Issue No. 20

Inspiring, tempting and gorgeous, this issue is packed with destination features - Chartres with its gothic cathedral, the French Riviera, the Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau, the Tarn region, Valence - gateway to the south and more. Mouth-watering recipes, plus useful guides for those dreaming of living in France...

Inspiring, tempting and gorgeous, this issue is packed with destination features - Chartres with its gothic cathedral, the French Riviera, the Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau, the Tarn region, Valence - gateway to the south and more. Mouth-watering recipes, plus useful guides for those dreaming of living in France...

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Bonjour<br />

and bienvenue to the Autumn issue of The Good Life France Magazine.<br />

I don't know about you, but that photo on the front cover of this issue makes me long to<br />

go to Paris and sip hot chocolate in the chilly air as leaves float from the tree lined<br />

avenues...<br />

Escape with me to France in this issue and discover the Chateau of Azay-le-Rideau,<br />

about as fairy-tale as a castle could possibly be and to Chartres, famous for its Cathedral<br />

but where there's so much more to do. Discover the Tarn and its UNESCO listed<br />

attractions and Valence, the gateway town to the south of France. Fall in love with the<br />

French Riviera, Grasse, the perfume capital of France and be prepared to be lured to want<br />

to put on your running shoes and join a bizarre marathon in the Medoc region - where<br />

wine is served en route!<br />

There are recipes galore for you to make your own taste of France dishes at home, useful<br />

guides for expats or those dreaming and planning to move to France including a review<br />

of property on the West Coast.<br />

This issue is packed with fabulous features, gorgeous photos and tempting tales.<br />

Bisous from France,<br />


contents<br />

Features<br />

8 Le Weekend in Chartres<br />

Famous for its UNESCO listed Cathedral,<br />

but there’s much more to this ancient city.<br />

16 Valence, the gateway to<br />

the south of France<br />

Lucy Pitts discovers a place of history,<br />

fabulous restaurants and wonderful<br />

architecture.<br />

22 Cassel, Favourite village<br />

of the French <strong>20</strong>18<br />

Find out why this tiny hill top town was<br />

voted the best loved village in France.<br />

30 Grasse, the sweetest<br />

smelling city in Europe<br />

Kevin Pilley follows his nose in Provence.<br />

38 Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau<br />

This Renaissance jewel of the Loire Valley<br />

is gleaming after a recent renovation and<br />

we find there’s lots to do in and around the<br />

town.<br />

46 My france: French Riviera<br />

Guest photographer Renata Haidle reveals<br />

what she loves about the French Riviera and<br />

shares her favourite photos.

Features continued<br />

54 UNESCO World heritage in<br />

the Tarn<br />

Rupert Parker visits the historic department<br />

and discovers its UNESCO listed<br />

attractions.<br />

62 The Medoc Marathon<br />

The ultimate fun run lures Kevin Pilley to<br />

don his running shoes and drink wine, all in<br />

the name of research.<br />

66 Soap story from<br />

Marseille<br />

Judi Castille looks into the story of the<br />

famous soap from the fat south of France.<br />

70 Destination Samoens<br />

Residents Morag and Andrew Ashworth tell<br />

Regular<br />

us why they love this part of France.<br />

28 New Series: Le Petit<br />

History<br />

In this issue we discover the history Jean<br />

Jaurès, you’ll see his name in almost every<br />

town of France and yet most visitors have<br />

no idea who he was and why he’s so<br />

famous.<br />

52 Your Photos<br />

The most popular photos on our Facebook<br />

page shared here.<br />

68 Give Aways<br />

Enter the draw to win fab books.<br />

102 My Good Life in France<br />

A look back at summer...

Expert Advice<br />

76 Property on the West<br />

Coast<br />

There’s something for everyone along<br />

France’s Atlantic coastline, from Brittany to<br />

La Rochelle and Biarritz, we look at what’s<br />

on offer…<br />

82 French Insurance<br />

Guide to the different types of insurance in<br />

France.<br />

86 How to choose the right<br />

Financial Advisor for you<br />

Jennie Poate explains the types of financial<br />

advisors there are in France and what each<br />

can do for you.<br />

Gastronomy<br />

90 Apple and Blackberry<br />

Clafoutis<br />

92 Scrumptious Crepes<br />

Suzette<br />

95 Tangy Onion-Tomato jam<br />

97 Delicious Ratatouille<br />

98 mouth-watering Poulet-<br />


From April to October the big draw is the renowned Son et Lumières<br />

which takes over the whole city with installations at 25 monuments -<br />

it’s one of the biggest sound and light shows in the world, Janine<br />

Marsh explores the ancient city...

in<br />

Chartres<br />

The city of Chartres is in the department of<br />

Eure-et-Loir, region Centre-Val de Loire, in<br />

south west France.<br />

It’s famous all over the world for its UNESCO<br />

world heritage listed cathedral and no wonder,<br />

it is an extraordinary and wondrous gothic<br />

masterpiece, a major pilgrimage site to this<br />

day. It is the reason why most people go to the<br />

city but there are plenty of other attractions that<br />

visitors will love in this town.<br />

Just an hour from Paris by train, you’ll discover<br />

the past in its cobbled rues.<br />

There are great restaurants, it’s close to the<br />

chateaux of the Loire, and hosts one of the<br />

best light shows in the world – making this a<br />

city break you should definitely pop on your<br />

bucket list.

The Cathedral of Chartres<br />

The Cathedral of course is no. 1 for any<br />

visitor to Chartres, and rightly so. <strong>No</strong> matter<br />

how many cathedrals or churches you might<br />

have been to, this one sticks out for its<br />

beautiful stained-glass windows, the<br />

extraordinary, ancient crypt, effectively an<br />

underground cathedral, and its mysterious<br />

labyrinth, the biggest and oldest in the<br />

world. It is the only medieval cathedral in<br />

the world to escape war damage - unique.<br />

The first cathedral was erected here in the<br />

4th century, the oldest vestiges date back to<br />

the 9th century, a time when Vikings were<br />

invading England and founding Dublin,<br />

Ireland and Charlemagne was crowned<br />

emperor of Rome. In 876, French King<br />

Charles the Bald gave the town of Chartres<br />

a holy relic, said to be a piece of the veil<br />

worn by Mary when she gave birth to Jesus.<br />

The fabric survived a fire but not the French<br />

Revolution when it was cut into pieces and<br />

dispersed. A few pieces were returned and<br />

you can see them displayed in the chapel.<br />

The main building of the cathedral was built<br />

between 1194 and 1221. The crypt is one of<br />

the longest in Europe at <strong>20</strong>0m long, and has<br />

welcomed pilgrims from around the world for<br />

a thousand years.<br />

Without a doubt, whatever your beliefs, one<br />

of the most extraordinary ways to visit the<br />

crypt is at night, by candle light with a guide<br />

who will share the history and secrets of this<br />

incredible place. Seeing the frescoes on the<br />

walls, the underground chambers by<br />

flickering candle is very special. I don’t want<br />

to spoil the surprise but when the singing<br />

started, the hairs on the back of my neck<br />

rose, it was a moving experience, and even<br />

if you don’t speak French, a truly astonishing<br />

way to experience the history of this<br />

majestic cathedral. The tour, organised by<br />

the tourist office, also includes a tour of the<br />

Chartres light show.<br />

Take a<br />

walkin<br />

cathed<br />

that fli<br />

shado<br />

fresco<br />


candle lit vigil with a guide<br />

g through the underground<br />

ral and crypt holding candles<br />

cker in the slight draft,<br />

ws moving across the ancient<br />

ed walls and statues of Mary:<br />

hartresenlumieres.com<br />

The famous Labyrinth was built around the<br />

year 1<strong>20</strong>0 on the floor of the nave. It<br />

attracts the esoteric, the curious and the<br />

religious. It is a 261.5m long pilgrimage<br />

walk and each Friday from 10am to 5pm,<br />

from Lent until All Saints Day, the chairs<br />

that normally cover it are moved off, leaving<br />

it free for pilgrims and visitors to walk. Some<br />

walk it slowly, others faster, some cross<br />

themselves as they go, achieving a look of<br />

beatification as they reach the centre. An<br />

astounding 1.3 million pilgrims make their<br />

way to Chartres each year.<br />

The stained-glass windows are sparklingly<br />

exceptional – 172 of them in total covering<br />

an incredible 2,600sqm. Some of them date<br />

back to the 12th century and you can’t help<br />

but love the colours, especially “Chartres<br />

blue” as it's known, a special blue used on<br />

the oldest windows. For the people of that<br />

day, this richness of colour and art must<br />

have been one of the wonders of the world –<br />

it still is. There’s even a tea named after it<br />

“the Blue Tea of<br />

Chartres”, a blend of<br />

black and green tea,<br />

citrus fruits and berries<br />

in a specially designed<br />

tea caddy – the perfect<br />

souvenir! Find it at La<br />

Brulerie Chartraine, tea<br />

and coffee Shop: 5 rue<br />

<strong>No</strong>ël Ballay. And while<br />

you’re there, nip into the<br />

Librairie L’Esperluette<br />

bookshop at no 10,<br />

where to your surprise<br />

you’ll find the wall of a<br />

Renaissance house hidden away at the<br />

back of the shop, books piled around the<br />

centuries old windows and door...

The Old town of<br />

Chartres<br />

The best way to visit the ancient streets of<br />

Chartres is on foot. A good place to start is<br />

the tourist office which is in a Renaissance<br />

building with some impressive wall carvings.<br />

In the 13th century the then Bishop of<br />

Chartres fell out with the count of Chartres.<br />

The Bishop enclosed his part of the city<br />

around the cathedral and today the place<br />

where the entrances once were, are marked<br />

in the road such as Porte d’Horloge, the<br />

Clock Gate, which is in front of a<br />

remarkable16th century 24-hour clock.<br />

One of the most interesting buildings is the<br />

13th century Miason Canoniale opposite the<br />

cathedral. Look up and you’ll see ornate<br />

carvings showing vines, fighting and<br />

gambling followed by hell and dragons<br />

breathing fire - a sobering message for<br />

pilgrims of years gone by to warn them of<br />

the dangers of drinking too much!<br />

If you’re a fan of Renaissance buildings,<br />

you’ll spot plenty in Chartres. You can<br />

recognise them by their mushroom shape,<br />

smaller at the bottom and spreading out<br />

from the 1st floor, an attempt to save money<br />

on taxes as owners paid according to how<br />

much ground they took up.<br />

You can take the little tourist train with an<br />

audio guide to see the historic districts from<br />

spring to autumn. Take a guided tour via the<br />

tourist office or visit with a Greeter,<br />

volunteers who are locals who love to share<br />

their knowledge of the city they love.<br />

www.chartres-greeters.com<br />

Chartres Tourist Office<br />

8 Rue de la Poissonnerie<br />

Where to eat and drink<br />

Locals love: Les Feuillantines is authentic<br />

and friendly. The chef creates his own<br />

house cocktail, the one I had was of<br />

limoncello, sparkling local wine and a lemon<br />

liqueur - deliciously decadent...<br />

Tea and cake : La Molière, gorgeous<br />

gardens in a historic home famous for its<br />

17th century owner, a miser who inspired<br />

the famous French playwright Molière to<br />

write Le Misor based on the meanie's penny<br />

pinching by commissioning a grand house<br />

but scrimping on the brick work, hence when<br />

you see it today, you may wonder why the<br />

lovely local white stone first level is topped<br />

with red brick - it was cheaper in the 17th<br />


Wine and dine: Michelin starred Le Georges<br />

restaurant, the Grand Monarque Hotel. A la<br />

carte or tasting menu, the chef’s dishes are<br />

innovative and truly delicious.<br />

Snack - Maison Monarque in front of<br />

cathedral serves a delicious brunch,<br />

sandwiches, patisseries and macarons.<br />

They also make “le Pèlerin” (the pilgrim). A<br />

soft cake with an almond and fruit paste<br />

marked on top with a design symbolising the<br />

labyrinth of Chartres Cathedral.<br />

Awesome aperitifs: L’Academie de la Bière,<br />

rock music, buzzy with a feel good<br />

atmosphere, it's hipster say the locals,<br />

French for a cool, rocking place to go.<br />

Bake my day: Head to Maison Ioos for<br />

great breads and pastries. Don’t miss the<br />

chance to munch on a Mentchikoff! A sweet<br />

made of praline chocolate covered with<br />

Swiss meringue! Close to the Cathedral at<br />

2bis rue du Soleil d'Or<br />

Ice ice baby: Ice cream heaven awaits at La<br />

Chocolaterie, hand-made ice cream and<br />

macarons!<br />

Market day: In the centre of Chartres you’ll<br />

find the covered market on Place Billard<br />

near the Cathedral. From 7am to 1pm<br />

Wednesday and Saturday mornings, the<br />

place buzzes as stalls piled high with<br />

delicious local produce tempts the locals to<br />

buy! On Wednesday evenings there’s an<br />

organic market – don’t miss the bread stall,<br />

it’s excellent!

Must-sees in Chartres<br />

Chartres isn’t just home to the majestic<br />

Cathedral, there are more than a dozen<br />

churches in the town and close by dating to<br />

between the 11th and 17th centuries (get<br />

details from the tourist office).<br />

The International Stained-Glass centre is<br />

the only one of its kind in France. Next to<br />

the Cathedral, housed in a listed monument<br />

is the stained-glass museum, you can get<br />

up close to ancient panels of stained glass,<br />

join in workshops and discover the history of<br />

stained-glass.<br />

Maison Picasiette, a little bit out of the<br />

centre, but well worth the detour and fans of<br />

Naieve Art will adore it. The house was<br />

decorated with pieces of broken china<br />

between 1930 and 1962 by Raymond<br />

Isidore, an iron foundry worker. His decades<br />

of laborious love are astonishingly bright<br />

and vibrant, every inch of surface covered<br />

and sparkling, like an enormous mosaic<br />

jewel box.<br />

Top tip: Pick up Le Pass from the tourist<br />

office for 10 euros and get discounts and<br />

saving at 50 of their partners including<br />

shops, hotels, restaurants cultural and<br />

tourist sites and more.<br />

What to see nearby:<br />

800-year-old Chateau de Maintenon, home<br />

of Madame de Maintenon, the secret wife of<br />

Louis XIV. Open all year with several<br />

events, the most fabulous of which is the<br />

Christmas event from end <strong>No</strong>vember to mid-<br />

December with a performance involving 800<br />

volunteers in costume who bring to life the<br />

history of the castle and its inhabitants.<br />

You can reach the chateau by train from<br />

Chartres<br />


Far left: Maison Picasiette;<br />

left: the elegant Chateau de<br />

Maintenon, it belonged to<br />

Madame de Maintenon, the<br />

secret wife of Louis XIV. The<br />

gardens are lovely and the<br />

chateau is beautifully<br />

furnished.<br />

The main events<br />

There are loads of events year-round, of<br />

course The Sound and Light show is the no.<br />

1 but there’s also the quirky Henri IV<br />

weekend each February. A celebration of<br />

Henri IV, the only king to have been<br />

crowned in Chartres, in 1594, sees<br />

restaurants put on “poule au pot” menus,<br />

plus wine tastings.<br />

When Henri IV got sick, he declared “If God<br />

allows me to live, I will make sure that there<br />

is not a single labourer in my kingdom who<br />

does not have the means to enjoy a boiled<br />

chicken on Sundays”. It’s still a popular dish<br />

more than 400 years later!<br />

There are also wine events, music, stained<br />

glass and medieval festivals as well as flea<br />

markets, art and craft events and a grand<br />

Christmas market.<br />

Practical information<br />

Chartres is perfectly doable as a day trip<br />

from Paris with the train taking from 59<br />

minutes. Chartres station is very close to<br />

the Cathedral.<br />

Getting around in Chartres is easy - you<br />

can walk to most of the sites in Chartres,<br />

hire a bike, or jump on the free shuttle bus<br />

(Monday to Saturday), or the Flilibus<br />

network (MyBus Chartres app gives you all<br />

the bus timetables, schedules and status).<br />

There's plenty of choice for hotels and<br />

B&Bs in Chartres. If you're looking for<br />

luxury then you won't do better than to<br />

splash out at Le Grand Monarque - pure<br />

indulgence and utterly lovely. By the way,<br />

you may see the name Grand Monarque<br />

everywhere in France, it refers to Louis<br />

XIV!<br />

Eure-et-Loir Tourism: www.tourism28.com

Spotlight on:<br />


The Gateway to<br />

the south of<br />


Valence, the gateway city to the<br />

south of France, a place of history,<br />

fabulous restaurants and wonderful<br />

architecture as Lucy Pitts discovers<br />

Just an hour south of Lyon, Valence is a beautiful and<br />

surprising city. It’s known as the gateway to the south of<br />

France and from Paris, you can be there in a couple of<br />

hours on the TGV which steams its way through and on<br />

south to Montpellier and beyond.<br />

Perched on the banks of the Rhône River, a stone’s throw<br />

from the Ardèche, Valence is a city of narrow cobbled<br />

streets, parks, canals, the regal Champ de Mars, a<br />

marina, and a diverse mixture of architecture. It has<br />

history, culture and cuisine in abundance and all basking<br />

in the reach of the Vercours Mountains and the Pre Alpes.<br />

In the footsteps of pilgrims and<br />

popes<br />

The TGV station is about 10km out of the centre but the<br />

city’s Gare de Valence Ville is a beautiful 19th century<br />

structure which brings you right into the heart of the city<br />

(or sends you off on its many tendrils to explore the<br />

region). From here walk straight down Avenue Pierre<br />

Sémard and it will being you out into the grand Esplanade<br />

du Champ Du Mars.

You find yourself wondering why<br />

you don’t know more about this<br />

elegant city<br />

This 3-hectare site has lime trees, lawns<br />

and fountains and the romantic Kiosk de<br />

Peynet. With views across to the Vercours<br />

and Ardèche mountains and the old ruins of<br />

Castle Crussol, it’s a captivating start and<br />

has access to one of the city’s eight parks,<br />

the Jouvet Park. With the impressive line of<br />

19th century façades bordering the Champ<br />

du Mars you find yourself wondering why<br />

you don’t know more about this elegant city.<br />

From the wide Boulevard du Général de<br />

Gaulle head into the narrow back streets<br />

where you’ll find a melting pot of architecture<br />

and intriguing pockets of interest.<br />

This city was on the pilgrims’ trail and the<br />

cathedral (built and rebuilt in the 11th, 17th<br />

and 19th centuries) has a special ambulatory<br />

for pilgrims and monument to Pope<br />

Pius VI, who died in Valence. Then there’s<br />

the Maison des Têtes, a 16th century house<br />

built on the cusp of the transition from Gothic<br />

to Renaissance and covered in sculpted<br />

heads representing wind, wealth and time,<br />

as well as theology, law and medicine. And<br />

there’s the Pendentif which, built in 1548,<br />

broke new architectural ground with its<br />

spherical triangles.<br />

In fact, almost every twist and turn in the<br />

narrow streets of Valence reveals something<br />

intriguing, from narrow steps in the city walls<br />

to art galleries (the city has an impressive<br />

collection) to three Michelin starred<br />

restaurants. There’s even an Armenian<br />

centre here and the different architecture<br />

seems to sway gently through the centuries.<br />

A bite of Valance<br />

Valence has food and the gourmand at its<br />

heart. In every boulangerie you’ll find a local<br />

speciality: the Suisse and the Pogne. The<br />

Suisse is shaped and decorated as a Swiss<br />

soldier in honour of Pope Pius’ guards, it's a<br />

sort of orange blossom flavoured brioche<br />

while the Pogne is a rounded brioche.

The very best place to try these is the<br />

Boulangerie Nivon, a short stroll from the<br />

station and where they’ve been serving<br />

these delights to commuters since 1856.<br />

They're possibly the best in the city and the<br />

bakers’ passion is palpable, (or should I say<br />

edible?).<br />

In every restaurant, you’ll come across<br />

another speciality, their tiny Raviole du<br />

Dauphiné, made of white cheese and<br />

parsley. Then there’s Anne Sophie Pic and<br />

her family. An award winning, third<br />

generation chef, she has followed in her<br />

grandfather’s footsteps by winning 3<br />

Michelin stars. Their influence is felt<br />

everywhere and of course, they’re not the<br />

only Michelin starred chefs in the city or the<br />

region.<br />

A weekend for the<br />

gourmand<br />

And then of course there’s the annual Fête<br />

de la Gastronomie at the end of September.<br />

At this time of year, the weather’s still balmy<br />

and the city throws its doors open to<br />

embrace all the flavours of the region as<br />

well as the cuisine of the world.<br />

Centred on the Place des Clercs but<br />

spreading out through the city, you can<br />

enjoy local celebrity chefs preparing their<br />

favourite dishes, markets, musico –<br />

gastronomic (yes cooking to the rhythm of<br />

the DJ), workshops and a tour of 8 of the<br />

city’s historical monuments who host fine<br />

food tastings. The streets are filled with<br />

music and teasingly delightful aromas and<br />

lots of the restaurants embrace the festival<br />

spirit with special offers and dishes.<br />

Each year the festival celebrates a specific<br />

theme that encourages “the reflection and<br />

discovery of French Gastronomy” and in<br />

<strong>20</strong>15, the festival saw some 2 million<br />

visitors. If you love France and you love<br />

food, it’s a little slice of the idyllic.<br />

Linger a little longer<br />

Valence feels sophisticated and elegant, yet<br />

quiet and very personal. There are regular<br />

markets here on Tuesdays, Thursdays,<br />

Fridays and Saturdays and other cultural<br />

events going on throughout the year. In July<br />

there’s a large and free music festival on the<br />

Champ Du Mars and of course, there’s the<br />

many places to visit beyond the city and in<br />

the surrounding Drôme. Valence is Lyon’s<br />

beautiful but shy cousin and a city that you<br />

should take the time to get to know much<br />

better.<br />

More information<br />

www.ladrometourisme.com<br />

www.valence-romans-tourisme.com/en/<br />

Details for Fête de la Gastronomie at:<br />

valenceengastronomie.fr<br />

Where to stay:Les Négociants is in the<br />

centre of the city, a few steps from the<br />

station and almost next door to the<br />

Boulangerie Nivon. It has a quirky and fun<br />

feel and is a great place to explore from.<br />


Cassel Village prefere de<br />

France<br />


Favourite<br />

Village<br />

of the<br />

French<br />

<strong>20</strong>18<br />

Approach the town of Cassel<br />

from the flat countryside, fields<br />

of wheat swaying in a light<br />

breeze in summer, car winding<br />

its way helter-skelter-like, up<br />

and around the mountain of<br />

Cassel until you suddenly<br />

reach the cobbled roads that<br />

lead into the small town with<br />

big views at the top of the<br />

famous hill of French Flanders.<br />

Janine Marsh explores the<br />

newly award-winning favourite<br />

town of the French <strong>20</strong>18<br />

View over the countryside around<br />


Favourite garden of the French in Cassel<br />

An essential stop when you visit Cassel has<br />

to be the multi award winning garden known<br />

as the Jardins de Mont des Récollets. This<br />

rather unusual garden is famous in France,<br />

in fact it was voted favourite garden of the<br />

French in <strong>20</strong>13 and has an unusual history.<br />

Owner and gardener extraordinaire<br />

Emmanuel de Quillacq took over what was<br />

his grandfather’s farm, in 1986. Having<br />

always worked in an office, he developed an<br />

overwhelming passion for the glorious<br />

countryside and the town of Cassels. After<br />

studying at the famous Versailles school of<br />

gardening, he devoted his life and every<br />

working day to turning the once neglected<br />

farmland into a fabulous garden that visitors<br />

fall head over heels for.<br />

You enter via an alley of apple trees to<br />

discover a grand “room” of topiary, of<br />

hydrangeas, roses, wild meadow flowers.<br />

These “rooms” in the garden are of all<br />

different styles but flow effortlessly, one to<br />

the other. You can’t help but think it looks a<br />

bit like something out of a Breughel painting.<br />

“It’s Flemish renaissance” says Emmanuel,<br />

“that’s what inspired me and drives the<br />

design, over time the style has slowly<br />

evolved…”<br />

The view from the garden over the<br />

surrounding countryside is breath-takingly<br />

beautiful. “When I first saw this place, it<br />

reminded me of Breughel’s painting the<br />

Hunters in the Snow” says the green<br />

fingered Emmanuel, and if you see the<br />

painting, you’ll see what he means. “It’s like<br />

a window on nature here, framing a different<br />

view every single day.” Indeed, there are<br />

windows cut into hedges all over the place<br />

offering a different perspective on the<br />

landscape. It’s said that on a clear day you<br />

can see the English coast from here and the<br />

Belfry of Bruges!<br />

This is a spectacular garden to visit,<br />

peaceful, lush and beautiful. You can also<br />

take a break at the little café which is full of<br />

charm – as well as artefacts of yesteryear.<br />

Lunch is of the traditional Flemish style,<br />

made with local products and fruit from the<br />

garden and is open daily through July and<br />

August, at other times by appointment for<br />


Cassel – favourite village of the French <strong>20</strong>18<br />

Those gorgeous gardens are not the only<br />

winners around here. The town itself took<br />

the first prize in the hugely popular “Le<br />

village préféré des Français” contest in<br />

<strong>20</strong>18. When much-loved TV host Stéphane<br />

Bern announced that Cassel had beaten<br />

much more famous rivals to the title,<br />

including Mont-Saint-Michel in <strong>No</strong>rmandy<br />

and Roussillon in Provence, the locals were<br />

more than delighted. You may never have<br />

heard of this place but taking this title<br />

almost guarantees that Cassel is about to<br />

get a lot more well-known.<br />

The charm of Cassel lies in the fact that it is<br />

typically Flemish, that it has outstanding<br />

views over the beautiful countryside, friendly<br />

folk, the gardens of Mont des Récollets and<br />

a strong sense of the authentic and of the<br />

past. It’s been likened to something out of a<br />

story from Père Castor, beloved stories for<br />

children originating in the early <strong>20</strong>th century<br />

with a fairy-tale, folklore vibe.<br />

It’s a small town with an excellent museum<br />

with a good collection of paintings and<br />

regular temporary exhibitions.<br />

It’s a nice place in which to take an amble.<br />

Enjoy the views from the ramparts, the<br />

castle having long gone, or from the gardens<br />

at the highest point of Mont Cassel, 176m<br />

up, where you’ll find a windmill on the site of<br />

the former castle. You can drive to the top<br />

but its much more fun to climb the quirky<br />

Alpine stairs. While you’re there, you should<br />

definitely take a break at the enchanting<br />

Estaminet Kasteelhof, a Flemish word for a<br />

tavern. It’s actually the restaurant of<br />

Emmanuel de Quillacq of the Jardins de<br />

Mont des Récollets and reflects his love for<br />

tradition and Flanders with a fabulous rustic<br />

menu, local beers, home made lemonades<br />

and wonderful traditional décor. The terrace<br />

has stunning views and inside is<br />

atmospheric and fun. There’s also a little<br />

shop where you can buy local products (8<br />

Rue Saint-Nicolas).<br />

Don’t miss the Musée de Flandre which has<br />

a beautiful 16th Renaissance façade. It’s<br />

home to a rich collection of paintings, prints<br />

and sculptures and presents the history of<br />

French Flanders.

Photo: Remy Catelain<br />

Enjoy the ambiance of Cassel<br />

There are plenty of charming cafés and<br />

restaurants to lure you.<br />

Locals love: Kasteelhof (above) and Le<br />

Kerelshof II at the heart of the Grand Place.<br />

It gets very lively at the weekends and is<br />

friendly, fun with a great range of beers and<br />

a decent menu of local foods and<br />

specialities from carbonnade (beef stew with<br />

ale and brown sugar) to potjevleesch (cold<br />

meats in aspic) and sugar pie!<br />

Take a break: Café aux Trois Moulins, like<br />

something out of Maigret story. It’s great for<br />

a coffee, beer and robust plates of food like<br />

steak frites, friendly staff and very good<br />

value. 50 Grand'Place<br />

Wine and dine: Fenetre sur la Cour, this<br />

Michelin starred restaurant offers a fabulous<br />

menu at a non-Michelin price. With a 2-<br />

course lunch menu starting at Euros 23.50<br />

or Chef Jean-Luc Paulhan’s 5 course choice<br />

with 3 wines at just €62.50 in beautiful<br />

surroundings. 5 Rue du Marechal Foch<br />

Local specialities and artisans<br />

At La Ferme des Templiers, you’ll be<br />

tempted by Le Boulet de Cassel, a local<br />

mimolette made with milk from a local breed<br />

of cow, the Rouge Flamande.<br />

Ferme des Récollets is run by the Beun<br />

family, and you’ll receive a warm welcome<br />

before you fall in love with their cheeses<br />

which are mostly made from goats milk.<br />

Try the new local brew Bière du Reuze,<br />

named after the famous giants of the area<br />

You can buy local products in the town at<br />

shops in the town at 2 rue Bollaert and 32<br />

Grand Place as well as at the Estaminet<br />

Kasteelhof.<br />

More info: https://www.coeurdeflandre.fr/<br />


Le Petit History:<br />

Jean Jaurès

New Series<br />

He was famous for his eloquent speeches,<br />

for standing up for workers’ rights and as<br />

one of the founding members and leader of<br />

the French Socialist Party, the forerunner to<br />

France’s Socialist Party. He also founded<br />

the socialist newspaper L'Humanité, still<br />

sold today.<br />

On a Friday evening July 31, 1914, a 29-yearold<br />

French nationalist by the name of Raoul<br />

Villain arrived at the Café du Croissant<br />

(which is still there) at 146 Rue Montmartre,<br />

Paris. He pulled a pistol from his pocket<br />

and fired two shots at a diner, striking his<br />

target twice in the head. The hits were fatal<br />

for Jean Jaurès, the victim, dining with the<br />

editor of L'Humanité.<br />

Anti-war<br />

<strong>No</strong>wadays Jaurès is best remembered for<br />

his anti-militarism and attempts to avert the<br />

outbreak of the First World War.<br />

Wherever you go in France you’re sure to<br />

come across a Place Jean Jaurès, a rue Jean<br />

Jaurès, Avenue Jean Jaurès, schools and<br />

even metro stations of that name – Paris<br />

and Lyon.<br />

Every French school child will learn about<br />

Jean Jaurès, he is one of the most wellknown<br />

figures of French history, though he<br />

is hardly known outside his home country.<br />

Who was Jean Jaurès<br />

Born 1859 in the Tarn region, Jean Jaurès<br />

became one of the most celebrated figures<br />

of French history, a social thinker, anti-war<br />

campaigner and politician. A man who has<br />

left his mark on French culture.<br />

“Never, for forty years, has Europe been in a<br />

more threatening and more tragic<br />

situation," he warned in the spring of 1914.<br />

He had been trying to force governments to<br />

find a path other than war by organising<br />

workers strikes in Europe. It didn’t please<br />

everyone.<br />

His assassination brought the strike<br />

actions to an end. Just hours later, Germany<br />

declared war on Russia and two days later<br />

on France. By August 4 when Jaurès was<br />

buried, all the major powers of Europe were<br />

officially at war.<br />

Jean Jaurès final resting place is in the<br />

Pantheon, Paris.

Grasse<br />

The sweetest smelling city in<br />

Europe<br />

Kevin Pilley follows his nose in Provence

I had my own “<strong>No</strong>se”.<br />

All to myself.<br />

Grasse, the perfume capital of<br />

France, the most fragrant place on<br />

earth... Kevin Pilley takes a tour<br />

with his "nose"...<br />

The town didn’t always smell this nice. It<br />

used to stink,” my <strong>No</strong>se told me. “It was a<br />

leather tanning town and the stench was<br />

unbearable. The first fragrance produced<br />

was for designer gloves. Rose water to<br />

mask the ghastly smell. Catherine de Medici<br />

endorsed them. And Grasse quickly<br />

became the perfume capital of the world.”<br />

I was being shown round “The Galimand<br />

Studio des Fragrances” in the Route de<br />

Cannes. My <strong>No</strong>se was a perfume expert<br />

and professional petro-chemist. “Every<br />

perfume has its own unique composition<br />

made from one hundred and forty-seven<br />

notes,” my private <strong>No</strong>se said.<br />

“Each perfume has the peak, the heart and<br />

the base or, fond note. The job of professional<br />

noses is to create a harmonious<br />

formula. When you visit Grasse you must be<br />

prepared to be seduced.”<br />

For four hundred heady years, the tiny<br />

village in the foothills of the Alps-Maritimes<br />

above the French Mediterranean coast has<br />

been the centre of the international perfume<br />

industry. “Chanel <strong>No</strong>.5” was invented there<br />

in 1922. It was the first perfume to use<br />

synthetic materials - aldehyde. But, every<br />

year twenty-seven tonnes of jasmine are<br />

still harvested from the surrounding<br />

countryside and used by the local<br />

“fumeries”. There is also a weekly market in<br />

the Genoa-inspired square, a rose festival in<br />

May and a jasmine festival in August. And<br />

the perfumeries are busier than ever.<br />

My “perfumerie” crawl moved on to the<br />

museum on the third floor of the yellowwalled<br />

“Fragonard” factory where I was<br />

given a new <strong>No</strong>se who invited me to take a<br />

deep breath. “You are standing in the most<br />

fragrant place on earth,” my <strong>No</strong>se informed<br />

me. “You can smell the whole world from<br />

here. The finest smells the earth can<br />

produce.”<br />

"You are standing in the most<br />

fragrant place on earth"<br />

My nose swooned and reeled off the<br />

aromas. “Turkish roses picked at dawn,<br />

Egyptian orange blossom, lavender from the<br />

plateaux of Haute Provence, local petal-less<br />

wild mimosa, Madagascan ylang-ylang,<br />

Californian lemons, Calabrian bergamot,<br />

Israeli grapefruit, Indian Ocean vanilla,<br />

Russian coriander, Somalian frankincense,<br />

Sri Lankan sandalwood, Philipinno cloves,<br />

Japanese ginger, Kenyan cedar, Italian iris,<br />

Guatemalan cardamom, South African<br />


I couldn’t hold my breath any longer. The spiel<br />

was highly concentrated, and I was starting to<br />

hyperventilate. But my <strong>No</strong>se asked me to<br />

muster one more inhalation. She wanted to<br />

educate my nostrils. Her nose told her I didn’t<br />

know my “Intuition” from my “Knowing”. Or, my<br />

“Youth Dew” from my “Brut”.<br />

“If you want to smell the world you need only to<br />

come to the French Riviera. We can now<br />

simulate the world’s most arousing animal<br />

musk. Did you know ambergris is a substance<br />

secreted by the digestive system of sperm<br />

whales? And castor is produced by beaver<br />

glands?”<br />

There was a lot of talk about modern, high-tech<br />

techniques and meeting the qualitative and<br />

quantitative expectations of the modern<br />

marketplace and making human beings smell<br />

desirable in an ecologically desirable way.<br />

Having finished the maceration rooms and<br />

proud of myself for finding out that ylang-ylang<br />

comes from a tree belonging to the custard<br />

apple family, my next stop was “The<br />

International Museum of Perfumery”.

It’s a glassy modern makeover of an<br />

eighteenth-century hotel and crammed with<br />

perfume-making paraphernalia, “olfactive<br />

stations”, “essence fountains” and “vapour<br />

trails”, telling the same story of distillation,<br />

absorption, supercritical carbon dioxide<br />

volatile solvents and how it’s become<br />

possible to smell like Beyonce and Lady<br />

Gaga.<br />

Feeling sufficiently up on molecular science,<br />

I read the walls for some more background.<br />

Using donkey-drawn carts, the earliest<br />

French “parfumiers” carried their primitive<br />

and very crude distilling vats into the<br />

mountains around Grasse, gathered wild<br />

flowers and extracted scents on the spot in<br />

the open air by steaming the plants in large<br />

copper cauldrons. The still had been<br />

introduced from Arabia and an Italian monk,<br />

Mauritius Frangipani, had discovered that<br />

perfumes can be preserved in alcohol.<br />

In 1759, using skills learnt from the pomade<br />

(hair ointment) makers of Montpellier, the<br />

people of Grasse began supplying Parisian<br />

scent-makers with their raw materials.<br />

Business grew and soon Grasse was<br />

producing iris, hyacinth and rose scented<br />

soaps in special containers. Antoine Chiris<br />

founded one of the first perfumeries in the<br />

town at the end of the century. There are<br />

now three times more artificial, man-made<br />

fragrances on the market than natural ones.<br />

Approximately six thousand essential oils<br />

are used by the cosmetic industry.<br />

Today, the Grasse perfume industry<br />

employs a workforce of several thousand.<br />

The global cosmetic industry is thought to be<br />

worth $72.7 billion. Four factories in Grasse<br />

are open to the public and guided tours<br />

explain the series of washing, filtration,<br />

purification, evaporation and impregnation<br />

which constitutes the highly involved and<br />

painstaking production process. All this is<br />

overseen by one expert who is affectionately<br />

known as “The Chief <strong>No</strong>se” or “Le<br />

Composeur”.<br />

“La Musee International de la Perfumerie”,<br />

which opened in 1989, has a collection of<br />

antique amphorae and stoppered bottles<br />

from famous manufactures like Lalique and<br />

Baccarat. Also exhibited is Marie<br />

Antoinette’s travel case and “chatelaines” –<br />

private perfume bottles on chains.<br />

In 1990, one bottle of “Bouchon Mures”, an<br />

electric blue flagon by Lalique, fetched a<br />

staggering £38,000 at auction.

Fine scents are like fine wines. But the<br />

bottle is almost as important as what is<br />

inside. Many, like Ernst Beaux’s Chanel<br />

<strong>No</strong>.5 bottle, have become design classics.<br />

The story of perfume contains a few<br />

surprises. Russian astronauts went into<br />

space with phials full of perfume and<br />

essential oils to remind them of home. From<br />

its earliest documented use perfume has<br />

put man in touch with the heavens. The<br />

word “perfume” derives from the Latin “per<br />

fumum” meaning “through smoke”, The<br />

ancient Greeks and Egyptians burnt<br />

aromatic substances in their temples to<br />

placate the gods and mask the smell of<br />

burning flesh during human sacrifices.<br />

As Christianity spread perfume was frowned<br />

upon as a vanity until it was revived by the<br />

Crusaders returning from the Middle-East.<br />

In Tudor times, Europeans sprinkled<br />

pleasant-smelling love-in-the-mist seeds<br />

into their hair to prevent lice.<br />

Perfumes fall into three basic categories –<br />

floral, orientals and oceanics. The top<br />

sellers include Chanel’s “Chanel <strong>No</strong>. 5”<br />

which Marilyn Monroe wore (“and nothing<br />

else”), “Gucci’s “Envy”, Givenchy’s<br />

“Organza”, and Calvin Klein’s “Obsession”.<br />

Paris perfume makers Lubin make Black<br />

Jade, said to be based on a perfume<br />

recipe loved by Marie-Antoinette,<br />

entrusted to a friend, passed down<br />

through the centuries...

Grasse is especially known for<br />

its fragrant May rose, the pale<br />

pink flower that blooms in May,<br />

and jasmine. Both flowers are at<br />

the heart of more than a few<br />

famous fragrances, including<br />

Chanel’s star, <strong>No</strong>. 5.<br />

A Multi-billion dollar industry - not<br />

to be sniffed at<br />

Today’s perfume industry is very profitable.<br />

It's predicted that the US perfume market<br />

alone will exceed sales of 7 billion dollars in<br />

by <strong>20</strong><strong>20</strong>. Multinationals now control the<br />

major perfume houses. Paris-based<br />

“L’Oreal” , founded in 1907 by chemist<br />

Eugene Schueler who invented the world’s<br />

first synthetic hair dye, has a portfolio of<br />

twenty-one leading brands including<br />

“Lancome“,” “Giorgio Armani”( acquired in<br />

1980 and including “Mania”, “Acqua di Gio”<br />

and Armani Pour Homme“), “Ralph Lauren”,<br />

“Cacharel” and “Lancome” (bought in 1964)<br />

perfumes and fragrances.<br />

Someone once worked out that more than<br />

eighty-five of its products are bought every<br />

second - every day. Which is a stat not to<br />

be sniffed at.<br />

Along the Boulevard Victor Hugo in the<br />

“Molinard” (depuis 1849) workshop, I<br />

achieved my lifelong ambition of creating my<br />

own fragrance. A smell that is uniquely me.<br />

One day soon I hope to create a whole<br />

range of smells. That will turn heads.<br />

I learned the art of alchemy and seduction<br />

and was allowed to indulge in my mad<br />

professor fantasy in order to create my own<br />

toilet water. Using pipettes, I concocted my<br />

own personalized scent and received a<br />

“diploma l’eleve”, certifying that I had<br />

attended the “tarinology” workshop and<br />

graduated as a “trainee nose” from one of<br />

Grasse’s highly-respected perfume schools.<br />

I am now qualified to boast that I know what<br />

it takes to smell well.<br />

I haven’t named my scent yet. But I have<br />

dedicated it to Giorgio Armani who once said<br />

“For those who live with style<br />

and elegance, dressing is a<br />

ritual. The final act in that<br />

ritual is fragrance.”

Château d'Azay-le-Rideau

Like "a faceted diamond set in the Indre<br />

bathing in the river like princely creature".<br />

Honoré de Balzac<br />

On a hot summer’s night, after dinner at the<br />

lovely Hotel Le Grand Monarque, in the bijou<br />

town of Azay-le-Rideau I decided to stroll<br />

through the pretty little streets and take a<br />

peek at the famed Chateau through its<br />

ornate iron gates, ahead of a day time visit<br />

scheduled for the next day. Imagine my<br />

surprise to discover that at 10pm the gates<br />

were open, and visitors were welcomed in<br />

for free to wander the fragrant gardens and<br />

ooh and ah at the sight of the fairy-tale castle<br />

lit up against a twilight sky, its reflection<br />

shimmering in the moat, perfectly still except<br />

for ripples caused by a dipping dragonfly, a<br />

lazy fish or an amorous frog looking for<br />

company. A full moon hovered over the<br />

castle, a glowing homage to its beauty as the<br />

silhouette of small bats flitted through the<br />

beams of the moon. The scent of lavender<br />

was heady. It was like a dream chateau<br />

come to life…<br />

History of Azay-le-Rideau<br />

Standing on an island in the middle of the<br />

Indre River, the Château of Azay-le-Rideau<br />

was built combining the latest technical<br />

innovations from Italy and the art of French<br />

architecture.<br />

In around 1510, Gilles Berthelot, Finance<br />

Minister of King Louis XII and Mayor of<br />

nearby Tours, became owner of the ruins of<br />

a fortress in Azay-le-Rideau. He had plans<br />

drawn up for a château, putting his wife<br />

Philippe (in those days, a name for both men<br />

and women) in charge of the construction. By<br />

1515, the year Francois I came to the throne,<br />

the Renaissance influence was in full flow.<br />

Philippe proved to be an excellent project<br />

manager, ordering slate from Anjou, ensuring<br />

masons, carpenters and workmen were on<br />

site at the right time.

Photo Terry Webb<br />

photo: Terry Webb<br />

Gilles paid homage to King Francois and his<br />

wife Queen Claude by having their initials<br />

carved on the walls. Flattery did no good,<br />

the proud owners never had time to enjoy<br />

their home. A general investigation ordered<br />

by Francis I revealed embezzlement.<br />

Berthelot fled, abandoning his wife Philippe<br />

and his château, he died in 1529. Francis I<br />

seized the unfinished Château and gave it<br />

to one of his loyal followers. In places you<br />

can see carvings begun and doomed to<br />

never to be finished, it adds to the romance.<br />

Château d'Azay-le-Rideau<br />

today<br />

The Chateau today is under state ownership<br />

and it is one of the absolute jewels of the<br />

Loire Valley. Incredibly pretty inside and out,<br />

the river that surrounds it reflects its beauty<br />

in a thousand ripples.<br />

Recent renovations (completed in <strong>20</strong>17)<br />

revealed some of the chateau’s secrets, for<br />

instance the practice of bulrush matting for<br />

the walls. The tradition was spotted by an<br />

eagle-eyed historian in a 16th century<br />

tapestry of a man getting dressed. You’ll<br />

now see this in the bedroom that was<br />

Philippe’s. In her day, it wasn’t just a place<br />

to sleep but to live, she would receive<br />

visitors there, eat and work in the room, so<br />

keeping it warm in winter and cool in<br />

summer was essential and the wall<br />

coverings helped as did raising the bed off<br />

the floor on a platform. It was also believed<br />

that the smell of the reeds expelled bad<br />

moods and cleansed the air!<br />

Centuries of pigeons roosting on the roof<br />

had left the famously white castle a rather<br />

dull grey – not any more. Artisans and<br />

craftsmen have repaired and restored the<br />

chateau to glory using authentic methods,<br />

creating a new path which goes all around<br />

the castle and giving it a whole new lease of<br />


The turrets, moat and cobbled sentry walk<br />

are token gestures towards the look of a<br />

fortress because this is in reality a dream<br />

home of the 16th century – and no one<br />

would mind it today either! The staircase<br />

was incredibly innovative for its day, inside<br />

(a novelty then), running centrally through<br />

the chateau and giving fabulous views at<br />

every level.<br />

The rooms are exquisitely furnished and<br />

decorated with tapestries and paintings and<br />

the most extraordinary artworks. Automatons<br />

bring the castle to life, whirling figures,<br />

twirling cake stands, swishing curtains – it’s<br />

all very fairy-tale like and perfectly suits this<br />

most romantic and elegant of chateaux.<br />

From early July to end August – the chateau<br />

is lit up at night for evening visits.<br />

www.azay-le-rideau.fr/en/<br />

What to see in Azay-le-<br />

Rideau<br />

Take the time to discover the town while<br />

you’re there - it’s charming and authentic<br />

and there are some lovely shops and<br />

restaurants.<br />

Don’t miss – the Thé Salon with its gorgeous<br />

artisan cakes (top left) at 23 Rue nationale.<br />

Stroll down rue de Balzac, the road which<br />

leads to the gates of the chateau, it's lined<br />

with galleries, boutiques and cafés and is<br />

very pretty.<br />

Relax in the secret garden in front of the<br />

chateau, filled with seasonal flowers and<br />

herbs.<br />

Enjoy the wine... this is an area of<br />

magnificent vineyards producing Touraine

A very small part<br />

of a very large<br />

collection at<br />

Musée Maurice<br />

Dufresne<br />

wines including dry whites, sweet wines,<br />

reds, rosés and sparkling wines. Follow the<br />

Loire Valley wine route and explore the<br />

vineyards and domaines along the counrtry<br />

lanes of this lush region. There's evidence<br />

that vines have been grown here since<br />

Gallo-Roman times and the wines of<br />

Touraine-Azay-le-Rideau reflect the<br />

centuries of savoire-faire.<br />

Don't forget to sample the delicious<br />

Touraine cheeses such as Sainte-Maure de<br />

Touraine, a tangy goats cheese that's<br />

perfect with the regional wines!<br />

Just outside the centre of Azay-le-Rideau in<br />

Marnay you'll find the quirky and fascinating<br />

Musée Maurice Dufresne, the latter an<br />

obsessive collector of things. Set on an<br />

island, it holds an authentic and amazing<br />

collection of ancient vehicles, cars, bicycles,<br />

planes, trucks, motorbikes, tractors,<br />

agricultural or military machinery, vintage<br />

posters and peculiar objects - including a<br />

mobile guilotine. With more than 3000<br />

pieces, allow a minimum of 2-3 hours to see<br />

it all. There's also a restaurant on site which<br />

is popular for lunch, so book your slot on<br />

arrival if you can.<br />

Also close by is the Chateau de l'Islette, a bit<br />

of a hidden gem and not on the main tourist<br />

route. Still lived in, the pretty Renaissance<br />

chateau is known locally as the little sister of<br />

the Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau. Here, the<br />

great Rodin conducted his stormy love affair<br />

with fellow artist Claude Camille, it's<br />

charming, authentic and has lovely gardens,<br />

perfect for a picnic or a boat ride on the<br />

small lake.<br />

Hotel: Grand Monarque a former 18th<br />

century post house in the centre of Azay-le-<br />

Rideau is charming; lovely restaurant too.<br />

Take a tour with Val de Loire Travel<br />

Tourist office: www.touraineloirevalley.com;<br />


Renata Haidle<br />

I love the tiny medieval villages, with<br />

their warm, worn stone walls covered<br />

with abundant, beautiful blooms. I love<br />

the bright, vivid colours of Vieille Nice<br />

and Villefranche-sur-mer, and their lively<br />

atmosphere of a perpetual holiday. The<br />

powdery blue shutters, the Cypress<br />

trees, the sound of cicadas at night, the<br />

blue of the Mediterranean, the red<br />

geraniums in flower boxes, the scent of<br />

jasmine as well as the briny sea. I love<br />

the narrow alleys of Èze and La Turbie,<br />

where you feel like you're lost in a<br />

fairytale. I love Vence, Cagnes-sur-Mer,<br />

and Saint-Paul-de-Vence for their<br />

artistic heritage, the names of so many<br />

famous artists that once called these<br />

places home still alive in the locals'<br />

hearts and minds, and still inspiring<br />

visitors decade after decade. And cliché<br />

of clichés but oh so true, I love the<br />

people, their culture, their beautiful,<br />

enviable joie de vivre, and their<br />

impeccable style that shows in<br />

everything they do.

One of my favourite<br />

restaurants is Au Vieux Four<br />

in tiny Gourdon, where I had<br />

a scrumptious risotto<br />

piémontais with roast<br />

chicken, followed by a<br />

chocolate gâteau with mango<br />

sorbet for dessert. It was one<br />

of the best meals I had in the<br />

south of France, also made<br />

memorable by the fact that it<br />

was preceded by a strenuous,<br />

steep, two hour-long<br />

hike up the mountain, all the<br />

way from Pont-du-Loup to<br />

Gourdon!<br />

I love the unpretentious Loco Loco in<br />

Villefranche-sur-mer. Last year, after<br />

having a delicious seafood salad there,<br />

I wanted to pay with a credit card,<br />

unaware of the fact that they only took<br />

cash - which I didn't have. Jean Pierre,<br />

the waiter (and co-owner, but I didn't<br />

know that at the time), graciously<br />

directed me to the nearest cash<br />

machine (which wasn't really that<br />

near), trusting that I'd go back and pay<br />

him, which I did, of course. It felt good<br />

to see him again upon return to<br />

Villefranche-sur-mer one year later,<br />

although I only saw him briefly in the<br />

narrow alley outside the restaurant. I<br />

didn't talk to him but posted this story<br />

on Instagram with a photo of him, and<br />

was surprised in the most pleasant<br />

way when a young girl left a comment<br />

saying, "That man is my father!" Isn't it<br />

lovely how we're all connected<br />

somehow in this digital age!

The beautiful Negresco Hotel, which is<br />

utterly deserving of its great reputation, is<br />

undoubtedly the most beautiful hotel I've<br />

had the good fortune to stay in. <strong>No</strong>t only is<br />

the Art Deco architecture breathtaking, but<br />

everything inside is curated with the utmost<br />

attention to detail. The interior decor<br />

elements are impeccably chosen to create<br />

a space that is luxurious yet welcoming<br />

and warm. There are countless wonderful<br />

antique furnishings and decorative objects<br />

throughout, and the art collection gracing<br />

the walls is worthy of a small museum. An<br />

experience not to be missed, for sure!<br />

Renata Haidle is a Billings, Montanabased<br />

travel, architecture, and fine art<br />

photographer. She travels to Europe<br />

regularly, mainly to France and<br />

England, where she photographs<br />

beautiful architecture and snippets of<br />

everyday life. Her travel photos have<br />

been featured in numerous<br />

publications and exhibitions. You can<br />

find her at: www.renatahaidle.com


Every weekend, we invite<br />

you to share your photos<br />

on Facebook - it's a great<br />

way for everyone to see<br />

"real" France and be<br />

inspired by real travellers<br />

snapping pics as they go.<br />

Every week there are<br />

utterly gorgeous photos<br />

being shared and here we<br />

showcase the most popular<br />

of each month. Share your<br />

favourite photos with us on<br />

Facebook - the most "liked"<br />

will appear in the next issue<br />

of The Good Life France<br />

Magazine...<br />

Sunset over Carcassonne by<br />

Lisa Felmingham, most<br />

popular photo in July<br />

The colourful town of Dinan,<br />

Brittany by David Jurivcevich,<br />

most popular photo in August!

The Chateau of Versailles through<br />

its gilded gate, by Jerri Freeman,<br />

most popular photo in September<br />

Join us on Facebook and like<br />

and share your favourite photos<br />

of France...

UNESCO world heritage<br />

In Tarn

The historic department of Tarn is awash with<br />

UNESCO listed attractions, Rupert Parker<br />


UNESCO World<br />

heritage in the Tarn<br />

Tarn, in the Occitanie region, is one of those<br />

places in France that confuses people. They<br />

automatically think of the wild Gorges des Tarn<br />

which are in Lozère, some 140kms to the <strong>No</strong>rth<br />

West of Albi, Tarn’s capital. The River Tarn flows<br />

through both but there the comparison ends. The<br />

département has a landscape of green hills, lush<br />

vineyards, medieval Bastide villages and some<br />

notable UNESCO World Heritage sites.<br />

Albi<br />

I start in the capital Albi, around an hour west of<br />

Toulouse. From my room in the Mercure Cité<br />

Episcopale Hôtel, overlooking the River Tarn, there’s a<br />

picture postcard view of the city, dominated by the<br />

fortress-like Sainte-Cécile Cathedral. It glows red in<br />

the early morning, a monstrous mountain of brick,<br />

erected from 1282 to 1392, as a powerful show of<br />

strength, after the Cathar revolt was finally quashed.<br />

Bishop Bernard de Castanet didn’t just build this<br />

cathedral, he also started a vicious inquisition<br />

accusing many prominent townspeople of heresy.<br />

I cross the Tarn into the city by the 11th century Pont<br />

Vieux and make my way up to this Fortress of God.<br />

Up close, it’s even more intimidating, a brick bunker,<br />

with windows nothing but slits, topped with the<br />

highest brick tower in Europe, rising to 78m. It’s part<br />

of the UNESCO rated Episcopal City which also<br />

includes Bishop Bernard’s own stronghold, the Palais<br />

de la Berbie plus the palace’s riverside gardens, the<br />

Saint Salvi church and the Pont Vieux.<br />

After the Gothic gauntness of its exterior, the inside of<br />

the Cathedral comes as something of a pleasant<br />

surprise. The vault is covered in richly colourful<br />

frescoes, the largest example of Italian Renaissance<br />

painting in France. At the back is an enormous<br />

depiction of the Last Judgement, four stories high and<br />

taking up the entire width of the building.

It was painted by Flemish artists between<br />

1474 and 1480 and the reptilian demons,<br />

torturing sad souls for eternity, are a stern<br />

reminder of the wages of sin. It’s missing<br />

its central section, knocked through to give<br />

access to a more recent chapel at the base<br />

of the bell tower. Sadly, that means that<br />

God, the judge of the Last Judgement, is no<br />

longer to be seen.<br />

At the other end, surrounding the choir is a<br />

Gothic rood screen, carved out of<br />

limestone, housing dozens of statues in<br />

niches. By the central doorway, you can<br />

make out Adam trying to cover himself,<br />

facing Eve, striking her model’s pose.<br />

Before the Counter Reformation, access to<br />

this part of the church was only available to<br />

the clergy, keeping out the common people<br />

who could only hear, but not see, the<br />

celebration of mass.<br />

Son of Albi - Toulouse-<br />

Lautrec<br />

Albi’s most famous son is the painter Henri<br />

de Toulouse-Lautrec and the house where<br />

he was born in 1864 still exists, although<br />

it’s closed to the public. What you can see<br />

is an almost complete collection of his<br />

works in the Palais de la Berbie, next to the<br />

Cathedral.When he died in 1901 of<br />

alcoholism and syphilis, nobody was<br />

interested in his paintings and they<br />

struggled to find a home. Fortunately one<br />

of his cousins was Mayor of Albi at the time<br />

and the Toulouse Lautrec museum opened<br />

in 1922.<br />

"Toulouse-Lautrec probably<br />

influenced Van Gogh and<br />

Picasso was a great admirer"<br />

Lautrec had bone disease, probably a result<br />

of inbreeding in his family, and broke his<br />

right thigh bone when he fell off a chair<br />

when he was 13. Recuperating in the<br />

Pyrenees, he tripped and broke the other<br />

thigh bone and both never completely<br />

healed. He started drawing and painting<br />

during long periods of convalescence and<br />

went to Paris to study with Bonnat and<br />

Cormon. During this time, he had his first<br />

encounter with a prostitute and started<br />

painting the low life of Montmartre.

What surprises in the museum is that he<br />

really was an accomplished painter although<br />

he never seems to have settled on a style.<br />

You can detect expressionist, impressionist,<br />

classical, even chiaroscuro in the 240<br />

canvases on display. He probably influenced<br />

Van Gogh and Picasso was a great admirer.<br />

Towards the end of his life, in 1891, he taught<br />

himself lithography and made the 31 Moulin<br />

Rouge posters for which he’s justly famous.<br />

Yvette Gilbert,<br />

raunchy cabaret<br />

singer of the Belle<br />

Epoque and<br />

favourite subject<br />

for Toulouse-<br />

Lautrec<br />

The other UNESCO listed attraction in Albi is<br />

the parchment Mappa Mundi, dating from<br />

the 8th century, and one of the oldest<br />

representations of the world. It belonged to<br />

Albi cathedral and you can see a facsimile in<br />

the Treasury with information panels<br />

explaining the content and the history.<br />

I’m privileged to be shown the original,<br />

now kept in the Pierre-Amalric Library<br />

and only brought out on special<br />

occasions. As well as being exceptionally<br />

delicate, its surprisingly small, the size of<br />

an exercise book. It represents the world<br />

in the form of a horseshoe, centred<br />

around the Mediterranean, orientated to<br />

the East and features some fifty names of<br />

cities, regions, rivers, seas and winds. I<br />

can just make out the shape of Europe<br />

and even India is represented, although<br />

it’s not as close as they thought.

Castres<br />

Around 45 minutes south of Albi is the city<br />

of Castres, which developed around the<br />

Benedictine abbey of Saint Benoît, founded<br />

in AD 647. Don’t miss the Saturday morning<br />

market which fills the whole of Place Jean<br />

Jaurès. From Quai des Jacobins there's a<br />

striking view of the medieval multi-storey<br />

tanners' and dyers' houses lining the River<br />

Agout, known as the Venice of Languedoc<br />

All have basements, opening directly onto<br />

the river where animal skins were cleansed<br />

and rinsed and then put in tanks full of lime.<br />

The ground floor was occupied by the<br />

workers with the masters living above. On<br />

the top two floors were the drying sheds,<br />

with shuttered openings protecting the<br />

hides from the sun during summer and from<br />

the frost during winter. Under the roof, the<br />

“soleiller”, or second drying shed was left<br />

wide open to let the air and light in.<br />

The Bishop's Palace is now the town hall<br />

and has immaculately laid out gardens by<br />

Le <strong>No</strong>tre, a famous 17th century landscape<br />

gardener who also laid out the gardens at<br />

Versailles. It’s also home to the Goya<br />

museum, dedicated to Spanish artists, and<br />

contains a handful of works by the master<br />

himself. Don’t miss their Picasso, the "Bust<br />

of Man Writing", on loan from the Picasso<br />

Museum.<br />

Royal School-Abbey of<br />

Sorèze<br />

Half an hour south west from here is the<br />

Bastide village of Sorèze. The Benedictine<br />

abbey became a Royal Military School under<br />

Louis XVI, then a college for the rich and<br />

famous and only closed in 1991.

The main attraction here are the UNESCO<br />

World Heritage tapestries of the master<br />

weavers of Aubusson. It was a monk, Dom<br />

Robert, from the nearby Abbey of En Calcat,<br />

who revived the tradition in the early<br />

twentieth century.<br />

In the new museum, located in the Abbey<br />

School, there are 60 stunning examples of<br />

his tapestries, featuring motifs inspired by<br />

nature, plus sketches and paintings. Other<br />

works by the Aubusson weavers are also<br />

featured and there’s an exhibit outlining the<br />

process of creating a tapestry.<br />

Les Cammazes<br />

In the southwestern end of the Tarn, in the<br />

Black Mountains, is the tiny village of Les<br />

Cammazes. It’s an unlikely UNESCO site<br />

but its claim to fame is the Rigole<br />

de la Montagne, or Mountain Channel,<br />

which supplies water to the Canal du Midi.<br />

It was built in 1666 by engineer Pierre-Paul<br />

Riquet and later modified to pass under the<br />

mountain through a vault designed and<br />

built by Vauban twenty years later. This<br />

122m underground aqueduct has been<br />

recently restored and is open to the public.<br />

It’s not for the faint of heart as the pathway<br />

is dark and narrow, but armed with a torch,<br />

it’s a unique experience.<br />

Useful Information<br />

Tarn Tourisme: information on the region.<br />

Albi Tourisme: information about the city.<br />

Castres Tourisme: information about the<br />

city.<br />

Hotels<br />

Mercure Cité Episcopale Hotel overlooks<br />

the river in Albi.<br />

Hotel Abbaye Ecole de Sorèze is inside<br />

the Abbey.<br />

Villa de Mazamet luxury B&B, Mazamet<br />

Restaurants<br />

Restaurant Le Lautrec has regional fare<br />

opposite the painter’s birthplace in Albi.<br />

La Table du Sommelier offers local wine<br />

pairings with each course in Albi.<br />

La Part des Anges has a Michelin Bib<br />

Gourmand in Castres.<br />

Les Collets Rouges is a stylish<br />

establishment inside Sorèze Abbey.<br />

Le Salon de Vauban serves home grown<br />

produce in Les Cammazes.

The ultimate Fun Run<br />

Kevin Pilley is lured to put on his<br />

running shoes and drink wine for one of<br />

the most unique marathons in the world<br />

Photo © Yves Mainguy/AMCM<br />

Photo © Yves Mainguy/AMCM

The Medoc<br />

Marathon<br />

There comes to every person the realization<br />

that they are not as young or athletic as they<br />

once were. It came to me in Bordeaux. When I<br />

was overtaken by Obi-Wan Kenobi and lapped<br />

by Darth Vader. Even a Dalek overtook me.<br />

Going uphill, only Jabba the Hutt was slower.<br />

There are several ways to see the famous<br />

vineyards of Bordeaux and Medoc. You can go<br />

by car, by bicycle or do them on horseback.<br />

You can see them by hot air balloon or boat.<br />

And even by all-terrain vehicle. Or you can be<br />

chased through them by the Incredible Hulk.<br />

Every year, the world's largest fine winegrowing<br />

region which produces more than<br />

800 million bottles of wine every year, stages<br />

Le Marathon du Médoc - a 42.195-kilometre<br />

"fun run" which takes in 55 vineyards and<br />

passes 50 chateaux.<br />

The course runs through famous winegrowing<br />

towns such as Saint-Estèphe,<br />

Leyssac, Marbuzet, Saint-Julien-Beychevelle<br />

and Le Pouyalet, home of Château Mouton<br />

Rothschild which, with Lafite and Latour, is<br />

one of the region's three Grand Crus classés<br />

appellations.<br />

Photo © Yves Mainguy/AMCM<br />

Each year, this unique race and sporting<br />

challenge has a different theme. From<br />

“Carnivals of the World” to this year’s theme<br />

“Funfair”.<br />

I didn’t run or even amble in the race. I didn’t<br />

want to be humiliated by Carmen Miranda.<br />

And I'm too old for a monokini. And I have a<br />

feather allergy. I ran in the “Science Fiction”<br />

theme race.<br />

Le Marathon is a resolutely convivial run. It's a<br />

good-time race.

"It's all about taking on liquid and making<br />

friends," winked a RoboCop. He wagged a<br />

finger. "But not too much wine!" A health<br />

certificate (physical rather than mental) is<br />

required to enter the race.<br />

"It's hectare after hectare of<br />

hospitality out there"<br />

Photo © Yves Mainguy/AMCM<br />

"It sums up l'esprit du Medoc" Jean-Yves<br />

Saint-Céran of the PR department said as<br />

we stood at the starting line in Pauillac,<br />

beside the Gironde estuary.<br />

"On this day we celebrate health, sport and<br />

joie de vivre."<br />

A Wookiee in shorts offered me a wine<br />

cork to chew on. "To keep up my energy<br />

levels," he explained.<br />

Les Bouchons de Bordeaux are delicious<br />

almond sweets made to look like wine<br />

bottle corks.<br />

"You should try and eat three corks a day<br />

to keep the cramp away," a passing<br />

Romulan smiled. "C'est l'Aquitaine way."<br />

I limbered up among a sea of Ewoks. You<br />

could tell the serious runners from the fun<br />

runners. The elite runners weren't wearing<br />

Batman suits or Superman capes. "It's<br />

hectare after hectare of hospitality out<br />

there. The friendliness is almost<br />

unbearable," said a gentleman dressed as<br />

a Borg.<br />

I was surrounded by tentacles and green<br />

faces, Timelords and Jedi. "This run's about<br />

your tastebuds. <strong>No</strong>t your lungs and legs,"<br />

said a Joker.<br />

From start to finish, degustation stations, or<br />

"les postes sauvages," offer local<br />

specialties such as "grenier medocain"<br />

(flattened paunch of pig) and Bayonne ham.<br />

People hold out cheese to you as well as<br />

ice cream cornets. Whereas most<br />

spectators at marathons encourage you<br />

with cries of "Keep it going" or "Allez!<br />

Allez!" in Médoc they just say, "Paté?<br />

Paté?"<br />

At the time of the marathon, a roadside<br />

sign of cow does not mean you are<br />

approaching a cattle grid or crossing.<br />

It means: "Warning! Complimentary<br />

gourmet barbecued entrecôte steak ahead<br />

washed down with a rather nice local rosé."<br />

There are 29 wine tasting stops en route.<br />

Local producers pitch tables by the<br />

roadside to tempt you with their wonderful<br />

wares. The Cap Ferret oyster stands were<br />

my downfall and the sponge stations<br />

offering the local "Lillet" fruit liqueur made<br />

in Podensac.<br />

Before I got to the "Vers St-Julien" signpost,<br />

my face was the colour of Merlot and I felt I<br />

had aged <strong>20</strong> years.<br />

I started walking like Frankenstein within a<br />

half a mile of the start. <strong>No</strong>t because of<br />

cramp. But because of gout. I began to<br />

hallucinate when four Godzillas bounded<br />

past me pursued by Bilbo Biggins.<br />

Fortunately, for a while I found myself in the<br />

slipstream of R2-D2 and Willy Wonka. I<br />

remember being passed by Dumbledore. Or<br />

was it Gandalf? And a number of Buffies<br />

and Brainiacs.

Then came real humiliation. When you are<br />

overtaken by a Yoda in a pram, you know<br />

your athletics career is over. Or never really<br />

started. It was a pity. My training had gone<br />

well. The roadwork had been put in. For three<br />

months, I had gone to as many cheese and<br />

wine parties as I could. I had miles of cheese<br />

strips under my belt.<br />

After a short nap among the vines, I followed<br />

the smell of gastronomy back into Pauillac to<br />

see the victor cross the line and win himself<br />

roughly 80 bottles of wine - his body weight<br />

in wine.<br />

Every competitor gets a T-shirt, a knapsack<br />

and, at my race, an optional handshake from<br />

and photo opportunity with King Kong. A<br />

Klingon appeared beside me and blurted out,<br />

"Heghlu'meH QaQ jajvam!"<br />

Photos © Yves Mainguy/AMCM<br />

He bore his teeth, crinkled the frown lines on<br />

his cheese-grater forehead and handed me a<br />

post-race digestif.<br />

"Today is a nice day to die!" Obi-Wan Kenobi<br />

collapsed nearby. "Un vignoble effort, mon<br />

ami," a voice said.<br />

It came from the direction of Aslan. Although<br />

it may have been Conan the Barbarian.<br />

Or Gollum.<br />

Only in France…<br />

For further information:<br />

Medoc Marathon takes place each<br />

September, you can run or join a walking<br />

route: www.marathondumedoc.com<br />

If you want to register for next year's race:<br />

http://www.marathondumedoc.com/<br />

reglement/<br />

www.tourisme-aquitaine.fr<br />

Hotel Continental

A Soap story from<br />

Marseille<br />

In 1688 Louis IV passed the Edict Of Colbert allowing the<br />

use of Savon de Marseille label for olive oil soaps. By 1924<br />

there were 132 soap makers, but by 1950 there was an<br />

explosion of petrol-based soaps and the olive oil soaps went<br />

out of fashion. <strong>No</strong>w there are just five savonneries who can<br />

claim the true title Soap de Marseille and they have a<br />

certification mark to prove it too – a small square soap block<br />

with the Union des Professionals du Savon de Marseille<br />

stated clearly on their packaging. Without that, the soap is<br />

in effect – a fake. Judi Castille investigates...

Genuine Marseille soap is made by<br />

artisans with the provenance, passion and<br />

long-standing tradition in their blood to lay<br />

claim to makers of genuine Marseilles<br />

soap. A bar that contains 72% olive oil –<br />

and once tried, you will always be loyal to<br />

its soapy concoction.<br />

Fer a Cheval, Marius Fabre, Savonnerie du<br />

Midi, Le Serail and Pre de Provence<br />

produce the ever popular green olive oil<br />

soap bars. To earn the classification of<br />

Marseille soap, it has to fulfil certain<br />

criteria. It must be made in Marseille, in a<br />

cauldron, have plant-based oils and be<br />

fragrance free, no dyes, no preservatives.<br />

Any chemicals, additives or mention of<br />

allergens and you’ll just have an ordinary<br />

soap. Many soap makers buy flaked soap,<br />

soften the flakes through rollers and add<br />

perfumes and colourants. The genuine<br />

article is hard, homogenous. Its angular<br />

imperfectness wears down slowly, the<br />

special soapy lather lasts for about six<br />

weeks even with daily use.<br />

Using it for the first time was a revelation -<br />

good for skin and for hair. My skin felt<br />

clean, but not dry and it left my hair soft.<br />

The area around Marseille provides all the<br />

ingredients – olives, salt from the<br />

Camargue and from the port, palm,<br />

groundnut and whale oil to stabilize the<br />

soap. Olive oil on its own produces a<br />

sloppy soap, the other oils enable the soap<br />

to clean, not break but still dissolve in<br />

water. There's a five-step soap making<br />

process and the genuine bars must have a<br />

minimum olive oil content of 72%.<br />

Using antique machinery, the soaps pass<br />

through several stages. First there is<br />

empatage, pasting all the ingredients<br />

together in large cauldrons, like a witch’s<br />

brew, until homogenous. The second stage,<br />

cuisson et lavage, is the process of cooking<br />

the soap and then washing out the salts. A<br />

taste test is made, physically with the<br />

tongue, and if too much “sting”, more water<br />

is washed through. Washing removes<br />

glycerol and fatty acids, leaving soap<br />

behind.<br />

Like boiled treacle, the soap is poured into<br />

cooling vats to sit for 48 hours. It’s then<br />

sliced into strips and put into miniature<br />

blocks and cut using wire or traditional<br />

soap cutting machines. The bars are then<br />

stacked on wooden shelves to dry. They<br />

range from 1000g to 100g blocks. For<br />

Marius Fabre, Le Mistral wind passing<br />

through the drying room allows the soaps<br />

to dry slowly to avoid splitting. Their soaps<br />

are cut and scraped to create a crisp edged<br />

soap. The final touch is estampillage –<br />

stamping the soaps with their trademark<br />

names and proudly advertising the 72%<br />

olive oil content. Marius Fabre hand stamp<br />

their soaps before cutting. Le Serail use an<br />

old stamping machine with four plates that<br />

emboss and give the soap a softer shape<br />

as the machine squeezes the soap in the<br />

process. Once stamped, the soaps are<br />

simply packaged, nothing fussy.<br />

As with many artisan skills, it takes a long<br />

apprenticeship to learn how to make soap.<br />

Family run Marius Fabre was founded in<br />

1900. Secrets kept and passed down the<br />

generations. Le Serail was founded in 1949,<br />

by Vincent Boetto. His grandson continues<br />

the business. Producing soap is a passion<br />

and not about time saving. It is the process<br />

of creating, getting close to the product,<br />

using your hands, the physicality of the<br />

process that deems these soaps worthy of<br />

their status. A commercial soap can be<br />

made in just four hours, packed and<br />

shipped within the day.<br />

Marseille soap takes weeks, space is at a<br />

premium, and because of this the price is<br />

higher. But you will have an authentic<br />

product and a supporting role in keeping<br />

these traditions going and soft skin to boot.

Give A<br />

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Win a copy of best selling food writer<br />

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recipes inspired by the Grand Epicerie<br />

de Paris—the famous gourmet food<br />

shop in the upscale Bon Marché<br />

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Trish shares her twist on both traditional<br />

French classics and dishes with a<br />

distinctly British flavour: from smoked<br />

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from Welsh rarebit to Guinness cake.<br />

Ever mindful of the home chef’s tight<br />

schedule, the recipes—divided into<br />

appetizers, soups, and salads; main and<br />

side dishes; and desserts—are quick<br />

and easy to prepare. . Each recipe is<br />

accompanied by tips and a suggested<br />

drink pairing.<br />

Click here to enter the draw which<br />

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ways<br />

Win a copy of Catherine de Courcy's tale<br />

of the Cathars of France in the 13th<br />

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History and drama fans will really enjoy<br />

this terrific blend of fact and fiction.<br />

Montségur is a novel that’s about bravery,<br />

love, faith and passion. Catherine de<br />

Courcy’s descriptive writing brings alive<br />

the struggles faced by the Cathars every<br />

day from the Roman church and the<br />

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Click here to enter the draw which ends<br />

on <strong>No</strong>vember 10, <strong>20</strong>18

Destination<br />

Samoëns<br />

Morag and Andrew Ashworth from Scotland fell in love with<br />

Samoëns, an alpine town, famous for its skiing, in the Haute<br />

Savoie. They have a rental holiday home, The Lodge, there<br />

and tell us why this part of the French alps is the perfect place<br />

for both winter and summer fun…<br />

What makes Samoëns a really great<br />

place for a summer holiday?<br />

Beautiful landscapes with stunning<br />

waterfalls and summer pastures, plus<br />

there’s so much to do for all ages and<br />

levels of fitness with activities from rafting<br />

to parapenting to road and mountain<br />

biking. It’s like living in a large playground!<br />

The village is beautiful and authentic with<br />

wonderful botanic gardens and lovely town<br />

centre<br />

What makes Samoëns a really great<br />

place for a ski break?<br />

For beginners and learners, Samoëns 1600<br />

offers an ideal base, with a nice variety of<br />

green and blue runs to challenge you as<br />

you progress, and a great kids area. The<br />

rest of Samoëns, Morillon and Les Carroz<br />

offer mainly intermediate skiing with fast<br />

blues and red’s, although at the top of<br />

Samoëns there are some tough blacks and<br />

great off piste.<br />

The “green” Marvel run in Morillon is often<br />

portrayed as one of the world’s most<br />

picturesque ski runs (after heavy snow fall<br />

there’s nowhere prettier), and it’s a 4-5km<br />

cruise down to Morillon 1100.<br />

The Flaine bowl is one of the premier ski<br />

areas in France and has a great snow<br />

record due to the “Mont Blanc effect”. There<br />

are views of Mont Blanc from Tete de Saix,<br />

en route to Flaine, and from Flaines Les<br />

Grandes Plantiers.

Samoëns is a historic town, with a traffic<br />

free centre, the streets are full of gourmet<br />

food shops providing mouth watering<br />

locally made cheeses, bread, cakes and<br />

produce. The weekly market is one of the<br />

best in the region. It's a great place to visit<br />

- year-round.<br />

and across the top of sheer limestone cliffs,<br />

eventually arriving in Sixt which is a small<br />

ski area in its own right.<br />

Ski season this year runs from Saturday,<br />

December 15 to Monday, April 22, <strong>20</strong>19.<br />

Tell us about The Lodge<br />

Flaine’s pistes are superb and there is<br />

plenty of scope for off-piste skiing. There is<br />

also an enormous variety of skiing.<br />

The Serpentine piste is tremendous, a<br />

favourite with ski instructors on their day<br />

off, it is wide, fast and rolling. Lucifer lives<br />

up to its name with unexpected<br />

depressions interrupting your beautiful<br />

carving. Diamiant <strong>No</strong>ir is a black off piste<br />

couloir – definitely not for the faint hearted.<br />

One of the most picturesque runs in Flaine<br />

is Mephisto Superieure, with awesome<br />

views across the Mont Blanc massive -<br />

Mont Blanc is the big one in the middle!<br />

From the top of Flaine you can also access<br />

Cascades, this runs for 14km by waterfalls<br />

The Lodge at Samoëns is an incredibly<br />

beautiful and spacious chalet, which<br />

comprises of contemporary split-level<br />

living for families and groups in a luxury,<br />

fully equipped home from home with<br />

comfortable furnishings and a wood<br />

burning stove. There are three south facing<br />

balconies and the mountain views are<br />

stunning, sitting out here, or lying on the<br />

loungers just contemplating the majestic<br />

scenery is a fabulous experience.<br />

We benefit from Samoëns’ low-lying Alpine<br />

climate - when it’s ski time up at Samoëns<br />

1600, down in the town it can be 23°C! The<br />

house is set in a large extremely private<br />

garden with such amazing scenery it’s like<br />

wandering through a photo album. We’ve<br />

gone for cosy, comfy and stylish and there<br />

are 5 bedrooms, loads of garage space and<br />

storage – essential for all that ski<br />


What is the winter season like in<br />

Samoëns<br />

Many people think the winter season is just<br />

for downhill skiing but there’s so much<br />

more on offer. We love to try cross country<br />

skiing which is great for fitness and for the<br />

incredible views from the top of the Col de<br />

Joux plan; or traverse the valley by the river.<br />

Tailor-made snowshoe adven-tures can be<br />

organised and are a real escape from daily<br />

life and a chance to discover utterly<br />

magical, Narnia-like land-scapes.<br />

Snowshoe walks make snowy winter terrain<br />

accessible to anyone and everyone.<br />

Whether you take a half or full day to<br />

conquer a summit, stroll through the woods,<br />

or build an igloo as a family, there’s an<br />

excursion to suit your needs.<br />

A very different après-ski experience can be<br />

a snow shoe walk through snowy forests<br />

with nothing but the moon and flickering<br />

flame of your handheld torch to guide you,<br />

enjoy the quiet, calm of the mountain after<br />

dark as you make your way to Ludo’s<br />

Yurts – traditional Mongolian roundhouses.<br />

There you will enjoy a traditional meal in a<br />

cosy, friendly environment.<br />

Where to rent equipment<br />

We tend to use Xtreme Glisses which is<br />

efficiently run by Francois, who has a<br />

fabulous team. It’s extremely close to the<br />

Grand Massif Express Gondola, by the<br />

roundabout near to the Bridge over the river.<br />

As part of the ski rental package, you are<br />

provided with overnight storage for your<br />

skis and boots, this is a huge benefit as<br />

there is no need to haul all of your gear<br />

back to The Lodge. A good alternative is Jay<br />

Sports Ski Loc which is a great ski shop<br />

with rental, run by Thierry Jay. They have<br />

three shops, two in the town and a third on<br />

the Samoëns 1600 plateau.

Best places to eat out in Samoëns<br />

Au Relais Septimontain: The food is great,<br />

especially the Tartiflette but leave enough<br />

room for their desserts, the crème brulee is<br />

delicious!<br />

8 M des Monts: With husband in the<br />

kitchen and wife running the show in the<br />

restaurant, the whole experience is perfect.<br />

Lovely local organic wines and products -<br />

just make sure you leave room for a<br />

gorgeous desert!<br />

Best Mountain Restaurants<br />

Lou Caboens: A lovely varied menu and<br />

Cedric is the perfect host. Lou Caboens is a<br />

sun trap and provides one of the best<br />

terraces in the Grand Massif. This is also<br />

one of the best places for après-ski.<br />

The Igloo – Morillon: Wonderful outside<br />

deck. It is situated at the top of the Bergin chair<br />

lift or can be accessed via the Marvel piste.<br />

They serve great food, the Pila is fabulous, it’s a<br />

similar dish to Tartiflette.<br />

Both restaurants open year round. A great<br />

day out in summer is to take the lifts to<br />

Morillon 1100 on to Igloo, take a hike before<br />

lunch and after walk to Morillon 1100 (1.5-2<br />

hours).<br />

Best Village Bars<br />

La Reposette: Great atmosphere, great food<br />

and drink, great people and comfy vouches<br />

by the fireplace, just a short drive from<br />

Samoëns centre. It’s no wonder it’s so<br />

popular with both tourists and locals alike –<br />

it's the perfect après-ski meeting place.<br />

Vin sur Vin: Marco’s wine bar is an ideal<br />

little bar in summer and winter and a great<br />

favourite with the locals. Enjoy a glass from<br />

a vast selection of local and international<br />

wines, accompanied by a plate of Italian<br />

antipasti, snacks or a menu.

What are your must-see places in<br />

Samoëns?<br />

Cirque Fer à Cheval: Walking past the<br />

immense cliffs and imposing waterfalls of<br />

the spectacular Cirque Fer à Cheval is<br />

almost unreal it’s so beautiful. Continue all<br />

the way to the back of the cirque and you<br />

will find yourself at the end of the world (Le<br />

Bout du Monde)! You can also enjoy a great<br />

lunch in beautiful surroundings at the<br />

Restaurant du Fer a Cheval.<br />

The cirque is unique, a horseshoe of<br />

limestone mountains rising to 3000m from<br />

the valley floor with huge waterfalls<br />

cascading down rock faces. Plenty of great<br />

walking, from easy to extreme, all marked<br />

clearly. The easy walks are along the valley<br />

floor, although a favourite (but tougher<br />

walk) is up to Chalet du Boret (only in<br />

summer). Simple food at the chalet is a<br />

treat.<br />

The Botanic Garden: This alpine botanic<br />

garden was created in 1906 by Marie-<br />

Louise Cognacq-Jaÿ who founded La<br />

Samaritaine department store in Paris. It is<br />

an exceptional garden classified "Jardin<br />

Remarquable". Carved out of the southfacing<br />

side of the mountain, overlooking<br />

the village, La Jaÿsinia covers an area of 3.7<br />

hectares on steeply-sloping terrain (there is<br />

a difference of 80 metres between the top<br />

and the bottom of the garden). It is the only<br />

botanic garden of its kind in the Alps, with<br />

5000 varieties of mountain flowers from all<br />

5 continents, as well as a laboratory where<br />

wide-ranging research is carried out.<br />

Walking the narrow path winding its way up<br />

the mountainside passing waterfalls and<br />

fountains before reaching the ruins of the<br />

12th century Tornalta castle and a 13th<br />

century chapel is a wonderful experience.<br />

The higher you go, the more panoramic the<br />

view of the small town below.

The<br />

France’s Atlantic coastline offers<br />

something for everyone, from Brittany’s<br />

wild and rugged Finistère to the chic<br />

beach towns around La Rochelle, to<br />

surfing meccas around Biarritz. Liz<br />

Rowlinson asks the experts at Leggett<br />

Immobillier to pick five tempting places<br />

for you to consider...<br />

Starting in the north, where Brittany juts far<br />

out into the Atlantic, the western coast of<br />

France offers a diverse choice of seaside<br />

towns. Whether the wild coastlines of<br />

Brittany and the Vendée, the sandy beaches<br />

of the Charente-Maritime, with chic resorts<br />

beloved of the Paris set, or the forest and<br />

dune-backed beaches of Aquitaine there’s<br />

just about everything. At the southern end<br />

things change again with the surfing spots of<br />

the Basque coast and a Spanish flavour to<br />

beach life.<br />

Whether you're after an apartment in chi-chi<br />

Biarritz, or a simple little granite cottage in<br />

Brittany, there are homes to suit budgets<br />

from €100,000 to €1 million.<br />

Prices inevitably go up closer to the<br />

coastline, wherever you are, but if you're<br />

prepared to drive 10 minutes inland, you will<br />

get more for your money. However, balance<br />

this with the convenience of walking to the<br />

beach or the seafront restaurants - if you<br />

want to rent out your home these sort of<br />

homes will usually be in greater demand.<br />

Enjoy a tour down the Atlantic coast, starting<br />

in northern Brittany...



A pretty little town located north of St. Brieuc<br />

and south of the beautiful historic port of<br />

Paimpol. As the name suggests, St. Quay is<br />

all about the sea. It retains all the charm of a<br />

Breton fishing port, with a very modern<br />

deep-water 24-hour marina that is home to a<br />

scallop fleet but also from where cruises can<br />

be taken out into the Bay of St. Brieuc, a<br />

sheltered stretch of water popular for<br />

regattas. There are also lovely beaches, and<br />

north of the town, hidden coves around the<br />

highest cliffs in Brittany - the Pointe de<br />

Plouha. In the town there are tennis courts,<br />

shops, hotels, fish restaurants and<br />

créperies.<br />

best of what Brittany has to offer - the clean<br />

beaches, pretty coastline and harbour - and<br />

buyers (including Parisians) that have a<br />

slightly higher budget and are willing to pay<br />

to be near a particularly pretty bit of coast,”<br />

says Lisa Greene, head of Leggett’s Brittany<br />

network. She says the mainly French buyers<br />

tend to buy apartments in the town, rather<br />

than houses outside. You’ll pay around<br />

€150,000 for a one-bed apartment or<br />

€190,000 for a two-bed compact house or<br />

fisherman's cottage.<br />

“This area appeals to people who like the



This charming fishing town is the most<br />

westerly on the Crozon peninsula. It's a<br />

beautifully rugged coastal area of towering<br />

cliffs and rocks with coves and sandy<br />

beaches, gently sloping hills, and ancient<br />

megalithic sites. It's a wild and remote piece<br />

of Brittany so you really need a car - and the<br />

nearest ferry is Roscoff 96km away. But it’s<br />

a favourite among French holiday makers<br />

as well as visitors from across Europe who<br />

come for the water sports - boating, sailing,<br />

fishing - but also those in love with the outdoors.<br />

Artists and writers also love the light and<br />

colours, and the town has an artists' quarter<br />

with over <strong>20</strong> galleries. In the town there’s a<br />

great fishing port, marina, many fish<br />

restaurants, crepéries and a sandy beach.<br />

So what do people buy? “There are lots of<br />

types of properties for sale in this region<br />

from ruins to fancy modern villas, beautiful<br />

character properties and everything in<br />

between,” says local agent, Clara Bay.<br />

Expect to pay €100,000 for a 50m2<br />

apartment in the town, or for a threebedroom<br />

house in the surrounding Crozon<br />

area, from around €125,000.<br />


Vendee, pays de la Loire<br />

This popular modern seaside resort in the<br />

northern Vendée is located at the corner of<br />

the ‘Côte de Lumière’ between <strong>No</strong>tre-Damede-Monts<br />

and St. Hilaire de Riez. It’s a<br />

fantastic stretch of coastline blessed with<br />

beautiful beaches and 2,300 hours of annual<br />

sun, so little different from the climate of<br />

southern France. Split in two by a long<br />

plantation of pine trees, stretching from<br />

north to south along the coast, the centreville<br />

lies to the east of the cordon, while the<br />

seafront forms a lively centre to the west.<br />

The recently restored seafront offers a<br />

network of footpaths and cycle tracks.




Whilst the pathways between the sea, sand<br />

dunes and forest are great to explore by<br />

foot, bicycle, rollerblade, horse or even by<br />

sand-yacht, there are traditional nautical<br />

activities and a superb golf course 300<br />

metres from a 15km long sandy beach and<br />

700-hectare forest with trails. The laid-back<br />

town with such a choice of activities attracts<br />

both retirees seeking a full-time base and<br />

families seeking a second home. “Expect to<br />

pay around €<strong>20</strong>0,000 for a two-bedroom<br />

home, €300,000 for a thatched-roof home in<br />

the marshes or €450,000 for something<br />

close to the sea, or with more prestige,”<br />

says Anne-Sophie Gaultier, local agent.<br />

Sitting in the hub of the sun-drenched Bay of<br />

Biscay, the historic old port of La Rochelle<br />

should be on everyone’s bucket list. It’s<br />

known as the sunniest town of the southwest<br />

of France, and it's true, thanks to the<br />

region’s microclimate.<br />

This buzzy capital of Charente-Maritime is a<br />

university town and yachting centre. It is a<br />

great place for both relaxing, or exploring<br />

this fantastic area.<br />

“Choose between having a drink or a meal<br />

in the historical old port or the market<br />

square, wander the streets admiring the<br />

many architectural styles or join in one of the<br />

many local festivals,” suggests Elinor<br />

Murless, local agent

For nature fans, a base around La Rochelle<br />

is ideal to explore the marshlands of the<br />

“green Venice of France” by flat-bottomed<br />

boat, the Vendée’s long sandy beaches,or,<br />

right on your doorstep, the chic summer<br />

playground of Ile de Ré with its traditional<br />

little villages. The beaches and many nature<br />

reserves are only 15 minutes away. This<br />

area attracts Parisians and French buyers<br />

from other parts of the north but also golfers<br />

- there are two good courses nearby, and<br />

also international second-home owners.<br />

Flights to La Rochelle serve 11 UK regions<br />

whilst Poitiers and Bordeaux offer even<br />

more flight options. You can get an<br />

apartment in the old harbour with change<br />

from €180,000, or a four-bedroom<br />

townhouse from €530,000. Buyers can get<br />

better value looking a little inland, or further<br />

down the coast - <strong>20</strong> minutes from La<br />

Rochelle, in Yves, and very close to the<br />

popular seaside resort of Chatelaillon-Plage,<br />

its possible to find properties that are<br />

cheaper than in La Rochelle.<br />




The Basque surfing town of Biarritz oozes<br />

glamour, ever since Coco Chanel created<br />

her first fashion show there. Located near<br />

the Spanish border, Biarritz sits on one of<br />

the best stretches of surfing beaches in<br />

Europe - but there’s so much more too. The<br />

narrow streets of the former spa town are full<br />

of pretty shops and superb restaurants, then<br />

there’s the famous art-deco casino on the<br />

Grande Plage where grand palatial hotels<br />

remind us of its illustrious history - it was a<br />

favourite haunt of various European royals -<br />

but there are also fashionable nightclubs<br />

that draw top DJs. If putting is more your<br />

thing than partying, there are also ten golf<br />

courses within 50km.<br />

But Biarritz is an excellent base for exploring<br />

the Pays Basque, from its beautiful beaches<br />

to the inland landscape of green and<br />

wooded hills and mountains, and with<br />

property prices relatively high in the town<br />

itself, many buyers may opt to be<br />

somewhere accessible, says local agent<br />

Mathilde de St. Martin. It’s a highly<br />

cosmopolitan resort that is very fashionable<br />

with the French but also famous globally.<br />

“You can expect to pay €300,000 for a 50m2<br />

property with a nice view - even a studio<br />

apartment will be at least €130,000,” she<br />

says. Many British buyers prefer to go inland<br />

<strong>20</strong> minutes where they find that the prices<br />

plunge to €3,000 per m2.


The Experts guide to<br />

French Insurance<br />

French Home and Contents<br />

Cover<br />

Protecting your property, whether it’s a<br />

secondary home, main home or rented out<br />

on a short term, holiday or long term basis,<br />

is vital for peace of mind and also includes<br />

something very important: Public liability<br />

cover.<br />

What is Public liability cover?<br />

Public liability cover is included in your<br />

Home and Contents insurance with many<br />

insurers. As a rule the cover is against a<br />

claim for damage caused by the<br />

policyholder to a third party or their<br />

property.<br />

As mentioned above the level of cover<br />

varies according to the type of property<br />

being insured. For example the level of<br />

cover offered on a second home covers<br />

damage caused by the property to a third<br />

party. Cover for a main home extends to<br />

damages caused by the policyholder or a<br />

member of their family to a third party.<br />

For a property you may be renting out for<br />

short holiday periods Public Liability would<br />

continue as long as those staying at the<br />

property were there no longer than 3<br />

consecutive months. For a longer term the<br />

tenant would need to subscribe to their own<br />

Public Liability policy.<br />

Levels of cover<br />

When choosing the level of cover for your<br />

property make sure you have the basics<br />

included such as storm, hail, snow, fire and<br />

water damage to mention a few. You may<br />

then want to add other options depending<br />

on the use of your property to your<br />

insurance such as a swimming pool pack,<br />

garden furniture pack or gîte cover if you run<br />

this type of business. Don’t forget if you do<br />

have a gite talk to your Mairie to make sure<br />

you are registered correctly as if not even if<br />

you are insured for your gite the insurance<br />

will not cover you in the event of a claim.<br />

Make sure you have measured all your<br />

rooms as well as outbuildings correctly<br />

when setting up your cover as in the event<br />

of a claim this is the type of element that is<br />

very important if a pay out is made.<br />

If you build an extension or change the use<br />

of one of your rooms think about calling the<br />

insurer or CA Britline if the insurance is set<br />

up with us, and check that the changes are<br />

reflected in your policy.<br />

French Vehicle Cover<br />

If your residence in France is your main<br />

home the chances are you will have at least<br />

one car. Whether you have opted to bring<br />

your right hand drive car over with you or<br />

have purchased a left-hand drive, insurance<br />

is obligatory.

If your vehicle is on UK number plates, visit<br />

your nearest prefecture to find out the<br />

process of changing to French plates. The<br />

process varies in the amount of time it takes<br />

depending on the make, model, age and<br />

country of origin of your vehicle. During this<br />

process your vehicle must be insured. Some<br />

UK insurers, if you have just moved over to<br />

France, may allow the insurance to continue<br />

for a set amount of time. If not, when taking<br />

out a French insurance policy make sure the<br />

insurer knows you are in the process of<br />

changing registration and find out how long<br />

they will insure you for whilst you are still on<br />

your English plates.<br />

If your residence in France is a holiday<br />

home and you have your car in the garage<br />

back home in the UK, do not make the<br />

mistake of thinking if it’s locked away and<br />

not in use no insurance is needed. For<br />

public liability purposes, the car must remain<br />

insured so you might want to change the<br />

level of insurance so a minimum level of<br />

cover is still in place.<br />

Car cover is very similar in France to what's<br />

provided in the UK. You will find ‘Third Party<br />

only’, ‘Third Party Fire and Theft’ and ‘Fully<br />

Comp’ equivalents along with a range of<br />

extras and options that can be included. Via<br />

CA Britline the basics of driver protection,<br />

public liability and legal assistance are<br />

included within each type of cover. Other<br />

options such as Homestart breakdown<br />

cover, glass damage and zero excess<br />

amongst others can also be set up at the<br />

outset or during the life of the contract.<br />

You may also have other types of vehicles<br />

at you property you wish to cover. Ride on<br />

lawn mowers, scooters, motorbikes and<br />

boats can all be catered for to keep all<br />

insurances under one roof.<br />

Legal Protection Cover<br />

If you are resident on a permanent basis in<br />

France Legal Protection is an inexpensive<br />

insurance cover giving you access to a team<br />

of French legal experts in the event of<br />

private, consumer and labour disputes.<br />

Some Home and Contents policies may<br />

have limited Legal Protection cover included<br />

however if you wish to have complete cover<br />

a stand-alone contract is the best option. If<br />

you're a UK resident, in some cases the<br />

cover can be taken out, however it will apply<br />

strictly to French litigation only.<br />

Health Cover: Holidays in<br />

France /Residing at your<br />

Secondary residence<br />

It is very important to apply for an EHIC card<br />

before you leave for your holidays abroad<br />

whether travelling to France or another<br />

European country. The card covers you up<br />

to 90 consecutive days for any medical<br />

treatment you may need when away. If you<br />

pay for any treatment, keep your receipts<br />

and proofs of treatment for a reclaim on your<br />

return home. For more information, to apply<br />

for or renew an EHIC card consult the NHS<br />

website.<br />

Health Cover: French Residents<br />

Once resident in France you will need to<br />

contact your local CPAM: Caisse Primaire<br />

d’Assurance Maladie to find out if you will<br />

automatically be covered by the French<br />

social security system for a certain percentage<br />

of your medical costs. If you are<br />

covered you will be provided with an attestation<br />

and then a Carte Vitale, which you<br />

have to present at all medical appointments,<br />

hospitals and chemists. You may<br />

wish to take out Top-Up Health insurance to<br />

cover the costs not reimbursed by CPAM.<br />

Depending on your needs, age and budget<br />

you will find a Top-Up cover to suit you.<br />

If you find out you are not covered by the<br />

CPAM you may need 100% Private Health<br />

cover. This can be obtained through CA<br />

Britline as is the case for Top-Up cover.

How to choose the<br />

right adviser...<br />

for you<br />

Did you know that there are different type of financial advisers?<br />

When you search for a financial adviser, how can you be assured that they are<br />

right for you? In principle there are three categories of adviser:<br />

Tied – Restricted - Independent<br />

Tied Advisers:<br />

In France there are insurance company<br />

agents working almost in every town - they<br />

typically represent just one company, AXA<br />

for example. They will offer you only the<br />

products of that company and will be limited<br />

to “French only” products. They are unlikely<br />

to have a specialisation in UK or international<br />

pensions or investments. Typically,<br />

any product will only be in euros rather than<br />

a choice of currency. The person you deal<br />

with is known as a ‘courtier’ or a broker,<br />

they are usually trained in knowing only<br />

their products and will ‘sell’ those they think<br />

are appropriate for you. They don’t<br />

generally look at other areas of financial<br />

planning.<br />

You certainly need a French bank account<br />

when you are living in France and products<br />

like a Livret “A” can be useful for your liquid<br />

cash - up to certain limits. But, you may<br />

wish not to tie yourself into products or<br />

accounts that might have a limited<br />

investment selection or which do not work in<br />

other countries outside of France.<br />

Some savings vehicles the UK has such as<br />

ISAs are not available in France, similarly<br />

there are French savings and bank products<br />

that are not available outside of France.<br />

These companies - whether banks or<br />

insurance companies may offer a limited<br />

range of investments and savings and funds<br />

and some may be tied to just one company.<br />

Restricted Advisers:<br />

A restricted adviser is limited as to who and<br />

what they recommend. In the case of the<br />

popular (and essential in good investment<br />

and tax planning in France) Assurance Vie<br />

investments for example, they may only<br />

offer one or two alternatives as well as a<br />

limited range of investment funds for you to<br />

invest in.

There may be charges for this type of<br />

product and there could be restrictions on<br />

how much you can withdraw in the early<br />

years, thereby limiting your flexibility.<br />

There is of course nothing wrong with this,<br />

but you may be ‘limiting’ your advice and<br />

missing out on a wider market approach<br />

and a significant range of investments and<br />

investment companies which ultimately<br />

may be more suitable for you.<br />

These advisers may not have the<br />

experience or opportunity to look at other<br />

areas for financial planning for you.<br />

Independent Advisers:<br />

This is an adviser who can offer you advice<br />

rather than product placement. Known as a<br />

‘conseiller’ in France. They are highly<br />

trained and will not ‘sell’ you anything.<br />

Independent advisers aim to plan and<br />

collect information on all of your financial<br />

assets and provide a full report across<br />

areas such as inheritance/estate planning,<br />

pensions and investment.<br />

They will search the whole marketplace for<br />

a product that is appropriate for you and<br />

consider your needs and wishes to achieve<br />

the best outcome.<br />

In France this can mean for instance that<br />

you will have a choice of a number of<br />

assurance vie products, a portfolio can be<br />

tailored to your specific needs and<br />

requirements and you are not limited to any<br />

particular Assurance Vie product.<br />

Everyone’s needs are slightly different - you<br />

might be moving across different countries<br />

in Europe or moving to Europe from another<br />

jurisdiction. Having an adviser who<br />

understands your needs may be fluid, can<br />

certainly be an advantage.

On the investment side, you will have<br />

access to a wide selection of funds, tailored<br />

to your aims and your individual risk profiles.<br />

An independent advisor should meet with<br />

you regularly to ensure your choices are the<br />

best for any given time.<br />

This also applies to your pension investments<br />

where you don’t have a “one size fits<br />

all solution“.<br />

Every client’s needs are individual and<br />

family/personal financial requirements are<br />

personal to that individual.<br />

When you’re searching for an adviser, look<br />

for flexibility in approach, independence in<br />

selecting providers and in your investment<br />

selections.<br />

Conclusion<br />

Given the choice, you might have to pay a<br />

little more for a highly trained independent<br />

adviser, but you will get good service,<br />

regular contact and may have far better<br />

value for money in the long run.<br />

www.beaconglobalwealth.com<br />

enquiries@bgwealthmanagement.net<br />

The financial advisers trading under Beacon<br />

Wealth Management are members of Nexus<br />

Global (IFA Network). Nexus Global is a<br />

division within Blacktower Financial<br />

Management (International) Limited (BFMI).<br />

All approved individual members of Nexus<br />

Global are Appointed Representatives of BFMI.<br />

BFMI is licensed and regulated by the<br />

Gibraltar Financial Services Commission and<br />

bound by their rules under licence number<br />

FSC00805B.<br />

And the information on these pages is<br />

intended as an introduction only and is not<br />

designed to offer solutions or advice. Beacon<br />

Global Wealth Management can accept no<br />

responsibility whatsoever for losses incurred<br />

by acting on the information on these pages.

y P<br />

Apple<br />

and<br />

Blackberry<br />

Clafoutis<br />

Clafoutis is one of the most versatile French desserts and finds its origins in the Limousin,<br />

a lush, green region situated in the heart of the Massif Central. If you’ve never made or<br />

tasted clafoutis before, think of it as a ‘custardy’ type of cake. It doesn’t call for that much<br />

flour, so there isn’t much of a crumb to the dessert. I guess you can also compare it to a<br />

crustless quiche.<br />

Besides the original cherry clafoutis, I have made clafoutis with strawberries, blueberries,<br />

plums, apricots and even vegetables for a savoury variation (perfect for lunch with a<br />

green salad) and a glass of wine. This autumnal variation calls for apples. For a tart<br />

touch, I added a small handful of plump blackberries.

Apple and<br />

Blackberry<br />

Clafoutis<br />

Serves 4-6<br />

Ingredients:<br />

400g apples (I used Granny Smith)<br />

125g blackberries<br />

250g crème fraîche<br />

50ml whole milk<br />

Seeds of 1 vanilla pod<br />

3 eggs<br />

100g all-purpose flour<br />

60g fine sugar<br />

1 tbsp brown rum<br />

Powdered sugar, to serve<br />

Instructions:<br />

aola Westbeek<br />

Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a<br />

rectangular baking dish of approx. 26 x 18.5cm<br />

with butter. Peel, core and chop the apples.<br />

Spread them over the baking dish together with<br />

the blackberries. In a large bowl, whisk the crème<br />

fraîche, milk and vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk<br />

the eggs, flour, sugar and rum. Add this mixture<br />

to the cream, eggs and vanilla and whisk well.<br />

Pour the custard over the fruit and bake the<br />

clafoutis for 35-40 minutes. Delicious warm or<br />

cold. You can dust it with powdered sugar or<br />

serve with ice cream for a more decadent<br />

dessert.<br />

Paola Westbeek is a food, wine and travel<br />

journalist. For more of her recipes, visit<br />

ladoucevie.eu, thefrenchlife.org and her<br />

YouTube channel, LaDouceVieFood

In 1896, legend has it that a<br />

dropped alcohol on hot panc<br />

he served them anyway and<br />

dessert, the wily Chef said h<br />

however, asked that the nam<br />

name was Suzette.<br />

Others attribute the creation<br />

Henri Charpentier served as<br />

the ingredients are somewh<br />

Grand Marnier but Curacao<br />

The mystery could end there<br />

dessert for Suzanne Reiche<br />

<strong>No</strong>body will ever truly know

Crèpes Suzette<br />

young pastry chef called Henri Charpentier, working at the Café de Paris in Monte Carlo,<br />

akes he was preparing for the Prince of Wales, future King Edward VII. Unable to salvage them,<br />

luckily for him, the dish was a great success. When the prince asked him the name of this<br />

e had invented it especially for the Prince and would call the pancake after him. The Prince<br />

e of the young woman who was dining with him be given the honour. And you guessed it: her<br />

of crepes Suzette to the legendary Auguste Escoffier, creator of the Peach Melba, under whom<br />

an apprentice. The recipe is even included in Escoffier’s Guide Culinaire, released in 1903. But<br />

at different: the orange juice is replaced with mandarin juice and doesn’t mention the classic<br />

.<br />

, but some stories also mention Joseph Marivaux, a restaurant owner in Paris who invented the<br />

nberg, an actress at the French Comedy, whose stage name was Suzette.<br />

for sure the origin of this dish, but one thing that never changes – the delight is in the tasting!<br />

See over page for recipe

Crèpes Suzette<br />

Ingredients for 8-12 crêpes (I serve 2 per person)<br />

1<strong>20</strong> grams of flour<br />

1 heaped teaspoon of sugar<br />

a pinch of salt<br />

33 cl of milk<br />

3 eggs<br />

Sauce<br />

1 untreated orange, with peel<br />

1/4 cup of sugar<br />

10 cl of Cognac<br />

<strong>20</strong> cl of Grand Marnier<br />

25 grams of butter<br />

Crèpes<br />

Mix with beaters the following ingredients: flour, sugar a big pinch of salt, milk and the 3<br />

eggs. The batter needs to be quite liquid to get nice thin crepes.<br />

Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a crèpe pan and when heated pour out the excess. (you may<br />

need to slightly re-oil the pan after a few crèpes). Evenly spread a very thin layer of batter<br />

in pan. When slightly browned on one side, turn over and then take out quickly as you do<br />

not want crèpes to become crispy. Stack them on a plate.<br />

Sauce:<br />

Slice orange peel very thinly, using only the orange part of the peel (the white part is not<br />

pretty).<br />

In a pan, put orange peel, butter, sugar, orange juice, 10 cl of cognac and 10 cl of Grand<br />

Marnier. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for about 30 minutes. The alcohol will evaporate<br />

and it will become syrupy.<br />

Dip each crèpe into orange syrup and turn to coat each side. Fold into quarters and place<br />

in a serving dish that you can keep warm in oven.<br />

When ready to serve pour the remaining sauce (hot) over crèpes. Then heat the other 10 cl<br />

of Grand Marnier in a pan, pour over crèpes and light with a match to flambé them in front<br />

of your guests. This is nice plated and served with a scoop of vanilla icecream<br />

Recipe by Mary Pochez, at La Vie du Château, all inclusive culinary holidays in an<br />

18th century chateau in the Pays de la Loir, France

Onion-Tomato Jam<br />

Ingredients (makes about 2 cups)<br />

2 cups red or yellow onions, thinly sliced<br />

1 large shallot, thinly sliced<br />

2 pounds plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped<br />

2 tsp good quality olive oil<br />

2 TBS lemon juice<br />

1/2 cup honey<br />

1/2 tsp salt<br />

1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground<br />

1 tsp smoked paprika<br />

Warm the olive oil in a small pot over medium/high heat and<br />

then add the onions, shallots, and salt. Use a wooden spoon<br />

to throughly coat the onions and shallots with oil and turn the<br />

flame down to low. Let the mixture soften for about 10<br />

minutes and then caramelize for another 15-<strong>20</strong> minutes,<br />

stirring often. Transfer the onion mixture to a large pot and<br />

add the tomatoes, lemon juice, honey, ground pepper and<br />

smoked paprika. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 40-50<br />

minutes, stirring often, until the mixture has reduced and is<br />

translucent and thickened to a jammy texture with very little<br />

liquid. Jam may be prepared up to 2 days in advance. You<br />

will have more than needed for the tart so consider freezing<br />

half and saving it for another time.<br />

Recipes by Martine Bertin-Peterson at<br />

Gout et Voyage, Gourmet Tours of Provence.

Ratatouille Tart<br />

Ingredients (serve 4 as a main course, 6 as a<br />

starter)<br />

1/2 -3/4 cup of onion-tomato jam<br />

Pâte brisé for a 9” tart or pre-packaged pie dough<br />

1 small eggplant, skin on & sliced into 1/4 inch thick<br />

rounds<br />

1 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds<br />

1 medium yellow squash, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds<br />

2-3 plum tomatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds<br />

2 roasted red or yellow peppers, sliced into thin strips<br />

Pre-heat the oven to 425 F. (215 C.) Place the pâte<br />

brisé or pie dough in a 9” deep dish pie pan, prick<br />

the bottom in several spots and bake for 10 minutes.<br />

Reduce oven temperature to 400 F (<strong>20</strong>0 C.) When<br />

the tart shell has cooled slightly, spread the oniontomato<br />

jam evenly on the bottom. Create circles and<br />

layers of zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant and<br />

tomato, sprinkling 1/2 of the fresh oregano and<br />

seasoning with salt and pepper between layers. Add<br />

the roasted pepper strips to the top layer. Bake for<br />

25 minutes, uncovered and then cover with<br />

aluminum foil for another <strong>20</strong> minutes. Remove the<br />

tart from the oven and sprinkle with crumbled goat<br />

cheese and remaining fresh oregano. Serve hot or<br />

allow to cool to room temperature.<br />

Serve with a crusty peasant loaf or baguette and a<br />

chilled rose or crisp white wine. Refrigerate any<br />


Poulet - Roti

Serves 4<br />

Prep time: 25 minutes<br />

Cook time: about 1 1/2 hours<br />


2–3 cups roughly chopped assorted root<br />

vegetables (carrots, parsnips, potatoes)<br />

2 medium (12 oz/350 g total) yellow onions,<br />

thickly sliced<br />

2 tablespoons olive oil<br />

2 small lemons, grate the zest of one and<br />

use both for the chicken<br />

6 sprigs fresh thyme<br />

2 teaspoons flaky sea salt<br />

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper<br />

1 whole chicken (3 lb/1.5 kg)<br />

2 cloves garlic, unpeeled but smashed<br />

A few sprigs fresh thyme<br />

1/4 cup (57 g) salted butter, at room<br />

temperature<br />

1–2 teaspoons dried Herbes de Provence or<br />

dried thyme<br />

Freshly ground black pepper<br />


1/4 cup (57 g) salted butter, melted<br />

2 cloves garlic, unpeeled but smashed<br />

1. Preheat the oven to 425˚F (2<strong>20</strong>˚C).<br />

2. Scatter the chopped vegetables in a roasting pan with the olive oil.<br />

Add the lemon zest, thyme, salt and pepper to the vegetables and, using your hands, mix<br />

until all the vegetables are coated. Make sure the vegetables are sitting evenly on the<br />

bottom of the roasting pan.<br />

3. Pat the cavity of the bird dry using a paper towel.<br />

4. Cut both the lemons in quarters and place them in the cavity of the bird with the<br />

smashed garlic and a few sprigs of fresh thyme. If all the lemon quarters don’t fit, you can<br />

pop them in the pan with the vegetables, just don’t forget to take them out when you are<br />

serving the chicken.<br />

5. Cut about half of the butter into small pieces and place them under the skin of the bird.<br />

To do this, start at the cavity end of the chicken and slide one or two fingers between the<br />

meat and the skin. Work slowly, separating the skin from the meat as far as you can reach.<br />

Squish the butter pieces slightly and fit them under the skin as best you can.<br />

6. Spread the remainder of the butter over the outside of the skin. The easiest way to do<br />

this is with your hands. Season the bird with the Herbes de Provence or dried thyme and a<br />

touch of pepper.<br />

7. Place the bird directly on the vegetables in the roasting pan and place in the oven for <strong>20</strong><br />

minutes, until the skin starts to brown nicely.<br />

To smash a garlic clove, place it on a cutting board and place a large knife that's wider than the<br />

garlic clove flat on top of the garlic with the blade facing away from you. Press down hard until the<br />

garlic clove splits. Voila! you've smashed it. This is also an easy way to peel garlic

8. Add the smashed garlic to the melted butter<br />

and place this over very low heat on the<br />

stovetop. You will use this to baste the chicken<br />

while it’s roasting.<br />

9. Turn down the oven to 400˚F (<strong>20</strong>0˚C) and<br />

roast the chicken for 60 to 70 minutes more, or<br />

until a meat thermometer inserted into the high<br />

part of the thigh registers 165˚F (74˚C). <strong>No</strong>rmally<br />

you can count on about <strong>20</strong> minutes’ cook time<br />

per pound (454 g) of chicken but to be absolutely<br />

sure, a meat thermometer is the way to go!<br />

TIP<br />

Kids might be squeamish about<br />

touching raw chicken (especially when<br />

it comes to placing the lemons, garlic<br />

and herbs in the cavity and the butter<br />

under and over the skin). The more<br />

they see you doing tasks like this,<br />

though, the more normal (and less<br />

gruesome) it will appear. In the<br />

meantime, get them busy chopping the<br />

vegetables and mixing in the oil and<br />

seasoning in the roasting pan.<br />

10. While the bird is cooking, baste it every <strong>20</strong><br />

minutes or so with the melted butter and<br />

smashed garlic. This will season the bird even<br />

more.<br />

11. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from<br />

the oven (leave the vegetables in the roasting<br />

pan), place it on a cutting board (preferably one<br />

that has a drain ridge to catch any juices), cover<br />

it loosely with aluminium foil and allow it to rest<br />

for about 10 minutes before you carve it.<br />

12. Give the vegetables a good stir and place the<br />

roasting pan back in the oven until you are ready<br />

to serve the meal. If the vegetables are not<br />

crispy enough, you can set the broiler to high<br />

(around 400˚F/<strong>20</strong>0˚C, if your broiler has a<br />

temperature display) and broil them for about 5<br />

minutes but do keep an eye on them as they<br />

might burn.<br />

In the French Kitchen with Kids: Easy, Everyday Dishes<br />

for the Whole Family to Make and Enjoy by Mardi<br />

Michels. From the prolific blogger behind eat. live. travel.<br />

write comes a new cookbook for parents, children and<br />

Francophiles of all ages. Fuss free, simple, delicious<br />

French dishes with Mardi Michels as your guide. From<br />

savory dishes like Omelettes, Croque-Monsieurs or<br />

Steak Frites to sweet treats like Profiteroles, Madeleines<br />

or Crème Brûlée, readers will find many French classics<br />

here. With helpful timetables to plan out baking projects,<br />

and tips on how to get kids involved in cooking, this book<br />

breaks down any preconceived notion that French<br />

cuisine is too fancy or too difficult for kids to master. With<br />

Mardi's warm, empowering and encouraging instructions,<br />

kids of all ages will be begging to help out in the kitchen<br />

every day of the week.

My Good Life in France....<br />

This year’s summer was extraordinary in the far north of France, pas-de-<br />

Calais. In the south I’ve heard my region referred to as “the north pole of<br />

France” – but not this year. We had a late sunny spring which turned into an<br />

early sunny summer. While the rest of France suffered from rain and storms,<br />

the tip of France basked in record heatwaves. It was so nice, we even took<br />

our coats off! Seriously, this year, the north was the new south.<br />

Every day on my walks with my three dogs, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Bruno and<br />

Churchill, through the village, the main topic of conversation was the<br />

weather. I’d learned long ago not to respond with “je suis chaud” which<br />

literally means I’m hot but is taken to mean “I’m sexy”, you have to say “J’ai<br />

chaud”. Mostly people said “it’s too hot to work” watching us render the<br />

walls, paint shutters (one day it was so hot the paint bubbled as I applied it),<br />

lay tons of gravel and replace the roofs on two outbuildings.<br />

We finished just in time to join in the end of summer harvest party at the<br />

Town Hall. Called a ducasse, this sort of party has been held for centuries in<br />

small rural villages. Whole familes attend these events from babies in<br />

pushchairs to wizzened and bent over ancient great-grandparents.<br />

We were told to be there for 7.30pm. The wine was flowing and it meant<br />

there was lots of time for welcome-to-the-party-kisses-on-cheeks and lots<br />

of chat so that everyone was ready when the starters arrived just after 10pm.<br />

The DJ-with-a-muffly-voice (he does all the local parties and no one can<br />

understand a word he says) played lots of Johnny Halliday music which got<br />

everyone up dancing and waving their arms in the air. Well everyone except<br />

the tables nearest the doors, they were taken by the village oldies, mamies<br />

and papies in their 80's and 90's who wouldn't miss this annual event for<br />

anything, for some of them it's the 97th party they've attended! They left by<br />

midnight but the rest of us partied on until well into the next day.<br />

The morning after the night before, the village returned to its usual trainquil<br />

and silent self, save for the wild birds gathering in hordes in the trees getting<br />

ready to take off as fall approaches.<br />

Welcome to autumn...

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