Issue No. 15

Discover the Drome, Nyons - the last Provencal frontier, Charente-Maritime, Burgundy, Paris gastronomy, Nice, secret Provence, recipes, a whole lot more. It's the next best thing to being in France...

Discover the Drome, Nyons - the last Provencal frontier, Charente-Maritime, Burgundy, Paris gastronomy, Nice, secret Provence, recipes, a whole lot more. It's the next best thing to being in France...

  • No tags were found...

Create successful ePaper yourself

Turn your PDF publications into a flip-book with our unique Google optimized e-Paper software.

Bonjour!<br />

Summer is served in this issue - it's time to kick back and enjoy the best of France.<br />

You'll find loads of gorgeous destination pieces including Provence with a focus on the<br />

Drome department - the part that's not well known, as well as the secret bits of Provence<br />

by two locals who share their favourite places. We look at Paris, Burgundy and the<br />

Vendée, the sensational Samoens in the French Alps and the Jazz Festival at Marciac.<br />

There are practical guides for expats and those who dream of moving to France, plus<br />

some fabulous recipes, and a focus on gastronomy in Nice and Paris, There's also "Your<br />

Photos" and a whole lot more.<br />

Don't forget to enter our competitions - we've got some wonderful books to give away as<br />

well as some award winning, delicious rosé wine, just perfect for those summer days and<br />

a taste of France.<br />

If you like this issue please share it with your friends - it's completely free, and always<br />

will be,<br />

Bisous from France<br />



Barbara Pasquet James is<br />

a US lifestyle editor,<br />

speaker and urban<br />

explorer who writes about<br />

food fashion and culture,<br />

from Paris. She helped<br />

launch, write and edit USA<br />

Today’s City Guide To<br />

Paris and her photo blog<br />

is at: FocusOnParis.com.<br />

Justine Halifax is a multi<br />

award-winning writer hand<br />

journalist. She writes for the<br />

Birmingham Mail,<br />

Birmingham Post and<br />

Sunday Mercury both in<br />

print and online. Recent<br />

journalism awards include<br />

winning Midlands Feature<br />

Writer of the Year 2014.<br />

Peter Jones is a writer<br />

and photographer. He<br />

presents a weekly travel<br />

and food show at<br />

Puritans Radio in the<br />

UK.<br />

Sara Neumeier is a New<br />

York food stylist who<br />

shares a summer home in<br />

the Dordogne with her<br />

parents. She and her<br />

recipes are featured in the<br />

memoir Beginning French<br />

by Les Américains.<br />

Rupert Parker is a writer,<br />

photographer,<br />

cameraman & TV<br />

Producer. Read about his<br />

latest adventures on his<br />

website Planet Appetite<br />

& follow him on Twitter<br />

@planetappetite.<br />

Lucy Pitts is a writer and<br />

Deputy Editor of The<br />

Good Life France. She is<br />

a professional copywriter<br />

who runs Strood Copy.<br />

She divides her time<br />

between France and the<br />

UK.<br />

Editor: Janine Marsh contact editor (at) the goodlifefrance.com<br />

Deputy Editor: Lucy Pitts<br />

Advertising: Mark sales (at) thegoodlifefrance.com<br />

Digital support: Umbrella Web Solutions


P. 26<br />

P. 30<br />

P. 18<br />


8 The Other Provence – Drome<br />

Lucy Pitts discovers a romantic and<br />

unspoiled region of lavender fields and<br />

vineyards<br />

14 Nyons the last Provencal<br />

Frontier<br />

Lucy Pitts explores the dramatic beauty<br />

of a little known town in Provence<br />

18 The Secrets of Provence<br />

Susana Iwase Hanson and Jeanny<br />

Cronk reveal the most beautiful secret<br />

destinations of Provence<br />

26 Nice – a gastronomic paradise<br />

Janine Marsh gets greedy in Nice but<br />

shares her favourite restaurants with<br />

you!<br />

30 Va va voom to the Vendée<br />

Lucy Pitts takes her kids to the Vendée<br />

and finds a pocket of France that’s a<br />

hidden gem<br />

36 Outdoor Adventures in Samoens<br />

Rupert Parker goes up up and away in<br />

the French Alps

P. 42<br />

42 Paris Photo Montage<br />

Paris in gorgeous photos<br />

48 The Rules of Boules<br />

Mary Neumeier reflects on the French<br />

national game<br />

52 Zoom in on Burgundy<br />

Janine Marsh on what makes Burgundy<br />

so utterly special<br />

58 Le <strong>No</strong>rd!<br />

Justine Halifax visits the far north of<br />

France and finds its perfect for the<br />

whole family<br />

64 Jazz in Marciac<br />

Peter Jones goes jazzy in the southern<br />

French town, plus the best of the jazz<br />

fests in France<br />

70 Learning French at 50+<br />

Keith Van-Sickle reveals his top tips for<br />

learning French<br />

72 The best chomping grounds in<br />

Paris<br />

Barbara Pasquet-James checks out the<br />

finest restaurants in the city<br />

78 Two tales of a city<br />

Jemma Hélène explores Antibes and<br />

discovers a tale from World War II<br />

82 Pilgrimage to the Somme<br />

Doug Goodman visits the Somme to<br />

honour a lost relative<br />

Regulars<br />

P 52<br />

62 A page from the history of<br />

France<br />

Susan Cahill looks at the legacy of King<br />

Henri IV in Paris<br />

68 Your Photos<br />

The most popular photos on The Good<br />

Life France Facebook page shared with<br />

you here.<br />

84 - 86 GIVE AWAYS<br />

Fab books to read this summer and<br />

some delish rosé wine to win

P. 90<br />

P. 112<br />

Life in France<br />

88 I spy with my Expat Eye<br />

Keith Van-Sickle goes to the butchers<br />

and finds it’s an experience!<br />

90 The Good Life in the Gers<br />

Janine Marsh talks to an artist with a<br />

penchant for chickens, plus a look at<br />

some dream homes in the area<br />

94 The Good Life in Riberac<br />

Janine Marsh meets a couple who run<br />

gites and a cake business in the lovely<br />

Dordogne, plus a look at dream homes<br />

in the area<br />

116 My Good Life in France<br />

100 Ask The Experts<br />

101 Pension legislation<br />

Plus a savings question answered<br />

104 Banking for expats<br />

106 Tips for moving to France<br />

Gastronomy<br />

108 Bonnes Vacances<br />

Catherine Berry on the pitfalls of<br />

planning a perfect picnic<br />

110 Omelette a la Mere Poulard<br />

The famous <strong>No</strong>rmandy dish revealed by<br />

Mary Pochez<br />

111 Tarte au citron<br />

Sara Neumeier shares an easy peasy<br />

lemon squeasy tart recipe<br />

112 Moules Marinières<br />

Chef Spence’s delish <strong>No</strong>rmandy recipe

If you love the south of France and the romantic call of the lavender fields, a visit to<br />

the Drôme will reveal an unspoiled region that will truly delight says Lucy Pitts...<br />

Drôme is one of the two most southerly<br />

departments of the Rhône Alpes region,<br />

with the Ardèche to the west and to the<br />

south and east, the Vaucluse and the<br />

Hautes Alpes departments.<br />

Drôme is a department of contrasts and if<br />

you’ve spent time travelling the steep and<br />

craggy roads of the Ardèche gorges, then<br />

the flat plains of Provencal Drôme in the<br />

south makes for a dramatic change. High,<br />

winding and mountainous roads and heady<br />

views suddenly transform into long, flat,<br />

straight roads and you cannot escape the<br />

smell of the Mediterranean and the feel of<br />

Provence.<br />

from Orange and headed east.<br />

There’s an instant sense of calm as you<br />

leave the traffic and bustle of the Rhône<br />

behind you. Mont Ventoux and the Alpes<br />

are faintly visible in the distance and in<br />

summer the sight of mile after mile of<br />

perfectly neat rows of lavender is<br />

completely glorious.<br />

Avoiding the motorway which runs north to<br />

south, I peeled off the main road about an<br />

hour south of Valence (the capital of the<br />

department) and a little over half an hour

A deserted village<br />

From the flat fields rise sporadic pinnacles;<br />

ancient villages clinging on like giant mole<br />

hills dot the landscape. Valaurie is a quiet<br />

medieval village keeping guard across the<br />

vineyards and lavender fields along with its<br />

neighbour Roussas. Both cling to a hill side<br />

under the watch of their respective<br />

chateaux. Both are unbelievably quiet and<br />

hopelessly pretty with a distinct medieval<br />

legacy.<br />

In Roussas I decided to climb to the top to<br />

explore the chateau which is not far from<br />

an enormous church (enormous for the<br />

size of the village). Roussas boasts a<br />

population of about 350 all of whom were<br />

notably absent on the day of my visit. I<br />

wound my way around narrow cobbled<br />

streets, up steps, around fortifications and<br />

walls, and up more steps, catching<br />

glimpses of the vineyards and lavender<br />

fields below. There’s a flower tour you can<br />

do around the village to discover different<br />

roses and Mediterranean flowers, the<br />

village specialises in honey plus a special<br />

goats cheese called Foujou. I picked a<br />

handful of small ripe figs, that were<br />

bursting out of their skins with flavour and<br />

ate them on a wall looking back out over<br />

Drôme below. I didn’t see a single person.<br />

I did reach the 12th century chateau which<br />

sadly was all locked up, so I carried on my<br />

meander around the narrow streets of the<br />

village, discovering pretty little houses and<br />

courtyards, stocking up on figs and<br />

enjoying the warm September sunshine. By<br />

the time I got back to my car, I’d been in<br />

Roussas for some time and still not seen a<br />

soul. This is a different side to the Provence<br />

most of us know, as yet unspoilt by an<br />

endless stream of tourists and I was almost<br />

relieved to see a car in the distance.

Lavender, truffles and wine<br />

The Domaine de Grangeneuve is a short<br />

drive through the country from Roussas.<br />

The family who own it have been here for<br />

the last 50 years having returned from<br />

Algeria. Back then the “domaine” consisted<br />

of a derelict farm building, an over grown<br />

plot of woodland and the remains of a<br />

Roman villa.<br />

Today they grow Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault<br />

and Mourvedre for their reds and Viognier,<br />

Marsanne, Roussanne and Grenache for<br />

their whites and are part of the AOC<br />

Grignan Les Adhemar. Their wines are soft,<br />

elegant and balanced and this is a<br />

beautiful spot to get to grips with a<br />

landscape that in addition to lavender and<br />

wine, is famous for truffles, olives and<br />

wonderful local produce.<br />

Their philosophy at Grangenwuve is to be<br />

the best possible and as you enter the<br />

main farm courtyard, there’s a beautiful<br />

vaulted cellar filled with oak barrels and<br />

vintage wines of the estate. You can<br />

discover the region in a variety of ways<br />

from here: there are two hiking trails and<br />

an electric bike route. They offer wine<br />

tasting, wine workshops or a day in the<br />

vineyards and winery. You can also enjoy<br />

cookery and gourmand workshops or<br />

discover local truffles – all washed down<br />

with a fine wine of course! They also do a<br />

fabulous picnic hamper bursting with local<br />

products which they’ll bring to you at one<br />

of their picnic tables and the focus here is<br />

very much on the gourmand. After all, as<br />

owner Henri Bour told me, “wine is a noble<br />


A night at the mill<br />

Drop back down and out of the clutches of<br />

the Mistral, to the flat fields surrounding<br />

Valaurie and head to Le Moulin de<br />

Valaurie. This rather beautifully restored<br />

mill sits about a mile or so from the village<br />

and has views of it across the sunflower<br />

fields. Arrive at dusk to watch the sun<br />

slowly dropping behind Valaurie.<br />

Le Moulin de Valaurie is a 3-star restaurant<br />

and hotel and is utterly charming. It’s<br />

managed to hold on to its rural past but<br />

feels elegant and chic too. It’s the perfect<br />

place to relax, unwind and refuel before you<br />

head deeper into the delights of Drôme.<br />


For details of Domaine de Grangeneuve<br />

and Le Moulin de Valaurie visit:<br />

domainesbour.com<br />

lemoulindevalaurie.com<br />

For more information about Drôme visit:<br />

www.ladrometourisme.com<br />

Transport to Drôme: Valence has a TGV<br />

station and it’s possible to get trains from<br />

the UK or Paris: tgv.uk.voyages-sncf.com<br />

Although valence has an airport, most<br />

flights are to Lyon or Grenoble.

The Last Provencal Frontier<br />

Nyons<br />

Lucy Pitts explores the dramatic beauty<br />

of this little known part of Provence<br />

Who doesn’t love a good French market?<br />

It’s such a thoroughly sensual and<br />

deliciously medieval experience, with<br />

people stacking their produce high and<br />

squeezing their stalls into any available<br />

space, even if they’re clinging to the edge<br />

of a roundabout. The market in Nyons is no<br />

exception and it’s just one of the reasons<br />

to visit this remote little town in Drôme, in<br />

the south of the Rhône Alpes region.<br />

Head east, off the beaten track<br />

Nyons is some way off the beaten track to<br />

the east of Valence in the north and<br />

Avignon to the south. It feels like the last<br />

town before the frontier and it sort of is, as<br />

its position nestled in the Pre Alpes<br />

foothills means there are no significant<br />

towns beyond it for some time.<br />

This region is famed for its olives, lavender,<br />

fruit trees and sunflowers and as you drive<br />

east from the Rhône, long, wide, straight,<br />

flat roads take you through the olive groves.<br />

There are giant terracotta olives just in case<br />

you were in any doubt and all the time, you<br />

can see the rugged rise of the mountains in<br />

the hazy distance. Eventually, as the<br />

mountains draw you gradually nearer, you<br />

bear right and as the road starts to gently<br />

undulate and bend, you know that you’re<br />

nearly in Nyons.

A holiday feel<br />

Nyons dates back to before the 5th<br />

century and you’re welcomed by a large<br />

open square surrounded by covered<br />

arcades, plane and palm trees and<br />

pavement cafés and bars. It feels<br />

Mediterranean and in the evening the trees<br />

are lit up, and there’s a holiday feel with<br />

helmetless moped riders buzzing about<br />

and old French cars that smell like they’re<br />

belching out 2 stroke (if anyone else<br />

remembers that smell). Because of its<br />

position tucked right into the foot of the<br />

hills, you’re sheltered from the Mistral and<br />

in September it’s still warm enough to eat<br />

lunch and dinner outside.<br />

A climb to the top<br />

The Thursday market starts before the sun<br />

has crept fully into the streets. The market<br />

seeps out from the square into the veins of<br />

the town, including out through the Saint<br />

Jacques gate (the only gate in the<br />

defensive wall), into the medieval Place des<br />

Arcades and on through a series of narrow<br />

streets. <strong>No</strong>rth of the main square is the<br />

Place Josesph Buffaven and to the side of<br />

that you’ll notice a set of intriguing steps<br />

and a first floor corridor looking over the<br />

square. If you’re waiting for the market to<br />

get into full swing, now is the time to<br />


This part is the Rues des Grand Forts and<br />

the old quarter that takes you up above the<br />

town. Tiny cobbled roads, just wide enough<br />

for a horse or a walker, take you slowly<br />

higher and higher and you feel like you’ve<br />

entered a secret world of picturesque but<br />

miniature houses and streets. You catch<br />

views across the hills in one direction as<br />

the sun climbs and glimpses of the<br />

scurrying shoppers at the market in the<br />

other. You’ll also stumble across the Tour<br />

Randonne. This 13th century chapel with its<br />

ornamental bell tower is quite a surprise.<br />

Back in the town and the market has<br />

erupted into life. <strong>No</strong>ugat, apricots, roasting<br />

chickens, olives and lavender draw you in.<br />

The school in Nyons is right next to the<br />

square, making the smells and sounds of<br />

market day, part of their weekly education.<br />

It’s no wonder this fabulous market<br />

tradition survives.<br />

Lavender and Romans<br />

Nyons has a vibrant economy and apart<br />

from olives and fruit, lavender is also a key<br />

player. There’s a beautiful Roman bridge on<br />

the edge of the town and just before that,<br />

there’s a lavender distillery, the Distillerie<br />

Bleu Provence. It’s a great opportunity to<br />

learn more about the harvesting, distilling<br />

process and the quality of the essential oils.<br />

If you’re lucky enough to get a tour with the<br />

owner, Philippe Soguel, you’ll get a rare<br />

insight into the passion that drives lavender<br />

production in this area and the search for<br />

more efficient and more ecologically sound<br />

methods of harvesting and processing. You<br />

can also try some of their ice cream<br />

including geranium, lavender and thyme<br />

flavours, all of which are delicious..

Explore and enjoy<br />

There are all sorts of reasons to linger<br />

here. Nyons is famed for its black olives<br />

and is an olive “appellation contrôlé”<br />

area. You can discover the olive groves<br />

on foot as part of the “Sentiers de<br />

l’Olivier” and there’s also a “Jardin des<br />

Arômes” to explore with 300 different<br />

species of fragrant plants. Or just hire a<br />

bike and take to the vineyards.<br />

Nyons is a wonderful mixture of sensual<br />

colours and flavours, history and nature.<br />

It feels very special tucked away at the<br />

foot of the hills and you won’t want to<br />

leave Although it’s bustling, it feels<br />

strangely calm and welcoming and<br />

you're sure to want to stay as long as<br />

you can.<br />


Nyon Tourism: www.paysdenyons<br />

www.ladrometourisme.com<br />

For a tour of the lavender distillery visit:<br />

www.distillerie-bleu-provence.com<br />

For places to stay:<br />

Hotel Colombet is ideally placed in<br />

Nyons centre, not far from the tourist<br />

office with tables and dinning<br />

overlooking the square. www.<br />

hotelcolombet.com<br />

Transport to Drôme:<br />

Valence has a TGV station and it’s<br />

possible to get trains from the UK or<br />

Paris: uk.voyages-sncf.com<br />

Although valence has an airport, most<br />

flights are to Lyon or Grenoble.

The Secrets of<br />

Provence<br />

Susana Iwase Hanson and Jeanny Cronk,<br />

locals of Provence share their favourite,<br />

secret places

The Var is a departement that includes Provence. It stretches from the rugged<br />

mountains of the Verdon to the glamorous beaches of St Tropez and is within<br />

touching distance of Aix-en-Provence, Marseilles and Cannes encompassing<br />

different landscapes and touristic experiences. The non-coastal areas (Centre et<br />

Haut Var) were plain, agricultural terrain until only a few decades ago and this is<br />

reflected in the authentic architecture of the little villages built into the hillsides.<br />

Locals Susana Iwase Hanson and Jeany Cronkselect their favourite five<br />

destinations to visit in this beautiful area...

1<br />

Bauduen at the Lac du Verdon<br />

The great nature reserve around the Lac St<br />

Croix is a visitors' paradise. The landscape<br />

resembles that of the great nature parks of<br />

<strong>No</strong>rth America, complete with a huge<br />

Canyon filled with lagoon green water<br />

called “Les Gorges du Verdon” between St<br />

Moustiers Marie and Castellan. There are<br />

endless walking, boating and sporting<br />

possibilities in the area and it’s well worth a<br />

trip, especially during the hotter period<br />

when it feels a little more fresh and less<br />

crowded rather than down by the coast.<br />

Make for picturesque Bauduen, a village<br />

by the lakeshore with its back built into the<br />

rock. There is a little pebble beach perfect<br />

for kids and you can hire pedaloes and<br />

paddleboards. Take a dip in the crystal<br />

clear waters of the Lac, which is actually a<br />

drinking water reserve. You can also hire a<br />

sailboat if you're feeling more energetic.<br />

A few crèperies and cafés line the lakeshore,<br />

but we recommend you head up to<br />

the Café Du Midi which has a small but<br />

lovely menu and perfect views of the lake.<br />

The staff are friendly and kids can roam<br />

around the boules square next to the<br />

restaurant. The village is tiny with charming<br />

stone houses, but has many cute and photo<br />

worthy corners. If you’re making a day of it,<br />

pop to the neighbouring artists village of<br />

Moustiers-St-Marie where where you can<br />

enjoy a culinary feast at Alain Ducasse’s<br />

Bastide de Moustiers.<br />

Boat Hire: location-bateau-verdon.fr<br />

Restaurants: Café du Midi (booking<br />

essential in high season):<br />

+33 4 94 70 08 94 (mid range price)<br />

Bastide de Moustiers (Moustiers St Marie,<br />

booking essential): bastide-moustiers.com<br />

(pricey, but nice)

2 COTIGNAC<br />

At first glance Cotignac wows visitors with<br />

its large limescale cliffs reminiscent of<br />

ancient troglodyte living. Houses are<br />

literally carved into the cliffs and anyone<br />

can climb the steps that lead up to the old<br />

cave dwellings for a 2 euros entry fee<br />

during visiting season.<br />

The village has 2,300 inhabitants and is<br />

typically Provençale. The population<br />

quadruples to over 10,000 in the summer<br />

months when glroious sunshine, festivals,<br />

markets and concerts lure visitors.<br />

Our favourite restaurant, the Café du Cours,<br />

on the Cours Gambetta, serves steak<br />

tartare, tuna tataki, pastas, burgers, and<br />

pizzas fresh out of the oven. Service is<br />

always excellent and it's a great place to<br />

people-watch especially on market day<br />

(Tuesdays). Just a few doors down is the<br />

Centre d'Art La Falaise where seasonal<br />

exhibitions of regional artists can be seen.<br />

Mirabeau Wine has a shop underneath<br />

where you can sample award winning rosé<br />

and buy beautifully selected locally<br />

produced home wares.<br />

More information about Cotignac www.<br />

provence-living.net<br />

Tourist office: la-provence-verte.net/<br />

ot_cotignac/<br />

Café du Cours, 23 Cours Gambetta<br />

Mirabeau Wine Showroom: www.<br />


3 Estagnol Beach, Bormes les Mimosas<br />

Bormes les Mimosas is situated on the<br />

stretch of coastline connecting Toulon and<br />

St Tropez and is home to swanky villas and<br />

Châteaux of the rich and famous plus<br />

some of the best beaches in France. Our<br />

favourite is Estagnol. The coastal road,<br />

called Route de Léoube, which runs<br />

between La Londe-les-Maures and<br />

Bormes-les-Mimosas is spectacular –<br />

you’ll spot huge and ancient cork tree<br />

forets and vineyards that literally touch the<br />

ocean.<br />

There are two famous beaches on this<br />

stretch of road, both with private parking<br />

(paid): Le Pellegrin and L’Estagnol. We<br />

prefer Estagnol for it’s a beautiful bay with<br />

clear waters, which are not too deep for<br />

small children, lined by beautiful old pine<br />

trees. It’s small and gets busy, so avoid<br />

peak times or plan to arrive early or late.<br />

“L’Estagnol” is the perfect beachside<br />

Restaurant, not fancy like in St Tropez, but<br />

good food including lots of choice for little<br />

ones. It’s fun, colourful and efficient and<br />

just behind the dunes of the beach.<br />

Off-season it’s a great idea to walk the<br />

coastal footpath that runs behind the<br />

beaches through the dunes where you<br />

breathe in the scent of sea salt and the<br />

flora and fauna of this protected area. If<br />

you’re not too sandy and tired, pop into<br />

Château Léoube for a Rosé Tasting in an<br />

extraordinarily beautiful setting.<br />

Restaurant L’Estagnol (booking advised):<br />

restaurant-lestagnol.fr<br />

Château Léoube: www.chateauleoube.com

4<br />

Tourtour<br />

Tourtour is like a village in the sky, set on<br />

top of a windy hill (elevation 900 meters)<br />

with sweeping views all the way out to<br />

Frejus and the Mediterranean with the<br />

Mount St Victoire between.<br />

The population is just under 500 but the<br />

locals are a tight knit group who put on one<br />

of the most amazing festivals known as the<br />

Fête de l’Oeuf (egg Festival) around Easter<br />

every year.<br />

Tourtour is listed as one of the most<br />

beautiful villages in France and is well<br />

worth a visit. Take a walk through tiny<br />

streets to admire the well-restored village<br />

houses with their manicured gardens. The<br />

restaurants serve simple yet freshly made<br />

food which of course goes rather well with a<br />

nice glass of chilled rosé. It’s about a 20<br />

minutes’ drive from Cotignac, via either<br />

Aups or Villecroze which, by the way, are<br />

also both villages worth a detour should<br />

time allow.<br />

All the cafés and bars here serve casual<br />

food (great frites at La Farigoulette) but<br />

there is also the more distinguished “La<br />

Table” restaurant with one Michelin star<br />

where you will find dishes like sautéed Ray<br />

or Guinea fowl. Prices here start at 28 euros<br />

per person).<br />

More information: Tourtour Tourist Office

5<br />

St-Maximin-la-St-Baume<br />

St Maximin is a mid size town surrounded<br />

by two impressive mountain ranges and<br />

boasts the largest Basilica in Provence.<br />

The cathedral is surrounded by a beautiful<br />

cloister complex. The small, charming<br />

roadsare lined with cafés and shops.<br />

A fantastic food and local produce market<br />

takes place every Wednesday, which<br />

attracts stallholders from far and wide. The<br />

Café de la Renaissance is situated in a<br />

good spot with a raised terrace at the Place<br />

Malherbe. The owner trained at a nearby<br />

Michelin star restaurant and by all accounts<br />

has transferred some of his skills to this<br />

more relaxed setting.<br />

Café de la Renaissance, 6, Place Malherbe<br />

Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume<br />

About the authors: Susana Iwase Hanson runs the popular Provence Living website and<br />

Facebook Page. Jeany Cronk is co-founder of award-winning Mirabeau Wines; she writes<br />

widely on the Southern French lifestyle and has been featured regularly in the international<br />

press. Both live in Cotignac.

Nice is a city that honours it's gastronomic<br />

heritage - it's one of only two cities in<br />

France to do so. Lyon often called the<br />

gastronomic capital of France, is the other<br />

one.<br />

Lyon had better look out though because<br />

Nice is catching up and if you ask a Nicois<br />

they will of course assure you they haven't<br />

just equalled but overtaken their<br />

gastronomic rival.<br />

Fruit, vegetables, cheese, fish and a strong<br />

Italian influence - after all the border is just<br />

20 minutes by car - make the sunny<br />

cuisine of Nice full of flavour.<br />

"People here are in love with good food<br />

- it's in their DNA"<br />

says Italian born Caterina who's now a<br />

Nice local, what they call a ‘Nicoise de<br />

coeur’. "In Nice there is respect for the<br />

landscape, the geography, the season...we<br />

learn how to cook with fresh produce when<br />

it's available".<br />

There are two big markets in Nice, the<br />

famous Cours Saleya, a stone’s throw from<br />

the Mediterranean Sea and the”local’s<br />

market” at Liberation.<br />

The market at Cours Saleya<br />

Colourful stands of local Socca and<br />

Pissaladière will tempt you to stop for a<br />

nibble. Homemade jams, exotic spices,<br />

local fish, organic honeys, juicy fruits, olive<br />

oil, sea salt and lush vegetables will have<br />

you inhaling the scents and flavours of<br />

Nice. And all in the most perfect setting,<br />

lined with gorgeous pastel coloured<br />

buildings, thriving cafés and, glimpsed<br />

through the arched entries to this square of<br />

paradise, the blue waters of the sea.<br />

Open Tuesday to Saturday 07.30 – 18.00;<br />

Mondays are about antiques and Sundays<br />

are reserved for the flower market.<br />

Marche Liberation<br />

The indoor market is a hub of activity as<br />

locals throng to buy the freshest fish,<br />

fabulous produce and just baked bread. A<br />

couple of kilometres inland, it tends to be a<br />

little cheaper here and much more homely<br />

with a friendly little café where people stop<br />

for a seriously wake-me-up coffee or a<br />

Pastis before pushing on to complete their<br />

shopping or take it home.<br />

Opening hours Tuesday – Sunday 06.00-<br />


Cuisine Nissarde<br />

Taking advantage of the wonderful array of<br />

produce, a number of restaurants which<br />

specialise in the Nicois gastronomy have<br />

been recognised for their special<br />

contribution. It’s a way of creating flavours<br />

and tastes that has taken centuries to<br />

define and refine and no visit to the city is<br />

complete without a taste. You’ll find the<br />

‘cuisine Nissarde' label at around 16<br />

restaurants and you can get details from<br />

the tourist office.<br />

Eat yourself to a standstill<br />

<strong>No</strong>w I know what you expect of me so, of<br />

course I’ve tried several restaurants on<br />

your behalf in Nice and here are some of<br />

my favourites:<br />

A Buteghinna - lush lunch venue<br />

Sophie, Marcelle and Evelyn have a deep<br />

love of tradition and food. This led the<br />

three friends to open a tiny restaurant in<br />

old Nice back in 1992. They had no kitchen,<br />

just a couple of electric hobs. They made<br />

traditional foods and the locals loved it.<br />

Over the years they've upgraded to a tiny<br />

restaurant that seats 10 maximum indoors<br />

and outdoor seating for about 20. They<br />

also have a take-away counter and locals<br />

stop by to pick up a snack like "maman<br />

used to make".<br />

Marcelle makes the desserts and believe<br />

me, you want to leave room for something<br />

sweet. Sophie makes the savoury food and<br />

Evelyne serves and keeps everyone happy<br />

with her beaming smile.

Blink as you pass their place, and you'll<br />

miss it but you can’t avoid the delicious<br />

smells that waft out the door. They don't<br />

want their business to grow bigger, it isn’t<br />

about making lots of money for them, it’s<br />

about good food.<br />

"If we grow too big, we may lose our<br />

passion" says Marcelle. "This is home<br />

cooking - it's personal". It's also absolutely<br />

delicious. It's a Nice secret, one that the<br />

locals know but most tourists don't notice<br />

tucked away on a beautiful alley opinion<br />

Old Nice. This is food like your grandma<br />

cooked if you were born in the south of<br />

France, Socca chips, tiny delicate pastries<br />

filled with seasonal veg, tourte de blette, a<br />

sweet tart made with, of all things – the<br />

vegetable chard (it works by the way,<br />

brilliantly).<br />

They cook everything fresh in the tiny<br />

kitchen and only open for lunch. If you<br />

want a true taste of Nice, a memory to<br />

cherish and an absolutely amazing eating<br />

experience accompanied with good<br />

humour and a big smile then head to A<br />

Buteghinna -which means in Nicois "the<br />

little place" and don't forget to book your<br />

table, it's very popular!<br />

A Buteghinna 11 rue du marché<br />

La Storia - the perfect location<br />

Its location in the heart of old Nice makes<br />

La Storia a popular venue pretty much all<br />

year round. At <strong>No</strong>. 1 Cours Saleya it doesn’t<br />

get much better than this. In its touristic<br />

setting, service may not be speedy as it can<br />

get very busy – everyone wants to sit in this<br />

lovely corner of the market square. If you’re<br />

in a rush, let the waiter know. Better still,<br />

take your time, enjoy the sun, the scenery<br />

and people watching while you indulge in<br />

some tasty dishes which are not expensive.<br />

Moules, pizza, pasta are pretty good and<br />

with a 3 course menu at around 20 Euros –<br />

it’s a bit of a steal.<br />


Sentimi - will make you want to move<br />

to Nice<br />

Sentimi serves Italian influenced food and<br />

it doesn’t get much better than this. It’s not<br />

a touristy type place, this is where the<br />

locals go because they know the food is<br />

top notch and not at all expensive.<br />

The courtyard setting with a huge olive tree<br />

growing inside the restaurant is absolutely<br />

lovely. The terrace seating on Place<br />

Garibaldi couldn’t be nicer. The menu is<br />

fabulous, I wanted to try absolutely<br />

everything on it and found it really hard to<br />

behave myself! I asked the waiter what the<br />

speciality is and he recommended ottima a<br />

type of pizza. One word. Memorable. Okay<br />

more words – completely scrumptious. I’ve<br />

been to Italy many times, my family are<br />

from Milan and I have never had a better<br />

pizza anywhere. Go here on an empty<br />

stomach and make the most of it. I’d<br />

recommend you make a booking, they do<br />

speak English so if you don’t speak French,<br />

not a problem. I could actually move to<br />

Nice just so that I could go to this<br />

restaurant more often.<br />

Tip: Don’t leave without having the ice<br />

cream – it’s icy heaven.<br />

2-4 Place Garibaldi Facebook page:<br />

Sentimirestaurant<br />

Restaurant Influence - fabulous food<br />

A relative newcomer to the Nice food scene<br />

the restaurant has made an impact very<br />

quickly thanks to the young chef’s truly<br />

superb menu. A graduate of the Paul<br />

Bocuse institute (the most revered chef in<br />

France), everything is home made and has<br />

a secret ingredient – passion. It must have<br />

been very hard work to get this new eaterie<br />

on the map but the locals love it and no<br />

wonder, the chef’s deft touch and<br />

innovative dishes are knock out. The menu<br />

is not expensive but the food is of the<br />

highest quality, tasty and delicious - you’ll<br />

want to go back to time and time again<br />

Influence-nice.fr 31 rue Bonaparte<br />

Website Nice Tourism for more foodie<br />


Va va voom to the Vendée<br />

to visit an authentic and<br />

very special part of France<br />

Lucy Pitts and her three children discover the area<br />

has oodles of of charm and loads to to do for families<br />

There’s a little pocket of France which remains one of its hidden gems<br />

says Lucy Pitts who has a home in the area. It hovers across four<br />

departments, right on the cusp of where north meets south. The area<br />

is well served by airports and motorways yet is still distinctly rural in<br />

feel and as one local described it to me recently (as he apologised for<br />

not speaking English), it’s still very French.

It’s a place where cuisses de grenuoilles<br />

(frogs legs), escargot (snails) and<br />

andouillette (a sausage not for the faint<br />

hearted made of, amongst other things,<br />

intestines and sometimes tripe) are still<br />

very much in evidence on local lunch<br />

menus. Shops shut for lunch, restaurants<br />

have a habit of shutting for August, some<br />

schools still close on a Wednesday and a<br />

few of the locals speak in a heavy patois<br />

(well my neighbour there does at least and<br />

I wonder if I’ll ever understand him). It’s also<br />

a place where one minute there are rolling<br />

green hills and thick, lush woodland and<br />

then in the blink of an eye, you’re driving<br />

across burnt orange planes dodging the<br />

melon stalls. Sunflowers morph into<br />

vineyards, and huge lazy rivers transform<br />

into a vast network of orderly canals<br />

making up one of the largest marshlands in<br />


The area sits neatly between La Rochelle,<br />

Nantes and Poitiers across the<br />

departments of the Vendée, the Deux<br />

Sevres, the Charente and the Vienne. It’s<br />

diverse, quirky, occasionally infuriating and<br />

surprisingly lacking in tourists (well ok,<br />

there’s a few but not compared to other<br />

areas).<br />

Almost in the centre of this quiet little<br />

triangle is the renaissance market town of<br />

Fontenay le Comte which stretches down<br />

in a gloriously straight line from a lofty,<br />

green square at the top of the town, across<br />

the River Vendée and then up again. It’s a<br />

little sleepy unless you arrive on market<br />

day but if you head to the other end of<br />

town and climb up to the Donjon des<br />

Cimes there are amazing views across the<br />

roof tops as well as huge enclosed nets up<br />

in the trees for the kids to play on. It’s in<br />

Fontenay that you first start to get a taste<br />

of the south and it’s not a bad place to be<br />

based to explore.<br />

To the west of Fontenay by about an hour<br />

you have the Atlantic coast with its seaside<br />

towns, the Bay of Aiguillon (home to mud<br />

flats, salt marshes and hundreds of<br />

thousands of migratory birds) and Les<br />

Sables d’Olonne. To the north lie the rolling<br />

hills of the ‘bocage’ and the forest of<br />

Mervent. 4,000 hectares of oak, chestnut<br />

and beech surround a vast lake here, the<br />

result of damming the 2 rivers that flow<br />

through the forest (the Vendée and the<br />

Mère). Ravines, panoramic views, fortified<br />

villages, wildlife and 200km of walks are<br />

the order of the day here and make<br />

Mervent a spellbinding place.

Top left: Fort Boyard, just off La<br />

Rochelle; far left: the Forst of Mervent,<br />

left Fonteay; centre: roof tops of<br />

Fontenay; above: Mervent<br />

The landscape south of Fontenay is<br />

dramatic in contrast; flat and hot with a<br />

Mediterranean feel. Yet as you head south<br />

east, it all changes again, and you find<br />

yourself in the pretty and ingenious world<br />

of the part of the Marais Poitevin known as<br />

the Green Venice. With canal side towns,<br />

ancient abbeys and intricate, arboreal<br />

waterways, it was all created by man out of<br />

what was once little more than a silty bay.<br />

It’s not just the whirlwind of changes in<br />

landscape that makes this little corner so<br />

compelling. Dotted amongst the cornfields,<br />

valleys and rivers there are all sorts of<br />

interesting things going on. The world<br />

famous Puy du Fou theme park for a start,<br />

is to the north. Here you’ll find historical<br />

enactments on a dramatic scale: Viking<br />

boats rise out of the waters, fires stream<br />

out of a moving chateau and huge birds of<br />

prey swoop so close their feet almost<br />

scratch your cheek. You know it’s not an<br />

ordinary theme park when you’re warned<br />

that dangerous animals are in amongst the<br />

audience and not to eat while you’re<br />

watching the show. And that’s before you<br />

get to the gladiators!<br />

Further south there’s the Indian Forest of<br />

Adventures (tree top adventures taken to<br />

the next level) and in a similar vein half an<br />

hour north of Fontenay there’s the Parc<br />

D’Adventure; high octane Go Ape at half<br />

the price. There’s also a zoo at Mervent<br />

where you can walk with some of the<br />

animals, cycle riding in abundance, gentle<br />

water sports or a spot of fishing.

Left: Futuroscope;<br />

right: giant<br />

elephant at the<br />

Island of the<br />

Machienes,<br />

Nantes; below:<br />

happy holiday<br />

makers<br />

In Nantes, you have the Les Machines de<br />

l’île, a fascinating experiment in the old<br />

dockyards which will have you riding on a<br />

12 metre high mechanical elephant or a 4<br />

metre ant and sailing round on a merry go<br />

round in a cranking, metal crustacean. The<br />

vision of two artists, the concept is<br />

described “as visualising a travel-throughtime<br />

world at the crossroads of the<br />

'imaginary worlds' of Jules Verne and the<br />

mechanical universe of Leonardo da Vinci”.<br />

And that undoubtedly captures the spirit of<br />

your day here.<br />

Yet at the other end of the spectrum and<br />

just a couple of hour’s drive to the east is<br />

Futuroscope, with all that is modern and<br />

high tech. There’s a new water park too,<br />

ancient abbeys perched on marooned little<br />

islands and chateaux to explore in<br />

abundance.<br />

But despite the dozen or more major<br />

attractions in this area, it doesn’t feel busy.<br />

You’ll get a table without booking at lunch<br />

and your 2 hours will never be rushed.<br />

You’ll find history hand in hand with<br />

adventure, nature to suit every palate and<br />

activities for every generation and speed.<br />

I’ve visited this area in all seasons over the<br />

years and I don’t travel light. As often as<br />

not, I’m to be found to be travelling with<br />

three small children, two huge dogs, a<br />

couple of elderly parents and their small<br />

dog with mental health issues It’s a region<br />

therefore that has to satisfy everyone’s<br />

many demands (including my not<br />

infrequent need for solitude). And in all the<br />

many times that I’ve visited, I don’t<br />

remember it ever to have been found<br />

lacking. Each trip, it offers up something<br />

new and compelling, a different pace, a<br />

different atmosphere or challenge.<br />

With its Mediterranean micro climate and<br />

laid back pace, this year I explored Green<br />

Venice and the Marais Poitevin, La Rochelle<br />

and then Futuroscope for the first time, and<br />

once again, this little corner of France didn’t<br />


Key places of interest:<br />

Award wiinning and fabulous theme<br />

park:<br />

Puy du Fou.com<br />

One of the most popular theme parks<br />

in France:<br />

Futuroscope.com<br />

Indian Forest of Adventures:<br />

indian-forest-atlantique.com<br />

Huge fun at the Parc d’Adventure:<br />

parc-aventure-79.fr<br />

Magnificent, mesmerising Mechanical<br />

machines at Nantes:<br />

lesmachines-nantes.fr<br />

Tourist Office:<br />


Outdoor adventures in<br />


Rupert Parker discovers the<br />

sporting delights of this picturesque<br />

alpine area...

Samoëns is a pretty “ville fleurie” in the<br />

Haute-Savoie region in south-eastern<br />

France. It sits in the Vallée du Giffre, in the<br />

French Alps, and is only an hour by car<br />

from Geneva. Long a winter skiing<br />

destination, it’s also great in the summer<br />

and I’m here to try out some of its many<br />

activities. On offer is everything from river<br />

rafting to paragliding and I’ve got 24 hours<br />

in this lovely part of France to get a taste.<br />

It’s a glorious sunny day and we start off<br />

early with a mountain bike tour along the<br />

Giffre River. This is where we’ll be rafting<br />

later and I can’t help but notice that it’s<br />

doing a very good impression of a raging<br />

torrent, the result of the previous day’s rain.<br />

We follow the river until it enters a narrow<br />

steep-sided gorge, and then climb above it.<br />

After another hour of easy climbing we turn<br />

round and make our way back down to<br />

lunch by the Lac aux Dames. There’s easy<br />

kayaking here but I’m still worrying about<br />

the white water.<br />

After ploughing through a huge foie-gras<br />

salad, probably not the wisest choice for<br />

bouncing on the water, I get equipped.<br />

Wetsuit, life jacket and helmet are all<br />

essential and we are soon on our way to the<br />

launch site with our inflatable dinghy. We<br />

each get a paddle and our guide shows us<br />

how to use them – there are four<br />

commands – Paddle Forward, Paddle Back,<br />

Stop and Get Down! The first three are<br />

obvious but the last is an order to sink to<br />

our knees and prepare for an imminent<br />

collision. This is too much for one of us who<br />

suddenly loses it: “I don’t want to be<br />

responsible for killing you all” she screams.<br />

We talk her round and soon we’re floating<br />

down the river at great speed.

The trick is to wedge your feet in the gap<br />

between the floor and sides of the boat so<br />

you don’t get thrown out, but one guy is<br />

soon in the water. Fortunately he doesn’t<br />

lose his paddle and we manage to pull him<br />

back in. As we approach the narrow gorge,<br />

the guide pulls us into the shallows and<br />

goes off to inspect. He declares it safe but<br />

only if we work as team, not something<br />

we’ve managed so far. It’s very narrow, the<br />

water is flowing fast and we’re constantly<br />

crashing into the rocks and spinning<br />

round. We lose someone else in the water<br />

but he’s quickly hauled back to safety and<br />

we make it to the end of the ride without<br />

further mishap.<br />

As I climb onto the bank, every bone in my<br />

body is aching. There’s more fun to come,<br />

however, as we’re told that conditions are<br />

perfect for para-gliding, but we must go<br />

now. The women opt out, so it’s left to the<br />

three men, all pretending to each other that<br />

they’re not frightened. In fact, we’re not<br />

going to be flying solo, the plan is for each<br />

of to hang on to an experienced pilot in<br />

what’s known as tandem flight.<br />

We’re driven up the mountain to 1600m<br />

with our flying companions and disguise<br />

our fear by exchanging pleasantries.<br />

Conditions are perfect, no wind, 100%<br />

visibility and good thermals. They tell me it<br />

can be cold in the air and ask if I need a<br />

jacket, but I’m sweating in anticipation. I<br />

ask my pilot Adrian how long he’s been<br />

doing this and he says <strong>15</strong> years, although<br />

he looks young to me. There’s no briefing,<br />

no forms to sign, and we’re just told to<br />

keep running until we lift off. We’re<br />

harnessed together and I put on my<br />

helmet, then told “go”.

I’m running downhill, worrying whether I’m<br />

going too fast or too slow, but suddenly the<br />

land falls away before me and I’m airborne.<br />

We’re soon above the trees and, even<br />

though I’m not good at heights, I realise<br />

there’s nothing I can do, as the pilot is in<br />

complete charge. We’re circling, trying to<br />

find thermals, and climb higher, experiencing<br />

some turbulence. I’m told there’s<br />

nothing to worry about unless I start<br />

feeling sick. Apparently, at this point, some<br />

people experience severe nausea with the<br />

expected results and it can’t be pleasant<br />

cleaning up afterwards.<br />

We keep spiralling upwards and I see one<br />

of my friends way above me. The views are<br />

tremendous down the valley and I begin to<br />

feel I could stay up for ever. Indeed, in<br />

conditions like this it’s normal to travel for<br />

miles, harnessing the thermals to soar over<br />

the mountains. After about 45 minutes, I<br />

begin to hanker for solid ground and am<br />

relieved to find we’re starting to descend.<br />

On the way down, I’m offered the controls<br />

Rupert has a bird's eye view of the valley<br />

from his sky high position<br />

but I politely decline - better to leave it to<br />

the professionals.<br />

As the valley floor comes nearer, there’s a<br />

tractor mowing the grass dangerously<br />

close to the landing site. <strong>No</strong>t to worry, my<br />

pilot can land on a dime, but he does<br />

instruct me to stand up immediately he<br />

gives me the order. I see the freshly mown<br />

grass rushing towards me, I’m worrying<br />

about twisting my ankle, or smashing my<br />

feet, and it looks like we’re going too fast.<br />

He tells me to stand, I stay sitting and land<br />

flat on my bottom, much to his disgust. I’m<br />

just relieved to be down, glad to have<br />

survived intact and pleased I’ve done<br />

something I’ve always dreamt of.<br />

Find information about Samoen's summer<br />

activities: samoens.com<br />

Hotel Les Glaciers makes a comfortable<br />

base: hotel-les-glaciers-samoens.com

Pop in SUPER75 to get a 75% discount on sign up

SPECIAL:<br />



Paris is the most visited Tourist destination in the world, it’s probably the most<br />

photographed too! And yet, we never tire of seeing pictures of the beautiful city of light.<br />

We're loving these pictures taken in Paris by photographer John Woods from Madison,<br />

Wisconsin, US. He and wife Nancy say any time is good to take a photo in Paris but John<br />

especially likes "getting up early and walking down to the Seine to capture <strong>No</strong>tre Dame,<br />

the bridges across the river, the Louvre, Place de la Concorde, Montmartre, the gardens,<br />

the streets, the people, the monuments—really just about anywhere."<br />

R<br />


ight: Arc de<br />

Triompe;<br />

elow apero<br />

hour -<br />

typically<br />


Montmartre, the arty & fabulous<br />

hill top village of Paris...


Left: the<br />

arcades of<br />

Place des<br />

Vosges;<br />

below:<br />

covered<br />



Recommended restaurant in Paris: Moulin<br />

de la Gallette for its history, fab food and<br />

friendly service. Website:<br />

Lemoulindelagalette.fr<br />

Recommended Hotel in the centre of Paris:<br />

Hotel Marignan for its location just off the<br />

Champs-Elysées, gorgeous rooms, friendly<br />

staff and for making guests feel welcome<br />

and brilliantly looked after.<br />

Website: hotelmarignaneleseesparis.com<br />

Top left: Window at<br />

<strong>No</strong>tre Dame Cathedral;<br />

Above: gargoyles of<br />

Paris<br />

More on Paris, just click to read:<br />

Top ten Paris visits for first timers<br />

5 Brilliant free museums in Paris<br />

5 off the beaten track things to do in Paris,<br />

including the house of a man who appears<br />

in a Harry Potter story!<br />

Rue Mouffetard - the oldest street in Paris

Marty Neumeier reveals how to make friends in France over a game of bo<br />

Anton crouches, motionless. He cups a<br />

scuffed metal ball in his right hand, his face<br />

the picture of concentration. Seconds go<br />

by. A minute. The other players are silent<br />

as they wait for his throw. Then, without<br />

moving the rest of his body so much as a<br />

centimetre, he turns his hand over and flips<br />

the ball into the air. It floats there as if the<br />

law of gravity has been suspended. When<br />

the ball comes down with a thud, it rolls to<br />

within inches of the marker.<br />

Robert shakes his head. “Boule devant,<br />

boule d’argent.” A front ball is a money ball.<br />

It can easily block opponents from getting<br />

closer to the marker.<br />

Friday night is boules night in the village.<br />

The official name of boules is pétanque,<br />

meaning “feet fixed.” There’s no difference<br />

between pétanque and boules, but boules<br />

is one syllable shorter, so in our book it<br />

wins. The boules court is a flat, sandy patch<br />

in back of the village salle des fêtes, the<br />

town’s banquet hall. Mature trees surround<br />

the court, and floodlights hang from the<br />

trees to illuminate late games.<br />

Anyone can show up and get on a team.<br />

Regulars are Anton and Sophie, Robert and<br />

Jeannine, Jean-Pierre and Josette, and Peter<br />

and Christine. The four couples are usually<br />

joined by Gilbert, Marco, and Baako, older<br />

men who live nearby. Then there’s Aimée, a<br />

sassy teenager who arrives by motorcycle<br />

and cries “Oh, putain!” whenever she<br />

misses a shot. But the de facto leader of<br />

the group is Jean-Pierre. We’re not exactly<br />

sure why this is. He’s short and shy with a<br />

round belly held in place by a sleeveless<br />

undershirt. <strong>No</strong>t the classic attributes of a<br />

leader—but leader he is.

oules must have a pattern of lines that<br />

distinguishes them from those of the other<br />

players. In the village, players tell their<br />

boules apart by the number of scratches<br />

and the color of the rust.<br />

I was delighted when Sara gave me a set of<br />

boules for my birthday. Yet whenever I use<br />

them I feel slightly embarrassed. The best<br />

players have boules that are dark and<br />

rough with age; mine are still as shiny as<br />

silver dollars. When everyone’s boules are<br />

thrown, mine stand out from the others,<br />

usually somewhere outside the grouping. I<br />

feel this is a metaphor.<br />

ules...<br />

The objective of the game is simple: To get<br />

your boules closer to the marker ball, or<br />

cochonnet, than those of your opponent.<br />

(Cochonnet is French for “piglet,” named<br />

for its smaller size; some are even pink.)<br />

There are two sets of rules for achieving<br />

the objective: the official rules and the<br />

village rules.<br />

For example, the official rules call for no<br />

more than three players per team. In the<br />

village, it’s come one, come all. If people<br />

show up late, Jean-Pierre just sticks them<br />

on a team and gives the other team a<br />

couple of extra throws.<br />

In the official rules, players are required to<br />

toss their boules from within a perfect<br />

circle drawn exactly 50 centimetres in<br />

diameter. In the village, players throw from<br />

behind a scuff mark made by Josette with<br />

the heel of her shoe.<br />

The official rules say that each player’s<br />

Josette steps up to the line with a boule in<br />

each hand. She’s the polar opposite of<br />

Anton. Anton plays like a professional—<br />

muscular, precise, strategic. Josette just<br />

walks up to the line with a giggle and<br />

tosses the ball. If the throw happens to be a<br />

crucial one, she’ll stick out her tongue for<br />

added accuracy. Surprisingly, Anton’s and<br />

Josette’s styles seem to be equally<br />

effective.<br />

Josette’s first ball lands just to the side of<br />

Anton’s.“Merde, pas la!” She throws her<br />

arms up in disbelief. Her second ball is right<br />

on target. It nudges Anton’s slightly to the<br />

left, replacing it with her own and holding<br />

the point for the team. She does a little<br />

victory dance, chubby arms and legs flying<br />

every which way. “Pas mal,” says Anton,<br />

grudgingly. Next up is Baako. Baako and<br />

Marco originally came from Italy, so they<br />

speak a sort of “Fritalian.”<br />

“Troppo fort!” says Marco, as he throws his<br />

boule too hard, sending it past the<br />

cochonnet. He mutters something<br />

decidedly un-French, and casts his eyes<br />

heavenward. Taking a deep breath, he goes<br />

back to the line. His second ball falls short.<br />

“Oh, la la. Maintenant troppo faible!” Too<br />


Josette says that the ball probably hit a<br />

caillou—a pebble. “Ce n’est pas de ta faute,”<br />

she says, touching his arm. He seems<br />

reassured to think the pebble may be at<br />

fault.Peter goes next. He’s tall and thin<br />

compared to the French, and looks more<br />

like cricket bowler than a boules player.<br />

He’s about to go into shooting mode.<br />

Shooting is a strategy in which the player<br />

throws the ball hard enough to knock an<br />

opponent’s boule away from the<br />

cochonnet, or the cochonnet away from an<br />

opponent’s boule.<br />

Just as Peter is about to throw, Robert<br />

emits a barely audible clucking noise. Peter<br />

stops in mid-windup. He puts his hands on<br />

his hips, tilts his head, and stares at Robert.<br />

Their running joke is that Peter turns<br />

chicken whenever he throws. Robert looks<br />

away and feigns innocence.<br />

Peter winds up again, and Robert clucks<br />

again. This time Peter follows through and<br />

his boule misses Josette’s by a mile,<br />

skittering off into the trees. Robert can’t<br />

contain a guffaw.<br />

On his second throw, Peter is ready for him,<br />

and he knocks Josette’s boule off to the<br />

right with an explosive crack, leaving the<br />

cochonnet open.<br />

Up comes Marco, a man so old that he<br />

doesn’t actually walk. He simply rocks back<br />

and forth while leaning forward. His<br />

throwing style is a miracle of efficiency: he<br />

stands ramrod straight under his sailor hat,<br />

imagining the course of the boule; then he<br />

opens his hand. The boule rolls down his<br />

fingers, onto the ground, and continues to<br />

the target as if pulled by a magnet.<br />

This time it rolls right up to the cochonnet<br />

and holds the point.<br />

Jeannine is the last to go. Her throwing style<br />

could be described as no style at all. Most<br />

players lead with the back of the hand as<br />

they lob the boule into the air, but Jeannine<br />

just tosses it out there underhand.<br />

Her boule lands short of Marco’s, then rolls<br />

up close to it. So close, in fact, that all the<br />

players rush up to see who has won the<br />

round. Jean-Pierre stares at the two balls<br />

and the cochonnet. He squints and rubs his<br />

chin. He looks at Robert, who is walking<br />

from one side to the other to get a better<br />

view. Sophie says it’s Jeannine. Christine<br />

thinks it’s Marco. Members of both teams<br />

are down on their haunches to get a better<br />

look at the situation. Opinions are running<br />

about fifty-fifty. There’s no resolution in<br />

sight.<br />

Simple rules of boules<br />

The game is played between two teams of 1, 2<br />

or 3 players - singles or doubles.<br />

To start a coin is generally tossed to decide<br />

who begins the game and has the right to<br />

place the cochonnet (the small ball - literally<br />

piglet). You can also use an a stone or cork<br />

from a bottle.<br />

A circle is drawn by the winning team of the<br />

coin toss. Players must not step outside while<br />

throwing. The circle should be about 0.5m in<br />

diameter. The cochonnet is tossed between<br />

4m and 8m, or 6 to 10 paces from the circle in<br />

any direction.<br />

A player from the coin toss winning team<br />

throws the first boule. The aim is to get it as<br />

close as possible to the “cochonnet” without<br />

touching it. Both feet must stay together on<br />

the ground and within the circle while<br />

throwing and until the boule has landed.<br />

A player from the other team steps into the<br />

circle and aims to throw a boule closer to the<br />

cochonnet than their opponent, or to knock the<br />

opponent’s boule away. You must throw within<br />

1 minute of your turn starting.<br />

More details on the rules of playing on The

“Attention!” I shout. I’m standing just<br />

outside the group, waving my iPhone. On<br />

the screen is the Pétanque-ometer, a clever<br />

little app that David Stuart told me about.<br />

You hold your phone over the cochonnet,<br />

and the app draws concentric rings to<br />

show precisely which ball is closest. I push<br />

my way into the middle of the group.<br />

“Regardez,” I say, lining up the phone with<br />

the boules. The whole group leans in. They<br />

look at the phone. They look at me.<br />

Then Robert starts clucking. Low at first,<br />

then louder. Soon everyone is imitating a<br />

chicken. “Look at the screen,” I say, “It’s<br />

Jeannine. Jeannine is closest!” The<br />

clucking gives way to out-and-out<br />

heckling.<br />

“Merci, monsieur iPhone,” says Robert. He<br />

turns to the crowd: “Mesdames et<br />

messieurs, c’est Steve Jobs!”<br />

Aimée runs over to a lavender bush and<br />

breaks off a length of stem. She runs back<br />

and stretches it from the cochonnet to one<br />

boule, and then to the other. She looks up<br />

at Jean-Pierre.<br />

“C’est Marco!” he cries. The players nod<br />

their heads in agreement. Jean-Pierre looks<br />

at me pityingly, and says I can throw out<br />

the marker to start the next round.<br />

“Allez, monsieur iPhone,” he says, handing<br />

me the cochonnet.<br />

Eileen and Sara beam from the sidelines.<br />

We were in.<br />

Marty Neumeier is the author of Beginning<br />

French by Les Americains. Find out more at<br />

his website: Beginning French

Zoom in on:<br />

burgundy<br />

Janine Marsh visits Burgundy and<br />

falls in love with its many charms<br />

Photo: Dave Fenwick

Photo: Chateau Tanlay, Yonne<br />

Burgundy has it all: glorious countryside, vineyards, amazing gastronomy, a<br />

fabulous history, picturesque villages, awesome towns, the Burgundy Canal and<br />

an incredible capital city – Dijon. There are also more chateaux in this region than<br />

any other in France many of them available to the public as hotels with well<br />

stocked wine cellars, gourmet restaurants and swimming pools.<br />

Wine, chateaux, gastronomy!<br />

Of the hundreds of reasons why you will<br />

fall in love with Burgundy, or to give it its<br />

French name Bourgogne, and be tempted<br />

to visit again and again - these three stand<br />

out for me: the wonderful wines - some of<br />

the best in the world; the plethora of<br />

delicious cheeses and the astonishingly<br />

beautiful chateaux.<br />

<strong>No</strong>t to mention the diversity of the local<br />

landscape, the chance to stay in a fabulous<br />

chateau, amazing heritage, picturesque<br />

villages, the waterways, the peacefulness of<br />

the countryside, amazing cycle routes, the<br />

friendly people, delicious gastronomy and a<br />

city that's quite simply extraordinary -<br />

Dijon…<br />

Dijon Capital of Bourgogne-<br />

Franche-Comté<br />

The Dukes of Burgundy were once more<br />

powerful than the royal family of France.<br />

Hugely wealthy, they were patrons of the<br />

arts and spent fortunes on making Dijon as<br />

beautiful as possible. An enormous palace,<br />

wide open squares, medieval streets with<br />

gorgeous mansions – their legacy is there<br />

on every corner.<br />

Wander round Dijon town and soak up the<br />

beauty of this historic town that bears so<br />

many traces of its illustrious and very<br />

prosperous past. Pop into a modern clothes<br />

shop and discover an ancient well left over<br />

from the <strong>15</strong>th Century. Dip down an<br />

alleyway and find a hidden medieval house<br />

that looks like it was built yesterday.

The unique and free to enter Museum of<br />

Burgundy Life in Dijon has an eclectic and<br />

rather wonderful mix of objects from giant<br />

snail sculptures to a clock in the shape of<br />

the Eiffel Tower. The recreations of shops<br />

and their contents from the 19th and early<br />

20th Centuries are truly superb.<br />

Dine out in Dijon<br />

Rest your feet and people watch at Place<br />

Francois Rude, encircled by cafés and bars<br />

whose tables spill onto the pedestrianised<br />

square. A lively place named after the<br />

Dijon-born sculptor of “La Marseilleise”<br />

which graces the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.<br />

The locals call it Place du Bareuzai thanks<br />

to the statue of a naked man treading<br />

grapes; the name means ”red stockings”<br />

(from bas rosé) which the winegrowers had<br />

after crushing grapes with their feet.<br />

There’s a huge choice of places to eat in<br />

Dijon but I really love Les Oenophiles<br />

restaurant for its <strong>15</strong>th century pigeonnier,<br />

17th century dining room, 100% home<br />

cooked food and incredible tasting boeuf<br />

bourguignon, the region’s signature dish.<br />

A perfect Day in Dijon<br />

My perfect day would start with a visit to<br />

Dijon market lapping up the atmosphere,<br />

followed by coffee in the square with a<br />

nibble on a nonette, the local gingerbread<br />

cake. Then I'd browse the second hand<br />

book stalls, have lunch in the Place<br />

Francois Rude and wander the shops and<br />

museums in the afternoon. After which I<br />

reckon it would be time for an apero at the<br />

hipster houseboat Peniche Cancale and<br />

then dinner at Les Oenophiles.

The Eiffel designed market<br />

at Dijon<br />

The beautiful covered market at Dijon was<br />

designed by no less than the great Gustave<br />

Eiffel, creator of the famous tower in Paris<br />

who was born in this city.<br />

Burgundians love their food and in this<br />

market you will really see, smell and taste<br />

the love that goes into preparing it. From<br />

bread with little heart shaped ends to snail<br />

cake, divine chocolate nibbles and<br />

amazing cheese such as Epoisses<br />

produced in a little village of the same<br />

name - all washed down with locally<br />

produced wine such as Chablis.<br />

There is a café in the centre of the market<br />

that simply oozes joie de vivre as happy<br />

customers sit and chat… and eat.<br />

Beaune the winetastic town<br />

From Dijon you can take a train or tram to<br />

Beaune for some serious wine tasting in<br />

the home of the famous and really quite<br />

magnificent Hospices de Beaune.<br />

It’s a pretty town where they take their wine<br />

seriously. When one of the locals<br />

discovered that robbers had been<br />

tunnelling from her wine cellar into the local<br />

bank, she called the robbers “idiots” for<br />

ignoring her wine collection which she felt<br />

was far more worthy than the gold or<br />

money in the bank!<br />

The Hospices de Beaune was a cutting<br />

edge hospital in the 1400s and incredibly<br />

parts of it stayed open until the 1990s. It is<br />

a fascinating place to visit with a fabulous<br />

collection of paintings and THAT roof.

Useful Sites<br />

Burgundy Tourism:<br />

burgundytourism.com<br />

Chateaux in Burgundy:<br />

bourgogne-visit.org<br />

Great activities for families<br />

in Burgundy<br />

Enjoy a picnic along the famous Burgundy<br />

canal, better yet, take a fabulous cruise and<br />

enjoy it in true style on a barge - I did it with<br />

Captain Jason and Chef Dawn of the Barge<br />

Saroche, one of my best ever holidays.<br />

Cycle – there are 800 km of cycle routes<br />

and 5 major routes. One of the most fun<br />

and relaxing ways to see the area by bike is<br />

with Headwater Holidays. They provide<br />

bikes, ferry your luggage around, book you<br />

into restaurants and hotels and make sure<br />

you get to see the best of the region<br />

without having to work hard at it.<br />

A must-see is the Chateau of Guedelon,<br />

Yonnne, a medieval castle being built in the<br />

21st Century. (Open March – <strong>No</strong>vember)<br />

Auxerre Tourist Office:<br />

ot-auxerre.fr<br />

Don’t miss<br />

Chateauneuf- en-Auxois is a fairy-tale<br />

looking picture perfect hill top Burgundian<br />

country town. It overlooks the Burgundy<br />

Canal and is officially one of the “Plus<br />

Beaux Villages de France”. A great place to<br />

spend a relaxing day chilling out though<br />

there is not a lot to do other than wander,<br />

wonder and eat - the views alone are worth<br />

the detour.<br />

Auxerre: a recognised city of "art and<br />

History" and one of the most beautiful<br />

cities in France. The medieval architecture,<br />

half-timbered houses and wiggly streets<br />

are a window to the past. There are lots of<br />

great restaurants and bars, museums and<br />

tourist attractions plus the 1000 year old<br />

majestic Abbey Saint-Germain.

LE NORD<br />

The <strong>No</strong>rth of France, or Le <strong>No</strong>rd, is a region<br />

that won't fail to delight your senses, no<br />

matter what your age says Justine Halifax…<br />

The area is brimming with character, history<br />

and fun activities. Whether it's gastronomy,<br />

the great outdoors, architecture or taking a<br />

close look at the Great War battlefields<br />

which drives your itinerary, you’ll certainly<br />

not be disappointed when you pay this<br />

fabulous area a visit.<br />

My family spent three wonderful nights at a<br />

magnificent property called Manoir du<br />

Bolgaro at Morbeque, near Hazebrouck. It’s<br />

an impressive, luxurious getaway, which I<br />

highly recommend for a get together with<br />

family or friends.<br />

A manor house dating back to <strong>15</strong>40, set on<br />

a huge, beautiful, secluded swathe of land,<br />

this amazing, three storey gite, steeped in<br />

character, can sleep up to 12 people. Eager<br />

to enjoy and soak up as much of this<br />

atmospheric property as we could, we<br />

chose to eat in most nights, but we<br />

ventured out one night at an amazing<br />

estaminet that was recommended by Eric<br />

and Francoise, the lovely couple who run Le<br />

Manoir du Bolgaro.<br />

The Estaminet de la Longue Croix, just a 10<br />

minute drive away, is a popular, cosy and<br />

family friendly restaurant brimming with<br />

historical and regional character. There are<br />

old artefacts hanging from the ceiling and<br />

they serve tasty regional fare here. You can<br />

even play traditional Flemish wooden<br />

games at your table - provided for your<br />

enjoyment! I highly recommend you try the<br />

roti porc and "The Welsh". The service was<br />

fantastic, the restaurant was very<br />

atmospheric and welcoming for families.<br />

There were nice little touches for the<br />

children - a glow stick bracelet with pudding<br />

and place mats to colour in between meals.<br />

But, be warned, this is so popular that<br />

tables must be booked a couple of weeks<br />

in advance so plan ahead before you travel.


There are many reminders of WW1,<br />

including museums and a host of tourist<br />

attractions. These include the famous<br />

Cistercian abbey at Mont des Cats on<br />

Flanders hill – where you can buy the beer<br />

brewed by the monks who reside there to<br />

this day; the towns of Bailleul, Cassel and<br />

Bergues; the city of Lille, where there’s lots<br />

to visit or you can just sit and soak up the<br />

atmosphere; famous Flemish gardens of<br />

Mont des Récollets, Cassel; les gigottos<br />

automates for children in Esquelbecq –<br />

and there’s also a small craft brewery here<br />

that can be viewed by appointment called<br />

Brasserie Thiriez.<br />

In Dunkerque there’s the Museum of the<br />

Port, which includes climbing on board a<br />

couple of docked ships; UNESCO Listed<br />

58-metre St Eloi belfry, and Mémorial du<br />

Souvenir, where you can learn about WW2<br />

Operation Dyanamo; for a trip to the<br />

seaside you are close to Bray-Dunes; if you<br />

want to simply enjoy the outdoors then<br />

there’s the Avesnois regional nature park.<br />

To find out more about Maroilles cheese<br />

that the region is also famous for, take an<br />

insightful tour at Ferme du Ponts des<br />

Loups at Saint-Aubin, which includes<br />

sampling its cheese-y delights before<br />

buying some to take home.<br />

The first known taste of Maroilles dates<br />

back to the 7th century. It comes from the<br />

village of the same name in the Avesnois,<br />

<strong>No</strong>rd, where the abbey monks transformed<br />

milk into in cheese. It's the only AOC<br />

(appellation d'origine contrôlée - a<br />

recognised mark of quality) from the <strong>No</strong>rd.<br />

More than 4000 tons are eaten in France<br />

each year!

If your family that loves the great outdoors<br />

then Val Joly is the place to head for. Just<br />

90 minutes from Lille, the family orientated<br />

resort is nestled in a picturesque natural<br />

park surrounding the largest lake north of<br />

Paris. It boasts a host of kids activities<br />

ranging from water sports, like windsurfing,<br />

sailing, canoes, catamarans, electric and<br />

pedal boats. There's a great tree climb<br />

adventure; an equestrian centre where you<br />

can take a pony ride, riding lessons or a full<br />

day ride; trampolines; an aquarium;<br />

archery; laser tag; mini golf; bike and<br />

scooter hire; fishing; craft activities; or you<br />

could simply enjoy local nature walks. Our<br />

home while there was a cosy wooden<br />

cottage, on the edge of the lake.<br />


For more on Val Joly visit www.val-joly.com<br />

Website for: Manoir du Bolgarno<br />

Recommended restaurant: When staying at<br />

Le Manoir du Bolgaro don't miss the<br />

Estaminet de Longue Croix in Hondeghem.<br />

Traditional Flemish Games: If you would<br />

like to buy any local Flemish wooden<br />

games, Justine recommends artisan<br />

carpenter Philip Lefebvre at 76 Rue de la<br />

Poissonerie in Saint Omer

NEW SERIES...<br />

A page from the history of France<br />

Susan Cahill reveals the legacy of King Henri IV in Paris...<br />

If you know Paris, you will have walked<br />

over the Pont Neuf , the creation of King<br />

Henri IV (<strong>15</strong>53 - 1610), visionary, lover,<br />

pluralist, urban designer, and soldier, who<br />

inherited the throne (<strong>15</strong>94) as the bloody<br />

civil Wars of Religion between Catholics<br />

and the “heretic” Protestants were still<br />

raging. The fanatics hated him because he<br />

was Protestant. A pragmatist, and disenchanted<br />

to say the least with partisan<br />

religions, Henri became a Catholic to calm<br />

Catholic Paris. (There is no evidence that<br />

he ever said, “Paris is worth a Mass.” as<br />

some claim). He was crowned Rex<br />

Christianissimus in Chartres.<br />

Within a few years he had made Paris a city<br />

of tolerance saying "Those who genuinely<br />

follow their conscience are of my religion -<br />

as for me, I belong to the faith of everyone<br />

who is brave and true... We must be<br />

brought to agreement by reason and<br />

kindness, and not by strictness and<br />

cruelty... “ The same year he undertook the<br />

Pont Neuf (<strong>15</strong>98) he issued the Edict of<br />

Nantes, granting tolerance and freedom of<br />

worship to the Protestants.<br />

Paris was still a war zone of filthy ruins after<br />

decades of war. But Henri was determined<br />

to transform it, “to make this city beautiful,<br />

tranquil, to make it a whole world and a<br />

wonder of the world.” (He adored beautiful<br />

women, having had, according to myth<br />

and/or history, 53 mistresses and many<br />

bastards.) After opening the famous bridge<br />

over the Ile de la Cite, between the Left and<br />

Right Banks - some consider the view from<br />

the Pont Neuf the most beautiful prospect<br />

in Paris - he extended the Louvre, building<br />

its Grande Galerie; designed the Orangerie;<br />

the lovely Place Dauphine directly across<br />

from the bronze horse on the bridge with<br />

Henri in the saddle.

NEW SERIES...<br />

Far right:<br />

Pont Neuf;<br />

right the<br />

leafy Place<br />

des Vosges,<br />

legacies of<br />

Henry IV of<br />

France...<br />

His most superb creation was the Place<br />

des Vosges in the Marais. He envisioned a<br />

large open public space surrounded by<br />

handsome pavilions of red brick and<br />

golden stone, with vendors in the arcades,<br />

bordered by rows of lime trees, and framed<br />

by the pavilions’ salons where literature,<br />

sex, and music would entertain the rich<br />

and royal. Henri ordered his royal square<br />

coupleted in l8 months. The Place to this<br />

day is still a dreamworld in the early<br />

morning light; Sundays are festivals of<br />

families, Parisians, and tourists looking for<br />

brunch. In the l7th century, it was “the fun<br />

part of town.”<br />

But then a drop-out monk, another fanatic,<br />

stabbed him to death with a kitchen knife<br />

when Henri's carriage was stuck in traffic.<br />

All Paris changed... "everyone began to wail<br />

and cry, with women and girls tearing their<br />

hair out.” Though Henri was reputedly a<br />

garlicky man, not fond of the bath, he is<br />

remembered in Paris “as a charmer, his<br />

eyes full of sweetness... his whole mien<br />

animated with an uncommon vivacity.” He<br />

remains the most beloved king of France.<br />

The up-dated story of his political marriage<br />

to the much maligned Catholic Marguerite<br />

Valois - (described by male historians as a<br />

fat nymphomaniac) is fascinating. Her<br />

medieval hotel still stands in the quiet<br />

southern Marais, on the Seine. Her story is<br />

as complicated and shocking as her<br />

husband’s as well as the story of the St.<br />

Bartholomew’s Day Massacre at the time<br />

of their wedding which - miraculously - did<br />

not kill them both. Margot hid Henri under<br />

her bed and inside her closet while Catholic<br />

royalty and their courtiers beheaded<br />

thousands of Protestant wedding guests<br />

and tossed their heads out the windows of<br />

the Louvre...<br />

Susan Cahill is the author of THE STREETS OF PARIS: A Guide to the City of Light Following in<br />

the Footsteps of Famous Parisians Throughout History (St Martin’s Press, June, 2017). A<br />

brilliant read which brings to life 22 dramatic stories of brilliant and passionate Parisian<br />

characters in their physical settings, along the streets that tell the stories of their inspiration,<br />

of how they became the icons that Paris - and history, and are still celebratde. Available from<br />


Jazz in Marciac<br />

© Francis Vernhet<br />

Peter Jones waxes lyrical...<br />

Tucked away in the small valleys of the Gers in south west France is the classic<br />

bastide town of Marciac. It’s not huge, it has a population of around 1300. The<br />

town is dominated by a central village square whose town hall is its main feature,<br />

lined with shops and cafés.<br />

But one thing makes Marciac unique<br />

amongst the many bastide towns of France<br />

and that is Jazz.<br />

Back in 1978 a small group of friends led by<br />

school teacher Jean-Louis Guilhaumon<br />

started a small jazz festival. Nearly 40<br />

years later, it has become one of the most<br />

important jazz festivals in the world.<br />

More than 250,000 people visit the<br />

Marciac Jazz Festival and 65,000 attend<br />

concerts in the Chapiteau (a huge<br />

marquee) erected on the town’s rugby<br />

pitch. It’s here that not just some, but<br />

nearly all of the biggest names in Jazz have<br />

played over those 40 years.<br />

The highlight of the 2016 festival for many<br />

people was a performance by the<br />

legendary Ahmad Jamal. At 86 years old he<br />

came out of retirement to play his only<br />

concert in the world that year. What, I<br />

asked, bought him to play his music in a<br />

little bastide town in Gascony, “when Jean -<br />

Louis asks, you say yes, he is a very special<br />

man” he said, and smiled.<br />

One time school teacher Jean-Louis<br />

Guilhaumon is now mayor of Marciac and<br />

President of the Marciac Jazz festival. He is<br />

also Vice-President of the regional council<br />

of the Midi-Pyrenees.<br />

He is immensely proud that the college he<br />

taught at, now has Jazz on the curriculum.<br />

20 pupils from the area have gone on to be<br />

professional musicians and the town has a<br />

permanent concert venue, the very modern<br />

500 seat L’Astrada , which hosts music,<br />

theatre and dance throughout the year.

Music is everywhere when the festival is on.<br />

Every bar, street corner and alleyway has<br />

musicians playing their hearts out.<br />

The square is one huge free festival, vibrant,<br />

exciting and great for the trip jazz fan or not.<br />

Over the years, luminaries such as Stan Getz,<br />

Dizzy Gillespie, Nina Simone and Ray Charles<br />

have played Marciac.<br />

But Marciac is not just a town for the jazz<br />

festival, it is worth visiting anytime in the year.<br />

The Jazz Museum Les Territoires du Jazz is also<br />

well worth a visit as are the local Armagnac<br />

vineyards and those of Plaimont wine growers<br />

where you can even sponsor a vine named after<br />

a jazz musician!<br />

Website: Les Teritoires du Jazz Museum<br />

See next page for more<br />

jazzy festivals in France...<br />

information<br />

Jazz in Marciac 2017 has a whole<br />

raft of international names lined up<br />

and this is one event that any<br />

music and jazz lover will not want<br />

to miss:<br />

<strong>No</strong>rah Jones<br />

George Benson<br />

Herbie Hancock<br />

Didier Lockwood<br />

Manu Dibango<br />

And many more of the world’s best<br />

jazz musicians are set to thrill in<br />

the sun from July 28 – August <strong>15</strong>.<br />

Details: jazzinmarciac.com<br />

Practical stuff:<br />

Reserve tickets before you go :<br />

www.jazzinmarciac.com<br />

The tourist office has details for<br />

accommodation in the area:<br />


Around and about at the Marciac Jazz<br />

Festival<br />

The gorgeous Gers is famous for its stunning landscape but did you know that<br />

it’s also one of the best wine making areas of France? It’s not just awesome<br />

Armagnac that’s made here, but also sublime wines. The vines grow alongside<br />

fields of bright sunflowers on steep hills, in natural valleys, in rolling, lush<br />

countryside in soil that’s rich.<br />

Wine buffs are calling the Gers “the new Bordeaux” and raving about the quality<br />

of wine that’s being produced here.<br />

Oenologist and wine writer Tom Fiorina from the US but now living in France, is<br />

letting people in on the secret. He is running a tour in the Gers in which he’ll<br />

take you to visit family-run vineyards and charming and authentic domains<br />

where you’ll receive a warm welcome and a memorable tasting visit. You’ll learn<br />

about the history of wine and production and it’s importance to the way of life<br />

in the region known as Gascony.<br />

Take the tour of Gers fabulous vineyards with Tom Fiorina, French Country<br />

Adventures: July 28-30, 2017. Click here for details and more insider tours of<br />

Gascony at: French Country Adventures

Jazz in Juan-les-Pins, Antibess<br />

The cultural heart of the Cote d’Azur is a<br />

place to sit and watch the world go by. It’s<br />

also where you’ll enjoy a jazz festival in<br />

what must be one of the most lush<br />

settings in the world. Cannes is in the<br />

background, the Mediterranean Sea<br />

glistens in the sun, the scent of pine trees<br />

fills the air . The longest running of<br />

European jazz festivals islegendary.<br />

jazzajuan.com read our review<br />

Jazz in <strong>No</strong>rmandy<br />

In late spring the apples trees vibrate to the<br />

sound of music as Coutances, in the<br />

department of Manche turns from a sleepy<br />

medieval market town to a thronging jazz<br />

town. Punching way above its weight, the<br />

eight-day festival spills out of marquees,<br />

social halls, bars and church buildings on<br />

to streets thronged with music lovers. 50<br />

plus concerts, presenting a kaleidoscope<br />

of jazz styles, from Dixieland and boogiewoogie<br />

to avant-garde: read our review<br />

jazzsouslespommiers.com<br />

Jazz in Nice<br />

Nice is home to one of the oldest jazz<br />

festivals in Europe. It opened in 1948 and<br />

headlining the bill was one Louis<br />

Armstrong and his All Stars. Held annually<br />

in July, in the height of the summer sun, it’s<br />

a mellow, fun and fabulous festival that<br />

takes place in the centre of the sunny city<br />

with up to 9000 spaces for jazz fans over 5<br />

nights of music and mayhem.<br />

nicejazzfestival.fr<br />

Jazz in Paris<br />

Seven weekends of jazz events in the<br />

lovely Parc Floral make for a music lovers<br />

dream come true. This event has become<br />

ever more popular since it was founded in<br />

1994 and now attracts more than 100,000<br />

spectators. From mid June to the end of<br />

July, the city hums and Parisians flock to<br />

the park to enjoy jazz in the open air. You<br />

pay to enter the park, the concerts are free.<br />

Take a picnic and chill – it’s a great way to<br />

feel like a local and experience authentic<br />

Paris. parisjazzfestival.fr


Every weekend, we invite you to share your photos on Facebook - it's a great way for<br />

everyone to see "real" France and be inspired by real travellers snapping pics as they<br />

go. Every week there are utterly gorgeous photos being shared and here we share the<br />

most popular of each month. Share your favourite photos with us on Facebook - the<br />

most "liked" will appear in the next issue of The Good Life France Magazine...<br />

MARCH: The Eiffel Tower<br />

looking blooming lovely in<br />

spring. Posted on her<br />

birthday, 31 March this<br />

photo stole the show. With<br />

almost 6000 likes and<br />

more than 2000 shares<br />

reaching more than<br />

200,000 people on<br />

Facebook - this lovely photo<br />

by Kenny Emptage was our<br />

March winner!

APRIL: This colourful<br />

photo of the Roman<br />

amphitheatre in Arles,<br />

south of France made<br />

thousands of people<br />

long to go there. 3000<br />

likes on Facebook<br />

made Jenny Lloyd our<br />

April photo of the<br />

month winner.<br />

MAY: The gorgeous Cathedral of<br />

Reims in Champagne, 2,800 likes on<br />

Facebook for Margaret Fleming's<br />

beautiful photo.<br />

Join us on Facebook<br />

and like and share<br />

your favourite photos<br />

of France...

Keith Van-Sickle reveals his top<br />

tips for learning French...<br />

Research shows that learning a second<br />

language offers proven benefits for intelligence,<br />

memory and concentration, plus<br />

lowered risks of dementia and Alzheimer's.<br />

Learning French can be challenging but fun<br />

- and it makes trips to France that much<br />

more rewarding. Here’s how I learned<br />

French in my 50s:<br />

Build a Foundation<br />

You need some rudimentary knowledge to<br />

get started, like the fundamentals of<br />

grammar and pronunciation. So take a<br />

beginner’s course - you can easily find one<br />

online or at a local college or community<br />

center. Start by building that foundation.<br />

Talk Talk Talk<br />

It is fascinating to talk to French people in<br />

their own language. By far the best way to<br />

learn a new language is to speak it. But who<br />

wants to talk to a newbie who can barely<br />

string three words together?<br />

The answer is – another newbie. A<br />

language partner.<br />

Websites, like mylanguageexchange.com,<br />

help you find French speakers who want to<br />

learn English. Find someone whose level is<br />

the same as yours. This other person faces<br />

the same challenges you do, so they will be<br />

patient as you struggle with French as they<br />

know exactly what you are going through.<br />

You are helping them and they are helping<br />

you. I found Skype calls once or twice a<br />

week really accelerated my learning. I do<br />

them for about an hour at a time, the first<br />

half in French and the second in English.<br />

Pro tip: Video calls are better than voice,<br />

especially when you need to pantomime<br />

(and you will.)

Listen, Too<br />

When you are first learning French and<br />

someone speaks to you, the words can<br />

kind of run together. You need to “tune<br />

your ear” so you can distinguish individual<br />

words. The way to do this is by listening to<br />

a lot of it.<br />

Happily, there are French-language<br />

podcasts on just about any subject. You<br />

like cooking, history, sports? There is a<br />

podcast for you.<br />

Listen to these podcasts as you walk the<br />

dog or work in the garden. At first it will be<br />

a blur, but slowly your brain will adapt and<br />

you’ll be able to hear the different words.<br />

That’s a big step to learning French.<br />

You Don’t Have to be Perfect<br />

<strong>No</strong> one likes to make mistakes, so there is<br />

a natural tendency to avoid talking until<br />

you are really good. But that creates a kind<br />

of Catch-22 because you need to talk in<br />

order to get really good. Stop worrying and<br />

learn to laugh at yourself.<br />

People appreciate it when you make an<br />

effort to speak their language. I have found<br />

that French people smile and encourage<br />

me when I try to speak French. It shows<br />

respect for their culture. Who doesn’t<br />

appreciate that?<br />

Sometimes when you make a<br />

mistake, you get a funny story out of<br />

it.<br />

French and English share a lot of words,<br />

like nation and pause. If I don’t know a<br />

word in French I sometimes fake it by<br />

using the English word with a French<br />

accent. It usually works, but not always.<br />

I once served some French friends a<br />

cheese with edible ash on it. I announced<br />

it in French as a cheese with ash. My<br />

friends, shocked, explained that this meant<br />

hashish. Oops.<br />

Anticipate a Few Ups and Downs<br />

Language learning is a funny thing – it<br />

happens in spurts. You seem to make no<br />

progress at all, sometimes for weeks, and<br />

suddenly you take a big leap forward. So<br />

don’t be discouraged when you feel like<br />

you are working hard and not getting<br />

anywhere. And enjoy the leaps when they<br />

happen.<br />

Have Fun!<br />

This is going to take a while and you need<br />

to have fun to stick with it. So find ways to<br />

enjoy the language as you are learning.<br />

Take a trip to France to try out your new<br />

skills. Watch French movies. Go to a<br />

French restaurant and chat with the<br />

waiters.<br />

I subscribe to a US newspaper and a<br />

French one. I look for stories that both<br />

papers have covered and read them in<br />

English and then in French (I read English<br />

first because that helps me understand<br />

what the story is about.) It can be<br />

fascinating to see two perspectives on the<br />

same subject.<br />

After following this approach, I can now<br />

hold meaningful conversations in my<br />

second language. I have friends in France<br />

and even read French books. It still<br />

surprises me because I was terrible with<br />

languages as a kid.<br />

Parlez-vous français? You can do it!<br />

Keith Van-Sickle is the author of One Sip at<br />

a Time: Learning to live in Provence, a<br />

charming book about starting a new life in<br />

France...<br />

Available from Amazon

Barbara Pasquet-James a writer who lives in Paris, is no<br />

stranger to the temptations of the city's restaurant scene but<br />

even she was impressed by just how good it can be when she<br />

Paris is indisputably one of the best food<br />

cities in the world. Its marvelous markets<br />

and shops touting eye-popping droolinducing<br />

produce, pastries, chocolates and<br />

more, are fodder for thousands of food<br />

blogs, and there are enough neo bistros<br />

and restaurants to keep food reviewers<br />

busy for a lifetime just revisiting old<br />

chomping grounds.<br />

So imagine being contacted by insatiable<br />

foodie friends from California, with whom<br />

you’ve shared many a stellar meal,<br />

announcing that they are returning to Paris<br />

not for the shopping, not museums or<br />

monuments, but for four days of “extreme<br />

fooding” - a marathon of restaurants they’d<br />

been dreaming about for ages, and they’d<br />

love it if you (and in my case, French hubby<br />

as well) would join them?<br />

My mission, which I cheerily chose to<br />

accept, was to snag reservations at some<br />

of the hardest-to-get tables in town on<br />

relatively short notice. There would be eight<br />

fantastic restaurants in four days: lunches<br />

and dinners. We would eat and drink our<br />

way round the city.<br />

Juggling bookings at sought-after Paris<br />

eateries can be a challenge: most are open<br />

on certain days only. Others just for dinner<br />

and incredibly, starred players are closed<br />

on weekends. But I was both pistonnée<br />

(food writer/guest eater at chefs’ tables)<br />

and very persistent.<br />

Our only restriction: no fish or shellfish for<br />

one in our party. We were afraid this would<br />

prove to be an obstacle at places with fixed<br />

tasting menus but happily, it wasn’t.

Alain Passard alum David Toutain reboots a<br />

conceptual menu daily. Labor intensive and<br />

well-thought out, Toutain’s inventive menus<br />

induce reverie in his faithful, many of whom<br />

migrated with him from Agapé Substance in<br />

Saint-Germain. Give him a root vegetable and<br />

he’s a magician: sweet potato gnocchi, celeriac<br />

tagliatelle with white alba truffle. Toutain’s<br />

signature smoked eel with black sesame and<br />

green apple left us speechless. Throughout, the<br />

term “neo-<strong>No</strong>rdic” kept springing to mind as<br />

many of the courses would have been just as<br />

much at home in a forest as on our plates.<br />

Dessert of cauliflower coconut vanilla cream<br />

with a chef’s surprise of quince chips and white<br />

chocolate ice cream by Jacques Genin was<br />

followed by fire-roasted figs with mascarpone<br />

and root vegetables “churros” with chocolate<br />

and smoked salt. A stunning start.<br />

David Toutain (multi-course tasting menu); 29<br />

Rue Surcouf 75007 Paris<br />

Wednesday Lunch<br />

Wednesday Dinner<br />

Scoring a table at Frenchie on short notice<br />

imparts an enormous sense of<br />

accomplishment. Yet its laid-back location on a<br />

narrow backstreet in the Sentier garment<br />

district makes one wonder what all the<br />

international fuss is about. It’s about the food,<br />

the wine, and terrific service. Nantes native<br />

Gregory Marchand hit it right by offering<br />

gorgeous seasonal farm-to-table fare paired<br />

with just as gorgeous wines. An unpretentious<br />

cave à vins and Frenchie’s To Go followed,<br />

along with gourmet food shops, and now, just a<br />

visit to Frenchie, especially if combined with<br />

nearby market street rue Montorgueil, is a<br />

gourmet experience. Our multi-faceted meal<br />

included perfect duck breast, pumpkin ravioli<br />

packages that exploded with flavor and<br />

crunchy Brussels sprouts topped with<br />

crumbled cheese. Frenchie’s signature maplesyrup-glazed<br />

scones with bacon from the<br />

chalkboard next door put in an appearance and<br />

amused our geueles. Fabuleux.<br />

Frenchie (multi-course tasting menu); 5 Rue du<br />

Nil 75002 Paris

Under the Les Halles canopy a modern<br />

Michelin-starred French bistro-brasserie<br />

signed Alain Ducasse is open every day of<br />

the week. A view of the ancient Church of<br />

Saint-Eustache and modern graffiticovered<br />

walls are a backdrop to French<br />

classics such as boudins, oysters, foie<br />

gras, beef tartare, duck and snails that<br />

share a simple carte alongside ricottaspinach<br />

ravioli, smoked salmon, salads<br />

and oven-fresh soufflés, a specialty.<br />

Kicking off with a coupe de champagne we<br />

tried two raw fish starters: sea bream in<br />

citrus fruit shavings, black pepper and<br />

basil, and sea bass with carrot, fresh lime<br />

and ginger. Spectacular. This was followed<br />

by the copious house salad (romaine,<br />

shaved radish, fennel, carrot, beets.<br />

cucumber dressed in a tart yogurt mint<br />

vinaigrette), all forerunners of two sky-high<br />

soufflés - one cheese, the other in-season<br />

Thursday Lunch asparagus - both exploding with flavor and<br />

obscenely generous.<br />

Wines were expertly paired with each course. By the time dessert arrived - pistachiolaced<br />

salted butter caramel soufflé, we almost stood up to applaid. But we were too full.<br />

Champeaux Brasserie Bar & Lounge; Forum des Halles La Canopée 75001 Paris<br />

Since the opening of this superstar starred<br />

neo-bistro on a street behind Bastille, chef<br />

Bertrand Grébaut has never looked back. A<br />

relaxed decor belies top talent in the kitchen.<br />

Grébaut’s menu of pure seasonal ingredients<br />

complements a wine list of carefully selected<br />

small producers who avoid additives. All of<br />

the dishes were beautifully presented.<br />

Synergies of flavors and textures were<br />

showcased: white asparagus with an oyster<br />

sauce gribiche; pork tenderloin with slivered<br />

radishes; steamed cod with pickled turnips<br />

and yuzu sauce. A dessert, every French<br />

schoolchild’s fave, riz au lait vanille, creamy<br />

rice pudding tanged up with a passion fruit<br />

coulis, arrived with an old favorite, a deconstructed<br />

Mont Blanc of sweetened feta with<br />

its familiar chestnut cream “spaghetti,”<br />

making this meal a knockout, just as we’d<br />

hoped it would be. Next.<br />

Septime (multi-course tasting menu);80 Rue<br />

de Charonne 75011 Paris<br />

Friday Lunch<br />

(multi-course tasting menu) Book<br />

well in advance

Verjus is the happy outgrowth of The Hidden Kitchen,<br />

exquisite dinner parties once hosted by Laura Adrian<br />

and Braden Perkins in a private Paris apartment.The<br />

view is of a theater reminiscent of New Orleans’ old<br />

French Quarter and below, in a small intimate room,<br />

is their wine bar with its ever-changing chalkboard. I’d<br />

not dined at Verjus before because we’d fill up on the<br />

apéro plates downstairs - pork belly with sesame<br />

seeds, indescribable Parmesan “churros,” duck<br />

terrine maison with pistachios - and felt no need to<br />

go upstairs for the nine-course extravaganza.<br />

However on this night, oysters from Utah Beach with<br />

rhubarb, gougères dusted with seaweed and salt,<br />

perfectly roasted pork, foie gras with walnuts and a<br />

jaw-dropping beet tarte tatin, plus more, kept us<br />

happy all the way to dessert: caramelized Jerusalem<br />

artichoke ice cream with apple and cinnamon. We<br />

vowed to return.<br />

Verjus (multi-course tasting menu);52 Rue de<br />

Richelieu 75001 Paris<br />

Book well in advance<br />

Friday Dinner<br />

LiLi at the HOTEL PENINSULA<br />

Being escorted through the opulent Hotel Peninsula then<br />

seated in LiLi’s spacious dining room felt like we’d arrived<br />

on a Hollywood film set. This gastro Chinese temple was our<br />

choice for Saturday lunch, not so much for a change from<br />

French cuisine, but to sample their reputed authentic<br />

gourmet Cantonese dim sum, and more. Excited, we went for<br />

the Menu Dim Sum: steamed lobster dumplings with<br />

asparagus, Shanghai-style steamed pork raviolis, chicken<br />

and eggplant dumplings with XO sauce, pan-fried minced<br />

pork dumplings with bok choy, each deliciously succulent<br />

and elegantly presented. But, as the saying goes, “Chinese<br />

food goes right through you,” we decided to loosen our belts<br />

and go for some mains: Peking-style duck, wok-fried<br />

Brittany blue lobster with ginger and spring onions, braised<br />

French beef with fried ginger and, to wash it down, martinis<br />

with lemon twists which, beautifully cleansed our palates<br />

between courses. Dessert? <strong>No</strong>t this time. Dinner would be in<br />

a few hours.<br />

LiLi at the Hotel Peninsula; 19 Avenue Kléber 75016 Paris;<br />

<strong>No</strong>te: The Lobby Restaurant at the Hotel Peninsula has a 48<br />

Euro 2 course lunch/dinner menu that's very good.<br />

Saturday lunch

Our last stop after such a raffinée experience at<br />

lunch, standing-room-only wine-bar-tapas bar<br />

L’Avant Comptoir seemed a natural choice for<br />

dinner. Loyal fans of chef Yves Camdeborde<br />

since his La Régélade days in the far-flung 14th<br />

way back when, we’d followed him to Saint-<br />

Germain-des-Prés. First-timers here are always<br />

astounded when they see the ceiling, a forest of<br />

banners with photos of dozens of small plates.<br />

An impressive selection of wines, sausages, and<br />

an enormous hunk of salt-studded butter<br />

dominates the zinc counter with its country<br />

loaves cut into chunks, still warm, mustard,<br />

cornichons, and fleur de sel for the taking. We<br />

joined the throng and ordered away: crunchy<br />

calamari and crunchier fried chicken with house<br />

fries and sauce gribiche; fried cheese; waffles<br />

topped with an artichoke cream and Bayonne<br />

ham; foie gras with piquillo kebabs; caramelized<br />

pork belly; sautéed cèpe mushrooms with garlic.<br />

We did it. Bordeaux and dry rosé by the glass<br />

and endless toasts with total strangers, and it<br />

was over.<br />

L’Avant Comptoir; 3 Carrefour de l’Odéon<br />

75006 Paris<br />

Saturday Dinner

By Jemma Hélène<br />

Finally I did something I’d wanted to do all<br />

summer.<br />

There’s a lone bench at the end of l’Ilette<br />

peninsula, a stub of land that juts into the<br />

Mediterranean near Antibes’ rampart walls.<br />

The bench faces the bay, looking onto the<br />

old town, or if you peer over your right<br />

shoulder when seated there, the Cap<br />

d’Antibes. Smack in the centre of that view<br />

lies our summertime home, Bellevue.<br />

Below the bench the sea rolls onto the<br />

rocks. Next door is an upscale beach<br />

restaurant – but this, you could say, is a<br />

new addition.<br />

The bench itself is unremarkable, an<br />

unforgiving union of two cement slabs.<br />

Behind it stands a tall shard of limestone<br />

with a copper plaque that has gone green<br />

with age. What I wanted to do that summer<br />

was quite simple: to read a particular book<br />

sitting on that bench near that monument.<br />

So there I sat, water bottle beside me, book<br />

in my lap.<br />

Being the height of the Côte d’Azur’s<br />

season, the sun scorched in its late<br />

morning sky. As I tried to enjoy the<br />

experience I’d longed to savour, I only<br />

wanted to dive into the neighbouring<br />

restaurant and continue reading under an<br />

umbrella, cold drink in hand. But I couldn’t<br />

do that. They’d suffered here on l’Ilette<br />

peninsula. I should, too.<br />

I squinted through sunglasses as the sun<br />

bounced off the pages. Duel of Wits by<br />

Peter Churchill. I’d found a beaten-up copy<br />

through a community college in Indiana.<br />

When the book arrived in Toronto, I packed<br />

it away for our summer in Antibes.<br />

Flipping the pages brought forth the<br />

familiar, musty-paper smell of my youth. It<br />

beckoned me into a bygone world.<br />

Churchill dedicated his work to Arnaud –<br />

code name for Captain Alec Rabinowitch, a<br />

radio operator who died in his pursuits.<br />

These writings, the author explained,<br />

covered four secret missions into wartime<br />

France. He’d entered twice by submarine<br />

and twice by parachute between July 1941<br />

and April 1943.

I skipped to the biographical index at the<br />

back – anything to avoid the hard work of<br />

the inside pages in that blazing light. I<br />

recognized some names from my research:<br />

Julien (Captain I Newman) – captured and<br />

executed.<br />

Louis of Antibes – Did I recognize this<br />

name? Or was it “Antibes” that sprang<br />

from the page? – captured and died on an<br />

evacuation march from a concentration<br />

camp.<br />

Matthieu (Captain Edward Zeff) – captured<br />

and survived.<br />

Taylor, Lt-Cdr “Buck” – commanded his<br />

own submarine. Survived.<br />

Vigerie, Baron d’Astier de la – never<br />

captured.<br />

They were characters in a story I’d found<br />

online, translated into French. Across a<br />

wide ocean, with Toronto’s thermometer<br />

lingering well below freezing, it had read<br />

like a thriller. A British submarine, the H.M.<br />

S. Unbroken, had entered the Baie de la<br />

Salis – the very bay beneath me – one<br />

night in April 1942. In charge of the<br />

operation was the book’s author, a member<br />

of the British Special Operations Executive.<br />

Churchill rowed ashore in the pitch night<br />

and climbed steps that led up l’Ilette<br />

peninsula – landing there, right there, on<br />

the ground beneath my bench. If someone<br />

had lingered that night on the terrace of our<br />

Bellevue, they would’ve witnessed the<br />

landing in its moving shadows.<br />

Churchill’s mission was to deliver two radio<br />

sets and two radio operators (Matthieu and<br />

Julien) to the home of Dr Elie Lévy, a<br />

kingpin of Antibes’ Résistance movement<br />

who lived three blocks inland on Avenue<br />

Foch. Under the cover of night, Churchill<br />

navigated the streets alone, locating Lévy’s<br />

house before returning for his colleagues<br />

and supplies. Then, already clutched by<br />

adrenaline, the secret agent ran into Lévy<br />

himself on l’Ilette peninsula. With him was<br />

Baron d’Astier de la Vigerie, a diplomat<br />

who became a last-minute addition to<br />

Churchill’s passenger roster as the<br />

submarine departed the bay beneath<br />


So that’s what I would recreate: a living<br />

history of Antibes through the allegorical<br />

eyes of Bellevue. All summer long, Antibes<br />

revealed herself to me on two levels, past<br />

and present. Plaques, monuments and<br />

street signs – timeworn tributes that had<br />

faded into everyday life over the years we’d<br />

been coming here – shared their stories.<br />

And there, mounted above a lighting shop<br />

three blocks up Avenue Foch, the trunk<br />

road I’d taken more than a hundred times,<br />

was an unassuming marble plaque: Here<br />

lived Dr. Elie Victor Amedee Lévy, Captain;<br />

arrested May 4, 1942; died in deportation to<br />

Auschwitz; hero and martyr of the<br />

Résistance; died for France.<br />

That was the story I wanted to read in<br />

English, right there on l’Ilette peninsula. A<br />

fat drop of sweat ran down my calf and<br />

deposited itself on my ankle. Skimming<br />

was the only way. I flipped to the book’s<br />

midsection and hunched over its yellowed<br />

pages. A breeze kicked up. Instant airconditioning.<br />

I was doing the right thing.<br />

Some would say I’d been behaving oddly<br />

all summer. I biked around town with one<br />

eye on the road and the other scouring<br />

second-floor facades of buildings where<br />

plaques might appear. Friends began<br />

calling me a history-buff. Really? History<br />

was never, ever my thing. It always seemed<br />

a jumble of useless dates and wars –<br />

except, of course, when my grandmother<br />

told vibrant stories about the wagon train<br />

bringing my ancestors from Pennsylvania<br />

to Iowa.<br />

History only mattered to me when there<br />

was a story behind it. History was<br />

interesting only when it was alive.<br />

The story endured.<br />

As I continued to read on l’Ilette peninsula,<br />

I realized I’d forgotten the story’s details –<br />

even important ones. I’d forgotten, for<br />

instance, how Churchill’s surprise<br />

encounter with Lévy had begun.<br />

On that dark night in April 1942, while they<br />

huddled in the darkness of their<br />

clandestine work, Lévy launched a<br />

question to Churchill – before even<br />

bothering to introduce the diplomat<br />

loitering alongside them.<br />

Where, the doctor wondered, were the<br />

faked baptismal certificates for his two<br />

daughters? Churchill had promised these<br />

papers so that Lévy, a Jew, could avoid<br />

having his house – purchased in his<br />

daughters’ names – confiscated by the<br />

Germans.<br />

My cheeks were burning. The water bottle<br />

was almost dry. I’d continue reading<br />

elsewhere. But before leaving that eventful<br />

site, I lingered before the copper-green<br />

plaque. It was written in English and<br />

French, but as with so many translations,<br />

the two halves offered different<br />


\the monument commemorated the<br />

landing of the H.M.S. Unbroken submarine,<br />

under Captain Peter Churchill, on April 21,<br />

1942, and all those who took part in the<br />

operation. It was presented to Major<br />

Camille Rayon (another major Résistance<br />

player) by Lieutenant-Commander C.W.<br />

Buck Taylor (who steered the submarine<br />

that night) on May 23, 1992.<br />

The last line caught my eye. It spanned the<br />

centerline of the plaque, occupying both<br />

the English and French sides, and<br />

protruded from the stone’s face:<br />

En hommage au Docteur ELIE LEVY<br />

(LOUIS) qui dirigea cette operation, et<br />

mourut en Déportation<br />

directed this operation and died in<br />

deportation.<br />

I’d learned the story of the H.M.S. Unbroken<br />

through the eyes of Peter Churchill, a<br />

British secret service agent. But the<br />

collective memory of the local people<br />

filtered through a different lens. It was Lévy,<br />

an Antibois, who was the heart of this<br />

mission, not Churchill.<br />

There’s a whole other world occupying the<br />

sunny Côte d’Azur. It lives invisibly<br />

alongside the sandy beaches and glitzy<br />

shops. And it’s breathing, shallowly,<br />

appearing only to those who seek it.<br />

Jemma Hélène is the author of French<br />

Lessons Blog: www.frenchlessonsblog.com<br />

In tribute to Dr Elie Lévy (Louis), who

A family pilgrimage to the<br />

Somme by Doug Goodman<br />

In September 1916 High Wood in Picardy<br />

was a vision of tree stumps and mud – a<br />

deathly landscape. It was here on the<br />

morning of <strong>15</strong> September that a boy<br />

soldier from Wandsworth, London fell in<br />

the battle to take the Wood. Bertram Alec<br />

Reader – known as Alec – was the eldest of<br />

5 children. In the summer of 19<strong>15</strong>, at the<br />

age of 17, he made a trip to Somerset<br />

House, London, and joined the <strong>15</strong>th<br />

Battalion London Regiment, Prince of<br />

Wales’ Own, Civil Service Rifles (CSR).<br />

Having passed the medical inspection he<br />

left as Private B. A. Reader 3623. In March<br />

1916 Alec sailed for France.<br />

All of Alec’s letters home survive and his<br />

story has been pieced together by his<br />

nephew Roger Goodman who, along with<br />

his brother Doug, traced Alec’s life on the<br />

Somme. After making all their research<br />

available to historians through the archives<br />

at The Imperial War Museum, Alec's story<br />

has featured in several books. Through one<br />

of these books contact was made by the<br />

son of a private soldier, Vern Wilkinson,<br />

who served alongside Alec. He had read a<br />

book featuring Alec and remembered<br />

seeing the name in his father's wartime<br />

diary. Alec's family had always known the<br />

time and place where he died but not how.<br />

In his diary Vern wrote:<br />

‘We were happy when we knew definitely<br />

what time the ‘kick off’ was, uncertainty<br />

made one nervous and irritable. We<br />

attempted a little breakfast in the early<br />

hours but the jam tasted of paraffin so we<br />

gave it up. A substantial rum ration<br />

however soon satisfied us, there was<br />

actually some rum to spare as some of the<br />

lads would not participate as they wished<br />

to have all their senses about them when<br />

the great time came. Others were quite<br />

merry and personally I had consumed<br />

plenty... At last ‘zero’ came (6.20am) and<br />

the guns that had quietened towards the<br />

dawn broke out with a terrible clatter as<br />

they put down one of the terrible barrages<br />

that made advancing much easier for the<br />

infantry. We clambered over the top of the<br />

parapet and were immediately met with a<br />

murderous machine gun fire, some of my<br />

pals falling at once...


The Somme is about 90<br />

minutes drive from Calais and<br />

DFDS Seaways has daily<br />

crossings from Dover.<br />

The Historial de la Grande<br />

Guerre<br />

Albert Museum<br />

Beaumont Hamel memorial<br />

park<br />

Commonwealth War Graves<br />

Commission<br />

Photos: far left: Doug Goodman; centre left:<br />

family photo shows Alec Reader; top: Doug<br />

and family members lay a weath at Thiepval;<br />

left: Alec Reader with pals.<br />

...Young Reader fell at the side of me with a<br />

groan and blood rushed from a wound in<br />

the head. I just turned to glance at him and<br />

could see that death was instantaneous<br />

and so passed that cheerful spirited lad to<br />

whom everything was ‘very cosy.’’<br />

Alec’s story is a poignant one as he was<br />

waiting to return to England. Those who<br />

had joined as underage (18 was the<br />

minimum age for joining up) could be<br />

reclaimed by their parents and had the<br />

choice of being repatriated. However, Alec’s<br />

father’s request was delayed due to<br />

administrative issues and before Alec<br />

could return home the Battle of Flers-<br />

Courcelette began. Alec was buried near<br />

the north-west corner of High Wood but<br />

due to continued fighting the details of the<br />

place of burial was lost and Alec is listed as<br />

one of the missing of the Somme; his name<br />

appears on the Thiepval monument.<br />

On the morning of <strong>15</strong> September 2016, 100<br />

years to the day he died, Alec’s family and<br />

two researchers made a pilgrimage to High<br />

Wood where they laid a wreath on the 47th<br />

(London) Division Memorial. They held a<br />

private ceremony before joining a memorial<br />

service at the Thiepval monument where<br />

three generations of the Goodman family,<br />

Doug, his nephew Paul and great-nephew<br />

Charles laid a wreath on behalf of Alec’s<br />

family. "This ‘cheerful spirited lad, to whom<br />

everything was very cosy’ will never be<br />

forgotten and his short life will continue to<br />

be remembered for generations to come"<br />

said Doug Goodman.<br />

High Wood as returned to its natural state<br />

and it's estimated that the remains of<br />

several thousand British and German<br />

troops are still there as the area was never<br />

cleared of munitions. In total around 8000<br />

deaths occurred in the square km. of private<br />

wood during the Somme Battle that lasted<br />

from July to <strong>No</strong>vember 1916. High Wood was<br />

the scene of the last cavalry charge and the<br />

first tank attack.

BOOK GIV<br />

But you are in France Madame by<br />

Catherine Berry<br />

Catherine Berry, her husband and three<br />

children unzipped and discarded their<br />

comfortable Australian lifestyle and<br />

slipped on life in the country of haute<br />

couture. On arrival, there was no<br />

celebrity designer waiting ready to pin<br />

and fit their new life to them. So, they<br />

threw it on and wore it loosely, tightly,<br />

uncomfortably, any old how—until they<br />

learned for themselves how to trim,<br />

hem and stitch à la française. This book<br />

is testament to the joyous, but not<br />

always easy, journey that they took<br />

along the way.<br />

Read our review<br />


Uncorked by Paul Shore<br />

Celebrating the “uncorking” of a few<br />

tightly held traditions that are near<br />

and dear to hearts of the locals of the<br />

Cote d’Azur and Provence. Like being<br />

taught to play pétanque (boules)<br />

under the clandestine cover of<br />

darkness; drinking pastis before<br />

noon; navigating narrow village<br />

roads at top driving speed. Shore<br />

also “uncorks” personal awakenings<br />

about the value of following roadsless-travelled<br />

and making time to<br />

smell-the-roses, as we cultivate<br />

friendships and traditions. And,<br />

through exposure to the life of artist<br />

Marc Chagall, Shore reflects on the<br />

challenges that all newcomers face<br />

to gain acceptance in a foreign land.<br />

Read our review

E AWAYS<br />

See over the page for more great give aways<br />

including some delish rose wine!<br />

Chateau for Sale by Carrie Parker<br />

Can someone really be in love with<br />

two people at the same time? Kate<br />

thinks so when she falls for Nick.<br />

But inevitably she has to choose.<br />

Escaping to Nick’s château in<br />

southern France seems like the<br />

answer. The betrayal of her beloved<br />

husband, Alastair, leaves Kate<br />

racked with guilt, but things are<br />

only going to get worse. She neveer<br />

imagined how fiercely loyal<br />

Alastair’s best friend, Richard,<br />

would prove to be, nor the dire<br />

consequences of his loyalty.<br />

Instead of the new start that she’d<br />

hoped for, Kate’s life at the château<br />

descends into a nightmare, taking<br />

her to the brink of despair,and<br />

when you’re desperate you’ll do<br />

anything...<br />

Read our review<br />

Leonardo da Vinci: The Amboise<br />

Connection by Pamela Shields<br />

A fascinating book about one of<br />

the greatest men who ever lived. he<br />

lived in the Loire Valley as the<br />

guest of a king at the end of his life.<br />

He was a tourist attraction then,<br />

and still is. The book is full of<br />

interesting facts and anecdotes<br />

about Leonardo's time in the<br />

Chateau de Clos Lucé in Amboise -<br />

a must read for all Da Vinci fans<br />

and visitors to this lovely part of<br />

France.<br />

Read our review<br />

French for Divorce by Carys Evans<br />

British Catherine and French Jacques live<br />

the good life in France until Jacques starts<br />

fraternising with a colleague and Catherine<br />

realises all is not equal in love and war.<br />

Facing her own personal Brexit, Catherine<br />

becomes a character in her very own<br />

surreal adventures, to the backdrop of chic<br />

restaurants, chalets and chateaux. The<br />

couple’s colourful allies of French<br />

gendarmes, champagne-guzzling best<br />

friends, improbable lovers and a charmingly<br />

chauvinistic father-in-law accompany them<br />

down their road to disunion or reunification<br />

in a country that gives infidelity the<br />

Presidential seal of approval.<br />

Read our review


Winetastic give away of award winning delicious rosé<br />

wine from MIRABEAU Provence<br />

Our wine making friends at Mirabeau in<br />

Provence are feeling generous! They have<br />

two cases of 6 bottles of their award<br />

winning Classic rosé to give away. With<br />

its delectable raspberry pink hues and<br />

intense aromas, expressive red berry fruit<br />

remain the essence of this delectable<br />

rose'. Mirabeau Classic has a beautiful<br />

concentration, with strawberry and<br />

raspberry flavours taking centre stage,<br />

balanced by fresh acidity and leading to a<br />

sumptuous finish with notes of redcurrant.<br />

A perfect aperitif for an alfresco<br />

moment, it’s also great with flavoursome<br />

food, or drink it as they do in Provence,<br />

anytime and with almost anything! Just<br />

click on their website & subscribe to their<br />

newsletter to go in the draw:<br />

Two winners will each win a case of 6 bottles of Classic.<br />

Just nip onto Mirabeau’s website here & sign up to their newsletter to enter the contest<br />

which will end 30 June 2017.<br />

Legendary actress Brigitte Bardot led fashion revolutions<br />

throughout her career; this retrospective includes BB’s<br />

comments on her iconic style in a rare, intimate interview.<br />

Brigitte Bardot is a style icon whose legacy has undeniably<br />

shaped the face of fashion as we know it. In photographs<br />

that capture her attending prestigious receptions or on<br />

glamorous visits to the United States, in fashion shoots<br />

and on film sets, this volume illustrates all the key looks<br />

that BB wore and brought to the international spotlight as<br />

she invented and edited her own highly imitated style.<br />

With personal comments on the photos, Bardot explains<br />

the context of the often vanguard fashions she wore,<br />

making headlines wherever she went. A must for BB and<br />

fashion fans...<br />

Draw ends: 28 July 2017

And it always will be...

A French town without a baker - it's<br />

unthinkable - everyone would move away!<br />

A butcher is almost as important to French<br />

village life as a baker. The butcher sells the<br />

usual roasts and chops and chickens, as<br />

well as a variety of prepared foods.<br />

My wife Val and I live part of the year in St.-<br />

Rémy-de-Provence, a charming town<br />

between Arles and Avignon. We love going<br />

to our favorite butcher shop, a place that<br />

has been serving the good people of St.-<br />

Rémy for decades. It's run by a husband<br />

and wife who take great care in the quality<br />

of their products and service. When you<br />

order a piece of meat, the butcher will ask<br />

you how you plan to prepare it. Then he will<br />

slice off any extra fat, trim around the bone<br />

and cut it into the size you want. If you<br />

want hamburger, he will take a piece of<br />

beef, run it through his grinder and form it<br />

for you. Burger by burger.<br />

The butcher takes the time to chat with<br />

every customer - waiting in line is like<br />

having a free French lesson. How is the<br />

family? Are your bunions bothering you?<br />

How will you prepare the stew? For how<br />

many people? Do you salt your food? This<br />

usually prompts a general discussion on<br />

salt. It’s like watching a French sitcom.<br />

Sometimes the phone rings and the<br />

butcher answers it – it’s usually an order for<br />

a big meal. This leads to a long discussion<br />

between the person on the phone and the<br />

butcher and his wife. How many people do<br />

they need to feed? What spices will they<br />

use? Should they pick it up at 11:00? <strong>No</strong>,<br />

maybe 12:00. <strong>No</strong>, 11:00 would be better.<br />

Okay, they’ll come at 12:00.<br />

Once we went to the butcher to get a gigot<br />

d'agneau (leg of lamb.) We were having<br />

some friends over and figured a gigot<br />

would be easy to make in advance and<br />

would feed a large group.<br />

We explained what we wanted. For how<br />

many people, the butcher asked. Ah, the<br />

gigot in my cabinet is not large enough for<br />

your dinner for ten, he said.<br />

So off he went to the back to get a larger<br />

one. He appeared two minutes later<br />

carrying the entire back half of a lamb. Oh,<br />

my. But at least the wool had been<br />

removed.<br />

This doesn’t happen where we live in<br />


He prepared the meat deftly and then<br />

came the cooking discussion. How were<br />

we preparing it? Our marinade met with<br />

his approval, but under no circumstances<br />

were we to use a temperature higher<br />

than 180 degrees Celsius. The butcher<br />

looked at us gravely to make sure we<br />

understood this important point.<br />

And did we want the bones he had just<br />

removed? We should place them next to<br />

the lamb, cover them with some olive oil<br />

and butter, and add a full head of garlic,<br />

herbes de Provence, and salt. It would<br />

make a nice jus for the meat. This kind<br />

of advice is common in France.<br />

If you are in a rush and go to a French<br />

butcher be preapred to be there for at<br />

least a half an hour. But if you do, the<br />

food will be delicious and the floorshow<br />

can’t be beat...<br />

Keith Van Sickle is the author of One Sip<br />

at a time: Learning to live in Provence

The Good Life in ....<br />

the gers<br />

When British artist Perry Taylor and his<br />

Dutch wife Caroline moved to rural<br />

Gascony, south west France, one of the<br />

things they were really looking forward to,<br />

apart from the gorgeous countryside,<br />

fabulous cuisine and wines and laidback<br />

lifestyle… was keeping chickens.<br />

“We live in a 250 year-old farmhouse and<br />

in the past it’s been home to cows, pigs,<br />

rabbits and various animals. We keep just<br />

chickens though. Having them around<br />

makes for a homely feeling, bringing the<br />

courtyard and garden to life. We started<br />

with the Light Sussex and over time we've<br />

had a real hotchpotch of blacks, greys,<br />

browns and speckled egg layers. They’re<br />

always on the look-out for something to<br />

eat, they follow you around, especially<br />

when working in the garden, waiting for<br />

some grub or worm to be thrown to them”.”<br />

says Caroline.<br />

<strong>No</strong>t only do the couple enjoy the eggs from<br />

the chickens but there are other benefits<br />

too - Perry, an artist, found that the<br />

chickens were a rich source of inspiration<br />

for his quirky drawings.<br />

“There’s Queeny – she’s really bossy and<br />

Cinderella, she’s at the bottom of the<br />

pecking order… they all have different<br />

personalities and we love them all. Little<br />

Cilla Black became a favourite when she<br />

and Floppy (light Sussex) were the sole<br />

survivors of a fox's visit. They became<br />

inseparable, so when Floppy died, we got a<br />

new batch of different breeds. Cilla<br />

immediately went from underdog to queen<br />

bitch and pecked them all into order, except<br />

a white one that looks like Floppy. These<br />

two firm friends now take the highest perch<br />

in the coop, along with Rusty, a cockerel”.

Top right: Perry and Caroline; above:<br />

"Jeu de Poules"; right: black chicks<br />

Perry loves to sit and observe the<br />

chickens going about their daily lives<br />

and sometimes that creates the basis<br />

for a drawing idea.<br />

Caroline says “We were once playing<br />

boules and when we threw the 'pois', a<br />

couple of chickens came running after<br />

it, probably thinking it was food. Perry’s<br />

drawing 'Jeu de Poules’ came from this”.<br />

Perry recalls seeing four chickens and<br />

Rusty the cockerel all cleaning<br />

themselves under their wings and tails<br />

and for one magic moment, none of<br />

their heads were visible, which gave rise<br />

to his painting titled ‘Headless<br />

Chickens'.<br />

Caroline explains how another favourite<br />

came about “Our neighbour has black<br />

Gascon chickens. One day one got<br />

loose and came over to inspect our<br />

Light Sussex. Perry wondered what<br />

would come out if they bred. His 'Black<br />

chicks' drawing was the result”!

Over the last few years Perry has become<br />

quite a celebrity in Gascony as his witty<br />

and whimsical paintings have truly<br />

captured the charm and authentic spirit of<br />

French rural life.<br />

Popular in France, Britain and with<br />

Francophiles around the world, his first<br />

book ‘Petites Gasconneries’ featuring<br />

some of his most popular chicken<br />

drawings was a sell-out. His just published<br />

new book ‘Bon Moments’ went the same<br />

way.<br />

Perry says of his birds “their curiosity and<br />

mannerisms are fun to watch and when<br />

they get used to you, they like to be in your<br />

company. Ours like nothing more than<br />

nestling down or preening right next to us,<br />

which really does give us a feeling of wellbeing.”<br />

<strong>No</strong>t many people have a chicken as a muse<br />

but for artist Perry Taylor it works well!<br />

Website: perrytaylor.fr


Local property agent Julia Grange says "Gers is often described as the Tuscany of France;<br />

others have compared it to Devon. It is a very rural, agricultural area, with fresh, clean air<br />

as there is no polluting industry. It produces some excellent wines such as Madiran<br />

(scientifically proven to be the best red wine for your health), and is world-famous for its<br />

Armagnac. There are lots of pretty bastide towns, one of which, Larressingle, is known as<br />

a mini-Carcassonne. I live in the west of the Gers. From here I can be surfing or swimming<br />

on the Atlantic coast in 1h30, winter skiing in Cauterets in 1h30, and in Spain in 2h.<br />

There are lots of walking groups and cycling groups and for sports fans, rugby is very<br />

popular here. There are also several golf courses. In summer, the world famous Jazz<br />

festival in Marciac is very popular with many big-name stars appearing. The nearest<br />

airport with UK links is Tarbes-Lourdes (Ryanair), but there is also Toulouse, Bordeaux<br />

and Biarritz." There are a few of Julia's top property picks for the Gers:<br />

This village home in Fusterouau is renovated<br />

and with its small garden would be an ideal<br />

second home. Only 8km to the popular<br />

market village of Aignan and 133km to<br />

Toulouse airport.<br />

Click here for more details<br />

€169,000<br />

A beautiful 5-bedroom home in Maupas, ready<br />

to move into. South-facing to capture the sun,<br />

with views of the Pyrenees, 5 minutes to the<br />

nearest shops, and less than 2h to the airports<br />

of Toulouse and Bordeaux<br />

Click here for more details<br />

€299,995<br />

€874 500<br />

Set in a lovely location in Couloume<br />

Mondebat, a beautiful big property with<br />

business potential. 3 Stables, separate gite<br />

and 13 ha of land with fabulous bviews to the<br />

Pyrenees.<br />

Click here for more details<br />

Click here to see Julia's portfolio of gorgeous properties in the Gers

The Good life in...<br />


We talk to British expat Linda James who with her Husband Alex runs Le Pommier<br />

gites and a cake making business in Riberac, Dordogne department, Aquitaine,<br />

south west France.<br />

What inspired you to move to<br />

Riberac?<br />

I originally came here on holidays with my<br />

family in the 1980s as my cousin and her<br />

husband moved here with their three<br />

children. I fell in love with the sunny<br />

weather, the stunning countryside, being<br />

able to swim in rivers and lakes, the<br />

beautiful villages, markets, fêtes and the<br />

food.<br />

Although my cousins moved back to the<br />

UK for a short while, they couldn’t keep<br />

away and returned to France. There are<br />

now four generations of our family here as<br />

my aunt moved over just before us. She<br />

was 91 a couple of weeks ago! We<br />

searched a much wider area for our<br />

property but decided we might as well be<br />

close enough to pop round for coffee, or<br />

meet up at the market. And after some<br />

property viewings further down in the<br />

Dordogne, we decided we liked it better<br />

here.<br />

Tell us about your gites and cake<br />

business<br />

Our property consists of a three bedroom<br />

house, one bedroom apartment and two<br />

bedroom gite. The gite is popular through<br />

the whole season as its a comfy space for<br />

couples as well as the families who come in<br />

the school holidays. The house is bright<br />

and spacious with a new bathroom that<br />

gets the response ‘wow!’ from guest. The<br />

large stone terrace overlooking the pool<br />

and garden and countryside are perfect for<br />

aperos and the spectacular sunsets we get.<br />

We’ve also launched a cake business. The<br />

idea started when I made cupcakes for a<br />

wedding last year, then a café in Ribérac<br />

needed cakes to serve with tea and coffee.<br />

Coffee and Walnut cake is really popular.<br />

We have several walnut trees and shelling<br />

them is a time-consuming process so I<br />

often do it in the evening while watching<br />

telly! I’m beginning to take orders for

Tell us about your house<br />

The buildings are 18th century farm<br />

workers cottages linked by a large barn,<br />

forming an L-shape. We have a lovely<br />

stone well attached to our house and the<br />

grounds are made up of pretty gardens, a<br />

small orchard and a bigger garden with<br />

swimming pool and walnut trees. It’s<br />

typical for the area.<br />

We found it via an estate agent on our<br />

High Street in Portishead that listed<br />

Leggett Immobilier properties. They set<br />

us up with viewings.<br />

My dream was to run gites but it felt like<br />

the timing wasn’t right when I first<br />

started looking so I went back to my job.<br />

It got to the stage where I felt I could<br />

couldn’t stand waiting any longer so I<br />

gave in my notice and left at Christmas in<br />

2013. We jumped in our campervan in the<br />

February and I said “we’re not coming<br />

home until we find our house in France”.<br />

Penny (our agent at Leggett Immobilier)<br />

took us to see six properties a day, then<br />

persuaded us to see one we had thought<br />

was too small.<br />

It was a beautiful sunny day and we<br />

walked into the gite and I said “I think<br />

this it!” That was mid-February. We<br />

moved in at the beginning of June. We<br />

also found a house 10 minutes away in<br />

village square for my in-laws.<br />

We had our first gite guests less than two<br />

weeks after we moved in!<br />

We didn’t have to do major work as it<br />

was beautifully renovated with lovely old<br />

beams but we updated bathrooms and<br />

wood burners and gave everything a<br />

fresh coat of paint and generally<br />

redecorated. We replaced a wooden<br />

terrace with a grand stone one. Our<br />

French neighbour calls it the Acropolis!

How have you found running a business<br />

in France?<br />

It was challenging at first as we didn’t know<br />

how to get set up as non-retirees, we had to<br />

have a business to get into the health system<br />

for instance. There is a local online network<br />

called the Dronne Valley Network, The<br />

Franco British Chamber of Commerce and<br />

Industry advertised their services through it,<br />

and we went to see them. They guided us<br />

through the set up process. They also do a<br />

monthly informal social gathering for people<br />

to exchange experiences and information.<br />

What tip would you give anyone<br />

following in your footsteps?<br />

This is a difficult one! We took a leap of faith<br />

really – and underestimated how much<br />

money we’d spend getting everything sorted,<br />

and how challenging it would be to earn<br />

enough money. We know a couple of people<br />

who’ve managed to retain jobs in the UK–<br />

they work remotely from here and go back<br />

once a month for face to face meetings. A<br />

reliable income helps enormously.<br />

What do you love about your area?<br />

We’re living in beautiful countryside and have<br />

plenty of places to visit within a short<br />

distance. The people are friendly and there’s<br />

lots going on – vide-greniers and brocante<br />

markets, music, art exhibitions. We absolutely<br />

love the fact that we can be outside more<br />

because the weather is so good... and having<br />

a swimming pool!<br />

Sharing our lovely space with holiday guests<br />

is a real bonus and we love to make new<br />

friends. The quiet roads and lack of traffic is<br />

brilliant.<br />

Website: Le Pommier Gites, Riberac<br />

Wine.<br />

Cheese.<br />

See over for what to see/do in Riberac and<br />

fabulous properties in the area...

5 things to see around Riberac<br />

1. Brantome (above)<br />

One of the most visited towns in the area thanks to its gorgeous good looks. A stunning<br />

abbey, a riverside setting that looks like a painting come to life and a pretty town that's<br />

perfect for wandering and sitting at a cafe watching the world go by. The Abbey’s Church<br />

belfry, built into the rock, is said to be the oldest in France dating to the 11th century.<br />

Tip: Behind the Abbey are caves which go back to the 8th century and one of them<br />

contains a depiction of the “Last Judgement” from the <strong>15</strong>th century – well worth a look.<br />

2. Aubeterre sur Dronne<br />

A beautiful village with a spectacular monolithic church carved out of the rock. Do the<br />

tour because you can only appreciate it from the inside. The village is arranged around a<br />

lovely square with shops and restaurants but do explore the roads around the square to<br />

discover the second church and other businesses. At the bottom of the hill there is a<br />

sandy beach and river swimming.<br />

3. Riberac<br />

Have a wander around to<br />

discover a variety of small<br />

shops, café/bars and<br />

restaurants. The Office de<br />

Tourisme has plenty of<br />

local information. On<br />

Friday Riberac hosts the<br />

biggest market in the area.<br />

4. Verteillac<br />

A village with cafes and<br />

restaurants, but if<br />

you’re here on the first<br />

Sunday of the month<br />

there is a large<br />

Brocante (antique)<br />

market.<br />

5. Perigueux<br />

A city with a maze of<br />

medieval lanes lined with<br />

shops opening into squares<br />

with restaurants. The<br />

cathedral is stunning (walk<br />

down to the river for the<br />

best view) and is illuminated<br />

after dark.


We talk to Penny Armstrong, the local agent who helped Linda and Alex James to find<br />

their ideal property in Riberac: "Having bought our property here over 30 years ago, I<br />

know the region well. The Dronne Valley has so much to offer. Stunning scenery,<br />

tranquility, plenty of outdoor activities, yet not isolated, with beautiful towns and villages<br />

close by. In this area communities mingle together, French, British and many other<br />

nationalities in a friendly and helpful way..."<br />

€146,000<br />

Charming 2 bedroomed character cottage set<br />

in the heart of Montagrier, a beautiful village,<br />

walking distance to bar, restaurant and<br />

epicerie with "depot de pain". Tucked away<br />

and offering large covered terrace leading to<br />

plunge pool and garden.<br />

Click here for more details<br />

Situated on the outskirts of Riberac, this is a<br />

lovely Perigordine house with four bedrooms and<br />

two covered terraces. The family sized<br />

accommodation is light, airy and spacious. It has<br />

a summer house in the garden. Garaging for<br />

three cars, tool-shed and workshop. A generous<br />

sized property, all in excellent order. Recently<br />

reduced from €328,600 to €235,400.<br />

Click here for more details<br />

€235,400<br />

€285,000<br />

This property has been lovingly cared for and is<br />

spacious light and airy. With 4 bedrooms, 3<br />

bathrooms, a 2 bedroomed gite, garage, large<br />

shed, pool and wonderful views it has a great deal<br />

to offer in versatile accommodation. Close<br />

proximity to Riberac with all amenities yet set in<br />

lovely countryside, this property is HIGHLY<br />

RECOMMENDED. Recently reduced from<br />

€3<strong>15</strong>,000 to €285,000<br />

Click here for more details<br />

Click here to see Penny's portfolio of fabulous properties in Riberac

ask the experts<br />

If you have a question about finance, law, currency, banking, property, satellite<br />

services or any other aspect of living in France, you can email it to us here and we'll<br />

put it to our panel of experts and try to help you.<br />

Question: I've been told that there have been changes to Pension legislation that<br />

might affect British expats in France - can you explain what it's all<br />

about?<br />

Answer: from Jennie Poate at Beacon Global Wealth<br />

In 2017 there have been a raft of changes<br />

to the international pension scene, forcing<br />

financial advisers to dramatically rethink<br />

the way they plan for their clients.<br />

One hugely significant change affecting<br />

the Qualifying Recognised Overseas<br />

Pension Schemes (QROPS)* market came<br />

in April. HM Revenue & Customs updated<br />

its list of these international pension<br />

products after a temporary suspension.<br />

The result was that nine countries fell off of<br />

HMRC’s list completely when it was<br />

republished.<br />

The suspension followed a shock<br />

announcement by UK chancellor Philip<br />

Hammond to impose a 25% charge on<br />

pension transfers outside of the EAA** if<br />

the ‘QROPS’ destination is not the same<br />

country in which the retiree is living.<br />

This list is due to be suspended and<br />

republished in June 2017.<br />

To be clear, this does not affect (currently)<br />

those who live and have their pensions in<br />

the EAA. So for those living and paying tax<br />

in France who have a pension in the UK,<br />

you will remain unaffected.<br />

For those planning to live and pay tax in<br />

France going forward there is currently no<br />

change. One would assume that the UK will<br />

be part of the EAA in some shape or form<br />

going forward but of course we can only<br />

deal with the here and now.<br />

This makes uncertain times for those<br />

looking to move their UK pensions into<br />

something more international and flexible.<br />

Beacon Global Wealth Management are<br />

treating these concerns seriously, and as<br />

with all of our advice we obtain full<br />

information from the client and the pension<br />

scheme before providing any advice which<br />

as a minimum comes in two stages.<br />

See over for more info and * **

We only use jurisdictions for pension<br />

transfers that are within HMRC regulation<br />

and in the best interest of the client to<br />

move their pension with a full explanation<br />

of the options, advantages and<br />

disadvantages.<br />

The current pension regulation still<br />

provides a marvellous opportunity for<br />

people to take control of their funds inside<br />

their pensions and have more flexibility for<br />

income and cash.<br />

It’s quite a complex subject but to try and<br />

explain it without taking up too much<br />

space, currently with UK providers, the only<br />

option is to have an annuity. These are<br />

based on interest rates and longevity, the<br />

former being very low.<br />

Once you have exchanged your pension<br />

pot for an annuity you can’t change your<br />

mind and it is fixed for life. <strong>No</strong>wadays<br />

people want more flexibility and choice<br />

which would include the choice of when to<br />

take income, how much and for how long<br />

and to pass the residual balance to their<br />

loved ones.<br />

Please do contact me if you’d like<br />

obligation free information or just a chat.<br />

Question: I have about £100,000 lump sum from my pension in the UK. When I<br />

move to France I wonder if there is a savings account or vehicle that I can put my<br />

money in that will pay me interest?<br />

Answer: Jennie Poate Beacon Global Wealth<br />

As a UK tax resident, you can draw 25%<br />

PCLS or Pension Commencement Lump<br />

sum tax free.<br />

However as a French resident you have an<br />

obligation to declare the income and pay<br />

tax on it. There are several ways this can be<br />

taxed but the usual is that a 7.5% fixed rate<br />

tax would be levied plus a now new 7.1%<br />

CSG or ‘social charge. So if you move to<br />

France before you effect the drawdown, on<br />

that basis, already £14,600 is payable in<br />

tax. There are other ways this can be paid<br />

so check with your accountant or adviser<br />

as to the best route.<br />

It would be prudent to keep some funds in<br />

an ‘emergency’ account running alongside<br />

your current account so that if for instance<br />

the boiler breaks down you have instant<br />

access to funds.<br />

* A Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme, or QROPS, is an overseas pension scheme<br />

that meets certain requirements set by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC). A QROPS<br />

must have a beneficial owner and trustees, and it can receive transfers of UK Pension Benefits.<br />

**The European Economic Area (EEA) is the area in which the Agreement on the EEA provides for<br />

the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital within the European Single Market, as<br />

well as the freedom to choose residence in any country within this area. The EEA was established<br />

on 1 January 1994 upon entry into force of the EEA Agreement. There is more to it than this but<br />

with the current issue of Brexit ongoing we’ll have to see if there is any change for the UK or not.

There are several tax free bank deposit<br />

accounts; the nearest equivalent being a<br />

cash ISA. The interest rate is a government<br />

set rate currently (June 2017) 0.75%. There<br />

are two types of account and you can hold<br />

them both:<br />

Livret A:<br />

in which you can place a maximum of<br />

€22,950 per person plus accrued interest<br />

Livret de Développement Durable:<br />

In which you can place a maximum<br />

€12,000 per person plus accrued interest.<br />

All banks and the post office offer them.<br />

They aren’t spectacular at giving you<br />

interest but keeping a level of available<br />

cash is always a good idea.<br />

With the remainder of the cash, there are<br />

several things to consider. Do you want<br />

income? If so how much? Do you want a<br />

nest egg?<br />

If you are investing more than €30,000<br />

and are under the age of 70, then the<br />

following option could be considered: A<br />

‘Contrats d’Assurance Vie’ or life<br />

investment policy.<br />

The short version of what is means, is that<br />

it is an open ended investment policy that<br />

can potentially hold multi-currencies and<br />

different types of investment according to<br />

need and the level of risk you want to want<br />

to take.<br />

It has great tax advantages for the<br />

policyholder as well as inheritance benefits.<br />

There is no limit to how much you can<br />

place in one of these vehicles but they<br />

usually require a minimum of £20,000 -<br />

£30,000 and some offer the opportunity<br />

for monthly contributions.<br />

They are often considered an 8 year policy<br />

as the tax benefits ramp up at that stage<br />

but they are generally open ended. Some<br />

companies have a penalty clause for early<br />

closure<br />

Want to know more? Then please do<br />

contact me for more information, there’s no<br />

obligation.<br />

Jennie Poate can be<br />

contacted at:<br />

jennie @<br />

bgwealthmanagement.net<br />

Beacon Global Wealth website:<br />

BGWealth.com<br />

See next page for more questions<br />

The information on these pages is intended only as an introduction only and is not designed to<br />

offer solutions or advice. Beacon Global Wealth Management can accept no responsibility<br />

whatsoever for losses incurred by acting on the information on thiese pages.<br />

The financial advisers trading under Beacon Wealth Management are members of Nexus Global<br />

(IFA Network). Nexus Global is a division within Blacktower Financial Management<br />

(International) Limited (BFMI).All approved individual members of Nexus Global are Appointed<br />

Representatives of BFMI. BFMI is licenced and regulated by the Gibraltar Financial Services<br />

Commission and bound by their rules under licence number FSC00805B

ask the experts<br />

Question<br />

I am an American living half the year in France and the other half in Hawaii. It is not a<br />

bad gig.<br />

I have struggled with my bank account in France. I can access it when in France, but<br />

cannot in the states. It makes it very difficult to verify transfers, bill payments, etc. I<br />

would love to know if anyone else has had better luck.<br />

Also, a comparison of fees would be helpful and services offered. Since I couldn't access<br />

my account from the states, I had no idea my internet bill was not being paid until a<br />

guest said there was no internet connection.<br />

I would find it helpful to know which banks offer an English speaking department or one<br />

that regularly services expats. Online banking in English would be a dream come true.<br />

Is there any way Credit Agricole Britline can help non UK clients?<br />

Answer<br />

Britline Credit Agricole (English language banking for expats in France)<br />

Some banks may “switch off” the online<br />

banking facilities they provide if you are<br />

classed as a non-resident. This may not<br />

always make sense as being a non –<br />

resident is usually when you need this type<br />

of access more than ever . The bank may<br />

decide to do this for security reasons to<br />

protect your account but unfortunately this<br />

can backfire if you are due to receive<br />

electronic statements or simply want to<br />

follow your account.<br />

It is possible to find English speaking<br />

banking services and some banks provide<br />

a website in English. Often these are very<br />

limited and online banking is still not<br />

available in English. Other services<br />

available are English speaking telephone<br />

based teams, for example CA Atlantique<br />

Vendée, Anjou-Maine and Aquitaine.<br />

Sometimes English speaking advisors can<br />

be found in branches eg CA Charente<br />

Perigord.<br />

Up to now the service that provides<br />

everything under one roof from banking,<br />

insurance, mortgage and savings to a<br />

bespoke International Payments Service for<br />

currency exchange, with a team of 40<br />

bilingual and bicultural advisors, is us at CA<br />

Britline.<br />

At CA Britline we have also developed an<br />

app ‘My Britline’ which enables you to have<br />

online banking facilities in English.<br />

If you are fiscally resident in France, the UK<br />

or Ireland, you may be eligible for a CA<br />

Britline account. However if you are a US<br />

resident we would advise you to contact a<br />

"Direct" service of CA, such as www.<br />

normandie-direct.fr<br />

Website for CA Britline:<br />


Dreaming of moving to France?<br />

Top Tips to help you make the move...<br />

Have you been considering a move to<br />

France but don’t know where to start? We<br />

talk to the experts at Renestance who help<br />

English-speakers to settle in France about<br />

their key tips to help you make a smooth<br />

start...<br />

Dream vividly but not wildly<br />

What are you hoping to find? Blue skies,<br />

time to travel, better social life, lots of<br />

wine? Be specific about how you imagine<br />

your future life in France.<br />

Is part of you expecting life in France to be<br />

better in every way? Be careful of<br />

unrealistic expectations and issues that<br />

follow you wherever you go.<br />

What do the people you’re moving with<br />

dream of? Are your visions compatible?<br />

Measure twice, cut once<br />

Explore the areas that interest you – try to<br />

do some reconnaissance trips.<br />

Match your nesting place to your timeline.<br />

Do you plan to live there year-round<br />

indefinitely, do a two-year sabbatical, or<br />

just stay for summers? If you’re rebuilding<br />

your nest in France permanently, visit<br />

during low season and under the rain, if<br />

possible. Also consider renting before<br />

buying.<br />

Mind your money<br />

Find the best way to exchange currency<br />

and move money across borders.<br />

Expect hurdles setting up your French bank<br />

account (especially if American) – you’ll<br />

need a proof of address in France and a<br />

thick dossier of papers.<br />

Understand the tax implications of earning<br />

and investing money in France.<br />

Find out how your retirement savings will<br />

be impacted by your move.<br />

Get your affairs in order at home<br />

What will you do with your home? Do you<br />

need to plan for trips back to manage<br />

property?<br />

Do you have family or work-related issues<br />

at home that will require your presence?<br />

Go electronic<br />

Even if you keep an address back home,<br />

you’ll need to access all accounts,<br />

statements and records from France.Make<br />

sure you have internet connected in your<br />

new home ASAP.<br />

Choose a provider with free calls to mobiles<br />

and fixed lines back home.<br />

Skype and Facetime are great to see AND<br />

hear them, but it does require good<br />

bandwidth.<br />

Arm yourself for administrative<br />

battles<br />

Are you allowed to work or run a business<br />

in France? Do you already have a job here?<br />

If not, will you find a job you’re qualified for?<br />

Can you work remotely for a non-French<br />


If moving with children, make sure you<br />

know grade level equivalencies, school<br />

start dates (not January as in AUS/NZ!),<br />

and entrance requirements.<br />

Obtain sufficient health coverage in France<br />

(visas for non-EU nationals require it) and<br />

bring your medical records and<br />

prescriptions if you have ongoing issues.<br />

Parlez français<br />

Yes, everyone’s innate language ability is<br />

different.<br />

Yes, you’ve heard about people living in<br />

France for 20 years and getting by with<br />

only English.<br />

But your experience will be more enriching<br />

the more comfortable you are with the<br />

language. And no, there is no easy app or<br />

trick to becoming fluent in French - it takes<br />

hundreds of hours of practice listening,<br />

speaking and reading - but one day you<br />

will succeed!<br />

Make friends with the natives…or<br />

not<br />

Meet and talk to as many people as<br />

possible, even if it’s hard for you. You never<br />

know what you might have in common<br />

with someone, or who will introduce you to<br />

your next best friend. Don’t expect the<br />

French to seek you out and include you in<br />

their social circles right away. They<br />

probably had friends before you arrived<br />

and tend to build friendships at a more<br />

cautious pace.<br />

Pursue your passions and interests. What<br />

better way to find like-minded people and<br />

become part of your community, all while<br />

doing what you love?<br />

Don’t exclude expats for fear of speaking<br />

too much English or not integrating with<br />

locals. <strong>No</strong>t only are expats a wealth of<br />

information when you’re settling in, but<br />

they are often your bridge to meeting<br />

French locals.<br />

Expect to panic<br />

Even if you’ve lived abroad before, are not<br />

crossing several time zones, nor making a<br />

radical change in your lifestyle (just<br />

married, retiring, starting a business…), the<br />

sheer volume of unknowns and differences<br />

will likely overwhelm you at some point.<br />

You will constantly confront cultural<br />

differences. Things take more time to get<br />

done. People are not as smiley/friendly and<br />

aren’t afraid to contradict you. If you’re<br />

coming from outside Europe, everything is<br />

smaller in France. Basically, it can seem like<br />

nothing is easy!<br />

You are no longer in a place where you<br />

master the environment. It can be quite<br />

humbling to be ‘the foreigner.’<br />

Trust yourself<br />

If you’ve followed the tips above, you know<br />

this isn’t just a poorly-planned whim. Have<br />

faith in your vision and your preparation.<br />

Give it time. ‘There’s no place like home,’<br />

and it’s natural to wonder when/if you’ll<br />

ever feel at home in France. One day you<br />

will, and you’ll know because you went<br />

home and found it doesn’t really feel like it<br />

anymore. Then you’ll look forward to going<br />

home to your nest in France.<br />

Renestance can assist you during each<br />

step of the way. Whether you're thinking<br />

about moving, in the planning phase, or<br />

have been in France for a while now and<br />

could use some help with administrative<br />

matters, visit www.renestance.com for more<br />

information.<br />

Get a monthly recap by signing up for our<br />

free newsletter!

Omelette a la Mère Poulard<br />

Mère Poulard at Mont St Michel makes the most legendary omelette in France. It’s<br />

cooked over an open fire, in a copper pan with a very long handle. Although her recipe is<br />

a well-kept secret, many French chefs claim to know it and there is a plethora of<br />

theories: no whites, whites whipped separately, adding crème fraiche, <strong>No</strong>rmandy butter,<br />

etc etc. But no one really knows! So if you visit Mont Saint Michel, and can afford a €35<br />

omelette, it’s a historic experience.<br />

American Mary Pochez who runs cookery classes at the stunning 18th century Château<br />

de la Barbée in the Loire, shares her take on this classic recipe.<br />

Ingredients for one large omelette<br />

4 eggs<br />

12 cl of crème fraiche<br />

Salt and pepper<br />

40 gr of butter<br />

Optional: Mushrooms, cheese and lardons<br />

1. In a bowl, crack open 2 eggs. Add the<br />

yolks of 2 more, leaving 2 whites aside.<br />

Whip the eggs on low speed for 5 minutes<br />

and add the crème fraiche, beating for<br />

another 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper.<br />

2. Whip the 2 other whites into soft peaks<br />

and fold gently into the rest of the eggs.<br />

3. Melt butter in a non-stick frying pan and<br />

pour egg mixture into the hot pan*. Cook<br />

slowly for about 5 minutes, the surface<br />

should be slightly liquid still – then fold in<br />

half**.<br />

Serve immediately while it’s still hot, with a<br />

green salad and/or fried potatoes.<br />

*If you want to add cheese, sprinkle on top<br />

while cooking.<br />

** Fry mushrooms and lardons and<br />

sprinkled on top before folding<br />

Find more recipes and details for Mary's fabulous cookery courses: www.lavieduchateau.<br />


Eeasy, peasy, lemon squeezy Tarte au Citron...<br />

A lush recipe from Sara Neumeier, inspired by her neighbour Christine in France.<br />

It’s perfect for summer with just five ingredients and no baking!<br />

To adjust the level of sweetness, you can add or subtract from the amount of condensed<br />

milk—it’s pretty fool proof.<br />

Ingredients: Serves 8<br />

8 ounces gingersnap cookies, finely ground<br />

5 ounces unsalted butter, melted<br />

16 ounces mascarpone cheese<br />

Finely grated zest of 2 lemons<br />

Juice of 3 to 4 lemons, depending on desired tartness<br />

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk (about half a 14-ounce can)<br />

1. In a medium bowl combine gingersnap crumbs and melted butter. Press evenly into<br />

the bottom and sides of a 9-inch tart tin. Set aside.<br />

2. Using a hand-held or standing mixer on low, combine remaining ingredients until<br />

smooth. Pour into reserved crust, smoothing top with a spatula. Refrigerate at least 4<br />

hours or overnight before serving.<br />

That’s it!<br />

Bon appetit!<br />

Sara Neumeier is a New York food stylist who shares a summer cottage in the Dordogne<br />

with her parents.<br />

She and her recipes are featured in the memoir Beginning French by Les Américains

MOULES<br />

Marini res<br />

Chef Spencer Richards from <strong>No</strong>rmandy<br />

Cooking Days gives a lesson on how to<br />

make the most perfect Moules Marinieres...<br />

Moules Marinières, that oh-so-French dish<br />

that we all love – did you know though that<br />

if you add cream to the stock, it’s called<br />

Moules <strong>No</strong>rmandie?!<br />

So let’s start with a few basics. You will find<br />

great moules at markets in France as well<br />

as in shops. You should be able to find<br />

them at supermarkets and fishmongers in<br />

most towns around the world. They come<br />

in different sizes, personally I prefer the<br />

smallest ones, I find them sweeter and a<br />

stronger colour than the big ones. It takes<br />

longer to eat them, but what’s the hurry?<br />

You have a delicious bottle of chilled<br />

Chablis to drink them with, right?<br />

I like to buy them in the morning and leave<br />

them in cold water for the day to give them<br />

a final wash. You should discard any that<br />

are broken and any open ones should<br />

close when you tap them, if they don’t<br />

chuck them away – they’re dead. Then cut<br />

or pull off any rope (beards) left attached to<br />

the shell.<br />

You can cook the mussels in batches if you<br />

only have small pans, but remember to<br />

retain the stock for each batch.<br />

"Always use the shells as pincers<br />

to eat the next one with"

You'll need<br />

A large pot with a lid (or a moules pot)<br />

500g of fresh mussels in the shell per<br />

person<br />

1 Large Onion<br />

1 Head of Celery<br />

2 or more Cloves of Garlic<br />

Bouquet Garni<br />

Butter or Olive Oil<br />

½ litre of water<br />

1 glass of Dry White Wine<br />

Parsley<br />

Optional Extras: Cream; apple juiceor still<br />

Cider orCalvados (apple brandy)<br />

1. Rough dice the onion and celery and<br />

sweat them in your biggest pot with some<br />

olive oil (or butter).<br />

2. Add the garlic and sweat the mix some<br />

more (you do not want to caramelise or<br />

colour any of this).<br />

3. Add the water and a pinch of salt and<br />

the wine (check it’s up to standard first).<br />

4. Add the bouquet Garni. Let it all come up<br />

to the boil and then add the mussels.<br />

Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes or<br />

until they have all opened. (Discard any<br />

that didn’t open during the cooking<br />

process).<br />

Serve in bowls, cover with stock, sprinkle<br />

some fresh parsley over and eat with fresh<br />

baguette and good friends.<br />

To give your moules dish a <strong>No</strong>rmandy<br />

twist, add a splash of flat (not fizzy) cider or<br />

better still Calvados ( apple juice for those<br />

on a detox) and then a couple of tablespoons<br />

of cream. Always use heavy or<br />

double as single will split.

La Vie du Chateau - brilliant<br />

cooking classes in an 18th century<br />

chateau in the Loire Valley.<br />

Learn to make classic French<br />

dishes, English language cookery<br />

lessons that are fabulous and fun<br />

in a unique & gorgeous setting in<br />

an all inclusive holiday.<br />

Click to read more about it<br />

Website: Lavieduchateau.com<br />

Hidden Veggie Pop up<br />

restaurant in Haute Vienne at<br />

Saint Laurent-sur-Gorre, close to<br />

Limoges.<br />

Enjoy a delicious flavour-popping<br />

vegetarian (or vegan) homecooked<br />

dish in the home of a local<br />

in a fun and authentic<br />

atmoshphere.<br />

Click to read more about it<br />

<strong>No</strong>rmandy Cooking Days - learn<br />

to cook with a British chef in<br />

<strong>No</strong>rmandy close to Mont St Michel.<br />

On this one day course you'll shop<br />

at the markets, create classic,<br />

scrumptious <strong>No</strong>rman dishes &<br />

learn about the famous<br />

gastronomy of <strong>No</strong>rmandy<br />

Click to read more about it<br />

Website: <strong>No</strong>rmandycookingdays.<br />

co.uk<br />

Cookies Campers - the ultimate<br />

glampervan holiday in the south<br />

of France. Hire a luxury<br />

campervan & enjoy the freedom<br />

of the open road and the glorious<br />

outdoors. Go where you want,<br />

when you want & stop off where<br />

you like in the sunny south.<br />

Click to read more about it<br />

Website: Cookies-campers.com

Experience (My) France tours of<br />

Aveyron. Veronique, a local, will<br />

show you this little known part of<br />

France in all its stunning glory.<br />

Medieval villages, flowery<br />

meadows, forested gorges &<br />

vineyards that cling to the sides of<br />

steep hills. This is a part of<br />

France to be savoured...<br />

Click to read more about it<br />

Website: experiencemyfrance.<br />

Expat Dating France<br />

If you're looking to make new<br />

friends in France or perhaps to<br />

find someone to share the good<br />

life with, Expat Dating in France<br />

may just be the thing. Set up by<br />

an expat who herself found it<br />

hard to make friends, it's a great<br />

way to meet like-minded people<br />

Click to read more about it<br />

Website: Expatdatingfrance.com<br />

Artistic Gourmet Adventures<br />

Holiday in France that inspire<br />

Tours that show you real France<br />

with an itinerary that's perfect for<br />

you and that won't rush you on and<br />

off a bus with hundreds of others.<br />

Have an adventure of a lifetime<br />

with one of these fabulous, luxury<br />

tours...<br />

Click here to read more about it<br />

Website:<br />

artisticgourmetadventures.com<br />

Paris Chanson<br />

If you love French music, culture,<br />

history and fun facts then click<br />

onto Radio Paris Chanson,<br />

English language radio for<br />

Francophiles everywhere. They<br />

play the "golden age" of music,<br />

share loads of great facts and<br />

anecdotes<br />

Click here to read more about it<br />

Website: radioparischanson.com<br />

Tours du Tarn - cycling holidays.<br />

Offering some of the best cycling<br />

terrain in France, this brand new<br />

centre based company is opening<br />

up the Tarn for all levels of riders.<br />

Training breaks, guided, selfguided,<br />

beginners, weekends &<br />

longer fabulous cycling holidays<br />

in a stunning location.<br />

Click here to read more about it<br />

Website: Tarncyclingholidays.<br />

The Happpy Hamlet<br />

Discover a stunning retreat in a<br />

centuries old farm-hamlet in<br />

southwest France, Tarn et<br />

Garronne. The perfect get-away<br />

with lush accommodation,<br />

fabulous food and wine & loads of<br />

activities from music and art to<br />

yoga & well-being and more.<br />

Click here to read more about it<br />

Website: Thehappyhamlet.com

It's been a crazy few months for me and things have been quite topsy<br />

turvy at home. The reason is - I wrote a book, and it got published. I've got<br />

to tell you it's quite surreal to walk into a branch of WHSmith in the UK<br />

and see your name on the shelf! I have been taking selfies surreptitously,<br />

grinning like a fool next to book "my" shelves in Waterstones. It's even in<br />

Shakespeare & Co. one of my favourite book shops in Paris (and it's in<br />

WHSmith at 148 Rue de Rivoli Paris, opposite the Tuileries Gardens!).<br />

Okay that is the shameless plug almost over with - except if you'd like to<br />

buy it, "My Good Life in France", my story of how I came to France by<br />

accident, gave up my dream job for love and acquired 60 animals and an<br />

understanding of the culture of my adopted country and a whole lot more,<br />

is out in the UK (Australia 1 July and Us soon) and on Amazon<br />

everywhere!<br />

My animals of course have not noticed any of this furore going on. To<br />

them I am simply the maid, cleaner, cuddler and mad woman who gets up<br />

early every morning to feed, water, walk and love them.<br />

"Do you need grounding now you're a famous author" asked my sister, I<br />

think she was joking. Anyway the answer is no, not really, not when I have<br />

to clean out chicken coops after I've just been interviewed by the Daily<br />

Express. <strong>No</strong>t when I have to worm the cats, after I've just done a live radio<br />

show. <strong>No</strong>t when I have to clear up after two orphaned baby chickens who<br />

had to live in the house for three weeks as they needed some special TLC<br />

just as I'm about to be interviewed by Woman's Own Magazine.<br />

Writing a book is a dream come true for me and I thank you all because<br />

everyone who follows me on Facebook or Twitter, who visits my website,<br />

who reads this magazine - you've been my inspiration.<br />

Thank you.<br />

Bisous from France,<br />

Janine xx

Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!