Page 1

Auto-entrepreneur status set for major overhaul Business minister Sylvia Pinel has unveiled a new bill that will see the annual earning limits for the popular scheme fall as low as €19,000. >> Page 6

Dordogne September 2013 - Issue #3

Violent storms cause widespread damage A series of storms at the beginning of August wreaked havoc across the Dordogne. Following high winds, flooding and giant hailstones, there was extensive damage to roofs and cars as well as a €60 million cost to the region’s farmers. “The hail arrived via Vi l l e f r a n c h e - d e - L o n c h a t , where damage to local vines was particularly bad, then passed through Périgueux, Excideuil, Lanouialle and Thenon.” The fire brigade received a total of 1,186 calls linked to the storm and at its height, 15,000 households were without electricity. Excideuil was particularly badly hit and is believed to have taken the worst of the hail, which according to eyewitnesses was in some places falling in stones as big as chicken eggs. There was extensive damage to roofs and cars across the commune as well as in neighbouring Hautefort. In Excideuil itself, it is estimated that 90% of roofs were damaged in some way. Local building firms cancelled their holidays and began to shore up leaky roofs across the town. With many houses now covered in protective plastic, some are

>> continued on page 5

NEWS - Tom Smith joins Bergerac Scotland and Lions rugby legend Tom Smith has joined Bergerac as the club’s new forwards’ coach. >> Page 4

NEWS - France exits recession

With growth of 0.5 percent, France has officially exited recession. So too has the eurozone as a whole after the longest contraction since the war. >> Page 7

BILINGUAL - Driving on the ‘wrong’ side

We take a look at why we drive on different sides of the road in France and Britain and ask which one of us is ‘right’. >> Page 16

© 2006 - Eric Litton


he Aquitaine region was hit by violent storms in August, with the Dordogne particularly badly affected. The freak weather, which included hailstones the size of chicken eggs, decimated many agricultural businesses as well as wreaking untold damage on cars and roofs and left thousands of homes without electricity. Thankfully, the worst of the storms hit at night when most people were inside and no serious injuries were reported. “Last Friday, the department was put on orange alert and the weather that crossed the region was of a particularly violent nature,” said Jean-Louis Amat, general secretary of the prefecture of the Dordogne, speaking in the days following the storm.

INSIDE > > >

Once the nation’s favourite drink, then banned for 100 years, absinthe is making a comeback >> Page 12

WHAT’S ON - Events in September

3 pages of events to enjoy this month from across the region. >> Pages 21-23


Welcome to


The Bugle

s sure as autumn follows summer, the annual visit of my inlaws falls somewhere between the two. Don’t worry, I’m not about to start making “my mother-in-law...” jokes. I am one of the lucky ones, I actually get on very well with my in-laws. I have heard many stories from friends about “well meaning” visitors running their fingers along door jambs before enquiring as to whether they’re struggling to keep up with the housework. No, my mother-in-law is a relative angel. As most parents will know, the summer holidays can be challenging, to say the least. I’m sure all parents love their kids, but 2 months off from school?! Let’s just say my patience has been well and truly tested by my little ones... and it came up short. My mother-in-law arrived and suddenly the mountain of washing that was stubbornly refusing to diminish is gone! Clothes iron themselves for a few glorious weeks and it is almost as though the children aren’t even in the house. For every force there is an equal and opposite force, however, and whilst my father-in-law means well, he has a habit of creating work.

No piece of skirting or trim is safe: “Does that look loose to you?” “No,” will invariably come my answer, “not until you pulled it off”. I shouldn’t complain, though, most of the rooms in my house would remain half finished if it weren’t for the boost we get every year from his extra pair of hands. My father-in-law does try and help out, by proofreading the paper for example. Only yesterday, he was checking an article I had written and asked, “Do you mean illegal or unlawful in this sentence?” I was caught off guard for a moment: “Errrm, I’m not sure, what’s the context?” He had an answer ready: “You know how to remember the difference, of course: unlawful means against the law and illegal is a sick bird!” Seriously, I have to put up with 2 and a half weeks of this, but at least the spare bedroom is coming along nicely!! It was terrible to see the pictures and read about the damage done by last month’s storms. It is a real kick in the teeth for the apple farmers of the north-east of the department who lost almost all their crops last year to a ‘black frost’. I was amazed to read that something like

90% of crops in the Dordogne are uninsured - it’s a risky business being a farmer! At least for the vast majority of individuals roofs and cars are insured and can be fixed. I was reading about a very nifty technique where specialists can “pull” the dents out of cars damaged by hail without having to re-spray. Due to the widespread nature of the damage, however, there simply aren’t enough artisans to fix everything and it will be months or even years until things are back to normal. I was slightly concerned to see the changes being made to the autoentrepreneur scheme. I started this business as an auto-entrepreneur and I am a big fan. I understand that it is open to abuse, but it has also allowed a lot of people - including many expats - to start businesses when they would otherwise not have been able to, or would have done so on the black. I hope that the changes do not stifle entrepreneurialism in France... On a lighter note, I had a good laugh this month reading the ‘homework’ that President Hollande’s ministers have done over the summer answering the question “What is your vision of France in 2025?” The responses

were incredibly funny: the minister for law predicted there would be no crime, the minister for housing predicted everyone would have a cheap house and the minister of industrial renewal said that France would lead the world in industry. I’m not kidding - see the article on page 9. These are the brightest brains in the country, people in whom we place the responsibility of moulding the future of the nation. I’ll admit to in the past answering the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with variously a cowboy, an astronaut or James Bond, but all these answers would have been delivered when I was still at primary school. Ask me where my family will be in a year and it would take quite a few bottles of wine for me to come up with living on a yacht in Monaco, overseeing my inter-galactic empire while personally picking the West Ham team for Saturday’s match with Barcelona! Until next month! Steve Martindale, Editor

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New spate of beehive thefts across the department You might not think they would be an obvious target, but there has been a spate of thefts in the Dordogne recently involving bee hives. A number of similar thefts have been reported in the Landes (Aquitaine) and Hérault (LanguedocRoussillon) departments in recent times, but the problem now looks to have moved into the Dordogne. One victim is Julien Gouissem, an apiculturist from Neuvic near Périgueux, who had 9 hives stolen. Mr Gouissem does not think that the thefts were random. The 9 hives were taken with the queen and the entire colony inside and the young bee-keeper believes that the thieves were experienced with bees and knew exactly what they were looking for. “They stole the most productive hives, the ones with the youngest queens, from hives that we had created ourselves. It was all done very professionally.” This recent theft is not an isolated incident, however, with a number of hives having already been stolen this year in separate thefts near Trémolat and La Coquille. ■

Dutch woman accused of axe murder


Dutch woman has been arrested in the Dordogne on suspicion of murdering her partner with an axe after an angry exchange at their house in Saint-Sulpice-deMareuil in the north-west of the department. The 55-year-old is reported to have claimed that she had only raised the axe because she felt threatened by her German partner, a former soldier in France’s Foreign Legion. The incident occurred between 8-9 o’clock in the evening and following the

attack, the woman ran to a neighbour’s house from where a call was made to emergency services. Paramedics arrived shortly afterwards, but were unable to save the man. Locals have been left stunned by the death. “I’m shocked by what happened,” one neighbour said. “I didn’t hear anything at all, everything was quiet. I used to say hello to the woman but I did not speak much with the man, who did not speak French.” According to local residents, the Dutch expat moved to the region 3

years ago to look after her elderly mother who has since died and she has been described as a “nice” and “quiet” lady. The mayor of the commune, Jean-Luc Aimont, said that she was “a very discreet lady who never caused any trouble whatsoever”. “Everyone is shocked,” the local baker told Sud Ouest newspaper. “We have heard all sorts of rumours, but no one really knows what happened.” The couple first met in Holland, but apparently split up when he became violent and she subsequently moved to France.

It is believed that they got back together in 2012. On the day of the murder, the man allegedly came home late in the afternoon before a violent row erupted, during which the man wielded an axe and wrapped a chain around the woman’s neck before laying both items down. When the woman picked them up to move them, the man is alleged to have stood up at which point, feeling threatened, the woman delivered three blows to his neck with the axe. Following her arrest, the woman’s neck appar-

ently did show markings, supporting her version of events, although investigators are yet to establish how she got them. According to Sud Ouest newspaper, several of the Dutch lady’s friends have come forward to say that she had confided in them about her partner’s violent outbursts, but that she was too scared to go to the gendarmes because he had threatened to kill her if she did. The investigation is ongoing and the Dutch lady faces life in prison if found guilty of aggravated murder. ■

Fire destroys local ice cream factory


overs of ice cream will be hoping that the department does not suffer a shortage after Polaris, the premises of artisanal ice cream maker Roland Manouvrier, burned down in SaintGeniès in late August. The alert went up not long after midnight and by the morning four years of hard work had gone up in smoke. Standing in front of the smoldering building, the devastated owner said, “It will take at least 6 months to rebuild everything, we need to demolish what’s left of the building... we are looking at 12 months before we can begin pro-

duction again here”. The facility’s five employees’ jobs also hang in the balance. The glacier, with 20 years’ experience, moved to the site 4 years ago and quickly built a reputation that extends beyond the borders of the department, thanks in large part to his innovative flavour combinations. As well as traditional offerings like chocolate, strawberry and vanilla, Roland Manouvrier also makes more exotic offerings such as cactus, ginger and lilac, not to mention foie gras or tomato and basil! Despite the disaster, the ice cream maker is hoping to restart production elsewhere in the next few weeks and even managed to fulfil some orders placed before the

fire from stock held elsewhere. “We have been clients of Roland Manouvrier for 15 years,” said Nathalie Bapst, director of the Jardins de Marqueyssac at Vézac. “We were expecting a large delivery, but that went up in the fire. However, the next day our entire order arrived - including very specific flavours like violet and rhubarb. It’s unbelievable!” Preliminary investigations have suggested that an electrical fault could be behind the fire. “We are working on the hypothesis that this was an accident, but an enquiry has been opened to establish the exact cause,” explained Thierry Chopard, head of the Sarlat fire brigade. ■

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Rugby legend Tom Smith joins Bergerac


ewly promoted Bergerac Rugby Club have been making a number of signings this summer as they look to bolster the club before the new campaign in the Fédérale 2, France’s 4th division of rugby. The latest addition is former Scotland and Lions prop Tom Smith, who has joined the club as the forwards’ coach. Patrick Tourenne will remain as the backs’ coach. Tom Smith, who was capped 61 times by Scotland, arrives from Lyon Rugby Club where he was the forwards’ coach for the 2012/2013 season. “He was an iconic player for his country,” said Régis Lansade, president of the USB (Union sportive Bergerac). “To replace [former coach] Jean-Michel Maillé, we were looking for someone experienced who could guarantee continuity. Tom Smith is a very nice guy and I am sure that the move will work very well.” Tom Smith is a legend of the game and many Scottish rugby fans will argue he is the greatest loosehead prop to ever play for Scotland, although David Sole may run him close for that honour. He first played for Scotland in 1997 and was picked for the British and Irish Lions Tour of South Africa later that same year, despite only having 3 international caps at the time. He went on to defy the odds and

start all three test matches - picked ahead of Jason Leonard - in a legendary series that the tourists would eventually win 2-1 thanks to Jeremy Guscott’s unforgettable drop goal. Smith last played for Scotland in 2005, but continued to play for club side Northampton until taking up his first coaching role with Edinburgh in 2009. His experience will be invaluable to Bergerac as they look to build on their success last season when they not only gained promotion from the Fédérale 3, but also went on to be crowned champions of France (see July’s launch edition of The Bugle Dordogne). “We need to reinforce a few positions, but it is essential that we keep our balance,” said Stéphane Delage shortly after his team were crowned champions earlier in the summer. “We will play in the Fédérale 2 with humility - it has been a while since we have played at such a high level. The backbone of the side will remain the same and we will look to bring in a few youngsters.” Although not a ‘youngster’, the club have also signed 31-year-old New Zealand fly half Matt Farmer from Dax, who plays in the Pro D2 league - France’s second division of rugby. Farmer has also previously played for Rotherham in England. ■

CAF 24 in tablet giveaway


n an attempt to boost the number of people declaring online, the Dordogne’s caisse d’allocations familiales, the CAF 24, has launched a prize draw giving away tablet computers worth €370 each via its website to those who télédéclare. The news was initially met with disbelief, with a number of the 60,000 households that receive benefits pointing out that they currently have trouble just making ends meet each month, and if the CAF 24 has enough money to be giving away tablet computers, would it not be better served increasing benefits? Responding to these criticisms, assistant director Jérôme Roteta pointed out that they were actually only giving away 2 tablets and that investment in the competition represented a tiny portion of their budget. He also said that if the competition encouraged more people to use the internet, it could actually save money. Those who submit their forms online will have their requests dealt with immediately and the benefit for the CAF is that there will be fewer paper requests to be manually dealt with by staff, saving time and money. The CAF was keen to point out that even those without a computer can declare online: terminals are available at the CAF’s Bergerac and Périgueux offices and staff are on hand to help users. Currently only 10,000 households use the CAF’s online facilities in the Dordogne and it is hoped that the “Télédéclarer, c’est gagner” competition will significantly increase this number. One reason that many still choose to deal direct with the CAF 24 is that it is one of the few branches in the country that is not hidden behind an automated telephone system - it is still, for the time being at least, possible to phone up directly and speak to an actual person! For a chance to win a tablet computer, visit the CAF 24 website before the 30th September: ■




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Asbestos-related deaths look set to continue


ith figures suggesting that 1,400 people in the Aquitaine region have been killed by asbestos since 2000, a former employee of the SNPE (a French state-owned company which produces explosives and propellants) in Bergerac has claimed that “with asbestos, the government has poisoned us”. The claim is being made by Bernard Servolle, who worked at the site for 34 years but was made redundant 2 years ago. In April he decided to go for a CT scan. “I refused [a scan] 10 years ago. This time, myself and my brotherin-law, who also worked at the SNPE, persuaded each other to do it.” The results showed pleural plaques, a common symptom of people exposed to asbestos and, although not directly linked, the worry is that a mesothelioma - a form of cancer affecting the lungs - may develop in the future. “It’s like I have the sword of Damocles hanging over my head,” said Mr Servolle. “There is nothing that

can be done medically apart from monitoring them. It is very worrying.” Once an active and sportloving man, exercise has begun to get the better of him. “I don’t have any endurance any more. I’ve lost my strength. I’ve stopped doing everything, even walking in the mountains.” When Mr Servolle began working at the SNPE in 1977, he says no one spoke about asbestos. It didn’t become an issue until the 1990s when there was a big push nationally to eliminate the dangerous substance. Workers began to worry when the authorities finally admitted they had been exposed to asbestos between 1972 and 1992. “To begin with, we thought it would be a good way to get early retirement!” said Mr Servolle. “But we changed our tune very quickly when the first people fell ill. We began to make the link with the early deaths of former colleagues whereas before we never thought about it. What was the factory doctor doing all this time? I feel let down. The state

has poisoned us and we need to do everything we can to make it acknowledge this.” Former Socialist Party leader Martine Aubry was cleared of manslaughter charges in May for failing to protect French workers from asbestos. She had been placed under formal investigation last November, accused of taking too long to implement a 1983 EU directive designed to strengthen the protection of workers dealing with asbestos. She was at that time a senior official in the ministry of social affairs. “The courts today recognised that no fault or negligence could be attributed to me,” Aubry, who is presently the mayor of the northern city of Lille, said in a statement. “Everybody knows that I have always acted as an official and as a minister to defend and reinforce the rights of workers and protect them from occupational hazards,” she said. A government study in 1996 revealed that up to 100,000 deaths linked to asbestos could be predicted by the year 2025. ■



>> continued from pg 1 worrying that there may not be enough tiles and slates in stock locally to fix the damage - it is estimated that it could be up to 2 years before all buildings can be repaired. Then, shortly after the damage caused by the hailstones, 100 km/h winds ripped through the department accompanied by heavy rain and widespread flooding. Many roads were closed by falling trees on a night that brought back painful memories of the damage done by la grande tempête of 1999. At the height of the second wave of storms, 25,000 households had no electricity. According to the prefecture the recent storms resulted in “more damage than we saw in 1999”. Although for the large part the damage to personal property is insured, the agricultural industry looks set to badly lose out from the storms, particularly from hail damage. It is thought that 90% of crops are uninsured. Initial estimates put total losses to agriculture at around €60

million. “The storm followed a diagonal path. There was extensive damage to vineyards, sunflowers and maize. Hardest hit was the area around Excideuil where walnut and apple orchards were badly damaged, despite protective coverings,” explained Yannick Frances, president of the FDSEA (fédérations départementales des syndicats d’exploitants agricoles). “There were two hail storms: the first pulled down the protective netting, the second caused the rest of the damage. There will not be any harvest this year of cereal crops.” Nearby, Lanouialle fared no better. “The nets covering the fruit trees were torn down, the corn and wheat were destroyed. We have been very badly hit,” said the town’s mayor, JeanPierre Cubertafon. Not only were the fruits destroyed, but the hail also stripped bark from trees, causing more long-term damage. Lanouialle is part of the famous “golden triangle” of Golden du Limousin apple producers. The latest damage is particularly devastating for the

area’s farmers who have had a terrible year following the ‘black frost’ of spring 2012 that destroyed 80% of fruit in their orchards. At Montpeyroux, 600 young chickens were killed by the hail and farmers reported finding a number of pigeons and magpies also dead. At Saint-Rabier, there was widespread damage: along a 500 metre stretch, the damage to nut trees was total and producers now fear for not only this year, but also next year’s harvest. In a lake at Born, near Salagnac in the north of the department, fishermen found more than a tonne of dead fish. Also badly affected were the region’s vineyards, with 20,000 hectares seriously damaged in the famous Bordeaux wineproducing area. The damage to Bordeaux’s vineyards came just a few weeks after summer storms destroyed up to 90 per cent of vines in some vineyards in Burgundy. Bordeaux winemaker Loïc de Roquefeuil, who owns 30 hectares at the Château de Castelneau near the village

© Kevain25460 (WikiCommons)

Dordogne counting the cost of storm damage

of Saint Léon, south-east of Bordeaux, told The Guardian: “It’s a catastrophe. Everything has gone: the leaves, the grapes, everything. It happened so quickly. A year’s work gone in nine minutes of hail. The storm was so violent the hailstones wounded the wood. The outer skin is shredded. There won’t

be a single bottle from these vines this year. We have been hit by hail six times in the last 25 years, but never like this. We had just finished trimming the vines and getting rid of the weeds without herbicides - ready for the harvest in September. They were perfect. We had high hopes for this harvest.” ■



t has been a nervous few months for France's 1 million autoentrepreneurs as President François Hollande has been looking into ways to reform the popular business status. The government indicated several months ago that it had plans to make “adjustments” to the scheme introduced by its conservative predecessors, because professional artisans and trades complain of “distorted competition”. These changes have now been presented by business minister Sylvia Pinel as a draft bill which will be debated by the cabinet. Details are still emerging, but

the proposals look set to please the artisan lobby and are expected to drop the annual earning limits for the auto-entrepreneur regime from €32,600 to €19,000 for services and from €81,500 to €47,500 for sales based businesses. While these precise figures have not been

detailed in the draft law which was presented to the cabinet, Ms Pinel did say the new levels will correspond to the “Smic” minimum wage (on which the above figures, mentioned by the minister in June, were based). The final figures will be fixed later by decree after a parliamentary working group holds further discussions on the regime. If a business exceeds the new limits on annual turnover for 2 consecutive years, it will be forced to upgrade to one of the classic regimes. When an auto-entrepreneur is obliged to change regimes, the draft law states that in the first year after changing, that

person would pay the same social charges as in the preceding year - a proposal aimed at easing the transition. One fear that does not seem to have become a reality is the limiting of the length of time that someone can operate as an auto-entrepreneur.

The bill appears to state that if a business stays under the new thresholds being proposed, there is no time limit on how long they can remain under the simplified status. The auto-entrepreneur scheme has proved particularly popular with expats looking to start a business in France. As an auto-entreprise, you can apply online, there is significantly reduced red tape and you are only required to make social contributions on the turnover you declare. If your turnover is zero, you pay no social charges or tax. Businesses established under other regimes are, in virtually all circumstances, obliged to pay the relatively heavy social charges that fund health care, social welfare pensions, unemployment and other benefits, irrespective of whether they have made any money in a particular month. In general, the status has been welcomed by those looking to start small businesses and opposed by existing business owners who complain it gives competitors an unfair advantage. The proposed changes are being made in spite of a report commissioned by the government that called for ministers to maintain

© 2013 - Ygor75 (WikiCommons)

Auto-entrepreneur scheme given major overhaul

Sylvia Pinel's changes may not be popular with France's 1 million auto-entrepreneurs the simplicity of the auto-entrepreneur scheme. According to the Socialist government, the aim of the changes is to bring the auto-entrepreneur status back in line

with its original priorities: a simple way to set up a complementary, part-time activity; or a way to get a potential full-time business off the ground.

The auto-entrepreneur scheme generated more than €5 billion in sales in 2011 and enabled the state to collect nearly €600 million in contributions. ■

Man leaves 25 thousand in cash in McDonald's

Have you ever picked up your purchase and left your change on the counter? Or walked out of a restaurant leaving a coat on the back of a chair? Annoying isn't it? So spare a thought for the young French man who recently exited a McDonald's in Avignon, in the Vaucluse department, and left behind his rucksack... containing €25,000 in cash!! The man realised his mistake and rushed back into the restaurant, but his bag was nowhere to be seen. It was very nearly the biggest tip in the history of the fast food industry, but the next day an envelope containing the wad of notes was found in one of the restaurant's rubbish bins. Staff handed the cash to stunned police, who contacted the man by phone to

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According to a report released by a French think tank last month, households would spend up to an extra €300 per month if they bought all their goods domestically. The government's much-vaunted “Made in France” campaign promoting French products reflects President François Hollande’s ambition to reverse a long industrial decline and make the country more competitive in world export markets. Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg launched the campaign late last year to great fanfare when he posed on the cover of Le Parisien magazine sporting a blueand-white striped sailor top made by Brittany-based firm Armor Lux and proudly clutching a Moulinex food processor. Whilst many people would prefer to buy French given the choice, the government would appear to have a job on its hands to convince them to do so when the homemade item is more expensive – consumer patriotism comes at a cost. ■

© 2009 - Thor (WikiCommons)

Production of Champagne to soar in 2013

It could be a good year for fans of French bubbly following the news that Champagne production is expected to rise by 56% this year. According to figures released by the French agriculture ministry, overall wine production will rise by 11 per cent compared with 2012, when harvests had a particularly low yield. The figures were compiled before the recent hail storms which devastated 7,000 hectares of vineyards in the famous Bordeaux wine-producing region, but Champagne production was unaffected by the freak weather and will soar this year. Although 2012 was a particularly bad year, production is still predicted to be up by 16 per cent when compared with average output over the last 5 years. ■

France and Europe finally exit recession


here does finally appear to be a faint light shining at the end of Europe’s tunnel of economic woes, with the news that France and Europe as a whole - have finally exited recession. Growth in the eurozone for the second quarter of 2013 was unveiled as 0.3%, ending an 18-month recession, the longest period of contraction in post-war Europe. This recession was itself the second installment of a double-dip recession that started in 2008. The eurozone’s growth fell short of the 1.7% registered by the United States and 2.6% in Japan, but even modest growth is a relief in a region where unemployment has risen to 12.1% and fears continue over another potential debt crisis. Olli Rehn, Europe’s economic commissioner, welcomed the news, but said celebrations should be put on hold given Europe’s jobs crisis and the wide disparity in economic performance between different countries in the eurozone. “Yes, this slightly more positive data is welcome - but there is no room for any complacency whatsoever. I hope there will be no premature, self-congratulatory statements suggesting the crisis is over, for we all know that there are still substantial obstacles to overcome. The growth figures remain low and the tentative signs of growth are still fragile.” Europe’s positive growth was driven largely by its two largest economies, France and Germany, which both posted better than expected figures of 0.5% and 0.7% respectively. Figures released by Eurostat, the EU’s statistical agency, showed that Italy and Spain - the single currency’s third and fourth biggest economies - both remained in recession in the second quarter of 2013. Spain’s economy shrank by 0.1%, while Italy registered a 0.2% decline. In a sign that Europe’s future looks brighter, Portugal, one of three countries that required a financial bailout, recorded the fastest expansion of any eurozone country, with 1.1% quarterly growth. “A sustained recovery is now within reach, but only if we persevere on all fronts of our crisis response: keep up the pace of economic reform, regain control over our debt, both public and private, and build the pillars of a genuine economic and monetary union,” said Mr Rehn. French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici welcomed “the end of the recession in the French economy” as he

© 2006 - Adrienne93 (WikiCommons)

The real cost of being a patriotic consumer

unveiled France’s best quarterly results in over 2 years, saying it “amplifies the encouraging signs of recovery”. According to the national statistics agency INSEE, the expansion, which beat analyst forecasts, was largely thanks to improved domestic consumption adding that this was “the largest increase since the first quarter of 2011”. After previously predicting that the economy would contract by 0.1% overall this year, INSEE said it now expects growth of 0.1% for 2013, in line with government forecasts. Whilst the improvement in the French economy has been universally welcomed, analysts point to France’s unemployment figures as holding the key to any sustained future growth. “The French contribution to this recovery is likely to sag, thanks to its labour market which is still in a horrible state,” said Dario Perkins, an analyst at Lombard Street Research. “Unemployment has surged over the past two years and the demand for labour has collapsed, with the level of job vacancies at multi-decade lows.” The exit from recession will no doubt be welcome news to President François Hollande, who has been enduring a torrid time in the polls and was scoffed at by some commentators after claiming in July that the economic recovery had begun. ■

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the unauthorised taking of photographs and their publication. Exactly what constitutes “private life” is not defined in the law, but it has been spelled out by the courts as including one’s love life, friendships, family circumstances, leisure activities, political opinions, trade union or religious affiliation, and state of health. Delphine Pando, representing the magazine, told the Nanterre court last year that topless photographs were no longer considered shocking and denied that the château was inaccessible to public view. Ms Pieau, meanwhile, has remained largely unrepentant and has given numerous interviews in which she justified printing the pictures, saying in December: “I did my job as a journalist.” No date for the trial has currently been set. ■

The royal couple have aggressively defended their right to privacy

Corsican politicians to ban 'foreign' property buyers


Corsica is popular with tourists but also a hotbed for murder and organised crime

he top politician on the French island of Corsica has sparked a debate by saying that 'foreigners' should be banned from buying land there. The head of Corsica’s Executive Council, Paul Giacobbi, said that he plans to stop non-residents - including French citizens from the mainland - from buying land or houses on the Mediterranean island to the west of Italy. “If one can buy land here as easily as you could buy a bar of chocolate in a supermarket, then we are heading for catastrophe,” said Mr Giacobbi, who argues that foreign investors and speculators are driving up property prices, making housing unaffordable for locals. “The only solution is to limit access for non-residents. Unless you want speculation and all the problems that come with it, one can no longer tolerate the land of Corsica being totally up for sale.” The politician is proposing that anyone who wishes to purchase a home in Corsica would have to prove at least five years’ residency, while allowances would be made for people living on the mainland or abroad who can “prove a link to Corsica”. Corsica, the so-called “Island of Beauty”, is an extremely popular tourist destination, but is also plagued by high levels of unemployment and is a hotbed of organised crime. Nationalist sentiment is strong and until

now, extremists on the island have resorted to more direct methods of dissuading foreign building projects - they have simply blown them up as a warning to others. Corsicans have a fiery reputation and tensions on the island often run high. Today the island has the highest murder rate per capita in Europe. Rival politicians have slammed the proposals as unconstitutional and xenophobic and accused Mr Giacobbi of simply courting nationalist votes. “Such xenophobia is no more acceptable for a foreigner than among French people,” said Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, a sovereignist French MP from the island. “This is an anti-constitutional project that flouts the idea of equality for everyone before the law,” said Marie-Dominique Roustan-Lanfranchi of the anti-nationalist association France-Corse, speaking to French daily Le Figaro. “Property prices are rising everywhere, in regions such as the south of France and in Paris. People have to stop thinking that Corsica is alone. Why are we always treated differently compared to other French regions?” Mr Giacobbi countered the argument by insisting the move was in no way racist: “I am not against foreigners. My family and wife come from abroad. Corsica is a land that welcomes foreigners. People from France could come and buy land, if they

want to settle here. The problem is if they want to buy land or a property just to be here for one month each year and then put our property market in great trouble.” The French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was born in 1769 in the Corsican capital of Ajaccio. His ancestral home, Casa Buonaparte, is today used as a museum. The northern town of Calvi also claims to be the birthplace of the explorer Christopher Columbus. ■

Screenshot: France 3


aurence Pieau, the editor of French Closer magazine, has been formally charged in connection with an alleged breach of France's strict privacy laws involving last year's infamous topless photos of Kate Middleton. Pieau now faces the prospect of a humiliating trial alongside at least two photographers and her publishing director, Ernesto Mauri. The long-lens shots of a topless Duchess of Cambridge were taken in 2012 while she was on holiday with her husband Prince William in the south of France. The pictures, first published by Closer, were sold on shortly afterwards and subsequently appeared in magazines in Italy, Ireland, Denmark and Sweden. The British royal family responded aggressively and quickly took legal action against Closer through their French lawyer, Aurélien Hamelle, to identify the photographer and stop further publication of the pictures. The French media are protected from having to name their sources including photographers - but the royal couple are said to have made it a personal crusade to discover who took the images. Their lawyer described the Duchess as “a young woman, not an object” and a royal spokesman said at the time that the topless shots were “reminiscent of the worst excesses” of the paparazzi during Princess Diana’s lifetime. A judge near Paris subsequently ruled late last year that the topless pictures could neither be published again nor sold on, clearing the way for a criminal investigation to identify the photographer. One of the photographers going on trial with the editor is thought to be Valérie Suau, who has admitted to taking some shots of the Duchess in the south of France during the holiday, but claims that hers were “all decent” and that she was not behind the topless photos. It is believed, however, that Ms Suau may have assisted at least one other photographer who later took the numerous snaps of a topless Duchess of Cambridge. The photographs were taken while the Duchess was sunbathing on the terrace of the Château d'Autet in Provence, owned by the Queen's nephew Viscount Linley. The photographer is believed to have used a long-lens camera from a public road some 800 metres away. Privacy rules in France are based on Article 9 of the Civil Code which dates back to 1970 and states that “Everyone has the right to respect for their private life”. This right, which became part of the constitution in 1995, applies not only to the disclosure of a person's private life but also

© 2011 - Pat Pilon (WikiCommons)

Closer editor charged over privacy abuse

Paul Giacobbi’s comments will strike a chord with many voters in Corsica



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Cross-border fines could still be bad news for British drivers


Politicians predict France's future


oliticians the world over have something of a reputation for being overly optimistic and it would appear that French politicians are no different. Ahead of the new parliamentary term, President François Hollande set his ministers a summer holiday homework assignment: “What is your vision of France in 2025?” The answers paint a Utopian picture of the near future: France will have no unemployment, little debt, housing for everyone and an industry that will be the envy of the world... they hope! Ministers were due to hand in their homework when the government reconvened in Paris to prepare for the new term, but French weekly Le Point gained a sneak peak at a few of these broadly optimistic ministerial essays, handed in early by Hol-

lande’s keenest pupils. Pierre Moscovici, the finance minister, does admit that France will fall a few places from 5th in the league table of world economies, but confidently asserts that it will nevertheless be in a much stronger position than it is now, predicting full employment and the eradication of public debt. “The risks are great but everything is possible,” he states. Housing Minister Cécile Duflot is equally confident that reforms she is introducing will bear fruit, predicting that six million new homes will have been built and “everyone will have a roof over their heads in a quality environment. Access to housing will no longer be a stress factor. Finding a home will even become a pleasant step in people’s lives”. France's minister for industrial renewal, Arnaud Montebourg, is no

less optimistic, predicting that “France will be recognised, once again, as the leading voice among industrialised nations. The country will be the world leader in renewable energy and smart grids”. Montebourg's crystal ball also tells him that the new Public Investment Bank, created in December 2012, along with a reduction in red tape, “will help the country’s entrepreneurs transform small businesses into large multinationals”. Responding to the rosy picture of France's future and getting into the spirit of blind optimism, Bugle editor Steve Martindale confirmed rumours that The Bugle will indeed be rebranding itself as GlobalHyperMegaCorp, is planning to employ a further 5,000 people in the coming year and was pressing ahead with plans to float the company on the CAC40. ■

for traffic police to conceal themselves with speed cameras a few kilometres before a toll booth (péage) and then radio ahead to colleagues who will pull drivers over when they get there. For extreme speeding, the on-the-spot cash fine can be as much as €1,500!! Claiming not to speak the lingo will not help (these motorway teams will usually have at least one English speaker), neither will pointing at an empty wallet. If a driver does not have the cash, they will be taken to a cash point in a local town to withdraw it. “Drivers have to pay on the spot,” explained gendarme Lt Benjamin Dupain. “If they don't have any money on them and they are on their own, they will be driven to the nearest cashpoint machine. If they really have no money at all, then an on-duty judge will be called to decide what to do. But that can mean waiting around for up to three days and the car will not be allowed to move.” So, in actual fact, far from being an excuse to continue to drive faster than the speed limit allows, the new law may in fact result in the police and gendarmes paying particular attention to those driving on British and Irish plates. Recent statistics have shown that currently one quarter of all vehicles flashed by France's army of speed cameras are on foreign plates. This problem is even worse in the height of the summer tourist season when that figure rises to half! Although excessive speed is still a factor in 26% of all road fatalities in France, average speeds on the county's roads have fallen by 10 km/h in the decade since the first introduction of fixed speed cameras in France. In 2012, there were 3,645 road deaths in France, significantly down from a peak of 9,000 in 2002, and the lowest on record since 1948, the year in which France first started accounting for road deaths. ■

lthough drivers from north of the Channel welcomed Britain's recent decision to opt out of the innocuously-named “EU Directive on Road Safety”, the law could still have unpleasant consequences for tourists and expats driving in France on UK plates. Earlier this summer the French Senate voted into law the European directive which enables police to identify foreign drivers and automatically send out speeding tickets to greet them when they arrive home. “From now on we will be able to exchange digital files across the European Union so that when a foreign driver is flashed in France, because of the registration plate, we will be able to identify them and find out their address,” the Ministry of Transport told French daily Le Parisien. “We don’t have the same driving rules across Europe and certain motorists are allowed to drive faster in their own country, like on German motorways, but European drivers must respect the rules of the road for the country they are driving in,” said Senator Odette Herviaux. With most of Europe now signed up, only Britain, Ireland and Denmark have refused to adopt the agreement, something that drivers from those countries initially saw as good news. Many currently drive with impunity through the rest of Europe, knowing that they can ignore the cameras - the only way that they can be caught is literally red-handed, by police or gendarmes at the roadside. But, with the authorities now able to automatically send fines to most EU nationals, the speed police's attention is turning towards those on British, Irish and Danish plates in particular (and in France it is the Brits who make up the vast majority of this traffic). One common tactic being employed is

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Oyster industry facing fresh crisis as disease again decimates stocks

© 2005 - Peter Gugerell (WikiCommons)


culprit in that case was Oyster Herpes virus type 1, or OsHV1. The viral epidemic ripped through oyster farms again in the summers of 2009 and 2010, killing between 80-100% of all baby oysters. There is no known cure for OsHV-1. French officials and producers' groups are anxious to point out that there is nothing in these diseases which makes surviving oysters dangerous to human health. The sudden death of adult oysters, just before they go on sale, is particularly damaging. “It means three years of work wiped out overnight,” said Laurent Champeau, president of the shellfish producers in the La Rochelle area. “Our margin

for manoeuvre is already practically nothing.” “Some people are having to ration their sales,” added Olivier Laban. “We were already producing relatively few oysters because of the deaths of juveniles in past years. Prices are very high and cannot really go higher.” Older hands need no reminding of the fragility of oyster farming. In France, the cultivation of oysters only began around 150 years ago, but twice since then entire species have been wiped out by disease: first in the 1920s and then again in 1970. Today's species - the Pacific oyster or Crassostrea gigas - has only been cultivated in France for the last 40 years.

“There used to be a saying among oyster farmers - ‘always be ready to move’,” says François Cadoret, now in his 80s, and whose family has raised oysters at Locmariacquer since 1870. “People forget it's a most unreliable business.” France is the fourth largest oyster producer in the world,

although production has fallen from 120,000 tons four years ago to around 80,000 tons last year. But with China alone producing over 80% of the world’s oysters, there is no danger of a global shortage just yet. French oysters, however, may become a rare - and expensive - delicacy in the coming years. ■

Stranded passengers put up at Disneyland

© 2011 - Saturne (WikiCommons)

t has not been a happy time for France's oyster farmers recently. After the virus that has been decimating young shellfish for several years, this year's crop of adults has now been ravaged by a mysterious ailment that is killing up to 80 per cent of oysters in shell fisheries around the French coast this summer just before they are due to be harvested. Officially, this year's unusual weather has been blamed for the deaths. Heavy rain from May to July caused a drop in the salt levels of coastal waters, followed by brutal temperatures throughout late July and August which further weakened the oysters. “In some areas, 50 to 80 per cent of saleable oysters aged between two to three years have died out,” Olivier Laban, president of the shellfish producers' federation of Arcachon-Aquitaine, told Le Figaro newspaper. “We have no idea what the origin of this blight is.” Testing is under way at Ifremer, France's marine research institute, with samples taken from oysters along the west coast and the Mediterranean. “All the samples show mortality rates that are higher than normal,” said mollusc specialist Tristan Renault. “All contain the deadly bacteria Vibro aesturianus. That's probably the murder weapon, but we still don't know who the murderer is. The unusual weather conditions this year are probably behind the phenomenon.” Shellfish producers fear, however, that this year's freak weather is simply masking a longer-term underlying problem, pointing out that there has been a gradual increase in the mortality of adult oysters in the past two or three years, something which is reminiscent of the slow onset of the disease which began to kill off tiny oysters in 2008 and 2009. The

Nothing is more annoying than having your train cancelled at the last minute, leaving you stranded overnight. For 169 passengers on a recent Ouigo train from Paris to Marseille, however, this disappointment was softened by the news that they would spend the night at “The Happiest Place on Earth” - Disneyland Paris! The Ouigo low-cost, high-speed train service was launched earlier this year and whisks travellers from Paris to Marseille in 3 hours 15 minutes with tickets starting from just €10. The cancellation of the 20:44 train from Marne-la-Vallée, the first incident of this kind on the new service, was caused by “radio failure within the train”. Passengers were handed the usual 50 per cent refund on their tickets as well as a free seat on a train that was leaving the following morning. The added bonus for those that did not live nearby was the news that they would be treated to a free night at the Disneyland Paris theme park. ■

SPORT ♦ 11


Monaco what Roman Abramovich has achieved with Chelsea. Whilst few would argue that having the best players playing domestically in France's Ligue 1 is good for everyone, not all the top flight teams are happy with one aspect of AS Monaco's success - their status in Monte Carlo as a tax haven. Colombian striker Falcao, a €64 million summer signing from Atlético Madrid, has recently arrived at AS Monaco, and few could argue that the promise of a tax-free salary must have been part of the appeal. The other 19 Frenchbased league rivals are unable to match this offer, something that established names such as

Dmitry Rybolovlev has been ploughing his millions into AS Monaco

© 2012 - Francknataf (WikiCommons)


or many years, French domestic football has been languishing in Europe's 'second division', behind the more prestigious leagues of England, Germany, Spain and Italy. That has been slowly changing in recent years, however, as foreign investors have begun to take over French teams and inject serious money into assembling their own teams of galácticos. The Qatar Investment Authority at Paris Saint-Germain and Russian Dmitry Rybolovlev until recently one of the world's 100 richest men - at AS Monaco are 2 prime examples of this. Rybolovlev is aiming to do at

Marseille, Lille and Lyon claim is unfair and uncompetitive. “The advantage is huge in being able to convince huge players like Falcao to move to the club,” says French journalist Cyrille Haddouche of Le Figaro newspaper. He points out that while these tax rules have always been in place, the effect is now being multiplied by “the huge wealth of the Russian owner” to the extent that “the tax advantage that Monaco has is considered as unfair [by the clubs], especially in a period of economic difficulties for all clubs except Paris Saint-Germain”. When you consider that President François Hollande is still fighting to introduce a 75% rate of tax on the country's highest earners, it is easy to see the other clubs' point of view! The president of the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP), Frédéric Thiriez, has been fighting the 75% proposal, but has also said that something needs to be done about AS Monaco's tax advantage. He said that unless the rules changed then the newly-promoted AS Monaco would have a €50 million-a-season advantage over other clubs. The French league has reacted and told AS Monaco they must relocate their headquarters, and hence tax base, to France by June 2014. They have warned that failure to do so could result in their possible suspension from the league. Unsurprisingly, given their new

© 2013 - Froboy69 (WikiCommons)

Tax haven status angers Monaco's rival clubs

Falcao is Monaco's latest big-money signing - a snip at €64 million financial firepower, AS Monaco does not agree with this development and has taken the matter to France's highest court for administrative law, with a decision expected by the turn of the year. “We are expecting the opportunity to plead the case before the Conseil d'État, probably in October or November, with a decision some time in December,” explained AS Monaco's legal representative, Patricia Moyersoen. “It is clear the club does not want to move - they consider they have been a member of the French federation for a long time and it is not fair or legal to ask them to move [their headquarters] now.”

Frank Pons, a French sports marketing expert, believes the country's football authorities are taking a short-term view and that a successful Monaco would be an asset for the Ligue 1 brand. “France, and Spain, have not realised the importance of having a strong league brand, as opposed to strong club brands,” said the marketing professor. “If they create a strong league brand then in two or three years' time you could see people around the world wearing PSG or Monaco shirts.” AS Monaco's return to the top flight was marked by big summer signing Falcao scoring in a comfortable 2-0 win over Bordeaux. ■


rance's reigning Wimbledon champion, Marion Bartoli, has shocked the tennis world by announcing her retirement from professional tennis just 40 days after lifting the iconic trophy on Centre Court. The 28-year-old, ranked seventh in the world, said she was taking the decision with immediate effect because of persistent injuries. She made the tearful an-

nouncement at a press conference following defeat in her first match at a tour event in Cincinnati. “It's time for me to retire and to call it a career,” she told stunned reporters. “I feel it's time for me to walk away. It's never easy, but that was actually the last match of my career. I just can't do it anymore.” Following her 6-1 6-4 victory over Germany's Sabine Lisicki in July, Bartoli hinted that the sport was beginning to take its toll on her body, complaining at the time that her achilles, shoulder, hip and lower back hurt continually when she plays. “It's been a tough decision to take,” she added at her final press conference. “I've been a tennis player for a long time and I had the chance to make my biggest dream a reality. You know, everyone will remember my Wimbledon title. No-one will remember the last match I played here. I made my dream a reality and it will stay forever with me, but now my body just can't cope with everything.” ■

© 2009 - Robbie Mendelson (WikiCommons)

Bartoli retirement shocks tennis world


Dancing with the Green Goddess 20th century turning decidedly anti-absinthe, along came labourer Jean Lanfray with the final nail for the Green Fairy's coffin. Lanfray was a known drunk and one fateful morning he murdered his wife and his two children in a fit of drunken rage. Despite his reputation and the fact he had consumed prodigious amounts of wine and hard spirits that day, the 2 glasses of absinthe that the

At the end of the 19th century, absinthe was riding the crest of a wave, but within a few short years it would be banned across much of Europe. While artists and intellectuals became known for – and often identified by – their use of absinthe, they also played their part in its downfall. In addition to a number of famous paintings dedicated to the Green Fairy, other painters and writers portrayed absinthe in a negative light: frustrated artists led to ruin by the Green Goddess. As the vineyards recovered from the previous decade's phylloxera virus, the powerful winemakers joined France's growing temperance movement to smear the public image of absinthe. The lethargy and “loose ways” of café culture began to be portrayed as an immoral way to live and absinthe, once a beloved elixir, began to be seen as a scourge – the Green Goddess had become the Green Curse. By the late 19th century, France, like many other countries in Europe, was in the grip of a serious alcoholism problem. With the prevailing attitude in France at the turn of the

investigation revealed that he had drunk were held responsible. The ensuing moral panic led to absinthe drinkers being seen as dangerous addicts as opposed to fashionable intellectuals. It would be another ten years before France officially outlawed absinthe, but after the Lanfray scandal, the reputation of absinthe had sunk to irreparable depths. Ironically, it was the outright ban of absinthe over the following century that gave birth to the mythical status it subsequently acquired. Legends and speculation grew over time about the hallucinatory, calming and psychoactive properties of the fabled tipple. In the 1990s, science began to prove some of the benefits of wormwood and disprove some of the negative claims about thujone, the active chemical ingredient - in order to drink enough absinthe for the thujone to be a health problem, the alcohol or the sheer volume of liquid you would need to drink would have already killed you! Producers, playing off absinthe's mythical image, began to look for legal loopholes and one of the largest

appeared in France. Although consumption and purchase of absinthe was outlawed in 1915, production was never banned. The drink could be produced in France and even bottled and sold – it could simply not be labelled as “absinthe”. Production began in earnest. In the face of a whole host of drinks labelled as “a spirit made from extracts of the absinthe plant”, the ban on labelling was lifted in France in 2011 and today “proper” absinthe can be bought easily in the supermarket. “It was a bizarre situation,” said George Rowley, Managing Director of La Féé Absinthe, who, though British, was one of the key people behind the resumption of absinthe production in France. “You could distill absinthe in France, bottle it, label it for the rest of the world as absinthe, but you couldn't do that for France. It was ridiculous; it was a redundant law that needed to be swept away.” The big debate today is whether the contents of the bottles of absinthe on sale really are the same as that being drunk by Vincent Van Gogh. Is absinthe really hallucinogenic and will it turn you mad? Johnny Depp has shared some time with the Green Goddess and has been quoted as saying: “I hated cocaine, but I used to like absinthe... drink too much and you suddenly realise why Van Gogh cut off his ear”. Oscar Wilde is another to have seen the good and bad sides of absinthe: “After the first glass you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally you see things as they really are, and

that is the most horrible thing in the world.” Science seems to confirm, but also deny, the hallucinogenic properties of absinthe. “Wormwood oil is a neurotoxin, a poison,” said Robert Tisserand, an expert on the properties of herbs. “In sufficient quantities the substance causes laboratory animals to confront imaginary enemies, experience auditory and visual hallucinations and suffer convulsions.” Hardly the makings of a good night down the pub! However, these symptoms would only be experienced in humans after they had drunk the equivalent of 25 glasses – an impressive effort even for Gérard Depardieu. Ted Breaux, a research scientist and commercial distiller in France who has spent 17 years researching the liquor, says that its mind-altering or hallucinogenic effects have been “greatly exaggerated”, although he does admit that some drinkers report a “sensation of mental clarity” before the alcohol kicks in. There was no regulation of absinthe in the days of Van Gogh, meaning there was probably “significantly more thujone” than would be allowed under modern-day rules, and the European Union are indeed trying to bring in standards for what can be called absinthe, with suggested minimum and maximum levels of thujone. What can not be denied is that people are still drawn to the mystique of la fée verte and absinthe is making a comeback, not just in France, but across Europe and even in America. Love it or fear it, the latest chapter of this fascinating drink's history has well and truly begun. ■

How to prepare absinthe

© 2006 - Eric Litton (wikicommons)

able for most. By the 1870s, the absinthe craze was felt at all levels of French society; just about everyone was drinking it. Days started with a glass of absinthe and ended with l'heure verte (the late-afternoon “green hour”) when one or more glasses were drunk as an aperitif before supper. Over 1,000 distilleries were pumping out absinthe to meet the country's unquenchable thirst.

© 2006 - Eric Litton


reen, incredibly alcoholic and some say mindaltering, absinthe has been enjoying something of a renaissance in recent years, following the lifting of bans across much of Europe. The enduring popularity of this heady green spirit stems in large part from how it has figured in the world of art and entertainment over the years. From Picasso to Oscar Wilde to Vincent van Gogh (who many say cut his ear off after drinking too much), absinthe has long been associated with artists and bohemian Paris. Today, more and more people are enjoying the ritual surrounding a glass of the “Green Fairy”, but the drink has not always been as popular as it is once again becoming today. The active ingredient in absinthe, thujone, is extracted from wormwood. Throughout history, humans have created wormwood-infused liquors, with the Egyptians and Greeks both known to have been big fans. Absinthe as we know it today traces its roots back over 200 years to a French doctor, Pierre Ordinaire, who believed in the medicinal properties of wormwood and was trying to create an effective way of administering the drug. At the end of the 18th century, Dr Ordinaire retreated from the French Revolution to settle in the small Swiss town of Couvet. The drinkable concoction he created, using local herbs mixed with Artemisia absinthium, or wormwood, produced an emerald green elixir rumored to cure everything from flatulence to anaemia. Dr Ordinaire's potion was anything but ordinary! Legend has it that Ordinaire passed down his absinthe recipe from his deathbed and five years later, Henri-Louis Pernod, father of the Pernod brand, opened his first absinthe distillery in Switzerland before moving to a larger distillery in Pontarlier, France, as its popularity increased. Although absinthe would go on to earn again an international reputation as the drink of choice for artists, writers, and intellectuals, it was actually a very democratic drink, enjoyed as much by the working classes as the aristocracy. In the 1840s, French soldiers were given absinthe as a field treatment for malaria (scientists have since proven the anti-malarial properties of wormwood) and the troops returned with a taste for the Green Goddess. Meanwhile, mass production had dramatically reduced the cost of making and distributing the highly specialized drink and at around the same time the phylloxera virus was busy decimating France's vineyards, making wine unafford-

1. Fill the reservoir of the glass with absinthe (or about 1/5 to 1/3 absinthe of the volume). 2. Place an absinthe spoon and a sugar cube on top of the glass. 3. Slowly drip ice water through the sugar until it dissolves completely. A green line will form at the top. As this line forms it is common to sample the absinthe by drinking off this green line to get the full impact of the absinthe's qualities before the drink is fully diluted. 4. The drink louches (turns white; this is due to the oils being soluble in alcohol but not in water) and new flavours come out.



Tips for filling out a French cheque The Bugle's resident lawyer, Laure CHAVERON, explains how to fill out a French cheque, highlights the differences from the UK cheque system and also takes a look at the laws surrounding this popular payment method.


rench cheques are set out slightly differently to British ones. The main difference when writing out a French cheque is that the amount that the cheque is for goes at the top where on a British cheque you would normally put the name of the person that you are making the cheque payable to. After “Payez contre ce chèque” write the amount in words. You can write the cents in letters or numbers. You will find useful information to help you to convert a number into French words at EC-fr.htm From a legal point of view the amount in words is more important than the amount in numbers. After “à” write the name of the person or company you want to pay (e.g. Mme Brown / EDF). After “€” you need to fill in this box with the amount in numbers. Do not forget that in French a point marks the thousands, while a comma marks the cents (e.g. 1,030.20 in English = 1.030,20 in French). After “A” under the box with the amount in numbers write the name of the place where the

cheque is being written (e.g. Limoges). After “Le” write the date. Signature: Finally, you need to sign the cheque in the space under the place and date. WARNING Once an account is opened, you can order a chequebook, which is sent to you or held at the branch

for collection. The bank may refuse to give you a chequebook but you must be told the reason why. In France there is no equivalent to the UK cheque guarantee card system. Your cheque is considered to be as good as cash. It is common to be asked for proof of identity when paying by cheque. If you find yourself in the situation where you have written a cheque that your account cannot cover, this can result in a ban on writing cheques or opening a new bank account for up to five years. It is a criminal offence to write a

cheque that your account cannot cover. Banks in France cannot issue a chequebook to a person listed on the Banque de France unpaid cheque database. Cheques cannot be stopped (except for loss, theft, suspected fraudulent use or receivership and liquidation) and unauthorised overdrafts are not permitted. You can obtain a short-term overdraft facility for a small monthly fee; this might prove to be a wise move if you are in the habit of writing cheques and worrying about the monthly balance afterwards.

It is illegal to write a postdated or open-dated cheque (which incurs a fine equal to 6% of the value of the cheque, or a minimum of 0,76 €) and a cheque in France is valid for one year and eight days. For more information on this topic, contact: Laure CHAVERON, Avocat 36 avenue Pierre Leroux, 23600 Boussac Téléphone: 05 55 82 18 99 E: chaveron


resident Hollande and his government have recently announced their intention to include further reforms to the taxation of property capital gains in the 2014 Finance Bill, due to be presented to the French parliament in September 2013. The reforms are designed to help alleviate the national housing shortage in France by encouraging the release of investment properties onto the main

residential market. The measures will affect both French resident and non-resident owners of French second homes. Capital gains made on the sale of a primary residence by a French-resident owner will not be affected because the main residence exemption will continue to apply. On 1st February 2012 the previous government introduced a scale of “taper relief” reduction applied to gains in accordance with

the length of property ownership. The effect of this was that 100% gain relief was given after 30 years ownership. This scale was introduced to replace the scale which provided for full relief after 15 years of ownership. However, President Hollande has described this extension as excessive and now proposes to reduce the length of ownership to qualify for 100% relief to 22 years. The 22-year scale is, in fact, a re-introduction of an old scale and if the measure follows the same formula as the old scale then there will be relief at 5% per annum after the first 2 years of ownership. Interestingly, the president is hopeful of formulating the proposal in such a way that it can actually come into force with effect from the 1st September 2013, in advance of parliamentary approval of the Finance Bill. The government is also proposing an additional 20% reduction, for a limited period, on capital gains arising on sales of second homes and investment properties. Full details of this measure and the time period for its application will be set out in the 2014 Finance Bill. Commentators have re-

© Paul Bodea -

Changes to Property Capital Gains Taxation Planned

marked that this additional “incentive” to encourage the release of second homes and investment properties onto the general residential market is somewhat at odds with the capital gains “surtax” of up to 6%, on gains exceeding €50,000, after taper relief, which was introduced at the start of 2013 by the Finance Amendment Act.

The government has indicated it will “review” the operation and impact of this supplementary tax but it remains to be seen how finance ministers will reconcile their desire to expand the residential property market with their competing desire to optimise tax revenues to reduce the ongoing public sector deficit! ■

Peter Wakelin is Regional Manager of Siddalls France, Independent Financial Adviser, specialised in tax, inheritance, pension and investment planning for the British community in the Dordogne since 1996. Telephone 05 56 34 75 51, bordeaux. www.


Why do some people taste so good to insects? Regular environment contributor, Arthur Smith from Harlequin Developments, looks into the science behind why some people appear to be more prone to insect bites than others. So what determines if you're one of the miserable tribe loved by the blighters, or one of the lucky few they ignore? CARBON DIOXIDE One of the most important factors is the presence of carbon dioxide, the invisible, odourless gas we breathe out - many insects can detect this gas from more than 50m away! There is some evidence that people who are tall or fat are also at greater risk. This is a combination of the fact that they are bigger - there is more surface area to aim for - and also that they burn more fuel to keep their bodies going and therefore produce more carbon dioxide. BODY ODOUR AND SWEAT Human bodies produce around 500 different volatile chemicals that waft off our skins into the air, and studies have shown that insects are variously attracted to sweat, lactic and uric acids, and octenol. Lactic acid is released through pores in the skin, particularly after exercise. Uric acid is best known as a chemical in urine, but can also build up in the skin. Octenol is found in sweat and breath, so if you’re sweaty or breathing heavily, you’ll produce more, attracting insects. Some people naturally re-

© 2009 - JJ Harrison (WikiCommons)


hile out walking the dogs the other evening with SWMBO a series of events set me thinking. It seemed that every few metres my Mrs was getting an insect bite, but I wasn’t. So, I wondered, why her and not me? A quick trawl through t’interweb brought several explanations which I thought might be interesting to share. There are almost one million different species of insect in the world, of these a mere handful feed on humans, and in most cases only the females bite (no comment!) In order to produce and lay eggs, many female insects need an extra boost of nutrients, and they get it from the blood of animals, including humans. In this part of France we are lucky, things like mosquitoes are little more than a nuisance, albeit a maddening one if the bites flare up, but when it comes to a good meal, insects are much fussier than you might think. Firstly, women tend to suffer more than men, largely because they tend to bare more flesh. It's often said that some people attract insect bites, regardless of their sex, while others never get nipped. It used to be thought that this was an urban myth. Now, however, a series of studies are increasingly showing that biting insects really do prefer some people to others.

lease more of these chemicals than others and everyone produces more when exercising, which, combined with the fact that insects also seem to like higher body temperatures, explains why you may often be more prone to bites during a walk. ALCOHOL In 2002, a Japanese study found that those who drank a single bottle of beer were more attractive to biting insects. A recent French study (I never saw this job advertised!) also found that beer drinkers were slightly more likely to get bitten. Researchers haven’t shown whether the effect is the same with wine or spirits, or whether it is an ingredient in the beer apart from alcohol that changes the smell

Grilled Goat's Cheese, Beetroot and Balsamic Tarte Tatin Recipe provided by Brett from Le Moulin du Breuil (23140 Pionnat) - 05 55 80 37 70 Ingredients (for 4 people):

4 x Crottin de chèvre 1 Packet cooked whole beetroot 1 500ml Bottle balsamic vinegar or crème de balsamique (I prefer to make my own) 1 Packet pre-rolled puff pastry (pâte feuilletée) Salt and Pepper Method:

If you cannot find crème de balsamique... 1. Reduce the balsamic vinegar in a pan on a high heat until it boils rapidly (reduce to 1/5 of original volume). Remove from the heat and cool – the crème de balsamique should be thick and creamy. For the tarte tatin 2. Drain the excess liquid from the beetroot and slice as thinly as possible. 3. In a muffin tray (yorkshire pudding tray) layer the beetroot. Drizzle each layer with the balsamic reduction and season. Keep layering until you reach the top of the tin. 4. Cut out a disc of pastry big enough to cover the beetroot. Place the pastry disc over the beetroot, folding in the excess and pressing down the sides to form a crust. Cut a small hole in the centre of the pastry to allow excess heat out whilst cooking. 5. Cook in a pre-heated oven at 160˚ for 20-25 mins, until the pastry is cooked. 6. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Place a chopping board or tray on top of the tatins and turn upside down to turn out. 7. Cut the goat’s cheese crottins in half with a hot knife. Place on a tray lined with greaseproof paper. Season with cracked black pepper and grill under a hot grill for 3–5 mins (reheat tatins in the oven). 8. Serve with a mixed salad.

of skin. SMELLY FEET It’s not just the natural odour of skin that is responsible for attracting or deterring insects, studies have also shown that bad body odour and sweaty feet (conditions often caused by bacteria) also attract the insects. So, in answer to my question,

it seems that because I’m not fat, wasn’t out of breath and sweating, hadn’t been drinking, and didn’t have smelly feet, the insects were leaving me alone! Hmmmm, I think I’d better get my coat.... ■ Arthur Smith Harlequin Developments Tel: Mob:

The price of perf-egg-tion


t seems that mentioning a few months ago that a little bit of chicken poo on your eggs is a small price to pay for the extra benefits we get from free range eggs struck a chord with several readers. Many of us that come over here have much more land than we ever had in our previous homes, and we seek to be a bit more selfsufficient than we were previously. That bit of poo, or a feather, are just little reminders that can help us better connect to our food. A stronger connection with what we consume can help raise environmental and animal welfare awareness. One of the first things we did when we arrived here was build a chicken shed and buy some chickens. We really looked forward to our first eggs, like a child might look forward to seeing if the big red guy has been in December. This may sound a little weird, but I always really look forward to opening up the egg boxes in the chicken shed to see what they contain. The eggs are sometimes different colours, the sizes vary greatly as does their shape, it’s a bit like Forrest Gump’s proverbial box of chocolates. One day there was an egg that weighed over 110 grams. I pitied the poor hen that laid that one! Their perfection is in their “imperfection”. Each time I use an egg, I marvel

at the rich yolk. Because they are so fresh, they seem to keep forever (up to 3 months I’m told). What an amazing packaging material nature came up with. I’ve read recently of children who don’t know where eggs come from. In fact it seems that one in 10 secondary school children think tomatoes grow underground, 30% think that cheese comes from a plant, and one in 5 think that fish fingers contain chicken. I find this unsettling and rather sad. I wonder how many people consider the hens when they crack an egg, and unlike the hens that provide my eggs, many of those birds are kept in less than ideal conditions. There should be a feather in every dozen to remind us. A bit of egg trivia: When eggs are washed at commercial operations, it removes a protective protein based coating on them called “bloom” that seals the pores of the egg, preventing outside contaminants from entering the egg. Removal of this coating decreases an egg’s shelf life. Unwashed eggs keep longer, but should be kept separate from other foods and rinsed just before use. ■ Arthur Smith Harlequin Developments Tel: Mob:



In the garden - jobs for September


ell, there you go. As usual things have changed quite radically in the garden in just a few weeks. Not so long ago it was cool, and wet, and then, almost overnight, it went to scorching hot and watering suddenly became top priority. All credit to the plants that so many could resist this temperature arch. Of course, those planted last year have more resistance than those planted in the last few months, and annuals, which the majority of vegetable plants often are, usually suffer first. But boy does mulching really help. Again and again, you can see the difference in a plant that's suffering after you've applied a good mulch to its feet. It doesn't have to be expensive there is a lot of bracken growing in the road verges which will only get destroyed later when the cantonniers do their fauchage. Root heat is a major factor in plant death, so keep roots as cool as possible by laying an insulating layer on top of them, and planting in big pots so that the roots do not touch the sides too quickly. You can even think about insulating your pots with a layer of thick newspaper, etc. before adding the compost. Obviously, this will mostly be useful for next year's containers now, although autumn displays of mixed grasses with ivies, pansies or violas do look very attractive, and the insulation can protect equally from the cold. You must ensure there is good drainage. In the potager September should be quite busy... It's really the last opportunity to sow stuff for next year, as days are still warm enough for germination and the young plants should, hopefully, have enough time to bulk up before the cooler weather and shorter days kick in. Sow radish, spinach, spring cabbage, radicchio, oriental vegetables like kohlrabi, winter lettuce, lambs lettuce, rocket and winter purslane. It's quite a long list that one can make, especially if you are going to give them a bit of protection. My favourites are the various leaf mustards - beautiful to look at, and tangy, spicy flavours to pep up a winter salad. Try Red Frills or Osaka Purple. Peas, broad beans and sweet peas can also be sown. If you sow early enough, and October is kind, you can have a second crop of dwarf beans to pick before the frosts start. You can also sow hardy annuals and biennials for next year - foxgloves, wallflowers, sweet williams, etc. You can plant onion sets and garlic, which will not seem to do much over the winter but should crop earlier than those spring sown. If you have very wet winter ground, plant them on slight mounds to improve drainage. Harvesting There's still lots of harvesting

to be done and gluts to be transformed. Tomatoes are still going strong, as are courgettes and squashes/pumpkins. Runner beans and other climbing beans keep producing as long as you pick them regularly. When you've really had enough, leave the last few pods to dry on the canes for next year's seed. Walnuts, chestnuts and the last of the hazelnuts can be collected for storage. Later varieties of apples, pears and quinces are in full spate. Try and find the time to pick and store unblemished fruit, as well as bottling or freezing. Foraging around the edges of your garden can be rewarding too, to find blackberries, sloes, rowan berries, etc. Check the edibleness, or not, of any mushrooms collected at your local pharmacy, unless you are an expert. Leave medlars on the tree until the first frosts. Collect fruit and veg seeds Collect fruit and veg seeds and, having made sure they're fully dry, store them somewhere cool and dry. This includes stones of particularly good peaches or plums. They should germinate easily in the spring if you sow them now. Remember to label them, and protect them from the mice. Prepare for the cold This sounds like a strange thing to say after such hot temperatures but it will surely come. As well as enjoying the usually excellent autumn weather, consider what you'll want to grow over the winter, and how you'll protect your crops. If you aren't planning to use your veg patches, then think about how to save yourself work in the spring and cover them with weed suppressant textile. Get a load of manure (fumier) from a friendly farmer, or turn out your compost heap. Collect free bracken from the road verges or buy a bale of straw. Follow the rhythm of the year and enjoy the changes in the quality of the light. At the end of the month you can probably cut back tall perennials by half so they don't get blown down over the winter. Don't waste this greenery - start mulching the slightly tender things. Divide up old clumps of things like campanulas, hemerocallis, etc. so they start to re-establish themselves before the real winter weather. Marvel at the beauty of the asters and the late season flowers. Label any selfsown sports that are of particular interest. Go round the garden with a notebook Make notes about what needs to be moved, split, increased, etc. next year. Note what worked well for you this year, and what to change. Visit friends and people with good gardens to swap or cadge treasures! Go to plant swaps, and the autumn fêtes des plantes. Good gardening !! ■

by Michelle Pierce


Who can imagine anything more Western than an apple? Apple and blackberry, pork with apple sauce, apple pie... It's our everyday fruit par excellence, isn't it? Sitting demurely, maybe even boringly, alongside its more glamorous cousins the bananas, pineapples, oranges and mangoes, nobody really stops in their track and goes “Wow, a Cox's!” But this is to make a serious error because the apple is just amazing!! It's from far far away: central Asia, to be precise in the Tien Shan region of Kazakhstan, where its wild ancestor, Malus sieversii, is still found today. It migrated west via the movements of ancient peoples - down the Silk Road, with traders, armies and even barbarian hordes - and has been grown for thousands of years. There are even impressions of apple pips in prehistoric pottery shards! The apple appears in ancient mythology, of course. Look at the Garden of Eden - Eve wasn't tempted by a nectarine, was she? Wherever you find apple trees, you know that someone brought them there. It is a highly portable and versatile fruit; fresh, dried, stored for months or transformed into cider, the apple has major advantages in terms of food value. Indeed, the old adage “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” has been proven true scientifically. Apples don't typically come from seed, but are usually grafted. That said, if you plant an apple pip, you will end up with a tree which will probably bear fruit. Think about Johnny Appleseed in the States. The grafts can be moved easily, and the young trees are easily grown. In a village near me there are trees of a certain variety from the other side of France, brought in the knapsack of a man fleeing the German occupation during the war. As well as being of practical importance, it was a way of keeping links with his homeland. How sad it is that we are now used to just a handful of perfect supermarket fruits - the Pink Ladies and the Golden Delicious among them. Our kids will think that this is all there is to apples, but … There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples, with a huge variety of tastes and textures and qualities. Some are for cooking, others for keeping, making compote, drying, making cider, etc. There are endless variations, if we don't lose them all through our neglect!! France was at one stage a hotbed of orchard production and hundreds of varieties were created, but it has unfortunately, as elsewhere, lost many of these. While in some countries there has been a resurgence, here it is only just starting and we should all give it our support. Why not try asking for old varieties in your local greengrocer or farm shop? So, September is an excellent month to go out spotting orchards and trying to taste the diverse world of apples.


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Driving on the ‘wrong’ side


nyone who has driven to or from the UK will know that one of the biggest challenges is the driving. Switching from driving on the right to driving on the left, and vice versa, can be enough of a worry to stop people going at all! So why do the British insist on driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road? Today in fact, about a quarter of the world drives on the left, although the countries that do are almost all former British colonies; Japan is the notable exception. This strange quirk perplexes the rest of the world; however, there is a perfectly good reason. In a society of mostly right-handed people, jousting knights, with their lances under their right arm, naturally passed on each other’s right hand side. Also, in more violent times, if you came across

a stranger on the road you would keep him on your right to ensure that your protective sword arm was between yourself and him, making it easier to fight. So if driving on the left is more sensible, why does mainland Europe drive on the other side? Many now believe that the answer is simple: Napoleon was left-handed so preferred his enemies on his left. As part of the major social reforms that took place across France during the Napoleonic era, the “little general” introduced a strict “keep to the right” rule which he eventually spread across Europe. Since that time, any part of the world which was at some time part of the British Empire drove on the left of the road and any part colonised by the French drove on the right. The drive-on-the-right policy was also eventually adopted

by the USA, which wanted to remove all remaining links with its British colonial past. Another theory is that when farmers in America began hauling large loads with teams of horses, the driver would sit on the rear left horse, the best position from which he could whip all the animals with his right hand. Once he was sat on the left, it was easier to navigate past an oncoming vehicle if they passed on his left hand side. In the last few hundred years the trend has been increasingly to drive on the right. One of the last European countries to convert to driving on the right was Sweden in 1967. While everyone was getting used to the new system, drivers paid more attention and took more care, which actually resulted in a reduction of the number of road accident casualties! ■

The Bugle thanks French teacher, Sophie Arsac, for the translation of this month's bilingual article on a topical aspect of FrancoBritish culture.

Bilingual Crossword Clues in English - answers in French



ous ceux qui arrivent au Royaume-Uni ou qui en partent savent bien que la conduite est l’un des plus grands défis. Le passage de la conduite à droite à la conduite à gauche (et réciproquement) inquiète certaines personnes au point de les empêcher de faire le voyage. Alors… pourquoi les Britanniques s’obstinent-ils à rouler du mauvais côté de la route? En réalité, généralement dans les anciennes colonies britanniques (à l’exception notable du Japon), un quart de l’humanité roule à gauche. Une étrange excentricité qui déconcerte le reste du monde… mais s’explique parfaitement bien. Lors des joutes, les chevaliers, qui évoluaient dans un monde de droitiers et portaient leur lance sous le bras droit, se croisaient tout naturellement sur leur côté droit. Autrefois, lorsque les mœurs

étaient plus violentes et que vous rencontriez un étranger sur votre chemin, vous restiez sur sa droite car si l’épée qui vous protégeait était placée entre vous deux, c’était plus pratique pour parer à une attaque. Alors, si la conduite à gauche est plus sensée, pourquoi l’Europe continentale roule-telle de l’autre côté? La réponse est toute simple pour beaucoup de gens: Comme Napoléon était gaucher, il préférait que ses ennemis se trouvent sur sa gauche. Parmi les réformes sociales majeures qui furent instaurées en France sous l’ère napoléonienne, le “petit général” introduisit cette règle stricte de circulation à droite qu’il étendit à toute l’Europe. Depuis cette époque, on conduisit à gauche dans toutes les colonies ou excolonies de l’empire britannique et à droite dans les colonies françaises. Cette politique de la conduite à droite fut également adoptée par

les Etats-Unis qui souhaitaient rompre tous liens avec le passé colonial britannique. Une autre explication est attribuée aux fermiers américains. Lorsqu’ils commencèrent à transporter de gros chargements, ils utilisèrent des chariots tirés par des attelages de chevaux. Le cocher s’asseyait sur le cheval arrière gauche afin de contrôler au mieux l’attelage avec son fouet qu’il tenait dans la main droite. De cette position, il lui était aussi plus facile de piloter l’équipage lorsqu’il croisait un autre véhicule. La conduite à droite se généralise depuis de très nombreuses décennies et l’un des derniers pays d’Europe à s’y être converti a été la Suède en 1967. Tandis que les conducteurs s’habituaient au nouveau système, ils étaient plus concentrés et plus prudents et de ce fait, le nombre de victimes de la route a diminué! ■

5. pie (5) 6. sand (5) 8. air (3) 9. Thursday (5) 12. frogs (11) 13. dog (5) 14. east (3) 17. morning (5) 18. pupil (5)


1. salt shaker (7) 2. summer (3) 3. sandal (7) 4. island (3) 7. to measure (7) 10. anchovy (7) 11. washing powder (7) 15. cape (3) 16. wheat (3)

Bilingual crossword solution can be found on page 23

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Houses on Internet: A Global Property Network


ouses on Internet – Global Property S e r v i c e s (hereafter referred to as “HOI-GPS”), the internet/ marketing company that helps people sell their property, continues to do very well this year. They have already sold more properties in the first six months of this year than in the whole of 2012. Richard Kroon, founder and director of the company: “Although we have been successful over the past years, which allowed us to hire more staff, the number of responses from prospective buyers and sales keeps increasing. No doubt one of the reasons is that we were able to increase our worldwide advertising budget and reach more prospective buyers than ever.” So far this year HOIGPS has sold to people from 16 different countries, of which the Australians

are now the number one buyers, closely followed by the Belgians and other Europeans. Richard continues: “Last year we also saw a small rise in buyers from Russia which made us decide to have our websites translated into Russian, combined with advertising on the Russian version of Google. This really helped a lot and I wouldn’t be surprised if by the end of this year a large part of our buyers come from that region. Of course we continue to advertise in other parts of the world (the Americas, Europa and Asia) as well.” Still, after many years of presenting themselves in the media via the internet, magazines and papers like this one, Richard and his colleagues from HOI-GPS sometimes get questions like: “But you are just a website, right?” In fact, HOI-GPS is a little bit more than just that. First of all, the company comprises three different

organisations: • HOI - France, focussing on the French property market, has a staff of 7: a copywriter, two translators, three photo editors and one for marketing and web design. In addition, 91 photographers work for them throughout France to take photos of the houses they have for sale. • HOI - Spain with a staff of 5 and 53 photographers. • HOI - Germany has just started this year under its own management with currently a staff of 2 and 12 photographers. Richard: “The actual work all starts with the presentation of a property. If that’s not good enough, all other marketing efforts are useless. Our photographers usually take 150 to 200 photos of a house and in addition copy any good (summer)


photos our clients may have themselves. About 50 to 55 of those well-sized photos are selected, enhanced and presented on the dedicated website we make for each property. The copywriter writes the text in which the entire house, the garden, outbuildings if any, and each room are described. Information about shopping, schools, airports and tourism is added too. Then our translators start to work and everything is combined in one website, presenting the house at its best. Some of our clients even say they did not know their property could look that good!” As a lot of private website owners might know, having a website does not mean people can actually find it. Without continuous advertising, it simply is a waste of money. So after the website for the house is online, we first connect it to our main HOIGPS websites which attract over 135,000 visitors from 40+ countries each month. Most of these people find the sites through Google and additional Google advertising, for which we pay thousands of euros per month, but it is definitely worth it. Without visitors, no buyers. To reach an even larger audience, a summary of the presentation of the house is also placed on several other leading property websites. These adverts are also connected to the dedicated website of the house, making it all one big global property network. Sometimes people ask: “Why so many photos and why so much information of each house?”

The answer is obvious. In the past (and even now) property was presented with 3 to 5 very small photos and a few lines of text, which means the first thing a prospective buyer needed to do was ask for more photos and information, and then wait… Experience has taught us that most of the buyers are lost at that very moment. As the property market has become a global one, a prospective buyer can be on the other side of the world while the owner is in bed sleeping. With our approach, the buyer does not have to wait and can see the entire property whenever he wants, from the moment he is interested in it. Richard: “Another advantage for home owners

is that viewings are more successful. As there are no surprises and hardly any questions left, a visit in most cases is merely a confirmation of what they already know. We have even seen a couple of sales from far away buyers who bought the house based only on the presentation and a few questions by email. These are of course exceptions and I always encourage buyers to see the house themselves, as walking around a place is different from looking at photos.” For more information on HOI-GPS or to market your property through them, visit their website. Houses on Internet – Global Property Services 05 55 65 12 19

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Directory Advertising is available either in black and white or colour, and in either small (30 words max) or large (45 words max) format. Directory adverts may only contain text - no logos, images or artwork are allowed. The minimum contract length is 6 months. Advertising is payable on publication. All prices are HT.

Large Directory Ad 46mm x 71mm (Actual Size) 45 words max Small Directory Ad 46mm x 46mm (Actual Size)

30 words max





Advertising with The Bugle Making your home the best it can be. Better by Design.


ith 4 years’ experience delivering print advertising to an expat market, The Bugle represents one of the most cost-effective ways to let English speakers know about your business. An advert with The Bugle starts from just €13.50 HT per month – that’s less than 45 cents a day to put your business in front of 25,000 people each month. In the Dordogne we already have nearly 200 distribution points across the department where readers can pick up a copy for free, a number that is growing month by month. We also distribute 2,000 copies through Bergerac Airport, which means that we are in the perfect position to target not only residents and second-home owners, but also tourists and those new to the region. The Bugle is the only English language print media dedicated to the Dordogne - in fact, today, The Bugle is the only free English language newspaper in France and we are growing all the time. If you would like to discuss any of our advertising options further, why not give us a call today to find out more about the ways that we can help you grow your business.


uying and renovating a property here in France, or building from scratch, is a daunting business. Conversion or extension? What alterations will be allowed? What grants might you attract? Having an experienced professional on board as your guide can make all the difference. Discovering how your own ideas might play out in reality, or being shown other options which you hadn’t thought of – such is the architect’s stock-in-trade, as are the documents for permission to build. Forty years as an architect, now permanently based in the Limousin, have taught me to listen hard to clients and fully understand their ambitions. Each property has its own unique character and potential, so every job is a fresh challenge, but long practice has taught me certain moves to unlock the full value of an existing building, or suggest a winning strategy for a newbuild site. When we meet, my aim is to explore with you the real opportunities and the key decisions, so we can later reach the point of balance

T: 05 55 41 17 76 E: W:

- a scheme which reflects your needs and aspirations, but also one which offers something special. First stage: an informal discussion on site (no charge). Then we can jointly plan the way ahead and a budget for the design and dossier for the Mairie or for Bâtiments de France. Contact: Neil Parkyn architecte DPLG(R-U) email: tel: 05 55 66 75 53 mobile: 06 48 28 07 29


“SolarVenti”- the solar solution to damp and humidity


simple solar energy system that runs on its own, even when you are not there! – And provides a free heat supplement in winter. The Solarventi air panel was invented more than 20 years ago by Hans Jørgen Christensen, from Aidt Miljø, with the backing of the Danish government. He wanted to use the sun’s energy for airing and ventilation of the thousands of holiday homes on the West coast of Jutland, - houses that were left empty and unheated for long periods - houses with damp problems, mould and bad odours - houses that left their owners with discomfort, lots of work and expense. He wanted a system that would be safe, simple, without the need for radiators, water and/ or mains electricity. Slowly but surely, the first Solarventi

model came together. How it works The principle behind Solarventi is simple: a small, builtin, solar cell powers a 12V fan that is connected to an air vent, a control unit and an on/ off switch. Whenever the sun shines, the air in the solar panel is heated and the fan, receiving power from the solar cell, introduces warm, dry air into your home at the rate of 20 to 100 cubic metres per hour. The initial models were more than capable of keeping the cottages dry (and ventilated), even with the limited sunshine hours available in Denmark during the winter season. Since that time, the technology has really come along in leaps and bounds. Now, more than 20 years later, the 3rd and 4th

generation Solarventi have exceeded all expectations. In Southern Europe, Solarventi is not only used for ventilation/dehumidification purposes; with far more winter sunshine hours, it also provides a substantial heating supplement. Several technical and governmental studies show that incoming air temperature can be increased by as much as 40°C. A DIY Solution? The installation process is very straightforward and should only take two or three hours. All that is needed is a drill, hammer and chisel to make a hole in the wall. Roof installations are also possible. In fact, the Solarventi was originally designed to be a DIY product in Scandinavia it still is. There are no electrical or

water connections and it can be safely left running, even when the property is empty. Solarventi requires no maintenance - if the property is unoccupied during the hot summer months, then it can be left running at low speeds for ventilation and dehumidification purposes or simply switched off. With a range of panel sizes, and the option for wall or roof mounting, Solarventi is suitable for all types of buildings, caravans or even boats!! Following the patenting of its design in 2001, Solarventi has only recently been actively commercialized. Over the last six years, Solarventi units have been installed in more than 24 countries and demand is increasing rapidly. From Greenland to Australia, Solarventi is finally getting the recognition it deserves. ■


SOLARVENTI - Available in the Dordogne From Harlequin Developments Tel: 05 55 68 67 56 Mobile: 06 06 60 46 97

Spotlight your business to up to 25,000 readers


his month, 11,000 copies of The Bugle Dordogne have been printed and are being distributed across the department. Thanks to our targeted distribution network, personally visiting each of our 200+ distribution points every month, we will make sure that the right number of copies go to the right places. As a result, this edition of The Bugle Dordogne will be seen by as many as 25,000 people!! That means 25,000 pairs of eyes may be reading this text in the coming few weeks… and they could be reading about your business! Advertorials cost from just

€50 HT, that’s 500 potential new customers or clients for your business for every euro spent! The Bugle Dordogne is our latest edition, but as a group, The Bugle has 4 years’ experience putting local businesses in touch with the expat community. Our experience shows that an Advertorial, often combined with regular advertising, has proved to be one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways of targeting our loyal readership. Because we only feature a handful of businesses each month, we highlight those businesses prominently and deliver your message in a targeted manner.

Advertorials are just one of the advertising options we offer, and we would be delighted to talk to you about the other options we have for raising the profile of your business. Advertorials are now available in 4 sizes (all prices are HT): 1/6 page - €50 1/3 page - €100 (this one) 2/3 page - €200 Full page - €300 If you would like to find out more about our Advertorials, or any of our other advertising options, please feel free to get in touch with us on or drop us a line at ■


Bilingual Sports Wordsearch Try to find all of the sports hidden in the letter-grid below. Clues are in French, answers are in English. ○ THE BUGLE ○ SEPTEMBER 2013

Did Genghis Khan invent the hamburger?


he humble hamburger traces its origins all the way back 800 years to the Mongol hordes of Genghis Khan. The Mongol warriors rode on sturdy ponies and were adept horsemen. They were a fastmoving cavalry-based army and would often stay in the saddle for days on end. The warriors made patties out of scraps of mutton which they placed under their saddles while they rode to tenderize them. These were then eaten raw. The Russians of the time called the Mongols “Tartars” and when the Mongols invaded Russia, they adopted these Mongol meals, calling them Tartar Steak, a name which survives in France to this day as steak tartare, the seasoned, raw, ground beef dish. In the 17th century, the Russians began trading with

athlétisme aviron badminton baseball basket boxe chevaux course automobile cricket crosse

cyclisme escrime foot golf gymnastique handball hockey judo lutte natation netball


patinage plongeon polo rugby ski squash tennis tir à l’arc voile volley-ball

Genghis Khan - the Ronald McDonald of his day

the German port of Hamburg, and steak tartare came along for the ride. The Germans, however, preferred to use ground beef rather than lamb and would also smoke or heavily salt the pattie, which enabled it to be conserved better during

The Mongols’ steak tartare probably didn’t look like this

long journeys. German immigrants subsequently brought these “Hamburg Steaks” to America in the early 19th century. They first appear on the menu of Delmonico’s restaurant in New York in the 1820s or 1830s and before long recipes for Hamburger were first recorded in cook books across America. It was not until the early 20th century that some bright spark had the idea of putting these Hamburgers between two pieces of bread and adding the compulsory unwanted piece of gherkin - the world’s waistlines have been steadily expanding ever since!! ■

French Quiz

• France has borders of 2868.5 km with 7 countries… can you name them all?



The solutions to this month’s sudokus can be found on page 23

To advertise in The Bugle /


WHAT’S ON ♦ 21



in September Foire de Périgueux 7th-15th September 10h-20h (23h on Sat 7th, Tue 10th & Fri 13th September)

The 70th Périgueux Fair takes place at the Parc des Expositions in Périgueux from 7th15th September. The theme this year is “The treasures of Ancient China”. One of the most important and popular Fairs in Aquitaine, it welcomed over 56,000 visitors in 2012 and this year expects 250 exhibitors. The Fair offers something for everyone: • • • • • • • • • •

A 400m² exhibition “Les Trésors de la Chine Ancienne” Exhibitor stands Fairground rides Sat 7th Sep: Concert with Emile & Images at 8pm Sat 7th Sep: Election of Miss Aquitaine (15/17 years) Tue 10th Sep: Concert with French R&B star Leslie at 8pm Wed 11th Sep: Children’s Day - meet and greet your favourite characters Fri 13th Sep: Concert with the singers from TV show “The Voice” Sat 14th Sep: Country dancing with the band “Black Orchid” Sun 15th Sep: Meet the stars of TV soap “Plus belle la vie”

For more information visit

THE festival of classical music, the Festival of the Black Périgord showcases musical talent from France and around the world. The theme this year is La Voix des anges (The Voice of Angels) and is packed with exciting music, with a wide variety of events taking place across the region and 160 artists of all nationalities. This month sees the “Semaine d’orgue de Sarlat” from 1st to 7th September with organ recitals and masterclasses. For more information visit

Concert: Happy Gospel Singers Saturday 7th September

Concert of gospel and spirituals by 50 choristers from the Happy Gospel Singers at the Eglise in Montpazier at 8:30pm. Tickets: €10; Students €7; Under 15s €5; Under 6s FREE. For more information: tel 05 53 27 09 25 (La Maison du Grand Site) tel 05 53 22 68 59 (Tourist Office)


Village Italien - Place du Forail, Bergerac 7th-15th September, from 10am

Visit this travelling “Italian Village” to sample the best produce from Italy: hams, cheeses, olive oil, pasta, wines, Limoncello, Marsala, etc. Artisans will also be present selling leather goods, craft items, jewellery and clothing. Free entry.

The musician who “can spin the world on his bow” The combination of “a romantic, breathtakingly beautiful walnut mill” (The Sunday Times) which possesses a reputation for producing superb organic dishes, and a musician who “can spin the world on his Bow” (Sir Terry Pratchett) promises to fully engage the senses of the most discerning of audiences. On Saturday 14th September, Steeleye Span’s legendary fiddle player, Peter Knight, once again brings his trio Gigspanner to L’espace at Briancon, a stunning, cutting edge performance space on the outskirts of Verteillac. Peter Knight’s Gigspanner has been hailed by Songlines magazine as “another milestone in folk’s rebirth of cool”, but those who have already seen them perform, will tell you that there is more to Gigspanner than meets the eye. Without doubt, a bedrock of British traditional music is to be expected from Steeleye Span’s legendary fiddle player. But, Gigspanner’s musical reach flirts audaciously with Eastern European, French, Cajun, African and even Aboriginal influences, transporting audiences on a “blistering pace of a musical world tour” (Phil Widdows, Folkcast). Ultimately, the music Gigspanner produces confounds any attempt to label it, and it is that intriguing, indefinable ingredient that continues to inspire audiences of all leanings, bringing them back for more. Finding the perfect vehicle to showcase the breadth of his virtuosity, Peter’s musicianship within the context of Gigspanner is a revelation to those whose only experience of his playing has been limited to Steeleye Span. Within Gigspanner, Peter’s musicianship is further enhanced by the flawless playing of Roger Flack on Guitar and Vincent Salzfaas on Congas and Djembe. Both have been described as “powerful and intelligent musicians in their own right” (Geoff Boudreau, Rye Arts Festival). What these extraordinary musicians have in common is an unwavering, single-minded commitment to dig deep and to load the music with something of value. Gigspanner’s audience knows that it is being honoured with a gift that is the difference between ‘entertaining’ and ‘spellbinding’. “Altogether gorgeous…music to sustain the spirit. Rarely have I heard such insistent calls for encores” (Dai Jeffries, Rock ‘n Reel Magazine). “The Trio co-create a depth of multi-textured melody that belies the pared-down instrumental line-up. Exceptional stuff, and not to be missed” (Noel Harvey, Acoustic Magazine). The concert will be preceded by a three-course meal, including a welcome glass of wine, and the ticket price per head is 40 euros. Tickets can be bought on-line at Alternatively, call 05 53 91 38 41.

The 30th Journées européennes du patrimoine (European Heritage Days) take place this month on 14th and 15th September. This is a popular event throughout France, which sees many state buildings and museums open their doors to visitors. There is not enough space in these pages to list everything going on so pop down to your local tourist office or visit: to find out what is happening in your area. Managing Editor: Steve Martindale Editor-in-Chief: Steve Martindale Registered Address: Les Quatre Chemins 23150 St-Yrieix-les-Bois France SIRET: 514 989 748 00017 Printed by: Charente Libre 16340, L’Isle d’Espagnac France

Directeur: Steve Martindale Rédacteur-en-chef: Steve Martindale Siège Les Quatre Chemins 23150 St-Yrieix-les-Bois France SIRET: 514 989 748 00017 Imprimé par: Charente Libre 16340, L’Isle d’Espagnac France

Monthly circulation: 11,000 copies All copyright, unless stated otherwise, is reserved to The Bugle. Reproduction in whole or part of any text without permission is prohibited. Dépôt légal à parution.

Tirage mensuel: 11,000 copies Tous droits réservés. Toute reproduction, totale ou partielle, des articles et illustrations du présent numéro est strictement interdite. Dépôt légal à parution.

The Bugle cannot accept responsibility for the claims of advertisers or their professionalism. We strongly advise readers to verify that the company you are dealing with is a registered trading company in France or elsewhere in the world.

WHAT’S ON ♦ 23


MADS presents

‘FROM PIRATES TO PHANTOM’ Issigeac Chateau 19, 20 & 21 September 2013 A musical miscellany directed by Judith Munns and Nick Sparkes A trip down memory lane as MADS relives so many of the memorable songs from some award-winning musicals. Book early “for the best seats in the house’’ with Jill Goodwin on:

05 53 24 56 11 or log on to: Performances: 19 & 20 September at 7:30pm Tickets: €10 (members €8) 21 September at 7pm for aperitif and canapés. Performance at 7:30pm. Tickets: €12 (members €10) MADS is an English Language Theatre Group based in Issigeac in the Dordogne. Formed by Patricia and Ken Andrews over 20 years ago, the group stages a minimum of 2 drama productions per year and has numerous other activities both theatrical and social. Our repertoire covers a wide range (we have even staged a production of ‘The Mousetrap’, but don’t ask who did it - that’s a secret) subject to casting and technical limits. MADS also has an active social side and the group tries to make living in France an entertaining life for all. Many man [and woman] hours go into producing a play so we are always looking for new members who can act, direct or just ‘help’. For more information visit:



50-70 exhibitors are expected at the 1st “Portes du Cuir” Leather Fair. Four towns Montbron, Nontron, Saint-Junien and Saint-Yrieix from the Charente, Dordogne and Haute-Vienne – are getting together to spotlight the leather industry, from breeding and processing cycles to the know-how of manufacturers of everyday and luxury goods.

Market Days

Beynac Le Fleix Les Eyzies Ste-Alvère


Beaumont du Périgord Bergerac Brantôme Cénac-et-Saint-Julien Lanouaille Le Bugue Mareuil Neuvic Ribérac Salignac Eyvigues Trémolat Villefranche-de-Lonchat

Wednesday Bergerac Hautefort Jumilhac-le-Grand La Tour Blanche Montpon-Ménestérol Montignac Périgueux Piégut Pluviers


Razac Sarlat Siorac-en-Périgord Vélines Domme Excideuil Eymet La Coquille Lalinde Monpazier St Astier St-Julien-de-Lampon Terrasson

Bergerac Lalinde La Roche Chalais Le Bugue Montignac Mussidan Neuvic Nontron Périgueux Razac Sarlat St Aulaye Thiviers Verteillac Villefranche du Périgord




Bergerac Brantôme Cubjac Le Buisson Ribérac Sarlat Sigoulès Vergt


Agonac Beaumont du Périgord Belvès


Bergerac Couze St Front Daglan Issigeac Pontours Pressignac-Vicq Rouffignac Sarlat Sorges St Cyprien St Génies St Pardoux la Rivière



The Bugle Dordogne - Sep 2013  

Your local newspaper for the Dordogne. News, views and events from across the region

The Bugle Dordogne - Sep 2013  

Your local newspaper for the Dordogne. News, views and events from across the region