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The Herault & Aude Times
Editorial “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” Voltaire
“Voltaire’s famous epigram is especially relevant to this month’s HAT. Politics are in the air, the municipal elections this month are one of the few in which non-French residents, members of the EU, can vote. We should go into that secret booth with our eyes and minds wide open. There has been much talk in the French press of the far right Front National doing well in these elections, so while we do not necessarily share their ideas, we follow Voltaire in believing they have a right to have their say. And you, the voter, have a right to know a little bit about them from a team working hard at being impartial.
his month we take a look at the Front National. A divisive party and a divisive subject but in the spirit of a well known quote by Confucius, “A person who asks a question is a fool for 5 minutes; a person who never asks a question is a fool for the rest of their life” , writer & journalist Tim King meets two key FN election representatives for Béziers and Perpignan to find out face to face their perspectives on this growing political group and its current quest to be known as the ‘respectable right’. Those right wing members wishing to distance themselves from their far from ‘respectable’ extremist pasts were reminded recently in the midst of a catcalling session in the French National Assembly of the time when ‘they were themselves casseurs busting the skulls of the ex-Trotskyists who now sit in government’ (see artgoldhammer.blogspot.com). If you are looking for open spaces and the great outdoors read Merv Capewells’s article on snow shoeing and cycling in the area; whilst Nigel Hatten describes kayaking around Sète in his faithful Victor Frankenstein. Watch out for Nigel’s attempt to break a sea kayaking record in the coming months. If on the other hand you prefer quiet introspection without the physical element and have a good yarn to tell, why not consider self-publishing? Val Wineyard talks about getting yourself in print and we meet a couple of people who have had the courage to do it. Music this month is golden. Music columnist Richard Pullen interviews international singer Valerie Sajdik in ‘My Place’ as well as talking to American Jazz singer Robin McKelle, who is performing on the 22nd of this month at sortieOuest. The full interview will be available on the HAT website. The HAT is pleased to announce a partnership with Currencies Direct and local representative Fiona is here to answer any questions you may have. WIN We have copies of singer/songwriter Valerie Sajdik’s new CD ‘Les Nuits Blanches’ to give away. If you would like a chance to win a copy please send an email entitled ‘Valerie Sajdik’ to: email@example.com
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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 www.theheraultandaudetimes.com. Please read them, they deserve to be recognised for their fantastic contribution and for being patient and generous to me.
t: 0468 70 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: 2261-561X 4
The Herault & Aude Times
10 Going Nuclear
6 km north of Narbonne lies the AREVA NC Uranium enrichment plant.....Happy?
14 France’s Great War
It is 100 years since the start of the First World
War. Dick Fowler looks at France’s entry
Everyone is at it. But how do you do it and why?
20 Mind over Heart
We talk to co-founder Vinciane Rycroft
24 Spring into Outdoors
Snowshoeing, cycling and kayaking...
26 French Cinema
Continuing our journey through the genre: 1970’s
35 Politics - Front National
Tim King delves into the forces behind the Front National
37 Le Pen’s Partner
Interview with Louis Aliot, avocat, vice-chairman of the Front National and candidate for Perpignan
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 Nature 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 March Le Bookshop
8, rue de Bras de Fer, 34000 Montpellier Friday 11th April, 18h : Divided Loyalties, memoirs of a Scotswoman in occupied France during WWII. “Married to a Frenchman, Scotswoman Janet Teissier du Cros finds herself enmeshed in a web of dual loyalties when she’s trying to make it in occupied France during WWII.” There will be a reading of parts of the memoir and André Teissier du Cros, son of the author, will come and talk about his experience and memories of that difficult period in time. (In collaboration with the American Women’s Group of L-R and Friends of the Anglophone Library)
15th Interreligious Festival of Sacred Music
29th,30th March/5th, 6th April A diverse range of concerts (Montpellier, Lodève, Palavas, Sète, Pésénas) bringing together sacred music of Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions, including Anne Etchegoyen and the Choeur Basque Aiskoa; Ensemble Dayazell “Sephardic, Mongolian, ArabAndalusia, Armenian chants…, etc.”; Mezzo-Soprano Su Young Kwon; Emma Djob and By the Gospel River.. For a full programme and ticket purchase: http://chretiensetcultures.free.fr
Courtesy of Cinémaude films screened in original version this month:
Welcome to the letters page
TEXT US Scapegoat? Pity poor M. Dieudonné (Convicted in court 8 times for Anti-Semitism charges). He may be being used as a scapegoat by the French Government (According to the H&A Times) in order to distract the French electorate from the Government’s lackluster performance. At the vanguard of his persecution in the Interior Minister, Manuel Valls (accused M. Dieudonné as being a racist after M. Dieudonné suggested it was a pity a Jewish journalist was not sent to the gas chambers). As the H&A Times rightly points out, M. Dieudonnés “ridicules noises and signs on stage (Reverse Hitler salute) is not going to get Franks to come out in droves to persecute minorities (Specifically Jews). However it doesn’t take droves, it only takes one. As you may recall, in March 2012, a 23 year old Islamist, Mohammed Merah, shot dead a teacher and 3 Jewish children in Toulouse. He also murdered 3 soldiers on his killing rampage. Could this be a reason the Government is coming down so hard on Dieudonné? I’m not suggesting Merah acted after hearing M. Dieudonné, but his type of diatribe fosters an
Do you have something to say? About the magazine? Ab
Le Palace cinema, Lezignan-Corbièrs 12 Years a Slave : 18th March, 18h15 Pompeii- 20th March, 18h15 L’Eylsée cinema, Limoux 12 Years a Slave : 13th March, 18h15 Pompeii- 25th March, 18h15 Le Familia cinema, Quillan 12 Years a Slave : 11th March, 18h15 Pompeii- 20th March, 18h15 6
atmosphere which encourages hatred, reinforces preexisting beliefs and may influence some to act on these impulses. What about the issue of freedom of speech? It isn’t the same everywhere. In the US, for example, freedom of speech, which also includes freedom of expression, is given a more liberal interpretation in the belief that if freedom of expression has any real meaning, it must include tolerating unpopular opinions. Thus Neo-Nazis have the right to march in predominately Jewish neighborhoods and burning the US flag is protected under freedom of expression. Should this be adopted as a universal standard? The answer is no. Countries are the product of their own unique historical experiences and it is up to the citizens to define local standards. As nonFrench citizens, we have no business telling the French what their standards ought to be. During the Nazi occupation of France, 76,000 French Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps where the vast majority were annihilated. Forty seven years before, France experienced a major Anti-
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Semitic manifestation, the Dreyfuss Affair which deeply divided French society (I’m not even going to discuss the Middle Ages). These experiences helped shape the prevailing view in France of what society should be like and what forms of expression are permissible. Limitations to freedom of expression are also found in Germany. It is expressly forbidden to display certain symbols or sell specific literature associated with the Third Reich. I haven’t heard too many people complaining about this as an infringement of free expression during the 20 years I spent in Germany. Clearly a balance has to be struck between meaningful freedom of expression and what is found in China or recently, Turkey. The same principle of local determination should apply to pornography as well. What is pornographic in Lisbon may not be in Amsterdam. J. Sanger Thank you J for your response. The HAT supports the expression of opinion, it doesn’t mean we agree. Opens healthy debate as you have just proven.
bout life? Do you have a question or even a complaint? Send your letters to email@example.com
Dieudonné Thank you for your recent article on this ‘comedian’. I think it is safe to say that the author of this piece is one of those ‘free speech’ yes to gay marriage “middle of the road types. I was at first a little shocked to see this in a middle of the road magazine but upon reading it I was impressed that a. you ran the article and b. I was encouraged to look at it from a different perspective. Well done. Keith G
Hi Keith....MIDDLE OF THE ROAD!! Do NOT pick up this magazine again. I bet you wear driving gloves don’t you? Dieudonné Just a quick thank you. Yet again you show why my husband and I read your magazine. Good content and not afraid to talk about the difficult subjects. Zee, Montpellier
Ryanair Just picked up the February Issue and my first point of call is the Letters Page, as I love some of your replies. Today, I read the comment from Susan R. Regarding Ryan Air, what are these people on???? You can Fly half way across Europe for under 100€ or less If you time it right. What does she want Cruise Ship Comfort from the Coach in the Sky? I note she lives in Cheshire, try catching the Train to
London, you can fly here for less!! Susan is a Regular Visitor to the area. One Question, how does she get here???? If Susan travels by Car. That will cost at least 500€ .Plus you have to get out to use the Loo! Accept Ryan Air for what it is, CHEAP TRAVEL. I Feel Better now !!! Simon. K
Australia It was quite a shock on my arrival in Montpellier to find a letter from Adelaide about the failures of the Rudd/Gillard Government and the successes of the Abbot Government in Australia. Having lived in Australia for the last 15 years and have now decided to return to Europe and live in France, I can tell you A. Kennedy’s version of events are at best biased. Clearly A Kennedy is a staunch free marketeer who can totally ignore the lessons of the GFC and believe that the market will always get right. It was Alan Greenspan of the US Reserve Bank who raised the awful prospect that some times capitalism gets it wrong. France has essentially tried to the avoid mistakes of the capitalist system. Maybe that American tyre manufacture doesn’t like the way the French work force conducts itself but it does essentially rely on human values and society’s need to
provide and protect. Profit alone leads to an unequal society with extremes of rich and poor. It is frankly a relief to get away from the caste iron views of Chris Mitchell, editor of The Australian, and his ilk who see everything in terms of their agenda which supports the private sector at any cost. Montpellier strikes me as being a satisfactory compromise. The city’s tram system is superb. Vive France vive la difference. Val Wake, Montpellier Read the business column this month. He calls France a Dodo! Fabio Please will you print this and tell my daughter Francis that children really can go outside and play and be entertained and do something other than be attached to a phone that on looking may need to be surgically removed. Fabio Remnant, good for you, you should be proud. Veronique J Art Your review on the exposition in Musée Fleury was very good. I have many friends who are from Scandinavia and I send them your magazine to show what they must see on the visit they make soon. It was very good thanks. Jacques
Art 2 I do enjoy your art pages and I read the ‘supercilious lesser spotted art dealer twice’. At first I thought it was serious then I realised I was laughing. Having worked in cooperatives in the states for many years and having dealt on rare occasions with these peope I loved it. Thankyou. K P Illinois Business Your interview with JeanClaude Mas was a breath of fresh air. How refreshing to see a person in business in France who is prepared to plan and be honest and even have opinions that he is willing to share. I have to say I didn’t know his wine but have since tried them and will continue to do so. But here’s a challenge for you. Can you find a woman in a similar position in France? Franck D London Sète Theatre Really great that you highlighted the theatre opening here. Pity when you contact them they are useless. Rude, unhelpful and put me off. Anon Recipes Last Issue All I can say is ‘oh yes’. Delicious, tasty and gorgeous. Jen Jen, are you talking about me really? I’m blushing!
HAS MOVED TO MONTPELLIER 10, Rue Anatole France walking distance from Comédie and station Tram: St Denis Ligne 3 www.foudanglais.fr t: 04 67 29 60 49 www.theheraultandaudetimes.com
alerie Sajdik ( pronounced ‘Seidig‘ ) is a polyglot Austrian singer/ composer who has chosen to make her home near to Saint Privat in northern Hérault with her companion,,sculptor Kay Vygen (www.kayvygen.com), and their fifteen month old daughter. The HAT met Valerie in January in a café in Clermont L’Hérault to discuss the release of her most recent solo album ‘Les Nuits Blanches’ (Fledermaus Records) which was
The People that make up this part of the world learn French and English fluently next to my native language German. I do not practice my Russian skills but love the language and understand it quite well. On my new album,
by Jools Holland in 2011 - (see below). I am particularly interested in the early years of the new millennium with the move down here to the south of France and the beginnings of your collaboration with lounge downtempo maestro Klaus Waldeck and the creation of the duo ‘ Saint Privat’ and your own recording studio. Yes, the albums ‘Riviera’ in 2004 and ‘Superflu’ in 2006 were inspired by my lifestyle here and later became internationally acclaimed. (I came here to record some French songs with a Parisian musician for six months, and it has been 11 years that I live here now and the songs were never published)
Valerie Sajdik Interview with HAT’s Richard Pullen
I sing in all four languages. (on ‘ Les Nuits Blanches’ there is a song entitled ‘ I spy on you’ which is sung in English , French and German ! ) When did music become important to you? It was always very present in my family, and it really became important when I was accompanying my host mother, who is a singer, Barbara Skipworth in the States, to her concerts. With the singing, everything just happened, I didn´t plan anything. There were songs that wanted to be sung. My parents were very supportive but wanted me to have also an academic grounding so I also studied law in Vienna.
recorded in Vienna but mixed and mastered in Studio Lakanal in Montpellier. We uncovered such a varied and interesting background story that we thought it would be of general interest - Valerie also loved the idea of our music column ‘Family Trees’ and she asked if she could make her own family tree from the names of people who have influenced her throughout her career so we have included those names in this article so you can go and seek them out. Tell me a little about your background please? I was born in the wine-growing region of Austria and spent parts of my childhood in Moscow, Geneva and Vienna and in the United States. I thus had the chance to 8
Are you self-taught or did you have formal musical training ? At the same time as studying law I also took an academic degree in Jazz singing from the Vienna Conservatoire. Jazz standards are the best foundation to find your own “voice”, I find. But it was always very important to me to create my own repertoire. Later I studied the song-tradition around the Viennese songwriter Gerhard Bronner which has influenced greatly my subsequent work. Your more recent work seems to me to draw more on the French ‘chanson’ when did that influence manifest itself? In 2002 I moved to Paris and fell under the spell of such greats as Edith Piaf and Jaques Brel (In fact that spell continues until today and was recognised The Herault & Aude Times
I have read elsewhere that many different music projects followed with producers in Austria, Germany and France influencing your musical direction but that the most important collaborations have been with Waldeck and someone unknown to me, David Bronner, who is the son of Gerhard Bronner? Valerie was aw Yes, as mentioned above, Gerhard Bronner has been Music Award ‘ a big inspiration - in the 60s he opened the’ Marietta Bar’, later called ‘Fledermaus ‘( after which I named my record company ) in the centre of Vienna where he was famed for his sociocritical lyrics and for his encouragement of young talent at open microphone nights . In 2008 I decided to continue this tradition by opening ‘ Valerie’s Salon’ also in Vienna where young and established performers are encouraged to try out the new and unexpected ( one such evening entitled ‘ Very British Indeed’ included a performance by Earl Okin from North
My Place , London of ‘Teenage Dirt bag’ in a bossa nova style - enjoy it on Youtube ). Gerhard’s son David produced my first two solo albums after Saint Privat, entitled ‘Picknick’ and ‘Ich bin du bist’. Tell me about your chance meeting with Jools Holland in Bad Ischl in 2010? Following an invitation from music manager Willi Türk, I performed as a surprise guest with the “A, B, C and D of Boogie Woogie” with Jools Holland, and Rolling Stones Drummer Charlie Watts. As a result I had the privilege of participating in a nation-wide tour with Jools, and in June 2011, we recorded “Wohin die Liebe fällt/Wheel of fortune“, written by Holland as a homage to Edith Piaf in the Helicon Mountain Studios in London. The song appeared on his album “Jools Holland and Friends“ (released on the 16th of September 2011) alongside songs recorded with Sting, Bono, BB King, Tom Jones and German artists like Herbert Grönemeyer.
warded the Amadeus Austrian ‘Newcomer of the Year‘in 2005) Finally, we are up to date with the recent release of your latest album ‘Les Nuits Blanches’ at the end of 2013 - I know that there is a definite theme running through this selection of songs so can you explain? This album is produced by – in my opinion- the best drummer in the world - Samuel Devauchelle (www.samueldevauchelle.com) and concerns the time shifts, sleepless nights , dancing ‘til dawn and nightime creativity that are all part of my world. This album is the ‘soundtrack’ of my sleepless, ‘White Nights’ in various languages and is very personal to me. It consists of songs that I have co-written over the last 10 years, starting with my sleepless period in Paris in 2002. There are also, for the first time on my solo albums, 2 cover songs: one Russian lullaby and a pop hit from the 80s. Valerie, I know that you are currently arranging a tour so I hope that will include at least one gig in the HAT area in the not too distant future? I´ll keep you posted! *
“And another thing..” Artist, Philosopher and grumpy old bugger.. Abse shares his thoughts and mindless wanderings
aving taken on a new doggy on new years eve from those lovely people at Carcassonne SPA I have been doing a lot of walking. This has led me to discover some local ancient monuments out in the countryside, including the amazing Tour de Boussecos near Bize by the river Cesse, an old lookout tower on a high peak built over 1500 years ago by the Visigoths. This has encouraged me to do a lot of reading about the area and its history, and in particular about the Visigoths (whilst sitting exhausted on my sofa after my energetic walk). Until now I hadn’t really known much about the Visigoths, my knowledge being limited to the memory of word being thrown as an insult by Captain Haddock in Tintin: “Huns!! Vandals!! Visigoths!!” and some vague memory of learning that they had sacked Rome - an idea that always makes me think of Alan Sugar pointing at the Coliseum saying “Rome, you’re fired!” Anyway, it turns out that the word “Visigoth” actually just means “western Goths” - as opposed to the eastern Goths, who were “Ostragoths”. Visigoths, or just plain old Goths, as we should probably call them, ruled this area, and Spain and the whole Iberian Peninsula, for several hundred years up until the beginning of the 8th century. After sacking Rome in the fourth century they moved on to France and Spain, frightening off the Gaulish locals with their spiky black hair, dark eye makeup and depressing loud music. They worshipped the ancient god Robert Smith of The Cure, and spent an inordinate amount of time sitting around complaining about the pointlessness of everything, boring opponents to death. However, their natural state of depression eventually caused their www.theheraultandaudetimes.com
downfall, and they were easily conquered first by the Muslims from Northern Africa, before the area came under Frankish rule, under Pepin the Short. Pepin the Short liberated Narbonne, in 759AD and made sure that all the Goths, who were too tall for his tastes despite their natural stoop, went back to their natural home in a dark bedroom with the curtains closed. This wasn’t the last time, however the area was conquered by a music fad - in the 13th century the Balearic Beat rang out through the land as the area became part of the Kingdom of Mallorca. Whoo whoo!! This rule didn’t last however, because of a sad shortage of whistles. Strangely there has never been a period of rule by 1970s funk, disco
or heavy metal. However there was nearly a coordinated invasion by novelty pop acts, but the whole thing fell apart when the Wombles fell out with the Smurfs. It was a shocking blue bloodbath. Art: www.davidabse.com. Purple Cat: www.purplecat.co.uk.nf
Going Nuclear Radiating a nuclei of resistance
ollowing the dramatic and tragic events that have occurred in Chernobyl and Fukushima, very few people would actually express the wish to dwell in close proximity to a nuclear plant or some other related processing facilities. Residents of Narbonne, native or expatriate, may not be aware that a bare 6 kilometres north of the city along the D169 lies the AREVA NC Uranium enrichment plant.The plant, which is owned by Areva’s subsidiary Comurhex, chemically prepares uranium before it is enriched to become fuel for nuclear power plants. Opponents to it draw attention to the fact it sits there silently, unknown to most. As one newspaper blogger put it menacingly, citizens know more about magret de canard and foiegras than they do about the Comurhex Malvési factory in their own backyard. For those who keep up with the news, it is the case that France relies on nuclear power for 75% of its electricity requirements, the highest of any nation but only 17% for its energy needs. This is also why the President, M.Hollande promised in a wave of typical pre-election euphoria to reduce this to 50% by 2025. Many around about The Aude hope he doesn’t imply from that his intention to remain in office that long! Since 8th June 2000, there have been at least 18 reported incidents concerning safety matters at Comurhex.These have not gone unnoticed. For example, there is a group Sortir du nucléaire which has a
website of the same name that agitates for an end to what it sees as the ultimate hazard in energy production. It also sponsors the collectif STOPUranium. This comprises those who demonstrate outside nuclear facilities nationwide. One instance of its actions was in September last years when 40 bloquers d’uranium attempted to stop a lorry loaded with uranium (Yellow Cake) from entering the factory. One demonstrator was arrested and held in custody while 23 others have requested voluntary summonses as an act of solidarity with their confrère.The case comes up in February for judgement. In fact, on 4 January at the Domaine de L’Angel there was a concert with the Narbonne choir Le Chiffon rouge (The Red Cloth) singing at an anti-nuclear event on their behalf. The web-blog lalutteenchantee.over-blog.comserves as an information point. It is perhaps accurate to record that all of these pressure groups see themselves in common as “blockers of uranium”. Normally, natural exposure to uranium is harmless where it occurs in the atmosphere. However, if the levels are extreme enough, uranium exposure in spite of its weak radioactivity as such, can damage tissues in the body, specifically to the kidneys. Although only mildly radioactive, the element is toxic to the human body if ingested or inhaled above “normal” levels. Moreover, here, clearly activist groups are more concerned with places where uranium is stored in large quantities and processed, making it unsafe to handle and live near, and The Herault & Aude Times
with its dangerous consequences once it is enriched for the purposes of the nuclear industry and for military use. It is known that the municipal administration of Narbonne are in favour of the entire Malvési complex. Obviously, it provides employment and brings material wealth into the area. Apparently, its workforce is remunerated amply. In a time of economic severity and joblessness, it is understandable that few would want a closure of the AREVA/Comuhrex installations, in any case. On the face of it, the whole operation is subject to security checks and there is a high level of safety taken to ensure that there are no possible health hazards for those in daily contact with such materials or for inhabitants living within a certain radius of the Comurhex/AREVA installations. One would hope so, anyway with its 12 waste pools full of acidic substances and its 300,000 tonnes of waste products. Not so, according to a broadcast on Radio France Culture Terreà Terre with Ruth Stégassy,on 6 February 2014 (www.sortirdunucleaire.org/Radio-laraffinerie-d-uranium-Comurhex-de-Malvesi) with Maryse Arditi, Physician; Michel Leclerc, ex-employee of Comurhex; Didier Latorre, spokes-person for Collectif STOP-Uranium; Sandrine Camps and Emma Cowley, inhabitants close to the complex.The general impression given is that everything is done to obfuscate and conceal what has actually been occurring. Michel Leclerc’s testimonial is particularly moving. It recounts severe health
issues leading to the contraction of leukaemia taking years to resolve in law with no end in sight environed in dithering and denials. He states there are others who have serious health problems arising, too. There were incidents involving serious leaks of uranium by rail and lorry transport to Comuhrex in 2000, 2001, 2007 and again in 2008. Since March 2004 and January 2006 the major scandal has surrounded the failure of decantation and evaporation ponds during periods of heavy rainfall. This has resulted in the nearby Tauran Canal being heavily polluted with the escaping slurry infected with uranium decay products. There is also a strong suspicion that there were plutonium deposits for which element the factory is not adapted. One of the worst revelations, however, is the “Nuclear Safety Authority finds that the decantation basin which failed in 2004 at the Malvési conversion plant is not properly authorized, as it contains traces of artificial radionuclides; control over two basins was withdrawn from Comurhex/Areva.” In other words, the plant was working illegally with two basins B1 & B2 not classified as Nuclear Industrial based facilities and the requisite license with safety precautions. Alongside use of plutonium where does this leave health and safety concerns, not only for workers there but also for those who live in the immediate neighbourhood? Currently, since November 2013 a public enquiry is being held concerning the classification of the B1 & B2 storage basins. In the background, Malvési management have applied for extension permits. In the foreground, few in Narbonne seem interested. In the meantime, the story is set to continue....
Everyone’s Irish on St Patricks Day
St Patricks Day Lá Fhéile Pádraig
ere’s to a Guinness and dancing in the street. Well, that was me over the years in France, the UK, the US and Canada. It is without a doubt one of Irelands greatest exports but who and why is St Patricks Day here at all? Saint Patrick is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. He is credited with bringing christianity to Ireland and information about him mainly comes from his two works; the Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, and his Epistola, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish christians. Interesting when you consider he was born in England! His most famous feat is for driving the snakes from Ireland. (although there probably were none but it is a metaphor for driving pagans out). His resting place is as you would expect not confirmed but some say he died on March 17 (aha) in Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, in 460 A.D. Others say his final resting place is Glastonbury in England. Why Saint Patrick’s Day? Nowadays it is a celebration of everything Irish: For the more serious it is a traditional day for spiritual renewal and offering prayers for missionaries worldwide. As the Irish spread across the globe, they took their traditions with them and in Ireland almost all businesses close. Traditionalists will attend Mass as it is a religious holiday and then the festivities begin. The celebrations are legendary, the hospitality is magnificent and open to all ages, religions and nationalities. Curiously, St Patrick was originally associwww.theheraultandaudetimes.com
ated with the colour blue and not the sea of green that we now see. I have’nt yet seen in France any of the rivers being dyed green although there is still time. So go on, celerate St Patricks Day. Here is a selection of our favourites:
St Patricks Day Celebrations we like Shenanigan’s Irish owned Pub
Friday 14 March VIAS - Hérault - FREE Place du 14 Juillet, Vias St Patricks Day Festivel FRIDAY 14 MARCH ‘The Place for authenticity’; Live Music from 1700h, Traditional Irish Food, Free Gifts from Guinness, Jameson’s and Magners. All the family welcome. *
Saturday 15March Pézenas (Next to the Hotel Molière) Live Music & snacks €5 includes first drink
Monday 17 March Carcassonne - Aude 5 Rue Armagnac St Patricks Day Music ‘The Rogues’ - 2130hrs
Fitzpatricks Irish Pub March 17 Montpellier - Hérault 5 Place St-Come. 34000 Traditional Music and Festivities
An overview of Terrasses du Larzac:
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, www.zesterdaily.com and writes a blog on the Languedoc: www tastelanguedoc.blogspot.com
wenty years ago we had never heard of the Terrasses du Larzac, but these days it is an area that is growing in interest, from both wine growers and consumers. Essentially it covers the vineyards from the village of Octon and the lac de Salagou, going towards Aniane and the Pic St. Loup and includes Montpeyroux and St. Saturnin. These are some of the most northern vineyards of the Languedoc, with some of the highest altitudes, at 350 – 450 metres, so that the temperatures are cooler, and the wines much fresher than those from vineyards closer to the coast. Terrasses du Larzac first appeared on a label, for red wine only, as part of the extensive appellation of the Coteaux du Languedoc for the 2005 vintage, and included wines from 2004 retrospectively. And now it is in line for Cru du Languedoc status, as part of the repositioning of the Languedoc appellations. This is another area that is attracting newcomers to the Languedoc. Vineyard land is affordable; old vines are available and many are those who aspire to the challenge of creating a reputation from nothing, rather than taking over a well-established estate. There is a sense among the younger generation of wine growers that anything is possible. Take Sébastien and Béatrice Fillon at Clos des Serres in the little village of St. Jean de la Blaquière. They looked long and hard throughout the Languedoc before settling here. Gavin Crisfield was the winemaker at La Sauvageonne, also in St. Jean de la Blaquière, and has now bought vineyards of his own, and moved to the even more isolated village of les Salses. He is pushing the boundaries with La Traversée. Julien and Delphine Zernott came south from the Loire appellation of Menetou Salon to establish Domaine du Pas d’Escalette in the village of Pégairolles. In St. Saturnin
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Virgile Joly was the first new independent wine grower for fifty years, and in Montpeyroux, which was once dominated by its cooperative, there are now a growing number of small producers, such Mas d’Amile and Villa Dondona. You will find spicy flavours from the five classic varieties of the south, but with the cooler climate, there should always be an underlying freshness and perfume, that makes for appealing drinking. And two great occasions to taste the wines are at the ballade vigneronne of the Terrasses du Larzac and at the annual wine tasting in Aniane, both held on weekends. But meanwhile here are a couple of recommendations: 2012 La Blaca, Le Clos du Serres. A blend of 70% Syrah with 15% each of Grenache Noir and Carignan. A smoky nose and on the palate some perfumed fruit with a touch of vanilla and a streak of tannin. To age or keep. I also like their less expensive red wine, Le Clos, which is simple Languedoc AC, again with some ripe spicy fruit. 2011 Les Clapas, Domaine du Pas de l’Escalette - 13.60€. Old Grenache and Carignan, with a little Cinsaut and Syrah. Part of the Carignan is aged in wood. Quite a firm closed nose. Some spicy nose. Some structure, some elegance, smoky and long. Rosemary George M.W/ / December 2013 www.tastelanguedocblogspot.com
t the end of winter, the rain and the shortness of the days slows down a little the many and varied activities of vignerons. Is it the definition of a labour of love, this incessant, varied work which is married to the rhythm of the seasons and is incompatible with the practices of the service sector? Being a vigneron is, in effect, the combination of a range of knowledge: firstly, the yearlong attentive care of the vines, then, after the high of the harvest, the complex alchemy of wine making. Finally, at the end of the year, at the earliest, the vigneron can hope to reap the fruit of his labour through marketing. That is to say, he also has to know how to be a manager… A multifaceted career, a passion without any doubt, which can sometimes take on the Christian meaning of the word. It is lucky to be able to spend time with these men and women whose words echo the wines they produce day after day with the same measure of tenderness one gives a child. This year, the Domaine de Mouscaillo (AOC Limoux) is celebrating 10 years. Marie-Claire and Pierre Fort, after having made wine in the Loire, returned to this area in 2000: they cultivate 5 hectares of vines in the really beautiful area of Roquetaillade, situated at an altitude of 400m above Limoux. The name of the domaine is taken from all the little midges that fly around during the harvest in one of the plots. The
modesty of this name hides the ambition of meticulous artisans who make chardonnays from the domaine. Mairie-Claire and Pierre Fort are serenely passionate people: everything appears straightforward, the quality of the wines and the beauty of the countryside are apparent. Here we speak to them: Which aspects of the job of a winegrower do you most prefer? Pierre: It isn’t politically correct to say this but I believe there are relationships and exchanges which influence all the steps. At the moment of planting the vine we are in
Talking to Vignerons: Marie-Claire and Pierre
Fort, Domaine de Mouscaillo (AOC Limoux)
contact with a living soil specialist and a plant seller; during the wine making process, we talk with oenologists, vignerons or clients asking for news about the vintage. Throughout the whole year there are ongoing relationships with our clients and colleagues. There are also the salons we visit, like Vinisud or the Salon des Vins de Loire in Angers. It is very important for us to taste the wines of other domains. We travel a lot to give tastings and promote our wine. All of these meetings are enriching for us. Which wines do you like? M-C: For the whites: upright wines, elegant, fine with freshness and tension. Regards the reds, we especially look to bring out the fruit of the pinot. Is there a secret to making them? M-C: We are perhaps lucky: the place where we are, in Roquetaillade, allows us to make wines which are in keeping with what we love. It’s high up, at the foot of the Pyrénées where the air is very fresh. It’s been a fortuitous meeting between what we love and this place. Perhaps we love this wine because it comes from this place? P: We were born at Roquetaillade but lived and worked for a long time in the Loire. It’s the tension and the ligérienne (nb. ‘wines from the Loire’) freshness that we look for and find in our Limoux blanc. How did your first vintage evolve? P: Our first wine, the 2004, was very austere. It had a lot of intensity, a good structure but not much taste. Something surprising for the wine taster. We presented it at Vinisud and it aroused the interest of some sommeliers. Today, 10 years later, it is magnificent: it has aromas of fennel and has become more complex… What is your favourite vintage? M-C and P(in chorus): The 2008. It was a complex vintage: the malolctic fermentation* was not carried out. We had doubts right up until bottling that we wouldn’t find good wine. We didn’t taste it until the day where it made the first page of the Revue des Vins de France. It’s the vintage which made Mouscaillo successful.
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. of the brass band. In this festive atmosphere, L’Atelier des Vignerons, a wine boutique located in the main square, organizes every Sunday at 11h meetings with vignerons and a tasting of their wines (free entry). WINE AND CARNIVAL: Tasting programme Sunday 16 March 11h – 12h30 (Carnival: All carnival groups) Domaine J.Laurens (AOC Limoux) Domaine des Schistes (Maury, Roussillon) Sunday 23 March 11h – 12h30 (Carnival: Les Aïssables) Domaine Les Hautes Terres (AOC Limoux) Château Bouïsset (AOC La Clape) Sunday 30 March 11h – 12h30 (Carnival: Les Blanquetiers) Domaine Girard (AOC Malepère) Château Mirausse (AOC Minervois) Sunday 6 April 11h – 12h30 (Carnival: Le Paradou) Domaine de Mouscaillo (AOC Limoux) celebrates 10 ans : Tasting of old vintages Château de Lancyre (AOC Pic-Saint-Loup) Where: L’Atelier des Vignerons – 2 place de la République – 11300 Limoux (04 68 20 12 42) – www.languedocwineshop.com
*Malolactic fermentation is a process in winemaking in which tart-tasting malic acid, naturally present in grape must, is converted to softertasting lactic acid.
In Limoux every weekend in March is dedicated to the carnival: At 11h, 17h and 22h the costumed groups and musicians parade under the arcades to the sound www.theheraultandaudetimes.com
80% of French males between 15 and 49 years old were called up to serve in WWI; 1.2m died, 4.2m were wounded. In this the centenary year of The Great War, Dick Fowler reflects on some of the factors that led to France’s involvement.
n the 16th July 1914 French President Raymond Poincaré and his Prime Minister René Viviani left Dunkirk on the battleship France for a Baltic cruise to meet the Csar in St Petersburg. Twelve days after the French President and his consort had set sail, the Austrians declared war on Serbia. Paris was too distracted with the acquittal of Mme Caillaux for the murder of the Figaro editor; whilst M. Caillaux, the former Prime Minister and close friend of Poincaré, threatened to expose Poincaré’s secret liaison with the Pope. In spite of only receiving scraps of critical information, France was additionally obliged to make a courtesy visit to Stockholm on the return journey. The shooting of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph’s son Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sofia in Sarajevo caused no real upset to the leaders of the day. But their killer Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb, was just the pretext the Austrian minister von Berchtold needed to accuse the Serbs and foment a war in which he could destroy Serbia. The only worry was that the Russians would support their Slav kinfolk and for that he needed German acquiescence. This, the Germans were only too willing to give, providing the Austrians
joined in an alliance against Russia. Wilhelm II’s Chancellor Helmuth von Moltke saw the situation as ripe for pursuing an age old Prussian agenda to overwhelm France. Von Moltke approved Berchtold’s plan as long as the Austrians acted quickly and were then ready to hold off Russia. The Czar was reeling from defeat by the Japanese, and in 1905 Russia had suffered its first revolution. Moltke and the generals felt that with a weakened Russia, and the Austrians bound into a mendacious alliance, now was the moment to act. Britain was bogged down in Ulster, after giving Home Rule to the rest of Ireland. Nor did she have a large standing army. Wilhelm II in spite of his bellicose reputation was not in favour, was kept in the dark and virtually forced by Moltke, von Falkenhayn, War Minister, and von Lyncker, the Military Cabinet Chief’s machinations, into signing a declaration of war. The German people were not in favour and it was only the German cabinet’s manipulated declaration of war from Russia that forced them into line. In truth it was to be a war of conquest going in the other direction. The Austrians were slow to start (13th August 1914) and found the Serbs were more than a good match. On the 3rd August 1914 the Germans declared war on France. The previous Wilhelm II and Csar’s relationship was broken by the German war cabinet’s intrigues and there was no way back from the brink. It was a war started by very few people caught up in a tortuous relationship: it threatened the whole structure of what were in reality archaic systems of
monarchs and powerful military men. The forces of democracy and nationalism were already shaking this structure and its “leaders” felt, maybe unconsciously, that war was the only way to maintain their control. It was a very risky strategy – catastrophic as it turned out. The war seemed to come out of the blue. There were insecurities all round Europe which stretched all round the world. Britain, France, and Germany had grown through industrial revolution and their colonies provided raw materials and trade. The main protagonists had been in alliances of long standing: Prussia, Russia, and Austria in the Holy Alliance since 1815; then broken up through a Balkan policy dispute between Russia and Austria and Hungary. In 1890 the Kaiser refused to sign a ‘reinsurance treaty’ with Russia. Bismarck, the German chancellor who had directed the 14
alliances carefully to this point maintaining peace, had been sacked by the militaristic Wilhelm II. The French attacked Germany and became badly unstuck in 1870 with
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Napoleon III being captured at Sedan. Paris had been surrounded and besides having to pay 5 billion ‘francs or’ of retribution, they lost 93% of Alsace and 26% of Lorraine. Bismarck, against this annexation, knew it would be a permanent sore in the Franco/German relationship. In 1892 Russia and France signed a treaty to countervail the German and Austro/Hungarian alliances. France loaned large sums to Russia to develop its railways etc. and Russia made huge leaps in its development, only marred by the first revolution of 1905. Britain signed the Entente Cordiale with France in 1904 after centuries of persistent enmity. Not a full alliance, but an agreement to go to France’s aid were she attacked. This effectively linked Britain, France and Russia, confirmed by the Anglo Russian Convention of 1907, ‘The Triple Alliance’. Throughout the period there were Franco-German commercial (cont)
Des Vignes Aux Tranchés : La Grande Guerre en Pays Bitterois By Béatrix Pau (ISSN :2102-2615, 22€) This book explores the problems that impacted the daily lives of the Biterroise population during the Great War. A remarkable work based on a thesis awarded with the Grand Prix d’Histoire by the Centre d’Etudes d’Histoire de la Défense.
(cont....) partnerships in cars, DelamereDeboutteville/Benz, Panhard & Levassor /Daimler; in steel, French companies Schneider & De Wendel with the Germans
budget) spent on the German Imperial army and navy. Admiral Von Tirpitz’s goal was to overwhelm the British Dreadnought battleships. Poor internal tax systems were
Great War Krupp and Thyssen freely collaborating in each others’ factories. The de Wendel family in Lorraine found itself split with Robert refusing German nationality and Henri based in the Reichstad. The French suffering a negative balance in the relationship were further aggravated by the loss of mines and industry in Alsace and Lorraine. Rivalry occurred in the sharing out of the African colonies, in spite of the 1885 Berlin conference which sought to smooth this out. Germany got Cameroon, Togo, Namibia Tanganyika (or Zanzibar), while France could solidify its conquests in North and Central Africa. Morocco was a stumbling block and it was the German ‘gunboat diplomacy’ which led to the Algésiras Conference in 1906 which granted Morocco full independence. The accumulation of these rivalries caused German insecurity. Its response was a massive increase (90% of national
The Author Béatrix Pau is a teacher at the lycée Jean Moulin in Béziers. A Biterroise by birth and heart, she wrote this book in homage to the Biterrois of the Great War and to restore the memory of this population who lost so much. The preface is by historian Jean-Charles Jauffret, a specialist in colonial military history. To win a copy of Des Vignes Aux Tranchés send an email with your name and the title of the book to:competition@ theheraultandaudetimes.com
causing unrest amongst the middle and working classes. Pierre Bezbakh of Paris-Dauphine University in Le Monde (12th November, 2013) writes about various Marxist theoreticians’ interpretation of imperialists striving to find profit through the exploitation of colonies and them being driven to fight each other for them. Today, maybe, 100 years on, we can appreciate in the hindsight the innumerable and different pressures. For me, the map showing the extent of the German unification in 1871 shows what would have been a powerful economic unit, well able to thrive under an enlightened democratic government. And I am left wondering whether this was all simply thrown away due to older ideas of Prussian militarism, land hunger and a complete disregard of the opportunities to share industrial and agricultural progress?
Theatre La Grande Guerre (The Great War) with the Dutch company Collectif Hotel Moderne - Conception: Herman Helle An internationally acclaimed production (USA, UK, Germany, Canada, etc.) on the western front during WWI which combines theatre and film animation. 16th April, 21h / 17th April, 19h For tickets and information: Theatre sortieOuest, Béziers 34500 04 67 28 37 32 www.sortieouest.fr 15
G T B Y
Olivier Bontemps Chef patron
Between €15,000 and €18,000 Hours / week: It’s non-stop Income:
Good To Be Young
Written by young journalists Young journalist Theo King’s column ‘My Way’. Interviews with professionals about how they got to where they are today, the rewards and the frustrations. Olivier Bontemps Chef patron at O-Bontemps, Magalas Born: Ougadougou, Burkina Faso, 1976 Qualifications: Baccalauréat, BTS and licence all in hôtellerie et restauration; maîtrise ingénierie touristique Parents: My father was a maths teacher, my mother a philosophy teacher Up to 18:
When I was 12 I wanted to be a baker. I used to watch them working alone, making their bread. I liked that. But both my parents were teachers, so there was no question of me deciding at 12 to be a baker, I had to study hôtellerie and restauration. But that was OK. I’ve always loved the metiers de bouche and knew that’s where I wanted to work. No one in the family was in the restaurant business.
Studying: 18 to 25
I took a bacc gestion hôtellerie et restauration at Toulouse and then a BTS hôtellerie et restauration, doing the option arts de la table. But I also did a lot of work experience – before I started my BTS, and while I was doing it. After my degree I did a maîtrise in ingenerie touristique – nothing to do with cooking but that’s where I learnt how to 16
manage people, which is really important. Then I started work. I began at the bottom of the ladder, but in one of the best hotels, the Hotel Crillon in Paris, with a 2-star Michelin restaurant. After 18 months there I had to do my military service. I did my basic training as a chasseur alpin, then came to the Ecole d ’A p p l i c a t i o n d’Infanterie in Montpellier where I was appointed the general’s cook. While there I applied for a job with the Pourcel Brothers at the Jardin des Sens. 3 Michelin stars. I had to wait 8 months before there was a vacancy and then again I started right at the bottom, as a baker – weighing things, preparing the work area, putting the lace doilies under the cakes. Small jobs but that’s where you have to start. I spent 3½ years there, learning a huge amount and ending up as souschef. After that I moved to Bordeaux, where I worked with Thierry Marx at CordeillanBages. He was doing cuisine revisitée at that point – taking old French recipes and transforming them for today’s tastes. He had 2 Michelin stars and I worked 2½ years with him as sous-chef. The Pourcel Brothers and Thierry Marx were in demand at major gastronomic festivals abroad, so I travelled a lot with them. I went to Sydney for a ma-
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jor cooking festival, Hong Kong, the French embassy in London. Then finally I set up the Octopus in Béziers with a friend. But after 18 months I came here to Magalas to create this restaurant and I’ve been here 7 years.
For me eating is for pleasure. That’s the key. There are two kinds of chef: the chef cuisinier, who’s paid a regular salary and simply cooks, and the chef patron who cooks and runs the business side as well. That’s what I do here. This is my restaurant, I run the team. I used to have six employees
and two apprentices, but it’s much easier to work with fewer people. Now I have one apprentice, a sommelier, a waiter and I work on my own in the kitchen. We’re open in the evenings Tuesday to Saturday and at midday Friday and Saturday. 7 services. Sunday I do the paperwork, on Mondays and Tuesday mornings I do the ordering and make sure everything in the restaurant is ready. It’s 7 days a week – and more in the summer!
Contented customers. When people tell me they like my cooking and they’ve had a good time here. That above everything else.
And why French children don’t read much! Julia P age 12
n school we have been asked to read several books now, so we can do competitions, tests, etc. Which normally wouldn’t be a problem as I read a lot of books in my spare time: Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, The Hunger games, The series of unfortunate events, The mysterious Benedict society, Airman, The heroes of Olympus, The Kane chronicles, The Spiderwick chronicles, The little princess, etc. So I should know when I say that French books for young people are booooring. The last one I read spent 50 pages (yes, 50 pages) having Boris (the main character) describing a camp and what Ma and Pa used to do; Oh, and how depressing his past life was. Of course. And then the rest of the pages were dedicated to endless descriptions as well (the French language gets very carried away with the use of adjectives in books). Then, every now and then something happened, like when they had to go into an awful town full of crooks, and once Victoire got taken away, she came back though. I remember one time I was at a teacher’s conference and my mum asked my French teacher for some book suggestions for me, the teacher came up with Maupassant!
What pisses me off
When a supplier lets me down or I can’t get the products I want. And of course when a customer complains. Luckily that does not happen often here, but when it does I feel terrible. The hours are a problem too. I’ve got twins, a year old, and sometimes it’s tough on my own without a sous-chef . That’s something to think about before you start this profession.
What are the qualities you need to be a good chef?
For a chef cuisinier three things – technique, technique and technique. Experience is important too: you’ve got to know your products, how to use the equipment. You’ve got to adapt to changing technology. And be prepared to work wherever. Including abroad. For a chef patron – all of the above plus how to manage people. And how to communicate with customers, that’s really important. To have a good contact. Basically, you have to know how to give yourself 26 hours a day.
Although, French kids don’t really help. Probably one of the problems with the fact there are barely any good French writers out there is that they can tell that they would get no money whatsoever, because French children hardly ever go near a book. There have only been about 3 French kids who I have ever met who read, and only barely. And the books are really expensive!! I saw a normal 200 page book that belonged to a friend’s parent and she said it cost 20 euros!!!!!!! And she said it in a way where she seemed to find it normal for it to be that price too, not like it was shocking! Most French young people’s books tend to be translated from English and because of that the story loses so much in the translation, for example ‘Hogwarts’ in French is ‘Polochon’ (how dare they change the name!!) The same problem goes for movies translated into French, like how The Hangover is called Very Bad Trip in French!!Why? But then again I read a book translated from German once and it wasn’t very good… and definitely would have been better in the original! I can’t really think of anything specifically good about any of the French books for teenagers I have read. They have nice… umm… goodness me I don’t know…..
Self-Publishing Old-fashioned! is SO by Val Wineyard
We are now all Indie Publishers or Authorpreneurs. Take note!
I call myself a Small Publisher, writing and selling my own books for some time. I offered to help a friend with hers. She posted on Facebook that she had just been to France “to see my publisher.” Who’s that? I thought. It was me, I was a publisher!
ut I’m a writer really. Many new writers labour for years over the computer until they finish their book. Then they try to get it published with a mainstream publisher who doesn’t look at it or even reply. Worse, there are few mainstream publishers left. The few big names left go for the books that will make them millions, written by the Dan Browns of this world. Many writers have self-published in times past – Virginia Wolff, Beatrice Potter – and with this trend increasing in the 1990’s “self-publishing companies” sprang up. Authors paid them for designing and printing the book. Many retained all rights but never publicised or distributed the books. Now the wheel has turned and thousands of disappointed and frankly conned authors are starting to sue and companies such as AuthorHouse are keeping profiles lower than bank robbers. More useful are companies which specialise in one particular aspect of book production, such as editing manuscripts or cover design; they fill the gaps for those learning these skills themselves. The most valuable service is cover design done by a graphic designer; the cover “sells” the book. Looking at the sites of these companies will give you many ideas of your own for your book. Today authors are taking responsibility for the production and promotion of their titles. The best thing is the feeling
that you are in control. You get your book exactly how you want it, and you organise other things, like selling into bookshops, to suit your budget. It’s hard work though! I am lucky in that I worked as a freelance journalist, then editor. I learnt how to design magazines when the artman needed a hand. You too can learn the skills you need; just keep it simple and keep it the same. The same? Set a “house-style” and stick to it. For example, Helvetica or Times New Roman, either indented paragraphs or space between paragraphs, and justified text. E-books are a different kettle of fish. Most of them are novels, travel or cookery books, for example, are rarely successful as e-books. If your novel is burning the midnight oil for you then do it as an e-book. If you can master formatting in Word or Open Office you can do it. Other aspects of self-publishing need someone used to the Internet, for technicalities such as getting an ISBN number and selling on Amazon can be daunting, but persevere. You will learn a lot. For example, writing tags or key-words to describe your book. It’s a most useful exercise and after it you find your book is emerging into reality like a chick from its egg. Publishing your own book is a worthwhile experience from every point of view. And when the printer delivers the new books to you, you will swell with
Jean Carwardine, author of The Seekers.
A Cautionary Tale from an editor in the US
elf Publishing is more popular than ever and rightly so. Everyone has a book just waiting to come out so go for it! But when you have written it DO send it for review before publishing. It may be very painful to have a stranger editing and making or suggesting change but most self publishers are writers not editors and professional authors and good amateurs need an editor to do what there title suggests - edit. It is real worth it as the finished article even after the anger and hurt is ALWAYS going to be better. Many a good idea is ruined this way!
pride. You did it! You are a published author!
Useful links * My site; http://valwineyardpublishing.com * Small publishing, advice for new authors. * For your e-book www.smashwords.com They publish your e-book free and they share the sales monies with you. Free instruction books to download. * Amazon have their own e-books division and “Create-Space.”
Aude based Peter Hindley is a selfpublished co-author of ‘The Perfect Crime’, “This is my first book; I have never considered myself as a writer or ever thought I could write a book, before this I just composed business letters and shopping lists. At first it was a lengthy process to find the right words and the best use and order for those words and phrases, but it became much easier as the chronicle developed. (The Perfect Crime: A story of truth or
fantasy by Susan Goodsell and Peter Hindley ISBN10: 1434989240)
“In writing The Seekers, I wanted to tell the stories of three women at three different times in their lives--youth, middle age and old age. The inspiration was a fantastic Victorian house I once shared. The characters, loosely based on my housemates, evolved the memory of that time and that place. I chose to self-publish for pragmatic reasons. As an outsider and at seventy-five, I have neither the time nor the courage to undergo the submit-reject process that is basic to conventional publishing. I wanted to see my creation take form and be available to those who might enjoy it.” The Seekers will be available at la Maison de la Presse in Pézenas. It is currently available on Amazon.fr., for U.K. residents on Amazon.co.uk, and AuthorHouse.co.uk It should soon be available at those internet addresses as an e-book. 18
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A Swiss Break
or the second of our Continental Rail Journeys we’ve chosen Switzerland, to be more precise Interlaken and Lucerne both with lakeside settings and numerous excursions. From Béziers take the 0718 TGV arriving in Lyon Part Dieu station at 0949 where you change on to a local 10.24 departure TER on to Geneva where you will arrive at 12.27. Lyon is France’s second busiest station and that is why we recommend a 45 minute changeover. On the assumption that you will not stay in Geneva, take the 13.15 to Lucerne arriving at 16.00. Once installed in Lucerne you are spoilt for choice as far as excursions are concerned. In terms of priority we recommend: First: A day long cruise on the lake on a hundred years old steam driven paddle steamer it leaves the quayside a few paces from the station at 10.12, to return at 15.47. On board there is an excellent bar where you can sample Swiss sausage, iced beer or coffee and cakes. Second: A short walk around the Lake and spend a few hours in Switzerland’s transport museum. Then an afternoon stroll back along the lake to visit the city of Lucerne itself. Third: You have a choice of mountain and cable railways and we recommend stopping off at Vitznau and taking the cable car up to the Rigi Kulm.
From Lucerne there is a direct train to Interlaken Ost (East) leaving at 10.05 arriving at 11.55. Interlaken has two stations and Interlaken Ost is the departure point for the mountain line to Klein Schneideg and the connecting for the highest mountain railway up to the Jungfraujoch. The terminus station is carved out of the ice! From Interlaken home you will enjoy diverting via Gruyère stopping overnight sampling some real Gruyère cheese in the village and visiting the Cailler/Nestle chocolate factory at Brock. Fares. If you have a French SNCF ‘Carte Senior’
then you will get a reduction. For travelling inside Switzerland we recommend a Swiss Holiday Ticket’*, this allows you a choice as to how many days you want to travel and gives reduction and is most of the time free travel on both trains, buses and lake steamers.. For other travellers, prices like all forms of transport depend on the train, day of the week and time of departure. SNCF French Railways quote: Béziers to Geneva 55.30€ SBB CFF Swiss Railways quote: * Geneva to Lucerne 38 Swiss Francs * Lucerne to Interlaken Ost. 32 Swiss Francs * Interlaken Ost to Gruyère 28 Swiss Francs * Gruyère to Geneva 26.50 Swiss Francs A word of caution, trains times tend to differ by a few minutes, all times are printed on your ticket. All of the above times are based one the timetable from the 15th December. www.voyages-sncf.com www.sbb.ch (Swiss Railways)
one parent holding a Swiss Family Card and • Many bonus benefits From CHF 204.– The rates of exchange at time of publication are 1 Swiss Franc = 0.81 euros, In a future article I recommend a cross Switzerland journey from Geneva to Lake Constance, across the lake to Friedrichshafen into Germany and a visit to the Zeppelin Airship Museum, and then on by lake steamer to Bregenz in western Austria with it musical festival. Chris Elliott; author of ‘The Lost Railway lines of l’Hérault’ and joint author of ‘Night Ferry 1936 – 1980’
he Swiss Holiday ticket can be bought on line as below Swiss Pass: The All-in-One Ticket for spontaneous travel. • Unlimited travel by rail, road and waterway • Free travel on panorama routes • Free travel on public transport in 75 towns and cities • Free admission to more than 470 museums • 50% discount off most mountain railways • Children under age 16 travel free of charge when accompanied by at least
Mind with Heart By Vinciane Rycroft
“Whatever the intellectual quality of the education given to our children, it is vital that it includes elements of love and compassion, for nothing guarantees that knowledge alone will be truly useful to human beings. Among the major troublemakers society has known, many were well-educated and had great knowledge, but they lacked a moral education in qualities such as compassion, wisdom and clarity of vision. ”His Holiness the Dalai Lama”
‘Mind with Heart’ is an international
educational charity that aims to give young people and their educators the space to investigate and experience empathy, altruism and compassion. In recent years, initiatives to encourage children and teenagers to think deeply about empathy, altruism and compassion have gained momentum. Co-founder Vinciane Rycroft, who is based in Hérault, explains why she teamed up with a group of educators to found Mind With Heart. They have recently received a donation to introduce the programme into the first local French state school.
for transformation. It brings a unique understanding of the mind, and of happiness and suffering, as well as an emphasis on self-compassion, and practical ways to cultivate the courage to care for oneself and others that young people can use in their daily life. In this age of speed and distraction, where iPhones and video games dominate, how can we bring this understanding into the education system, and offer an education of the heart that goes beyond religion and will catch the attention and interest of young people? Our research has led us to speak to experts in areas such as best practice in
Do you sometimes wonder how human beings can possibly continue to co-exist in ever-increasing numbers, every day wanting, producing and consuming more? It is a question that has led me to train as an educator in sustainable development, to try and find ways to inspire people to live together harmoniously. It is also what prompted a few like-minded educators to come together in 2010 to found ‘Mind with Heart’. While much progress has been made in empathy education in recent years, my experiences have convinced me that compassion education offers an even greater potential
education, mindfulness in schools, peace education and conflict resolution, philosophy education, and empathy and compassion education - in France, Australia, the UK and the US. The encounter that inspired me most during this process was meeting a group of educators near San Francisco who have developed, over the past 30 years, a year-long residential programme for at-risk teenagers. I spent the day observing their group session and speaking to the facilitators and the teenagers themselves. They had been through some of the most difficult situations imaginable. Yet the atmosphere
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created by the programme, which rewarded acts of compassion and encouraged the teenagers to be honest about their challenges and to support each other in a non-judgmental way, was extraordinary. As I told them at the end of that eye-opening group session, I have never seen so much compassion in one room! Mind with Heart offers a programme in social and emotional learning. Our specificity is that we begin with supporting teachers, giving them tools to manage stress and take care of themselves, and to enrich their experience of life as a teacher, and their relationships with colleagues and with students. The way we enjoy working is with a whole school. We present our programme to the staff and to the parents, we share scientific research that shows the benefits of these tools, and then we offer training to teachers, who will in turn use the tools to create a different learning environment in their classroom, based on mindfulness, awareness, empathy and responsibility. For example, a good starting point for an open debate with any age group, including teenagers, is to ask the following question: What do we have in common with every other human being? For many, the first reaction is one of mild disgust: “I don’t have anything in common with anyone in this room!” Then comes the description of the body parts we have in common. Before long, the discussion moves onto another level. We all have anger and fear; we all want peace; we were all born and we will all die; we all want the love of our family; we all want to be alive and happy; we all share the same planet. So maybe we do have
everyone around us. So let’s focus on what we can do. Maggie is a coach and hypnotherapist. If you want to make a difference, the first thing to do is to ensure Contact Maggie on you have clarity about what it is firstname.lastname@example.org you want to change. What are the reasons for you choosing to make this change? Once this becomes clear and compelling, the next ast month we looked at areas in our steps become easier. lives that perhaps needed special atNext is to set yourself a goal that you know tention. Parts of our lives that we may you can achieve. Focus on the real outcome be dissatisfied with or that aren’t working that you are seeking. See it clearly and make for us. Acknowledging there’s something it your new best friend. not quite right is the first step to making Then, take action! You might not be able changes, but we may be wondering how to to change where you want to go overnight do that? Change isn’t easy but remember … but overnight you can change the direction If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’re taking. Do whatever you need to do you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got. to start moving - then keep going. To change we need to do things differently Finally keep reviewing where you are on and changing our own behaviour is easier your journey, making small adjustments if necessary and stay focused on your than trying to change
(cont) something in common with others after all… The other key component of these workshops is a contemplative one, as we introduce the students to simple mindfulness techniques. Having been labelled ‘out of control’ by the adults in their lives, the most agitated members of the group will often express how puzzled and guilty they are that their mind has a life of its own. However, as it is suggested that this is the case for most human beings on this planet, and certainly for everyone in the school, including the adults, they experience a sense of relief. They’re then genuinely interested in learning to get more of a handle on their thoughts, feelings and emotions. Interrogating the experts One way that we have found to support young people’s investigation of these issues is to give them the chance to meet and question world experts on empathy and compassion. On the basis of these interviews, Mind with Heart produces short videos that are made available widely on the internet to young people and teachers. Training teachers Exploring compassion with a group of young people sometimes feels like teaching kids about the importance of recycling while the adults around them continue to throw away their waste shamelessly. So a main focus of Mind with Heart is to inspire teachers to make compassion something that they focus on in their own lives and in the classroom, to openly acknowledge with students the highs
progress. Keeping a journal can also help to keep you on track. Write down every day what you are doing differently now. Where you used to get upset over small things, notice that you are now remaining calm: When you previously said ‘yes’ to everyone, notice that you’re beginning to say ‘maybe’: If you weren’t standing up for yourself enough, notice how you are now responding in a different way: Whereas you used to feel low, you are now going for a brisk walk and feeling more upbeat. Any small difference is worth noting because … It’s these small differences that will make the big difference in the long run. And remember, behaviour change is a process – not a switch! Maggie is a coach and hypnotherapist. If you wish to contact her personally, email: email@example.com
and lows of the human condition, and to find ways to cultivate an altruistic mindset. If we change our one-sided view of human beings as fundamentally selfish individuals and young people as merely future cogs in the economic machine, we have the potential to bring about a fundamental shift in our society. It is clear that if we can put altruism, compassion and human interaction at the heart of our education system, these principles will ultimately permeate and change this system fundamentally. As Sogyal Rinpoche writes, in a passage from The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying that has stayed with me ever since I first read it almost twenty years ago: “We all desire to live in peace and die in peace. When will humanity really understand that, and truly create a society that reflects in all its areas and activities that simple, sacred understanding?” For more information and for videos and blog entries on the themes covered in this article, visit: www.mindwithheart.org.uk Educators or schools based in the Montpellier region or Paris can apply by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org (French is spoken!) Mind with Heart was co-founded by Vinciane Rycroft, Ceri Seel, Fiona Clarke, Jane Packham, Steve Cope and Tim Carstairs, with the support of many people including David Rycroft, Jan Linehan and Daniela Dalal. *
Alexander Technique Wendy McKnight, STAT-certified (London)
Lessons offered in Lodève 06 38 88 27 79 - email@example.com www.alexandertechniqueherault.com www.theheraultandaudetimes.com
The Music Page - In partnership with:
‘Family Trees’ RichardOn Pullen Music
am really not making this up but ‘Family Trees’ is in danger of becoming something far more connected - perhaps everything in the musical world does have its roots intertwined rather like that Japanese plant gradually taking over the world ….? For
example we went to see Kellylee Evans at SortieOuest as promised and despite quite a bit of her getting us to clap and sing along or get up out of our seats and dance (all of which I noticed the French are so much better at than I am - I was squirming in my seat hoping not to catch Kellyleeʼs eye in case she singled me out and asked if I wasn’t having a good time?) I have to say that she was fantastic - she has a wonderful soul voice but she changed up a gear for the final song which was a powerful driving version of Eminemʼs ‘One Shot’ from the film 8 Mile (listen to her latest album I Remember When on Universal Music ). Another SortieOuest concert on the 22nd of March is Robin McKelle and the Flytones (www.sortieouest.fr)- listed by the venue as jazz but probably today more in the tradition of soul from the 60s and 70s and , get this , both Robin and Kellylee were runners up in the 2004 The lonious Monk Jazz Vocal Competition in New York – ten years later they appear in consecutive months at our favourite venue ! In February I interviewed Robin and you can read the full interview on the HAT website but here is a flavor of what we can look forward to: RP: Given your significant jazz roots do you think you may return to it at some point in the future or are you now firmly in the R&B camp ? RM: Jazz is a part of who I am musically so I still feel connected to it but I don’t consider myself a jazz artist or an R&B artist or a Soul artist, I consider myself an artist. I want my audience to like me as an artist for what I offer and what I do. Putting “Labels” on artists are bad for music today as they put you in a box. My question is always: Do you like what you hear? If you do, then like that artist but don’t do it because it’s jazz or soul or whatever… As an artist
my hope is to continue to evolve and grow with each project so you will have to wait and see what I do next. However, what you will get for our performance in Béziers with the Flytones is a heavy mix of Soul Music, R&B, Americana, influenced by our newest release that we recorded in the home of Stax Records – Memphis. We want to have fun on stage and it’s an experience you will enjoy deeply! The Susana Sheiman Quintet played the jazz club at SortieOuest - this is an intimate space created in the bar/restaurant for about 150 diners, perfect for Susana and her band (and just like a smaller Ronnie Scottʼs in London) - I was transfixed by her voice as she effortlessly poured out the standards, singing ‘Girl from Ipanema’ in Portugese , ‘God Bless the Child’ , and a medley of ‘Autumn Leaves’ and Princeʼs ‘Purple Rain’! The highlight was ‘Mood Indigo’ accompanied only by double bass and an encore of ‘Dr Feelgood’ (always a top ten choice in Pullen Towers) by Aretha Franklin. For newly released albums can I draw you attention to the new Pat Metheny Unity Group release Kin (on Nonesuch Records )? Guitarists like Metheny rarely, if ever, stand still so the Metheny of 2014 doesnʼt sound like the Metheny of earlier years ; at the same time, Metheny’s voice is so distinctive that, from the very first note, it’s instantly recognizable— he’s often imitated but never copied. He has been featured in this column before in relation to Mehliana and the late Jim Hall but he has a family tree to die for as he taught at Berklee with Gary Burton when only 20 years old ,the same year that he played with the worldʼs greatest bass player, Jaco Pastorius ( listen to Jacoʼs work with Weather Report on Black Market and Joni Mitchell on Hejira), played with another jazz guitar giant John Scofield ( I Can See Your House From Here which always reminds me of an unrepeatable joke..?) and the legendary Herbie Hancock ( On Parallel Realities from 1990) - just input Patʼs name into Youtube and be prepared to be impressed… Happy listening …
For a Calendar of events in English visit : www.theheraultandaudetimes.com or scan the QR code 22
The Herault & Aude Times
History What’s In a name..... Sue Hicks looks into history through Street names.
he cease fire of 19 March 1962 led to independence from France for Algeria after eight years of bloody conflict in which atrocities were committed on all sides. The French government and press referred to the bombings, murders, abductions and fighting as “les evenements” and saw them as an internal matter. Nationalist Algerians were involved in a war to gain independence. At the cease-fire, thousands, possibly up to a million, of French Pieds Noirs, many of whom had been settled in Algeria for several generations, fled mainly to France while those Algerians who had supported the French, known as harkis, suffered terrible reprisals. Algerians had been encouraged by the defeat in 1954 of the French in Indo- China and the gaining of independence by Tunisia and Morocco by 1956 to hope for independence themselves. The French, who had colonised the country in 1830 and absorbed it into metropolitan France in 1847 by creating three departments, saw the country as an integral part of France. The government department responsible for Algeria was not the Foreign Office but the Ministry of the Interior. As Minister, Francois Mitterand had declared, “Algeria is France.”The influential French and other southern European Algerian colonists and administrators, usually known as PiedsNoirs (perhaps referring to their black boots), wished to remain part of France and increasingly forcefully opposed the nationalist calls for independence. In November 1954, the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) became the largest and best known of the several nationalist groups and announced an armed struggle for Algerian independence with a series of guerrilla actions which terrorised the country areas into supporting them. The French army had insufficient troops and half a million French soldiers were conscripted and sent to Algeria which spread more awareness of the escalating situation throughout France. In 1956 a French plane intercepted a flight to Tunisia (causing an international outcry) and captured several FLN leaders, including Ahmed Ben Bella, who were impris-
oned in France. In May 1958 an exasperated French army, hardened and politicised by their experiences in Indo-China and a group of civilians, staged a coup and set up a Committee of Public Safety in Algeria. There was real and wellfounded fear that “the tough and hard fighting men who were sick of the insipid civilian politicians” might arrive on the French mainland and stage a military coup. When the government invited General de Gaulle to become Prime Minister he quickly won powers to draft a new constitution, with a strong president and less strong parliament, and thus on 4 September 1958 was heralded in the Fifth Republic. On a visit to Algeria, de Gaulle made his enigmatic “I have understood you” speech which promised nothing specific. Months went by without a ceasefire being achieved. In December 1960, when gendarmes and then the army fired on protesting extremist Pieds-Noirs in Algiers, Frenchmen were now killing Frenchmen whilst other soldiers were fraternising with
the Pieds-Noirs. France was losing the battle of public opinion as returning servicemen talked of “immoral acts” in which they had been forced to participate or had seen or heard about and reports of torture circulated. In Algiers in April 1961 several generals carried out a putsch in the name of Algerie Française and again there were real fears that a military coup would spread to France. General de Gaulle gave what some consider his greatest speaking performance of his career forbidwww.theheraultandaudetimes.com
ding, “Every Frenchman and above all every soldier to execute their orders.” He ended with the rousing “Francaises, Francais! Aidez-moi.” French conscripts, listening on their transistor radios, heeded his call and the revolt collapsed with the surrender of some leaders and the arrest of others. The newly formed Organisation Armée Secrete (OAS) united extremists who demanded that Algeria remain French and they spread terror through bombings in Algeria and on the mainland in the following months. Repression increased in Algeria and in France. A demonstration against a curfew by Algerians in Paris in October 1961 was severely repressed and ended with many dead, wounded and arrested. Bodies were recovered from the Seine in the days which followed. There were 10 bombings in Paris in February 1962 and attempts were made on the lives of prominent figures including President de Gaulle. A protest march, following a bomb attack on the home of Andre Malraux in which a four year old girl was badly injured, brought the biggest turnout since the Liberation. “Algerie Française was all but dead – killed by the OAS” (Horne). The FLN were also continuing their terrorist acts and had extended their fight from rural areas to the main Algerian cities and to the mainland and proclaimed “the only negotiation is war”. Repression had clearly failed and eventually peace negotiations opened, hopes for anything less than full independence faded and at a second attempt the Evian talks held on Lake Geneva concluded with an agreement for independence for Algeria. The cease-fire took place at mid-day on Monday 19 March 1962. Ahmed Ben Bella became Algeria’s first elected president. This brief Eurocentric account cannot convey the complexities of these political and military events which were a searing national trauma for both countries. While there was much relief at the cease-fire and jubilation among the nationalists, many felt betrayed by the outcome and troubles lay ahead for many in the newly liberated nation and for those who fled. Memories have not faded and bitterness remains in all the communities. It may then be seen as surprising that as many as 467 French communes would chose to commemorate Algerian independence with street names and squares. 23
hile recently chatting to a Parisian as we cycled in the Vallée d’Orb, he enthused about the many virtues of the Hérault, and particularly what a great area it is for outdoor sports. As the owner of an outdoor activities business here, naturally I agreed. We shared a mutual conviction that road cycling in Hérault was amongst the best in France, before our routes parted. While many (probably most) areas of France would make the same claim, our cycling guests from around the world
Close proximity to the Pyrénées, longer daylight hours, more settled weather and solid base of snow are all good reasons to go high-mountain snowshoeing. Along with being an excellent workout in invigorating fresh air, far from crowds, burning up to 1,000 calories per hour - it’s easy to do. Regular walkers can snowshoe. It’s another great fitness and training option and is good conditioning for most sports. The added resistance of snowshoes and use of poles improves cardiovascular and endurance levels as well as up-
Spring into Outdoor Activities Merv Capewell
rave about the quality of roads, absence of traffic, variety of routes - and of course the wonderful weather. The muchtouted 300 days of sunshine makes a big difference when out on a bike. There is something for all cyclists here, with a choice of flat coastal rides along the Mediterranean, rolling hills through wine-growing country (perhaps even stopping for a dégustation) or steep mountain climbs. A leisurely cycle can be taken along the Canal du Midi and through sleepy villages waking up after the winter shut-down. For serious cyclists, there are some testing climbs and descents in the hills to match a Tour de France stage and is an ideal training-ground for cycling sportives, triathlons, charity events or just keeping fit. This is a great time to cycle before the summer crowds arrive and the temperature soars. For a completely different activity - Spring is also one of the best times for snowshoeing. 24
per body strength. It’s possible to snowshoe in the beautiful Pyrénées, French or Spanish side, right through to the end of April although many of the facilities will close after Easter. However, do use a professionally qualified guide, known as an Accompagnateur de Montagne, who will know the terrain, local snow conditions and be experienced in recognising avalanche risks. Being so close to the Pyrénées adds another dimension to the many outdoor activities available in this area and snowshoeing is definitely worth a try.
Merv Capewell, along with his wife Jane, run Mountains and Maps outdoor activity holidays for snowshoeing, cycling and walking, based primarily in Languedoc-Roussillon. Merv qualified as an IML (International Mountain Leader) in the UK but holds a full Carte Professionelle to work in France and is a member of SNAM (Syndicat National des Accompagnateurs en Montagne). www.mountainsandmaps.com
Sea kayaking and Sète Nigel Hatten
got into kayaking because originally I was a competition weightlifter and multiple UK 1997, ‘98, ‘99, champion, competing at international level but gave up due to a loss of interest and a real risk of serious injury. Kayaking gives me the freedom of exercise, travel, peace, and adventure all in one. I’m paddling around Sète to see how quick I can go in my kayak for one complete lap of about 13 km. I can do it in about 1hr 18mins. Starting from in front of the Palais Consulaire in the town centre, my stopwatch starts counting from zero and I’m off. Heading south towards the sea down the Royal Canal I pass the fish market on my right before turning left into the old port. It takes about 7 1/2 minutes to get out of the harbour west entrance on to the open sea. My breathing and heart rate are close to their limit and in front I can see the rocks of La Corniche approaching. The waves are lifting me and my kayak up and down as they come in from the south then bounce off the rocks to my right and then come back out again to make things a little difficult. I keep paddling as quickly as I can, the rocks of La Corniche passed on my right and ahead now I see the entrance to the small harbour and beach area known as Les Quilles. In the distance I can see Cap d’agde and beyond to the Pyrenees but I must turn right and into the beach area known as Les Quilles then northbound after passing through the marina with what seems like a dead end ahead. It’s not possible for any boat to navigate fully around Sète
The Herault & Aude Times
because there is a road to cross and no tunnel underneath. On the other side now I’m back into the water and heading north to the Bassin de Thau. I see a hundred or so Pink Flamingos wading in the shallows to my left. In the Bassin de Thau I have to turn right again and pass the local ghetto called Ile de Thau on my right, just like everything, on my right. 10 minutes later I clear le Barrou and head towards Pointe longue and the road and rail bridges at the entrance to the town. I know I have just a few minutes left to the finish. 1hr 18mins later and 12.6 km I have completed my tour of Sète, an unofficial record by sea kayak. Another time I paddled from Sète to the south shore of the Bassin de Thau and just kept going west in the shallow water day dreaming. I had an easterly wind behind me and after 1 1/2 hrs I ran out of water. I had just passed the entrance to the canal du midi and was unable to go much further on so after a brief stop I turned north towards Marseillan then Mèze. I stopped at Bouzigues to stretch my legs but continued on again this time heading north to Balaruc le Vieux. Soon after I turned south to Balaruc les Bains and then with a little eastward paddling I returned to Sète, arriving 8 hours after I had left, a full circumnavigation of the Bassin de Thau. Many thanks to Nancy Mgee of the AGLR group, Daniel Sellal, Patricia and all those that helped me when I was expecting none, “Thank you”
Info about kayaking around Sète: www.kayakmed.com/index.php
The French VIEW _
Translation by Alison Reid
Attack on a disabled person, attack on a cat: The shocking similarity of public reaction
fter being tortured by a young man and the video posted on social networking sites, Oscar the cat has been hitting the headlines. His attacker has been sentenced to one year in prison. The judge’s decision regarding Oscar’s aggressor has been guided by the media. After being humiliated by four minors, Yoann, a mentally disabled young man, received the support of 75 thousand fans in just a few days on a Facebook page created for this purpose. The verdict on his attackers has not yet been released. Two stories, the same reaction Oscar is a little cat, essentially an animal like any other. His treatment in the hands of a young man in Marseille was terrible, truly terrible, and it had to be punished. But it does not deserve all of this media fuss: articles posted every hour about the kitten’s fractured paw; photos of fans in the streets awaiting the court’s ruling; hysterical posts on Facebook… At the same time, Yoann, a young, defenceless, mentally handicapped person, humiliated by four youths in front of a camera, has also provoked complaints from internet users and media coverage.
This latter story could have given rise to important questions regarding the way that disabled people are considered by society, and could have brought people’s attention to the numerous social rejections to which these individuals are often exposed. But it didn’t. This story was treated in the same way as Oscar’s… a cat. The similarities between these stories are tough to accept. Do people care more about animals? This comparison recalls a worrying American study presented in August 2013 by ‘The American Sociological Association’ and relayed in the ‘Huffington Post’. American sociologists told 240 men and women aged between 18 and 25 that a 12 month old baby, an adult in his thirties, a puppy and a dog had fallen prey to violence. This story, untrue, was used as a way of measuring the degree of sympathy shown towards each victim. The results were astounding: the majority of these men and women felt more compassion towards the dogs than towards their human counterparts. It’s nothing new: cats are sacred on the web. Elevated to the ranks of national heroes or victims, they touch internet users because they are portrayed as being exempt of the vices of Man. A cat will never hurt anyone, a llama will never lie, and as for elephants, well, they represent the rarity of a species tortured by humankind.
“All rotten”.“All liars”. Humans aren’t getting any votes anymore. And adding to this is the media trivialisation of Man’s violence against other Men – a trivialisation which prevents us from even being shocked when we see pictures of it now. Violence against animals, however, rarer on the web, shocks people much more deeply and thus provokes delirious reactions. Such hysteria is worrying because it pushes the most vulnerable members of society away into the background: those suffering from a disability. ‘International Day of Persons with Disabilities’ passes unseen The radio and the media remain silent on the matter of mental disabilities: let’s talk about them. Last 3rd December, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities went by unseen. Not even an article in the daily papers about these individuals. Guy Birenbaum was the only journalist to be moved by the media’s muteness: “It’s impossible to say that this Day has been hitting the front page of our papers this morning (I’m talking about France). Things aren’t much better on social media sites, outside the proclamation of the Day, or on the rest of the web, where related initiatives are pretty rare.” And yet disabled people would have a different message share, far from all of the usual clichés – another outlook on the world. Frequently portrayed in society as victims, not enough attention is paid to these people and their dignity.
Written by Violaine des Courières Edited by NoëmieBeillon
Snowshoeing, cycling, walking
Come snowshoeing in the Pyrénées! Great exercise and fresh air in stunning scenery. Mountain and Maps run trips for all grades with a qualified guide, equipment provided, good accommodation and food, plus transport from Beziers: April 4-8. For a group of 4 or more, other dates can be provided. Road cycling; self-guided or supported, we’ll provide routes from the Mediterranean to the mountains, suitable for all grades. Walking; discover this great area on foot with a qualified guide. Varied terrains, great views, all grades catered for. Contact Merv or Jane at info@mountainsandmaps. com or 04 67 25 09 48 for more information.
Un Certain Regard:
Continuing: A journey through French cinema - La Nouvelle Vague. Screenplay by: Karl Leonie
Last month, the scene was set for the New Wave movement in the French cinema. We recall the role of André Bazin in the Cahiers whose thought influenced and shaped an entire generation of filmmakers, critics, and scholars. The so-called “author theory” of the French film director was also highly influenced from 1948 by Arthur Astruc whose caméra-stylo concept or “camera-pen” advocated an audio-visual language produced with the filmmaker as a type of writer in light, image by image. Truffaut and Godard were also implicated as writers in the Cahiers becoming leading film directors giving shape to these new ideas.
Throughout the 1950s changes were slow to develop as directors preferred safety first but finally at the Cannes Film Festival in 1959 François Truffaut presented his first film, Les 400 coups (The 400 Blows). Both the film critics and the cinema-going public approved emphatically: the New Wave was activated. Notwithstanding, Truffaut still directed some mainstream crowd-pleasers like Jules et Jim (1962) which is a romantic drama about three characters caught in a love triangle. At the film review journal Les Cahiers du cinema, Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol and Eric Rohmer also directed new feature films which had an instant impact with the public. For the French cinema fan who wishes to get a good flavour of the new epoch in cinema here are 26
some of the films and directors to look out for. Jean-Luc Godard was definitely the most politically radical with À bout de souffle (Breathless, 1960), Le Mépris (Contempt, 1963) with Bridget Bardot and Pierrot le fou (1965) which was a landmark film in the history of cinema defying classification with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina.’Breathless’ was a gangster film using an old plot Truffaut had rejected for his ‘The 400 Blows’. It is a gripping existentialist film with JeanPaul Belmondo which originally did not work to a fixed script leaving Godard’s hands free to work on the direction. Chabrol eventually directed a headline psychological thriller Que la bête meure (‘This Man must Die’, 1969) a story of obsession and revenge extremely wellcrafted as a film.At the height of his skill this was quickly followed by Le Boucher (‘The Butcher’, 1970) focussed on the theme of guilt-transference with twisting irony and serial crimes. Of the other Cahiers editors, Rivette’s Céline et Julie vont en bateau (Phantom Ladies over Paris, 1974) lasts three hours and is often baffling, surrealistic with a strong use of New Wave improvisation. It is often amusing but it lacks continuity. Also, Eric Rohmer’s Ma nuit chez Maud (My Night with Maud, 1969), is a drama about young people struggling with the complexities of love and relationships, forming one of a series of this type which he explored subsequently. In the wider context, the New Wave is represented by a very large number of other film directors including Alain Cavalier, Jacques Demy, Costa-Gavras, Claude Lelouch, Louis The Herault & Aude Times
Malle, Alain Resnais and Claude Sautet. Three worthy recommendations here are Resnais’, L’Année dernière à Marienbad (Last Year at Marienbad 1961). This is a unique film that was not released until it won the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival in 1961. It is totally enigmatic and modernist in its lack of regard for normal form. Jacques Demy’s Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherburg, 1964) an uncompromising musical ode to love by a director who loved American musicals. Finally, is a double Oscar winning, best editing and best foreign film by CostaGavras, Z (1969), a political thriller sometimes employing black comedy which took the world of cinema by storm. This era also gave rise to a large number of film actors and actresses as well as increasing numbers of particularly American, but also Italian and French mainstream films going well beyond our scope here. Next month, police and politics dominate the 1970s.
English for Expat Children - An indispensable guide
The healthy alternative....... The CandyFree enterprise is a positive, sensitive and necessary response by Mme Gravina and M. Ramirez to current health issues, especially with diabetes, gluten intolerance and being overweight.
The Sans Sucre or Sugar Free movement has nothing to do with fashion trends but is rather more concerned with widespread public health problems. Therefore, the motto is: “Have a Treat without Depriving Yourself.” The CandyFree shop provides a retail outlet where customers can try out first from a variety of sweets, biscuits, cakes, chocolates, spreads and special gluten-free sweetmeats before buying, in order to see which they prefer and what is suitable. The owners of CandyFree would also like to extend the developmental side of their work to be able to make Cupcakes and chocolates in order to show others who
are interested how to make their own products. On the economic front, this is also an ideal opportunity to provide jobs and to create other franchises, as well. Of course, achieving all of this at the same time is not a simple matter. Unfortunately, government and banking restrictions make business-building a difficult proposition these days. However, convergence with others; passing the word on and similar strategies are helpful. A trip to the CandyFree shop (27 rue Anatole France, Pézenas) will soon demonstrate why it is worth a visit. It holds a good range of confectionary suitable for most people who feel they are eating too many sugary foods; those who are already confined to sugarless diets and others with special dietary needs. We can also recommend such products to customers who just enjoy trying anything new because it is possible to find out for yourself just how good Sugar Free is even when there are no health restrictions at all. No doubt, children will like many of the tempting goods available there. For example, with the loose pick-and-mix sweets there are several flavours, you choose what you want, they can be bought in any quantity and a Euro’s worth is great value. At the same time, Mme Gravina and M. Ramirez,with their practical experience, are always at hand to answer your questions. Aeliana
Hopefully the weather clearing up is leaving you with more reliable weekend weather for outdoor fun, so this month I’m going to focus on outdoor games and ways to sneak the odd bit of English into all sorts of fun. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Scavenger Hunts and Treasure Hunts are excellent activities for primary aged children. They can be as complicated as you like and incorporate reading to suit any level. You can also adapt them so that the children themselves organise the whole thing leaving you with little to do but supervise. Treasure Hunts can be quite time consuming and involve all sorts of locations, so need some level of organisation and preparation. By far the quickest option is to write out a Scavenger Hunt – it is only a list of items to find or things to do and can be prepared by yourself in advance or improvised as you go along with the help of the players. Both activities are better in groups, but can be satisfying individually as well. Older children will get a real kick out of the more complex map-reading required by Orienteering (essentially a huge, widespread treasure hunt for older players), but it does require much more preparation. More isolated games and activities that will help build these skills could include getting your children in on the action in all sorts of little ways. Any practical hands-on tasks are often surprisingly exciting for younger children. For example, help your younger children to recognise certain words by asking them to
help you navigate a journey. Ask them to look out for words on signposts or local landmarks as you head off to various places. Depending on the age of your child they might even like to begin learning to read maps, but try to set up this activity in such a way as to minimise stress! Perhaps hurrying somewhere on low fuel is not the best time to give it a try! Games of ‘I Spy..’ en route are another quick and easy way to wangle a little English practise in. For very new or prereaders try using the phonetic alphabet; rather than saying ‘I spy with my little eye something beginning with A’ in the way it is pronounced in the alphabet, pronounce ‘A’ as the sound it makes at the start of words. This is a great help for the younger learner as to the differences between the ‘sound’ of the letter and the ‘name’ of the letter. If you are looking for outdoor based arts and crafts have a quick look on my Pinterest board ‘Outdoors’: http://www.pinterest. com/eng4xpatchildrn/outdoors/ There are other boards and ideas to peruse while you are at it!
Laura Smith has a BA Hons) in English and a background which includes nannying, arts’ groups for children, supporting early readers, teaching English as foreign language in Spanish and Italian schools and examining children for the Cambridge Examining board.
Gary Jackson Painter Decorator - Plasterer Partition walls - Laminate flooring Honest and reliable t: 06 23 33 30 22
Elbio Mazet Print at heart
lbio Mazet was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, in the late 1930’s. He studied Architecture at Facultad de Arquitectura, Plastic Art at Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes and History at Facultad de Humanidades in Montevideo. In the early 60’s, Elbio discovered the work of xylograph Tranquillo Marangoni at one of his exhibitions. Shortly after this he encountered Antonio Berniand Carlos Fossati his future tutor, which inspired him to practice the woodcut technique. From 1963, xylography became his major form of artistic expression. Elbio Mazet’s prints are a form of Expressionism. With time, these have tended more towards the abstract. Mazet is also a sculptor and speaks of himself as ‘a bad painter’. In 1965 he created his first sculptures. Due to difficult circumstances he had to leave Uruguay in 1972. It is then that he moved to Spain and Germany where he designed posters for a while. He finally settled in France for good in the mid-70s. He has lived and worked in Aude since 1988. Elbio Mazet has extensive experience engraving on wood worked lengthways in the
grain. As Gérard Mouizel wrote: What other medium would have been more precise to better express the strength that characterizes his art? I discovered his work last season at La Maison des Mémoires, Carcassonne: ‘Elbio Mazet et le livre, l’oeuvre gravée’ (‘Elbio Mazet
and the book, engraved work’). There, his large printed faces bearing scarified lines, the density of black or abstract designs appear joyfully eventful. The direct woodwork, the engraver’s traces in the raw material is like an unveiling. Elbio Mazet has read widely in Spanish, his mother tongue, as well as in Italian, a language he speaks as well as French. Illustrator of approximately 150 children’s books, Elbio’s love for poetry and literature remains intact to this day. His illustrated book of Walt Whitman’s poetry is marvelous: how with lines as thick as these can such fine emotion emanate? It inspires me this ‘Man made out of clay’ in the Book of Genesis of which Mazet’s woodcuts represent the visual translation. Indeed, the artist who loves reading and carving is reserved when it comes to telling his own story. But one thing that Elbio says with assurance is that: ‘Art must revolutionize spirits without being part of propaganda’, and that: ‘Art has the mission of being participant of the world without taking part’. His prints touch but do not impose anything. They stand out without trying to please. They don’t complain or sentimentalize; their intense black is like a tender eye looking deep into us. *
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MRAC New presentation of the Collections 2014 & Nicolas Daubanes exhibition Until 30 March The Musée Régional d’Art Contemporain of Sérignan (MRAC) has just unveiled its New Collection followed by the inauguration of ‘1% artistic’ by Nadia Lichtig at the MRAC Annex situated on the site of Lycée Marc Bloch, Sérignan. Every year the Museum renews entirely its collections to ‘propose a new variation’ from its funds, consisting of 460 items. MRAC aims to question: ‘what can art be today?’ and works in liaison with other institutions: ‘Culture et sport solidaires 34’ and the ‘Centre Pénitentiaire de Béziers’ as part of the ‘Justice Culture’ program. MRAC has already organized several artists’ interventions to work with detainees. Cur-
rently an exhibition by Nicolas Daubanes is on show in the library’s museum to exhibit works created in that context. Finally, the museum is a ‘privileged partner’ with French National Education and has welcomed nearly 6000 pupils through its doors in 2012-2013. In spring 2014, the artist Peter Downsborough will exhibit his work, and MRAC will acquire an adjacent building to complete the expansion project of the museum, thus increasing its surface area to over 3000 m2. This is designed: “To host increasingly ambitious exhibitions.” These positive and innovative initiatives which are prompting exchanges with Institutions and are introducing art outside the museum can only be beneficial. The Center,
already very large, will become even larger, and I am always impressed by the reflection of the polished concrete floor. However, I still think it represents a danger for some of the pieces on show as it is so beautiful. Alert Meteo 4 (ended 16 February), showed works by 16 newly graduated art school students, and is really possible cause for alarm. And I wonder why at the back of Raphaël Zarka’s exhibition card (until 16 February) the reproduction of an engraving by John Joshua Kirby (1716-1774), a British landscaper, is on show? Is it to form a correspondence with Leonardo’s drawing of the rhombicuboctahedron for Lucas Pacioli which so inspired Raphaël Zarka? So, the New Collection shows pieces donated by artists. Great! Tatiana Trouvé, for instance, donated, so generously, one of her works because the MRAC ‘could never afford one of her pieces’. Her installation, Untitled 2010, of cut and dyed sheepskins on a rack fixed to the wall, and When I first came to town, 2005, two perambulators with added accessories from the music shop and a long handle, must have cost a fortune. No wonder she is represented by Gallery Perrotin in Paris and has been invited to create a public sculpture in New-York. But, be that as it may, what would you really say to school students coming to learn about art and looking at her work? A work by Richard Fauguet, Untitled 2003, was donated by ‘someone who prefers to remain anonymous’. Is there a reason? An assemblage of chimney pipes bought at Home DIY or something. Two Malevitch remakes: Untitled 2012 (a very popular title you may notice!), a 2 x 2 m canvas covered in mauve and a dark blue square on a white background by Henri Codax, but apparently Henri Codax is a fictitious artist. In the Middle-Ages and the Renaissance, paintings existed for the illiterate. They illustrated a story. Today, it is the discourse that is used as a crutch for the painting. I understand better the presence of perambulators. Yves Belorgey, Ann Veronica Janssens, and two or three others salvage the situation. As a result I ask whether the magnificent space of the museum is in the www.theheraultandaudetimes.com
process of becoming more important than the art itself? Or is that space designed to host meaningful art? If ‘questioning the art at the 21st century’ is also discerning what really art is, it should be able to justify it when students come with real questions.
he Gallery Anne Marie Jaumaud is situated in the heart of Narbonne and has just opened. As well as a gallery it is also a studio where Anne-Marie works. In fact, it is a space where you may not find her straight away. Anne-Marie likes to let visitors contemplate quietly, in a space where time and silence give way to her paintings. Anne-Marie speaks with a soft voice; she politely apologizes for appearing like a former soixante-huitarde, (reference to the year 1968 and the student’s revolution) before adding she doesn’t care. Anne-Marie studied at the Beaux-arts School in Paris and lived in Ireland for many years. She and her family finally returned to France,
choosing Narbonne as a new base. Some of her paintings are reminiscent of the Irish light, the Celtic sea and the rocks bordering it. Le grau de Leucate (oil, 2013) depicts the crash of a wave on a pontoon, water as a force explosion, a rising energy. Beside it to form a perfect contrast, Mac Donall woodland near Macroom (2013) represents part of the famous forest once too dense to cross. Intricate details are featured, splendid and thoughtful harmonies of green, interlacing vines and roots, this
work is a delight for the eyes, heart and soul. In a very different tone, Anne-Marie’s series Les Ombres (2012) recall Klimt or Hundertwasser’s wavy lines and vivid colours with a majority of ochre, yellows and reds. The pictorial language is flat, aiming to communicate something else. Anne-Marie explains: “I have let myself be driven in a whiff of fiction, emotions, and I conferred to the shadows, so many in summer, a story of emancipation, incarnation, socialization, and a dependent survival of powerful force.” La terre promise (2012) is a triptych which mixes both styles, a flock of sheep walking in the desert: white against the golden sand. A voyage in nature could define AnneMarie’s Gallery where she prepares her own natural pigments according to an old traditional method and the same with the binders. She uses the glaze technique to give her paintings a polished finish and a depth. This, in fact, is a witness to her personal artistic commitment. A M Galerie Tel: 04 68 90 56 69 4 rue Benjamin Crémieux 11100 Narbonne. www.annemariejaumaud.com
The HAT recommends… Miguel Chevalier - Paradis artificiels 2 March/1 June 2014 Musée d’Art Moderne de Céret 8 Boulevard Maréchal Joffre 66400 Céret Tel. 04 68 87 27 76 http://www.musee-ceret.com/ Miguel Chevalier is an installation artist who has been experimenting and worked with the new media for many years. He will present one of his latest creations: Paradis Artificiels where the presence of light which is constant throughout his work produces surprising visual effects. 30
Alexandra Bay - Love, Tattoos & Family 15 March/30 March 2014 Médiathèque André Malraux 1 Place du 14 Juillet 34500 Béziers Tel. 04 99 41 05 41 www.mediatheque-beziers-agglo.org Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat 10h/18h,Sun14h/18h Closed Mon and Thur Alexandra Bay has chosen the ‘three in one’ theme: Love, Tattoos & Family for her upcoming photographic exhibition at Mediathèque André Malraux, Béziers. Having herself suffered from criticism while expecting children as a tattooed mum, she wishes to normalize the image of tattooed families.
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ARt Photographer Julian Flynn
Unveiling the hidden
Salon des Petits Formats de l’A.A.P.I.A - Espace Molière 1/22 March 2014 Espace Molière 1 place Molière 34300 Agde Tel.04 67 32 35 76/ 04 67 94 65 89 10h/13h-15h/19h Free entry http://www.capdagde.com/ L’Association des Artistes Peintres Indépendants Agathois only presents small format work: 41 x 33 cm for paintings and 25 cm for sculptures. These works give priority to finesse and precision. The A.A.P.I.A groups an average of 150 members; painters, sculptors, and mixed Medias artists.
ulian Flynn lives in the Bédarieux Valley, in a cosy countryside corner. He began his career as a primary school teacher during which years, music, poetry and a passion for writing were part of his involvement. The work of photographer Mary Ellen Mark seen at an exhibition led him to discover photography as an important art form. This became a starting point. Julian then dedicated himself to understanding, appreciating, and studying photography. This drive became so strong that after purchasing a camera he left his teaching job to become a full time photographer. From Western Yorkshire where he then lived, Eugène Atget, Cartier Bressonor, Ervin Penn and Bill Brandt became great sources of inspiration. Flynn’s approach to photography seeks the unexpected dimension. A captured momentmust carry an effect of surprise and a search towards the self.This aspect of his work is explored in the series of Self-portraits. Julian explains that the self ‘isn’t really distinguished from other people’. It is the idea of losing oneself in a crowd. In the Self-portraits series, Julian has used castings of his own face made while living in England, as well as his own living image. Photographed un-
der various contexts, this admirer of Bacon and Goya exerts the idea of the distorted and deformed. For Julian, representing the face is to show the hidden. The use of monochrome hues is another characteristic of his style but his images are not to be seen as black and white. Like Ervin Penn’s photographs of the nude, Flynn wishes to place the emphasis on a visual pressure. The lines slightly blurred bring the illusion of inconsistency; the colours are half way between lead and cloudy grey, laid on a moving texture background, sometimes alluding to Giorgio Morandi’s paintings. Like an optical illusion, the images have an organic life of their own. ‘Looking inside the human body like a surgeon’ and showing ‘things beneath the surface’ are some of Julian’s favorite things. Movement, faces and intensity are others. Julian exhibited at Bédarieux Art Center last season: Reliefs Intimes. His prints are available for sale on his website: http:// www.julianflynn.co.uk/
HAÏKU Médiathèque de Labécè de Lauraguais 16 rue du Presbytère 11400 Labécède-Lauragais Tél : 04.68.60.36.32 M: 15h-17h, T: 17h-19h, W: 15h-17h, F: 17h-19h, S: 10h-12h. Free http://www.lr2l.fr Meet the greatest original Japanese Haïku poets and discover how this seed came to sprout in France at the end of the 20th century. Discover also the essential composition rules of Haïku: the shortest form of poetry in the world. Saturday 22nd March there will be a special Haïku workshop at 14h30 at the Médiathèque (registration required prior to workshop).
Recipe Times With Bassie Scott
Beware the Ides.... March can be a funny month in terms of both food and weather. It’s not quite barbecue weather normally, nor is the salad season upon us. So here are some recipes that possibly fit the March bill quite nicely and with very little effort too on the part of the cook of the household!
Sausages in mustard and crème fraiche sauce Serves 4
Ingredients 500 gr Toulouse sausages (or any type you may fancy) A glug of olive oil 2 medium onions, sliced 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 tblsp grained mustard 2 glasses dry white wine 1 small pot crème fraiche Salt and pepper Parsley to scatter Method: 1. Remove the skin from the sausages, tear the sausages up and form into rough balls. 2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the garlic and onions and sweat until translucent but not burning. 3. Add the sausage balls and brown all over. 4. Tip in the white wine with the grained mustard and cook for a further 5-6 minutes to burn off the alcohol 5. Turn down the heat, add the crème fraiche, stir well and heat through. Check for seasoning 6. Tip out onto a serving plate and scatter the parsley over I like to serve puree’d potatoes, topped with fried garlic with this dish. You can also add mushrooms to this recipe if you like them
Languedocien Pork Serves 4
Ingredients 500 gr pork fillet Paprika Salt & pepper A glug of olive oil 2 cloves garlic, chopped 3 spring onions, chopped (1 large white onion will do as well) 1 large red pepper, finely sliced 1 large leek, finely chopped Green or black olives, chopped Handful fresh thyme ½ bottle Picpoul de Pinet Dijon mustard Method: 1. Slice the pork fillet into rounds. Dust with paprika, salt and pepper 2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add all the other vegetables and stir fry for about 5-7 minutes. 3. Remove vegetables and set aside. 4. If need be, add more oil and fry the pork on both sides until browned. 5. Put the vegetables back in pan with the pork, add the white wine, Dijon mustard, fresh thyme and olives and simmer for approximately 15 minutes or until the pork is cooked through 6. Serve with lots of crusty bread and some fine green beans. For added comfort factor, mashed potatoes! 32
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This is a gorgeous, flourless cake which I cooked for a dinner party recently. Even though it was incredibly rich, plates were cleaned to within an inch of their lives! You donâ€™t have to use hazelnuts; it can be made with ground almonds or even ground walnuts, whatever your favourite nut happens to be.
Flourless Chocolate and hazelnut cake Serves 6 - 8 Ingredients
5 eggs 200 gr butter, chopped up 200 gr caster sugar 200 gr plain chocolate 200 gr ground hazelnuts Method
1. Melt the chocolate and butter together, then mix in the ground hazelnuts. Cool a little. 2. Separate 4 of the eggs. Mix 1 whole egg and 4 yolks with the sugar. Blend this with the chocolate mixture. 3. Beat the 4 remaining egg whites until they are stiff. Using a metal spoon, carefully fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. 4. Pour into a non-stick, spring form baking tin and bake at 175-180 deg c (gas 4-5) for 45 minutes. 5. Let cool before springing open the tin and serve with crĂ¨me fraiche or vanilla ice cream.
The HAT Business.
Business just got bigger. On these pages are a selection of articles and information brought to you for your perusal.
French Trust Law
s a financial adviser to the expatriate community, I am contacted by lots of people who have either already moved to France from another country, or are planning to do so. Amongst many other things, people are seeking advice as to how best to structure their financial assets for tax-efficiency in France. Since most of the people I advise originate from Anglo-Saxon countries, it may be the case that they may have an interest in a trust, which creates difficulties for them, due to the French tax treatment of trusts. In 2011, France introduced legislation, which defined the taxation rules and reporting requirements, concerning trusts with at least one of the following: * French resident settlor; * French resident beneficiary; or * French situated assets – even if the settlor/beneficiaries are not living in France. Basically, the law is aimed at the ‘family type of trust’ and generally excludes trusts falling outside of this area. A summary of the taxation treatment is shown below. Income tax relating to trusts Distributions received from a trust (whether capital or income) are treated as investment
income, in the hands of the taxpayer. Therefore, 100% of the amount received is added to other taxable income of the household and taxed according to the progressive rates of income tax set out in the barème scale, for which the highest rate is 45%. Social contributions (current rate 15.5%) are also chargeable on the amount distributed. Wealth tax (ISF) relating to trusts The law aims for transparency, so that the real ‘owner’ of the assets placed in a trust can be identified. This will either be the original settlor or where that person has died, the beneficiary is subsequently deemed to be the settlor. The trustees are required to report the annual value of the assets of the trust and to pay a levy, based on the highest percentage rate of ISF (currently 1.5%) of the underlying value of the trust’s assets. However, the levy is not payable if the French resident taxpayer has already declared the trust assets for ISF. Failure to report by 15th June each will result in a fine of 12.5% of the value of the total trust assets or if greater, €20,000. The settlor and/or the beneficiaries are jointly and severally liable for the payment of the levy and for
any penalty as a result of nonreporting. Gift & succession duty regimes relating to trusts Lifetime gifts and inheritance transfers from a trust with a French resident settlor or ‘beneficiary deemed settlor’, as well as to beneficiaries who have been resident in France for at least six out of the last ten years, are liable to taxation; so too is the transfer of assets into a trust. For non-resident settlors, the transfer of French assets into or out of a trust (for example, property) is also caught by the rules. Using the market value of the assets, as at the date of transmission, the tax liability is as follows: * For trusts set up after 11th May 2011, or for trusts set up in a jurisdiction that has not concluded a Tax Information Exchange Agreement with France (referred to as a “non-cooperative territory”), the tax rate is 60% in all cases. * For existing trusts, which are set up in a “cooperative territory”, the rate of tax is as follows: * if the relationship between the settlor and the beneficiary can be identified, the tax rate and allowance will be according to the standard IHT barème scale; * if the beneficiaries are, globally, the descendants of the settlor,
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the tax rate will be the top rate for descendants in direct line, i.e. 45%; and * anything else will be subject to a tax rate of 60%, unless covered by specific exemptions in the French tax code. Overall, trusts do not work well in France and an alternative structure is needed to achieve the same objectives. Therefore, seeking professional advice from someone who understands both the Anglo-Saxon systems and the French system is essential. Forthcoming Client Seminars We are also now planning for our Spring Client Seminars. There is no charge for any of our seminars and the speakers’ presentations are followed by a buffet lunch, so places must be booked in advance. The planned dates for the next local events are: * 21st May at Castelnaudary * 22nd May at Perpignan * 23rd May at Montpellier As the seminars are always very popular, early booking is recommended. If you are affected by the French trust rules and would like to have a confidential discussion, or if you wish to attend one of the seminars, please contact me or by e-mail at daphne. firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 04 68 20 30 17. The above outline is provided for information purposes only a nd 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.
Business Interviews, rhetoric and opinion. Michael D’Artag writes, interviews or comments on topics that impact you.
France - On it’s knees in business and still pretending all’s well!
I have been accused by some readers of being glib and acerbic in my reporting on France. Damn right! I love this country but I do not have to agree with everything in it just as I wouldn’t if I was in the US or the UK or Sweden etc. France is a cowering schoolkid in its labour laws. Economists are in debate about ‘rigid’ or ‘flexible’ labour laws but France has another problem, political stability. Managements fear of change and risk aversion means that competitiveness is foresaken. The fear of strikes and the loss of productivity mean that French business is frozen in a spiralling circle that has no positive outcome. The labour obviously distrust management and won’t tolerate change because they are trying to protect jobs and history and then you have a government that in order to keep stability and an outward sign of control just pump more
money and subsidies into keeping both sides happy. I admit, in the (very) short term this is feasible but it automatically compromises long term growth and viability. And so you are left with an outdated business model that achieves nothing but allows France to continue to paper over the cracks.
So what do the French do? They run to nationalism. Close the borders, our way is best, the others are bringing us down. Bullshit. This is a great country with the skills (just) still here. But France is a dodo. It is a flightless bird that thinks it has a future and the fearful management, the headin-the-sand unions and the weak wristed government will do to this magnificent country what hunters did to the dodo. France is on the verge of becoming exstinct. So the next time you read or hear discussions on flexible labour (or rigid) being the salvation of the French economy laugh out loud and pray those that can make change will make change....and quickly.
Don’t believe me above? 3 annual €1 billion losses. So
Refining the madness.....
id you know that at the end of last year it was reported that French refineries - of which there are only 8 left (24 in the late 70’s) - were looking at losses of nearly 700m euros. This after
what happens? The unions demand a pay rise be funded by a profitable part of the group (run outside France). You couldn’t make it up. And you think this has gone away? Well this year you read about the ‘bossnapping’ didn’t you. At a refinery. Dodo was ugly, so Dodo must die!!!!!
henever I talk to a client for the first time I always ask; “Do you know anything about Currencies Direct?” Often they do, but sometimes not, in which case I tell them a bit about who we are and what we do. And so, in this – the first of our monthly features – please allow me to introduce myself and the company. I’m Fiona and I’m your local Currencies Direct rep, covering the Herault and the Aude. So, let’s talk currency…. What do we do? We make international money transfers for private clients and companies all around the world, that’s it! We’ve been doing this since 1996 and today we’re present in 5 continents and trade in over 45 world currencies. Therefore, if you need to move money from America to New Zealand, or anywhere in between, we can help. We are fully regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority), which means we have very strict compliance procedures to follow, all aimed at protecting our clients and their money. Ours is a simple service, but one that you will at some time or another have needed in the process of moving to France (or will need if you have not yet moved) and one that many of you probably still need now – e.g. do you receive salary or pension in another country? do you transfer funds to pay for renovation work or perhaps you have a property outside of France and transfer mortgage payments. There are many possible reasons to use us. How we can help depends
mainly on you and what your needs and priorities are. Over the coming months I shall explain in more detail our various service offerings and what they mean. I shall also answer the sort of questions I am asked every day. If you would like to find out more, my contact details are below and I am happy to answer questions directly, just send me an email or give me a call.. Q. I always use my bank to transfer money to France, why should I change? A. Simple, because we can save you money by offering far better exchange rates on your transfers – and we do not charge for the privilege of moving your money overseas. It is your money after all! Q, Is there a minimum amount? A. Not for a spot trade. If you want to set up a regular transfer plan the minimum is £150 per month or per quarter. To get in touch please feel free to contact me, Fiona Warren, on +33 561 03 08 92 or +33 643 88 61 82 or you can email me at email@example.com Alternatively you can contact Matt Watson in our London office. Matt can be reached on +44 207 847 9446 if calling from the UK, or you can call him directly from France on a French local number, +33 329 271 459. firstname.lastname@example.org
Next month we shall be launching our regular competition feature with the chance to win an iPad! Watch this space…..
BANKS Banking in France is failing the customer whether business or personal. Do you have a story to tell? If so, please email Michael and outline your experience for a future article. email@example.com
“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” “Voltaire’s famous epigram is especially relevant to this month’s HAT. Politics are in the air, the municipal elections this month are one of the few in which non-French residents, members of the EU, can vote. We should go into that secret booth with our eyes and minds wide open. There has been much talk in the French press of the far right Front National doing well in these elections, so while we do not necessarily share their ideas, we follow Voltaire in believing they have a right to have their say. And you, the voter, have a right to know a little bit about them from a team working hard at being impartial.
The forces behind the Front National
he radical right in France is a kaleidoscope of dozens of groups. Many are fringe and ephemeral, but two resonate back to the very origins of French history – the traditional Catholics and the monarchists. While Catholicism is the cradle of the right, many ultraconservative Catholics lean towards the Front National. Rejecting much of Vatican II (1962-65), in particular the Mass being spoken in any language other than Latin, they are against gay marriage, abortion and any form of medically assisted procreation. Their overt support has provided the FN with a certain moral and spiritual weight. Monarchists share many of their beliefs and have a 200-year reputation as rearguard, but determined, counter-revolutionaries. For while the monarchists may seem too eccentric to count, they keep alive an important feature of the radical right: they reject the republican, post-Revolution basis on which France has been governed for 200 years. This fundamental opposition has also inspired a plethora of smaller, sometimes violent, extremist groups – the radical right’s darker side, harking back to the 1930’s. An enduring hero, object of pilgrimages and annual commemoration services, is Jean-Marie Bastien-Thiry, who in 1962 masterminded the attempted assassination of De Gaulle, achieving martyr’s glory by being the last Frenchman to face a firing squad. For many, De Gaulle was France incarnate, but for Bastien-Thiry and his followers the general was not France enough. The thread goes deeper because Bastien-Thiry was a member of the OAS, the nationalist army determined to keep 36
Algeria French. Algérie française is still
a key to today’s FN. Many of its founder members, including Jean-Marie Le Pen, fought to keep Algeria French and the shame of losing it has marked their lives. Robert Ménard was born in Algeria, as was Louis Aliot’s mother. These groups overlap, co-operating when it suits, at daggers drawn when it doesn’t. Not all traditional Catholics or monarchists vote FN and an increasing number of FN voters are neither Catholic nor monarchist – former communists for
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example. But what infuses and unites all these groups is revolt against the current regime combined with nostalgia for a semi-mythic past. Each group has its own nostalgic celebrations and pilgrimages which strengthen and transmit essential values. The principal people venerated are the Virgin Mary, Joan of arc, Louis XVI, Pétain and (though not a person) l’Algérie française—nostalgeria. Martyrs and defeats are particularly well-represented. *
Interview with Louis Aliot, avocat, vice-chairman of the Front National and candidate for Perpignan town hall. Aliot’s manner is not the aggressive hectoring associated with the older generation of FN leaders, or even used sometimes by his partner, Marine Le Pen. He is calm, weighing his words thoughtfully, using his lawyer’s knowledge and experience. Has the FN changed? My impression is that the world, the context has changed. We used to be thought of as extremists, but today our image is closer to the centre because the world has become more radical. Issues which made people think we were extremist are today accepted as the norm. Our defence of secular values, for example. People realise now we were right about radical Islam, about the Euro. So in fact it’s others who have changed, not us. The turning point for the FN was fall of the Berlin wall. A lot of radical right groups emerged which were anti-Communist. At the same time the construction of Europe changed in a way we didn’t
and create a sort of enclave. There’s still a whiff of something not quite respectable about the FN. It depends entirely on how many votes you have. If you poll 10%, people feel they can call you Fascist. At 20% they’re less sure, but once you’ve got 30% of the vote nobody calls you that. I see that here at Perpignan, because the polls give me over 30%. People turn on their television and are told the FN are Fascists. Then they see me in the street, we talk and they realise what they’ve heard isn’t true. It’s the principle of reality. What are the main issues here in Perpignan? The priority is to get people out of poverty. It’s a town which has huge problems and a bad image. There’s a neighbourhood so poor that houses recently have collapsed. It’s known for its Gitans, its insecurity. It’s one of the few towns where there have been ethnic riots– between Gitans and North Africans. People need a return to order, to normality.
like, and so little by little we became a populist party. I don’t think there’s anything dishonourable about defending the people. My generation, people now in their 40’s, began getting involved. We were not children of the war, our political perspective was completely different. We became a national party, patriotic, and we grew to the point where Le Pen reached the second round of the presidential election in 2002. Then came the transition, with Marine taking the reins and a number of people not wanting to work with her because they found her too moderate. That enabled us to clear out some of the more turbulent elements. The press still calls us Fascist, though, because we discuss issues with UKIP in the European Parliament. But UKIP isn’t extremist. We want a Europe à la carte – more sovereignty and not the statist, interventionist politics handed down from the Commission. If we could have what you have in Britain we would be happy! No Schengen and no euro.
How are you going to achieve that? We have to develop the economy. Things have been allowed to slide. In the town centre we’re going to renovate shops which have closed and charge preferential rent to local craftsmen. Make it a showcase for Catalan culture. Ensure the Montpellier TGV comes here. Develop the airport. At present Perpignan’s debt runs to €4,000 per person – we have to stop wasting money. I want the opposition on our finance committee, on our urban development committee. Also I want to consult the population. Say to people this project will cost so much, will add so much to your local taxes, do you want it, yes or no?
Can you foresee a UK-style referendum on Europe here? We don’t want to leave Europe, we want to rebuild a different Europe and I’m sure the English would be our allies in that. Using projects like Ariane, the Concorde, Airbus – these things owe nothing to the European Commission. They’re private ventures, bringing together researchers from every country – and they work, but the European Parliament, the Commission, everything political, is a ruinous mess. We’ve got to get out of this system – but we don’t want to put barbed wire round France www.theheraultandaudetimes.com
Improving Béziers Too important to leave to politicians?
ot long ago Béziers was one of southern France’s wealthiest towns. During the season, Parisian high society came here to be seen strolling up and down the Allées Paul Riquet. The town’s seven theatres were full every evening and so too were its 23 brothels – given five-star rating by a connoisseur, the writer Colette’s husband. Fifty châteaux
pinardiers mushroomed around the town, flamboyant precursors of Hollywood filmstars’ mansions. Fortunes were made on the back of wine (the price of a hectolitre quadrupled between 1875 and 1880 – think of oil nowadays). Money was king in southern France and Béziers had the best of it. Now Béziers is the fourth-poorest town in France. A third of the population live below the poverty line. 62% of residents can’t afford to pay their local tax – so all amenities are paid for by the remaining 38%. Unemployment is at 16.4%. A quarter of all shops and cafés have closed. People are afraid to go out at night. It is the only town in France with a dwindling population. And that is what Robert Ménard wants to change. Robert Ménard is a key and controversial figure of French journalism. In 1985 he founded Reporters sans frontières to fight for freedom of speech in the world’s most censored dictatorships. Thanks to him, journalists are safer and information flows more freely in many countries, with RSF an official consultant to the United Nations. Since his teens Ménard has lived in Béziers, and now, at 60, he is standing as a candidate for the Town Hall and the Agglomeration. He’s not an easy man. His mission has 38
changed but not his commitment: “There are laws and they must be respected. I shall punish those who leave litter in the streets, who don’t pick up their dog’s mess. My priority is the people of Béziers. Improving their life, at every level, is what matters.” True, we’ve heard that from everyone seeking office since the time of Pericles, but perhaps sceptics should hold their breath. Ménard has plans to bring in new businesses and tourists, “but neither will come unless Béziers feels safe, is clean, bright – a town you want to be in. Listen,” he says, gathering momentum, “on the edge of the town is a UNESCO world heritage site – the Canal du Midi’s 9 locks at Enserune. Last year they attracted 440,000 visitors. How many came into town? 3%. Why do 97% of tourists already on the edge of Béziers not bother to visit it – even for an ice-cream? The team who’ve been in the town hall for 18 years have a lot to answer for.” Ménard is proudly not a politician and has no time for the political class. “Politicians think only about themselves and their re-election. People don’t believe their empty promises any more.” Ménard is not a member of any party, but has the support of four smaller radical-right parties, including the Front National. That support has unleashed vitriolic criticism in the French
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press. “Nobody can accuse me of being racist or anti-Semitic. When I was fighting for press freedom across the world, I never asked a journalist whether they were Jewish, Muslim or Taoist. I share many of Marine Le Pen’s ideas but the Front National is not financing my campaign in any way.” And so the inevitable question: his view on immigrants. “I sympathise with anyone from Mali or Burkina Faso who comes to France to help his family. But given the state of our country, it’s simply not possible to integrate them all. The proof: we’re not integrating them. They live a form of apartheid.” Ménard wants to open up Béziers’ insalubrious ghettos to create a normal, mixed society. One does not have to share his views on everything to agree that Béziers needs a man with his energy to pull the town up by its boots-straps. But can someone with no experience of politics just walk into a town hall and put a dying town back on its feet? Possibly. His ideas are practical and doable – host a tennis tournament or a marathon, promote culture and pride in Béziers’ rich past. None of that costs a fortune. Most importantly, he is already in discussions to bring businesses into Béziers. Certainly voting for him will be an act of faith, but some might say voting for his rival, whose team have been in power since 1995, would be an act of despair.
In The Garden with Gill Pound A
t the time of writing we have had an amazingly mild winter, and a very wet one too although as anyone who was here during early February 2012 or the end of Feb 2013 knows how that can change very suddenly. But, so far everything in the garden is well advanced and I even saw my first almond blossom on the 27th Jan. Here’s hoping for a continuation of the mild spell and gardens will be looking good in March. In general, March is a month when we have longer days and there is lots to do in the garden. • start to remove winter protection from plants to start hardening them up, but remember to replace protection if frost is forecast • start to clean up the foliage on perennials, sub shrubs and deciduous grasses, cut back many plants to the base, sub shrubby sages such as the microphylla cultivars, perovskias, gauras etc will shoot up much more vigorously following a heavy cutting back. If possible shred the prunings so that you them for putting organic material back into the soil. • Cut back overgrown climbers such as honeysuckle (Lonicera) • Deadhead spring bulbs as their flowers go over to encourage bulb growth unless you want to encourage your bulbs to self seed • compost or an organic soil improver such
as “Or Brun” can be put around the base of shrubs • aerate the soil of your flower beds and keep ahead of the weeding • think about planting trees, shrubs and climbing plants If you buy plants at this time of the year check to see if “ils ont été sorti d’une serre” ie brought out of a greenhouse. It is usual for a grower to protect young plants in a greenhouse over winter but they will need some hardening before planting. • prune roses • prune summer flowering shrubs which flower on the current season’s growth • if you have a lawn scarify it to remove moss and dried grass Many plants will start to flower this month. Bulbs are always a favourite and bulbs which are native to the Mediterranean region will always do well and can often be encouraged to naturalise in grass, two good examples of this are the southern European native Narcissus tazetta and Anemone coronaria, both illus-
trated here. Many lovely native shrubs are starting to flower and remind us just how many of these make excellent garden plants as well. One of my favourites is Globularia alypum, a small shrub to about 70cm it has wonderful blue flowers and loves a hot dry position. Just a reminder that we still have one or two places available on our spring gardening courses. All courses are designed for a group of seven to eleven participants. Course fees quoted include coffees, teas etc and you are asked to bring a packed lunch. An Introduction to Pruning – Wednesday 12th March, 10am to 4pm. Fee: 45€ Gardening with Mediterranean native plants –Friday 4th April, 10 am to 4pm. Fee: 45€ 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,
email Gill@lapetitepepiniere.com www.lapetitepepiniere.com
Text: Colin Trickett
WATER WATER EVERYWHERE…………….AND PLENTY TO DRINK
n often taken for granted key element of the landscape and lifestyle of Languedoc is that most precious one – WATER With our region having the fastest growing population in the whole of France one might expect the doom and gloom brigade to be crying, “What about the water?” With only an average of around 500 mm a year of rain one would expect this to be a problem; but seemingly not! Our aquafers remain high and unlike many parts of Spain our riverbeds are not dry and arid. The latter is in part explained by the fact that we do not tend to divert rivers into huge irrigational projects for crops. However the major reason for this wellbeing is that the sources of our rivers are founded in the relatively unpopulated and wetter regions of the Cevennes and the Massif Centrale. In Languedoc Roussillon we are blessed with some twenty eight major above ground rivers and in excess of thirty natural or manmade large lakes. In addition there is a huge network of underground streams
feeding our aquafers, most of which have their source again in the Cevennes or Massif Centrale. Much the largest river forms the boundary between Languedoc and Provence, namely the mighty Rhone. Any problems this river has are to do with an excess of water rather than a shortage. It was therefore in 1955 agreed to form a company called BRL to take water from the river along canals and pipes from Arles to Montpellier area to provide irrigation for fruit orchards and vineyards as well as small holdings. The project was called ‘Bas Rhone’. In the year 2000 a huge extension to the project was agreed. An extension of the aquaduct to cover the 330 kilometers to Barcelona! Roughly following the route of the Via Domitia this enormous 2.8 meter diameter pipe is close to completion and will provide water through off shoot pipelines all along its route. The Rhone Barcelone as it is termed is a wonderful example of large scale thinking and resource management. Our rivers and lakes provide us with beauty, water for our properties, homes for busiwww.theheraultandaudetimes.com
nesses such as sea food farming as well as our leisure pursuits, fishing, sailing, canoeing or simply bathing and swimming. A useful guide to the best beaches and on our rivers and lakes can be found on www.cre-
medelanguedoc.com. This fantastic resource of water is also of course a key ingredient for our nature. Birds, plants, animals, all depend on this life-giving substance. Let’s continue to value and manage this vital gift! 39
Joël Roure and his Mechanical Marvels Musée-Récit Terrot
Chemin des GarennesLa 34620 Puisserguier Tel. 06 77 19 06 59 By appointment only / free www.jomotauto.blogs.midilibre.com/
oël Roure’s collection began about 30 years ago. A former teacher, his passion for vintage cars and motorcycles, specifically from the 1900/1945 period, led him to establish his rich collection in La Manière near Puisserguier where he now lives. His museum has a total of 30 bikes, including 20 in working condition, 3 vintage cars: a Ford T from 1914, a Citroën from 1923 and a more recent Triumph from 1973 all in working order. However, Joël is not an ordinary collector. His Musée-Récit Terrot (Terrot, from the French motorbike brand), has indeed many stories to tell, and being guided round is like getting into the skin of the men and women of the period. The impact of WWII changed the direction and progress of many enterprises. Terrot, once a successful motorbike brand, was swallowed up by Peugeot at the beginning of the war due to the forced departure of Mister Terrot’s son-in-law who was a German and a very knowledgeable engineer. He had given tremendous impulse
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to the family business. Hence weakened, Terrot’s innovative patents could no longer be realized. The thoughtful layout of the museum describes a past as though the events happened yesterday. The vehicles are placed in a real life context to evoke travel by car or motorbike in the early 20th century, amongst carts and horses. There is a cycle and motorcycle shop by a Terrot concessionary, a repair workshop and a garage, all created to contextualize the exhibits. In addition to the cars and bikes Joël has built animated models, such as a moving cinema, and an authentic reproduction of Bleriot’s airplane. Every item is brought alive by an amazing comment or story; the visit is like an intimate history lesson. Some of the objects are over 100 years old. An authentic cigarette from the Second World War sits on a shelf next to German and French bullets. A collection of bicycle handles, never seen before, witness their evolution over three decades: 1910s, 1920s and 1930s; specialist cameras, a daguerreotype, a working phonograph, a barrel organ; and the cherry on the proverbial cake for me is the office corner with authentic bills, vintage blotting-paper and black ink to sign the golden book. This wonderful museum of the old car and motorcycle is privately funded. Joël Roure, its founder and owner, does not charge anything for his time but a small donation or a mechanical piece from that same period are welcome.
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The Price is Right recent article in LinkedIn entitled ‘It’s
Seven bedroom Maison de Vigneronne in excellent condition in the Aude with 700m² of land and swimming pool.
Immaculate 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom villa with garden and swimming pool in a lively village on the Canal du Midi small garden overlooking the Canal, large garage and a large attic. Great potential!
the Price that Sells a Home’ struck a chord with us, and though the article concerns the US market, it is just as relevant to us here in France. The crux of the article is that whilst factors such as location and condition are important, ultimately it’s the price that sells a property. Even the best house in the best location will not sell if it’s not priced correctly; even a bad house in a poor location will sell if the price is right. All too often we are asked to market properties for prices above our estimates. Our antennae always twitch when a client insists on an unreasonable price, then add that they are ‘not in a hurry to sell’! These sellers are expecting that ‘special’ purchaser to come along, ignore comparative evidence and buy the house despite the price. Buyers are very sophisticated these days and are able to study the market from their ipads on their sofas in East Sheen and by the time they get here they have spreadsheets, tick boxes, and their visits colour coded - if a property is above their budget ceiling or seems much more expensive than others, then they simply will not ask to see it. Also from the agent’s perspective, we are trying to make a sale - if viewings don’t happen or have dried up, it
Completely renovated charming 3 bedroom house in the Hérault with a garden large enough to put in a pool. Gardens of approximately 600 m² sloping down towards the Canal du Midi. Amazing views
property generally means that we are taking our precious buyers to similar but more reasonably priced houses where there is a better chance of securing a sale. Therefore, it is imperative that a lot of thought is given to the price - it is not enough to base your calculations on factors like purchase price or what you have spent on it or indeed what you need to buy your next house. Sometimes it is hard to be objective about something as subjective as one’s home. You need to take heed of factors such as demand for your type of property, what price other comparable properties are going for and generally what the market is doing at that present time. A well established estate agent can give you invaluable objective advice. Use their professionalism to your advantage. Fixing the right price is not a science, but there is an art to it and the best person to help you do that is your estate agent. Here are three particularly good examples of competitively priced houses 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 firstname.lastname@example.org www.pullenfrance.com
The HAT Property section for professionals is for organisations that can offer a professional and consistent service to clients and guarantee the following: 1. A native English speaking representative 2. A reply to first contact within 24hrs 3. A first class professional service at all times. A listing from these organisations can be found on the website www.theherailtandaudetimes.com This site is also available for private lettings
LUNAS RIVERSIDE HOUSE - Available for long term rental. First occupancy after total restoration. Two double bedrooms, 2 lounges, 2 WC/Shower Complete kitchen, private terrace, wine cellar, Jacuzzi Spa. Electric eco panel heating. Information in English/en Français: email@example.com 0034 972 661585 *
The Chocolate House Roquebrun. Newly renovated with plenty of charm and character. See website for more rentals Stunning views from the terrace. Sleeps 6 rental from 750 euros per week. 0652 75 24 45
Agence Guy Estate Agency English/French owned 25 years of experience
www.pezenas-immobilier.com firstname.lastname@example.org tel 0467 98 37 77 mob 0622 34 30 56 “Quality Assured” www.theheraultandaudetimes.com
Classified Ad The Geek we call ‘E-Male’
Apple, Microsoft & Google All resting on their laurels! I’m sorry. Ok? That is for all the people (well 13 of you) who were very upset with my comments about Apple last month. It appears to all you ‘pips’ that no-one can say anything that can be construed as negative about your modern religion. But you miss the point. It is because of what Apple has done that we can speak about them. Jobs and Gates (Yes, Big Bill who bought into Apple at one time when they were in trouble) are icons and gamechangers. They are two people that have changed the way the world is run but please read the following and see if I am right.... The iPod - The iPhone The iTouch - The iPad These are game changers. Innovative, risky and quite simply brilliant. But What do we have now? An upgrade on iPhone that is at heart embarassing. Minor tweaks that really only improve the screen resolution. The iPad just got smaller... whoopee do dah. (And this after Jobs said it wouldn’t happen. The iPod has just gone.... sniff! So you see, this giant is not innovating, it is marketing and hiding behind huge markups. Now I don’t mind the markups that are in truth pretty shameful but so much of that money went into research and development and gave us these iconic ‘changers’ previously mentioned. But where is the next new invention? 42
Samsung are just making better iphones than Apple does but they are following not leading. Google are looking at interaction with their ‘glass’ idea but that is so far away from being perfected I want something now. And Microsoft.... I am unashamed to stand up for Microsoft. And in truth if Bill hyad stayed on or Jobs had taken over they would be as cool and hip as anyone. But products are products and with Windows it didn’t matter if you didn’t like the shirt they were wearing. Office isn’t going anywhere people, it is the best out there even if I am an open source devotee. But all they are doing is hiding in the skirt folds of Office and dipping their toe into the water of phones with the Nokia purchase. Windows phones are magnificent (at the top end) and will gain more market share this year. But again, where is the game changer? Technology can stagnate. Don’t be fooled into thinking it can’t. Right now we have no new changes on the horizon. It is like everyone decided they had done good and instead of going forward again they just decided that their masterpiece could do with a ‘touch-up’. And to prove it, those Apple, Microsoft and Samsung people let me have their top end phones to review and I’m writing this on one. Which one you ask? The only one it works on comfortably.
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** Saturday 12th April 2014 Fundraising event at the Mairie in Puivert, to raise funds for the SPA Carcassonne and also Twilight Retirement home for dogs.We would like to appeal for donations of costume jewellery, Bottles (for tombola) Raffle prizes and of course the usual knitting wool for blankets for the doggies at Twilight.
Classified Adverts PROPERTY - Rental
LUNAS RIVERSIDE HOUSE Available for long term rental. First occupancy after total restoration. Two double bedrooms, 2 lounges, 2 WC/Shower Complete kitchen, private terrace, wine cellar, Jacuzzi Spa. Electric eco panel heating. Information in English/en Français: firstname.lastname@example.org 0034 972 661585 ** Close to Pézenas 2 Bedroom House to Rent. Garage, Terrace, (Stairs) 2 s/c studio flats attached. Seperate entrance. 10 minutes by car from Pézenas. All amenitied v close. €650pcm Enq: 0644 80 24 32 **
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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 ** MOBILE HOMES FOR SALE. Prices starting from 1500€ up to 6000€. Wide range in stock. Transport and installation available on request. Telephone: 0609540662. **
PROPERTY FOR SALE
Marseillan Ville (Hérault) Four bedroom three story vigneron Marseillan Ville Two large bedrooms ensuite, master bedroom with balcony, garage to fit four cars, large kitchen / dining and living area on the top floor, large terrace. OFCH and Air Con throughout. Contact 0035 38 72 41 4002 email@example.com **
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: firstname.lastname@example.org ** 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
Courses / Lessons
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
** PROPERTY WANTED
Looking for house/bungalow in the countryside, to rent from 1st April 2014 for 3 yrs, with large enclosed garden, without neighbours too near, even though our dogs are well behaved. 3 double bedrooms for 3 adults, must have a bath + garage or storage space. Contact: 04 99 91 43 70 or 06 13 50 64 47
Maison De L’Orb, Béziers Beautiful five bedroom bed and breakfast overlooking Pont Vieux and river. Private garden, bathing pool, fantastic breakfast. Book: www.maisondelorb.com email@example.com **
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 04 67 37 05 55 ** Teacher Wanted Russian Language teacher wanted for 13 year old beginner. One on One tuition. t: 0644 80 24 32
The Church of England at St. Pargoire, Holy Communion 2nd Sunday each month at 1030 am. Everyone welcome. Details email@example.com ** International Chapel of Montpellier Worship Services in English Children’s Bible Class provided Services held every Sunday at 11:00am Website: www.internationalchapel.eu **
Any Distance Up to 8 Passengers E-mail Reservations welcome Estimates Given. All enquiries welcome Tel: 0033 (0) 467 21 72 38 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Canine Behaviourist and Dog Trainer. Crate a harmonious relationship with your dog. Many references from satisfied customers Call Richard : 06.25.21.21.21 or see www.psychodog.net
Want horses in your life but don’t know where to start? Local, expert advice on all aspects of horseriding & keeping horses in the region for novices or experienced. Kitty 06 61 51 54 59 email@example.com www.theheraultandaudetimes.com
Hire a 2cv Convertable for the day or longer. A wonderful slice of French Culture. More info at: www.cornelia-rentaduck.com
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FOR SALE Satellites FOR SALE
110cm Satelite Dishes for sale. Can deliver between Vias / Pézenas area or collect. €100 Call Ashley 0609 54 06 62 or 0499 41 61 80 firstname.lastname@example.org **
Counselling Service 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 email@example.com 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, Saturday - Lodève. Kerith 0467 96 68 87 ** Le Bookshop - Librairie Anglophone / café 8 rue du Bras de Fer - Montpellier Tel. /Fax : 04 67 66 22 90 firstname.lastname@example.org www.lebookshop.com ** 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 46
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 www.theheraulttimes.com for a complete listing
Restaurant L’Amindine 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: 04.67.30.29.78.
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
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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
ebruary has been a busy month in local sport. A big trophy was brought home from Barcelona! Florensac are the champions of Europe at indoor Tambourins for the third time . OK, this triumph does not make them household names in world sport but for those who play the 3 a side version of our local game it means plenty. The Florensacois beat Granada (Spain), Cambridge, Farola(Catalan) and Ragusa(Italy) to top their group. In the semi-final Les Pennes-Mirabeau were beaten and in the final the Italians from Ragusa were tamed 13-5. Florensac now have to try to retain their French title. Chapeau! If you live in Montagnac in Hérault you could be forgiven for checking the calendar. On a Thursday afternoon last month a hundred plus pro cyclists swept into town , did a circuit of the local countryside and then sprinted for a Tour de France type finish. It was the first stage of the rather grandiosely named Tour Mediterranéen. The stage had started in Argeles and plowed over 200 kms across Aude before the sprint . Traditionally these early races have been used by cyclists to get in shape for the season. Decades ago famous stars like Eddie Merckx would
turn up carrying a few extra kilos and burn some off during the 4 day races. Nowadays there are warmer places like Qatar, Oman or Adelaide that provide this role. Despite his fame Merckx had to ride in every race possible just to make a decent living as his earnings were mostly prize money. Even the big Tours paid out lowish cash. You made your name in the Tour then tried to cash in with appearance money during August exhibition races. Thank goodness times have changed for the better. Whats more, in this years Tour Mediterranéen, in the crucial 18 kms time trial stage in St Remy de Provence, British rider Stephen Cummings came out in front. He then hung on up the climb of Mont Faron near Toulon to win the Tour by just 4 seconds. Is this a sign of more Britsh success to come this season? No change for the Pro D2 clubs in Rugby Union. Racing Narbonne are still pressing for a play off spot. What a boost having a club in the Top 14 would be for sport in Aude! Béziers are just keeping above the relegation zone and should be OK as they are grinding out enough home wins. The situation looks grim for Carcassonne though as they are in grave danger of a drop to the Fed 1. What a difference a month
raquou arrived at the refuge with a very badly damaged -SPA CARCASSONNE back leg. Unfortunatedogrescuecarcassonne.co.uk/ ly Braquou’s operation was not a success. As a consequence he drags his back leg behind him. He loves his walks and and is very strong on the lead. He is not always good with other males, but is castrated and if handled
has made for the 13 a side code in Aude. FC Lézignan has finally got its act together. A revenge win 3510 edged out AS Carcassonne from the top 4 . Then Limoux lost to FCL at home. Improved performances from the props and tactical changes have clearly led to a new confidence at Lézignan. The inspiring form of Cyril Stacul has also made a difference. Toulouse Olympique remain the favourites for the title though. In village rugby plenty of clubs are doing well. Gruissan and L’Avenir Bleu et Blanc are both in fine form. FleurySalles-Coursan also top their group while in the second series there is a tremendous local battle going on between Villeneuve-les-Béziers and Portiragnes-Cers. In the villages for a big match often several hundred fans will turn up to back their XV. Why not join them for a sunday afternoon? Note that a lot of clubs have pooled their resources and represent more than one village. Check where the match will take place first. Some like Fleury, etc and Bleu et Blanc who are Capestang, Quarante and Puisserguier, fly the flag for 3 villages. No simple solution. You just have to find out. Best of luck and enjoy the sport. Well done to FC Sète who reached the last 16 of the Coupe de France before losing at Mougins.Now they must try to go up from the CFA2. Bravo!
correctly could probably live with other animals, providing introductions are made properly. Braquou was born in January 2006, He is castrated, and fully vaccinated. He is a French pointer. He is fine with children, and adores the time out of his kennel. Great supporter of the ref-
Comité Sport Tambourin Hérault
Florensac - Champions 2013
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Comité Sport Tambourin Hérault
uge, Didi, has offered to pay his adoption fee. So as long as the home is good, this boy can leave for free! Please help Braquou find a new home. This is his 3rd winter at the SPA. Had he been able bodied, he would surely have left a lot sooner.
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