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May-June 2015 Issue 19

uercy Local The

The Region’s FREE magazine in English

Inside – Marrying in France Hidden Gold Win Tickets for this Summer’s Henry V performances Plus: Microlights, Roses, Restorations and more... The experienced team of IMMO46 are here to offer their friendly professional advice on the selling , purchasing and renting of your home in this beautiful area of France.

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IMMO46 cahors 27, Bd Gambetta 46000 CAHORS Tél. : +33 (0)5 65 22 55 55


Bi-­‐lingual architectural  practice   Planning,  design,  project  management   Full  architectural  services     Sean  Rawnsley  RIBA,  AA  dipl.  -­‐   Tél  :  05  82  81  10  21  -­‐  82330  Verfeil-­‐sur-­‐Seye     Membre  de  l’Ordre  des  Architectes  

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

The Quercy Local • May-June 2015



elcome to issue 19 of ‘The Quercy Local’ magazine.

This seems to have been the busiest edition of the magazine ever and sadly we were unable to include a number of things that we’d have liked to have done. In this edition you’ll find some thoughts about planning a French wedding, inspiration for many (we hope) to make the very most of what the region has to offer. There’s also a chance to win tickets for one of the summer’s highlights – the visit by Antic Disposition (in what is their 10th year touring the region) who’ll be performing Henry V. See p.36 for more details of how to enter. Also, find out about hidden gold coins, microlighting, a great local photographer, an equestrian club and the regeneration of a village’s derelict restaurant. Amongst our pages we hope you’ll find something of interest. Remember we’re driven by the people living in the region who take the time to let us know what is going on around them. Is there something you feel that we should be including? If, so then do get in touch. The next edition of this magazine will be the summer edition, available from the start of July. I hope you will remember to pick up a copy. Email: Cover image from a photo by Tony Priestley see p.54


CONTENTS Weddings in France

p.7 - p.15

(including Wedding planning in St Antonin Noble Val)

Romantic Roses Gold Coins Montcléra’s New Heart English Church – Cahors Garden Party – Le Boulvé Garden Club – Lauzerte Music & Words – Lauzerte Am Dram – Montaigu de Quercy Saint Beauzeil’s Wine Bar Books and Art in Montcuq Pink Ribbon Run - Touzac Association Equestre Shakespeare’s Henry V Reinvention in Piac Summer Wine Cassolette de la Mer Succession Tax Finding Roman Roads Tony Priestley’s Photos Microlight Flying



p.16 p.22 p.26 p.28 p.29 p.30 p.31 p.31 p.32 p.33 p.34 p.35 p.36 p.40 p.44 p.45 p.48 p.50 p.54 p.57


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Traditional Stonework ~ New and Restoration 82190 Fauroux ~ 06 40 20 68 94 ~ English spoken ~

The Quercy Local ISSN: 2116-0392. No part of this publication may be copied, used or reproduced without the written consent of the proprietor. No responsibility is accepted for any claim made by advertisers. All content accepted and printed in good faith. Please check that all advertisers are registered businesses in France or elsewhere in their relevant home country. The Quercy Local is owned and managed by A Atkinson (Las Razes, Touffailles, 82190): Siret: 518 460 605 00018. It’s produced by the Magazine Production Company, West Sussex, UK. Printed by Newman Thomson (UK). Distribution managers (47) - Lorraine & Pete Knowles; (46) and (82) Glenn Jackson. Regular contributors; Jeanne McCaul, Paola Westbeek, Angie Richards, John and Debbie Wilson and Lisa Stanton.



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

The Quercy Local • May-June 2015


CAKES IN FRANCE Celebration cakes for all occasions Weddings, Birthdays, Anniversaries & Special Events Cake Decorating Classes 05 63 24 23 58

Let’s Get Married in France! Whether you’ve a family home here or you just love the idea of a completely different experience, France offers backdrops, great food and wine and hopefully, the weather you need to make the day perfect. However, it’s important to realise the amount of paperwork (quelle surprise) required. Furthermore that lovely church you’ve had your eye on, well no wedding in a church is legal; it’s fine for a blessing but for ‘legality’ you need to attend the Mairie. Many people arranging French weddings actually have a quick civil ceremony in their home country. Whatever the extent of your planning in France it can be difficult to do from overseas and it’s a lot of pressure to put on someone else. So it might be worth using a local Wedding Planner – someone who knows the region, has done it all before and can take the strain away. There are a number of planners around and just over the page Hannah Nicolet explains a little about her work and how her local knowledge can make all the difference! First of all, a few questions... Q. Are marriages that takes place in France legal worldwide? A. Marriages that take place in France are recognised internationally and legally binding. Q. How long must a couple be resident in France before they can get married? A. At least one person must be resident in the commune where the wedding is to take place, for a minimum of 40 days immediately before the wedding. If the family has property in the commune these requirements may, at the discretion of the Mairie, be interpreted slightly differently.

Q. Are Marriage Banns published? A. One of the couple must reside locally for 30 days before an application for marriage (banns) can be made. These banns are posted at the Mairie at least 10 days before the wedding. Q. What documents will be required? A. This is where it can get complicated, do check with your own Mairie as requirements may vary slightly. Be aware of what needs an official translation and leave plenty of time for this. Documents must be original and endorsed with an Apostille Stamp. Any documentation not in French must be accompanied by official translations. • A Valid Passport or a French resident permit • Long Form Birth Certificate • A Medical Certificate. Must be issued within 3 months of your marriage date. The marriage banns cannot be published until this is submitted to the Mairie. • Proof of Address – this can be 2 utility bills. • Prenupital agreement. IF you’re planning to have such an agreement it must be given to the Mairie. • Statement of Identity and residence of two witnesses • Divorce Certificate if applicable • If widowed – Death Certificate of previous spouse • Certificat de Celibat – This states that you’re not already married. This must be no more than 3 months old. If this certificate does not exist under the law of your country (as with the UK) you will need to obtain an official attestation to say so. Q. Will we receive a Marriage Certificate? A. After the wedding you’ll receive a ‘Livret de Famille’ the official document used for all events relating to your family, such as births, deaths, divorce or name changes. It’s not a Marriage Certificate, these are not routinely issued and you must apply to the Mairie to obtain one.

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

The Quercy Local • May-June 2015


The Wedding Planner Bespoke Wedding and Event Planning from the Heart of St Antonin Noble Val. Hannah Nicolet provides an insight into her work as a Wedding Planner... I believe that the planning of a wedding should as joyful as the event itself. Every moment should be savoured, with each step of the planning process bringing the couple closer together as they discover the essence of who they are. And on the day of the wedding, to know that the suppliers they have chosen will deliver and that there is someone on hand to ensure that every carefully planned detail comes to life, so that all they and their guests have to worry about is enjoying every minute. It was with this in mind that Noble Nuptials was born: to take the stress out of planning a wedding in SW France. Not only for those who come from further afield, but for those who live here and speak the language, or as in some cases, malheureusement don’t! At the same time, I also wanted put St Antonin and the surrounding area on the map as the perfect The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

place for a ‘destination’ wedding. To showcase the spectacular scenery, the vibrant street markets, the beautiful bastide towns, the picture perfect Chateaux and country houses, the delicious food and wine, the brocantes and the wealth of local talent we have in the form of caterers, florists, artists and musicians. I am passionate about where I live, which is one of the reasons I only work locally. The other is the importance of being able to offer my clients an in depth knowledge of all venues and vendors. For those who have chosen to wed here from afar, it gives them peace of mind to know that there is a bilingual gal-on-theground who can bridge the language and culture gap, offer advice and guide them through the entire process, from beginning to end. For those who already live here, or live elsewhere but have family or friends in the area who can help, it’s the recommendation of trusted suppliers, the negotiating of discounts and the on-theday coordination that is of most value. As my clients have differing needs, I prefer to offer a more flexible approach to wedding planning, rather than a one size fits all. When they first get in touch,

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I ask them to complete a short questionnaire, where they tell me a little about themselves and what they are looking for, the overall feel of the day (relaxed, opulent, rustic, traditional, homely, natural, flamboyant, understated..), the type of venue they are interested in and the services they think they will require. Following a free consultation, where we either meet in person, via Skype or talk on the phone, I am then able to put together a quote for my fee. This is a fixed fee based on the number of services required, the logistical complexity of the wedding and the amount of time I estimate the event will take to plan. It is also important in our early conversations to make the client aware of the local marriage laws, which state that it is only possible to have a ‘legal’ wedding ceremony in France if you have lived in the country for more than 40 days (and can provide proof or residence, by means of a utility bill) or have parents who already have a house here. As the majority of my clients don’t fall into this category, they tend to do the legal part of the ceremony in their country of residence before coming out, which they follow with a symbolic ceremony (religious or non-religious) at the venue of their choice over here.

A religious blessing in a place of worship can also be possible (these are slightly more difficult to organise, as there are certain criteria that need to be met), but only after the legal wedding has taken place. For those who can legally get married here, they need to know that the legal part of the ceremony can only take place in the town hall (Mairie in French) nearest to either their, or their parents’ principal place of residence. Again, this can be followed by either a religious or nonreligious ceremony. If the client has yet to secure a venue, I offer a venue search, as it is imperative that one be in place before signing a contract for any of the other wedding planning services. If they are able to come and have a look at the venues in person, great, if not, I hand-pick the ones that I feel would be best suited to their needs and present them in as much detail as possible, so that they are able to make their selection from afar. At-Home weddings and events, big birthday parties in particular, are also very popular. Again, before signing any contract, I like to go and visit the property in question with a view to assessing suitability for the size of event planned, rainy day options, parking,

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

The Quercy Local • May-June 2015


electricity, vendor requirements etc. As these types of events are often the most intricate to organise (and can have the greatest potential for things going wrong) it is really important to make these kinds of checks right at the beginning. Once the venue has been agreed and a detailed contract signed, the fun can begin! So how does it all work? To give you a rough idea, here’s a brief overview of an At-Home wedding I organised in the Tarn last August: It was the mother of the bride-to-be who initially contacted me, after having recently purchased a beautiful old hunting lodge in Penne. Both her daughter and future son in law, who live in London, had fallen in love with the property and wanted to know if it would be possible to turn it into the wedding venue of their dreams. As the house had stood empty for many years (it was almost a ruin and still had outside toilets), they really weren’t sure that it could. The first step was for me to go and have a look. As soon as I saw the intended venue – far from the madding crowd and surrounded by fairytale woodland – I knew why the couple wanted to have their wedding there: it was magical. There was water and electricity, plenty of land for parking or a marquee and some delightful stone out-buildings, including a large barn which we all thought – with the inner walls removed and a new floor put down – could make a wonderful venue for the wedding breakfast. As I stood there, I saw the big day unfolding before my eyes but at the same time knew that my ability to realise this dream would rely heavily on the word of the builders, who were just about to start work and promised they would have the grounds and barn ready in time. After talking through the possible risks and costs involved, which would be much more than using a ready-made venue, it was decided that it would be worth it. The next stage was to get all of the basics in place. With only 8 months before the day of the wedding, I needed to work quickly. As the couple wanted to have a Catholic blessing (following a quiet legal ceremony in London) in the magnificent church of St Corneille in Puycelsi, I first had to contact the church’s Head Office in Albi to check that this would be possible. After meeting with the local Priest, who was more than happy – along with the family’s priest who would be coming from London – to conduct the ceremony, we were able to set the date. Next up was to create a site checklist and to measure the barn to make sure that it would be possible to seat 150 people, the number of people who had initially been invited. It was also important to meet with the couple to discuss the overall look and feel of the wedding. From day one, they had a very The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

clear idea of what they wanted; a very simple green and white palette inspired by nature, the surrounding woodland in particular. Working closely with local Florist/ Land Artist, Lya Marino of Atmosfleur Creations, they came up with the idea of hand-woven tree roots, filled with white flowers and wild grasses that would trail along the center of each table and twist up around the candelabra in the barn, and to decorate the pews in the church, miniature ‘corne d’abonance’ filled with a single white rose. With the design in place and a good idea of what was required, we could go ahead with securing everything else that was needed: a caterer; a photographer; a DJ and an accordionist; a baby grand piano and musicians for the church; a mobile hairdresser and makeup artist; a 2CV from the church to the venue; transport, accommodation, tables, chairs and tableware for all of the guests; a marquee for the evening’s festivities and to provide shade for brunch the following day; a catering tent and van to be placed at the back for the barn for the Chef and serving staff; a refrigeration van and freezer; adequate electricity, lighting and toilet facilities, all of which had to be hired. Narrowing down the suppliers took quite some time as there 2 to 3 were asked to bid for each aspect, with tastings and try outs being essential before some of the final selections could be made. As the day of the wedding approached, I created and distributed a minute-to-minute timeline for the day, double-checked checklists, confirmed details and numbers with all of the suppliers, briefed the catering

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staff, oversaw the installation of everything on site, counted in all of the items that had been hired or were being brought by the couple – and discovered in plenty of time that one of the hire companies had forgotten to include the plate for displaying the wedding cake! – made table names and signs, covered hay bales with material and went up to the site when it was raining to check the roof of the barn for any last minute leaks. On the day of the wedding it was a 5.30am start with the florist, decorating the tables and hanging white linen curtains over the main entrance to the barn. For something of this scale we would normally have done most of this type of work the day/evening before, but with no windows or doors in the barn and the possibility of birds and other wildlife (it was a hunting lodge after all) entering during the night, we thought it best left until the day itself. When we finished at 10am, everything had to be covered until 1 hour before the guests sat down, as there was still the risk of dust falling on the tables from the roof and old stone walls, which still contained a mixture of straw and earth in the joints. There was a lot to do on the day but thanks to some wonderful suppliers and my sister holding the fort while I was up at the church, it all went to plan… well almost. We didn’t have any rain but there was a temporary hiccup with the ovens, which was fortunately fixed in

time for the meal! During the evening many of the guests very kindly came up to me to say how amazing they thought the day had been and that the food by Chef Charlotte Clement at Table de Touron, was some of the best they’d ever tasted… and not just at a wedding! At 2am – leaving some of the guests bopping away in the marquee and after having seen others off in taxis – I decided that I should probably go home as it was I knew I had to be back at 9am to move the tables and chairs out of the barn into the marquee for brunch. Same white tablecloths and flower displays as the day before, but a whole new look achieved by rolling out some cotton red and white check material found by the client at school uniform suppliers back in London. The result was very chic-rustique and with a colorful buffet of local fare – including Toulouse sausage, lamb, cheese, fruit, wine, a variety of salads and some delicious tarte tatin served with dollops of crème fraiche – I think it’s fair to say that all who were there got a real taste of what it’s like to eat, drink and be merry in this wonderful part of SW France.

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

The Quercy Local • May-June 2015


The Wedding ABC Arriving in Style What you won’t see turning up at a rural wedding in France is a limousine. It’s far more likely the party are going to arrive on foot, bike, horse and cart or vintage van. All of which are far more appropriate and hopefully reflects the personality of the wedding party. Increasingly popular is the rise of the 2CV Bridal Chariot. Affording some protection in the event of inclement weather whilst still allowing all the fun of the open-top and some French chic. Maybe for the car lovers then hiring a special car can work for both the wedding and the honeymoon – heading off into the sunset in a stylish Morgan with your suitcase strapped to the back! You can find more about hiring special vehicles in the region from

Blossoms to cherish It’s so easy in France to find lovely flowers and greenery in the gardens, woodlands and meadows. Often in summer it can be rather hot for cut flowers to last for any period of time so maybe spring/early summer is the best for copious bundles of fresh blooms. One great alternative is to use dried flowers, this also means that the bride’s bouquet can travel back home with her and remain a constant souvenir. Florever, based near Montaigu de Quercy (82150) grow and prepare not only fresh flowers in their own open fields but they also prepare a wonderful array of these same flowers dried. Suzanne is on the market each Saturday in Montaigu or can be visited on her farm by appointment. 05 63 95 30 10

The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

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Cakes for individuals Wedding cakes increasingly reflect a couple’s interests and the style and tone of their wedding; gone is the ‘one size fits all’ approach. The traditional British wedding cake is not served at a French weddings (the French version is usually more of a dessert). Help is at hand though, Glynis Howgego who’s known simply as The Cake Lady is an expert at producing individual, inspiring cakes; all baked with her own free range eggs and made to match every couples very own ideas. We particularly love the cake that looks like a giant cheese board, the very pretty bird cage design and of course the easily personalised and always pretty cup-cake option.

1, 2, 3 tips... ONE of the best ways of getting the best value for your wedding party (if you are booking a venue) is to book one with as much accommodation as possible. A large house or château available for holidays by the week. People save on hotels costs and the venue is – ready made!

may need some help by midnight! Shelter, it rains and sometimes it rains very heavily, so finding a venue with a large room or great barn (with a good roof) can save a panic if as the day approaches the forecast looks bad.

TWO weeks sounds lovely. But if you’re renting a venue and accommodation by the week, consider holding the celebration mid-week and containing your rental costs to one week. Early reservations are required for most large properties. THREE important considerations for alfresco wedding – shade, warmth and shelter! A venue needs natural shade or lots of indoor space for summer weddings. Will it be warm enough in the evening? Evenings can be cool (especially near water); so the mid-day sundress Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • May-June 2015


GREAT QUERCY RESTAURANTS In this magazine you’ll find adverts for a number of restaurants that’d be just perfect when you start to think about planning a local wedding; many with incredible settings and making great back-drops for the big day. So please do take the time to have a look through and see what is available. What more perfect excuse is there for getting out-and-about and sampling some great food; of course, all in the name of research! On a final note, every special day needs a little music – so further down this page there are a few possibilities of people to contact whether you want to dance into the small hours or simply have a gentle accompaniment to an elegant lunch – a little more to add to your ‘planning’ list. “L’ORCHESTRE DE LA CRISE” 4 pro musicians – Flute, Oboe, Horn & Cello. Provides musical entertainment for your celebrations – Wedding, Party etc. We play all styles from Classical through to Tango, Lully through to Brassens See: Please see the OCP website for details!

L’AUBERGE DU BRELAN In a lovely rural setting you can enjoy our fine cuisine with fresh ingredients cooked over a wood fire. We offer a lovely terrace setting for your relaxing family or celebration meal. Also available – vegetarian and gluten free foods. Open from May to October. Catering for groups, wedding parties including a buffet option. Pâtisserie et conserves to take away You can find us easily on the D656. We look forward to welcoming you.

Laboissière, Anthé 47370 Tournon d’Agenais 0553407808

A French Quintet that will take you to the heart of New-Orleans! Available for: weddings events evenings of music ‘cotton club’ concerts l



Contact: 06 84 01 22 17 email:

Free Drinks Anyone?

The Free Drinks Band got together in 2014 and played around 20 gigs in the Quercy area. If you are lucky, you might just catch them again this summer! Guitarist Marc French has played all over Europe and the UK, but says he loves the atmosphere in south-west France. “The difference here is that people seem to make more of an effort to enjoy themselves. They are less blasé and will usually party at the slightest excuse!” The band’s music is a mixture of classic oldies and newer material, all sung with passion by the band’s glamorous singer Sarah Morris (or La Diva, as she is known to the rest of the band). Dancing and having fun are definitely the order of the day at a Free Drinks gig. The band has around 12 summer gigs confirmed so far, including the Beauville night market on 31 July and the Théatre de Verdure, Puy l’Evêque on 20 August, as well as a number of local bars and some private functions. If you are interested in booking the band, you can contact them at And for a sample of the band’s music, go to Youtube and type Free Drinks Band. Cheers! The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

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The Quercy Local • May-June 2015


Go on, Marry Me! Romantic Roses


ny of you thinking of proposing to your beloved, and wracking your brains on how to pop the question? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Bear with me, it’s a little bit corny, but hey, if ever there was a time and a place, then this is it! Voilà! Je vous présente “Marry Me” – the fragrant patio Rose that will do the talking for you! Want to know something else? All roses are edible (with delicate flavours of sweet strawberry and apple). Come on, this is a once-ina-lifetime occasion – whip up a batch of crystallized rose petals for some romantic cup cakes, or freeze a few petals then sprinkle them into the champagne glasses for your celebrations! Roses are the traditional flower of romance. In Asia, the Hindu god Vishnu, is said to have formed his bride, Lakshmi, from 108 large and 1,008 small rose petals, and thus the rose is regarded as a symbol of beauty. In Greek mythology, roses are said to have been created when Chloris, the goddess of flowers, discovered the body of a beloved nymph in the forest. Chloris callled upon the gods and goddesses to help her give the nymph new life by transforming her into a flower. Aphrodite, the goddess of love, gave her beauty. Dionysus, the god of wine, added nectar, giving her a sweet scent. The three Graces, Thalia, Euphrosyne, and Aglaea, gave her charm, brilliance and joy. Then Zephyr, the god of the west wind, blew away the clouds so that Apollo could send sunshine to make the flower bloom. The gods and goddesses admired their work, declared her the most beautiful of all flowers, and Aphrodite named her Rose, in honor of her son Eros, the Greek god of Love (rose being an anagram for Eros). As for the story of red roses, it’s Aphrodite again. When her lover, the beautiful Adonis, was wounded by a wild boar, she ran to him, pricking her foot on the thorns of a white rose. Her blood turned the white flowers red, and thus red roses are a symbol of enduring love. Roses are given as romantic gifts – on valentine’s day, birthdays, wedding anniversaries, or simply to say I love you. They are frequently used in wedding bouquets, and have been used in epic seductions – Cleopatra piled up the rose petals one and a half feet deep when receiving Marc Anthony into her chamber! For a really special, enduring gift, why not plant a rose garden for your loved one? While a rose by any other name would be just as sweet, there are some really fun romantic names for roses, from the sweet First Kiss and Hand in Hand, to the more risqué Hot n Spicy and X Rated, so if you want to really ramp up the romance, here’s a list of the most amorous appelations! The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

BRIDE’S DREAM, light pink, Hybrid Tea CAPTIVATION, dark crimson, Minature CRAZY FOR YOU, multi-colored, scarlet, cream, pink, yellow, fragrant, Floribunda DARLING FLAME, mandarin, fragrant, Patio DEVOTION, apricot and orange, fragrant, Hybrid Tea EMOTION, deep pink, highly fragrant, Floribunda ESPECIALLY FOR YOU, mimosa-yellow, pink tinge, highly fragrant, Hybrid Tea ETERNALLY YOURS, red with white edges and silver on reverse, fragrant, Hybrid Tea FIRST KISS, light pink, Floribunda FIRST LOVE, pale pink, highly fragrant, Hybrid Tea FLAME OF LOVE, dark pink, Hybrid Tea FLIRTATIOUS, pink, highly fragrant, Floribunda FOR YOU (Pour Toi), white with hints of green and mauve, Patio HAND IN HAND, bright vermilion, fragrant, Patio HAPPY EVER AFTER, pale pink and apricot, fragrant, Floribunda HOT ‘N’ SPICY, orange-red, fragrant, Floribunda HOT ROMANCE, orange, Hybrid Tea I LOVE YOU, deep red, fragrant, Hybrid Tea IRRESISTIBLE, cream and blush pink, Minature LADY LOVE, pink, highly fragrant, Patio LASTING LOVE, fragrant, Hybrid Tea LOVE, red, Grandiflora LOVE ME TENDER, mauve, fragrant, Hybrid Tea LOVE POTION, mauve, fragrant, Floribunda LOVERS’ LANE, red, Hybrid Tea MARRY ME, pink, highly fragrant, Patio MON CHERI, two-toned salmon pink, Hybrid Tea NEWLY WED, pink, fragrant, Patio OUR LOVE, yellow-orange, Hybrid Tea PASSIONATE KISSES, pink, Floribunda PURPLE PASSION, mauve, fragrant, Hybrid Tea ROMANCE, pink, fragrant, Floribunda SUMMER LOVE, pale apricot, Floribunda SWEET NOTHINGS, mauve, fragrant, Minature SWEETHEART, pink, highly fragrant, Hybrid Tea VOLUPTUOUS!, deep pink, Hybrid Tea WITH LOVE, yellow and pink, fragrant, Hybrid Tea X-RATED, ivory and pink, Minature

John and Debbie (Le Jardin des Espiemonts), 05 63 64 68 76,

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

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The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

G M Construction A skilled and loyal workforce of British & French tradesmen

All aspects of building projects both new and renovation, including project management, swimming pools & ground-works If you are looking for a British/French speaking builder operating in 46, 47, 82 & 24 Contact Greg:

06 37 67 49 89 / 06 76 92 28 68 Siret No:- 50741519800013


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The Quercy Local • May-June 2015


Safe Hands Haulage is a professional, competitive, full registered and insured company offering a wide range of transportation services. Full and part loads including complete house moves throughout Europe. We have many different types of vehicles in order to transport household belongings, building material, tools and vehicles. Please contact Jon on (from UK) 00 33 5 53 79 26 48 (in France) 05 53 79 26 48 Mobile (from UK) 00 33 6 50 54 86 80 (in France) 06 50 54 86 80

The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

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The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

Treasure at Castillonnes 22 • AROUND THE REGION

by Lindsay Hoyer Millar and Angela Richards


ometime after 1590 a small, green silk purse was stuffed into a shallow depression in a stone wall and covered over with render. It contained 45 Spanish ecus only three of which were dated, and at that time is believed to have been worth the annual salary of a senior officer. The wall was inside a coach house in the bastide town Castillonnes, 20 minutes south of Bergerac. On a rainy Saturday in March 2015 a large group of archaeology enthusiasts went to Castillonnes (47330) to meet Jenny and Ron Whetton, the English couple who had bought the carriage house and found the little purse during renovations. Some years before this they bought and renovated the Hotel de Thomazeau, which is situated just opposite the carriage house. The 24 visitors were a mix of French and English members of the AA47 (Association Archeologique de Lot & Garonne), all joined by their love of history. The day was organised by Angie Richards who masterminds the Roman Road walks you read about in the Quercy Local, and was curated by Jean Francois Garnier who is also President of the SAHV (Societe d’Archeologie et d’Histoire de Villeneuve sur Lot ) and the Museum at Eysses (Villeneuve sur Lot). The group had a real treat in store. Not only did they get to look at the coins, which Jenny kindly got out of the bank, they also saw the tiny fragile silk purse with its drawstrings and faded colours. They were then shown the place where the coins were found in the carriage house with its late medieval architecture and the graffiti discovered under the crumbling layers of plaster in one of the rooms on the first floor. The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

Jenny and her colleague, Mr Dick Bogg, Air Commodore RAF (retired) who runs English speaking tours of Castillonnes, then showed the group round the Hotel de Thomazeau. On the ground floor, there were grand salons with delicate plasterwork, large original painted cupboards full of china collections, a cupboard with what looked like a priest’s hole inside and a wonderful mini museum of fans. Two of the rooms are protected by the ‘Batiments Historiques de France’ which means that the cupboards and paintwork cannot be touched.

Below we descended into deep basements which included a massive water tank built into the natural rock, with evidence of subterranean passages and a semi subterranean kitchen whose walls were the interior of the bastide’s dry moat. The Hotel Particulier de Cours de Thomazeau in Castillonnes was designed in the 1770s by the architect Victor Louis (known for designing the Opera House in Bordeaux and the Chateau de Fumel). It was built on earlier layers of history, including a 10th century chateau, which apparently predates the construction of the Bastide of Castillonnes. Besides being used as a private residence Jenny offers it for weddings and special events.

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Reserve by phone on 05 63 94 44 82 email: Having brought the Hotel back to life, Jenny and Ron turned their attention to the carriage house on the opposite side of the street. As the archaeology group examined the 17th Century graffiti on the walls and asked lots of questions about the history of the building, Ron was busy upstairs doing renovations with only one other man for assistance. This is the way he has worked over the last six years, on both the Hotel and the carriage house. A steady ringing of his hammer was all we saw or heard of him! All archaeologists like a good mystery in need of unravelling! Why and when was Spanish gold being hidden? Jean Francois Garnier explained that the Spanish were sending funds to the Catholics in South West France (and German money and soldiers were being supplied to the Protestants) during the wars of religion. The wars lasted from around 1540 to 1598 with the Edict of Nantes, although a resurgence of rebellions leads some to claim that the Peace of Alais in 1629 is the actual conclusion. If that is the case, the dated coin of 1590 could have been part of continued Spanish support. The coins were well worn, and some were clipped, so they had been in circulation for a while. The other questions were about the graffiti. The gabarre (boat) was clear to see and we understand this was

drawn at a later date to the other graffiti with the date of 1664 discovered etched into the plaster. (Two other graffiti gabarres have been discovered, one in Penne d’Agenais and the other in the Chateau of Bonaguil.) But, who were the figures represented on the walls? Grand ladies, musicians, musical instruments naively drawn along with letters and maybe words... This will be a search for another day. Jean Francois Garnier is sending our photos to his historian colleagues, to get the ball rolling. Further information: AA47 English AA47 French Mr. Dick Bogg’s walking tours of Castillonnes Hotel de Thomazeau

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The Quercy Local • May-June 2015



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The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

26 •MONTCLÉRA (46250)

Beating New Life into a

Village’s Heart by A Atkinson


o what do you do next if you’ve already a busy life with an existing successful business to run? The answer, it seems, isn’t to put your feet up with a relaxing glass of wine or freshly brewed tea! It is, of course, to wonder about the possibilities offered by a derelict property in your village, the village of Montcléra in the Lot. This old building being a redundant restaurant which was in turn keeping its own watchful and increasingly shabby – eye on the glorious château that it had overlooked for generations. What was the history of this building? Could life be breathed back into its crumbling yet inviting walls? For most of us the thoughts would get only this far. We’d cast our mind over it and then move on to a second glass or a refill from the pot. Not so for Rosie Paddon, Rosie had had a dream! Fuelled by a vision of ‘what could be’ and describing herself a ‘glutton for punishment’ Rosie has tip-toed through the financial mine-field, negotiated with virtually every department known to man or certainly the French Authorities. She’s filled-in forms, completed dossiers, been sent to the wrong office, spoken to endless ‘wrong-people’, realised that different administrative offices cannot or will not speak to each other and suspected that there was some sort of black-art at play making everything as complicated as possible. During the difficult search for answers on how to remain legal and get things ‘just-right’, all was not lost. Maybe, irritatingly, the Fire Department The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

didn’t know where to source the appropriate fireextinguishers but on the plus side someone else had miraculously found some old photographs of the restaurant and its original owners and so at least the history of the place had started to unfurl. It seems that this project is happier to give up its past than it is to conform to the present. The restaurant first opened as Café de la Terasse in 1938 when Marcelle Thouron came back to the village to support herself after her husband had died from complications from serving in WW1. The reins were taken over by her daughter Laurette Astorg, and run by the same family until 1985. In 1989 it became Le Grignotiere, the village restaurant run by Martine & Michel Fusilier until it finally shut its door in 1996. On the photograph you can see the original team standing behind the bar, much of which remains today. From left to right, Marcel Cayrel, partner of Marcelle. Marcelle Touron, grandmother of the last owner, Jean Claude Astorg, Laurent Astorg (Jean

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Claude’s father), Laurette Astorg (Jean Claude’s mother) and Anyéle, the chef for years. Anyéle can also be seen on the wedding photo of Laurent and Laurette, taken outside the Château. She is standing at the end of a row of guests still wearing her pinny. Lastly there’s Antionette Cayre, who worked in the kitchen and Sidone Astorg, Laurent’s mother. Given that this edition of this magazine has wedding element, we make no apology for slipping in this lovely wedding picture. A real glimpse into weddings of the past. A number of early photographs have now been unearthed and they are to be displayed in the restaurant, truly completing the journey for this old building. Le Restaurant de Montcléra is expected to be open, in its new form, from the 1st June this year, after nearly 20 years of the property standing empty the picturesque village with its 700 year old château is going to have a new beating heart.

The restaurant will form the base of Rosie’s catering service, as she already provides a bespoke service for people planning events in France ( However, the new restaurant which will have retained as many of the original features as possible and is going to offer a menu de jour, with wine for 14e from Monday to Saturday and evening meals at a weekend as well as monthly themed nights. Coffee and cake will be available in the mornings and all will be served with cheer and a great welcome. The building also encompasses a large workshop space which has already been booked by a couple of different theatre groups this summer. One of which is will be running a course in ‘clowning’; so with chambre d’hôtes accommodation upstairs and room for further expansion in the courtyard it seems that this is going to become a more lively village centre in the future. So the pressure is on, not least for Rosie’s builder husband who must complete the works. Rosie must overcome obstacles provided by the Bâtiments de France, the Prefecture, the disabled access inspectorate, the inspector for health and safety and of course the planners. Remember each body isn’t quite sure what is required from Rosie, but somehow she has keep this adventure on course. There’ll only be one sure way to find out just how she gets on – visit Montcléra after the start of June! As the building develops – so will the website so you will be able to check details on The telephone number for the restaurant will be 05 65 23 38 27. Le Château de Montcléra is in the private ownership of Tsan and Bernadette Dupuy. Each August this lovely example of Renaissance architecture, classified as a Historic Monument, is home to a programme of musical artists. You can discover more at

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

The Quercy Local • May-June 2015


English Church of Midi-Pyrénées & Aude

Update from the Cahors Congregation (please see our website for full contact information)

ASCENSION DAY – celebrated this year on Thursday 14th May The Ascension of Jesus is the Christian doctrine from the New Testament of the moment when the resurrected Jesus was taken up to heaven in his resurrection body in the presence of eleven of his Apostles. According to the doctrine, he was returning to his Father and his heavenly throne, and now sits at the right hand of God the Father in heaven. It is the fortieth day after Easter and is traditionally a Thursday. A quotation from Luke tells the story. “Then Jesus led his disciples out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and the spent all their time in the temple giving thanks to God.” Luke chapter 24.50-53 In France Ascension Day is a public holiday and Government Offices are closed – it’s generally a very quiet day and many people take the opportunity to link the Thursday off with the weekend – faire un pont! There is no Ascension Day service at Terre Rouge. Pentecost is a very exciting time in the Church calendar as it is regarded as the birthday of the Christian Church. The first Pentecost comes from a Jewish harvest festival called Shavuot. It is celebrated this year on Sunday 24th May. It is also known as Whit Sunday and at the Anglican Church in Cahors the service will be Holy Communion The apostles were celebrating this festival when the Holy Spirit descended on them. It sounded like a very strong wind, and it looked like tongues of fire. The apostles then found themselves speaking in foreign languages, inspired by the Holy Spirit. People passing by at first thought that they must be drunk, but the apostle Peter told the crowd that the apostles were full of the Holy Spirit. Today it is the festival when Christians celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is celebrated on the Sunday 50 days after Easter. Christians understand that God is in the three persons of the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Pentecost is a happy festival. Ministers in church often wear robes with red in the design as a symbol of the flames in which the Holy Spirit came to earth. This is reflected in the symbols which are those of the Holy Spirit and include flames, wind, the breath of God and a dove. The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

The biblical narrative of Pentecost is given in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. As recounted in Acts 2:1-6: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.” Again in France, the Monday is a public holiday and the day is a quiet one with people spending their day with friends and family. The welcome at the Octroi in Cahors We are now starting the Pilgrimage Season when over 7000 people travel on foot or bicycle to and from Santiago de Compostela – The Way of St James- and many are welcomed at the Octroi (the old toll booth) on the Pont Louis Philippe, mostly coming from Le Puy en Velay. From Chaucer’s time onwards many people have felt the need to undertake a pilgrimage – there are many great pilgrimages throughout the world and for all the major religions. A pilgrimage is a journey or search of moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person’s beliefs and faith although sometimes it can be a metaphorical journey into someone’s own beliefs. Many religions attach spiritual importance to particular places: the place of birth or death of founders or saints, or to the place of their “calling” or spiritual awakening, or of their connection (visual or verbal) with the divine, to locations where miracles were performed or witnessed, or locations where a deity is said to live or be “housed,” or any site that is seen to have special spiritual powers. Such sites may be commemorated with shrines or temples that devotees are encouraged to visit for their own spiritual benefit: to be healed or have questions answered or to achieve some other spiritual benefit. In Cahors we are part of a 1697 km pilgrimage way to St Jacques de Compostela in Santiago de Compostela in the north of Spain. Done in one go – it would take over 2½ months, although many people take it a

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ART EXHIBITION in Sauzet The 9th ARTSauzet exhibition will be open during the Ascension WE (May 13th-17th - 3pm-7pm). With 8 artists you will discover watercolours, jewellery, ceramic items, oil and acrylic painting, miniatures, artistic photos and metal sculptures. Lou Faouré Gallery - 214 Grand’Rue - 46140 Sauzet.

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Mob 0044(0)7841220980 lot more slowly. Pilgrims come from all over the world – mainly Europeans, but Chinese, Japanese, Americans and many more. In the Middle Ages, the pilgrimage to Saint Jacques de Compostela was one of three great pilgrimages that every good Christian had to do along with going to Rome and Jerusalem. For practical reasons, pilgrims eventually converge on specific pathways and gathering places were formed from Paris, Vézelay, Arles and Le Puy en Velay. Via Podiensis that begins in Le Puy en Velay, and runs through Cahors, continues beyond to Moissac and Roncesvalles, is one of four major historic routes and one of the busiest. Under the Ways of Saint Jacques de Compostela, the city of Cahors has two world heritage monuments of humanity: the Cathedral of St. Etienne and the Pont Valentré. We in Cahors have a very special link with this pilgrimage, which is the little welcome house, called an Octroi, on the bridge Pont Louis Philippe. Volunteers from Terre Rouge – along with many other volunteers from non-church organisations – offer the pilgrims teas, coffee, biscuits, and dried fruit free of charge. They also offer assistance with booking hotels, hostels, gîtes and chambre d’hotes. The Octroi is open from 11-6pm from mid-April to the end of October. Also available is spiritual sustenance and this is available at the Cathedral in Cahors. This help is available from 4-7 – there is a blessing at 7pm after the 6.30pm Mass on Saturdays. Between 3,000 and 4,000 pilgrims visit the Cathedral and again volunteers from Terre Rouge are involved. If you need more information about the Anglican Church in Cahors, please go to our website

Garden Party – Le Boulvé – June In the last edition I reminded you of our openair concert in August – Boogie in Le Boulvé and offered businesses and enterprises the chance to become sponsors. We do have some slots still available but do please ‘depechez-vous’ because I need to prepare the promotional material soon. You may not know that we put on a ‘soiree musicale’ on the third Friday of each month at the restaurant La Guinguette in Grezels. Each month we have different musicians playing mainly acoustic music and the restaurant provide a set meal, wine and coffee for just 19 euros. Well, now you do! As a counterpoint to the Boogie, and to accommodate more people we are bringing our June evening into Le Boulvé and presenting it as an open-air picnic with an evening of acoustic music. This is a relaxed evening in the intimate setting of le Jardin de la Mairie. Naturally enough we’re calling the evening a Garden Party but, unlike that other garden party at the Palace, we are restricting the numbers to just 100. The format is a picnic – that’s to say we will provide water and wine free of charge and set out tables and seating for you. You bring your food, plates and utensils and of course do bring your friends! The guest musicians will be the duo Ad Hoc – you may know them as Bob Neal and Jane Parris, they have tremendous presence and a superb repertoire; pure entertainment. Le Boulvé is on the D28 halfway between Montcuq and Prayssac with lots of parking so do come and join us. We’ll begin at 8pm and finish around 10.30pm. If the weather is poor it won’t be a problem – we’ll simply transfer to the salle des fetês. The price is 10 euros per person and children are admitted free. Reservations to me please at or by telephone 05 65 22 71 64. Mike Jones p.s. Jeff Price that most entertaining of poets is back at the Cafe du Commerce in Lauzerte this month and we are collaborating to present an evening of original music and spoken word – have a look for the article in this month’s edition.

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

The Quercy Local • May-June 2015


ARBRESERVICES Matt Strawbridge Tree Surgeon Elagueur Arboriste LAUZERTE (82110)

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

Look how we’ve grown!! Our Club de Jardinage de Lauzerte started out in January 2014 under the guidance of Margaret Brown who has a wealth of knowledge and experience of gardening in the UK. We’re a group of people of all ages, nationalities and abilities – all of us getting to grips with gardening in sunny SW France.


ur first Annual General Meeting was in February this year, and it gave us the opportunity to look back at how we’ve grown and exactly what we’ve done in our first year. We now have 70 members and during the year have enjoyed learning about such diverse plants as perennial alpines, irises, hostas and other shade plants, ornamental grasses, climbers (including roses and clematis) and fruit and vegetable growing. For some light relief, we visited the arboretum and the nationally famous garden of La Coursiana, a rose grower where were let loose with our pruning shears, and several generous members not only invited us into their gardens... but even made us tea and cakes! It didn’t stop at growing... we all sampled each other’s chutneys, jams, soups and anything else made from what we’d grown. Our bring-a-plate club barbecue in the summer was a huge success and we celebrated Christmas with lunch at a local restaurant. We regularly have workshops, plant and seed swaps and share our knowledge and experience. But don’t worry if you’re a beginner, as there’s something for everyone throughout the year. And if you’re not a gardener, you might enjoy our quiz nights or social evenings. Our programme for this year includes a seed workshop, sharing ideas for low maintenance The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

gardens, shrubs for colour, flora of our area, plus visits to members’ gardens, Montauban rose gardens, Cahors Secret Gardens and the wonderful gardens of Martells when their lotus pools should be full of flowers. We get together every second Tuesday in the month, usually at the Salle des Fêtes in Lauzerte from 2pm to 4:30pm. A typical meeting will include a specialist speaker, seasonal advice for the garden, hints and tips, exchange of experiences, plants and seeds, and question and answer sessions, with a break for tea and biscuits! And all this for a subscription of 10e a year!! If you’d like to know more about us, please contact either Fiona Forshaw on 05 63 95 45 42 or Pam Westcott on 05 63 94 19 25.

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Me and Mr Jones

Cafe Du Commerce, Lauzerte. Wednesday 27th May, 8.00pm e8.00

Stand up poet Jeff Price and musician and songwriter Mike Jones have teamed up to create a unique evening’s entertainment in bringing the show Me and Mr Jones to the South West of France. The show is a collaboration between the poet and the songwriter with Mike writing musical accompaniment to Jeff’s poetry and Jeff writing new spoken word pieces in response to Mike’s songs. Using humour word-play Jeff and Mike amuse, entertain and create insight into the world of the expats and their life in the South-West of France. Jeff is a stand up poet and a regular visitor to the South-West of France and has performed his one man shows here for the last six years. Jeff and has performed at many festivals including the Prague Fringe Festival. He embarrassed himself recently with an appearance in ITV’s Airline programme reciting poetry to

Easyjet passengers in Newcastle Airport! Think of Roger McGough crossed with Peter Kay and that would be Jeff – great humour and a superb way with words – Radio 4 on rollerskates! Having created and sold his successful UK marketing company Mike Jones now lives in South-West France and has time to spend on the more important things in life- drinking the local wine and supporting local musicians by, amongst other things, organising regular musical events- including the new Garden Party featured in this month’s issue. As a guitar enthusiast and self-confessed jack-of all-trades Mike fits in by playing acoustic, electric or bass guitars as a guest musician and occasionally slipping in one of his own compositions when no-one is watching! ‘Me & Mr. Jones’ is a new show is made up of entirely original material written by Jeff and Mike. You can reserve your places by e-mailing; or just turn up on the night and join the queue! That’s Me & Mr. Jones 8pm on Wednsday evening 27th May at the Cafe du Commerce up in the old town at Lauzerte. The price is just 8 euros each. Venez nombreaux!


La Troupe d’Acteurs Du Quercy Quiz evening There were no superstitious worries when the Englishlanguage Am-dram group held its latest trivia quiz on Friday 13th March. Sixty players in twelve teams were well tested by questions organised and delivered by Troupe members Jenny and Tom Hurst. The quiz had a distinct performing arts theme with questions on theatre, TV and cinema, the evening was enjoyed all and La Troupe’s committee wishes to express its gratitude for theexcellent support. The next production is Season’s Greetings by Alan Ayckbourn Alan Ayckbourn’s acclaimed comedy, ‘Season’s Greetings’ was first performed in 1980 at Scarborough and moved to London the following year. In this, his 26th full length play, a typical middle-class family and friends are reunited at Christmas; the timeof-year known to trigger more divorces than any other! As the stress of inevitably failing to perform the perfect act of family celebration takes hold, copious

amounts of alcohol are added and the festive season descends into farce. “You’re always looking for a reason to stick a group of people together who can’t stand each other, aren’t you? Dinner parties are good, but what better time than Christmas?” said Ayckbourn. The addition of an unknown guest triggers excitement in different forms amongst the ladies, and risks changing everything. As with all his work, the humour largely comes from his amazing insight into human nature and relationships, which is also what makes his plays so challenging but exciting to perform. The production is directed by Shirley Peel and rehearsals are developing well. We look forward to greeting our audience. Friday, 22 May, Dinner Night, Saturday, 23 May Picnic Night. Montaigu de Quercy, Salle des Fêtes. Tickets from the Box Office: latroupeboxoffice@gmail. com or 05 53 49 19 51,

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

The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

32 • SAINT-BEAUZEIL (82150)

Art and the very best of French wine combines Looking for somewhere a little bit different, a change of scene, pace and experience? If you’re anywhere close to Saint Beauzeil then you’re in luck!


ver the winter the Wine Bar at Château de L’Hoste has undergone renovations to compliment the adjoining Château building. The changes have created a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere with décor that showcases the naturally sourced materials used in the renovation. When you visit you should also be prepared to be intrigued by the array of art on display (proprietors Lisa and Eric’s other great love). Their hope is that the inviting space they’ve created blends their enjoyment of wine with their love of art seamlessly and that their visitors will love it equally. Want to find out more about the best local vineyards? Then this is a great place to start. A quick tour of the best local wines from the comfort of the bar! You’ll then perhaps be armed with the inspiration to visit your preferred vineyard in person. The selection of local wines is extensive, but to mention just a few of the Vins de Cahors... There’s Le Château de Nozières from Vire sur Lot, Château Lacapelle Cabanac and the intriguing Le Clos d’un Jour from Duravel, where they make their wine in ceramic jars – the original Roman way! Lisa and Eric have also travelled extensively in France to bring back the best wine from all other regions; so you’ll be able to try what they feel is the very best from Duras, Burgundy, Bordeaux and Bergerac to name but a few. The common-factor with all their suggestions is that they’re produced by people with a passion for wine running through their veins. Preferably from organic vineyards where there’s a story in the family’s dedication to the wines they produce. Where their dedication starts at the very beginning of the process and continues as far as the glass that is set before you. Please don’t imagine that you need to be a wine expert to enjoy yourself here; you’ll not be bamboozled, simply served great wines in a convivial atmosphere, where you can learn as much or as little as you like. Can man live by wine alone? No not really! So new for this year there’s a selection of simply served food platters, either just for you or for sharing. amongst them there‘s a Quercynoise, salmon or cheese option – this The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

casual approach to dining is an ideal, economical way to share and try interesting foods along with your (rather nice) glass of wine. All the platters are explained in French and English. What more do you need to know? Every Thursday during the season (mid-April – the end of October) there’s a Happy Hour between 6– 7pm when wines are available at a 50% reduction. There are regular wine-tasting events where you can meet the producers, hear their stories and get to know their wines, so when you visit the Wine Bar – do check and see what is being planned. The Wine Bar is open Mon - Sat from 6.30pm to 9pm. You can find the Château de L’Hoste at Saint-Beauzeil (82150) close to Roquecor, just off the D656. 05 63 95 25 61.

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MONTCUQ (46800) • 33

Face ` a Face

Jane Greenwood presents her exhibition of Montcuq’s (best-looking) men all painted simply in black and white. The paintings can be seen from June 6th at the Mairie in Montcuq which is open Tues – Sun (only mornings on Sun). The exhibition should run for about 3 weeks. Do come along and see who you can spot!

A Lot of Books Q. W  hen is a bookshop more than simply shelves of books? A. When it’s the cherished result of a life in publishing and being surrounded by books. When it’s driven by the desire to feed people’s curiosity in both printed words and images. Last year, Jan Weduwer bravely opened his own ‘treasure trove’ in Montcuq (46800). The economic market for individual bookshops is difficult and most people would advise against such an adventure. Bucking the trend and running a bookshop in a world of the ‘instant’ ‘electronic’ and ‘clips of miss-spelt text’ deserves admiration and support. Jan felt that there was a place in the hearts of Montcuq’s residents and visitors for A Lot of Books, which offers books in English, French, Dutch and German. The shop stocks popular, current paperbacks and also more specialist books on the subjects of (for example) photography, art, cookery and gardening. These along with great coffee-table books, a selection of second hand novels, hand-made cards and pieces of original local artwork create a lovely environment for relaxing and browsing. Breathing life into the region’s often sleepy villages takes determination and great vision. So many small shops and bars are closing and leaving villages life-less, so it’s essential we get these small businesses on our radars and support them. If the day comes that we must always travel to the large towns to buy anything then the region will be poorer. People know Montcuq is a village worth visiting, with a number of restaurants and bars and one of the very

best Sunday markets around. Jan is a man worth meeting and so if you find yourself in Montcuq, or tempted to visit, watch out for A Lot of Books at 14 Rue de la Promenade (next to the Rocking Horse Bar). Jan is pleased to welcome you with an appero on a Sunday morning and all other days the shop is open in the afternoons. Maybe grab a coffee from the bar next door and just pop in for a look and a chat! Book-clubs, book-signings for local-authors, literary events – any plans you may be working on, pop to see Jan or give him a call on 06 30 66 64 93.

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

The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

34 • TOUZAC (46700)

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Pink Ribbons in Touzac On Sat 7 March 2015 we held the 2nd Pink Ribbon 5k event at Touzac. by Marlies Peters-Poll

The Days Before The days before the big-day I was busy letting people know about the event and what the day involved. I felt that I was not conveying the message of how much fun the day was going to be. I knew that I, at least, would be there either running, walking or crawling over the finish line. But how could I ensure others came too? It was terrifying to think that maybe nobody would turn up! Every evening, after I put my children to bed, I sat down to think of extra people to contact. I kept sending emails and really just had to just hope for the best. It’s very difficult when you don’t know if your message is being heard. Eventually as the day got closer I noticed that there was a buzz in the air. People kept mentioning the event and my posts to social media outlets were starting to get shared. Maybe, just maybe, it was all going to come together!

The Big Day Early Saturday morning I walked with my 3 children down the quite streets of Touzac. I was still unsure about the numbers that would turn up. For now it was all quiet. Then gradually and sometimes quite suddenly groups of people started to arrive. Friends, acquaintances, running and sporting club members; everyone had arrived. The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

Everyone was raising money for Pink Ribbon, all having a great day of sport and fun. I was floating on air, my feet felt like they had little wings on them carrying me through the day. I realised that any fear I’d felt about running 5km through empty streets was quite misplaced.

Some Numbers 300 walkers and runners raised 1500 euro for Pink Ribbon (Breast Cancer Charity). About 8 ladies from the area baked over 150 cup-cakes for the cake-sale. The raffle had over 20 prizes. More than 30 dogs made new friends whilst walking and running the route. Pete, the guitarist, played non-stop for over 3 hours to entertain everybody. It was a great day – I hope to see you all next year when it will all take place on Sat 5th March at 11.00. You’ve been warned!

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The Association Equestre de Quercy The Association Equestre de Quercy is an English style riding club based in the Quercy region. The only requirement needed to be a member is the love of horses of all shapes and sizes. We have members from a variety of equestrian backgrounds and the thing we have in common is the fascination of horses.


bviously our activities are more or less equine based in one way or another, some are mounted and some are not but all include a friendly and social element. At the end of the day we tend to get together to enjoy refreshments (often a full blown meal) provided by members and a natter. Most of our non-riding members will come and watch the activity and join in the meal afterwards. We have a wealth of equine skills and experience amongst our current members from starting and schooling the young horse to dressage, jumping, le trek and endurance. There is so much you can continue to learn from people with different horse experiences and often looking at things from a different perspective (as in all things) can be enlightening.

T he all-day Randonée last summer amongst the glorious Quercy countryside broken up halfway with a leisurely BBQ hosted by one of the members while the horses had a relaxing rest in the paddocks. The horses are from front to back Shemus, Emo, Freddie, Seppl, Jo and Ruby. Fury is taking the photograph!

Here are a few examples of our activities. An Agility session with our local Monty Roberts Instructor, featuring Gaynor and the lovely Indie.

A Christmas Quadrille, “The Addams Family” starring our Equine friends from the left to right, Indie, Fury, Ella and Emo.

Already this year we have held flatwork, body balance and lunging sessions utilising various members’ facilities. We have also held 3 Randonées one of which involved the optional use of a member’s cross country jumps! Needless to say there were several members attending as spectators and as usual we had a lovely array of food offered at the end of the day at yet another member’s home. Some lovely photographs were also taken by Kate Bunby. We have planned in the pipeline more Randonées and more flatwork and jumping days. We organise several non-mounted activities for example quiz nights and garden parties, all with an equine theme. For further information please go to website Or contact Emma on 0676 26 42 46 or

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

The Quercy Local • May-June 2015


WIN 3 PAIRS OF FRONT-ROW TICKETS FOR ANY PERFORMANCE OF HENRY V THIS SUMMER HOW? Q. Henry V’s claim to France was through which family line his mother’s or his father’s? Simply email us with the answer before June 1st – please include your name and address and a note of which performance you would like to attend. Email to: On the 1st of June three ‘correct’ responses, will be drawn from a hat! The winners will then receive their tickets by email directly from the production company. Good luck! The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

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

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

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The Quercy Local • May-June 2015


ISABEL & DIDIER WEBER Saturday 10h30 /12h30 et de 15h /18h30 Sunday morning 10h30 /13h Et sur rendez vous. 22 bd des thermes - 82 140 Saint Antonin Noble Val Tel: 06 83 15 33 59 17 September October 2014 Issue 16 November - February 2014 Issue

18 2015 Issue

al uLocal uercy ercy Local l Loc ocacy uercy Luer March - April



July - August


2014 Issue 15


The Region’s

The Region’s FREE magazine in English

e in English FREE magazin

The Region’s FREE magazine in English The Region’s FREE

magazine for English

Summer Issue readers with – Seaso nal - Music, plus – Quercy – with Melons Art and Theat Winter Issue , Historical Rail-Lin re es, Stone-Carving One woman’s & Gardening with Childre motor-biking thrills n Christmas food & drink + a splendid Tarte Tatin Oysters, mobile cinemas, bare-root gardening, Autumn Issue with – more & Romans Thermal Cures, Biodynamic Wines, Walking Groups plus –

including – Spring Issue n Scheme Open Garde ning Cut Flower Garde

Quercy Lamb ts Abroad Grandparen & more

Author, Eamon O’Hara, Chef, Michel Trama & Winemaker, Philippe Lejeune

Opening Wednesday 4th March See page 9 for details


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DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR! If you would like to get the next 5 copies of the magazine delivered directly to your home in France or another address in Europe then this is very simple to arrange. You can also arrange this for a friend or relative as a gift. You can either visit our website, and follow the link to ‘Subscribe’ and fill in the simple form with your address. Submit this and then you will very quickly receive an electronic invoice to cover the cost of postage and packing. The costs for getting 5 copies sent to you are – 15 euro for an address in France or 20 euro for elsewhere in Europe. Or, if you prefer, you can complete the form below and send this to us in the post: The Quercy Local, Las Razes, Touffailles, 82190 If you prefer to send a cheque, please make it payable to A. Atkinson Name.............................................................................................................. Email................................................................................................................ Tel. No............................................................................................................ Address (for delivery)............................................................................ ............................................................................................................................ ............................................................................................................................

The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

Getting together for fun, friendship and romance

Expat Dating France is an on-line dating service for those of us who live here in France. We are a growing community and welcome friends and romantics from all over France. Come and join in and get involved with some of the nicest people around. We’re looking forward to meeting you! From Katie May and the team at For information and enquiries about rescue dogs – so many dogs desperately looking for their ‘forever’ homes. contact Sue on 05 65 24 53 03 email:

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The Quercy Local • May-June 2015


Renewal & Re-invention N by A Atkinson

owadays we believe we’re virtuous by simply disposing of our ‘packaging’ into colour coded dustbins, have we perhaps forgotten the skill of finding new uses for old things? On a recent trip to the tiny village of Piac (close to Saint-Paul d’Espis) I discovered an exception to this decline. I met Margaret and Tom Verheul at their home on the edge of the village. Originally from Holland they retired to Piac in 2003 and through the process of sorting out the garden and landscaping the pool they discovered a love of Lavender that was to go on to become an ‘extreme’ hobby. Each year in August they’d cut all the flowers from their increasingly numerous lavender plants and carefully burn what they then considered ‘waste’. Then Tom’s love of finding new uses for redundant items came into play and he started to put together his very own distilling machine. Locally Tom found an old pressure cooker and this became the basis for further developments in his garden shed. He added bits and fiddled with others and gradually he had put together, completely from items that had otherwise become redundant, his very own distilling machine. The couple were now going to produce oil from their lavender plants and put it to good use. So now, each August, Tom and Margaret strip all the flowers from their (and their friends’) lavender plants. They’re particular about using only the flower-heads, no stalks are included. They then use their very own steamdistillation unit to produce the lavender oil. A useful byproduct is hot water which the couple discharged directly in their swimming pool. Nothing is going to be wasted in this household! The pure oil is collected and Tom and Margaret now measure this out into small jars. They also bottle (in acquired second-hand bottles) the distilled lavender water which is kept for filing up steam irons, as a refreshing facespray and they even have one friend who uses this as a spray to calm the bees in his hive. This is not a business, it’s a totally consuming hobby and the real benefactors are Margaret and Tom’s friends and family who are kept well stocked with one of nature’s best treatments for wounds and bites; a naturally calming oil promoting sleep and relaxation. The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

In August, if anyone would like to see the ‘small but perfectly formed’ distillation equipment in use – please do contact Margaret and Tom and arrange to go and see them. They would love to show others just what can come from one man’s ingenuity and his shed, when fuelled by one woman’s love of her garden and in particular her banks of lavender. 05 63 04 24 63

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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


Quercy Counselling Quercy counselling offers English-speaking counselling and psychological services on all manner of issues. It’s based in Belveze and offers services face-to-face, via telephone and Skype. For more information please see the website:

Or contact Elizabeth Cross on +33(0)788279014 or

OPEN DAYS Sat. June 27 & Sun. 28, from 10am Ferme de Lacontal, Touffailles, 82190 Come and learn about lavender production, the distilling process and see the fields in flower. Craft and produce stalls. 05 63 95 78 12 At Touffailles, follow the signs ‘Bienvenue à la Ferme’ Free Entry – A great day out!

The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

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Place de le Croix – 82150 Roquecor General supplies, Bread, Newsagents, Postal Point We also stock a supply of British products and a great selection of wines from local producers

Local and convenient – a true village shop 05 63 95 25 78 / 06 82 84 56 30 (SARL Lacroixroc) Delphine and Jean Longueteau

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

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

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

The Quercy Local • May-June 2015


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

Summer Wine Time!


ummer begins again, yay! There are a plethora of activities in the area to tempt every style and budget. As you are in a wine producing region, why not fit in a vineyard tour, or perhaps just a tasting, at one of the local vignobles? Many of the local winemakers are happy to receive visitors, often free of charge, and will be able to talk you through their production methods and resulting wines.

Vineyard Visits?

Don’t let the language barrier put you off. English is often spoken, sometimes at a functional level, but often fluently! At the very least, it is an excuse to practice your own language skills. Don’t worry if you’re feeling a little rusty; even after 10 years as a resident, I still make a fool of myself on a regular basis, and am told that the French find our errors charmants! If you are worried that tours and tasting are only for the wine enthusiasts in the family – don’t be! Numerous vineyards have open days and events catering for the whole family. Many of us have a basket of toys to amuse the younger ones, and as the French are so family orientated, no-one will be in the least surprised to see the children with you.

Walking Through The Vines

At Domaine des Sangliers, full tours often begin with a walk in the vines, looking at the plants and explaining pruning and palissage methods. In organic vineyards you will be able to see a wide variety of wild flowers, insects, birds and wildlife, all enjoying life in the absence of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. If it’s heading for dusk, you may be lucky enough to see bats, deer and the occasional wild boar (although they are very shy). The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

From the vines, we move to the winery or chai – and through this series of different rooms we can explain something of the wine making process, from its beginning in the fields right up to the liquid in the glass. We begin in the fermentation room, where the harvested grapes first enter the building. We can look at the de-stemming machine, the press, see the large fermentation vats where the magic begins, and discuss topics such as natural fermentation, secondary fermentations and cold storage methods.

Wine In Waiting

From the fermentation room, we move through to the bulk ageing room, were the wine is stored in oak-barrels and vats. In this room the wine is aged, and subsequently bottled and corked. Once bottled, the wine is packed into storage bins and moved into a third room. Here the wine ages in the bottle, and is prepared for sale. In this dry storage room, bottles are labelled and capped, before being boxed up and sent out for delivery, or moved through to the tasting and sales room.

Time For Tasting?

In the tasting room, we have a double fronted bar, allowing us to talk a maximum number of people through the tasting process. Anyone (over 18!) can try the wines – no knowledge is required! For those wishing to learn the very basics of dégustation, we happily talk them through the type of glass, looking at the wines’ colour and physical properties; how to smell and, of course, finally how to taste. You can learn tips on how to train and improve your pallet, the areas in your own mouth where you sense salt, sweet, sour, bitter, how to train yourself to identify flavours, tannins and other elements in the wine. Or, you can just enjoy the experience in its own right! In this room, we also regularly have art or craft exhibitions – this summer we will be displaying the work of the talented local photographer Tony Priestley (see p54 of this edition).

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As every winemaker has their own agricultural and winemaking methods and their own stories to tell, you could happily visit every vineyard in this beautiful region and never be bored (but ensure at least one of you uses the crachoir)! Visitors are welcome to the property. We are open from June to September, from 2pm to 7pm. Wednesday and Sunday by appointment. Other dates and times by prior arrangement. A variety of tours of the vineyard and wine tastings are available year round. Learn about the organic wine making process, the basics of wine tasting, or just enjoy trying some new wines or aperitifs. Group and

corporate bookings are welcome (musical entertainment/catering can also be arranged). Purchases can be made directly from the cellar door. Children welcome. Disabled access. Always drink alcohol responsibly and in moderation; pregnant women are advised not to consume alcohol; don’t drink and drive.

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

Cassolette de la Mer

Last spring we spent a wonderful long weekend in Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, a gorgeously fashionable seaside town in the north of France with many great restaurants and lovely hotels. We enjoyed walks on the beach, cocktails, lots of sun and plenty of seafood. Although our stay only lasted four days (ending with a visit to Lille), it felt like we had been there much longer. We certainly made the most out of every second – which really wasn’t all that difficult!

One of the meals I had at Restaurant Le Matisse (68 rue de Metz) was a creamy seafood stew flavoured with saffron. The sauce was velvety and absolutely stunning. Perhaps, one of the most memorable meals I had whilst there. So memorable, that I decided to recreate it and share it with you. And please note that this is a quick (simplified) weekday version. My version. Serves 4. 250g salmon, 600 ml fish stock, good pinch of saffron, knob of butter, 1 tbsp mild olive oil, 1 shallot, finely chopped, 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped, 500 g fruits de mer, 100 ml white wine, 250 g prawns, 1 tsp dried dill, pinch of turmeric, 100 ml single cream. Poach the salmon in the stock and cut into large pieces. Reserve 500 ml of the stock and soak the saffron in about 2 tbsps, once cooled. Heat the butter and oil in a large casserole and gently sweat the shallots and garlic. Increase the heat, add the fruits de mer and toss for about 2 minutes. Deglaze with the wine. Now add the salmon back in along with the 500 ml reserved stock, prawns, dill, turmeric and cream. Let the dish cook for another few minutes. Serve with lemon wedges, crisp seasonal vegetables and a nice Riesling.

Bon Appétit !

Paola Westbeek is a food, wine and travel writer with a good dose of joie de vivre. She is passionate about French cooking, old-fashioned chansons, Rembrandt and life. Paola is available for all kinds of recipe development and culinary advice. For more information visit or contact Paola at Paola also has a cooking channel featuring easy French recipes every week. Subscribe and you’ll be the first to see them: Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • May-June 2015


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Carpenter/Menuisier d’agencement Tous intérieurs, cuisines, salles de bains, 06 30 99 72 21 (82150) English spoken

SUCCESSION TAX QUESTION: I am a single man resident in the UK with 2 non dependent children; I do not own a property in the UK but own a property in France value approx. £150,000.00. Presently I am assessing the inheritance tax liabilities on my estate in UK and need advice on the inheritance tax liabilities on the French property in either the UK and/or France. I understand that I can gift the French property to my two children and this would eliminate the liability to pay inheritance tax in France but would this also mean there is no inheritance tax liability in UK?

ANSWER: If your place of “domicile” is the UK, the value of your French property would be included in your worldwide estate for UK tax purposes, with credit being given for any tax paid in France. Your children would be subject to French succession tax (equivalent to UK inheritance tax) on the value of the French property. The tax allowance is currently e100,000 per child, so, as long as your property is worth less than e200,000 and you leave it to both children equally, there would be no French tax to pay. If you were to gift the property to your children, during your lifetime, French gift tax (“droits de donation”) would be payable. The gift tax allowance in France is also e100,000 per child, and it is renewed every fifteen years. Therefore, based on the current valuation, there would be no tax payable in France assuming that you have not gifted any other French assets to them in the previous fifteen years. There would be no further French inheritance tax payable by them on your death. Were they to sell the property on your death, they would be liable to French capital gains tax on any gain made since the date of gift. They would normally also be subject to CGT in the UK, with

credit being given for any tax paid in France. However, in the UK you have to consider the impact of both capital gains tax and inheritance tax, if you decide to gift the property. In the UK, worldwide gifts made by UK tax residents are subject to capital gains tax. If you have lived in the French property at some stage, it is possible that at least part of the gain will qualify for an exemption under the UK Principal Residence Relief. The gain would be calculated based on the current market value of the property since the gift is made to a ‘connected person’. If a chargeable gain arises, the tax is levied at either 18% or 28% depending on the level of your UK taxable income. You are also entitled to an Annual Exemption of £11,000 (for the year ended 5th April 2015). If you are UK domiciled, your worldwide assets are subject to UK inheritance tax. Life-time gifts to children are normally classified as Potentially Exempt Transfers. This means that the value of the assets gifted is not included as part of your taxable estate on your death provided that you survive for seven years after the date of the gift. However, if you continue to use the property yourself, the gift could be considered a ‘Gift with Reservation’. In this situation the UK tax authorities argue that you have not made a genuine gift and the value of the property would still remain in your taxable estate. It is possible to avoid this by paying market rent to your children for the periods that you occupy the property personally. You should also consider non-tax implications of the gift; for example, the children would have control of the property and could sell it even if you wished to keep it available for your use during your life-time. You may wish to consider retaining a type of lifeinterest (called usufruit in French). The rules governing gifts are complicated and it is always advisable to get expert cross-border advice if you considering gifting a French property.

Peter Wakelin is Regional Manager of Siddalls France, Independent Financial Adviser, specialised in tax, inheritance, pension and investment planning for the British community. Telephone 05 56 34 75 51, The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

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Protect your wealth

French finance in plain English

For fully compliant and expert financial advice For the name of your local area manager please contact our head office on: 05 56 34 75 51 PART OF THE BLEVINS FRANKS GROUP Siddalls France SASU, Parc Innolin, 3 Rue du Golf, CS 60073, 33701 Mérignac Cedex forms part of the Blevins Franks group of companies - RCS BX 498 800 465. C.I.F. No E001669 auprès de ANACOFI-CIF association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Financiers et Courtier d’Assurances, Catégorie B - ORIAS 07 027 475. Garantie Financière et Assurance de Responsabilité Civile Professionnelle conformes aux articles L 541-3 du Code Monétaire et Financier et L 512-6 et 512-7 du Code des Assurances. Published March, May, July, September and November each year

The Quercy Local • May-June 2015


FIVE WAYS TO FIND A ROMAN ROAD 1. TAKE THE HIGH ROAD OK, we all know that Roman roads are straight with ditches – well here in the south west of France this is not always the case. There are two main reasons for this – the terrain and the possibility that these roads were originally built by the Gauls and then taken over by the Romans. So identification of a Roman road is not that easy. As a general rule Roman roads were constructed on high ground, reconstructing roads already used by the Gauls. If you walk along a known Roman road or track you will find that they are normally dry even during wet periods, have views in all directions and by keeping mostly to high ridges, there are fewer valleys and rivers/streams to cross. This also means that they are definitely not straight! It is believed that as the Roman period progressed straighter roads were constructed in the valleys – possibly for summer use, or secondary purposes such as transportation of crops as more agriculture was introduced and properties built. Walking along known ‘Roman road’ farm tracks can sometimes give a false impression. On careful examination of the land on both sides there can be evidence that the actual Roman road is running parallel either ploughed out in the field, showing long parallel faint indentations to indicate where the ditches used to be, or situated in an area of rough scrub and woodland, with sometimes a concave ‘U’ shaped track, or trees growing on top of a camber of earth called an agger. Other indications are steep sides either up or down and ditches (though ditches on their own will not be enough proof as roads everywhere in France have ditches). One of the photos on the right shows a ditch with a horizontal line of stones, which is known to be on the Na Bruniquel. If this kind of evidence turns up on an unknown stretch of road, it could indicate where the surface of a Roman road has been cut into when the farmers have cleared the ditch.

2. CROSSES, STONES AND MARKERS The tradition appears to be continuing that damaged crosses, placed by the early bishops endeavouring to wipe out anything that appeared to be pagan, are still being replaced in modern times with new ones in stone or metal. The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

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La Chaumière Immobilier was established in 2005 by the owner Marie-Annick COLAS who has been joined by Daniel TAYLOR who has 14 years experience particularly with an international clientèle.

We are looking for properties (country and village houses of all types and condition) in the Quercy and surrounding areas to meet an increased demand from French and foreign buyers.

If you are selling or thinking of selling don’t hesitate to contact us!

A fun pastime for anyone driving long distances on roads in France is to look out for crosses placed at crossroads. These crossings may only be across farm tracks or a tarmac road one side and farm track on the other. The route from Lannemezan to Condom for example has long stretches of countryside, with these types of ‘crossroads’ and many of these have crosses. It will also be discovered that the distance between these crosses and/or cross roads, is remarkably repetitive – at just over 2 kms. If this occurs when you are out driving, please make a note of the route you took and let the author know. The road you were on may already be known as a Roman road, but it would be very helpful to have this proved. Of specific interest – anything in the Lot & Garonne, Gers, Tarn & Garonne, Lot and Dordogne. The Romans measured out land in an organised way called Centuration. Stone boundary markers were often placed and sometimes had religious connections, enforcing the reason why they were sometimes replaced by crosses or just disappeared altogether. On major long distance Roman roads in France there were also larger tall circular stone way markers called ‘Borne Miliares’. Although there is only one borne miliare in the Lot & Garonne found near Roudoulous in the early

19th Century, in other regions more of these still remain insitu. When the bishops found these large stone pillars some were covered in names of Emperors so it is quite feasible to imagine that they would not be acceptable with the new Christian religion. More likely, however, these useful stone pillars were just re-used by the farmers for crushing wheat, for example. The borne miliare in Roudoulous was found in a ditch and used in the church as a base for the font and is now in the Agen Museum. Even rarer, are stone markers left on the side of roads that are pre-Roman and used by the Gauls though these are normally only found in the countryside next to grass tracks well away from busy roads.

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

The Quercy Local • May-June 2015


Chaussee, Via, and Romain/e. There are references in books listing these (toponymy) and on the internet. Careful examination of the French National Geographic (IGN) maps like Geoportail, or Napoleonic maps which are now appearing on the internet can show those which could indicate there is an old road nearby. This can be confusing, however, because many words used now may have origins that are not only latin, but celtic/gaulois and the local patois – like occitan. This type of research (toponymy) could warrant a study of the entire area in its own right. 4. CHURCHES Studying the names of churches within the proximity of target tracks and roads. These are another source of evidence that the bishops sought out anything pagan and gave it a Saint’s name. So a church with an early Saint’s name could indicate that something was here in the 3rd/4th Century that could have had an early road nearby. There are churches and chapels all over the region and some of these are placed in odd situations. The Church at Soussis near Couloussac in the Tarn & Garonne, for example, is in a valley right next to the source of the Boudouyssou river (or where it may have been two centuries ago). There is also a large cross and a statue nearby. This could indicate that whatever pagan rituals were held here needed some heavy replacements. Also of interest is the fact that this church is built the wrong way round. The church’s Saint’s name is not known yet.

Just to add more confusion, crossroads were sometimes used to either hang people, or to tie them up, for all to see, as a punishment for debt, etc. (Like the stocks in the UK on the village green). 3. NAMES Other indications of the proximity of a Roman road are the names of places nearby, which could indicate an historical context going right back to the Romans. Hamlets or roads called Cesar, Caussade, Peyre, Rouge, The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

Another is on a promontory overlooking the Seoune valley, at Blaymont, Lot & Garonne. This is a very old Romanesque style church built in the 12th Century which is well worth a visit in its own right. This church situated above a pagan spring (already reported in a previous issue of Quercy Local), was named after St Apollonia who died in 249 AD. The church is now called Notre Dame de Blaymont - many churches have had name changes. Even relatively new churches with older Saint’s names may have been built on older sites

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to replace buildings that were destroyed or fell into disrepair during the last few hundred years. 5. BOUNDARIES & KNOWN ROMAN SITES Also of use when researching with old maps, many of the local parish and commune boundaries follow the Roman roads. However, this isn’t a hard and fast rule because boundary lines have been changed frequently. A good example of this is the department of Tarn & Garonne, which was introduced by Napoleon. His team of surveyors took parts of the surrounding departments to make a new one. Existing Roman sites with arenas and amphitheatres are normally in the big cities. Evidence only appears when new buildings are built and the foundations uncover walls of these large buildings. In Agen (Aginnum) very little evidence remains though shapes on the Napoleonic maps show the sites of the various ancient buildings such as the amphitheatre. In Cahors, however, Roman evidence is still visible everywhere and a magnificent site has been preserved underground in the carpark below the new place. Villas in the countryside would have had secondary access roads because as a general rule the Roman roads between the big cities did not go through any towns or villages.

These would have been built alongside afterwards. As development continued, the deviations into these towns and villages eventually became the known road and the use of the Roman road discontinued. Full details of ways of identifying Roman roads can be found in the English version of the book Roman Roads (Les Voies Romaines) by R. Chevallier and the internet is also a massive source of information. Our Roman Road survey started as an amateur project but has now taken on a less informal status as the information we are passing to the archaeologists from our walks on the territory is something that has not been done before, especially with the massive input from the online services of mapping sites and gps tracking devices. We are also about to start aerial surveys using a drone – which has just been authorised by the authorities. We would appreciate input from readers who walk with their dogs, or with groups on the numerous ‘randonee’ routes throughout the area who discover anything of interest. Field walking for signs of pottery would be a great help, though we have to be careful of the farmers’ crops. (It is illegal to use metal detectors without specific government authorised permission.) Finding evidence of a Roman building does not always indicate that there is an important road nearby, but the more information we can put together the more of an idea we will get of how the terrain was inhabited during that period and the smaller access roads to the Roman properties would hopefully lead to the major roads. The photos in this article will give you an idea of what to look for and the author and the team would appreciate photos and map references of anything that is found of interest. Do not worry about sending us anything that is not useful – we have found plenty of pottery treasures that the experts have smiled sweetly at us and put in the bin! You can write to if you require any further information.

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

The Quercy Local • May-June 2015


Falling in love Again! Tony Priestley is an amateur photographer living in the small pretty village of Le Boulvé in the Lot. Handyman and gardener by trade, photographer by desire. He calls himself a ‘born again’ photographer, and here he tells us why.


first got into photography in the 1980s, back in the days of film. I had just left school and had very little money, so my photographic kit wasn’t going to make anyone jealous. I did have a car though, and my little Toyota 1000 and I travelled far and wide to capture, what I now realise, were pretty mediocre photos. At the time I loved them, and I loved photography. However I was often disappointed at the results of my photos when they came back from the printers, so I decided to develop my own. I bought a Russian enlarger housed in a case that looked like something straight out of the cold war!

The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

But with that cheap enlarger I delved into the murky world of the darkroom, and had my first taste of photo manipulation. By the mid 90s I had lost most of my interest in photography, and my love of sports had taken over. I never lost the photographer’s eye though, and would still take some nice shots with my new digital camera, which had, I recall, 1.3 mega pixels!! Fast forward to 2012. I’m living in France, and have been envious of a friend taking photos of the Tour de France on his Nikon DSLR with a long zoom lens. I only have a Canon pocket camera, so decide to invest in an

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SLR again. The rest, as they say, is history. I still don’t earn a lot, but invest in the best equipment I can afford (or not afford) Going from a Nikon D3100, to a D7100, to my latest acquisition a D810. The world of photography had changed massively since my early days, and it was now so much easier to just snap away, review and discard the bad and unwanted photos at no charge. Also when I think of the evenings I spent in my darkroom under the stairs in my dad’s surgery, now I sit at a desk and work on my photos using digital software in relative luxury. I spent so much time in the early days in semi darkness I’m surprised I don’t have eyes like a Bush Baby! I have very much been re bitten by the photographic bug, and I’ve definitely fallen in love again!! I tend to photograph landscapes more than anything else, although as I also have a passion for cooking, it’s great to be able to combine the two and photograph food as well. I have photographed weddings and I do some portrait work occasionally. I have a small cramped studio in my ‘sous-sol’ where I can do basic

portrait shots plus some still life work, so I have a varied portfolio. I sell my work mainly on the internet, through either stock photo sites, or through sites like ‘pixels. com’ or ‘’ where people can either buy simple prints, or have photos framed, printed on aluminium sheets, canvas prints, even t-shirts and duvet covers etc. You can of course buy direct from me as well. I’m also available to photograph your weddings, parties or other events. Take photos of your property if you have it up for sale, or you just want to hang a nice picture of it on your wall. All proposals considered. I will be exhibiting at two different exhibitions this year (maybe more!) The first will be at Lisa and Kim Stanton’s Domaine des Sangliers (see p.44 of this magazine) from the end of May until the end of summer. The other is at Montcuq, along with various local artists at ‘Un été a Montcuq’ which runs from 12th July through until 23rd August. If anyone is interested, please come along.

Websites: Contact details: 06 31 05 28 27

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

The Quercy Local • May-June 2015


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How about flying a microlight over the beautiful French countryside?

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ob has been an enthusiastic competitor in national and international competitions and has won Gold, two Silver and three Bronze medals in international microlighting competitions. In 2014 Rob became the dual seat British National Champion and came 3rd in the World Championship in Hungary. Did you know there was a Microlight Tour de France? Well, there is and Rob won this last year in the dual seat event. Microlights used to be simply a basic hang-glider with a noisy engine. However, the modern machine is now a sophisticated aircraft carrying 2 people and luggage, and can fly for several hours before re-fuelling. Rob has flown from the UK to Italy in 12 hours needing only 3 stops! Why is France the perfect venue for flying? • The weather is kinder • The seasons are longer • The open-space is abundant • The landscapes are stunning and varied With a home nearby Rob is able to offer

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The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

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

The Quercy Local • May-June 2015

Profile for The Magazine Production Company

The Quercy Local May-June 2015  

A free regional magazine for the ‘English Speakers’ of the Quercy region of S W France – covering the Lot, Lot et Garonne and Tarn et Garonn...

The Quercy Local May-June 2015  

A free regional magazine for the ‘English Speakers’ of the Quercy region of S W France – covering the Lot, Lot et Garonne and Tarn et Garonn...