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TRAVEL | FOOD & WINE | CULTURE | HISTORY June 2015 | Issue 201

Cte dAzur
Walk the stunning coastal path of the French Riviera
for its blue seas, pine trees and ocean breeze

England
vs France
Why guns are still
firing at Waterloo,
200 years on Jenni Murray
Ive been to the Moulin
Rouge more than any
other Englishwoman!
YOUR
E
ULTIMATE GUID
TO FRANaCE
d trip
Take a ro nce
around Proveseafood THE BEST
est
Find the b in Ste
restaurants amazing
HOTELS FOR
s
Visit Lyon eum
new mus
GREAT FOOD
Eat street
in Nice
food
AND WINE
Britain and North Americas
PESTO OR PISTOU? LE DOLRON best-selling magazine about France

HOW TO MAKE PROVENCES DISCOVER THIS WILDLY BEAUTIFUL


3.99

DELICIOUS PASTA SAUCE ISLAND ON THE ATLANTIC COAST


BIENVENUE

The windmill at Verzenay in the Montagne


de Reims regional natural park

Bonjour summer!
F
or dazzling sunshine, turquoise water and month marks the 200th anniversary of Waterloo,
a long history as a glamorous destination, the where he met his downfall. For this issue, Anthony
Cte dAzur is a favourite place for many of Lambert digs down into the detail of the battle to
us. But if strutting your stuff along the reveal how it played out. We also meet some of
Croisette in Cannes doesnt appeal, why not strap on the modern-day troops who re-enact the battle
your hiking boots for a walk of a different nature? as a hobby, going to great lengths to make the
Tristan Rutherford did just that with a stroll between costumes and artillery as authentic as possible.
Cap Martin and the resort of Cap-dAil and in doing This year also sees the 150th anniversary of
so uncovered some of the key sites of Eileen Gray and the golden age of mountaineering in the Alps,
Le Corbusiers stay on the coast in the 1930s; their when most of the peaks were conquered by British
story is depicted in the new film The Price of Desire. climbers. The Alpine town of Chamonix sees
We stay close to the sea with our story about the a number of events to mark the anniversary and
islands of Olron and Aix, which reveals how these our History Trail article maps out the best.
fascinating islands make for great summer Finally, if youre not yet a subscriber, dont miss Carolyn Boyd
destinations. The le dAix was, of course, where out on our fantastic offer on page 43. Whatever Editor
Napolon spent his final days on French soil before youre doing this summer, dont forget to drop us
PHOTOGRAPHS: SYLVAIN SONNET/HEMIS.FR; CRAIG SHEPHEARD

being exiled on the island of Saint Helena, and this a line and share your tips. Bon voyage et bientt!

CONTRIBUTORS
Tristan Rutherford Amanda Pollard Terry Wogan
Tristan knew from an early age Freelance journalist Amanda The celebrated broadcaster
he wanted to be a travel writer. has just returned to the UK has had a holiday home in the
A train ride along the Riviera after three years in Montpellier. Gers dpartement for nearly
coast in his early twenties The beauty of the Languedoc 20 years. Sir Terry brings us
inspired him to write about the deserted bays, inspired her to start a website, www.family- the latest of his bi-monthly columns on page
lapping waves and Aleppo pines. His story friendlyfrance.com. On page 82 she susses 15, musing on the differences between France
about walking the Cte dAzur is on page 44. out the best places to eat in Ste. and Britain when it comes to food and drink.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 3


CONTENTS
June 2015

74
WIN

GREAT PRIZES
TO BE WON
FIND SERGE THE SNAIL 20
TAKE A PHOTO 34
WRITE A LETTER 34
77
DO A CROSSWORD 97

TRAVEL
.
BON APPTIT
08 FRANCE AT A GLANCE 77 FRUITS OF SUMMER
Let our stunning images take you on 58 WATERLOO Pick up a punnet of early-season
a whistle-stop tour of France. Find out what happened when Napolon strawberries to make a delicious tart.
met Wellington 200 years ago.
17 PRT PARTIR 78 FOOD & WINE

PHOTOGRAPHS: GILLES LANSARD; iSTOCKPHOTO; JEAN-DANIEL SUDRES/HEMIS.FR; FRANCIS LEROY/HEMIS.FR;


Plan your next trip with our round-up 64 DORDOGNE CYCLING Try the famous street food of Nice and
of travel news and events, and route map. Pedal the tranquil roads of south-west savour our wines of the month.
France and work up an appetite for dinner.
26 ROUND TRIP 80 THE PERFECT SAUCE AU PISTOU
Take a drive from Nice to the spectacular 70 TAKE A STROLL IN... APREMONT Rosa Jackson explains how the niois
Gorges du Verdon via some pretty villages. In the Berry area of the Loire, the village answer to pesto makes a great pasta sauce.
of Apremont is a gardeners dream.
37 WHERE TO STAY 82 EATING OUT IN STE
Whet your appetite for France, with these Heading south? Track down the best
great hotels and B&Bs for food and wine.
JOIE DE VIVRE restaurants in Ste with our guide.
ALAN BALDING; CHTEAUX ET HTELS COLLECTION

44 RIVIERA WALK 15 TERRY WOGAN 87 TAKE HOME


Walk the coastal path from Cap Martin to Our columnist on how French treats just Blogger Clotilde Dusoulier explains how
Cap dAil on the stunning Cte dAzur. dont taste the same once you are home. to cook with Burgundys iconic sweets.

52 ISLAND HOPPING 33 CAROL DRINKWATER 88 VINEYARD VISITS


Visit the le dOlron and the le dAix for In her latest vignette, Carol meets an Dominic Rippon reveals how a champagne
their beaches, forests and seafood. artist using very unusual materials. growers hard work bore fruit.

SUBSCRIBE TODAY! SEE PAGE 43 FOR DETAILS OF OUR LATEST OFFERS

4 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


52

70
37

106
58 EVERY MONTH
23 HOLIDAY PLANNER
Organise your next trip with PAGE 17
PAGE 22

LA CULTURE
. our handy guide to travel routes.
PAGE 10
PAGE 33
PAGE 88

74 HISTORY TRAIL 24 TRAVELLERS TALES


Celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Discover where three visitors to France PAGE 78 PAGE 40
golden age of mountaineering in Chamonix. love to visit and what they like to do.
PAGE 87
PAGE 70
PAGE 42
91 LULU GAINSBOURG 28 NEWS
The son of Serge Gainsbourg explains Read about austerity protests by workers PAGE 52
how making music is in his blood. and other headlines from France. PAGE 74
PAGE 37 PAGE 19
92 REVIEWS 34 BOTE AUX LETTRES PAGE 64
All the latest films and books. Plus five Have your say and share travel tips to PAGE 77
minutes with author Elizabeth Bard. win a great prize.
PAGE 39
PAGE 8 PAGE 44
94 LANGUAGE 96 LANGUAGE GAMES PAGE 15
We find the best resources for brushing Improve your French with our great PAGE 26
PAGE 82
up your language skills. selection of fun puzzles and games.

106 JENNI MURRAY 98 HOLIDAY RENTALS


The broadcaster explains how her French Use our region-by-region guide to find
teacher inspired her love of France. the property that suits your needs. ON THE COVER

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 5


COVER IMAGE: ROQUEBRUNE-CAP-MARTIN
ON THE CTE DAZUR
BY KATJA KREDER/AWL-IMAGES

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ABOUT US QUI SOMMES-NOUS ?
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Sally Easton, Charlie Fraser-Hopewell, David Galetti, and history, culture and current gastronomiques et linguistiques,
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SEA OF RED
A tractor at work in a field of poppies near the village of
www.completefrance.com La Motte-dAigues in the LuberonFRANCE
naturalMAGAZINE
regional park
9
PHOTOGRAPH: MICHEL CAVALIER/HEMIS.FR
COASTAL KALEIDOSCOPE
A range of colourful beach cabins looks over the Channel
near Gouville-sur-Mer on the Normandy shoreline
PHOTOGRAPH: FRANCK GUIZIOU/HEMIS.FR

10 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


VIEW FROM ON HIGH
A couple stand on the walls of Rocamadour and gaze on the terracotta-clad
buildings that surround the world-famous pilgrim site in the Lot dpartement
PHOTOGRAPH: MIDI-PYRNES TOURIST BOARD

SOUTHERN SUNSET
The sun leaves a peachy hue as it sets over the popular seaside resort
of Biarritz on Frances Atlantic coast
PHOTOGRAPH: DREAMSTIME

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 11


PASSENGERS PANORAMA
Le Truffadou steam railway, which cuts through cliffs
near Martel, offers stunning views of the Dordogne Valley
PHOTOGRAPH: DIDIER ZYLBERYNG/HEMIS.FR

SUMMERTIME SPECIAL
Visitors enjoy Mediterranean dining during the annual
12 FRANCE MAGAZINE Fria de Srignan in the Hrault dpartement
www.completefrance.com
PHOTOGRAPH: JEAN-PIERRE DEGAS/HEMIS.FR
COLUMN

In the country
Terry Wogan
From his holiday home in the Gers, our columnist muses on the great
divide between Britain and France when it comes to food and drink

S
urely it cant be too much to hope that this spring and carrying a couple of tomatoes, a packet of cooked ham and
into summer, the sun will at least peek furtively from a sliced pan loaf. It was as close as I could get, he apologised.
behind the clouds and give the male of the species his On my friends request for the more exotic provender of his
hour of glory amid the charcoal and the smoke, to holidays, the shopkeeper had smiled and said: Sure, if we had
produce the traditional sausage, burned to a crisp on the outside food like that, wed be eating it ourselves.
and raw on the inside; the hamburger cooked to the consistency Apart from La Manche, nothing separates our two great
of a paving stone. Ah, the joy of eating in the open air, where nations more than food and drink. Our delightful little
everything tastes so much better. Its why, on holiday abroad in supermarket, Huit Huit, caters for every whim, but in flagrant
sunnier climes, even that boring Greek salad and those tough, and typically French disdain for its proclaimed 12-hour
stuffed vine-leaves seem delightful as we quaff the local wine opening, closes for lunch between noon and 2pm. The British
with its elusive hint of tarmacadam. snatch a sandwich and a coffee on the run at lunchtime, but all
When we bring it home and pour a glass of reminiscence on France must sit down to lunch. The French, with baguette and
a dull autumn day, it doesnt seem to have travelled all that croissant, demand their bread fresh daily, while the British will
well, any more than the ouzo, or the Pernod and the sparkling keep a sliced white loaf in the bread bin until the crusts grow
ros we discovered in the hills behind Villefranche. Only a fool green. The French buy long-life milk in the supermarket; the
tries to recapture those lazy, hazy days with a Bacardi and coke British insist it be delivered daily, fresh, to their doors.
in the summer rains of home. Even a Pousse Rapire, the heady The British allow great wines to sit in their cellars, maturing
mixture of orange liqueur and sparkling wine native to our and improving with age, while the French smile knowingly,
beloved Gers and a cheering addition to any djeuner there, drink their wine when its younger and even, to the
doesnt lift the spirits in the same way in the Thames Valley. astonishment of their British friends, pour red wine without
ILLUSTRATION: TIM WESSON

Good friends of ours, visiting France, became entranced with bringing it to room temperature, and sometimes chill it!
the daily fresh baguette and croissant, with a simple breakfast All together now, Vive la diffrence!
of local ham and figs. Returning to their rural Irish home, they
thought to repeat the pleasure. On the first morning, the NEXT MONTH: Stephen Clarke gives a humorous take on
husband came back from an early visit to their local shop French city life. Terry Wogan is back in August.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 15


NORTHERN FRANCE
A REGION OF CULTURE

This summer visit Nord Pas de Calais and


discover its rich cultural and historical heritage.
The Ring of Rememembrance at Notre-Dame-de-Lorette Cemetery in
Ablain-Saint-Nazaire a memorial site opened by Franois Hollande in
2014 commemorating the Great War. The monument lists the names
of the 579 606 soldiers, representing 40 different nationalities, who
were killed along the 90 kilometres of coastline in Nord-Pas-de-Calais
between 1914 and 1918.
www.remembrancetrails-northernfrance.com

30 May 2015 : Opening of the International Centre of History Lens


14-18 War and Peace in Souchez
Sitting at the foot of the Notre Dame de Lorette, this international centre
documents the history of the First World War in Nord-Pas de Calais, through
contemporary animations, an interactive exhibitions. The centre is the creation
of architect Pierre-Louis Faloci. Free entry to the public.
www.remembrancetrails-northernfrance.com

June 2015 : Opening of Villa Cavrois


The Villa Cavrois was designed and constructed in the city of Croix between 1929
and 1932 by the architect Robert Mallet-Stevens for the northern textile industrialist
Paul Cavrois, and his family. The villa was purchased by the French state in 2001 and
has undergone a vast restoration which will be completed in early 2015.
www.villa-cavrois.monuments-nationaux.fr

Lille3000 : the journey continues Renaissance


From 26 septembre 2015 to 17 january 2016
Renaissance is the major new project designed by Lille3000, which aims to present
the vibrancy and vitality of todays world, through artistic and technological
exchanges. Visit the Joie de Vivre exhibition at the Palais des Beaux-Arts,
Chagall and music exhibit at the Swimming pool of Roubaix among
many new displays and events. Photos: Xavier Alphand Baudoin Decreton Remi Vimont
Discover the complete programme at www.lille3000.com

Tel : 0033 (0)3 20 14 57 57 | www.northernfrance-tourism.com


Nord-Pas de Calais Tourist Board. La Maison du Tourisme, 3 rue du Palais Rihour, 59000Lille
PRT PARTIR
All the inspiration you need to
plan your next trip to France

Glorious gardens
T
he month of June sees heavy unlock their gates to garden lovers for Stroll along the neatly arranged lawn
spring rain give way to soft one weekend only in June. paths and marvel at the profusion of
and often uninterrupted rays One of many beautiful gardens fragrant fresh blooms filling the bright
of sunshine, the result of available to view is that of the Chteau mixed borders. Flowers as colourful as
which is the appearance of an de Miromesnil on the edge of Tourville- an artists palette lead on to the more
abundance of beautiful flowers which sur-Arques in Haute-Normandie. The practical beds of home-grown produce,
bedeck the many wonderful gardens chteau, built on the site of the old which you can sample should you wish
scattered throughout France. fortified castle, which was destroyed to stay in one of the chteaus well-
PHOTOGRAPH: ALAN AUBRY/CG 76

In 2003, in an effort to do justice to during the Battle of Arques in 1589, appointed guest rooms and admire the
the work of gardeners across boasts an elegant potager, or kitchen garden for just that little bit longer.
lHexagone, the Ministry of Culture garden. Restored to its former glory in
introduced the Rendez-Vous aux 1950, the garden was intended to be Chteau de Miromesnil
Jardins. Twelve years on and the event a source of great pleasure to the owner 76550 Tourville-sur-Arques
now attracts the participation of more and it continues to provide an enjoyable Tel: (Fr) 2 35 85 02 80
than 2,000 parks and gardens, which visitor experience even today. www.chateaumiromesnil.com

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 17


BOOK
NOW, GO
LATER...

BATTLEFIELD TRIO
Mark the anniversaries of the
battles of Agincourt, Crcy and
Waterloo on a fascinating trip with
history tour specialist Martin
Randall, taking place on 6-10 July
and 2-6 September. Led by military
historian Major Gordon Corrigan,

June
the trip costs 1,760pp (based on

What to do in... from an eclectic range of


cultures, culminating in
an impressive display of
two sharing) and includes Eurostar
travel, accommodation, admission
and most meals.
colourful dance creations. Tel: 0208 742 3355
This years highlights include www.martinrandall.com
a documentary on the history See our feature on the Battle of
of dance and an outdoor Waterloo on page 58.
display where spectators
can bust some moves of their
FEEL THE MUSIC anniversary of the death of very own.
Guitar riffs and choral the Benedictine monk Dom www.montpellierdanse.com
harmonies are just some of Prignon, credited with first
the sounds that will fill the creating the regions famous DRIVE TIME
air during the Fte de la fizz. The two- or three-day Driving enthusiasts will once
Musique held at the summer package includes specialist again be heading to the
solstice on 21 June. Both tastings, workshops and medieval city of Le Mans to SHOPPING SPREE
amateur and professional a one-off guided tour of the enjoy the worlds oldest Pick up a bargain at the famed
musicians will be performing abbey where Dom Prignon endurance car race. The annual flea market being held in
for free in streets, parks, is buried. Tours take place event, now in its 84th year, Lille, capital of Nord-Pas-de-Calais,
gardens and public on various dates from June will take place for 24 hours on 5-6 September. More than two
buildings across France. to October with prices from on 13-14 June with million visitors pour into the city to
www.fetedelamusique. 933pp excluding travel to participants expected to peruse 100 kilometres of stands run
PHOTOGRAPHS: GADI DAGON; MICHEL JOLYOT; FOTOLIA; QUENTIN LAFONT

culturecommunication.gouv.fr the region. clock up more than 5,000 by 10,000 vendors offering anything
Tel: 08456 430 860 kilometres. from vintage clothes to antiques.
WINE AWAY www.grapeescapes.net Tel: (Fr) 2 43 40 80 00 Check in at the city-centre Htel
Join tour company Grape www.24h-lemans.com Brueghel, itself scattered with
Escapes on a trip to GET YOUR antiques. Doubles from 82.
Hautvillers, in Champagne, GROOVE ON Tel: (Fr) 3 20 06 06 69
to mark the 300th Head to the chic southern www.hotel-brueghel-lille.com
French city of Montpellier

274M
for its internationally
acclaimed dance festival.
Taking place in various
venues from 24 June until The number o
f
9 July, the event attracts people who
dancers and choreographers speak French
a first or seco as
nd
language
18 FRANCE MAGAZINE
READY TO GO

MUSEUM OF
CURIOSITIES
Lyons newest attraction looks like a starship with
out-of-this-world exhibits, says Paul Shearer

T
ravelling through the centre of futurist design resembling a floating cloud Origins Room, you are greeted by
Lyon youll find a shiny new of glass and steel that could have just spookily lifelike wax models of three
landmark looming into view. landed from a Star Trek convention. different female ancestors: Femme
Its the 180-metre-long, Once inside, however, the building Sapiens, Femme Flores and Neanderthal
37-metre-high Muse des Confluences, charms as a light and airy space with vast Woman. For dinosaur fans there are eggs
occupying a prime spot on the banks of exhibition rooms that show off Lyons as well as an impressive 14-metre-long
Lyons two majestic rivers, the Rhne treasured collection of scientific and skeleton of a Camarasaurus unearthed in
and the Sane. These meet in the anthropological curiosities. the Plains of Wyoming.
Confluence district, just south of the citys Items from five centuries of different During my visit to the temporary
historic centre. collections have been bequeathed to the exhibition dedicated to mile Guimet,
Around the new museum landscaped city along with a vast collection put a group of teenagers was animated by the
gardens demonstrate how this former together by lyonnais industrialist and charming room display which reinvents
industrial neighbourhood is being philanthropist mile Guimet (1836-1918), the cabinet of curiosities for the new
re-imagined as a cool quartier and who took over his fathers artificial millennium and features a dazzling line of
also something of a contemporary ultramarine factory and devoted himself butterflies snaking around the walls.
architecture theme park. to travel, especially to the Far East. I want the exhibitions to be enjoyed by
The museum is the star attraction, its With more than two million items to everyone, whether you are a child or
choose from in the permanent display, an expert, explained Hlne Lafont-
the curatorial team decided against Couturier, the museum director.
clustering the objects by date or geography, Lyon is also justly proud of its
but rather themed them around Mans gastronomic history, and there is
relationship to the planet. Their aim is to a fabulous brasserie on the ground floor
pose questions with juxtapositions: run by renowned two-Michelin-star chef
Where do we come from? How do we Guy Lassausaie. It adds to the Muse des
relate to other species? How do societies Confluences as a great place to feed both
work? What happens when we die? the mind and the body.
In the Species Room there are vibrant
displays of birds, insects and shells. One Muse des Confluences
long cabinet is filled with different kinds 86 Quai Perrache, 69002 Lyon
of antelopes of all shapes and sizes. Tel: (Fr) 4 28 38 11 90
Another has skeletons of extinct species www.museedesconfluences.fr
such as the dodo and the sea cow. In the Open Tuesday until Sunday.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 19


READY TO GO

A Francophiles guide to...


Birmingham
Find a French in Brindley Place a
development of canal-side
connection on restaurants and bars in the ABOVE: St Martin in the Bullring church opposite Selfridges
your doorstep heart of Birmingham. in Birmingham and (RIGHT) shops along Cannon Street
For something a little less

B
ritains second city, formal, head over to Le Truc Collection (tel: 01564 772 paintings by
Birmingham, has (tel: 0121 622 7050, www. 124, www.breadcollection. French artists,
much in common letruc.co.uk) in the citys co.uk) for traditional French including Edgar
with its twinned city Arcadian complex a chic bread and ptisseries. For Dgas, Claude
in France, Lyon both were Parisian brasserie with a decadent dessert, try Monet, Pierre-Auguste
industrial powerhouses of adventurous cocktails. Chouchoute Chocolateries Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec.
their respective countries, both To stock up on French luxury artisan chocolates Finish the day at Mac,
have seen much regeneration treats, visit the Great Western (tel: 0121 314 3472, a cinema and theatre complex
in recent years and both boast Arcade, in the city centre www.chouchoute.co.uk). in Cannon Hill Park (tel:
thriving cultural scenes. (www.greatwesternarcade.co. After eating your way 01214 463 232, www.mac
For those seeking a taste of uk). Start with some delicious across the city hop on birmingham.co.uk). The
France in Birmingham there cheeses and charcuterie at Birminghams answer to the cinema screens French films,
are several restaurants from Anderson and Hill mtro for a ten-minute ride to so you can practise your
which to choose. Chef Didier delicatessen (tel: 0121 236 the university in the leafy language skills and soak up
Philpot serves up a fine dining 2829, www.andersonandhill. suburb of Edgbaston. Here some Gallic culture.
experience at Edmunds co.uk), with its cheese counter the Barber Institute of Fine Emma Rawle
(tel: 01216 334 944, www. you cant fail to drool over, Arts (tel: 0121 414 7333, For more on the city go to
edmundsrestaurant.co.uk) then move on to The Bread www.barber.org.uk) has http://visitbirmingham.com

To eat well in France


DID YOU is a universal right the
KNOW?
The town of Besa
non,
t, is
realistic expectation of
in Fra nche -Com
home to Franc es old est the majority, not the
se um : Mu s e
public mu
des Beaux-A rts et privilege of the few. Our resident
dArchologie, op
ened
CHEF RAYMOND snail is
in 1694. en vacances
BLANC do you know
where he is?

Read all about it... LUXURY


WIN! HANDMADE
CHOCOLATES
Get the lowdown on the best places to stay
If you know the prehistoric attraction that Serge is visiting,
with the Alastair Sawdays French Bed & send the answer, plus your name and address, to editorial@
PHOTOGRAPHS: FOTOLIA; iSTOCKPHOTO

Breakfast Guide (Alastair Sawday francemag.com or write us a postcard (address on page 6)


Publishing, 15.99). This updated book and you could win a 15-piece assortment of luxury handmade
chocolates that come in an elegant mahogany box (worth
features an eclectic range of more than a total of 87) courtesy of French chocolatier ZChocolat
800 B&Bs found in all four corners of (www.zchocolat.com). Deadline for entries is 3 June, 2015.
France from ski chalets to treehouses and
The winner of the April competition is Jeannie Vaughan,
cottages to chteaux all of them from Kidderminster in Worcestershire, who correctly
guaranteed to make you feel special. identified Angers in the Loire Valley.

20 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


Quick guide to... TRAVEL
Dunkerque
Dunkerque wasnt Can I take to the founder of Dunkerque,
NEWS
ESCAPE TO THE SUNSHINE
UK budget airline easyJet will be running
flights to Figari in southern Corsica from
that famous in World water myself? and you can picnic London Gatwick every Sunday from
War II? There are watersports in the park around 14 June to 25 September. Figari is the
Well remembered! galore to be had along the house. airlines third destination on the island after
Thats where the Allied the beaches, and if you Ajaccio and Bastia, and it is expected that
troops were trapped by head to nearby Apart from picnics, more than 3,000 passengers will use the
the Germans and the Gravelines you can hire where else can I eat? new route this summer. Single fares from
little ships went from all kinds of boats at the Just off the road from 36.99. www.easyjet.com
Britain to rescue the Vauban Promenade the Channel Tunnel, in
men from the beaches. and potter around the Coudekerque-Branche,
picturesque fortified is Le Soubise, which
Whats there today? city. Nearby is the River serves classic French
A bustling port with Aa and the striking cuisine (tel: (Fr) 3 28
a wide range of black and white Petit 64 66 00; www.
traditional shops, Fort Philippe lighthouse. restaurant-soubise.
street markets, and com). If youre a fan of
modern hypermarkets, Anything else mussels, head for
surrounded by mile I shouldnt miss? La Moule Rit SAIL AWAY
after mile of sandy The view from the top (tel: (Fr) 3 28 29 06 07; River cruise company CroisiEurope has
beaches, dunes and of The Belfry, the www.lamoulerit.com). unveiled its newest vessel, the MS Loire
seafront restaurants. 15th-century bell tower Princesse, for its new route along the River
Theres loads of that rings out tunes Sounds like its Loire. The state-of-the-art, two-deck vessel
accommodation, too. from its 50 bells every a hidden gem! How will sail on trips of six to eight days until
15 minutes. Reflecting do I get there? November 2015, taking in Unesco-listed
Someone mentioned the areas maritime Its on the ferry route sites such as Nantes, Angers and the Loire
a pirate? history, the Port from Dover and there Valley chteaux. Prices start from 1,001pp,
That would be Jean Museum displays are 24 sailings a day. including accommodation, meals, onboard
Bart, the local hero. models from ancient The crossing takes two entertainment and port taxes.
Not so much a pirate schooners to modern hours and costs from www.croisieurope.co.uk
as a privateer. He had containers, and you 39 for a car. Its also
a licence from Louis XIV can explore inside the a short drive from the
to attack ships sailing three-masted tall ship, Tunnel at Calais. So in
between Spain and the Duchesse Anne. To see no time at all youll be
Low Countries and a fascinating world making sandcastles.
seize their cargos for under the surface
the Crown and theres an aquarium For more information,
himself. His statue is in what was the home visit www.dunkirk-
in Place Jean Bart. of Gaspard Malo, tourism.com
BLOW TO RAIL EXPANSION
Frances love affair with high-speed rail
travel could be ending after a public inquiry
PHOTOGRAPHS: DREAMSTIME; BERNARD BIGER; FOTOLIA

rejected the governments plans for two


new TGV routes in the south-west of the
country. The proposed lines were part of
a new 362-kilometre line expansion
between Bordeaux, Toulouse and the
Spanish border, expected to be completed
by 2030. There are already four new
extensions under way, the longest of which
will reduce the journey from Paris to
Bordeaux from three to two hours in 2017.
www.voyages-sncf.com

22 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


READY TO GO

ROUTE PLANNER
Plan your journey to France with our handy map and directory
FERRIES MyFerryLink Eurotunnel Aurigny Air Services easyJet Norwegian
Tel: 0844 248 2100 Tel: 0844 335 3535 Tel: 01481 822 886 Tel: 0330 365 5000 Tel: 0843 378 0888
Brittany Ferries www.eurotunnel.com www.aurigny.com www.easyjet.com www.norwegian.com
Tel: 0871 244 1400 www.myferrylink.com
www.brittany P&O Ferries Voyages-sncf.com Blue Islands Flybe Ryanair
ferries.co.uk Tel: 0871 664 2121 Tel: 0844 848 5848 Tel: 0845 620 2122 Tel: 0371 700 2000 Tel: 0871 246 0000
www.poferries.com www.voyages- www.blueislands.com www.flybe.com www.ryanair.com
Condor Ferries sncf.com
Tel: 0845 609 1024 bmi regional Jet2 Swiss Int. Air
Stena Line
www.condor Tel: 0330 333 7998 Tel: 0800 408 1350 Tel: 0845 601 0956
Tel: (ROI) 1 204 7777
ferries.co.uk www.bmiregional.com www.jet2.com www.swiss.com
www.stenaline.ie AIRLINES
DFDS Seaways Aer Lingus British Airways Lyddair Titan Airways
Tel: 0871 574 7235 Tel: 0871 718 2020 Tel: 0844 493 0787 Tel: 01797 322 207 Tel: 01279 680 616
www.dfdsseaways.co.uk RAIL www.aerlingus.com www.britishairways.com www.lyddair.com www.titan-
Eurostar airways.co.uk
Irish Ferries Air France CityJet Monarch
Tel: (ROI) 818 300 400 Tel: 0843 218 6186 Tel: 0871 663 3777 Tel: 0871 405 2020 Tel: 0871 940 5040
www.irishferries.com www.eurostar.com www.airfrance.co.uk www.cityjet.com www.monarch.co.uk

ff Find and print France travel weekly timetables


ff Rail, flights, ferries, buses, shuttles and car rentals www.BonjourLaFrance.com
ff Secure reservations online /rail /fly /ferry /bus /drive
All your France travel information in one place ff Printable maps with driving instructions

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 23


This month we
ask a reader,
a FRANCE
contributor and
Travellers tales
a professional What was your On what Who would be
about their love last travel would you your perfect
of France experience in spend your French dinner
France? last 10? guest?

I would enjoy a scrumptious It would have to


French pastry and a cup of be Marion
coffee. Cotillard as
A reader... I think she is
a wonderful
actress and
she would
have some
interesting
My husband Peter and I went stories.
back to Paris, where we
revisited one of my favourite
Marian Hill museums, Victor Hugos house
Weston, Bath on the pretty Place des Vosges.

Exploring the spectacular I would invite Grard


A contributor... Bugey maybe Frances
best-kept secret in the
Depardieu. From Jean de
Florette to Le Placard, I think
Ain dpartement: Ive seen every film hes made.
mountains, rivers, lakes
and historic villages.

I would go for some tins of


Ray Kershaw, gourmet sardines produced by
Harrogate, North Conntable in Brittany or
Yorkshire Gendreau in the Vende.

A weekend in beautiful, sunny My grand-mre; she was


A professional... Le Touquet last year. We took
the coastal route from Calais,
great company and I loved
her food. Also, she lived
which is lovely, and makes the through World War II in Lille,
drive a more pleasurable where she met and married
PHOTOGRAPHS: FOTOLIA; DREAMSTIME

experience. my English grandfather who


was serving in the British
Expeditionary Force.

Natalie Hall Bread and fresh pastries from


P&O Ferries, Dover the village of Hbuterne near
to where my parents live.

24 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


re n c h a s it s re a ll y sp o k e n
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1 3

2 4

Round TRIP Fly into Nice before taking a scenic drive around
Provences picturesque villages and plunging
gorges, with plenty of gourmet stops en route
Moustiers Sainte-Marie When you reach the Plus Beau an hour to the Gorges du Verdon (D19,
Aiguines Village, park at the bottom; the hilltop D955 to the D7); Frances very own
PHOTOGRAPHS: MICHEL CAVALIER/HEMIS.FR; DREAMSTIME; CAMILLE MOIRENC;

Gorges du
Nice location and narrow medieval streets Grand Canyon 2 . At the D71, take the
Verdon Seillans make the centre tricky to navigate by car. road signed Rive Gauche and prepare for
Mougins Nice
airport A good spot is beside the ptanque pitch a dramatic journey along the hairpin
on Place de la Rpublique. road that hugs the edge of the precipice.
Draguignan
Stroll towards the central Place du After about 15 kilometres, between
Thouron for lunch under the shade of the villages of Comps-sur-Artuby and
plane trees at La Gloire de Mon Pre 1 Aiguines, youll find the Htel du Grand
DAY ONE (tel: (Fr) 4 94 60 18 65, www.lagloirede Canyon, overhanging a cliff edge (tel:
Arrive early morning at Nice airport, monpere.fr). The tourist office is just (Fr) 4 94 76 91 31, http://reservation-
iSTOCKPHOTO; FOTOLIA; OT NICE

where you can pick up the hire car opposite and is next to a museum and hotel.logishotels.com). Enjoy supper in
before making a quick getaway out of gallery dedicated to the artist Max Ernst, the panoramic restaurant before bed.
the city on the A8 autoroute. Leave at who lived in Seillans for more than
junction 39 and take the D37 and D19, a decade (tel: (Fr) 4 94 76 85 91, DAY TWO
following directions to Seillans. The www.seillans.fr). After breakfast, drive 20 minutes via the
65-kilometre drive takes about an hour. Return to the car and drive for D19 and D957 around the dazzling Lac

26 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


EASY ITINERARY

5 7

work at the Verrerie de Biot on the


outskirts (www.verreriebiot.com).
Finish the tour at the centuries-old
Places des Arcades for a late lunch at Les
Arcades, a long-established restaurant
run by Mimi Brothier and offering daily
specials and even its own art collection
(tel: (Fr) 4 93 65 01 04, www.hotel-
restaurant-les-arcades.com).
Back on the road, its not far to the
cosmopolitan city of Nice (D4, A8) 6 .
Head to the Htel Excelsior 7 (tel: (Fr)
4 93 88 18 05, www.excelsiornice.com/fr),
which offers free parking in a nearby
multi-storey. Change into beach gear and
6 take a 15-minute walk to the Promenade
des Anglais on the seafront, where you
can catch some late-afternoon rays or
de Sainte-Croix to the picturesque village is a more economical option (tel: 4 93 75 take a dip in the Mediterranean waters.
of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie 3 . Etched 77 33, www.hotel-lunedemougins.com). Shake off the sand before supper at
into the side of a rock face and divided Drop off your bags before a late- La Merenda where youll really get
by a waterfall, the village has narrow afternoon aperitif on the leafy terrace of a taste for local life (http://lamerenda.
alleys lined with faience earthenware La Cave de Mougins (tel: (Fr) 4 92 28 06 net). Shoebox-sized and refreshingly
pottery shops that are lovely to amble 11, www.cavedemougins.fr). low-key, it is run by Dominique le Stanc,
around before you brave the 262 steps to Those with more time may enjoy former chef of the citys Htel Negresco,
the Chapelle Notre-Dame de Beauvoir. visiting the village museum, dedicated to and serves nioise classics. Take cash (he
Head back for lunch on the sunny the artwork of antiquity (tel: (Fr) 4 93 75 doesnt accept credit cards) and be sure
restaurant terrace of Les Santons (tel: (Fr) 18 65, http://mouginsmusee.com). to book in person beforehand.
4 92 74 66 48, www.lessantons.com). At nightfall, dine on the terrace of the
The two-course set menu (22) should renowned LAmandier (tel: (Fr) 4 93 90 DAY FOUR
sustain you for the two-hour drive to 00 91, www.amandier.fr). The historic Rise bright and early; there is no better
Mougins (D957, D49 to Draguignan, restaurant, much loved by Picasso, has way to spend your last morning than
joining A8, junction 36, at Le Muy). recently been taken over by chef Denis browsing the flower and food market of
Bunched up on a hillside with views Ftisson and serves local specialities such Cours Saleya (every day except Monday
of Grasse, Mougins 4 is perhaps best as stuffed vegetables, cpe ravioli and when its given over to antiques). Track
known as Pablo Picassos adopted fresh bouillabaisse. down Chez Thrsa (28 Rue Droite,
hometown. Over the years, it has tel: (Fr) 4 93 85 00 04), a street stall
attracted many artists not surprising DAY THREE selling Nices socca a crpe made of
given its picture-perfect cobbled streets, From Mougins, its a 20-minute drive chickpea flour (see Food News on page
and hilltop views across cypress trees (D35, D535, D504, D4) to the village 78 for more details) and enjoy a final
and olive groves. perch of Biot 5 , known for its feast before heading to the airport.
Those happy to splurge can check into production of decorative glassware. Zo McIntyre
the snazzy hotel Le Mas Candille just In the old part of town, walk along
outside the village (tel: (Fr) 4 92 28 43 Rue Saint-Sebastien, where faded Enjoy this article? Tell us where youd like
43, www.lemascandille.co.uk). ochre-hued buildings are lined with cafs your road trip to be and well plan it out
Alternatively, the hotel Lune de Mougins and glassware shops. See glass-blowers at for you. Email editorial@francemag.com

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 27


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

MAIN PICTURE: Protesters take to the streets of Toulouse during Aprils


day of action; FACING PAGE: Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron

Austerity backlash
From the airwaves to the airways, French workers are walking out in
protest at cutbacks and economic reforms, says Paul Lamarra

F
or almost one month in the the austerity measures introduced to appealed to the public for support.
spring, listeners to public cut the annual budget deficit from four We are the voices that talk to your ears
service broadcaster Radio per cent to less than the three per cent every day, through our interviews,
France had to make do with required by European Union rules and chronicles, reportages and documentaries.
replacement music and terse news with the so-called Macron Law, which We try our best to fulfil the missions of
bulletins as staff walked out on strike aims to liberalise the French economy public radio: to inform, to educate, to
over budgets cuts and job losses. and boost employment. entertain, wrote radio presenters in
During that time thousands of At Radio France, where the strike an open letter to their listeners. Public
workers took to the streets in a so-called lasted a record 28 days, the unions were service has no vocation or possibility of
general strike that coincided with the challenging 330 job losses and the axing being profitable Radio France is
second day of an air traffic controllers of one of its two orchestras. Employees a heritage to be defended just as much
dispute. On 9 April, children were kept also feared that their enviable package of as the wood in the Presidents office,
home from school, hospitals operated benefits, which includes 68 days annual they added.
with a skeleton staff and many trains did holiday, could be under threat. Mathieu The government, which has made it
not run. Even the Eiffel Tower closed its Gallet, chief executive of Radio France, clear that there is no more money
doors and turned away tourists. claimed the cost-cutting measures were available, brought the strike to an end by
It is a phenomenon that is considered essential to eradicate the broadcasters appointing a mediator.
as French as the long lunch and every unsustainable 21 million annual Similarly, the air traffic controllers are
government has had to face the budget deficit. angry at moves to reduce pension costs
apparently all-powerful unions. On this Under a banner of This Strike is for by increasing the retirement age from 57,
occasion their gripe was two-fold: with You, the unions at Radio France the second lowest in Europe, to 59.

28 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


NEWS

It marks a total loss


of all the benefits of Cest qui?
the working class Every month we cast a spotlight
through the years on a figure making headlines

we have tried to explain to the Name: Christian Troadec.


government that it must change its Occupation: Breton politician and
economic policy, because the effect of leading Bonnets Rouges protester.
austerity is impacting on employment, Tell me more: Troadec is a member
More generally, however, union public investments and wages, Philippe of Brittanys regional parliament
members are concerned about the wind Martinez, general secretary of the and key figure in the Bonnets
of change signalled by the law proposed Communist-leaning CGT union Rouges movement that saw Breton
by Emmanuel Macron, the unelected federation, told France 2 television news. farmers, fishermen and business
Economy Minister brought in by the While the CGT and FO, two of the people successfully
Socialist government to implement five unions with national negotiating resist government
wide-ranging reforms. rights, are agitating for further strike plans to introduce
Macron hopes to create new action against austerity, the CFDT, a tax on goods
employment opportunities and kick-start the second-largest and most moderate of being moved by
economic growth by allowing greater the French unions, is refusing to heed lorry. He has now
Sunday opening in tourist areas, selling the call. There is hardship, people declared his
up to 10 billion in government are having a difficult time, but there is intention to stand
shareholdings, allowing private bus no austerity in France, its leader for President of
companies to compete with train services Laurent Berger told business newspaper France in 2017.
and ending the monopolies enjoyed by Les chos. The 47-year-old
pharmacists, notaries and hairdressers. For the travellers stranded at airports left-wing politician
The reforms have brought howls across Europe and the disappointed shot to prominence
of protest from unions and left-wing tourists turned away from the Eiffel at the end of 2013
politicians, who claim that they are Tower, the wave of strike action only when he mobilised opposition to the
a fundamental erosion of hard-won serves to reinforce the stereotype that the so-called eco-tax, which would have
workers rights. French are always marching rather than meant that goods made in the far
All the established social rights of working. west of Brittany would be more
our labour law are being questioned with It will no doubt be small comfort to expensive to transport. In doing so
this bill, said Nicolas Mas, a teacher them to know that France has, at 8 per he invoked the spirit of the Bonnets
marching in Paris on 9 April. We are cent, one of the lowest levels of union Rouges, a 17th-century Breton
back in the 19th century. It is incredible; membership in Europe. In Scandinavia it uprising against taxes imposed by
PHOTOGRAPHS: SIPA/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK; WITT/SIPA/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK; SEBASTIEN SALOM GOMIS/SIPA/REX

it marks a total loss of all the benefits is never less than half and in the UK one Louis XIV.
of the working class obtained through in four employees is represented by An entrepreneur and co-founder
the years. a union. In terms of days lost to strike of the Vieilles Charrues music
Union leaders stressed that the strike action, France is well below levels in Italy festival, Troadec has stated: We
was not called on a whim. For months and Scandinavia. must stop passing through Paris to
find out what to do in Brittany.
Since 2001 he has been the

NEWS coded instructions to


broadcast to the
referring to France as
a s*** country.
mayor of Carhaix, a town in the
heart of Breton-speaking Brittany,

IN BRIEF Resistance on D-Day.


Jean-Marie Le Pen, of
and he has in the past stood
unsuccessfully for the European
Jean-Louis Crmieux- Paris Saint-Germains the Front National party, Parliament. He is the first to declare
Brilhac, the radio top goal scorer Zlatan will not stand in regional his intention to run for the
broadcaster and Ibrahimovic was banned elections after Marine presidency in 2017 and has begun
propagandist, has died for four matches by the Le Pen, his daughter the task of collecting the necessary
at the age of 98. As French Football League and the current leader, 500 nominations from local
a young officer serving (later reduced to three said his comments politicians in order to launch a bid.
with Charles de Gaulles on appeal) for being dismissing the Holocaust His opponents, however, insist that
Free French forces in seen on video abusing were crude provocations he is neither left nor right and is
London, he prepared a referee and allegedly designed to damage her. merely a populist politician.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 29


The cycle
La grande of change
question Recent periods of unacceptable levels
of air pollution have persuaded Paris
Every month we explain the town hall politicians to initiate
background to a top news story ambitious plans to make the city the
most cycle friendly in the world.
Should freedom of speech be curbed to Announcing a budget of 150 million the city hopes to more than treble the
prevent racism? number of journeys undertaken by bicycle from 5 per cent to 15 per cent by 2020.
Two French courts have been asked The money will be spent on creating more than 80 kilometres of express cycleways
to decide if cakes in the shape of that follow the major axes and avenues across the capital.
a naked man and woman and A total of 700 kilometres of cycle paths will be added to double the current
covered in dark chocolate are racist. provision. On major roads the speed limit will be reduced to 50km/h and in smaller
Conseil Reprsentatif des streets with cycle lanes the limit will be 30km/h. Other plans could also see electric
Associations Noires (CRAN), an bikes added to the successful Vlib citywide bike hire scheme.
anti-racism group, went to court in
March to force the mayor of Grasse
to ban baker Yannick Tavolaro from The very thin end
displaying the cakes in the window
of his Belle poque bakery in the
of the wedge
Provenal town. The group French legislators have passed a Bill that will
considers the cartoonish figures prevent the fashion industry from employing
reinforce African stereotypes that super-skinny models. Fashion houses and
originated in colonial times. agencies will face fines and possibly jail if
Following a decision by a Nice they employ any model who fails to provide
court in March to ban the display of a medical certificate to say that their Body
the cakes and fine Grasse town Mass Index is at least 18. Currently, the
council 1,000, Tavolaro has been average model measuring 1.75 metres and
inundated with orders and weighing 50 kilograms has a BMI of 16 and is
messages of support. Supporters regarded by the medical world as being
believe that the decision challenged severely undernourished.
the right to freedom of speech. The law is part of the governments commitment to tackle anorexia and will
Since then, however, the State include powers to fine websites up to 100,000 if they are deemed to be
Council, Frances highest encouraging excessive thinness. Other measures include requiring advertisers
administrative court, has ruled that to state whether a models commercial image has been manipulated.
the cakes can now be displayed.
Tavolaro (pictured below), who
PHOTOGRAPHS: BRUNO BEBERT/SIPA/REX; iSTOCKPHOTO; DREAMSTIME; COMPILED BY PAUL LAMARRA
has been making cakes only at
weekends for 15 years, insists the Fight to save roadside plane trees
cakes are not intended to be Miles of roadside trees,
offensive. If they were racist, popularly believed to have
people wouldnt order them, he been planted by Napolon
told Le Parisien newspaper. The to shade marching soldiers,
only thing people are offended by is could be felled in the cause
the fact theyre black; if they were of greater road safety.
white nobody would mind, but black Conservationists fear that
chocolate is easier to work with. a safety audit of roadside
hazards which has been
ordered by the government
could lead to the felling of
10,000 plane trees
nationwide. In 2013, more than 325 people were killed after their vehicle hit a tree.
A militant motorbike organisation, the Anti-Plane Tree Commando, has already
taken the law into its own hands and begun chopping down trees that it considers to
be a danger to motorcyclists. Previous government audits, however, have suggested
that trees lining roadsides enhance safety as they clearly mark the way.

30 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


32 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com
Vignette
PEOPLE

Carving
a career
with soap
In her regular series, Carol
Drinkwater meets a sculptor
using everyday materials

B
uried in the back streets of Paris, behind
the towering Colonne de Juillet in Place
de la Bastille, is the untidy, unassuming
studio of Sylvain Gaudenzi. Sylvain,
a Frenchman of Italian descent and married to familys never-ending questions, he said he would
an Italian, is an art teacher and sculptor with become an artist.
a difference. He sculpts, not with stone, metal, During the years that Sylvain was an apprentice
ceramics or any of the matriaux nobles (an in the early 1980s, traditions within the art world
expression he uses regularly), but with soap, bits were changing rapidly. Picasso had created
of reclaimed wood and food. He has worked in this a sculpture out of old bits of bicyles, for example
same cramped atelier since the age of 17, when and Sylvain chose domestic, rejected materials.
he was apprenticed to an Argentinian sculptor who Carol Drinkwater I asked him about his soap artwork. It must be
occupied this space until Sylvain inherited it. is the best-selling used soap, never new.
The 11th arrondissment, where he works, was author of The He rubs the used sliver of soap between the palms
famous for its furniture-makers. From the 18th to Olive Farm series. of his hands until it begins to gain the consistency of
the 20th centuries, the passageways between the Her latest works ivory or bone. Then he cuts into it, carving out its
Bastille and Nation were flanked by ateliers set include the design he never knows in advance what the results
cheek by jowl, each occupied by a craftsman. paperback The will be. Afterwards, he paints the drawing with a
Anyone could stroll by and watch them at work. Only Girl in the mixture of oil and black ink. The result is delicate
Sylvain says it was once possible to walk between World, set during black lines against pale tones, like an exquisite
the two great squares using only these narrow World War I. engraving. Before a piece is offered for sale, it needs
passageways and never passing by the main streets. Contact Carol at a frame. Sometimes it takes months for Sylvain to
Many have been closed off now, but some still www.carol find the ideal piece of wood or plaster to house the
exist and it remains a district where artists and drinkwater.com tiny object, which is protected beneath glass. In
craftsmen continue to ply their trades. With the total, he has created fewer than 400 of his soap
crepuscular, almost secret aspects of these alleys and oeuvres. They take time.
their access from one part of town to another, it is easy to see Most of his evenings are dedicated to teaching young
how the French Revolution really got under way in this part children; and for five years he worked with patients in
of the capital; messages were passed and meetings arranged a psychiatric hospital. He aims to unlock the creativity in his
under cover of these hidden corridors. students. He is passionate about this work and recalls his own
It was Sylvains aunt who brought him here. He was childhood locked within his dyslexia.
a dyslexic, rebellious boy who refused to learn. At the Before I leave, he leaps to his feet and produces half a dozen
college opposite his school, students were studying design. black-ink drawings, painted on what I take to be parchment.
ILLUSTRATION: RICHARD COLE

He liked them and, for want of a better response to his No, not parchment, he grins, enjoying the game. I take one
of the miniatures between my fingers; it measures approximately
Sylvain rubs the used sliver of 3in by 2in. I turn it over. The unpainted reverse is opaque and
soap between his palms to certainly looks like parchment. His face is gleeful.
Think again. I cannot. Lasagne, he cries triumphantly.
gain the consistency of ivory Dried strips of lasagne. I am celebrating my Italian heritage.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 33


READER PHOTO COMPETITION
The winner of this months competition is Edward Lansdown, from Colchester, Essex, with his image
of the pretty village of Limeuil in the Dordogne dpartement.
Send us your holiday picture capturing the essence of France either to our online reader gallery or by email and well publish the best image
in next months FRANCE Magazine. The winner will receive two great prizes: a panoramic pod for taking 360 landscape shots on their
smartphone (15.99 from www.iwantoneofthose.com) and a 50 voucher from photobook supplier Bob Books (www.bobbooks.co.uk). To enter the
June competition, send your high-resolution image to editorial@francemag.com or upload it to FRANCE Magazines Flickr page, www.flickr.com/
groups/france_magazine by 18 May. See the Flickr page for terms and conditions.

BOTE AUX LETTRES


el
R in
x
a e
gR si
m
STAR How wonderful it was to see
LETTER Zo McIntyres splendid article
on the Champagne region and
its wine [May 2015, issue 200]. I spent
a year at Reims University as part of my
degree course in French and have happy
memories of the city. My wife and I still
go there every year to see friends whom
we have known for a long time. My
thesis while I was there was about the
economic aspects of the champagne
The writer of the letter of the month industry so I was familiar with both the
wins a standard return Dover to wine and the region.
Calais crossing with P&O Ferries for Zo was quite correct in her remarks
a car and up to nine passengers. about seeking out the small, independent
Terms and conditions apply. vigneron it is a great pleasure to buy where many French kings were crowned
For more information on P&O directly from a family business which is and where you can admire artist
Ferries, call 0871 664 2121 or creating its own individual product. Marc Chagalls stained-glass windows.
visit www.poferries.com I note that the Tribaut champagne house Ivor Barnett
in Hautvillers makes a small charge of 2 Burnham, Buckinghamshire
Share your thoughts, tips for tasting and I think that it is only
and memories with us! polite to pay for any bottle opened,
Send your letter to: especially if it is for you. @IoW_Sparky
Bote aux Lettres, FRANCE I agree entirely with the description of The latest FRANCE Magazine
Magazine, Archant House, Oriel the beautiful Caf du Palais (pictured has arrived with the 200
Road, Cheltenham, Glos, GL50 1BB, above); it is certainly a relaxing spot in
or email: editorial@francemag.com. the centre of Reims. The cathedral is also best experiences and what
Please supply your name and address. lovely and is worth a visit as it is the site a great magazine it is!

34 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


YOUR LETTERS

Say bonjour to...


Cercle Franais de Mid-Herts
The Cercle Franais de Mid-Herts, founded
more than 40 years ago in the Hertfordshire
village of Welwyn, is one of a number of
circles in the UK to be supported by the
Alliance Franaise de Londres. The group
is made up of British members, many of
whom have been with the group since it
began, along with a handful of people
Favourite experience from abroad.
We enjoyed seeing such variety in The Cercle, which meets monthly on Friday evenings, organises talks and
FRANCE Magazines list of the 200 best cultural events spanning themes such as travel, literature, history and the arts. The
French experiences [May 2015, issue talks typically last for one hour and are followed by a buffet, where members have
200]. There are some we have achieved, the opportunity to practise their language skills, whatever their level of French.
some we still have to do and some well Other events include visits to art galleries and theatres in London along with French
leave to others! film nights. The group also organised a short break to Dieppe.
In No. 150 on festivals there is This years season ends on a fun note on 15 May with the Assemble Gnrale,
a promise of a fest noz feature coming which promises lots of French games and songs.
soon in the magazine. We are particularly www.cerclefrancaisdemidherts.org.uk
looking forward to that. [It will be in the Do you belong to a group with French connections? Tell us all about it by emailing
October issue Editor]. Members of editorial@francemag.com or write to the address on the facing page.
Dansez Franais in Brighton go to these
events in Brittany; weve packed in up to
five fests noz in one holiday. because my university said I must if
The French dancing clubs around the I wanted my degree.
READER POLL
UK also feature fest noz events, with the
emphasis on Breton dances to keep us
When I had my first child, my
husband and I opened our home to
Are you satisfied
going in between trips to Brittany. a French student whom we enrolled at with the level of
Helen and Ian Swyer
Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex
our local community college. She became
our adopted 18-year-old daughter for
your French?
a brief six months, and we have been Fill in our online poll at:
close friends ever since. That young http://speakfrench.questionpro.com
Leanne Hyland
woman, Auriana, is now married and
Driving through the Gorges has three children. LAST MONTH WE ASKED:
du Verdon last summer was I have three grown-up daughters, one When on holiday in France,
incredible its something of whom, Fiona, wanted to live and do you eat foie gras?
study in Paris. As it happens, Auriana
that Ill never forget. and her family have just moved into
a beautiful home in the capital. When
Gift of friendship they heard that my 19-year-old daughter YES
In one of those full-circle moments that was going there to study, they told the 25%
makes you believe in the overpowering architect overseeing the renovation that
nature of love and connectedness, I see they now needed a floor plan to
how a good deed of long ago has accommodate an additional bedroom.
resulted in incalculable gifts. I am Fiona moves in with them soon. She
NO
a life-long Francophile which was will be a big sister to Aurianas three
75%
always odd to my family, given that my rambunctious and fabulous boys.
parents have no connection to France. This situation seems like a stunningly
PHOTOGRAPHS: HERV HUGHES/HEMIS.FR

As a child I asked for French lessons, generous and unnecessary thank you for
not ballet lessons. When I was 16 and opening our home to Auriana some
a notice went up at my high school, 20 years ago. The gift of an amiti
announcing the need for host families to franaise is a gift like no other. In my life,
welcome French students that summer, its unanticipated benefits continue to You can find FRANCE Magazines
I ordered my parents to volunteer our unfold in the most miraculous of ways. new updated index for issues 100-200
home. Later, I spent a year and a half June Battersby on our website via this link:
abroad in Paris and only came back Sarasota, Florida, US www.completefrance.com/FMIndex

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 35


WHERE TO STAY

Where to stay for...


great food & wine
If your main focus for a trip to France is to enjoy its gastronomic
delights, then look no further than these great hotels and B&Bs

LE SAINT-JAMES, at Bouliac (known as the balcony of indeed it doesnt. The building itself is
Bouliac, Bordeaux Bordeaux) was nothing but calming and also an impressive sight, and so from the
Remote controls are a modern staple of I was spoiled by the notion that I could pool, or the small vineyard at the front,
hotel rooms, now that TVs and DVD enjoy the phenomenal sight in a number you can stare up at its red-iron faade
players are de rigueur. But there cant of ways; from the rooms sofa, where and marvel at how, in 1989, this top
be many remote controls that give you a plate of fruit was waiting for me on architect transformed an 18th-century
power over one of Frances most the coffee table; from the balcony the farmhouse into one of the regions
sensational views. As I woke from one night before, the city lights twinkling leading hotel-restaurants. Its current
of the best nights sleep Ive had in years under the inky sky; from the sun- success is due to chef Nicolas Magie,
(thanks to the supremely comfy bed and loungers, or even better still, from the whose one-Michelin-star cuisine must be
crisp linen sheets), I immediately reached private hot tub on same said balcony. tasted to be believed and, if you can take
for the switch that slowly raised the Inside the ber-modern room, Jean your eyes off his sumptuous dishes, the
automatic blind on the window at the Nouvels minimalist design seemed restaurant offers its own amazing views.
foot of the bed. As I lay with my head a little stark on arrival, but absolutely Carolyn Boyd
propped on the downy pillow, the sight fitting once wed settled in nothing 3 Place Camille Hostein
PHOTOGRAPHS: NICOLAS CLARIS

of the River Garonne dappled with should detract from that view, and 33270 Bouliac
morning mist, and the city of Bordeaux Tel: (Fr) 5 57 97 06 00
beyond it, came into view. www.saintjames-bouliac.com
While the city itself was undoubtedly Price 450 (for two) for a one-night stay,
frenetic somewhere out there in the breakfast and dinner, with the five-course
distance, the view of it from this hotel Saint-James Menu with beverages).

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 37


HOSTELLERIE BRARD
& SPA, Var
Two Provenal restaurants tempt the
palate at this 40-room hotel created from
a cluster of buildings, including an
11th-century monastery. The rooms are
decorated in the muted greens of
southern France and the blues of the
Mediterranean, with restored Provenal
furniture and modern conveniences of
air-conditioning and satellite TV.
The Ren and Jean-Franois Brard
gastronomic restaurant blends traditional
with contemporary cuisine. The chefs
philosophy is to aim for simplicity,
sometimes creating dishes with no more
than two ingredients and a single
seasoning. Le Bistrot de Jef
restaurant offers a contrast with its
hearty country food.
6 Avenue Gabriel Pri
83740 La Cadire-dAzur
Tel: (Fr) 4 94 90 11 43
www.sawdays.co.uk
Doubles/twins with shower from 102.

HTEL RIBERACH,
Languedoc-Roussillon
Wine-lovers will love a stay at the Htel
Riberach. This former wine co-operative,
sitting at the foot of a medieval castle,
has been transformed into a unique wine vats, the others above, where there
hotel-cum-wine cellar with architecture are fantastic views over the surrounding
that has a naval feel to it. In turning the vineyards. In the grounds there is
industrial buildings into chic living a natural swimming pool and decking
accommodation, the designers joined that forms the shape of the bow of
together batches of two or three of the a ship. The restaurant, with its lofty
original vats to make each of the lower ceiling and seven-metre-high window, is
rooms. Four conjoined vats form the run by Laurent Lemal who was a
kitchen area, and the restaurant is runner-up in the prestigious four-yearly
positioned in the centre of the building Meilleur Ouvrier de France competition.
where the old presses once stood. The He is poetic in his description of his
communal rooms have cool, industrial- food: A piquant cuisine, sharp and
style decor, while the bedrooms are stimulating but always with a certain Tel: (Fr) 4 68 50 30 10
warmed with splashes of bright colour in sense of balance, a search for precision. www.chateauxhotels.co.uk
the furnishings and fabrics. Seven of the 2a Route de Caladroy Doubles above the wine vats from 130;
18 bedrooms are situated in the former 66720 Belesta in the vats from 170.

38 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


WHERE TO STAY

CLOS DES SENS,


Annecy
Room nine in the Clos des Sens hotel
has a wow factor of ten. I dont want
to rub it in but... I am lounging in
a leather armchair, in a luxurious
white bathrobe, watching my
husband enjoy bubbles in a Balneo
bath (i.e. an indoor whirlpool bath)
on a raised deck with a view through
a trio of windows to Lac dAnnecy
and the Bauges mountains. Behind
me is a vast fireplace; at my feet, an
ankle-deep sheepskin rug; to my
right a minibar stuffed with
champagne. The bed is huge, under
cracked eggshell lampshades
hanging from century-old beams.
This hotel is beyond incredible.
Not for its location it is in suburban
Annecy-le-Vieux and the lake views
are distant but for its interior. It
has been designed with impeccable
contemporary taste. It opened in
LA RSERVE, Albi 2004 with five rooms, five more
When your host comes from a family were added in 2012 when the owners
that has been in the hospitality bought the adjacent building,
business since the 18th century, you a 150-year-old school. It also offers
know youre in good hands. At La a swimming pool, lake-view terrace
Rserve, Hlne Hijosa Rieux has shaded with ancient trees and,
welcomed an impressive list of guests, vitally, a restaurant.
from rock gods to royalty as well as This is the domain of Laurent
ordinary folk in search of an Petit, starred Michelin chef, and his
exceptional experience. A wall of fame the river as the sun burnt the mist off exquisite culinary creations. Petit,
in the hotel lounge testifies to a host of the Tarn. with his wild hair and huge smile, is
famous visitors that includes the Head chef David Enjalran hails from surely king of foodie hotels. Over
Queen Mother, chat show queen Oprah Albi and already has a Michelin star to a four-hour, eight-course meal, he
Winfrey and Queen guitarist Brian May. his name. His menus are inspired by turned my notions of the five
Located on the banks of the River the best of south-western cuisine: senses upside down.
Tarn, La Rserve in set in eight pigeon, duck and Aubrac beef all Obviously, its expensive, but can
hectares of peaceful grounds with feature, paired with a wine list that you put a price on having your mind
newly landscaped walking paths for includes vintages from Gaillac, the local blown? Im booking in for my next
PHOTOGRAPHS: CHTEAUX & HTELS COLLECTION; LA RSERVE; CLOS DES SENS

guests. The floral bedecked terrace and vineyard with a heritage stretching wedding anniversary; Ive told my
gleaming outdoor pool are a natural back to Roman times. There are many husband Im worth it...
draw, both for a morning swim or when things that make La Rserve truly Judy Armstrong
you simply want to relax, watching the special, from the warm service to that 13 Rue Jean Mermoz
sunlight bounce off the water. inviting, sun-drenched terrace. Its the 74940 Annecy-le-Vieux
Each of the 20 rooms is individually sort of place where even a humble Tel: (Fr) 4 50 23 07 90
and comfortably furnished. My Junior visitor like me can feel like royalty, even www.closdessens.com
ADDITIONAL REPORTING: SHEENA HARVEY

Suite had an art-deco feel, which added if just for a few days. Doubles from 206, breakfast 25.
to the air of indulgence that pervades Eleanor OKane Menus from 100.
La Rserves cool air. My room was 81 Route de Cordes
sumptuous and welcoming and its large 81000 Albi
terrace proved an irresistible spot for Tel: (Fr) 5 63 60 80 80
sipping morning coffee while watching www.lareservealbi.com
a boat peacefully make its way along Doubles from 298 per night.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 39


HTEL DE
VIGNIAMONT,
Pzenas
Hidden away down a narrow street
in the historic town of Pzenas,
Htel de Vigniamont is a beautifully
preserved 17th-century htel
particulier, lovingly restored and
decorated by owners Babette and
Philippe Brun. Once a residence of
the Count of Vigniamont, the
buildings grandeur is exemplified
by its beautiful stone spiral staircase
one of Pzenass 30 classed
monuments historiques. Four of the
hotels five suites have their own
regional theme to reflect the
owners vinous preferences, and all
are sumptuously adorned with
period furnishings. Everything is
spotlessly clean and effortlessly chic.
The real reason so many guests
return is the warm welcome offered LES PRS DEUGNIE, rooms offer vineyard views, but its
by Babette, who ensures that Eugnie-les-Bains worth asking for one with a private
Vigniamont combines the In this small spa village in the Landes balcony. On the opposite side of the
professionalism of a smart hotel with dpartement, patronised by the Empress road, the hotels winstub serves
the cosiness of a chambre dhtes. Eugnie in the 1860s, Michel Gurard traditional Alsatian dishes such as
Every other evening, Babette offers has established a luxurious retreat choucroute garnie and tarte flame,
a free wine tasting (as well as the serving his grande cuisine minceur. with pitchers of local wine and artisanal
free bottle in your room) either in The holder of three Michelin stars and beers. New for the hotel in 2015 is

PHOTOGRAPHS: XAVIER BOYMOND; CHTEAUX & HTELS COLLECTION;


the hotels small vaulted cellar, or to co-founder of nouvelle cuisine observed a wellness centre, with pool, sauna
the chirrup of cicadas on its terrace. that his guests often came to the spa to and hammam bath. DR
After a hearty breakfast on the lose weight so it made sense to serve 98 Route des Vins
terrace, Babette is on hand again to a slimmed-down cuisine, healthy but full 67140 Itterswiller
drive guests to local wine estate of exciting flavours. The hotel comprises Tel : (Fr) 3 88 85 50 58
Domaines Paul Mas, where you can eight different houses, each with its own www.hotel-arnold.com
tour the vineyards and eat at the character and set in an eight-hectare Doubles from 75, breakfast from 6.

CHTEAU CORDEILLAN-BAGES
superb restaurant, Ct Mas. estate with a small river running through
From this summer, the hotel will it. You can stay in an 18th-century LA CHAUMIRE, Dole
offer a different activity for each day convent or a 19th-century colonial With his trademark red glasses, chef Jol
of the week, including vineyard visits mansion in rooms and suites that are Csari has been bringing his love of colour
and tours of artisans workshops. sumptuously furnished. The gardens and passion for local flavours to La
Dominic Rippon are there to explore, and everywhere Chaumire since 2004. The contemporary
5 Rue Pzenas, 34120 Pzenas you go youll find places to stop for
Tel: (Fr) 4 67 35 14 88 delicious refreshments. It is
http://hoteldevigniamont.com an all-round treat for the senses.
Doubles from 95, buffet breakfast 40320 Eugnie-les-Bains, Landes
9, minimum stay two nights. Tel: (Fr) 5 58 05 06 07
www.michelguerard.com
Doubles from 360 per night.

HTEL ARNOLD, Itterswiller


In the heart of Alsaces Lower Rhine, this
traditional half-timbered hotel perches
high above the vineyards of Itterswiller,
with stunning views of the Vosges
Mountains. Most of the 28 comfortable

40 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


WHERE TO STAY

CLOS DE LOURS, Var


The Clos de lOurs guesthouse, near the
village of Cotignac and not far from the
Gorges du Verdon, is set among 13
hectares of vines and is a wine-lovers
heaven. It opened last summer and
produces delicious organic wines. The
seven spacious rooms are furnished in
a modern style with a mix of natural
materials and have wonderful views of
the vineyard and countryside. Fabienne
and Michel Brotons make friendly and
welcoming hosts, and the domaine is the
perfect place to get away from it all.
4776 Chemin du Clos du Ruou
83570 Cotignac
Tel: (Fr) 4 94 04 77 69
www.chateauxhotels.com
Doubles from 150.

interior of the hotel-restaurant bursts with


colour, yet feels calm and restful, the
outdoor pool and terrace adding to the
ambience. The fine-dining menus feature
Jura favourites poultry, veal, fungi and
Franche-Comt cheeses often married CHTEAU CORDEILLAN-
with more exotic flavours. Crmant du BAGES, Pauillac
Jura and vin jaune complement the dishes This mid-19th-century mansion house
while the regions prized morel sits among the vineyards near the
mushrooms even find their way, LE CHTEAU DE Gironde estuary, north of Bordeaux.
caramelised, into desserts. Its the perfect BEAULIEU, Pas-de-Calais The decor in the 24 light and
place to sample the finesse that Jura, Only an hour from the Eurotunnel comfortable bedrooms is timeless with
famed for its rustic mountain cuisine, terminal at Calais, this 17th-century just a hint of the designer modern from
can offer. EOK chteau has two glass-roofed restaurants the likes of Frank Gehry and Achille
346 Avenue du Marchal Juin serving the creations of chef Marc Castiglioni. The chteau kitchen is the
39100 Dole Meurin. In the classic Le Meurin domain of Jean-Luc Rocha, a chef with
Tel: (Fr) 3 84 70 72 40 restaurant many of the dishes use local two Michelin stars who has also just
www.lachaumiere-dole.fr top-quality fish and seafood. In summer been awarded a fourth chefs hat (toque,
Doubles from 92. you can also eat on the terrace or in the five is the top) in the Gault&Millau 2015
pretty gardens. Le Jardin dAlice restaurant guide; so you know you are
restaurant is the setting for Meurins in for a gastronomic treat, especially as
new, innovative cuisine in a modern, the chteau produces its own wine,
designer setting. The boutique hotel has Chteau Lynch-Bages. Also on offer are
16 rooms and four suites and is wine-tasting and special package stays
surrounded by private parkland to make which include a tailor-made lunch or
it a perfect short-break hideaway. dinner with a behind-the-scenes look at
1098 Rue de Lillers, 62350 Busnes how grande cuisine is prepared.
Tel: (Fr) 3 21 68 88 88 Route des Chteaux
www.lechateaudebeaulieu.fr 33250 Pauillac
Doubles from 170. Restaurant closed Tel: (Fr) 5 56 59 24 24
Sun and Mon evenings and Sat and Tues www.cordeillanbages.com
lunchtimes; also closed early Jan and the Doubles from 229. Restaurant open
first three weeks of Aug. Wed-Sun. Hotel closed in winter.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 41


HTEL LES ORANGERIES,
Poitou-Charentes
An ancient farmhouse with rustic stone
walls and flagged floors has been
converted into an old-fashioned country
retreat with orange trees and pretty
gardens around a long swimming pool.
There are just 11 rooms and four
apartments with wrought-iron furniture
made comfortable with plump upholstery
and cushions and decorated in warm
colours and homely fabrics. You can
enjoy fresh and delicious food, much of it
grown in their own organic vegetable
garden, which earned the owners the
award of Sustainable International
Restaurant of the Year in 2014. For
entertainment you can spend a lazy time
playing croquet, billiards and skittles.
12 Avenue de Docteur Dupont
86320 Lussac-les-Chteaux
Tel: (Fr) 5 49 84 07 07
www.sawdays.co.uk
Doubles from 75.

HTEL LES FLORTS,


Gigondas
A short stroll from the wine-lovers
village of Gigondas, and at the foot of
the imposing Dentelles de Montmirail
rock spires, is Les Florets. A gem in the
gastronomic crown of Vaucluse, it has
been proudly owned and run by the same
family for three generations. A bonus to
the 15 beautiful rooms is a pool, plus an
olive-shaded terrace from which to admire
the views. The restaurants exquisite food CHTEAU The 38 bedrooms are all en-suite
is matched by an impeccable wine list. LHOSPITALET, and tastefully decorated, with free
Menus are innovative and the service, led Narbonne Wi-Fi, a double bed and a free bottle of
by owner Thierry Bernard, is attentive. If sumptuous food and wine are your wine. Not only that but as a hotel guest
A destination in itself, the hardest decision main criteria for choosing a hotel then you are entitled to a free wine tasting
is not which wine to enjoy with your meal, you cant go far wrong with Chteau in the on-site shop.
but how you will manage to leave. JA lHospitalet, a working wine estate in The restaurant offers several tasting
Chemin des Florts, 84190 Gigondas the heart of La Clape vineyards menus designed to showcase
Tel: (Fr) 4 90 65 85 01 complete with a gourmet restaurant. Languedoc-Roussillons finest produce
PHOTOGRAPHS: PIETRI MAXIME

www.hotel-lesflorets.com The vineyards stretch to 1,000 and they offer a wine buffet with the
Doubles from 82.50, breakfast 16.50, hectares and surround the chteau, option to try eight, 16 or 24 wines with
menus from 36. meaning most of the bedrooms have your meal from the innovative wine
views of the vines and on a clear day vending machine.
you can even catch a glimpse of the Emma Rawle
Mediterranean sea. If your room Route de Narbonne Plage
doesnt have a vineyard view then you 11100 Narbonne
will be looking out over the pretty Tel: (Fr) 4 68 45 28 50
courtyard which is home to the www.chateau-hospitalet.com
NEXT
restaurant LArt de Vivre and several Doubles from 60
MONTH
artisan shops. per night. G R E AT PL ACE S
TO STAY BY
TH E SE A

42 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


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www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 43


THIS PAGE: The Pointe des
Douaniers on the coastal path
near Cap-dAil; FACING PAGE: The
architect Le Corbusiers Cabanon
and its interior

44 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


COASTAL TRAIL

From Cap to Cap


Walking the coastal path from Cap Martin to the town
of Cap-dAil leads Tristan Rutherford to the startling
architecture and delicious tastes of the Cte dAzur

I
ts pain-au-choc-oclock in the sunniest corner of France. appears as a carbuncle on the coast. Le Corbusier would

PHOTOGRAPHS: CAMILLE MOIRENC/HEMIS.FR; MANUEL BOUGOT


But on the polyglot peninsulas of the Cte dAzur, have been appalled.
cosmopolitanism is in the air. Cap Martin and Cap-dAil The proof can be found in the Cabanon. Set just below the
are mere miles from Italy and Monaco. My birenboules Cap Martin coastal trail, this log cabin is a lesson in South of
caf sells cioccolato gelato and frutti di mare. The traffic warden France simplicity. His modernist methodology decreed that
is trilingual. He will post your parking fine anywhere in the EU. modular beach bliss could be squeezed into less than 14 square
Decades ago such diversity attracted Swiss architects, metres. Allegedly, it only took the Swiss genius 45 minutes to
Swedish film stars and Spanish painters. All were recently sketch the design for the cabin in the winter of 1949. At just
honoured by two grand cultural openings, plus a new feature 3.66 metres by 3.66 metres, his cuboid holiday home proves
film. Its a four-hour, 14-kilometre hike to hit these cultural that happy habitation can come at a minimal cost, although the
caps in a single day. I gulp my macchiato and call merci to olive-shaded location above a sandy cove certainly helps.
le patron. Its time to move on. Just beside the Cabanon, Le Corbusier designed five Units
A bust of architect extraordinaire Le Corbusier marks the de Camping. At eight square metres each, these holiday units
trailhead around Cap Martin. A signpost indicates his Cabanon
beach house (45 minutes on foot) which reopens to the public
this month. Its an Edenic hike there. The path has a fragrant
aroma of rosemary, orange blossom and umbrella pine. To the
left, an open seascape to Italy shimmers in the morning sun.
The path bends and bumps above a swimming pool sea until
Monaco comes into view. But the plastic-fantastic Principality

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 45


were a futuristic vision of French tourism. They also reopen for of The Price of Desire, which traces Grays tumultuous
visitors this month. Inside, wooden boxes pivot to make beds relationship with Le Corbusier. Likierman attended the
and chairs. Slats open to allow cross-ventilation. Window blinds premiere at the 2015 Dublin Film Festival. In Ireland she is
double as shaving mirrors. Its an homage to his famous Unit now worshipped as the greatest Irish designer.
dHabitation building block in Marseille in miniature. From here to the Monaco border, some 40 minutes away
Le Corbusier wasnt the first architect to bring modernism to on foot, the trail hits its beachiest reach. Every step is
Cap Martin. That title belongs to Irish designer Eileen Gray, an extravaganza of pine trees, blue seas and ocean breezes.
whose Villa E-1027 was built alongside the coastal path decades Steps lead down to Plage de Buse, a white arc of public sand,
before. Here I meet Michael Likierman, who spearheaded and Plage du Golfe Bleu, an ever-longer sandy curve just
the renovation of these unique cultural spaces (Villa E-1027 beyond. Its a choice between heaven, and heaven plus one.
reopened this May). Parascenders who take a leap of faith from the grand corniche
Grays 1929 creation is a vast white rectangle; yet its clifftops high above descend like angels to the Golfe Bleu
somehow perfectly congruous with its setting of green olives, beach. This section of the path is known as the Sentier des
raging lilac and azure sea. Likierman shows me the futuristic Douaniers. Customs officials once patrolled this coast to guard
functionality inside. The worlds first sliding blinds open on to against cigarette smuggling to Italy, and, rather more healthily,
a panoramic seascape. Art-deco swoops and swirls hide cabinets contraband olive oil coming in the other direction.
and drawers. A bronzing chamber solarium is fashioned from
black tan-fast tiles. Glorious suburb
Likierman explains Le Corbusiers subsequent fascination I pause to buy a pan bagnat (a salade nioise in a bun) at
PHOTOGRAPHS: RUTHERFORD TOMASETTI PARTNERS; MANUEL BOUGOT

with Gray. She was a fabulous member of les annes folles Roquebrune-Cap-Martins little station. (Likierman and team
[the 1920s] and much courted for designing elegant apartments are refurbishing the unused sidings into another cultural space,
in Paris, before she decided to build a villa for herself by the due to open in stages until 2017.) Beaches become coves, and
sea. The Swiss architect rented the Irishwomans Cap Martin coves become nameless creeks, until I find four square metres of
villa in the late 1930s. The fascination turned into jealousy, shingle beside Monaco for a snack/siesta/swim. I need it, as my
however, and there was a sense that the unassuming Gray had coastal walk is only half done.
pipped him to the modernist post. In 1938 Le Corbusier daubed Like a fool, I choose to hike the four kilometres across
stunning if inappropriate frescoes on Grays clean pastel Monaco (non-masochists can take the No. 6 bus across the
walls. She was furious and never entered her house again. country for just 2). The Principalitys reclaimed seaside suburb
Le Corbusier died in 1965 while swimming below the villa and of Fontvieille abuts the French border. Surprisingly it hosts an
is buried nearby. Gray passed away in 1976 and was laid to rest international airport, where scheduled seven-minute helicopter
in Pre Lachaise cemetery in Paris. shuttles to Nice Airport depart every 15 minutes. Such
It was such a drama that they turned the story into a film, exuberance created the glorious French suburb of Cap-dAil
says Likierman. He assisted with the recent Cap Martin filming next door. I cross the street into France to find out more.

46 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


COASTAL TRAIL

CLOCKWISE, FROM FACING PAGE: Le Corbusiers Units de


Camping on Cap Martin; Summertime at Plage Mala,
Cap-dAil; The interior and exterior of Villa E-1027 on Cap
Martin; The coastal trail clings to the cliff face

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 47


The final three-and-a-half kilometres of coastal path from
the beaches of Plage Marquet to Plage Mala werent built for
les douaniers. Oh no. The route was generously provided by
Monacos Socit des Bains de Mer the company that owns
the Casino de Monte-Carlo to provide highrollers with
a scenic route to the baccarat tables. Information boards
explain the Mongasque provenance of the rococo mansions
that line the route. Villa The Rock was frequented by Greta
Garbo after partying in the Principality. La Capponcina, just
above the path, was owned by newspaper baron Lord ABOVE: Walking next to the azure waters of the Mediterranean;
Beaverbrook and hosted casino enthusiast Sir Winston RIGHT: The Villa les Camlias history museum in Cap-dAil
Churchill. Various mansions were used as escapes by Princess
Grace when she fled the stifling aura of Palace politics. trail via a steep staircase made the resort complete. Yes, it
As the trail continues, the Tte Chien, the dog-head cape took 55 minutes to Nice (it now takes 18) and 22 hours to
perched 500 metres above the shoreline, becomes increasingly London (its now less than ten), but it enabled the belle
visible. This Jurassic limestone outcrop serves to block any poques richest to disembark and take root. Such history is
clouds from the coast below. In turn this microclimate colourfully detailed in the new Villa les Camlias history
nourishes the yuccas, bougainvillea and Aleppo pines that shield museum two minutes from the terminal.
the afternoon sun. The villas director Hlne Bonafous meets me outside its
Above the trail comes the constant rattle of the railway line. gilded entrance. Only in the South of France could a local
Amazingly, these bucolic tracks still serve direct trains from history museum boast jasmine-scented gardens, panoramic sea
Nice to Monaco, Milan and Moscow. In 1881, the views and a swimming pool. Madame Bonafous uses exhibits
inauguration of Cap-dAils railway station reached from the from the first floors cabinet of curiosities to explain the
biography of the coastal trail. Photographs from 1880 of
SAME La Villa Sanitas (now a retirement home) show how wealthy
PLACE,
DIFFERENT Leave dry land and consumptives paid handsomely for a sunny cure. A cover story
in Le Petit Journal in 1892 shows the Russian Tsars brother
PACE
take to a paddleboard holidaying in Cap-dAil. A 1957 handwritten note from Sir
This summer the South of France has gone SUP mad. Stand-up Winstons wife Clementine thanks the mairie for her visit. (The
paddleboards started as a craze in Hawaii when surfers found they telephone number at the top reads Knightsbridge 7171, should
could stand atop a calm surface and explore the coast with an they ever wish to call.) There is even a card from a bordello on
ultra-light oar. Bespoke paddleboards have become wider, lighter and the border, the exquisitely named Loup Blanc. The brothel
more buoyant. It only takes five minutes to learn (unlike surfing) and minted its own secret currency to gift access to the privileged
its almost impossible to fall in. few. The flipside of each coin reads Bienvenue au Paradis.
The Base Nautique at Cap-dAils Plage Marquet (tel: (Fr) 4 93 78
55 50, www.fairedelavoile.fr) is among the latest outfits to rent SUPs Precipitous cliffs
for the standard price of 15 per hour. After five minutes paddling on Cap-dAil has always been a back door to Monaco, explains
your knees to get the feel of the board, you can stand up and row Madame Bonafous. She directs me to one final villa: the Eden
along the coastal trail: Monaco in one direction, ze in the other. Rsidence, which crowns the end of Cap-dAils coastal trail.
Either way, fish dart below your SUP as the sunshine filters through Built by Baron de Pauville in 1882, its 150 rooms contained
the Neptune grass on the seabed. every luxury: private bathrooms, electricity from a bespoke
Plage Mala has a less formal watersports set-up in a seaside generator, plus scheduled hippomobile access to Monaco from
beach shack, but the location is far more attractive. To your right lie the foyer. The Bront sisters, artist Jean Cocteau and author
the crashing cliffs and hidden creeks of Saint-Laurent-dze, a scene Sacha Guitry all checked in. Sadly, the Edens final
PHOTOGRAPHS: RUTHERFORD TOMASETTI PARTNERS; BARBARA LECOMTE

previously enjoyed only by those with a private yacht. An Evian-style accoutrement was never built. As I walk in the setting sun to
mineral water source seeps out 100 metres from the beach, resulting Plage Mala, the remains of a small turret are visible on the
in a profusion of sub-tropical fish. Its also possible to weave below beach. Believe it or not, an alpine-style funicular cable car was
the villas of The Rock and LErmitage du Cap Fleuri along Cap-dAils once planned between beach and hotel.
Sentier du Littoral, most of which are best seen from afar. Precipitous cliffs block my onward route. The Sentier du
Mentons Centre Nautique (tel: (Fr) 4 93 35 49 70, www.voile- Littoral begins again at Beaulieu-sur-Mer seven kilometres
menton.fr) rents SUPs for 13 per hour from the protected bay further on and continues around the French coast for thousands
of kilometres. But thats a story for another day.
beside the La Pergola beach club. Paddle out to see Jean Cocteaus

Muse du Bastion. Youll have to return to dry land, though, to see Turn to page 50 for travel information.
the oceanfront Muse Cocteau, which houses 1,800 exhibits donated
by Belgian-American collector Sverin Wunderman. The building was See our next issue for an interview with architectural expert
designed by Rudy Ricciotti, the architect behind Marseilles new Jonathan Meades, who lives in Le Corbusiers Cit Radieuse
MuCEM (tel: (Fr) 4 89 81 52 5 http://museecocteaumenton.fr). in Marseille. Our August issue will feature a trail of
Le Corbusiers best French sites.

48 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


COASTAL TRAIL

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 49


The Villa Thalassa youth hostel on
the coastal trail at Cap-dAil

Francofile
GETTING THERE
Making your way along the Cte dAzur trail
Tel: (Fr) 4 93 78 18 58 Le Roquebrune WHERE TO EAT
By train: The rail journey www.clajsud.fr 100 Avenue Jean Jaurs Le Piccadilly
from London to Cap-dAil Only in France: a hostel 06190 Roquebrune- 16 Avenue Franois
and Cap Martin via Paris sited within a multi-million- Cap-Martin de Monlon
and Nice takes ten hours. euro villa, surrounded by Tel: (Fr) 4 93 35 00 16 06190 Cap Martin
Fares start from 123 the worlds most expensive www.le-roquebrune.com Tel: (Fr) 4 93 35 87 16 Lden
return through Voyages- real estate. The genial This htel de charme has www.lepiccadilly.com Alle Mala
sncf.com (tel: 0844 848 trilingual manager Paolo just six guestrooms and Visit this locals favourite 06320 Cap dAil
5848, www.voyagessncf. is an expert on the enjoys spectacular sea for a slap-up Provenal Tel: (Fr) 4 93 78 17 06
com). surrounding villas and views as well as the meal. Admittedly, the Sit on cushioned booths
By air: The nearest airport coastline. The knockout set benefit of private parking. cloakroom dates from the perched on Plage Mala,
is Nice. dinner served on a sea Doubles from 120. 1970s (complete with while waiters shuffle back
By road: Cap-dAil is around view terrace costs just 12. vintage phone booth), but and forth with platters of
an 11-hour drive from the Dormitory beds from 20; FOR AN APRO for cod aoli, linguine frutti tuna tataki and bottles of
northern ferry ports. private double rooms also La Pinde di mare and bargain pichets Bandol. Mains from 15.
available. 10 Avenue Raymond of wine, its unsurpassed.
WHERE TO STAY Gramaglia Menus from 17.50. ATTRACTIONS
Hotel Victoria Hotel Miramar 06320 Cap-dAil Villa E-1027 and
7 Promenade du 126 Avenue du 3 Septembre Tel: (Fr) 4 93 78 37 10 Le Cabanon Le Cabanon
Cap Martin 06320 Cap-dAil www.restaurant Pointe des Douaniers Avenue de la Gare
06190 Roquebrune- Tel: (Fr) 4 93 78 06 60 lapinede.com 06320 Cap-dAil 06190 Roquebrune-
Cap-Martin www.miramarhotel.fr. Although pricey for eating Tel: (Fr) 4 93 78 01 94 Cap-Martin
Tel: (Fr) 4 93 35 65 90 Arguably the French (the delicious three-course www.capresort.com/ Tel: (Fr) 6 48 72 90 53
www.hotel-victoria.fr Rivieras best bargain. menu with tartare de boeuf cabanon www.capmoderne.com
Stupendous sea-view hotel The two-star Miramar weighs in at 34), this Its not cheap, but the Guided visits Tue-Sun,
at the sunny start point of commands views across restaurant is a dream for shabby-chic location of this 10am and 2pm (3.30pm
the Cap Martin coastal the entire coast from its aperitifs, especially as the beach shack diner on July and Aug). Entry 15.
trail. The 32 rooms are perched location off the chic beach cabin sits on a rocky outcrop jutting
PHOTOGRAPH: RUTHERFORD TOMASETTI PARTNERS

styled in homage to Nice-Monaco basse the Cap-dAil coastal trail. into the Mediterranean Villa les Camlias
local greats, including corniche coastal road. The 5 glasses of ros slip is sublime. Grab a Ricard 17 Avenue Raymond
Le Corbusier, Eileen Gray, Doubles from 68; terrace back easily as the sun and set of boules, or order Gramaglia
Picasso and Henri Matisse. rooms and family rooms sinks on the lapping a grilled bream. Mains 06320 Cap-dAil
Doubles from 79. are a little extra. Mediterranean below. from 18. Tel: (Fr) 4 93 98 36 57
www.villalescamelias.com
Villa Thalassa TOURIST INFORMATION: Cap dAil tourist office, tel: (Fr) 4 93 78 02 33, Entry 9, under-12s free.
2 Avenue Raymond www.cap-dail.com; Roquebrune-Cap-Martin tourist office, tel: (Fr) 4 93 35 62 87, Open Apr-Oct, except Mon
Gramaglia www.roquebrune-cap-martin.com; Cte dAzur regional tourist board and Sat; Dec-Mar, Sun, Tue
06320 Cap-dAil www.cotedazur-tourisme.com and Thu.

50 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


Walking
& Cycling
Holidays
in France

Dordogne Experience offers self-guided Walking


and Cycling holidays in the beautiful Dordogne.
Our holidays are planned using 2 and 3 star friendly,
family run hotels, many with pools and all offering
a warm welcome with comfortable rooms,
interesting regional cuisine and wines.

/Dordogne Experience e. keith@dordogneexperience.com

Are you thinking of


moving to France?
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reading for anyone who is looking for reliable,
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Have you always dreamed of living in France? Are you now ready
to take the first step and need advice on how to turn
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www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 51


Little &
LARGE
Off the coast of western France,
Mike Lucas discovers two
contrasting islands that both
provide a true taste of the sea

W
hen youre on the le dOlron, its sometimes
difficult to remember that you are on an island.
Of course it was separated from le continent
for a long time before a spectacular arched
road bridge opened in 1966 which forever connected it to the
Atlantic coast, just near the port of Rochefort. As you drive
over the strait, the bridge brings you to the heart of a flat,
watery landscape, where disused salt basins, some of which are
now oyster beds, stretch away on each side. You lose sight of
the sea and pass rows of one-storey suburban villas, eventually
arriving at Le Grand-Village-Plage, a 1950s seaside resort,
tucked between the sea, the marshes and the pine forests.
This is the le dOlron, the lesser-visited neighbour of the le
de R, and it is Frances second-largest island after Corsica. With
long sandy beaches, pine forests and salt pans as far as the eye can
see, it is a wilder place than R where the fishing and salt industries
play as much a part in the islands culture as the tourism does.
At Le Port des Salines, just outside Le Grand-Village-Plage,
they have reconstructed an area of marsh, so salt is being
produced once again. The original marshes were created in the
Middle Ages and because salt was so essential for the
preservation of food, there were hundreds of workers (sauniers)
and gatherers (paludiers) producing thousands of tons a year.
Now, once again in the summer, you can watch the salt gatherers
at work and buy some of their harvest from the cabin shop. You
can walk round the marshes and the saltpans or take a boat trip. pointing out the menus on the chalkboards. Objects hang
Black winged stilts stand stock still in the water, a buzzard sits on everywhere: photos of fishermen holding their unbelievable
a gorse bush and shelducks gather together for company. catches, a pair of boots, several seafaring caps, cuddly toys and
lots of bons mots, such as: If you listen too much to the
Appetising stop weather forecast, youll just stay in the restaurant. Then theres
A museum, located in a series of colourful cabins, recounts the the food, which is as quirky and individual as the setting,
lives of the people, their clothes and their tools. In their 12 to beautiful to look at and delicious. I have hake with chorizo
14-hour day, workers would scrape the crust of salt that forms cream and lightly battered carrots.
on the surface of the water. This is fleur de sel, the finest of the After a walk along the vast Grande-Plage, which, on this
salt. The large grains (gros sel) were extracted from the bottom. spring day, is wild and windswept but still busy with intrepid
The salt would then drain slowly until ready for storing. surfers, I visit Le Chteau-dOlron on the east-facing coast.
The museum is just yards from an unusual restaurant, Le This pretty little town is enclosed within the walls of a citadel,
Relais des Salines, which is made up of green, blue and black completed during Louis XIVs reign by celebrated military
cabins set on a wooden pier, with a sun terrace at one end. engineer Vauban in order to protect Rochefort, Frances main
Friendly staff move among the customers, welcoming them and naval port, across the water.

52 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


ATLANTIC ISLANDS

The town of Le Chateau-dOlron with its


impressive fortifications; BELOW: The le
dOlrons tiny neighbour, the le dAix

However, it wasnt until World War II that it saw any


fighting, when the Germans occupied the citadel. The island
was not liberated until the last days of the war, following
an Allied air attack. In the words of one young eye-witness:
On Wednesday, 17 April, 1945 at 5.20pm, the roar of
airplanes grows louder. It becomes deafening. How many are
there? The earth trembles with a hellish sound and the bombs
PHOTOGRAPHS: FRANCIS LEROY/HEMIS.FR

explode on the citadel for many minutes. Its terrifying. At 6pm,


everything is over. There is the silence of death.
The bombardment destroyed 95 per cent of the buildings,
including the governors apartments, but the arms and
ammunition store and the chapel survived. The area lay
abandoned for decades, before renovations began in 1985;
work that is still continuing.
Down in the port, you can watch old boats being

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 53


ABOVE FROM LEFT: The cabins of Le Relais des Salines restaurant;
Riding on the petit train of Saint-Trojan-les-Bains; The citadel in
Le Chteau-dOlron; RIGHT: The compass-shaped gardens of the Phare de
Chassiron; BELOW: The petrified forest; FAR RIGHT: Horse-drawn calches
on the le dAix wait for passengers

restored in a revived dockyard and, along the narrow canals,


oystermens cabins have been brought back to life. They are
now a jumble of bright colours, housing 30 or more artisans.
Im staying in a chambre dhtes in La Cotinire, halfway up
the west coast. It is one of the major fishing ports in France,
with dozens of boats tied up closely together. The evening sun
makes their bright colours reflect in the water. Early tomorrow
morning, hake, langoustines, squid, sea bass, sole and prawns
will be on sale at the auction hall (la crie). At Le Piano Bleu,
I sample la chaudre, a local speciality of potatoes, mussels,
prawns and three types of fish, including shark.

Trundle through a forest


The next morning, I climb on board le petit train in Saint-
Trojan-les-Bains, a charming resort of art-nouveau and
neo-olronaise houses, on the south-east of the island. The There are nesting seagulls and swans,
railway has been going since 1963 and were pulled on ducks, geese, owls and peacocks, as well as
PHOTOGRAPHS: MIKE LUCAS; LYNNE NEWLOVE; FRANCIS LEROY/HEMIS.FR

a 12-kilometre round trip by a squat but colourful diesel engine, terrapins and deer, and the treetops are
which runs partly on used frying oil from local restaurants. populated with egrets, herons and storks.
The train trundles through a forest of parasol pines and ilex The early evening is spent strolling
past a beach with its golden sands sheltered by the Gulf Stream, around Saint-Pierre-dOlron, the islands
but as we approach La Pointe de Maumusson at the southern capital, with its museum, the church of
extremity of La Grande-Plage, we pass through a petrified Saint-Pierre and a medieval tower where
forest, with twisted, leafless branches and gnarled tree trunks. The Lantern of the Dead was lit every night
We stand on the immense, windswept beach and the conductor to celebrate the departed.
explains that there are always heavy rollers here; the salt spray The next day, I head to the northern tip of the island to visit
kills the trees and the dunes are constantly in retreat. He points the Phare de Chassiron, which was built in 1836, making it the
to where the station was six months ago, 60 metres away. Ten second oldest lighthouse in France after Cordouan in the
years ago, the station was a kilometre further out to sea. Gironde Estuary. Climb the 224 steps to the top and youll be
I spend most of the afternoon at Les Marais aux Oiseaux, rewarded with views of La Rochelle, the le de R and the le
a bird and animal reserve and a sanctuary for injured birds. dAix. Immediately below is a beautiful garden laid out in the

54 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


ATLANTIC ISLANDS

fame as the base for a French reality television programme.


From Boyardville to Saint-Trojan-les-Bains, a channel winds
its sinuous way, bordered by the brightly coloured cabins and
barges of the oyster growers. The channel allows the seawater
to run into and refresh the patchwork quilt of hundreds of beds,
where some of the best oysters in France are nurtured.
Crossing the bridge back to the mainland, I reflect that you
need time and space to immerse yourself in the islands history,
to wander round the villages and towns, and to stand on one of
the immense beaches and smell the perfumes of the sea, the
pines and the wild flowers.

Return of the vineyards


My next stop is the le dAix, just across the strait. Theres no
bridge from the mainland this time; access is by a 20-minute boat
ride from the quay at Fouras, north-west of Rochefort. The
island is just two kilometres long and half a kilometre at its
widest point, its size making it an interesting contrast to Olron.
The first thing that strikes me as I step ashore is the air of
calm about the place. There is the chatter of tourists as they
wander up the quay but there are no cars, so once the visitors
As the waters ebb, the locks are scatter and merge with the 200 inhabitants as they arrive in
le bourg, all is quiet and serene.
revealed and the fishermen use The small town lies within the walls of Fort de la Rade. The
English Navy destroyed the fort and many other buildings in
special tools to grab the catch 1757 during the Seven Years War, and the current edifice was
constructed under the orders of Emperor Napolon in 1810.
shape of a compass. Theres a miniature vineyard, a vegetable Surprisingly for such a small island, le bourg has five wide
garden, hundreds of exotic and aquatic plants and models of streets. Im staying at the only hotel, the Napolon. The
boats that have been shipwrecked in these waters. building had lain forgotten for many years, but has now been
The history of this battle against the elements is clearly beautifully modernised, cleverly blending contemporary design
illustrated at the museum in the tower. Ever since the with the classical interior.
14th century, local fishermen have used an unusual method of In the afternoon I walk round the island. Although you can
trapping their catch, using locks built off the north coast of travel by calche a covered wagon pulled by two shire horses
Olron. These horseshoe-shaped stone structures lie submerged or hire a bike, walking is the only way to see the wooded
at high tide, but as the waters ebb, the fish locks are revealed north-east tip. I pass a small vineyard and remember that in the
and then the fishermen use specially designed tools to grab 1900s a fifth of the island was covered in vines. Slowly the
their catch. vineyards fell into disuse as people left for the mainland,
I journey down the eastern side of the island, visiting but, since 1996, Montrsor has been producing excellent
Saint-Denis-dOlron and La Bre-les-Bains, with its brightly chardonnay and merlot wines.
coloured beach huts sheltered by a canopy of pines, and take I watch men gathering oysters and crabs, working fast before
the chance to sample the delectable moules la charentaise and the tide sends them home. Woods look down on small, sandy
wines from the local vineyards. Further along the coast is the beaches, accessible only to the intrepid. I pass Fort Lidot,
intriguing little port of Le Douhet, where water from the old where Ahmed Ben Bella, who was to become the first president
oyster channels pours into the sea through a large sluice. of an independent Algeria, was incarcerated during the Algerian
My final stop of the day is at Saint-Georges-dOlron, War of the early 1960s.
a striking little town whose inhabitants made their fortunes
dealing in salt and wine. The central square has an imposing
market hall with a beautifully carpentered roof, surrounded by
bourgeois houses of the mid-19th century. Nearby there is
an elegant Romanesque church, the oldest on the island, with
its ribbed panelled ceiling, a wooden figure of Notre-Dame de
lIsle and vivid stained-glass windows.
On my final morning, I meander back to the bridge via
Boyardville, from where you can take a boat trip to Fort
Boyard, an island fortress completed in 1866 to keep out the
English. But the cannons were never needed, and the fort was
ignored for more than a century before achieving an unlikely

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 55


Francofile
Go island hopping off the
Charente-Maritime coast

ABOVE: Oystermen on the le GETTING THERE Tel: (Fr) 5 46 76 02 46 Le Ptit Train de


dAix work quickly as the tide By road: Rochefort is www.novotel.com Saint-Trojan
comes in; RIGHT: The entrance a 7hr drive from the Modern hotel on the Avenue du
to the Napolon museum northern ferry ports. south of the island with Dbarquement
By air: The nearest views over the beach. 17370 Saint-Trojan-les-
Emerging from the airport is at La Rochelle. Doubles from 120. Bains
woods, I walk back to By rail: The train from Tel: (Fr) 5 46 76 01 26
le bourg, with marshes on Paris Montparnasse to WHERE TO EAT www.le-ptit-train.com
one side and La Grande- Rochefort via Le Relais des Salines Tickets 12.
Plage and the sea on the La Rochelle takes 5hr. Ecomuse du
other, passing a dozen or The islands Port des Salines Ple-Nature du
more batteries, a reminder The le dOlron is 17370 Le Grand- Marais aux Oiseaux
that up until the end of accessed via Marennes Village-Plage Les Grissotires
World War I, Aix was on the D26. Tel: (Fr) 5 46 75 82 42 17550 Dolus-dOlron
occupied by the military. The Societ Fouras-Aix www.lerelaisdessalines. Tel: (Fr) 5 46 75 37 54
La Batterie de Jamblet has runs a ferry service all com
a small museum displaying photographs of the year between Fouras Phare de Chassiron
soldiers at work and play. and the le dAix. Return Le Piano Bleu 17650 Saint-Denis-
Early the next morning, the wide streets of fares from 9.80 69 Rue de lAvenir dOlron
le bourg are empty, with rows of shiny black bikes (tel: (Fr) 8 20 16 00 17, 17310 Saint-Pierre- Tel: (Fr) 5 46 75 18 62
awaiting the first visitors of the day. At the end of www.service-maritime- dOlron www.chassiron.net
the main street, I visit the Abbey Church of Saint- iledaix.com). Croisires Tel: (Fr) 5 46 47 10 31
Martin, rebuilt after the 11th-century building was Inter les (tel: (Fr) 8 25 LE-DAIX
burnt down by the English in 1757. Hundreds of 13 55 00, www.inter-iles WHERE TO STAY
priests are buried in an ossuary in front of the altar. .com) runs a summer AND EAT
They were starved to death during the Revolutionary service between La Htel Napolon
Terror of 1794 for staying loyal to their faith. Rochelle and the islands. Rue Gourgaud
Nearby is the Governors House which was the 17123 le dAix
last place on French soil that Emperor Napolon LE DOLRON Htel-Restaurant Tel: (Fr) 5 46 84 00 77
stayed before being captured by the English. He WHERE TO STAY La Chaudre www.hotel-ile-aix.com
sought sanctuary there in July 1815 and spent three Les Trmires 7 Place Pasteur The only hotel on the
days in the house, while a plan was hatched to whisk 5 Route de Saint-Pierre 17840 La Bre-les-Bains island; very tastefully
him away in a Danish boat. Napolon preferred to La Cotinire Tel: (Fr) 5 46 47 81 85 modernised. Doubles
seek the hospitality of the Prince Regent and he was 17310 Saint-Pierre- www.hotel-la-chaudree. from 90. The Chez
taken to England, where he thought he was going to dOlron com Josphine restaurant
spend a luxurious exile in London. But he was sent Tel: (Fr) 5 46 47 44 25/ Hotel with a restaurant serves exciting dishes
to the island of Saint Helena, where he died in 1821. 6 08 14 72 17 serving island specialities in a 27 menu.
The house was turned into a museum by Baron www.althaea-oleron.fr such as the eponymous
PHOTOGRAPHS: MIKE LUCAS; LYNNE NEWLOVE; BERTRAND RIEGER/HEMIS.FR

Napolon Gourgaud, great-grandson of the general Charming B&B a few fish stew (pictured). ATTRACTIONS
who was by the emperors side in exile. You can see yards from the beach, Muses Napolonien
the bedroom where Napolon slept and a collection port and restaurants. ATTRACTIONS et Africain
of paintings, cartoons, busts, clocks, letters and Doubles from 70. Le Port des Salines Rue Napolon
objets relating to his life. The house also contains Petit Village 17123 le dAix
Le Muse Africain, which has a weird collection of Htel Novotel Rue des Anciennes Tel: (Fr) 5 46 84 66 40
stuffed animals and birds including a camel used by Thalassa le dOlron Salines See tourist office
Napolon during his Egyptian campaigns. Plage de Gatseau 17370 Le Grand-Village- website for details of
My visit to the island is nearly over. After 17370 Saint-Trojan-les- Plage other attractions on the
devouring eight oysters washed down with a dry Bains Tel: (Fr) 5 46 75 82 28 island.
white wine at a hut on the seashore, its time to
catch the ferry. I watch the le dAix getting smaller TOURIST INFORMATION: le dOlron tourist office, tel: (Fr) 5 46 85 65
as the boat moves towards Fouras, and vow to 23, www.ile-oleron-marennes.com; le dAix tourist office, tel: (Fr) 5 46
return for a longer spell on this tranquil little island. 84 66 09, www.iledaix.fr

56 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


RETURN TO
WATERLOO
On the bicentenary of the battle that changed
Europe, Anthony Lambert examines Wellingtons
victory over Napolon and sees how forces
are preparing to do battle once more

58 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


WATERLOO

B
elieve me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so
melancholy as a battle won. No words better
encapsulate the events of 18 June, 1815, than the
Duke of Wellingtons. He may have commanded the
allied forces in the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your
life, but he was appalled by slaughter on a scale that
anticipated World War I; in fact a higher proportion of British
servicemen died in the wars between 1792 and 1815 than
during the later conflict.
The events leading up to the battle began with Napolons
escape from exile on the island of Elba in February 1815. After
landing at Golfe-Juan between Cannes and Antibes, Napolon
used his charisma, promises and lies to win over entire
regiments as he made for Paris. Louis XVIII fled to Ghent and
the Seventh Coalition of Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia
assembled its forces to be rid of this enemy of world peace.
Napolons only hope against such an allied force was to
engage each army separately, which dictated an
offensive strategy. Only the Prussians and a mixed
army of British, Belgian, Dutch and German
soldiers were mobilised quickly. Napolon decided
to attack in present-day Belgium, then in the
Netherlands, and crossed the border on 15 June.
Though Napolons forces defeated the Prussians
under Marshal von Blcher at Ligny on the 16th,
the majority of the Prussians retreated in good
enough order for Blcher to promise Wellington
two days later that he would join up with him as
soon as possible.
Also on the 16th, Wellington had fought
a more inconclusive engagement at Quatre Bras
against Marshal Ney, who had succeeded in
preventing the two allied armies joining. But
Napolon couldnt have it both ways: by dividing
his forces to prevent the enemy uniting, he
diminished the chances of quick, decisive victories.
Hearing of the Prussians withdrawal, Wellington
had no option but to make a tactical, fighting
retreat. Seasoned by campaigns in India and
Iberia, Wellington had reconnoitred the country
south of Brussels the previous September and had
identified a site south of Waterloo as the best defensive position.
Wellington may have secured the ground he wanted, but
other cards were stacked against him. Most of his seasoned
Iberian Peninsula soldiers were still in Canada after the war
against the United States had ended in December 1814. In the
PHOTOGRAPHS: GEORGES GOBET/AFP/GETTY IMAGES; FOTOLIA

allied army of just under 68,000 men, only 15,000 of the


infantry were British and half of those had never been in battle.
Even among the troops from Britain, the unit in which
Wellington had most confidence was the Kings German Legion
made up largely of Hanoverians. Most of the British were
labourers or tradesmen, from bakers to watchmakers, and they
ranged in age from 16 to over 60, although most were in their
twenties. Lieut John Kincaid of the 95th Rifles thought that the
polyglot force was take us all in all, a very bad army.

LEFT: Battle of Waterloo re-enactors fight it out in the shadow of the


Lion Hill monument; ABOVE: Napolon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 59


THE RE-ENACTMENT
On 18-21 June this year, the Battle of uses the same supplier, so the colours
Waterloo is beng re-enacted on the field and details match. As Mike Haynes,
of combat by more than 5,000 people in commander of the British Army at the
period uniform from 350 participating re-enactment, said: When I started I
groups, with 300 horses and 100 couldnt afford a uniform, so I learned
cannon. On the 18th the army bivouacs costuming skills, working with fabrics
are opened, giving an insight into the and leather. Some developed these
daily life of the regiments. On the techniques into a cottage industry;
evening of the 19th the French attack is a company such as 19th Century
being staged, before the allied counter- Tailoring in Bournemouth can turn out
attack on the evening of the 20th. a footguard tunic or a hussars pelisse
Further events are planned on the 21st (cloak) made in military-grade wool
(www.waterloo2015.org). with silver Russia lace.
Weapons are mostly reproduction
The preparation: Taking a leading and they too have got much better with
role in the re-enactment is the more accurate markings. A replica
Napoleonic Association (www. Brown Bess musket costs about 300,
napoleonicassociation.org). Chairman an original 2,500, but an original Baker
Martyn Monks, who has been flintlock rifle could cost 14,000.
responsible for the registration process Individuals even provide the artillery,
for all units attending, said: There are acquired from specialist companies such
about 1,900 English speakers going as Derbyshire Arms. The gun
over, and about 1,300 of those will be commander of the Royal Horse Artillery
on the battlefield. People are coming troop at Waterloo is Jerry Spearing,
from Australia, Canada and the US. whose six-pounder was made many
I have been involved in re-enactments years ago for the Tower of London.
for 21 years and during that time they Like most artillery pieces, it is 80 to 90
have become much more professional, per cent full size to reduce the weight.
based on research and abiding by stricter
health and safety requirements. The reality: For Mike Haynes, it
Almost all re-enactors provide their all started with an interest in history:
own kit. Each regiment researches Something may make you want to
uniforms and equipment, and everyone pursue a historical character, or its

Throughout the night of 17/18 June, men of each army


continued to arrive, drenched by a thunderstorm and rain that
Napolon wanted the ground to
did not let up until 9am. Wet, cold, hungry and thirsty, the dry out so his forces could move
troops could only sit on the ground and wait. All must have
known that the first encounter between the two greatest over it freely and quickly
generals of their day would be a titanic contest, and one that
could end 23 years of war against revolutionary and to Charleroi and Ohain to Braine-lAlleud roads where he
Napolonic France. As Lieut Kincaid remarked: I had never established a command post under an elm. The two armies
yet heard of a battle in which everybody was killed, but this formed a four-kilometre concave arc about 1,300 metres apart,
seemed likely to be an exception. but Wellington had concealed his cavalry and most of his
The soggy ground was to prove an asset to the allied army, artillery and troops in the lea of the hill along which the Ohain
and Napolon recognised that probability by delaying the to Braine-lAlleud road ran in a shallow, hedged trench.
attack. He wanted the ground to dry out so that his forces Between the armies were two farmsteads in allied hands
could move over it freely and quickly. Moreover, his superiority which were to play crucial roles in the battle: La Haie-Sainte
PHOTOGRAPHS: ALAN BALDING

in artillery the allies had only 156 guns to Frances 252 defended by 360 men of the Kings German Legion; and
would be diminished by soil that absorbed cannon shot rather Hougoumont, larger and grander than La Haie-Sainte with
than helped it to ricochet. a chteau and extensive farm buildings. Detachments of
Wellington had risen at 2am, received Blchers promise to the Coldstream and Scots Guards were charged with defending
attack Napolons right flank as soon as he could, mounted his the position at all costs to prevent the French outflanking
stallion Copenhagen and rode to the crossroads of the Brussels the right of the allied line.

60 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


WATERLOO

ABOVE AND LEFT: The the fiction of Hornblower and Sharpe piece, Jerry is taking a period forge to
Napoleonic that captures the imagination. Waterloo with historic tools and anvil
Association during The Napoleonic era is full of heroes, to demonstrate the skills of a sergeant
re-enactments at gallantry, courage and adventure; armourer. This will be part of the living
Spetchley Park near Boys Own stuff. Then one starts to history camp, which also includes
Worcester and take an interest in a regiment and kitchens, a surgeons tent and a tavern.
Ickworth House in you get in touch with other people, Two rocket launchers are planned to
Suffolk; Mike Haynes, which is much easier with the internet accompany Jerrys artillery. Wellington
who will command than in the days of library file cards. didnt want the rockets on the field of
the British forces at A friend and I were hooked by the battle, intending them to be used to set
Waterloo, is pictured uniforms and weaponry, and all the fire to urban areas. But a Capt
above with his drama of the period. To stand in a line Whinyates took them anyway and
aide-de-camp Tino of fusiliers with muskets blazing away, when an attack by the Scots Greys was
Richter (right): you get the smell of the gunpowder and repelled, the troop fired 100 rockets,
BELOW: the heat of the flash in the pan from the creating havoc among the French.
Chairman person next to you, and all visibility is Re-enactments also shed light on
Martyn gone you get a real tactile, immersive practicalities. Martyn Monks says it is
Monks in experience of what youve read about. difficult to march in a straight line and
full uniform For Jerry Spearing, it was having maintain formation, especially when
three ancestors in the army during the the ground is wet, as in 1815. What if
Napoleonic Wars: one at Waterloo in its wet on the bicentenary? As long as
the 12th Light Dragoons and two in we can get the tents up and take them
the Peninsular War. Besides his artillery down in the dry, that will be fine.

The danger this represented became apparent at about form lines to penetrate the hedge, 3,000 British muskets fired,
11.30am when fighting began here two hours before anywhere followed by a charge of the Scottish infantry and two cavalry
else. Although intended by Napolon as a diversionary attack, forces. The French infantry retreated, but the British cavalry
it soon developed into a full-scale struggle. Repeated assaults pursued them too close to the French guns and were mauled.
were driven back, but not until the French had penetrated Napolon had read an intercepted message to Wellington
a courtyard through the north gate, left open for supplies and about the Prussian advance and sent infantry and cavalry units
reinforcement; fierce hand-to-hand fighting left only a French to counter the move. Papelotte was retaken. Misinterpreting
drummer boy on his feet and the gates were closed. Though the wounded British soldiers heading for Brussels as a retreat, Ney
orchard was overrun once and had to be retaken and French ordered the cavalry to make the second main attack, made up
mortars set the buildings alight, Hougoumont never fell, its of 12 ranks of 500 abreast but without any infantry support, as
2,500 defenders repulsing more than five times that number and tactical wisdom demanded. Behind the allied ridge were infantry
immobilising about 8,000. squares of three ranks in chequerboard pattern to give covering
At 1pm the French artillery opened fire before the first of the fire. In front was the artillery so that the gunners could fire at
three main attacks, with 17,000 men under Ney advancing in the last moment and retreat within the squares.
three columns. It took little time for mud to slow them as men Horses cannot be made to charge a hedge of glittering
slipped or even lost their boots to the sucking mud. Despite bayonets, and their riders could not see the allied squares until
heavy casualties from artillery and musket fire, the French they were almost on top of them. The combination of artillery
surrounded La Haie-Sainte and captured the farm of Papelotte grapeshot and musket fire whittled their numbers but they
on Wellingtons extreme left. The British forces in the lane were charged past the squares to meet Lord Uxbridges cavalry,
hidden by the holly hedge, and as the French columns halted to leading to a swirling mass of horses around the infantry

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 61


THIS PICTURE: Part of
the huge painting of
the battle in the
Panorama; BELOW:
The Hanoverian
monument;
RIGHT: The chapel
at Hougoumont

squares. Repeated retreats, regrouping and charges were made


by the French but the ground between lane and ridge became an After the failed cavalry attack,
impassable mound of dead men and horses.
Repeated requests from the Hanoverian defenders of La
there was a lull until Napolon
Haie-Sainte for ammunition went unanswered and after 6pm played his final card
the last ball had been fired, as the French overwhelmed the
buildings. Just 41 Hanoverians made it to Wellingtons bestowed on Napolons ambitions gave rise to the expression
crossroads alive. By this time the Prussians had taken the village that someone has met their Waterloo. The significance and
of Plancenoit to the east, and Napolon sent some of the scale of the battle were reflected in giving the name to Londons
Imperial Guard to retake it, weakening his main forces. busiest railway station and more than 50 places around the
After the failed cavalry attack, there was a lull until about world; ironically by far the largest number are in the US. But as
7.30pm when Napolon played his final card with an attack by Victor Hugo said: Waterloo was not a battle but a change in
the infantry of the Imperial Guard. Again the concealed allied the direction of the world.
infantry fired an unexpected volley and charged the French,
who were also attacked from the right flank. The Guard fled See our next issue for an account of another decisive battle;
down the slope, some stopping to form squares to block the the English victory over the French at Agincourt 600 years ago.
allied advance and cover the retreat. Napolon had to abandon Visit our website to read about Napolons life on
his carriage and leave for Paris on a white charger. On 8 July Saint Helena, via this shortened link (http://bit.ly/1Qe42iv).
Prussian troops entered the capital and Louis XVIII was restored
to the throne. After negotiations at Rochefort on the Atlantic
coast, Napolon surrendered to the British aboard HMS
Bellerophon on 15 July, before his ultimate exile on the remote
South Atlantic island of Saint Helena, where he died in 1821.
Initial jubilation in Britain was quickly tempered by dismay
at the 23,000 allied casualties. The battlefield was the scene of
PHOTOGRAPHS: ANTHONY LAMBERT

scavenging and looting as dead and dying soldiers were stripped


of anything of value, including teeth. A macabre form of
battlefield tourism followed with visitors buying souvenirs of the
battle, as happy to have a bloodstained bayonet as an epaulette.
The name of the battle was chosen by Wellington, who
decreed that his battles should be named after the place where
he had spent the previous night. The finality that the battle

62 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


WATERLOO

Factfile
Explore the battlefield of
BELGIUM

Waterloo and beyond

GETTING WHERE
THERE TO EAT
VISITING THE BATTLEFIELD By rail: Services run Restaurant 1815
The town of Waterloo is the obvious starting point. from London to Route de Lion 367
Opposite one another beside the main crossroads are the Brussels, and it is 1410 Waterloo History, Brussels:
Wellington Museum and the Baroque-style church of then 25 minutes by Tel: (Bel) 2 384 98 84 Visit a gallery
Saint-Joseph with its imposing rotunda and dome. The train to Braine- www.restaurant1815.be devoted to Napolon
museum occupies the inn where Wellington had his lAlleud (tel: 0844 and his time
headquarters. Besides Wellingtons bedroom and office, 848 5848, www. TIME FOR (www.klm-mra.be).
and the room where his aide-de-camp, Lieut-Col Sir voyages-sncf.com). AN APRO Apsley House: The
Alexander Gordon, died, there are memorabilia and By road: Waterloo Le Wellington Caf London town house
pictures of the battle. The church has many memorials. is 2hr from the Route du Lion of the Dukes of
The battlefield gained legal protection in March 1914, northern ferry ports. 1410 Braine-lAlleud Wellington includes
and little harm had been done in the intervening 99 years. Tel: (Bel) 2 387 38 11 two exhibitions
The only major change was the creation of the conical WHERE TO STAY www.restaurant exploring the life of
Lion Hill monument marking the spot where the Prince Martins Grand dulion.be Wellington and the
of Orange was wounded. This entailed scraping the soil Hotel Sample more than 15 battle, including his
off the surrounding land, making it harder to appreciate Chausse de beers on tap and 120 sword and a pair of
the value to the allies of the sunken lane where many Tervuren 198 in bottle. original Wellington
French cavalry came to grief. Almost in the middle of 1410 Waterloo boots. The Wellington
Wellingtons line, the Hill was opened in 1826 with Tel: (Bel) 2 352 18 15 ON THE Arch stands opposite
a 28-ton lion cast in Lige standing on a plinth at the top www.martins BATTLEFIELD (www.english-
of 226 steps. The surrounding platform provides hotels.com Route du Lion heritage.org.uk).
an unrivalled view over the battlefield. Modern hotel built 252-254 Stratfield Saye,
Adjacent to the Lion Hill is the Panorama, a rotunda around an 1830s 1420 Braine-lAlleud Hampshire: The
housing a 360-degree painting commissioned in 1912 for brick-vaulted sugar Tel: (Bel) 2 385 19 12 house was acquired
the centenary of the battle and painted by Louis-Jules factory, with a www.waterloo1815.be by the Duke of
Dumoulin. Measuring 110 metres long and nearly 12 restaurant serving An 1815 Waterloo Wellington with the
metres high, it portrays a composite view of the forces of haute cuisine. Pass (13.50) covers 600,000 given him
the battlefield with foreground mannequins and stage Doubles from 115. the Wellington by Parliament. His
props. Connected to the Panorama by a tunnel is the large Museum, Le Caillou horse Copenhagen is
new visitor centre opening for the bicentenary. Hougoumont and Lions Mound. buried under an oak
Around the crossroads where Wellington issued orders 1410 Waterloo in the grounds (www.
are the Belgian and Hanoverian monuments, and opposite Tel: 01628 825925 WATERLOO stratfield-saye.co.uk).
is the monument to Lieut-Col Sir Alexander Gordon. www.landmarktrust. CONNECTIONS Plas Newydd House,
La Haie-Sainte can be seen from the opposite side of the org.uk Muse de lArme, Gwynedd: The cavalry
busy road, but is privately owned. Further along the road The Landmark Trust Les Invalides, Paris: museum at the home
towards Charleroi is La Belle Alliance, the inn where has created a simple The location of of the Marquesses
Napolon reviewed his troops before the battle and where apartment in the Napolons tomb and of Anglesey displays
in the evening Wellington and Blcher greeted one another former gardeners one of his 19 the artificial leg
on horseback. Just beyond is the monument to Victor cottage beside the surviving bicorne made for the 1st
Hugo, who described the battlefield in Les Misrables, south gates of this cocked hats, one of Marquess to replace
and opposite that, in the form of a wounded eagle, walled farmyard, a which sold for 1.2 the one lost at
a memorial to the Imperial Guard of the Grande Arme. key battle location. million in 2014 (www. Waterloo, and Denis
Two kilometres south towards Charleroi, Le Caillou is Furnishings evoke musee-armee.fr). Dightons vast
the farmhouse where Napolon spent the night before the the Napoleonic era. Royal Museum of painting of the battle
battle. It has been restored and contains memorabilia Sleeps four, from the Armed Forces (www.nationaltrust.
about the Emperor. Perhaps the most evocative site is 482 for four nights. and of Military org.uk).
Hougoumont, which has been restored with British help.
You can see the loops cut out of the brickwork for TOURIST INFORMATION: Waterloo tourist office, tel: (Bel)
muskets to fire through and trees still line the orchard. 2 352 09 10, www.waterloo-tourisme.com; Brussels tourist
board, www.visitbrussels.be

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 63


PHOTOGRAPH: ANDREW WILSON/ALAMY

Cycling effort in the Dordogne


is amply rewarded with
a gourmet supper

64 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


DORDOGNE CYCLING

Cycle of life in
the Dordogne
Quiet roads and abundant culinary delights gave Paul Lamarra
a different view of an organised biking holiday

W
hen I had cycled to the top of the crest of the Despite having stayed one night and cycled fewer than
first hill between Monestier and the small town five kilometres I also understood what a gourmet cycling
of Loubs-Bernac I stopped and had my first holiday with Cycling for Softies was likely to entail. Before
glimpse of the Dordogne landscape. Looking I arrived I was uneasy with the idea of a cycling softie and
north towards Bergerac, where the River Dordogne flowed, was loath to admit to being one, but here I was standing
similar low and rounded ridges unfurled like rolls of fat. Indeed astride my bike looking at the map while planning a gentle
it had all the qualities I would look for in a rustic cook. route and earmarking a likely lunch stop.
Such a first impression was entirely bogus because the It is an old idea, cycling in such a landscape as the
metaphor and my view of the Dordogne had already been Dordogne, and Susi Madron, co-founder of Cycling for
coloured by my first night at the Chteau des Baudry at nearby Softies, was among the first to spot the pleasures of bringing
Monestier, where I had eaten and drunk some of the finest together quiet roads, gourmet food, fine wine and just
produce that these rolling, fertile hills could produce. enough exercise to feel more virtuous than gluttonous. It is
Most hillsides were clad in vines hanging with deep red also an idea that has stood the test of time, but did it still
grapes. Where there were no vines there was woodland and this have the potential to surprise and delight?
being a Sunday morning in late September the woods were I am used to planning my own cycling routes and enjoy
ringing to the sound of hunters gunfire. the sense of self-reliance I get from a cycle tour where I have

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 65


CLOCKWISE FROM RIGHT:
Time for an apro; Dining
on the terrace at the
Chteau des Baudry; The
Dropt Valley; The church
in Loubs-Bernac; The
chteau at Duras

to carry everything with me. Over an aperitif at the


Chteau des Baudry, Tim Lane, the local representative of
Cycling for Softies, with 12 seasons under his belt, had advised
against such an approach. We still get the true cycle tourist,
said Tim, wisely. These are the purists, the people who do it
the old way and take all their luggage with them, but give into
it, I say, and let us do the ferrying.
On that first morning I took his advice to heart and packed
only my map, camera and jacket into the panniers provided
with the bike and left the rest in a suitcase at reception to be

PHOTOGRAPHS: PAUL LAMARRA; ANDY ARTHUR/ALAMY; JEAN-MARC BARRRE/HEMIS.FR; ROMAIN CINTRACT/HEMIS.FR


collected by Tim and taken to the Chteau Carbonneau, which moisture. Rather than Dordogne the French prefer to think of
was some 25 kilometres to the west. Indeed, I felt so free and this area as Prigord Poupre, a name which is inspired by the
unencumbered that I felt certain I could even outrun the two colour of the grapes.
black dogs sitting at the entrance to the Chteau Beauchard. Occasionally a gunshot would bring me to my senses. Yet
There was also no particular route to follow, so I could make even those were lent a distant quality, despite me being able to
it as long or short as I wanted. My days cycle would take me see the glint of the hunters fluorescent vests as they moved
south-west to Duras and then on to Monsgur before turning methodically through a copse of trees. I was glad they were
north for Gensac by the River Dordogne via Pellegrue. By shooting in the other direction for I felt certain they could not
picking out the white roads on the map I was following the see their prey.
advice given by Susi Madron in the handbook issued to cyclists. Just before I got under way, Franois, one half of the
These would be the roads with very low levels of traffic and, on husband and wife team who run the Chteau des Baudry, came
the ground, immediately recognisable by out to wish me well and sheepishly apologise for the untypical
a lack of white paint markings. weather. The night before, in the afterglow of a late summer
It was early when I set off on the first leg from the Chteau sunset that had filled the sky over the courtyard garden with the
des Baudry to Duras and so I had the roads to myself. Just as cooling rays of pink, orange and deep red sunlight, he had
well as I was possibly almost invisible in a thick fog that had the moved between tables in anticipation of the imminent darkness
bewitching effect of rendering everything silent and still. Sitting and had confidently predicted a fine day to follow.
in among the surrounding birch woods like cotton wadding, the It was a reasonable conclusion. The setting was almost
fog muffled all but the most stridently cawing crow. tropical. The Indian summers night certainly sultry as a very
In these conditions the cycling was easy and almost warm breeze rustled the waxy leaves of the courtyard palms and
meditative as I climbed out of the woodland to be among the banana plants. The menu was, however, classic. A cool fresh
hilltop vines the purple grapes glistening with the condensing tomato soup was followed by fried foie gras and a main course

66 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


DORDOGNE CYCLING

of confit de canard. I had been warned to expect duck in the appearing to have no impact on a lazy Sunday afternoon routine.
Dordogne. The dessert was a simple rhubarb and raspberry At the top of a sweeping bend out of the valley Monsgur,
gratin with a pale quenelle of almond ice cream. All carefully the bastide established in the 12th century by Eleanor of
prepared by Francoiss partner Hlne. Provence, wife of Henry III, was also in a languid state. Young
Franois neednt have been dismayed. The fog soon burned children cycled under the extensive iron and glass market hall
off and, with the sunshine, the warm breeze had returned. and despite the efforts of the Caf du Commerce to entice
When I arrived in Duras the wind was whipping the chestnut customers with accordion music, most people were gathered in
leaves into little vortexes and knocking the conkers from the the shade under the stone arcade at the Caf des Lys, which
trees. At first the town appeared deserted but everyone was to be specialised in ptisseries, viennoisseries and glaces artisanales.
found in the restaurants down by the 12th-century chteau that I hadnt had lunch but I was happy to skip to
overlooks the valley of the River Dropt. A pageant evoking the an ice-cream dessert. The climb had justified it.
court of Louis XIV would take place after lunch, and much to I was hot and coated in yellow dust by the time I had located
my dismay every table was taken. I resolved to eat in Monsgur. the Chteau de Carbonneau in the low hills to the east of
I descended to the Dropt and although the cycling was easy Gensac, and was glad there was time for a swim in the
refreshingly cold pool before dinner. Similar to the Chteau des
We sat on the south-facing Baudry, the Chteau de Carbonneau has been selected by
Cycling for Softies for its friendly intimacy, and where the
terrace before dinner drinking owners live on site. Here my hosts were Jacquie and Wilfred
Franc de Ferrire and we sat on the south-facing terrace before
fresh and citrusy white wine dinner drinking their own fresh and citrusy white wine and a
deep tannic red straight from its oak barrel.
the now-hot sun sapped my energy. It wasnt necessary but On day two I was beginning to wonder if I was more suited
I opted for the short steep climb to Dieulivol and found refuge to softie cycling than I had first thought. I opted to descend to
from the heat, as a pilgrim might, in the porch of the Romanesque the river for the level cycle into Sainte-Foy-la-Grande where,
parish church. It was an excellent viewpoint and I looked out having been slow to leave that morning, I arrived just in time for
over the varied yet harmonious landscape of spear-like cypress lunch. This was taken under the stone arches that support the
trees, fields of drooping sunflowers, poplars heavy with half-timbered houses on Rue Louis Pasteur. For the rest of the
mistletoe, and disciplined rows of vines, and then I dozed. day I stayed close to the river, taking care to avoid the big climb
Continuing my journey in the direction of the hilltop spire at over Monbazillac that could wait.
Monsgur I encountered a big game of boules at Le Puy, while The sting in the tale, however, was the improbably steep
on the Dropt fishermen spun slowly on small boats that ascent at the very end of the dead-end road that led to the
resembled large inner tubes. My presence was incidental, Chartreuse de Bignac, and it was all I could do to regain my

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 67


Francofile
Freewheeling through the
Dordogne countryside

GETTING courtyard, a
THERE swimming pool
Pauls Dordogne trip and characterful
was organised by reception rooms.
ABOVE, FROM LEFT: The Chteau de Monbazillac, home of the famous Susi Madrons Doubles from 130, formal air with
sweet wine; Cottage-style accommodation at La Chartreuse de Bignac Cycling for Softies breakfast 14, light-hearted
(tel: 0161 248 8282, dinner 35. fibreglass sculptures
composure as I pushed the bicycle over the carefully combed www.cycling-for- of cows. Also has a
gravel driveway before presenting myself at the reception of the softies.co.uk). Chteau swimming pool with
rather posh 17th century chteau-hotel. Although I was hot, A five-night break Carbonneau an impressive view.
sweaty and probably very red in the face, softie cyclists are based on two 33890 Gensac Doubles from 158,
thankfully not turned away. sharing is 1,080. Tel: (Fr) 5 57 47 46 46 breakfast 23,
In gourmet terms, the Chartreuse de Bignac was the climax. By rail: Paul www.chateau- dinner menus
After a glass of the sweet Monbazillac as an aperitif in the travelled from carbonneau.com from 39.
drawing room, I was shown to the small dining room for a meal London to Bergerac A 19th-century
prepared by chef Rmy Le Charpentier. With exacting via Libourne and chteau that is part Chteau des
presentation, Rmy offered foie gras with a smear of Paris with Voyages- of a working farm Merles
concentrated fig jam and thin strip of jellied raspberry, followed sncf.com (tel: 0844 and vineyard. The Tuilires
by sea bass with giant roasted spring onions and perfect spheres 848 5848, www. chteau produces its 24520 Mouleydier
of turnip. Dessert was a simple but exquisite crme caramel. voyages-sncf.com). own AOP wines. Tel: (Fr) 5 53 63 13 42
The final day in the saddle started with the bittersweet Single fare from 67. Doubles from 95, www.lesmerles.com
pleasure of the fast downhill into the wooded valley below the including breakfast, A corporate deluxe
Chartreuse de Bignac. Once down you have to reverse this loss WHERE TO dinner 30. chteau hotel, with
of altitude first by climbing into Saint-Nexans and then to the STAY AND EAT nine-hole golf
summit of Monbazillac and the 16th-century chteau. Here, they Chteau des La Chartreuse de course and spa.
harbour much of the honeyed wine in cellars carved from the Baudry Bignac Doubles from 140.
bedrock. Similar to sauternes, it owes its sweetness to the careful Lieu-dit Baudry 24520 Saint-Nexans
harvesting of grapes infected by botrytis, or the noble rot. 24240 Monestier Tel: (Fr) 5 53 22 12 80 ATTRACTION
Cycling through the precious rows of neat vines that carefully Tel: (Fr) 5 53 23 46 42 www.abignac.com Chteau de
follow the contours of the outcrop, I could detect a sticky yet www.chateaudes Rather posh chteau Monbazillac
PHOTOGRAPHS: PAUL LAMARRA; PATRICK VINCHI

yeasty smell rising from the grapes, suggesting it was a process baudry.com on a hilltop with 24240 Monbazillac
that was already well under way. Modest chteau 360-degree views of Tel: (Fr) 5 53 61 52 52
As I cycled off into the woodlands to the west in search of close to Bergerac the countryside. The www.chateau-
cooler roads and the medieval Chteau Bridoire, it seemed that with a charming edge is taken off the monbazillac.com
the Dordogne landscape truly reeked of good living. It is an old
idea and not really surprising that cycling peaceful old roads that TOURIST INFORMATION: Aquitaine tourist board, www.
move with the landscape combines well with the food and wine tourisme-aquitaine.fr; Pays de Bergerac, www.pays-de-
that emerge from it. Yet its seductive. Despite my best efforts bergerac.com; Bergerac tourist information office, tel: (Fr) 5 53
I had become a cycling softie and a slightly fatter one at that. 57 03 11, www.bergerac-tourisme.com

68 FRANCE MAGAZINE
Apremont-
sur-Allier
In the historical region of Berry, Alison Hughes
wanders around a restored medieval village
with a glorious floral garden at its heart

70 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


VILLAGE

T
he village is in the parc and the parc is in the
village, was how Madame Elvire de Brissac, author
and chatelaine of Apremont-sur-Allier summed up
the essence of this Plus Beau Village situated on the
far eastern side of the Cher dpartement. The River Allier marks
the border between the Loire region and Burgundy, making
Nevers the nearest large town to Apremont, although the
capital of Cher is Bourges, some 60 kilometres away.
Mme de Brissac has been looking after the estate, which
comprises the chteau, the parc and the majority of the village,
since the death of her brother Gilles 12 years ago. It was Gilles
de Brissacs vision to create the parc floral, but the story of the
village goes back several generations to the siblings grandfather
Eugne II Schneider (of the Creusot industrial dynasty) who,
during his honeymoon in the
1890s, fell in love with the village,
the chteau and the setting. Good
thing then that his new wife,
Antoinette de Raflis de Saint-
Sauveur, was set to come into
a large inheritance.
Some of the properties in the
village already belonged to the
estate and Eugne gradually
bought up all the rest save one.
Gradually he remodelled
Apremont, renovating here,
starting afresh there, but all with
the aim of creating a harmonious
look. Indeed, it is difficult for
the untrained eye to distinguish
between the medieval and
20th-century houses.

Borders and follies


Gilles continued his grandfathers
work with the creation of the
parc floral, classed by the
Ministry of Culture as a Jardin
Remarquable. The gardens form
an L-shape and the entrance is at
the axis of the L, in the middle of
the village. A trail takes you past
the colourful mixed borders,
inspired by Gilless love of English
gardens, and along a wisteria walk, past several flower-bedecked
PHOTOGRAPHS: JEAN-DANIEL SUDRES/HEMIS.FR; ALISON HUGHES

cottages to a folly, the belvedere, set on a mound. From this


vantage point you can see through the trees down to the river.
Continue along the clearly marked path to the waterfall and,
across the lake, you can see the Chinese bridge, the second folly
created by Russian migr artist and architect Alexandre
Srbriakoff. The third folly is at the end of the second leg of
the L, and is reached by stepping stones across a horseshoe-
shaped pond a tranquil spot. You can then walk back

LEFT: The village of Apremont has a stunning location beside the River Allier;
ABOVE, FROM TOP: Three aspects of the parc floral: the wisteria walk, the
belvedere and the white garden with head gardener Tony Poupin at work

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 71


towards the entrance through the white garden, inspired by
Vita Sackville-Wests designs at Sissinghurst in Kent.
It was in the white garden that I met head gardener Tony
Poupin, who has worked in the parc floral for 19 years. He
spoke affectionately of Gilles, who taught him all he knows.
We respect the original style; we might change some of the
planting, but everything is in keeping with his vision. Fittingly,
a rose has been named after Gilles de Brissac its strong
perfume and hardiness winning it numerous prizes. W?
U KNO
D I D YO
Apremont village is small with just 80 or so ge
in the villa
inhabitants. Some, like the cur, have been here Every house te a u
the ch
for 50 years; others like restaurateur and interior belongs to m ily th at
. The fa
designer Thibault Carves, are new arrivals. except one site the
ouse oppo
Thibault settled in Apremont after a few years owns the h ed
have resist
globetrotting, opening the Carpe Frite caf on the parc floral rs for
e Schneide
riverbank. A long table with benches and wild selling to th
rations.
flowers is the villagers table, where locals come for three gene
their morning coffee or evening aperitif. Its a good
community, Thibault told me. People like living here, even
though they will never own their properties. They know what
they sign up for when they come to Apremont. Its easy to see
why people are happy here, living in a beautiful, peaceful
environment beside the River Allier, surrounded by flowers.

CLOCKWISE FROM RIGHT: The white garden in the parc floral; The Chinese
bridge, one of the gardens three follies; The chteau and rooftops

APREMONT AT Stay the night at... the Chteau du Ducs de Bourgogne and was of vital
A GLANCE Marais (tel: (Fr) 3 86 21 04 10, strategic importance. Charles VII
The village is compact and easy to stroll www.chateau-du-marais.com) in the partially dismantled the castle in the
around. Parking is at the foot of the neighbouring village of Gimouille. This 1400s and only five of the 15 medieval
chteau, right next to the river. moated medieval castle has been towers remain. The present faade was
converted into a chambre dhtes with rebuilt between the two world wars in
Stop for a coffee at the three guestrooms in the keep. local stone. The chteaus cobblestoned
Carpe Frite (pictured left), Doubles 98. stables contain a permanent collection
which serves salads, of 19th-century carriages and are also
sandwiches, home-made WHAT TO SEE the venue for a temporary exhibition
cakes and pastries. The The parc floral (tel: (Fr) 2 48 77 55 06, every year. In 2015 it is dedicated to
caf is reached via a broad www.apremont-sur-allier.com) was six fairy tales by Charles Perrault, who
walkway along the opened in 1976 and is the creation of is credited with creating the genre.
riverbank from the parking Gilles de Brissac, who took seven years Admission to the garden, the carriage
area. Open May to Oct. to transform a former stone quarry into museum, the exhibition and the castle
(tel: (Fr) 2 48 77 64 72, the garden that we see today. Open surroundings costs 10.
www.lacarpefrite.com). mid-April to end-Sept. Head into the
village (rather than along the riverbank) Just down from the Carpe Frite caf
Stop for lunch at Brasserie du Lavoir and the entrance is halfway down the is an intriguing roofed structure with
(tel: (Fr) 2 48 80 25 76) between the main street. For a list of Jardins chains. It was once used to tie up
chteau and the entrance to the Remarquables in the Berry region visit the oxen and horses which helped to
parc floral. You will have wonderful www.jardinssecretsenberry.com. transport wood from the surrounding
glimpses of the gardens from the forests to the river. It has now become
terrace, and there is a choice of a set In medieval times the chteau of a stopping place for those exploring the
menu or la carte. Apremont was owned by the powerful area by bike.

GETTING THERE: Alison travelled from Portsmouth to Caen TOURIST INFORMATION: Pays Loire Val dAubois tourist office
with Brittany Ferries (tel: 0871 244 1400, www.brittany (tel: (Fr) 2 48 74 25 60, www.paysloirevaldaubois.com);
ferries.co.uk). Single fares from 105 for a car and two Loire Valley tourist board (www.loirevalleytourism.com);
passengers. Apremont is a 4hr 30min drive from Caen. Berry tourist board (www.berryprovince.com)

72 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


VILLAGE

IN THE AREA
The Cher and Indre dpartements Nevers and you will arrive at
make up the historical province of Sancerre. The village is famous
Berry and the area around for its white wines and there are
Apremont is characterised by great views from the Saint-Jean
water and wood; the village is bell tower (tel: (Fr) 2 48 54 08
surrounded by forest on three 21, www.tourisme-sancerre.com).
sides and by the River Allier on The Chteau dAinay-le-Vieil,
the fourth. The Allier is 50 kilometres south-west of
a tributary of the Loire and both Apremont, has been in the same
were used to transport wood, family since 1467 and is known
mainly oak, for the construction as the little Carcassonne of
industry, and to make railway Berry. The gardens are famous
sleepers and furniture. This is also for their old varieties of roses
a great area for fishing, with (tel: (Fr) 2 48 63 50 03,
several lakes nearby, and the river www.chateau-ainaylevieil.fr).
itself being known for its carp. It lies on the Route Jacques
Coeur, which links 16 chteaux
and abbeys associated with
Charles VIIs right-hand-man
(tel: (Fr) 2 48 65 31 55,
www.route-jacques-coeur.org).
Beautiful gardens can also be
found at the Prieur Notre-Dame
dOrsan (tel: (Fr) 2 48 56 27 50,
North-west of Apremont, www.prieuredorsan.com),
the city of Bourges classed as a 12th-century monastery near
a Ville dArt et dHistoire has Maisonnais that has been
an imposing Gothic cathedral converted into a boutique hotel.
(pictured above) with splendid The gardens are set out in
stained glass. Other attractions monastic style, with green arches
PHOTOGRAPHS: ALISON HUGHES; FOTOLIA

include the 15th-century Palais of hornbeam trees forming the


Jacques Coeur and museums cloisters; a square fountain
dedicated to the decorative arts represents the four corners of
and to the Meilleurs Ouvriers de the earth and its four jets the
France (tel: (Fr) 2 48 23 02 60, rivers of paradise. The potager
www.bourges-tourisme.com). (kitchen garden) provides nearly
Follow the River Loire for all the ingredients for supper.
about 60 kilometres north of Doubles from 245.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 73


CHAMONIX VALLEY
CELEBRATES 1865

ALPINE
HIGH
One hundred and fifty years ago
British mountaineers made
history in the French Alps.
Judy Armstrong
follows their footsteps

T
his summer Chamonix Valley Alpine Club, the worlds first use of the rope; no axe cuts more
celebrates 150 years since the mountaineering organisation, founded in commodious steps in an ice-wall; he has
climax of the golden age of London in 1857. They include 19th- a natural gift for topography and has
mountaineering. Victorian century mountain art, archives and acquired the facility of an educated man
climbers or voyageurs, as they were artefacts, with photographs, engravings, in the use of large-scale maps.
known in the valley spent a decade oils, watercolours and guides diaries. Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, as it is now
pioneering new routes on the vast, snowy Edward Whymper, who died in known, was at the time an Alpine village,
domes that surround this famous Alpine Chamonix in 1911 aged 71, is and early mountaineers could never
resort. It culminated in 1865 with 65 probably the best-known Victorian have realised that their sleepy base
ascents of virgin peaks seven in the pioneer, famed for his sketches, would become a year-round
Mont-Blanc Massif included the engravings and photography as magnet for international
Aiguille Verte, the highest all-French well as his climbing prowess. visitors. In 1865, railways
mountain. Glaciers and Mont Blanc were His 1865 ascents of the were developing, a new road
in vogue, and mountaineers, the majority Grandes Jorasses, renamed would improve access to the
of them British, arrived in great numbers Pointe Whymper (4,184m), valley and the hotel industry
to climb and map untouched territory. and Aiguille Verte (4,122m) was expanding to cater for
Photographs show Victorian ladies in were monumental. Sadly, the many summer tourists.
long skirts, clutching wooden ice-axes, his Matterhorn conquest While Chamonix is today
PHOTOGRAPHS: GILLES LANSARD; J-C POIROT; OT CHAMONIX-MONT-BLANC

being escorted on the Mer de Glace, and turned to tragedy when three one of the worlds most
intrepid men in woollen breeches, linked British mountaineers and aspirational destinations for
by heavy hemp ropes, making progress Chamonix guide Michel Croz elite climbers, it is also
along rock spires. Exquisite illustrations, (pictured) died on the descent. accessible. Mountain guides
detailed maps and notes on Alpine Nevertheless, Whymper is lead gentle walks and lower-
topography all came to light in this era. celebrated alongside Croz (1830- grade climbs, and walkers trek the
From late June until September, 1865) and other talented guides Christian long-distance Tour du Mont Blanc.
tribute is being paid to the mountaineers, Almer (1826-1898) and Franois The celebrations in Chamonix this
guides and artists of the time in a series Devouassoud (1831-1905), as well as summer offer an insight into the intrepid
of exhibitions, memorial climbs, events, the latters English client, Douglas individuals who shouldered ropes,
films, conferences and book publications. Freshfield (1845-1934). Freshfield, cameras and ice axes and led the way.
A highlight is an exhibition of rarely seen regarded as one of the 19th centurys
documents and images from private greatest mountain explorers, said of his For more information visit http://1865.
collections and in particular from the guide: Franois makes a science of the chamonix.fr; www.chamonix.com

74 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


HISTORY TRAIL

THINGS TO SEE Open-air theatre,


son et lumire
Mountain Guides
Festival, Chamonix
Guided Heritage
Visits, Photo Walks,
Treasures of the show, Argentire and around 3 Chamonix 4
Alpine Club, village 2 This tribute to guides and Savoy heritage guides take
Alpine Museum, A free theatrical show on alpinists is being held from 13 you through Chamonixs
Chamonix 1 17 July is dedicated to to 15 August in Les Houches, transformation from
In the Alpine Club you could Chamonix guide Michel Croz, Argentire and Chamonix. remote mountain village
be elected a member based who died descending the Events include films, rescue to fashionable resort.
on artistic merit. A collection Matterhorn in 1865, aged 35. demonstrations, parades, Heritage walks 10.
of pictures and sketches were William Mathews, a founding music, introductions to rock Tel: (Fr) 9 51 96 86 42
displayed at summer and member of the Alpine Club, climbing for children, food www.chamonix.com/art-culture
winter dinners, and many of climbed with Croz from 1859 and drink. The main event is -and-discovery,49,en.html
the artists also showed work to 1863 and together they on Friday 15 and includes For a different view join
at the Royal Academy in made many first ascents, a ceremony to bless ropes photographer Teresa
London. The exhibition at the including Grande Casse and ice axes. Entrance 13 Kaufman as she explores the
Alpine museum, running (Vanoise) when Croz cut 1,100 (proceeds to the guides Chamonix Valleys secret and
from 29 June to 17 April, steps in the ice with his axe. Emergency Fund). Beyond artistic places on quiet roads
2016 is the first time these Crozs subsequent campaigns the festival, guided and footpaths. Half-day
treasures have gone on show helped to write excursions are on offer daily photo walks from 25.
in France. Admission 5. mountaineering history. throughout the summer. Tel: (Fr) 6 08 95 89 42
Tel: (Fr) 4 50 53 25 93 Tel: (Fr) 4 50 53 00 24 Tel: (Fr) 4 50 53 00 88 www.teresakaufman.com/
http://1865.chamonix.fr www.chamonix.com www.chamonix-guides.eu PhotoWalk

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 75


BON APPTIT
The best of French gastronomy
at home and away

Nice turn of fraise


S
oft fruit ripens earlier in the warm metres in diameter to be exact, and made combination of wafer-thin, melt-in-the-
climate of southern-central France with 800 kilograms of fruit by local mouth shortcrust pastry, a thick layer of
than it does in Britain, which is bakers and pastry chefs. crme ptissire and a topping of
why the town of Beaulieu-sur- While you may not feel up to providing strawberries dusted with icing sugar.
Dordogne holds a massive strawberry the family with a pie the size of a large Advantage France in the game of
PHOTOGRAPH: iSTOCKPHOTO

festival in mid-May, while we celebrate trampoline when the strawberry crops are celebrating the new seasons strawberry!
the berries arrival around Wimbledon ready this month, you might like to treat
time. Of course, if youre going to stage them to a classic tarte aux fraises. What Find a delicious tarte aux fraises recipe
such a big festival you really have to offer sets this confection apart from its heavier, on our website via this shortened link
visitors a giant strawberry pie eight redcurrant-glazed British cousin is the (http://bit.ly/1K51tLh).

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 77


BON APPTIT

How to...
JUDGE THE AGE
OF ARMAGNAC
BY SOMMELIER DAVID
GALETTI
Armagnac, like wine, is
produced with the mention
of a vintage, i.e. the date of
harvest and its production.
However, unlike wine, it is
not always the vintage
that determines the real age of an
Armagnac. There is a real difference
behind the vintage and the actual

NICE BITES
Blettes (Swiss chard), age of the product inside.
a staple of niois cooking, To calculate the real age of your
go into tourte de blettes, Armagnac, you must consider how
a double-crusted tart. long the product has been kept in
Our columnist and Nice resident Rosa Jackson takes us
In the dessert version, the barrel before being bottled.
on a tour of the best street food to try in the city
which is sprinkled with Calculating a wines age is

U
nlike the rest icing sugar, the spinach- determined by the length of time
of France, like leaves are mixed with between its bottling after harvest
Nice isnt raisins, pine nuts, rum and and when the bottle is opened; for
really a knife sometimes apple, while example, a 1982 bottle of wine that
and fork kind of place. rice and bacon fill the is opened in 2015 would make the
Here, it is not only savoury version. wine 33 years of age. However,
acceptable but encouraged Fritters are another Armagnacs ageing process stops
to eat standing up common sight: they may completely once the product has
between meals, just like consist of battered and left the barrel to be bottled. To
the Genoese, who came to fried courgette blossoms determine the real age of Armagnac
work in the shipyards (pictured left), aubergine you must consider how long it has
centuries ago, bringing Pipo sets the standard in slices or sardines. For been kept ageing in its barrel by
with them the tradition the area around the port a more substantial snack, calculating its vintage against its
of the merenda. This and SoccaTram keeps the try pan bagnat, a kind of bottling date. This information is on
substantial snack, taken local clientele happy at salade nioise in a bun the back label of the bottle.
mid-morning or in late Libration food market. drizzled with olive oil and For instance, an Armagnac with
afternoon, was designed Named after the local red wine vinegar. Bite into a 1982 vintage that was bottled in
to keep workers going spiced anchovy paste this sandwich filled with 2008, but opened in 2015, is in
during a long days called pissala, the crunchy vegetables, fact only 26 years old, compared to
labour; today the tradition caramelised onion tart sun-ripened tomato, tuna, a wine, which would be 33 years
is open to anyone who known as pissaladire anchovy and hard-boiled old. You could also have a 1959
feels a hunger pang, (pictured top left) is egg, and you will appreciate vintage Armagnac that sounds
whatever the time. closely tied to the niois the resourcefulness of much older, but, if bottled in 1979,
The king of local street identity. Available in any niois cooks, who is only 20 years old. So, in
foods is socca, a savoury bakery, it tastes best when developed this recipe to terms of quality, the 82
chickpea pancake freshly made and still use up stale bread. would be older and certainly
(pictured top right). warm: try it at La Socca La Socca du Cours, facing more complex, due to an extra
Thinner than its Italian du Cours, where it comes 1 Cours Saleya on market six years of ageing, and
cousins, the niois version with or without anchovies. days (no phone) possibly be better value.
should be crisp on the Marie-Thrse also sells Chez Pipo, 13 Rue Bavastro
outside and soft inside: a lesser-known fresh (tel: (Fr) 4 93 55 88 82, David Galetti is head sommelier at
in the Old Town, Marie- tomato tart topped with www.chezpipo.fr) the Michelin-two-star Le Gavroche
Thrse of La Socca du a mixture of chopped SoccaTram, 6 bis Avenue in London. Tel: 0207 408 0881,
Cours in Cours Saleya gets garlic and parsley, a kind Alfred Borriglione www.le-gavroche.co.uk
it just right, while Chez of precursor to pizza. (tel: (Fr) 4 93 52 54 84)

78 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


FOOD & WINE

Wine & food matching in...


CENTRAL
LOIRE
W
ith le flottante and crme brle, tarte Tatin
completes the timeless trio of French dessert
menu staples. No other apple tart tastes as good (sweet) from the vineyards east of
or trips off the tongue as easily as tarte Tatin, Tours: their rich flavours mirror the
although according to legend, it was created quite by accident. caramelised apples of tarte Tatin, with
Sisters Stphanie and Caroline Tatin were cooking apples to a fine acidity to match. To the west, in the Anjou district, chenin
make a tart at their family hotel in the Loire village of Lamotte- blanc is also responsible for the stickies from the Cteaux du
Beuvron (pictured). One of several stories goes that, smelling Layon, Bonnezeaux and Quarts-de-Chaume vineyards. The
burning from the kitchen, Stphanie found that she had left the grapes are frequently attacked by noble rot, which helps to
apples cooking in butter and sugar for too long. With hungry create toasty, intensely honeyed dessert wines.
guests waiting, she tried to save the dish by laying a pastry base Since the Tatin sisters serendipitous bake in the 1880s,
over the caramelised apples, returning the whole pan to the upside-down tarts have been made with every kind of fruit,
oven. The result was an immediate hit and henceforth became from pears and quinces to apricots and peaches (pictured). The
Htel Tatins signature dessert. more exotic incarnations need wines that match their warmer,
Matching wine with pudding is returning to fashion in France, exuberant flavours. The floral muscat vins doux naturels from
and the vineyards of the Loire Valley offer wonderful pairings for southern France those of Mireval, Frontignan and Saint-Jean-
tarte Tatin. Apples are cool-climate fruits, with fresh flavours and de-Minervois make great partners, as do the luscious
bracing acidity, which pair well with the sweet chenin blancs of vendanges tardives pinot gris and gewrztraminers from Alsace.
the Middle Loire. Look for Vouvray or Montlouis moelleux Dominic Rippon

For a taste of Paris in London, book a table at the new Les Gourmets
des Ternes in Knightsbridge. It serves authentic Parisian food and its
cocktail bar is ideal for an aperitif. See www.lesgourmetslondon.com

WINES OF THE MONTH BY SALLY EASTON, MASTER OF WINE


SNAP IT UP WEEKEND TREAT TIME TO CELEBRATE
Louis Latour, Ardche Chardonnay Domaine Stphane Ogier, The Societys Exhibition Hermitage
PHOTOGRAPHS: FOTOLIA; iSTOCKPHOTO; MAFFOTO MEDIA; CHARLIE FRASER-HOPEWELL

2014, IGP Coteaux de lArdche La Rosine Syrah 2011, Blanc, 2010, Rhne
The famous Burgundy producer has IGP Collines Rhodaniennes The Chave family have been farming the
been working in Ardche since the late Stphane Ogier is a leading producer in hill of Hermitage in the northern Rhne
1970s. The vineyards are at a similar the Cte Rtie in the northern Rhne for around 500 years. This 85 per cent
altitude to the Cte dOr (270 metres) Valley, although this humble IGP (vin de marsanne, 15 per cent roussanne,
and also on clay-limestone soils, but pays) comes from just outside the famous created specially for the Wine Society,
being further south means its a bit appellation. It is grown on similar granite has apricot and honey on the nose,
CONTACT SALLY EASTON AT WWW.WINEWISDOM.COM

warmer. This white wine is made in soils and from the same grape melding into a crme fraiche
stainless steel vats to focus on variety as Cte Rtie and tastes like texture with lemon syllabub and
a crisp style, with citrus and peachy it too, with pepper and sweet violet ginger spiced notes. Its rounded
notes and hints of lemon curd perfume, a silky texture and plum texture and rich layering is
smoothness through the palate. and black fruit notes. accentuated by modest acidity.
Drink with: Lighter fish dishes or Drink with: Gentle game or Drink with: Rich pork or chicken
as an aperitif. aromatically spiced dishes. dishes; semi-soft cheese.
Tanners, 9.60 O.W. Loeb, 17.96 The Wine Society, 35
Tel: 01743 234 455 Tel: 0207 234 0385 Tel: 01438 741 177
www.tanners-wines.co.uk www.owloeb.com www.thewinesociety.com

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 79


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.

80 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


CLASSIC CUISINE

Make the perfect...


Sauce au pistou
I
f pesto has suffered from
overexposure in recent decades,
The niois version of smoother pistou than the tougher leaves
grown outdoors in late summer. Early in
its niois cousin pistou remains the Italian classic the season, you should be able to find the
something of an obscure variation. first young leaves from local farms, which
I specify niois and not French, since the
pesto is a delicate, will have the most flavour. Star chef Alain
sauce came to Nice while the city and its herby accompaniment Ducasse suggests removing the ribs from
surrounding hills were under Savoy rule, basil leaves before pounding them for
which lasted until 1860. During this
to fresh pasta, says a more uniform result.
period, the locals adapted recipes from Rosa Jackson Also essential is the quality of the oil:
Genoa, Piedmont and Sardinia to suit Nice olive oil, made with the same
their own culture and ingredients, often variety of olives as in Liguria, has
creating thriftier versions by necessity. Pesto and pistou share roots in the a delicate flavour with a hint of almond
Most closely associated with Genoa verb to crush: pestera in Latin and pista that makes it a perfect match for the
but a staple throughout Liguria, Italian in Provenal. Originally this would have herbs sweetness. However, as Nice oil is
pesto relies on the famously aromatic been done in a mortar, which traditionally rare and expensive, another mild-tasting
local basil, fresh garlic, pine nuts, olive is made of marble with a soft wood pestle. oil will do; only avoid those which are
oil and parmesan or pecorino. It might Another popular method in Italy is to too peppery or bitter.
be served with pasta most commonly chop the ingredients on a cutting board In Nice, pistou can be tossed with
the short, twirled trofie, cooked with with a mezzaluna (half-moon) blade, fresh green tagliatelle noodles, perhaps
chopped green beans and diced potato something I have not come across in Nice. with a chunk of butter and some grated
or stirred into minestrone at the last Of course, modern cooks on both sides of Emmental for extra creaminess.
moment, turning the broth vivid green. the border use conveniences such as food A spoonful also goes into each bowl
MAIN PHOTOGRAPH: JEAN-DANIEL SUDRES/HEMIS.FR

Around Nice, where pine nuts were processors and immersion blenders, both of soupe au pistou (pictured left)
less readily available (perhaps because of which can give good results. Pesto is a variation on Italian minestrone.
they were being exported to Liguria for thought to predate tomato sauce, though This sauce always tastes best when its
their pesto), pistou developed using the the first recipes appeared in Genoese freshly made, but to preserve the green
potent basil that grows in the hills, along cookbooks at the end of the 19th century. colour as long as possible I add the salt
with garlic, olive oil and perhaps cheese, Setting aside Genoese pesto, what just before serving, and cover the surface
but no pine nuts. Parmesan being a rare makes for a great pistou? Fresh young with a little oil. If you cant do without
commodity, the locals often used Sprinz, basil leaves are essential, and I have found pine nuts, there is no actual law in Nice
a similar aged cheese from Switzerland, that the tender leaves grown in the against using them, so feel free as long as
or the readily available Emmental. greenhouse make for a brighter and they taste fresh and sweet.

PTES AU PISTOU
SERVES 1 small bunch basil (about Separate the basil leaves so add more oil if necessary.
4. Bring a large pot of water
2-3 This is the closest I could
come to the delicious pasta
two cups of leaves)
50ml/1 4 cup high-quality
from the stems and discard
the stems (or save to flavour to the boil. While its heating,
with pistou served at the small bistro olive oil a tomato sauce). If youre warm your serving bowl in
La Merenda in Nice. A good pinch of coarse sea patient, you can also remove the oven at the lowest
salt and a few grindings of the ribs from the basil leaves. setting. When the water boils,
1lb fresh spinach or plain pepper 2. Place the garlic, basil, oil add the salt and the pasta.
tagliatelle noodles 2tbsp finely grated and seasonings in the food Cook for two to three
A handful coarse sea salt Emmental processor and blend until you minutes, or until al dente.
1tbsp butter have a smooth paste. 5. Drain the pasta quickly,
1. Peel the garlic clove(s), 3. Transfer to a bowl and stir transfer to the bowl and toss
Pistou: cut in half and remove any in the grated Emmental. The vigorously with the butter and
1-2 cloves garlic sprouts from the centre. sauce should be fairly runny, pistou. Serve immediately.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 81


1 La Coquerie
La Coquerie is the place to go if youre looking for a special
gastronomic experience. Perched along the road that leads to
the top of Mont Saint Clair, the restaurant benefits from
spectacular views of the salty tang and sea beyond. Its
a light, contemporary space with large windows so guests
can enjoy the setting wherever theyre sitting. The kitchen is
located in the middle of the restaurant and, behind the
counter, Anne Majourel with her trademark straw hat

Eating out in...


creates dishes with her team. There are even stools at the
counter for those who like to watch the chefs design their
seasonally inspired dishes.
Anne is a self-taught chef who grew up in nearby
Corbires and refined her craft in restaurant Le Ranquet in

Ste
the Cvennes. Her passion for cooking led her to become
one of the few female chefs to gain a Michelin star, an award
given to La Coquerie in 2012.
Each day Anne and her staff design their signature Menu
Les Yeux Ferms (eyes closed) after a morning visit to the
indoor food halls and the fish market at the Corniche, as
well as noting what their select group of suppliers have on
offer. The result is a constantly changing menu of wonderful
creations, such as courgette flower stuffed with crab and
basil on a red mullet millefeuille and mussels from the tang
de Thau, or smoked bonito fillet (a type of tuna) with
hazelnut oil and tomato paste, garnished with borage
flowers, peas, mint and arugula from the garden. The wine
menu, too, is high quality, each addition rigorously chosen The sea and lagoons around this
by Annes partner Jean-Luc and predominantly sourced from
the nearby vineyards of the Languedoc.
Mediterranean harbour town
La Coquerie, 1 Chemin du Cimetire Marin, 34200 Ste provide a bountiful harvest of fish
Tel: (Fr) 6 47 06 71 38, annemajourel.fr/horizon.html
and seafood, says Amanda Pollard

2 Terre et Mer
If youre not a lover of seafood, or you simply fancy something
different, a great option is Terre et Mer. This cosy restaurant is
located away from the busy canal at the west harbour and
comprises a wine shop and fine-foods picerie. Owner Tony
Vives (pictured right) grew up in Aveyron and ran restaurants
there and in Toulouse before coming to Ste. His idea was to
work in partnership with the producers of Ste and Aveyron to
marry the meaty flavours of the mountains with the salty tastes
of the Mediterranean. Head chef Cyrille Guiliani and his team
use high-quality ingredients to create quite traditional yet
delicious dishes. Try sauted ceps, or saddle of rabbit and breast
PHOTOGRAPHS: BERTRAND RIEGER/HEMIS.FR; DREAMSTIME

of smoked pig with puy lentils and herbes de Provence, or


alternatively choose noix de Saint Jacques with chorizo.
With only 16 tables, theres an intimate atmosphere in the
restaurant and the service is friendly and attentive. If the sun is
shining the terrace is a nice spot to enjoy a meal. When youre
dining inside, the kitchen is in full view, so you can see the chefs
at work. Prices are reasonable: a starter, main course and dessert
costs 40, which might leave you with enough cash to browse
the local products and wine that are available in the shop.
Terre et Mer, 28 Promenade Jean-Baptiste-Marty, 34200 Ste
Tel: (Fr) 4 67 74 49 43, www.restaurant-terreetmer.com

82 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


RESTAURANTS
The Ste waterfront provides an
atmospheric setting for outdoor dining

3 Chez Franois
The exterior of Chez Franois gives you a clue to whats on
the menu. Beautifully displayed buckets and platters of fresh
local seafood stand outside the front entrance, alongside
a terrace with a few tables. Perched right on the quayside,
the restaurant is fairly small and unassuming, but as far as
food goes it packs a big punch. There are no frills here, just
good-quality, fresh local produce cooked simply.
The family business has produced seafood since the
1950s and the restaurant has been established since the
1980s. In that time Chez Franois has built up a reputation
for delicious, fresh food, prepared and presented in a simple,
unpretentious way, so its no wonder that its popular with
locals. The place is small with just 20 or so tables, and
consequently it is almost always busy, so its advisable to
book ahead to avoid disappointment.
The restaurant produces its own oysters in the tang de
Thau nearby, so you could try some of those, as well as
mussels, clams, prawns and sea snails, or alternatively go for
grilled fish, or local speciality bourride de lotte. However, if
you simply cant decide which to choose, how about opting
for a shared assiette de fruits de mer? The waiter will bring
you a large platter full of ice, with a selection of shellfish
arranged on top. Its a lovely way to enjoy the tastes of
different seafood and sample things you might not have
tried before. Dont forget to wash it down with some crisp
white wine or a light ros, as the wine list is well stocked.
Chez Franois, 8 Quai Gnral Durand, 34200 Ste
Tel: (Fr) 4 67 74 59 69

M U ST T RY

Stes most famous special


ity
is a seafood pie, known as
a tielle.
These circular, doughy pastrie
s are
filled with octopus, cuttlefish
or
squid in a spicy tomato sau
ce and
were invented by fishermen
in the
Italian port of Gaeta. Eat the
m hot
or cold as a snack or starter
.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 83


APRO

La Ola
201 Promenade du Lido,
Plage de la Fontaine, 34200
Ste
Eating in
The indoor market and wine shops of Ste sell a delicious array of fresh
and cured meats, local seafood and vegetables, with wine to match
Tel: (Fr) 4 67 53 07 14, http
://laola.fr
Theres no better way to fini
sh the day
than enjoying a chilled glas for its seafood, but
s of ros on
the beach at one of the res there are other
taurants and
bars that pop up in summe delicacies to try as
r. La Ola has
lovely views and a selectio well. For something
n of
40 wines for your early-even sweet head to
ing
drink and nibbles. Biscuiterie Pouget in
the indoor market. In
business since 1931, the
stall moved to the food
halls in 2007. Here you
can buy madeleines,
macarons and cakes as
well as the famous
Zzette de Ste: long,
twisted biscuits
flavoured with dry
white wine and vanilla.

WINES
Caves Notre Dame
278 Avenue du
Marchal Juin
34200 Ste
Tel: (Fr) 4 67 80 32 20
MARKET CHEESE www.cavesnotre
Les Halles de Ste Fromagerie dame.com
Rue Gambetta Lou Pastrou There are a couple of
34200 Ste 5 Rue Gambetta must-try wines from
Stes indoor market is 34200 Ste the area surrounding
fabulous, containing 75 Tel: (Fr) 4 67 74 41 28 Ste, one of which is
stalls of every local You cant really come Muscat de Frontignan.
food you could possibly to France without This white vin doux
imagine. Here you can tasting some cheese, naturel is cultivated in
wander the aisles and and one of the best the vineyards around
stock up on fruit, fromageries in Ste the tang de Thau and
vegetables, olives, is Lou Pastrou, is a popular aperitif. A
tapenades, charcuterie, a little way from the perfect accompaniment
meat and countless waterside, along Rue to seafood is a fresh,
CO F F E E B R E A K other goodies. And of Gambetta. The business bone-dry glass of

Caf Lulu
course, dont forget the originated in Aveyron Picpoul de Pinet.
, 34200 Ste seafood stalls where and its speciality is Another good wine
7 Rue du 11 Novembre 1918 youll find fish and a tangy yet velvety shop is Cave de Thau
Tel: (Fr) 4 99 02 84 86
, Place Aristide shellfish fresh from the Roquefort that melts in along Quai Charles
Head to the market square mornings catch. the mouth. Lemaresquier.
deco-style Caf
Briand, to the delightful art Bouzigue oysters from
fees from
Lulu, which offers quality cof FROM TOP: A meal of the tang de Thau are BISCUITS AND
an array of
around the world, as well as CAKES
teas. If you dont fancy caf
feine, indulge cuttlefish and Provenal
vegetables in the indoor
some of the best in the
world and razor clams, Biscuiterie Pouget NEXT
in one of their delicious
kes .
smo oth ies
market; Relaxing with a regional speciality, 47 Quai de Bosc MONTH
or milksha
an apro on the beach are delicious cooked in 34200 Ste E N J OY I N G
at La Ola; Caf Lulu in butter, garlic, parsley Tel: (Fr) 4 67 74 72 38
CARCASSONNE
CUISINE
the market square and breadcrumbs. Ste might be famous

84 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


SHOPPING

Anis de
Flavigny
In her regular column,
Clotilde Dusoulier shows
how to cook with the
produce we buy in France

J
udging from the vast number of long-
established regional specialities, France is
very much a sweet-toothed country.
Among the most cherished of these treats
are the aniseed drops from Flavigny-sur-Ozerain,
which have been manufactured in this medieval
Burgundy village (pictured inset) where parts of
the 2000 film Chocolat were shot since at least certainly make it easy to love, coupled with the
the 16th century. quaint, pretty pillboxes adorned with romantic
Anis de Flavigny are pea-sized, pearl-white illustrations of a shepherd and his sweetheart,
sweets that hide a grain of aniseed in a hard shell which young children covet to put away their
of sugar, either aniseed-flavoured or subtly treasures. The nostalgia factor plays a part, but
spiked with natural flavourings such as ginger, it is the message that they carry, one of authenticity
clementine, lavender or blackcurrant. Clotilde Dusoulier and simple pleasures, that makes these the perfect
The artisanal process, which has remained lives in Paris and souvenir: an edible postcard from a bucolic France.
virtually unchanged through the centuries, takes writes a popular Youll find Anis de Flavigny throughout
two weeks to complete. Production is carried out food blog, Burgundy, in service stations, bakeries, and
in a factory housed within the former 8th-century Chocolate & souvenir shops, but also in fine-foods shops across
Benedictine abbey, and is run by third-generation Zucchini. She France, or online (www.anis-flavigny.com). You
owner Catherine Troubat, an iconic entrepreneur has published can enjoy them as the simple, delicious sweet that
who is fiercely protective of the companys cookbooks and they are fans like to take two at a time and swirl
independence and tradition, yet manages to achieve a guide to Paris them around in their mouth or use them in your
global success: sales of the pebble-like anis extend restaurants and baking: crush them with a meat mallet or rolling
way beyond France, to China and Brazil, with an food shops. pin, and fold them into your ice creams, cakes and
annual production of 250 tons. biscuits, such as these delightful almond and
The simplicity and freshness of this sweet aniseed croquants (below).

ALMOND AND ANISEED CROQUANTS MAKES


PHOTOGRAPHS: CLAIRE JACHYMIAK; PHM/SEM ALSIA

250g flour mark 4 and line water for the mixture 2cm in thickness. 6. Return ABOUT
120g sugar
120g whole almonds
a baking sheet with
parchment paper.
to come together into
a fairly sticky, but
5. Bake for 30 to 40
minutes, until set and
the slices
to the
40
50g Flavigny aniseed 2. In a large mixing not too loose dough. golden brown. Allow to baking sheet, cut side
drops, roughly bowl, combine the 4. Coax the dough cool for five minutes, up, and bake for
crushed flour, sugar, almonds, out on to the prepared transfer to a cutting another five to ten
1/4tsp sea salt crushed drops and salt. baking sheet to form board and use a bread minutes, until baked
2 large organic eggs Add the eggs and stir two separate loaves, knife to cut the two through. Allow to
1. Preheat the oven in with a fork. roughly rectangular loaves into 1cm slices cool completely
to 175C/350F/gas 3. Add enough cold in shape and about while still hot. before serving.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 87


Hard work
bears fruit
Champagne is now a byword for richness and
plenty, but things havent always been so bubbly
in the region, as Dominic Rippon reveals

F
rom the tranquil terrace of a champagne bar years, the vignerons of Mailly spent the harsh
in Reims or pernay, it is hard to imagine Champagne winters underground with picks and
the mayhem a century ago, when vine shovels, boring deep into the chalk soils, creating
growers downed their shovels and took to a labyrinth of caves that eventually stretched for
the streets in violent protest. The Champagne Riots of one kilometre beneath the village. By the 1960s,
1910-11 were triggered by four years of disastrous 25 families had joined the cooperative; their strong
harvests, compounded by the pitiful prices paid to bonds of friendship cemented by hard work.
growers for their grapes by the powerful merchant Dominic Rippon Xavier Millard, Maillys technical director, told
houses, which were accused of plumping up their has many years me: Of course, when the work began to bear fruit,
champagnes with wines bought from outside the experience in the many other growers wanted to join the party. But
region. Champagnes woes had begun in the late-19th wine trade, both the 25 original families preferred to remain a small,
century, when its vines were decimated by the in the UK and tight-knit group, vinifying their vineyard parcels
phylloxera vineyard louse. The hapless Champenois France, and separately and pushing the cooperative towards
then found themselves on the front line during World now runs the organic viticulture. Today, Champagne Mailly
War I, and when the Great Depression arrived a decade wine merchant enjoys the enviable distinction of being the only
later, its growers faced renewed hardship. business Strictly cooperative cellar in Champagne to make all of its
It was in 1929, the year of the global financial Wine. wines from the vineyards of a single grand cru
PHOTOGRAPHS: DOMINIC RIPPON; FABRICE DEHOCHE

crash, that five plucky growers in the village of village, one-third of which are farmed organically.
Mailly-Champagne, ten kilometres south-east of Champagne Maillys 70 hectares of vineyards are
Reims, pooled their resources in an attempt to planted with 75 per cent pinot noir and 25 per cent
thwart disaster, establishing the cooperative cellar chardonnay grapes, in 480 individual plots. Gently
that is now Champagne Mailly Grand Cru. One of rolling slopes ensure that its vineyards face all four
the cooperatives founding fathers, Charles Petit, had points of the compass, although the majority cling to
worked as an engineer during the Great the north-facing foothills of the Montagne de Reims,
War, so he applied what he had learned giving subtle, finely etched champagnes.
while digging trenches to the task of I accompanied Xavier on a journey
building a wine cellar. For the next 30 through the Mailly cellars, following the

88 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


WINE

THE DIRECTOR RECOMMENDS


Champagne Mailly Grand Crus Xavier Millard reveals his favourite places
to stay and dine in the area

WHERE TO STAY wine trade stays while Michelin-star cooking


No. 8 Chambre in Champagne. Doubles with excellent seafood.
dhtes from 180. Menus from 39.
8 Rue de la Libration
51500 Mailly-Champagne WHERE TO EAT WHERE TO VISIT
Tel: (Fr) 3 26 91 11 14 Le Relais de Sillery Les Faux de Verzy
www.no8chambre- 3 Rue de la Gare 51380 Verzy
d-hote.fr 51500 Sillery www.fauxdeverzy.fr
Cosy B&B a stones Tel: (Fr) 3 26 49 10 11 A mysterious forest full
throw from Champagne www.relaisdesillery.fr of misshapen beech
Mailly Grand Cru. Rooms Restaurant serving fine, trees, on the site of an
from 75. elegant dishes which ancient abbey.
can be taken on the
Best Western Htel beautiful terrace in Muse de la Vigne
de la Paix summer. Menus from et du Vin
9 Rue Buirette 25.80. 51360 Verzenay
51100 Reims Tel: (Fr) 3 26 07 87 87
LEFT: The vineyards of Champagne Mailly Grand Cru; Tel: (Fr) 3 26 40 04 08 Le Grand Cerf www.lepharede
TOP: Barrels in the cooperatives cellar; ABOVE: Bottles of www.bestwestern- 50 Route Nationale verzenay.com
wine during the traditional champagne-making process lapaix-reims.com 51500 Montchenot Learn about the history
Modern, chic four-star Tel: (Fr) 3 26 97 60 07 of champagne in this
gravity-fed winemaking process down through seven hotel, where the visiting www.le-grand-cerf.fr vineyard lighthouse.
subterranean floors until we reached the sticky chalk
walls of the vaulted ageing cellar. Our champagnes GETTING THERE: The train journey from London to Reims via
spend an average of three years ageing on their Paris takes around 4hr 30min; Reims is a 2hr 30min drive from the
lees, Xavier revealed, twice the minimum time northern ferry ports.
required for non-vintage champagne. TOURIST INFORMATION: Champagne-Ardenne tourist board, www.tourisme-
Back above ground, flutes were poured (5 per champagne-ardenne.com; CHAMPAGNE: Comit Champagne, www.champagne.fr
glass, refunded against purchases) in Maillys
state-of-the-art tasting room: a glass pavilion,
designed by Italian architect Giovanni Pace, with TOURING THE VINEYARDS
stunning views over the Mailly vineyard. In keeping
with the fashion for bone-dry champagnes, we Champagne Mailly 1 Rue Gambetta dUzs NV Verzenay
began by sipping Maillys Extra Brut blend: Grand Cru 51360 Verzenay Grand Cru.
a wonderfully pure bubbly, with notes of mineral 28 Rue de la Libration Tel: (Fr) 3 26 49 40 12 Taste: Two-thirds pinot
and brioche on the nose, with almond flavours and 51500 Mailly-Champagne www.champagne- noir and one-third
a toothsome salinity that is a hallmark of Maillys Tel: (Fr) 3 26 49 41 10 eugene-ralle.com chardonnay make this
champagnes. Next was the estates Blanc de Noirs, www.champagne- Choice wine: Champagne spicy, toasty blend.
made entirely from pinot noir grapes, but vinified as mailly.com Brut Slection NV
a white champagne. It showed raspberry and spiced Choice wine: Verzenay Grand Cru. Champagne
pear aromas, with a mouth-watering thread of Champagne Extra Brut Taste: A generous, floral Fresnet-Juillet
acidity on the palate. An unusual match for foie NV Mailly Grand Cru. blend of 75 per cent 10 Rue de Beaumont
gras, Xavier suggested. Finally, I was treated to Taste: Minerals and pinot noir and 25 per 51380 Verzy
a glass of Les chansons 2004, a vintage champagne brioche on the nose, cent chardonnay. Tel: (Fr) 3 26 97 93 40
made from Maillys oldest vineyards; its complex with subtle almond www.champagne-
mix of buttery, smoky, exotic flavours put me in the flavours. Champagne fresnet-juillet.com
mood for scallops and truffles or lobster risotto. Drink with: Oysters or Christian Busin Choice wine:
Drinking champagne at an estate such as Mailly sushi. 33 Rue Thiers Champagne Blanc de
Grand Cru is the ultimate indulgence: every sip Price at the estate: 34. 51360 Verzenay Blancs Carte Blanche
encourages thoughts of the Ferrari that might be Tel: (Fr) 3 26 49 40 94 NV Verzy Grand Cru.
parked outside, or that imaginary villa in the sun. Also visit: www.champagnebusin.com Taste: A ripe, biscuity,
So its a sobering thought that the modern Champagnes Choice wine: all-chardonnay
champagne industry and so many of its best wineries Pierre Arnould Champagne Cuve champagne.
are built on years of blood, sweat and toil.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 89


Learn French
and have fun!
Featuring over 50 of the famous Living France crosswords and a whole lot
more, French Language Games is the fun way to boost your French
language skills

JUST
Brought to you by the Living France
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Please add 1 for P+P to UK addresses 1.50 to Europe and 2 to the rest of the world.
LA CULTURE
Your essential guide to French
culture and language

Like father, like son


Singer LULU GAINSBOURG tells Caroline Bishop why he finally
decided to follow in the tracks of a cultural legend

H
is surname may be an intrinsic part of French in that world. Since I was born Ive been living through music,
popular culture, but it turns out that musician he says. I was with my dad when I was a baby, in the studio
Lulu Gainsbourg is actually an Anglophile. I just with him. People thought he was crazy and that I would
like how British or Americans work. People are become deaf. Actually it worked because my best [attribute] in
more... pleasant to work with than French people sometimes! music is my ears. I can recognise any music through my ears
After leaving his Paris home to study in the United States at and then play it. I am a musician first of all. Music is my life.
the Berklee College of Music in Boston, 29-year-old Gainsbourg A highly personal album, Lady Luck includes a touching
now lives in London, where he has released his second album, song for his father called Destiny here I am/
Lady Luck, sung in English and his first body of original music. and wherever I stand/ and whoever Ill be/
It follows his 2011 recording debut From Gainsbourg to youll be watching over me and
Lulu, on which he collaborated with a starry selection a ballad dedicated to his mother,
of vocalists Scarlett Johansson, Iggy Pop and Rufus the model and singer Bambou,
Wainwright among them to cover songs by his whom he credits with pushing
famous father, the Parisian singer-songwriter Serge him to learn piano as a child
Gainsbourg (pictured inset), who died in 1991. because she knew that I had
It would have been an unwise debut should a gift for music.
he have been looking to forge a music career It also touches on his
without inviting comparisons with his father, experiences of love and
whose 500-plus songs and numerous albums heartbreak, using poker as
made him one of Frances most prolific artists a metaphor for relationships in
and whose Dionysian lifestyle was the upbeat title track. When
legendary. But Lulu real name [a relationship] works its
Lucien, also the given name of his like a good hand in poker, he explains,
father wasnt intending saying he was inspired to write it by a
a singing career, particularly, photograph of a girl whom he later met
as he admits: Im not the best and fell for his very own Lady Luck.
singer ever. Despite the weight of expectation
I wanted to do a gift to that comes with his surname, does he
my dad. It was a tribute to feel lucky? I can afford to eat at
[commemorate] 20 years restaurants, to have a nice place, to
since his death. I was travel. I have a great mum who
PHOTOGRAPHS: SIPA PRESS/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

planning to do just that taught me everything. I have


album and then maybe a girlfriend who is perfect for me, so
switch to film scoring. I feel very lucky, even though I lost my
Perhaps it was dad when I was five. This is part of
inevitable that he would life. Nevertheless, he admits, I hope
be unable to resist the through this new album that I can have
lure of writing and a first name.
recording his own The album Lady Luck is out now
albums, having grown up (www.lulugainsbourg.com).

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 91


LA CULTURE
Your essential guide
to French culture
and language

T
he roaring drug trade that used to exist between France and
CINEMA RELEASE America and reached a peak in the 1960s and 1970s is a topic
that has inspired directors before. William Friedkin, for

The
instance, used the heroin highway as the backdrop to his 1971,
Oscar-winning thriller The French Connection. Newcomer Cdric Jimenez
returns to this fertile ground for The Connection, a drama that features
some fine performances set against a wonderful, sideburns-and-all

Connection
re-creation of 1970s Marseille.
Jean Dujardin stars as magistrate Pierre Michel, reassigned to the port
city to combat a drug-fuelled crime wave. His efforts to plug up the French
Connection and root out corruption brings him into conflict with crime
boss Gatan Zampa (Lellouche, pictured above). As the two men engage in
STARRING: Jean Dujardin, Gilles Lellouche a dangerous game of cat and mouse, Michels family life starts to suffer.
DIRECTOR: Cdric Jimenez

PHOTOGRAPHS: JRME MACE; CINDI DE CHANNES


Theres something very familiar about The Connection. An opening
CERTIFICATE: 15 voiceover is straight out of a Martin Scorsese film, while the funky
RUNNING TIME: 135 minutes soundtrack (including a French version of the song Bang Bang) is pure
RELEASE DATE: 29 May Quentin Tarantino and a stand-off between Michel and Zampa very
reminiscent of Michael Manns crime epic Heat. Its not the most original
movie, then, but Jimenez does draw some powerful performances out of his
cast. Dujardin in particular reminds us why he is an Oscar winner with
a scene where he suffers a breakdown while on the phone to his estranged
wife a stand-out moment. The fact that The Connection is brave enough
to have a downbeat ending further counts in its favour and marks
the Marseille-born Jimenez as a bold new voice of French cinema.
Pierre de Villiers

OTHER CINEMA AND DVD RELEASES


CINEMA Les Combattants (from 19 June) A French couple, played
Girlhood (from 8 May) Cline Sciammas critically acclaimed by Adle Haenel and Kvin Azas (pictured), cement their
coming-of-age drama stars Karidja Tour as a teenager who love after joining a military bootcamp in this romantic
falls in with an all-girl gang in the banlieues of Paris. comedy-drama from debut director Thomas Cailley.

92 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


Five minutes with...
REVIEWS

ELIZABETH BARD BOOKS


PICNIC IN PROVENCE
The American author of Elizabeth Bard, Summersdale,
Picnic in Provence (see 8.99
review, right) talks about her From the author of Lunch in Paris
first French experience, how comes a true tale of love and the
she met her French husband allure of the French countryside.
and her love of Provence When American writer Elizabeth
and her new French husband
My love of all things French Gwendal saw an apartment in
began when I was five years central Paris, they were certain
old. I was at a pre-theatre they had found the perfect home. However, everything
dinner with my mother and featured recipes in the book, was turned on its head when they visited Provence
aunt in a French restaurant with my favourite being and realised that life had something else in store for
in New York and I ordered poached pears with truffled them. They fell in love with an old house and were
mussels. My mother wasnt crme anglaise. soon upping sticks to live in a rural idyll where they
sure whether I would eat My favourite part of could raise a family. Filled with delicious recipes and
them but I did; I even sent writing about life in Provence evocative descriptions, Bards memoir is a reminder of
my compliments to the chef. is the chapter on the saffron how life is all about the unexpected.
I met my French husband harvest. My husband was
in London at an academic considering whether to THE RIVAL QUEENS
conference. I came to the end take up an executive career Nancy Goldstone, Weidenfeld &
of my MA in art history at or to stay in Provence, and Nicolson, 20
the Courtauld Institute of Art by picking thousands of This entertaining history lesson
and had two choices: return crocuses we got to experience takes us to the royal court of
to New York and become something that we had 16th-century France, where the
a curator or take a chance always been curious about. Queen Mother Catherine de
and follow my love to Paris. Sometimes big decisions are Medici and her free-spirited
I decided to go to Paris and helped along by lifes daughter Marguerite pursued
I am so glad I did. After smallest, most wonderful a bitter rivalry that almost
several happy years there, my experiences, and for us, destroyed the kingdom. Renowned for her devious
husband and I took a holiday Provence is exactly the right ways, Catherine forced the Catholic Marguerite the
to Provence, where we visited place to be. celebrated reine Margot to marry her Protestant
some of the beautiful Elizabeth Bard was talking cousin, Henry of Navarre, at a time when France was
landscapes featured in the to Peter Stewart being torn apart by the Wars of Religion. Marguerites
poetry of Ren Char. wedding day became a bloodbath as Henrys followers

e are
We loved the Provenal

W
were lured to their deaths in the infamous
village we stayed in and

listening to...
St Bartholomews Day Massacre, leaving her with an
decided to relocate there appalling dilemma.
permanently. Although Im
a city girl at heart and do LANTERNE ROUGE: The Last
miss my vie parisienne, Champs-lyses by Man in the Tour de France
I have become attached Zaz. The lyrics (on Max Leonard, Yellow Jersey
to village life. The local www.youtube.com) Press, 16.99
community is so describe the This witty book looks at the Tour
friendly and everyone singers love for this de France from the perspective
has supported our new iconic Paris of the cyclist finishing last the
ice-cream business. I have thoroughfare. recipient of the red lantern.
Amateur cyclist Max Leonard
reveals what it must feel like to
be branded a loser after negotiating more than 3,000
DVD kilometres of calf-straining climbs in merciless weather.
Dior and I (from 15 June) Belgian designer The book is filled with humorous stories, from the
Raf Simonss first haute couture collection for the famous breakaway leader who scuppered his chances when he
fashion house comes under the spotlight in Frdric Tchengs stopped to buy wine, to a cheat whose drug cocktail
stylish documentary. had the reverse effect and slowed him down.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 93


o say,
LANGUAGE DIGEST

HERE COMES SUMMER


Learn to speak French like a native with Peter Stewarts round-up of language resources
DDONT
T
he summer season is on the (CreateSpace Independent Publishing
horizon and learning French
for that all-important holiday
Platform, 7.99). This guide teaches readers
the basics of French, from how to introduce
SAY:
is the perfect way to spend yourself and chat to a native speaker to If you need to use
a sunny afternoon. asking for help. It also provides a library while in
For anyone wishing to immerse expert advice on how to get the France, ask for the
themselves in the language before most out of your trip. bibliothque. If you
a trip to France, then Learn French Parents keen to get their little follow a sign for
with Stories (CreateSpace ones learning the lingo before a librairie, youll
Independent Publishing Platform, they go to France will love First be heading to
7.90) definitely fits the bill. Thousand Words in French a bookshop.
Reading is one of the best ways to (Usborne Publishing Ltd, 6.99).
pick up a language and these This French bilingual word
easy-to-follow stories introduce you book is divided into themes and
to a wide range of grammatical includes beautiful illustrations, which makes
structures and each one comes with
a French and English glossary.
it an effective resource for helping children to
learn everyday French vocabulary. GRAMMAR
If improving your fluency in the spoken
language is a priority before your trip then
try the free FluentU app (www.fluentu.com/
For a dose of French humour, track down
a copy of Supercondriaque. Directed by the
comedian Dany Boon, the film centres on
CORNER
french). Unlike many other apps, this one is a hypochondriac photographer who is trying T
E
H R
O
W T
D
entirely video-based and draws on a variety to find a date who will put up with his Then is translated in many
of clips from the worlds of music, cinema quirky behaviour. ways in French. To refer to
and business to introduce users to something which is next in
the different types of spoken French. a sequence, puis should be
Foodies wishing to swot up before being used. Jai fait mes devoirs, puis
faced with a waiter in a French restaurant jai regard la tl means I did
will relish the Eat France: Food Dictionary my homework and then
and Menu Reader (Gourmet Guides, 4.99). I watched television.
This pocket-sized dictionary is packed full of Ensuite, unlike puis, can be
useful culinary terms and will soon have you placed within or at the end of
fluent in French menu-speak. the sentence, as in Jai
If getting to grips with the basics is what tlphon ma mre et ensuite
youre after then try French: For Tourists! je suis sorti avec mes amis,
which means I telephoned my
THIS MONTHS BEST PICKS mother and then I went out
with my friends, and Quest-ce
BEGINNERS INTERMEDIATE ADVANCED quil a fait ensuite?, which
Collins Easy Learning French Intermediate French for Ltranger, Gallimard, 6.85 means What did he do then?
Conversation, 7.99 Dummies, John Wiley & This classic from the Nobel To convey the idea of at
This easy-to-use guide Sons, 15.99 Prize winner Albert Camus, that time, in French a more
includes all the phrases This is an excellent resource first published in 1942, specific expression is required,
required to effectively for those looking to take centres on the unprovoked such as cette heure-l, as in
communicate in French. their French to a higher level. murder of an Arab man by Jarriverai 13 heures. Peux-tu
The book is divided into The workbook-style guide the French-Algerian venir me chercher cette
12 sections, each one contains advice on how to protagonist Meursault. heure-l?, which means Ill be
highlighting the phrases improve your writing skills A deeply psychological and arriving at 1pm. Could you pick
required for a particular and become a better French philosophical me up then?
situation. It also speaker, using work, the book Alors is sometimes used
comes with a practical will stretch when referring to the past and
short grammar exercises advanced is placed just after the verb:
and verb section, and a handy learners minds La ville tait alors un petit
and free audio grammar and their village, which means The town
download. section. language skills. was then a small village.

94 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


LANGUAGE

PHOTOGRAPHIC PIONEER
French inventor Nicphore Nipce created the first photograph, but
his achievement has been obscured, as Rgine Godfrey explains

A S
ujourdhui rendre une photo est tellement plus napping photos is so much simpler today than it was
simple que ctait pour Nicphore Nipce dans les for Nicphore Nipce in the 1820s. Just imagine!
annes 1820. Imaginez un peu! Cela a pris huit It took a full eight hours of exposure for the inventor
heures compltes de temps de pose pour que to produce The First Photograph.
linventeur produise La Premire Photographie. Nipce was born in 1765 in Chalon-sur-Sane where he
Nipce nat en 1765 Chalon-sur-Sane o il se rinstalle returned after teaching and serving in the military. His gift
aprs avoir enseign et servi dans larme. Son don pour les for sciences led him to work with his brother Claude on
sciences le conduit travailler avec son frre Claude sur un a combustion engine that propelled boats.
moteur combustion qui propulsait les bateaux. When the craze for lithography swept France in 1813
Quand lengouement pour la lithographie se rpand en Nicphore was immediately hooked by the printing technique,
1813, Nicphore est immdiatement fascin par le procd but drafting images was not his forte. Instead he concentrated
dimpression, mais esquisser des images nest pas son point on looking for a process obtained spontaneously by the
fort. Il se concentre plutt sur la recherche dun procd action of light.
obtenu spontanment par laction de la lumire. In 1826 or 1827 he bought a camera obscura,
En 1826 ou 1827 il achte une chambre an optical device consisting of a box with a hole
noire, dispositif optique fait dune bote avec on one side, which he placed at an upstairs
un trou sur un ct, quil met une fentre window at his Le Gras estate. Then he loaded
ltage de sa proprit de Le Gras. Puis il y it with a pewter plate coated with bitumen
place une plaque dtain recouverte de of Judea.
bitume de Jude. Many hours later he removed the plate
Des heures plus tard il retire la plaque et and washed it with a mixture of white
la nettoie avec un mlange de vaseline et petroleum and lavender oil to dissolve the
dhuile de lavande pour dissoudre les parties areas of bitumen that had not been
du bitume qui nont pas t durcies par la hardened by the light: the first ever
lumire: la toute premire photographie a vu photograph was born. It showed a roof,
le jour! Elle montre un toit, des dpendances, outbuildings, a tree and a fence.
un arbre et une barrire. To describe his technique he coined the term
Pour dcrire sa technique il invente le terme heliography after the Greek words helios (sun)
hliographie provenant du Grec helios (soleil) et and graphein (to write) and with the support of
graphein (crire), et avec le soutien de lillustrateur botanical illustrator Francis Bauer he presented a paper
botanique Francis Bauer il prsente un mmoire la Royal to the Royal Society in London. Curiously, Nipce chose not
Society de Londres. Curieusement Nipce choisit de ne pas to fully disclose his method, and so the heliographs were
entirement divulguer sa mthode, donc les hliographes sont rejected. This prompted him to sign a ten-year partnership
rejets. Ceci lincite signer un partenariat de dix ans avec with Parisian artist Louis-Jacques-Mand Daguerre, who
lartiste parisien Louis-Jacques-Mand Daguerre, dj had already had commercial success with the Diorama,
couronn de succs commercial avec Diorama, un thtre a theatre of illusions.
dillusions. Nipce died in 1833 before recognition was achieved.
Nipce meurt en 1833 avant que la reconnaissance ne Four years later, Daguerre abandoned pewter in favour of
saccomplisse. Quatre ans plus tard, Daguerre abandonne polished silver and claimed the invention as his own by
ltain pour de largent poli et sapproprie linvention en la naming it the daguerreotype. Isidore Nipce, Nicphores
nommant daguerrotype. Isidore Nipce, fils de Nicphore et son and heir to the ten-year agreement, did not challenge
hritier du contrat dcennal, ne contestera pas lappropriation. the appropriation.
PHOTOGRAPHS: INTERFOTO/ALAMY; FOTOLIA

W osrtdreoent: The normal meaning of the word


salades is salads, but if you say Mais

the arrte de me raconter des salades,


then it means stop pulling my leg.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 95


IDIOMS QUI SUIS-JE?
Lisez les indices ci-dessous
et devinez qui je suis
Je suis romancire franaise.
Mon vrai nom est Amantine-
Lucile-Aurore Dupin.
Jai eu une relation
amoureuse avec Frdric
Guess the Chopin.
meaning of Je suis
the idiom
manger sur

5o
le pouce.
a) To stuff
ones face
b) To wolf WAYS
something
down TO
SAY...
N
c) To eat on
the run

Non
This is the
standard word
for No.

Ah non
This is often used
to express
disappointment
and translates as
Oh no!

Mais non

Cassis Cinnamon
This translates as
Of course not.

Griotte Hazelnut
Non, non et

WHATS
non!

Pastque Morello
This is a stronger
PHOTOGRAPHS: FOTOLIA; ILLUSTRATIONS: TIM WESSON; DREAMSTIME

cherry
phrase and means

ON THE
Absolutely not.

Noisette Watermelon Non

MENU?
This phrase is
often used in

Cannelle Rosemary protests and


translates as both
No to and
Match these ice-cream flavours
with their English equivalents Romarin Blackcurrant Down with

96 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


How
PUZZLES

to say... COMPETITION WIN!


Poireau Les Mots Flchs
Pwa-roh The winner of this without books, writing or
Leek months competition will striving to memorise
receive the Michel everything. The pack,
Thomas Perfect French

Fun French
which retails at 100,
CD-audio course, contains ten hours of
published by Hodder & audio learning on CD,
Stoughton. It will help more than three hours of
ANAGRAMS intermediates take their
French to the next level
extra vocabulary help, a
visual learning review and
Find the French words and gain confidence interactive exercises.
for these islands
1 Hitiat
35e120
$&+(7(85 35e&,6,21
2 Peglouedua 7(50,1(5$
'$375(
&5,(
'e625'5(
)(50$,
92,(
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5e3e7(5

3 lrondelo 3266'(

4 Qesrouellpro '(6&(17(
'25*$1(

5 Din-oleac 02,7,e )/(89(

Veulolne
'(02,7,e
0$*,48(6
$//(0$1'
$%,0(5$, 5 + , 1

Answers
of tempted rats tested tempting heap of rice.
heap of rice tempted pack of tempted rats. Pack $57,&/( (03(5(85
tempting, pack of rats is tempted. Tempting (63$*12/ 520$,1 &+$03'(
Heap of rice, pack of rats. Heap of rice is 92,6,1'( 0$5, &2856(6
tents. Tas de rats tents tta tas de riz tentant. /$/%$1$,6 75203e
rats tents. Tas de riz tentant tenta tas de rats
Tas de riz, tas de rats. Tas de riz tentant, tas de

&
Veulolne Nouvelle Caldonie; Tongue-twister: &2/25e6
dOlron; Qesrouellpro Porquerolles; Din-oleac 6,78e
Peglouedua Guadeloupe; lrondelo le
George Sand; Anagrams: Hitiat Tahiti;
35(1'5( )250$7,21

2
cinnamon; romarin rosemary; Qui suis-je?
815,648( /81,9(56,7e
cherry; pastque watermelon; cannelle 62/,',),e
menu? Cassis blackcurrant; griotte Morello 127('( 352120
Idiom: C) To eat on the run; Whats on the 086,48( 3(56211(/

&
7 + ( 5 $ 3
& (
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3
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7
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& $,*5(

$ 5 ( 7 ( ' 2 / (
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3 , $ $ / ( 3
( 7 3$5)$,7(
8 685
/(:(%

& $ 7 $ 6 7 5 2 3 + (
* ( / 5 ( , 2 1
To enter: Complete Les Mots Flchs grid and note all the letters in the grey squares.
$ 1 7 2 , 6 ( 1 7
Rearrange these letters to spell a French town or city and send this answer, together with
( & 2 1 2 0 , 6 ( (
your name, telephone number and address, to: FRANCE Magazine, Les Mots Flchs,
Mots Flchs winner Archant House, Oriel Road, Cheltenham GL50 1BB. Entries close 3 June, 2015.
The April Mots Flchs quiz winner Last months Les Mots Flchs answers will be posted on our website www.francemag.com/quiz and
(solution above) is Kim Willing, from
Hornchurch, Essex. The mystery town appear in the July issue, on sale on 3 June, 2015. The answers to this months competition will be on
was Limoges. the website from 10 June, 2015 and in the August issue on sale on 8 July, 2015.

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


Tasderiztasderatstasderiztentanttasderatstentstasderiz
tentanttentatasderatstentstasderatstentsttatasderiztentant

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 97


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

Be seen by
over
48,500
Francophiles
To advertise your active
breaks and special interest
holidays, contact
Stuart on:
 +44 (0)1242 216099
 advertising@francemag.com
98 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 2
KEY
1 Full colour picture
2 Dpartement number 1
3 Nearest town
PARIS 4 Dpartement name
NORTH EAST 5 Sleeping capacity
NORTH WEST 6 Property description
7 Weekly rental range ( in or ) 3 COLLIOURE, PYRNESORIENTALES 4
8 Contact details 5 CAPACITY: 24
Five regions of 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
property to let by Numbers 9 - 16 are distances in drive, St. Cyprien, Argeles sur mer, Canet plage all
popular beach resorts. Collioure is a delight with
km, O/S for On-site and N/P 6
colour code cobbled lanes, artisan galleries and beach front
restaurants. Visit Carcassonne, the wonderful UNESCO
for details Not Provided. world heritage city. Drive along the beautiful rugged
coast into Spain, visit vineyards, cathar castles and pretty
South East harbour towns. Enjoy wine tasting, walking and sight
SOUTH EAST 9 Nearest supermarket 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.
South West 10 Nearest airport
SOUTH WEST 11 Nearest beach/swimming 7 545-945 p/w
Contact Jo Staples
North East 12 Nearest tennis
4 Tel: 07801 440605
Email: bellevuemaisonvilla@yahoo.co.uk
13 Nearest golf www.holidaylettings.co.uk/76428
North West 14 Nearest horseriding
15 Nearest restaurant 1 20 10 1 20 5 1 1

Paris 16 Nearest tourist attraction


9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

PROPERTY IN THE NORTH WEST

61 50 61

LA FERTEMACE, NORMANDY NR CARTERET, MANCHE LEPINAY LE COMTE


CAPACITY: 2+2 7+2 CAPACITY: 9 CAPACITY: 3
Two spacious, well equipped gtes each having a large Normandy West Coast South facing well equipped stone detached bakehouse recently
lounge with a double bed-sette and a corner kitchen Near to Carteret, Jersey and Cherbourg/Caen Ferry renovated. Open plan living/dining room kitchen with wood-
area. Gite 1 ground floor; with double bedroom / Terminals. burner, TV, DVD, radio, CD player and dedicated free WiFi. Well
en suite bathroom. Gite 2 with ground floor double A traditional Stone House, with 3 Bedrooms, 2 Ensuite, equipped kitchen inc. washing machine. Mezzanine bedroom
bedroom / en suite shower room; upstairs double Kitchen/Diner, and Lounge, Fully Furnished. with double bed and single futon. Bathroom with shower. The
bedroom, 1 family bedroom, both with en-suite Modernised, UK TV, Heating throughout. Bakehouse is part of a small gated complex of three buildings
bathrooms. Prices include bed linen, towels and heating. Country setting near towns and coast. Gardens, Terrace with generous gardens and parking. Situated on a quiet lane off
with beautiful views, Barbecue and Spacious Parking. the D21 between Passais la Conception and LEpinay le Comte.
Ideal for walking, cycling, birdwatching, water sports, Owners live on site. Excellent cycling opportunities. Three adult
horse-riding, sailing and kayaking. bicycles available. Plenty of walking and fishing in the area.
Close to historic D-Day beaches and sites. Prices include gas, electricity and heating (wood for the
Easy drive to Mont St Michel and Bayeux Tapistry. woodburner) all bedlinen, towels and welcome tray. Mid-week
Long lets available. breaks and weekend breaks available with flexible dates to suit
140-550 p/w your travel plans. Contact the owners for prices. Pets welcome.
Contact John and Chris Gibson 280-395 p/w
Tel: 0033 2 33 30 12 68 200-300 p/w
Fax: 0033 2 33 30 12 70 Contact Details:
Tel: (01728) 688309 Contact Details: Susan and Philip Harrison
Email: john.gibson@nordnet.fr Tel: 0033 2 33 96 13 67. Email: hh.aspp@gmail.com
www.normandy-gites.co.uk Email: norman.maison@gmail.com
www.normanmaison.co.uk www.lapouliniere.co.uk

5 145 10 10 10 10 8 10 7 30 7 10 12 10 2 3 10 113 10 3 25 5 5 16

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 99


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

PROPERTY IN THE SOUTH EAST

NEAR BEAULIEU SUR MER


06
NT ED
RE ATUR
AL

CAPACITY: 5
FE

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

1 12 .005 1 N/A N/A 0.01 .5

69
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
PLACE DES CLESTINS country, you are bound to find your perfect
retreat at www.francepropertyshop.com
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 Advertise sale
te
various eras, this decor lends true warmth to a
one-of-a-kind flat.
your priva tle as
Rent this apartment with AppartAmbiance is perfect from as lit
for enjoying sunny days in Lyon! 65+VAT
1120 p/w
Contact Juliette Roux
Tel : +33 (0)4 78 29 82 47
www.appart-ambiance.com
www.francepropertyshop.com
contact@appartambiance.com Your essential guide to buying property in France


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100 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION

PROPERTY IN THE SOUTH EAST

03 11 06

BETWEEN VICHY & ROANNE, ALLIER LE VIEUX RELAIS, CARCASSONNE NR MONTELIMAR, PROVENCE
CAPACITY: 4 CAPACITY: 214 CAPACITY: 26
GENESTE PETITE GRANGE. Superbly converted stone Near Carcassonne, Minerve & the Canal du Midi in the heart Rent our Petite Maison (sleeps 6), Sunflower Residence
barn in the Bourbonnais Mts between Vichy and of the Languedoc, we offer B&B, table dhtes dinner and (sleeps 4) or Atelier (sleeps 2) in ancient hilltop village.
Roanne. Extremely comfortable accommodation, oak self-catering weekly lets at our beautifully restored 18c We greet you with a welcome meal of Provenal
fitted kitchen with new appliances. French-style, coaching inn with flower filled courtyard garden and a flavours. Enjoy rustic charm, comfortable spacious
designer-made furniture, Moroccan details. swimming pool. The perfect base for exploring this accommodations, parking, private terraces with view,
Romantic gallery bedroom (double) and pretty twin beautiful and up and coming corner of France. shady gardens, a painters paradise. We offer fully
bedroom, superb views. Italian shower, separate loo. New for 2015: During July and August 2015 the house equipped kitchens (dishwasher, microwave, teakettle
Private terraces, BBQ, sunbeds. Quiet, unspoilt rural will be available on either a catered or self-catering etc.), A/C/heating, laundry facility, (meal, linen, towels,
location. Great walking, riding and sightseeing. basis, contact us for more details. energy included in price). Chteauneuf du Pape,
Resident English owners. Free WIFI. Gigondas, Die, Hermitage, within easy reach, discover
PRICING INFORMATION: colourful markets, history, art, lavender fields, potteries,
Awarded maximum 3 STARS by Regional Tourist Board. B&B 75-85 for 2; 120-135 for 4 Extra bed 20
LAST YEARS PRICES HELD. hike or bike.
Dinner from 20 per person Picnic lunches available

385-530 p/w ALL INC Weekly self-catered lets from 2000

Contact Details: 540-850 p/w


Contact: Audrey Semple,
Geneste Petite Grange Valerie & Mike Slowther Website: www.LaMagnanerie.com
Tel: 0033 (0) 470555594 Tel: 0033 (0)4 68 91 69 29 Email: UWLaMagnanerie@aol.com
Email: geneste.pg@wanadoo.fr E: mike@levieuxrelais.net Phone (CAN): 1 (416) 533-0391
Visit: geneste-petite-grange.co.uk www.levieuxrelais.net (FR): 33 4.75.46.25.34

16 180 15 4 30 7 4 4 0.5 35 O/S 0.5 35 0.5 5 5 1 150 1 1 7 1 0.2 5

LOOKING TO ADVERTISE YOUR


RENTAL PROPERTY IN FRANCE?
REACH THOUSANDS OF FRANCOPHILES
VIA OUR NEW HOLIDAYS IN FRANCE PACKAGE

PACKAGE INCLUDES:
6 months print advertising in our classied rental section
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To advertise your holiday rental,


please contact Alex Kirton on Brough
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you by o
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Introductory offer: 350 + VAT for a years
digital listing + 6 months in print

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 101


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

PROPERTY IN THE SOUTH EAST

06
France & Monaco Rentals

NICE COTE DAZUR


CAPACITY: 14
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
Exclusive Vacation Rental Properties Throughout France and Monaco picture above reversible air-conditioning for heating or
cooling, Wifi internet access and a secure car parking
We have a selection of privately owned houses and apartments available for space in the basement of the building. There is excellent
public transport very nearby (several bus routes pass the
short-term rental all year round in the most stunning areas of France. door) and Monaco, Menton, Cannes, Antibes and Italy
are within easy reach. No fixed change - over day
All of our properties are charming All with Cable television with a bookings can be for any length of time. 10% discount
and beautifully furnished. selection of English Channels for bookings of 2 weeks or more. Sorry, no pets.
All properties have internet Free international phone calls 295-495 p/w
access. with some of our properties Contact Malcolm and Claudia Pim
Phone: 00 44 (0)1263 733336
Phone: +33 6 80 32 41 34 Mobile: 00 44 (0)7900 215733
Email: villa.kappas@yahoo.co.uk
email: information@france-monaco-rentals.com Website: www.villakappas.com

www.france-monaco-rentals.com 0.1 2 0.1 1.5 1.5 - 0.1 0.1

66

Visit France today


at www.completefrance.com
PYRNESORIENTALES
CAPACITY: 24
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 SHARE news and tips online with
coast into Spain, visit vineyards, cathar castles and pretty
harbour towns. Enjoy wine tasting, walking and sight seeing.
Brits living in France in our forum
You will feel relaxed as soon as you arrive at Belle Vue, with its READ inspirational real-life stories
simple stylish decor and the peaceful setting! Nearest airports from those whove made the move
Perpignan 20km, Girona (Spain) 90km & Beziers 130km.
KEEP up-to-date with essential expert
599-799 p/w advice on moving to France
Contact Jo Staples FIND your dream home
Tel: 07801 440605 across the Channel
Email: bellevuemaisonvilla@yahoo.co.uk
www.holidaylettings.co.uk/76428
FRANCE IS JUST A CLICK AWAY
1 20 10 1 20 5 1 1 AT www.completefrance.com
102 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com
HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION

PROPERTY IN THE SOUTH WEST

The Summer
House La Ruche
Our latest addition, A brilliantly restored
completely village house of great
refurbished and character, near Sarlat,
re-furnished to and very quietly
provide holiday
comfort.
Perfection situated with no
passing traffic.

for two
The Old in the Dordogne Les Rosiers
Courthouse
A beautifully Your choice of high A recent ground-up

presented historic quality private homes renovation


offering immense
home, furnished charm, and a private

Just perfect
with antiques, a sun-deck off the
Kingsize bed, and a bedroom.
private garden.

Le Plassial for couples


Five star luxury!
These exclusive and comfortable Chez DD
Impeccably A true French village
decorated, with a properties are situated in quiet, house, well restored
south facing terrace, historic, golden-stoned villages, in the up to today's
and 2 heart of the Dordogne River region - standards, with 2
double en-suite with easy parking and restaurants double en-suite
bedrooms. within a stroll. All have free wi-fi, bedrooms.
landline phones, and UK satellite TV.
Full details are available at www.
The Garden PerfectionForTwo.com or by phoning
House
the English owners on
A delightful 18th
[00-33] 553.044.762 All 1-bedroom
La Chouette
century cottage in an A very spacious 2
elevated and secluded houses are just 495 per week. bedroom home with
position overlooking extensive private
the river valley, with 2 gardens and
bedrooms and www.PerfectionForTwo.com great views.
extensive private
gardens.

47 12 81
82

LOT VALLEY/TARNETGARONNE NAJAC, AVEYRON SOUTH WEST


CAPACITY: 222 CAPACITY: 210 Mazamet, Midi-Pyrnes
From tiny cottage to secluded manoir, we offer a A warm welcome awaits you at the El Camino de Najac, Bed & breakfast: 5 double rooms
charming selection of quality country homes with pools. ideally situated on the edge of this beautiful medieval La Villa de Mazamet is a luxury B&B, in the heart of SW
Many are available all year. Halcyon Leisure is a small town and perfect for exploring the Aveyron. France, with five beautifully appointed bedrooms, pool,
family company with 23 years experience and we know Well-appointed rooms include both antique and Le Petit Spa & table dhtes restaurant. Situated in the
all our properties personally. Discover this unspoilt area, market town of Mazamet, La Villa provides a fantastic
handmade furniture, modern bathrooms and
steeped in history, architecture, and surrounded by base from which to explore this historic corner of France.
wonderful countryside and vineyards. Visit our website magnificent views. After enjoying our deluxe breakfast
(chateau views included), take your pick from historic On the doorstep to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites,
today or give us a call - we are here to help. Vineyards, Mountains & Medieval Villages.
sites, over 80km of way marked trails or simply relax in
From 110 per night, per room, inc. breakfast.
our expansive garden and woodland. Discounts for
groups & longer stays. From 45 per room per night
including breakfast.

Contact Halycon Leisure. 45 per room per night


Jean and Garry Cooper Carolyn & Rob Cornthwaite
Tel/Fax: UK: 020 8559 7351 Tel: +33 5 65 81 29 19
E-mail: enquiries@halcyonleisure.net Email: carolyn@elcaminodenajac.com
110 p/night
www.halcyonleisure.com www.elcaminodenajac.com Peter Friend
Tel: +33 563 979 033
E-Mail: info@villademazamet.com
www.villademazamet.com
6 50 O/S 3 23 10 2 15 8 87 0.4 0.35 55 4 0.35 1

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 103


INTERVIEW

Who inspired you to study looking at the Mediterranean,


French? watching the sunset with
My French teacher, Madame the most simple, fantastic
Short. She was a dead-ringer food imaginable.
for Juliette Grco, with long
dark hair and perfume that Where have you travelled as
came across the classroom. an adult in France?
She taught me through We have a friend with a gte
school. I adored her and on the Atlantic side and
loved the language. I went we went there a lot when
on to study it at university. the children were small.
It was easy and there were
When did you first visit wonderful beaches. My
France? younger son studied French
With my parents after and philosophy at university
I passed the 11-plus. They and swung himself a year in
thought it would be a good Biarritz so that was an excuse
idea to take me to Paris. The to go there a few times.
minute we got off of the
Your book Memoirs of a

My France
airport bus, I smelled Paris;
the aromas of coffee and Not So Dutiful Daughter
croissants on every street plays on the title of a book
corner. The caf culture, the by Simone de Beauvoir. Was
open doors it was summer, she an inspiration to you?
it was glorious. We went to She was and that was thanks
Montmartre for that to my teacher, Madame
fantastic view and up all
the steps in Notre-Dame
cathedral. I just loved it.
Jenni Short, who made us read
Memoirs of a Dutiful
Daughter in French. What

Murray
struck me was de Beauvoirs
Did you stay in France description of how different
as a student? she was from her mother.
I spent a year there, most of And it wasnt her mothers
it in Paris working as a tour The presenter of Radio 4s Womans fault. I was a teenage girl in
operator for an American
company. Wed pick up
Hour talks to Zo McIntyre about the 1960s and I wanted to
wear makeup and put my
hordes of tourists on a coach beach shacks and Paris cabarets hair down, and everything
to take round Paris. All I was a battle because my
had to do was sell tours and who were very charming and a shack with a covering but mother had been brought up
accompany them. I think Ive drove us around in their open to the sea and sand. in a completely different era.
been to the Lido and Moulin [Citron] deux chevaux. The only food was fresh So de Beauvoir saved me
Rouge more than any other One evening we went to bread, moules marinires, really, because I managed
Englishwoman. But it was Palavas which, in the 1970s, chocolate mousse and local not to blame my mother.
great! I remember in spring was just a long stretch of wine. It was the most perfect
walking across the Pont golden sand. On it was evening of my life; just Is there anywhere else in
Alexandre III (pictured) to France you want to visit?
the office on the Champs- Ive never been up the Eiffel
lyses and thinking: Oh Tower! Every time I go,
my goodness, I am in Paris there are queues a mile long
its the most beautiful and I cant be bothered. So
place on Earth. I think for my 70th birthday
PHOTOGRAPHS: EMILIE SANDY; FOTOLIA

Im going to book the Eiffel


What was it like studying in Tower restaurant and Im
the South of France? finally going up.
I did a months course in
Montpellier. It was just Jenni can be heard
gorgeous. We were about 20 weekdays on Womans
and met lots of young men Hour, BBC Radio 4, 10am.

106 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


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