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March – June 2013 Issue 10

uercy Local The

The Region’s FREE English Magazine

Inside: Boats, camper-vans & classic-cars Local artist – A light from the past Roman heritage in SW France French chocolate & rosemary desserts Alexandre-Gustav Eiffel

The London-based theatre company returns to perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Quercy region from 7th – 16th August See p.31 or

D i t g h gers g i r .COM W Sandy Wright ‘Boutadieu’ 47340 Tournon d’Agenais

Tel. 05 53 41 74 28 Mob. 06 30 83 35 22 (Eng) Mob. 06 84 91 05 68 (Fr)

Nous donnons devis et conseils gratuitement! We are happy to give ‘no obligation’ advice! Fosses Filter Systems Déblaiement Site Clearance Piscines Swimming Pool

Démolition Demolition Allées Privées Driveway Aménagement Landscaping Siret No 48495504200011 The Quercy Local • March-June 2013

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The Quercy Local • March-June 2013

4 • the quercy local


elcome to the first edition of 2013. You may have noticed that we’ve changed the publication months and that there was no magazine in February, we’ll be continuing to publish in March, July and November. Following what’s seemed like a particularly long, grey and wet winter we’re all in need of a warm and pleasant spring to restore body and soul. Let’s hope this is not too far away. A great way to kick start the season would be to visit Bernard van de Roer’s Open Studio Weekend in April. You will be inspired to either pick up a paintbrush or at the very least take a closer look at the world around us. You can find out more about Bernard and his art on p.12. Calling all ‘Mr Toad’s’ – In this edition we’ve included some alternative ways to explore the region, so whether you fancy a change of pace, a small adventure or you’re looking for a suggestion to help your visitors to make the most of their time in France, we hope you find this interesting and maybe ‘give it a go’.


It would be intriguing to see if the current inhabitants of our region leave behind anything worthy of investigation in thousands of year’s time. The Romans, clearly, paid a huge part in the area’s development and the role of uncovering the full extent of their involvement is proving to be a growing fascination for all those involved. We have included an extending section of the region’s Roman past, starting on p.44. If you have never thought of adding rosemary to your chocolate recipes then hopefully Paola’s recipes on p.18 will inspire you to ‘give it a go’. Rosemary is something that we seem to be able to grow here without any blood, sweat or tears so finding a new use for it will be most welcome. Please take the opportunity of supporting our advertisers, they are our life-blood. Have a wonderful spring, the next edition will be available in July.



p.34 Hiring a classic Morgan car


p.38 A few things not to miss

p.12 A light from the Past – Local artist p.18  Chocolate and rosemary desserts

p.39 French Easter

p.20 News from the vineyard – springtime surprises

p.40 English Church – Cahors p.44  Monumental site of Excisum

p.22 Local beauty and massage studio

p.46 Roman treasure and villas in the Gers

p.24 Are you a carer?  Understanding this role.

p.52 Alexandre-Gustav Eiffle

p.26 Reflexology

p.56 Roman Roads in Quercy V

p.28 Hotel Barge – The Saint Louis

p.59 Drama at ‘Quercy Unplugged’

p.32 Van-Away – camper-vans with style

p.64 French personal taxation 2013


Remember, it is possible to subscribe and get the magazine delivered to your door more details of this can be found on our website: For all advertising or editorial enquiries please email – An online version of this magazine can be read from our website – This magazine is entirely funded by advertising, please do try and support our advertisers whenever possible and do mention that you saw their advert in The Quercy Local. NOTE – Copy deadlines for the July edition. Editorial – 29th May. Changes and renewal of existing adverts – 6th June. New Advertising deadline – 11th June (or sooner if lack of space dictates) Cover picture: The Saint Louis – Hotel-barge

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. The Quercy Local is published by Red Point Publishing Ltd, (reg. in Eng. and Wales, No. 761556) Editing in France - Anna Atkinson; French admin – Rachel Verne; Distribution managers (47) - Lorraine & Pete Knowles; UK admin/accounts - Vicky Byram. Contributors; Angela Clohessy, Lisa Stanton, Paola Westbeek, Angie Richards and Anna Atkinson

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Farmer Gilles For a Professional Approach Contact:


TEL: 06 81 50 65 18 - English & French spoken - Septic tanks & drains - Interior & exterior excavation - Any digging project undertaken - Foundations / swimming pools

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Benjamin Cuzange

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

Real Estate, low cost and debt collection agent (Cahors) 09 79 05 78 30 / 06 86 78 31 25

TAC PROPERTY SERVICES ‘Think of us as part of you – working in partnership’ We are a property maintenance and cleaning company registered in France. We can provide a complete range of services to clients who either live here permanently or who own a second property in France. 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. Siret No. 502 126 550 000 16

Please visit our website to see the full range of services that we provide Contact: 05 63 39 55 97 email:

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Ent. Marco Jean Plomberie Sanitaire Plaque de Plâtre Isolation Carrelage

Marco & Miranda Schorren Bouysett 82160 ESPINAS 05 63 24 07 33 (English Spoken)

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Bacchus Immobilier

Jenny Small

Your English speaking estate agent in the Quercy e :

t : + 33 (0) 9 53 43 68 24 m: + 33 (0) 6 47 78 49 16 Found de vers, 82190, Touffailles, France Agent Commercial en Immobilier, Carte Professionnel No. 109

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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Specialist Quad Bikes

SSV and all accessories

Agents for POLARIS spécialiste Quads SSV et accessoires

82200 Montesquieu Benoît Decaunes email:

The Quercy Local • March-June 2013

Welcome to the beautiful and sought-after Quercy region of South West France. The FOURNIER-SABATIER family and their colleagues at QUERCY GASCOGNE offer a bi-lingual service and have all types of houses for sale from traditional stone-built houses to manor houses, châteaux and presbyteries, village and modern houses. We have offices in both Montcuq and Montaigu-de-Quercy covering a vast area including the Lot, Lot-et-Garonne, Tarn-et-Garonne and the Tarn. Agence de Montaigu de Quercy 2 place du mercadiel, 82150 MONTAIGU DE QUERCY Tel : Agence de Montcuq 10 rue de la promenade, 46800 MONTCUQ Tel : Valérie SABATIER , agent immobilier ,carte prof N° 46183.

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Hello and thank you for taking the time to read this, my name is Mark Wilson and I moved to France with my family ten years ago and have since then continued my profession as a tree surgeon in France. As tree surgeons we pride ourselves on having a vast knowledge of all tree care including felling, pruning and planting. Every job is different so every time we receive an enquiry we will visit your site and give your job an expert individual assessment it needs and give our expert advice. Tel: 05 53 75 05 48 Mobile 06 89 79 05 02

Tree surgery is not only our livelihood but our passion that means we always deliver the best, professional service possible to you the client. Health and safety is our top priority not just to ourselves but to your property. With this in mind you can have confidence that we carry full public liability insurance. Using our own wood chipper and stump grinder – keeps our prices highly competitive!

We are happy to provide a free quote in your area. To advertise with us email

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12 • the quercy local

A Local Artist creates -

A light from the past By A Atkinson


rom his hillside studio (between Saint Maurin and Bourg de Visa) and with views across a calm sweep of Quercy landscape, Bernard van de Roer creates a light from the past. At some time, everyone must have been fascinated by the depth and intrigue of the region’s history. There’s so much evidence of not simply a- time-gone-past but actually many-a-times-gonepast; times of anguish, struggle, war, celebration, great loves and undoubtedly evil deeds. If you’re intrigued by a building’s uneven and worn steps before you’ve even noticed its more relished architectural qualities; or, if your imagination is captured by the souls that you imagine once occupying the crumbling cottages lining narrow streets or hiding in isolated wooded copses. Then Bernard’s artwork is probably going to be something you’ll cherish. Many of these old buildings are now beyond occupation but their doors, windows and ruined shutters (just like features on well-worn faces) reflect a brightness and warmth that has year after year dried the wood’s grain to a perishing state. Capturing the character and beauty of these abandoned features is not perhaps the most obvious of artistic subjects but this is exactly what Bernard does; preserving this light from the past, with real feeling and skill. As an artist Bernard is self-taught, previously intertwining his love of painting with his career as a marketing specialist for IBM, he always kept his paints close at hand and would fill the gaps between professional appointments with precious moments spent capturing the world around him. Retiring 12 years ago he moved from Holland to France and found himself immediately and completely at home in this beautiful area. Since then he has been working in his studio and

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producing artwork which has been exhibited in many of the local towns and villages. Capturing the spirit of the old and prosaic has always been a theme of Bernard’s work. Many people will have wandered around brocantes and vide greniers (some of which appear more akin to social museums) and admired ancient household wares, handled kitchen tools, delved into trunks of starched and monogrammed household linen and pointed at displays of old laced undergarments. However, after a little time most people realise that there’s nothing that they can do with any of these items and they walk-on. Bernard didn’t always walk-on and as a result he’s put together a collection of watercolour paintings bringing life to these often obsolete bits and pieces, conserving their enchantment and magnetism for us all. Anyone who has any experience of water-colouring will appreciate the level of mastery and the attention to detail that goes into Bernard’s work. His use of the natural colour of the paper (a challenge in its own right) and the ability to portray a delicate light on invariably old and worn objects is something that you really have to have tried to do yourself to understand how subtly he achieves this. People are welcome to visit Bernard and his studio/gallery and you can find out much more information on his web site – Perhaps you have considered learning to water-colour yourself or would like some help improving your skills. Bernard can provide classes on a one-2-one basis and is happy to chat to anyone about this. Why not come along to the Open Studio Weekend in April and find out more?


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OPEN STUDIO WEEKEND April, 27th & 28th 10am – 6pm A coffee and a chance to browse the paintings (absolutely no obligation to buy) Bernard looks forward to meeting you.

Roumiguières, Saint Maurin, 47270 (travelling from Bourg de Visa towards Saint Maurin, look out for the sign to Roumiguières about half way along and on the right hand side). 05 53 66 95 51

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16 • quercy food and wine

Mick Bates – Monflanquin (47150) General Electrician

Certified & Registered Business in France for all Electrical Works | New & Renovation Works Plumbing | All works guaranteed | Free quotation

Tel. 05 82 95 05 73 Port. 06 27 71 94 51 Refer to this advert to receive a 10% discount

English, French & Dutch spoken


Over 25 Years experience • Handmade saddles to order • Bridles & tack made to order • Repairs & alterations to saddles, tack & rugs • Saddle fitting, re flocking Contact Marc CRAESSAERTS Tél : 09 83 30 22 57 Port: 06 49 54 24 02 46170 Flaugnac

Airport Transport Gardening Holiday Changeovers Washing & Ironing

French Property Assistance 05 63 31 78 51 06 04 48 05 24

Building & Maintenance Key Holding Security Pool Maintenance

Full time resident or holiday home owner? French Property Assistance exists to help you, to provide every assistance to you in the maintenance of your house, pool and garden. First established in France in 1993. Give us a call – let us know your requirements and we will help you with just about anything! (82160) The Quercy Local • March-June 2013

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Restaurant ‘La Sirene’ Place de l’Hotel de Ville Montaigu de Quercy (82150) Varied cuisine and a warm welcome guaranteed in this beautiful 16th century Quercy timber & stone building. Pretty terrace overlooking old square and quaint local houses Spectacles online in France at UK Internet prices. Use your French or British Spectacle prescription. Feuille de Soins can be supplied if you are eligible.

Lunchtimes – Tues to Sat Evenings – March: Fri and Sat April and May: Thurs, Fri, Sat June: Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat

Reserve by phone on 05 63 94 44 82 or email at

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3 Easy French Chocolate Desserts for Chocolate Lovers Chocolate lovers, behold! Here are three sinfully delicious and ridiculously easy French chocolate desserts that will have you smiling from the first bite to the last. All three are perfect for any occasion – whether that be a weekend treat or an indulgent finale to your next dinner party. Enjoy them and don’t worry about the calories. The only word of advice before you head into the kitchen is to keep in mind that these recipes demand good-quality, dark chocolate. Make them with anything else and the results will be hardly satisfying.

Bon Appétit !

Chocolate Madeleines with a Bellyful of Confiture de Lait With a cup of tea, madeleines make a wonderful midafternoon treat. Of course, you can find them at just about any supermarket, but baking them yourself is easier than you might think. Here is a variation made with chocolate and filled with sweet, creamy confiture de lait. Make them with your children on a Sunday afternoon. Stored in a jar, they will keep well for about a week.

Makes approximately 2 dozen madeleines 175g butter, melted and cooled 220g all-purpose flour 2 tbsps cocoa powder pinch of salt 4 eggs 200g granulated sugar 2tsp good quality vanilla extract 3tbsp ground almonds confiture de lait

Rosemary Chocolate Mousse with Fleur de Sel

Method Grease the madeleine tray with butter and dust with flour. Melt the butter and set aside to cool. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt into a bowl. Beat the eggs and sugar until thick and pale. I usually do this in my Kitchen Aid mixer but a handheld mixer should work just fine. Add the vanilla extract to the cooled butter. Fold the flour through the eggs and sugar, and then fold in the butter and vanilla and finally the ground almonds. Fill the madeleine shells with about ¾ tbsp of the mix, drop one scant teaspoon of the confiture de lait over each portion and cover with a little more of the mix. Make sure to not over-fill. Pop the tray (and the leftover mix) in fridge for about an hour. Preheat your oven to 190C and bake the madeleines for about 8-10 minutes or until the tiny cakes spring back when gently pressed in the centre. Cool (if you have the willpower to do so) on a wire rack before serving. The Quercy Local • March-June 2013

For your next dinner party, here’s a recipe that is sure to please – not just your guests but also yourself. Why? Because it’s so easy to make and truly fool-proof! You’ll love how that little bit of rosemary magically transforms this chocolaty, eggless mousse into something very special and sophisticated.

Serves 4 (or make in tiny espresso cups to serve 8) 150ml milk 1 medium sized sprig of rosemary, needles plucked plus a few extra bits, left whole, to serve 200g good quality, pure chocolate, broken in small bits 250ml double cream 80g caster sugar Large pinch of fleur de sel and some extra to serve

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Chocolate Cookies with Rosemary and Olive Oil

Method Heat the milk with the rosemary, making sure it doesn’t boil. All you need to do is gently simmer the milk for a few minutes and then take it off the heat to cool. Meanwhile, melt chocolate au bain marie and fill your sink with cold water. Remove the rosemary from the milk and add the melted chocolate, beating very well with a whisk. Plunge the pan into the cold water and let mixture cool, whisking occasionally. In a bowl, whip the cream, sugar and salt until the cream is almost stiff. Add the cooled chocolate mixture in three batches to the cream, stirring well with a wooden spoon after each addition. Pour the mousse into 4 coffee cups or 8 espresso glasses. Add a tiny sprig of rosemary to each portion and refrigerate for at least three hours. Before serving, sprinkle each portion with another pinch of fleur de sel.

On a recent trip through the Provence, my husband and I decided to stop at a bakery somewhere on the way from Orange to Avignon. I stepped inside the bakery with my daughter Kirstie (who’s always in for a treat) and she immediately spotted a thick, pale cookie studded with nuggets of chocolate. She had to try them, and of course, so did I. I ordered six and back in the car, we shared them as a special treat. Little did I know how magical that treat would prove to be because these cookies weren’t just any ordinary chocolate chip cookie, but a decidedly Provençal variation! I could detect the earthy, fragrant scent of rosemary and the mildly aromatic flavour of good olive oil, not butter. From that very first bite, I knew this was a recipe I had to recreate. And here, just for you, I am happy to share the recipe. One last note: do not attempt to serve these cookies with milk or any drink containing milk. They go best with a glass of Banyuls or a strong, dark espresso.

Makes approximately 20 cookies 250g all-purpose flour ½ tsp baking powder pinch of fleur de sel 1 ½ tsp dried rosemary 120g good-quality, dark chocolate, chopped 2 eggs 65 ml olive oil 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method Sift the flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the salt, making sure to grind it finely between your fingers. Add the rosemary and chopped chocolate and stir well. Whisk the eggs with the olive oil and the vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, then add in the sugar and stir well with a wooden spoon. Transfer the dough to a wellfloured surface and knead it into a ball. Divide the dough in two and form a thick disk from each piece. Wrap each piece in cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for at least an hour. Overnight is also fine. Make sure to take the dough out of the fridge ten minutes before rolling it out. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut out cookies of about 1cm thick and 5cm in diameter. Place them on the baking sheet with a little space between each cookie. Bake the cookies for 20 minutes and allow to cool on a wire rack before serving.

Paola Westbeek is a food and travel writer with a good dose of joie de vivre. She is passionate about French cooking, wine, Rembrandt and life. For more information visit:

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Springtime Surprises! Domaine des Sangliers is an independent, organic vineyard located in the hills of picturesque Puy-l’Eveque, one of the best terroirs of the Lot valley. We produce AOC, Vin de Pays du Lot and Vin de Table wines. 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. By Easter, most of us in the Lot are ready to leap wholeheartedly into printemps. Winter this year has been a long one, with far more grey cloud cover than we are generally used to. Good company and a joke or two, are especially welcome as we wait for winter to loosen its grip.

Time Management If I were to write a staff appraisal for myself, my first comment would be, “Lisa has time management issues”. As usual, I was running behind with the pruning, when spring made her welcome, if tentative first appearance. The trouble with viticulture is that it won’t change its natural rhythms, no matter how many other jobs you have to get finished! Luckily, friends are always ready with words of encouragement and a helping hand if needed.

Shaping The Future Some vineyards use a pre-pruning system, whereby they can mechanically remove the vines’ upper growth, but aside from this there are still no short cuts in pruning. Nothing can yet replace a person with a pair of secateurs (albeit they are electric or pneumatic), and an understanding of the plant. Pruning itself is an under-appreciated skill, and one that the French excel in. Still, one of my great pleasures is to see the beautifully sculptured trees in the village squares and the surrounding gardens. Careful choices of cut must be made, or you risk damaging the plant for many years. The abundance (or lack!) of flowers or fruits is a direct result of the pruner’s skill. I learnt vine pruning initially from books in a classroom; later I began my apprenticeship of la The Quercy Local • March-June 2013

taille under the watchful eye of a very, very old and experienced viticulteur (actually, I now realise that he was probably only about 50!). I soon realised that it’s all very well learning the theory, but only the plant will tell you where to cut, sometimes breaking every rule in the textbook!

Taming The Wild side Following the pruning, the vineyard’s post and wire system must be checked over, repaired or replaced as necessary, ready for the tying down. The wires are the support system for the vines; initially they are used to force the plant to grow in the required form and later become a bearer of weight from the growth and fruit, as well as a trellis system for the delicate, but incredibly strong tendrils to cling to. The “tying down”, involves forcing the main shoot to lie horizontally (by tying it to the wire), when all it really wants to do is grow straight upwards. If you’re heavy handed, it will just snap off, meaning no fruit production at all for that year. All of this must be finished before the first delicate leaf buds appear, or they will be knocked off, instantly reducing the crop.

Selling The Product Of course, all of this effort is for nothing if you don’t sell the end result (note from my boss, “Lisa, just drinking it, isn’t good enough!”). I will be at markets around the region every morning from Easter onwards, and at the property available for tastings in the afternoons. Summer will be packed with a variety of events, including the Annual Fêtes du vin in Puy l’Evêque, the foire in Duravel and an incredible array of farmer’s markets and gourmet evenings. Sometimes a lot of effort goes into a sale, other times none at all. I will share with you one of my more unusual sales experiences:

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Language Skills A few weeks ago, some friends and I were having a glass (or two) of wine with lunch, messing around and putting on various accents, doing our best to alleviate the winter blues (or greys as they should be called). One of the conclusions we arrived at during the course of our meal, is that the French actually do always sound incredibly sexy when they speak English. After lunch, and back to work in the chai, immediately the phone rings. Now, you need to use your imagination and read this with a very sexy French accent: “Allo Lisa? I ave eard about you and your wines, and I want to come and taste zem. I ave eard many sings and I want to come to try you out”. He claimed to be an important chap, representing an important buyer. Instantly suspicious after our lunchtime frivolity and as French customers never speak to me in English, I never the less played along. I told him that he would be welcome to come along for a tasting at any time. “Zis is wonderful, I will be wiz you in ten minutes”, he replied. So, I put the coffee on and waited for my naughty, but amusing friends to arrive. A few minutes later a car pulls up, and an impeccably dressed young man walked into the tasting room. Continuing to play along, I served the impossibly good looking and totally charming impostor, a tasting of every wine. He played his part beautifully, just the right amount of flirting and joking and faultlessly maintaining his perfect, sexy French accent. Wow, I thought, they’ve really pulled out all the stops for this joke. My fake buyer left and I spent the rest of the afternoon chuckling to myself and waiting to be descended upon by my smug friends. No phone call, no visit, not a word from any of them! The next day, I received a large order from an important buyer, who had, apparently enjoyed his tasting session the day before! Oh la la! If we are at the property, we are open (between 2pm and 8pm). However, as we are working across 10 hectares of land and often at markets, please call ahead if you want to be certain of a reception! Domaine des Sangliers – Les Sarrades – 46700 – Puy-l’Eveque Kim-Louis & Lisa Stanton – 05 65 31 61 25 - 06 04 03 34 12

Beautiful Bespoke Kitchens Free standing units made-to-measure. Hand finished. Choice of Farrow and Ball colours. Solid wood worktops with range of finishes. Showroom available to view. Tel:- 06 35 96 62 21

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22 • the quercy local

Simply Beauty &Massage with Karen Warden


o you’ve survived another winter, probably virtually embalmed in layers of woollen clothing and topped with a fetching set of waterproofs. At the time of writing we have just experienced a very wet and soggy period and the notion of the start of spring is a little way off. However, the one advantage of living here in France is that we know it will arrive! So, hopefully as you’re reading this we’ll have enjoyed a glimpse of the warmth ahead and you’re quickly shedding all notions of hibernation. A great place to start to prepare for the inevitable peeling back of the layers and the start of the busiest months of the year is to consider giving Karen Warden a call. Tucked away in the countryside near Bonaguil in the Lot et Garonne, Simply Beauty and Massage The Quercy Local • March-June 2013

offers, from its newly refurbished studio, all sorts of treatments to revive you and help prepare you for the coming months with renewed energy and even a little bit of glamour! The studio’s peaceful setting made it the perfect place for Karen to fulfil her dream of opening her own beauty and massage studio. Karen has a wealth of experience and has distinctions in her City & Guilds and NVQ qualifications. Whilst in the UK Karen also worked with professional make-up artists such as Zaf Ansari, the Director of Pharmagel skin care and also took make-up courses with Gemma Kidd for Catwalk, TV and Films. At Simply Beauty & Massage Karen’s philosophy is to keep things natural and pure, making sure that skin is treated with only the best that nature has to offer

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the quercy local • 23

can also offer training packages for salons and mobile therapists, who may to wish to join the Amazing Smile team. So if you’ve ever felt that you could rejuvenate yourself with teeth whitening but imagined it would be complicated or difficult to arrange then do give Karen a call and find out what’s involved. For more information on all the that Karen and Simply Beauty & Massage has to offer, please see the website:

Simply Beauty & Massage and also that her clients leave feeling totally relaxed. Karen uses professional products from the Kaeso range for skin care and massage. These products are Ph balanced, hypoallergenic and contain no animal ingredients. In particular these are extremely effective when used to treat a whole range of skin conditions in both the younger and mature clients. It’s possible to arrange all sorts of different treatments and even ‘pamper days’ (these can make ideal gifts) which are great as a bonus for holidaymakers staying in the region. The list of beauty treatments offered include luxury facials, aromatherapy facials, manicures, pedicures, eye-lash tinting, eyebrow shaping, professional make-up, spray tans and cosmetic teeth-whitening. For those seeking massage treatments, Karen can offer aromatherapy massage, deep tissue massage and sports massage. Karen is able to provide full bridal packages. If you haven’t got the excuse of a wedding or large celebration, why not just get a group of friends together and have a relaxing pampering day at home? Did you promise yourself some more ‘me-time’ this year? Or, if you’re about to have a whole house-full of visitors descend on you, you may feel you can justify a bit of a treat for yourself. This might be a perfect time to try out a manicure or a pedicure with Gellux Gel Polish. These hardy long-lasting polishes are good for your nails and might just give you a little boost. After all, someday very soon we’ll all be back in sandals! Something new for the region! Karen recently became a consultant for the Amazing Smile team, offering cosmetic teeth whitening treatments. She

Offering a full range of Beauty & Massage Treatments For 2013 Smile with confidence with Amazing Smile the most up-to-date Teeth Whitening System 100% Safe & Zero Peroxide

Qualified City & Guilds Beauty & Massage Therapist Professional consultant for Amazing Smile UK/France For treatments and appointments please see our website

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24 • the quercy local

Are you a Carer? Understanding the role of the Carer


ome of us who are currently living in France are carers and at some point in time some of us will become a carer to our partner, relative or a friend who need support because of age, physical or learning disability or illness, including mental illness. At any time in your life you may be called upon to look after someone close to you that has become ill or disabled and can no longer cope on their own in the home. As a carer it will probably be expected of you to be the main provider of comfort and support to the person that needs your help. That can be a daunting prospect, particularly if the care period is likely to be long term. There are young carers; this means carers who are under the age of 18. The person receiving care is often a parent but can be a brother or sister, grandparent or other relative who needs support. There are also parent carers; by parent carer we mean a parent of a disabled child. Parents will often see themselves as parents rather than carers, but their child will have additional care needs and may be entitled to additional services. To understand what a carer is: • A carer is someone who accepts the responsibility of providing long term care and support for another individual who is frail, disabled, and /or has a long term illness. • A carer may be a relative, friend or neighbour. They are not always paid for the care they provide. • Carers often live with the person they care for but this is not always the case. • Carers provide care because of the relationship they have with the cared for person. Most do it willingly, but some feel they have no choice. Being a carer is rarely something people have planned to do. • The physical and emotional wellbeing of a carer can be compromised by their caring role. Caring for someone with a terminal illness Taking care of someone with a terminal illness has been described as one of the toughest, but possibly most rewarding challenges of life.

The Quercy Local • March-June 2013

But being a carer is one of the greatest gifts we can give to those we love – even though we wish it were a gift we never had to give. People with a terminal illness will have a range of needs that go beyond meeting their physical or medical requirements. They are offered holistic care which focuses on quality of life and aims to help people live well. A team of health care professionals including doctors, nurses, allied health workers, chaplains and volunteers, provides specialised, coordinated care addressing the physical, emotional, social, cultural and spiritual needs of not just the ill person, but of their family and carers. This type of care can last for weeks, months or even years. This approach aims to make the patient feel in control of their treatment and their quality of life. It involves family and friends, recognising that they, too, need to be prepared for the life threatening illness of someone they love, as well as being there to offer help and support during the grieving process. What it means to be a Carer Being a carer can be very stressful. There’s the feeling of having the need to constantly watch over the person you care for. You worry about their health and your health too. You may be forced into part-time work and worry about finances, outside care, breaks away from the dependant relative, worry about who will look after them. For these reasons, caring for someone can be confusing, exhausting and frightening at times. Who Becomes A Carer? You can become a carer of someone who lives with you, lives nearby or lives far away. It often happens without you even noticing. Initially, perhaps a member of your family or a close friend is diagnosed with a serious illness and you are the only person in a position to care for them. Maybe, you offer to give a lift for hospital appointments or to get shopping. As time goes by, instead of helping on the odd occasion, you discover that you become more of a personal assistant, caring for all areas of the person’s life on a daily basis. Although this will still involve shopping and hospital appointments, it could also involve paying bills, arranging

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QUERCY CARERS Stay in your own home and receive support from an experienced team of English-speaking carers. Whether your need is short-term (ie recovering from illness or surgery) or long-term, whether you need around-the-clock presence or just a few hours a day/week, help is at hand. As well as offering companionship, the team can undertake shopping, cooking, driving, light housework, laundry and gardening.

To discuss your requirements or those of a family member, please contact or telephone Quercy Carers on 05 63 05 17 35 or 06 37 22 88 16 LOCAL REFERENCES AVAILABLE

personal care, meals on wheels, house cleaning and pet care.

therefore that as a carer you maintain good physical and mental health. The following pointers may help you with this:

What does being a carer involve? In some cases, probably with a member of your family, often an elderly one, it could involve toileting, bathing and feeding the person who is unwell. Caring is effectively helping another person do those tasks that they are no longer capable of, or never have been capable of, doing alone. As a result, the life of a carer often becomes severely restricted by a variety of caring responsibilities. These additional tasks can be difficult, unrewarding or timeconsuming and frequently have a detrimental impact on the carer’s health, social life and financial situation.

Breaks Are you getting enough rest? Are you taking time off to relax and enjoy life away from your caring role?

Looking after yourself as a carer As a carer, it is important that your own health needs are met – both physical and emotional. Keeping well yourself means that you are better placed to carry out your caring role. There are many things to consider when caring for someone who is disabled, ill, elderly or frail. It is important

Moving and Handling There’s a proper way to move and handle someone without straining your back or injuring your joints that also ensures the safety of the person you are moving. Talking to others Often pent-up feelings can lead to stress and ill health. Another way to help with your feelings is by joining a carers’ group. This is where you can meet and talk with other carers about most things. Rebuilding your life after caring The ending of your caring role may take some time to adjust to. Having more time to yourself may give you the opportunity for a much needed rest, but it can also leave you with a lot of time to fill.

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If you are used to always having things to do, it can be hard to stop and think about what you would like to do, and to be able to make choices for yourself. Some people find that once they are no longer caring, exhaustion – both physical and emotional – catches up with them and they may feel unwell for a while.

stating his annual pension • his Taxe Foncière and • Taxe d’Habitation • C  arte Vitale and Attestation, and even a recent Utility bill to confirm residence

Finding new challenges It can take time to come to terms with the loss of your caring role, but there will come a time when you are ready to think about what to do next. Keeping in touch with friends, family and your local community can be difficult when you do not have much time for yourself.

NEW BILL TO SUPPORT THE CARER OF TERMINALLY ILL PATIENTS – FEBRUARY 2010 The French parliament has voted in favour of a new bill which will give the partner or relative of a dying person an allowance to care for them. It’s a sensitive issue which is aimed at making it easier for both terminally ill people and their carer’s. The new bill means that the relative or carer will be entitled to an allowance of 49 Euros a day which will be payable for 21 days to compensate them for time taken off work. The payments can also be divided among several relatives or carers. The government has said that it calculates that the new bill will help around twenty thousand people each year at a cost of approximately 20 million Euros.

What help is there available. Homecare is very common in France. The first step is to visit your doctor and ask for your doctor if he/she can write a prescription for “Homecare” so that the cost is covered under whatever medical system (mutuelle) the patient is on. To apply for free “Auxiliare de Vie” help for a few hours a week to assist the carer you will need to get photocopies made of the following: • Patients passport • your “Avis d’Imposition” (Income Tax Statement) • and a document from the UK Pensions Office

You then make an appointment with the assistante sociale at your local Mairie to request this help.

Angela Clohessy – Funeral Director Dip. FD MBIFD

Reflexology Reflexology has been practised for thousands of years and has its roots in eastern philosophy where the wholeness of the individual is paramount. In Buddhism and Hinduism, both very old religions, the feet are thought to symbolise the unity of the Universe and the Ultimate one. There is evidence of the practice from the Ancient Egyptians. The oldest document that could be interpreted as the practice of reflexology is a papyrus scene depicting the treating of patient’s hands and feet. In the tomb at Saqqara of a physician called Ankhamor there is a wall painting dated from about 2330BC. The hieroglyphics are translated as the patient’s plea ‘do not hurt me’ and the practioner’s reply, ‘I shall act so you praise me’.1 Dr. William Fitzgerald, an ENT specialist in Vienna studied and developed the idea of zone therapy (origins dating back to 16c). He applied pressure to various The Quercy Local • March-June 2013

parts of the body corresponding to ten zones that divided the body from fingers and toes to the top of the head.

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The first article on the subject was published in 1915. This was further developed by an American, Dr. Riley. He was the one who made detailed drawings of reflex points located on the feet. Eunice Ingham, one of Dr. Riley’s students, became the main pioneer of reflexology as we know it today. In turn a student of Eunice Ingham’s, Doreen Bayley, introduced this healing art to Great Britain in the 1960s. Today reflexology is seen as an extremely effective complementary therapy. It is about treating a person as a whole and is still based on the principle that reflex points on the feet and hands correspond to each organ and structure in the body through the ten zones found by Dr Fitzgerald. If one area of the body is out of balance, this will inevitably affect the rest of the body. The aim of reflexology treatments is to aid the body and mind in attaining harmony in all its functions in every system. Through regular treatments the body can start to heal itself. A reflexologist applies gentle pressure to these reflex points and will be able to detect any imbalance. Our body has an energy flow. Think of it like the electricity circuit in your house! By working these reflex points we can release blockages in the body and increase energy flow. Massaging the feet increases the natural force of the body’s blood circulation. Tension is relaxed throughout the nervous system. Any strain that the body is under is released and normal energy flow can be restored which means the body is helped back to its normal balance for good health. “A growing understanding of the human being as an energetic, multi-layered being whose life and vitality depends on contributory life style factors, perceptions of life events, emotional response, mental attitudes and spiritual awareness, has led to and encouraged investigation from health care professionals and the individual into the new area of how to keep a healthy body, mind and spirit. This growing understanding has flourished and has developed reflexology and holistic health care philosophies generally, into more clinical methods of practice.”2 Health challenges can be a part of life for months or even years. When regular reflexology is entered into as part of a health plan amazing results are often experienced and the immune system is strengthened. By allowing your whole being to enter into a deep state of relaxation on a regular basis the cumulative benefits of reflexology are felt. Your whole being is encouraged towards greater health and wellness for a lifetime. References – The Reflexology Workshop, by Jenny Hope-Spencer 1. Pg 17, 2. Pg 12 Barbara Tew gained her Diplomas in Anatomy, Physiology and Reflexology at the Devon Academy of Complementary Therapies in 2011. She is also a student of the Bach Flower Centre in Oxfordshire and holds a B.Ed. in Food and Nutrition. She taught for 17 years before moving to France. For further information please don’t hesitate to contact Barbara on To advertise with us email

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“Here today, up and off to somewhere else tomorrow! Travel, change, interest, excitement! The whole world before you, and a horizon that’s always changing!” Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows Maybe we don’t need to go quite as far as Mr Toad but finding a different way of getting out and about allows us to see things from different perspectives and enjoy undiscovered routes and hidden treasures. Over the next few pages we hope to show some alternative ways of making the most of our surroundings and even little further afield. From a boat, to a modern-day twist on caravanning and even the sheer delight of an open-top car we hope that both residents and visitors to the region will be inspired to their own adventure.

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The Saint Louis –

an unrushed and enchanting view of la vie en France

by A Atkinson

You don’t need to be a seasoned sailor to appreciate that life could seem ‘oh so different’ from onboard a boat...


he opportunity to travel peacefully along the waterways of France’s most beautiful, historical and gastronomically diverse regions is surely worth considering by anyone relishing a relaxing, alternative and even luxurious break. What if this could be combined with new sites and hearing first-hand of local characters, foods, vineyards, historical villages, and gleaning a taste of medieval (and more recent) histories? I’d heard about a hotel-barge that cruised the canals to the south of the Quercy region. I discovered that this boat was called the Saint Louis and so during December I drove to visit her and her Captain. Usually a drive through the region is time well spent. Today, however, it was one of those wintery, wet and grey days that when everything is bleak and weary. So if you’re reading this on a fine spring or summer’s day, do remember that the region does have its (usually short) bursts of winter when people involved in seasonal businesses are preparing and repairing ready for the onset of the warmer seasons. I suppose normally it wouldn’t have been difficult to find a house with a large 30m hotel-barge moored outside, but with this low cloud and persistent rain it was taking me all my time to avoid ditches, muddy patches on the road and on-coming white vans. Thankfully my GPS had instantly recognised the address that Alasdair had emailed to me. So I was able to concentrate on staying safe and soon I was creeping over a rather humped bridge and there ‘as large as life’ was moored the magnificent hotel-barge the Saint Louis, it almost dwarfed the canal-side cottage against which it was moored. Even in the depths of winter it was easy to imagine this scene in summer with a blaze of brightly coloured plants and the inevitable sea of lush waterside greens. It was a delight to meet Alasdair and Barbara Wyllie and even more delightful to get inside their warm and cosy cottage and find out all about their To advertise with us email

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floating hotel and to discover the extent of Alasdair’s vast local knowledge and last (but very much not least), the delights of Barbara’s home-made soup. With maps covering the table Alasdair explained the two general routes they took on the canal system between Montauban and Bordeaux (Montauban to Agen or from Agen towards Castets-en-Dorthe). Doubtlessly, Alasdair’s vast wealth of knowledge offers his guests a chance to discover many of the famous as well as the less-well-known regional treasures. There is more to see than can be fitted into one trip so it’s largely up to individual parties to decide where to disembark and what to explore. Trips can be made within reasonable distance from the canal; Alasdair and his people-carrier can transport people comfortably to places such as Cahors and Lauzerte. However, the canal is steeped in its own history and encompasses great feats of engineering from the Pente d’Eau (water slope) at Montech, the stunning aqueduct at Moissac to the longest masonry aqueduct in France at Agen. There are art-galleries, craft workshops and often quirky museums hidden-away along the routes, many of The Quercy Local • March-June 2013

which the passing visitor (and indeed residents) may easily miss. Amongst the most popular places to visit are the many local vineyards; it would after-all be sacrilege to miss the unique and individual vineyards along the boat’s route. Amongst the favourites are the (conveniently and coincidentally named) Château Saint Louis. Situated to the East of the region, the vineyard’s owners Cecile and Ali Mahmoudi produce AOC Fronton wines. These congenial and welcoming proprietors continue their wine-making in a beguiling environment with a real Persian twist. An alternative visit lets guests find out about the truly historical Côtes du Brulhois wines produced by Isabelle and Catherine Orliac at their Chateau la Bastide, close to Valance d’Agen. In 1780, Louis XVI invited the sisters’ ancestor to supply the Royal Court with wine and so began a colourful and on-going relationship with Versailles. After lunch, I took the chance to look around the Saint Louis, a 127 ton vessel originally built in Holland in 1923 as a bulk cargo carrier to transport gravel and grain. A class of boat called a ‘Luxemotor’

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which is why (even to a boating novice) she’s so elegant. Once inside the boat I was surprised at the wholly unexpected amount of space. Barbara explained that the key requirements for such vessels included reliability, stability and practicality – which is why she proved a perfect subject for her conversion into a luxury barge-hotel in 1994. Then in 2007 she underwent a complete refurbishment to keep her facilities thoroughly up-to-date. The term ‘floating hotel’ isn’t wasted on the Saint Louis, the guest staterooms felt spacious and comfortable. The salon and dining area were comfortable and stylish with a real air of elegance, there’s even a clue to Alasdair and Barbara’s time spent living and sailing in Scotland with an enviable selection of whiskies on offer at the bar. The salon walls also display original Wyllie etchings; Alasdair’s great-grandfather, W L Wyllie, was one of the great 19th century marine artists and a member of the Royal Academy. Just off the salon, it was hard not to be impressed with Barbara’s organised galley kitchen where she prepares delightful meals for her guests. A chance

to bring to the table many of the local foods the guests will have seen growing or grazing on the local farm-land or on trips to vibrant local markets. Sailing regularly through great (but often less well-known) vineyards has given Alasdair an opportunity to select great wines and so continuing the emphasis on local quality the boat carries up to 40 carefully selected wines. As I left the vessel by the gang-plank I could easily imagine an easy life on board and see why this particular boat is so popular with those that enjoy some real comfort with their adventuring. Back on the tow-path I looked back at this sleeping giant of a boat as it quietly waited for the arrival of both some warmth and the first of the season’s visitors. It occurred to me then that many of the treasures that the Saint Louis transports its guests past and to see I still have not managed to visit after many years in France. Maybe there’s a lesson here for those continuing to travel further afield for their holidays. Maybe there’s something that we can do closer to home that’ll open our eyes and relax our souls just as well! Time to leave Alasdair and Barbara and the Saint Louis behind me, (and because it was one of those very particularly French grey winter days) the sun is now out for the journey home, all the low cloud and rain had vanished and on this cold December afternoon I now so badly need my sunglasses! To find out more about the Saint Louis and her travels, Alasdair and Barbara’s website is well worth a visit.

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ll successful businesses begin with a great idea and Van-Away is no exception. A few years ago, Jean-Philippe Ferton the dynamic founder of Van-Away, wanted to take a friend on a camping car holiday. He spent ages trying to find a rental van and could find nothing to tickle his fancy. Jean-Philippe developed a taste for vacations on the open road when he lived in Australia. “I toured all over. Off-road, in towns, by the sea. The sense of freedom you get in a camping car, stopping wherever you like for as long as you want. J’adore ça. Now that I’m back in France I want to introduce people to this form of travel.” Thanks to financial backing from a sympathetic banker who could see the huge potential for this type of holiday in our crisis–driven times, Jean-Philippe got the green light for Van-Away. Last summer Clotilde and her family decided to do something different for their holidays. “I found Van-Away on the internet. I wrote an email requesting more information,” she said. “Jean-Philippe The Quercy Local • March-June 2013

got back to me immediately with helpful suggestions on what he could provide in terms of equipment, routes and his prices were really reasonable.” A few weeks later Clotilde, her husband and two children (aged 2 and 5) picked up their custom-fitted van and headed off for a week of adventure and discovery in the Lot and Aveyron.

Combatting the Faff Factor Often the first thing that comes to mind when camping is mentioned is the faff factor; the hours of planning and packing, equipping the van, fiddling around with tents. Ugh. Van-Away has eliminated all that hassle. Campers arrive at Jean-Philippe’s office (in Aucamville – minutes from Toulouse), park their car (free for the duration of their holiday) and pick up the keys to a brand new van, fully equipped and ready to roll. Beds for babies, racks for bikes, Jean-Philippe customises vans to suit his clients’ needs. Travelling with their 9 year-old grandaughter, Nicole and Daniel appreciated the roominess of the

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van and how easy it was to drive – “We got 8.1 litres per 100 kilometers.” Anyone who’s camped knows how clammy and damp things can get inside. “The heating system was efficient and took the moisture out of the air really quickly. Its size meant we could go down narrow roads and technically it was impeccable.” The two are already planning their next trip… this time to Croatia.

A Gite on Wheels Open the back door of the van, unfold the sink, slide out the gas burner and supper’s nearly ready. The fridge chills your wine, and the driver and passenger seats swivel around transforming the rear area into a comfy lounge. Feeling drowsy? Switch on the GPS. Locate a babbling brook. Turn down the bed, slither between the sheets (provided with the rental) and have a siesta. Nathalie and her husband said, “I do” and then drove straight off into the sunset in a Van-Away van for their

honeymoon! They spent two weeks on a romantic tour around the South West. “Some chose exotic destinations for their honeymoon. France is a place filled with history and local traditions that are best appreciated at one’s own rhythm and according to one’s own taste. That’s why we chose to travel in a van. We set up camp in all kinds of places; at the foot of a chateau on the banks of the Lot, facing the ocean in Basque country and at the entrance of a medieval village. One day we canoed down the Dordogne and then drove on to the dune du Pila where the sound of the wind and the waves lulled us to sleep.” Jean-Philippe has ordered 4 new VW “California” campers that will be road-ready in March. Follow that van! For more information, visit the website and then… visit Europe. Contact: Jane Jeanneteau

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Hire a classic Morgan sports car in the beautiful Quercy


magine the warm breeze in your hair and the feel of the hand-crafted wood and leather of a bygone era – well thanks to Cross Channel Sports Cars, based in the Midi-Pyrenees and run by former competitive racing driver and sports car fanatic Andy Sayle, it’s now possible to hire an elegant two-seater Morgan, to drive around the stunning South West of France. CCSC offer weekend or weekly Morgan hire and can also help with accommodation bookings, organizing bespoke tours and providing airport pick-ups if required, to help take the hassle out of planning the dream holiday. Their new Morgan Plus 4 sports cars are replaced every two years to provide complete ‘peace-of-mind’ motoring, without the usual reliability and safety concerns normally associated with hiring old classic cars. Handcrafted at Morgan’s Malvern factory in Worcestershire, the cars come equipped with leather reclining sports seats, wood-rimmed steering wheel, easy-up hood, leather bonnet straps, wire wheels and a rear luggage rack, they offer the ultimate in classic car touring. Even picnic baskets and leather Morgan suitcases can be hired, to further add to the unique Morgan experience. With mile upon mile of beautiful empty winding roads, the Quercy region is tailor-made for classic car touring, and for the more adventurous, what better way to visit the famous vineyards of Bordeaux, the Atlantic coast, or to even cruise down to the Riviera, than in a stylish classic British sports car. It was during their numerous trips across the channel to compete at French race circuits, that Andy and his wife Ann-Marie first fell in love with France and in 2005 they decided to put down roots in Roquecor, Tarn et Garonne. Says Andy, “Driving through the stunning French countryside in a variety of different sports cars over the years, inspired the concept of ‘Cross Channel Sports Cars’ and provided us with an opportunity to combine our two great passions”.

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The Morgan rental service was officially launched at the France Show, at Earls Court in London in January, Cross Channel Sports Cars also source classic British sports cars direct from the UK for enthusiasts living in France. Andy is currently focused on promoting his exciting new classic car rental service and has already received a great deal of interest from local Chateau, Hotel and quality Gite owners, looking to add this unique experience for their clients and guests to enjoy.

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So whether you fancy taking to the wheel of a Morgan sports car, or you are looking for the perfect gift for a classic car enthusiast, friend or relative, or think this exciting new service could complement your Hotel or holiday rental business, then contact Cross Channel Sports Cars and let them help you arrange the ultimate classic car driving experience. All Morgan rentals include fully comprehensive insurance and breakdown cover, a detailed briefing and familiarisation test drive, in-car info pack, maps and safety equipment and a 250km allowance per day. Drivers must be over the age of 25 and have held a valid licence for 3 years or more. Visit or phone +33 (0)5 63 94 58 31 for more details. To advertise with us email

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Update from Les Amis des Chats Last year proved another successful year for Les Amis des Chats. The charity, which promotes the well being of stray and pet cats, spent over 8,000e in neutering over 100 stray cats through its Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) programme. A further 271 vouchers, worth over 10,000e, were given to people on low incomes to enable them to sterilise their pet cats. In total Les Amis des Chats enabled 333 cats to enjoy a healthier and potentially longer life. Since 2000, almost 4,000 cats have been helped in this way. This work was only possible thanks to the fundraising efforts of a great many people whether by taking out association membership, attending events from a quiz night to vide greniers or supporting the three charity shops. After a January snooze, which enabled a review of stock, the shops in Lauzerte, Roquecor and Beauville are open again (see website for locations and opening times).

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Fencing and Decking Specialists Garden Services Grass cutting l Hedge cutting Tree work l Rubbish removal Depts. 24,33,46,47,82 Tel 06 35 96 62 21 Email: This year also sees a new look website for the charity – take a look at Work is also underway on a list of fundraising events for 2013. Diary dates so far include a Quiz evening on May 5th at the Café du Centre in Roquecor and a local car rally on Sunday July 21st. Les Amis des Chats would love to hear from people keen to run their own fundraising event in aid of the charity. Anyone with ideas should contact Caroline Sweeney on 05 63 05 17 35 or email

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In our restaurant you will find only the very best of Quercy’s gastronomy, meals prepared with only fresh local organic ingredients. Whether you dine in the exquisite dining-room or on the beautiful summer terrace you will be in the perfect place for an experience never to be forgotten. Set in beautiful landscaped gardens Le Manoir St Jean offers peace and tranquility as well as a real sense of style with its neoclassical elegance. If you are looking for somewhere for a special treat, a celebration or simply somewhere to try the best of the region’s products then a table at Le Manoir awaits. We recommend calling us to reserve a table. (Eng. Spoken) At Le Manoir St Jean we have a selection of individually designed rooms/suites which will help you make the very best of your visit to the region. Le Manoir St Jean 82400 Saint-Paul d’Espis Tél. : + 33 (0) 5 63 05 02 34

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A few things not to miss! BELIBEN nr SAUZET 46140 – BARN BOOK SALE In aid of Poorpaws Dog Rescue and Cancer Research. Easter Saturday, 30th March, 10.30 am – 3.30pm in Lesley’s Barn. All good quality paperbacks 1e each, plus excellent home-made cakes and refreshments. If you have any books, CDs or DVDs you’d like to donate in advance of the sale, please contact us to arrange collection.,, or

Chats du Quercy Spring Bonanza in celebration of our third anniversary! 20-21st April 11am-6pm Open weekend at the Cat Rescue Centre in Miramont de Quercy (82190) including Massive sale of books and many, many other items. Also, permanently open “La Chat Boutique” sale of new and excellent quality used items at Cat Rescue Centre in Miramont de Quercy – call on 05 63 94 73 97 to check open times. Plus, Permanent sale of hand-made craft items at La Poste, Miramont de Quercy

The orchestra, soloists and choir of the OCP is performing one of the greatest choral works over the Easter weekend. Dvorak wrote many of his major works in response to commissions from British musical societies or festival associations, and the Requiem was composed for the Birmingham Triennial Music Festival of 1891, where it was conducted by the composer himself. It is a romantic, almost operatic work in the tradition of Berlioz, Verdi and Brahms, intended for concert rather than church performance. It was an immense success at the time, and ever since – come and hear why!

Dvorak ‘Requiem’

Soloistes: Marie Caroline Kfoury soprano, Tatiana Varapaï alto, Joseph Kauzman tenor. Musical Director: Richard Beswick Dress rehearsal open to the public, half-price Verteuil d’Agenais 47260 – Friday 29 March – 20.30h at the church


GRAND CONCERT Au profit de l’Association des Paralysés de France Le dimanche 17 mars à 16h en l’église du Sacré Coeur à Cahors avec l’ORCHESTRE DIVERTIMENTO du conservatoire de Montauban et la CHORALE CÔTÉ CHŒUR de Cahors Entrée 10e. Tarif de soutien: 15e Contact: 05 65 35 73 03 ENSEMBLE, FINANÇONS UN SÉJOUR VACANCESPOUR DES PERSONNES EN SITUATION DE HANDICAP

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Dvorak’s Requiem: Easter Concerts by the Orchestre du Centre Philharmonique

Puy l’Evêque 46700 – Saturday 30 March – 16h at the church Bergerac 24100 – Sunday 31 march – 16h at the Temple Eysses 47300 – Monday 1 April – 16h at the church Adultes 20e, young and concessions 10e, less than 12 yrs free. Billets à l’entrée et réservations au 05 53 41 91 49 Enquiries in English 05 65 36 45 98

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Open Days, June 29 & 30 10am – 7pm Ferme de Lacontal Touffailles 82190 Come and learn about lavender production and see the fields in flower. There’ll be stalls and paths marked to walk amongst the lavender. 05 63 95 78 12 At Touffailles, follow the signs ‘Bienvenue à la Ferme’ Free Entry. A great day out!

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Handmade Kitchens

...think of stone floors ...think of oak worktops ...think of hand painted cupboards

call: 0553 66 92 70 email:

French Easter (Pâques) By Angela Clohessy


aster is celebrated in France with religious ceremonies commemorating the rebirth of Jesus, and cultural customs with rabbits, chocolates and eggs. The predominant religion in France is Catholic (90%). No city, village or town is without a church and on the Thursday before Good Friday, all church bells in France are silenced in acknowledgement of Jesus’ death. This is a sign of mourning. In fun, children are told that the bell’s chimes have flown to Rome to see the Pope. Easter morning, the bells ring out once again in celebration of the Resurrection, declaring that Jesus is alive again. These are known as the Easter bells. Easter morning is a happy time for children who wake up to look for colorfully decorated Easter eggs (les oeufs de Pâques) hidden in their gardens, homes and playgrounds. Parents tell their children the eggs were brought from Rome (where the chimes had gone), and that when the chimes returned they brought the eggs with them. In some parts of France children look for small chariots full of eggs pulled by white horses. Everyone gets an automatic three-day weekend which they usually use to spend time with family. Schools and universities tend to center the second spring holiday (two weeks for each of them) around Pâques as well. Public life is generally very quiet on Easter Sunday, as on other Sundays, in France. Post offices, banks, stores and other businesses are closed. Outside of tourist areas, restaurants and cafes may be closed.

Cloche Volant (Chocolate Flying Bells) As mentioned above, bells play an important role in the French Easter tradition. Chocolatiers sell chocolate flying bells alongside Easter eggs and bunnies. These edible bells are associated with the resurrection of Jesus, a time for celebration, and the end of Lent.

French Confiseries and Chocolatiers As always, the French take great pride and joy in their food, and no village is without at least one or more confiseries. Easter is the perfect time of year for master chocolatiers to display and celebrate their delectable wares. Great attention to detail and years of practice result in chocolate eggs that resemble works of art but also edible.

Easter Games Raw eggs are rolled down a gentle slope. The surviving egg is declared a victory egg, and symbolizes the stone being rolled away from Jesus’ tomb. The child whose egg travels the farthest without breaking is the winner.

Symbols Spring flowers, lambs, birds’ eggs and Easter eggs are symbols of Easter Sunday in France. They are symbolic of nature’s rebirth or resurrection after the dark and cold winter period. Special biscuits known as Osterlammele are eaten in the Alsace region. They are baked in a clay mould and are in the shape of a lamb sitting on the ground. The Osterlammele were traditionally given to children after the church service on Easter Monday. Bakers now sell them and these are often decorated with ribbons and paper banners.

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English Church of Midi-Pyrénées & Aude

Update from the Cahors Congregation (please see our website for full contact information) Mothering Sunday – 10th March

Good Friday – 29th March

Also known as ‘Refreshment Sunday’, Pudding Pie Sunday’ and ‘Mid-Lent Sunday’, Mothering Sunday is always the middle (ie 4th) Sunday in Lent. Traditionally, it was a day when children were given a day off to visit their mother and family and return to their Mother Church. Today children give presents, flowers, and home-made cards to their mothers on Mothering Sunday. The food associated with Mothering Sunday is the Simnel cake - a fruit cake with two layers of almond paste, one on top and one in the middle. The cake is made with 11 balls of marzipan icing on top representing the 11 disciples (Judas is not included). Since the fasting of Lent could be given up on Mothering Sunday, everybody was able to enjoy a slice of Simnel cake! The service at Terre Rouge will be at 10am followed by a Lenten Lunch.

The most important events in Christianity are the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the Son of God. During Good Friday services Christians meditate on Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross, recognising that this has enabled their sins to be forgiven by God and the gift of eternal life secured through their faith in Christ. The main service on Good Friday often takes place between midday and 3pm. In many churches it takes the form of a meditation based on the seven last words of Jesus on the cross, with hymns, prayers, and short sermons. It is traditional to eat Hot Cross Buns’ on Good Friday. These buns, with the pastry cross on top of the buns symbolising the crucifixion of Jesus, have long been an Easter tradition. (No service at Terre Rouge).

Palm Sunday – 24th March

Easter Sunday – 31st March

Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday which commemorates Christ’s triumphant arrival in Jerusalem to the cheers of the crowd. A week later they were calling for Jesus to be crucified. In many churches, during Palm Sunday services, large palm branches are carried in processions or small hand-held pieces of palm are distributed. Holy Week, leading up to Easter, is the week during which Christians particularly remember the last week of Jesus’ life. Please join us for the Palm Sunday Service at Terre Rouge at 10.00am.

A Light Vigil is celebrated first on Easter Sunday followed by Easter Day Holy Communion. The church at Terre Rouge is usually full – nearly 100 people – to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, three days after he was crucified. 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 the disciples as they were walking in 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.” We shall be holding an Easter Light Vigil at 8.30am and an Easter Day Holy Communion Service at 10.00am at Terre Rouge. Please join us – you will be most welcome!

Maundy Thursday – 28th March Maundy Thursday is the day before Good Friday and is marked in UK by the distribution of the Royal Maundy to a number of pensioners. Jesus Christ, at the Last Supper, said (John 13:34): “And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” During the Last Supper, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet. This act has sometimes been followed literally in history as a good way for rulers to acknowledge that they have been there to serve their subjects. Indeed, the custom of washing feet by the Sovereign was carried out in England until 1689 – although the feet were first washed by Yeoman of the Laundry before the Sovereign had to wash and kiss them! (No service at Terre Rouge). The Quercy Local • March-June 2013

Ascension Day – 9th May The Ascension of Jesus is the moment when the resurrected Jesus was taken up to heaven in his resurrection body in the presence of eleven of his Apostles. 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

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after Easter and is traditionally a Thursday. (No service at Terre Rouge). 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!

Pentecost (Whit Sunday) – 19th May Pentecost is a very exciting time in the Church calendar as it is regarded as the birthday of the Christian Church. It is also known as Whit Sunday and, at the Anglican Church at Terre Rouge in Cahors, the service will be Holy Communion at 10am. Pentecost is a happy festival. Ministers in church often wear robes with red in them symbolising the flames of the Holy Spirit coming to earth. The biblical narrative of Pentecost is given in Acts 2:1-6: “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.” 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 services listed are sometimes changed – please consult our website or email Martin Milnes for information on

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n the outskirts of Villeneuve sur Lot the site of Excisum (now called Eysses) was constructed in the 1st Century A.D. at the crossroads of two important routes. The monuments were dismantled and reused in other constructions leaving only part of a large tower, the remains of monumental structures and foundations of walls, along with numerous artefacts.

Century, there was a campaign under Monsieur de Quiriel, the Sous-Prefet of Villeneuve Sur Lot, who dated the site as a Necropole of the Early (Principate) Empire. Members of the Archaeological Association of Villeneuve sur Lot being shown the site by Jean Francois Garnier, who dug on the site in the 70s.

HISTORY OF EXCAVATIONS The first account of an archaeological dig was by Jean d’Arnalt at the end of the 16th Century (Roman tombs and glass were mentioned). During the transformation of the Benedictine Abbey of Eysses into a prison during the 19th The Quercy Local • March-June 2013

Since 1970 members of the Society of Archaeology and History of Villeneuve sur Lot took over the site and since then have been responsible for the site and the extent of the urban area which is nearly 50 hectares.

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EXCISUM – A CROSSROADS OF ROUTES IN AQUITAINE The ancient name of Eysses, Excisum (from the latin excidere) is mentioned in the Antonin Itinerary and the Peutinger Table. The town kept this name until the Middle Ages, when the Abbey of Eysses was established and the entire area was levelled. Permission was then granted to construct a new town towards the river, which was called Villeneuve. During the Roman Period Eysses developed as an urban centre at the crossroads of two principal routes – Cahors – Bordeaux and Perigueux – Saint Bertrand de Comminges. The main towns indicated on the map are Burdigala (Bordeaux), Vesona (Perigueux), Bibona (Cahors) and Tolosa (Toulouse). Excisum XXI (on the right of Aginum – Agen) is actually 21 leagues from Agen.

RECOMMENCEMENT OF EXCAVATIONS The last excavations (more than thirty years ago) revealed important finds (ceramics, objects....) and our knowledge of the site has evolved (the existence of a military camp and forum). In 2012 the Community, the State (Drac Aquitaine/SRA) and the Conseil General de Lot & Garonne initiated and financed the start of more excavations over the whole site under the direction of Alain Bouet, Professeur of Archaeology from the University of Toulouse.

Students on the dig in 2012

During the period of the dig – 17th June to 31st July – there will be guided visits organised by the Office of Tourism for Villeneuve sur Lot each afternoon at 15.00 and 16.00 every day except Saturday. The Espace Archeologique of Eysses will be also be open for guided visits to view the artefacts found during the 70’s dig. The price for the guided visit to the Dig Site is 2e (Villeneuve sur Lot, Office of Tourism or at the gate) and for the Espace Archeologique, also 2e. The dig will be finished at the end of July, but further guided visits to both sites will be available until the end of August from the Espace Archeologique of Eysses – Combined price 2e50. (Adolescents 1e50) Angela Richards –

This will take part in three phases: Summer 2012 – Main Site area Summer 2013 – Main Site area Summer 2014 – Eysses Tower To advertise with us email

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Roman Treasure & Villas in the Gers Treasure of Eauze, Domus Elusa & Seviac Villa For anyone interested in Roman History and who has exhausted Quercy’s own sites of interest, Angela Richards explains what can be found just a short drive away.


came back for his treasure. There is a theory that he was a rich land owner and wine producer because of the evidence of a small statue of Bacchus. It is also thought that 95% of the jewellery had never been worn.

In 1985 a treasure dating to the Gallo-Romaine period was discovered during a preventative dig organised by the Service Regional de l’Archeologie de Midi-Pyrenees, in the area near the station. This led to the opening of a new Museum in 1995 in the building previously used by a bank, to display the treasure in a secure environment under the guardianship of a new Conservator, Mr Michel Hue. The discovery of an entire treasure of such magnitude is extremely rare. It took seven years for 17 researchers to fully study and write up an inventory of all the items found. Little has been discovered concerning the original owner, who never

The treasure consists of 28,003 silver coins, 45 bronze and 3 gold, along with a quantity of beautiful jewellery. Because the museum was a bank with an underground vault for security, the treasure is displayed in its entirety showing off all the items to their full splendour. Also on display in the museum are artefacts concerning life during the Gallo-romaine period, with an exhibition on the first floor which shows ‘Windows open to the Ancient World’.

auze is a pleasant Gascogne town with a varied landscape and picturesque rolling hills, deeply wooded valleys and vast plains. Eauze is also the heart of the wine-growing area producing “Côtes de Gascogne Vins de Pays” and Floc de Gascogne. As a common saying goes, “Qui nous espio, nous aimo” (“He who discovers Eauze, will love Eauze”). Once capital of the Gallo-Roman Novempopulania under the name of Elusa, Eauze is nowadays the capital of Armagnac. With the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the early fifth century A.D., Novempopulania passed under the control of the kingdom of the Visigoths.

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Domus Elusate In addition to the Museum, situated to the north of Eauze on the plateau d’Esbérous-Higat in an area covering 20 hectares called ‘La Cieutat’ archaeologists have discovered the ancient city of Elusa taken over by the Roman legions of Julius Caesar in 56 BC. Around 16 BC Emperor Auguste decided to place a Roman Town at ‘La Cieutat’ and ‘La Taste’ and this Roman Colony was classified as loyal to Rome. It was abandoned some time after the fall of the Roman Empire/Visigoths and left undisturbed by the building of the modern town of Eauze. The remains of the ancient town of Elusa constitute a site of great archaeological importance.

in 2008 to introduce tourism to this part of the Gers looks after the site of the Domus Elusate, along with the Eauze Museum and the Seviac Gallo-Romaine Villa (classed as an Historic Monument) with a ticket permitting a visit to all three sites also including the Museum in Montreal de Gers.


Since 2001 there have been several digs on the Domus (a rich urbain house) where after digging for ten years, a magnificent mosaic was discovered dating to the IV Century. Due to the depth of the soil, most of the mosaic was protected from the sun, ice and ploughing. The distinctive geometric designs and colours look as clear and new as the day they were placed by the artisans from the ‘L’Ecole Aquitaine’ who went from property to property selling their services. The mosaic will need to be covered in sand for protection. For photos of the mosaic go to: http://www.sudouest. fr/2012/08/23/gers-la-decouverte-d-une-mosaiqueen-images-802127-5138.php

Photo DDM, Jean-Paul Quévédo. La depeche.

The Domus Elusate will be open to the public during 2013. The old Eauze station will serve as a reception for visitors to the site. The SIVU (Syndicate a Vocation Unique) or Pôle Archéologique Elusa-Séviac created

Empire at Séviac shows the classical construction of a rich Roman countryside house spread out over 4000 m2. The living rooms are organised around a squared patio bordered by galleries with Pyrenean marble columns and rich and colourful mosaics over 450 m2 of floor area.

A second patio gives access to the private thermal baths, which were heated by a hypocaust system in a perfect state of conservation. The bath house is spread over more than 500m². The museum in the centre of nearby Montréal du Gers houses some coins and mosaics from Seviac and is included with the ticket for the Villa. For all three sites – Tariffs, Dates and Opening hours go to: sitesmonuments_tout_tout_56055_pole-archeologiqueelusa-seviac-eauze.html Article by Angela Richards using personal photographs and information from articles in the Depeche de Midi, Tourisme-Eauze and Tourisme-Gers websites.

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Le Beffroi Restaurant, Café, Hotel

In the heart of a beautiful bastide town Open all year Lovely terrace for summer dining We can provide banquets & seminars English spoken

Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, 47370 Tournon D’Agenais Tel. 05 53 01 20 59

For Sale

Truffle Farm in the Quercy 650,000e Main house (2 beds/1 ensuite, 1 bath, spacious open plan living/kitchen area), ‘petite maison’ (2 beds, 1 shower room , utility room, summer kitchen), extensive outbuildings all in typical local stone and dating from 18/19th centuries. Swimming pool 10 x 5 metres, tennis court 38 hectares of land (wood, coppices, meadows) surrounding the house with 2,400 truffle trees.... oak, hazelnut, holm oak, planted 1996-2002... now beginning to show results! Explanation/instruction/dog training can be arranged. OPTION: possible to buy house with fewer hectares. Energy rating: E

Tel: +33 (0) 5 63 31 28 01 Mobile:+33 (0) 6 48 39 36 41 To advertise with us email

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Brigitte Basquet and Trui Seys have been working as estate agents in Agen, the Lot, Lot et Garonne, Tarn et Garonne and the Gers departments since 1998. They have a French and international clientèle and are known for their quality work, personal approach and multi-lingual service (French/English/Dutch/German spoken). Brigitte Basquet et Trui Seys mettent à votre disposition leur expérience (depuis 1998) en tant qu’agents immobiliers dans les départements du Lot, Lot et Garonne, Tarn et Garonne, du Gers et dans la ville d’Agen. Elles sont à l’écoute de leur clientèle nationale et internationale et proposent un service multilingue de qualité. More information on their properties and services can be found on the following websites – Pour plus de renseignements, veuillez consulter les sites internet:

Contact: T. SEYS IMMOBILIER & CONSEIL Trui SEYS: Quercy Blanc – Tarn et Garonne, Lot, Lot et Garonne: Tel: 06 84 09 99 10 (from abroad: 00 33 6 84 09 99 10) e-mail: Brigitte BASQUET: Agen, Lot et Garonne, Gers: Tel: 05 53 48 20 99 or 06 62 16 67 31 e-mail:

The Oak Tree & Henry IV at Merles, Tarn & Garonne


n Friday morning on the 10th July 1579 Henry IV of Navarre with his escort of 44 cavaliers, his wife Queen Margot and the court of beautiful ladies and gentlemen, stopped underneath the shade of the oak tree that now carries his name, near Merles. The weather was hot and the sun shone down on the noble procession. They stopped by the tree and drank fresh clear water from the nearby fountain. They were travelling from Nerac via Lavilledieu to Montauban. The noble company had feasted the evening before at Auvillar on 92 pounds of beef, 138 pounds of mutton, 58 pounds of veal, 76 chickens, 1 goat, 1 peacock, 2 hares, 2 rabbits, 2 ‘fressures* (*complete set of offal)’ of mutton, 1 fressure of veal, 1 quarteron (25) eggs, 33 pounds of lard and 72 of butter. For the dessert there were 12 gateaux/tarts from the oven and fruit. They ate a lot of meat and very little bread. The festival was well watered, with two The Quercy Local • March-June 2013

hogsheads of claret and a barrel of red wine though the story does not specify how many litres. The tree is now protected and sits majestically beside the road leading off the D12 towards the village of Merle. The fountain is no longer as clear, and sometimes dries up completely. The site is well worth a visit to see a beautiful gnarled old tree that as well as imagining the grand group mentioned above, for me brings back childhood memories of stories of the Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. By Angela Richards

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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

05 63 94 65 57 / 06 30 64 79 43 – check opening hours


Carpentry & Joinery

Traditional Bespoke Joinery Decking, Pergolas & Auvent All aspect of Joinery & carpentry work Alterations & Renovations General Building work Roofing & guttering Plastering and tiling City & Guilds Qualified with 23 years Experience

M. +33 (0)6 95 01 55 56 H. +33 (0)5 53 75 05 51 E.

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“I ought to be jealous of the tower. It is more famous than I am.” Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel The Eiffel Tower was built to commemorate the 100th-anniversary of the French Revolution at the Centennial Exposition of 1889.



lexandre-Gustave Eiffel was born in Dijon, France in 1832. He was interested in construction at an early age and he attended the École Polytechnique and later the École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures (College of Art and Manufacturing) in Paris, graduating in 1855. After graduation, Eiffel specialized in metal construction, most notably bridges. He worked on several over the next few decades, letting mathematics find ways to build lighter, stronger structures. One of Eiffel’s first projects came in 1858, when he oversaw the building of an iron bridge across the Garonne River at Bordeaux, and by 1866 Eiffel had set up his own company. Eiffel worked on structures for the train station at Agen and Toulouse and notably famous the Garabit Viaduct in southern France, some of which are still standing to this very day. But some of Eiffel’s most historic and most-known structures and designs are what makes him so special, his work on the Eiffel tower and the Statue of Liberty. Eiffel is best known for the brilliant structure that shows off the most of his talent and genius, the grand Eiffel tower, a symbol of love, romance, and intellectual engineering French-style.

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The Garabit Viaduct is a railway arch bridge spanning the River Truyère near Ruynes-enMargeride (Fr), Cantal, France, in the mountainous Massif Central region. The bridge was constructed between 1882 and 1884 by Gustave Eiffel, with structural engineering by Maurice Koechlin, and was opened in 1885. It is 565 m (1,854 ft) in length and has a principal arch of 165 m (541 ft) span. The project was demanding, with a line 120 metres (400 ft) over the River Truyère. Boyer believed this would be considerably less expensive than taking the railway line around or down through the valley. To resist the wind, Eiffel instantly discarded the principle of solid beam construction, thinking that “it would be very heavy and the beams would rattle in the wind”. Instead, he adopted the concept of trusses or “a series of open triangles” to assuage wind force that “would blow right through them”. Truss work also provides stability when loads are applied through the theory of tension and compression that states force is exerted on the diagonal and vertical segments causing them to resist one another. Eiffel also improved upon his Douro design, adopting the same two-hinged crescent-arch form but employing an arch visually separated from the thin horizontal girder. The Garabit Viaduct’s arches were engineered to have support hinges, allowing the crescent shape to widen. This method both simplified calculations and improved resistance to wind loads. When it opened with a single track in November 1885, the Garabit Viaduct was 565 m (1,854 ft) long and weighed 3587 tons. Even more impressive was the actual deflection, which was measured at 8 millimetres, a figure precisely anticipated by Eiffel’s calculations. The bridge was also, when built, the highest in the world.

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The overall project cost was 3,100,000 francs. Until 11 September 2009, only one regular passenger train per day in each direction used to pass over the viaduct – a Corail route from Clermont-Ferrand to Béziers. On that date, the viaduct was closed as cracks were discovered in one of the foundation piles. It reopened one month later after a safety inspection and was in service with a speed limit of 10 km/h (6 mph) for all traffic. On 15 June 2011, the Garabit closed for extensive work. It was due to reopen on 15 December 2011. During the works, the train from Béziers to ClermontFerrand terminates at St Chély d’Apcher and a bus continues to Clermont-Ferrand. There is an excellent view of the Garabit viaduct from the bus. The statue’s head on exhibit at the Paris World’s Fair, 1878

STATUE OF LIBERTY The statue was designed by a young French sculptor, Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, who was striving to build a statue like the great Colossus that once stood at the Greek island Rhodes. In 1879, the chief engineer on the Statue of Liberty died and Eiffel was hired to replace him, going on to design the metallic skeleton of the structure. The head and arm of the Statue of Liberty had already been built

Internal structure of the statue

when Viollet-le-Duc fell ill in 1879 leaving no indication of how he intended the transition from the copper skin to his proposed masonry pier. The following year, Bartholdi was able to obtain the services of Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel. Eiffel and his structural engineer, Maurice Koechlin, decided to abandon the pier and instead build an iron truss tower.

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Erick COMBEDOUZOU Agent Général Exclusif MMA Staff members: Ms Nasim Kanamia & Ms Cécile Doumergue 54 rue des Frères Quéméré 82150 MONTAIGU DE QUERCY Tel : 05 63 94 48 64 1 bis av Maréchal Bessières 46220 PRAYSSAC Tel : 05 65 22 42 36 Fax : 05 63 94 30 27 – Email : – N° ORIAS : 07 011 028 –

Information needed for your French Insurance needs? House – Car – Health – Life Insurance Nasim is available to answer your queries in English every Thursday morning at our Montaigu branch and from Tuesdays to Saturdays at our Prayssac branch. Alternatively, please do not hesitate to contact Nasim by telephone or email, and we will ensure that your enquiry is dealt with rapidly.

Eiffel opted not to use a completely rigid structure, which would force stresses to accumulate in the skin and lead eventually to cracking. To enable the statue to move slightly in the winds of New York Harbour and as the metal expanded on hot summer days, he created a new support system for the statue that would rely on a skeletal structure instead of weight to support the copper skin what was dubbed an armature – a metal framework that ends in a mesh of metal straps, known as “saddles”, that are riveted to the skin, providing firm support. In a labor-intensive process, each saddle had to be crafted individually. Thanks to this ingenious construction consisting of the copper plates attached to the metal framework, the statue was flexible enough to withstand heavy storms. Large iron bars attached the framework to a central pylon. As the pylon tower arose, Eiffel and Bartholdi coordinated their work carefully so that completed segments of skin would fit exactly on the support structure. The components of the pylon tower were built in the Eiffel factory in the nearby Parisian suburb of Levallois-Perret. Eiffel and his team built the statue from the ground up and then dismantled it for its journey to New York Harbour. Eiffel also supervised the raising of Liberty. He calculated how much pressure would be put on each joint and how to distribute the weight and instructed how to assemble the various pieces of the statue to maximize the safety and life of the standing statue He also included two interior spiral staircases, to make it easier for visitors to reach the observation point in the crown. Access to an observation platform surrounding the torch was also provided, but the narrowness of the arm allowed for only a single ladder, 40 feet (12 m) long. Some work was performed by contractors – one of the fingers was made to Bartholdi’s exacting The Quercy Local • March-June 2013

specifications by a coppersmith in the southern French town of Montauban. By 1882, the statue was complete up to the waist, an event Barthodi celebrated by inviting reporters to lunch on a platform built within the statue. Laboulaye died in 1883. He was succeeded as chairman of the French committee by Ferdinand de Lesseps, builder of the Suez Canal. The completed statue was formally presented to Ambassador Morton at a ceremony in Paris on July 4, 1884, and de Lesseps announced that the French government had agreed to pay for its transport to New York. The statue remained intact in Paris pending sufficient progress on the pedestal; by January 1885, this had occurred and the statue was disassembled and crated for its ocean voyage.

EIFFEL TOWER The Eiffel Tower takes its name from its architect, Gustave Eiffel. But he was not the only one to work on realising his dream: two engineers from his company, Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier, were also credited for their input into the project. Between 120 and 200 men worked on the site and more than 300 in the workshops at Levallois-Perret (North-West suburb of Paris). During its completion, only one worker – an Italian – tragically died by falling from the first floor. The Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 Paris World Fair, marking the centennial celebration of the French Revolution. Its position as an entrance arch to the exhibition pavilions located across the River Seine (Trocadéro and Champs de Mars) was celebrated as a grand monument to the glory of France. It took only two years, two months and five days to build the tower, which is a remarkably short period of time. The work started in 1887 and the tower was inaugurated in 1889.

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the quercy local • 55

The Eiffel Tower at its inauguration weighed 11,000 tonnes, compared to 10,100 tonnes today – less than the weight of a cylinder of air with the same volume as the iron structure. The Eiffel Tower became the world’s highest monument in 1889 with its 300 metres topping the K Washington Monument (169 m). It kept this record for 42 years until the completion of the 319 metre-high Chrysler Building, in New York City in 1930. In 2009, the Khalifa Dubai tower was completed at a height of 810 metres which is equivalent to 2 1/2 Eiffel Towers. More than 5,000 visitors can visit the Eiffel Tower at the same time. The first platform, at 57 metres, can carry a total of 3,000 people at the same time. The second platform, at 115 metres high, can support 1,600 and the summit of the tower 400 (on two different levels linked by a staircase). Early visitors used to be allowed to climb the 1665 stairs from the bottom to the top of the tower. Now, only the first two platforms can be reached by

stairs. If you wish to access the top floor, you will need to use the lift. Amongst those who did not climb the Eiffel Tower was Jules Verne, who said when being decorated with the Légion d’Honneur: “They are decorating me because I am the only man in France to have not climbed the Eiffel Tower”. Needless to say the writer’s name is remembered in the gastronomic restaurant at the second level. Then, in June 1940, Hitler posed in a famous picture at the Trocadéro in front of the Eiffel Tower but declined to climb it. It was his first ever leisure tour of Paris and he had allowed only a half day to see most of its monuments! It was said that Hitler conquered France, but did not conquer the Eiffel Tower. Again in 1944, when the Allies were marching closer to Paris, Hitler gave orders to General Dietrich von Choltitz (the German military governor of Paris) to destroy Paris and the Eiffel Tower... orders which he dared not follow. Since its inauguration, there have been many crazy attempts made by adventurers with the Eiffel Tower as centre-stage. One of the most daring – but tragic cases, is that of Franz Reichelt, an Austrian-born tailor, inventor and parachuting pioneer, known as the “Flying Tailor”. Having invented a wearable parachute, he decided to test it from the Eiffel Tower on the 4th February 1912. In front of a thousand spectators, he made his jump, wearing his designed creation. But the parachute failed to deploy and he crashed onto the ground at the foot of the tower. Another risk-taker was Philippe Petit, the renowned French high-wire artist who, in 1989, walked a wire strung from the ground at the Place du Trocadéro to the second platform of the Eiffel Tower, in 30 minutes. This was to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower. Other towers were inspired by the Eiffel Tower such as Blackpool Tower in England (158 m), Tokyo Tower in Japan (333 m) and the metal Tower of Fourvière in Lyon (86 m). In Australia, they have a perfect example of a tower directly inspired by the Eiffel Tower: the AWA Tower in Sydney. Located at Wynyard, the metal structure sits on top of a building, making the structure 100 metres high. It was the city’s highest building until the 1960s. The City of Paris gave Gustave Eiffel a concession which permitted the tower to stand for 20 years, after which it should have been dismantled. It was the sudden demand for a suitable platform from the newly emerging radio transmission technology which saved the tower from demolition.

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56 • the quercy local



his report covers two occasions with the following members – Michel Daynes, Anthony Comfort, Brian Gauntlett, David Marshall, Brigitte and John Massey, Fiona and David Neville, Angie Richards, Pat and John Richardson. We started the survey by driving along the D656 and turned right on the top of the ridge onto the road crossing from Anthé towards Gouts and Montaigu de Quercy, passing Laboissiere where we finished in Part IV. We then stopped at the large white cross just north of Gouts. Here the tarmac road swings downhill. The Voie can be seen on photo 1 following the line of trees along the plateau.

The tarmac road then turned off to the left towards Bosc de la Croze and the Voie continued as a track up a small incline. The Voie can be seen here on Photo 2 as a slight raise in the middle of the trees dropping down on each side. After a difficult walk through the trees and undergrowth we finally reached the tarmac road that goes from La Raviole to the T junction on the top of the plateau that goes left to the Chateau de Rodié and right towards Bonneval close to the Petite Seoune River valley.

3 1

The Voie follows the border between Lot & Garonne and Tarn & Garonne, often situated underneath trees and bushes. We followed the Voie from the Croix parallel in the field till we reached and crossed over the D2/D18 (Tournon d’Agenais to Montaigu de Quercy). On the other side of the road the Voie was accessible to the cars so the drivers fetched the cars while we continued to follow the Voie passing a turn on the right to La Bouysette and continued to follow the border alongside a wood to the left. It is just possible that the Voie ran parallel to the Road and not underneath it.

Opposite the T junction the farm-track follows the border, but at times runs parallel as before with a line of bushes, trees and undergrowth that appear to cover the actual Voie.


2 The Quercy Local • March-June 2013

The farm-track also appears to leave the border and inside the woods we found large areas of stone wall foundations, but no evidence of the Voie, which we assume we were actually walking on. We continued along the farm track and this rejoined the border further on where we had beautiful views in both directions. We finally arrived at a point on the map where up till now, despite heavy rain for several days before our walk, the Voie was dry enough to walk on without getting covered with mud. The track in front of us

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was very confusing, especially with the greenery hiding any signs of banks or ditches. We were invited to have our picnic lunch with Pierre Simon, a local French historian, who lives at Pech Bely. He was very interested in our research and assisted us with copies of maps. He also arranged for us to have access to view the medieval wall paintings in the church at Pervillac.

6 8

Our next report will endeavour to work out where the Voie Romaine goes in the Couloussac area and to follow a Voie towards Cahors via the areas of Belmontet and Bovila that we hope is still Roman. We have some alternative ideas on the route taken by our Voie which we are researching and will report on at a later date. 7

appeared to be soft and marshy, with pools of water. When we spoke to a farmer in the village of Couloussac he informed us that coach and horses would come down into the village from the crest of the hill and that Couloussac was a coaching station on the main route from Agen to Cahors. We therefore finished this section of our survey with the question of where has the Roman Voie gone to as we believe that the track in front of us leading downhill is not Roman. The Voie could go left and uphill following one of the green-line of hedges or continue towards the north side of Couloussac forking off to the left towards the commune of Vezarnie. We followed this track along a field boundary fence and through the fields. We spoke to a property owner in Vezarnie and she told us that there is a part of their garden that they cannot use because it is covered with trees over the top of what they were told is a Roman Road. As the contours in the terrain immediately drop downhill, with no trace going straight on, we could only assume that if this was the Voie that it turned sharply left and went uphill. It went towards the property called Castelas but then turned right at the crest of the hill arriving at the Cross on the road to Pech Bely at an altitude of 267 metres. To keep to the ridge we will need to look again at this area as it


Report by Angie Richards, Mestre Vidal, 47340 Castella 05 53 67 66 39

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Robert Grey Lac hé Tour non d’ Agenais 47370 0553400489 0675518913 mo b grey. robert@oran

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Charpentier * Menuisier * Couverture * Maison Bois

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the quercy local • 59

Drama at Quercy Unplugged! George Nardell (he played Wilfred Owen)


Mike Jones (Producer)

Angie Page (played the part of Alice)

old your breath, we’ll get to the dramatic part in a mo... first let me update you on our Quercy Unplugged live concert/recordings. After a two-year run in the provinces (that’s to say Lauzerte) we are transferring to the West End – the southwest end of the Lot of course. From January of this year the concerts are held at the restaurant Aux Petits Ventres in the center of Prayssac. On the third Friday of each month the restaurant puts on a special 3 course ‘formule’ meal similar to a menu du jour and, in turn, I provide the music. First to play are the house band my trio “Chapeau Rouge’ and then main act that will play for an hour or so. As usual we all get together for a ‘jam’ session at the end. Interestingly the French call this ensemble session ‘le boeuf’. The restaurant holds about fifty people and the early concerts have been over-subscribed so do please book ahead. Ring the restaurant direct but do copy me by e-mail just to make sure bookings aren’t lost in translation. The dates and contact numbers are shown at the bottom of this article. Now let’s raise the curtain on a completely new project. Many of you will know that I present a fortnightly music hour in the English-speaking slot on radio Antenne D’Oc. Perhaps like me you miss the afternoon plays on Radio 4 and would welcome a chance to hear a similar radio play here in the Lot. In the spring of last year I began to think about presenting one or more radio plays in my slot. The radio station work on a shoestring so I knew that the play would have to be written specially and performed by local amateur talent and I would need help to create a prototype I discussed the idea with friends who are involved in drama and, long long story short, we found an enthusiast living nearby- writer and director Stephen

Ian Blake (‘Arthur’ in the play)

by Mike Jones

Stephen Mercer (Writer and Director)

Mercer. Stephen has written many plays and won critical acclaim back in the UK and had a stage play “Wilfred and Len” which he offered to adapt for radio. The play is a dramatic and imaginative encounter with poet Wilfred Owen set in the minutes before the cessation of war in November 1918. By December of last year were in a position to record the final script and the half-hour play was finally broadcast in mid-February. Despite being only a prototype, the resulting play is, I think, something the cast and Stephen can be proud of and we now plan to create a small season of plays to be broadcast later this year. You can listen to ‘Wilfred and Len’ on the Antenne D’Oc website – follow the links there via ‘Emissions’ to Quercy Unplugged and ‘Theatre’ And now for the ‘cliffhanger’... Stephen and I are planning a series of six 30-minute light comedy plays based in a fictional, but very familiar village, “somewhere in South-West France.” No, nothing to do with Provence, Port Wen or Ambridge but rather a wry look at ourselves and the real situations we get ourselves into when coping with the language and culture of the fabulous and sometimes frustrating country that is France. If you would like to offer your ideas or anecdotes or would like to write, act or direct (no scenepainters needed on the radio!) then please contact Stephen Mercer. That’s it for this time – more news in the next issue of the Quercy Local! Contacts; Restaurant Au Petits Ventres 05 65 31 23 04 Mike Jones Stephen Mercer

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When it comes to the setting of national budgets and tax structures political brinkmanship seems be emerging as something of a global trend. While North American politicians tottered on the edge of their fiscal cliff, in France the Finance Act for 2013 was finally published on Sunday 30th December 2012 and entered into force on the 31st, just in time for the new 2013 financial year. Before its enactment, the French 2013 Finance Bill, first published in September 2012, had made tortuous progress through the parliamentary system, with amendments and re-amendments being made up to the eleventh hour, and beyond. And finally the intervention of France’s Constitutional Council meant that several key measures, including President Hollande’s cherished 75% tax rate for those earning over e1 million a year, were dropped from the Act before its official publication. So where does this leave the structure of personal taxation in France for 2013? This article provides a summary of the key measures. 1. INCOME TAX BANDS & RATES The first five bands and rates remain frozen at their 2012 levels, with a new 45% tax band introduced for income per household “part” over e150,000. Per household part Up to e5,963 0.0% to e11,896 5.5% e11,897 to e26,420 14.0% e26,421 to e70,830 30.0% e70,831 to e150,000 41.0% e150,000 and over 45.0% e5,964

Additional tax on high income For a single person 3% of income between e250,000 and e500,000 4% of income over e500,000 For a couple 3% of income betweene500,000 and e1,000,000 4% of income over e1,000,000 Exceptional contribution on very high income The proposed exceptional contribution of 18% on individual earned income over e1,000,000, which, when combined with social contributions, would have created an effective top tax rate of 75% was censured by the Constitutional Council and was removed from the published Finance Act. But not The Quercy Local • March-June 2013

before a high profile spat between Gerard Depardieu and the French prime minister resulted in the largerthan-life actor renouncing his French citizenship and announcing his intention to move over the border to take advantage of the less onerous tax regime of neighbouring Belgium. Interestingly the 75% tax measure was thrown out by the Constitutional Council, not due to any revolt of political dogma, but due to a technicality which judged the provision to be “unfair” as it would have created tax disparities between households with the same level of income but with a differing distribution of income between individual household members. As a result the Government has already indicated it intends to “re-engineer” the measure for re-introduction in 2013, through a Finance Amendment Act, probably in the Autumn. Age Allowances & Thresholds For those over the age of 65, there is an extra tax-free allowance of e2,312 if total income does not exceed e14,510 and of e1,156, if total income is between e14,510 and e23,390. Interest and Dividend Income Arising in 2013 Interest income (with the exception of interest from tax free accounts) and dividend income will now be added to other taxable income and subject to the standard income tax bands and rates. The optional with-holding tax rates of 24% for interest and 21% for dividends have been abolished. The only exception is that households with annual interest income of less than e2,000 retain the option for application of 24% with-holding tax, on request. The previous fixed allowances for dividend income of for a single person and e3,050 for a couple have also been abolished. e1,525

Investment Capital Gains Gains realised in 2013 will be added to household income and subject to the standard tax bands and rates. However gains can be reduced according to the length of ownership of investment assets on the following basis:20% reduction for ownership between 2 and 4 years 30% reduction for ownership between 4 and 6 years 40% reduction for ownership over 6 years

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Real Estate Capital Gains For gains not covered by the main residence exemption an additional surtax has been introduced payable on gains over e50,000. There are five rates of taxation, depending on the size of the gain. The following table shows a breakdown of the thresholds at which the supplementary tax is triggered and the rates that apply.

For new residents to France, assets held outside France are not assessed for wealth tax for the first five years of residency. In addition a “cap” (plafonnement) has been reintroduced limiting direct taxation to a maximum of 75% of income. Inheritance Tax: Bands and Rates

For each tax band there is a “dampening” mechanism for reducing the level of the charge for the first e10,000 of gain in that band.

Between parents and children Less than e100,000 0% The next e8,072 5% e8,072 to e12,109 10% e12,109 to e15,932 15% e15,932 to e552,324 20% e552,324 to e902,838 30% e902,838 to e1,805,677 40% Over e1,805,677 45%

This surtax is in addition to the set rate of capital gains tax of 19% on gains calculated in accordance with the 30-year “taper relief” scale. (See the article at asp?ID=44510 for full details).

Between siblings* Less than e15,932 0% The next e24,430 35% Over e24,430 45%

Greater than e50K up to e100K


Greater than e100K up to e150K


Greater than e150K up to e200K


Greater than e200K up to e250K


Greater than e250K 6%

Gains are also subject to social charges.

*tax free in certain circumstances

The 19% capital gains tax rate, additional surtax rates and social charges all apply to both French-resident and non-resident EEC owners of French real estate property.

Between other relatives (to 4th degree) Less than e7,967 0% Over e7,967 55%

Additional Social Charge on Pension Income An additional 0.3% charge will be levied on pension income.

Between unrelated persons, including stepchildren Less than e1,594 0% Over e1,594 60%

However, UK expatriates covered by an S1 form, (formerly E121 or E106), will be exempt from this charge on UK pension income, as they are in respect of all other social charges. French residents in receipt of a UK government service pension, (for example a civil service or police pension) should receive a 100% tax credit to offset all assessed social charges. Wealth Tax Bands and Rates Where total taxable assets exceed e1,300,000 as at the 1st January each year:Band Rate % Up to e800,000 0.00 Between e800,000 and e1,300,000 0.50 Between e1,300,000 and e2,570,000 0.70 Between e2,570,000 and e5,000,000 1.00 Between e5,000,000 and e10,000,000 1.25 Above e10,000,000 1.50

Summary The personal taxation structure in France for 2013 certainly presents some new challenges and opportunities, particularly for those on high incomes or with substantial assets over the wealth tax threshold. However, for most French residents, careful financial planning can always mitigate and even totally avoid the impact of many personal tax measures. As ever, the key is to take independent advice from experts who are fully familiar with the most appropriate financial and tax planning strategies for one’s individual financial circumstances and objectives. Peter Wakelin is Regional Manager of Siddalls France, Independent Financial Advisers, specialised in tax, inheritance investment and pension planning for the British expatriate resident of France for the last 16 years.

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The Quercy Local March-June 2013  

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

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