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VAN GOGH FOLLOW IN THE

FOOTSTEPS OF THE LEGENDARY ARTIST

TRAVEL | FOOD & WINE | CULTURE | HISTORY

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KATE MOSSE THE PERFECT DAY


AT MY FAVOURITE FRENCH MARKET

July 2015 | Issue 202

SEASIDE
STAYS

BRITTANY

Secret
beaches

The best
hotels, B&Bs
and villas

How to find
your own
little haven

JONATHAN
MEADES
on living in
Le Corbusiers
Cit Radieuse

Rocamadour
Take a stroll around the world-famous pilgrimage site

VICHY

The charming
spa town with
a dark history

The best places to stay


Restaurant guides
Films, books and music
Help with learning

the language

CLOCHEMERLE
THE WINE-LOVING VILLAGE
IN FACT AND IN FICTION

Britain and North Americas


best-selling magazine about France

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BIENVENUE

Plage de lEstagnol, Cap de Loube, on the


Mediterranean coast near Bormes-les-Mimosas

PHOTOGRAPHS: CAMILLE MOIRENC/HEMIS.FR; MARK RUSHER

Coast and country


T
heres nothing like strolling down to a soft
white beach on a warm summers day and
finding it empty. Though it can be a rare
occurrence during les Grandes Vacances, it
is possible to find your own little hideaway on the
coast of Brittany if you know where to look. With
that in mind, we let you into the secrets of where to
find the regions quietest seaside spots.
If youre keen to be within stone-throwing distance
of Frances coast, then our where to stay feature
should point you in the right direction. Our selection
of the best seaside hotels, chambres dhtes and
self-catering holiday homes will certainly inspire a trip,
whether youre with friends, family or a partner.
In the heart of France, hundreds of miles from the
coast, there is a more poignant tale to tell about the
town of Vichy. Since World War II, Vichy has had

negative connotations, but Paul Lamarra was keen


to explore the town and see what it has to offer
the visitor despite its wartime history.
A destination that has forever been popular is
Rocamadour, the spectacular pilgrimage site in the
Dordogne Valley. I visited it recently and was in
awe of both its setting and its history; its the
perfect place to go for a stroll, as my feature
suggests but if you want to take it easy, make
sure you start at the top.
As ever, this issue brings you the best in French
culture, with articles and reviews of films and books,
but if you want to get closer to the action, then sign
up for our special subscriber event at the Royal
Academy on page 74. Readers are invited to a private
viewing of its Summer Exhibition, which promises to
be a real treat. Until next time, bon voyage!

Carolyn Boyd
Editor

CONTRIBUTORS
Ray Kershaw
Yorkshire-based Ray has been
writing about France for 40
years and won many awards
for his work with FRANCE and
UK newspapers. On page 44, he visits
the Beaujolais village that inspired the
famous 1930s comic novel Clochemerle.

www.completefrance.com

Anthony Lambert
Anthony, who has written or
contributed to ten travel
books, first fell in love with
France on a ferry trip to
Boulogne as a child, and he has a particular
interest in French history and architecture. He
retraces the Battle of Agincourt on page 58.

Kate Mosse
Novelist and regular FRANCE
contributor Kate is celebrating
ten years since the publication
of the best-seller Labyrinth,
which has been translated into more than
30 languages. On page 33, she describes her
experiences of Carcassonne market.

FRANCE MAGAZINE 3

CONTENTS
July 2015

36
WIN

TRAVEL

08 FRANCE AT A GLANCE
Let our stunning images take you on
a whistle-stop tour of France.

17 PRT PARTIR
Plan your next trip with our round-up
of travel news and events, and route map.

26 ROUND TRIP
Drive along the picturesque Loire Valley
between the cities of Angers and Nantes.

FIND OUR NEW SNAIL,


SERGETTE 20
TAKE A PHOTO 34
WRITE A LETTER 34
DO A CROSSWORD 95

58 AGINCOURT
Explore the battlefield where Henry V
triumphed over the French 600 years ago.

63 VICHY PAST AND PRESENT


The spa town best-known for its wartime
role has so much more to offer the visitor.

68 TAKE A STROLL: ROCAMADOUR


Visit the village that enjoys a spectacular
setting in the Dordogne Valley.

11
.

BON APPTIT

75 BREAKING BREAD

Learn how to make perfect loaves with


the help of master baker ric Kayser.

76 FOOD & WINE


Check out the French food trucks craze
and savour our wines of the month.

78 THE PERFECT SALADE NIOISE


Rosa Jackson explains what to put in this
popular salad and what to leave out.

36 SEASIDE STAYS

80 EATING OUT IN CARCASSONNE

Find the best hotels, B&Bs and villas for


your holiday on the coast.

Get a residents eye-view of the best


restaurants in this Languedoc landmark.

44 CLOCHEMERLE

JOIE DE VIVRE
15 STEPHEN CLARKE

85 TAKE HOME

Discover the Beaujolais village that


inspired a best-selling comic novel.

Our Paris columnist admires how the


locals can get out of an awkward spot.

Blogger Clotilde Dusoulier explains how


to cook with French-grown saffron.

52 BRITTANY SECRETS

33 MARKET VIGNETTE

86 VINEYARD VISITS

Get away from the crowds with our pick


of the regions hidden beaches.

Best-selling author Kate Mosse delights


in browsing the stalls in Carcassonne.

Dominic Rippon explains how vineyards


recovered from the ravages of disease.

SUBSCRIBE TODAY! SEE PAGE 43 FOR DETAILS OF OUR LATEST GIFT OFFER
4 FRANCE MAGAZINE

www.completefrance.com

PHOTOGRAPHS: FABRICE RAMBERT; FOTOLIA; JEAN-DOMINIQUE BILLAUD/LVAN; CRDT AUVERGNE/PASCALE BEROUJON;


CAMILLE MOIRENC/HEMIS.FR; MARY EVANS PICTURE LIBRARY/ALAMY; MASSIMO PESSINA

GREAT PRIZES
TO BE WON

63
26

75

58
52

EVERY MONTH

Organise your next trip with


our handy guide to travel routes.

72 HISTORY TRAIL

24 TRAVELLERS TALES

Follow the artist Vincent van Gogh in his


brief but productive French years.

Discover where three visitors to France


love to visit and what they like to do.

89 SYLVIE TESTUD

28 NEWS

The award-winning actress explains why


she has moved into comedy.

Read about the latest education reforms


and other headlines from France.

90 REVIEWS

34 BOTE AUX LETTRES

All the latest films and books. Plus five


minutes with author William Alexander.

Have your say and share travel tips to


win a great prize.

LA CULTURE

92 LANGUAGE

94 LANGUAGE GAMES

We find the best resources for brushing


up your language skills.

Improve your French with our great


selection of fun puzzles and games.

106 JONATHAN MEADES

96 HOLIDAY RENTALS

The architecture expert reveals what its


like to live in a Le Corbusier building.

Use our region-by-region guide to find


the property that suits your needs.

www.completefrance.com

PAGE 58

23 HOLIDAY PLANNER

PAGE 93

PAGE 8
PAGE 52

PAGE 17
PAGE 86

PAGE 36 PAGE 26

PAGE 18

PAGE 39

PAGE 63

PAGE 22

PAGE 44
PAGE 68
PAGE 41

PAGE 76
PAGE 80

PAGE 72 PAGE 78

PAGE 12
PAGE 106
PAGE 40

ON THE COVER

FRANCE MAGAZINE 5

COVER IMAGE: THE VILLAGE OF


ROCAMADOUR IN THE LOT DPARTEMENT
BY MARC DOZIER/CORBIS

ARCHANT HOUSE
ORIEL ROAD
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Editor Carolyn Boyd


Deputy Editor Simon Reynolds

ABOUT US
FRANCE Magazine is Britain and
North Americas best-selling
magazine about France. Since 1990,
it has enchanted readers with its
stunning photography and excellent
travel writing. Alongside its
inspirational and informative travel
articles, FRANCE Magazine offers
features on food and wine, language
and history, culture and current
affairs; together, it gives readers
the perfect taste of the very best of
France. It truly is the next best thing
to being there.

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Art Editor Mark Bradley
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Contributing Editors Judy Armstrong, Paul Lamarra
We couldnt have made this issue without:
Aurlie Altemaire, Jon Bryant, Stephen Clarke, Pierre de Villiers,
Clotilde Dusoulier, Sally Easton, Charlie Fraser-Hopewell,
Rosa Jackson, Ray Kershaw, Anthony Lambert, Zo McIntyre,
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rdige en anglais et consacre
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des articles de voyage, des rubriques
gastronomiques et linguistiques,
FRANCE Magazine invite ses
lecteurs dcouvrir tous les
meilleurs aspects de lHexagone
et de ses produits.

2014

Winner of Travel Article of the Year


at the Abtof (Association of British
Travel Organisers to France) Travel
Article Awards Ray Kershaw
Runner-up for Magazine Article of
the Year at the Abtof Travel Article
Awards Judy Armstrong
Runner-up for Young Writer of
the Year at the Aito (Association of
Independent Travel Operators)
Awards Zo McIntyre

Winner of Gastronomy Article of


the Year at the Atout France French
Tourist Board Travel Publication
Awards Eve Middleton
Winner of Travel Article of the Year
at the Abtof Travel Article Awards
Judy Armstrong
Winner of Magazine Article of the
Year at the Abtof Travel Article
Awards Judy Armstrong
Runner-up for Magazine Article
of the Year at the Abtof Travel
Publication Awards Ray Kershaw

2013

2012

Winner of Young Travel Writer


of the Year at the British Travel Press
Awards Zo McIntyre
Winner of Best Travel Article
at the Outdoor Writers &
Photographers Guild
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8 FRANCE MAGAZINE

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POIGNANT REMINDER
www.completefrance.com

Visitors approach a monument to American forces involved in the D-Day


landings, on the way to Omaha Beach near Colleville-sur-Mer
in Normandy
FRANCE MAGAZINE
9
PHOTOGRAPH: FRANCIS CORMON/HEMIS.FR

SPLASH OF COLOUR

Floral displays adorn the approach to the 14th-century


Chteau de Sully-sur-Loire in the Loiret dpartement
PHOTOGRAPH: PASCAL DUCEPT/HEMIS.FR

10 FRANCE MAGAZINE

www.completefrance.com

MIGHTY CLIMB
A steep staircase zigzags its way up to the baroque Basilique
Saint-Michel-Archange in the resort of Menton on the Cte dAzur
PHOTOGRAPH: FOTOLIA

CAMARGUE CELEBRATION
A woman in Arlsienne costume at the Abrivado festival a gathering
of the Camargue gardians (cowboys) in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
PHOTOGRAPH: DREAMSTIME

www.completefrance.com

FRANCE MAGAZINE 11

PYRENEAN PERFECTION
A cyclist takes a break to admire the dramatic landscape
around the Col de Pailhres in the Pyrnes
PHOTOGRAPH: DREAMSTIME

EVENING GLOW
12 FRANCE MAGAZINE

Shadows lengthen on a street in Saint-Germain-des-Prs


in Paris as passers-by are bathedwww.completefrance.com
in the setting sun
PHOTOGRAPH: DREAMSTIME

COLUMN

In the city

How to be
a Parisian
Paris-based Stephen Clarke gives his
expert advice on life in urban France

PHOTOGRAPH: NATACHA HENRY; ILLUSTRATION: TIM WESSON

arisians are very good at avoiding things.


youll have the inward lane of major roads to
And before anyone jumps to clichd
yourself. You can watch everyone fuming in the
conclusions, Im not talking about work;
traffic jams on the outward routes, and wave to
although I must concede that on any
them if you want to be really cruel.
sunny lunchtime, restaurant and caf terraces
On the other hand, the fact that Parisians
definitely seem to stay occupied longer than when
stampede in or out of the city on set days can also
there are clouds.
land you in deep trouble. Once, without thinking,
But then again, lots of the lunchers in sunglasses
I drove out to Fontainebleau for the day. This is the
Stephen Clarkes
might well be concluding business deals. After all,
beautiful chteau where Napolon first abdicated
latest book, How
Americans do it on the golf course and the Japanese
from power in 1814 (only to return in 1815).
the French Won
over karaoke, so why not on a sunny caf terrace?
The surrounding forest is a great place to walk
Waterloo (or Think
The fact that when I linger in the sun, I am usually
and cycle, and I borrowed a friends car so that
They Did),
just daydreaming or chatting to a friend should not
I could get deep into the woodland. After a brisk
describes Frances
reflect on Parisians as a whole.
hike followed by cakes in one of Fontainebleaus
fascination with
No, when I said that Parisians are good at
excellent tea rooms (Napolon must have missed
Napolon, even
avoiding things, I was talking more of sticky
them thats probably why he returned in 1815),
200 years after
situations. The traffic jam that they will overtake on
I decided to drive back into Paris only to realise
his greatest
the hard shoulder; the complainer whom they will
that it was the Sunday after a grand week-end.
defeat if it was
ignore or just walk away from; the queue anywhere
While I had been staring at trees and chomping
a defeat (see
in the world that they will manage to squeeze past.
on chocolate clair, half the car owners in Paris had
review on page 91).
Getting out of potential trouble or inconvenience is
set out from their second homes, seaside hotels,
a favourite pastime here in a city where people live
campsites and family reunions, and were doggedly
clogging up every inch of every road between Fontainebleau,
in such close proximity.
70 kilometres to the south, and the capital.
Parisians extend this talent to getting away from the city
It took me more than two hours to get back to my friends
itself. To anyone coming to the capital for a visit, this may
underground garage. I went to drop off the key and apologised
sound like an irrelevant issue. Visitors dont want to escape
about being late, only for my friend a native Parisian to tell
Paris they want to throw themselves into the citys arms.
me he had thought it hilarious that I had wanted to drive out to
But its useful to know when Paris will be less full of
Fontainebleau on that day of all days. He and his wife had been
Parisians hogging your favourite restaurants, theatres and
to Normandy for the weekend on the train. We never use
museums. Whenever there are long weekends or holidays, this
the car on grands week-ends, he told me. I cant stand the
happens almost magically. If youre coming into Paris on any
traffic jams. Thats why I didnt mind you borrowing it.
jour fri (public holiday), flights and trains will be blissfully
I began a little speech about friends who dont warn you
empty. The same goes if you plan to arrive on the first Saturday
when youre about to do something stupid, but his daughter
of July or August Parisians will be going the other way, and
came and revealed that she had forgotten to do the homework
that was due next day. He had to go and help. Like I said,
Parisians are experts at getting out of situations.

I drove back into Paris, only to


realise that it was the Sunday
after a grand week-end

www.completefrance.com

NEXT MONTH: Terry Wogan brings us his humorous


observations on life in the French countryside.

FRANCE MAGAZINE 15

PRT PARTIR

PHOTOGRAPH: MARC BERTRAND/OT PARIS

All the inspiration you need to


plan your next trip to France

Sands and the city


T
his summer, for the 13th year,
the banks of the River Seine
will become the urban beach
known as Paris-Plages. From
20 July to 23 August, 5,000 tons of sand
will transform quaysides of central Paris
and the Bassin de la Villette into
pedestrianised seaside paradises.

www.completefrance.com

For that month the beach becomes


a focal point for summer fun, making
humid city life more tolerable for anyone
who is not escaping to the coast or the
mountains. If youre planning a trip to
the capital, pack your flip-flops and
beach towel, and join the Parisians as
they sunbathe, play volleyball, dance,

watch concerts and do tai chi on the


temporary beaches.
Sea dogs should head for the Bassin de
la Villette in the 19th arrondissement,
where you can kayak or hire a pedal boat
at the watersports complex. Wearing
a striped Breton jersey is optional.
http://en.parisinfo.com

FRANCE MAGAZINE 17

READY TO GO

View for
a thrill
The classic location for the
Quatorze Juillet fireworks in
Paris is the Champ de Mars
next to the Eiffel Tower. But
if you prefer not to share
a park with 300,000
revellers, we can suggest
more intimate venues that
still provide a great view
On a Seine dinner cruise
Floating by the Eiffel Tower with a glass
of champagne in your hand, watching the
lights from a bateau is an indulgent way
to enjoy Frances Fte Nationale.
A 14 July Special Dinner Cruise costs
104pp, including a 2hr 45min trip along
the River Seine, dinner with champagne,
music, dancing and a stop to watch the
fireworks, which start at about 11pm.
www.francetourisme.fr

At the top of a tall building


Europes fastest lift takes you up to the
56th floor of the Tour Montparnasse for
a panoramic view of the Eiffel Tower and
almost an eye-level view of the fireworks.
Admission 14.50 (9 for 7-15s),
www.tourmontparnasse56.com

At street level
From Place de Breteuil in the 7th
arrondissement, you can look down the

www.completefrance.com

tree-lined Avenue de Saxe to a perfectly


framed Eiffel Tower. Enjoy a meal
beforehand in the square and then
venture on to the pavement in time for
the fireworks. Le Grand Bistro Breteuil,
3 Place de Breteuil, Menu Signature 44
including a bottle of wine, tel: (Fr) 1 45
67 07 27, www.legrandbistro.fr

From a hotel room


For sheer luxury and a ringside seat,
you cant beat the Htel Plaza Athne
in Avenue Montaigne (pictured right),
although the breathtaking view of the
tower does come at a price. Two of the
Eiffel Suites are decorated in art deco
style, two in a classic French style.
Rooms 1,144, tel: (Fr) 1 53 67 66 67,
www.dorchestercollection.com/en/
paris/hotel-plaza-athenee
Staying at the Duquesne Eiffel Htel
in Avenue Duquesne, at the end of the
Champ de Mars, is a great place to
watch the fireworks in comfort.
However, youll need a Superior room
with views of the tower if you want to
be able to lie in bed and enjoy the show.
Doubles 237, tel: (Fr) 1 44 42 09 09,
www.hotel-duquesne-eiffel-paris.com.
If its a warm night, you can stand on
your balcony at the Hotel Pullman Paris
Eiffel Tower and watch people enjoying

a slightly more crowded view of the


spectacle down below. Again, you need
to ask for a Superior room overlooking
the tower. Doubles 270, www.
pullmanhotels.com (book online)

From the park


When alls said and done, the Quatorze
Juillet fireworks in Paris have been
designed to be seen from the Champ de
Mars. To get really close-up views of the
35-minute show, pick a spot nice and
early, take a picnic and something to
while away the time and wait for the
spectacle to begin. Be sure to wear
comfortable shoes because walking back
to your accommodation or at least as far
as an uncrowded mtro station, will
probably be your only options.

FRANCE MAGAZINE 19

READY TO GO

A Francophiles guide to...

Oxford
H

ome to the UKs


oldest university
and renowned
for its stunning
array of architecture, Oxford,
the city of dreaming spires,
is one of the countrys most
beautiful and culturally
diverse cities, with plenty of
Gallic charms for the
discerning visitor.
Oxford is a world-class
centre for learning and is
therefore an appropriate
place to brush up on your
French language skills. Take
a morning class at the
Oxford School of French

(tel: 01865 310 946, www.


oxfordschooloffrench.com),
the aim of which is to enable
students of all ages to
communicate in the language
with complete confidence, on
everything from current
affairs to medicine.
If all that hard work has
made you hungry, then head
to the nearby Maison Blanc
caf and patisserie (tel: 01865
510 974, www.maisonblanc.
co.uk) for some mid-morning
sustenance. Located in the
peaceful St Giles area, the caf
has been serving Oxford for
more than 30 years with its
selection of scrumptious,
handmade French pastries.
For a slice of Gallic
culture, visit the Maison
Franaise (tel: 01865 274 220,

DID YOU
KNOW? s ruled

ux wa
The city of Bordea
1152 when
m
fro
by the English
aine married
Eleanor of Aquit
et, who later
en
Henry Plantag
y II of England
nr
He
g
Kin
became
the Hundred
until the end of
1453.
in
r
Wa
s
Year

If you are lucky


enough to have
lived in Paris as a
young man, then
wherever you go
for the rest of your
life it stays with
you, for Paris is a
moveable feast.

- ERNEST
HEMINGWAY

20 FRANCE MAGAZINE

ABOVE: The Oxford skyline and (LEFT) the Radcliffe Camera

www.mfo.ac.uk), a research
institute founded after World
War II for the Universities
of Paris and Oxford. The
centre organises programmes
and workshops throughout
the year for scholars and
visitors alike.
For a tasty lunch, head to
Pierre Victoire, an independent
French restaurant that prides
itself on its expertly cooked
traditional fare at affordable
prices; signature dishes include
moules marinires, fondue
savoyarde and onglet
lchalote (tel: 01865 316 616,
www.pierrevictoire.co.uk).

Round off
your day with
a visit to the
Phoenix
Picturehouse
(tel: 0871 902 5736, www.
picturehouses.co.uk/cinema/
Phoenix_Picturehouse). This
two-screen art-house cinema
shows a range of French films,
sometimes without English
subtitles, so it provides
audiences with a great chance
to immerse themselves in the
language.
Peter Stewart
For more on the city visit
www.oxfordcity.co.uk

Les aventures de Sergette


Sadly, our friend Serge
lEscargot has gone missing in
action, so we have recruited his
cousin, Sergette, to take his
place. She starts her adventures
in her native Burgundy...

WIN!

Our resident
snail is
en vacances
do you know
where she is?

LUXURY
HANDMADE
CHOCOLATES

If you know the village made famous for confectionery that Sergette is visiting, send the
answer, plus your name and address, to editorial@francemag.com or write us a postcard
(address on page 6) and you could win a 15-piece assortment of luxury handmade chocolates
that come in an elegant mahogany box (worth a total of 87) courtesy of French chocolatier
ZChocolat (www.zchocolat.com). Deadline for entries is 8 July, 2015.

The winner of the May competition is Ms Julie Shaw, from St Neots, Cambridgeshire, who
correctly identified the city of Dijon, capital of Burgundy.

www.completefrance.com

PHOTOGRAPHS: FOTOLIA

Find a French
connection on
your doorstep

Walking in
Provence

24 years of walking
holidays in France
Discover beautiful
northern Provence
on foot

Wonderful hikes,
company, food and
wine all Ive come
to expect from Hilary
Louise S.

From gentle village strolls to


spectacular summits hikes.
All levels from relaxed breaks
to challenging adventures.

The walks took us to


places wed never
have found by
ourselves in stunning
countryside, with always
a ne view at the top
John C.

Based in traditional French village


hotels offering excellent local
food and wine. Scheduled and
tailor-made trips. Small groups
led by Hilary Sharp, a qualied
English guide permanently
resident in the region.

www.provencewalk.com
www.trekkinginprovence.com
Also French, Swiss and Italian
Alps and Corsica, Summer hiking
and Winter snowshoeing trips

www.trekkinginthealps.com
For more info, contact Hilary

Email: hilaryalp@gmail.com
Tel: +33 682 654 214

www.completefrance.com

FRANCE MAGAZINE 21

Quick guide to...

Brive
Brive doesnt sound
familiar. Where is it
and why should I go?
Youll like Brive; its an
attractive town in the
Corrze dpartement
on the border between
Limousin and Prigord.
Brive-la-Gaillarde (to
give its full title) is
within easy reach of
the Dordogne Valley,
but is a little off the
beaten track, so you
wont be swamped by
other tourists if you
visit in the summer.

Sounds nice, what is


there to do?
Plenty! The town has
a pedestrianised centre
full of cafs and shops
around the church of
Saint Martin (pictured
above). To learn more
about the towns
history, visit Le Muse
Labenche (tel: (Fr) 5 55
18 17 70, http://musee
labenche.brive.fr). Book
lovers will enjoy the
annual Foire du Livre
one of Frances
largest book fairs on
6-8 November, while
rugby fans will want to
see CA Brive play in

TRAVEL
NEWS

front of a noisy 12,000


crowd at the Stade
Amde-Domenech.

in Rue Majour (tel: (Fr)


9 81 25 10 04), with
menus from 14.

What is there for


foodies?
The Saturday market
is held in the Halle
Georges Brassens
(named after the
singer-poet who wrote
about Brive markets in
Hcatombe). Stroll
among hundreds of
stalls selling everything
from fruit and cheese
to live poultry. If you
fancy a tipple, see the
local walnut liqueur
being made at the
artisanal Distillerie
Denoix (tel: (Fr) 5 55 74
34 27, www.denoix.com).

What is there to see


nearby?
Take your pick of five
Plus Beaux Villages
within an hours drive,
including the redsandstone Collongesla-Rouge, the first to
receive the accolade.

Any ideas for lunch?


You wont be
disappointed by the
food, with specialities
including foie gras,
truffles, duck and more
duck. Try the gourmet
restaurant En Cuisine
in Avenue douard
Herriot (tel: (Fr) 5 55
74 97 53, www.
encuisine.net), where
lunch menus start from
20, or Le 6me Sens

How do I get there and


where do I stay?
Brive-Valle de la
Dordogne airport is
a 20-minute drive from
the centre and has
flights from London
City and London
Stansted airports in
the summer. Relax at
the three-star hotel
La Truffe Noire, on the
edge of the traffic-free
city centre. Doubles
start at 122 (tel: (Fr)
5 55 92 45 00, www.
la-truffe-noire.com).
Emma Rawle

NORMANDY CAEN-NECTION
Anyone looking to travel to Caen this
summer will now have more choice with
news that Flybe is extending its London
Southend service to the Normandy city.
The route, which is operated by Stobart Air
and was launched last summer, has taken
more than 10,000 passengers across the
Channel. The airline will increase the
number of flights to six per week from
11 July until 29 August. Single fares from
41.18. www.flybe.co.uk

FAMILY FUN
Holiday company Pierre & Vacances has
just made booking one of its holidays even
easier for families, with the option to book
a range of meal and activity packages in
advance. The new selection of Formula
Club offers includes half-board options,
unlimited access to childrens clubs and
tailor-made inclusive activities such as
sports tournaments and nature hikes.
www.pierreetvacances.com

For more information


visit www.brivetourisme.com

Cycling specialist Freewheel Holidays has


unveiled the latest in its holiday routes,
a seven-night, self-guided journey through
the beautiful Dordogne, Prigord and
Quercy regions. The holiday will allow
visitors to discover such famous places as
Rocamadour (see page 68), Souillac and
Sarlat, with a canoe ride on the River
Dordogne also included. Prices start from
1,089pp, including seven nights halfboard accommodation, tour information
and maps. www.freewheelholidays.com

22 FRANCE MAGAZINE

www.completefrance.com

PHOTOGRAPHS: FOTOLIA

FREE SPIRIT

READY TO GO

ROUTE PLANNER

Plan your journey to France with our handy map and directory
FERRIES
Brittany Ferries
Tel: 0871 244 1400
www.brittany
ferries.co.uk
Condor Ferries
Tel: 0845 609 1024
www.condor
ferries.co.uk
DFDS Seaways
Tel: 0871 574 7235
www.dfdsseaways.co.uk
Irish Ferries
Tel: (ROI) 818 300 400
www.irishferries.com

www.completefrance.com

MyFerryLink
Tel: 0844 248 2100
www.myferrylink.com
P&O Ferries
Tel: 0871 664 2121
www.poferries.com
Stena Line
Tel: (ROI) 1 204 7777
www.stenaline.ie
Price comparison and
booking website
AFerry.co.uk
Tel: 0844 576 5503
www.aferry.co.uk

RAIL
Eurostar
Tel: 0843 218 6186
www.eurostar.com
Eurotunnel
Tel: 0844 335 3535
www.eurotunnel.com
Voyages-sncf.com
Tel: 0844 848 5848
www.voyages-sncf.com

AIRLINES
Aer Lingus
Tel: 0871 718 2020
www.aerlingus.com

Air France
Tel: 0871 663 3777
www.airfrance.co.uk

CityJet
Tel: 0871 405 2020
www.cityjet.com

Monarch
Tel: 0871 940 5040
www.monarch.co.uk

Aurigny Air Services


Tel: 01481 822 886
www.aurigny.com

easyJet
Tel: 0330 365 5000
www.easyjet.com

Norwegian
Tel: 0843 378 0888
www.norwegian.com

Blue Islands
Tel: 0845 620 2122
www.blueislands.com

Flybe
Tel: 0371 700 2000
www.flybe.com

Ryanair
Tel: 0871 246 0000
www.ryanair.com

bmi regional
Tel: 0330 333 7998
www.bmiregional.com

Jet2
Tel: 0800 408 1350
www.jet2.com

Swiss Int. Air


Tel: 0845 601 0956
www.swiss.com

British Airways
Tel: 0844 493 0787
www.britishairways.com

Lyddair
Tel: 01797 322 207
www.lyddair.com

Titan Airways
Tel: 01279 680 616
www.titan-airways.co.uk

FRANCE MAGAZINE 23

Travellers tales
What was your
last travel
experience in
France?

A professional...

Always try to speak


French, no matter how
poor your grasp of the
language. A little effort
is always appreciated.
My husband Philip and I visited
the bastide town of Belvs in
the Prigord Noir, a beautiful
part of the Dordogne.

Rgine Godfrey
Norwich, Norfolk

24 FRANCE MAGAZINE

When visiting Grasse, sidestep


the touristy centre and stay at
the Htel du Clos in nearby
Le Rouret; ask for the Ptisserie
room, which is lovely.

I went to the CharenteMaritime to watch the


departure of LHermione
the replica of Lafayettes
frigate on its maiden
voyage to the USA.

I would choose Champagne, as


its somewhere I have never
visited. I want to go to the
champagne houses and the
wonderful cathedral in Reims.

Alexandra Pinhorn
Magellan PR,
Portsmouth

A contributor...

What is your
best insider
tip on
France?

I would like to go to Albi in the


Tarn dpartement and visit
the Toulouse-Lautrec
museum.

A reader...

Carole Penfold
Smallfield, Surrey

Where
would you
like to go
next?

I spent a delightful week with


my family near the village of
Saint-Simon in the le de
France, which is close to Paris,
Disneyland, Parc Astrix
(pictured) and Thoiry castle
and safari park.

I would love to go to Corsica


and re-visit Palombaggias
stunning beach not far from
Porto-Vecchio.

Buy a tin of confit de canard


from the local supermarket.
It provides a cheap meal for
four and is ideal when you
have surprise guests.

www.completefrance.com

PHOTOGRAPHS: FOTOLIA; PARC ASTRIX/S.CAMBON; DREAMSTIME

This month we
ask a reader,
a professional
and a FRANCE
contributor
about their love
of France

ADVERTISING FEATURE

Rouen

A weekend in

The historic city has attracted


artists for more than a century,
each of them creating their own
take on Rouen. FRANCE Magazine
looks at its star attractions

PHOTOGRAPHS: HERV HUGHES/HEMIS.FR; FOTOLIA

s you stand in awe in front of the Gothic faade of


Rouens magnificent cathedral, it is easy to see why
Claude Monet felt inspired to paint it nearly
30 times. Standing in a little room above a former
lingerie shop, which is now the tourist office, Monet captured
the cathedral in its many lights, moods and seasons to show
how a solid structure can change in different light conditions.
These days, its the artists who change too; for in the same
room as Monet himself stood, visitors are invited to take part
in an art lesson to create their own impression of the cathedral.
For 28, a two-hour lesson with an expert art teacher will
teach you the same painting techniques used by the many
Impressionist painters who were attracted to Normandy in the
late 19th century, when the new railway line from Paris opened
up a new world of subjects to capture on canvas. Their work
can be seen at Rouens Muse des Beaux-Arts, which showcases
works by Alfred Sisley, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Camille
Pissarro as part of an Impressionist collection that is second in
size only to that of the Muse dOrsay in Paris. The paintings
include one of Monets Rouen Cathedral series, Grey Weather,
which is a contrast to the faade each summer evening when
a light show illuminates the building in glorious colours; this
year the alternating themes are Vikings and Joan of Arc.
The cathedrals spire is the tallest in France at 151 metres, and
it was the starting point for the citys new attraction Panorama
XXL. After taking hundreds of thousands of photographs from
the spire, modern-day artist
Yadegar Asisi, who is the
brains behind the project,
created a 12-storey
(360-metre) panorama of
Rouen using painting,
drawing and digital
techniques to give
a photorealistic view of

ABOVE: The Renaissance Gros Horloge;


RIGHT: The faade of Rouen Cathedral
inspired Claude Monet; TOP: The city
sparkles beside the River Seine

the city in the era of the Roman Emperor Constantine. Visitors


are surrounded by the huge circular painting and can admire it
from a number of levels, starting at the top and using a lift to
descend. This autumn, the panorama changes to Amazonia, a
different take on the technique. Next year it will celebrate the city
at the time of Joan of Arc, for whom the city is famous.
It was in 1431 that the heroine of France was burned at the
stake in the Place du Vieux-March by the English for being
a heretic. The citys other new attraction is the 10 million Joan
of Arc museum which allows you to witness the famous trial.
As part of the experience, visitors are led through the main
exhibition space in groups and are guided by a hologram of
Juvnal des Ursins, the ecclesiastic and judge who led Joans
posthumous trial of exoneration in 1456. Just like Panorama
XXL, its a very modern way to view the past.
Other attractions include the Gros Horloge a huge gilt
Renaissance clock sitting on an arch over the street and the
strikingly modern glise Saint-Jeanne dArc, which showcases
a huge stained-glass window rescued from a medieval church.
Along with the charming cobbled streets and timber-fronted
buildings, they make Rouen the ideal place to step back in time.
WHERE TO EAT: Rouen offers some great restaurants,
including La Couronne, which dates from 1345 and is said to
be the oldest auberge in France. Also try lOdas, which gained
a Michelin star just six months after opening in 2013, and Gill,
owned by chef Gilles Tournadre, which has held two Michelin
stars for 25 years.
WHERE TO STAY: The five-star Spa Hotel de Bourgtheroulde
offers rooms from 179 per night, while the three-star Htel du
Vieux-March offers rooms from 88 per night.
Eurotunnel Le Shuttle is the quickest way to the continent
by car. Book early and get the best fares to explore Rouen.
Visit www.eurotunnel.com
or call 0870 850 8133
to book your crossing.

Round TRIP

Cornill-les-Caves
Angers
Ancenis

Bouchemaine
Rochefort-sur-Loire
Brissac-Quinc

Nantes

DAY ONE
Your journey along the Loire Valley
begins in Angers, the historical capital of
Anjou, which is a 2hr 20min drive from
the ferry ports of Saint-Malo and Caen,
or a 1hr 35min train ride from Paris.
Stroll through the historic centre, with its
half-timbered houses and pretty htels
particuliers, towards the chteau 1 ,
which once belonged to the Plantagenet
dynasty and now houses the medieval
Apocalypse Tapestry (tel: (Fr) 2 41 86 48
77, www.angers.monuments-nationaux.fr).

26 FRANCE MAGAZINE

Visit imposing chteaux and enjoy delicious


seafood on a drive along the Loire Valley
between the cities of Angers and Nantes

On the way back, stop at the Galerie


dAngers to see works by 19th-century
sculptor David dAngers, and finish in
Place du Ralliement, the main square,
which is brimming with cafs and shops
(www.angersloiretourisme.com).
Leave Angers on the D323 and travel
15 kilometres east along the D116 to
Cornill-les-Caves, a village troglodyte
containing cave dwellings that have been
renovated to form private homes and
even hotels. After venturing into the
caves to explore this underground way of
life, walk to the popular restaurant
Au Ptit Cornill (tel: (Fr) 2 41 74 06 62)
and try its speciality, the deliciously
meaty grillades au feu de bois.

After lunch, head back towards


Angers and join the southbound A87 for
a few kilometres before leaving at exit 21
to reach the small town of Les Ponts-deC, which straddles the River Loire. Park
by the riverside and head across the large
stone bridge to admire the panoramic
views (tel: (Fr) 2 41 79 75 79,
www.ville-lespontsdece.fr).
Head along the D112 towards
Bouchemaine 2 , and then take the
D111 and D961 to Saint-Georges-surLoire via Savennires before joining the
D723 to Ancenis. This village fleuri was
once called the door to the Kingdom of
Brittany, due to its proximity to the city
of Nantes, and has a lovely medieval

www.completefrance.com

PHOTOGRAPHS: CHRISTOPHE PETITEAU/MONTEVIDEO; JEAN-DOMINIQUE BILLAUD; DAVID-EMMANUEL COHEN/HTEL SOZO;


BERTRAND RIEGER/HEMIS.FR; JEAN-DOMINIQUE BILLAUD/LVAN; FOTOLIA; JEAN-SBASTIEN EVRARD

EASY ITINERARY

6
chteau. Park by the river and explore
the charming centre.
Continue along the D723 to Nantes,
follow signs for the Gare SNCF and look
out for Rue Frdric Cailliaud, home to
the Htel Sozo 3 , which is set in
a renovated 19th-century chapel (tel: (Fr)
2 51 82 40 00, www.sozohotel.fr). Have
a meal at one of the restaurants along
Boulevard Stalingrad before returning to
the hotel, your base for two nights.

DAY TWO

The Sozos plentiful buffet breakfast will


set you up for a days sightseeing in and
around Nantes. Head first to the
Chteau des Ducs de Bretagne 4 ,
(tel: (Fr) 2 51 17 49 44, www.chateaunantes.fr) for an insight into the citys
Breton past, then walk down to the
Quai de la Fosse where youll see the
monument to the abolition of slavery
(tel: (Fr) 2 51 17 49 48, www.memorial.
nantes.fr), with 2,000 plaques
representing every slave ship that
departed from Nantes. From here take
the boat to Trentemoult, a charming
fishing village on the other side of the

www.completefrance.com

river. Enjoy a seafood lunch at La Civelle


(tel: (Fr) 2 40 75 46 60, www.lacivelle.
com) and request a table on the terrasse
for views over the Loire.
Return on the boat to Nantes and
spend the rest of the afternoon on the
le de Nantes, including a ride on the
12-metre-high mechanical elephant 5 .
The creature is one of several urban
sculptures known as Les Machines de
lle which are housed in the former
shipyards (tel: (Fr) 2 51 17 49 89,
www.lesmachines-nantes.fr).
Dinner tonight is in the village of
Vertou on the south-eastern outskirts of
Nantes (follow the signs from the city
centre). Lcluse de Vertou (tel: (Fr) 2 40
34 40 70, www.eclusevertou.com) sits
alongside the River Svre Nantaise and is
known for its seafood dishes; try the cod
with a sweet potato, butternut squash
and courgette glaze.

DAY THREE

Leave Nantes by mid-morning and


retrace your drive back to Angers as far
as Savennires. Cross the river on the
D106 and you will soon be in the village

of Rochefort-sur-Loire, where the


Domaine des Baumard (tel: (Fr) 2 41 78
70 03, www.baumard.fr) has been
producing great chenin blanc wines for
generations. Stop and buy a bottle or
two at the on-site shop.
Travel back over the river and on to
Bouchemaine for lunch at Le No
(tel: (Fr) 2 41 77 11 13, www.le-noe.com).
Try their snails in white wine followed
by a goats cheese salad. After lunch take
the D112 and D748 to the village of
Brissac-Quinc with its tufa-stone houses
and the imposing Chteau de Brissac 6 ,
(tel: (Fr) 2 41 91 22 21, www.chateaubrissac.fr). Go on a tour of the 13th Duke
of Brissacs home or stroll in the vast park.
Just outside the village, stop at
Domaine Bablut (tel: (Fr) 2 41 91 22 59,
www.vignobles-daviau.fr) to stock up
one last time on French wine. The estate
has been run by the Daviau family since
1546 and visitors can go on a guided
tour with the current owner, Christophe.
Take the D748 and the A87 back to
Angers and book into the Mercure
Angers Centre Gare (tel: (Fr) 2 41 87 37
20, www.mercure.com) for your last
night. Go out for dinner at Le Dix
Septime, one of Angers finest
restaurants (tel: (Fr) 2 41 87 92 27).
Housed in an 18th-century building, the
restaurant oozes sophistication, with chef
Richard Cerini 7 offering a creative take
on nouvelle cuisine in such dishes as
chicken in white wine with artichokes
and pine nut flavoured polenta garnish.
All thats left is to clink glasses, filled
with one of the superb local wines, and
toast a tour well done.
Peter Stewart
Enjoy this article? Tell us where youd like
your road trip to be and well plan it out
in a future edition. Email editorial@
francemag.com

FRANCE MAGAZINE 27

ACTUALITS
Keep up to date with all the
latest news from France

MAIN PICTURE: Pupils in French classrooms are facing controversial alterations in the
subjects they study; FACING PAGE: Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem

Shake-up in class

Plans by the new Education Minister to reform the French school


curriculum have caused controversy, says Paul Lamarra

he French Education
Ministers plans to reform the
school curriculum for 11 to
15 year olds have met furious
opposition from teaching unions,
intellectuals and politicians right across
the political spectrum.
Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, at 37 the
youngest and first woman ever to fill the
post, has proposed to end what the
government describes as elitism in the
collges, or middle schools, effectively by
ending the provision of Latin and Greek,
scrapping bilingual classes for the few,
extending the study of two European
languages to all 11 year olds and
introducing more practical crosscurricular projects.
Opponents say the measures will
mean mediocrity instead of equality,
and make Latin and Greek the preserve

28 FRANCE MAGAZINE

of a privately educated elite. Defending


her plans, Vallaud-Belkacem insisted the
current system was too elitist. Latin was
studied by 20 per cent and Greek by
three per cent of students; and fewer than
one-sixth participated in bilingual studies.
Although students will still be able to
study Latin and Greek through projects
or as the result of local curricular
decisions, the SNALC teaching union
believes that in the new dumbed-down
curriculum Latin for all will in reality be
Latin for anyone. Countering these
arguments in the left-leaning newspaper
Libration, Manuel Valls, the Prime
Minister, pleaded with opponents to see
the problems within French education.
International studies show beyond
doubt that our schools have become the
most unequal in Europe, said Valls.
They were no longer the bulwark they

should be against social inequality.


On the contrary the system encourages
and produces failure, exclusion, despair.
Teaching unions complain that the
reforms are ill thought out; that crosscurricular projects that blur the
boundaries between subjects, and could
include creating an educational garden or
publishing a newspaper, have been
subjected to little research and will eat
into time devoted to traditional subjects.
Although Jack Lang, the former
Socialist Education Minister under
President Mitterrand, and Jean-Marc
Ayrault, former Prime Minister and
German teacher, have both criticised the
plans, the most sustained attacks have
been from right-wing politicians and
intellectuals who see the measures as
an attack on French nationhood. Former
President Nicolas Sarkozy said the plans

www.completefrance.com

NEWS

PHOTOGRAPHS: REX FEATURES; WITT/SIPA/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK; ACTION PRESS/REX_SHUTTERSTOCK

The system
encourages and
produces failure,
exclusion, despair

destroy everything that makes the


genius of France.
Pascal Bruckner, novelist and
philosopher, wrote a polemic published
in right-wing newspaper Le Figaro saying
it was now the dunce who was the
highest common denominator and
excellence was being abandoned in
favour of an egalitarianism that confused
equality with general mediocrity.
Bruckner and far-right politicians have
also seized on changes to the history
curriculum which they allege make the
teaching of the history of Islam
compulsory yet see medieval Christianity
and the Enlightenment become optional.
There is probably here a desire for
openness towards Islam and a desire to
please newcomers by eliminating
anything that can offend, wrote
Bruckner. Supporters of the changes
point out that the study of Islam has
been compulsory since 1957 and that the
Enlightenment and medieval Christianity
remain a core part of the curriculum.
Through the reforms VallaudBelkacem has also sought to undermine
traditional teaching methods that are
widely regarded as overly harsh with an
emphasis on rote learning. Students are
bored, parents feel helpless and teachers

NEWS
IN BRIEF
The 160th edition of
Le Pett Larousse is to
include selfie. It will be
added along with 150
other new words such
as focaccia and vegan.
However, despite the
inclusion, it is only the
Acadmie Franaise that

www.completefrance.com

are bridled, was Vallaud-Belkacems


frank assessment of the status quo, which
teachers seem to have taken personally.
The teaching unions also claimed that
the changes were being rushed through
without adequate consultation and
would require yet more training.
It is clear that the French education
system does produce excellence but
despite claiming more Nobel literature
prizes and Fields medals (the Nobel
equivalent in mathematics) than any
other nation, wider educational
achievement is falling. In the most recent
international league tables comparing the
performance of 15 year olds in maths,
science and reading in 65 countries and
cities, France slipped three places to 25th.
This is just above average but, crucially,
way behind rival Germany in 10th.
The Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development, which
compiles the tables, was anxious to stress
that inequality in French education was
a growing problem. It found that those
from a disadvantaged background were
much less likely to succeed in 2012 than
they had been in 2003.
I listen to the critics and they
surprise me, wrote Valls. The debate is
not between elitism and egalitarianism
it is between those who think that some
can succeed only if we condemn some of
our children to fail, and those who think
that all can, and deserve to, succeed.

can deem them official


French words.
More than a dozen
endangered monkeys
have been stolen from
a zoo in Beauval in
central France. Thieves
evaded the security
systems to make off
with ten silver
marmosets and seven
golden lion tamarins.

A Matisse painting
looted by the Nazis from
Paul Rosenberg, a Jewish
art dealer, is to be
returned to his heirs.
Among the beneficiaries
will be his granddaughter
Anne Sinclair, ex-wife of
Dominique StraussKahn, the former head
of the IMF. Experts have
estimated its value at
60 million.

Cest qui?
Every month we cast a spotlight
on a figure making headlines
Name: Marina Picasso.
Occupation: Philanthropist.
Tell me more: As granddaughter of
the artist Pablo Picasso, Marina was
heir to a huge hoard of the artists
work and La Californie, the 1920s
villa near Cannes where the artist
lived with his second wife
Jacqueline Roque.
Marina, 64, got
her inheritance when
she was 22 and sold
many of the works to
fund a childrens
hospital in Vietnam
and projects to assist
troubled teenagers
and the elderly in
Switzerland. Three of
Marinas five children
were adopted from Vietnam.
In May she announced the sale
of La Californie and told Nice-Matin
newspaper the house held painful
memories. Her father, Paulo, was
Picassos son by his first wife Olga
Khokhlova, the Russian ballerina.
Marina recalls she and her brother
Pablito being sent by her hard-up
father to La Californie to beg for
money from her grandfather.
Jacqueline Roque, his second wife,
frequently subjected them to long
waits at the gates, and also barred
them from Picassos funeral in 1973.
Rumours suggest that Marina,
who renovated La Californie and
renamed it Pavillon de Flore, has
received an offer of 150 million for
the property. She also plans to sell
126 of the artists ceramics, which
Sothebys expects to achieve around
8 million at auction. Picassos
Women of Algiers recently went for
115 million the most expensive
painting ever sold at auction.
On this occasion Marina has said
she will use the money raised to
fund projects for teenagers and the
elderly in France.

FRANCE MAGAZINE 29

Every month we explain the


background to a top news story
Why is it claimed that France owes
reparations to former colony Haiti?
President Franois Hollande, ahead
of the first visit to the former
French colony of Haiti, caused
a Twitter storm when he appeared
to announce that he would pay off
the former colonys debts. Aides
were quick to stress the President
was referring to a moral debt.
The misunderstanding was
particularly sensitive because
Haitians believe that the nations
poverty is in large part due to
compensation extracted by France
when the Caribbean state became
independent in 1804.
A trade embargo and a naval
blockade were only lifted when Haiti
agreed to pay 150 million gold
francs in compensation to slave
traders and French settlers. The
so-called independence debt was
later reduced to 90 million gold
francs and paid off in full in 1953.
Many Haitians believe this money
should be returned to Haiti along
with 17 billion in reparations.
Ahead of the visit, four Haitian
writers said in the newspaper
Libration that it was more
important for France to face up to
its colonial injustices and help Haiti
to develop profitable agribusinesses
and advance infrastructure projects.
Hopefully this short trip after two
centuries of difficult relationships
between the two countries, marks
a turning point that goes beyond
symbolic, they added.

30 FRANCE MAGAZINE

Plans announced by Nicolas Sarkozy,


the former President, to change the
name of the right-wing UMP party to
Les Rpublicains is to face a court
challenge. Left-wing organisations
launched the legal move on the grounds that it appropriates a concept that in fact
belongs to all French citizens.
Sarkozy, chairman and favourite to be the partys presidential candidate in 2017,
claimed that the era of acronyms was over and added: It is high time we stood up for
the values of the Republic rather than destroying them.
The new name was given cautious approval by the party leadership; however, polls
suggest that the change will be rejected by 61 per cent of the party membership. Polls
also found that more than half regard the name Les Rpublicains as too American.

Hebdo cartoonist
quits magazine
Rnald Luz Luzier, the Charlie Hebdo
cartoonist, has announced that he will
leave the satirical magazine following
the shooting dead of 12 of his
colleagues by two Islamic extremists.
Luzier, who penned the magazines
front-cover cartoon of the Prophet
Mohammed in the immediate
aftermath of the attack, revealed that
continuing to work at Charlie Hebdo was too much to bear.
His resignation follows reports of staff unrest at the magazine, with some
of the surviving journalists now demanding an equal share in the ownership of
what has become a top-selling publication. Zineb El Rhazoui, an outspoken
Charlie Hebdo journalist who has expressed her unhappiness at how the
magazine is being run, claims management has initiated disciplinary action.

Late mowing to save the bees


The green fringes of Frances 12,000
kilometres of routes nationales and
autoroutes are to be mown only after
the flowering of the many plants that
grow there has taken place.
Ecology Minister Sgolne Royal
presented the three-year experiment as
part of a national action plan, entitled
France a land of pollinators, to
safeguard bees and other beneficial insects
from harmful insecticides.
It is hoped that the late mowing will result in a 30 per cent increase in the diversity
of pollinating insects in the country. The action plan also makes provision for several
hundred educational beehives to be started in municipalities across France.
The plight of the bee, deemed essential for the survival of flowering plants and
food crops, was highlighted in a report compiled by the European Academies Science
Advisory Council.

www.completefrance.com

PHOTOGRAPHS: DREAMSTIME; SIPA/REX_SHUTTERSTOCK; MEDIA/REX_SHUTTERSTOCK; G. VARELA/SIPA/REX_SHUTTERSTOCK; REPORTING BY PAUL LAMARRA

La grande
question

Sarkozy seeks to
re-name party

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Email: lemoulindeluhan@yahoo.fr
32 FRANCE MAGAZINE

www.completefrance.com

PLACES

Vignette

In those days the Saturday market was rather less


tranquil and beautiful than today; it was something
of a traffic island, boxed in on all sides by vehicles.
Now, it is paved and with bars and restaurants, with
awnings of yellow and green and blue, orange
cushion covers and red and white stripes. Six-storey
buildings are on all four sides, the centre dominated
by an ornate 18th-century fountain dedicated to
Best-selling
Neptune, complete with dolphins and water
novelist Kate
nymphs, fashioned from marble quarried from
Mosse OBE is
nearby Caunes.
celebrating ten
I like to imagine the market has changed little for
years since the
generations, though of course it has. The branches of
publication of
the spreading plane trees are green in summer and
Labyrinth, the
painted in tones of copper, pale green and gold in
first in her trilogy
autumn. Beneath them, umbrellas and brightly
of novels set in
nown by the Carcassonnais variously as
coloured parasols shelter the farmers and sellers from
Languedoc. For
Place Royale, Place Vieille, Place
the wind or the sun. Willow paniers contain fresh
more information,
Impriale, Place de la Rvolution, not to
vegetables, fruit and garden herbs, cut flowers and
visit www.kate
forget Place aux Herbes (the most ancient
planted baskets, tall orchids and delphiniums.
mosse.co.uk
of the names), Place Carnot is the beating heart
My favourite stall sells upwards of 20 kinds of
of the Basse-Ville. This is the lower town of
olives black and green, spiced, herbed and oiled,
Carcassonne, which sprang up when Saint Louis
and served from large plastic bowls. There are cashew nuts and
expelled the remaining inhabitants of the medieval Cit on the
pistachios, too; yellow mas grill and sour black-pepper biscuits
hill following the vicious 13th-century Crusades launched
to serve with a glass of Guignolet, the local liqueur. The next
against the independence of the Midi.
stall sells tomatoes, water melons
It is where my husband and I first arrived in November 1989,
and apricots; in June, cherries; in
at the beginning of our quarter of a century love affair with
July, figs; later in the season,
Carcassonne. Under a blue cathedral sky we walked from the
blackberries. At the far north-east
railway station at the top of the town and along the rue pitonne
corner, there is a bread stall with
(in fact, named Rue Georges Clemenceau, though no one calls it
plaited couronne and pain bio, as
that), the damp Cers wind announcing the rain to come. We
well as ficelle and brioche and
strolled over the criss-cross of streets and came to Place Carnot.
home-baked madeleine cakes. The last stall on the row sells
It was a Saturday morning and the market was in full swing.
chvre (goats cheese), of three days, five days or a weeks
We found a table at Bar Flix and drank chocolat chaud,
strength. Honey, too a Midi speciality.
surrounded by old men drinking panach (shandy) or delicate
There are, of course, markets like this all over France. One of
thimbles of Corbires ros. Fifteen years later, when I was
the attractions for most British tourists is this insistence on fresh,
finishing the novel that would become Labyrinth, one of the lead
local produce. But for me, Place Carnot is special because it
characters, Audric Baillard, enters Carcassonne by the same
remains so utterly and completely itself. It is manageable, this
route. When he reaches Place Carnot, he knows he is home.
riot of Saturday colour. It has everything you need and nothing
I felt and still feel the same.
In Sepulchre, my heroine Lonie is beguiled
more. You can watch or shop, buy for a picnic, for a banquet or
by the impressive department store,
simply for lunch. All of us are in the same shared space.
Paris-Carcassonne selling everything from
Most of all, it is a mixture of history and tradition: the cheese
fabric to fishing tackle. In Citadel, the
and the bread, the flowers and the wine, and the saucisson sec.
courageous men and women of the
Place Carnot is not just somewhere to buy or to sell, but a place
Resistance pass information to one another
to dream and feel part of something, as it has been for centuries.
in a bar backing from Place Carnot on to
the narrow Rue de lAigle dOr.
Eat out in Carcassonne see our guide on page 80.

Carcassonne

market

Author Kate Mosse is always


entranced by the Saturday
market in Place Carnot

PHOTOGRAPH: MARK RUSHER; ILLUSTRATIONS: MELISSA WOOD

www.completefrance.com

FRANCE MAGAZINE 33

Alexis Marbury Sheehy

Why is everything in France


so beautiful?!
visiting smaller vineyards or small local
producers. There is no pressure to buy;
instead it is more a case of this is one
weve made, were proud of it, were sure
youll like it. And if you dont they will
find one that you do.
Peter Brambley
Spondon, Derby

Constant inspiration
Unfortunately, I didnt discover
FRANCE Magazine until the spring of
1995, so I missed the first few editions.
Since then it has been a constant source
of inspiration for places to visit and
things to do. Therefore I was very
interested in the May edition, which
marked the 200th issue by naming the
200 best experiences in France.
As I read the magazine I began to
wonder just how many of these
experiences I had enjoyed myself
(including only the named restaurant,
hotel or vineyard, where given) and
started counting. I was amazed to
discover that I had chalked up no fewer
than 73 of your top 200 in the 20 years
that I have been a subscriber.
On reflection, why should I be
surprised, when FRANCE Magazine has
been my inspiration for those places to
visit? Thank you for giving me 20 years
of fantastic experiences. I look forward
to the next 200 inspirational issues!
Adrian Walter
Hertford

YOUR LETTERS

Say bonjour to...


The French Group, Taunton

The University of the Third Age (U3A) is


an organisation aimed at older people that
began in Toulouse and took off in the
United Kingdom in the 1980s. A network
of local groups is run by volunteers and
operates as a learning cooperative using
knowledge and experiences of members.
When U3A launched in Taunton, a French Group was formed
in the town with the aim that everyone should enjoy French, whatever their level.
Fortnightly meetings take place outside the town in Creech St Michael village hall.
Members can improve their French through group book club sessions, with
novels ranging from Marcel Pagnols Jean de Florette to Albert Camuss Ltranger.
There are also French film nights held throughout the year in members homes.
Other events in the calendar include a thoroughly enjoyable new year lunch,
along with regular conversation evenings with other Francophiles about their
experiences in France. The group hopes to continue to teach the importance of
French language and culture in the Taunton area for many years to come.
www.u3asited.org.uk
Do you belong to a group with French connections? Tell us all about it by emailing
editorial@francemag.com or write to the address on the facing page.

Lifting the spirits


I have just found this photo of my
husband (below) taken in the lovely
village of Saint-Satur, near Sancerre.
He is pictured reading a much earlier
issue of FRANCE Magazine we have
been receiving your publication every
month from the very first edition back
in 1990. We love the magazine for the
way it lifts our spirits in the winter
months and all its wonderful summer
holiday inspiration, too. Keep up the
excellent work!
Dr and Mrs S La Frenais
Runcorn, Cheshire

READER POLL

How often do you return


to the same holiday
destination in France?
Always Often Sometimes Never

Fill in our online poll at:


http://sameplaces.questionpro.com
LAST MONTH WE ASKED:

Are you satisfied with the


level of your French?

YES
56%

No
44%

You can find FRANCE Magazines


new updated index for issues 100-200
on our website via this link:
www.completefrance.com/FMIndex

www.completefrance.com

FRANCE MAGAZINE 35

Where to stay...
Beside the sea

LHERMITAGE BARRIRE,
La Baule
There is something undeniably soulstirring about waking up to the sight and
sounds of the sea. From my bedroom
balcony, I wipe slumber from my eyes
while watching the hazy morning sunshine
spread across the cobalt-blue ocean as it
laps softly at swathes of golden sand.
Im staying in the five-star
LHermitage Barrire hotel, which
occupies a prime position along the
seafront promenade of La BauleEscoublac. The resort in the LoireAtlantique dpartement is not only
blessed with a nine-kilometre beach

36 FRANCE MAGAZINE

one of the longest in Europe but


many beautiful villas, high-end boutiques
and casinos.
The hotel, built in 1929, is a bastion
of old-word elegance, with a sprawling,
half-timbered faade complete with
pointed roofs and jolly red balconies.

Inside, a makeover has given the place


a sense of renewed splendour. Between
the soaring ceilings and gleaming
polished floors of the foyer, youll find
satin-soft sofas and tiered chandeliers,
gilded mirrors and rococo lights, with
glass doors opening on to an outdoor
swimming pool. Rooms, all 200 of them,
take on a nautical sophistication;
mine was spacious and themed in cream
and marine in perfect harmony with
my sea view.
Those not itching to bury their toes in
the sand can make for the gym, indoor
pool or sauna. After a three-course buffet
breakfast of fresh fruit salad and cereal,

www.completefrance.com

PHOTOGRAPHS: FABRICE RAMBERT; ROBBIE CONDER


ADDITIONAL REPORTING: ELEANOR OKANE

Whether youre taking buckets and spades or surfboards, we have


found great accommodation for your holiday on the French coast

WHERE TO STAY
THE BEACHHOUSE,
Gironde
A trip to the seaside is a chance for
a good old-fashioned holiday where you
get back to basics. This 1930s house lies
just five minutes from Girondes Atlantic
coast and is full of charm. Original
features, bleached floorboards and
vintage touches evoke childhood holidays
and memories of sun-drenched trips to
the beach armed with buckets and
spades, blankets and picnic hampers.
The house has seven bedrooms but

still feels cosy and there is a 20-metre


terrace with plenty of room to stretch
out, play board games and compare
suntans. Situated in Montalivet, the
Beachhouse is a two-minute stroll from
the towns daily market where you can
stock up on seafood and Mdoc wines
for a long, lazy lunch on the veranda.
23 Avenue de la Brde Montalivet
33930 Vendays-Montalivet
Tel: (Fr) 5 56 09 32 65
www.sawdays.co.uk
Sleeps 16; from 1,200 per week.

croissants and eggs, I sashay to the


treatment rooms for an hour-long
back massage, which makes me feel
deliciously decadent.
From the lobby, a path leads directly
to the Eden Beach, the hotels idyllic
beachfront restaurant, which has
a breezy, laid-back feel and serves
delicious platters of seafood. The
speciality is bar en croute de sel, a whole
sea bass baked in a thick salt crust to
keep it moist and juicy.
In the afternoon, I drag myself away
from the hotel and walk into the centre
of town. I weave through the boulevards
admiring the flamboyant villas, built in
all manner of brick, wood, glass and
mosaic tiles, which look like something
out of a fairy tale. On my way back,
I cant resist the beach for a tranquil
stroll in the sunset, making a perfect end
to my seaside stay.
Zo McIntyre
5 Esplanade Lucien Barrire
44500 La Baule-Escoublac
Tel: (Fr) 2 40 11 46 46
www.lucienbarriere.com
Doubles from 175 including breakfast.

www.completefrance.com

FRANCE MAGAZINE 37

Just a short hop south from Calais on


the Cte dOpale, the Htel du Parc at
Hardelot-Plage is a great destination
for beach-lovers of the active
persuasion. With tennis courts, golf
courses and horse-riding activities all
easily to hand, its a great place to
breathe in the sea air and get your
heart pumping. The Htel du Parc is
part of the Najeti group, which has
several hotels (many focused on golf)
across France. This particular hotel
offers 81 rooms and ten apartments,
along with a bar, restaurant, heated
outdoor pool, tennis courts and
(somewhat untidy) ptanque court.
Our twin room was big, bright and
airy, with a balcony at the back looking
out toward the pine trees that cover
the landscape between the hotel and
the beach, two kilometres away.
Decorated in light green and white,
with green-checked bedspreads, the
colour scheme was a little dated, but
mod cons came in the shape of

38 FRANCE MAGAZINE

a flat-screen TV offering French


channels, and a nice modern bathroom
with excellent shower and big fluffy
towels. Sadly tea and coffee making
facilities were absent, which seems
a shame with such a frequently British
clientele. Thankfully breakfast offered
a great spread and choice, and we
tucked in enthusiastically before
heading to the nearby aquarium
Nausica at Boulogne for a closer look
at life beneath the ocean waves.
Carolyn Boyd
111 Avenue Franois 1er
62152 Hardelot
Tel: (Fr) 3 21 33 22 11
www.parc.najeti.fr
Doubles from 79, breakfast 16.

LES CRIQUES DE
PORTEILS, Pyrnes-Orientales
Camping holidays and five-star luxury
are not two things you would
automatically put together but the two
go hand in hand at Les Criques de
Porteils. The Mediterranean setting
alone, between Collioure and Argelssur-Mer, is enough to make this
a memorable experience. Hard-core
campers can pitch their tents while
campervans and caravans are also
welcome. You can hire a mobile home or
choose to unfurl your sleeping bag in
a Polynesian-style wooden cottage or
far. Car-free visitors can reserve pitches
with easy access to the coastal path for
walks towards Argels and Collioure.
At the on-site restaurant you can dine
on Catalan dishes and enjoy panoramic
views over the resorts private beaches.
Nature lovers will lap up the rocky
coastline and secluded coves while
watersports fans can explore this heritage
area by stand-up paddleboard or
immerse themselves in the azure waters
of the Cerbre-Banyuls marine reserve
on a scuba dive.
Corniche de Collioure RD114
66701 Argels-sur-Mer
Tel: (Fr) 4 68 81 12 73
www.lescriques.co.uk
Camping pitches from 24.50 per night;
mobile homes from 299 per week.

www.completefrance.com

PHOTOGRAPHS: PETER ALLAN; CHTEAUX & HTELS COLLECTION

Htel du Parc,
Hardelot,
Nord-Pas-de-Calais

WHERE TO STAY

Rsidence de France,
La Rochelle
As the name suggests, the Rsidence
de France wants to recreate the
experience of visiting an ambassadorial
home, where guests are pampered and
introduced to the finer things in life.
While there is no platter of Ferrero
Rocher in the foyer, there is certainly
a sense that guests at this La Rochelle
hotel, part of the Chteaux & Htels
Collection, are being spoilt rotten.
Stroll through the labyrinthine
ground floor and you discover
a delightful courtyard complete with
heated swimming pool that is ideal
for a late-afternoon glass of champagne
(the nearby bar runs 24 hours) or
a sunning session on one of the
deckchairs that are scattered around.

HTEL MERCURE LES


3 LES, Chtelaillon-Plage

Indoors, shady rooms, suites and


self-catering apartments offer welcome
relief from the summer heat and are
spacious and well designed. On the top
floor the Grand Panoramic Apartments
live up to their name, offering unique
views over La Rochelle, while the
100 square metre Presidential Suite, in
the 18th-century part of the hotel,
hosted Spains then prime minister
Jos-Maria Aznar during a FrancoSpanish political summit in 1998.
In the ground-floor dining area,
chefs serve up meals for the most
discerning palates, using produce from
the nearby le de R and le dOlron
and regions of western France.
The hotels biggest selling point,
however, is its amazing location.
Situated in the heart of La Rochelle
between the cathedral and the
19th-century market hall, it is less than
a ten-minute walk to the Vieux-Port.
There you can sit near the waters edge
and enjoy fine seafood before returning
to a hotel that is fit for an ambassador
and his most demanding guests.
Pierre de Villiers
43 Rue du Minage
17000 La Rochelle
Tel: (Fr) 5 46 28 06 00
www.chateauxhotels.com
Doubles from 110, breakfast 15.

Located half way down the Charente


Maritime coast between the towns of
La Rochelle and Rochefort, ChtelaillonPlage, with its four-kilometre strip of
golden sands, is a popular haunt for
those simply looking for a relaxing beach
break. The 79-room Htel Mercure is
conveniently located on the edge of the
town in its own grounds looking out
over the beachs southern fringes. The
complex boasts large whitewashed rooms
set through a maze of interconnecting
corridors over two or three floors and
an extensive car park to the front. The
pice de rsistance has to be the sweeping
sea panorama that comes as standard
with the rooms, best enjoyed around
sunset with a glass of your favourite
tipple in hand.
Avenue de la Falaise
17340 Chtelaillon-Plage
Tel: (Fr) 5 46 56 14 14
www.3iles.fr
Doubles from 80, breakfast 12.80.

www.completefrance.com

FRANCE MAGAZINE 39

HTEL DEMEURE LES


MOUETTES, Corsica
The le de Beaut has more than 1,000
kilometres of coastline so if youre after
a seaside stay, Corsica has plenty of
choice. The Htel Demeure les Mouettes
is in a 19th-century villa with a private
beach close to the centre of the islands
capital, Ajaccio, making it an inviting
place to retreat to after a morning
enjoying the sights of the port.
The large terrace with saltwater pool
is shaded by pine trees and the place to
snooze away an afternoon. If youre
feeling more energetic, borrow a snorkel
and fins from reception and plunge into
the clear waters of the bay below.
9 Cours Lucien Bonaparte
20000 Ajaccio
Tel: (Fr) 4 95 50 40 40
www.chateauxhotels.com
Doubles from 95; breakfast 21.

40 FRANCE MAGAZINE

www.completefrance.com

WHERE TO STAY

PHOTOGRAPHS: CHTEAUX & HTELS COLLECTION

VILLA BIDART,
Pyrnes-Atlantiques
The Basque Country is known for its
stout homes, painted white with lime and
half-timbered in red and now you have
the chance to stay in one. This villa, in
the village of Bidart, has direct access to
the beach and mixes traditional Basque
architecture with modern comforts
including a state-of-the-art kitchen and
heated infinity pool. Light and airy, the
house has six en-suite bedrooms and
plenty of windows to take advantage of
the glorious views.
The villa overlooks the Cte Basque,
which has some of the best surfing in
Europe as well as being home to several
golf courses and hydrotherapy spas; the
area is great for walkers, too. If you want
to take it easy, spend a day browsing the
chic shops of nearby Biarritz or visit the
little fishing port of Saint-Jean-de-Luz for
a traditional lunch of toro, a stew of fish
and peppers.
64210 Bidart
Tel: 0800 133 7999
www.oliverstravels.com
Sleeps 12; from 6,288 per week.

Htel Oceania,
Saint-Malo
For those seeking a relaxing seaside
stay close to the UK, the fortified town
of Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast
makes an excellent choice. The Oceania
Saint-Malo is a stones throw from the
winding streets of the old town,
enjoying a prime location along
a promenade overlooking the widest
stretch of the Plage du Sillon.
The building is an ultra-modern,
glass-fronted affair with huge doors
leading into a lobby that shouts design
hotel, with its sleek minimalist
interiors, oak-coloured parquet floors
and colourful wedge furniture.
I had arrived with my family quite
early in the day, having just got off the
ferry, but the helpful check-in staff
were happy to hand us the keys to two
top-floor rooms. I opened my door and
gasped in admiration at what lay
before me: an incredibly spacious
room, lined with egg-shell white walls,
a huge double bed, wall-to-wall
wardrobes and a super-size whirlpool

www.completefrance.com

bath. With a flick of a switch a 48-inch


plasma TV screen descended from the
ceiling, while background lighting
added a peaceful maritime-blue hue to
all four corners of the room.
The high point came when I threw
back the cream, geometric print
curtains to behold a jaw-droppingly
long glass-fronted balcony with great
views over the beach and beyond.
The hotel does not have
a restaurant, but snacks are available
from the bar and there are plenty of
places to indulge in the local seafood in
the old town, five minutes walk away.
The hearty buffet breakfast next
morning offered a wide choice
including a crpe station, omelettes
and seven types of tea, which rounded
off my enjoyable stay.
Peter Stewart
Chausse du Sillon
2 Rue Joseph Loth
35400 Saint-Malo
Tel: (Fr) 2 99 56 36 36
www.oceaniahotels.com
Doubles from 95, breakfast 11.

FRANCE MAGAZINE 41

Htel Best Western Le


Champlain, La Rochelle
If youre looking for an authentic
French hotel experience in La Rochelle
sidestep the big chain hotels lining the
modern port and seek out the Htel
Le Champlain. Just five minutes walk
from the Vieux Port, this quaint
establishment, housed in a htel
particulier, is an instant charmer.
Walking in through the small stone
entrance, guests are met by imposing
chandeliers, stone pillars and a grand
staircase complete with gold
balustrades, all of which immediately
give the place an ornate edge.
The staircase leads to the bedrooms
and suites, laid out over three floors.
I unbolted the tall wooden door to
my room to find a spacious chambre
where contemporary design met
classical style, with a huge bed,
floor-length satin curtains and
period furniture. The rooms
oversized windows looked on

to a delightful back garden bursting


with cherry blossom.
I couldnt locate the bathroom at
first, but after a few minutes I came
across a door which looked as if it were
part of the wall. It led me into a room
of pure comfort complete with
super-size rainwater shower. Breakfast
was an equally pleasant experience,
served in one of several elegant public
rooms on the ground floor. I joined the
other guests and we looked out over
the garden as we munched on
a generous assortment of pastries,
cheeses, yoghurt, cereals and fruit.
I checked out feeling completely
refreshed and raring to discover the
delights of this pretty port town.
Peter Stewart
20-30 Rue Rambaud
17000 La Rochelle
NEXT
Tel: (Fr) 5 46 41 34 66
MONTH
www.hotelchamplain.com
G R E AT
PLACES TO
Doubles from 84,
S TAY F O R
breakfast 12.
ACTIVIT Y
H O L I D AY S

42 FRANCE MAGAZINE

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FRANCE MAGAZINE 43

The real
Clochemerle

PHOTOGRAPHS: STOCKFOLIO/ALAMY; RAY KERSHAW

The Beaujolais village that inspired a much-loved


comic novel in the 1930s still enjoys a bucolic
way of life, as Ray Kershaw discovers

MAIN PICTURE: The village of Vaux-en-Beaujolais,


inspiration for Gabriel Chevalliers novel Clochemerle;
INSET: Ray Kershaws 1962 Penguin edition

44 FRANCE MAGAZINE

www.completefrance.com

disgust of politics and war. Yearning for tranquillity, at


weekends he fled to Vaux-en-Beaujolais. In Clochemerle he
wrote: Though not well known to tourists, it is one of Frances
sunniest and most picturesque corners, reserved for select and
discerning devotees. He would still find it much the same.
Chevalliers observations of village intrigues, combined with
his gift for political satire, joyfully alchemised into Clochemerle
pure gold. Vaux in disguise became an international superstar

Four senior citoyens are playing


ptanque, punctuating games
with glasses of red wine

THIS PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM


TOP LEFT: Retired winegrowers
playing ptanque in
Vaux-en-Beaujolais; Alain
Clment has the nez suprme,
according to his friends;
Ray at the entrance to the
villages real pissotire

yet, characteristically, few new Clochemerlins denounced the


scurrilous portrayal. Instead they named a street after the
author and joined in the fun as they still do today.
On a sandy terrace overlooking the vines four frisky senior
citoyens are playing ptanque, punctuating games with glasses
of red wine. They might have stepped from the novel. But first
things first: is this Clochemerle or Vaux? Clochemerle!
Theyre unanimous. Clochemerle all our lives! They are
retired vignerons. I quote from chapter three:
Clochemerlins are a proud and hardSAME
headed race with a taste for independence.
PLACE,
Unanimity again. Their noses are enormous
DIFFERENT
PACE
sometimes purple, sometimes violet:
Beaujolais noses that inspire confidence!
Fingering their own, they laughingly
The beau in Beaujolais isnt confined to delectable wines. Few parts of France offer more
decide that Alain Clment, the man doing
enticing landscapes to explore on foot, by bike or on leisurely motor tours. Age-old villages,
the pouring, has the Clochemerle nez
museums and gourmet inns abound. The brand-new Beaujolais wine route for two wheels
suprme. His suntanned face would cloak
or four winds 140 idyllic kilometres from Saint-Amour in the north to the outskirts of Lyon.
the proudest blush. In fact, between the four
There are 500 kilometres of well-marked VTT (Vlo Tout Terrain) trails for mountain
of them, there doesnt seem much in it.
bikers as well as countless rambles for walkers. The Sentier Victor roams 100 kilometres
I remind them that the novels champion
between vineyards and forests while the 80-kilometre Sentier Estelle seesaws on the
drinker won the coveted Premier Biberon
crests of the Monts du Beaujolais. Both trails start from the Mcon-Loch TGV
title by downing 321 glasses during the 1887
station, 90 minutes from Paris, and baggage-free itineraries are easily arranged
Fte de Saint Roch. Can any of them match
(www.beaujolaisvignoble.com).
him? Still unbeaten, they say, though they
Beaujolaiss rich prehistoric culture can be explored in the museum next to the Roche
were trying their best. Judging by their grins,
du Solutr, a soaring 500-metre-high crag just west of Mcon (tel: (Fr) 3 85 35 82 81,
this is probably a joke.
www.solutre.com). For medieval magnificence, stroll around the 12th-century cloisters of
In the interests of 21st-century hygiene
the Salles-Arbuissonnas priory (tel: (Fr) 4 74 07 31 94, www.salles-arbuissonnas.fr).
there is now a gleaming, antiseptic sanitary
The regions sleepy capital of Beaujeu, from which the wine is named, is linked to the
facility for the convenience of Clochemerle
remarkable Anne de Beaujeu. In the 15th century she ruled France as regent, sorted out the
fans, who arrive, often by the busload,
Hundred Years War and popularised the handkerchief (tel: (Fr) 4 74 04 87 75, www.beaujeu.fr).
brimming bonhomie after visiting the cave.
Discover villages perchs such as Ternand (tel: (Fr) 4 72 29 27 76, www.amis-ternand.com,
However, Alain confides, the real pissotire
and multi-towered chteaux in the villages of Jarnioux (tel: (Fr) 4 74 03 80 85,
still exists and functions over from the
www.jarnioux.fr) and Corcelles (tel: (Fr) 4 74 66 00 24, www.chateaudecorcelles.fr).
church. After two glasses of their rouge, Im

Explore the heritage of Beaujolais


beyond the famous vineyards

46 FRANCE MAGAZINE

www.completefrance.com

CLOCHEMERLE

PHOTOGRAPHS: RAY AND ALICE KERSHAW

THIS PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM


FAR LEFT: Frescoes featuring
characters from Clochemerle
adorn buildings in the centre
of the village; Jean-Luc
Longre in the familys Les
Roches vineyard; Chef Romain
Barthes wife Delphine with
an edition of Clochemerle;
The replica pissotire in the
Place du Petit-Tertre

inspired to take a peek and, yes, it is true not as ornamental as


the village square edition, yet blessedly authentic.
The church was the setting for the chapter-long brawl when
pissotire passions, pro and con, began to hot up. On a nearby
talking floral bench we follow every kick and punch as
entertainingly related in both English and French on an audio
guide. Several of these bilingual benches mark the sites of
memorable scenes. In the museums stage-sized window,
a rotating model theatre performs the sauciest bits.
The adjacent Cave de Clochemerle is part wine cellar, part
bar and part treasury of Chevallier memorabilia. We sample
Cuve Clochemerle and Cuve Ponosse, the latter named after
the wine-guzzling priest who was also fond of the ladies. Let it
be said, in the interests of equality, that it is the canny women
in Clochemerle who rule the village roost.
The museum and cave are managed by a confrrie of growers
including Jean-Luc Longre, whose family has had vineyards
high above Le Perron for six generations. Le Perron, Vauxs
twin village and Clochemerles Bas Bourg where the riff-raff live,
remains as insouciantly workaday as when Chevallier drank
there. The price of a rouge at Jean-Lucs local caf wouldnt
shock him either.
Jean-Luc says he is the worlds happiest man. Every morning
he climbs to his Les Roches vineyard, where he can see most of
Beaujolais and sometimes Mont Blanc. The familys five hectares

www.completefrance.com

Clochemerle or Vaux? Vaux on


the bus stop Clochemerle in
our hearts, says Jean-Luc
are a typically sized Beaujolais holding. From pruning and
grafting to winemaking and bottling, he and his wife Rgine do
everything themselves. Relatives help with the vendange. Up at
Les Roches, he plucks us a grape. To us it seems perfection but
centuries of winemaking are imprinted in his genes. Encore un
jour, peut-tre. This sun will make the sugars soar.
Just across the valley, radiant in the sunshine, is Le Perrons
famous sibling. Clochemerle or Vaux? Jean-Luc laughs. Vaux
on the bus stop Clochemerle in our hearts. Like his father,
who knew the author, he loves Clochemerle and its two sequels.
However, his favourite Chevallier work is La Peur, a searing
anti-war novel chronicling the authors harrowing years in the
trenches during which he was awarded both the Croix de
Guerre and the Lgion dhonneur. Published in 1930, La Peur
sold 30,000 copies before being banned as detrimental to French
soldiers fighting spirit. Under the farce, Jean-Luc says, its
all there too in Clochemerle the same hypocrisy, lies and
political stupidity but in Clochemerle its funny. Chevallier
was a genius. Were proud he chose us.
Chevallier always stayed at the same inn, renamed the
Auberge de Clochemerle during the 1970s. The noted Lyon

FRANCE MAGAZINE 47

Young pickers are harvesting


the sun-swollen grapes. They
look suntanned and carefree
villages sometimes appears incandescent. Hillsides and valleys
glow with wall-to-wall vineyards. Although every small
producer is fiercely independent some making wines for laying
down, some making Beaujolais Nouveau their only legal
appellation is AOC Beaujolais. This is the source of Lyons
legendary third river: the mighty river of Beaujolais that flows
through every bar and caf between the Sane and the Rhne.
The vendange is in full swing. Constellations of young
pickers are assiduously harvesting the sun-swollen grapes. They
look suntanned and carefree, perspiring but ebullient, making

Beaujolais in brief
North to south, Beaujolais
extends 58 kilometres with
altitudes up to 700 metres.
Around 2,500 growers have
estates, with an average size
of just under ten hectares.
Red Beaujolais is made
exclusively from gamay noir
jus blanc grapes. More
than half the worlds gamay
grows here.
Beaujolais should be served
between 13C and 15C err
always on the cool side.

48 FRANCE MAGAZINE

Surprise yourself by trying


AOC Beaujolais with fish such
as tuna, sea bass, trout or
mackerel.
There are three categories of
appellations: Cru Beaujolais
(named AOC villages),
AOC Beaujolais-Villages and
AOC Beaujolais, whose many
variations belie its lesser status.
The different terroirs of the
ten Cru villages make them
generically distinctive and
each has its own theme:
Saint-Amour: The lovers
favourite, tender bodied with

my wife Alice and I wish we were 20 again. They wave when


we toot a salute of solidarity.
The illusory summer somnolence of wine regions everywhere
had erupted overnight into a frenzy of activity. Some grower in
some vineyard, concluding that a grape had reached its
nectarous apotheosis, had cried out Vendange! For thousands
of vineyards, like sprinters from a starting block, the race was
on: a race with the sun, a race against time for the few precious
days when every hour counts.
At Blacs Chteau de Grandmont, once a medieval
monastery, international master winemaker Christopher Piper
has flown in from the UK to direct the vendange. He is busy
assessing freshly pressed musts to create his top cuves. His

hints of spice and cherries.


Julinas: Robust, deep
and juicy with a bouquet
of peach.
Chnas: Garnet-coloured,
autumn woodland flavours;
improves for several years.
Moulin--Vent: Not a village,
but named after a 15th-century
windmill in the commune of
Romanche-Thorins. Robust,
intense and tannic; needs time
to mature.
Fleurie: The archetypal
Beaujolais; crimson, velvety
and fruity, regarded as being
a feminine wine.
Chiroubles: Delicately fruity,

a bouquet of wild flowers; for


drinking very young.
Morgon: Beaujolaiss he-man,
powerful and fruity; one to
lock away.
Rgni: Cherry-coloured
fruitiness, simple and supple;
pure gamay grape flavours.
Cte de Brouilly: Grown
around the summit of Mont
Brouilly, it is virtually
purple; combining power
with elegance, it begs to
be matured.
Brouilly: The biggest Cru
district, its fruity, ruby-red
silkiness is what the world
imagines Beaujolais should be.

www.completefrance.com

PHOTOGRAPHS: RAY AND ALICE KERSHAW

bon vivant might like it even more today. In a region of great


chefs, young Romain Barthe is among the most innovative.
His first Michelin star came in 2012; others twinkle ahead.
The five-course dinner, from the trompette des morts et crevettes
chilled soup via trout and truffled pigeons to the 11 local
cheeses, each dish served with a Cru Beaujolais wine, is like
a guided culinary tour of a region whose gastronomic glories
are often overshadowed by the fame of its wines.
Beaujolais stretches for 58 kilometres high above the
River Sane. Monks from Cluny Abbey planted the first vine in
AD 957. In the north are the ten villages awarded individual
Cru appellations: Saint-Amour, Julinas, Chnas, Moulin-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Rgni, Cte de Brouilly
and Brouilly.
Next south comes the region of the 38 AOC BeaujolaisVillages, a vinous cornucopia of rolling, tree-topped hills where
pretty villages invite unstinted dgustations. Clochemerle/Vaux
lies at its heart. The further south we go, the more spectacular
the scenery.
The area known as Beaujolais des Pierres Dores often gets
called the Tuscany of France; the golden limestone of the

CLOCHEMERLE

40-year experience in making Beaujolais began on a picking trip


when he was 17.
As the torrent of juice pours from the press we taste our
newest Beaujolais ever so heavenly mellifluous and headily
perfumed that we wonder, heretically, why they bother
fermenting it. Locally they call the fresh juice Paradis.
Christopher beams with satisfaction. Best weve ever grown.
We lunch at the Bistrot La Feuille in Theiz, a winsome
Pierres Dores village. The plat du jour is blanquette de veau
as creamily unctuous as grand-mre used to make.
Its accompanied, of course, by a couple of pots, traditional
42cl Beaujolais carafes.
The attractions of Southern Beaujolais culminate in the
village of Oingt, a Plus Beau Village hovering like an island
above a sea of vines. Founded by Greek slaves, it was later
a Roman stronghold and its alleys in the sky are like a medieval
model for urbane urban life. Many residents are artists; Oingts
modern mtier is selling watercolour selfies, yet grape-laden
tractors still perilously squeeze through the fortified gate.

AOC Beaujolais-Villages:
This appellation covers
38 villages in the centre of
the region and produces
blue-blooded Beaujolais,
each as different as its
maker. A place to make
discoveries and many
new friends.
AOC Beaujolais: Nearly
80 wine-devoted villages
spangle the east and the
southern Beaujolais des
Pierres Dores. Without
prestigious Crus, they have
to work harder. Most wines
are made to drink young,

www.completefrance.com

but many growers compete


with the best in Beaujolais.
Beaujolais Nouveau: The
fruity, just-fermented wine,
released for sale on
the third Thursday in
November and for which all
of Europe waited, took some
knocks during the 1990s
when over-demand was
exploited by dubious
shippers. Stringent new
laws limiting production
make Beaujolais Nouveau
more expensive, but it has
never been better for
sunnily dispelling those
pre-winter blues.

FACING PAGE, FROM TOP: The Beaujolais vendange in full swing;


Chteau de Grandmonts master winemaker Christopher Piper;
THIS PAGE: Ray listens to a scene from Clochemerle at a talking bench;
A fortified medieval gate in the nearby village of Oingt

From the summit ramparts our view stretches from the Alps
to the Massif Central. The villages of Beaujolais dot the endless
vineyards like chequers on a board. Down there countless
pickers are cheerfully toiling from morning to night.
Then with a shock of sudden stillness, as abruptly as it
started, serenity returns. In thousands of cellars, two weeks
earlier than usual, grape juice is bubbling, turning into
wine. Clochemerles vineyards are deserted except for
rooks gleaning unpicked grapes. Gilded by the sunset, the
vines look their most beautiful just after the vendange:
an autumnal sense of slumbering towards another hibernation,
towards yet another spring. Give or take a few urinals and
other trifles of modernity, nothing much has changed here
for 1,000 years.
What better setting for an ever-fresh novel about a France
that remains buoyantly immutable? To penetrate its mysteries,
its puzzling-to-outsiders cohesions and dichotomies (often
puzzling too to natives), there may never be a better handbook
than Clochemerle or, for that matter, a better holiday read for
a raunchy French laugh.
On the third Thursday in November Beaujolais Nouveau
will flood across the world, but meanwhile there will be
a chance to enjoy vin bourru, the still-fermenting grape juice as
effervescent as champagne.
As for Beaujolais wines as a whole, journalists on the weekly
Beaujolais Patriote predict that 2014 Clochemerles 80th
birthday will be the greatest vintage ever. Along with all of
Beaujolais tonight well drink to both.
Turn to the next page for travel information.

FRANCE MAGAZINE 49

Factfile

Separate fact from fiction


in rural Beaujolais
yrB
Ray travelled
ad:o
on
P&Os overnight route from
Hull to Zeebrugge, a handy
shortcut from Scotland and
the north of England
(tel: 0871 664 2121,
www.poferries.com). From
the Channel ports to the
heart of Beaujolais takes
around seven hours.
See holiday planner on page
23 for more travel details.

WHERE TO STAY
AND EAT

in his larger setting.


Doubles from 90, breakfast
9.50, menus from 13.90.

WHERE TO EAT
La Feuille
Le Bourg
69620 Theiz
Tel: (Fr) 4 74 71 22 19
www.restaurantlafeuillee.com
A member of Bistrots
Beaujolais (see book
selection), this restaurant
serves ribsticking regional
menus du jour for 14.50.

Auberge de
Clochemerle

FOR AN APRO

Rue Gabriel Chevallier


69460 Vaux-en-Beaujolais
Tel: (Fr) 4 74 03 20 16
www.aubergede
clochemerle.fr
The comfortable inn where
Chevallier stayed and
worked on the book is now
run by Michelin-starred chef
Romain Barthe and his
sommelier wife Delphine.
Enjoy innovative Beaujolais
specialities surrounded by
a library of Clochemerle
editions. Doubles from 77,
breakfast 14, package for
two including room,
breakfast and gourmet
five-course dinners with
wines, 294.

Place de la Mairie
69460 Le Perron
Tel: (Fr) 4 74 03 20 66
www.restaurant-lacloche.fr
Drop by for a drink or stop
for a good-value lunch:
three courses including
a glass of wine for 11.

Chteau des Loges


Rue des Loges
69460 Le Perron
Tel: (Fr) 4 74 03 27 12
www.chateaudesloges.com
Vine-surrounded chteau
with views to Vaux and ten
rooms named after the
Beaujolais Crus. Chef
Georges Lagarde, who
previously owned the
Auberge de Clochemerle,
creates memorable meals

50 FRANCE MAGAZINE

La Cloche

ATTRACTIONS
Hameau du Vin
71570 Romanche-Thorins
Tel: (Fr) 3 85 35 22 22
www.hameauduvin.com
George Dubuf,
Beaujolaiss biggest wine
merchant, has created
a hamlet next to his
headquarters celebrating
the regions heritage.
Attractions include period
restaurants, gardens,
Napolons imperial rail
carriage, a shop stocking
wines from every Beaujolais
village and a 4D cinema
that flies you over the
region in a tour that leaves
audiences shaken, stirred

The village of Vaux-en-Beaujolais looks


over a swathe of vineyards

and sprayed. Open daily


10am-6pm, adult pass
19 (can be re-used),
accompanied children free.

Museum and Cave de


Clochemerle
Place du Petit-Tertre
69460 Vaux-en-Beaujolais
Tel: (Fr) 4 74 03 26 58
www.vaux-clochemerle.fr
With a cosy bar packed with
Clochemerle memorabilia,
the cave is a fun place
to try a glass of Cuve
Clochemerle or Cuve
Ponosse. The museums
animated Clochemerle
tableau chronicles
Chevalliers life and career,
while a small cinema shows
extracts from the films and
TV series as well as
newsreels revealing his war
experiences. Open daily
10.30am-noon and
3pm-8pm, admission free.

Domaine Longre
Le Duchamp
69460 Le Perron
Tel: (Fr) 4 74 03 27 63
www.domaine-longere.com
Jean-Luc and his wife
Rgine welcome visitors to
their ancient vaulted cave,

where you can buy some


bottles of his beloved Les
Roches. The couple work
alone so a call in advance
is recommended (Jean-Luc
speaks good English).

Chteau de Grandmont
336 Impasse de Grandmont
69460 Blac
Tel: (Fr) 4 74 67 59 04
www.chateaude
grandmont.com
A bit difficult to find, deep
among the vineyards of
Beaujolais profond, but
worth seeking out to buy
Christopher Pipers vinous
masterworks. The vineyard
has been in Jean Brac de la
Perrires family since 1603.
Open weekdays 8am-noon
and 2pm-6pm; weekends by
appointment.

RECOMMENDED
READING
Clochemerle is published in
the UK by Vintage Classics,
priced 8.99, and in French
by Le Livre de Poche, priced
6.30.
La Peur, Chevalliers great
anti-war novel, was first
published in English in

TOURIST INFORMATION: Vaux-en-Beaujolais, tel: (Fr) 4 74 03 28 82,


www.vaux-clochemerle.fr; Destination Beaujolais, tel: (Fr) 4 74 07 27 50,
www.destination-beaujolais.com; Pierres Dores tourist office, tel: (Fr) 4 74 60 26 16,
www.tourismepierresdorees.com

2012 with the title Fear


(Serpents Tail, 14.99). It is
published in French by Le
Livre de Poche, priced 7.10.
Guide de lOenotourisme
Beaujolais 2015 More than
200 pages of Beaujolaiswine lore include
information about visiting
187 vineyards. Available free
(postal charges may apply)
from wine tourism
organisation Inter
Beaujolais in Villefranchesur-Sane (tel: (Fr) 4 74 02
22 19, www.beaujolais.com).
Guide des Bistrots Beaujolais
Take your pick of 252
independent restaurants
worldwide (including
many in Paris) specialising
in Beaujolais cuisine and
wine. The guides are free
(postage charges may
apply) from Inter Beaujolais,
or download the app.
The group also sells
vineyard maps of every
Beaujolais wine-growing
area at 2.40.

www.completefrance.com

PHOTOGRAPH: RAY KERSHAW

GETTING THERE

Brittanys
HIDDEN
BEACHES

Les Grands Sables, le de Groix

52 FRANCE MAGAZINE

The Brittany coastline runs for more than


1,600 kilometres and is a jumble of cliffs,
coves and sandy beaches. Paul Lamarra
goes off the tourist track and finds 12
places known only to the privileged few
www.completefrance.com

BRITTANY BEACHES

BEST FOR:

A NATURAL
SETTING

PLAGE DU SAINT-GUESCLIN, Saint-Coulomb, Saint-Malo


ACCESS: Follow the D201
coastal route from either
Saint-Malo or Cancale.
A golden arc of deep soft sand, the
Plage du Saint-Guesclin resembles
a slice of paradise in the sunshine.
Backed by dunes that frequently

threaten to engulf the coastal road, the


beach is also a nature reserve.
Despite being only a few miles from
Saint-Malo there are no buildings or
shops nearby and the beach is
a peaceful refuge for those looking to
escape the summer crowds.

BEST FOR:

PHOTOGRAPHS: CAMILLE MOIRENC/HEMIS.FR; FOTOLIA; FRANCK GUIZIOU/HEMIS.FR; PAUL LAMARRA

SURFERS

PLAGE DU LONGCHAMP,
Saint-Lunaire
ACCESS: West of the main beach at Saint-Lunaire
continue up the hill and over into the next bay.
Crazy golf and ice cream draws most people to the Grande
Plage in Saint-Lunaire, just west of Dinard, but if you are
prepared to venture slightly further, there is an offbeat little
beach backed by a short promenade and a decent campsite.
A surfing school will suit anyone who is not content to sit
back all day in a deckchair, whereas those who prefer to relax
even further can enjoy a massage in a beachside cabin. The
beach also has a small restaurant selling ice creams and fresh
seafood. www.saint-lunaire.com

www.completefrance.com

A small tidal island, topped


by a castle since the 9th century,
enhances the drama of the setting and
is an exciting stimulus for young
imaginations. The nearby Plage des
Chevrets is equally wild and unspoilt.
www.saintcoulomb.com/gb

PLAGE DU PORT HUE,


Saint-Briac-sur-Mer
ACCESS: Follow the narrow Rue du Port Hue
from opposite the tourist information office.
It is not easy to find the Plage du Port Hue, but once
there you will find yourself among well-heeled Parisian
families who have been holidaying here for generations.
Those who believe that a traditional family beach
holiday should involve buckets, spades and fishing nets,
and not electronic devices, will find plenty of moral
support among this crowd.
There is a little seafood cabin and snack shack for
lunch and ice creams but if you want to fit in, buy
a quality picnic from Maisons Arbona picerie Fine in
the centre of the village.
Huge rocks and a grassy island that will intrigue
young explorers dominate the unspoilt bay. At low tide
clamber over the rocks and pools between here and the
Plage de la Grande Salinette the main beach
in Saint-Briac. www.saintbriac.fr

BEST FOR:

TRADITIONAL
BREAKS
FRANCE MAGAZINE 53

PLAGE DU LOURTAIS, Erquy


ACCESS: Park at Cap dErquy and follow the
coastal path east.
This 400-metre-long beach of golden sand is hidden from
the main resort and fishing port of Erquy by sloping
sandstone cliffs, pine trees and heather. It is not especially
easy to reach and requires a 500-metre walk.
Those who make the effort are rewarded with a beach
that is uncrowded even at the height of summer and
an aquamarine sea that is considered particularly safe for
bathing. Be warned: the beach is so secluded that one half
has been officially designated as a nudist beach the only
one on the north Brittany coast.
At the western end of the beach is Cap dErquy, where
you can see the remains of fortifications designed by the
17th-century engineer Vauban. www.erquy-tourisme.com

BEST FOR:

SECLUSION &

NATURISM

LES GRANDS SABLES,


le de Groix

BEST FOR:

SHELLFISH
LE MOLNE, les Ponant
ACCESS: By boat from Brest via Le Conquet (90min)
or from Le Conquet (30min).
The le Molne is the biggest of the Ponant islands, which lie off
the most western tip of Brittany. The lengthy ferry trip
(Compagnie Maritime Penn ar Bed; www.pennarbed.fr) and the
35 return fare in high season means that only the very
determined are likely to explore the island and its beaches.
The green, low-lying island, which resembles a Pacific atoll
in the summer sun, is ringed almost entirely by silver-sanded
beaches. You can wander along the coastal path that also
circumnavigates the island until you find the perfect spot.
Scavenging mussels, razor clams and sea snails at low tide
(pche pied) is a popular beach activity. www.molene.fr

54 FRANCE MAGAZINE

ACCESS: By ferry from Lorient to Port Tudy. It


is then a 45-minute walk to the beach or a
13-minute bus journey from le bourg. Or hire a bike.
The almost flat le de Groix is a 45-minute ferry trip
from the southern Brittany port of Lorient (return from
30, Compagnie Ocane, www.compagnie-oceane.fr).
South-east of Port Tudy lies an almost tropical beach of
silver sand and crystal-clear waters. Known as the
Grands Sables it is rare in Europe because rather than
occupying a curving bay it juts out into the ocean like
a peninsula and every year the sands shift up to 80
metres round the coast. A lifeguard is on duty every
afternoon from 1 July to 31 August. www.groix.fr

BEST FOR:

SWIMMERS
www.completefrance.com

BRITTANY BEACHES

PLAGE DE PENTHIVRE,
Presqule de Quiberon

PLAGE DE DONNANT,
Belle-le-en-Mer

BEST FOR:

DRAMA

ACCESS: By ferry from the Morbihan


port of Quiberon to Le Palais and then
by bus to the village of Donnant (10min, 2.50 per
journey). Alternatively hire a bike, scooter or car. The
beach is a short, steep walk down from the village.
This is a location to take your breath away. A chink in the
islands southern Cte Sauvage, the narrow beach is girded by
cliffs and almost entirely engulfed at high tide.
The steeply shelving beach is littered with giant outcrops of
rock that create a mysterious air and wandering between the
narrow gaps can feel intimidating. It isnt a place for swimming,
due to the Atlantic waves that surge in. Most visitors come to
blow away the cobwebs and collect shellfish while some brave
souls risk their lives among the waves to harvest pouces-pieds
(barnacles), a sought-after delicacy. Watch out for quicksand.
Combine your trip with a visit to the nearby Aiguilles de
Coton sea stacks in an amphitheatre of vertical cliffs painted
by Claude Monet. www.belle-ile.com

ACCESS: Follow the D768 from Auray or in


summer take the tire-bouchon tourist train.
The Plage de Penthivre is really a pair of beaches either
side of the narrow isthmus that connects Quiberon to
the mainland. On the Atlantic side the beach is long,
wild and windswept. The open sea is popular with
windsurfers and acrobatic kite surfers while the huge
expanse of firm sand exposed at low tide is often
crowded with the colourful sails of sand yachts pushed
along by the relentless winds.
On the Baie de Quiberon side the warmer waters and
far more sheltered beach are perfect for paddling and
splashing. www.quiberon.com.

BEST FOR:

ADRENALIN
SEEKERS

PHOTOGRAPHS: DREAMSTIME; CAMILLE MOIRENC/HEMIS.FR; FOTOLIA; FRANCK GUIZIOU/HEMIS.FR; BENOT STICHELBAUT

BEST FOR:

PICNICS

CONLEAU, Vannes
ACCESS: Tidal island connected
by a causeway to Vannes.
Parking on the causeway.
There is only a small sandy beach on
Conleau, on the northern edge of the
Golfe du Morbihan, but it is popular
with the Vannetais at lunchtimes and
after work. It is an oasis of calm within
walking distance of the town centre.
Families picnic under the pine trees

www.completefrance.com

while office
workers enjoy
a drink on the quayside
or a crpe in the tea
house. Everyone can cool off in
the safety of the sea-water swimming
pool. http://en.tourisme-vannes.com

FRANCE MAGAZINE 55

BEST FOR:

SWIMMERS
& NATURE
LOVERS

PLAGE DE SUSCINIO, Sarzeau


ACCESS: Follow the D780 from junction 24 of
the N165 east of Vannes to Sarzeau and follow
the signs for Suscinio.
Situated on the southern side of the arm that reaches around the
Golfe du Morbihan, this unspoilt beach of coarse sand reveals
itself only at the last minute. It is an entirely natural setting,
fringed with reedy salt marshes and meadows of bog cotton,
and teems with wildfowl. Standing among the marshes is the
imposing medieval chteau of Suscinio and thatched cottages.
The Plage de Suscinio is popular with serious swimmers
and those in search of tranquillity. Locals tend to appear later
in the day to enjoy a picnic dinner and watch the sun set over
the waters. Sandy paths and a network of boardwalks
weave through the fragile dunes to the beaches either side.
www.morbihan.com

ALL AGES

GRANDE PLAGE, Damgan


ACCESS: Follow the D20 and D153 from junction 20 of
the N165 at Muzillac.
Damgan is a traditional family resort popular with the
inhabitants of Nantes and Vannes. The Grande Plage is backed
by a promenade that stretches for six kilometres from Penerf
to Kervoyal, which makes it perfect for an evening stroll,
rollerblading and relaxed family cycling.
There is always something going on and the beach buzzes
with beach volleyball, boules or the antics of pupils at the
sailing school. Lifeguards monitor the beach throughout the
holiday season. End a day at the beach with a bowl of moules
frites in the nearby town. www.tourisme-arc-sud-bretagne.com

56 FRANCE MAGAZINE

PLAGE DE LA MINE DOR,


Pnestin
ACCESS: Follow the D34 from
La Roche-Bernard.
This beach near the border with the Pays-de-la-Loire
region is particularly beautiful at sunset as the westfacing cliffs are said to turn to gold in the fading light.
At high tide the sea sweeps right up to the base of
the soft cliffs, engulfing the beach. At low tide the
exposed sand is firm and popular with the locals for
a post-prandial promenade. The beach is a great place
to gallop a horse, while the cliff-top is often used as
a launch pad by paragliders.
A walk along the beach can be varied by returning
via the cliff-top Sentier des Douaniers (customs officers
path), which offers views over the bay and the islands of
Houat and Hoedic. www.tourismebretagne.com

BEST FOR:

A WALK

www.completefrance.com

PHOTOGRAPHS: ARNAUD CHICUREL/HEMIS.FR; FRANCIS LEROY/HEMIS.FR; FRANCK GUIZIOU/HEMIS.FR

BEST FOR:

A painting depicting Henry V addressing


his troops before the Battle of Agincourt

58 FRANCE MAGAZINE

www.completefrance.com

Duel for
the crown

AGINCOURT

PHOTOGRAPHS: CLASSICSTOCK/AKG-IMAGES/CHARLES PHELPS CUSHING; ITV/REX; iSTOCKPHOTO

On the 600th anniversary of Agincourt, Anthony Lambert


visits a quiet corner of Pas-de-Calais where the armies of
Henry V and Charles VI fought for the throne of France
enry Vs stirring address to his bedraggled army on
the eve of Agincourt is one of Shakespeares
best-known orations (We few, we happy few, we
band of brothers...). Many are aware that it was
a victory plucked from the jaws of defeat and that the battle
was part of the Hundred Years War of 1337-1453 about the
right to reign over France. But there are facets that may
surprise those whose knowledge of the battle is drawn largely
from the play by the Bard.
We can only guess at the feelings of those English and Welsh
troops as they endured a cold, wet night in the open, knowing
they were facing a larger, better-equipped army with more
mounted knights. They would have been hungry and tired,
having marched more than 400 kilometres across Normandy
and Picardy since leaving Harfleur after the besieged port
had surrendered on 22 September, 1415. Many had
dysentery caused by drinking water from wells
contaminated by the French before the towns fall.
As dawn broke on St Crispins Day,
25 October, they would have seen the French
army arrayed through the gap between the
woods of Tramecourt and Agincourt (Azincourt
in French). Time was not on their side, since
more French troops were expected and both sides
would have preferred to fight a defensive
battle. The French could afford to wait; Henry
could not. However, he had chosen the ground
well: exploiting the three-field rotational system, he
had positioned his force on firm, untilled ground,
forcing the enemy to cross wet, muddy fields, provided that
he could goad them into attacking.
Estimates put the English force at roughly 7,000
longbowmen and 1,500 men-at-arms; the French at 8,000
men-at-arms, 4,000 archers, 1,500 crossbowmen and 1,200
mounted knights. Henry deployed his men-at-arms in three
side-by-side battles, each shoulder-to-shoulder and four men
deep, with longbowmen on the flanks protected by sharpened
stakes to deter mounted attack. Henry commanded the main
battle in the centre, Lord Camoys the rearguard on the left and
Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York, on the right.
It was an army raised by indentures under which 250 nobles
and gentry agreed to provide a specified number of soldiers,

www.completefrance.com

ABOVE: Laurence Olivier as Shakespeares Henry V in the


1944 film; LEFT: An illustration of the king

and there were also armourers, tent makers,


surgeons and special companies of archers from
Cheshire, Lancashire and Wales. Archers carried
about 24 arrows in a cone-shaped case made of
osier (a variety of willow) and covered in linen oil
cloth; a good archer could fire eight to ten
arrows a minute with three in the air at the
same time. Henrys force had fought together at
Harfleur and had confidence in the king as a martial
figure. In contrast, the French force was newly assembled
and riven by the feud between the Armagnac and
Burgundian factions of the royal family which had erupted in
1407 with the assassination in Paris of Charles VIs brother,
Louis, Duke of Orlans, on the orders of the Duke of Burgundy.
The army was notionally commanded by the uncharismatic
Charles dAlbret, Constable of France and the uncle of Charles
VI, as the king was unfit to command because of periodic bouts
of insanity. However, many of the nobles viewed the battle as
a sum of individual contests and were concerned primarily to
capture English knights who might fetch a ransom.
The French were arrayed in three parallel lines with two
unequal cavalry wings, mounted on horses of Arab stock
imported from Germany and Andalusia. The archers and

FRANCE MAGAZINE 59

60 FRANCE MAGAZINE

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT:


A portrait of the French king,
Charles VI; The monument put up
near the battlefield; A suit of
armour with chain mail and
a knight on horseback at the
Azincourt Centre Historique
Medival; A victorious Henry V

have been killed by gunfire seven rudimentary French cannon


were at Agincourt, but rain had dampened the powder.
The consequences of Agincourt were initially calamitous for
France. Within ten days, the truce between the Armagnacs and
the Burgundians broke down and the latter marched on Paris.
Five years later, after more campaigning, Henry extracted the
Treaty of Troyes, which recognised him as heir to the French
throne, and he cemented his claim by marrying Charles VIs
daughter, Catherine of Valois. However, Henry died in 1422,
two months before Charles, after a brief nine-year reign, and his
infant son, Henry VI, became King of France in name only.
In the longer term, the experience from Harfleur and
Agincourt encouraged Charles VII to create a professional army
rather than a feudal one and the French soon had Joan of Arcs
victory at Orlans in 1429 to cheer. The king also developed the
cannon that would be instrumental in the triumph over the
English at Castillon in 1453, ending the Hundred Years War
and leaving England with no territory in France apart from
Calais and the Channel Islands.

www.completefrance.com

PHOTOGRAPHS: MARY EVANS PICTURE LIBRARY/ALAMY; AZINCOURT CENTRE HISTORIQUE MDIVAL

crossbowmen were largely confined to the rear as superfluous


to requirements, so confident were the noble men-at-arms
of an easy victory.
To lure the enemy into action, Henry took the risk of
moving his archers forward into effective range, which entailed
transplanting the protective stakes; had the French cavalry
seized the opportunity to attack while this was being done, the
outcome could have been very different. But their chance was
lost, and the English archers released their first volley.
Henrys gamble worked. The French crossbowmen were too
distant to respond, so the French cavalry charged, though not in
full numbers due to lack of organisation. The horses had frontal
armour but their flanks and rump were vulnerable to highelevation volleys, and the maddened horses were soon galloping
back through the advancing French infantry.
The already muddy ground had been churned up by the
horses, so feet clad in sabatons (foot armour) would have
struggled for grip. When combined with more than 20
kilograms of body armour, the conditions sapped energy even
before combat began, and the constant hail of arrows meant
walking over or round a growing number of bodies. The funnel
between the woods compressed the French so that they
struggled to wield their weapons, and the press of bodies from
behind drove the front ranks into English lances.
When the archers ran out of arrows, they used hand
weapons to set upon the floundering French, many of whom
suffocated or drowned in their armour as they were unable to
get up. Henry took part in the hand-to-hand fighting, at one
point saving his wounded younger brother, Humphrey, Duke of
Gloucester. The English took so many prisoners that when
a French force attacked the baggage camp in the rear, Henry
gave an order to kill them, knowing that he could not fight on
two fronts. When that threat passed as the French quit the field,
he stopped further slaughter of the captives.
The battle claimed the lives of 6,000-8,000 French soldiers,
and the death or capture of 232 nobles and 12 princes against
a few hundred English casualties. One of the English dead was
an archer called Roger Hunt, in the retinue of the Lancashire
knight Sir James Harington. Hunt is recorded as having been
killed by a lead bullet, making him the first person thought to

AGINCOURT

Francofile
Explore the battlefield
of Agincourt

GETTING THERE
By road: Azincourt is 1hr from the
northern ferry ports. Leave the A26
at junction four and follow the D77,
D157 and D928 before turning off at
the D71 to the village.
By rail/road: Reaching the nearest
station to Azincourt would involve
several changes. The simplest way
is to take the train from London to
Calais (from 72 return, tel: 0844
848 4070, www.voyages-sncf.com)
and then hire a car.

TOUR
History tour specialist Martin
Randall Travel is running trips to the
battlefields of Agincourt, Crcy and
Waterloo, led by military historian
Major Gordon Corrigan, on 6-10 July
and 2-6 Sept (tel: 0208 742 3355,
www.martinrandall.com).

WHERE TO STAY AND EAT


La Cour de Rmi
1 Rue Baillet
62130 Bermicourt

Tel: (Fr) 3 21 03 33 33
www.lacourderemi.com
This hotel, about 20 minutes drive
from Azincourt, lies in the
converted stables of a chteau
used as the British Tank Corps
headquarters in World War I. Rooms
have exposed beams, stone and
brick, and large bathrooms. Doubles
from 85. Chef Sbastien de la
Borde creates generous country
cooking in the excellent restaurant.
Menu 32.

WHERE TO VISIT
Centre Historique Mdival
24 Rue Charles VI
62310 Azincourt
Tel: (Fr) 3 21 47 27 53
www.azincourt1415.fr
Open daily 10am-6pm, closed
Tuesdays from Nov-March, closed
25 Dec, 1 Jan. Admission 7.50.

TOURIST INFORMATION: Nord-Pas-de-Calais tourist board,


tel: (Fr) 3 20 14 57 57, www.northernfrance-tourism.com

VISIT THE
BATTLEFIELD
Agincourt is not an easy battlefield
to take in. Between Fruges and Hesdin
turn east off the D928 on to the D71
to the village of Azincourt. Past the
museum building is a large rectangle
of roads, some single-track, which
encompasses the battlefield. The woods
of Tramecourt and Azincourt, which
flanked the battlefield, remain in
much-reduced form; the land is entirely
agricultural and little changed from
1415, but there is no vantage point
over the whole area.
To understand the battle and
appreciate the disposition of the
armies, visit the Azincourt Centre

www.completefrance.com

Historique Mdival. Besides


re-enactment film and detailed
descriptions (in English) of the armies
and the battle, there is a large model
of the battlefield and displays of items
found on the field stirrups, spurs,
arrowheads, saddle pommels, coins and
cauldrons. A cleverly devised section
allows you to put on a range of helmets,
see your reflection in a mirror and
appreciate just how limited a vision
knights would have had through the
eye slits. Weapons can be picked up
through holes in a Perspex case.
The principal event in 2015 is the
re-enactment of the battle at Azincourt
on 25-26 July with displays of
weaponry including the early cannon.

More than 20 hectares of the battlefield


are being used to immerse visitors in
the life of the men-at-arms and camp
followers during the Hundred Years War.
There will be jousting on horseback,
demonstrations of medieval crafts
and the evolution of siege machines,
with music from the Middle Ages.
Towards the end of each day, more
than 800 participants will re-enact
the battle.
Other highlights at Azincourt include
a concert of English and French
medieval songs on 18 September,
a remembrance ceremony with military
displays on 25 October and
a symposium about the battle and its
context on 5 November.

FRANCE MAGAZINE 61

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Testing the
waters in Vichy
Amid the belle-poque splendours of its buildings
and parks, Paul Lamarra finds a spa town still
coming to terms with its wartime role

hen I set out for Vichy I was determined at


least to try to like it. For ask around as
I had done, especially among French people,
and many would simply say, Dont go.
Occasionally, though, someone might add cryptically: I
hear it is still very beautiful but, you know the war.
Once I had crossed the River Allier and parked by the
Jardin Napolon III, my first impression was that Vichy was
indeed a beautiful town. The lawns were closely cropped,
the beds filled with flowers and the trees tall and exotic.
The space was formal. It suggested immediately that this
was a place for the correct type of person but, appropriately
for a spa town, the mood was soothing.
However, it was impossible to shake off the feeling that
I should never forget its role as wartime capital of the Free
Zone, that part of central and southern France in which the
invading Nazis initially had no interest. The puppet regime
that was established here in 1940 under Marchal Ptain,
hero of Verdun in World War I, would become known as
Vichy France linking the town forever with the shameful
taint of collaboration.
Before arriving, I had half-expected to find a town in
a deep 70-year slumber and encased in a thick forest of
Briar Rose that would require to be hacked away to
reach Sleeping Beauty. As it turned out, my

www.completefrance.com

preconceptions were not entirely wrong, for as I wandered


the streets lined with villas of every architectural genre, it
felt as if I were indeed entering a time warp.
Rather than detecting any obvious legacy of the war,
I was instead transported back to the mid-19th century; to
the heady days of the Second Empire and the belle poque
that followed. It was an era characterised by
Impressionism, absinthe and the cancan, with Vichy
reigning as the Queen of Spas.
The crowned heads and the well-bred flocked to take
and bathe in the volcanically heated waters that bubble up
from deep within the Earths crust. Suffused with sulphur
and smelling of rotten eggs, the waters were glugged by
the rheumatic and the liverish.
Vichy became one of the earliest holiday resorts. The
rich stayed at hotels such as the Aletti Palace, with its
elegant winter garden restaurant, while the extremely rich
built their own villas. Emperor Napolon III had a row of
five idyllic Alpine chalets put up in the park by the River
Allier. The chalets were for himself, his wife Eugnie
and, crucially, his mistresses, and were conveniently
connected by a secret passage.
The tone set, the great and the good piled in with
their own idealistic interpretations of Gothic,
Italianate, country cottage and Moorish

FRANCE MAGAZINE 63

architecture. The racecourse on the far side of the


river was unashamedly a piece of England.
The centre of the resort was and remains the Parc
des Sources and here under the chestnut trees the
belle poque is at its most palpable. While residents
sat on park benches reading, I excitedly walked the
gravel paths between the grand glass and ironframed pavilions, the scallop-roofed bandstand, the
hexagonal tea room and the semi-circular shopping
arcades shaded by candy-striped awnings. Beyond
the park are the Moorish domes of the neglected
Centre Thermal. All of it has the temporary and
flimsy feel of an international trade fair and yet it
has stood the test of time.

I was tempted to break


into a waltz, so grand
were the surroundings
Encircling the park is a 700-metre-long covered
promenade adorned with cast-iron thistles and hung
with Dutch globes. This is art nouveau: a marriage
of nature and the new industrial processes and
materials of the time.
When I entered the Halles des Sources to take the
waters from the Clestin spring I was briefly tempted
to break into a waltz, so grand and expansive were
the surroundings. Only those who have signed up
for a three-week stay under the supervision of
a doctor can drink from the other more potent taps.
In the shopping arcade I felt the zeitgeist brush
past as I handled Bakelite telephones, flicked
through old posters and magazines, and considered
trying on an officers kepi the hat favoured by
General de Gaulle while no one was looking.
In a former jewellers shop at one end of the
arcade the shopkeeper, Philippe Fumoux, was
explaining to a steady stream of customers what was
involved in the manufacture of his absinthe, a potent

64 FRANCE MAGAZINE

CLOCKWISE FROM
TOP LEFT: The art
nouveau glass canopy
at the entrance to
the casino; A travel
poster from the
mid-1920s; Place
Victor Hugo; Taking
the spa waters in the
early 1900s; Water
taps at the Halles des
Sources; Sweet treats
at the Confiserie aux
Marocains; The
covered promenade
in the Parc des
Sources; PREVIOUS
PAGE: The faade of
the htel de ville

alcoholic drink characterised by its green colour and


reputation for sending belle-poque artists mad.
It has only recently been re-legalised, with the active
ingredient, thuyone, much reduced. On every shelf,
rather than absinthe, which had to be hidden away
out of the light, Philippe displayed the implements
and crystal ware that were once expertly employed
to drip just enough water and dissolve just enough
sugar into the absinthe to make it palatable.

Belle-poque drink
It seemed to make perfect sense: a belle-poque
drink for a belle-poque town, but on that point
Philippe felt uneasy. It is a well preserved town,
he ventured. It is also a small town, but it is known
for much more and the Vichy brand only works in
Asia where it doesnt have such negative
connotations. The Vichyssois were not ptainistes
Paris came to us, Philippe added.
A few doors up, an art dealer had a similar
complaint. It was four years of the French

www.completefrance.com

PHOTOGRAPHS: FOTOLIA; PICTORIAL PRESS LTD/ALAMY; RICHARD SOBERKA/HEMIS.FR; CHRONICLE/ALAMY;


HEMIS/ALAMY; PAUL LAMARRA; CRDT AUVERGNE/ PASCALE BEROUJON; ARCHIVE PICTURES/ALAMY

VICHY

government in Vichy and should not be called the


Vichy government. Unfortunately, what happened
during the war makes the politicians uneasy and
interferes with the towns promotion and not talking
about it promotes discomfort, he added.
They had a point. When the invading Germans
kicked the government of the Third Republic out
of Paris, they settled in Vichy because it had
an international telephone exchange, could
accommodate the 30,000 government officials in
its 245 hotels and was only three hours from
Paris and 50 kilometres south of the demarcation
line with the Occupied Zone.
At the tourist office I took a guidebook and
retraced my steps. On closer inspection the neoclassical casino and adjoining opera house in the
Parc des Sources revealed a plaque. It marks the
fateful day on 10 July, 1940, when the French
parliament met under the frescoed domes and voted
to dissolve the Third Republic and install 84-yearold Philippe Ptain as chief of state. The plaque,

www.completefrance.com

however, refers only to the 80 Parliamentarians (out


of 649) who voted against the action and affirmed
their attachment to the republic.

Unofficial memorial

FROM TOP: Marchal


Ptain, who based his
regime in Vichy; The
plaque honouring
the Parliamentarians
who stood up for the
Third Republic in 1940

A short distance away lies the Htel du Parc. In


1940 it had a sleek art-deco frontage, but now it is
an apartment block that is trying to keep its head
down. It was here that I paused longest, for room
125 was Ptains office and it was in this hotel in
1942, so said an unofficial memorial in the park,
that the order was signed to round up French Jews
for deportation to Auschwitz.
Eerily, the room has been perfectly preserved by
an organisation that seeks to maintain the memory
of Ptain, even though he was tried and sentenced to
death as a traitor; the sentence was later commuted
to life in jail. The room is not open to the public.
Almost every building between the Parc des
Sources and the River Allier was pressed into war
service. Just along from the Htel-Spa les Clestins,

FRANCE MAGAZINE 65

were I was staying, a terraced house the former


Htel du Portugal had been the HQ of the
Gestapo, the Nazis secret police. On Rue Marchal
Foch, in what was then the scruffy Petit Casino, the
Milice the Vichy regimes paramilitary force
set up their brutal interrogation centre.
Black and white pictures in the guidebook
indicated that little had changed in the intervening
years and a photograph of Ptain greeting the
crowds in the same Parc des Sources made these
shameful events seem all the fresher.
In the newer part of town there were none of
these ghosts and the recent past was obscured by
a lively buzz. I stopped for a coffee on the pavement

GETTING THERE

By road/ferry: Paul travelled from


Portsmouth to Caen with Brittany
Ferries, single fares for a car and
two passengers from 105 (tel: 0871
244 1400, www.brittanyferries.co.uk).
Caen to Vichy is a 5hr 15min drive.
See page 23 for other travel details.

WHERE TO STAY

Htel-Spa Les Clestins


111 Boulevard des tats-Unis
03200 Vichy
Tel: (Fr) 4 70 30 82 00
www.vichy-spa-hotel.fr
Vichys newest grand hotel is

66 FRANCE MAGAZINE

Soak up the atmosphere of Vichy past and present


situated in the Parc Napolon
overlooking the river. Doubles
from 131. Access to pools and
sauna 20 extra per room.
A 25-minute douche Vichy
costs 110.

WHERE TO EAT
Restaurant LEtna

65 Rue de Paris
03200 Vichy
Tel (Fr): 4 70 98 47 85
www.etna-vichy.com
It might be heresy, but Restaurant
LEtna is more than a match for the
traditional French Escargot Qui Tette

opposite. Order the rich tomato


and taleggio risotto with sea bass.
Menus from 26.

TIME
FOR AN
APRO

LEscargot Qui Tette

Le Petit
Pot

Htel Chambord
82-84 Rue de Paris
03200 Vichy
Tel (Fr): 4 70 30 16 30
www.hotel-chambord-vichy.com
Family-run gourmet restaurant with
menus from 22.

36 Rue Lucas
03200 Vichy
Tel: (Fr) 4 70 98 29 62
This caf on the corner with
Rue du Paris and Rue Georges
Clemenceau is just the place to sit
and watch the world go by.

TOURIST INFORMATION: Vichy tourist office, tel: (Fr) 4 70 98 71 94,


www.vichy-tourisme.com; Auvergne tourist board,
www.auvergne-tourism.com

www.completefrance.com

PHOTOGRAPH: JEAN-DANIEL SUDRES/HEMIS.FR

Francofile

ABOVE: Salle
Napolon III in the
towns casino

at Le Petit Pot caf; round the corner


was the Confiserie aux Marocains,
a sweet shop that has been trading
since the days of Napolon III. More
of a dark panelled boudoir of
mirrors, drapes and jars than a shop,
it is the best place to obtain the
strong mint pastilles de Vichy.
That night, after a brief visit to the
horse racing, I ventured away from
the formality of the Parc des Sources
and opted for Restaurant LEtna on
the Rue de Paris. I chose Italian
because I wanted to be convinced
that Vichy could confound its stuffy
French stereotype. The service was
slow, but the fresh Italian ingredients
were as carefully prepared as in any
French restaurant.
The next morning I walked right
by the River Allier on the new
boardwalk. Here there was
a meditative Zen quality that ran counter to the
inherent stiffness reflected in the Jardin Napolon III
on the embankment above.
Vichy has in recent years attempted to move
away from cures and ailments and is embracing the
modern pursuit of well-being. Yet the massage at my
hotel, a douche Vichy, was a belle-poque
innovation. Being massaged by four hands while
having warm Vichy spring water sprayed
over me was a slightly disconcerting experience.
Outnumbered by two young masseuses, I imagined
muffled giggles as I lay out on the slab. Despite
my uneasiness I enjoyed it; which could also be said
to sum up my visit to Vichy.

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FRANCE MAGAZINE 67

Rocamadour
Following in the footsteps of thousands of pilgrims,
Carolyn Boyd explores the village in the Dordogne Valley
with one of the most spectacular settings in France

68 FRANCE MAGAZINE

www.completefrance.com

VILLAGE

LEFT: The view of Rocamadour from the base of the Alzou Valley
ABOVE: One of the many shrines along the path that zigzags down to the gate
of the Cit Religieuse, where most of the villages key sites are found

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FRANCE MAGAZINE 69

PHOTOGRAPHS: ALLOVER IMAGES/ALAMY; CAROLYN BOYD

long with Cordes-sur-Ciel and Saint-Cirq-Lapopie,


Rocamadour is one of the few villages in France
whose very setting makes it an iconic destination.
With its white limestone buildings clinging to the
150-metre-high cliffs, it perches above a gorge on the River
Alzou, a tributary of the River Dordogne. The views, both of
and from the village, are sensational and a visit has to be on
everyones must-do list.
As one of the key stages on the Chemins de Saint-Jacques to
Santiago de Compostela in Spain, Rocamadour has attracted
pilgrims for centuries; indeed evidence from the 11th century
lists it as one of the most important Christian sites after
Jerusalem and Rome. Today
it attracts both pilgrims and
tourists, keen to enjoy the
atmosphere of La Cit
Religeuse with its seven
chapels, as well as the rest of
the village. We meet our
guide Ccile from the tourist
office, whose advice is to
take the easier downhill
route into the village (rather
than the steep steps up from
the bottom). From the top of
the cliffs behind the
turreted chteau that plays
cherry to Rocamadours
cake she guides us down a
path that zigzags through
trees. When we come to
a cave in the rockface, Ccile
explains the origins of the
villages name. It was here
where the body of Saint
Amadour a hermit who
lived there having supposedly been a servant of the Virgin Mary
was found perfectly preserved in 1166. So, when combined
with Roc for its setting, the name Rocamadour was born.
Our path continues and we come to a grand entrance into
La Cit Religieuse; a flag flutters outside it and we walk into
a dark passage before emerging in the heart of Rocamadour,
a small square known as the parvis. Its majestic white stone
gleams in the sunlight that pours in from above and up through
the staircase in front. To my right is the entrance to the church
of Saint-Sauveur and high above our heads, embedded in the
rock, is a sword. Ccile explains another of Rocamadours
many legends: it is said this sword is part of Durandal, which
was wielded by Roland, the 8th-century military leader featured
in the Song of Roland Frances oldest-known work of
literature. Rocamadours own story about him claims that he
didnt want his precious sword to fall into enemy hands during
battle in the south of France, so he hurled it away and it landed
here. That must have been a seriously strong throw.

Ccile leads us into the Basilique Saint-Sauveur and points


out that part of the newly replaced organ (fitted in 2013) is
shaped like the hull of boat a reference to the fact that sailors
would pray to Mary for safe passage. In the far corner, she also
points out a door which through a very narrow and cobwebfilled passage eventually leads to the chteau at the top of
the village. It is closed, unsurprisingly, to all those except
Rocamadours most important clergy and was a useful escape
route in times of persecution. For us visitors, the two funiculars
are a preferable way to travel up and down.
In the Chapelle Notre-Dame is one of Rocamadours main
draws the Black Madonna. Legend has it that Saint Amadour
carved the original Virgin Mary statue, but the one we are
looking at is a 12th-century replacement. The chapels are a place
for contemplation, but Im keen to get out into the sunshine.
From the parvis, its a steep descent under an arch down the
Grand Escalier towards the lower town. The stairs bring us
outside the wall of the Cit Religieuse and as we walk down,
Im struck by the sensational views of the gorge beyond the
rooftops of the village.
As we leave the religious sites behind, we arrive in
Rocamadours tourist hub, with souvenir shops lining the single
street that runs along the bottom of the cliffs. A short stroll
takes us to the Restaurant Gastronomique le Jehan de Valon
where we take a table on the terrace. As we sit and eat our
meal looking at the magnificent view, we agree that this was
a pilgrimage worth making.
See our September issue for Carolyns feature on a driving
tour of this area.

ROCAMADOUR
AT A GLANCE
Stay the night at Les Esclargies (tel:
(Fr) 5 65 38 73 23, www.esclargies.com,
a pleasant four-star hotel close to
the Chteau de Rocamadour. The
16-room hotel has a swimming pool
and nice gardens. Rooms from 76,
breakfast 12.
Stop for a coffee (and crpe) at
Brasserie lEsplanade (tel: (Fr) 5 65 33
18 45, www.lesplanade-creperie.fr) and
sit on the terrace under the sun
umbrellas to admire a view of the
village from further away. Its a touristy
spot, but that is to be expected at such
a well-visited site. Open from March to
November.
Stop for lunch at The Restaurant

Gastronomique le Jehan de Valon,


which is based in the Htel Beau Site
Notre Dame (tel: (Fr) 5 65 33 63 08,
www.bestwestern-beausite.com) and
has a wonderful terrace overlooking the
gorge. Menus offer the best of regional
produce, with main dishes costing from
18 and menus from 26.

tomb, you can while away the hours in


quiet contemplation looking at the
Black Madonna in the Chapelle
Notre-Dame, at the beautiful stainedglass windows and impressive new
organ in the Basilique Saint-Sauveur or
in silence in the tranquil Chapelle
Sainte-Anne.

WHAT TO SEE

If Rocamadours legends have piqued


your interest in the kingdom of Francia
during the reign of Charlemagne in the
8th and 9th centuries, then go along to
the Durandal Equestrian Show. In this
impressive spectacle, actors dressed as
knights perform swordfights and
horseback acrobatics to wow audiences
throughout the summer. Shows run
from June to September, admission 10,
children 7 (tel: (Fr) 6 19 39 18 00,
www.rlproductions.fr).

Perched at the top of the village, the


14th-century chteau (tel: (Fr) 5 65 33
23 23) offers visitors the chance to walk
its ramparts for just 2. The view from
the walled garden at the front is one of
the best in the village, but not for those
without a head for heights!
The Cit Religieuse is the focal point
of a visit to Rocamadour. With its seven
chapels, palaces and Saint Amadours

GETTING THERE: Rocamadour is a 40-minute drive from


Brive-la-Gaillarde airport, and two hours from Bergerac
Airport. The train from Paris Austerlitz, via Brive-laGaillarde, to Rocamadour station, takes 5hr 30min.

70 FRANCE MAGAZINE

The village is a six-hour drive from Caen ferry port.


TOURIST INFORMATION: Dordogne Valley tourist office,
tel: (Fr) 5 65 33 22 00, www.vallee-dordognerocamadour.com

www.completefrance.com

VILLAGE

IN THE
AREA

PHOTOGRAPHS: iSTOCKPHOTO; TOBY SHERGOLD; DREAMSTIME

CLOCKWISE FROM FACING PAGE: The Chapelle


Notre-Dame; Looking down the Grand Escalier;
The Cit Religieuse is built into the rock; The Parvis;
The medieval tower and single shopping street

www.completefrance.com

Rocamadour lies in the


Causses du Quercy regional
natural park (www.parccausses-du-quercy.fr), which
offers walking trails, canoeing
trips and horse-riding
excursions, but for those who
enjoy village strolls, the other
main highlight is Saint-CirqLapopie (pictured above),
an hours drive to the south.
Wander the tiny streets, full
of artisans workshops, and
enjoy its spectacular setting
above the River Lot, and
youll soon realise why the
French voted it their favourite
village in 2012 (www.
saint-cirqlapopie.com).
Nearby are the Pech Merle
caves (tel: (Fr) 5 65 31 27 05,
www.pechmerle.com), which
contain some of the most
impressive cave art in France,
while the Gouffre de Padirac
(tel: (Fr) 5 65 33 64 56,
www.gouffre-de-padirac.com)
is one of the most incredible
geological sites in the country.
Away from the regional
park, there is a lovely trail of
Plus Beaux Villages to the
east of Rocamadour. Drive
between Autoire, Loubressac
and Carennac and soak up
the atmosphere among their
tiny streets. To the west,
follow the River Dordogne
towards Sarlat-la-Canda and
on to the iconic villages of La
Roque-Gageac and Beynacet-Cazenac (www.les-plusbeaux-villages-de-france.org).

FRANCE MAGAZINE 71

VINCENT VAN GOGH

STROKES
OF GENIUS

oom Five at the top of the


stairs at the Auberge Ravoux
in Auvers-sur-Oise has not
been let out for 125 years.
It remains exactly as it was when Vincent
van Gogh died there from gunshot
wounds, having struggled back, bleeding,
to the tiny auberge. Whether his injuries
were self-inflicted or, as a 2011 biography
argues, he was shot by a young man he
knew, they ended the life of a man who
sold only one painting during his lifetime
but who became one of the most
celebrated and iconic artists in history
and a trailblazer for modern art.
Van Gogh, who was born in Holland
in 1853, lived at 37 addresses across his
home country, Belgium, England and
France. He spent the last four years of his
life in France and although he claimed to
have been happiest in Brixton, London,
where he fell in love with his landladys
daughter, Eugenie, it was his troubled yet
artistically prolific time in Arles, SaintRmy-de-Provence and Auvers-sur-Oise
where his masterpieces were created.
From February 1886 to February
1888, van Gogh lived in Paris with his
younger brother Tho, who ran a gallery.
Vincent would have seen many of Claude
Monets paintings and early Impressionist
works by Paul Gauguin. He visited
Toulouse-Lautrec every week in his
studio and was introduced to most of the
avant-garde artists of the day.

72 FRANCE MAGAZINE

It was in Paris that he was influenced


by pointillism and where he developed his
style of rapid, striated brushstrokes,
bright colours and the thick application
of paint known as impasto. He became
interested in the Japanese woodblock
prints that influenced his style with their
small figures and elevated views.
He painted 200 works in Paris but
comparatively little is known of his time
there since, because he was living with his
brother, he did not write to him.
Van Gogh penned hundreds of letters
and most of what we know about his life
and art comes from their contents. He left
Paris bien navr [sorry] et presque
alcoolique for the south of France and
settled in Arles. He rented the Yellow
House in Place Lamartine and hoped to
create a centre for artists. He sent word
to Gauguin, then in Brittany, to join him
and painted several versions of the
sunflowers with which he intended to
decorate his colleagues room.
Gauguin eventually arrived in October
1888 and the two artists began living
together. They visited Montpellier but
their relationship deteriorated rapidly and
they argued constantly about art. It was
in Arles that van Gogh cut off part of his
ear with a razor and gave it to a local
prostitute called Rachel. While he was

recovering in hospital, Gauguin took the


chance to slip away.
After several more psychotic episodes
and a petition from locals against the
fou roux (mad redhead), van Gogh
committed himself to the Saint-Paul-deMausole asylum in nearby Saint-Rmyde-Provence in May 1889. One month
later, he painted the swirling Starry Night.
The portraits of local people in Arles
and reed-pen sketches gave way to the
gardens of the asylum, fruit tree blossoms
and landscapes around Saint-Rmy and
the Alpilles mountain range, which he
was able to paint on supervised walks.
Fits of despair and hallucination
continued to plague him and in May
1890, van Gogh moved to Auvers-surOise, 20 miles north-west of Paris, to be
nearer his brother and Dr Paul Gachet,
who had been recommended by other
artists. He paid three and a half francs
per day for full board at the Auberge
Ravoux and painted more than 70 works
in the 70 days he was there. He died on
29 July, 1890, aged 37, from an infection
caused by the gunshot wound and
was buried in the municipal cemetery.
Tho died six months later.
For details of events in Europe marking
the 125th anniversary of van Goghs
death, visit www.vangogheurope.eu

www.completefrance.com

PHOTOGRAPHS: SELF-PORTRAIT 1887, COURTESY OF THE VAN GOGH MUSEUM, AMSTERDAM;


FRANCES WYSOCKI/HEMIS.FR; MATTHIEU COLIN/HEMIS.FR; BERTRAND RIEGER/HEMIS.FR

On the 125th anniversary of


Vincent van Goghs death,
Jon Bryant examines the
artists brief but productive
time in France

HISTORY TRAIL

1
4

THINGS TO SEE
Muse dOrsay
and Muse Rodin,
Paris 1
The Muse dOrsay has some
of van Goghs greatest works,
including a portrait of
Dr Gachet, Starry Night over
the Rhne (pictured) and The
Church at Auvers-sur-Oise
(tel: (Fr) 1 40 49 48 14, www.
musee-orsay.fr). The Muse
Rodins three works include
a portrait of Le Pre Tanguy.
Tel: (Fr) 1 44 18 61 10
www.musee-rodin.fr

www.completefrance.com

Arles

The Fondation Vincent van


Gogh holds exhibitions and
modern art installations
devoted to the artist or
inspired by him. An exhibition
of van Goghs drawings runs
until 20 September. The
Yellow House was destroyed
during World War II, but
the caf that featured in his
paintings survives, decorated
in bright yellows and
re-named the Caf Van Gogh.
Tel: (Fr) 4 90 93 08 08
www.fondation-vincentvan
gogh-arles.org

Saint-Rmy-deProvence 3
The Van Gogh Walk (8)
around Saint-Rmy includes
panels showing his works at
the location they were painted.
Van Goghs room in the
asylum is now a museum and
explains how madness was
treated in the 19th century.
The smartphone application
Les Paysages Franais de
Vincent van Gogh was
launched this year.
Tel: (Fr) 4 90 92 05 22
www.saintremy-deprovence.com

Auvers-sur-Oise

The Auberge Ravoux, also


known as the Maison van
Gogh (tel: (Fr) 1 30 36 60 60,
www.maisondevangogh.fr), is
now a restaurant, lodgings
and museum. You can also
see the artists grave, and
visit Dr Gachets house;
the Absinthe museum; the
Daubigny garden museum;
and the Chteau dAuvers, all
of which are hosting events
in 2015. Sur les Pas de van
Gogh in Auvers runs until
20 September.
www.surlespasdevangogh.eu

FRANCE MAGAZINE 73

BON APPTIT
The best of French gastronomy
at home and away

The upper crust

PHOTOGRAPHS: MASSIMO PESSINA; DESIGN SARAH BORIS; LAYOUT FRDRIC TACER

aking is one of the trades represented by the


Compagnons du Tour de France, an organisation of
craftsmen that dates back to the Middle Ages. Born into
a family of bakers in Alsace, ric Kayser became
a compagnon at the age of 18 and spent years learning his craft
from master boulangers around France.
Considered one of Frances greatest bakers, Kayser is
an ambassador for quality and tradition within his craft; his
loaves are bought all around the world. In the new Larousse
Book of Bread, Kayser uses a base of four simple ingredients
water, leavening, salt and flour to create 80 recipes for
traditional boules, speciality breads and viennoiserie.
Suitable for beginners as well as dough aficionados, the book
explains techniques while step-by-step pictures ensure theres no
mistaking your baguette with your btard.
The Larousse Book of Bread, by ric Kayser, is published by
Phaidon at 24.95, www.phaidon.com

www.completefrance.com

FRANCE MAGAZINE 75

BON APPTIT

How to...

MAKE A SUMMER
TOMATO SALAD
BY CHEF AURLIE
ALTEMAIRE

FOOD ON THE GO
Get a taste of the food trucks phenomenon that is sweeping
France with our selection of the mobile caterers who are
bringing high-quality meals to the streets

La Brigade
This Paris-based food truck
(pictured above) offers
a brasserie-style cuisine of
beef, duck, chicken and
salmon, all cut in slices and
served with frites, salad,
and a sauce of your choice,
from mushroom to exotic
orange caramel, and served
in a cardboard container
with bamboo tongs.
A vegetarian option is also
available, as are desserts
and coffee. French TV
show Trs trs bien gave
its food an award.
Where to find it:
See www.la-brigade.fr
Meals from 10 to 15;
drink 3; dessert 3.50.

El Taco Del Diablo


On board a salsa-coloured
1970s Volkswagen van
(pictured below), Philippe

76 FRANCE MAGAZINE

and Virginie Saint-Jeannet


bring a wide choice of
Mexican food to Bordeaux
and its suburbs. Homemade chilli, tacos, burritos,
quesadillas, marinated fish,
shrimp salad, guacamole
and tortilla chips are
served with fresh salads.
Recommended by Le Petit
Fut and Le Fooding 2015.
Where to find it:
See www.eltacodeldiablo.fr
Starters 4; tacos and
quesadillas 6; burritos 7;
drinks 3, dessert 2.50.

Le Camion Qui Fume


The pioneering Camion
Qui Fume was the first
food truck on the streets of
Paris to sell quality burgers
(pictured above right). The
company is run by Kristin
Frederick, an American
chef who studied at

Lcole Suprieure de
Cuisine Franaise Ferrandi
in Paris. With her team of
cooks she serves six types
of home-made burger and
a burger of the day which
have won the Palme de la
Restauration and Fooding
dhonneur awards.
Where to find it:
See www.lecamion
quifume.com
Meals 10.90; drink
2.20; dessert 4.

Diamant Noir
The esteemed truffle or
black diamond is the
special feature of this food
truck from Aix-enProvence which is served
in either salty or sugary
flavours. Dishes include
black truffle brouillade,
duck confit parmentier
and Brie de Meaux with
truffles, along with
vegetables and salads.
There are eat-in and
delivery options, too.
Where to find it:
See www.odiamant
noir.com
Meals from 10 to 12.90;
cheese 3.50; dessert 3.

As we move into
summer I love the
abundance of tomatoes
that come into season,
and one of my favourite
things to make is
a gorgeous summer
tomato salad. They are
simple, quick and easy to prepare
and are a great lighter dish for the
warmer months. We make tomato
salads at LAtelier de Jol
Robuchon in London, but I also love
to prepare them for myself, family
and friends when I am not working.
There are so many varieties to
choose from, including green zebra,
striped cherry and yellow
tomatoes. I suggest that you
experiment, as its nice to play
around with the contrasts of
flavours and colours. I love to use
baby heirloom tomatoes as these
are the more traditional varieties
and have a much nicer flavour than
some of the more modern ones.
This is how I make my summer
tomato salad: First, get 500g of
baby heirlooms and ten fresh basil
leaves, then chop up half a shallot.
For the dressing, add 4tbsp of
extra-virgin olive oil, the juice of
two limes and a pinch each of
Maldon sea salt and black pepper.
Gently mix the ingredients
together and then, as a final touch,
you can grate the rinds of the limes
before you juice them and mix
these into your salad to make it
even more fresh and zesty.
Aurlie Altemaire is head chef of LAtelier
de Jol Robuchon in central London.
Tel: 0207 010 8600, www.joelrobuchon.co.uk

www.completefrance.com

FOOD & WINE

Wine & food matching in...

NMES

s heartily filling to eat as it is a mouthful to


pronounce, brandade de morue la nimoise is a rich
fish pie made with dried and salted codfish (morue)
from the Atlantic. It is an unexpected speciality for
a Mediterranean city and hails from a time before refrigeration,
when food preservation required large quantities of salt. So
merchants travelled from western France to the salt marshes of
Aigues-Mortes, near Nmes, and traded codfish in return for salt
supplies. The cod is shredded and mixed with olive oil (the verb
brandar means to mix in Provenal) until it becomes a pure.
Garlic, onion, salt and pepper seasonings are joined by grated
truffles, a squirt of lemon and a sprinkling of southern French
garrigue herbs. Most contemporary recipes also include potatoes.
Its tempting to reach for a crisp bottle of white Burgundy as
a partner for any fish pie, but the vineyards local to Nmes offer
some delicious alternative regional matches for brandade. The
Costires de Nmes appellation makes fresh, light-bodied ross
from syrah, mourvdre, grenache, carignan and cinsault grapes.
With floral aromas, they show a mixture of spice and summer
fruits on the palate, with a dry tang that flatters the saline
flavours of morue (any residual sugar in the wine will be

intensified by the salt). Nmess


location on the axis that links
the Rhne Valley, Languedoc and Provence regions widens the
choice of fine pink partners for brandade. Try a bottle of Cteaux
dAix-en-Provence ros to reflect the garrigue herbs in the dish, or
Tavel ros from the southern Rhne for a fuller-bodied, deepercoloured alternative.
Costires de Nmes white, from bourboulenc, clairette,
grenache blanc, macabeu, marsanne and roussanne grapes, also
makes a good partner: its lively citrus and apple flavours lift the
weight of brandade in summer. Try also Languedocs Picpoul de
Pinet, with its bone-dry lemon flavours and zingy acidity. For
a slightly earthier (but pricier!) alternative to crisp whites, head to
Chteauneuf-du-Pape, where small quantities of rich, oily white
wines are made; or further north to Saint-Joseph, where exotic yet
dry whites are blended from marsanne and roussanne grapes.
Dominic Rippon

In the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, a favourite breakfast treat is gooey


Maroilles cheese called the forbidden cheese because of its ripe
smell spread on fresh bread and dunked in a rich cup of coffee.

PHOTOGRAPHS: DAVID BONNIER; SUPERSTOCK; FOTOLIA; CHARLIE FRASER-HOPEWELL


CONTACT SALLY EASTON AT WWW.WINEWISDOM.COM

WINES OF THE MONTH BY SALLY EASTON, MASTER OF WINE


SNAP IT UP

WEEKEND TREAT

TIME TO CELEBRATE

Famille Bougrier, Sauvignon Blanc,


Les Hauts Lieux 2013, Vin de France
As fresh and zingy a sauvignon blanc
as you could want, with steeliness,
citrus pith, lemon curd and lemongrass
notes wafting in a smooth, light-cream
texture. Dont be fooled by the simple
Vin de France label; The Bougriers
are a Loire Valley producer and
its the zestiness of this region
that the wine delivers.
Drink as: A refreshing aperitif
for a pick-me-up.
Bordeaux Undiscovered,
7.49
Tel: 0800 876 6958
www.bordeauxundiscovered.co.uk

Julien Sunier, Morgon 2013,


Beaujolais
This is Beaujolais at its best: fresh,
defined, with aromatic backbone and
concentration. Cranberries, red cherry
and spring blossom on the nose give
way to crunchy, bright and fresh cherries,
violet perfume and a depth of
concentration that belies this
wines pale colour. The richness
of red berry fruit flavours line
the palate long after the wine
has gone.
Drink with: Charcuterie
and roast fowl.
Roberson Wines, 19.95
Tel: 0207 381 7870
www.robersonwine.com

Domaine Billaud Simon, Monte de


Tonnerre 1er Cru 2011, Chablis
Monte de Tonnerre is in distinguished
company as one of the few Premier Cru
vineyards on the same side of the River
Serein as all the Chablis Grands Crus. This
example shows wonderful density and
elegance; its fresh, with a creamy, peachy
note, a silkily smooth texture, all in
a medium body with silvery-linear
lines of purity. The property is owned
by Domaine Faiveley, and is betterknown for its Cte dOr wines.
Drink with: Oysters and creamy
or buttery fish dishes.
Bancroft Wines, 23.70
Tel: 0207 232 5470
www.bancroftwines.com

www.completefrance.com

FRANCE MAGAZINE 77

Food critic and


cookbook author
Rosa Jackson lives
in Nice, where she
runs the cookery
school Les Petits
Farcis and writes
about food for
publications
worldwide.

78 FRANCE MAGAZINE

www.completefrance.com

.
.
.
t
c
e
f
r
e
p
e
h
t
e
k
a
M

CLASSIC CUISINE

Salade nioise

rder a salade nioise at any


restaurant in Nice, and you
might be surprised at the
contents of your plate. If it
is correctly made, potatoes and green
beans will be conspicuous by their
absence. Instead, you might find thinly
sliced raw artichokes, broad beans,
spring onions, radishes, celery and the
mild, thin-skinned green peppers locally
known as poivrons salade. Firm but ripe
tomatoes are a must, as are boiled eggs,
purply nioise olives, preserved anchovies
and tuna from a jar or tin: seared tuna
would be considered a cheffy modern
variation.
How did salade nioise, as it is known
internationally, depart so significantly
from the original? It seems Auguste
Escoffier, star chef of the late 1800s, is to
blame. As a Provenal and not a Niois
an important distinction to this day
Escoffier saw fit to reinvent the recipe by
adding cooked vegetables, a taboo in
Nice. His version may have caught on
because potatoes and green beans are
a lot easier to find than the variety of
locally grown vegetables that go into the
authentic recipe.

MAIN PHOTOGRAPH: BON APPETIT/ALAMY

LA SALADE NIOISE

SERVES

3 free-range eggs
A pinch of baking soda
12 tsp salt
6 medium tomatoes, firm but ripe
4 spring onions
2 long green salad peppers (optional)
2-4 celery stalks (depending on how
many other vegetables you are using)
12 radishes
6oz shelled broad beans (if available)
3 small artichokes (if available)
1 lemon (if using artichokes)
1 garlic clove
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
7-8tbsp excellent olive oil
A sprinkling of red wine vinegar
12 anchovy fillets

www.completefrance.com

A simple dish of raw


vegetables and
anchovies has been
transformed into
a widely popular salad,
with a few changes
of ingredients along
the way, says
Rosa Jackson

Like most of the local dishes,


salade nioise had modest beginnings.
At first, it was little more than a salad of
tomatoes and preserved anchovies
drizzled with olive oil from the nearby
hills. As agriculture developed during the
19th century, people began to add more
vegetables to their tomato salad, such as
celery and radishes, which added flavour
and crunch.
This dressed-up tomato salad might
have remained an obscure regional dish
had it not been for the development of
tourism in the late 19th and early 20th
centuries, which brought English and

6 tuna filets in oil (from a jar)


4oz nioise olives
A handful of basil leaves
1.P
la
tc
e
water with the baking soda (to help
detach the shell) and salt (for flavour),
and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat,
cover the pan and wait ten minutes, then
cool the eggs in cold water.
2. Cut the tomatoes into segments, place
on a rack over a plate and sprinkle with
fine sea salt. Set aside while you prepare
the other vegetables.
3. Wash and dry all the remaining
vegetables and slice the spring onions,
peppers, celery and radishes very thinly.
4. To prepare the artichokes, trim 1in off

Russian aristocrats and later the French,


who were taking advantage of their first
paid holidays. Charmed by this colourful
tomato salad, these visitors dubbed it
salade nioise, a name that had never
occurred to the farmers who threw it
together using what they had to hand.
Over time, salade nioise grew into
a light meal in itself, made more filling
by the addition of tuna preserved in oil
something of a luxury at that time, but
still more accessible than fresh tuna
and hard-boiled eggs. Served in late
spring and summer, from the time that
sweet tomatoes become available, this
and its sandwich variation, pan bagnat,
is one of the few mostly raw dishes in
the local cuisine.
Though its open to variations, purists
generally prefer celery to cucumber, use
basil in moderation, and consider salad
leaves superfluous (though not
outrageous). The dressing is kept as
simple as possible: olive oil with just
a touch of lemon juice or red wine
vinegar. Luckily, you dont need
the whole range of vegetables to make
an authentic salade nioise, only those
that are freshest and in season.

the top and leave about 1in of stem.


Remove several layers of leaves, starting
at the bottom, until the leaves are pale
yellow/pink. Peel the stem, cut the
h
e and remove any hairy
artichoke in half
choke. Slice very thinly lengthwise and
immediately place in a bowl of water with
the juice of a lemon.
5. Peel the hard-boiled eggs and cut them
into quarters.
6. Cut the garlic clove in half and rub
a large platter with the cut side.
7. Arrange the tomatoes on the platter,
then top with the other vegetables. Season
with fine sea salt and pepper, drizzle
generously with olive oil and sprinkle lightly
with the wine vinegar. Finish with the
anchovies, tuna, eggs, olives and basil.

FRANCE MAGAZINE 79

1 La Table de
Franck Putelat

80 FRANCE MAGAZINE

Eating out in...

Carcass
Our wine columnist Dominic Rippon,
who lives in Carcassonne, guides
you to the best restaurants in the
medieval Cit and new town centre

2 Le Comte Roger

Carcassonnes Cit, a Unesco World Heritage site, is Europes


best-preserved medieval fortified town and, as such, it gets busy
in summer. Leave the tourist hordes behind in Place Marcou
and wander past the Chteau Comtal to Le Comte Roger.
An inn existed on the site as early as the 10th century and, after
World War II, this was the only restaurant still serving food
locally; so Le Comte Roger can justifiably claim to be the Cits
oldest surviving restaurant.
Chef Pierre Mesa (pictured right) grew up in Carcassonne,
but travelled the world, working in Paris, the UK, Switzerland
and Spain, before returning to buy Le Comte Roger in 2000.
The decor is, in Pierres words, chic dcontract (relaxed);
a reassuringly modern look, with laminate floors, comfy chairs
and large windows to allow a spot of people-watching.
A vine-covered terrace is set around one of the Cits stone wells,
which once refreshed the horses of the inns medieval guests.
Pierres cuisine is proudly Mediterranean. His cassoulet is
reputed worldwide a reason in itself to visit Carcassonne.
The secret, Pierre confides, is to reduce the amount of pork
fat, remove the coarse centres of garlic cloves, forget the
tomatoes and never add breadcrumbs. The result is a lighter,
but more unctuous dish with flavours based around the

www.completefrance.com

PHOTOGRAPHS: DREAMSTIME; FANNY BASTERREIX; PRESCHESMISKY; DOMINIC RIPPON

In a city that isnt short of culinary talent, Franck Putelats


restaurant is unquestionably a cut above the rest. Even
before you are handed the menu, everything from the
flowing lines of the ceiling and the glass-clad flame warming
bread in the centre of the salle, to the elegant furniture (all
designed by Franck, pictured above), remind you that it
takes more than just good food to win two Michelin stars.
The son of fromagers from the Jura region, Franck moved
to Carcassonne in 1998. He worked at the Htel de la Cit,
winning silver at the international Bocuse dOr competition
in 2003, before opening his own restaurant in 2006. Finding
nowhere in the Cit Mdivale with enough space, he bought
a plot of land below the Cit and built La Table from scratch.
The Classique... Fiction menu best represents Francks art
of taking traditional recipes and giving them stylish new
twists. I took the araigne de mer (spider crab), cooked with
grated carrots, Bachs lemon and black garlic, from the
slightly cheaper motion menu, then moved on to pearly
skrei (a type of cod), with spring onions and wild garlic from
the Montagne Noire area to the north of Carcassonne. Then
came a succulent volaille cooked with crayfish and fine leeks.
Sommelier Thomas Brieu poured a white wine from Arbois
a nod towards the chefs home region to go with the
cheeseboard, then a luscious Juranon, to pair with my
indulgent chocolate tart dessert.
Eating at La Table is about more than fine flavours; its
like being massaged from the inside out. The food isnt only
delicious, its freshness and complexity are relaxing,
stimulating and rejuvenating. If you dont want a long walk
after your meal, Franck opened
a small hotel on the site in 2013.
Classique... Fiction 91; motion
69; lunchtime Menu Faire 39.
The restaurant is closed on Sundays
and Mondays.
La Table de Franck Putelat, Htel
Le Parc, 80 Chemin des Anglais,
11000 Carcassonne, tel: (Fr) 4 68 71
80 80, www.franck-putelat.com

RESTAURANTS
Visitors stroll in the shadow
of the Chteau Comtal

3 Ct Ferme

Most visitors to Carcassonne spend the day in the Cit


Mdivale and leave without wandering over the historic
Pont Vieux to the Bastide Saint-Louis. Built on the opposite
bank of the River Aude in the 13th century, this is the new
town centre, which hosts the vibrant market and through
which Carcassonnes other Unesco World Heritage site, the
Canal du Midi, runs.
La Ferme is the Bastides finest picerie.
Gilles and Jacqueline Fiorotto moved their
shop here from Limoux 30 years ago, at
first selling a selection of cheeses from the
region, then growing to include delicious
charcuteries from France, Spain and Italy.
In 2009, their son Romain (pictured right)
opened the bistro, Ct Ferme, in which
customers can eat fresh foods selected
from the picerie, with vegetables and
herbs grown in the familys garden in
Rouffiac-dAude.
Eschewing the traditional three-course
FO O D T I P
menu, Romain created a new concept: a choice of three
tasting platters, for between 16.90 and 32, on
Try a deliciously filling sala
d
which various tapas-style entres are served together
of gsiers de canard confits
with a main course covered by a lid so it doesnt
(slow-cooked duck gizzards),
get
cold and followed by dessert. My Plateau Pinot
which can be served with
(22) included an egg cooked at low temperature in
croutons, onion, nuts, cherry
a light codfish sauce, a delicious fish soup, pt de
tomatoes, boiled eggs and
foie gras with fig jam, Serrano ham and fresh tomato
even slices of apple.
pure on toast, and a selection of cheeses. I barely had
room for my truffle tagliatelle main or ice cream!
The bistros decor combines traditional stone arches and
brickwork with bench seating and a bar with high chairs,
from which you can watch the cooks prepare your meal.
Sommelier Christophe offers more than 100 fine wines, at
only 10 more per bottle than in the shop. Theres also an
Enomatic dispenser, which allows diners to serve themselves
from a selection of 16 wines, from as little as 1 per glass.
The restaurant is closed on Sundays, Mondays and
Tuesday evenings.
Ct Ferme, 26 Rue Chartran (opposite Halles Prosper
Montagn), 11000 Carcassonne, tel: (Fr) 4 68 47 25 51,
deliciously crispy confit de canard, Toulouse sausage and pied
http://coteferme.com
de porc. More confidential are Pierres wonderful seafood
dishes, for which he always uses the days Mediterranean catch.
I chose the fillet of maigre (a white fish from the sea bass family),
served with cuttlefish slices, cockles and Castelnaudary beans
(as in cassoulet) in a lemon and parsley sauce; washed down
with a refreshing white from the nearby Limoux vineyards.
My dessert also had a vinous theme: parfait glac made
with Muscat de Saint-Jean-de-Minervois my favourite of the
Languedocs appellations for sweet Muscat served with crispy
oreillettes Languedociennes fritters and a pineapple sauce.
The restaurant is closed on Sundays and Mondays. Booking
is advised during the summer, especially for the terrace.
Lunch menus from 23; Trencavel dinner menu 41.
Le Comte Roger, La Cit Mdivale, 14 Rue Saint-Louis, 11000
Carcassonne, tel: (Fr) 4 68 11 93 40, www.comteroger.com

onne

www.completefrance.com

FRANCE MAGAZINE 81

31 Rue du
Dr Albert
Tomey
11000 Carc
assonne
Tel: (Fr) 4
68 71 39 9
This is whe
6
re

locals mee
t, on the ca
sunny terr
fs
ace, for a
g
la
ss
of chilled ro
and a plate
s
of barbecu
ed coeurs
canard, aft
de
er Carcass
onnes
Saturday m
orning ma
rket.

Eating in

troS
la
produce and fish that Languedoc and the Mediterranean can offer

BREAD

SEAFOOD

selection. Locals
frequently stop by for
a glass after work and
Arnaud organises
themed evenings with
street food cooked by
the butcher on the
opposite side of Rue
du Pont Vieux.

Poissonnerie
Jacques Montagn

DELICATESSEN

Boulangerie Noez
57 Rue de Verdun
11000 Carcassonne
Tel: (Fr) 4 68 47 67 51
Stop here for the best
baguettes in town.

MARKETS
Place Carnot
Bastide Saint-Louis
11000 Carcassonne
Carcassonnes outdoor
market fills Bastide
Saint-Louiss central
square and spills out
into the surrounding
streets. It is open on
Tuesday and Thursday
mornings, but is at its
liveliest on Saturdays,
when fresh fruit and
vegetables, herbs and
spices, local cheeses
and every kind of
duck-based delight
are sold. Try a bag
of fritons (duck
scratchings) as a tasty
snack. From Tuesday
to Saturday, the indoor
market on Rue Aim
Ramond also offers
an array of fine
local produce.
CO F F E E B R E A K

PTISSERIE

Barrire Truffesne

BoulangeriePtisserie des Halles

son
51 Rue Trivalle, 11000 Carcas
Tel: (Fr) 4 68 25 92 65
www.barriere-truffes.com

s the
On the pretty street that link
tide
Bas
h
Cit Mdivale wit
and
Saint-Louis, stop for a coffee
fle
truf
ade
e-m
a scoop of hom
es
ice-cream at Philippe Barrir
e.
tiqu
bou
stylish

82 FRANCE MAGAZINE

ANTI-CLOCKWISE FROM
TOP RIGHT: Shoppers at
the market in Place
Carnot; A lunchtime
barbecue at Caf
Saillan; Customers at
the caf enjoy a drink in
the sunshine; Philippe
Barrire at his shop

61 Rue Aim Ramond


Bastide Saint-Louis
11000 Carcassonne
Tel: (Fr) 4 68 25 06 17
Baker Jean-Jacques
Fuster is famed for his
Petits Carcassonnais
small madeleines
which he makes in
the shape of the
Cit Mdivale.

59 Rue Aim Ramond


Bastide Saint-Louis
11000 Carcassonne
Tel: (Fr) 4 68 25 62 02
The Montagn family
runs this excellent
fishmonger, as well as
a seafood stall at the
indoor market.
An enormous selection
of oysters, sea snails,
prawns and fish arrives
from the Mediterranean
on Tuesdays, Thursdays
and Saturdays. On
Christmas Eve, a small
army is employed to
open shells and make
fish platters for the
citys feasts.

WINE
Lche pas
la Grappe!
55 Rue du Pont Vieux
11000 Carcassonne
Tel: (Fr) 4 68 26 39 63
Carcassonnes newest
wine caviste, Arnaud
Pevere, always has
a few good bottles
open, to pair with the
fine cheeses and
charcuterie that
he serves. Most wines
come from family
producers in
Languedoc-Roussillon,
and Arnauds passion
for organic wine is
reflected in his

ong
m

La Ferme
55 Rue de Verdun
Bastide Saint-Louis
11000 Carcassonne
Tel: (Fr) 4 68 25 02 15
www.lafermecarcassonne.fr
This large deli next to
Ct Ferme (see Eating
In section) has grown
from a cheese shop
into a purveyor of
almost every savoury
treat. There are cold
meats from all over
the Mediterranean and
home-made dishes
such as Alsatian
choucroute, to which
you can add as much
sausage, ham hock and
bacon as you can
carry. The shop also
sells around 500
carefully selected
wines, with an entire
floor dedicated to
glasses, designer
pots and luxury
cooking utensils.

NEXT
MONTH

E N J OY I N G
THE CUISINE
O F T H E LOT

www.completefrance.com

PHOTOGRAPHS: DOMINIC RIPPON

APRO

Caf Sail
la

SHOPPING

French
saffron
In her regular column,
Clotilde Dusoulier shows
how to cook with the
produce we buy in France

he word saffron may conjure up exotic


images of the Spice Road linking Asia
with the West, yet few people know it is
in fact produced in France, to a quality
that is bound to delight the most demanding cook.
Saffron starts with a beautiful mauve flower, the
saffron crocus, that blooms in October for only
about 48 hours. The flowers are picked and their
pistils, delicately plucked and carefully dried,
become the saffron spice proper: fragile red threads
that turn dishes a rich shade of yellow and deliver
a vibrant, one-of-a-kind flavour that could be
described as halfway between honey and hay.
Because each flower produces just three of these
threads and the entire process is done by hand, it
takes a lot of land and a lot of man hours to
produce saffron. This explains why its a costly
ingredient, but a small pinch is enough to set alight
the flavours of a dish one to three pistils per
person, depending on the type.
Saffron was grown in France as early as the
16th century especially in the Gtinais region,
just south of le-de-France but its culture was
abandoned after World War I. Although most of
the worlds saffron is now grown in Iran, the
Kashmir region, Spain and Morocco, French
production picked up again in the 1980s,
with boutique producers sprouting up all over
France and focusing their efforts on pristine
quality rather than volume.

Clotilde Dusoulier
lives in Paris and
writes a popular
food blog,
Chocolate &
Zucchini. She
has published
cookbooks and
a guide to Paris
restaurants and
food shops.

When buying saffron, turn your nose up at


ground powders it oxidises quickly and is too
easy to meddle with in this form and seek out
whole threads with a rich colour and vibrant
aroma: the good stuff isnt cheap, but youll need
less of it to make your cooking shine.
Buy saffron straight from the producer if youve
chanced upon one, or else a specialised spice store.
It is often more affordable to get a bigger volume,
so if you have friends who can share in the bounty,
its worth making a group purchase.
In the kitchen, saffron works wonders on fish
and shellfish, lamb and chicken, cream sauces,
lentils, rice, potatoes and egg dishes it has
transformative powers over a simple omelette
as well as custards, macarons and fruit salads.
Keep in mind that saffron is a water-soluble spice:
it needs to be first infused in a liquid component
of your dish, which should be either warm, acidic
or alcoholic.

MAIN PHOTOGRAPH: FOTOLIA

SAFFRON OMELETTE
3tbsp warm milk
4 pistils saffron
4 large organic eggs
12tsp fine sea salt
A pat of butter
1. About two hours
before, combine the

www.completefrance.com

warmed milk and


saffron in a small bowl
and set aside to infuse.
2. In a medium bowl,
beat the eggs lightly
with the saffron milk
and the salt.

3. Melt the butter in


a frying pan and pour
in the egg mixture.
Allow to set for
a few seconds, then
push the outer, cooked
parts toward the

uncooked centre of
the pan.
4. Tilt the pan around
so the egg mixture
covers the surface of
the pan again, and
repeat the setting and

pushing steps SERVES


until the
omelette is
cooked to your liking.
5. Fold in half and slide
on to a preheated
serving plate.

FRANCE MAGAZINE 85

Seeds of change
The replanting of the Canal du Midis iconic plane trees
echoes the resurrection of Frances vineyards more than
100 years ago, says Dominic Rippon

86 FRANCE MAGAZINE

Dominic Rippon
has many years
experience in the
wine trade, both
in the UK and
France, and
now runs the
wine merchant
business Strictly
Wine.

devastator, a microscopic insect that feeds on the


roots of grape vines. Like the fungus that would
later appear in the Canal du Midi, phylloxera was
native to North America, this time brought to
France, via Britain, on American vine cuttings
taken by Victorian botanists. American vine
species, such as Vitis labrusca, had developed
a resistance to the pest, but their European cousin,
Vitis vinifera, succumbed quickly.

Road to recovery
An early solution was to breed native European
vines with American species, creating hybrids that
resisted phylloxera. But when the wines were
made, their flavours were unacceptable to those
used to drinking traditional burgundy, claret and
champagne. By the early 20th century, botanists
had perfected the technique of grafting Vitis
vinifera varieties on to native American
rootstocks, which didnt harm the wines flavours;
but by that time the shape of the French vineyard
had changed fundamentally. Some wine
regions, such as Moselle in Lorraine, had
already been marginalised by the building

www.completefrance.com

PHOTOGRAPHS: DOMINIC RIPPON; DREAMSTIME; FOTOLIA

he Canal du Midi received Unesco


World Heritage status in 1996, in
recognition of both its beauty as
a landmark and its importance to the
industrialisation of Europe in the late
17th century. So it was a cruel blow to southern
France when, ten years later, a microscopic fungus
was found to have attacked the magnificent plane
trees that line the canals banks and shelter
boaters from the fierce Mediterranean sun. The
disease, known as Ceratocystis platani, was
apparently brought from North America via
wooden ammunition boxes during World War II.
To date, no cure has been found.
The same sense of panic must have been felt in
the 1860s when grape vines in the southern Rhne
began to wither and die. Before the cause was
identified, desperate farmers resorted to medieval
cures, such as burying a live toad under each vine,
in an attempt to suck out the poison. But the
devastation continued, until the majority
of Frances vineyards had been
eradicated. Eventually the culprit was
discovered, Phylloxera vastatrix, the

WINE

FACING PAGE: ric Fitan, president of the Saint-Mont wine


trade association, with some pre-phylloxera vines; ABOVE AND
TOP: Ungrafted vines at Champagne Bollinger; RIGHT: A fungus
is threatening plane trees alongside the Canal du Midi

of a rail link between Paris and the south of


France, so phylloxera dealt their wine industries
a final coup de grce. Even in better-known
regions such as Bordeaux, vineyards like those of
Fronsac were replanted too quickly, near the
overly fertile banks of the Dordogne and Isle
rivers, producing wines of inferior quality and
permanently harming the areas reputation
(Fronsac is still often referred to as a satellite of
nearby Saint-milion). Gradually, however,
Frances vineyards became productive again. Vines
were replanted in tidy rows to facilitate
mechanical farming and vineyards were stocked
with single varieties, rather than the co-planted
field blends that they often replaced.
While phylloxera ravaged the vineyards of
France and its European neighbours, areas of the
New World, most notably Chile, were never
affected, as their (mostly French) vine stocks
pre-dated the arrival of the insect in Europe. But
there are also corners of France where phylloxera
never took hold, where old vines still grow on
their own roots. At Champagne Bollinger
(www.champagne-bollinger.com), in the village of
A-Champagne, near pernay, two small parcels of
vines remain inexplicably immune from the disease.
Instead of being grafted on to American rootstocks,
these vines are replanted annually by the ancient
process of layering, by which the fruit-bearing
branch of the vine is bent over and buried after the
harvest, creating a new root system for the
following years growth. The wine made from these
parcels is Bollingers Vieilles Vignes Franaises,
a highly prized champagne made from 100 per cent

www.completefrance.com

ungrafted pinot noir; it shows a unique


combination of freshness, purity and concentration.
In Gascony, the Plaimont cave cooperative
(tel: (Fr) 5 62 69 62 87, www.plaimont.com)
released the first bottling of its delicious Vignes
Prphylloxriques blend in 2012, to huge fanfare.
On the high slopes of the Saint-Mont appellation,
the vineyards tawny sand soils naturally prevent
the spread of phylloxera, allowing some of its
ungrafted tannat and pinenc vines to have lived
for nearly 200 years. The plot is now classed as
a Monument Historique.

Rays of sunshine
Meanwhile in the Midi, the public has rallied to
the Canals cause: over the past few years, half
a million euros has been received in charitable
donations by the French waterways authority,
which is charged with removing infected trees and
restoring the canal to its old splendour. Although
a new vaccine is being tested, the only sure
solution is to replant different species of tree, with
roots strong enough to strengthen the canals
banks, and thick leaves to create a shady canopy.
In a final echo of the phylloxera story, one of the
species being planted is the Mississippi plane,
a native American tree that resists the fungus.
Some people in the Midi are philosophical,
pointing out that the canals ageing plane trees
were planted mostly in the early 19th century and
would have needed replacing anyway. It remains
to be seen whether, as with Frances vineyards, the
introduction of new plants will bring fresh and
unexpected benefits.

FRANCE MAGAZINE 87

LA CULTURE
Your essential guide to French
culture and language

Talent to amuse
Versatile film actress and writer SYLVIE TESTUD tells
Pierre de Villiers of her surprise move into comedy

PHOTOGRAPH: CARMEN JASPERSEN/DPA/ALAMY LIVE NEWS

ylvie Testud has itchy feet. The French actress has moved
house in Paris no fewer than 11 times not because shes
particularly picky about where she lives but because she
hates feeling hemmed in.
I just dont want to make this circle around me and have
limitations always be this girl and always live here. I have
always felt this way. I move all the time.
Its a free-spirited attitude combined with pixie-like, almost
otherworldly features that make it impossible for the movie
industry to pigeonhole her that has seen Testud carve out
a fascinating career. She learnt German, sign language and the
clarinet for Jenseits der Stille (Beyond Silence), won a Csar for
playing one of the murdering Papin sisters in Les Blessures
Assassines (Murderous Maids), starred as dith Piafs best friend
in the Oscar-winning La Vie en Rose and won another
Csar for Stupeur et Tremblements (playing
a Belgian translator working at a Japanese
company). For her most recent film the
actress makes a rare foray into comedy with
Le Talent de Mes Amis, about a personal
development expert who turns a mans
life upside down.
I was surprised when director Alex
Lutz asked me to do it, says Testud.
Im more the sort of actress they call
if they want someone who becomes
crazy or wants to die. No one has
really asked me to do something
funny, but Alex trusted me and
I found a new world which
was wonderful.
To understand
Testuds desire to try
new things you
must go back to
her upbringing in
Lyon. The actress
recalls how being
blonde and

www.completefrance.com

blue-eyed meant she stood out in a family with Italian roots,


something that had a profound effect on her as a child.
I was always a white sheep among the black sheep because
my family has dark hair and eyes, Testud says. Because of this
difference I was embarrassed when I was small; then I got used to
not being what I was expected to be. I had a lot of courage and
wanted to do something dangerous.
Testuds fearless streak extends to writing. Her 2003 book
Il ny a pas Beaucoup dtoiles Ce Soir is a warts-and-all look at
her life as an actress, with the film industry not always portrayed
in a positive light. Wasnt she concerned about biting the hand
that feeds her? No, no! she insists. Writing is something
special for me. Its like I become a kid; I say what I want.
For her next book Testud is tackling motherhood with typical
honesty. Im disappointed because I dont
think motherhood has changed me, says
the actress, who has two children.
I thought it would herald a new
maturity, but I am still waiting. Im
the one who gives them the wrong
socks and shorts, saying: You
look really cool wearing that!
Testud has been working on
several intriguing films,
including the comedy Cest le
Mtier qui Rentre, based on
another of her books about
the film industry. Its a hectic
schedule that ensures she
remains in constant motion.
I have a lot of things to
learn and want to feel with
every new thing that Ive
never done something so
exciting. I always believe
that my next experience
will be great.
Le Talent de Mes Amis is
in cinemas now.

FRANCE MAGAZINE 89

CINEMA RELEASE

Les
Combattants
STARRING: Adle Haenel, Kevin Azas
DIRECTOR: Thomas Cailley
RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes
CERTIFICATE: 15
RELEASE DATE: 19 June

es Combattants is not a typical love story. The leading lady likes


to butt people, the central couple first kiss over the barrel of
a gun, while applying camouflage paint is a way of flirting. It is
a quirkiness that makes Thomas Cailleys feature debut
a welcome change from the many sugarcoated rom-coms out there.
When his father dies, Arnaud (Azas) joins his brother to run the family
carpentry business. At the home of one of their new clients he falls under
the spell of Madeleine (Haenel), an intense tomboy who believes the end of
the world is near. To help prepare for the apocalypse she enrols in an army
training course, with a love-struck Arnaud following suit, but Madeleines
stubbornness threatens to alienate her increasingly miffed suitor.
The thin storyline means it is up to Haenel and Azas (pictured above)
to carry the film, something the two young stars do remarkably well.
Haenel, who won the Best Actress Csar for her performance, is beguiling
as the moody Madeleine, a character who is funny, sad and scary in equal
measure, while Azas (winner of the Most Promising Actor Csar) brings
a quiet dignity to his role.
From behind the camera, Cailley shows some nice visual touches,
whether its a motorbike journey in the pouring rain, a bizarre scene
involving frozen chicks or a climax in an abandoned town thats both
surprising and eerie.
With Les Combattants doing well at Cannes last year it scooped four
awards there is already talk of a Hollywood remake, so make sure you
see the original before a new sanitised, saccharine version hits cinemas.
Pierre de Villiers

OTHER CINEMA AND BLU-RAY RELEASES


CINEMA
Madame Bovary (28 June) Director Claude Chabrols 1991
adaptation of Gustave Flauberts novel stars Isabelle Huppert
in one of her best roles as the tragic heroine who embarks on

90 FRANCE MAGAZINE

a series of love affairs to escape from her dull provincial


existence. The film is being shown at the Cin Lumire at the
Institut Franais in London.
La Grande Bouffe (from 3 July) Four men retreat to a rural
villa and vow to eat themselves to death in this controversial
1973 film now being given a re-release.

www.completefrance.com

Five minutes with...

WILLIAM ALEXANDER

The American author of


Flirting with French (see
review, right) talks about his
first experiences of France
and his love of the language.

The first time I went to France


was when I was in college; I
bought a Eurail train pass and
a youth hostel pass and fell in
love with the country as soon
as I arrived. I had dropped
French at the end of school as
I hated it, but after becoming
so enchanted with the country
I knew that I had to go back
and start learning again.
The book is all about my
experiences of learning the
language and, interestingly,
what came out is not the
book that I intended to write.
The working title was My
Fair Frenchman and I
imagined myself to be rather
like Eliza Doolittle [in My
Fair Lady], who would be
fluent in French after six
months intensive study.
It was more difficult than I
had thought and so my focus
quickly turned to why it was
so hard to learn the language.
I thought a lot of people
could relate to the story, as
many adults have trouble
learning a language. I spoke
to all sorts of people,
including neuroscientists
and linguists, trying to
understand why it is
such a challenge for
grown-ups.
One thing that
bothered me when I was
trying to Frenc was the

gender of nouns, a problem


that we thankfully dont have
to face in English. I would
make a number of genderrelated mistakes and the
French were not shy in
letting me know that I had
got things wrong.
Although I have now
probably forgotten more than
I ever learned, French for me
still remains a beautiful
language; I am particularly
enchanted by the evocative
images generated by such
simple words as fruits de
mer compared to the more
mundane English seafood.
French has a truly poetic
quality and one day I will
maybe give it another try.
William Alexander was
talking to Peter Stewart

re
a
e
W
listening to...
Carmen by Belgianborn singer
Stromae. The lyrics
(on youtube.com)
deal with societys
growing obsession
with social media.

BLU-RAY
Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (out now) Vincent Vittoz
directs a cast which includes soprano Natalie Dessay and
teenager Marie Oppert in this staged production of Jacques
Demys much-loved 1964 screen musical, recorded at the
Thtre du Chtelet in Paris.

www.completefrance.com

REVIEWS

BOOKS
FLIRTING WITH FRENCH
William Alexander,
Duckworth, 9.99
For Francophile William Alexander
simply exploring lHexagone and
loving its food and culture isnt
enough; he wants to feel French
from the inside. The only problem
is that he cannot speak the
language. This highly entertaining
read charts Alexanders progress both at home in the
United States and on his travels in France as he sets out
to conquer the language that he loves, but finds hard to
understand. Along the way he describes the irritation of
having to type accented letters in emails and the pitfalls
of addressing someone as tu rather than vous, before
coming to a surprising conclusion about his quest.
HOW THE FRENCH WON
WATERLOO (OR THINK THEY DID)
Stephen Clarke,
Random House, 14.99
In his latest book, author and
FRANCE Magazine columnist
Stephen Clarke marks the 200th
anniversary of Waterloo by seeing
how the French have viewed the
battle and why they cannot
contemplate their hero Napolon
being dubbed a loser. He reveals that as soon as the
cannon fire ceased, French historians began re-writing
history, claiming that the Duke of Wellington had been
defeated but that his Prussian allies the disobeyed the
rules of battle to change the outcome. The latest in
Clarkes long list of witty tales is an entertaining look at
how the French really do think they won the war and at
the influence Napolon has on modern France.
TAPE
Richard Moore,
HarperCollins, 8.99
As riders prepare for this years
Tour de France, which begins on
4 July, heres a chance to get the
inside track on the legendary race
in specialist Richard Moores latest
book on the world of cycling.
Through exclusive new interviews
with cycling legends past and present, the author takes
readers on a virtual tour of France, selecting 20 stages
from the past five decades that convey the many facets
of the tour, from heroism to tragedy. Featuring Mark
Cavendish, Chris Boardman and the disgraced Lance
Armstrong among many others, this anecdote-packed
book is a compelling read.

FRANCE MAGAZINE 91

LANGUAGE DIGEST

FAST-TRACK YOUR LEARNING


Get prepared for your French holiday with Peter Stewarts round-up of language resources

ummer is now in full swing and the


much-anticipated getaway is drawing
closer, but there is still time to boost
your confidence in French.
If leafing through densely packed
grammar books fails to motivate you, then
seek out French for Beginners:
A Practical Guide to Learn the
Basics of French in 10 Days
(CreateSpace Independent
Publishing Platform, 7.99).
This easy-to-use guide is full of
information on getting to grips
with French grammar and includes
a glossary of useful phrases to
make yourself understood in
a number of situations.
Another resource for helping your holiday
go smoothly is French Phrasebook: +1400
French Phrases to Travel in France with
Confidence (CreateSpace Independent
Publishing Platform, 6.90). The guide
features a wealth of expressions and their
English phonetic translations, and also has
an extensive menu reader, so that you know
exactly what youre ordering in restaurants.
For parents wanting to make learning
French fun for their children, Kids Cook
French (Quarry, 12.99) is a great choice.
Claudine Ppins book, with illustrations by
her father, chef Jacques Ppin, teaches
youngsters the importance of good eating
habits and comes with classic recipes in both
French and English.

If you find learning on the go the best way


to improve your French then the ATi Studios
free Speak French app is the way forward.
The app is packed with more than 2,000
words and phrases covering a range of topics,
from asking directions and booking a hotel
to spending a night on the town
Language courses are another
effective way to become confident
in French. CREA-Langues
(www.crealangues.com), based in
a renovated monastery in Provence,
runs residential courses that
immerse participants in the French
language and culture from morning
to evening with the constant
presence of teaching staff.
If you are worried at the prospect of
speaking French on holiday, the film
Mr Beans Holiday should set your mind at
ease. This comedy starring Rowan Atkinson
as the hapless hero provides many examples
of how not to communicate on your travels.

THIS MONTHS BEST PICKS

BEGINNERS

INTERMEDIATE

ADVANCED

French Box Set, CreateSpace


Independent Publishing
Platform, 14.99
Described as a crash course
in learning French 300 per
cent faster, this box set
contains a language course,
a phrasebook and a holiday
manual. Beginners will find
everything from the basics
of grammar to
chatting in
French to help
their next trip
across the
Channel.

The Ultimate French Verb


Review and Practice,
McGraw-Hill Contemporary,
9.99
This guide offers a concise
review of verb forms and
contains a range of exercises
helping you to construct
authentic French sentences,
starting with simple subjectplus-verb
constructions
and going on to
conditional and
compound
sentences.

Du Ct de Chez Swann: la
Recherche du Temps Perdu,
CreateSpace Independent
Publishing Platform, 10.25
Marcel Prousts seven-volume
novel features more than
2,000 characters and deals
with the complexities of
involuntary memory. The
first part, with its
dense plotting
and flowery
prose, will test
anyone taking
their French to
the highest level.

92 FRANCE MAGAZINE

o say,
DDONT
SAY:

If you go shopping
and realise youve
forgotten your
wallet when the
time comes to pay,
be sure to say Je
nai pas dargent.
If you opt for the
faux ami Je nai pas
de monnaie, youre
saying you do not
have any change.

GRAMMAR
CORNER
THE PASSIVE FORM
In French, passive sentences
are usually formed with the
verb tre and the past
participle, and the latter will
always agree with the subject.
Examples include Le ciel
a t illumin par la foudre,
which translates as The sky
was illuminated by lightning
and La maison sera vendue,
which means The house will
be sold. The passive can often
be avoided in French by using
the subject pronoun on,
for example On vide les
poubelles le vendredi, which
translates as the bins are
emptied on Fridays.
Passive sentences are often
formed with the reflexive
pronoun and sometimes this
has both active and passive
meanings. Examples are
La porte sest ferme, which
means The door closed, and
Les glaces se vendent mieux
lt que lhiver, meaning
Ice cream sells better in
summer than in winter.

www.completefrance.com

LANGUAGE

SOUNDS OF SUMMER
Its not just the Fte Nationale that the French celebrate in July;
there are plenty of music festivals to enjoy, says Audrey Paris

PHOTOGRAPHS: FLORA LEUCAT; FOTOLIA

our beaucoup, le mois de Juillet en France rime avec


14 Juillet, prise de la Bastille, Fte Nationale. Mais
pour les frus de musique, le septime mois de lanne
saccorde avec Francofolies de La Rochelle, Vieilles
Charrues ou bien encore Main Square Festival.
En route pour le Nord-Pas-de-Calais. Du 3 au 5 Juillet,
le coeur de la spendide citadelle Vauban dArras va battre au
rythme du Main Square Festival. Devenu un vnement
immanquable pour les fans de rock, de pop et dlectro, le Main
Square a vu dfiler entre ses murs des ttes daffiche telles que
les Black Eyed Peas, Coldplay et David Guetta. Avec Muse,
Lenny Kravitz et Pharrell Williams, ldition de 2015 promet,
une nouvelle fois, dtre exceptionnelle.
Une semaine plus tard (10-14 Juillet),
direction la cte atlantique et la cit
millnaire de La Rochelle pour les
Francofolies, festival clbrant la musique
franaise. De llectro la pop, en passant
par le reggae et le jazz, il y en a pour tous
les gots avec plus de 100 concerts rpartis
sur cinq jours. Stars montantes de la scne
franaise (Vianney, Christine and The
Queens) comme stars internationales
(Angus & Julia Stone, The Avener, The D),
toutes seront au rendez-vous. Ldition de 2015 sera galement
loccasion de rendre hommage dith Piaf pour lanniversaire
des 100 ans de sa naissance. Johnny Hallyday, monument de
la chanson franaise, ainsi que le feu dartifice du 14 Juillet
(voir photo), cltureront ces cinq jours de festivits.
Du 16 au 19 Juillet, place enfin aux Vieilles Charrues et son
grain de folie si caractristique au festival breton de Carhaix.
Vivez au son du rock, du jazz et de la pop mais aussi du fest-noz
(festival Breton traditionnel) grce des artistes tels que Tom
Jones, Muse, London Grammar et George Ezra. De la petite
fte locale quil tait avec ces 200 participants pour sa premire
dition, le festival des Vieilles Charrues accueille aujourdhui
plus de 200.000 festivaliers pour ce qui sannonce, une fois de
plus, comme le plus gros vnement musical franais de lt.
Cest avant tout la convivialit, le partage et lchange qui
vous guideront aux quatres coins de France, afin quen famille
ou entre amis, vous vous laissiez emporter par les rythmes
endiabls qui marqueront ces festivals de Juillet.

osrtdreoent:
W
the
www.completefrance.com

or many people, the month of July in France is


synonymous with 14 July, Frances national holiday.
But for music lovers, the seventh month of the year is
all about Francofolies de La Rochelle,
Les Vieilles Charrues or even Main Square Festival.
First stop is Nord-Pas-de-Calais. From 3-5 July, the heart
of the splendid Vauban citadel in Arras will beat to the rhythm
of Main Square Festival. An unmissable event for fans of rock,
pop and electro, the Main Square has hosted within its walls
headline acts such as Black Eyed Peas, Coldplay and David
Guetta. With Muse, Lenny Kravitz and Pharrell Williams, the
2015 event promises, once again, to be exceptional.
A week later (10-14 July), hit the
road towards the Atlantic coast and the
1,000-year-old city of La Rochelle for the
Francofolies, a festival celebrating French
music. From electro to pop, and reggae to
jazz, there is music to suit everyone with
more than 100 concerts spread over five
days. Rising stars of the French music
scene (Vianney, Christine and The Queens)
as well as international artists (Angus &
Julia Stone, The Avener and The D)
will all be performing. The 2015 event will
pay tribute to dith Piaf, who was born 100 years ago.
The five days of celebrations will close with a performance
by French singing legend Johnny Hallyday and the 14 July
firework display (pictured).
From 16-19 July, it will be the turn of Les Vieilles Charrues
and its touch of madness so typical of the Breton festival
in Carhaix. Enjoy the sound of rock, jazz and pop music,
along with the fest-noz (traditional Breton festival) thanks to
artists such as Tom Jones, Muse, London Grammar and
George Ezra. Originally a small local festival with only
200 participants in its first year, the Vieilles Charrues today
welcomes more than 200,000 festival goers for what promises
to be the biggest musical event of the French summer.
It is, above all, the conviviality, the sense of sharing and
conversation that will guide you to the four corners of France,
and whether you are with your family or among friends,
let yourselves be carried away by the lively rhythms of the
July festivals.

The word bouffe is an old French


slang word which means grub. If you
say On se fait une bouffe? it means
Shall we go for a meal?

FRANCE MAGAZINE 93

IDIOMS

Guess the meaning of the


idiom faire le pont.
a) To build bridges
b) To take a long weekend
c) To be a bridge too far

QUI SUIS-JE?
Lisez les indices ci-dessous
et devinez qui je suis
Je suis lun des acteurs les
plus connus de France.
En 2011 jai jou un rle
important dans le film The
Artist.
Jai t mari lactrice
franaise Alexandra Lamy.
Je suis

5Hurry
WAYS
TO
SAY...

up

Dpche-toi
This is the
standard phrase
for Hurry up!

Fais vite!
This phrase
means Be quick!

Grouille-toi

Match these types of bread


with their English equivalents

94 FRANCE MAGAZINE

Magne-toi
This is another
informal phrase
and means
Look sharp!

Presse-toi
This is used less
than the other
phrases and
translates as Get
a move on!

www.completefrance.com

PHOTOGRAPHS: FOTOLIA ILLUSTRATIONS: TIM WESSON; DREAMSTIME

WHATS
ON THE
MENU?

Pain aux graines Rye


Pain au levain Oatmeal
Pain de seigle Sourdough
Pain complet Wholemeal
Petit pain rond Seeded
Pain au son davoine Bap

This is an informal
phrase and
translates as
Shake a leg!

How
to say... COMPETITION
Les Mots Flchs

Portefeuille
portuh-foy
Wallet

Fun French
ANAGRAMS

Find the French words


for these sports

1 Toniatna
2 Qitatnuoi
3 Remiecs
4 Dnaronen
5 Tegniapa
6 Acrltri

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Idiom: B) To take a long weekend; Whats on


the menu? Pain aux graines seeded; pain au
levain sourdough; pain complet wholemeal;
petit pain rond bap; pain au son davoine
oatmeal; Qui suis-je? Jean Dujardin;
Anagrams: Natation swimming; quitation
horse-riding; Escrime fencing; Randonne
hiking; Patinage ice skating; Tir larc
archery; Tongue-twister: Tatie, ton th ta-t-il
t ta toux, disait la tortue au tatou. Mais pas du
tout, dit le tatou. Je tousse tant que lon
mentend de Tahiti Tombouctou. Aunt, has
your tea cured your cough, said the tortoise to
the tattoo. But not at all, said the tattoo, I cough
so much that you can hear me from Tahiti
to Timbuktu.

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Answers

WIN!

without books, writing or


striving to memorise
everything. The pack,
which retails at 100,
contains ten hours of
audio learning on CD,
more than three hours of
extra vocabulary help, a
visual learning review and
interactive exercises.

The winner of this


months competition will
receive the Michel
Thomas Perfect French
CD-audio course,
published by Hodder &
Stoughton. It will help
intermediates take their
French to the next level
and gain confidence

62,5e(
'(*$/$
)$;

PUZZLES

<

Mots Flchs winner


The winner of the May Mots Flchs quiz
(solution above) is David Duncan, from
Edinburgh. The mystery town was Calais.

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To enter: Complete Les Mots Flchs grid and note all the letters in the grey squares.
Rearrange these letters to spell a French town or city and send this answer, together with
your name, telephone number and address, to: FRANCE Magazine, Les Mots Flchs,
Archant House, Oriel Road, Cheltenham GL50 1BB. Entries close 8 July, 2015.
Last months Les Mots Flchs answers will be posted on our website www.francemag.com/quiz and
appear in the August issue, on sale on 8 July, 2015. The answers to this months competition will be on
the website from 15 July, 2015 and in the September issue on sale on 5 August, 2015.

TONGUE-TWISTER Slice up the baguette where the spaces should be


Tatietonthtatilttatouxdisaitlatortueautatoumaispasdutoutditle
tatoujetoussetantquelonmentenddeTahitiTombouctou.

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FRANCE MAGAZINE 95

To advertise, call: 01242 216099 or email: classified@francemag.com

Walking & Sightseeing Holidays


in Central France

Just Ramble welcomes you to the ancient


countryside located in Auvergne, near the Limousin
and Cher Regions, surrounded by the ora and fauna
of this wonderful natural area of France.
Holiday accommodation at local Hotel/B&Bs will
include breakfast and evening meals daily, with
lunch on guided walking days.

www.justramblefrance.com
Email: justramblefrance@gmail.com
Tel: 0033 (0)4 70 03 14 90

Please mention

FRANCE Magazine when responding

Be seen by
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Francophiles

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breaks and special interest
holidays, contact
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96 FRANCE MAGAZINE

www.completefrance.com

HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION

HOLIDAY PROPERTY TO LET


How to get the most from our extensive rental section

Simply choose the region you are interested in and browse through the selection of properties. Our simple key will
tell you all you need to know about the rental property of your choice. Though many will be listed with French
telephone numbers, most will be answered by English speakers, unless otherwise stated.
66

KEY
PARIS
NORTH WEST

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8

NORTH EAST

Five regions of
property to let by
colour code

Numbers 9 - 16 are distances in


km, O/S for On-site and N/P
for details Not Provided.

South East
South West

Full colour picture


Dpartement number
Nearest town
Dpartement name
Sleeping capacity
Property description
Weekly rental range ( in or )
Contact details

SOUTH EAST

9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16

SOUTH WEST

North East
North West
Paris

3
5

Nearest supermarket
Nearest airport
Nearest beach/swimming
Nearest tennis
Nearest golf
Nearest horseriding
Nearest restaurant
Nearest tourist attraction

7
4

COLLIOURE, PYRNESORIENTALES

CAPACITY: 24
This homely villa is in a quiet corner of a traditional
village surrounded by countryside, vineyards and Les
Alberes mountains. The mediterranean coast is 15 mins
drive, St. Cyprien, Argeles sur mer, Canet plage all
popular beach resorts. Collioure is a delight with
cobbled lanes, artisan galleries and beach front
restaurants. Visit Carcassonne, the wonderful UNESCO
world heritage city. Drive along the beautiful rugged
coast into Spain, visit vineyards, cathar castles and pretty
harbour towns. Enjoy wine tasting, walking and sight
seeing. You will feel relaxed as soon as you arrive at Belle
Vue, with its simple stylish decor and the peaceful
setting! Nearest airport Perpignan 20km.

545-945 p/w
Contact Jo Staples
Tel: 07801 440605
Email: bellevuemaisonvilla@yahoo.co.uk
www.holidaylettings.co.uk/76428

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9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

PROPERTY IN THE NORTH WEST


61

50

Visit France today


at www.completefrance.com

LA FERTEMACE, NORMANDY

NR CARTERET, MANCHE

CAPACITY: 2+2 7+2

CAPACITY: 9

Two spacious, well equipped gtes each having a large


lounge with a double bed-sette and a corner kitchen
area. Gite 1 ground floor; with double bedroom /
en suite bathroom. Gite 2 with ground floor double
bedroom / en suite shower room; upstairs double
bedroom, 1 family bedroom, both with en-suite
bathrooms. Prices include bed linen, towels and heating.

Normandy West Coast


Near to Carteret, Jersey and Cherbourg/Caen Ferry
Terminals.
A traditional Stone House, with 3 Bedrooms, 2 Ensuite,
Kitchen/Diner, and Lounge, Fully Furnished.
Modernised, UK TV, Heating throughout.
Country setting near towns and coast. Gardens, Terrace
with beautiful views, Barbecue and Spacious Parking.
Ideal for walking, cycling, birdwatching, water sports,
horse-riding, sailing and kayaking.
Close to historic D-Day beaches and sites.
Easy drive to Mont St Michel and Bayeux Tapistry.
Long lets available.

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living in France in our forum

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FRANCE IS JUST
A CLICK AWAY AT

www.completefrance.com
www.completefrance.com

140-550 p/w

280-395 p/w

Contact John and Chris Gibson


Tel: 0033 2 33 30 12 68
Fax: 0033 2 33 30 12 70
Email: john.gibson@nordnet.fr
www.normandy-gites.co.uk

145

10

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Contact Details:
Tel: (01728) 688309
Email: norman.maison@gmail.com
www.normanmaison.co.uk

10

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10

12

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FRANCE MAGAZINE 97

To advertise, call: 01242 216099 or email: classified@francemag.com

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PROPERTY IN THE NORTH WEST


61

LEPINAY LE COMTE
CAPACITY: 3
South facing well equipped stone detached
bakehouse recently renovated. Open plan living/
dining room kitchen with wood-burner, TV, DVD,
radio, CD player and dedicated free WiFi. Well
equipped kitchen inc. washing machine. Mezzanine
bedroom with double bed and single futon.
Bathroom with shower. The Bakehouse is part of a
small gated complex of three buildings with
generous gardens and parking. Situated on a quiet
lane off the D21 between Passais la Conception and
LEpinay le Comte. Owners live on site. Excellent
cycling opportunities. Three adult bicycles available.
Plenty of walking and fishing in the area. Prices
include gas, electricity and heating (wood for the
woodburner) all bedlinen, towels and welcome tray.
Mid-week breaks and weekend breaks available with
flexible dates to suit your travel plans. Contact the
owners for prices. Pets welcome.

200-300 p/w
Contact Details: Susan and Philip Harrison
Tel: 0033 2 33 96 13 67.
Email: hh.aspp@gmail.com
www.lapouliniere.co.uk

10

113

10

25

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PROPERTY IN THE SOUTH EAST


06

NEAR BEAULIEU SUR MER


CAPACITY: 5
Stay in an inviting villa on the French Riviera! Walk to
St. Jean Cap Ferrat, Beaulieu-sur-Mer and
Villefranche-sur-Mer, and take a bus, train or a short
drive to Nice, Eze and Monaco. Day trips include to
Antibes, Cannes, Grasse and Italy. Le Cottage
Dominic is on one level, with 2 air-conditioned
double bedrooms, a single sofa bed in the living
area, 2 bathrooms, a well equipped kitchen, covered
veranda and a sea view terrace on the roof reached
by exterior stairs. It is gated with ample parking.
Longer stays preferred, and discounted.
Come enjoy the allure of the Cote dAzur!

700-1300 p/w
Contact Anne Hubbard
Tel: 001-406-849-5151 (USA, 7 hours behind
UK) www.our-riviera-rental.com
Email: lecottagedominic@gmail.com
www.france-rental.com, I.D. #310

98 FRANCE MAGAZINE

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www.completefrance.com

HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION
PROPERTY IN THE SOUTH EAST
66

06

06

PYRNESORIENTALES

NR MONTELIMAR, PROVENCE

NICE COTE DAZUR

CAPACITY: 24

CAPACITY: 26

CAPACITY: 14

Villa Belle Vue is an ideal place for exploring French Catalonia.


The homely villa is in a quiet corner of a traditional village
surrounded by countryside, vineyards and Les Alberes
mountains. The mediterranean coast is 15 mins drive, St.
Cyprien, Argeles sur mer, Canet plage all popular beach resorts.
Collioure is a delight with cobbled lanes, artisan galleries and
beach front restaurants. Visit Carcassonne, the wonderful
UNESCO world heritage city. Drive along the beautiful rugged
coast into Spain, visit vineyards, cathar castles and pretty
harbour towns. Enjoy wine tasting, walking and sight seeing.
You will feel relaxed as soon as you arrive at Belle Vue, with its
simple stylish decor and the peaceful setting! Nearest airports
Perpignan 20km, Girona (Spain) 90km & Beziers 130km.

Rent our Petite Maison (sleeps 6), Sunflower Residence


(sleeps 4) or Atelier (sleeps 2) in ancient hilltop village.
We greet you with a welcome meal of Provenal
flavours. Enjoy rustic charm, comfortable spacious
accommodations, parking, private terraces with view,
shady gardens, a painters paradise. We offer fully
equipped kitchens (dishwasher, microwave, teakettle
etc.), A/C/heating, laundry facility, (meal, linen, towels,
energy included in price). Chteauneuf du Pape,
Gigondas, Die, Hermitage, within easy reach, discover
colourful markets, history, art, lavender fields, potteries,
hike or bike.

Modern and fully-equipped and 2 minutes from the sea


on the western side of Nice about 2 km from Nice
airport, our 1-bedroom apartment for up to 4 people is
in Villa Kappas, a modern block completed in 2006. It
has a south-facing terrace with beautiful sea-views see
picture above reversible air-conditioning for heating or
cooling, Wifi internet access and a secure car parking
space in the basement of the building. There is excellent
public transport very nearby (several bus routes pass the
door) and Monaco, Menton, Cannes, Antibes and Italy
are within easy reach. No fixed change - over day
bookings can be for any length of time. 10% discount
for bookings of 2 weeks or more. Sorry, no pets.

599-799 p/w

20

10

20

Contact Malcolm and Claudia Pim


Phone: 00 44 (0)1263 733336
Mobile: 00 44 (0)7900 215733
Email: villa.kappas@yahoo.co.uk
Website: www.villakappas.com

Website: www.LaMagnanerie.com
Email: UWLaMagnanerie@aol.com
Phone (CAN): 1 (416) 533-0391
(FR): 33 4.75.46.25.34

Contact Jo Staples
Tel: 07801 440605
Email: bellevuemaisonvilla@yahoo.co.uk
www.holidaylettings.co.uk/76428

295-495 p/w

540-850 p/w

150

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1.5

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PROPERTY IN THE SOUTH EAST


69

France & Monaco Rentals

PLACE DES CLESTINS


CAPACITY: 4
Place des Clestins: one of Lyons most beautiful views
and a superb furnished two-bedroom apartment.
This apartment, located on the 8th and top floor of a
lovely bourgeois building, features a western exposure
and offers a 180 view. You can enjoy a coffee or a drink
on the terrace, where you will have lovely vistas of the
Clestins Theater and the Fourvire Basilica.
This upscale apartment will charm you with its view,
its brightness, its quiet and its comfort. Blending
various eras, this decor lends true warmth to a
one-of-a-kind flat.
Rent this apartment with AppartAmbiance is perfect
for enjoying sunny days in Lyon!

1120 p/w
Contact Juliette Roux
Tel : +33 (0)4 78 29 82 47
www.appart-ambiance.com
contact@appartambiance.com

www.completefrance.com

Exclusive Vacation Rental Properties Throughout France and Monaco


We have a selection of privately owned houses and apartments available for
short-term rental all year round in the most stunning areas of France.
All of our properties are charming
and beautifully furnished.
All properties have internet
access.

All with Cable television with a


selection of English Channels
Free international phone calls
with some of our properties

Phone: +33 6 80 32 41 34
email: information@france-monaco-rentals.com

www.france-monaco-rentals.com
FRANCE MAGAZINE 99

HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION
PROPERTY IN THE SOUTH EAST

FE
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03

BETWEEN VICHY & ROANNE, ALLIER


CAPACITY: 4

GENESTE PETITE GRANGE. Superbly


converted stone barn in the Bourbonnais
Mts between Vichy and Roanne. Extremely
comfortable accommodation, oak fitted
kitchen with new appliances. French-style,
designer-made furniture, Moroccan details.
Romantic gallery bedroom (double) and
pretty twin bedroom, superb views.
Italian shower, separate loo.
Private terraces, BBQ, sunbeds. Quiet,
unspoilt rural location. Great walking, riding
and sightseeing.
Friendly English owners on site. Free WIFI.
Awarded maximum 3 STARS by Regional
Tourist Board.
LAST YEARS PRICES HELD. SEE WEBSITE
FOR SPECIAL OFFERS TO CELEBRATE OUR
10TH ANNIVERSARY.

385-530 p/w ALL INC


Contact Audrey Semple
Tel: 0033 (0) 470555594
Email: geneste.pg@wanadoo.fr
geneste-petite-grange.co.uk

16

Are you looking


for a second home
in France?
Whether you are looking for a place
in the sun or peace and quiet in the
country, you are bound to find your perfect
retreat at www.francepropertyshop.com

180

15

30

PROPERTY IN THE SOUTH WEST


47
82

LOT VALLEY/TARNETGARONNE
CAPACITY: 222

Advertise sale
ate
your priv ttle as
from as li
65+VAT

From tiny cottage to secluded manoir, we offer a


charming selection of quality country homes with pools.
Many are available all year. Halcyon Leisure is a small
family company with 23 years experience and we know
all our properties personally. Discover this unspoilt area,
steeped in history, architecture, and surrounded by
wonderful countryside and vineyards. Visit our website
today or give us a call - we are here to help.

www.francepropertyshop.com
Your essential guide to buying property in France
Brought to you by

www.completefrance.com

Contact Halycon Leisure.


Jean and Garry Cooper
Tel/Fax: UK: 020 8559 7351
E-mail: enquiries@halcyonleisure.net
www.halcyonleisure.com

50

O/S

23

10

15

FRANCE MAGAZINE 101

To advertise, call: 01242 216099 or email: classified@francemag.com

FE
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PROPERTY IN THE SOUTH WEST


81

SOUTH WEST
Mazamet, Midi-Pyrnes
Bed & breakfast: 5 double rooms
La Villa de Mazamet is a luxury B&B, in the heart of
SW France, with five beautifully appointed bedrooms,
pool, Le Petit Spa & table dhtes restaurant. Situated
in the market town of Mazamet, La Villa provides a
fantastic base from which to explore this historic
corner of France.
On the doorstep to two UNESCO World Heritage
Sites, Vineyards, Mountains & Medieval Villages.
From 110 per night, per room, inc. breakfast.

110 p/night
Peter Friend
Tel: +33 563 979 033
E-Mail: info@villademazamet.com
www.villademazamet.com

FE
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PROPERTY IN THE SOUTH WEST


12

NAJAC, AVEYRON
CAPACITY: 210
A warm welcome awaits you at the El Camino de
Najac, ideally situated on the edge of this beautiful
medieval town and perfect for exploring the
Aveyron.
Well-appointed rooms include both antique and
handmade furniture, modern bathrooms and
magnificent views. After enjoying our deluxe
breakfast (chateau views included), take your pick
from historic sites, over 80km of way marked trails or
simply relax in our expansive garden and woodland.
Discounts for groups & longer stays. From 45 per
room per night including breakfast.

45 per room per night


Carolyn & Rob Cornthwaite
Tel: +33 5 65 81 29 19
Email: carolyn@elcaminodenajac.com
www.elcaminodenajac.com

102 FRANCE MAGAZINE

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Location,
Location,
Location
We know that location
is important when
searching for your ideal
property in France so we
have made it easier
for you

Filter your
results to the specific
local town or village for a
more accurate search.

Keep up to date with the latest


properties by signing up to the
France Property Shop newsletter

www.francepropertyshop.com
Your essential guide to buying property in France

Brought to you by

To advertise, call: 01242 216099 or email: classified@francemag.com

HOLIDAYS AND LETTINGS

LANGUAGE

Are you an adult learner who wants to improve their French?


Our school in the heart of St Saturnin ls Apt in the Luberon combines a
programme of French learning with a real experience of Provence life
We have more than 10 years experience and a great team of native speaker
teachers. We are specialists in small group and individual courses.

French Immersion courses Individual and tailor-made French courses


French for professionals Specialist theme weeks French host accommodation or other options

Contact Susan Tel: +33 (0) 490 75 59 63, Email: enquiries@languageinprovence.com

www.languageinprovence.com
LANGUAGE SCHOOL IN THE LOIRE VALLEY

Savour Life in France


& live the French Way

FRENCH
COURSES FOR
ADULT STUDENTS
AND FAMILIES
AT YOUR
TEACHERS HOME

near Burgundy & Beaujolais

Good Food, Wine & Company Convivial


atmosphere - 6 per class
Your choice of French, French &
Cooking/Pastry/Chocolate courses

LANGUAGE

Ecole des 3 Ponts, Villa Beaulieu, 645 rue Marechal


Foch, 42153 Riorges, Grand Roanne, France
Tel: (Fr) 4 77 71 53 00 or
Tel: (UK) 0871 717 4226
Email: 3ponts2@wanadoo.fr
Internet http://www.3ponts.edu

INDIVIDUAL/ SEMI-INDIVIDUAL / MINI-GROUP


CLASSES 4 STAR GITE OR LOFT AT YOUR
TEACHER S HOME A LA CARTE PACKAGES
THEMED STAYS SKYPE CLASSES

Fontevraud lAbbaye
FRANCE
Tel: +33 (0) 2 41 51 78 74
Mob: +33 (0) 6 78 94 36 19

info@parfumdefrance-fr.com
www.parfumdefrance-fr.com

TOTAL
TOTALIMMERSION
IMMERSIONCOURSE
COURSE IN
INFRENCH
FRENCH
BERGERAC,
BERGERAC, DORDOGNE
DORDOGNE

Le Poiron Bonjour
FRENCH RESIDENTIAL
LANGUAGE COURSES
Join us in the heart of the Vende at Le
Chteau du Poiron. Our Inspiring residential
courses will make you feel at home and
immerse you in the French language and
culture. Build your confidence with structured
tuition, activities and outings. Improve your
listening, speaking and understanding skills
in a relaxed environment and stunning
location. Individual attention and support in
small groups, maximum of 6. Fully residential
and fully inclusive price at all levels.

Tailor
Tailormade
madetuition
tuitionininsmall
small
groups
from
groups
from
French
qualified
teachers.
native
speakers

Guided
Luxurious accommodation
visits to well known tourist sites
Delicious food and wines
(non French learners welcome)
House
Houseparty
partyatmosphere
atmosphere,
non French
Comfortable
accommodation, heated pool, tennis
learners welcome

foodstoand
wines
Delicious
Guided visits
well
known tourist sites
Easy access from the UK

For Further information please contact:


Lorna Ditchburn (UK) Tel: 01494 529152 / 07742 967775
Francoise Duffell ( France) Tel: 0033 251 69 20 27
Email: lorna@france4life.co.uk or visit our website: www.france4life.co.uk

FRANCE
Magazine
when
responding

Self-catering holiday accommodation also


available.

'Discover within yourself the latent talent


everyone has to speak another language'.

Please mention

Le Bourdil Blanc. Tel: (44) 7768 747610


www.frenchinthedordogne.com

LEGAL SERVICES

Please mention

FRANCE Magazine when responding

104 FRANCE MAGAZINE

www.completefrance.com

PETITES ANNONCES
PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
Bilingual help at your nger tips

PLEASEHELP.FR
FOR BOTH INDIVIDUALS & BUSINESS
So what do we really do for you? Here are just a few things:
Prepare, organise and explain Letter writing Translations (Court Approved)
Phone Calls Interpreting Trouble shooting

+33 (0) 665 02 75 09 / info@pleasehelp.fr

PROPERTY FOR SALE

Enjoy a
FREE issue
trial of our
digital edition

Agence Immobilire Herman De Graaf


Contact: Cate Carnduff
Le Bourg-Saint-Jean de Cle - 24800 Thiviers - France.
Tel: 00 33 (0)553 62 38 03 Fax: 00 33 (0)553 55 08 03
e-mail: agence@immobilier-dordogne.com

Ref. 4077 Restored farmhouse with outbuildings,


quietly set by a village on 2280m2 of land with
beautiful views. Entrance hall, kitchen, living room
(40m2) with fireplace & covered terrace, shower
room & 2 bedrooms. Adj. barn (200m2). Sm. guest
annex to finish restoring.

Ref. 4062 St Jean de Cole. Restored 4 bedroom


farmhouse with outbuildings, quietly set by a
hamlet on 4,7 ha of land with beautiful views.
Living room, fitted kitchen, utility room, mezzanine,
& 3 bathrooms (1 ensuite). Oil CH. Adj. barn
(75m2), carport (40m2), above ground pool.

Price: 214,000 agency fees included.

Price: 320,000 agency fees included.

w w w. i m m o b i l i e r- d o r d o g n e . c o m

PROPERTY SERVICES

LOOKING TO
MAXIMISE YOUR
OPPORTUNITIES?
Whether you are a business
owner or property owner looking
to promote your product or
service to our highly targeted
audience; France Magazine offers
exceptional value.
To advertise, please call me
on 01242 216070 or email:
alexandra.kirton@archant.co.uk

www.completefrance.com

Subscribe to the
digital edition
today on your
device and also
enjoy the back
issue archive
AVAILABLE FROM

Alex Account Manager

FRANCE MAGAZINE 105

INTERVIEW
When did you first fall in love
with France?
My grandfather worked for
Southern Railway Company,
which ran the ferries from
Southampton to Saint-Malo
and Le Havre, and we got
preferential fares. It was very
unusual in the 1950s for a
lower-middle-class family to
go to France for a week, but
we did it quite often.
Youve lived in France for eight
years, how do you like it?
We lived for four years in
the countryside north of
Bordeaux where we found
a wonderful converted mill,
but we found it difficult being
car-dependent all the time.
The demographic of a French
village is different from
an English one. Everyone
works in the local industries;
in this case agriculture, silver
culture and quarrying.
There are only so many
conversations about combine
harvesters that one can have.
We moved to Marseille,
which is more like it.
I believe you live in
Le Corbusiers Cit Radieuse
(pictured below).
Yes we do. It is very big...
almost 2,500 sq ft. Theres
only one other apartment
[out of 330] this size. Its
a building that I have been
preoccupied with since
I first saw it in the 1980s.
Is Cit Radieuse how
Le Corbusier intended?
No, it isnt. It was intended
as social housing for the
working class. However, the
workers didnt want to live in
the apartment block, they
wanted small houses with
gardens, so it has always been
predominantly occupied by
functionaries, teachers,
academics, doctors...
its essentially a very
middle-class society here.

106 FRANCE MAGAZINE

How has French cuisine


changed since you were
The Timess restaurant critic?
French cuisine has not got
better or worse, but other
countries have got a lot better.
French cuisine went downhill
a little as they fell in love
with nouvelle cuisine. They
misinterpreted Paul Bocuses
concept, which was to
simplify French cooking, and
got fixated on creating fiddly
portions. One thing I have
noticed is that a lot of French
people are not great cooks and
they have traiteurs everywhere.

My France
Jonathan
Meades

The writer and architecture expert


tells Carolyn Boyd of his long links
with France and how it feels to live
in Le Corbusiers Cit Radieuse
Which other buildings by
Le Corbusier do you admire?
I particularly admire the
architecture in Chandigarh in
India as well as the Maisons
Jaoul in Neuilly-sur-Seine,
near Paris, the priory of
Sainte-Marie de la Tourette
near Lyon and the church of
Saint-Pierre in Firminy. The
first Corbusier building that I
saw was Notre-Dame de Haut
in Ronchamp, when I was 15.

Do you admire the new


architecture in France?
France is tarnished by these
awful pavillons, which crop up
in fields everywhere, as local
mayors have extraordinary
powers and can decree change
of use to a particular site
quite easily. The reason is
that the greater the number
of people they can fit into
their commune the better
their stipend.

Which Marseille restaurants


would you recommend?
We go to Chez Vincent,
which is run by an ancient
and delightful lady called
Rose, and Chez tienne,
a fantastic pizza restaurant.
Marseille pizza wipes the
floor with that of Naples;
it has a much thinner crust
akin to a tarte fine and
is much more pastry-like.
Is there anywhere else in
France that you like to visit?
We go to Aix, Nmes and the
Camargue, and used to visit
Rodez a lot. The countryside
north of the town is
spectacular. We dont go to
the Cte dAzur; the southeast isnt really my taste. I like
places that you can visit by
yourself and not ones which
have been presented to you
on a plate.
Will you ever return to the UK?
Its very nice to not have the
British winters, but I think
I will end up coming back at
some point.
Jonathan Meadess memoir
An Encyclopedia of Myself is
out now in paperback (Fourth
Estate, 9.99).
See next issue for our
Le Corbusier history trail.

www.completefrance.com

NEXT ISSUE
in

Britains best-selling magazine about France

La Rochelle
Discover the Huguenot heritage of
one of Frances best-loved towns

AUGUST
ISSUE ON
SALE
8 JULY

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to subscribe!

PLUS

Exciting places to stay


PHOTOGRAPH: FRANCK GUIZIOU/HEMIS.FR

for an active holiday


Where to see the finest
Le Corbusier architecture
Find great places to eat
in the Dordogne Valley
All the best history,
culture and language
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