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FREE Monthly


JUNE 2014


ISSN: 2273-2748



The Herault & Aude Times

EDITORIAL ‘Too much sanity may be madness and the maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be.’ Miguel de Cervantes

Editorial June Welcome to this special 52 page edition of The Hat, featuring the first in a series of commissioned articles, written by author/journalist/filmmaker Tim King. With approximately 1,5m people currently being treated for mental health issues in France and a 50% increase in sectioning to psychiatric hospitals over the last 5 years, in this special feature, ‘Madness: A mysterious continent’, Tim King looks at how the French health system treats the mentally ill, through personal stories of people whose lives have been impacted by mental illness, either as professionals, close family members or volunteers.

Madness: A Mysterious Continent A HAT Special Feature

We also pull out of the Hat this month a true gentle man, music promoter/manager Raymond Gonzalez, he’s worked with some of the greatest - Nina Simone, Jerry Lee Lewis and The Jackson Brothers to name but a few. And still on the subject of great music and artists, we ask Andrew Rawlinson to talk about what led him to writing his new book ‘The Hit: Into the Rock’n’roll universe and beyond.’ It’s time to fill your kitchen with fresh herbs ready for scattering over summer dishes from Aby Merat’s Persian kitchen…we meet Eleonor d’Allaines from the Abbaye de Valmagne… Christopher Elliott writes about the Orient Express…and finally a heartfelt thank you to young journalist Theo King for his series of beautifully written, thoughtful interviews with French professionals ‘My Way’. This month is the last in the series before Theo sits his BAC and finally gets to go on ‘His Way’.


The HAT The Herault & AudeTimes - 1 Grand Rue, St Thibery,34630 (11100) Publisher: Gatsby B - Editor : Emma F - Advertising Director: Tom B Advertising: Vicky M-B - Thomas Muhr Art Editor: Daisy B - Art: EDITORIAL PUBLISHER SUBSCRIPTIONS Online or contact us on ADVERTISING For display advertising, print classifieds please call 0644 80 24 32 or mail For free classified online advertising please visit www.theheraultandaudetimes.comPYRIG HT AND DISCLAIMER

The Herault & Aude Times The Herault & Aude Times is owned and published by L’Herault Art (L.A. Publishing) (51926616300010). The publisher, authors and contributors reserve their rights in regards to copyright of their work. No part of this work covered by the copyright may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means without the written consent of the publisher. No person, organization or party should rely or on any way act upon any part of the contents of this publication whether that information is sourced from the website, magazine or related product without first obtaining the advice of a fully qualified person. This magazine and its related website and products are sold and distributed on the terms and condition that: The publisher, contributors, editors and related parties are not responsible in any way for the actions or results taken by any person, organisation or any party on basis of reading information, stories or contributions in this publication, website or related product. The publisher, contributors and related parties are not engaged in providing legal, financial or professional advice or services. The publisher, contributors, editors and consultants disclaim any and all liability and responsibility to any person or party, be they a purchaser, reader, advertiser or consumer of this publication or not in regards to the consequences and outcomes of anything done or omitted being in reliance whether partly or solely on the contents of this publication and related website and products. The publisher, editors, contributors and related parties shall have no responsibility for any action or omission by any other contributor, consultant, editor or related party. END



he writers and contributors are the stars of this magazine and without them I would have all of my hair and would not be drinking gin at 9am every day. Having said that, you should know more about them. All their bios can be found at Please read them, they deserve to be recognised for their fantastic contribution and for being patient and generous to me.



t: 0468 90 55 17

his magazine is intended for the use of the individual(s) who picked it up. This magazine may contain information that is helpful, opinionated and can at times be unsuitable for overly sensitive Persons with no cultural credibility. If you are not sure then may we politely suggest that you pass it onto someone else as to continue reading is not recommended and may constitute an irritating social faux pas. No animals were harmed in the making of this magazine, and believe it or not one single opinion is definitive- period.

ISSN: 2273-2748 4

The Herault & Aude Times


May 2014

08 My Place

Raymond Gonzalez, - Music promoter

10 The Orient Express exhibition 14 Jetskiing in France with Angelina’s stand in. 16 Abbey de Valmagne A rich history near to Montagnac

18 Crosscurrents & Crossroads Narbonne’s winds of change 24 The HITS A look at a mans opus in Rock ‘n’ Roll

26 Madness: A mysterious continent Personal stories about how the mentally ill are cared for in France

03 Editorial 06 Letters 08 My Place 09 And Another Thing 12 Wine Times 16 GTBY 20 Lifestyle 22 Music 23 History 25 A French View 27 English for Expat Children 28 - 31 Art 32 Recipes 34 Business 38 In the Garden 40 Subscribe 42 E-male 42 - 46 Classified Ads 47 Sport

The Cover Story


e are proud to have the talents of Mr Barry Beckett producing the wonderful original covers that you currently see. And online now you can purchase these beautiful images and have a piece of the Languedoc in your own home.

Prints and selected Limited Editions available. Barry Beckett 2013 All rights reserved


Don’t Miss in June DEMOISELLES de VERRE Glass Museum HALLE de VERRE 50 Avenue du Nouveau Monde 34270 Claret Tel. 04 67 59 06 39 May, June, Sep open everyday 14h/18h July & August 10h-12h30/14h-19h 3 Mai-14 December 2014 Free entry / visit the site for workshops ** Picnic at the award winning Domaine du Joncas on the 7th, 8th, 9th June. You bring your hamper and they provide the wine! Tables provided between 11h-16h. Plus, art exhibition, olive oil, cheese, jam tasting. Places are limited to 20 per day, so you need to book. Contact Chemin de Maurier, Montpeyroux, 34150 ** WIC Women’s International Club, Langedoc Rousillon Extraordinary Charity Sale in Saint Chinian, Sunday morning, 22nd June 08.30 – 13.30. Salle de l’Abbatiale in Saint Chinian, Stands offering ladies, gents and children’s clothing, French and foreign books, toys, jewellery, bric-a-brac, home and tableware, home-made cakes, plants, electrical goods and not forgetting the tombola + more All proceeds for four charities: Le Secours Populaire, The Alzheimer Society, La Ligue contre le Cancer and SPA. Come along, you won’t be disappointed. More info at: or visit the website at ** Launch evening of The HIT (see page 24) Saturday 5th July, 18h-19h30 hrs at Chateau de Colombières-sur-Orb The evening will include a short talk about THE HIT by Andrew Rawlinson, music and dance by Bruno, Lesli and Félip and an exhibition of paintings by Lucy Raverat FREE 6

Welcome to the letters page

Do you have something to say? About the magazine? About life? Do you have a question or eve


Elections What a farce ! We were allowed to vote for the Municipal elections this year but not for the European, this weekend. Although we are both British & have lived in France for the last 40 Years. Not that with 26 Countries 2 votes one way or the other would change ! Its the principle that irks. Apparently one has to specify to be put on the list (we would prefer to remain anonymous ) Shock Hi, we have recently moved here for the usual reasons; better climate, more house for your buck, time of life, etc. and just have to say what is it with these lunchtimes? We recently went into a well known tourist village on a fete day (sorry US keyboard) with friends and found 4 cafe restaurants to be closed at lunchtime on a public holiday. Is this a reason for the dismal economic outlook in our adopted country? Freddie P Cécile McLorin I want to say thanks again for the tickets. My wife and I really enjoyed the concert and it’s a lovely intimate venue. Cécile seemed to be really

appreciated by the audience. I bumped into Richard Pullen there, who I hadn’t seen for some years. John Corot at Carcassonne Rene Huyghe once made the observation that “Corot painted three thousand canvases, ten thousand of which have been sold in America”. This was partly due to his laxity in allowing his students to copy and imitate his paintings. But also it is due to the formulaic and imitable technique and approach to composition that characterise his studio based landscapes that sit between the classical tradition and ‘plein air’ (on the spot) painting. His trees look more like feathers with dandruff than trees, his light lacks time of day, his skies lack weather. But he was a pathfinder for the Impressionists whose paintings would at first be far less popular than his. PW Cassoulet Hello - Very interesting short article on one of my favourite dishes that reminded me of when I decided to take a cassoulet (made at Poterie Not Frères in Mas Saint Puelles - cassoulets are sadly no longer made in Issel), some haricot lingots and a recipe from Maison de Cassoulet in Castelnaudary as a

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wedding present to friends in London. At Carcassonne Airport I was stopped and asked if the security personnel could search my suitcase. It seems that the haricots lingots showed up on the x-ray as hundreds of pill-shaped capsules! I explained the wedding present idea and, within seconds, all available airport staff were giving me their own recipe tips, including the crust-breaking rule! I generally make a cassoulet every two months (more often if we have people visiting). Incidentally, we have a local book of no less than 200 cassoulet recipes so if you ever need a fish or vegetarian version - just ask! Elaine Hi Elaine. Thanks so much for the great letter. Yep, I have 36 people coming round for a talk on art.....can you feed that many next week? How long You have been going 2 years and a bit by my reckoning and it has been bloody fantastic. Many thanks to all involved. Yep, and it has been wonderful for you to have me here hasn’t it? How did you live without me? To all the emails and texts about this, many thanks....adore me!

Send us a letter or a mail or a text. Your chance to have your say. The HAT Letters Page

FOU D’Anglais

en a complaint? Send your letters to

Letters Rumours I heard a rumour that you were shutting down this magazine. Is it true? Lisa Yep. Again, I wanted to be loved, respected and adored and what do I get? Sarcasm and angst. But seriously, I asked the editor if this was true and she said it was, and all down to my growing popularity and stardom and need to be called Sir and bowed to. And the spin-off TV show from next summer means without me it will all fall like a Roman empire anyway! But seriously; it was put in place to prove that regional magazines here could bring a ‘little more’ to the region. Everything has a lifespan....but it’s far from over yet. Foreign Affairs I read your articles taken from a French standpoint on the situation in Ukraine. I find it very unnerving that the press in the UK, France (from your translations) and in Spain really do not seem to be taking this situation with the gravitas it demands. This is a situation that some say echoes history and the political manouevring being used by Russia, America and the parties in and around Ukraine point to a terrifying situation if not resolved in some way. If at worst you think this will produce a new cold war then those that remember back then should inform those that didn’t. This really is a terrifying predicament. Maurice J. An American in France. Banking I was intrigued to read your article on basic rules of banking in France. I have first hand experience of an account being

frozen due to the sum of -39.48 euros when we had a transfer confirmed into the bank of 3,000. It took four months to sort out. Disgusting. Withheld

NOW IN MONTPELLIER all your favourite foods from home frozen sausages and bacon scones and tea, delicious homemade cakes baked potatoes, pies and sandwiches 10, Rue Anatole France 34000 Montpellier 04 67 29 60 49 Tuesday to Saturday 10-6

Banking Your aticle about banking was interesting but didn’t go far enough. The French have a system that is all about the bank and not about the customer. Put your money under the mattress. Doug, Auckland Hey Doug, I’m just popping over to yours (you gave me your address). Can I stay the night and use your room (and mattress). Oh dear. Under the mattress? Indeed. Yeah, that’s a good spot....! There is a full article on banking from the business ‘man’ coming soon. E-mail Does your guy get to keep all the phones he reviews? (And I can’t find the review online). Todd R. Montpellier Yes, and he deserves it, he looks like a 1970s throwback with no personal hygiene and awful social skills and NO, he is not my brother! GTBY I should admit before I start that I am 57 (please withhold my name I have been counting backwards for a few years) and my first read is always ‘Good to be young’. The midwife article last month was as good as any from young Theo but Le Roux and his fashion piece was absolutely brilliant. Loved it and the pictures. Hmm, kids eh? Never satisfied unless hanging out with a postbox. (see previous issue).


My Place

The People that make up the Languedoc

Raymond Gonzalez Music Promotor / Agent / Gentleman

ran into Nina Simone, who I eventually managed and booked during a period of 20 years.

And how did you end up with a house in the Languedoc? Nina and my administrator, who had a brief love affair with Nina when young, was very fond of France and particularly Cap D’agde. Gerrit had French roots in Montpellier. I think he wanted the whole Nina group to buy something near him. He already had 2-3 houses at the Cap and finally talked me into buying. It was convenient as where we previously rented in the summer in La Rochelle was sold. My son being autistic loves water and my wife loves the sun.

You speak four languages and have a Masters degree in Business Administration. Tell us how you got to this point? Where did you grow up? What is your background?

I started my studies at the University of Alabama (Joe Namath the football player of the Jets was still there) and finished in Paris at AUP where I got my degree. Actually, I came to Europe at first because of a divorce case with my first wife who I still have contact with and who asked me permission to remarry. At the times the laws in NY were very complicated for a divorce even if both parties agreed. One had to be separated at least 2 years and no hanky panky during the period. I was born on Amsterdam Ave., NY where West side story was made and was moved immediately to 49th and 9th Ave. Hell’s Kitchen. I am first generation American of Puerto Rican descent. My mother being of Catalan origin was born in NY and lived in Cuba as a child; my father was of Gallego (Galicia, Spain) decent but born in Peurto Rico and came to America at age 35.

You were educated in America (Alabama) and Paris. How (or why) did you go from the US to Paris? A divorce case and my fascination with Europe. When I went to Alabama I was heavily into civil rights and when I went to Paris (Europe) it was because of the divorce.

What was your first job?

I did tax returns and would advise small companies on how to avoid bankruptcy, etc. This was in the US. In Europe I worked in restaurants and gave English lesson at first. Afterwards I met people in show biz and became artistic consultant for the Director of the Festival of Pamplona and then 8

You are the owner of Mom Productions, a music promotions company? How did you get from a Masters in business admin to Music management and promotion? Big accident!! I went to Alliance Française to study French and met an American whose father had a TV program in the US. He was going out with a dancer from the company Caroline Carson. She became a very important dance agent working with Avignon and Theater de la Ville in Paris. She would ask me to check out companies for the festival, etc. If I thought they were good, she would check them out (elimination process). I was then contacted by a US American modern dance company (Calck Hook Dance Company) who asked me to work with them, so I thought I would give it a try before returning to NY and have been here ever since.

My Place

good idea and not good for her image (bad publicity). She just looked up at me and told me that “I didn’t know nothing, that even bad publicity was good publicity”. Actually she was right, what mattered is that people talked! I will have to think about this. Anecdotes, there are plenty but I don’t know if I can legally give them.

You are co-promoting The Jacksons on their tour in France, including Carcassonne on the 25th July. How did this collaboration come about? Dennis, who is an American living in London and is an old friend, works with and is an old friend of Tito Jackson. I met Tito with Dennis at the festival of Narbonne and we hit it off. He asked Dennis if we could collaborate to do dates in France for the Jackson’s since for some reason the French part of the World Tour had been cancelled. There you go!!

You have a formidable French artist list. Is this the first time you have managed / promoted at the Carcassonne festival?

No I have done a few concerts with them. I worked with Pascal, the director before he was in Carcassonne. As a promoter he did some concerts with me in the south of France. I’ve done the Blues brothers Band, Yuri Buenaventura, I think Nina, etc……. at Carcassonne.

Do you play any instruments?

I started playing the piano at the age of 5 but stopped at age 17.

You have worked with (and still do) with such luminaries as my favorite Funk Brother Jack Ashford, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Nina Simone, Jethro Tull, and The Jacksons. You must have a favourite anecdote about someone that CAN be published? There is the wheel chair story of Nina which is too long but one part of the story is that after having the plane for Pamplona wait about 45 min. and insisting on a wheel chair to go to the plane, I told Nina it was not a The Herault & Aude Times

How has the role of promoter / manager changed for you over the years? Is it better now or were the ‘old ways’ the best? I guess we are always more comfortable with the old ways because they were our basics from the beginning.

Conchita: a Torch for freedom Carrington NEW Column from Carrington


bearded man in a sequin dress might not be everyone’s idea of the way forward but the European song contest, conducted under the auspices of Eurovision, demonstrates Europe’s capacity for diversity and tolerance. While Putin beat the wardrums with a show of naval force in the Black Sea, the people of Languedoc-Rousillon lunched alfresco in glorious sunshine and watched that evening the outrageous behavior of happy mistrals shouting their hearts out in what is fondly seen as modern culture. The most important part of modern culture is its inclusiveness. It does not matter if you are Jew, gentile, or Muslim, as long as you are within a certain age group, there is common ground that shares a belief in the need to express yourself , in your own way and according to your own values. The irony of this proposition is that how similar many of the song contest contributions were. It really did not matter which country they came from, they often ended up looking and sounding the same. This all changed when the Austrian entry made an appearance. Conchita Wurst’s performance was sexual challenging, sexually daring, defying old fashioned notions about men in uniforms. And this, of course, is what it is all about for this age group. They want to push the

sexual boundaries beyond their existing limits and demonstrate that not only are all people created equal but they also have an equal right to enjoy themselves. The right to happiness is not written into any European constitution I know of. But there is a belief in liberty, equality and fraternity. It was this belief which was the foundation of the French Republic and provides common ground between France and other democracies, especially the United States. So the Eurovision song contest is not really a joke, although it might appear so. It is a manifestation of the people’s right to express themselves regardless of their circumstances and make a contribution to the feeling of community that brings people together. For those who see this extravaganza as a waste of money be reconciled with the

Was Jerry Lee Lewis as crazy as his reputation leads us to believe? Do you have a personal anecdote you could share?

Orly airport, stuck up his finger and said to me that I was a KILLER also, so I guess it went well!

If you could promote any artist, from any era, who would it be and why?

You’ve travelled extensively, where do you call home?

You are on a desert island, what three records have you got with you?

Jerry was great! He liked a drink and films. I had no major problem. When we did the Olympia together the Rolling Stones were playing the next day. They were back stage like young kids. I really could not believe it, the Respect, etc. that they gave Jerry, their idol. It was then I realized I was with a living legend (like NINA). Jerry, upon leaving from

The world! Very hard to respond as I have also lived in Spain and Germany but NY is NY and Paris is Paris (special). I have family roots and a home in both but also family in Spain and Puerto Rico.

thought that it is providing a platform for an industry which in a digital age is facing hard times but none-the-less provides a lot of harmless fun for many people some of whom remember that it was Abba’s appearance on the Eurovision song contest with Waterloo that suddenly made us all sit up and see popular culture as an important part of our way of life. **

TOO many I admire!

Nina Simone, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye…. And more

What do you do when not promoting? Eat, Drink and be Merry.

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The new Orient Express exhibition Il était une fois!


he new Orient Express exhibition ‘Il était une fois l’Orient Express’ at the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris brings to life the 100 years of European express trains operated by the Compagnie des Wagons-Lits et Grandes Express Européens. The company founded in Belgium in 1883 by George Nagelmackers whose blue coloured sleeping, restaurant and pullman cars brought a real pleasure of travelling by train. His fledgling company offered his passengers the possibility of eating whilst travelling, which up to then meant stopping a train for an hour so that the passengers could dash into the station restaurant, or travelling by night in a sleeping car or even a day trip to the coast in a pullman carriage, an invention made popular by his American friend George Pullman. The pullman is a sort of extra comfortable lounge on wheels. The Pullman Expresses in the UK included the ‘Queen of the Scots’, ‘The Tyne Tees Pullman’ and ‘The Bournemouth Belle’.

To travel to Paris, one could take the midday departure from Victoria Station on the ‘Golden Arrow’ with its luxury pullman carriages. Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express was not only a good yarn but an insight as to who trekked across Europe from Asia using these trains. There was no Ryanair and few flights were on offer before the 1920s! So the only way The Royals, film stars, diplomats and spies could travel was by trains such as the Orient Express, The Blue Train and The Etoile du Nord. The Orient Express was just one of over a hundred such trains, the others less well known. The writer possesses a copy of the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits (CIWL) blue guide dated 1939 and the list of destinations and trains beggars belief. It ran right up to the outbreak of WWII in September 1939 and after witnessing not only the destruction of central Europe it restarted its services during the short period before the Soviets took control of Czechoslova-

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kia, Hungary, Poland, the Baltic States and the occupied zones of Berlin, Germany and Austria. Its trains operated to and from the other side of the Iron Curtain but the police and custom controls were severe, often taking up to an hour to check the passengers on the train. CIWL not only operated in Europe but in Asia with extensive services in the Asian part of Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, North Africa and The Gulf. Not only did it operate these luxury trains for the well healed, but CIWL provided sleeping cars for many of Europe’s overland express trains; there were few express trains in Western Europe that did not have their blue coloured restaurant car. What is hard to accept is that in the days of steam locomotives and coal fired heating boilers in each of their carriages, the staff on a CIWL restaurant car were capable of serving a four course meal, complete with an aperitif, wine, digestif and coffee all prepared in the miniature coal fired kitchen for up to 56 passengers in just one sitting.

The only CIWL blue coloured train to operate in the UK was the Night Ferry which offered an overnight sleeping car train from London to Paris and Brussels in both directions. You boarded your sleeping car at London’s Victoria Station, slept whilst it crossed the channel on specially built train ferries, and you arrived in Paris and Brussels in time for a late breakfast. It operated from 1936 to 1980 and is the subject of several books, the most recent being ‘Night Ferry 1936 -1980’ (published by the IRPS, details below). Will they come back? Most unlikely, with the arrival of the High Speed Trains such as the TGV, ICE and AVE; the emphasis is on speed. Our Spanish neighbours however, with their extra comfortable Talgo trains do offer a level of comfort and service lacking elsewhere. There is a new company based in London planning to operate overnight extra comfortable sleeping car trains using Spanish built Talgos from London to some six destinations in Europe. Theirs plan are well advanced but the trains will not operate before 2016. What has happened to these mythical CIWL carriages? The simple answer is that there are a good number of them scattered throughout Europe.

Apart from the Simplon Orient Express, the Pullman Orient Express that forms part of the Paris exhibition and the Andalusia Express in Spain, several heritage railways possess a carriage or two. Here in France the association called AJECTA based some 75 kms south east of Paris operates a fleet of carriages and often offers steam hauled excursions. In Holland the ZuidLimburgse Stoomtrein Maatschappij based at Simpleveld in Limburg and close to the German frontier at Aachen has two carriages and in the UK the only European gauge line is the Nene Valley Railway – IRPS based just west of Peterborough at Stibbington where they have a CIWL Wagon Restaurant and a Wagon-Lits. Whereas the Hungarian Railway Museum in Budapest has the only teak built CIWL restaurant car still in running condition. The IRPS carriages have featured in several films including the James Bond film ‘Octopussy’ and the latest Scorcese film ‘Hugo’. The romance, Hercule Poirot, mysteries, anecdotes and history of La Compagnie des Wagons-Lits et Grandes Express Européens’ has generated a large collection of books and several novels. For those wanting to know more con-

tact for a list. ‘Night Ferry 1936 – 1980’ is fully illustrated with parallel texts in English and French, special offer price to HAT readers just 18€ contact: Other websites:; www. Chris Elliott; author of ‘The Lost Railway Lines of l’Hérault’ and joint author of ‘Night Ferry 1936 – 1980’. He is also a founder member of the IRPS, their representative in Europe and worked for 4 years in the CIWL restaurant cars in winter sports special trains.


Wine Times

Rosemary George

Tasting at Montpeyroux T

Rosemary George Rosemary George was lured into the wine trade by a glass of the Wine Society’s champagne at a job interview and subsequently became one of the first women to become a Master of Wine, back in 1979. She has been a freelance wine writer since 1981 and is the author of eleven books. Both her first and last books were both about Chablis. Others include The Wines of New Zealand, two books on Tuscany, the most recent being Treading Grapes; Walking through the Vineyards of Tuscany, as well as The Wines of the South of France which covers the vineyards between from Banyuls and Bellet, from the Spanish to the Italian border, and also Corsica. She also contributes to various magazines such as Decanter, India Sommelier, and writes a blog on the Languedoc: www


he village of Montpeyroux hosts an annual day of ‘Toutes Caves Ouvertes’. It is always on the third Sunday of April, which this year fell on Easter Sunday, a distinctly chilly damp day, and not ideal for wandering the streets from cellar to cellar. But red wine is warming and it does provide a great opportunity to see what is going on in Montpeyroux. Montpeyroux was recognised as a cru of the Coteaux du Languedoc when that appellation was created in 1982, and is now seen as part of the Terrasses du Larzac, but the village also maintains a strong identity of its own. Montpeyroux is always red, or rosé, but never white – any white wines are Languedoc or Vin de Pays. And the permitted grape varieties are the usual five of the Languedoc, concentrating on Syrah, Grenache and Carignan. As one of the more northern villages of the region, with a dramatic backdrop of the Mont Baudile, there are some fabulous vineyards sites around the village. Jo Lynch and André Suquet at Villa Dondona have vineyards below the ruined castle of le Castellas and Sylvain Fadat of Domaine Aupilhac has planted vines at a higher altitude outside the village at les Cocalières. Montpeyroux is a diminutive example of what has been happening all over the Languedoc over the last 30 years or so. I first visited the village some 30 years ago, when the sole producer was the village cooperative. Fast forward to the end of the 1990s and as well as the cooperative, there was now a small group of independent wine growers with some beginning to achieve an international reputation, such as Sylvain Fadat whose first vintage was 1989, and Alain Chabanon who arrived in Montpeyroux in 1990. And the number of wine growers has continued to grow with every vintage, so that there are now twenty-two. The newest is Nany Taverna at Mas de la Fée Nomène. She has just 90 ares of vines, Carignan Grenache and Syrah, from which she made just 3000 bottles for her first vintage in 2012, in her garage,

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which has been equipped with some small vats and a basket press. And meanwhile the cooperative continues to work well for the village, with some good value, classic examples of Montpeyroux, which are available for tasting in their welcoming caveau. Other highlights from the Easter Sunday tasting included Alain Chabanon’s Campredon. This is his entry level cuvée, and at 11.00€ is everything that a good Languedoc red should be, with ripe fruit and a touch of tannin, making for a wonderfully drinkable bottle of wine, with immediate appeal. Alain also makes an original white wine, Trélans, which is based on Chenin Blanc, which is more commonly found in the Loire Valley. Pascal Dalier is one of the new wine growers in the village. 2011 was his first vintage; he was a car concessionaire in Nancy, with four showrooms, and now runs eight hectares of vines from which he makes some stylish wines. His Joia 2012 (12.50€) is a blend of Grenache and Syrah, aged partly in stainless steel vats and partly in a concrete egg, is redolent of red fruit with an elegant balance. Jo Lynch’s wines at Villa Dondona were showing particularly well on Easter Sunday. 2012 Villa Dondona (11.00€) was ripe with a firm streak of tannin, and her 2012 Carignan (8.50€) has some perfumed fruit and a touch of rusticity that is the hallmark of characterful Carignan. Amélie d’Hurlaborde at Mas d’Amile is another tiny producer. She now has all of three hectares; 2013 is her vintage of Montpeyroux and that was not available for tasting as it is still in a barrel, but she too makes delicious Carignan and was showing her first three vintages, from 2012 to 2010. The 2012 is already drinking deliciously with ripe fruit and silky tannins, making for a satisfying mouthful of wine. Amélie’s white wine is a pure Terret Blanc, one of old grape varieties of the Languedoc. There are others I could mention, but my last stop was Domaine d’Aupilhac as Sylvain Fadat was showing some older vintages. His 2004 Montpeyroux (29.70€) was firm and leathery, and his 1996 Le Carignan (42.00€) was still extraordinarily youthful, with firm sturdy fruit, making another characterful Carignan and a good finale to the day.

The Twists and Turns in Languedoc


Laurence Turetti

Laurence Turetti Laurence Turetti is a historian who has a ph.D. from the University of Metz. Born in the Aude into a family of vignerons, she returned to her home more than ten years ago. Head of a wine boutique in the centre of Limoux, l’Atelier des Vignerons, she continues her search of discovery across Languedoc-Roussillon for the pearls of the vineyards.

Read more Wine Times with Rosemary and Laurence online at www. theheraultandaudetimes .com

he arrival of beautiful days calls for trips around the winding roads of the countryside. Under the rays of a still timid sun, the fresh spring air stimulates curiosity and encourages exploration: taking out the road maps or setting the GPS with addresses sorted out and put on one side during winter. So let’s go, hop, en route! The Languedocien vineyards, which stretch over three departments, from Aude to Guard, passing through Hérault and extending to Spain towards the PyrénéesOrientales, are lands of contrasts: the harshness of the Pyrenees and the Massif Central, the gentleness of the Mediterranean shores. The fine grained sand on the beaches, limestone or argillaceous; the soil can be schistose or marly on the broad terraces. The climate is Mediterranean, influenced by the ocean when it enters the land. The grape varieties of the Languedoc are equally diverse: syrah, mouvèdre, cinsault, grenache, carignan, as well as malbec, chenin and rolle. It is the largest wine region in the world, the length of the Mediterranean from the Rhone delta to the foot of the Pyrenees. It is also the number one wine region for production in France and the oldest. 18 appellations of controlled origin totaling an area of 40,000 hectares exist in a mosaic of lands, endowed with a huge variety of soils, climates and grape varieties. In short, there’s a lot to keep you busy, the task is immense: to tour the vineyards, meet the vignerons, taste the new vintages and be carried along by the breath of discovery. Two ideas for outings: Aniane and Monpeyroux, stopping at Saint Guilhem le Désert. Or Pézenas, with its old streets full of charm, a pause at the superb Cistercian abbey, Abbey de Valmagne which produces organic wine (try the vintage Cardinal de Bonzi), followed by the Gallo-Roman villa at Loupian and finally recharge the batteries with some oysters along the coast. And what to drink? The wines of the talented Pascale Rivière, Vinifille (group of a

dozen women wine makers and sellers united by their enthusiasm and a love of life…) whose wines seduce us vintage after vintage. La Jasse Castel for example from AOC Montpeyroux. Its vintage Pimpanella, the youngest wine from the estate, is a fruity delight, explosive, suave and very charming. More complex and with good components is La Jasse, a victim of its own success and already out of stock. So let’s talk about Bleu Velours…a vintage which is perfectly true to its name and could well lead to addiction! And just a stone’s throw from Pézenas, reserve a table at restaurant Côté Mas, a place with sober, chic décor, where one will savour refined cuisine with zen influences. It is also the chance to taste the wines of Domaine Paul Mas and discover their great diversity. Address Book La Jasse Castel - 533 Chemin des Saumailles 34150 MONTPEYROUX Côté Mas - Route de Villeveyrac, 34530 Montagnac Abbaye de Valmagne - Route de Montagnac, 34560 Villeveyrac


Jet Skiing in France Vicky Molyneux-Beale


icky olyneux-Beale is the ex-English, French, European and Novice World Champion, who also did the Jet Ski Stunt for Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider II.

First of all, there are two types of Jet Ski; the ‘stand up’ (Jet à bras) and the ‘sit down’ (Jet à selle or scooter des mers). The first stand up was created by Kawasaki in 1972 and is why “Jet Ski” is their official brand name but in actual fact, the term Jet Ski is widely used to describe any type of personal watercraft. Stand ups are for one person and you ride the machine ‘standing up’ (of course!). Sit downs are for one, two or three people sitting down on a central seat, rather like a motorbike on the water. Most people own personal watercraft for recreational use but there are also National and International competitions, with events attracting a lot of Media attention. It’s a fast, thrilling sport to watch and resembles motocross on water with participants racing on a closed course circuit for around fifteen minutes of intense competition. In France, there are even regional races that offer classes for beginners so that people can get into the sport easily. However, if you’re thinking of buying a Jet Ski, there are

a few things that you’ll need to know first... The most important thing is that you’ll have to pass a boat licence (permis bateau) in France. You have to be over 16 years old and pass a medical exam. There are several types of ‘permis’ and to ride a Jet Ski you’ll need either ‘La Carte Mer’ to navigate on the sea, the ‘permis rivière’ to ride on in14

land waterways such as rivers and lakes, or the ‘Permis Côtier’ that allows you to do both. You can pass your ‘permis’ at any accredited boat school and prices start at around 250€. There’s a theoretical and a practical part to the test. Your machine will also have to be registered and be given a ‘carte de navigation’ that you’ll have to apply for from the ‘Affaires Maritimes’. There are local offices in every department. As usual in France, be prepared to take lots of paperwork with you (passport, recent utility bill, sales invoice, etc) and your cheque book! A big change took place on the 1st of January, 2013 for all personal watercraft (VNM) owners in France. Every Jet Ski owner whose machine has an engine producing 90 kW or more is now subject to a new tax. That means an annual charge of between 300€ and 900€ for the most powerful machines on the market today. Add to that an annual insurance policy plus the fuel (that you’ll use lots of) every time you take to the water and Jet Skiing becomes an expensive pastime. All that said, when done responsibly, it’s a sport that’s great fun and provides an unequalled sense of freedom on the water. You can go practically anywhere (at only 5 knots within 300m of the coast and up to 2 nautical miles from shore) and ride where boats aren’t capable of going. Because Jet Skis have an internal propulsion system, there’s no danger from the propeller and you can ride in very shallow water. The new four stroke models pollute less than the average pleasure boat and they burn only fuel, in contrast to two stroke engines which use oil and fuel, so emissions are considerably cleaner. These state of the art machines also boast new sound reduction technology to lower noise emissions. Most sit down models can accommodate up to three people and have lots of storage so you can even take a trip as a family and bring a picnic with you! They can also be used for water-sports including wakeboarding and donut rides by attaching a The Herault & Aude Times

tow rope behind. According to French law, you’ll have to have one person driving and a second person on the machine facing backwards to watch the person being towed. You should always make sure that you are fully prepared with both mandatory and optional safety equipment including lifejackets, flares, a tow rope, flashlight, etc. Weather conditions can change quickly. It’s a good idea to plan your journey beforehand, have a mobile phone with you in a waterproof case for emergencies and always let someone know where you are going and for how long before you leave. The other very affordable option is to rent a Jet Ski. There are various hire centres in Aude and Hérault offering hire sessions of 20, 30 or 60 minutes accompanied by a professional instructor. This means that you won’t need a boat license. You’ll be given all the necessary equipment and be taught how to ride safely in a designated area. Most coastal centres have “randonnées” (tours) as well. If you want a more complete experience, you can take to the water for a two hour trip on your own machine accompanied by an instructor (with or without a passenger). You’ll be guided along a predefined route, allowing you to see the scenery and enjoy the more physical side of the sport, covering several kilometers of water at high speed. Some tours include a stop for lunch and most centres can accommodate the requirements of individual clients. If you’ve never tried Jet Skiing before, be prepared to have aching muscles the next day! It’s a demanding sport and you should be in good physical condition to take part. If you’d like to test out what Jet Skiing is like, most centres offer a short ten minute ‘baptême’ or taster session for a nominal fee. A qualified instructor will take you out as a passenger on the back of one of these powerful machines. This is a sport that’s highly recommended for people looking for a new and exciting experience; it’s the perfect summer activity! ** For more info:

Abbey de Valmagne

A rich history near to Montagnac


In 1138 Raymond Trencavel, the Vicomte of Béziers, founded the Abbey of Valmagne in the commune of Villeveyrac, near Méze and the Etang de Thau. In the 12th century until the beginning of the 14th, it was one of the richest abbeys in the South of France. When it was founded Valmagne was Benedictine and from 1159 was connected to the Ordre des Citeaux, the second reform of the Benedictines, and observed a moral order, but also architectural, as defined by St Bernard of Clairvaux. After a period of expansion and wealth, the Abbey was devastated by the 100 Year War and the Religious Wars. Severely damaged, it was another two hundred years before it was returned to its former glory. But the revolution came upon an Abbey where decadence had already made itself at home. The last five monks fled towards Spain in 1789 and Valmagne was ransacked. Confiscated as national property the State did not take care of the building and M. Granier-Joyeuse acquired it in 1791. Af-

ter his death, his heirs got rid of it in 1838. The Abbey’s estate was repurchased on 29th July of the same year by the count of Turenne and was never resold, but the daily difficulties even today, the upkeep of such a huge building are ever increasing and the responsibilities of maintaining the estate is both exhilarating and worrying. The church is classic gothic style, inspired from the great cathedrals of northern France. It was rebuilt in 1257 at 23m high and 83m long, but was converted into a wine cellar by M. Granier-Joyeuse after the Revolution. The charm of the fountain in the cloister, the purity of the chapter house with its vaulted ribbed arched ceiling, the sheer size of this majestic edifice makes the Abbey of Valmagne a prestigious place in the Languedoc and centre for numerous cul-

tural events. Eleonor d’Allaines “It was my grandmother, Diane d’Allaines, who opened the abbey to the public in 1975 and created the association of Friends of Valmagne. She set up the non-profit making association in order to restore the Abbey through fee paying visitors. Thus, she was able to gradually restore the building, a restoration work that continues today! Valmagne welcomes 40 000 visitors per year (the first year just 400 came!) and it is thanks to the work of my grandmother that the Abbey is so well maintained. My great grandmother had the church and cloister registered as a historic monument in 1947, then my grandmother succeeded in registering the whole estate as a historic monument in 1997. This means happily we have support from the state for any large scale works. Currently we are completing the restoration of the flying buttresses in the church, a long, time consuming job! Wine remains the main activity of Valmagne with 60 hectares of vineyard, all organic. My father, Phillipe d’Allaines, works on the vineyards. The wine is sold in the cave here and can be tasted at the end of a visit. It is sold across France in independent wine outlets, as well as in Belgium, Germany and America. Five years ago, my father and his wife, Laurence d’Allaines created a restaurant offering food using organic produce from the potager and gardens or from local producers. It’s going really well! L’Auberge is open for lunch all year round for groups, every day except Monday from 15th June to 30th September and, out of season Sundays. Visitors can spend a day at Valmagne: visiting the historic monument, discovering the wine from the estate, visiting the medieval gardens and the vine conservatory and lunch at the Auberge. As for me, I deal principally with the historic monument with my grandmother but

also events: marriages, meetings, seminars and music festivals which take place during the summer.”

Opening Hours Season (15/06 au 30/09): 7/7 days, 10h-18h. Mid-season (Easter to 14/06): open Mon-Fri 14h-18h and weekends, public holidays, 10h -18h. Out of Season (01/10 - 31/03): Mon-Sat, 14h-18h and Sun and public holidays 10h-18h. Closed 25/12 and 01/01. 34560 VILLEVEYRAC Tél. 04 67 78 47 32 - 04 67 78 06 09 GPS : 3.562275 / 43.4869361 Forthcoming Events at the Abbey 20th June, from 19h30 An evening of Wine and Jazz Music 3rd July, 18h30 Concert in the Abbey cloisters: ‘Voices of Troubadours Women and Séfarades’: recital Sandra Hurtado-Ros. Entry : 10€. Reservation: www. 10th July, 21h Concert in the church: Music from the Andes : 60 choralists from ‘Chants de Thau will be accompanied by the Latin-American group Solamento.15€. Tickets available from the Abbey. 16th July, 21h Concert in the church: Tunisian Bedouin, Jazz, Sounds and Mediterranean rhythms. Pre-purchase 10-20€. Tickets available from a range of outlets inc. Abbey de Valmagne, Office de Tourisme Sète, Fnac, Carrefour, Géant, Hyper U or 15


Name: Occupation: Income: Hours / week: Holidays:

Mohamed Ben Barek Head of a small family firm I earn a good living 50? Far too many, according to my wife. 6 weeks

Good To Be Young


Young journalist Theo King’s column ‘My Way’. Interviews with professionals about how they got to where they are today, the reward

Mohamed Ben Barek

Earth moving and drainage Contractor Born in Ganges, 1958 Diplomas: BEP & CAP in hotel management and cooking DEASS: Diplome d’état d’assistant de service social

Up to 18:


y parents came over from Algeria in 1952. I was born 6 years later, the fourth of nine children. I went to collège in Ganges, in the Cevennes and when I reached 3ième I thought I’d better leave school and help my parents. A neighbour suggested I could be a cook – I adored cooking even then! He said at least you won’t die of hunger! And it was true, we lived very frugally. I told my teacher and she said “Jamais de la vie! You must study.” But I went to the Lycée Professionnel Hôtelier at St Jean du Gard when I was 16 and after two years got a BEP and CAP.

Studying: 18 to 25


spent the next seven years being a cook all over the region, but I couldn’t forget what my teacher had said. I wanted to study more, but first I need to pass the bac. Evening classes were out of the question – as a cook I worked 9:30 to 3:00 then 5:00 to 1:00 am, five days a week. So through a friend I got a job cleaning apartment blocks


in Montpellier. The hours were flexible, so I could take evening classes, pass my baccalaureat at 24 and then study law at Montpellier University. While I was studying law I also passed the concours to train as a social worker. Psychology interested me enormously and training to be a social worker gave me a good grounding. And it was paid! Only during term-time, but it meant I could give up cleaning apartment blocks! So I passed my first year law exams and at the same time entered the school to train as a social worker. And all the time I had a secret dream to be an examining magistrate. Secret because it was so far-fetched, I didn’t dare mention it to anyone. 3 years later, when I was 28, I got my DEASS and started my career as a social worker. Now I was a fonctionnaire. I passed the internal exam to spend 2 years in a classe preparatoire so I could try for the école de magistrature. But before I started that I got married. My wife was ill and my father-in-law kept pestering me to join him in his family firm, a PME working in travaux publics – that’s a form of civil engineering doing the ground work for building projects. “If you don’t come in with me I’ll have to sell,” he kept saying. But apart from cleaning apartment blocks I had no experience with my hands. I used my brain. I didn’t know the first thing about travaux publics. “You learn quickly,” said my father-in-law, “Just do as I do, I’ll train you.” So reluctantly I gave up my life-time dream of being a magistrate and joined my wife’s family firm. I was 35.

The job:

Travaux publics is an ambiguous name, it The Herault & Aude Times

should be travaux publics et privés. 30 to 40% of my work is private, 60-70% public. A lotissement is private, but we also work for communes, for the département and for public authorities like hospitals and schools. I’m not a builder, I do all the preliminary work: earth-moving, access roads, car parks, storm drains, then we lay the networks of water, electricity, mains drainage systems. And the maintenance work. I learnt all this as I went along. I don’t know whether the same thing would be possible today. Procedures have become so complex, the regulations so many – today it would be better to be properly trained.

How I work


get to the office at 6:30. I work on projects, files, talk to the guys about what needs doing, order materials, phone customers about estimates. Then 60% of my time is visiting sites. Usually every project has a weekly meeting, which I have to be at, so almost every day I have to go to a different commune all over the department. That takes me away from calculating estimates which are essential for the future. If I don’t do those the guys won’t have work tomorrow. My wife does the accounts. I work till about half seven, half eight.


It’s an amazing job. I’m never bored. I don’t have the time. What I do gives me enormous satisfaction. Despite the stress, working keeps me balanced. There are people who work to live but I live to work.

What pisses me off

Time. Today, time is a luxury. What pisses

ds and the frustrations. me off is that I don’t have time to stand back and think.

What are the qualities needed?

Taking decisions very quickly. You have to know whether you can cut an estimate by say €20,000 – the customer will say “if you can shave that off, you’ve got the job” – to know whether it’s worth risking a deal you’ve got to have every detail at your finger-tips. Even on the phone a client can say “take it or leave it”. You’ve got to have an answer ready. Particularly in the present financial climate. The competition often works for 30% less than they used to.

The future


’m mad about food and cooking and I love finding exactly the right products to prepare a special dish. It’s a passion. I often dream about starting a really special epicerie with a traiteur, the very best products. People try some wine, eat our truffles, charcuterie. Or perhaps a gîte with table d’hôte, because food means sharing. I’m 56 and in my life when I’ve wanted to do something, I’ve done it. We’ll see.

Become a volunteer Fire Fighter In France there are approximately 200,000 men and women actively engaged as fire service volunteers, either alongside their careers or their studies… Every day, these volunteers demonstrate that solidarity and altruism are not just empty words. So, why not you? Volunteer fire people are taken on for a 5 year period. The first year is probationary, and is renewable on an annual basis subject to physical fitness. All fire service personnel undergo training, adapted to the missions carried out by their fire station; refresher training courses will continue for the duration of a volunteer’s service. Conditions of engagement: You must be between ages 16-55 years old. Young people under 18 require pa-

rental consent. Reside permanently in France. Enjoy full civil rights, must not have been convicted of a felony, etc. Be in compliance with the law with regard to national service. Be physically fit (medical examination on engagement). To apply as a voluntary fireman/woman, please send your application either to the Service départemental d’incendie et de secours (SDIS) of your area enclosing a motivation letter, and CV, or alternatively, contact your local fire station to find out details of the volunteer fire service in your area who will tell you what their selection criteria is and what documentation is required.

Gary Jackson

Painting & Decorating - Plastering Partition walls & Doors - False Ceilings - Laminate Flooring Friendly Reliable Service

t: 06 23 33 30 22 e:


Crosscurrents & Cros Narbonne’s winds of change


hen the Romans found their way to Narbonne one thing they noticed very early on was the terribly strong wind blowing through the rugged landscape. In fact, Pliny the Elder was constrained to record, “Likewise, in the Narbonnaise, the most well-known wind is the Circius [Cers] which yields nothing to any other in violence and which most of the time carries as far as Ostia, cutting the Ligurian Sea.” (Pline : Histoire naturelle, II, 46, Traduction de : Jean Beaujeu, 1950, Paris, Les Belles Lettres) Today, nothing has changed very much with regard to the Cers or known by its other name, Tramontane. In winter time, it freezes all whom it touches, while in the dead heat of cicada-chirping summer, it may sometimes remind us of being close to a hair-drier as it tries even the most hardened skin. There is something wholly unique about the Narbonne experience. The Romans testify to this as we do in the present time. Pliny the Elder noted, “Not only is this wind unknown under other skies but it does not even reach Vienne [Isère] a town of the same province, because some miles away this wind is stopped by the obstacle of a mountain range of mediocre height.” (op.cit.) The Tramontane symbolises in significant part, the Narbonne way of life. Since Colonia Narbo Martius was established in Gaul in 118BC along the Via Domitia, it has experienced a variety of changes being not only on a cultural and economic crossroads but also being vulnerable to the vagaries of regional history. Its extraordinary cathedral bears witness to this. From the late thirteenth century, decline set in as the caprices of the River Aude, the silting of navigational access and alterations along the shoreline engulfed Narbonne. The ravaging plague, the Black Prince Edward and competing ports elsewhere put Narbona out of business for centuries to come.


In more recent times, the Tramontane has not changed in its viciousness but its renowned cleansing properties, so esteemed by its Roman occupants, have not neglected the health of the city which since 1954 has experienced gradual demographic increase, apart from a blip here and there, standing at around 53,000 today, the size of nigh on 10 Roman legions. In April this year, another change was visited on Narbonne in a more political form at

the municipal elections, where the voters ousted the previous socialist mayor Jacques Bascou for the right of centre candidate Didier Mouly. After losing in the first round, M. Mouly was able to rally right wing elements to overturn the left, in the second. Following on, the new mayor has pledged to maintain a “municipal pact” rather than a programme; undertakings and not promises. These are expected political swipes at a previous administration accused of running its mandate on hot air and unrealisable projects. Therefore, we have the Nouveau Narbonne Génération 2014 s’engage sur “le chemin du renouveau”. (The New Narbonne Generation 2014 embarking on “the road of renewal”). This has a familiar AmericanThe Herault & Aude Times


style evangelical feel about it. Amidst the euphoria of this movement as it activates its “pact” and “undertakings”, the people of Narbonne are unlikely to meekly accept disappointment. On the list are lowering the tax rate, increasing parking, improving security and surveillance, restoring a police presence and, most importantly, focusing attention on employment with the Narbonne Industrialisation Développement or NID. Tax-levies, gainful employment and security policing with its soldiers would have been familiar issues

over 2,000 years ago. It is only the level of sophistication which has

changed. An air current of different character hit Narbonne 35 years ago when the Rugby Union Football club won the overall French championship, for the second time. How many fans of the game these days would realise what a glorious moment in local rugby history was etched in the national archives? The club stormed from Pool D ravaging Limoges, Carcassonne, Bayonne and ASM Clermont on the way to the last stage of the knock-outs. In a memorably hard final, on 27 May 1979, they beat Stade Bagnérais ten points to zero. This was an achievement never to be repeated, while in 2007, the year of its centenary, the club was actually relegated from the so-called top flight into a rapid ......


Diary of a wine Domaine THE OFFICE OF A WINE DOMAIN It’s not all drinking wine on the terrace you know...

financial decline toward near third-tier amateur status. By that time another but different current of Oceanic air was rising as the Aussie company FGM and the 1991 World Cup winning Australian coach Bob Dwyer assumed control of a dying giant. It is by the grace of that characteristic Australian no nonsense directness; the indomitable courage in making the changes necessary and the Wallaby penchant for sheer hard work, Narbonne has made its way into the semi-finals of the second division Pro D2 league. They disposed of the also one-time greats Béziers 52-12, in the quarter-finals. At the HQ Racing Club Narbonne Méditerranée

the ambience is supercharged with a radiant air of optimism. From the south, the slower humid Marin is a wind which predominates from time to time. It can be asphyxiating but has no means of outdoing the strength of the dominant Tramontane. Nor does it have the same type of energy as another wind crosses the landmass from Spain into The Aude Département, in the form of the new TGV line bringing with it droves of Catalans, Adalous and Madrilènes. They stroll through the streets enjoying the sights of the city before fanning out to Fontfroide Abbey, the African Reserve at Sigéan and the many exciting features and activities along the coastline. Bringing with them much needed tourist revenues, they also remind Narbonnais that no mountain range, massive or mediocre, can stop transmigration in such a form. As with our Roman ancestors, this is just the wind to relieve the anxieties of any renewal movement freshly risen to power.

Competition Time


his has been a mostly administrative month. Everyone thinks that working at a winery must be wandering in the vineyards and tasting wine, and you would be forgiven for thinking that too, from my last diary piece. But no, like any other company, much paperwork and administration underpins a good part of the work. In February my month was largely taken up with entering our wines in wine competitions. Helpfully, each competition required slightly different information, ruling out cut and paste, and some even had to be filled out on paper as, quaintly, they do not offer the facility online yet. There were deadlines every other day, wines not already bottled had to be specially prepared, transport arranged; my to do list was long and my planning detailed. I resorted to long forgotten mind-maps I’d used in a previous incarnation to map it all out. More up to date methods must exist, but keeping abreast of IT management developments is strangely not top of my list here in rural France. For French competitions each wine had to be tested by our laboratory and certificates procured giving detailed analyses, engendering many trips to and from the lab. Along with a variety of customs information that had to be provided, I found myself drowning in the paperwork. French bureaucracy is alive and well and was living (and cascading off) my desk! I had alarms going off on my phone 2 days before each deadline: entry, analysis, wine

preparation, delivery, it never stopped ringing. I still woke up in the night occasionally thinking one had slipped through the net (though it never had)! So this month is promoting the results. The fruits of my labour (and everyone else’s to get the wines to this point) are abundant. We have won 65 medals so far. Each time I get results I have to update the information sheet for the wine concerned, six times over; English, French, German, Chinese, Négociant English, Négociant French. I doctor a photo of the medal in Photoshop if it’s for the wrong year, fiddle around with the layout if the addition takes it over the maximum one page, create as a book, reprint it, send to our sales offices, change the data sheets on the website and update the info for each wine in the boutique. Then facebook, and twitter, resize the photos in yet another programme (different formats required) and write the blurb. For thirteen wines, thirteen times for each task in the last four weeks. It would be great to wait until all the results are in, but living in this immediate information society it would be old news by then and our sales team need it as it breaks. Just as I start on another urgent priority, another competition announces and my heart now sinks slightly. It’s wonderful that our wines have been recognized so wholeheartedly, but enough already, I have to see to the next project and its burgeoning paperwork waterfall off my desk! Tara Lechartier

Marketing & Communication


HT Life Style in partnership with

Lerab Ling Buddhist Centre An introduction to Bach flower remedies Bach flower remedies were discovered in the 1920s and 1930s by Dr Edward Bach, a bacteriologist and pathologist who moved away from orthodox medicine when he became interested in homoeopathy. Bach believed that resolving emotional stress and rebalancing negative personality traits was key to feeling well, and that people who felt well emotionally would enjoy better lives. The Bach system can be used whenever we are going through difficult times and feel we need emotional support. There are 38 remedies in all. They are all named after the plant used to make them, so they have names like Mimulus, Rock Rose and Chicory. Each remedy is associated with a specific emotion or characteristic: Mimulus is the remedy for shyness and everyday fear; Chicory for the kind of love that wants to control. By going through a list of the 38 remedies it is possible to decide on those that best suit how we feel. The remedies are liquids and can be mixed together easily. A concentrated single remedy is known as a stock bottle; a mix of remedies ready to take is called a treatment or dosage or mixing


Goal Setting


oal setting is a powerful way of motivating yourself. This method is used the world over, especially in business, to ensure people reach their potential and attain the required levels of performance. Everyone needs to know where they’re going in order to know when they’ve got there. Goal setting doesn’t have to be complicated. If you are clear about what you want, believe in why you want it and take the necessary action to attain it, the World’s your oyster. Once you’ve set a goal you can stay on track and forge a clear path, rather than meander aimlessly, hoping for the best. When the why gets strong, the how gets easy!!


bottle. Usually a treatment bottle will contain between one and seven remedies; more are possible, but usually mixes of more than seven remedies contain one or two that aren’t really needed. This isn’t a huge problem, as the remedies are very gentle and won’t cause any harm. (The stock bottles are usually preserved in brandy so check with a doctor if you need to avoid even tiny amounts of alcohol.) However, if too many remedies are mixed together in a bottle, the few that are needed tend to be less effective – so it’s best to keep to a maximum of seven if possible. We don’t have to feel unwell to start using Dr Bach’s system. He used to say that he wanted it to be as simple as eating - if we are hungry we get some thing from the garden for tea, if we are afraid of something we take Mimulus. The remedies can be used by anybody who feels they need emotional support. NB. Bach Flower remedies are available in many Pharmacies througout France.

More information including Bach Foundation Registered Practitioners and full descriptions of all the remedies:

One way to set goals is to remind yourself how you got to where you are. What skills and experience do you have and what resources and capabilities have you picked up along the way that you can use again? Everyone has achieved in their lives. After all, we managed to learn to walk and talk, ride a bike, do our times tables. You may have climbed a mountain, had a family, written a book, managed people, and a myriad of other achievements. Think about your goal. What do you want? Do you want a new car, to travel, visit friends and family more, buy a new house, get a new job, lose some weight? Write the goal down and think about why it’s important to you. Once you have your goal, look at the life you’ve lived and begin by categorising it into three sections from the day you were born. For example, 0 – 18, 18 – 30, 30 – 55 or whatever ages suit your life to where you are now. Then list three personal achievements under each section. Think hard and find achievements where you can still feel the excitement and exhilaration of having accomplished them, whatever age you were. The Herault & Aude Times

With these three achievements in each category, think about what qualities you have, which by having them, enabled you to achieve these things; were you resourceful, tenacious, brave, confident. When you got a 2:1 at University was it because you were focussed and committed. Write down whatever qualities you can come up with. Now look at your goal again. How could the qualities you’ve described make it easier to achieve your goal. What could you tap into that would enable you to find a clear path to get you there. How you feel about achieving that goal now. Does it look clearer and more possible, knowing that you have all the necessary qualities. As always, the final step is to take some action. What can you do now that will start your journey towards what it is you want. Use all the qualities already in your possession to achieve your goal - and anything is possible. Maggie is a personal coach and hypnotherapist: If you wish to contact her personally to discuss any issues, please email:

HT Life Style in partnership with

Lerab Ling Buddhist Centre

Aloe Vera

Advocates of Aloe Vera Gandhi Paltrow

Text by Lydia Drobny


he Aloe, with its succulent leaves and cactus like character, could easily be mistaken for an agave but it belongs to the lily family, as well as garlic. There are more than 300 species but most well known for its medicinal properties is « Aloe Barbadensis Miller », also known as Aloe vera (from Latin: vera, meaning ‘true’).

The Aloe vera is the empress of all medicinal plants as it is so multi-talented, known as a symbol of immortality and ever-lasting beauty. Almost all cultures in history have attributed heavenly nicknames to this robust desert plant. Hippocrates as well as Cleopatra, Christopher Columbus and Marco Polo have praised Aloe vera for its many virtues. Aloe vera can be used externally in form of creams, lotions etc. in order to hydrate, relief and heal skin tissue. As it also helps the skin to regenerate itself, Aloe vera has natural anti-ageing properties. When buy-

Bien-être Béziers


his is the new and independent platform for alternative medicine and wellbeing therapists and related services

ing Aloe vera based products, be sure to check out the percentage of the plant in the ingredients: minimum 35-40% in order to benefit from its rejuvenating effects. However, its true magic is revealed through drinking the so-called Aloe Vera Gel, a thick liquid obtained from the interior of its leaves. It helps your body heal itself by regulating the metabolism in all organs; by cleansing intestines and liver; by helping improve an imbalanced immune system and by battling against all kinds of internal inflammations. Some 200 active components, such as vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, trace elements and amino acids work together in perfect synergy. When buying Aloe Vera gel, look for high quality products which have undergone a cold stabilisation process and contain no aloin, such as the brands IASC or Fresenius. If you would like advice on the usage of Aloe vera (free of charge), please contact Lydia on (English, French and German spoken).

in Béziers and the surrounding area. Here you will find masseuses, beauticians, yoga and qi gong teachers, personal trainers, health product distributers, astrologers, alternative health practitioners and many more. Our blog keeps you updated on all the latest events, training courses, exhibi-

tions, special offers etc. of our members. The website is exclusively in French at the moment but translations are planned in the near future. Also join us on Facebook and Twitter or sign up for our monthly newsletter.



The Music Page - In partnership with:

‘Family Trees’ RichardOn Pullen Music


f I were to tell you that at the end of April in the Chateau du Puits es Pratx in Ginestas (info@chateaudupuitsesprax 0468465833) in front of 40 people we met and listened to Mike Garson (who was David Bowieʼs keyboard player on, amongst others, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane and Young Americans) you’d be quite impressed and think that was the start of an interesting family tree but if I told you that his young bass player, Theo Ryan, is the son of some house hunters to whom I showed houses recently you’d appreciate why we love finding these connections? The season for live music has definitely started at the chateau under Tim Hazaelʼs watchful eye and in the same month Chitra and I went to see a fabulous gypsy jazz duo “Vent du Sud “ who are Marc Berthoumieux and Ludovic Beir both on guitars and who had my wife and the rest of the dining room on its feet and singing along . Dinner is cooked by Sasha, Timʼs wife, and is always of the very highest quality and befitting the sumptuous surroundings - we went with some other clients who liked it so much they have decided to get married there next year ! As promised I did interview Cécile McLorin Salvant in her music company offices in Florida before her gig at SortieOuest, Béziers on the 17th of May ( and I found her to be the most delightful and unassuming young woman who was genuinely flattered and excited by the incredible reviews she has received so far for her recorded and live work . The full interview can be found on our website and a review of her concert will follow in next month’s magazine. I know it’s not jazz but I couldn’t resist bringing to your attention

my album(s) of the month Rad Gumbo by the wonderful Little Feat - it’s a series of re-releases repackaged by Warner Brothers covering the period 1971 to 1990 Little Feat, a definitively mercurial group, who never achieved the worldwide success they deserved, but to me they were one of the greatest American bands and although not quite as cool as Steely Dan of the same period they were definitely funkier. I saw them a few times live in London and can still remember in the summer of 1973 climbing with my friend Mick to the top floor of a grotty building at the end of Tottenham Court Road where the very first Virgin Records store was situated and buying Dixie Chicken (someone told me recently that that bloke Branson went on to be something in the music store business but I was there at the start Richard). I know it’s never the same as a live concert at the Rainbow Theatre in Finsbury Park where they had people dancing on their seats but check out a recording of Fat Man in the Bathtub played live on “The Old Grey Whistle Test” on Youtube and turn up the volume. I know it’s a long way off but you know how the summer flies past here so get you diaries out and log on to for the Jazz Festival in Sète in July - I’m sleeping in the car this year so I can see Jeff Beck, John Scofield , Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau and the fabulous Gregory Porter - pray for good weather as these are open air concerts played with the backdrop of the sun setting over the Mediterranean …


For a Calendar of events in English visit the website Search The Herault and Aude Times 22

The Herault & Aude Times

What’s In a name?

Sue Hicks looks into history through Street names. Prologue


ean-Baptiste Poquelin – Molière - was not destined from his birth in 1622 for a life in the theatre but to follow his father as a marchand-tapissier (upholsterer) and join a profession. His rigorous education by the Jesuits at the College de Clermont in Paris encouraged competition and rigorous debate and he mixed with the sons of nobles. ---------

Act 1 Paris 1622 - 1645

Jean-Baptiste eventually persuaded his father that he planned to renounce his royal appointment to the king, discontinue his legal studies and found a theatre company with a group who included the beautiful red-head Madeleine Bejart . In June 1644 a contract signed Jean-Baptiste Poquelin has the added name Molière. So the proud boast “Jean- Baptiste Poquelin was born in Paris but Molière was born in Pezenas” is exposed. Many actors used stage names at the time but perhaps he also sought to avoid shaming the family name at a time when the church could deny actors Christian burials. The newly formed Illustre theatre troupe played at a rented jeu-de-paume (indoor tennis court) but within months their debts overwhelmed them. Molière was arrested and imprisoned, possibly only overnight, until the debts were paid and the troupe left Paris. ---------

Act 11 The provinces 1645 - 1658

Their exile lasted thirteen years, with occasional visits to Paris. In search of a patron, they joined the company of the Duc d’Epernon and are known to have played Bordeaux, Agen, Albi, Narbonne. Languedoc was a comparative oasis of calm in troubled times and the proliferation of cities close together provided opportunities for the players. Pézenas makes a great deal of their connection with Molière. The stage struck young Armand, Prince de Conti, Governor of the Languedoc, often based in Pézenas, became patron to the troupe and Molière wrote his first play, L’estourdy (Scatter-brain) for him. The Etats-Generaux (regional assembly) met in Pézenas at least 3 times between 1650-58 and lavish entertainments were arranged for their pleasure. Molière has been described as “Quiet in company, always observant, sober, sensitive, he smiled and nodded and went his own way” and this fits the image portrayed of him sitting quietly at the Barber’s shop in the Place Gambetta avidly taking in all he heard. Unfortunately, Conti contracted syphilis and, filled

with remorse at this profligate life, he renounced the theatre, withdrew his patronage from the troupe and later became one of Molière’s fiercest opponents in the disputes over his plays which followed. ---------

Act III Paris 1658 - 1673

Molière and his troupe made a gradual return to Paris where they secured the patronage of the king’s brother. In 1658, the troupe performed Nicomede, a play by Corneille, in front of the King Louis XIV. Molière boldly offered a one act divertissement of his own

after the play and their future success was assured. For many years, Molière earned far more as an actor than as a playwright and his skill as a director of court entertainments which included music and dancing was renowned. By 1665 Molière had a pension from the king and his troupe became the “troupe de roi” where they flourished under this royal patronage. Louis XIV had begun to create his own glorious, extravagant court around him which would later lead to his being referred to as the Sun King. Molière and his troupe had often performed tragedies which were in favour at the time but it was when he turned to comedy that he found success in his writing. Plays in which obsessive types, blind to their own folly, were snobbish, fearful of being cuckolded, misanthropic, miserly, hypocritically religious, oppressive of women or medically incompetent. He satirised contemporary manners and attitudes and raised political and social issues using farce and comedy. He condemned self seeking, injustice, oppression, deceit, hypocrisy and his sharpest

barbs were for men of professions – churchmen, lawyers, doctors. Tartuffe, the religious hypocrite - caused a storm and was banned. Dom Juan was seen as a veiled attack on Prince de Conti. There was violent literary and theatrical feuding and churchmen and some courtiers considered his work to be impious and immoral. The royal protection only went so far and as the king’s favour turned to Lully, who intrigued to make opera the key artistic form, Molière’s star waned at court but still shone with the bourgeoisie. Molière’s personal affairs were also turbulent and complex. In 1662 he married Armande, the daughter or perhaps sister of his former mistress Madeleine. There were rumours that she was in fact his and Madeleine’s own daughter but is unlikely that Louis XIV would have agreed to become god father to their first child if this had really been other than a malicious rumour. Molière had tuberculosis and during the fourth performance of the Le Malade Imaginaire (Imaginary invalid or Hypochondriac), he acted through his coughing fit making it seem part of the play but had to be carried away from the theatre. The romantic myth that he died on stage was not quite accurate as he died the following day, on 17 February 1673, without the blessing of the church as more than one priest refused to attend him and another was too late. His wife Armande had to beg King Louis to intervene to obtain permission for an ecclesiastical burial and this was held by candle and lamplight at night. Years later what are thought to be Molière’s remains were moved to the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. ---------


Molière’s plays were in and out of favour in the following centuries but he is now acknowledged as a major European dramatist, possibly France’s finest, and his works are performed worldwide. His real life and personality have been obscured by memoirs which do not quite tally, fierce partisanship and exciting myths. In the Languedoc, his training ground, he is revered and performances of his plays in theatres and in the open air can be seen throughout the region. Let Molière have the last word

“It is a strange enterprise to make people laugh”


Andrew Rawlinson has just published his opus ‘THE HIT’. A book that looks at rock ‘n’ roll in all its guises. We asked him why.....

Based permanently in Hérault for the last 20 y


verybody knows what it is to be hit: by life, by death, by desire. Life is ungraspable, death is inescapable. In between the two lies the tumbling destiny of all who are born. I remember being hit by Euclid’s proof that there is no largest prime number. I was eleven. Some years later it was girls with their sweet eyes, the cadences of Keats and Johnson, nearly being struck by lightning on Mount Olympus, skidding out of control on a wet road and having nowhere to go. And so it goes on. It’s Wordsworth’s “something deeply interfused…that rolls through all things” and it’s a dandelion bobbing in the breeze as you put out the rubbish. It’s the Bhagavad Gita’s “brighter than a thousand suns” and it’s burning yourself on a hot saucepan. It’s in Botticelli and Pollock, and it’s in that baby’s smile. It’s a patch of light falling on a wall near you, generated 93 million miles away by a fireball so vast that we can hardly imagine it, and yet so insubstantial that we can block it with a piece of paper. Look, it’s already there. And of course, it’s in music, and for me, especially rock’n’roll. This book is a trip into the rock’n’roll world, where the ‘real’ and the ‘invented’ invade each other. Things are not what they seem - they’re both more and less. The hit is a derangement – at all levels. Derangement of the senses, of the personality, of society, of reality itself. When you come back to yourself, you won’t be the same. You’ll be both more and less. I’m interested in the rock’n’roll universe, 24

its connections, war baby (b.1943) and lived in 17 different pla how it works. hit early on: Elvis, Jelly Roll Morton, Samuel Jo Rock’n’roll has the essential quality of Cezanne, Pollock. And Zeus. the hit: immediacy, He added philosophy and Indian traditions to directness, attack. was a scholar at Cambridge and did a Ph.D on The musicians, Lancaster. He taught Buddhism for 20 years an having been hit themselves, of Consciousness at Berkeley and Santa Barba transmit it to Enlightened Masters: Western Teachers in Eas others. We enter His new book, The Hit took him 15 years to w the rock’n’roll universe in all its to put his dictionary together, and longer than tangled glory – and the rock’n’roll universe enters us. This is the real Fall of the Roman Empire. rock’n’roll story, the only one that He has four children and eight grandchildren matters. his companion for 46 years - he knows there’s As Jerry Lee Lewis put it: Rock’n’roll went through a lot of hell, man. People have put it There are different words in different through a lot of pain. But it has carried its languages and they all refer to the same own load and it’s come through. You are ‘thing’. Such words are conventions and not going to beat it. we have to learn them. This is form as configuration, a way of fixing the world. The hit precipitates us into the world. Every world is a gift – but we have to find our way in it. Worlds are dimensional – which means we move on up but we can also get lost. Colour, sounds, danger, pain: it just gets out of hand. There are only two responses: ‘That’s it!’ and ‘What is it, really?’ Diving in and pulling away. You can’t have one without the other because that’s what happens when you enter another dimension: you can go in opposite directions. It’s a glory – and it can be a trial. Why? Because excellence makes demands of us. And that’s the moral realm right there: ‘should’ and ‘ought’ arise when we’ve been touched by excellence and fallen away from it. We can always fall because excellence can only exist in a dimension where descent and ascent are equally possible. We can cross over a boundary - alive, amoebalike - into a world of our own making. And making worlds is what we do. That’s where the drama comes from. We’ve all seen tracks – lanes, roads, hiways – stretching out before us. But when we recognize them, what happens exactly? The Herault & Aude Times

But we don’t have to stop there – and we rarely do. The track isn’t just straight, it’s direct; it doesn’t just curve, it slides. It’s open like water; it’s shaded like promise. These waves can go on forever. The merest flip and we can cast something so far that it never comes back. A track that goes to the horizon or disappears round a bend - it can take you anywhere. Those dark Arkansas roads, said Miles Davis. That’s the sound I’m after. That idea – from a track near you to the sound of dark roads – is creation. It’s acute, dazzling – perhaps deadly. We do it all the time and it’s all around us. A mountain,

years, Andrew Rawlinson was a aces by the time he was six. He got ohnson, John Keats, Jack Kerouac,

to rock’n’roll, jazz and literature. He the Lotus Sutra at the University of nd taught a course on Altered States ara. He is the author of The Book of stern Traditions (Open Court, 1997). write - longer than it took Johnson n it took Gibbon to write Decline and

n. And when he lies next to his wife s nothing else. which once rose molten from the depths of the earth, is a form of the sun. We can’t see it – but we can make it real. This is a disruptive business, caught up in confusion and alarms, negligences and ignorances. Freedom and subversion eternally linked. We’re being fashioned into every conceivable shape: glorious and grotesque, acute and vain, muddy, thick. And we’re back with the drama: reality making us like itself. I just wanted to see if I could capture all this, to say ‘Here it is’. **

The Hit: Into the Rock’n’Roll Universe and Beyond by Andrew Rawlinson ISBN: 978-1-62951-283-9 full colour throughout price: 50€ website:

Hérault Baby! Having a baby in France. Part 3 - Week 32


ello again! We are now sitting pretty at week 32; it is such a cliché, but blimey does that time fly. Various books have suggested that I might well be feeling a bit fed-up of being pregnant by this point, but this is certainly not the case. As the time draws nearer we have so much left to organise that it’s more a case of better in than out, especially as in is still very much the best place for a baby to be. So, an update on our appointments: • Haptonomy has continued to build our confidence about the labour and birth process. Highly recommended and full of great exercises to keep you comfortable on more achey days. For example, that to keep the curve in your lower

back in check (as it can increase due to the weight of your baby) visualise the space behind you and stand with your toes turned inwards so the outsides of your feet are parallel to one another. • We started seeing a midwife at the hospital for our monthly checks to get ourselves acquainted with where we will be going on the big day. Contrary to expectations we are seeing the same midwife each time (although there are different midwives who take these appointments than those who attend the births) and we had the advantage of booking all our necessary appointments up to the birth in our first meeting. Very helpful for planning, especially once the appointments become more regular. • Our weekly ‘cours de preparation’ begin tomorrow at the hospital. It’s worth noting that Haptonomy counts for some of our allowance for prenatal training, so remember to mention that to your hospital should you want to do both. And now back to a thrilling routine of gentle exercise, eating and sleeping. The calm before the storm! **

THE ROMA ‘BEAR THE BRUNT’ According to a new poll led by the PEW Research centre, the Roma are bearing the brunt of racist sentiment across Europe; anti-Muslim feeling in France isn’t as bad as one might think. And good news for the Jews: anti-Semitism isn’t what it used to be (except in Greece (!) and Poland). Anti-Roma, Anti-Muslim Sentiments Common in Several Nations % unfavourable Roma* Muslims Jews % % % Italy 85 63 24 France 66 27 10 Greece 53 53 47 UK 50 26 7 Poland 49 50 26 Germany 42 33 5 Spain 41 46 18 MEDIAN 50 46 18 *In UK, asked as ‘Gypsies or Roma’

Source: Spring 2014 Global Attitudes survey: Q37a-c PEW RESEARCH CENTER


In France it is estimated that 1.5 million people are being treated for mental health problems of all kinds. That is more than 2.2% of the population. In the last 5 years there has been a 50% rise in people being sectioned (forced care without consent). France has the second highest density of psychiatrists in Europe: 22 per 100,000. But most are in large towns often close to the Mediterannean and in private practise. In the public sector 20% of psychiatrists jobs remain unfilled.

The first of a series of investigative reports from The HAT starts with mental health in France.

Writer Tim King

The Parents’ Story Mother: “We relive the past afterwards, once we know it’s an illness, but in childhood, schizophrenia is undetectable. There wasn’t a single doctor, teacher, not a friend or an aunt who suggested there might be anything wrong with Adam. But very often it’s the brothers and sisters who notice first. Olivier told us his brother was dysfunctional, but we didn’t hear what he was saying. Then I remember Adam went to a big rock festival and when he came back we couldn’t understand a word he was saying. He talked, highly excited, very happy, he brought me a completely disgusting yellow rag: “Maman,” he said, “I’ve got a present for you.“ I was furious. But for him it was something wonderful. So then I realised we were in two separate worlds. His logic, his world was completely different to ours.” Father: “It got worse. He went off to a wedding in a friend’s car. He drove it into a ditch and told us very proudly it was a work of art.” Mother: “And after that he disappeared. A few days later he tried to steal some clothing hanging on a washing line. The owner saw him and tried to strangle him. Luckily a neighbour stopped him and phoned the police. I have to say they were perfect. They telephoned saying that your son is very strange, we think there’s something wrong. Would you come and collect him? “He claimed he was hearing things: “Can’t you hear? Oh it’s awful, the cock is telling me things...” At first, like everyone we were in complete denial, we told him not to be silly. We could actually say to his face “You’re crazy.” But even then we didn’t go to a doctor. We could have had him looked after earlier, but we didn’t know how to do it. I phoned a friend who’s a psychiatrist, but she told me, “I can’t look after your son, I know you too well.” But she didn’t suggest there could be something seriously wrong, although it was obvious something was. Not even that we take him to our local CMP , because 26

working in one every day she couldn’t imagine we didn’t know about them. But I had no idea. Until you’re faced with something like this there’s no reason to know what you can do for an ill person. So he went to Paris and there the police arrested him. “But it was only during his 2nd or 3rd hospitalisation that the doctors diagnosed what was wrong. They said: “There’s no doubt. It’s schizophrenia, a very serious illness from which one is never cured. But

which is well treated.” They did it very well. And in fact knowing he was suffering from a known illness was a huge relief. “But if the person is over 18 you can’t treat him against his wishes. That’s an absolute, and it makes everything very difficult. You have to wait until it becomes unbearable and once it reaches that stage, well,

The Herault & Aude Times


Personal stories about how the mentally ill are cared for in France


ost of us only register the presence of schizophrenics when a “madman” commits some horrible murder. 48 hours later, the media consider the “story” can be dropped, giving us, the public, the impression that schizophrenics only exist when they’re killing people. So what do they get up to the rest of the time? The obvious people to answer that question are the medical profession, whom we pay to keep the mentally ill out of our sight. France rightly has the reputation for having one of the best health services in the world, so we wanted to find out how that service treats one section of the community – the mentally ill. The mad. Rather than commission a series of learned articles by people who “know”, we decided to talk to just a few people whose lives have been changed by madness. Mothers, fathers, sisters of people deemed mad, and professionals whose lives now are consumed by other people’s madness. The people I interviewed live all over France. None of the families I talked to have children being treated by the doctors, nurses or social workers I interviewed. Naturally all names have been changed.

The Parents Story The Nurse’s Story The Psychologist’s Story The Volunteer’s Story The Social Worker’s Story Father’s Story I it can only happen with a lot of violence. The firemen, the police arrive, they catch the person, bind him up. It’s horrible, very, very violent. And for the parents to watch that happening to their son, it’s horrible. Horrible. But that’s what the law leads to, the law makes it very violent.” Father: “But that’s the only way of calming him. Last year, he was sectioned several times. I had a very important day in Paris, we knew he was not well. The owner of the house he was renting phoned us to say “He’s just set fire to the house. He’s been arrested and is in the psychiatric hospital not far from here. Do you know?” Mother: “As a family with an ill person we weren’t supported at all. The stigmatisation is a reality. People tell us we’ve brought up our children so badly. The family closes in on itself. We don’t understand, we’re terribly ashamed. But I managed to find an association, UNAFAM, where you meet other families who have an ill person. I needed to be with others, to hear others talking about their experiences to begin to get out of the guilt and lots of other things. I managed to let go, really accept the illness. Immediately everything in the family was better – for our son, for my husband.” Father: “You can’t share it with anyone who hasn’t lived through the same thing. People who don’t have schizophrenic children don’t know how lucky they are. It completely changed my life. We all want children who are happy, who can lead their own lives.” Mother: “He’s 32 now. He lives a few miles away, he’s completely autonomous. He comes here a couple of times a week.” Father: “Every month he receives €790 mental health allowance, so he doesn’t have to work. He sleeps a lot, because of the medicines. He wakes late. I pay him to do jobs around the house and he finds all that very agreeable. He’s stabilised to the point where he can live reasonably.” Mother: “Sometimes he’ll eat with us, but he doesn’t stay long

The Sister’s Story The Father’s Story II The Psychiatrist’s Story

because it’s difficult for him. But he doesn’t want to upset us. That he understands. “One of the problems is most ordinary people don’t want to spend time with him, so he’s surrounded by people who are bit marginale. Schizophrenics are very vulnerable. They are often in danger. “As a parent I would say they’re incapable of taking the pills all their lives, because their illness puts them into a state of denial. I think they should have to take their medicine. Then there wouldn’t be these terrible moments when the brain dysfunctions. The law needs to be changed. “You see, problems happen when they stop taking the pills. We know the treatment lowers their desire for life, but also their sexual desire. A young man of 30 taking the treatment could fall in love, but he knows he’s impotent. That’s very difficult to live with. That’s often the reason young people stop taking the treatment. There are pills you can take every day, then you stop for a fortnight so you can have sex, but then you have to start taking them again. That’s very difficult to live with too: “I’m a man, I’m not a man.” As a mother I know he has to take the pills, but I also know it causes him great pain. “I think we’ve got to the stage where we’ve let go enough to know it’s his life. We have to stop trying to control him. For some schizophrenics that’s why suicide is so tempting. It remains the one way they can be master of themselves. It’s he who decides. So for the suicide’s parents there should be no blame, because it was his choice. As parents we have to learn this: we have to be able to say “OK he’s killed himself, but it’s not our fault. It’s his choice and I’m happy for him.” So you see, these illnesses torture you as a parent. They shatter everything you believe in and force you to re-build yourself differently. You have children so they can grow up independent. But the positive thing the illness teaches you is that you can open yourself to others. It shows what enormous resources we have within us.”


MADNESS: A MYSTERIOUS CONTINENT Personal stories about how the mentally ill are cared for in France


n the 1960’s and 70’s French mental health practitioners pushed psychiatry out of closed, long-stay hospitals and took it into the community. La psychiatrie hors les murs. This was made possible by the radical improvement of psychoactive drugs. Hospital wards were closed and in 1985 France was divided into 830 geographical areas, or secteurs, each with a population of no more than

70,000. The cornerstone of each secteur is the Centre médico-psychologique or CMP, staffed by psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses and social workers. They are part of the public health service, thus free of charge. Most towns have a CMP – large towns may have several. The ones I visited were all quite new and, as far as a non-specialist could see, well-designed and equipped.

The nurses I interviewed work in a CMP. They had trained specifically for psychiatry: over 3 years they had done 5,600 hours of theory and practice. That has changed. Today’s nurses are trained in every area of medicine, which includes only a small amount of psychiatry. The older nurses feel their new colleagues are not taught how to handle patients nor how to work as a team. They also resent the growing emphasis on form-filling: what you discuss with the patient is less important than a correctly presented file.

So for a year I never used words which might suggest I thought she was ill, even though she was – seriously ill, with serious consequences on her life because she was evicted from her flat. She was convinced she was being watched, that there were microphones everywhere in her flat. So she ripped the place apart to find them, wrecked it – and the landlord threw her out. Once I wanted to laugh because she told me she wasn’t going to pay her rent: “There are so many of us living there, why should I pay the whole rent on my own?” It took her a full year to accept treatment. When I started in this job, there was the money to hospitalise people like that. If we could still do that it would save people from their suffering. But we don’t have the means. “It’s become too expensive to keep them in hospital, so they have to leave too early. While they’re still suffering. But living in our world is very difficult for them. They don’t have the same relationship with the world as we do. They pass someone in the street listening to his head-set, singing to himself. They’ll wonder whether the other person’s singing about them. What happens in the street can be very frightening for them, despite their treatment. Going to the baker, people look at you strangely. And I know from colleagues in other towns, if there’s an incident there’s an even stronger rejection. People who’ve been renting out flats to patients for years stop renting. Suddenly every patient becomes a potential murderer. “But 20 years ago, when it was decided to put them out into the community, it wasn’t for the patient. They were put outside because it was cheaper. That’s the reality. That’s why they have to leave hospital too early. But living in flats sometimes they don’t eat for a couple of days, it doesn’t occur to them. They accumulate the meals we provide – the housing nurse can’t visit every day. Yes, they are living a “normal” life, but it’s very difficult for them. So they come back to us at the CMP. We can tell they’re not well, they’re here 2 or 3 times a week and then 10 days later they have to be hospitalised again. A couple of months treatment and out into the community again. The depressing thing is that we don’t have the means to change that. We need half-way houses where they’re safe, where there are nurses to listen to them, where they’re washed every day and eat decently. But all that’s too expensive.” **

The Nurses’ Story

“All our patients are psychotic – mostly schizophrenics and depressives, and of course they all live somewhere in town. A lot of our job is listening. If you don’t listen you can’t understand them. And even when they don’t say anything, we watch them. What they do with their hands. We try to understand beyond the words. We observe a way of being. There’s a whole language to be learnt beyond words. You find out they’re worried every night. Why? Explain what you feel. What’s your solution? What do you do to help it go away? You try to help people live as anguish-free and normal a life as possible. We’re not trying to cure them. We’re trying to help an individual find his or her solution, because we don’t have solutions. But often they do. But you have to get a little close to them. And not be afraid. That’s something they sense straight away, if you’re afraid of them. They don’t miss a trick. “I never read the patient’s dossier beforehand. Because sometimes there are awful things in it, written by someone who may have been too influenced by the patient’s past. But my perception of the patient is usually different. I say OK, you’re here, tell me all about it. I’m listening. But young nurses use the dossier as the starting point. If what they read makes them frightened they can’t really see the patient. I was taught that knowledge doesn’t come from books or theories. Let yourself be taught by the patient. You learn by looking, observing. I learnt more like that than from my books. Because no two patients are ever the same. You must always be ready to adapt. And that’s what I love about the job. Schizophrenia can’t always be treated in the same way. It’s the same illness, but each family is different. For us, family is the key to why someone is ill. We don’t believe too much in the genetic reasons for schizophrenia. We work on the patient’s environment, his family, his social background – for us that’s the key. When people talk to us they give us glimpses of their lives which help explain why they’re here. “Often young people don’t want to come, they’re only here because the doctor told them to come. So what’s great for me is when we’re talking I feel something clicks between us. I have one young patient, 19, he’s just become schizophrenic. In the first interview he said, “I can’t explain it properly but I trust you. I can see you understand.” You know there’s a link. Now, perhaps, we’ll be able to help him. “For the past 20 years or so most patients live in the town, but at what price? They suffer. A majority suffer enormously. Recently I was treating a young woman. For more than a year I saw her every week, although as far as she was concerned there was nothing wrong with her. 28

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It is estimated that 1.5 million people in France are being treated for mental problems of all kinds – from obsessive-compulsive disorders, through depression and addiction to serious psychosis. Only a small minority of these, about 300,000, are schizophrenics. The next person I spoke to has a sister in psychiatric care. She is the first to agree that her sister is not easy, but challenges the assumption that she is ill. She feels that labelling someone as “ill” gives psychiatric doctors an excuse to dispense psychoactive medicines with powerful, sometimes harmful side-effects. But she also admits “the medicines opened a connection between my sister and myself, and now, without the medicines, that connection has closed again.”

The Sister’s Story

“When we were children we were close. She was very artistic. Everything she touched she transformed – she spent hours sketching people, painting, sculpting – music as well – she had this incredible way of expressing herself, but always anti-establishment, because she’s always been political too. One day, when she was about 14, she went to the church and played the Internationale, the revolutionary anthem, on the organ during vespers. It was pure provocation. I thought it was just the way she was. A warrior – she’s always fought injustice – and it’s still there, even though now she’s 60 and can’t look after herself.

“She was very depressed. In depression there are many things – it’s like a great black bag – it’s not one thing, it’s the result of several things. She knows she’s very unhappy, she suffers a lot, she’s aware of how she lives, but she can’t change. She’s not aware enough to be able to say to herself: “Stop, that’s enough,” as you or I might.

“She lived in a small town. Everyone knew her, and, being political, she didn’t think twice about making her views known, challenging people about what was happening in the town. She had an old house which she transformed into a work of art, it was her life – in every room there were sculptures, paintings, drawings. It was amazing, a true artist’s house. She wrote to people in the region to get a grant for her art-works, but no one was interested. So she started a hunger-strike. Then one day two people arrived and made her a ward of court, so they looked after all her material needs: they paid her rent, looked after her finance. Then 3 years ago she started talking about becoming a prostitute. The female guardian became really alarmed, and the only solution people like that know is the psychiatric hospital. They don’t have any other way of helping people. They think the hospital’s array of psychotropic drugs will solve all the problems. There was a meeting between the female guardian, the mayor and a few others. They called a doctor and they sectioned her. They went to get her, she resisted. So they took her forcibly and sedated her. “She was in hospital for about 3 months and that’s when I saw her for the first time in 10 years. It was terrible. You have to have experienced that. To see your sister like that – almost no hair, she’d lost her teeth, but above all she was like a zombie. All the people there are like that. The treatment she was being given made her shuffle her feet all the time, she had pins and needles in her legs, in her spine and she looked like a zombie. It was awful to see. “The consultations with the psychiatrist didn’t lead to anything. He made his diagnosis according to the psychiatrist’s bible, the DSM which catalogues and labels people according to their symptoms. Certainly she had some of the symptoms but so do we all at some level. But according to their DSM she’s a schizophrenic. She had obsessions, she’s always had obsessions, she’s never managed to accept what we call reality. I don’t know whether you can call that an illness. She left hospital but she didn’t take her medicines so they come to her house and give her injections. 18 months later they’re still giving her injections every fortnight. The effect on her body is terrible. And each one costs a great deal. Multiplied by how many hundreds of thousands of people in France? “For me the basic question is, do we have the right to damage an individual under the pretext that something “bad”is happening in her head? Someone who isn’t violent. My feeling is we don’t have that right. Not if she’s not dangerous. She’s depressive, she’s not easy, she has set ideas and she got up the noses of the public authorities. But why do we call that an illness? When we look inside ourselves, it’s our way of being which poses problems in the world. “There’s a lot of stigmatisation – for my sister of course, but also for us, the family. When I spoke with my sister’s guardian I couldn’t get a word in and he kept saying very insulting things to me – “Oh it must be in the family. If there’s a sister like that, there’ll be others as well.” Meaning me. I couldn’t believe it. They put us all in the same basket: it’s the family and that’s it.” **

The treatment of psychiatric patients in France varies according to the theories of the senior psychiatrist running a particular mental health unit. There is no standard, nationally agreed theory – or practice. Yet one of the themes arising from these interviews is that much depends on where the new patient is treated for the first time, which brings us back to the secteurs. Patients are supposed to go to the CMP in their secteur. But since one psychiatrist may not agree with another on diagnosis, let alone treatment, the secteur system has created a postcode lottery. The psychologist I spoke to trained to be a competitive swimmer. To pay for her studies she took a job as an instructor, and worked with a group of autistic children. They opened


the door to the world of psychology. Her doctoral thesis, submitted in 2012, was on autism and schizophrenia. Now she works principally in a CMP, on what she says is a ridiculously small salary for someone with ten years’ study behind her.

The Psychologist’s Story “What we’re doing in this secteur is almost unique in France. We’re working as an integral part of the town’s fabric – the associations, the institutions but also with everyone who comes across our patients, the shop-keepers, the café-owners. They all know us. There are barmen here playing an extraordinary, almost clinical role, who treat our patients with enormous understanding. “People aren’t cured of psychosis. We try to stabilise them, help them in their everyday life, because it’s ordinary, everyday life which poses the problems. They can’t manage it. They’ll phone me to ask whether they should take a shower before they have their coffee or after it. They’ve forgotten how to dress, what to eat or when- they’ve forgotten the rhythms of life, so we try to help them rediscover that. “People with mental illness live a life of hell. It’s awful. Nothing that we think of as obvious or automatic is obvious or automatic for them. Every morning they have to reconstruct their world. They don’t know who they are, so we try to anchor them, give them something to lean on. We give them ideas, advice. But you have to go very gently, always from where the person is. If we put a schizophrenic who feels persecuted in a flat, they’ll go off the rails: the EDF is persecuting them, or the water company – there’s a good reason the homeless are always on the move. It’s to avoid persecution. “In the Day Hospital some of them work on patchwork quilts, because for a schizophrenic, sewing together the separate pieces of a patchwork to make a whole is as if we were re-assembling their body. “Since I started in psychiatry I say “Thank God there are medicines.” It allows people to look after themselves. But having said that yes, I get very angry with the current policies of pharmaceutical companies. They have an enormous power and it’s in their interests people remain ill. “Not all the patients are on medication. In this service that’s not our first line of defence. We can’t force them. We try to persuade them they’re ill – and that can take years. Literally. It’s slow, patient work. We’re involved in very human relationships: how to help these people live better, know their illness better. We focus on the individuality of each person. For us, each new patient is a new story. Of course we accept there are genetic illnesses, but for us that’s not important: knowing it’s a genetic illness doesn’t tell us how to treat this particular person. So for us psychoanalysis, Freudian but also Lacanian, is the key. It’s a reflection on the world, civilisation, the human being. It’s not a science. Science wants to compare one thing with another. Psychoanalysis is interested in the specificity of each person, the solutions each person finds to get through his particular life. Science is about making generalisations, finding universal truths, it’s about uniformity, as though everyone were the same. And that’s why everyone outside normality becomes unhappy. We want people to be happy, we want things to be alive even if they’re be a bit messy, and this service really is alive. It’s amazing working here. I’m paid peanuts but I wouldn’t leave for anything. “At the same time we’re dealing with people who are extremely unpredictable, who get away from us all the time. We hope we can sense when their condition seems likely to deteriorate, when they are at risk or might kill themselves. But it’s really not easy. So we have to protect them a lot. Schizophrenics are very vulnerable, very fragile. They meet someone, they follow them. They can’t judge what’s good and what’s bad so they find themselves in terrible situations. They are people who often are more dangerous for themselves than for others. You’d have to work here to see just how complicated it is. I worked with one patient for 2 years – for 2 years I gave him all the support he needed and during that time he managed to sort out almost all his problems. After two years we finally arrived at a satisfactory conclusion – and then he killed himself. Once everything had been sorted out. So, yes, in psychiatry we get hurt. Each time a patient kills himself the whole the team suffers. Each time. Too often when someone is finally better, they find life unbearable. They have cured themselves, they have no more problems, and then they kill themselves. So sometimes it’s better if things go wrong.” 30

The patient is seen by medical people, but all round him his friends and family suffer enormously too. Parents lose sleep, and become ill themselves: stomach ulcers are common. Separation is also far higher in families with a son or daughter who is schizophrenic: the father may feel overwhelmed, he leaves, the mother has to cope on her own. In the mid-1960’s this began to be recognised and voluntary associations, often run by parents of psychiatric patients, sprang up to help other parents. Until recently the medical profession viewed these associations with scepticism – and sometimes worse. According to the volunteer I spoke to “doctors often don’t appreciate families coming to talk about treatment”, but feels things are getting better. However, none of the professionals I interviewed had much first-hand experience of (nor, I suspect, interest in) these associations. I spoke to a volunteer at UNAFAM, a nation-wide association with branches in every département.

The Volunteer’s Story “UNAFAM was created 50 years ago to demand the right for the mentally ill to have free and continuing care, to have enough money to live on, a roof over their heads and, if necessary, legal help. The fact we’re still battling for some of these shows there are still people suffering from mental illness who don’t have these basic rights. So we lobby elected representatives, we sit on various national, regional and departmental committees to fight for the rights of individuals and to make sure they’re applied. But at another level our work is to help and inform the families of ill people. Very often they don’t understand their child’s illness and have no idea where to go to get help. The idea is to bring together people who are going through the same thing. “In our département about 120 new families come to us each year – plus the ones already registered: nation-wide UNAFAM has 15,000 families on its books. Every volunteer working here has a family member who is ill, so all of us have been through the same anguish, worry and confusion. We understand. But also we’ve been trained in basic psychology and psychiatry, in particular how to welcome first-timers. The aim is to listen first. Then give information and if necessary, advice. Lessen the distress and anguish. Here in this office there are between 10 and 15 volunteers, plus a retired psychiatrist who explains the different treatments available, what the different medicines do, how they help, what the side effects are. “Very often the people who come here are in great difficulties – these are not patients we’re talking about, but family members. Mental illness has a bad image, it’s very difficult for a family to live with.

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Often they feel totally alone, abandoned. Their anxiety, frustration, anger can also make them physically ill. Once the family accepts and understands their son or daughter’s illness, they’ll relax more and be able to pick up the threads of their lives. And consequently the ill person will be better understood, better looked after. Patients do much better if they know their family is with them in this shattering experience. It’s not just parents, there are the brothers and sisters who need counselling too. And the children of an ill person – it has to be explained to them why Dad has these moods. “For some families it’s very difficult to accept that their son is ill, so we run an entre-aide workshop, Prospect, based on the work of a New Zealander, Ken Alexander. The idea there is to teach families how to distance themselves from their son or daughter. That’s something that has to happen so they can find positive things and a future for themselves. “As a parent I’ve learnt you have to be strong with doctors. If you see things are not happening as they should, it’s vital to say so to the doctor or nurse. If you think a new treatment is not working, or a hospitalisation has been badly handled, it’s better to say it. “We left a region where parents were not welcome at all. We didn’t agree with the psychiatrist and he refused to accept that his treatment wasn’t working. But we had to live with the terrible side-effects, our daughter was not sleeping at all. He told us not to interfere and in fact banned us from the hospital. This was in northern France. Our daughter was in a terrible state, but nobody would listen to us. We went to Nancy, Reims, all over to find a psychiatrist but each time we were told we were in the wrong “secteur”. But when we came here it was completely different – that was one reason we moved here. Here the medical team really listen to us and last year when the treatment was changed they followed what we had to say. But I can tell you it’s not always like that. Much of it is luck, if you happen to be in a “secteur” with a good team. “In fact I’m not convinced our daughter was that ill – I think probably she’s somewhere on the autistic spectrum. In France there’s confusion between autism and maladies psychiques. But I think her psychological problems came from her misdiagnosis and wrong treatment – isolation, all the visits to psychiatrists, the medicines, they make you feel different, misunderstood, so I think a psychic problem developed out of her Aspergers. “Psychic illnesses are still very stigmatised in France. Society doesn’t consider they’re somehow ‘acceptable’ and this isolates those who suffer from them. They’re thought of as killers, even though it’s been shown there’s a lower percentage of killers among schizophrenics than among the “normal” population. This very black image prevents any improvement. They could do much better, stay out of hospital for longer if they were better understood and integrated. Often it’s their own family which rejects them: families which have problems managing themselves. For many families the solution is either prison or the street. That’s why there are so many ill people on the streets. The child is rejected, thrown out on to the street. Or if he’s lucky he’s put in a home, but either way he’s abandoned.” **

The mental health teams I interviewed have their hands full with psychotics – considered the most seriously ill. But there are also the neurotics, suffering from phobias, obsessivecompulsive disorders, hysteria. This father’s daughter is one of these, so his story is perhaps more common, more “ordi-

nary”, although none the less chilling.

A Father’s Story

“Diana was at a lycée in Paris and when she came home for a holiday we noticed her hair looked a bit strange. We began to realise she was actually pulling out her hair, it was a compulsion – what they call “trichotillomania”. Her mother and I were having domestic problems around the same time, which of course didn’t help. When my wife and I separated, Diana was not at all well and she used her mother’s departure to tell me everything that was wrong. “She began seeing a psychologist in Paris, I think at a CMP. She really liked being able to talk about her problem, to have someone listen to her. The problem was that the more she talked about it, the worse the problem became. We’re told talking will help, but not in this case. It simply got worse and worse until she tried to kill herself. She was still in Paris and was taken to the Hotel Dieu and for me that was the beginning of the end. The medication totally overwhelmed her mind, she was dazed. That was when I discovered this other world of the mentally ill. She was locked up, she couldn’t talk to her friends because she wasn’t allowed her telephone re-charger. But worse was being in contact with people who were much more seriously ill. Because I think for her it was just that some small thing was not right, she simply had what they call a TOC – trouble obsessionnel compulsif. But she was put with older patients, more seriously ill, and that could only make her worse. She was at the Hotel Dieu a long time, and then each time the problem came back she was taken there. “At the hospital I found an association for parents, where I was given advice and could talk to doctors. The problem was that as soon as Diana turned 18 all that stopped. Suddenly the doctors would not discuss her treatment with me because overnight she was no longer a minor. That seems to me wrong: your child can be 18 years and 3 months, not yet fully mature in her head, but the doctors refuse to talk to her parents about her illness or her treatment. “She’s been hospitalised a few times, and her treatment has since been described to me as “heavy”. Now it’s much better, she only takes something to help her sleep because often she can’t get to sleep until 10.00 in the morning. But that’s recent. For 7 years she’s been under medication. “We tried various different kinds of clinic. A religious one, which I felt was better, but I know some patients get stuck there. They find a place which gives them peace and security, then remain there all their lives. Whether that’s any better I don’t know. We also tried a clinic which specialises in art therapy – she virtually ran away from there. But once again it was the depressing environment. The place can be beautiful, Hotel Dieu has its garden, it’s lovely, but there were bars on the windows and everyone around her was heavily medicated. Of course there are very serious cases there, but it seems to me we’re throwing too many different types of patient together. We haven’t managed to create different units. Perhaps it’s better in the private clinics, I have no idea. I’ve always been a firm believer in the public health system. But it’s like the situation in prisons where you have a petty criminal rubbing shoulders with gangsters. They can only get drawn downwards. But for me you can’t treat someone who is ill in that sort of depressing environment. “I know various people who were depressive, or children of friends who have these problems, but until it happens to someone in your own family you have no idea what it’s really like, how much the illness takes over the person’s life and your own. Diana keeps finding herself in problem situations. Things happen to her, she’s robbed, recently she was attacked in a taxi. Things that might happen to any of us once keep on happening to her.


“The most important thing for anyone who finds themselves in this situation is where you go for the initial treatment. Choose very carefully, because that determines all the rest. She found herself being treated with heavy drugs – and of course she had no say in the matter. Perhaps if she had gone somewhere else, with a better environment and better food that might have prevented her condition getting worse. We’ll never know.” **

for the physically handicapped, but not for someone who leads a normal life for 20, 30 years and then becomes ill. We don’t have anything like enough therapeutic flats and anyway for some it’s not the right thing. There’s little between hospital and a flat in the real world, facing all the problems we’ve been talking about. We have a lot of problems placing

Since many mentally ill patients are now living in the community, social workers are vital, they are the interface between the patient and the public. Yet the ones I interviewed told me they didn’t have much real training in psychiatry: “In our 3rd year we had 10 hours psychiatric theory – that’s over a 3 year course. You learn on the job – people talk about an illness and that evening you look it up on the internet. Most of it you pick up talking with the nurses – what we call the corridor clinic.”

The Social Workers’ Story

“Much of our time is taken sorting problems – housing and administration. Someone needs a place to live, so we trawl through the paper, we phone – usually we visit with the patient, because many patients would take the first flat on offer, they don’t notice that there’s no insulation, they don’t realise that without double-glazing they’ll have high electricity bills. We check out the neighbours, particularly if our patient is sensitive to noise. Then some patients can’t pay the deposit or the first month in advance. We have to phone the family to see if they can help. We have to cobble together something, because you can’t leave the patient on the street. Then later we do everything connected with the move: change of address for gas, electricity, phone – there’s an enormous amount. “Young people especially are very difficult – and time-consuming. Often they’re in a real fix – they’ve left school early, they’re no longer in touch with their parents. They have no resources of their own – which basically means no chance of finding a place to live. If they’re ill we can ask for an Allocation adulte handicappé, so eventually they’ll get money every month, but arranging it takes a long time and anyway for someone who has behavioural problems without being really ill, there’s no allocation, so financially we’re limited. Large towns like Montpellier have more places to choose from, charitable organisations, shelters, hostels, that kind of thing. Here we have to help people with the means at our disposal, we have to be more resourceful ourselves. “Then there are the everyday problems with the CAF, with the Sécu – things which take hours to sort out. Usually we have to go to the office with the patient, for them it’s too complicated. Even going to the bank our people find difficult because often the person changes, or you have to make an appointment, you phone up and then have to press 1, 2, 3, you explain to one person then you have to explain the same thing to someone else. For people who are already confused it’s very difficult. Then often you have to follow up with an email or a letter. Or EDF, for example, doesn’t have an agency here any more. A few years ago a patient had a problem with a bill I’d take them down to the agency, talk to someone I’d met before and show the patient what to do. Now you can only contact them by phone. This morning I was 47 minutes on the phone for a problem that hasn’t been sorted. Sometimes I’m not sure our colleagues quite realise how much time we spend battling some administrative problem – we take the person’s place in a way. Perhaps too much. But I know I go a long way to protect a patient from being assigned a legal guardian. “A social worker’s job is to protect people – particularly children. But in psychiatry its often the parents who are ill. But we have to be very aware of the children too. If there’s the slightest suspicion we have to take the children away, knowing that if we do, immediately we’ll lose the rest of the family, they’ll stop seeing us. Often it’s difficult to reconcile both. Usually things are never clear-cut. “On the whole I think it’s good some patients have their own lives in town. But – and I wouldn’t have said this when I started – there are a few chronic psychotics who are only at ease within the framework of an institution. Outside those walls they feel perturbed. There are places 32

Image from Leo Amery’s ‘House of Details’

them – often ending up with solutions which aren’t adapted, hundreds of kilometres from their family. Or in an old people’s home, even if they’re only 50.” **

The use of forced restraint, tying patients to beds for long periods, keeping them in straight-jackets or isolated in a padded cell has increased considerably over the past few years. The reasons given are fewer personnel and an increasing percentage of female nurses. “The use of forced restraint is an indicator of the good or bad health of psychiatry. The worse psychiatry is doing, the more cases of forced restraint there will be.” Jean-Claude Pénochet, chairman of the Hospital Psychiatrist’s Union. In the last five years there has also been a 50% rise in the number of people being sectioned, that is forced into a psychiatric hospital without their consent – presumably because, for whatever reason, they’ve stopped taking their treatment. Joey is neither mad nor ill – he’s on the autistic spectrum, a condition he was born with. The development of the neurological pathways in his brain was impaired in some way. In France there’s a deep and bitter rift between psychiatry and neuroscience. France was the last country in Europe to recognise autism as a disability. The last in Europe to give disabled children the right to go to school (which only happened in 2005). In many ways, though, Joey is extremely lucky: his parents are fighters, refusing to accept what certain experts told them.

Another Father’s Story “Joey was 2½ when he had an epileptic seizure, and it was because of his epilepsy that he was diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum. 1 in 150 children are on spectrum, 10% of those are epileptic and 4 out

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of 5 are male. “After he was diagnosed we took him to a CMPP . Luckily we managed to avoid the psychiatric unit for children, the hôpital de jour. Then, when he was about 6, we discovered there are other ways of helping him. He’s non-verbal, he had behavioural problems (tipping everything in the fridge on to the floor). It was quite difficult. We discovered a system of communication called PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) and other brilliant tools like the time-timer. We also got very lucky and found some professionals in a service liberal who could come to our house and help us establish a means of communication with Joey. Until you do that, it’s very difficult to make any progress. You have to put in place a system of communication – as with a child who’s deaf and dumb. I remember the first time the person from the service liberal came, Joey sat with us for 30 seconds then walked away. The person said “it’ll be a long haul.” But within a year Joey was sitting for 40 minutes, the behavioural problems had disappeared. When he wanted an orange juice he could get out his PECS folder and pick out the pictogram of orange juice. He realised very quickly the usefulness of the system for him! The most frequently used was a yellow hand for help. It’s the most amazing thing – discovering how to ask for help changes everything. “The sad thing is this help came 2 years after he was diagnosed and did not come from the public health system. It came from private sources, then the internet and all the rest of it. We lost a lot of time. “At the beginning we received very little help because there was no professional saying this is what Joey needs. It was just us. In fact we had to convince the professionals that this was the right course. We had to tell them about the tools to use – because they didn’t know about them. Well-paid professionals who didn’t know about ways of helping someone on the autistic spectrum communicate. For me it’s a scandal. And unfortunately in certain situations that still exists. “In 2005 we started a parents’ group, and that made a huge difference. The wonderful thing about an association is that you don’t have to explain anything. The others understand immediately. That was an enormous safety valve. “Attitudes are changing. 5 or 6 years ago you never saw an autistic child, he/she was kept at home or put into an institution. Now families take the child shopping, so everyone gets to know them. “Now Joey has very few behavioural problems. On the whole he’s a very happy child. One of our goals was to give him as normal a childhood as possible. He loves going to school and has always gone to the same school as everyone else, but only part-time. He’s 15, so now he’s in 3ième, his last year at collège even though he has a school age of about 6 years old. It wasn’t easy, but we’ve always managed to keep him in a class of his age throughout his school career because not only does he have the same right as every other child to go to school, but as well as being a place to learn, school is a place to grow up in. We’re very lucky in our town that the directrice of the collège shares the same point of view about une école républicaine. It is for everyone. At the stage he’s at now he has an AVSI (auxillaire de vie scolaire individuelle) for all the time he’s in school. Again, that’s a right. We’ve also managed to get 6 hours extra for the AVSI to prepare the classes – and that’s based on a legal text not many parents know about. So although his school work is tailored for him, when his class does history, he does history, if they’re doing English he does English. I’ve learnt you have to base your argument on what the law says. On the whole the law’s not bad, but often not applied. “In Joey’s college there are 200 children, 4 of whom are autistic. That’s 1 in 50. “In England 80% of children with autism are educated in a normal school, in France it’s 20%. “90% of children in the equivalent of a special needs school, called an IME (Institut médico éducatif), go on to a specialised institution for adults. The IME we visited is training each child to adapt to institutional life – for the rest of its life. Whereas every autistic child has the legal right to go to a normal class with an AVSI. So there’s enormous progress to be made. “Joey does 5 things in the community: he lays tables at the restaurant, he loads shelves in the supermarket and in the quincaillerie, he works at the stables and also at the local animal park. “We’re all getting older and there’s nothing in the département our

parents’ group considers suitable for inclusion of our children when they’re adults, so we’re starting to work on an adult project. It’ll take 7 to 10 years to set up, but I don’t feel I can relax until there’s something in place I consider a dignified response and accompaniment to Joey after we’re no longer here. People, professionals, sometimes say “Have you thought what’s going to happen afterwards?” I feel like strangling them. Of course I’ve thought about it. It’s what you think about at the very beginning: what’s going to happen to my child when I’m not here to look after him.”

France has the second highest density of psychiatrists in Europe: 22 per 100,000. But most are in large towns, often close to the Mediterranean and in private practice. In the public sector 20% of psychiatrist’s jobs remain unfilled. Within five years 40% of psychiatrists will have retired. “Psychiatry’s a profession which no longer attracts the best,” a psychiatric nurse told me, “Young psychiatrists are not the same calibre as the ones retiring. They practice short therapy because long treatment costs too much. They don’t have the same conception of care.” During his training the psychiatrist I interviewed saw himself as a GP or cardiologist. Then he read a book by Françoise Dolto (1908-1988), a doctor, psychoanalyst and pioneer on the ways babies communicate. “It contained a truth about the complexity of the human being. That’s what opened the door, after that I entered.”

The Psychiatrist’s Story

“The schizophrenic lives the most extraordinarily terrible things. He has to live with his own fears. Fear makes him fall apart, he feels alienated from people around him. The links, the connections with our world don’t work any longer. Our job is to help them re-create those links. But as fast as we re-create them, the patient destroys them again. Oh yes, madness is a mysterious continent. The ill person gives us only snippets of what he feels. “In themselves delusions are not a bad thing. Most of us live a collective delusion, a shared, agreed reading of our world: mum, dad, school, work – the dominant human consensus. A ready-to-wear explanation of the world, and because of it we can communicate with each other. But the alienated psychotic lives in his own, made-to-measure world. He re-constructs his own personal world, by himself. He works incredibly hard to explain to himself what he is living. His delusions help him do that – and as long as his delusions don’t affect other people there’s not a problem – if they think the neighbours are sending them sound waves, well, OK, they might shout at the neighbour a bit, that’s quite common, but as long as it stays at that level, it’s fairly harmless. But then in his head someone becomes a persecutor and that’s when we’re really into an illness, with sometimes terrible repercussions in society. By that stage the schizophrenic is suffering, terribly. That’s when you have the person who flips, and then our role is to protect the patient and society from those repercussions. That’s when you have to hospitalize the person by court order. “But most of the people who come here are not that ill. In a sense the worse the person is, the easier it is to treat them. If the person is really disturbed then someone will call the police, they’ll see he’s deranged and they’ll take him to hospital. But the parents who come here to tell me about their 18 year-old son who stays in his room all day and all night. What can we do? At the beginning of an illness it’s often that – cold symptoms. We can send a nurse round from time to time, try to persuade him to come and see us, but if he doesn’t want to. It’s very difficult. You have to wait for a crisis. “The first contact is vital. If he’s put off by what you say, it can take years for him to accept the treatment. It’s a very delicate moment. Very easy to make the wrong move, say the wrong thing. Wait. Have a short chat, establish a relationship. It’s better not to go too far, because we have the time. Mental illness starts in adolescence and lasts as long as you live. So if the person is young we’ve got 40 years ahead of us. No.



(continued) need to go quickly. He has to accept there’s something seriously wrong with him. Tactics, because it’s a complicated illness. With time it gets easier. But like a volcano it can wake up at any moment. There can be relapses, and the terrible thing is that sometimes you don’t see them coming. People you’ve seen for years, you think you know, and suddenly it flares up again. What you have to understand is that it’s never finished. “The idea of the asylum was to contain the illness, isolate the ill person from the world and give them a routine. That’s why in prison a psychotic feels fine. For the psychotic today the new asylum is the street and prison: simple rules, if you obey the code no one bothers you. The view now is to help them live in society like the rest of us. They have their lives, their daytime activities and they can improve. The results are very positive, they meet people, they see things. They are not condemned to madness. But, unfortunately, they don’t escape madness. We see people who live in a hell at home. Every day they come to the day hospital, at 5.00 they go home, they close the shutters and go straight to bed. They wake at 3.00, there’s nothing. Except

what’s inside their heads. Then they ask for sleeping pills so they don’t have to face that. You see, some patients need the security of an ordered world. When we closed the asylums and long-stay wards we forgot to create these protected places. We have to re-open units which give some protection for people who are too disorganised to live alone and who need help. Units of 20 people, little communities which needn’t cost too much. Because that’s what’s lacking. We need a large palette of possibilities for such a wide spectrum of problems. “Look at the street population of any large town. How can they be reintegrated into our world when they can’t afford even a shared room? So they ask us for sanctuary, the homeless, the frightened. All they want is bed and board but we have to say no. We can’t accept you, you’re not ill. And that’s terrible. That hurts. But it’s not our role. If they have symptoms – alcoholics – we treat them. But once they’ve been treated we put them back on the street. To be honest, often we hesitate to take them in the first place because we know later we’re going to have to put them back out. And that’s terrible.” And that’s just the tip of the iceberg...

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Circonvolutions - Elisa Fantozzi Médiathèque du Grand NarbonneEsplanade André Malraux, 1, Boulevard Frédéric Mistral 11100 Narbonne Tel. 04 68 43 40 40 Open Tue, Wed, Thurs and Sat 10h-18h Friday 10h-20h Summer time (1 July-31 August) Tue to Fri 9h-16h Sat 9h-13h

content of the human mind from various points of view. Like an unusual organic piece, it is purposefully monochrome. From this creation emanates something visceral, curious and ludic. Elisa Fantozzi has created a soft sculpture in the shape of a brain measuring about I.5m x 1. 90m., made out of cotton wool and lycra. The cerebral cortex is fixed with magnets on a base. Its ‘nervous system’ is formed by a series of unfolding tubular strands, resembling the arms of an octopus surrounded by a set of objects, and having different functions. Anachronistic and painted in beige, the objects are here given another meaning. As far as we are aware, we could be dreaming or finding ourselves in the fourth dimension. Elisa’s installation ‘takes possession’ of the reading space creating a direct connection with


hile the privilege of contemporary art centres is to display the work of renowned international artists, public spaces such as libraries make the best of their own resources to showcase local or emergent artists. Freedom of expression and artistic talent may then appear more inspirational as can be seen with Elisa Fantozzi’s installation, ‘Circonvolutions’. The installation has been produced for the Book and Youth Fair of Greater Narbonne (Salon du Livret de la Jeunesse du Grand Narbonne) and was created during her residency at the School of Fine Art there.Born in 1972, Elisa Santozzi is a self-taught artist who has been exhibiting since the 1990’s ‘Circonvolutions’ (Convolutions) refers here to the cerebral cortex. The installation is organized around a giant human brain spreading out in the room. Its ramifications are an invitation to explore the

the readers and life by crawling among the book shelves. The visitor is invited into a perambulation which leads to the discovery of various ready-made objects such as stacked draws, an old telephone, a painted tree bearing two large silicone ears, a child’s scooter, a highchair next to a trolley, a cheese grater and a lemon-press to give just a few examples. Elisa also used unpredictable discoveries such as a diminutive African statue and a wooden garden gate, explaining that she respected her original list in its entire length. She was commissioned to produce this work without knowing precisely how large the space allocated to it would be which adds a dimension of surprise to the end result. The installation which seems to breathe and palpitate according to the observer’s movements can be seen freely. The idea of keeping to one colour is successful and Elisa here masters the purpose of art installation which is to be mobile, unpredictable and able to take the viewer into a foreign universe. Dominique Aclange


FRAC Languedoc Roussillon Mauvaise Pente (‘Slippery Slope’), or how an IFOP survey ends up becoming an ‘art piece’


he new acquisition by the FRAC Languedoc Roussillon, ‘Mauvaise Pente’ is now on at the Regional Fund of Contemporary Art Montpellier, from 16 May to 28 June. It presents works by Taysir Batniji, Edouard Boyer, Joan Fontcuberta, Caroline Froissart, Trevor Gould, Présence Panchounette and Hugues Reip. Director Emmanuel Lafeille introduced the recent art pieces, opening the labyrinth door which helps decipher the ‘coded artistic eras’. This was done by giving an explanation of the artist’s approach. However, the explanation wasn’t long enough to lead us to the end of this thread. Upon entering, the welcoming white space appears almost naked. The star of the show, Saint Moritz (1988) by Présence Panchounette is a Charles Jourdan high-heeled sandal on the sole of which a plastic skier figurine has been stuck. It is placed in a plexi glass box. As stated by Emmanuel Lafeille in the exhibition paper, ‘[It] is the temptation of reality not like a slippery slope for the artist who only seeks to elucidate the external and common reality rather than create a spatial reality, that of art itself, first and foremost a singular reality’. Indeed, singular reality seems rare these

What the FRAC?

Hugues Reip Suspens

days. Hence the visitor here is more likely to walk in, look around without particular interest and leave soon after. Joan Fontcuberta’s digital photographs are the only true interest of the show along with Trevor Gould’s Clown complex, an amusing automated sculpture. Caroline Froissart has succeeded in inveigling everyone by her installation composed of a marker pen drawing on the wall next to a plastic bag containing large eye balls made out of balsa and paper paste titled, Prototype d’un casse-couilles (2005). This can be translated as ‘Prototype of a trouble-maker’, in polite terms. A 150 000€ annual budget has been spent by the Languedoc-Roussillon Region for this: to which is added the spontaneous exclamation of surprise: Wow! In 2013, thanks to the sponsorship of Vinci Construction France the budget reached 180 000€: thirty works (including 2 sets of 25 and 12 drawings) of 15 artists entered the collection. That kind of spending makes me wonder where the price of ‘culture’ takes us. I am impressed to see how expensive junk can be, and I keep wondering how ‘art’ like this ends up in a rather prestigious art centre, often unframed. The answer is partly given

MIRÓ- Towards the infinitely free, the infinitely great Musée Paul Valery 148, rue François Desnoyer 34200 Sète Tel. 04 99 04 76 16 Open every day 9h30-19h 21 June 9 November 2014 Entry 7 € students and children 3 €

CRIDA’RT Gallery National & International Art Centre Roujan 29 ter Avenue Henri Mas 34320 Roujan Tel. 06 06 83 47 46 Thursday-Friday 10h/16h Saturday 10h-12h/15h-18h 22 May-27 June 2014 Free entry

This is an exclusive Miró exhibition which will present paintings issued from private collections and not yet shown to the public. Pieces from Switzerland, Spain and the U.S and artwork lent by the Miró family will be on display. 36

by the Director himself who states that today ‘art copies art’. At least here is an honest answer. Art is no longer about copying reality and nature but more interested in reproducing itself. We have to ask ourselves whether art looking at itself doesn’t become a little tedious. Basically, the space here does most of the job while the visitors do the rest. The entry of the Regional Fund of Contemporary Art (Fond Régional d’Art Contemporain) is free, so already this is half the hassle of paying dealt with, thankfully. Should we not be grateful too that the FRAC has the pedagogical mission to organize visits for school children and students? While the Idea discussed by Plato here is ‘turned on’ and its concept is at its fullest, most of the pieces themselves lack strength and inspiration. And yet, the FRAC itself knows that ‘no one questions the contamination of art by reality’. It even states that ‘creation is anything but real, otherwise we could not distinguish it’. It follows this up by asking,‘What is therefore the difference between ‘art’ and ‘reality’?’ Therefore, if this is known, why don’t they take the real risks? Dominique Aclange

The CRIDA’RT is running an exhibition featuring International and local artists from 22 May to 27 June: Marisa Cortese from Turin, Blake Brasher from the U.S, Chen Li from China, Finish artist Pirjo Heino and more are invited by the CRIDA’RT Roujan. The Centre aims to innovate and to encourage the discovery of new artists.

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Place Roger Salengro 11100 Narbonne 15 May- 29 June2014 Wednesday to Sunday 10h12h/14h-19h Free entry


aurent Bonneau is from a rare artistic breed. At 25 years of age, his career as an illustrator began even before he completed his studies at the Arts Decorative School in Paris. The editor Dargaud accepted then to publish the series he completed with his brother, Metropolitan. Julien wrote the scenario and Laurent produced the illustrations. A new comic book, entirely written and illustrated by Laurent Bonneau,was published afterwards in January 2013 entitled Douce pincée de lèvres en ce matin d’été (Sweet pinched smile on a summer morning). Today, at Chapelle des Pénitents Bleus in Narbonne, Laurent Bonneau is exhibiting videos and drawings in solo. The Chapel is a beautiful setting to welcome a talented artist who adopted Narbonne as his town of preference a few years ago.

The exhibition is composed of 3 sets of videos and a large series of drawings. These include his third comic project, The Placomusophile which is a series of 60 drawings in graphite, ink, charcoal, chalk and acrylic on paper, being shown for the first time. They represent one third of the final story. Although the text is not present, one can easily identify with the characters. All done in black and white, their realism is striking. Even more striking is Bonneau’s ability to master his subjects, media and colours with equal ease.Perspective and architecture in an urban context, natural landscapes, human subjects or animal are given a new realism under his palette of colours and his gift for drawing. This is a demonstration that contemporaneity can match with style and beauty. Soul is present. Expression can easily be identified in the faces depicted. Jean Bonneau’s drawings speak of authenticity. Laurent Bonneau interacts freely with his materials without the

help of new technology. Felt-tip pens create transparency and suggest the presence of a truck in the street; green crayons render tree foliage as alive as spring. Everything assembles without conflict, the ink has a line to add which creates relief, while a touch of acrylic brings planarity.In other instances, the Cimes series at the exhibition is treated in black and grey as a photographic choice; a way to enhance the spirit of the rock. There is no false note in this exhibition which is without any pretence but rich in important lessons. This young artist instructs his audience, while humble materials become noble under his hand. His set of videos completes the sequential aspect of his work by telling stories. One minor oversight is that the videos at the entry are not immediately noticeable and could be better highlighted. Entre les piquets (Between the poles, 2009) and Kata (2010) last approximately 6 and 7 minutes and are short silent movies. At the back of the chapel, a geometrical and disco-like video triptych dances vividly. This display doesn’t bring much more than an ephemeral decoration but adds life to the show. The Exhibition L Laurent Bonneau should be visited without fail, if you like drawings. Humble in appearance, it bears within great promise. The idea of exhibiting drawings destined to be edited is also an excellent way to unite art with editions since each bring visual stimulation. Bravo Bonneau!


With them the seed of wisdom did I sow, And with my own hand labour’d it to grow: And this was all the Harvest that I reap’d – “I came like Water, and like Wind I go” (Omar Khayyam)


s a teenage boy, and always hungry like teenage boys are, my favourite pre/post cinema sandwiches were with Salad Olivier or Persian Kotlets . Made from half a baguette and padded out with juicy tomatoes. My mother was a hard working business woman, so these were the staples always awaiting us growing brothers in the fridge. So delicious! Then in 1969 I lay my first foot on English soil. My cousin whisked me off to the cafe in London Victoria train station to buy supplies for our onward jour-

ney to Eastbourne . My rumbling tummy was met with gross disappointment as I set about this alien excuse of a sandwich. Thin dry slices of cardboard bread with an effort at a filling consisting of a meager plastic cheese slice and the cheapest margarine possible. Should I turn around and head straight back to Heathrow, or face the situation like a real man? I didn’t have the money for a ticket, so all I could dream about was the contents of my mother’s fridge back home in Tehran. As ex-pats what we have to do for the nostalgic taste of home is to make the dish ourselves, and here we are! They’re great as summer dishes and also for picnics. Aby 2014

Persian Kotlets

Method 1 Cook and peel the potatoes. 2 Grate the cooled potatoes and onion, and then place in a large mixing bowl. 3 Add the minced meat, eggs and seasoning, then mix well together with your hands. 4 Form into shapes of your choice, and then roll in the breadcrumbs. 5 Shallow fry until brown.

Saffron Chicken Kebab

Method 1 Place chicken in Tupperware/or glass dish and add all of the ingredients. Mix together well with your hands. 2 Leave to marinade for a few hours or overnight. 3 Skewer the chicken (4 - 6 pieces per skewer). 4 Cook in a griddle pan, on the plancha or BBQ. 5 Serve with salad.

Salad Olivier

Method 1 Cook and peel the potatoes. When cold, dice and place in a large mixing bowl. 2 Chop onion and garlic, and then fry until golden. 3 Add the breasts of chicken and cook until they are sealed on both sides. Add the cup of water and simmer until the chicken is cooked (all the liquid should be gone by then). Remove from pan and leave to cool. 4 When cold dice the chicken and add to the bowl of potatoes. 5 In a separate pan cook the petit pois until tender. Remove from heat, drain and leave to cool. 6 In the same bowl add half the amount of gherkins (finely diced), boiled egg (diced), a handful of petit pois, half the jar of mayonnaise and season to taste. 7 Mix well and shape into a dome on a flat plate. 8 Cover with remaining mayonnaise, and then decorate with the remaining sliced gherkins and petit pois.

Ingredients 300g minced lamb or veal 4 medium potatoes 1 egg 1 onion ½ teaspoon of turmeric ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon Breadcrumbs Salt & pepper to season Oil for frying

(Serves 2) Ingredients 2 breasts of chicken, cut into 3cm cubes 1 generous pinch of saffron Juice of half lemon or lime 1 onion ,grated 2 tablespoons of olive oil 1 pinch dried chilli optional Salt and pepper to season

Ingredients 1 onion 2 cloves of garlic 1 cup of water 2 breasts of chicken 4 medium potatoes 2 boiled eggs Small packet of frozen petit pois 500g jar of mayonnaise or homemade is even better Small jar of gherkins


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Here in the photo I used up some spare potatoes, sliced in halves and shallow fried in the remaining breadcrummy oil. The Persians love their aromatic herbs and I just picked what was available in the garden to serve as a side dish. Here we have chives, mint, coriander, dill, parsley and a big squeeze of lime which gives a lovely tangy edge.


The HAT Business June

Daphne Foulkes



uring May, we receive lots of questions from people about French income tax returns. The most common ones are – should I complete a French tax return, do I have to declare that tiny bit of bank interest on my savings outside of France, do I have to declare dividends even if these are re-invested? If you are French resident, the answer to all of these questions is “YES”. In addition, depending upon the value of your assets, you may need to complete a wealth tax return. Whether or not French tax returns should be completed is always a popular subject at social gatherings of expatriates and I have heard many people say that they “choose” not to be French resident. Well French residency is a fact and you only have to satisfy one of the following conditions and you will be resident in France: (1) France is your ‘home’. If you have property in France and in another country, but the latter is not available for your personal use (for example, because it is rented to tenants), then France is your home. France is your ‘centre of economic interest’. Generally, this means where your income arises. In addition to pension, salaries, etc., this can include bank interest and other investment income. (2) France is your place of ‘habitual abode’. Notably, no reference is made in the law to the number of days that you actually spend in France and this is where many people are caught out believing that if they do not spend at least 183 days in France, then they can decide that they are not resident. This is not the case and your place of ‘habitual abode’ is, quite simply, where you spend most time. (3) Nationality. If your residency has not been established by any of the above conditions, then it will be your nationality that determines your residency, however, this is very rare. So with residency established, when completing a French income Landscape-Adverts-HAT.pdf 1 18/02/2014 16:38 tax return, you must declare all your worldwide income and gains, even if some of this is ultimately taxable in another country. If there

is a Double Taxation Treaty (DTT) between France and the country where the income arises and that other country has the right to tax certain income, your French tax bill will be reduced to reflect this. If there is no DTT and you pay tax in the jurisdiction where the income arises, then this will result in you being taxed twice. Although France has many DTTs, this is not so with the popular offshore jurisdictions of, for example, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. For those of you who have completed the French tax returns, if you had to complete the pink 2047 form, this means that you had foreign income and/or gains to declare. If this is for any reason other than pension income and earnings from outside of France, then you may benefit from a discussion to check that you are not paying unnecessary taxes on any investment income. For example, it may be better to invest your financial assets in an assurance vie, which is more tax-efficient for French residency, when compared to foreign bank interest and dividends. Inheritance taxes should also not be overlooked. As a French resident, you are considered domiciled in France for inheritance purposes and your worldwide estate becomes taxable in France (exempt for anything that might be exempt as a result of a DTT), where the tax rates depend upon your relationship with your beneficiaries. However, by investing in assurance vie, in addition to the personal tax-efficiency for you, this type of investment also has the advantage that you can create valuable additional inheritance allowances for your beneficiaries. If you would like to have a confidential discussion about your financial situation, please contact me by telephone on 04 68 20 30 17 or by e-mail at The above outline is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute advice or a recommendation from The Spectrum IFA Group to take any particular action on the subject of investment of financial assets or on the mitigation of taxes. The Spectrum IFA Group advisers do not charge any fees directly to clients for their time or for advice given, as can be seen from our Client Charter Daphne Foulkes SIRET 522 658 194 00017 Numéro d’immatriculation ORIAS 10 056 800 With Care, You Prosper

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Business Interviews, rhetoric and opinion. Michael D’Artag writes, interviews or comments on topics that impact you. What they do express howFeeling Hungry


t has been interesting to watch the build up to the European elections from my current vantage point in New York where quite frankly no one gives a damn. By the time you read this all resuts will be in and you can see what a ‘sage’ I am. But I did sit down for lunch with a number of traders who DO follow the European scene and they genuinely don’t know what the fuss is about. From their perspective regarding France it is a shoo in that Le Pen and her ‘lot’ will win France and probably be the dominant force on the night but as they (and I) agree it will make little difference in European politics en masse as they and all the little gangs they make will still be hugely in the minority.



or the chance to win all you have to do is simply complete the sentence below. The deadline for the competition is 30th June and the win-

ever is that it will make certain countries (France Greece and maybe even Britain) talk much more openly of ‘the European’ issue but not because of the fear factor but purely because of votes for the main parties. They say the press are having a feeding frenzy whipping up this eurosceptic outrage. In a country as cynical as this that is quite a statement. ** An item which was amusing to me was that of productivity. It was stated that after our lunch we would all be better off going home for a sleep rather than going back to the office as we would be totally unproductive.....something the French could learn if they cut back on the lunches! As they said here, a big lunch is a half days work guaranteed! **

ner will be contacted shortly afterwards. In no more than 10 words, please complete the following sentence. “I use (may use) Currencies Direct for my international money transfer because__________” Send your entry to:





o, how many of you reading this article are here on holiday? Possibly staying in a a lovely villa or gite that you booked a few weeks or months ago? If so then you probably had to pay for the holiday from the UK (or wherever you are based), which more than likely cost a substantial fee with your bank?! Did you know that you could have used Currencies Direct to book your holiday in France? It’s so simple and so quick and the good thing is that once you have registered with Currencies Direct you can use us time after time to pay for your holidays overseas.. How does it work? Well, the villa rental company will tell you how much you have to pay in Euros, you call us and we will tell you how much that will cost you in Sterling (or dollars, dirhams* etc etc..). Then all you have to do is transfer the equivalent sterling to us and we send on the euros to the holiday company. They are paid the full amount as stipulated, meanwhile you save – enough to treat yourself to a tasty lunch or a new pair of shoes (well that is an essential pre-holiday purchase, I am sure you agree!). Want to find out

more? Contact me, or my colleague, Matt, in London – our details are below… Alternatively, if you are a villa/gite owner here in France did you know that you can become a partner of Currencies Direct? How does that work? Again it’s very simple – you register and when you have a client overseas, who has to make a payment in euros to you, let us know and we will contact them directly to explain all. We pay commission on all trades made by referred clients, which is always a useful additional income stream! How do you get started? Call or email me directly….. Here’s how… To contact me, please call on 04 68 20 41 35 or on my mobile 06 43 88 61 82 or Alternatively email me on To contact Matt in London please call 00 44 (0)207 847 9446 or you can call him on a local French number which is 00 33 (0)329 271 459 Matt’s email is (* 3rd party payment restrictions may apply for US based clients, please call for more information) PS. Don’t forget to enter our competition for a chance to win a brand new shiny iPad!! Closing date is 30th June.

economic logic - a political logic that may actually cost more French jobs than it saves, since there are labor redundancies with Siemens’ operations that apparently don’t exist with GE ... well, that would be a churlish objection to raise at a time when smiles are de rigueur in high Parisian policy circles.

Just as Alstom was about to sell its energy-related operations to the American conglomerate GE, a counteroffer has come from the German conglomerate Siemens. The news is a great relief to economy minister Arnaud Montebourg because ... well, you know, no French minister likes to see a mismanaged French firm sold off the Yanks, whereas selling it off to the Boches can be characterized as “a victory for Europe.” To skeptics who might be tempted to say that what’s at work here is a political as opposed to an

So let’s hope for the best in the best of all possible worlds. An Airbus of Energy and an Airbus of Transport! What a fine Franco-German synergy. The hastiness with which this new offer was thrown together suggests that there may be more than a few bumps in the road ahead, especially considering past difficulties in industrial arrangements with Siemens (regarding Areva, for example). But for now, the American wolf has been repelled from the door. Vive la France and cocorico! Art Goldhammer (


In The Garden with Gill Pound In The Garden June


fter a mild winter and a warm spring the ground will start to be drying out during June, note that a Mediterranean climate has, by definition, a period of summer drought and most parts of the Languedoc experience around 3 months of drought. It is possible, with careful plant choice, to have a garden which is never irrigated but most people water their gardens, or part of their gardens to some extent. Do remember that recently planted items will need additional water during their first summer. Be aware that a thorough water every few days is much more effective than frequent light watering, which is often counter-productive since it doesn’t reach the roots at depth and encourages surface roots which are then at risk of drying out. Try to water in the evening when evaporation rates are lower. Think about water conservation strategies; mulching using chipped bark, shredded garden waste or compost helps to reduce evaporation and helps to keep weeds down and adds organic material to the soil. You can also use mineral mulches such as gravel or Pouzzoulane. If you don’t already have a system for composting your own vegetable and garden waste think about setting one up – it’s a great source of organic material to improve your soil. I


have some further information about wa tering and mulches & composts published by the Mediterranean Garden Society and will happily forward these, on request.

but one sometimes sees the semi shrubby Jasmin de Grasse (Jasminum grandiflorum) and in the spring the “florist’s jasmine”, J polyanthemum; the latter two are only

During June think about the following: • Continue to keep an eye out for damage by slugs, snails, insects etc and take appropriate action • If you are still planting remember to improve the soil in the planting hole with some terreau but also some river sand or gravel to improve drainage. It is also a good idea to fill the planting hole with water and let it drain away – repeat this several times and make sure the plant has had a good soak before planting as well • If you have any plants with variegated or golden foliage keep an eye out for any wholly green shoots and prune these out immediately • Deadheading perennials after flowering will often encourage a second flowering spell • Vigorous climbers such as wisteria and trumpet vines (Campsis) may need some pruning from time to time over the summer • Cut back dead bulb foliage • Continue to cut back spring flowering shrubs after flowering June is the month in which the scented Jasminum officinalis is in flower, a lovely climber which can reach 4 or 5 metres. There are many white flowered, scented jasmines of which J officinalis is the hardiest

hardy to around -5°C. There are also shrubby jasmines which are yellow flowered but these aren’t scented, winter jasmine (J nudiflorum) for example or J humile, a summer flowering shrub that makes a fine hedge or back of border plant. There is sometimes confusion between true jasmines (which will have the generic name Jasminum) and other plants which are thought to look like jasmine and are thus given the specific name jasminoides; examples of this include the confusingly named Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides), the Potato Vine (Solanum jasminoides) while another lovely climber, Mandevillea laxa, has the common name of Chilean jasmine.

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For further information contact Gill Pound at La Petite Pépinière de Caunes, 21, Avenue de la Montagne Noire, (route de Citou) 11160, Caunes-Minervois. Tel: 04 68 78 43 81,


Open the second weekend of every month (thus 9/10/11 May, 6/7/8 June, 11/12/13 July from 10 to 18h each day) or by appointment – just phone or email to fix another time.

Un Certain Regard: Continuing a Journey through the French Cinema

Screenplay by: Karl Leonie

The 1980s Failing fortunes and state intervention


hose familiar with French history and its feature cultural landmarks, know that the state will intervene when it perceives danger threatening their survival. Sufficient for a certain cultural facet to be considered patrimonial and it will receive the necessary assistance for its continuation. We have seen this with many of the country’s architectural monuments and much of its artistic heritage. In this, the cinema as a particular French creation, has been no exception. Studying trends in France from the 1970s into the 1980s, there was a strong economic downturn, while the cinema had been experiencing a steady drop in ticket

sales for a number of reasons.Of course, among them was the development and extension of television sales and activities had a significant effect on this movement. American movies were also a continual dominant competitor. By the early part of the ‘80s, the cinema industry was in trouble in spite of the fact, as we have witnessed in earlier editions,it was producing some quality films together with the production of plenty of talented film directors as well as actors and actresses. Graphically, ticket sales were continually downwards from 1948. From 1970 to 1992, they fell from 184,000 to 116,000. Remember in 1947, they had been 424 million. Not only was the television becoming ubiquitous but it was also in colour. Alongside this was the emergence of channels showing a variety of programmes including films. One such was Canal+ established in 1984 with a regularly featured film programme.In fact, the television industry appeared to sound the death knell of the cinema industry as it was then known unless something could be done to reverse the trends. How could the cinema make a

come-back? Once again, the government was summoned to action in favour of the threatened but strong indigenous film industry. In 1988 the French government brought in legislation drastically limiting the number of films that could be broadcast on television. Another device was to allocate days off-limits.Films were only permitted on the free-to-air channels on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Television became one of the main sources of revenue for French cinema, particularly the leading subscription channel Canal+ which reinvested about 20% of its revenue in filmmaking. In 1984 Truffaut died and with him so did the “author” role of the director referred to in an earlier episode of our series. The arrival of the American blockbuster which attracted cinema-goers in large numbers added further pressure to film genre. Other social pressures such as feminism in the 1970s had a decisive influence on masculine role play in the 1980s, while there was also a marked element of nostalgia: some critics note a parallel loss of reality. However, with an atmosphere of decline in the background, the French cinema still managed to produce some great and memorable films in the 1980s. Here are some firm recommendations. Luc Besson is a film-director worth following up from the 1980s onwards. In this decade he was having personal success already with the post-apocalyptic, La Derniére combat(The Last Battle 1984); Subway (1985) and visually stunning, though criticised as superficial by contemporaries, Le Grand Bleu (The Big Blue, 1988). These were all a foretaste of great films to come. François Truffaut, Le Dernier métro (The Last Metro, 1980). Depardieu and Deneuve were united on screen for the first time in a film set amongst a theatrical group in Nazi occupied France. Truffaut’s Vivement dimanche! (Finally, Sunday! 1984) combines his love for film noir, Hitchcock-type

suspense and comedy romance. Bertrand Tavernier’s Coup de torchon (1981)is a disturbing black comedy set in a French African colonial town with an excellent Philippe Noiret. Jean-Jacques Beineix’s Diva (1981)has stylish photography in a scintillating impressionist-extentialist thriller of the “cinema du look” genre. Beneix went on to disappoint in future. Gérard Oury, L’As des as (Ace of Aces 1982) is a good action comedy for families with Paul Belmondoset on the eve of the Second World War and includes a humorous caricature of Hitler. Bob Swaim’s La Balance (The Nark, 1982) is one of the best and most realistic French crime thrillers of the 1980s, really worth the time set aside to watch. Claude Berri’s Jean de Florette / Manon des sources (1986) is an intricate story in two parts of frustrated optimism, cruel deceit and revenge. Evocative Provence is its setting with memorable acting. It was a huge international hit for French cinema then. Eric Rohmer L’Ami de mon amie (My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, 1987) is the final film in his series of Comédies et proverbs, focusing on friendship and infidelity in a widely acclaimed comedy romance. Louis Malle’s, Au revoir les enfants (Goodbye, Children, 1987) paints a rich and striking but sensitive portrait of Louis Malle’s childhood during the Nazi occupation of France. Patrice Leconte, Monsieur Hire (1989) merges a psychological thriller with romantic comedy which takes a dark-sided perspective on being lonely and desirous. In our next edition we take a serious look at the 1990s in the history of the French cinema.


English for Expat Children - - An indispensable guide English for Ex-Pat Children

Just for a change of pace, I will be providing a variety of worksheets as part of English For Expat Children over the coming months. Whereas I ordinarily write articles on possible activity and game ideas, I am hoping this slightly more proscriptive approach will act as a good, practical counterbalance. My aim is to provide you with workable materials that will not only stand alone, but perhaps give your own English support ideas a framework and inspire you to develop your own materials. My general focus is largely to apply learning to real-life situations and needs, but every once in a while a sit-down with a piece of paper moment presents itself and so the main key to this kind of activity is to keep it fun and challenging. This particular quiz is great as it is pretty tricky for all ages and there is a competitive energy that can help with maintaining a child’s attention and enthusiasm. Or at least that is the theory. As with any activity or game, if your audience turns out to be entirely uninterested don’t despair, there are always back-up options or simply disregard it entirely! Read the tips first before you get going so that you have a clear picture of the task. (Other ways of using the word grid below could include: matching rhyming words or inventing random stories or poems from the words.)

Same Sounds Trail -‘o’ as said in ‘hot-

Read the words aloud and connect those that have the same ‘O’ sound without jumping over any words. You can move diagonally. Can you get from ‘TOP’ to ‘ON? TOP ROCK AGO COVER POWER TOOL









TIPS: This is a deceptively difficult puzzle. For younger readers this will have to be read together. Try it yourself first to establish the sound you are looking for and remember, this is not about the words that rhyme. To find this particular sound say ‘hot’ and then completely isolate the sound that ‘O’ makes without the ‘H’ or the ‘T’.

English For Expat Children. Laura Smith. 2014.


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269,000€ - Lovely unspoilt Maison de Maître from 1860 with 185m2 of living space, 4/5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms with garden of nearly 400m2 , barn of 125m2 and a large garage in a very popular village close to the Canal du Midi

Dans son Jus?


n all businesses, there is jargon and the real estate business is no different. In France you will sometimes see in property descriptions the phrase “dans son jus” which means “untouched” or “ still in its original condition “. To many potential purchasers who want to put their own stamp on a property and don’t want to pay for other people’s “improvements” - which they are only going to rip out anyway- this is an appealing proposition. Whilst it is getting increasingly difficult to find such properties, they do pop up from time to time and in today’s market you can pick up a 2/3 bedroom property with outside space for under 150,000€, which is a good starting point compared to a few years ago when these type of properties were going for such inflated prices that it would have been difficult to see a return on your investment .Ten years ago, it was mostly the foreign buyer who was buying these type of properties and modernising them to great success. However, with the increasing popularity of make-over property programmes in France, even the French, especially the younger generation,

259,200€ - Grand house from the 50s with 250m2 of living space and a plot of 659m2 - currently arranged as a main house of 4/5 bedrooms and an independent appartment of 3 bedrooms

are choosing these properties over a new build. For a lot of buyers, foreign and French alike, the idea of finding a property that still retains its original charm but could do with some modernisation presents the perfect compromise between buying an old property or a newer build. Whilst you will almost certainly need to carry out some modernisation works, you will have great proportions and a solid build to start with. Add to that some great original features that you won’t find in every house, you can end up with a unique property that completely reflects your tastes. In cases of houses with gardens, it is almost entirely certain there won’t be a pool, so an addition of one would immediately give you a return on your investment - and countless hours of fun and frolicking in the sun! Be it one built over a 100 years ago, or one from the ‘50s, we still get a slight shiver of excitement when we walk into a house ‘dans son jus’ and here are 3 examples that did just that to us…… Richard & Chitra - Pullen Real Estate +33 (0)4 68 48 84 03 +33 (0)6 76 64 10 10/ (0)6 87 72 17 32

120,000€ - Great value 3 bedroom village house with 123m2 of living space, two bathrooms, a garden of 165m2 and various small outbuildings within a short walk of the centre of a large town in the Corbieres

More Properties with English Speaking Agents online www.theheraultandaudetimes/property Agence Guy Estate Agency English/French owned 25 years of experience tel 0467 98 37 77 mob 0622 34 30 56 “Quality Assured”


The Geek we call ‘E-Male’

They locked me in a cupboard Hello. This is a recorded message to let you know that I am on vacation until the next issue. And for those that ask I will have my cell phone, phablet, tablet, Air, laptop and X-box subscription details with me.

PRO Volleyball IN Sète Canadian Volley ball pro Graham Vigrass recently finished a season playing for the A Ligue team Arago de Sète. The HAT finally caught up with him at the end of the volleyball season How would you describe your experience playing for Arago? Playing for Arago was a great learning experience. It was my first season of playing professional volleyball and living outside of Canada. I enjoyed everything about the season. I really liked the coaches, teammates and living in the south of France was a great way to escape the winter here in Canada. Is there anything for you that stands out uniquely for you since playing for a French team? It is nice to see the support the city has for volleyball. It is not a big city but the gym would be full for most games and the supporters were all so dedicated. We don’t have the same support back home for volleyball. Have you had any embarrassing 46

In a world created by programmers I willlive a life that I find real and then come back refreshed and ready to live in what you call a ‘real’ world. And you think I’m mad? Until next month I now log off, sign out and shutdown.

sporting moments? I once was taking my pants off before a match expecting I had shorts on underneath. I quickly realized I didn’t so I ran to the change room to put them on! What does your training schedule involve? Training this season usually included 3 weight sessions per week and one practice per day. We would have a day off after games to help us recover. If you weren’t playing volleyball are there any other sports you would like to compete in? If I wasn’t playing volleyball I would be playing many other sports but just for fun. I played a lot of sports while growing up but volleyball was the only one I excelled at. What is the most satisfying aspect of playing volleyball? That has to be when you beat a team who is favored to win. Volleyball is such a team sport and when you are on a team who plays well together and beats teams who may have more skill it is very rewarding. If you could change one rule in volleyball, what would it be? I wish there was no libero when I was growing up. It would help out my ball control and defense now. What’s next, after Arago? I am training with the Canadian National team in the summer and hope to find another contract somewhere in Europe for next season.


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Classified Adverts

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Classified Adverts Electrician


The Tuesday Club A lively group of English speaking people from all nationalities meet to hear talks, exchange ideas and socialise. **

Anglophone Group Languedoc Roussillon (AGLR) Adults & childrens’ activities including bridge, golf, French conversation, cooking, excursions in convivial atmosphere **

We meet at Maison pour Tous, Florensac, second Thursday of each month, at 1430h (except July & Aug).Info: 0467 77 19 06 **

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Door Restore Is your Front Door showing its age? Try Door Restore. Specialists in the restoration and repair of all wooden exterior and interior doors and shutters. On-site repairs or workshop restoration Contact us for a site visit Free quotation Tel: 0671 52 61 93 m:


Commercial Cleaning Machine for hire.Cleans soft furnishings, rugs, mattresses, sunbed cushions, car interiors, etc.Contact Trudi: 0499570589 ** French PLUMBER Plumbing - Heating- Gas t: 0467 00 11 19 p:0689 02 31 62 Denis Huyart 34630 **


WIC, Women’s International Club is an international group of ladies, for all nationalities, who meet to share experiences, knowledge and to have some fun. Meetings are conducted in both French and English and commence at 14.30 on the first Thursday of each month at Salle de l’Abbatiale, Saint Chinian For further information please contact

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Scandinavian furniture, tableware and decor. 23 rue des Chevaliers de st Jean You will find us behind the Post Office in Pezenas Port. 0634509015 Dom. 0963211140 **

GRACE NICOLS HOMES: You own a property near Montpellier, Grace Nicols Homes is specialised in holiday rentals of luxury and characterful homes in Montpellier and its region. We offer full marketing and management service for your home. Avoid the hassle involved in short letting, we will handle it for you: Secure keyholding service, changeovers, house cleaning, laundry, pool and garden maintenance, and more services on request. tel: 0607801094 ** Perfect Property Management Professional, reliable company for all of your property needs. Changeovers, pool maintenance and repairs, project management. Siret registered. Contact Trudi: 0499570589 **

Gray Solutions Bilingual building and renovation project management, with excellent tried and tested teams covering all trades. Bernie Gray 06 49 21 55 71 ** Roofing and Building Services Roofs replaced or repaired: Leaks, Insulation, Velux, Guttering, New beams, Structural, Terraces. Building maintenance and repairs. References. Professional – Reliable Karl : 06 04 45 63 57 Paul : 06 34 95 19 71


Man Around the House Property Maintenance Company based in Pezenas we can cater for all your renovations or repairs with over 25 years experience you can trust your problems to us. PH.0467767527 or /0785080703. Email. ** READER RECOMMENDED DYSON RENOVATIONS, Qualified British Builder Full house renovations. Tiling, Kitchens, Bathrooms, Decorating. Qualified electricians, Professional and Reliable. Tel 06 27 55 04 79

** European Property Services *Supply and fit windows and doors and conservatories. * Supply and fit shutters in all materials * Supply and fit kitchens * Repair windows and doors Contact Paul Roberts t: 0467 62 30 65 m: 0627 59 22 08 email: europeanpropertyservices ** For All Your Property Care Needs Complete pool care inc. winter shutdown, gardening inc strimming, changeovers, general painting interior and exterior, varnishing, oiling shutters etc. Siret registered est 10 years Tel: 04 67 24 83 72. M: 06 87 64 97 29 **

LANGUEDOC PROPERTY SERVICE.COM Help in Hérault with property repairs & garden maintenance, pools, decoration, keyholding & changeovers. Established. Bilingual. 06 31 74 45 88 ** French PLUMBER Plumbing - Heating- Gas t: 0467 00 11 19 p:0689 02 31 62 Denis Huyart 34630 47


Roquebrun Property Management Personalised services for holiday homes and seasonal rentals. Full or ‘pay as you go’ service. Homes available to rent for 1- 15 people. Call Sue on 0652752445. **

Painter Decorator Plasterer Partition walls Laminate flooring Honest and reliable 06 23 33 30 22 Gary Jackson **

General building, roofing, roof terrace, facades, kitchens, bathrooms. Raymond Kelly, Kelly Projets company 04 67 77 64 20 *

Dick Fowler Construction Liner Pools, Solid Pools All house renovation and construction work Email; Port: 0670 91 12 17 Check out decklevel-pool-designs and then call me! ** RT MULTISERVICES No job too small - Painting, decorating, land clearence, keyholding. Translations. Collections, deliveries, removals. Regular van trips to/from UK. Reliable, local, bi-lingual. Chris 06 84 29 34 34 e-mail ** 48

Consultant/Trainer holding Food Safety course and Health and Safety course from June. Date to be confirmed. If interested telephone for details. Examination in English or French. CIEH accredited London. Contact: 0467234460 after 18h **

WELL-BEING READERS RECOMMEND Master builder 30 years experience in France

HANDYMAN/ SKILLED CARPENTER WITH VAN Removals. All types of repairs. Flatpack assembly. Furniture/ storage solutions built. Tiling, painting, electrics. Rubbish/Garden clearance/maintenance. No job too small. Col O’Neill 06 48 86 98 66. Photos **

Food Safety / Health and Safety courses

WONDERFUL GARDENS, MINIMAL UPKEEP. Garden Creation and Maintenance. Watering Systems,Landscaping, Building and Paving. Hedges, Beds,Dry Lawns and Waterfeatures. Mathieu Goudou, Le Jardinier Prompt, reliable & perfect English Tel 06 23 46 35 42

Specialist in Midi Gardens and Courtyards ** Courses / Lessons Piano Teacher Wanted

Bespoke massage, Mobile service Group bookings taken. Thai massages, Reflexology, Neck and face massage, Reiki, Oil massage. Susannah 0652 75 24 45 / 0467 24 31 42 Based in Ceps / Cazedarnes ** Nathalie Esthetic Fabulous, affordable, beauty treatments - Nathalie Esthetic 4, Place du Marché St Thibéry Tue-Sat, Mon & evenings by appt. Tel : Nathalie on 06 47 40 10 45 ** Centre d’Ostéopathie et d’Intégration Structurelle (®Rolfing) Recently opened in Lodève Annette Beckett qualified osteopath since 1992 cranial osteopathy for adults, children, babies Barry P. Beckett Certified Rolfer, Rolf Institute 1993 Structural Integration, Postural Improvement, Osteopathics. 06 30 64 88 40 **

I am looking for someone to teach me to play the piano freestyle. I can already read sheet music. Lessons at my home or yours. Prices please to 04 67 37 05 55

** French Lessons

French lessons, one to one or small groups in the heart of Pézenas with a French native teacher Hélèna (00 33) 0650772414


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READERS RECOMMEND Independent Anglophone translator. All texts considered. Working languages: French, Spanish, English - Contact Alison: **


Nizas Langues French language lessons & Translation Service. (near Pézenas 34320) Qualified teacher & native speaker with over 25 yrs. experience of teaching French in the UK – GCSE & AS/A Level. Hours to suit you 8.00 am – 8.00 pm. Price from 15€/hr 0ne to One. Tailor made programmes – 10 lessons 100€. Small groups on request. 04 34 53 18 36



Fully qualified mechanic (speaks a little French) Relocating to Saint Marcel / Narbonne area 30 yrs experience Subaru Kia Peugeot and Aston Martin Historic racing cars. Seeking contacts with garages in 30 - 40 mins driving of Narbonne **


Castelnau-de-Guers ville Characterful village House with kitchen/dining-room, bedroom, sitting-room, bathroom and WC 58.000 € Marie Desvignes Telephone: 0614 39 98 81 *

Classified Adverts PROPERTY - Rental

Close to Pézenas 2 Bedroom House to Rent / Buy Garage, Terrace, (Stairs) 2 s/c studio flats attached. Seperate entrance. 10 minutes by car from Pézenas. All amenitied v close. €650pcm or €161,000 Enq: 0644 80 24 32 **



Terrain constructible 764 metres carre 20 minutes de Tarragone 8 minutes de la plage Zone residentielle, eau, electricite, Village catalan authentique: Vespella à 3km de Torredembarra 40000 Euros contacter:Mme Reverchon :003 t: 4638 41 82 56 **

Riverside,Grau d’Agde/Agde

house currently in 2 appts.4/5 beds, very light, spacious living room,dining room,kitchen, terrace all overlooking Hérault studio and summer kitchen in large tropical garden, pool. Beach 5 mins. Pot.rental income Jul/Aug 20k. Con:0467375310

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Sweet home for sale in the heart of the village 40 square meters 30 minutes from Vias airport, 30 minutes from the beach, 45000 Euros Genevieve: 0608 62 81 24 0467 26 44 09

House for Sale. Bédarieux.

Currently laid out as a four bedroom, family town house with a glorious terrace garden; fully rewired with completely new plumbing fitted, full central heating installed in a quarter earmarked for substantial modernisation and redevelopment. Free municipal car parks are adjacent and the centre of town containing a variety of shops / weekly market is a two minute walk. Numerous supermarkets and garages are handily placed. I am reluctantly looking for a much smaller house to reflect my changed situation. €270k Contact: **


Swedish Househunter Karin Kloo Your help finding your French home in Languedoc

** HOUSE WANTED Long Term Rental Wanted:

Responsible, reliable family looking for a long term rental within 20km of Agde. Just for the school year or all year round. Children and and dog-friendly please. We can provide more information and excellent references. Please contact Heather at


Prices starting from 1500€ up to 6000€. Wide range in stock. Transport and installation available on request. Telephone: 0609 54 06 62. **


Maison De L’Orb, Béziers Beautiful five bedroom bed and breakfast overlooking Pont Vieux and river. Private garden, bathing pool, fantastic breakfast. Book: ** LARGE TRADITIONAL HOUSE FOR SALE 200m2 beautifully renovated house between Pézenas and Clerment l’Hérault. Four bedrooms, two bathrooms; self-contained top floor master bedroom with terrace + separate entrance. Is gîte if income required. Dining room, large modern kitchen, 65m2 living room, remise/workshop, landscaped garden with terrace. t: 04 67 44 37 73 for more details / to view


** Exceptional property in Carcassonne.

Centrally located 250 sq. m. townhouse, 10 rooms, 60 sq. m. walled garden (not overlooked); 100 m. from Court of Justice, 250 m. from train station, 20 min. walk from Medieval Citadel. 4 floors + attic. Gas central heating. Ideally situated for B&B rooms or offices for independent professionals. Requires renovating. Price: € 270 000 tel : +33 4 68 74 03 22 +33 674 522 471

FOOD AND WINE Chillis and Spice.

Discover the Chipotle chilli from Mexico, a wonderful dried, smoky Jalapeno. We sell them as they come and also use them to make sauces, chutneys, relishes and rubs, perfect for the BBQ. We also have a good selection of Indian spices. ** Cakes by Ann - since 1980 Rich fruit cakes for your celebrations. Hand made to order Helen REMNANT 06 89 61 06 88 **


An unforgettable barging experience. Limited bookings available for June. Special occasion dinner, bed and breakfast on ‘Pastis’ at Vias. From €125.00 per night p.p Contact Brian at:

Phone: 0330 434457765 Mobile: +33 0613554177 **


The Church of England at St. Pargoire, Holy Communion 2nd Sunday each month at 1030 am. Everyone welcome. Details ** International Chapel of Montpellier Worship Services in English Children’s Bible Class provided Services held every Sunday at 11:00am Website: **


Hire a 2cv Convertable for the day or longer. A wonderful slice of French Culture. More info at:

** WANTED Small car for lady.

Pay up to 1200€ cash. Required for end of May. Tel 0467234460 after 18h 49



Shenanigan’s Irish owned and run, family pub and restaurant. Come and join us for the best prices in the Languedoc. All rugby, Gaelic and Hurling shown live. Guinness & Bulmers Home cooked food, prepared daily.Plate of the day 10e with a glass of wine. Taxi available. Open all year. Vias centre – 0430 17 83 87.


UK qualified, experienced counsellor. Helping resolve your crises or long term issues Depression/Stress/Relationship issues/Addiction/Bereavement/ Trauma/Anxiety/Anger/Abuse/ Isolation/Eating Disorders/Illness Individuals, Couples, Adolescents Face2face, telephone, skype Shona Luck 04 67 90 70 01 Confidentiality and BACP ethics assured **


English Bookshop - Pézenas Please call in for a chat plus your favourite English foods. Delightful & unusual gifts for family, friends and you! A wide selection of English books. Rue St Jean ** English Books and Cards available at The English Bookstall: These markets; Monday - Bedarieux, Tuesday - Marseillan Ville, Wednesday Clermont l’Hérault, Sat- Lodève. Kerith 0467 96 68 87 ** Le Bookshop - Librairie Anglophone / café 8 rue du Bras de Fer Montpellier T/F: 04 67 66 22 90 ** English Books at the Bourse, Pézenas. First Sunday of every month from 10 to 12. The Café de la Bourse is next to the Hotel Moliere in Pézenas. All books are 1 Euro or less. Excellent coffee and company. Want to book a table? Call Carole on 0467905910 50


n every village and every town the Hérault and Aude has a chance for you to visit and explore the magnificent produce and wares that it offers. Below is a selection, please visit for a complete listing


Restaurant L’Amandine 3 Place du 14 juillet, 34450, Vias In the historic centre of Vias village, traditional, family restaurant, serving fresh local produce & quality wines Open daily for lunch & dinner English Spoken Tel:


La Charnière Bar Restaurant A newly opened bar / Restaurant in Beziers Aiming to combine the serving of top class food with a special rugby ambiance. Place Jean Jaurés, Beziers t: 0467 36 83 10 **

EMERGENCY NUMBERS Police - 17 Fire - Pompiers - 18 Medical - SAMU - 15 Sea Rescue (Land) - 112 Sea Rescue (Sea) - CH 16 SOS Europe - 112 Child Abuse - 119 EDF (Electricity) English Line 0556 17 40 70

Markets Carcassonne every morning (except Sunday) in Les Halles; Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning, Place Carnot Narbonne every morning in Les Halles inc. Sunday; Thursday morning opposite the hospital, clothes and diverse until 16h by the canal; Saturday morning, Organic market, place Forum Lézignan-Corbières Wednesday mornings (centre); Grand Foire every first Wednesday in the month until 16h Castelnaudary Monday morning (Place Verdun-Cours de la République) Bram Wednesday morning Espéraza Thursday and Sunday morning Gruissan Monday, Wed & Saturday morning Limoux - Friday morning Olonzac Tuesday morning Port La Nouvelle Saturday (place de l’église) and Wednesday morning Sigean Tuesday and Friday morning Quillan Wednesday and Saturday morning Trèbes Sunday morning Saint Pierre la mer Every morning

The Herault & Aude Times

HÉRAULT AGDE – Thursday morning. Covered market every morning, except Monday BEZIERS Friday morning: Flower market in the Allèes Paul Riquet Saturday morning: vegetables in the Allèes Paul Riquet; organic produce by Les Halles/ Sunday morning:large general market CESSENON-SUR-ORB Tuesday morning Produce / Saturday morning: various LODEVE – Saturday morning MEZE – Thursday and Sunday morning MONS-LA-TRIVALLE Thursday morning MONTPELLIER – Historic centre, Monday to Thursday 7h to 13h30, Friday and Saturday from 7h to 1800h (full list of Montpellier markets on HT PEZENAS Saturday morning SAINT-CHINIAN – Thursday and Sunday SETE – Monday morning: regional produce/Wednesday morning: various/Thursday morning: organic and regional produce/Friday morning: regional produce.

HAT Sport by Stuart Turpie


espite having 3 cracking teams in Rugby Leagues semi pro top flight, Elite 1, the Aude clubs just came up short in the end of season festivities. At the end of April, AS Carcassonne lost in the Coupe Lord Derby to the mighty Toulouse Olympique. No great surprise as TO finished on top of the regular season and ASC were 5th. Then in May it was the turn of FC Lézignan to take on Toulouse in the final of the championship. The match took place at Perpignan’s impressive Stade Gilbert Brutus, home of the Catalan Dragons, a full pro side who compete in the British Super League. Sky Sports fans will be aware of this and the positive impact the Catalans have had on the 13 a side code. The super league season runs from February to September and fans of clubs like Wigan and Leeds enjoy their jaunt to the South of France. Toulouse were clear favourites and the game started disastrously for FCL. In the second minute backrow star Dustin Cooper who has had a fine second half of the season was badly injured. Already deprived of Prop stalwart Griffi and high scoring full back Tony Duggan things did not look good. Sure enough Toulouse Olympique burst through and Mark Kheirallah, formerly of Sydney Roosters, opened the scoring with a fine try. He added the conversion and later a penalty, 8-0. A try by ex Lézignan player Quintilla made things worse for FCL who could only reply with a penalty. Half time TO 14 FCL 2. Probably half of the population of Lézignan were at the match but even their efforts could not help the cause. Toulouse were too strong in all departments and a credit to coach Houles who had experience in his youth playing for London Broncos. FCL made a big effort in the later stages to avoid a drubbing and scored 2 tries through Carrére and Ancely. A try in the last minute gave TO a

slightly flattering advantage, 38-12. Kheirallah was rightly awarded the man of the match and the Aude clubs were left pondering on what they must do next season to match Toulouse. In the XV a side code it is a tricky time to report on events. The regular season has finished and play offs and knock out matches take place. Some things are certain. Béziers and US Carcassonne retain their places in Pro D2. Narbonne go into the play offs against Agen. A tough one. Montpellier have surprised many in the Top14 and play Castres at the time of going to press. USAP Perpignan are relegated for the first time! It is clear that Béziers have to do something about the away form. They lost every game away from the Stade de La Meditérranée! Absolutely bizarre. A thrashing at Racing Narbonne too. In local rugby when the leagues have finished the top clubs match up with their counterparts at the same level in the other regions of France. Traditionally the teams from Herault and Aude do well in these knock outs for the title of Champion of France. Since 60 odd teams qualify at each level, you can appreciate that it takes a few weeks to sort matters out. At the time of going to press Avenir Bleu et Blanc ( Capestang, Quarante, Puisserguier), Vendres/ Lespignan, Portiragnes/Cers, Cruzy/St Chinian and Rives D’Orb are still going strong at their various levels. In the Fed 2, Agde are into the last 16. They play Libourne. Not always easy for fans to keep track of these games as they are usually played at neutral venues. Best of luck to all the clubs and their supporters. We should have a full wrap up next month. Football is more straightforward. Montpellier have been unimpressive but have avoided relegation from Ligue 1. FC Sète have dominated the CFA 2 and go up while Agde keeps its place. Béziers finished steadily in the CFA and can look forward to a derby with Sète next season. Fagregues are the champions of the DH, the league of Languedoc. Chapeau. Let’s hope we can look at some summer sports next month before the winter season starts again! **

The HAT partners: Comité Sport Tambourin Hérault and MIDI CC




Grand-Prix Grand-Pic-St-Loup : Montpellier Agglo au final. Mens - Grand-Pic-St-Loup 13- 4 Valée de l’Hérault Under14’s - Grand-Pic-St-Loup 13- 6 Valée de l’Hérault

Midi stretch beaten run to four after bright start to league season Midi CC gave opposing Toulouse CC Captain Brett Trudgett the best possible farewell on Saturday – a six-wicket league victory at St Pons de Mauchiens and the gracious gift of two successive sixes to seal a win for his side and send him back to Australia with the warm memory of another job well done.



The JACKSONS - Nine #1 Hits - The best selling single in Motown History Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon and Tito talk to the HAT

Yellow Go-Rilla Productions Ltd presents

The Jacksons Carcassonne Festival 25 July 2014


The Herault & Aude Times

The HAT  

The free monthly English Language Magazine for the south of France. Features, articles, wine, sport and more. This month 52 pags including a...