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FREE Issue 4

Sep / OCt 2012 Monthly


THT September / October 2012

Contents 4


Never Miss An Issue: Visit and subscribe now

The Wine Issue

Every Month

This Month

04 Editorial

06 Simon Caulshaw and his wine makers diary

05 Letters 06 My Place 07 And Another Thing 09 Apicius Dines Out

06 Diary of a winemaker Simon Caulshaw

08 Fiona Joyce, award winning author on ‘Balancing Things’


10 Wine Times 11 Business / Legal


Rosemary George

12 Garden / Nature 13 GTBY

“The Vines, they are a-changing......”

16 Days Out


17 Lifestyle

26 Recipe Times 28 DIY

14 How good is the French education system? 15 Horsing Around - Riding in France. 20 Martine’s story. 24 We look at Epsedanse in Montpellier


20 Subscribe 21 Looking Back

08 ‘Hidden Treasures’ Where we ask you to tell us your Hérault pleasures.

Low Alcohol Wine. Yes or no?


28 E-Male

In this issue you can win * A copy of Chabname Zariâb’s book ‘Le Pianiste Afghan’ * Cinema Tickets in Montpellier * Veuve Clicquot Champagne Cover Photo

“Vendages at Domaine Saint Rose” All rights reserved © Kiff Backhouse 2012

31 Sport


Dance Montpellier The Herault Times 1 Grand Rue, St Thibery,34630 Publisher: Gatsby B Editor : Emma F Director : Robin Hicks Advertising Director: Chris L Art Editor: Daisy B EDITORIAL EDITOR@THEHERAULTTIMES.COM ROBIN@THEHERAULTTIMES.COM SUBSCRIPTIONS or contact us on ADVERTISING For display advertising, print classifieds please call 0624 63 63 77 or mail For online advertising please visit COPYRIGHT AND DISCLAIMER ISSN: 2261-561X The Herault Times The Herault Times is owned and published by L’Herault Art L.A. Publishing (51926616300010). The publisher, authors and contributors reserve their rights in regards to copyright of their work. No part of this work covered by the copyright may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means without the written consent of the publisher. No person, organization or party should rely or on any way act upon any part of the contents of this publication whether that information is sourced from the website, magazine or related product without first obtaining the advice of a fully qualified person. This magazine and its related website and products are sold and distributed on the terms and condition that: The publisher, contributors, editors and related parties are not responsible in any way for the actions or results taken by any person, organisation or any party on basis of reading information, stories or contributions in this publication, website or related product. The publisher, contributors and related parties are not engaged in providing legal, financial or professional advice or services. The publisher, contributors, editors and consultants disclaim any and all liability and responsibility to any person or party, be they a purchaser, reader, advertiser or consumer of this publication or not in regards to the consequences and outcomes of anything done or omitted being in reliance whether partly or solely on the contents of this publication and related website and products. The publisher, editors, contributors and related parties shall have no responsibility for any action or omission by any other contributor, consultant, editor or related party. END



utumn is not a time for drifting into the winter in this part of France – it marks a new beginning. Mists and mellow fruitfulness comes later – at the moment though the focus is on the wine harvest. Wine This is a time of year when the work of the wine harvest dominates the department – a harvest of huge impact for the economy of Hérault which earns around 20% of its income from wine. That’s the reason this month’s edition of the Herault Times makes no apology for concentrating on wine which takes up over half of the Hérault’s agricultural area and involves around 8,000 vineyards. This edition features Kiff Backhouse getting up at crack of dawn to photograph the Chardonnay grapes being harvested near Servian and giving us another stunning front cover. Colin Trickett, who spent a working life time in the wine business in the UK, examines the progress of local wines in this issue and looks into the future. We are, as ever, delighted to have Rosemary George, Master of Wine with her regular column and Simon Coulshaw who this month contributes a vignerons diary. We also have a report on the innovative wine which might allow you to enjoy two glasses of wine at lunch AND drive afterwards. (10% discount for HT readers) .

This Issue 20,000 copies.

This is also a time of the year when quite a few vignerons need to create space to house the new wine – so you might be able to pick up some wine bargains this month. Rentrée France also makes a great thing about the new school term starting – the Rentrée. But it is not just for the pupils – look out for the “Foire d’Associations”, a day when many of the larger town associations join together to recruit you to join their particular sport or activity. You might enjoy browsing the myriad of talents on show in Montpellier and Béziers where literally hundreds of associations present their talents and wares to draw you into membership. But even if you have no intention of joining, they are fun days with music, dancing and a host of talents showcasing the variety of local associations. Progress of the Herault Times All the team at the Herault Times would like to thank the large cohort of splendid people who help distribute the magazine each month. With 20,000 copies of the summer edition to deliver – we at the Herault Times have just one word for the voluntary distributors .........


Total 85,000 copies

TALK TO US If you have a story, an event or even an idea that you feel may be for The Herault Times or its associated publications please contact us at info@theheraulttimes or visit the site at

CONTRIBUTORS The 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 9 am every day. Having said that, you should know more about them. All their bios can be found at Please read them, they deserve to be recognised for their fantastic contribution.

IMPORTANT: This 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. 4

Letters HEATWAVE Is it just me or have the last couple of years been hotter than normal? I love the heat but when I have the urge to strip naked, run down the road shouting “ice” then sunstroke may be close. Mandy, Agde A SLOB AND HIS DOG In this week’s 32+ degree heat I saw a man riding a bike running a fox terrier along beside him at a pace. It was mid-afternoon. The dog was obviously very uncomfortable, panting and wishing himself somewhere else, like on a cool, dark kitchen floor or under a shady tree. I experienced a great desire to push the man off his bike and spit in his eye. Is it legal? Can I do it? M - email Legal? No. Can you do it.....oh yes. More in the next issue. MONTPELLIER I was in the airport the other day and came across a woman called Beth handing out your magazine. She said she didn’t know you but was meeting her daughter from Gatwick and was distributing them because “they are just very very good”. I am impressed. Celia Hutton

EU wine and eat bread and cheese and then fall asleep. I bet you don’t publish this. Dom Email

ipods when riding their bikes. I have nearly had accidents with people who just randomly move across the road without any thought to what is on the road. Is there a law about this? What happens if I hit someone and they are wearing headphones? I know that in France that cyclists are the rulers of the road but they must surely bear responsibility for their actions?

Hey Dom, drink this coffee. More water? Is that better? Now off you go and complain (that is all you do I presume). If you can afford wine and cheese then you are just an annoying bore. I WANT A JOB I want to be a journalist for you. Can I be one? My mama says I have to ask you. She helped me write this to you. I can also draw very good pictures. Lauren 6 years.

NO WAY No way did someone think you were 10 years old. (The Other Letters Issue 3)? I loved it. Mark, Vias I’m glad to say it was real. And there are more. I guess I have aged.

WhEN A 4 * ISN’T A 4 * Is there a good hotel in this area? And if I read 4 * (I’m American) why does that mean something totally different here in France?This is not a complaint, I love it here. This is just an observation that what we Americans (and I think you Brits and Dutch also) call 4 star is not the same in France. Ok, someone recommend a hotel within 20kms of Montp?

A FRENCH VIEW I picked up a copy of your magazine recently in Palavas and was taken aback. I thought that I should tell you that it has sold out in our area every month. I would like to know how to spread the word and the meaning of this magazine. We have so much negativity in France and actually in the whole of the world and you give us a joyful celebration of one part of my country. We can be quite arrogant about our country but you remind us about all of the good things that are close by is a wonderful thing. Myself and my friends thank you. Theresa

Beth, please contact us!! THE POINT? So what is the bloody point of living in France any more? Oh your magazine tells us how wonderful everything is but what about petrol prices? And pensions? The economy? The cost of food? I tell you this. It wasn’t always like this. I’m going out to get drunk on cheap

ETIQUETTE Who has the worst manners? I am a Brit, came here 6 years ago and thought that as a nation we were probably the rudest of all. And now I live and work here (Béziers and Nimes) and work with a lot of nationalities

iPOD MANIACS I want to ask people to not wear

The Other Letters A selection of excerpts fom letters that we will post anonymously............. ....and that Bassie Scott, she is one fine lady with recipes.......... Mr Scott we presume! Your magazine is a joy. We both loved the piece on good summer reads. Er, thank you so much.....but that was in the Languedoc Sun! ...I went to Agde after reading your mag but I couldn’t bare going in... Yes, this is a real!

I have read all of your My Place features and loved them. I know they are about the Hérault in some way so why haven’t you done Picasso yet? Help me!! (...) the quality of articles in your magazine are becoming more and more dangerous, Unable to stop reading your last edition whilst stuck in a traffic jam, I was stunned when i realised I had not been looking at the road or the car in front of me. I stop traffic? 5

and I may have been wrong. The Dutch, Swedes, Brits, Canadians, Australians all seem to lose the ability to have manners when they get here. So who is the worst? Surely worth a poll? Stephen T, Letter Stephen, how rude to point this out. You should just laugh politely, raise your eyebrows and look knowingly. I am shocked at your lack of etiquette, shocked! THE REVIEW Have to say we have lunched twice at La Coquerie (Apicius Issue 3) and love the place. The spirit of interacting so intimately with the cuisinière owner and her very small team is a delight – the kitchen is open plan and takes up half the space of the dining room that barely seats 20 diners. We have never detected even the slightest bit of arrogance. A no choice set menu is quite common for small establishments serving freshly prepared dishes and we had no problem with the handwriting and were always asked if we needed any further explanation.(..) G. Aspiran FRONT COVER Please tell me where the front cover photo is on Issue 3? The winding road is the D177 to Berlou from St Chinian. After leaving Prades-sur-Vemazobres, the road dips and weaves and then passes through a small coll, where on a good day, you can view the Sleeping Lady at the Gorge d’Heric. As you come down the hill from the coll, and if you were on the wrong side of the road, you get this view.


uthor Chabname Zariâb arrived in Montpellier with her mother and sister in 1991, leaving behind Russian occupied Afghanistan. She was recently awarded the Prix du Festival du premier roman de Chambéry and the Prix Méditerranée des lycéens 2012* for her first novel ‘Le Pianiste Afghan’. Imperceptibly blending reality and fiction, the novel is about identity, about growing up between cultures, between languages and the search for the valorous knight with the pianist’s hands who had thrown himself in front of her to protect her from a bomb.



A Wine Makers Diary

Simon Caulshaw brings you part two of his diary on being a winemaker




My Place Kabul, writes Chabname, groaned under the blasts. Me, I groaned in front of our television screen. I was six and prayed to Gédéon, a duckling. Kabul moaned under the explosions. Maman stuck us, me and my sister, in front of the television and turned up the volume. The limited memories of the then six year old Chabname living in an occupied country are not carefree ones; she says she can still hear the voice of her grandmother telling her that their country was the battle field of the great powers. At the time Chabname’s mother worked in the embassy in Kabul and her father for the government, so they had a privileged position in Afghan society. It was only in later life, after her family fled to France, that she realised how enviable her life had been compared to other Afghans, as her parents’ position allowed her and her sister to be protected from the horrors of conflict.

Integration in France was difficult, in spite of having a mother who spoke French. The French education system she maintains is not very good at integrating foreigners. She cites the case of a young Moroccan who arrived in France at the same time as her, who had to work twice as hard since her parents were both illiterate. Little by little, Chabname learned French and forgot Pashtu, the language of her birth. After 21 years living in France does she feel Afghan or French? Ironically she feels Afghan when she is in France and French when she is in Afghanistan. Passionate about literature, she talks about reconciliation through reading, following perhaps in the footsteps of her mother, Spojmaï Zariâb, herself a published writer. After completing collège and lycée education in Montpellier, Chabname moved to Paris to study for her diplôme, where she still lives, dividing her time between cinema and literature. She is currently working on her next novel, ‘A la recherché de Ken’. * The Prix Méditerranée des Lycéens 2012 is organised by the Région LanguedocRoussillon in partnership with the Centre Méditerranéen de Littérature and Languedoc-Roussillon livre et lecture, le Rectorat and the Centre Régional de Documentation Pédagogique de l’Académie de Montpellier. Its aim is to encourage young people to discover contemporary literature through the works of new authors. To win a copy of Chabname Zariâb’s book ‘Le Pianiste Afghan’ please answer the following question: n What is Chabame’s mother tongue?


ell, the end of August is nearly upon us, vendange preparation in full swing and as usual I can’t get that Paul Weller song, I think from his Style Council days, “The long hot summer just passed me by” out of my head. Really, what happened to that season I’d eagerly anticipated all winter? June arrives and much as May, is mainly a case of trying to keep some control in the vineyard. Domaine des Trinitée being a natural, organic and biodynamic vineyard means that we continue to treat with sulphur and copper against the mildews in the organic vineyard and make and apply various preparations and infusions to strengthen the biodynamic vines. This process will continue to mid July when the need to spray is normally no longer required, which has certainly been the case in this dry, hot season of 2012. The back breaking épamprage (the removal of ground level water shoots) as well as the canopy shaping debourgeonner (bud-rubbing) to help thin the crop and reduce the risk of mildew, continued throughout June, so by July, the vineyards were looking green and healthy as well as relatively ordered. Of course June saw one of the most exciting events in the vineyard that goes unnoticed to all but the most ardent observers - the flowering. Not a spectacular display of colour as put on by the vine’s brasher relatives, but a reserved, elegant, perhaps shy manifestation of tiny, delicate white blooms that vitally indicate the level of fruit set and ultimate yield of the vintage. Rain during this short flowering can be calamitous but thankfully this year there were no such problems up here in Roquessels and the fruit set was ideal, not a huge charge, just a nice level that should ensure ripe, intense fruit. In more ample years, July may see the need for a “green harvest”, the removal of green grapes to reduce the yield, but that not being necessary this year, just a final spray of the vines having cleared the alleys of any entangled shoots and off to the beach we go! (continued column 1 page 7)

And another thing.......says Abse Bite


his year hasn’t been so bad for mosquitoes. We live just across the road from a little river, and normally have to arm ourselves with proper anti-mosquito measures: plug in things, citronella candles etc. But we haven’t suffered anywhere near as much as in previous years. I guess the freezing cold weather earlier in the year did the mosquitoes some damage (as well as the vines unfortunately). However, the other evening we went with friends for a picnic on the beach. I love the beach, but despite only living 40 minutes’ drive away, for some reason we’ve never been in the evening before. We arrived as most people were leaving, and found a pleasant spot to set up our picnic area. After a nice swim, we came out and sat down, allowing the last vestiges of the sun to dry our skins. As the sun sank beneath the horizon, a couple of our French friends we were with grabbed spray bottles out of their bags and started spraying anti-mosquito spray on themselves. I couldn’t imagine why. Until a few seconds later when I felt them, and saw them. I quickly started spraying, but it was too late: bites everywhere.

Legs, back, arms – even face and neck – anything exposed was bitten (I’m glad we weren’t at Agde). Later that night I lay in bed scratching and scratching and scratching, eventually managing a couple of hours of sleep. The next morning I looked at the damage. I had been bitten everywhere – the little bastards had bitten me to pieces. I looked in the bathroom – but we were completely out of bite-relief cream. And, being a Monday, the chemist was shut. Aaargh. I fired up the computer and asked for help on various social networks (that’s what they’re for isn’t it?), and got some interesting suggestions for home-made bite remedies. “Cider vinegar” said one friend, “Dab it on with cotton wool”. I tried this. Boy did I stink. Did the itching stop? No. “Baking powder,” said another helpful adviser, “mix it with cleaning fluid.” What?! Rub baking powder and Cif all over my legs? Hmmm. “Toothpaste,” said another genius, “No really, it works. Mint is best”. Hmmm again. As the itching continued to drive me crazy I decided to do my own internet research - and

(continued from page 6) Except just one thing, July heralds something very important to Domaine des Trinités’ existence - the start of the holiday season and the arrival of many greatly appreciated friend/clients who are keen to stock up their cellars, hear how the year has gone or even enjoy some food and a glass of wine on our terrace, or maybe just drop in to say hello always good fun! Yes, it gets pretty busy in July/August as we occupy ourselves with tastings, soirées, festivals, estivals, markets and the rest; hard work but great fun as well. We’ve had some great successes this year, scooping a couple of major prizes, some top restaurant references and Monica’s Tapas, Tasting and Tour events have propagated through word of mouth to a point that, despite the general “calm” of this season in comparison to other years, we have been kept very busy. Hallelujah to that! One other thing, the end of July saw the first signs of ‘veraison’, which is when the green grapes become black (not including our Viognier and Roussanne of course). This year veraison has been rather atypical

found that my friends’ ideas weren’t that original, unusual or insane – other people said similar things. Apparently baking powder works well because it’s an alkali. Not sure about the

over my legs - and my arms, and my neck, and my face, and my hands. Did it work? Well, I guess it kind of helped, and I did smell minty fresh, which was nice. Half an hour later my wife came

cleaning fluid though. I looked around the bathroom again – then it hit me – my toothpaste CONTAINED baking powder – so maybe that was a good idea. Besides I was getting desperate. Christ did I itch: It was either toothpaste or start removing limbs. So I spread my bakingpowder toothpaste generously

in the room. She sniffed, looked at my toothpaste-plastered body and handed me a tube of anti-bite cream. “Here, try this,” she said.

with some varieties, Grenache noir being the main one, having both black and green grapes on the same bunch. The timing of


Sometimes I think she doubts my sanity. Personally I blame Facebook.

veraison normally gives a good steer as to potential harvest dates, so the mixed messages of this year, leave me having to rely on instinct which says a fairly typical mid-September harvest for the most part being the odds on favourite with perhaps the Viognier being a tad earlier than usual. The fun continues on into August, but with the harvest rapidly approaching the time has come to start testing all the equipment, organising the picking crew, as being a natural domaine, all of Domaine des Trinités’ 100,000 vines must be picked by hand to ensure only healthy fruit and nothing else enters the tanks and, of course, the deep clean of the winery in anticipation of the first crate of grapes arriving at the winery. So here I am at the end of August, elbow deep in some particularly fetching pink Marigold gloves, scrubbing tanks wondering - whatever did happen to that long hot summer? In the next installment (December’s edition I think), I’ll tell all about the rock’n’roll that is harvest and post harvest and hopefully report on what looks like being a great vintage.



ell us your treasures and we may print them....

Today...Trish Walker


t the risk of sounding blasé, it is probably safe to say that the acknowledged treasures of the Hérault - the climate, the food, the wine, the scenery - are a given for those of us who live here or visit frequently. That’s not to say that they go unappreciated, but they simply form the background against which our daily lives are led. It’s often the more subtle pleasures that make more impact and make us stop and think how lucky we are to be here. These will be different for each individual, but here are a few ideas to get you thinking about yours. The fact that most people always say hello, acknowledging the presence of another human being in passing is a real feel-good actor. It’s a strange feeling to see a Mohican haircut dressed in an outfit of chains and ripped T-shirt wending its way towards you, only to be greeted with a polite smile and “Bonne soirée, Madame” as it passes. It’s easy to see how this charming habit became so deeply ingrained when you see a class of small children being taken out on a trip, with each child expected to stop and greet each person they pass. It can take quite some time to pass an Lac du Salagou

entire class, but I can think of worse ways of spending my time. When you think about it, our

mairies are remarkable For the next few weeks the area institutions. They will be transformed - the streets sometimes come in for in both towns and villages some stick, and it’s will be full of grape picking probably true that they vehicles. The caves vary from place to place cooperatives will be a scene of in terms of efficiency great excitement as each load and helpfulness. But to of grapes is tipped into the have such a facility right waiting containers and tested on the doorstep, even in for the potential alcoholic quite small villages, has content of that particular to be a huge community load – this is mainly because advantage. Where else could the vignerons are paid by the you go to ask for a bit of cave according to the strength photocopying to be done, of grape juice they produce. I to buy tickets for the local remember once asking at the festivities, to discuss planning local cave how the vendange permission, to report a straying was going and was given dog, to have a drain unblocked, straight from the fridge some to…well the list of what they of the juice from the do is endless. chardonnay grapes picked the In the same way, the service previous day. It was ice cold provided by mobile traders and delicious, a clear taste of enhances life and serves the pleasure to come. This is the community well in rural areas. kind of moment you never In a perfectly ordinary village forget. you can see on a regular weekly basis the vegetable Good manners.....excellent! lady, the cheese man, the horsemeat man, and the seller of shellfish from Bouzigues, the fishmonger and the butcher. Speaking as a grocer’s daughter, I know it’s a huge shame that the advent of the hypermarché has meant that many old-style corner shops have closed, but we are very lucky to still have such a range of services virtually outside our doors and it sometimes seems as if all human life could be sustained in this way. Now, this last one is more of During warmer months, I love a guilty pleasure than a hidden an evening picnic, arriving at gem, but let me share it with a favourite spot at dusk, just as you. What I love about local the sun is going down and after beaches is not just the sun, sea the last of the crowds has and sand but the churros stalls. disappeared? This is truly one There is nothing like sitting on of life’s simple pleasures in the beach munching a bag of the Hérault. The evening still these freshly cooked, crispy, warm, a hush descending, the sugary, doughnutty delights, water still inviting; and as you occasionally dipping them eat your picnic you can into-now here comes a really watch the sunset. shaming admission - a little tub Everyone, locals and of nutella. It’s great! You’re visitors alike, can enjoy covered in sand already so this experience and it’s all you need to do when you’ve easy to find your own finished is to wash the lot off in ideal spot. Mine is at the sea. Would that everything Lac Salagou, but I’m not in life were so simple! revealing exactly where! The Hérault still has Do you have a ‘Hérault many places where life is Treasure’… a neighbour, a centred on wine production. So favourite place or experience? the start of the annual vendange If so, please write to us at: (picking) is a very special time. 8

Herault based, award winning novelist

Fiona talks








riting a novel was easy. Until I got the first draft down on paper, then I had to learn that two thirds of the writing process is revision. I re-wrote to dramatise certain events, to answer questions from writer friends who read the fledgeling manuscript, and I re-structured the whole thing to reflect the psyche of the protagonist. Writers’ on MA Creative Writing courses in the UK are usually required to keep a journal (alongside writing a novel) reflecting on their writing process. Writing independently I didn’t keep a journal, but struggling to write a second novel, and returning in the same period of time to teaching creative writing, catapulted me into a serious and intense exploration of the process of writing. I went to seminars and presentations, read about other writers’ processes and lots of ‘how to’ books on creative writing. But I have learned most from observing the writers I teach. My conclusions : the successful writer’s process is as much about ways of seeing and being as it is about technique (and writerly ways of seeing and being CAN be learned); a process that works well will achieve a balance between left and right brain thinking, solitude and the kind of social activity (different for every individual) that stimulates writing, between plotting and writing into the unknown, between the adult and the child in the writer. When I begin any project I have lots of abstract ideas and questions in my head, ‘What is love ?’ for example, or ‘How does one create a sense of belonging ? ’ But abstract ideas are more likely to lead to essays than to stories. In practice my writing relies on concrete events, images, objects and characters as starting places. Sometimes I sit down to work knowing I’m going to continue the story from the point at which I left it yesterday. Sometimes I can’t do that, then I write what is in front of me until something comes up. Today it was a light left on in the sitting room of the house next door. Why it stimulated story I don’t know – perhaps the incongruity of it when the day was so light and bright. You can’t tell how your imagination works, but you can trust it.

Restaurant Review

Apicius Eats at..... Le Bistrot d’Ariane, Port Ariane. Lattes

A Gastro Bistrot Ensconced in Port Ariane, the snug marina of Lattes, the Bistrot d’Ariane offers you a chance to slip back into time. Although it has only been open since 1994 it would not look out of place a hundred years ago. There are lace curtains, a long wooden bar, marble - topped tables and plenty of empty wine bottles. But there is nothing whimsical or cute about it and truth be told I always enjoy sitting inside even though there is also a pleasant outside area for sunny afternoons where you can enjoy the view of whatever boats that are tied up there at the moment, be it a cabin cruiser or a converted Dutch barge. The 3- course luncheon menu (19.50 €) changes daily and is decided upon by either the chef or owners, and, of course, what looks good at the market. The day I was there that consisted of an aspic of hare with tomatoes and embedded olives topped by a parsley sauce followed by poached cod with some aioli, some carrots and a coupe of fresh pineapple with a delectable homemade lime sorbet for dessert. Nicely prepared and consisting of good ingredients this is the type of meal that is instantly appealing and was the one I saw passing me by with the most frequency. In fact, one of the positive qualities of the Ariane is that they don’t use anything but fresh ingredients and nothing is frozen. There are 2 other menus: one for 32 € and

Tel: 0467.200127 (closed Sun.)

another for 42 €. I chose for the former and started off with rolled hare filled with courgettes and carrots. It was wonderfully firm and had a nice bite to it with the accompanying grainy mustard sauce giving it a final touch of refinement. Next came a healthy slice of cochon noir, an interesting species of pig. The pork had no bone, no fat to speak of and had that intrinsic slightly smoky flavor that all good pork elicits. There was a deftly

added touch of honey- based sauce and this provided a nice counterbalance on the tongue; all in all, a simple but most satisfying plate. However, there was also a side dish of some mushroom filled raviolis. While they were nice enough I found the two together a bit strange and it would not have been my first choice of a vegetable. I would have opted for something green. My dessert was a light soup of fresh white peaches with some peach

sorbet floating on top. The sorbet and fresh peaches were really delicious but I found the soup a bit bland. A la carte choices range from salads, fish and a highly recommended steak with red wine sauce featuring beef from the Aubrac. If you think that it’s impossible to find a good steak in France, go there and you might just have to change your mind on that one. Christian and Caroline Curtet, the owners are profound wine lovers and this is reflected in the wine card. It shows a wonderful breath and depth displaying some of the best domains in the region, not to mention other areas in France. There are wines by the glass, different half bottles, bottles and even magnums. This is a watering hole for the serious wine drinker. I drank a red Laurus Noblis from the Domaine Calage Resseguier (24€) a small boutique producer that hits far above its weight. The wine had that wonderful earthy quality which allowed that elusive word “terroir” to come to the fore. In short, this is a restaurant that has transformed normal bistro grub and taken it up a few notches. Add friendly and efficient service, a free parking lot for customers and you have a winning formula. The result is that it’s always wiser to reserve especially for lunch when it fills up with business people as well as local residents.


---------------- Cut here ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Cut here -------------------You requested more so here we begin your cut out and keep guide to ............

French Cuts of Beef


trangely, for a nation that gleefully ages just about everything else (game, cheese, wine, bad pop musicians) the French have no tradition of dry-aging beef. Because it is not allowed to hang, French meat is often a brighter color than well-butchered British meat. It is also relatively fat-free compared with its American counterparts- and trimmed down to its very essence.

Steaks: • Bifteck/ steak - steak

• Filet - fillet

• Faux filet - Faux Fillet

• Romsteak/ rumsteak - rump steak

• Aloyau - sirloin

• Entrecôte - ribeye

• Tournedos- filet mignon - tenderloin steak is usually cut almost as high as it is wide. Vey tender *Paleron - chicken steak is a shoulder cut perfect for braising or stewing *Onglet - hanger steak has a ropy texture and a slight kidneyish flavor. Excellent for searing in a pan and excellent for marinading • Bavette – undercut or flank steak -it is cheap and comes from the skirt. Actually ather good and not that tough. • Steak à hacher - steak which is lean but not that tender. It is used for steak tartare and steak haché. Steak haché looks like a burger. *There is no such thing as porterhouse or T-bone as bones are generally avoided. *Any meat that says ‘à poêler’ means ‘for frying’. Other beef: • Tête de veau - rolled veal head, including the tongue. • Gîte à la noix)- topside 9

• Langue de bœuf - beef tongue. • Tranche grasse - silverside



he appellation of Faugères celebrated its 30th birthday earlier this year. There was a programme of festivities in April and May, but best of all was the annual fête in early July. The main street of the village of Faugères, la rue droite, is closed to traffic and you could wander up the street, glass in hand, tasting the latest vintage. It’s a great way to discover new wines and revisit old favourites. Faugères is a relatively small appellation, compared with neighbouring St. Chinian, with vineyards around the village of Faugères and six other little villages and hamlets, such as Fos, Roquessels, Caussiniojouls and Autignac. This is the Languedoc scenery at its finest, with the backdrop of the mountains of the Espinouse, and hillsides covered with garrigues. I love the drive to Faugères from Gabian - which could have been part of the appellation, but the mayor at the time said Non – a very short-sighted decision. The production of Faugères is dominated by its cooperative, but much more exciting wine comes from the growing number of independent producers, many of whom come from outside the region; from England, Australia, Ireland, Spain, Belgium, Champagne and Bordeaux The grape varieties of Faugères are the classic varieties of the Midi, namely Syrah, Grenache Noir, Carignan, and maybe Mourvèdre, while Cinsaut tends to be used for the small amount of rosé. There is


Rosemary George

also a tiny amount of white wine, from varieties such as Roussanne, Marsanne, Vermentino, and Grenache blanc. White wine only became part of the appellation in 2004. And the soil of Faugères is schist. Most wine growers will make two or even three different red wines; you start with the entry level, Cuvée Tradition, which is light and fruity, and aged for a few months in a concrete vat. The next level up will be richer and more concentrated, resulting from a stricter selection of the grapes, a lower yield and maybe some ageing in oak. Essentially Faugères is Midi sunshine in a glass, a lovely warm spicy wine, with a streak of tannin, and the scent and flavour of the garrigue that surrounds the vineyards. My favourite Faugères producers include Mas d’Alezon with two different cuvées, Presbytère which is mainly Grenache and Montfalette, with Syrah and Mourvèdre; Domaine de Cébène with les Bancels and Felgaria; Domaine des Fusionels, with l’Intemporelle and Le Portail from Domaine des Trinités. Jean-Michel Alquier (not to be confused with Frederic ) makes serious, long-lived wines, notably les Bastides and Maison Jaune: Domaine Ollier-Taillefer, one of the older estates, make three different red wines, les Collines for easy drinking. Grande Réserve and more substantial oak aged Castel Fosibus, while Domaine Binet-Jacquet and Domaine de Sarabande are among the new producers of this thriving appellation. Rosemary George M.W.


Not all change is for the better, but the changes in the vineyards of Languedoc in the last 10 years certainly have been. I suppose the biggest and most obvious to the naked eye is that there is 15% less area under vines now than then. Thanks to EU action and generous grants, thousands of hectares of vines have been grubbed up. Those landowners with the foresight (or sheer luck) who replaced them with corn are today reaping the dividends of massively increased prices due to the world’s shortage of grain. Other changes are not quite so obvious. There has been a significant change in the varieties now being cultivated: major reductions in the more traditional varieties and increases in varieties such as Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc. A lot of these were planted to meet the world demand for varietal wines. There is a myth spread by some traditionalists that this move to varietal production is eliminating the effect of “Terroir”. As if “Terroir” is not important to Merlot or Chardonnay, but is to Grenache and Mourvedre! The “Terroir” of Languedoc - that is its climate, its soils and its aspects - give the same huge advantages to all grape cultivation. Another colossal change has been about who produces our wines. A dramatic decrease in the proportion of poor quality cave cooperative produced wines with the number of caves reducing from around 250 to around 150. Those remaining have to face the reality of a consumer demand for quality. Some are succeeding! When I moved here 11 years ago having been involved in the wine trade since 1964, I tasted some of the worst wines of my life! Between April and August walking in the

countryside was a hazardous experience as these growers poured millions of litres of chemicals on to their vines and eliminated weeds with thousands of drums of Roundup. The staggering improvement in the quality of Languedoc wines was led initially by the independent vignerons, joined now by some of the cave cooperatives and the emerging importance of Negociant Eleveurs such as Paul Mas, Gerard Bertrand and Jean Jean. More recently the growing trend towards ‘Bio’ or ‘Organic wines’ has been given impetus this year by new EU regulations permitting the production of ‘Bio wines’ as against previously ‘Wines produced from Bio grown grapes’. A few years ago a tasting of Bio wines was not a pleasurable experience. Today there are some superb wines (still some awful ones as well!) and there is recognition that huge premiums in price are not realistic. Bio wines will grow in importance and significantly increase their share of the total Languedoc wine production. As for the changes in wine classifications with the emergence of AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protégée, which has replaced Appellation d’Origine Controllée) and IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée, which has replaced Vin de Pays) and other proposed changes, perhaps these are better left for a future article. Changes still needed: Less hypocrisy and more real environmental respect, particularly with regard of mission statements such as: “We respect the environment.” •An end to the ripping up of hedgerows in order to make machine-friendly, creature-less, sterile zones. •Improved marketing of the superb Languedoc wines and an end to the petty rivalries between the myriad of bureaucratic bodies. Perhaps the Languedoc regional government could start earning its corn! Let us all remember Languedoc is still the world’s largest vineyard and is key to the lives of everyone who lives here. 10

Business / Legal / News Institut National de la Propriété Intellectuelle (INPI)


rademarks play a fundamental role in protecting business and product names. In the event that another business copies a trading name for instance, the original business is left only with rights granted by the law with regards to protection against the tort of passing off. In France, trademarks are registered with INPI – Institut National de la Propriété Intellectuelle. Their mission is to protect and register brands (marques), company names (raisons sociales), patents (brevets), and technical drawings and designs (dessins et modèles). Registered trademarks are designed to help distinguish your goods or services from your competitors and therefore avoid confusion with other products or services. In other words, it protects against deceptiveness as to origin. It does not matter whether a trademark is represented as a logo, brand, signature, name, picture, shape, slogan, jingle, colour, word or otherwise, it performs the same function. The registration process will start by some recherches préliminaires – preliminary searches – whereby INPI will search their records for identical or similar brands or names, by geographical area and under various activity codes (classes). If a company or brand is identical to yours and operates under the same activity code, you will not be able to register under that name or brand. It may be wise to think ahead and out of the box and register under activities that competitors could otherwise register under and legally use as commercial leverage by associating themselves with your brand or name. The more classes you register under, the higher the cost however, which usually remains fairly affordable (a few hundred Euros) bearing in mind the potential long term



uring the hot summer weeks in France, it’s pretty difficult to think about tax, investments and financial planning. Our families are visiting, village fêtes are taking place and the mountains and beaches call. However, as appears to be common practice now, the government likes to propose changes to French taxes before MPs take their summer break.

and a child from €159,325 to €100,000.

On 17th August 2012, the draft supplementary budget for 2012 (Loi de Finances Rectfiicative 2012-II) became law. Included amongst the changes that have taken place are:

 An ‘exceptional contribution on wealth’ has been introduced for 2012, which will be payable by those households that are subject to wealth tax.  There are changes to the succession and gift tax regime, including the reduction in the inheritance allowance between a parent implications of your brand or design being protected. For more information and guidance please contact: INPI c/o Oséo
Arche Jacques Cœur
222, place Ernest Granier, 34967 Montpellier Cedex 2 (by appointment only) Tel.: 0 820 213 213
then option 4 (0,09 euro TTC/mn)
 Email: Website: Business Column by Alexandra Thevenet


 Social charges will now be payable by non-residents in respect of revenue from French property – both from capital gains and from rental income. To read more about these changes, please see the full article on the website at

If you would like to discuss how these changes may affect you, please contact Daphne Foulkes by telephone on + 33 (0)4 68 20 30 17 or by e-mail at Daphne Foulkes SIRET 522 658 194 00017 Numéro d’immatriculation ORIAS 10 056 800

L’allocation de rentrée scolaire increased by 25%


he financial support provided to parents of children heading back to school has been increased by 25%, as promised by François Hollande during his presidential election campaign. The allocation de rentrée scolaire is available to low income families and helps pay for the long list of items school children need when heading back to class in September. The funding is overseen by the Caisses d’allocations familiales (Caf) and provides up to €388.87 depending on the age of the child.

Gill Pound

Colin Trickett

In The Garden A

hot, dry summer as is usual for the region, but we have luckily had some rain during August. Normally we expect to get some rain in September and once we have some autumn rain we can think about autumn planting. For the vast majority of shrubs and perennials the autumn is the best time to plant – there is warmth and moisture in the soil and the plant starts to develop roots before the cold of winter, and in mild winters, may keep growing during the winter, thus producing a more established plant – better able to withstand dry winds and heat next summer. In general, the autumn planting season can start once we have had September rain and can extend until early December. Remember that when planting it is a good idea to dig a hole twice as deep and twice as wide as the pot, take this soil out and mix some of it with terreau de plantation or compost (organic material) and clean sand or gravel; use this mixture to give your plant a better start in life! Before planting fill the planting hole with water and allow it to drain away several times, this will ensure that there is moisture at depth for the roots to seek out. Whenever possible plant small-

plants rather than large specimens, they are less susceptible to wind rock, will establish faster and long term will result in healthier plants. If you haven’t yet done so now is the time to buy spring flowering bulbs from garden centres (jardineries) or by mail order, there are many online sources. I have found that anemones (De Caen hybrids and Anemone blanda), native Gladiolus communis and Scilla peruviana (which is a Med native despite the name) do well. Botanical or species tulips such as Tulipa greigii, kaufmaniana,

Nature Notes MIGRATION

saxatilis & fosteriana are particularly successful here as well. If you are looking for something a little more unusual have a look at www.bulbargence. com When buying bulbs make sure that what’s in the packet are firm, healthy looking bulbs with

SUMMER ENDS ON THE 15TH AUGUST! As I started to write this article on the 16th the sky was cloudless and the temperature rose above 30 C. I put on the French TV news and the main item was a Meteo France “chaleur” warning for the next 3 days, with the Mercury reaching between 38 C and 40 C in the Midi Pyrenees and the Auvergne and a lesser 34 C here in Languedoc. Although it sounds somewhat ludicrous, in many ways summer does end on the 15th August. It is certainly the beginning of the end for our wonderful summer visitors (no not those from abroad) but our feathered ones. Over the last week the Golden orioles, Rollers, Bee Eaters, Swallows and Greater Spotted Cuckoos have been gorging and gathering, ready for the off. Those iconic birds of Saint-Pons-de-Mauchiens, the Lesser Kestrels, are now departing and the only Hoopoos left are this year’s juveniles. So why, at the hottest period of the year and with an abundance of food, are they leaving? Evidence suggests that the biggest single influence is the length of the day with other contributing factors being barometric pressure and the strength and direction of the winds. For certain the big motivation is FOOD. That is what drives over two BILLION birds to make the hazardous 2500 K to 3500 K south to Western and sub Saharan Africa from Europe each year with about 10% not reaching their goal. They travel using traditional “Flyway” routes which vary by variety. Some fly by night, some by day, and they navigate using a mixture of inherent factors and magnetic, solar and atmospheric cues plus geographic landmarks. Most fly an average of 300k per day at an altitude of between 150 metres and 600 metres but recordings exist of birds at a staggering 6000 metres. It is a mind blowing feat and the great news is come next April, the vast majority will be back - Our harbingers of summer!

no signs of premature sprouting. During September think also about the following tasks: *continue to deadhead perennials to prolong the autumn show of flower *take cuttings of tender perennials such as geraniums (Pelargoniums strictly speaking) *prune late summer flowering shrubs *trim evergreen hedges *clip back lavenders after flowering – use hand shears and clip back to just above the old flowering stem, don’t cut back into old wood as the plant may not reshoot. One of my favourite groups of shrubs are the Abelias. This is a genus of about thirty species, mostly native to eastern Asia. Deciduous or evergreen, most grow to around 2m in height with a similar spread. They like full sun or half shade, average soil enriched with some organic material and are completely winter hardy here. Small tubular flowers, white or pink, are borne profusely – all are wonderfully scented and a magnet for insects and butterflies. Some of the best include Abelia x grandiflora and Abelia biflora which flower from August until October, the pink A. Edward Goucher, which flowers a little earlier and A. triflora which flowers in May.

At La Petite Pépinière this autumn we are offering our popular two day gardening course: An Introduction to Gardening in Summer Dry Climates: Wednesday 3rd (11–5pm) and Thursday 4th October (10-4pm) 2011 A two day course which is aimed at those relatively new to gardening in the Languedoc climate Course fee: 90 euros, including teas & coffees For more information contact Gill on 04 68 78 43 81 or email


Good Be To Young

Listening to right now: RIP - Rita Ora FADE INTO YOU - Mazzy Star ENJOY THE SILENCE - Depeche Mode WATI HOUSE - Sexion D Assaut

A PASSION FOR FASHION HT young journalist Zoe Snelling interviews fashion stylist

Anne de Chabaniex


have the opportunity to interview Anne de Chabaniex, a fashion stylist for Kenzo in Paris and New York, a writer for Elle Magazine, and today a painter living in Sète. Anne takes her ability to create to a whole new level. Looking through Anne’s portfolio I can see the colours she creates are stunning, vivid, and almost surreal. Her creations really do come to life. I get a view of her hard work and her pursuit in creating such splendor in everything she does. So tell me a bit about yourself. I was born in the south of France. My father was an artist, a painter and a potter. I moved to Paris at the age of 5. I did a year of preparation at a workshop before going to the “école nationale des arts décoratifs” at the age of 17. Everyone in my family loves to paint and film. But I left the “école nationale des arts décoratifs” after two years because I wanted to start earning money and become more independent. As for my interests, painting, I’ve always loved to paint. How did you enter the world of fashion? My first ever job was a fabric designer. I worked with a magnificent artist who was also a painter. There I could paint and create anything I liked. Two years later, in 1964, a lady working for Elle magazine approached me and asked me if I would like to work as an assistant for Elle. And there I became assistant to a Russian fashion journalist, spending 4 years at the magazine learning the ropes and working on Fashion reports. Where did you work after Elle? I stopped work at Elle after my first son Thomas was born. After 3 years away, I

started working at a style workshop for two women where we made stylish clothes out of inexpensive fabric. I stopped working again after I had my second son Jeremy, and then moved onto a new magazine that launched in 1968 called “100 Idées”. It covered cooking, gardening and fashion. Naturally, I was in charge of the fashion section and came up with clothes designs that people could make at home. I worked there for 10 years before moving to the Kenzo brand in 1978. When did you realise you wanted to work in fashion? I have always loved fashion. My grandfather worked at Jaques Patres, and during my childhood visits to my grandparents there would always be Vogue and other fashion magazines lying around. We would talk about fashion all the time, so I was totally impregnated by that universe. What are the personality traits that best fit with the fashion industry? First of all, you have to be a very hard worker, and have a lot of energy. Fashion is an extremely hard industry; earning money’s hard, and there’s an enormous amount of pressure, so you need a lot of tenacity, but also be passionate about what you do. I would be on my feet for so long they would bleed. What was Kenzo like? Kenzo has a very interesting story. After finishing fashion school in Tokyo he moved to Paris without speaking a word of French and with no money. Kenzo’s first designs started because he could only afford to buy his fabric from flea markets. He is a very easy character, and he liked to have fun at work, he laughed a lot. He was very likeable, and never harsh; he was a very kind and friendly man to work with. Who are some of your favorite designers? Oh, there are lots; I like a lot of designers. But mostly Jean-Paul Gauthier, and Vivienne Westwood, I think she has an extraordinary personality. And I think Gauthier is one of the

Anne with Zoe

greats; he renews himself every year, even after years of work in the same industry. How would you define your personal style? I think it’s a bit of a mixture, I like all the ethnic inspirations, my style isn’t at all formal, and I tend to mix loads of different cultures together, my style is just a mixture. What steps does someone have to take in France to break into the Fashion industry? Well, you have to have a certain talent. When I was getting into Fashion, I didn’t pass my baccalaureate; I passed an exam on the same level as the bac. These days everybody has to pass their bac. You need to go deep inside yourself and find what you really love to do. If you do things from your heart you can make things happen. But, going to a dedicated fashion school is the best way to break into fashion. How does living in Sete compare to Paris and New York? It doesn’t. Sète is relaxing and since I’m a painter it’s important to have that light and nature around you and after having worked hard it’s nice to paint in a pleasant climate. Sète is a very vibrant village, with a lot of inspiration. You’ve had an amazing career, have you enjoyed all of it and what was the highlight of it all? There were always good moments wherever I was working. But at “100 Idées” was always very pleasant, because we were all friends, working together, which made it very lovely. At Kenzo, it was very difficult physically but the possibility of creation was enormous, and it was great working with the best sketchers, stylists, the best fabrics, it was magnificent.

September 12 On this day the 15,000 to 17,000 year-old Lescaux cave paintings were discovered near Montignac 13

With the rentrée already upon us, educationalist Hugh MacCamley considers the merits and demerits of the French education system in part I of this two part feature.


wo years ago, in August 2010 Peter Gumbel set out his opinions about French education in a book entitled “On achève bien les écoliers”. The book added fuel to the smouldering debate over the state of French education as it stands today. In his essay he claimed that French education was a negative experience for its children and that it was out of step with the rest of the world. This is not the first work to lay claim to the belief that one pedagogical system is better than another for a set number of reasons. Over the years in my 34 years as a teacher working in many different cultures I have come to understand that each system has its own merits and demerits. In short, the education conundrum is not as clear cut as Peter Gumbel would have us believe. First, we need to have a brief look at the general philosophy of French education before we go further. This emphasises the authority of the teacher; individual competition (‘concours’) including an absolute grading system (no grading ‘on the curve’); stress

on analyticalthought and rote learning as opposed to creativity; and generally high academic expectations. The French don’t necessarily expect their children to have ‘fun’ at school. Sports are encouraged but organised by community associations, not by the schools. Teachers are civil servants and go on strike as and when they deem necessary. Those of us with children in them have noticed this particular characteristic.

Beating the Education Drum Obviously, there are criticisms of this philosophical approach and it is in this context Peter Gumbel and others make their opinions known. Certainly, the system does have its problems but France is not alone in this. Looking at some headlines concerning the education systems in other countries in recent years can help us to reflect a little more rationally, I suggest. “British Education: A Failure? Are we too thick to realise the world isn’t flat?” by Niall Ferguson, 21st January 2007. In this article, Ferguson paints a very stark picture of declining numeracy and literacy rates in the UK in spite of all the money ploughed into the education system over the years. Quoted OECD (2005) statistics illustrate many British adults are semi-literate and thus unemployable. Another article in The Observer by Anushka Asthana in October 2010 states, “Britain’s divided schools: a disturbing portrait of inequality” looks at fairness in British schools and beyond. The report, for those of us who have read it, is a shocking indictment of a system breeding systemic underdevelopment and social disadvantage in many children caused by poverty, ethnic origin and bullying. In the USA, the education system appears to be in terminal decline with rising teacher unemployment; slashed budgets; massive school intakes related to immigration and the increasing numbers of political battles being waged by various non-concerned minority organisations interfering with teaching in the classroom. The following documentary is typical these days

have favourable educational reviews, in contrast. For example, Holland and Germany seem to score highly when it comes to how far students benefit from their educational systems. There must be some shortcomings but, generally speaking, standards appear to be well-monitored. Dutch expertise has also had some input into the national monitoring standards being adopted in Australia. Nevertheless, some reports indicate typical rising student disrespect for teachers in the classroom and increasing disruption in-class in some sectors: in Holland, for example, Herman G. van de Werfhorst et al. report on these phenomena. Benjamin Disraeli, the British Prime Minister in the late 19th century claimed that there were lies, damn lies and statistics. Therefore, with this in mind and with the statistics of the various arguments put forward by numerous critics, the OECD in its Better Life Index (2012) on Education places France 26th and UK 25th on their index of 36 countries. This will be explored in closer detail in the next edition. Significantly, we find Finland and Japan top of the list while EU countries such as Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain lag behind France and the UK. The headlines and the reports go on endlessly. Suffice it to say here that while some important areas for improvement in the French education system have been outlined in several places, it is all too easy to use comparative analysis to grind the axe one wishes to fashion. However, this is often done at the expense of objective accuracy. Therefore, as a parent with five children in the state school system in France and as a British-trained teacher personally it appears important to take a wider perspective on education. Also, with the experience of a number of education systems in various cultural and socio-economic settings, I feel it is essential to take account of a greater number of factors than many critics of tch?v=m98tBFJ0teY

Within the EU, several countries 14

education are prepared to do when they take on the mantle of “expert critic” with a number of ready-made solutions for education posing as the ultimate panacea. In the first place, it is agreed here that in the French system there is certainly room for reform. It is also accurate to note that whoever takes this on as an issue with intent to carry through a programme of change is going to face a stronger type of opposition in France than British governments have done since they grasped the nettle in the 1960s. Certainly, under the current socialist government nothing is going to happen soon apart from adding another complement of teachers trained in the old competitive system of the Certificat d’Aptitude des Professeurs à l’Education Supérieur (CAPES) much criticized by Peter and others. Furthermore, such a platform of change if and when it comes does not have to follow the British mode followed by many countries around the world. This is so because successive British governments have turned education into a type of political football imposing change upon change, committing many fundamental errors in the process. This is not to claim that British education is in a state of chaos as this would be false. It has admirable structures and some worthy values. However, as it currently stands it is not a system to copy wholesale. Neither is it a model that necessarily propagates creative and critical thinkers. There are certainly political and cultural constraints

Horsing Around with Kitty FitzHerbert

Now is a great time to take up or go back to riding as the regular activities offered by riding centers are now gearing up for the rentrée. So get down to your local stables and find out what is on offer, you are sure to get a warm welcome.


ave the Olympics inspired you to take up a new sport? You may not realise that there are over 150 riding stables in the Hérault, offering lessons or rides for all ages. Horse riding in France is governed by the Federation Francaise d’Equitation (FFE), which oversees standards of teaching and animal care. All aspects of the sport are carefully regulated, resulting in excellent facilities and potential for enjoyment at all levels. Regular riding lessons revolve around membership of a pony club – i.e. riding stables. You pay an annual subscription and then book a year’s worth of lessons that run from September to July. You can usually pay in installments. Lessons run for 90 minutes and include non-riding activities – grooming, tacking up and pony care. Most lessons take place on Wednesday and Saturday and riders of the same ability and experience are put together in a group at the same time every week. This way the group progresses together, year by year. Proficiency levels are determined using the over-arching aptitude system called “Les Galops”. Starting at Galop 1 and going up to Galop 7, the Galops provide a framework of learning for riding ability, horse and pony care and horse knowledge. The objective is

to achieve a new Galop level each year and there is an exam with practical and theory sections. There is no obligation to take the exams, but even without the exam and just by knowing your Galop ability you can ride at the most appropriate level for you anywhere in France. Most clubs will ask each rider take out an FFE license, which provides a comprehensive insurance package and also gives the right to compete. Competitions run at all levels and activities are usually on Sundays. Teaching methods for the first few Galops emphasise fun and confidence building. At my club, The Reganel, the directrice makes a point of explaining that they play a lot of games on horseback. Games can involve anything from Hi-and lo-fiving the teacher as you ride past for beginners, to playing ‘Robin Hood’ for the more experienced riders, involving cantering, jumping and picking up objects while on the move. The majority of clubs take the same approach to teaching. The system results in clubs being like families. They are very inclusive with regular activities for members and it is very easy to make friends at the same time as enjoying our wonderful Hérault countryside.

‘The Old Nag’s’ blog is on the Hérault Times website



(continued from page 14) upon this idea which are apparently ignored by those who think British education is the model par excellence. One of the most controversial issues in the last generation in UK has been the so-called SATS or Standard Attainment Targets. This tests students at four different age levels for specific skills according to agreed developmental criteria. It is also heavily criticised. For example, it is claimed children are drilled for the tests at each key stage almost like robots.

For language writing tests any creativity is crushed since answers have to please the expectations of the system making them. Generally speaking, any really thoughtful and understanding educator knows such tests above are inaccurate measures of a child’s ability and they have the effect of standardizing classroom teaching making it predictable. It is also stating the obvious that not all children have the same abilities at the same age level for any particular subject. 15

This is the consequence of dated thinking about the educational psychology of learners. Is this not the sort of weakness some critically identify in the French system? Therefore, bearing the above in mind, we have to ask ourselves, what changes do we need to see in France’s education model to bring about a more effective system? I would like to explore this and related issues a little further in the next edition of “The Herault Times”.

Days Out

Exploring the Hérault.

La Forêt Domaniale des Ecrivains Combattants (The Forest of Writer Soldiers)


ore like a garden of trees than a sprawling, ancient forest, La Foret Domaniale des Ecrivains Combattants (The Forest of Writer Soldiers) was created in remembrance of writer soldiers who died during World War I. Situated in the massifs of CarouxEspionouse, the cool and calm of the forest draws one through the now mature woodland – some paths rustic and others suitable for wheelchairs and buggies. On the top, in a clearing, a sculpture of the Croix de Guerre by Paul Moreau-Vautier bears the names of the writers who perished. Following Just a few of the many writers.... the destruction wrought by catastrophic flooding across large areas of south west France in 1930, the state decided that it would have to re-forest Les Massifs in order to curb the running waters. Emmanuel Bourcier, himself a writer and soldier, had the idea to re-forest the area in memory of writers who had lost their lives in World War I. He was supported by Francisque

Lacarelle, a horticulturalist, who donated 10 thousand cedar trees in memory of a close friend and writer killed in combat. Later writers who died in the Second World War were added to the list of remembrance. On the subject of unknown writers killed, Roland Dorgelès wrote: « We could have chosen for that purpose illustrious writers […]but it seemed to us more just to honour the young, those less known, novices, who were survived by only a few dispersed pages: those on which I said one day they spilled little ink, but all of their blood.” Getting there: Take the road heading north into the hills from Le Poujol-Sur-Orb – follow the signs in Le Poujol for ‘Foret’ a nd ‘Combes’.

Ha ha ha ha

WIN ha....

To each his own bouc émissaire (“scapegoat”, literally, meaning “the butt of a joke”):

Fou D’Anglais Clermont L’Herault Grocery Shop Tea Room 04 30 40 29 54

For a long time, les Anglais (the English) picked on les Irlandais (the Irish); the Americans on their “Southerner” Rednecks; the Egyptians on their own version of “Southerners”, so to speak, the Sa’idis (From la Haute-Égypte, or Upper Egypt); les Canadiens on their Newfies (the inhabitants of Newfoundland)—and les Français -in case you managed not to know this yet- on their “upstairs” neighbours, les Belges (Belgians)! 16

To WIN a copy of Chabname Zariâb’s book ‘Le Pianiste Afghan’ answer the following question: What is Chabname’s mother tongue?


WIN 2 Bottles of Veuve Clicquot Champagne courtesy of FIAT What does FIAT stand for?


WIN 2 Cinema Tickets in Montpellier Tell us who played Scarlett O’Hara? ***


All entries to:



ow would you, either as a local resident or a visitor, like to go for an easy walk through some of the most stunning scenery this area has to offer? As you pass through lovely old wine domains or wander through the garrigue with distant views of pine forests and the Etang de Thau, you would know that you are helping to raise funds for a significant local charity. Interested? Then read on. Cancer Support France (CSF), which offers support to English speaking cancer patients, their families and friends, is holding a Walk for Life on Sunday, 30th September at Bessilles Park just outside Montagnac on

the RD5. There you can join a walk of either 13.5km or 6km. Registration for the longer walk starts at 9h and for the shorter one at 10h. People are invited, where possible, to register in advance by requesting a copy of the registration form by email at or by phone on 04 67 44 74 06, and returning it by post, or by scanning it and sending it by email. Full details are available on the CSF Languedoc website following the links. A minimum donation of 5€ per walker will be required on arrival for the walk. You are also invited to obtain sponsorship if you would like to. A Sponsorship form is automatically sent out with the registration form. Please remember that this is not a race or competition but a relaxing, companionable walk. Some people come alone or with their dog, some walk in small or large groups, perhaps participating in

Who is a kinésithérapeute?


kinésithérapeute /kiné (in English, ‘Kinesiologist’), is someone who specialises in the study of human movement. Although people in this field can apply their training in a number of ways, in France the majority of kinesiologists work with physical and rehabilitation specialists to help people recover from physical trauma and surgery, using their

Biomedicine and Pharmaceuticals in Montpellier


s a city with two universities in science and technology, Montpellier has one of the oldest Faculties of Medicine in Europe and students today make up a quarter of the city’s population. This reservoir of highly-educated personnel has given rise to a unique critical mass of universities, research institutes and multinational and start-up businesses which often work together on research and development projects. Montpellier’s reputation as a major research and development centre for the Biomedical and

Pharmaceutical industries dates back to the creation of the city’s Faculty of Medicine in 1220 one of the oldest in Europe. Today, Montpellier maintains her status as a major European centre of excellence in Biomedicine and the Life Sciences. The three main biomedical research areas in Montpellier are AIDS, Cancer and Diabetes. In addition, Montpellier has more than 100 public and private research laboratories working in fields such as Molecular and Cellular Biology, Human Genetics and Neurology.

Trivia Times......12 September The HT is available on the 12th of every month........... 2009 - Apple iTunes Music Store reached 1.5 billion songs sold 1995 - Jeremy Brett, actor Sherlock Holmes dies. 1990 - “Les Miserables,” opens at Cirkus Theater, Stockholm 1977 - South African activist Steve Biko is killed in police custody. 1953 - Sen John F Kennedy, 36, marries Jacqueline Bouvier, 24 1943 - Free French lands on Corsica 1859 - Florence Kelly - American social and political reformer born 490BC - The Battle of Marathon. The Athenians and their Plataean allies, defeat the first Persian invasion force of Greece. 17

memory of a loved one. The choice is yours. Once you have finished walking there will be a lunch available at the park cafe for 12€ including wine and coffee, but you must book in advance, or there is plenty of space to enjoy a picnic in the park if you prefer. Everybody is welcome, members of CSF, their families, friends, visitors to the area. CSF is entirely reliant on donations and fund-raising and without the funds raised by this walk and other fund-raising activities CSF would not be able to continue its work for the Anglophone community in this area, so “venez nombreux” as the French would say. Remember, all details are available on our website. *Please note that CSF Drop in days will be held at Cat and Stephen Hartleys house until January 2013. Info: 0467 44 87 06

training in human movement to develop an exercise programme and to help the patient retrain his/her body to cope with an injury. The official body recognised under the French public health act is called ‘L’Ordre des Masseurs Kinésithérapeutes.’ Over 80% of kinesiologists in France work independently or as part of medical centres, both private and public. For more information or to find a Kinesiologist in Hérault please go to:


nW O s ’ t a


What’s On Where *** SAINT GUILHEM THE DESERT 19:30 - Organ Concert with Marie-Cécile Lahore (Montpellier) - Abbey Gellone Admission is free. *** A la découverte des sports cyclistes 2012 Lunel 08h30 Lunel bike have organised a day of discovery for sports cyclists. The programme includes a village welcome, a family bike ride route VTT and a nocturnal ride (booking required). l’Allée Baroncelli Javon, Lunel Info : 06 21 92 10 31 ; *** La Croisade (épisode 2) by the Groupe OC Wednesday 12 September Chabaud – Fauve et Expressioniste Sète Musée Paul Valery Exhibition runs until 28 October Open every day except Monday (10h-18h) Entry 7€ (free for children under 10, 3€ minors) *** Heure du conte avec Laurence ChenouVerant Lézignan la Cèbe 10h, bibliothèque de Lézignan la Cèbe, Laurence Chenou- Verant. Free for library members. Info: 04 67 09 98 40 *** To Rome with Love (Woody Allen) Open air, organised by the Le Molière municipal cinema 21:00 – 22:30 Pézenas Butte du Château Free entry Thursday, 13 September Ged Mulheran Sextet (Jazz) 21:00 – 23:00 Pézenas Butte du Château, Open Air Entrance 10€ Info: ville de Pézenas

Valros 21:30 – 23:30 Music, projections, lights, tells the story of how Occitan civilisation rose from the ashes Info: 04 67 98 10 79 Sunday, 16 September, Air d’opera de Mozart, Puccini, Verdi, Massenet, Rossini Roujan 18:00 – 21:00 Abbaye de Cassan. Gersende Pomier soprano, Véronique Masset piano *** SAINT PARGOIRE Sunday, September 16 11.30: visit of the church 16h30: workshop singing in the church 17:30 Ariana concert with the Ensemble in the Church Info: 04 67 90 16 79

Saturday, 15 September Fete de Olé Béziers 12:00 – 23:30 Chapelle de Bayssan Musicians, actors, artists, writers, dancers will enchant your eyes and your ears.

Tuesday, 18 September « Babyloon » Bistro du Theatre de Pierres FOUZILHON 21:00 – 23:30 Théâtre et ballons... Bistrot du THEATRE DE PIERRES 06 88 61 26 01 ; 3 rue des remparts, 34480, FOUZILHON

*** GIGNAC Visit hydroelectric dam Meuse 10h to 12h or 14h to 16h. Meeting in front of the camp of the Meuse (road Aniane) More: Gignac Energy 04 67 57 52 30 04 67 57 52 30

Friday, 21 September “Le Brame du Cerf” Olargues Conference on life in the forest, followed by an outing into the forest of Monts d’Orb Infos: 0 4 67 97 88 00; *** 18

First World Cup Tambourin tournament Gignac 20h30 Organised by the Fédération Française de Jeu de Balle au Tambourin this event takes place on 21/22/23 September, with participating teams from Brazil, Italy Spain, Catalonia and France. Gignac Esplanade *** Feria d’Automne Palavas-les-Flots Arènes Feria runs 21/22/23 September Info : 0 4 67 50 39 56 Saturday, 22 September Rencontre avec Debussy + Trio Esquisse Agde 18:30 – 23:00 Agde Maison des Savoirs. Claude Debussy, nature source d’inspiration. 18h30, rencontre avec l’œuvre de Debussy par Eric Druart. 21h, Trio Esquisse, Héloïse Dautry harpe, Isabelle Menessier flûte, Orianne Baud cor. Wednesday, 26 September Les Chapiteaux du livre Béziers Domaine de Bayssan 5 day event, starting on Wednesday 26th September – celebration of the book and writing, organised with theatre SortieOuest. Conferences, literary meetings, publisher’s room, performances and many free workshops. Saturday, 29 September SEPTEMBERFEST, Beer Festival Béziers Festivities and German food and beer Info: 0 4 67 36 74 18


nW O s ’ t a


What’s On Where

Saturday 08 September – Saturday 13 October 2012 Saturday, 29 September Volver a Volar Loupian 18h30 L’Espace o25rjj – Lieux d’Art Contemporain chez l’Habitant à Loupian (34) a l’honneur de vous proposer une... 5ème COMPOSITION Espace o25rjj Ana Matey : « Volver a volar » début du processus performatif 19H15 – Chapelle St Hippolyte (à 5mn à pieds de l’Espace o25rjj) Karin Elmore : « Exercices noirs #1 » jeu chorégraphique et plastique 20H00 – Espace o25rjj Ana Matey : « Volver a volar » suite et fin du processus performatif. Friday, 5 October

Carmen Maria Vega Du chaos naissent les étoiles Serignan La Cigalière 13 2012 - 21H Saturday, 6 October Festivals de Littérature « Automn halles 2012 Sète Halles de Sète Two day festival welcoming 60 writers. Jean-Noël SCHIFANO Ecrivain Français, traducteur notamment d’Umberto ECO, est surtout et avant tout “Napolitain” de cette ville où il a vécu de nombreuses années. Il a

For a full listing of What’s On please visit


enseigné dans les principales universités du sud de l’Italie et a dirigé l’Institut Français de Naples de 1992 à 1998. Naples est depuis trente ans source de vie et de création pour Jean-Noël SCHIFANO. Naples est dans tous ses livres depuis 1981. Directeur de collection chez Gallimard, il est également auteur de cinq romans, entre autres récits et essais. All Information on What’s On is available by visiting:

NEIGHBOURS MARTINE’S STORY text by Dick Fowler Talk to a neighbour and you discover a story. I recently met Martine, married to Jean-Paul. Martine’s father, Florent, fled from the German invasion of Belgium in 1940 and arrived in the Languedoc with six

other family members. Florent was just 13. At the time, George Rouart, Florent’s father, was away in the Belgian army. It was his courageous wife Elise who undertook the adventure, not forgetting a good supply of Florent’s favourite Belgian chocolates.

Cousins of the family in Belgium had a fruit and veg business with contacts in Spain and, vitally, a camionette. It took a week to travel south in the grocery van; and after a strafing only seven reached Béziers. The maire of Béziers contacted his counterpart in St Nazaire de Ladarez, who arrived with a bus and took them to their new home. The maire, Ernest Vidal, had two daughters Lucette, 20 and Annette, 10. It was Lucette who spotted Florent and his family on Les Allées. The family went home to Belgium in 1942 but they didn’t forget their stay in St Nazaire. Florent returned in 1945. Seven years later he married the younger Annette. They lived in Belgium and had Marie-France, Martine and Jean Louis. When Annette died in 1992, Florent brought her back to be buried in France, where he remained in Laurens. Martine now lives in the Languedoc with Jean-Paul and runs the Vent D’Ange gîte in Laurens. They came to Aigues Vives, just over the hill from St Nazaire, a stone’s throw from where Martine’s parents had first met in those troubled times. Recently I called on the present maire of St

Nazaire to find out more about Ernest Vidal. “Du droit. He was maire from ’32 to ’44. St Nazaire took in quite a few Belgians,” he told me. The marble quarry and the vines often provided employment to outsiders, including many Spaniards in good and bad times. George Villebrun, 82, was 10 when Florent and his family arrived and clearly remembers seeing them in front of the church, haggard and exhausted from their flight. George visited Belgium where he discovered there are many others here linked in the same way.


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What’s in a a name....

Sue Hicks continues her look into the history of Street names


treet names in France sometimes include additional information, for example a date of birth or occupation. Voltaire’s name plate stands alone with no first name, no dates or reminders of who he was. A prolific playwright, historian, essayist, poet, philosopher, scientist manqué, letter writer and campaigner for liberty, his life story reads like a racy novel. Born Francois-Marie Arouet in 1694 during the reign of Louis XIV, the Sun King, he was educated at the Jesuit College Louise-le-Grand and then began writing while mixing with a lively libertine aristocratic group who appreciated his wit. The 24 year old fell foul of the authorities, not for the first time, with a satirical verse about the Regent and spent many months

Once again, Voltaire fled, this time near Nancy where he lived with a married woman until her death in 1749. He then accepted an invitation to the court of Frederick the Great but within two years had fallen out with his host and fled. Banned from returning to Paris by Louis XV and realising that he must always live where he could flee when required he settled near the Swiss/French border with his niece who was thought also to be his mistress. In 1759 Candide, or Optimism was published and immediately banned as subversive in France. It became a best seller throughout Europe. A naive Candide doggedly believes his tutor Pangloss that he lives in the best of all possible worlds (a satire on Leibniz’s philosophy) even when faced with injustice, suffering and despair in his travels in Europe

in the Bastille. His first play Oedipus was a success and he began to call himself Voltaire. Following a dispute with a nobleman in 1725, he chose exile in England rather than a return to prison. In England for three years, he was much stimulated by his observations of the workings of the constitutional monarchy of George 1 and impressed by the freedom

and the New World. He retreats to a farm in Turkey and concludes, “We must cultivate our gardens.” It is in this work that Candide observes that the English like to shoot an admiral from time to time pour encourager les autres – a reference to Admiral Byng, executed for not having engaged to the utmost with the (French) enemy. Voltaire railed against intolerance throughout his life. For fear of prosecution, many of his witty and satirical accounts of social, religious and

of speech and religion. Back in France, he published Philosophical Letters on the English in 1733 which were seen as a direct criticism of France, condemned and publicly burnt. Voltaire’s career as a celebrity dissident had begun.

political misdeeds were published, at great risk to publisher and bookseller too, under a variety of pen names. Voltaire championed


unjustly persecuted people amongst them Jean Calas a Huguenot tortured, convicted, tortured again and executed for the murder of his son allegedly to prevent him from becoming a Roman Catholic. Voltaire took up the case and the conviction was eventually annulled. Another Huguenot, Sirven was condemned for the death of his daughter, fled and obtained the support of Voltaire who said, “It took two hours to condemn him and

nine years to recognise his innocence.” Voltaire has been called the first French intellectual engage. Voltaire was much visited in his exile and was called Europe’s inn-keeper. In 1778, with the ill-fated Louis XVI now on the throne, the 83 year old Voltaire returned to Paris for the opening of his latest play Irene

but died within weeks. During the French Revolution, Voltaire’s remains were moved to the Pantheon where the words, “He taught us to be free “ were engraved. Voltaire is remembered in several famous aphorisms. He did say, “If God did not exist we would have to invent him” but “I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it” is a paraphrase of his views by SG Tallentyre. While only Candide continues to be much read, La Poste list Voltaire as the tenth most frequently used street name which keeps his name alive throughout France.


elcome to the art pages of The Herault Times.

All articles are taken from the bi-lingual Visual Arts magazine L’Artiste or the L’Hérault Art website. Please visit us at or If you have an exhibition or art event and would like to see it on these pages please drop us a line at All exhibitions are online at

I love you.

iPad Art

I do you know.

The next generation of affordable art.........

When I look at you I feel special, i feel alive. I have a tingling in my body that seems to emanate from the core of my being.

Today I purchased a piece of art from the internet. It was a pretty piece, part colourist, part abstract expressionist, part surrealist that made me look again. The artist is known if you read a little on art. The price was reasonable and within 4 minutes of deciding to buy it I had it and I never left home. I have just purchased my first piece of ‘Tablet’ Art or to give it it’s more common name......iPad Art. Am I happy? Yes, but in a different way to normal. This Art is immediate, normally simplistic which is charming for me and I am not worrying about it being stolen.....or being held as a pawn in a kidnappers game. Why? Because I bought the limited print and then downloaded my original as a wallpaper for my smartphone. 125€ and I have an original for my wall and a reminder on my phone.....Welcome to the Future. Below are examples of iPad Art. (more coming next month).

You make me proud. I walk with a confidence and an inner knowledge of a secret that only we two know.

You make me cry sometimes. But my tears are not for sorrow but of the unimpaired pleasure that being with you gives me.

I feel no hatred, i feel no


I am calm. At ease. Taken into the bosom of your story, enveloped to feel as you do and yet always with a differing view.

You are always reasonable. You never take sides and when

i need you there is never hesitation.

And now your readers know what it is like for me to look at a piece of art.

Any art. Stop to look at art with open eyes. The people and the organisations are unimportant. What matters is the unifying and openness of Art across all colours, creeds and religions. J N Sapilon ‘I love Art’ Mexico City 29th August 2012 for Gatsby Peace

Clockwise from top: David Abse Toby Mulligan David Hockney Toby Mulligan


Wine L ht as a ig


eople do not want to get drunk while enjoying wine – that was the premise of Francoise and Vincent Pugibet when they set about creating a low alcohol wine. They argued that the combination of global warming, new grape varieties and improved culture has meant the wine in Herault has been getting stronger by about 1% a decade. Some wines they point out are now as strong as sherry or Port – which might be one reason


people are tending to drink less, what with health worries and the recent introduction of self-breathalyser kits. So they set about to make a lighter “lunch time” wine, eventually settling on a system of reverse osmosis and a “still” to bring the wine down to 9%. (The useful by-product is ethanol which can be added to petrol). The father and son team proved their point that high alcohol wines deter drinking when their Plume wine was chosen for the Beziers Feria where around 12,000 bottles are normally sold. The year Plume was selected the figures soared to a massive 23,000 bottles. That was ten years ago and since then production has grown at over 20% each year, with around half of the million bottles now being treated to bring the alcohol

level down to 9%. The wine requires good quality grapes because much of the softness and depth of a wine is held in the alcohol – so the wine they start out with has to be good quality. Recently the White Plume – a Chardonnay – won a Silver Medal against worldwide competition. With increasing vigilance by the police and gendarmes, Plume might be the answer to many a drivers prayer. You can check the taste for yourself and enjoy a special Herault Times discount of 10% by visiting their cave – La Colombette on the Bedarieux road a few kilometers out of Beziers. Words: Robin Hicks

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I can’t help it, I love houses. So says Kiff Backhouse The HT chose to feature, support and promote artists on our covers and for the last three issues we are proud to have had Kiff Backhouse. But Kiff is more than an artist, he is also a professional property photographer some of these tales, she rolls her eyes! Houses through the lens What an album I’d have if I’d photographed those houses. Or would I? No doubt, the photos would have been good enough K, so I love looking at houses. I’ve lived to remind me of their features and be a partner in many. Thanks to my father’s career in to my tales, but the time of the DSLR was not the Navy with various postings all over the upon us all those years ago. world, we were regularly moving somewhere As a professional property photographer, I new. feel lucky to be doing something I love. All these years later, my wife knows each of I approach each shoot with my own mix of those houses by name. She knows what was equipment, photography experience and a special to me about them and which of them I passion for property. I use a professional was particularly sad to leave. camera, a variety of lenses and a I tell her about a grand archway leading to comprehensive range of lighting equipment. the courtyard of the converted coach house Part of this fabulous job is to wander through from the 19th century. I describe elaborate, properties and really look at them. And that’s high ceilings of another with its Victorian style exactly how I start each shoot – with a wander. veranda, a work of architecture in metal and From experience, I know which angles are glass. As we now live in the summer heat here going to work best for which shots. I also have in the Hérault, we fantasise about my tales a knack for seeing facets of the property that of cool and airy rooms of the timber framed get missed if you’re too familiar with it. I can Scandinavian home! see its potential, its appeal. The tempting view And yes, sometimes when I start recounting



of a pool through palm fronds, the impressive beams that have been lovingly restored, the summery bowl of fresh Mediterranean fruit. You get the picture (excuse the pun). After the shoot comes the post processing which, I am keen to impress, is not all about photoshopping. To me, the idea of enhancing images through too much touching up is misleading. My preferred approach is to use a relatively new technique in digital photography. Broadly speaking, it’s more to do with taking several photos of the same shot, each one with different settings, and then layering them together. This technique increases the tonal range of a photo and hence gives a greater depth of detail. The result is photos that very closely resemble what you would see with your own eyes if you were wandering around the property in person. My aim is to capture the character of the property, to reveal its charm. If I can create a feeling of what it might be like to be inside that property, to experience it through the photos, then I’m happy.

DANCE Montpellier places dance at the centre of its cultural landscape…with hundreds of young dancers graduating every year, the city welcomes cutting edge choreography, exchange projects and internationally acclaimed dancers and dance companies throughout the year… The HT takes the lid off the bubbling Montpellier dance pot and meets director Anne-Marie Porras and dancer/choreographer Didier Barbe at one of Montpellier’s successful dance schools....


“Based on accents soft and present, a dense energy emerges from an inner journey, tracing a dance of contrasts, conveying unison and continuity, the echo of movement in the curve. The balance realised in the arc of the spiral, draws in the space a freedom of expression, the poetry of feeling” Anne-Marie Porras”



Crédits photos: Frédéric Rouverand

he initiative of director Anne-Marie Porras, Epsedanse opened its doors in 1981. Still going strong after 30 years, Epsedanse is today recognised as a school of artistic excellence. Since its creation the school has trained over 1,600 students in all disciplines, both as teachers and performers. Resolutely open to innovative teaching techniques, the programme is enriched by guest artists, educators and international exchange projects.


t the heart of Epsedanse’s teaching philosophy each student is encouraged to discover his/her own unique expression and style. As well as the diplôme in dance, talented young dancers between 11 and 18 have the opportunity to attend an intensive dance training which is timetabled alongside their normal school curriculum. Youngsters from all over France apply; admission is by audition. Dance is for everyone Epsedanse’s programme of evening and weekend classes for non-professionals, i.e. those of us who would love to dance but have limited or no previous dance training, aims to provide the same high quality of teaching as for full-time dance students. There is a genuine passion communicated by the instructors that dance is for everyone – it does not discriminate between age and size and ability.

Le N.I.D or Anne-Marie, a key part of a young artist’s dance training is the development of professional practise. To support this aspect of a dancer’s development, a dance company entitled ‘Nouveaux Interprètes Danseurs’ (NID) was created in 2010. The company comprises 10 dancers chosen for their talent. Conceived as a gateway to the world of professional dance, NID gives young dancers the opportunity to experience different styles of dance with different choreographers and intercultural dance exchanges in Europe and Africa.


Between Wolf and Dog Entre chien et loup was the first major piece of choreography following the establishment of NID; the result of an artistic encounter between Anne-Marie and Salia Sanou, a Burkinabe choreographer and dance director from Ouagadougou. Six NID dancers and six African dancers created the piece with Burkinabe musicians, performing at the 2010 Festival Monpellier Danse and to the warm and rapturous welcome of audiences in towns across the Hérault. For more information and for a full programme of classes please visit: 25

“Seasonal and Fresh” Recipe Times Fishy Soirs!

with Bassie Scott


iving in the Hérault, we have the luxury of fabulous seafood right on our doorstep. There is nothing quite like being able to pop down to the coast to enjoy a Sunday lunch at one of the many fish and seafood restaurants in towns or villages dotted along the Bassin de Thau or the sea, jostling with others for the table with the best view, then walking it all off with a gentle stroll along a promenade or the beach. However, sometimes it’s fun to buy some fish yourself and make something at home, especially if the weather looks slightly iffy! This dish came about as I happened to have a large bunch of basil growing and decided to experiment, not knowing if it would work at all with mussels. The guinea pigs who are my family deemed it a resounding success, thankfully!

Mussels with pistou, saffron & crème fraiche

Serves 4

Pistou is like pesto but without the parmesan and pine nuts. You can buy it in jars but, if you’d prefer to make it yourself, I’ve included the recipe below.


2 kg mussels ¼ bottle of white wine 200 ml water 2 shallots, finely chopped 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 2 tblsp olive oil 1 tsp Dijon mustard Pinch saffron threads 2 tsp sun dried tomato paste 3 tblsp pistou (or more, to your own taste) 500 ml crème fraiche Zest of 1 lemon 1 bunch of parsley

Method Chop the parsley, zest the lemon and set aside. Scrub and de-beard the mussels, throwing away any open ones at this point. In a saucepan, fry the garlic and shallots until soft. Add the Dijon mustard, saffron threads, sun dried tomato paste and pistou and cook for another minute or so. Lastly, add the crème fraiche and warm but don’t bring to the boil. Season with pepper if needed but don’t add any more salt. Put a lid on and set aside. In a large saucepan, bring the wine and water to the boil for 2 minutes. Add the mussels and put the lid on. After 2 minutes shake the pan vigorously. After 2 more minutes the mussels should be opened but if not cook for another minute or so. Drain the mussels thoroughly, place in a large serving bowl and pour the warmed sauce all over them. Top with the chopped parsley and lemon zest and serve.

To make the pistou 1 large handful basil leaves 100 ml extra virgin olive oil 1 clove of garlic Salt and pepper


lanch the basil leaves in a pan of boiling water for 5-10 seconds, then drain and refresh immediately in cold water. Drain again, squeezing out any excess water very gently. Place the basil and garlic into a mini food processor and blend to a fine puree. Add the olive oil very slowly. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover and keep in the fridge until needed

Cook’s note: Mussels from the Bassin de Thau are usually quite salty so I wash them in 5 changes of water, swirling them around and clacking them together to encourage them to spit their saltiness out. When serving, don’t eat any closed ones. 26

Fishy Soirs! Seafood Crepes

Serves 6


ormally, I would reserve these little beauties for Shrove Tuesday. However, it seems churlish of me not to share this recipe so that it can be enjoyed at any time of year. They’re perfect to serve at a dinner party as the sauce can be made in advance and re-heated just at the point of serving.

Ingredients 6 crepes (I used galettes de ble noir) 50 g butter 1 tblsp flour 200 ml milk 1 glass white wine 200 ml crème fraiche 300 g prawns, shells on 200 g any white fish fillet 150 g smoked salmon 1 lemon, zest and juice 1 lemon, cut for decoration Bunch of dill (aneth), chopped Bunch of parsley, chopped

Method Peel prawns (reserving 6 for decoration if you wish) and place prawn shells in a saucepan. Cover with water and wine, bring to the boil, then simmer for half an hour to obtain a good stock of about 100 ml. Strain and discard shells. Chop prawns and set aside. Place white fish in milk and bring to boil. Simmer for 2 minutes then turn off. Strain and keep fish and milk to one side. Melt butter in saucepan, add flour, cook for 1 minute. Add warmed milk and prawn stock and bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Simmer for 3 minutes or so. Take off the heat, stir in the crème fraiche. Let cool slightly before adding the white fish, smoked salmon, prawns, dill and zest and juice of one lemon. When ready to serve, heat the sauce up again but don’t boil it as it will overcook the fish. Place a galette (crepe) on each plate. Place a portion fish sauce in the middle of each one. Fold up each side of the galette onto the sauce. Place a whole prawn on the top with a slice of lemon. Garnish with lots of chopped parsley and serve.

Cook’s note: Normally I would make my own pancakes but was excited to find they are now selling savoury ones in the supermarkets. Be warned though; don’t buy the crepes in the bakery section as they are generally sweet ones. Look in the cold section, next to the pastry and you will find them. 27


The Art of the Bricoleur Of manchons and mamelons

Computer Speak

Hugh Scott


ne of the challenges when working on the plumbing in our house is coping with the variety of pipe sizes and the different materials that have been used. The original pipes, circa 1956, are iron, some are 21 mm in diameter, others 27 mm; more recent pipes are copper in 10, 12, and 14 mm; the hot water tank that I fitted recently had 16 mm plastic (PER) inlet and outlet pipes. A set of vernier calipers for measuring pipe diameters is almost essential! In order to connect the cold water supply to the tank I had to join 18 mm copper to 16 mm plastic which was easy enough. Connecting the hot water outlet was more difficult, I had to go from 16 mm plastic to 18 mm copper and then to 21 mm iron. Working with old iron pipes can prove to be troublesome, the joint that I had to undo was locked solid with 60 years of rust. It took a 10 minute soaking with penetrating oil (such as WD40), two heavy duty Stillson pipe wrenches, and lots of muscle to get the thing undone. Finding the correct connectors and couplings can be a daunting task because of the vast variety available and also frustrating because the smaller DIY shops have a limited range in stock. It is easy enough to join the row of French bricoleurs in the plumbing aisle puzzling over which bits they need; asking a member of the staff also works! (I have yet to venture inside a specialist plumbers’ merchant.) Brico Depot’s catalogue, ‘L’officiel du Bricolage’, will help you to sort out the ‘coudes’ (elbows) from the ‘courbes’ (curves), and the ‘manchons’ (couplings) from the ‘mamelons’ (nipples) and also features ‘chapeaux de gendarme’. Joining my new 18 mm copper pipe to old 21 mm iron eventually needed a ¾ inch female steel coupling and a copper male nipple. (It astonishes me that these steel fittings are imperial sizes and not metric. Does anyone know why?) When jointing iron pipe it is best to use hemp and jointing compound rather than white PTFE tape. I joined the copper pipe to the male nipple with the equivalent of a tap connector, ‘ un raccord fer cuivre écrou tournant’ = ‘a connector iron copper screw turning’.

FE- male

FE- male ‘Chapeaux de gendarme’. ‘Gendarme’s HAT’

Computer Speak

Today we have a guest. And what a guest. One of the smartest people I ever met and funny too......... HT: So tell me about you? JS: Hi, my name is Jenny and I work in Internet Security. HT: Which company? JS: Is that important? HT: Only because your software costs upwads of €6k so why would we listen to you? JS: Ok, it’s like that is it (laughs). Internet security is important to everyone. Cost is relative. HT: How bad is it for the general public? JS: Very bad. More and more personal devices (ie not businesses) are being targeted..... HT: So do we all go and get a pen and paper? JS: No, we get educated. Security is important to the individual mainly for comfort. The organisations and individuals that target businesses are different. I want to go home, check my mail, surf the web, update Facebook, look at photos and maybe buy something online. This is what we all want to do and criminals target us NOT for bank accounts but for our email address book and access. It is not personal. HT: But my emails are crucial to me. JS: Yes they are, and rightly so. So you need to take basic precautions that will save you from disruption. That is the personal users nightmare - disruption and inconvenience. It breeds fear of the system and then people are even more vulnerable online, the cycle begins. HT: And the basic precautions? JS: Get antivirus software for your PC, your Mac and your smartphone. Really, do it! You don’t need to buy it. Free versions will stop most general tracking & trojan malware. HT: Free ones? Name the one you use? JS: Oh right, and hope for a good payoff, use a search engine. HT: We like AVG free. Comments? JS: I know you do.....and why wouldn’t you? HT: I’ll take that as a positive then. Do you drink coke, eat pizza and get called a geek. JS: No, I drink Chardonnay, eat sushi, wear Manolo Blahnik and worked with you for 3 yearsso am an angel! Ciao

RUMOURS 1. Which Chip Manufacturer has claimed they can reduce prices by half but the government won’t let them? 2. .Microsoft won’t be sued by Apple over their Surface Tablet unlile Samsung!!



Simply Church Christian worship, prayer & teaching including children’s programme. 2nd and 4th Sundays. Everyone welcome. Mail: Web: ** The Church of England at St. Pargoire, Holy Communion 2nd Sunday each month at 10 am. Everyone welcome. Details **

Women’s International Club, Languedoc- Roussilon Meets in Saint Chinian, 1st Thursday of month , 2.30pm., at Salle de L’Abbatiale. Our meetings are conducted in French and English.

Looking for a HOBBY or PART-TIME job? Neal’s Yard, currently the UK’s fastest growing organic body care direct sales company, is looking for new independent consultants in France. FREE training, excellent income plan! Please contact me, Pam Kay 0642159631 **


Job Vacancy Emotional, linguistic and practical support to cancer patients and their families through our team of trained volunteers. For information and support: Helpline: 04 67 44 87 06,, All welcome. **

The Tuesday Club

MOVING TO The Republic of Panama Val & Linda’s Fête du déménagement 03 November – 10AM to 4PM - Florensac Sale of household items, quality antiques, objets d’art & decorators items from Le petit jardin de l’âme, Chambres d’Hôtes. See web-site for details and photos.

We are expanding our dynamic multinational team of Representatives. You need spoken and written French and English, ideally previous sales experience but this is not a must, and to be customer orientated with attention to detail. We offer excellent commission-based income and training. Call 04 67 36 36 80 or email for more information. **

** Commercial Cleaning Machine for hire. Cleans soft furnishings, rugs, mattresses, sunbed cushions, car interiors, etc. Contact Trudi: 0499570589 ** Shenanigan’s Irish owned and run,

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

SERVICES MAN WITH A VAN Deliveries, collections, removals, house clearance, garden clearance/maintenance. No job too small. No room in your car? Furniture/Building Materials to collect? Rubbish to dispose of? Please call or email Tim. 0033 (0)7 87 22 05 55.

family pub and restaurant. All rugby, Gaelic and Hurling shown live. Guinness & Bulmers Plate of the day 10e with a glass of wine. Taxi available. Open all year. Vias centre – 0430178387. **

Do you have a passion to write ?

Creative writing workshops short/long courses start Sept/Oct/Feb: Memoir ; Kickstart Your Writing ; Poetry ; Fiction ; The Art of Revision (returners only). Clermont L’Herault, Pezenas, Beziers, Sete, Narbonne, Montpellier, Millau. Please contact Fiona for course details:




Classified Adverts PROPERTY SERVICES


Summer is here, so its time to buy some colourful jewellery. Over 150 different designs in all colours at wonderful prices. See us at Clermont and Lodeve markets. Ian Mills



Perfect Property Management



Sympathetic property restoration, including all aspects of painting and decoration. Plastering, tiling and glazing. Wooden shutters, beams, floors replaced/restored. Sirat registered. Contact IAN MCQUADE 06 87 94 15 70. MC-QUADE.IAN@ORANGE.FR **

Drop in Day Last Thursday of the month (exc July/Aug/Dec) for support, fun activities and pampering hosted by CSF- Languedoc. For information and support:: Helpline: 04 67 44 87 06, email:, All welcome.

Bespoke massage, Mobile service, Group bookings taken. Thai massages, Reflexology, Neck and face massage, Reiki, Oil massage. Susannah 0652752445 / 0467243142 Based in Ceps / Cazedarnes, **

Nails by Pam Relax & be Pampered

Manicures & Pedicures in Pezenas and surrounding villages. 06 42 15 96 31 **

Dick Fowler Construction

Liner Pools, Solid Pools All house renovation and construction work Email; Port: 0670 91 12 17 **


New Bed & Breakfast in Cessenon sur Orb, 10 kms from St Chinian. 2 luxury King Sized rooms, 1 min walk to river & town centre. Wifi/Internet access. Chris & Susan. Ph 0033 (0) 9 80 39 94 33.

GARDENING Handyman Services –Satellite Installation – Renovation

Tel: 0499 41 61 80 Mob: 0609 64 06 62 Email: Ashley - Vias 34450 **

Tel: 0033 (0) 467 21 72 38 e-mail:

Any Distance - Up to 8 Passengers E-mail Reservations welcome Estimates Given All enquiries welcome


Help in Hérault with property repairs & garden maintenance, pools, decoration, keyholding & changeovers. Established. Bilingual. Reliable. 06 31 74 45 88

Professional, reliable company for all of your property needs. Changeovers, pool maintenance and repairs, project management. Siret registered. Contact Trudi: 0499570589 ** Roquebrun Property Management Personalised services for holiday homes and seasonal rentals. Full or ‘pay as you go’ service. Homes available to rent for 1- 15 people. Call Sue on 0652752445.


MATHIEU GOUDOU - LE JARDINIER Make your life in the garden easier using less water and chemicals. Local expertise for creation and maintenance. Prompt and reliable. English Spoken. Tel: 0623 463542 30


Le Bookshop Librairie Anglophone / café 8 rue du Bras de Fer - 340000 Montpellier Tel./Fax : 04 67 66 22 90 **


available at the English Bookstall at the following markets: Monday- Bedarieux, Tuesday - Marseillan Ville, Wednesday Clermont l’Herault, Saturday - Lodeve. Contact Kerith Biggs 04 67 96 68 87 **

LESSONS French lessons One-to-one total immersion Alain Curta **

Do you want to sell Online? Starts November in Clermont L’Herault. Register your interest. Subject: SEO

Stuart Turpie

Numbers The winter sports teams in local rugby and football could be forgiven for wondering what was happening to the weather. After pre-season training in the usual heat they have had to kick off in mid-thirty degree temperatures. Montpellier, reigning Ligue 1 champions, have made a slow start. All the teams have been allowed a drink break mid-way through each half to allow for the conditions. The loss of leading scorer Giroud to Arsenal has been a blow, but the club have the Champions league to look forward to. The form of the Montpellier rugby XV looks likely to depend on the development of their younger players. Still, a great season is in prospect for them in the Top 14. There is a lot of excitement building for this season’s rugby union ProD2 race, due to the local derbies in store. After just missing out on the playoffs last term, Carcassonne does not quite look as strong. A loss at Beziers in a friendly and two heavy defeats to top 14 clubs leaves the jury out on their form. Narbonne knows that they must do better than 13th this season. A famous club in its sixth straight ProD2 campaign, they must at least get up into the top half and battle for promotion. The bad injury to Fijian star Lutumailagi will not help their cause. The arrival of Australian international Huxley is a positive step. Englishman Richard List will still be there in the front row. It is a big season for Beziers as well. Lucky to escape relegation, thanks to the financial problems of Bourgoin, the many times champions of France need to take advantage of this and re-establish themselves. The preparation has been a bit short due to the uncertainty as to which league they would be in. Despite this, the scrum seems to be stronger and the signing of New Zealander, Fraser at half back will help the organisation and kicking. You never know. This could be the turning point for the much loved club? Federal 1 side Agde will be facing Bourgoin in the league this year. Let’s hope the visitors do not take out their anger at being relegated on the Agathois.

In football, Hérault has only one club, AS Beziers, in the CFA 1 league this season. This Amateur level, which in fact is really semi-pro, provides the route into the 3 top pro leagues. The CFA 2 (8 pools over the whole of France) has 5 sides in the region and gives us a lot of derbies to look forward to. Nimes II and Montpellier II are young teams of ability. Narbonne will be hoping to keep their place after promotion last season. Sète, at last back in a higher level after financial relegation 3 years ago, are determined to continue up through the leagues. They have added to their squad to assist this process. Agde are in a disappointing position. Relegated during the summer due to debts, they find themselves in the CFA 2. Unfortunately, they miss out on the derbies as they play in another pool and will mostly be visiting the Cote d’Azur and Corsica (never an easy place to win). Coach Thiery Villa, who scored many goals for Agde in his time, is quietly confident that his charges will right the wrong of their relegation. An interesting development over the summer has been the merger of two football clubs, Paulhan and Pezenas. The team will play in the Division Honneur. This is the best Languedoc league and a good quality of play. Canet will be the local rivals! Some fixtures are: Rugby Union Sept 15 Montpellier v Toulon ( a certain J.Wilkinson in action ), 20h Sept 29 Montpellier v Castres, 14h Sept 23 Beziers v Aix, 15h Oct 9 Beziers v Pau 15h Sept 30 Agde v Blagnac 15h Sept 30 Pezenas v Quillan 15h ( Les violets back in Federal 2 ) Football Sept 22 Montpellier v St;Etienne 20h Oct 6 Montpellier v Evian-Thonon 20h Sept 22 Beziers v Cannes 18h30 Oct 6 Agde v Toulon 18h Sept 22 Sete v SAAFC 18h





Fire - Pompiers


Medical - SAMU


Sea Rescue (From Land)


Sea Rescue (From Sea) Channel 16 SOS Europe


Child Abuse




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

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.

Good Times....Fun Times.....The Herault Times 31


M e iv


Monsieur Yannick PIERRE, Director of your Carrefour Supermarket in Pézenas has the pleasure of inviting you on:

FRIDAY 21 September 2012 at 19h30 to our Wine Event and to discover our 2012 selection!

Join us and local producers to sample our local wines as well as those from Bordeaux, Burgundy and Alsace. Free tasting of Bouzigues Oysters and regional meats and cheeses

30, Avenue de verdun 34120 PEZENAS 0467904350 L abus d alcool est dangereux pour la santé, a consommer avec modération 32

The Herault Times  
The Herault Times  

The English Language Magazine for the Herault region of the south of France