lauzerte

Save the dates of June 16 to 22 for a festive week of food and wine in the Quercy


he decree that gave Cahors Malbec wine AOC (Appellation d’Origine Controlée) status was pronounced more than 40 years ago in 1971. However, the notoriety of this emblematic local “cépage” goes back more than 2000 years and is closely connected to the Romans, the royal households of Aliénor of Aquitaine and successive English and French monarchs, as well as Russian Tsars and the Russian Orthodox and Catholic Popes. Pilgrims too, on their way to Saint Jacques de Compostelle, appreciated Cahors wines and spread the news. In 1310 an astonishing 850.000hl of Cahors wine, representing 50% of exports, left the port of Bordeaux. As a result of the Hundred Years War, which pitted the Kingdom of England against the Valois Capetians (1337 to 1453), the fame of Cahors wines was gradually replaced by those of the Bordeaux region, only to once again regain its rightful place in more recent times. Today, the Malbec “cépage” is planted worldwide, amounting to almost 42.000 hectares in 2012 in several countries in the Northern as well as Southern Hemispheres. This growing international fame led to the creation of the Union Interprofessionnelle du Vin de Cahors (UIVC), which received legal recognition in May 1977 and was housed at the Maison du Vin de Cahors, close to the train station. As a private, non governmental organization, it groups together the majority of wine growers in the region: 240, as well as a cooperative, which represents 20% of the total production. The UIVC moved to its present location at the beautiful Villa Cahors Malbec on the Place François Mitterand in central Cahors in July 2011. Since then the work of the UIVC at the Villa has intensified, representing the interests of its members, the regional wine growers, in a variety of ways and offering the general public regular prestigious events around wine and gastronomy. Another major initiative was the creation, in 2008, of the International Cahors Malbec Days. The event was again held in 2010 and will be repeated this forthcoming June from 16 to 22. The next event is scheduled to take place in the USA, so this June’s edition is a unique opportunity for us locals and not to be missed!

The purpose of the event is to enhance the visibility and celebrity of Malbec wines and to promote recognition locally and internationally. In the words of Marketing Manager Jérémy Arnaud: “Our idea is to stimulate all the senses of taste, odor, sight and sound, to create an inspiring and flamboyant fusion of wine, gastronomy, music and art”. As we go to press preparations are in full swing. The week’s offerings begin with 4 days reserved for professionals, followed by 3 days of festivities open to all. The overall theme for this edition is to be the importance, understanding and appreciation of terroir. During the professional days, selected, invited oenologists, wine makers, merchants and journalists from all over the world, will be hosted by their local counterparts. They will visit vineyards and cellars and attend a series of lectures and presentations on the history and development of Cahors Malbec production, its worldwide expansion and marketing. Attention will be given to the differences between wines originating in the alluvial valley regions and those grown on the slopes and plateaus. THE PROGRAM do check for changes on the website Friday 20th: Appreciating and being knowledgeable about wine is of course accessible to all. For those who wish to improve on their understanding of Malbec from France, there are Master Classes, lasting 90 minutes, at the ‘Cahors Malbec Lounge’ (18:30 – 20:00). Cahors Malbec Banquet – The Pont Valentré will become the focal point of the festivity from 20:00 – 24:00. In partnership with the Cahors specialty shop for wines and gastronomy “Cahors Saveurs”, food and wine tastings will be available to all at accessible prices. Saturday 21st: The ‘Cahors Malbec Lounge’ will be open again for tasting Master Classes from 11:00 until 19:00. This time there will be Malbec wines from all around the world – see website for full details. Cahors Malbec Party from 21:00 to 24:00; June 21st is of course the longest day of the year, the Summer

Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014


Solstice and has become the traditional date for the national French music festival the “Fête de la Musique” – a happy coincidence of which the organizers will make full use. Once again the venue will be the Pont Valentré. Food and wine will be on offer to the sounds of medieval secular and religious music, fused with contemporary electronic music…

Putting on an by Karina Knight

Sunday 22nd: Cahors Malbec BBQ – From 11:00 onwards several wine growers will be offering BBQ’s on their estates. Please note that most activities will require financial participation with a range of possibilities, starting at as little as e5. For further information,

Art Festival in the Lot


oujounac (46250), at the southern edge of the Bouraine, is a beautiful and architecturally interesting sand-coloured stone medieval village. It was not fortified so has a history of suffering attacks and changes of allegiance. Now its inhabitants reflect the mix of the area; old families and incomers from other areas of France, the UK, Holland, Norway and others. Here a small dedicated team work with villagers and artists to create Goujoun’Art. For 8 days in June the village is abuzz; old barns, gardens, cellars and the church are alive with art, music and food. This year is the third event, which takes place every two years as it takes 18 months to create (and 6 months to recover from for the key players!) so planning for 2014 started early in 2013. Anyone who has put together an event in France – including the essential association procedures, statuts {constitution}, accounts, minutes, subscriptions – will recognise the effort that is needed to organise an art show. This year’s show has been complicated by illness of the proposed curator and this necessitated a change of theme. Weeks and months are dedicated to preparation, planning, fund-raising, rallying support and publicity as well as the prime activity noticed by the visitors – selecting the artists to show and providing appropriate exhibition space and of course the food and drinks. This year’s theme is “Rencontres” {meeting} – the guest of honour is André Nouÿrit who after years of silence has started showing his colourful sculptures and paintings. Alongside his work, you can see the darker paintings on alchemy by Ian Howard, internationally acclaimed Scottish artist who now lives nearby and the Art Brut of Jacques Soisson and sculptures and paintings by 35 other artists. The selection is often a sensitive balancing act, not as simple as it may seem. The Lot is rich with artists, the selection committee want to show a balance, since not all styles are ‘fashionable’ and different styles are appreciated by different parts of the community.

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014

This year’s show includes a themed exhibition by ‘Un Train Peut En Cacher Un Autre’, an association of local professional artists (see accompanying article.). The association’s exhibition is in the historic church which has necessitated obtaining permission from the bishopric and removing all the pews and chairs for a couple of weeks. Fingers are crossed not only for good weather but also that no births, funerals or marriages need to be scheduled during the first couple of weeks of June! Goujoun’Art president Ginette Coste explains ‘’Since the creation of Goujoun’Art the theme acts as the link between our rich artistic heritage and our landscapes which together continue to inspire many artists. We also hope that this event is also a place of meeting and exchange: between artists and the public; among artists from different backgrounds, using different media and among our different visitors.’’ There is a collective artwork being created by the villagers, led by one of the artists in the village, Vincent Cavaille. There are children from the area working on different projects that will be exhibited in one of the spaces. Near to Goujounac is Les Arques where a number of artists in residence work to present the more conceptual side of contemporary art and their work will be exhibited at Les Arques concurrently with the Goujoun’Art show. Much of the heavy work to prepare the exhibition spaces in barns and empty houses was done in 2010,

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clearing decades of stored items and making areas fit to hang canvases, display sculptures and then to light them. Since 2012 some places have been sold while others became available. The month before Goujoun’Art everywhere is cleared once more of cobwebs and dust, while lawns are mown ready for the sculptures. The artists are usually happy with their chosen spaces; the visitors certainly are as they meander in and out of alleys and behind usually shut doors to be surprised, intrigued or moved by what they find. Obtaining funding is a time consuming job (and there are only small amounts of finance these days from the commune, the community of communes and the Conseil General). There are local sponsors (merchants, artisans, growers, banks, insurers) who have generously supported the show with goods in kind and financial donations. Other work includes the design of the brochure, acknowledging all the sponsors, writing editorial articles on the lead artists and examples of work from all the artists exhibiting.

Between exhibitions, the organisers work with local schools to create the audience of tomorrow; children who make and appreciate visual art beyond the small screens with constantly changing images. Other activities being organised for Goujoun’Art include walks to show the patrimoine {cultural heritage} and geology of the village and its surroundings. There is music at the opening on Saturday 7th June, a jazz quintet on Sunday 8th (at 21.00) and a Dutch choir on Thursday 13th under the professional guidance of Anke de Bruyn. Thus visitors can enjoy many types of music resounding between the ancient stone walls of the Goujounac church and its surrounding buildings’, ensuring that the theme of the Goujoun’Art Festival, ‘Rencontre’, will reflect in the music as well as in the meeting of people who share a passion for art. Yes, it is well worth a visit as Goujounac is not a sleepy village between 7th and 15th June! :

Wandering in the church


rtists in France don’t exhibit they EXPOSE. This is an interesting linguistic twist, maybe they expose their souls which is perhaps fitting. In the local area so many exhibitions are in churches and former religious buildings. There aren’t many designated exhibition spaces in the Lot so artists find ways of creating opportunities to ‘expose’ and, as at Goujounac, spaces as diverse as churches, abbeys and barns are adapted. During Goujoun’Art, take the opportunity to wander into the church to see the first of a series of itinerant exhibitions entitled ‘ERRANCES’ (wanderings = vagabond, dreaming, empty, exile, on the way, walking a long time without a specific aim). This is the work of an association of professional artists based in the Cazals. Karina Knight, ‘commissaire d’exposition’ {curator} of Errances is really pleased to return to Goujounac, having shown a sitespecific art installation there during Goujoun’Art 2012 when she really enjoyed the interaction between the art, the public and other artists in a beautiful setting. The association has taken as its name ‘Un Train Peut En Cacher Un Autre’: the warning you may have seen

on signposts when approaching railway level crossings in France. In the same way that one train may hide another coming from the other direction the artists believe artwork can surprise, concealing then revealing, questioning what follows what! You may have seen the group’s collective art exhibition on the theme of Reflections at Gourdon last year in ‘Les Cordeliers’, a grand exhibition space once a chapel for the Franciscan monks. Many of the artists are creating work especially for the show and even the venue. It is an exciting project to harmonise an exhibition with many different interpretations on a theme; including sculptures, paintings, found objects, drawings and sounds. These could be as varied as artworks based on the ideas of the spiritual journey, the wandering mind, the movement of people, the itinerant caravan, birds in the air, or the imprints we leave behind. The artists create contemporary art to reflect our world and society. Their concerns may be traditionally or unconventionally presented. Future exhibitions in the series have different curators and will adapt to the different exhibition spaces. Look out for posters with the classic ‘footprints in the sand’ to lead you on a journey with the artists at exhibitions later in the year in Cahors, Carennac and Abbey Nouvelle. It’s a long journey in itself to get the show on the tracks and it is great to set off within the frame work of an art festival in a rural location. Wander in...

Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014


How is the property market fairing? Here we have asked two agents – one from the West and one from the East of the region to give us a summary of the market as they see it.

Property Market

in the West of the Quercy Region


ur beautiful area of the Quercy remains a favourite with buyers from all over the world. As ever its relaxed lifestyle, the available space, vibrant market towns and sleepy villages along with the dry climate are forever attracting interest. And it’s not just British buyers looking for a second home, investment property or permanent base. Beaux Villages with its international reach is talking to potential purchasers from around the world. The English and Dutch markets are still a key source of buyers but more and more are showing interest from further afield including Scandinavia, Canada, South Africa, This property suits those looking for a large home and an income on the edge of thriving town – extensive countryside views – 380,000e Australia, the Middle East and New Zealand. With the UK pound stabilising around the 1.20e mark there is a definite resurgence in committed British purchasers and fortunately for them it is still a buyer’s market with many attractive properties available in all price ranges. Sellers need to be aware that it is the properties that are reasonably priced that are selling. On the other side buyers need to know that they are not alone in their search and that extremely low offers are unlikely to be taken seriously. If it’s the house of your dreams then don’t let it get snapped up by the next person for the sake of driving down the price. With our area being in such reasonable proximity to at least two airports (Toulouse and Bergerac), the rental income If seclusion and Quercy charm is what you are looking for then this opportunities – especially in the summer months – are fantastic. 5 bedroom home with land for horses, is perfect at 395,000e More and more buyers are looking for their own home but still hoping to have an on-site gîte or guest apartment so they can also have an income. Old stone character properties are still a firm favourite for lots of house hunters and that ranges from those looking for a small holiday home with a budget of around 100,000e to those with several million to spend on a chateau. That said, the majority of the buyers’ budgets are currently in the 150,00e to 4,000,000e price range and there are lots of desirable properties out there for that sum. To better serve the Quercy region, Beaux Villages has Soak up the sun in this 1960s 3 bedroom home overlooking just opened a new office in the lively village of Montaigu de the River Lot – 260,000e Quercy (82150). The local team has been strengthened and the portfolio of property available grows just as fast as the buyers wanting to purchase in this area. Being part of a much larger agency, it can make the most of extensive advertising, presence in UK French-interest press, at all the major property shows in the UK and beyond and of course, a best-in-class website. So, visit us at our office Montaigu de Quercy or By Caroline Sweeney (local immobilier) 06 37 22 88 16. The Quercy Local • May-June 2014

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Property Market

in the East of the Quercy Region


illie and Anthony Pearce, who run Allez South West France, are based in Caylus, a beautiful medieval village which sits in the very North East corner of the Quercy region. It is on the edge of four departments, the Tarn et Garonne, Aveyron, Tarn and Lot and property types do vary greatly as do prices. In many ways this adds to the charm of the region as it is so diverse, taking in acres of vineyards and sunflowers in the Lot and Tarn areas to rolling farmland and grandiose gorges in the Aveyron and Tarn et Garonne. 2 bedroom holiday home near Laguepie with pool 175,000e Gillie says that 2013 definitely saw an upturn in the market generally with more sales than in the previous 4 years and a lot more confidence in the market. However she stresses that property prices have dropped considerably and a lot of vendors have been accepting low offers. ‘We don’t have a crystal ball but we think the market has now stabilised and there are definitely a lot of bargains around.’ One thing that Gillie and Anthony have noticed is the increase in the number of foreign buyers, ‘last year it was the Australians and this year it seems to be the Americans’. They have also made a number of sales 3 bedroomed house with pool near Caylus 395,000e to ex-pats living primarily in the Middle East but also in different countries in Europe. So what are these potential buyers looking for? PROPERTIES FOR SALE IN Most have very low budgets (up to 200,000 Euros) TARN, TARN ET GARONNE, and they are looking for village houses with 2-3 AVEYRON AND THE LOT. bedrooms, a small garden or some outside space and ready to move into. Oh and very important, a property We are an English speaking agency based in the village of Caylus with many years of experience selling properties from full with character and a village with shops; quite a tall order renovation projects to beautifully renovated stone houses and and not always easy to find. chateaux in this area of the Midi Pyrénées just north of Toulouse. The UK market is however the one that we target and We network in partnership with major UK Estate Agencies so we are able to provide a first class service to vendors. sell to the most and this can be roughly divided 50/50 into those buying holiday homes and those moving to Anthony & Gillie Pearce AllezSouthWestFrance, Ave de Pere Huc 82160 Caylus France permanently. We are also seeing a number of 0563 250 956 / 0612 518 505 younger families re-locating here as with Toulouse being only I hour away regular trips back to the UK can easily be organised for work purposes and with increased internet access a lot of people can work from home. These buyers are looking for something completely different and usually have budgets between 300,000 & 500,000 Euros. So what are these potential buyers looking for? The ideal is a stone farmhouse ready to move into and not too far from a village with amenities; 4 bedrooms & 2 bathrooms, a pool, a good sized garden and if possible a gîte. Most also ask for a view and no noisy roads nearby. All of this is of course possible to find and we do have a number of properties that meet most of these requirements on our website at the moment. Buyers do however have to be realistic and what I usually say is try to find the top 3 most important things on your criteria list and aim for some but not all of the rest. For property details contact Anthony & Gillie Pearce. email Tel 05 63 25 09 56 mob 06 23 94 82 22 Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014


Les Amis des Chats – Annual Balade Sunday July 27 Join around 30 classic, vintage and road cars in a 50km drive through the beautiful Quercy countryside ending with a BBQ lunch. For details and a booking form see:

Cross Channel Sports Cars rev-up for the coming season...

here and their friends and guests wanting something special for an anniversary or special occasion.” Cross Channel Sports Cars specialise in Morgan sports car rental, but also have a fully restored Deux Chevaux for hire with plans for MG and other classics joining the fleet.


aunched at the beginning of 2013 by former racing driver and marketing man, Andy Sayle from Roquecor – Cross Channel Sports Cars is gearing-up for the 2014 season from their new base in Montaigu de Quercy. Explains Andy “Last year was our first season and despite lots of research and test marketing before we launched the business at the France Show, Earls Court, London, we were still unsure of exactly how much demand there was for our classic car hire services here in the Quercy. However by the end of last season we had exceeded our initial targets and were confident to add a couple more cars for 2014.” “It was important we found somewhere we could safely store the cars and have the space to expand in the future. We also want to sell a few select classic sports cars, something I’ve done in the past, specialising in British classic marques such as Lotus, Morgan and Caterham. The garage premises on Avenue du Stade in Montaigu is ideal, as it is large enough and in a good location.” “I don’t need a forecourt as all hire bookings and car viewings are by prior appointment, but I’m sure our new base will generate a lot of interest and possible bookings from within the area, both from people living

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014

CLASSIC CAR STORAGE Another service CCSC can offer is storing and caring for classic cars for owners who have holiday homes in the region and want their precious classic cared for and ready-to-go on their arrival. Inactivity for a car can cause many problems (just as it does for us humans). All sorts of damage can result from being sat in a barn for any length of time, especially during the winter months. From mildewed upholstery, rusting brightwork, brakes seizing, tyres perishing and the obvious battery and electrical issues. CCSC can keep batteries charged, brakes and tyres rolled and checked, along with routine engine starts and inspections and a pre-arrival valet, so when you arrive on holiday your pride and joy is greeting you and ready to go, rather than giving you a host of jobs to do before you can finally take to the road. So whether it’s hiring or buying a Morgan or classic sports car, storage for your own classic car, looking for the perfect gift for a friend or relative, or you think this exciting classic car hire service could complement your hotel or holiday rental business, then contact: Cross Channel Sports Cars +33 (0)5 63 94 58 31 or visit for more information.

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Small Profits – Quick Returns Any job that requires ladders: roof tiles, ridge tiles, gulleys, guttering, painting, pointing, aerials, satellite dishes etc.

• Roofing – Leak finding and fixing, cleaning and moss removal, guttering, ridges, tiles, battens, beams, insulation. We can make small repairs, carry out preventative maintenance or fit a whole new roof. No job too small or too large! • Satellite Television – Everything from new installations to servicing and adjustments for all service providers, including, Humax, Freesat, Sky, Sky+HD, TF1, Orange, SFR and many others! • Wifi and Local Area Networking – Fault finding and repairs, installations of local area networking systems and general maintenance. • Gite Cleaning and Maintenance – Full service for resident or absent owners, cleaning, gardening, Meet & Greet, pool cleaning, you name it! Call to arrange a free estimate. Always top quality service at an affordable price! Matt Piper: 06 72 56 73 77 or 06 88 88 28 62 email:

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Carpentry, joinery, roofing, bespoke kitchens and furniture, stairs, doors, flooring. Timber-frame houses, property renovation and barn conversions.

Charpentier * Menuisier * Couverture * Maison Bois Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014


Au Matou du Montat L’HÔTEL POUR CHATS

Easy access – close to Cahors, Lot

A new modern cattery which offers a high standard of care and accommodation Heated insulated suites each with private outdoor run Webcam access for remote viewing Pheromone release Suites suitable for cats of all ages and abilities Special care for individual needs Vetbed bedding, toys and scratching posts Contact Susan: or 07 81 62 17 29 See our website for more information:

Sand, Gravel and Crushed Limestone – available from 3 sites (St Denis Catus, Cahors & Crayssac).

We deliver.

Also, Building Materials, Pipe Laying and Skip Hire

05 65 22 79 95 English Spoken



Having lived and worked in France for 15 years, I can help with all your French bureaucracy problems, phone calls, letters, bookkeeping, AE etc.

We offer competitive premiums, no obligation quotes and any advice needed for Home, Business, Vehicle and Health insurance.

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Contact: Melinda Aldous on 0603881195 or

The Quercy Local • May-June 2014

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Our agency offers:


A warm and personal service whether you are a buyer or a seller


Lynn Longley and Sara Baker, your Quercy Locals on the ground


Properties from under e100k to e100 million


Country homes, building plots, townhouses, businesses and chateaux


Office-based bi-lingual point of contact and an expert legal liaison team


Help with finance, foreign exchange, moving and afterwards!



If you are thinking of selling your property we will:


• Value the property according to our knowledge of current market trends

Give you a dedicated contact who will guide you through the whole process

• Market your property to a worldwide clientele via our own website and the most effective property portals

• Prepare quality details

• Use our powerful database to match your property to the requirements of our extensive client list

• Negotiate a mutually satisfactory price for your property

• Liaise with the notaires and statutory authorities

• Accompany you to the signings

Beaux Villages Immobilier, 45 rue des Frères Quéméré, 82150 Montaigu de Quercy 0033 (0)8 05 69 23 23

Profile for The Magazine Production Company

The Quercy Local May-June 2014  

Magazine for English people and businesses in the Quercy region of France

The Quercy Local May-June 2014  

Magazine for English people and businesses in the Quercy region of France