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STROLL IN THE CAPITAL OF WINE ON WHY SHE FELL IN LOVE WITH FRANCE

! ry 87
TRAVEL | FOOD & WINE | CULTURE | HISTORY November 2015 | Issue 206

Coast HOLIDAYS
WITH A DOG
to coast
Where to find the most
Great places to stay
with Fido in tow

beautiful kilometre
in France Brush up your
French with our
essential tips

HERMIONES ALL YOU NE


HOMECOMING TO PLAN A T ED
The awesome Be RIP
st accomm
sailing ship you for every b odation
udge
wont want to miss Rout
e-planner m t
flights, ferr ap
ies and tra for
Rest ins
MORZINE aurant and
recommend caf
Your guide to the ations
Holid
charming ski resort ay
inspiration

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CONTENTS
November 2015

38

WIN
GREAT PRIZES

58
TO BE WON
FIND SERGETTE THE SNAIL 20
TAKE A PHOTO 36
WRITE A LETTER 36
DO A CROSSWORD 97
TRAVEL
.
BON APPTIT

PHOTOGRAPHS: LES ATELIERS APICIUS, POLIGNY/PHILIPPE GIRAUD; DAVID COMPAIN/VILLE DE ROCHEFORT; FRANCK GUIZIOU/HEMIS.FR
08 FRANCE AT A GLANCE 77 SAY CHEESE ALL YEAR
Let our stunning images take you on 58 ON BOARD THE HERMIONE Pick the best fromages according to the
a whistle-stop tour of France. Visit the replica sailing ship in Rochefort season with the help of a new cookbook.
after her voyage to the US.
17 PRT PARTIR 78 FOOD & WINE
Plan your next trip with our round-up 64 NEW CALEDONIA Visit a mushroom festival in the Auvergne
of travel news and events, and route map. Get a taste of France on the other side and savour our wines of the month.
of the world on these exciting islands.
26 ROUND TRIP 80 MAKE THE PERFECT SALAD
SAM INGLES/OT DE MORZINE; CAMILLE MOIRENC/HEMIS.FR; OT SAINT-MILION/HEURISKO

Enjoy a drive through the countryside 70 SAINT-MILION Rosa Jackson takes inspiration from
just south of the Caen ferry port. Take a stroll through the celebrated Lyon, Frances gastronomic capital.
wine-making village near Bordeaux.
38 DOG-FRIENDLY HOLIDAYS 82 EAT OUT IN CHARENTE-MARITIME
See a selection of stays that give your Find the best restaurants in and around
canine chums a warm welcome.
JOIE DE VIVRE La Rochelle and enjoy a seafood feast.

44 NORMANDY WALK 15 STEPHEN CLARKE 87 TAKE HOME


Follow the dramatic coastline that leads Our Paris columnist takes the taxi and Blogger Clotilde Dusoulier shows
around to Le Mont-Saint-Michel. ends up having a bumpy ride. a delicious way to cook with snails.

52 MAGICAL MORZINE 33 MARKET VIGNETTE 88 BEAUJOLAIS NOUVEAU


See what the Alpine ski resort has to Author Amanda Hodgkinson shops for Dominic Rippon explains how this once-
offer visitors both on and off the slopes. chickens near her home in Gascony. maligned wine is making a comeback.

ORDER YOUR CALENDAR ON PAGE 34! SEE PAGE 42 TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

4 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


64
52

70

106
80 EVERY MONTH
23 HOLIDAY PLANNER
Organise your next trip with
PAGE 19

LA CULTURE
. our handy guide to travel routes.
PAGE 44 PAGE 26
PAGE 17
74 HISTORY TRAIL 24 TRAVELLERS TALES
We look at the life and work of Louis Discover where three visitors to France
Daguerre, the father of photography. love to go and what they like to do. PAGE 79

PAGE 41
91 FRANCE ON FILM 28 NEWS
PAGE 82
A nationwide UK festival celebrates the Read about the climate change summit
PAGE 88
best in Gallic cinema from different eras. and other headlines from France. PAGE 52
PAGE 58
PAGE 70 PAGE 78
92 REVIEWS 36 BOTE AUX LETTRES
All the latest films, DVDs and books. Have your say and share travel tips
Plus five minutes with author Julia Stagg. to win a great prize.
PAGE 33 PAGE 12
PAGE 38 PAGE 18
94 LANGUAGE 96 LANGUAGE GAMES
We find the best resources for brushing Improve your French with our great PAGE 22
up your language skills. selection of fun puzzles and games.

106 PETULA CLARK 98 HOLIDAY RENTALS PAGE 10


The popular singer talks about her career Use our region-by-region guide to find
in France and her favourite places. the property that suits your needs. ON THE COVER

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 5


COVER IMAGE: THE ABBEY OF
LE MONT-SAINT-MICHEL, NORMANDY
BY STPHANE LEMAIRE/HEMIS.FR

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travel writing. Alongside its la rputation inconteste, domine
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ALPINE REFLECTIONS
Mont Pourri (3,779m) in the Vanoise National Park looks down on
www.completefrance.com the Haute-Tarentaise Valley of Savoie, near theFRANCE
hamlet of Le Monal9
MAGAZINE
PHOTOGRAPH: PIERRE JACQUES/HEMIS.FR
TURQUOISE DELIGHT
Boats moor in the sheltered waters of Rondinara Beach,
near Bonifacio in south-east Corsica
PHOTOGRAPH: STPHANE LEMAIRE/HEMIS.FR

10 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


ACTOR TAKES CENTRE STAGE
Charles-Arthur Bourgeoiss bronze statue of a Greek actor looks over
the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris, with the Panthon in the background
PHOTOGRAPH: YANN DOELAN/HEMIS.FR

BIG CHEESE IN THE AUVERGNE


Artisan cheesemaker Alexis Meironen shows off his work at his farm in
the village of Murat in the Volcans dAuvergne Regional Natural Park
PHOTOGRAPH: JOHN FRUMM/HEMIS.FR

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 11


READY FOR THE HIGH JUMP
The 182m-high Pont de lArtuby, near the Gorges du Verdon
in the Var dpartement, is popular with bungee jumpers
PHOTOGRAPH: FRANCK CHAPUT/HEMIS.FR

DINERS IN THE PINK


Customers relax outside the Maison Rose bistro in the
Montmartre district of Paris. This image appears in the
FRANCE Calendar 2016, which can be ordered on page 34
PHOTOGRAPH: DANITA DELIMONT STOCK/AWL-IMAGES.COM

12 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


WIN
ONE NIGHTS STAY FOR 2 PEOPLE IN
A CHAMBRE CHARME AT THE HOTEL
DU PARC IN HARDELOT INCLUDING
BREAKFAST AND LOCAL ATTRACTIONS

To enter this competition go to http://www.completefrance.com/community-forum/competitions-and-offers

Hardelot is a resort on the Opal Coast a couple of kilometres away from Boulogne-sur-Mer and easily accessible from
the UK via the channel tunnel. With forests, sand dunes, gastronomy, golf and horse riding, as well as long stretches of
sandy beaches and cycle paths, Hardelot has something for all ages anytime of the year! This year Boulogne-sur-Mer
and the surrounding region is oering you the chance to win a stay in Hardelot when you answer one simple question.

QUESTION : WHAT IS THE NAME OF THE NATIONAL SEA CENTER


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The prize is valid for 2 people with a value of 300. This prize is non refundable and cannot be
exchanged for any other products or services. Travel not included.

THE PACKAGE INCLUDES:



One nights stay in a chambre charme at the Hotel du Parc in Hardelot
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COLUMN

How to be
a Parisian
Paris-based Stephen Clarke
gives his humorous take on
life in the capital

I
was stuck in a Parisian traffic jam, in a taxi. Parisian has stories about drivers refusing to take
Normally this would irritate me its absurd to you where you want to go and I dont mean
pay someone to take you nowhere. If I want to Siberia, just a part of Paris where they think they
go nowhere, I can do that myself. But I wasnt might not get a fare.
paying for the taxi, so I didnt feel quite so bad Things have changed, he said. The younger
about sitting in a stationary car. drivers are much friendlier (I agree), and having
On the other hand, I knew that the people who a registered driver with a badge means clients are
were footing the bill for the taxi, a TV news Stephen Clarkes much safer. But his speech was an obvious symptom
channel, would be irritated about paying for latest book is of the way the world is changing.
someone not to appear on their programme. How the French France is doing its best to protect the old ways
Millions of French people dont come on their Won Waterloo (Or for example, bookshops, cinemas, theatres and food
programme without being paid for not doing so, if Think They Did), industries are all protected by the state. This is why
you get what I mean. a light-hearted cinema tickets in Paris are half the price of those in
So I considered suggesting to the taxi driver that examination of London, and why the streets are paved with goats
he might like to change into a faster-moving lane. Frances enduring cheese (well, almost). French life has to stay French.
This, I know, is a risky strategy. No cabbie likes to fascination with But some changes, like booking online
be told how to drive, and Parisian taxi drivers are Napolon. apartments instead of hotels and online cars instead
notoriously touchy. of taxis, seem to be charging through.
Before I could speak, though, he asked me what I thought that maybe, instead of competing with
time I had to be at the TV station, and said we were OK this these private cars, the taxis should go the other way and offer
jam was caused by roadworks. As soon as we cleared them, we an old-school taxi experience the driver smokes, yells at old
would be cruising. ladies crossing the street and takes the long, expensive scenic
We started talking about his job, and I asked him if he was route. Hotels could do the same thing mini-dictators at
being affected by the new online taxi services. Immediately, reception, ladies of dubious morals in the lobby, shared
it was as if a traffic jam had cleared in his head, and the words hole-in-the-floor toilets.
began to pour out. No, not a good idea, I decided, best not to mention it.
PHOTOGRAPH: NATACHA HENRY; ILLUSTRATION: TIM WESSON

He complained about unfair competition Parisian taxi Anyway, by now we had cleared the traffic jam and were
drivers have to take exams and pay about 200,000 for almost at our destination.
a licence, whereas anyone can become one of these online Except that the driver took a wrong turning and began
drivers instantly, and for free. He also admitted that one reason heading away from the TV station. I was now perilously close
for the success of the online service is that Parisian taxi drivers to being late. When I mentioned this, he apologised and said his
have a reputation for being unfriendly. This is true. Every satnav had steered him off course. I thought, satnav? Arent
licensed taxi drivers meant to know the city? These things are
useless, he said. It should have warned me about the
No cabbie likes to be told how roadworks, too. You cant trust the internet.
to drive, and Parisian taxi It was reassuring. A Frenchman was blaming someone else
for a problem that he had caused. French life wasnt changing
drivers are notoriously touchy so quickly after all.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 15


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PRT PARTIR
All the inspiration you need to
plan your next trip to France

RODINS RETURN
T
he Paris museum dedicated to displaying many of his famous pieces, how he lived. The parquet floors have
Auguste Rodin, the father including The Kiss. been refurbished and the wood-panelled
of modern sculpture, is The three-year project has involved rooms spruced up with paint from
re-opening this month after updating the fabric of the building and British company Farrow & Ball.
a 16 million refurbishment. redesigning the exhibition space so it Disabled visitors have easier access,
PHOTOGRAPH: SYLVAIN SONNET/HEMIS.FR

The Muse Rodin is housed in the provides both a chronology of Rodins thanks to a new lift, toilets and widened
Htel Biron, an 18th-century palace life and a thematic exploration of his paths in the courtyard, which will enable
standing in three hectares of parkland work, with a number of his pieces in even more people to enjoy the works of
near Les Invalides. The renovations are plaster being displayed for the first time. one of Frances most accomplished artists.
the first to be carried out on the building A room named Rodin at the Htel The Muse Rodin opens on
since Rodin used it as a studio from Biron features the artists furniture, 12 November, the 175th anniversary of
1908 until his death in 1917. The sculptures and items from his collection the artists birth. For more information
museum opened two years later, of antiquities, so visitors can imagine visit www.musee-rodin.fr

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 17


BOOK
NOW, GO
LATER...
CAMARGUE BY BIKE
Cycling enthusiasts will discover
an unspoilt area of France on
a tour organised by slow holiday
specialist Inntravel. The self-guided
itinerary, available from 26 March
to 1 July 2016, will take you through
the olive groves of Provence and
the wetlands of the Camargue,
famous for its flamingos and white
horses. Towns en route include

What to do in... stages a biennial celebration Arles, Saint-Rmy-de-Provence and

November
of dance, which celebrates its Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. Prices
20th anniversary this month. start from 845pp based on two
Held at the Palais des sharing, including six nights B&B,
Festivals et des Congrs three dinners, cycle hire and
(pictured below) from luggage transfers.
sale on 19 November, the 20-29 November, the Festival Tel: 01653 617 000
third Thursday of the month. de Danse features emerging www.inntravel.co.uk
In the town of Beaujeu talents and established stars,
(pictured above), five days and also runs dance
of festivities begin on the masterclasses led by artists
Wednesday night with and choreographers.

PHOTOGRAPHS: HERV HUGHES/HEMIS.FR; KARIN BAREMAN/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO; JANET RIDLEY/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO; RICHARD SOBERKA/HEMIS.FR
a dinner, torchlight parade Tel: (Fr) 4 92 98 62 77
and son et lumire show www.festivaldedanse-
before the ceremonial cannes.com
IN THE PICTURE opening of the new vintage at GASCONY LIVING
Photography enthusiasts will a minute after midnight. CINEMA SHORTS Large families looking for
not want to miss the annual Celebrations continue with Head to the Cinma des a self-catering stay in south-west
Paris Photo Fair at the a cabaret evening, markets Cinastes in Montmartre for France next year will find plenty of
glass-domed Grand Palais and themed dinners the start of the international room at Maison Fourcs, managed
(pictured), just off the Tel: (Fr) 4 74 69 26 98 Courts Devant short film by The Gascony Secret. The
Champs-lyses. The event, www.sarmentelles.com festival, which is being held property, near the Plus Beau Village
being held from 12-15 See page 88 for Dominic from 23-29 November in of Fourcs in the Gers dpartement,
November, is the worlds Rippons views on and around Place de Clichy. has been transformed from two
largest art fair dedicated to Beaujolais Nouveau. Categories range from cottages into one large holiday
photography, and showcases thrillers and music to home with space for up to 12
public and private collections DANCE TIME advertising. There are also guests. Facilities include a private
ranging from the 19th Although best known for its masterclasses where film- swimming pool, an orchard and
century to the present day. film festival, the glitzy makers meet the audience. a large garden with views of the
International galleries and art Riviera resort of Cannes also www.courtsdevant.com countryside. Prices start from
book dealers are among 1,500 per week.
more than 160 exhibitors Tel: (Fr) 5 53 54 54 31
who have already signed up. www.gascony-secret.com
Tel: (Fr) 1 47 56 64 69
www.parisphoto.com
The camera
RED FOR GO phone wa
Make a beeline for Burgundy invented in 19s
9
in time for the release of the by French 7
fruity red Beaujolais entrepreneu
Nouveau which goes on Philippe Kha r
n.

18 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


READY TO GO

Ring of
remembrance
A new memorial in Nord-Pas-de-Calais is a moving
symbol of the losses incurred on the Western Front

R
emembrance sites in Nord- which are laid out in an oval more than soldiers with the same surname such as
Pas-de-Calais now include an 300 metres in circumference. The names Johnson or Smith. Famous names include
impressive and moving tribute are in alphabetical order, in all simplicity, the English war poet Wilfred Owen,
to the 580,000 soldiers who without note of religion, rank or whose verses brought home the horror
died on this part of the Western Front nationality. Equal in death. and pain of war, and the Canadian John
during World War I. The Parisian architect Philippe Prost, McCrae, whose poem In Flanders Fields
LAnneau de la Mmoire (The Ring of who designed the memorial, said his became the symbol of remembrance with
Remembrance) is located next to Frances aim was to combine art and history its images of the poppies growing there.
National Cemetery of Notre-Dame de to give a form to mans common identity The Ring of Remembrance was
Lorette, south-west of Lens-Livin. and brotherhood to serve as their inaugurated by President Franois
The names of the Fallen friend and lasting memory. Hollande on 11 November last year. In
foe from more than 40 countries are For historian Yves Le Maner, who June came a further addition to the areas
inscribed in white letters on was closely involved with the project, World War I memorials: Lens14-18
500 gold-coloured steel this extraordinary monument expresses Centre dHistoire Guerre et Paix in
panels (pictured the epitome of mass death, but also of Souchez. This impressive, modern
inset), so many individuals who existed and museum presents the events in the Artois
whose talent and intelligence were region and French Flanders during World
lost to humanity. War I in chronological order. There are
Looking around inside the ring, the archive films, maps and a display of
sheer number of names is around 400 photographs, but the most
overwhelming. There are interesting section is where visitors can
whole panels of consult the records of the soldiers
commemorated on the Ring
of Remembrance.
Patricia Stoughton
Tel: (Fr) 3 21 67 66 66
www.tourism-lenslievin.co.uk

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 19


READY TO GO

A Francophiles guide to...


Canterbury a native speaker or attend the
Find a French free taster sessions.
connection on For a mid-morning break
take a seat at Caf Saint Pierre
your doorstep in St Peters Street in the city

S
piritual home of the centre (tel: 01227 456 791).
Church of England, Enjoy a caf au lait and home-
the city of Canterbury, made ptisserie, and soak up ABOVE: The medieval cathedral is at the heart of
like its French twin this authentic slice of France Canterbury; RIGHT: The terrace of the Caf du Soleil
Reims, has a beautiful before continuing your visit.
medieval cathedral that stands Visit the cathedral and Stop for lunch at The mains from 10.95), where
proudly over a historic centre. learn how it was rebuilt in Goods Shed (tel: 01227 459 the food is inspired by the
Canterbury is a short hop 1070 by the Norman bishop 153, www.thegoodsshed.co.uk, flavours of Provence. Opt for
from France and has several Lanfranc after a devastating mains from 16.50), a foodie dishes such as bouillabaisse,
Gallic connections to charm fire. Explore the old centre, haven in Station Road West. aubergine gratin or crab and
residents and visitors. with its narrow cobblestone The restaurants lunchtime prawn ravioli.
To brush up on your streets, timber-framed bites include braised scallop After your meal, visit the
French head for the Adult buildings and weavers and duck confit. While away Curzon independent picture
Education Centre in Knight houses, once home to French part of the afternoon in the house in Westgate Hall Road
Avenue (tel: 03000 412 222, Huguenots who introduced food hall which is stocked (www.curzoncinemas.co.uk),
www.kentadulteducation. silk weaving to the city in the with French treats. which regularly screens
co.uk). The centre organises 17th century. Their legacy can Enjoy an early dinner at French-language films.
a range of language courses also be seen at the cathedral, Caf du Soleil in Pound Lane Peter Stewart
and encourages learners which holds a service in (tel: 01227 479 999, For more on the city go to
to turn up and chat with French on Sunday afternoons. www.cafedusoleil.co.uk, www.canterbury.co.uk

Read all Les aventures de Sergette


about it...
Encourage a young child to fall
Our intrepid new gastropod Our resident
for the charms of the City of Sergette is out and about in snail is
Light with Paris, Up, Up and France. Her adventures this en vacances
Away by Hlne Druvert month take her to a famous
wine region... do you know
(Thames and Hudson, 14.95). where she is?
This beautifully crafted book LUXURY
WIN! HANDMADE
features lasercut drawings that
help to tell the story of the CHOCOLATES
Eiffel Tower as it sets itself
loose from the ground and
embarks on a flight over the
capitals beautiful sights.

If you know the town that Sergette is visiting (its wine auction has a worldwide reputation) send
the answer, plus your name and address, to editorial@francemag.com or write us a postcard
(address on page 6) and you could win a 15-piece assortment of luxury handmade chocolates
PHOTOGRAPHS: FOTOLIA

that come in an elegant mahogany box (worth a total of 87) courtesy of French chocolatier
ZChocolat (www.zchocolat.com). Deadline for entries is 4 November, 2015.

The winner of the September competition is Kate Alcroft, from East Grinstead in West Sussex,
who correctly identified the MusoParc Alsia in Alise-Sainte-Reine in the Cte-dOr dpartement.

20 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


BARGE CRUISES IN
SOUTHERN FRANCE ON
THE CANAL DU MIDI

Caroline offers a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere and


a variant of the dream: Living like God in France. Caroline
is run very personally by the owner-couple and cruises
the more than 300 year old Canal du Midi, close to the
Mediterranean, the Camargue and Provence.
The Hotel-Barge Caroline offers plenty of space for her three
roomy cabins, each with its own private bathroom and
shower. Youll nd also a comfortable dining and launch area
and the al fresco dining area up on deck.
The unique scenery in the heart of Southern France will get
you caught immediately. The canal surrounded by plane
trees, the unique oval locks, aqueducts, the many vineyards.
Enjoy the delightful evenings up on deck after another
4-course bon vivant dinner.
The daily excursions guided personally by Uli in Carolines
air-conditioned Mercedes minivan are showing the beauty
and history of the Languedoc-Roussillon.
Perhaps the most memorable part of your trip will be the
creative daily gourmet dishes prepared by your Chef Ute.
They are paired with the best of local wines chosen by Uli,
your Captain.
We, Ute & Uli, are here to make your holiday your experience
of a lifetime. Being sailors all our lives now we love to share
our personal experiences with you on the inland waterways,
showing you our France.
Wouldnt it be a shame, if you had to wait until next year?

Ute & Uli Weber


Phone from abroad:
+33 - 603 309 522 HOTEL BARGE
Email: info@bargecaroline.com
www.bargecaroline.com CAROLINE
Quick guide to... TRAVEL
Perpignan
Ive heard that the I see its near the changes daily. Enjoy
NEWS

city feels Spanish. Is coast too any good a cocktail or two at


that right? beaches nearby? Le Zinc bar (tel: (Fr) 4
Yes. Capital of the Absolutely! Canet-Plage 68 35 08 80), or paint
Pyrnes-Orientales in the resort of the town red at Le Cosy
dpartement, the town Canet-en-Roussillon is (tel: (Fr) 4 68 66 02 57),
is just 30 kilometres a short drive along the a nightclub-style bar
from the border with D617; the wide, golden with music for dancing.
Spain and was once the sandy beach stretches TAKING THE TRAIN
capital of the Kingdom for miles along the That all sounds great. Rail travellers to France this winter will
of Majorca. Mediterranean coast. Where should I stay? be able to book with Voyages-sncf.com
For a comfortable stay from 15 October. Tickets go on sale at 5am
Im intrigued! Whats What about places on the edge of the city for all French routes between 13 December
there to see? to eat and drink? centre try the Hotel Ibis and 4 February 2016 inclusive. Whether you
The attractive medieval There are lots. For Perpignan Centre (tel: are heading to the ski slopes, stocking up
centre is filled with a great cup of coffee in (Fr) 4 68 35 62 62, on treats at a Christmas market or enjoying
narrow alleys and a comfy chair head to www.accorhotels.com), a city break, it is advisable to book early.
orange and peach-hued Le RpublicCaf (tel: with 102 well-appointed Tel: 0844 848 5848
buildings. Wander (Fr) 4 68 51 11 64). in rooms and a restaurant. www.voyages-sncf.com
around the central Place de la Rpublique. Doubles from 74.
square, Place Pri, For a spot of people ALL-WEATHER PARIS
which is next to the watching, theres Le Get me there quick! Visitors to Paris now have a handy free app
flower-fringed River Grand Caf de la Poste Perpignan-Rivesaltes telling them what to see or do according to
Bassa and is full of (tel: (Fr) 4 68 51 25 65), airport is 8km from the season and the weather. The Seasonal
charming cafs. You in the city centre next the city centre and is Cities app, which can be downloaded on to
then pass Le Castillet to Le Castillet. When it served by Ryanair from an iPhone or iPad, has just been updated
(main picture), a small comes to lunch the city London Stansted. Return for autumn. Once you have arrived, the
medieval fortress doesnt disappoint; try flights from 39.99. app recommends activities based on the
serving as the main Lou Grilladou (tel: (Fr) Peter Stewart weather forecast for the next few days,
entry point to the old 4 68 34 86 81, www. allowing you to make the most of your stay
city. A must-see is the restaurant-lou-grilladou. For more information come rain or shine. www.itunes.com
imposing Palace of fr, menus from 13), visit www.perpignan
the Kings of Majorca, which serves classic tourisme.com
which is a testament to French and Catalan
Perpignans rich history food, and Les
and has beautiful views picuriens (tel: (Fr) 4 68
from its position on 67 91 54, menus from
a hill to the south of the 14), another Catalan
old town. place, with a menu that

EUROSTAR UPGRADE
Travel across the Channel with Eurostar this
autumn and you might well be on its latest
generation of trains. The remodelled E300
(pictured above) has an updated livery
and a redesigned interior that includes
passenger information screens, larger seats
PHOTOGRAPHS: FOTOLIA

and power sockets in all coaches, and USB


charging ports in first class. The next stage
in a 1 billion investment will be the launch
of 17 new E320 trains towards the end of
2015. www.eurostar.com

22 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


READY TO GO

ROUTE PLANNER
Plan your journey to France with our handy map and directory
FERRIES P&O Ferries Voyages-sncf.com Blue Islands easyJet Norwegian
Tel: 0871 664 2121 Tel: 0844 848 5848 Tel: 0845 620 2122 Tel: 0330 365 5000 Tel: 0843 378 0888
Brittany Ferries www.easyjet.com www.norwegian.com
www.poferries.com www.voyages-sncf.com www.blue
Tel: 0871 244 1400 islands.com
www.brittany Stena Line Flybe Ryanair
ferries.co.uk Tel: (ROI) 1 204 7777 bmi regional Tel: 0371 700 2000 Tel: 0871 246 0000
AIRLINES Tel: 0330 333 7998 www.flybe.com www.ryanair.com
www.stenaline.ie
Condor Ferries Aer Lingus www.bmi
Tel: 0845 609 1024 Tel: 0871 718 2020 Jet2 Swiss Int. Air
regional.com Tel: 0800 408 1350 Tel: 0845 601 0956
www.condorferries.co.uk www.aerlingus.com
RAIL British Airways www.jet2.com www.swiss.com
DFDS Seaways Eurostar Air France Tel: 0844 493 0787 Lyddair Titan Airways
Tel: 0871 574 7235 Tel: 03448 118 444 Tel: 0871 663 3777 www.british Tel: 01797 322 207 Tel: 01279 680 616
www.dfdsseaways.co.uk www.eurostar.com www.airfrance.co.uk airways.com www.lyddair.com www.titan-
Irish Ferries Eurotunnel Aurigny Air Services CityJet airways.co.uk
Monarch
Tel: (ROI) 818 300 400 Tel: 0844 335 3535 Tel: 01481 822 886 Tel: 0871 405 2020 Tel: 0871 940 5040
www.irishferries.com www.eurotunnel.com www.aurigny.com www.cityjet.com www.monarch.co.uk

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 23


This month we
ask a reader,
a professional
and a FRANCE
Travellers tales
contributor What was your How would What is your
about their love last travel you spend best insider
of France experience in your last tip on
France? 10? France?

A reader...
Always try to be polite
and speak French to the
locals as much as
possible. Theyll love you
On a plate of delicious for trying!
oysters fresh from the
I visited the Puy du Fou theme fishermen on the slipway in
Stan Le Cornu park near Nantes, which was the Breton port of Cancale.
Saint Clement, Jersey great fun and deserves to see
more British visitors.

Dont ignore Nord-Pas-de-


A travel writer... It would have
to be a coffee
Calais even if youre hurrying
south. Attractions include
and a calvados La Coupole, where Hitler
as I sat at the launched his V2 rockets,
bar of a typical the Lace Museum in Calais
French caf. (pictured) and the little-known
Matisse Museum in
I was in Rochefort on the Le Cateau-Cambrsis.
Atlantic Coast, which went wild
PHOTOGRAPHS: FOTOLIA; BON APPETIT/ALAMY; HEMIS/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO; DREAMSTIME

Mary Anne Evans, when the replica frigate


www.about-france.com, LHermione returned from the
London US. (See feature on page 58).

A contributor... Dashing around Paris from


dawn until dusk trying to
A glass of red wine drunk at an
outside table in a Montmartre
see as much as I could. side-street before I headed for
the nearest fromagerie.

Water jousting in Ste


is an unforgettable
experience. Head for the
banks of the main Canal
Pierre de Villiers Royal in August and take in
London the spectacle as competitors
are knocked into the water.

Are you going to France again soon? Tell us


24 FRANCE MAGAZINE your plans at editorial@francemag.com www.completefrance.com
ADVERTISING FEATURE

Enjoy a fun-filled
day out in
Amiens
A day trip to the capital of Picardy
offers plenty of things to see and do,
as FRANCE Magazine discovers

S
traddling the River Somme, the city of Amiens is
a fascinating blend of old and new with plenty to
keep visitors of all ages entertained. Just 90 minutes
from the port of Calais, Amiens is the perfect place elephant-feeding experience, one which youngsters will be
for a day trip to France with its Gothic cathedral, canals and talking about for days afterwards.
museum dedicated to the writer Jules Verne. Amiens is not just a playground for children. The picturesque
The city has many attractions to keep the family entertained. district of Saint-Leu, characterised by a network of canals
For a taste of adventure, visit the impressive Maison Jules interspersed with narrow streets and colourful houses, is perfect
Verne, former home of the author of such classic adventures for couples looking to take a quiet stroll. Wander through the
as Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Around the paved streets, which are brimming with art galleries, bookshops,
World in Eighty Days, who lived in Amiens from 1871 to boutiques and enticing cafs and restaurants.
1905. Venture inside and lose yourself in the fantasy world of In the same district you will find the citys star attraction, the
the writer, with models, posters and other items inspired by Unesco-listed Notre-Dame Cathedral, which dates from the
Vernes rich imagination awaiting in every room. Make sure 13th century. Measuring 145 metres long and 42 metres high,
you go up to the attic, which has old trunks packed full of it is one of the largest Gothic buildings in the world and has
games, puppets and old treasures that children will love beautiful displays of sculptures on its main faade.
to play with. Amiens abounds in green spaces, some of which were
For those with an even greater appetite for adventure the created when the city was rebuilt following heavy bombing near
Parc Zoologique dAmiens is an excellent choice. Traverse the the end of World War I. These include Les Hortillonages
Earths great continents as you wander past more than floating market gardens covering 300 hectares along a series
70 species of animals including elephants, red pandas, zebras, of waterways. Hop on board one of the 12-person boats
wallabies and antelopes. End your visit on a high with the (known as barques cornet) and enjoy a leisurely cruise past
the seven working farms which have provided the city with
vegetables and flowers since medieval times. Every Saturday the
gardeners sell their produce at the water market in Saint-Leu.
For a green oasis in the heart of the city the Parc Saint-Pierre
is a wonderful place to spend some time. Set over 22 hectares,
the contemporary landscaped park features walking trails,
games and plenty of space to unwind.
A day out in Amiens would be incomplete without a visit to
the Muse Picardie, one of the largest and most impressive
museums in France. Collections stretch from prehistoric times
to the 19th century, with highlights including French sculptures
from the 17th to the 19th century and Gothic art masterpieces
taken from the cathedral.

ABOVE: The Gothic For more information on where to stay and what to visit,
PHOTOGRAPHS: FOTOLIA; DREAMSTIME

cathedral in Amiens; see www.visit-amiens.com


RIGHT: Visitors take
a boat trip through Eurotunnel Le Shuttle is the quickest way to the continent
the market gardens by car. Book early and get the best fares to explore Amiens.
of Les Hortillonages; Visit www.eurotunnel.com
TOP: Waterside cafs in or call 0870 850 8133
the Saint-Leu district to book your crossing.
1 3

2 4
Caen-Ouistreham

Bagnoles-de-lOrne
Carrouges
Cabourg

Falaise
Beuvron-en-Auge

Round TRIP
Avoid the dash south from the Caen ferry and
meander through the beautiful countryside
of the Pays dAuge and the Alpes Mancelles

Saint-Cneri-le-Grei
If you have arrived too early for From Beuvron head south through the
a coffee, continue to Cabourg and take equally pretty Crvecoeur-en-Auge and
Moulay
Jublains a seat at one of its elegant ptisseries follow the D16 to Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives.
before going for a stroll along the resorts Stop to visit the impressive 11th-century
PHOTOGRAPHS: FOTOLIA; PAUL BLOOMFIELD; CHRISTIAN MUSAT/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO;

vron
grand promenade. market hall. Its Monday market is among
DAY ONE Where Cabourg 2 is grand, its the best in Normandy although you

F
erry passengers disembarking at hinterland of deep green countryside is would have to skip lunch in Beuvron.
Caen-Ouistreham (tel: 0871 244 reassuringly rustic. This is the Pays Continue south to Falaise on the D511
1400, www.brittanyferries.co.uk) dAuge and once you have followed the and visit the cream-stoned chteau on the
HEMIS/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO; FRANCIS CORMON/HEMIS.FR

tend to follow the toutes directions D400 away from the coast to follow signs clifftop (tel: (Fr) 2 31 41 61 44, www.
signs to Caen and beyond. On this trip, for Beuvron-en-Auge, the road narrows chateau-guillaume-leconquerant) where
take the inside lane on the dual-carriageway and the verges overflow with hawthorn. William the Conqueror was born.
and join the slip road (D514) for Cabourg. The D49 leads to Beuvron, a Plus Join the A88 at Falaise and then exit
A reminder of the D-Day landings Beau Village that is a colourful and at junction 13 near Argentan. Go towards
comes soon as you cross the River Orne half-timbered gem 3 . Take time to the town, turn right on to the D2 and
over an iron-girder lifting bridge 1 . peruse the shops selling knick-knacks, drive to Carrouges. Book into the Htel
The original, codenamed Pegasus, and the cider and calvados, and have lunch at du Nord a simple two-star hotel with
adjacent house, now a caf full of war Le Pav dAuge (menus from 40, tel: (Fr) a good restaurant (doubles from 49,
memorabilia, were among the first to be 2 31 79 26 71, www.pavedauge.com) tel: (Fr) 2 33 27 20 14, www.hotel-
liberated on 6 June 1944. for a Normandy gourmet experience. restaurant-du-nord.fr).

26 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


EASY ITINERARY

5
7

situated within a small wooded park.


The restaurant offers affordable gourmet
dining and rooms start from 82 (tel: (Fr)
2 43 00 48 42, www.lamarjolaine.fr).

DAY THREE
The penultimate day begins with a short
drive (D34) to Bagnoles-de-lOrne 6 .
En route stop at Lassay-les-Chteaux
to see its two 15th-century castles:
an intact fortress and a romantic ruin
(www.lassay-tourisme.fr ).
Bagnoles looks delightfully incongruous
6 in its forest surroundings: there is a casino,
spa, sumptuous belle-poque manoirs and
hotels, a racecourse and many restaurants
for all time with soot from the fire and tearooms. Book a treatment at the
DAY TW0 (guided visit in French 2.50, tel: (Fr) 2 BO thermal spa (www.bo-spathermal.
Before leaving Carrouges, visit the 33 27 84 47, www.amisdesaintceneri.com). com) or take one of the forest walks.
chteau at the foot of the hill. The grand Lunch next door at the Auberge des On the hill above the town is the
gatehouse makes the main building look Peintres (tel: (Fr) 2 33 26 49 18). Manoir de la Prise-Tarot, a relatively
small and plain by comparison. The Continue south via Saint-Lonard-des- new boutique B&B in a converted
gardens are tranquil, if a little neglected, Bois by the D146 and the D112. At 17th-century manoir (rooms from 75,
but the orchard is an ideal picnic spot Soug-le-Ganelon take the D105 and go tel: (Fr) 2 33 37 44 06, www.manoir-
(guided visits 9, www.carrouges. south-west towards Sill-le-Guillaume. prise-tarot.fr). For dinner eat at Gayot
monuments-nationaux.fr). Stop short of Sill at the small lake in the (tel: (Fr) 2 33 38 44 01, www.ogayot.
Return to Carrouges and take the forest for walks and possibly a swim. The com) the bistro version of the renowned
D909 south. Cross the N12 and follow beach is another delightful picnic spot. Manoir du Lys restaurant nearby.
signs for Saint-Pierre-des-Nids and At Sill head west to vron (D310/ The 26.50 menu is excellent value.
Saint-Cneri-le-Grei. This is the so-called D32), which has an impressive 13th-
Alpes Mancelles, a wooded and hilly century Gothic basilica. After a coffee at DAY FOUR
area. The road twists and turns to reach one of the cafs on the square take the Head back to the port at Ouistreham by
Saint-Cneri 4 , another Plus Beau D7 to Jublains. Here the remains of taking the D336 and D53 to the west of
Village, which lies in a wooded valley a Gallo-Roman town are an integral part La Fert-Mac. Follow the D18 north-
carved by the River Sarthe. of the village 5 . The Roman bathhouse west to Flers and then the D962/D562
Use the car park by the river and walk lies beneath the church and the small north to Caen. A pleasant detour involves
into the village by following the river amphitheatre is still in use. Most taking the ridge route that follows the
upstream to visit the isolated Chapelle impressive is the huge Roman fortress steep sides of the Orne Valley by way of
Saint-Cneri and then head uphill to view and adjacent museum. After watching the natural landmarks and viewpoints of
the remarkable frescoes in the a film on the Roman towns importance Le Pain de Sucre and the Rochers de la
11th-century Romanesque church. wander between the fortresss thick walls Houle 7 . Leave the D562 at Clcy and
Saint-Cneri has been an artists haven and admire the view (4, tel: (Fr) 2 43 58 take a short loop to Launay.
for more than a century and the highlight 13 20, www.museedejublains.fr). Paul Lamarra
of any visit is the Salle des Dcapits. In Continue on the D7 to Mayenne and
the upstairs room of what was once an turn south on the N162 for a short way Enjoy this article? Tell us where youd
auberge, Impressionist artists talked and to stay at La Marjolaine near Moulay. like your road trip to be and well plan
drank by candlelight. The shadows of The hotel and restaurant are spread it out in a future edition.
their heads cast on to the walls were fixed between a chteau and its outbuildings Email editorial@francemag.com

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 27


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

President Franois Hollande with government


ministers and other representatives who attended
the pre-summit conference at the lyse Palace

Climate crunch time


As 20,000 delegates prepare to descend on Paris for a UN summit,
French leaders warn about the cost of failure, as Paul Lamarra reports

A
s Paris prepares to host the degrees by the end of the century, which It is late, it may already be too late,
COP21 United Nations would be an ecological, economic, he said. Referring to an existing
climate change summit, humanitarian and security cataclysm. commitment to raise 100 billion
President Franois Hollande Against a backdrop of hundreds of annually to help developing countries
and his ministers have spoken in thousands of refugees fleeing war-torn deal with the effects of climate change
PHOTOGRAPHS: GETTY/AURELIEN MEUNIER; COP 21; SIPA PRESS/REX SHUTTERSTOCK

almost apocalyptic terms about the Syria, Ecology Minister Sgolne Royal and develop low-carbon economies, he
consequences of not reaching a deal. warned her fellow Europeans that they added: If we are to succeed in Paris
The French government is openly had seen nothing yet. She estimated that it will require not only political
sceptical about the international will to at least half of the worlds migrants were commitment but also financing.
finally agree legally binding targets already fleeing countries afflicted by An agreement in Paris would give the
to cut greenhouse gas emissions drought and encroaching deserts. beleaguered President a fillip, especially
sufficiently to limit temperature rise to Speaking at a gathering of the press as it would take the French public by
2C during the 21st century. and interested parties at the lyse surprise. A recent survey suggests that
The survival of the planet is at Palace, President Hollande was careful to 75 per cent of voters believe there is little
stake, was Prime Minister Manuel manage expectations, perhaps conscious or no chance of an accord.
Vallss dramatic assessment and to of a backlash from the French electorate Learning from the failures of previous
underline his point he added: The first should there be no agreement. climate change conferences, and in
seven months of this year were the Joking with the audience, he conceded particular Copenhagen six years ago, the
hottest ever recorded. that hosting the COP21 was a poisoned French government is taking, a thorough
If we continue this tendency, chalice that no other country had been approach in the run-up to the talks,
temperatures will increase four or five prepared to accept. which start at the end of November.

28 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


NEWS

Seventy-five per cent


of voters believe Cest qui?
there is little or no Every month we cast a spotlight
chance of an accord on a figure making headlines

Name: Robert Boulin


powered transport system. Official (died 1979).
representatives will get a free transport Occupation: Former
Earlier in the month, President pass so they can venture into the cabinet minster.
Hollande is visiting China to drum up centre of Paris. Tell me more: There is
support and Foreign Minister Laurent During the summit, which runs no intrigue like a French
Fabius will host a pre-COP21 meeting. from 30 November to 11 December, political intrigue and the
Michel Sapin, the Economy Minister, organisers estimate that around 70,000 death of Robert Boulin,
has been given the task of raising the extra bus and mtro seats and 412,000 a Gaullist cabinet minister,
necessary money at a meeting of the meals will need to be provided. The cost is a prime example.
International Monetary Fund in Peru of hosting the event has been put at Found floating in
and at the G20 summit in Turkey. 187 million, but it is expected to a pond in the forest of Rambouillet,
Despite the doom-laden predictions, generate more that 100 million for the near Paris, in October 1979, Boulin
French politicians are quietly confident local and national economy. was originally judged to have
that they can pull off a deal. President Organisers are aiming to attract more committed suicide. His family have
Hollande has pointed to Chinas than 20,000 members of the public to always disputed this explanation,
commitment to reduce its 2005 carbon an adjacent area known as the Civil claiming that the 59-year-old was
emission levels by 65 per cent by 2030. Society Space. Here non-delegates will be murdered to make sure that what
The US has agreed to a 17 per cent cut given the chance to debate the issues and he knew about government
by 2020 and 28 per cent by 2025. glean more information through corruption was never exposed.
The French government also hopes exhibitions on how climate change is Now the High Court of Versailles
that Paris and all its charms will put the being tackled around the world. has agreed to open an investigation
20,000 delegates from 195 nations in Anyone who is unable to attend will into whether Boulin was kidnapped
the best possible frame of mind. be encouraged to send the delegates and murdered. New witness
Delegates will be treated to video messages from COP boxes around statements will be taken, including
a showcase of French gastronomy with the city. And in an Olympic Games style one from a woman who claims to
caterers notably pledging not to fly in extravaganza, record producer and have seen him in a car with two
strawberries from South America. composer Marc Cerrone will perform men the day before his death.
The summit is being held at the Supernature 2015, a sound and light At the time, Boulin was Labour
Paris-Le Bourget conference centre in the show at the Arc de Triomphe midway Minister under President Valry
Seine-Saint-Denis dpartement north-east through the summit. Giscard dEstaing and became
of the capital. The complex will resemble If a historic accord is not forthcoming, embroiled in accusations
a small town, with its own post office, the delegates will certainly remember that surrounding property transactions
bank, restaurants and electrically it was in Paris that they failed to agree. on the Riviera. The longest-serving
minister in post-revolution France,
he had served in many ministries.

NEWS battles in the area as


he beat a hasty retreat
Auvergne and the listed
1930s Gare Maritime
Before his disappearance, Boulin
is said to have written letters to

IN BRIEF from Russia in the


winter of 1813.
in Cherbourg.
Hvala, a brown bear
Agence France Presse, Le Monde
newspaper and his family alleging
More than 200 graves Viewers of television released in the Pyrnes judicial corruption and a conspiracy
of soldiers who marched station France 2 have in 2010, has given birth involving other ministers.
on Moscow in 1812 chosen the Gothic belfry to two cubs. This is the A second autopsy, performed in
as part of Napolons in Arras as the nations third generation to 1983, discovered that he had bruising
Grande Arme of favourite monument. be born as part of to his face and broken fingers.
600,000 have been The landmark in a re-introduction Boulins daughter Fabienne has
discovered on a building Pas-de-Calais was the programme. Monitors welcomed the decision to reopen
site in the German city surprise winner ahead estimate that there the case, but told Le Monde:
of Frankfurt. Napolon of the cathedral of are now 30 bears in For 36 years I have learned to
fought several bloody Le Puy-en-Velay in the Pyrnes. expect manipulation.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 29


Ministers split on
La grande 35-hour week
question Controversy continues to surround the
French Socialist governments attitude to
Every month we explain the the 35-hour working week. While the
background to a top news story Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron
(pictured centre) has spoken out against it, Prime Minister Manuel Valls (right) has
Is the summit of Mont Blanc in France sought to reassure trade unions that the law is not up for discussion.
or Italy? When the working week was reduced from 39 hours in 2000, it was envisaged that
The Italian government has been the move would create more jobs, but Macron, speaking to business leaders, described
asked to intervene in a dispute this as a false idea. Unemployment in France now stands at ten per cent, with
between the French town of a record 3.5 million out of work.
Chamonix and the Italian town of A recent survey of French workers has revealed that more than 70 per cent would
Courmayeur over the exact location be prepared to work longer hours if there were a corresponding increase in pay.
of the border on the Mont Blanc Despite the law, French employees work an average 39.5 hours a week through
massif that lies between them. overtime and extra holidays.
The Italians assert that tradition
and Nato convention places the
border on the watershed a ridge D-Day village faces battle over name
dividing different river systems
and that both countries share the A Normandy village that it would erode the
4,810-metre summit of Mont Blanc that was among the villages link with the
(Monte Bianco in Italian). However, first to be liberated in dramatic events of 6 June
the French claim that the principal the hours just before 1944. The writer and
peaks lie entirely within France. the D-Day landings has historian Gilles Perrault
Now the Italians have accused revealed controversial attended a public meeting
Eric Fournier, mayor of Chamonix, plans to change its name. in the village. Rob Sainte-Marie-du-
of acting outside his jurisdiction Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, close to Mont of its name? People say the
when he ordered that a gate giving Utah Beach and famously liberated name is our identity they gave their
access to the Giant Glacier be by the US 101st Airborne division, is guts for you, Ouest-France newspaper
locked on safety grounds. considering changing its name to reported him as saying.

PHOTOGRAPHS: DREAMSTIME; CHAMUSSY/SIPA/REX SHUTTERSTOCK; FRANCIS CORMON/HEMIS.FR; PHOTOS 12/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO;
The mayor wanted to stop Montmerville following a merger with Sainte-Marie-du-Monts role in
tourists who are arriving by cable the nearby communes of Brucheville D-Day was given new prominence
car from straying on to the glacier. and Vierville. after the close-quarter battle for the
The Italians are furious because it The announcement has caused village was depicted in the 2001
prevents experienced climbers anger locally and in the US over fears TV mini-series Band of Brothers.
accessing the Turin Refuge. They
insist the gate is in Italy.
The dispute follows an incident
in the summer when French
Mayor takes on
bulldozers pushed blocks marking big stores over
the border 150 metres back into
Italian territory. Border tensions Sunday opening
have been growing since the Anne Hidalgo, the Socialist mayor of
opening of new high-altitude cable Paris, is stepping up her fight to stop
car on the Italian side in June. No the citys grands magasins and other
French representatives attended the chain stores from opening on Sunday
opening ceremony. and to midnight on weekdays in
ADDITIONAL REPORTING: PAUL LAMARRA

12 designated tourist zones.


Extending Sunday and evening opening was made possible by a law passed in
August which seeks to stimulate economic growth by persuading foreign tourists
to increase their spending.
Hidalgo, who has opposed the law from the outset, says it completely
misunderstands the situation in Paris. The mayor believes that the move threatens the
15,000 small shops that already open in the capital on a Sunday and has vowed to
ensure that Paris does not become a city dedicated to consumerism.

30 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


PLACES

Vignette
Samatan
market
Author Amanda
Hodgkinson shops for
chickens in a village near
her Gascony home

Y
ou want to buy pullovers? Ren, our
neighbouring farmer, 84 years old, stands
in my courtyard in blue overalls and the Ren says I must buy Gascon Noir hens. This is
tartan slippers that he wears all the time no fancy fowl, but a decent egg-layer and good for
now. He holds out a basket of farm eggs. the pot. I go into the livestock building, which is
A chicken is a poule; a pullover is a pull. I live in heaving with people looking at cages of songbirds,
the Gers dpartement in the heart of Gascony, where puppies, kittens, rabbits, ferrets, black pigs, goats,
the local accent is as thick and rich as a good pigeons, geese, ducks and every colour and breed of
cassoulet. My British accent is confusing him. chicken you could imagine.
No, no, I say. Les poules. I flap my arms, Former FRANCE I buy four Gascons Noirs plump
funky-chicken style. For eggs. Magazine black hens with golden feathers
Is there a disappointed look in his eyes? Ren has columnist Amanda around the throat. And then
been bringing me eggs ever since we moved here and Hodgkinson is I see a strange-looking black bantam
in return I give him coffee, a slice of cake and as author of the hen. All alone, perched on a cage of
much time as he wants to chat. New York Times ducks, she has frizzy feathers with
Samatan, he says, reluctantly. Thats the best best-seller a few snow-white ones sticking up
place to go. 22 Britannia Road, on her head. She might be an ugly
Samatan on a Monday morning holds one of the and its sequel, duckling, but its love at first sight;
most authentic markets in France. Around 50 Spilt Milk, which is a coup de foudre. I buy her
kilometres west of Toulouse, the village has its roots out now. For more for 20.
deep in rural life. Since medieval times, its market information, visit We christen her Iris. Ren is
has been an important trading place and social hub www.amanda horrified: 20? Tourist
for the region. Here you can buy chickens and, hodgkinson.com prices. What possible use is
no doubt, plenty of pullovers; also locally grown she? Too small to eat and no
fruit and vegetables through the seasons, fashion good for eggs. Poor Iris. She fluffs her crinkled
clothes and farm clothes, shoes, jewellery, garden tools, plants, feathers and retreats into the henhouse.
flowers, cheeses, meats, charcuterie, music, mattresses, livestock, All my Samatan market hens lay well, but it turns out that
ILLUSTRATIONS: MELISSA WOOD

honey, wines, Armagnac and not for the faint-hearted Iris is the best. Each day she lays a perfect egg, white as
freshly slaughtered ducks, geese and their livers. a sugared almond.
I arrive early and walk into bustling crowds. In the late I ask Ren to advise me on keeping hens and he takes his
19th century this market would have had teeth-pullers and role very seriously. All summer, we have our coffee by the
showmen, charlatans, magicians and gamblers. You could meet henhouse, sitting on deckchairs watching Iris. Ren has never
the mole catcher or the snake finder and see the men who seen such a funny-looking hen. Even when he is sad about
earned a living calling out the hours. At midnight getting old, watching Iris cheers him up. A bit of Samatan
they would dutifully inform the dead in the market magic no less.
cemetery of the lateness of the day.
Today, Samatan market retains
that kind of rough-edged A strange-looking bantam hen
magic, even if all
you do is sit at a
perches all alone on a cage of
caf, people-watching. ducks; its love at first sight

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 33


YOUR LETTERS

@martinwhybrow
Great to read in
@francemagazine about
Say bonjour to...
The City of Bath Ptanque Club
petition for vegetarian The City of Bath Ptanque Club was formed in
2005 when some players in the local league
option in all French schools.
formed an association to play against teams in
A few more restaurants Aix-en-Provence, the citys French twinning partner.
could follow suit too! Ten years on, the club has more than 50
members and meets at several terrains in the city.
rest of the afternoon playing on the Club nights are held in Alexandra Park on Monday evenings from April to
beautiful, sandy beach in Perros-Guirec. October and focus on practice and coaching; more relaxed get-togethers are held in
Thank you, FRANCE Magazine, for Queen Square on Wednesday mornings.
bringing back such lovely memories of Members take part in tournaments in the UK and overseas including an annual
my familys best walk in France. event in Queen Square. There are also up to five informal mles a year, one of
Heather Macey which is held on the weekend nearest to the Fte Nationale on 14 July. The annual
Abingdon, Oxfordshire tour to Aix is a highlight and in May, 11 members spent an enjoyable long weekend in
the southern French city, taking part in a number of mles alongside their hosts.
Brittany rhythms At home the club has been either champion or runner-up in the Bath Thursday
Octobers FRANCE Magazine (No. 205) Boules League for the past four years and hopes to welcome even more members
was a cracking issue, particularly the in time for the 2016 season. They also encourage anyone who has never played
feature on Breton dancing. I was in ptanque to come and have a go. www.bathboules.co.uk
Brittany during early August and took Do you belong to a group with French connections? Tell us about it by emailing
part in the medieval fte held every editorial@francemag.com or writing to the address on the facing page.
two years in the delightful walled town
of Moncontour.
The day started with a service in the accommodation could be termed
glise Saint-Mathurin in Place Penthivre eco-friendly, as it was a caravan in my
READER POLL
and then everyone moved outside to friends garden, but it was comfortable How often do you receive
watch the jugglers, stilt walkers, snake and peaceful, surrounded by fields.
charmers and troubadours. As the day Having found Breton dancing and
a warm welcome in France?
Always Often Sometimes Never
wore on, the Breton dancing got faster La Gacilly in the issue, I then came
and more frantic, and the troubadours across the feature on Frances best walks. Fill in our online poll at:
songs more risqu! You hit the right button again as I intend http://warmwelcome.questionpro.com
During my second week I stayed with to walk part of the Pyrnes next year, so
a friend in Saint-Vincent-sur-Oust in the information about the area was very
LAST MONTH WE ASKED:
the south of the Morbihan dpartement. useful. I also enjoyed the Round Trip
We walked to the beautiful le aux Pies along the Mediterranean coast from When on holiday in France how
and had lunch by the river and visited Montpellier to Collioure, an area I know often do you travel by train?
other places including the small town of well, having owned a house inland from
La Gacilly (pictured below) which was Perpignan for 20 years. Always
mentioned in the same issues feature on Lyn Hardy 10%
eco-friendly breaks. I suppose my Dummer, Hampshire
Sometimes
35%

Often
55%
PHOTOGRAPHS: FOTOLIA

You can find FRANCE Magazines


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

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 37


Where to stay...
with your pet

Owners and their four-legged friends will find these


French stays provide all the right creature comforts

CHTEAU LA THUILIRE,
Dordogne
At this stately 19th-century mansion,
30 kilometres from Bergerac, small dogs
and their owners can expect a friendly
welcome from Patch the owners own
spaniel. Visiting canines are welcomed to
stay for a fee of 20 a night, which
includes being presented with a bowl and
blanket. With pets free to roam the hotel
at leisure, guests can feel at ease as they
relax beside the roaring fire in the
drawing room. Step outside and there are
acres of private parkland, woods and
fields on the doorstep, perfect for walkies
or a game of throw and fetch.
PHOTOGRAPHS: MR AND MRS SMITH; REPORTING: ZO MCINTYRE

24400 Saint-Front-de-Pradoux
Tel: 0330 100 3180
www.mrandmrssmith.com LE CLOS DE MAUSSANNE, Bziers
Doubles from 104; pets 20. This boutique B&B, housed in a beautifully restored former convent surrounded by
rolling vineyards, has an invitingly relaxed attitude to pets and its own clutch of
resident house cats. Four-legged visitors can mingle with the local moggies or take
some exercise in the dog playground, which has its own set of jumps. Guests,
meanwhile, can relax by the pool or enjoy a fine-dining experience offered by owner
and chef extraordinaire Bruno Saurel. Beyond Bziers, the medieval centre of Pzenas
and the beaches of the Mediterranean are within easy reach.
Route de Pzenas, 34500 Bziers, tel: (Fr) 4 67 39 31 81, www.sawdays.co.uk
Doubles from 125, including breakfast.

38 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


WHERE TO STAY

CHTEAU-HTEL ANDR
ZILTENER, Burgundy
This beautiful estate nestles beside
Burgundys famed Route des Vins in the
village of Chambolle-Musigny, between
Beaune and Dijon, and makes an ideal
retreat for both animal lovers and wine
connoisseurs. Past the columned
threshold, guests have their pick of ten
graceful rooms and suites, each one
named after a Grand Cru wine, where
high ceilings meet period furnishings to
create a feeling of old-world romance.
Pet owners will get rooms with direct
access to the gardens. The hotel holds
free tasting sessions in the cellars and
even has its own wine museum. Beyond
the hotel, walking trails allow owners
and their pets to explore the areas
vineyards and picturesque villages.
Alternatively, borrow one of the hotels CHTEAUX DES TESNIRES, Brittany
free bikes and follow the Voie des Vignes High ceilings, eclectic art and period furniture give this luxury bed and breakfast, near
cycle routes. the medieval town of Vitr, a magical allure. The elegant 19th-century chteau is
Rue de la Fontaine, already home to a friendly labrador and two cats, and visiting pets are also welcome
21200 Chambolle-Musigny for a nightly charge of 10. The six hectares of parkland, dappled with old oak trees,
Tel: (Fr) 3 80 62 41 62 are perfect for your pooch to stretch their legs, while the hotels salon, library and
www.chateau-ziltener.com five spacious suites provide owners with the ultimate in tranquil breaks.
Open March to November. Doubles 35370 Torc, tel: (Fr) 2 99 49 65 02, www.i-escape.com
from 250, including breakfast; pets 20. Doubles from 85 including breakfast.

extends to pooches too, who can


befriend the resident dogs, Carrington
and Dalloway, and share their canine
reserves of food, blankets and water.
While four-legged visitors are welcome
inside the chteau, most will prefer
exploring the gardens and nearby park.
Afterwards, muddy paws can be washed
CHTEAU DE LA his historian wife Marie-Monique. Their off in the dog bathroom where warm
MOUCHRE, Orne chteau will soon feel like a home-from- water and towels are provided.
Tucked away up a long tree-lined lane, home for guests, who are invited to 61130 Saint-Cyr-la-Rosire
surrounded by the rolling hills of the share an evening aperitif and who can Tel: (Fr) 2 33 83 02 99
Perche Regional Natural Park, this also make use of the helpful resource www.lamouchere.com
charming chambre dhtes is owned by cupboard filled with easily forgotten Doubles from 85 (65 from second
ex-university professor Roger Huss and holiday items. Such warm hospitality night) including breakfast, pets 10.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 39


PANORAMA DU PYLA,
Gironde
Campsites make a pets paradise after
pitching up in the great outdoors, there
are countless walks, games and play
areas on the doorstep, with no need to
worry about too much tail wagging or
loud barking. Yelloh! Villages Panorama
du Pyla, on the Baie dArcachon, has
a mixture of cottages, chalets and
camping areas surrounded by pine trees,
with the Dune du Pyla Europes highest
sand dune as a backdrop. On-site
facilities include grocery shops, bike hire
and a restaurant with panoramic views
of the bay.
Grande Dune du Pyla, Route de
Biscarrosse, 33115 Pyla-sur-Mer
Tel: (Fr) 4 66 73 9739
www.yellohvillage.co.uk/camping/
LE BRISTOL, Paris panorama_du_pyla
Crossing the threshold of a luxury Paris Camping from 18 per night; cottages
pad with your energetic pooch or puss from 39.
doesnt need to be daunting. The
super-swanky Htel Le Bristol has its
own highly cherished felines: the white
Burmese Fa-Raon and his lady
playmate Klopatre. Youll normally
spot them, bejewelled in designer
collars, lounging around in the hotels
sumptuous salons or playing outside in
the perfectly pruned rose gardens.
Visiting pets will be treated with equal
reverence; the hotel provides a special
dog/cat cushion in bedrooms and two MALOUINIRE DES
bowls with bottled water, while dogs TRAUCHANDIRES,
are spoilt with a special macaron treat. Saint-Malo
There is even the option of Situated close to the ferry port of
personalising rugs and dog bowls with Saint-Malo, this restored 16th-century
your pets name that can be taken 112 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honor, manoir has been turned into a welcoming
home as gifts. The concierge is happy 75008 Paris bed-and-breakfast where dogs stay for
to assist with advice on pet-friendly Tel: (Fr) 1 53 43 43 00 free. Run by the charming Claude and
sites around the city or any dog- or www.lebristolparis.com Agns, the house is steeped in old-world
PHOTOGRAPHS: AIMERY CHEMIN; LES ATELIERS APICIUS, POLIGNY/PHILIPPE GIRAUD

cat-sitting needs. Doubles from 830; pets 44. elegance, with rich oak panelling,
chandeliered salons and antique-decked
bedrooms. Dogs can spend the night
LA CTE SAINT-JACQUES, Burgundy sleeping in their owners rooms before
Enjoy a restful weekend away at this hotel and spa that stretches out along the bank enjoying daytimes in the grounds.
of the River Yonne in the historic town of Joigny. While guests unwind in the Claude and Agns are happy to offer
treatment rooms and swimming pool, the affable staff will take care of all kinds of advice about nearby walks and dog-
furry or feathered companions; their most exotic visitor to date being a lively parrot friendly beaches. In addition to the three
called Wilson. No extra supplement is charged for pet stays, and four-legged friends double suites, there is a four-bedroom
are free to accompany owners into bedrooms, the restaurant, or outside on the terrace self-catering cottage that is ideal for
for a bowl of water and a treat. The hotels crowning glory is the two-Michelin-starred families or groups.
restaurant run by chef and owner Jean-Michel Lorain, who also offers his trade secrets Albiville, Saint-Jouan-des-Gurets,
to guests in the cookery school. 35430 Saint-Malo
14 Faubourg de Paris, 89300 Joigny Tel: (Fr) 2 99 81 38 30
Tel: (Fr) 3 86 62 09 70, www.cotesaintjacques.com www.sawdays.co.uk
Doubles from 150. Doubles from 80, including breakfast.

40 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


WHERE TO STAY

ABBAYE DE LA BUSSIRE, Burgundy


Canine lodgings dont come much grander than Abbaye de la Bussire; a spectacular
12th-century abbey south-west of Dijon where seven hectares of parks, gardens and
a lake, a host of pet perks and the hospitality of the dog-loving family owners create
a truly special holiday setting. Brits Clive and Tanith Cummings, along with their
trusty pooch Holtson, took over the abbey ten years ago, and have painstakingly
preserved the history and tranquillity of the place youll find interiors adorned
in stone pillars, original frescoes and magnificent stained-glass windows. PET TRAVEL CHECKLIST
Fifteen luxurious bedrooms are spread across the abbey, although many guests prefer Before taking your dog, cat or even
the freedom of staying in one of the five suites tucked away in a historic annexe ferrets to France, make sure you
building in the parkland. After working up an appetite exploring the grounds, guests comply with the various
(with their pets) can dine either in the Michelin-starred restaurant or the informal requirements for entering and
lunchtime bistro. The abbeys location in the heart of Burgundy makes it a convenient leaving the UK:
base for exploring the regions newly Unesco-inscribed vineyards or a superb stopover
on the drive south. Fit your pet with a microchip. This
Route Dpartementale 33, 21360 La Bussire-sur-Ouche should be done at the vets before
Tel: (Fr) 3 80 49 02 29, www.abbayedelabussiere.fr vaccination.
Doubles from 225, breakfast 25. A vaccination against rabies is
needed at least 21 days before
travel. Get regular booster
MONTALEMBERT, vaccinations when they are due.
Paris Dogs must be treated for
This five-star boutique bolthole on Pariss tapeworms between 24 hours and
Left Bank offers small, well-trained dogs 120 hours (five days) before you
a dose of luxury with its VID (very return to the UK.
important dog) service. On arrival, your A passport issued by your vet is
travel-fatigued canine will be given needed to officially prove your pet
a water bowl, while a cosy basket and has been micro-chipped,
miniature bottles of dog shampoo are vaccinated and treated for
ready in the bedrooms. The pampered tapeworms.
pooches wont go hungry either; they are famed Atelier restaurant next door or
free to enter the hotel restaurant where the Muse du Louvre just across the For more
the chef will create a special canine menu River Seine. information visit: NEXT
upon request. The concierge will organise 3 Rue de Montalembert, 75007 Paris www.gov.uk/ MONTH
dog sitting and walking so that owners Tel: 0330 100 3180 take-pet-abroad FIND A COSY
are free to visit the citys less dog-friendly www.mrandmrssmith.com WINTER
B O LT H O L E
addresses, be it chef Jol Robuchons Doubles from 287.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 41


The abbey on Le Mont-Saint-Michel rises out of the
mist above a flock of sheep on the salt marshes

44 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


LE MONT-SAINT-MICHEL

To be a pilgrim
The high cliffs and crashing waves of the Cotentin coast
provide a dramatic backdrop as Paul Bloomfield
experiences Le Mont-Saint-Michel in all its glory

S
omewhere on the lofty clifftops near Champeaux, on the In fact, there are plenty more of those treats around the edge
rugged western coast of the Cotentin Peninsula, lies the of La Manche dpartement most of them accessible on foot, if
most beautiful kilometre in France. Thats the big claim, youre so inclined. A waymarked trail signed with the familiar
anyway. Sorting out the details, though, is where the red-and-white stripes of a Grande Randonne shimmies around
waters became muddied. the Cotentin Peninsula, covering around 430 kilometres from
Who said it? Ah well, Im not too sure, smiled Bernard, Isigny-sur-Mer to Le Mont-Saint-Michel. En route it passes the
my sunny host who had recounted the assertion, as he dropped D-Day Utah Beach and traverses the bird-rich dunes and
me off at the sweeping sands of Carolles-Plage. I think it might wetlands of the Marais du Cotentin et du Bessin Regional
have been General Eisenhower or perhaps douard Herriot Natural Park; it takes in the historic harbours of Barfleur and
I would doubtless enjoy the winsomeness of the landscape, Cherbourg; and it climbs Cap de la Hague and the Nez de
I answered, whoever first rhapsodised about its charm. If, that Jobourg, where waves pound the rocks 130 metres below
is, I could work out where it was. Funnily enough, theres no mainland Europes highest sea cliffs.
marker post indicating the start or end of the exalted stretch, The path goes by many names: the Tour du Cotentin, the
and Bernard wasnt certain how to find it, either. Sentier des Douaniers (Coastguards Path), Sentier du Littoral
The thing is, it doesnt matter. Whether it was the American (Coastal Path) or simply the GR223. But I had another epithet
general, who was based here in 1944, or the three-times French in mind when I set out: the Pilgrims Trail. From the early
prime minister who asked, Isnt this the most beautiful Middle Ages, the devout would set out from the shrine of
kilometre of France? the upshot is the same. The walk along St Swithun at Winchester Cathedral along what is now known
the cliffs between Carolles-Plage and Saint-Jean-le-Thomas is as the Three Saints Way to Portsmouth, crossing to Barfleur
sensational. If you like waves crashing on craggy rocks, or Cherbourg and continuing to the hallowed abbey of
wheeling birds, jaunty flowers and history in spades, this is Le Mont-Saint-Michel, which is surrounded by the waters
the spot for you. where Normandy and Brittany face off across the bay. PHOTOGRAPH: MARC LEROUGE/CDT MANCHE

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 45


I aimed to mimic a miquelot, the label for such pilgrims,
though on a modest scale: I would join the path at the seaside
resort of Carolles-Plage south of Granville and hike to Le Bec
dAndaine at Gents, departure point for the barefoot walk
across the treacherous sands to the abbey on its rocky outcrop.
It is a moderate meander of 17 kilometres one of them,
reputedly, that most beautiful of all.
The start of my stroll was promising. The morning was hazy
but bright as I set out from the southern end of a five-kilometre
belt of sand backed by a succession of seaside resorts. Carolles-
Plage is among the most pleasant, having sprouted in the late
19th and early 20th centuries; its attractive Victorian and
Edwardian villas, plus a sprinkling of less appealing, blocky
art-deco buildings wedged between two cliffs, give it something
of the feel of a stereotypical English resort Weymouth,
perhaps, or Southwold.
Steps lead up between a cluster of bathing huts, weaving past
dandelions and pinks to the viewpoint at Pignon-Butor, below
the Croix Paqueray. Its a spot that demanded a halt and not
just because I was out of breath after the steep climb. Gazing
down from this 60-metre-high eyrie, I saw the beach stretched
in a seemingly endless golden ribbon north towards Granville;
a kayaker was preparing to paddle out, and there was even
a swimmer (albeit in a wetsuit the Channel was still nippy in
early May). A trotting horse pulled a two-wheeled gig across the
sand a reminder of this regions equestrian heritage and
a kitesurfer checked his harness before taking to the waves.
To the west, the Brittany coast shimmered hazily on the
horizon, Cancale and the Pointe du Grouin beckoning from
across the Baie du Mont-Saint-Michel. And south, the path
jinked into the greenery and my final destination remained
bashfully veiled by the headland.

Gazing down from the eyrie,


I saw the beach stretched out
in an endless golden ribbon
Onward I ambled, the trail shaded by pines protecting the
PHOTOGRAPHS: M LEROUGE/CDT MANCHE; FRANCIS LEROY/HEMIS.FR; BERTRAND RIEGER/HEMIS.FR;

garden of a grand house; burbled laughter spilled out, recalling


JEAN-DANIEL SUDRES/HEMIS.FR; ANIBAS PHOTOGRAPHY/CDT MANCHE; THIERRY SENI/HEMIS.FR

childhood days at seaside idylls. Blackthorns formed a safety


barrier to the right, their twigs speckled with silk webs in which
wiggled curious black-and-orange caterpillars, while to the left
a meadow of daisy-flecked grass undulated away towards
turreted houses. The air was melodious with birdsong: this area
is home to the rare Dartford warbler, its slightly frantic trills
emerging from heather and gorse.
Soon the trail left behind the neat domesticity of Carolles
and took on a different character wilder, more rugged,
timeless. Descending among gorse, buttercups and brambles, the
route ducked into patches of ivy-clad woodland, mostly stunted
oaks and holly interspersed with bluebells. Down I plunged,
into the steep-sided gorge of the River Lude, its sides seemingly
too sheer to have been gouged by such a tame watercourse.
Legend claims that the valley was hacked out by the sword of
the archangel Michael during a battle with Satan; that hellish
foe was wont to rest on the Rocher du Sard, a granite formation
overlooking the gorge to the south, hence its nickname, the

46 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


LE MONT-SAINT-MICHEL

CLOCKWISE FROM FACING


PAGE: Carolles-Plage, at
the start of Pauls walk;
The resort of Granville and
its casino; The Christian Dior
museum in Granville; The
Falaises de Champeaux;
Le Mont-Saint-Michel seen
from the start of the walking
trail at Le Bec dAndaine; The
Cabane Vauban lookout; The
new bridge to Le Mont-Saint-
Michel; CENTRE: The island of
Tombelaine

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 47


SAME
PLACE, The best ways to see
DIFFERENT
PACE Le Mont-Saint-Michel
WALK ACROSS THE BAY SOAR ABOVE THE ABBEY
Take off your shoes, roll up your trouser legs and Get a birds-eye view on a morning flight
join a guide for the seven-kilometre walk across around the bay in a microlight or gyrocopter
the bay from Le Bec dAndaine at Gents to with instructor Rgis Mao. See from on high
Le Mont-Saint-Michel. The two-hour trek allows how the mount has been transformed since
you to tackle the treacherous sands and currents the removal of the old causeway and the
much as the pilgrims of the past would have done, opening of the barrage, clearing sediment from
but with more detailed local knowledge to avoid around the island and pushing the salt marshes STAY THE NIGHT
the dangers. Walks range from simple there-and- back from the base of the rock. Views of the Come evening, once the crowds have departed,
back hikes (about 4.5 hours) to nocturnal or dawn sheep-grazed meadows and the bay are almost the island has a completely different character
excursions, and longer hikes with naturalist as spectacular as the abbey itself. Microlight/ wandering the Grande Rue becomes magical
guides. From 5.50pp, depending on group size. gyrocopter flights from 80/90 for 20 minutes, instead of manic. Hotels are expensive, and youre
Tel: (Fr) 2 33 89 80 88 starting from the aerodrome at Le Val-Saint-Pre. paying for location and atmosphere rather than
www.cheminsdelabaie.com Tel (Fr): 2 33 58 10 13 exceptional quality; bay views usually command
www.normandie-ulm.com higher prices.
TAKE THE BOAT Le Logis Saint-Sbastien, housed in
At higher tides, experienced kayakers can paddle FLOAT OVER THE ISLAND a 14th-century building on the Grande Rue, has
across the bay to the island of Tombelaine, while A dawn balloon flight is a magical way to some of the cheapest rates with its three simple
beginners and families can take shorter trips experience the mount. Bretagne Montgolfires but comfortable rooms. Triples from 90,
alongside the beaches and cliffs, to see the offers one-hour flights; take-off locations vary breakfast 17 (tel: (Fr) 2 33 60 14 08, http://en.
landscape from a water-level perspective. From according to wind direction. From 260pp. logis-saint-sebastien.com).
25pp for a two to three-hour trip. Tel: (Fr) 6 64 52 09 20 Auberge Saint-Pierre, also on the Grande Rue,
Tel: (Fr) 6 08 77 04 37 www.bretagne-montgolfieres.fr has attractive rooms in a building with period
www.seakayak-fr.com/?page=english features. Doubles from 217, breakfast 17 (tel:
EXPLORE THE MOUNT IN DEPTH (Fr) 2 33 60 14 03, www.auberge-saint-pierre.fr).
RIDE ON HORSEBACK A knowledgeable guide can provide a detailed
Explore the salt marshes, trot across towards the commentary about the island abbeys rooms as The timing for most activities depends on the
mount or if youre an experienced rider cross well as revealing secrets of the crypts and cells, tides the highest grandes mares occur just
the bay via Tombelaine on horseback. From 280 and running through the mounts 1,300-year a few times a year. For tide tables, see
for two days, two-hour beginners ride 55, history. Florence Rocaboy is an experienced www.ot-montsaintmichel.com/en/horaire-marees/
five-hour bay crossing 110. guide with excellent English. mont-saint-michel.htm
Tel: (Fr) 6 82 29 49 63 Tel: (Fr) 6 10 07 28 29
www.club-taniere.fr Email: florence.rocaboy@laposte.net

48 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


LE MONT-SAINT-MICHEL

ABOVE: The village of Saint-Jean-le-Thomas; FACING PAGE: Hot-air ballooners get a new perspective on Le Mont-Saint-Michel; INSET: Strolling along the Grande Rue

Chaise du Diable. (Its also called the Chapeau de Napolon sword of Saint Michael the Archangel. It was many kilometres
and it does resemble the little Corsicans bicorne hat rather distant, but I could imagine how the hearts of medieval pilgrims
more than a seat.) Hidden among the cliffs, the tiny inlet long must have leapt at the sight. Those miquelots had already
offered a haven for smugglers, and combating their trade was travelled far, risking bandits and rough Channel seas, so to
part of the raison dtre for the path. catch a first glimpse of their destination would surely have been
Another stiff climb flanked by golden broom brought me up both a reassurance and a worry knowing, as they did, the
to the rock, where yet more dramatic views appeared. The surf dangers of crossing the treacherous sands of the bay on foot.
pounded the rocks, which were themselves speckled with white The path dipped and climbed as the coast veered east,
seabirds. These cliffs represent an important stop-off for sometimes delving into patches of woodland, at others emerging
migratory birds; some half-million pause here to rest and refuel
on their autumn odyssey south, and the Norman Ornithological Figures crossed the sands
Group sets up each year to count and band the avian travellers.
and clambered around the
PHOTOGRAPHS: FRANCIS LEROY/HEMIS.FR; THIERRY SENI/HEMIS.FR; M LEROUGE/CDT MANCHE

The birdwatchers base themselves at the Cabane Vauban,


a few minutes walk beyond the Rocher du Sard. This 18th-
century granite hut was one of a string of lookouts along this
rock to forage for shellfish
coast ordered by the eponymous military engineer and acted as on to the cliffs, with more of the bay revealed at every turn.
both a guard post and a relay point for signals between Le A kestrel hovered at my eye level, hungry eyes focused on the
Mont-Saint-Michel and Granville. When the immediate military grassy scrub. Shapes bobbed in the waves below; I wanted them
danger receded, it was used by coastguards watching for to be harbour seals, which hunt these waters, but they were just
smugglers trying to sneak into the Port du Lude. Today its fishermens buoys. A few walkers and the occasional jogger
a picturesque semi-ruin, but its slightly eerie charm was soon hailed a breathy bonjour as they passed, but in the main
forgotten when I reached the top of the outcrop and took in the I was alone with the views. Soon the whole of the bay spread
first unencumbered view south. before me, miles of sand and dunes stretching to the double
Rising from the bay ahead were two lumps. The first, topped estuary where the Se and the Slune rivers merge and flow into
with a verdant toupee of trees and scrub, was Tombelaine, the shallow waters.
a rocky, uninhabited island now designated a bird sanctuary to Above the outcrop of SolRoc, I watched figures crossing the
protect the egrets and peregrine falcons that nest there each sands beneath me and clambering around the rock to forage for
spring. Beyond loomed an instantly recognisable shape: a wonky shellfish; according to season, this is a popular spot for oysters,
pyramid topped with a needle-sharp pinnacle tipped with a cockles and clams. Indeed, the bay as a whole is a treat for
golden, glittering speck Le Mont-Saint-Michel, with the gilded seafood-lovers, who feast on oysters from Cancale, whelks

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 49


from Granville, and lobster from the nearby les Chausey,
Frances own Channel Islands.
I kept my eyes up, though; somewhere around here, on the
patch of cliffs known as the Falaises de Champeaux, was that
lauded kilometre. It certainly couldnt hurt property prices,
I thought, during my descent along a narrow footpath past
another derelict coastguard cabane. Among the pine trees,
where a cuckoo sang his unmistakable song, nestle cottages and
villages, some thatched, all with glorious views over the sands to
Le Mont-Saint-Michel an estate agents dream.
Eventually the path joins a road and descends to the sleepy
little town of Saint-Jean-le-Thomas. Its a bourg of well-kept
flower gardens and tidy villas, the kind of place where youre
never out of earshot of a lawn being mown or a hedge being
trimmed. It wasnt always so peaceful. The towns recorded ABOVE: The village church in Saint-Jean-le-Thomas
history dates back to 917AD when these lands were donated
to the abbey of Le Mont-Saint-Michel by the Norman duke On this quiet Monday lunchtime, though, I slipped along the
William Longsword. In the 15th century it hosted an English main street to the beach, where a wide sickle of sand curved
bastion, while 400 years later it welcomed a less aggressive away to the south, backed by marram-tufted dunes. A solitary
influx of visitors drawn by the lure of the newly popular little egret flapped languidly above the shallows to Tombelaine
pastime of sea bathing. For a century it was a bustling resort as I set out along the strand towards Gents. A couple of hours
somewhat misleadingly called Petite Nice with a railway strolling brought me to Le Bec dAndaine and the edge of the
link to Paris. salt marshes that have gradually encroached on the bay, but
The whole Cotentin coast enjoyed a holiday heyday during which are now being repelled thanks to the project that has
the 19th and early 20th centuries; in the far north, Le Landemer returned the mount to its original island state.
hotel attracted the likes of Claude Monet, dith Piaf and Here I would join a group and complete my pilgrimage
Franoise Sagan, while the resorts of Granville home to across the sands to Le Mont-Saint-Michel, plunging knee-deep
a Christian Dior museum Barneville-Carteret and Agon- in quicksand and wading across the submerged rivers feeding
Coutainville had their days in the belle-poque sun. the bay. But though the drama of that crossing is undeniable, it
General Dwight Eisenhower had his headquarters in was the wild beauty of the clifftop walk that stayed with me.
Saint-Jean-le-Thomas for a few weeks from August 1944. Which was the kilometre lauded by Herriot (or Eisenhower, or
Doubtless his mind was focused on the ongoing battle to drive even Churchill, as some have said)? Clearly, I had covered it
the German army from Normandy after D-Day but it seems but on a stretch so captivating, it was impossible to distinguish
he found time to enjoy the views from the cliffs. where the exceptional beauty began and where it ended.

Francofile
GETTING THERE
Explore the coastal path to Le Mont-Saint-Michel
(TopoGuides GR, 2014) has detailed FOR AN APRO www.
Paul travelled with Brittany Ferries maps and route notes for the Le Jardin des Dunes la-grange-
on the overnight sailing from GR223. The 17km section between Plage du Pignolet de-tom.fr
Portsmouth to Saint-Malo; from Carolles-Plage and Gents takes 50530 Saint-Jean-le-Thomas Homely
172pp return for car plus two about 45hr. Tel (Fr): 2 33 68 28 20 restaurant
passengers, from 80 return for Open Wed-Sun, Apr-Sept with
foot passengers (tel: 0871 244 WHERE TO STAY (also Tues, July and Aug) a terrace
1400, www.brittany-ferries.co.uk). Chteau de Chantore Enjoy a drink on the terrace of this on the
See page 23 for other travel details. 50530 Bacilly caf-restaurant and enjoy views of clifftop looking
Tel: (Fr) 6 74 30 66 64 the beach and Le Mont-Saint-Michel. towards the mount.
GETTING AROUND www.chateaudechantore.com Unsurprisingly, fish and
PHOTOGRAPH: JEAN-DANIEL SUDRES/HEMIS.FR

Carolles-Plage is about an hours This 18th-century chateau set in WHERE TO EAT seafood are excellent. Three-course
drive from Saint-Malo. Trains from beautiful grounds (watch for red La Grange de Tom menus from 25.50, lunch from 13.
the port serve Avranches and squirrels, deer and other wildlife) 40 Route des Falaises Open every day in the summer,
Granville (tel: 0844 848 5848, has been restored by hosts Bernard 50530 Champeaux closed Tues evening and Wed
www.voyages-sncf.com). Buses run and Iaki, and furnished with Tel: (Fr) 2 33 61 85 52 out of season.
from Avranches to Granville via wonderful period pieces. Some
Gents, Saint-Jean-le-Thomas, suites have views of Le Mont-Saint- TOURIST INFORMATION: Normandy tourist board, tel: (Fr) 2 32 33
Champeaux and Carolles (Line 4, Michel. Doubles/suites from 79 00, www.normandy-tourism.org; Le Mont-Saint-Michel tourist
www.manche.fr). Tour du Cotentin 165/250 including breakfast. office, tel: (Fr) 2 33 60 14 30, www.ot-montsaintmichel.com

50 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


Walking in For a rare
and personalised,
Provence boutique experience
:
24 years of walking PRESTIGE WALKS SINCE 1996

holidays in France

Discover beautiful
northern Provence
Wonderful hikes,
company, food and
wine all Ive come
to expect from Hilary on foot
Louise S. From gentle village strolls to
spectacular summits hikes.
All levels from relaxed breaks
to challenging adventures.


Based in traditional French village Walks or themed weeks in areas of
hotels offering excellent local
food and wine. Scheduled and outstanding beauty in South West France:

The walks took us to


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

John C.
tailor-made trips. Small groups
led by Hilary Sharp, a qualied
English guide permanently
resident in the region.

www.provencewalk.com
www.trekkinginprovence.com
Also French, Swiss and Italian
The Dordogne and the Lot Quercy - chateaux, pre-historic
caves, markets, butterflies and a plethora of wild orchids;
The Chemin de St Jacques from Puy to Cahors - an ancient,
spiritual route trodden in utmost comfort;
The Basque Country with its rolling Pyrenean foothills, wild
horses, seaports and Guggenheim museum;
Burgundy for barge cruising and walking the walking offers

I dont usually write thank-you
letters after paid-for holidays
but you both have the ability,
and it must be a natural talent
as well as something you work
at, to make your guests feel
Alps and Corsica, Summer hiking a perfect balance to the fine wining and dining on board. utterly at home.
and Winter snowshoeing trips
www.trekkinginthealps.com
For more info, contact Hilary
Email: hilaryalp@gmail.com www.thewalkingparty.co.uk
Tel: +33 682 654 214 walks@orange.fr+33 (0)6 87 67 11 51

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 51


Magical Morzine
After a five-year gap, Carolyn Boyd soon finds her ski
legs on the pistes of this popular resort in Haute-Savoie

52 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


MORZINE

T
hey say its like riding a bike, but when
youre standing at the top of a mountain
about to embark on your first ski run in
five years, skiing still seems pretty
daunting. Yet sure enough, as the skis tip over the
edge of the piste and the crunch of the icy snow
gives way to powder, it seems that I have got my ski
legs back. And its wonderful.
Im here in Morzine in the French Alps just after
Christmas, the perfect way to prolong the festive
feeling, gastronomic treats and all. Twinkling lights
still hang in the streets and, by day, the sky is bright
blue, the air bracing. My accommodation is the
wonderful Ferme du Lac Vert in nearby Montriond,
a stylish chalet that I had first encountered
on a visit in 2008, at its very conception.
From the window of a minibus en route from the
slopes to the chalet in which I had met Rob and
Lucy Mundell, I had peered through a blizzard at
a crumbling 19th-century farmhouse which, they
told me, had great potential. In the intervening
years when my ski jacket sat gathering dust Rob
and Lucy were turning this shell into a stylish retreat
named after the nearby emerald lake.

Twinkling lights hang


in the street and by day
the sky is bright blue
We had kept in touch I was fascinated at how
this story would pan out and through emails
and Facebook I watched with glee while they
transformed this ancient building into an inviting,
PHOTOGRAPHS: MATHIEU VITR/OT DE MORZINE; LUCY MUNDELL

cosy chalet with bags of individual character.


While Rob took care of the structure, Lucy was busy
sourcing antique and vintage furniture, and bringing
her distinctive vision to the place, with quirky ideas
such as papier mch cow heads, upholstering
bedheads in Swiss Army blankets and commissioning
a local artist to create an impressive staircase.
From the pictures, the result looked amazing, and
so after five years of invitations (my two babies

LEFT: Le Plney ski lift linking Morzine and Les Gets;


ABOVE: La Ferme du Lac Vert chalet, where Carolyn stayed

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 53


CLOCKWISE FROM conspiring to keep me away from the ski slopes), their descent. With the sun shining, I breathe in
TOP: The bridge over I jumped on a plane and came over. And I am very the cool, pure air and sigh. Its great to be back
the valley to the glad I did. The place is cosy, quirky and adorable, as in the mountains.
Supermorzine ski lift, the photos promised it would be, and when youre Morzine is part of the Portes du Soleil ski area in
Morzine; One of the there, sitting in front of the roaring fire enjoying the Haute-Savoie and is linked by lifts to Avoriaz,
distinctive rooms pre-dinner cocktail of the day, its as if the chalet a smaller ski-in, ski-out resort on the mountain top.
at La Ferme du Lac were giving you a gigantic hug. With a hot tub, Horse-drawn sleighs dash about at the foot of the
Vert; The cheese massages on demand and amazing evening menus high-rise apartments, bells jingling as they go, and
bar at La Chamade we transfer briefly to a chairlift to climb ever higher
created by their talented chef Sharif Chiefy Gergis
restaurant; BELOW:
(who reached the quarter-finals of BBC TVs and into the snowier areas. And then Im at the top
The striking staircase
MasterChef in 2006), its a wonder that I can tear of the slope, embarking on my first ski run in five
at the Ferme du Lac
myself away to actually do what Im here to do: ski. years; muscles tense, knuckles white. Its thrilling
Vert chalet
To help me back in the swing of things, I have and nerve-wracking in equal measure.
booked a lesson with a local instructor, Pierrot, who As I do a series of gentle turns, I find that the
meets me at the ski lift and helps me to negotiate the adage is indeed true; it is like riding a bike. With
pre-piste palaver of carrying ones skis and poles and Pierrot there to guide me towards the next lift, we
walking in clumpy boots into the cable car. The go up, ski across, down and up again. An hour later,
bulky clothes and inflexible gloves feel unfamiliar as he points to a peak in the distance. Thats the Mur
I shuffle around and finally get comfortable. Suisse, he says. From there you can ski into
Then I look out of the window. As the cable car Switzerland. It seems miles away, but before long,
whisks us up the mountain I gaze out to the Im standing there, looking down a very steep piste

PHOTOGRAPHS: SAM INGLES/OT DE MORZINE; J.B. BIEUVILLE/OT DE MORZINE; LUCY MUNDELL; CAROLYN BOYD
snow-covered peaks that stretch as far as the eye into another country. Thankfully, were not
can see, the buzzing town below becomes a model descending it, but staying on French soil (or snow),
village in the distance, and the empty slopes are bound for a caf for a chocolat chaud. I have earned
peppered with skiers and snowboarders making the calories on the adrenalin production alone.

54 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


MORZINE

SAME
PLACE, Snowshoeing in the
DIFFERENT
PACE Valley de la Manche
In anticipation of my ski legs being
wobblier than they actually turned
out to be, I booked a snowshoeing
walk on day two to give some
different muscles a work-out. The
instructor was Vronique Fillon,
a diminutive, sun-tanned local who
led me and a small group of fellow
snowshoers through the forest to
Lac des Mines dOr. In summer,
this artificial lake in the Valley de la
The skiing, meanwhile, earns me calories that Manche makes a lovely picnic and
I am happy to gain back at dinner at the chalet. fishing spot. On this day, of course, it was covered in snow, but no less
After a cosy cocktail around the fire, its time to take appealing as a pit stop. After a heart-pumping walk through the trees, nature-
a seat at the long communal table. Different hats spotting as we went, Vronique poured us each a shot of espresso from
hang all around us everything from a firemans to a Thermos flask, and we caught our breath.
a gendarmes kepi and act as the perfect ice- The walk back was downhill, and therefore easier, but on returning to
breaker. While my fellow guests and I were strangers Morzine just before lunch, my cheeks were even rosier than they had been on
on arrival, all it takes is one drink, the swapping the ski slopes, and my heart had had an even bigger workout. Not so different
around of the headwear and were friends. from skiing, after all! (Vronique Fillon, Relief La Montagne lAuthentique,
The chalet staff swoop in with everyones starters tel: (Fr) 4 50 38 09 21, mobile (Fr) 6 77 77 74 64, reliefmontagne@orange.fr).
beautifully presented on slate boards, every dietary
requirement catered to and Chiefy stands at the
foot of the table presenting the first course: flame-
grilled scallops, crispy pancetta and black sesame adorned by a necklace created from
seeds and peas. The scallops melt in the mouth. dozens of real, leather-strapped cowbells.
An equally delicious main follows: maple-glazed Thierry is keen to showcase other artists
duck breast, crispy leg and a sweetcorn cream, with too, so he organises exhibitions in the
winter vegetables. Each course is the perfect basement throughout the year.
quantity, so there is room for dessert (which After an aperitif a delicious
there often isnt after raclette/tartiflette/fondue): adaptation of kir royal using sparkling
a Valrhona chocolate mousse that disappears wine and chestnut liqueur I opt for the
almost as quickly as it arrives. The wine flows as salmon with reblochon potatoes and
easily as the conversation, and soon aching muscles a liquorice cream. It sounds a little odd,
drive everyone towards bed. but is absolutely delicious and beautifully
Next day, after I have had a change of pace with presented. The staff tell me about their
a mornings snowshoeing (see panel above), lunch is renowned Bar Fromage, a cheese-
booked for the hottest table in town La Chamade. tasting hour that works perfectly for
This family-run business has evolved from a simple aprs-ski at 5pm. Im torn Chiefys
crperie to an elegant restaurant. In 2013, Thierry cuisine or the cheese. Its a tough one,
Thorens, son of the original owners, took the brave but the chalets open fire is too hard to ABOVE: A portrait
step of changing focus completely, and now it is resist. After an afternoon looking around the town, I by La Chamade chef
a gastronomic hotspot, offering cheese and wine return to the chalet for afternoon tea and cake, and Thierry Thorens
tastings, chefs table sessions and relaxed but later a glass of vin chaud in the bubbling hot tub. using real-life
high-class dining. Its a hard job, this. cowbells hangs in
What makes it even more special is that, as well By day three, Im itching to get back on the the restaurant
as being a chef and cookbook author, Thierry is slopes. There are calories to burn and gastronomic
an artist. He fashions sculptures from metal, mostly treats to earn. Nicolas Evquoz is the chalets own
industrial parts. Cogs, nuts and bolts become ski guide, but a back injury has put him out of
candlesticks and on the first floor of the restaurant, action for a few days, so Lucy is my ski pal. I feel
his artwork has taken over a wall copper slightly less tense than on the first day as we zip
calligraphy is bolted on to other industrial parts. around the pistes, taking on the moderate and
Elsewhere, a huge canvas portrait of a woman is intermediate blue and red runs.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 55


The joy of skiing with a guide or someone who
knows a resort well is that the piste map can stay
safely in ones pocket no battling a flapping piece
of paper in a blizzard. The other perk is that those
in the know can take you to the best watering holes.
Lucy is keen to show me Chez BaBeth, a tiny
restaurant behind the Pierre-Longue chairlift
between Chtel and Avoriaz.
We squeeze through the narrow door, and it is
like Santas grotto, packed with fairy lights,
Christmas decorations, faux-fur blankets and tartan
curtains. Gingham tablecloths adorn the tables,

Francofile
which each occupy a cosy nook. Lucy orders
chocolats chauds and tells me more about what has
happened since they finished the chalet: the
renovation of the mazot (the small adjoining house),
a pop-up restaurant in the summer. There are just
so many outdoor activities in the summer: mountain Hit the Alpine slopes in
biking, walking and the via ferrata (climbing the resort of Morzine
routes), she says. The scenery is amazing and the
lake is just stunning so green. You should come GETTING THERE
back, you really should. Well OK then, youve By air: Morzine is a 75-minute transfer
twisted my arm. from Geneva Airport, which is served by FOR AN APRO
Our final stop is for a late lunch at Le Vaffieu in a number of airlines (see page 23 for Chez BaBeth
Le Plney, towards Les Gets, where we are meeting details). There are many transfer Chalets de Plaine Dranse
everyone from the chalet. Some have skied there, services to the resort; we used Skiidy 74390 Chtel
while injured Nicolas has brought the non-skiers on Gonzales (tel: (Fr) 4 50 37 36 85, Tel: (Fr) 4 50 73 38 77
a snowmobile. We all bundle into the cosy upstairs www.skiidygonzales.com) whose reps www.vieuxchalet.com
room, which is decorated with charming wooden can be recognised by their sombreros. Winter grotto for a vin chaud.
ornaments and knick-knacks. Transfers cost from 40pp.
By road/ferry: Morzine is about an 8hr WHERE TO EAT
We squeeze through the drive from Calais. La Chamade
By rail: The nearest station is Cluses on 90 Route de la Plagne
door, and the restaurant the TER line from Annemasse to La Crusaz, 74110 Morzine
Saint-Gervais-les-Bains. Tel: (Fr) 4 50 79 13 91
is like Santas Grotto www.lachamade.com
WHERE TO STAY Thierry Thorenss restaurant, cheese
The waitress brings a tray of sparkling wine and La Ferme du Lac Vert and wine bar. Main dishes from 22.
chestnut liqueur for everyone. Menus are bandied 169 Vieille Route
about, while ski jackets come off in a flurry of hats, Montriond, 74110 Morzine La Chaudanne
gloves and scarves. The speciality is a huge pot au UK office tel: 01483 890 044 590 Route de la Plagne
feu, a casserole full of steaming meat and veg, served Chalet tel: (Fr) 4 50 79 49 33 74100 Morzine
with a bowl and ladle. We all tuck into our various www.skizeen.com Tel: (Fr) 4 50 79 12 68
meals, sharing stories of ski adventures, near and The chalet has 11 en-suite rooms and www.lachaudanne-morzine.com
far. Amid a cheer, the guests raise a toast to our a family apartment. Stays cost from Popular traditional Savoyard restaurant,
hosts Lucy and Nicolas, and before long we are 895pp for a week and 580 for a short menus from 18.50.
ordering the Irish coffees and digestifs. break, including cooked breakfast,
When we finally come back downstairs, the afternoon tea and three-course evening Le Vaffieu
restaurant is empty and the sun is sinking behind the meals, and minibus transfers to the ski Le Plney
mountains. The ski lifts are grinding to a halt and lifts. Massages can be arranged or 74260 Les Gets
we have to make it down before the light goes. It is booked in advance with Nicole Coryton Tel: (Fr) 4 50 79 09 43
the toughest test of my ski legs, as areas have started and cost from 30 (tel: (Fr) 6 04 49 42 Mountain restaurant (pictured above)
PHOTOGRAPH: CAROLYN BOYD

to freeze in the falling temperature. But despite the 32, www.mobilemountainmassage.com). between Morzine and Les Gets.
challenge of icy snow and bare patches, the skiing is
a joy and on reaching the base of the mountain TOURIST INFORMATION: Morzine tourist office, tel: (Fr) 4 50 74 72 72,
Im proud of myself. Just two falls and ski confidence www.morzine-avoriaz.com; An adult ski pass for the Portes du Soleil area in
regained. Will it be another five years before I book the 2015/16 winter season costs 49.50 for one day and 247.50 for six days. For the
my next ski trip? Five minutes, more like. Morzine-Les Gets area only, the pass costs 38 for one day and 191 for six days.

56 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


NOW IS THE TIME TO

BOOK YOUR WINTER


SKI HOLIDAY!

La Toussuire is located in the heart of the Sybelles, the largest ski


domaine in the Maurienne and one of the most extensive ski areas in
France stretching over 6 ski resorts. The resort boasts a large range
of activities, including downhill skiing, snowboarding, snow shoeing,
ski doos and husky sledge rides. With apartments for 2 people, up to
chalets for 16, there is something which cater to all needs.

CONTACT US TO DISCUSS YOUR SKI BREAK!


Toussuire Loisirs, Rsidence les Aiguilles,
73 300 LA TOUSSUIRE | 00 33 04.79.83.02.82
info@toussuireloisirs.com | www.toussuireloisirs.com

OUR MOTTO IS SIMPLE:


PERSONAL - TAILORED - HONEST
We believe your time in Morzine is precious and over the past 12 years our family
company have been perfecting chalet holiday experiences so that you can truly relax
and enjoy the mountains. From gourmet meals prepared by our in-chalet hosts to full
driving services to the lifts, we have everything covered - meaning that you can truly
maximise your precious holiday time.

Open all year for skiing, biking, golf, yoga and self-catered weeks - Mountain Mavericks
chalets all feature hot-tubs and our tailored ethos means that we can cater for all
your needs.

Join our world on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram (@mountainmavericks) and


contact us on thechalet@mountainmavericks.com for available dates.

www.mountainmavericks.com / 02071936282

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 57


PHOTOGRAPH: SIMON DAVID/CARO/ASSOCIATION HERMIONE-LAFAYETTE

58 FRANCE MAGAZINE
www.completefrance.com
HERMIONE

ADVENTURES OF
THE HERMIONE
The replica of a ship that played a part in the American
Revolution has just returned from an epic voyage and is
drawing crowds to Rochefort in Charente-Maritime.
Peter Stewart visited the vessel and met the crew

The Hermione lies moored on the River Charente near


Rochefort after her return from the United States

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 59


O
ur dinghy sped out of the tiny port of le dAix at public, with 64 per cent of the cost funded by the four million
the mouth of the River Charente, whipping up the visitors to the project since its launch.
salty sea-spray as it bounced across the tops of The Hermione was built just up river from le dAix
the waves. As the boat negotiated a sharp turn at the port of Rochefort. Traditional shipbuilding methods were
and ventured out into the wide blue yonder the star attraction used wherever possible, with carpenters, blacksmiths, riggers
that we had been longing to see came into sharp focus on the and sail makers rallying to make the ship what she is today.
horizon. Her name was the Hermione, a 47-metre-high, About 2,000 French oak trees were sourced to create
65-metre-long replica of the three-masted frigate that left these 400,000 hand-sculpted pieces for the hull while 24 kilometres
waters in 1780, taking the young Marquis de Lafayette to of ropes, many of which were prepared at the nearby
America where he would help George Washington to defeat Corderie Royale rope-making museum, went in to the rigging.
the British in the War of Independence. Our tiny boat passed However, even a historical project cannot avoid modern
through a flotilla of other vessels busying around the Hermione, rules and regulations. The Hermione had to make several
all vying to catch the best view of her; and after clambering up concessions in order to comply with international maritime
the well-worn rope ladder dangling precariously overhead, we safety regulations, which included having two motors,
were all safely on deck. modern GPS navigational equipment and adequate sanitary
Welcome on board this most special of ships, said the living conditions for her crew.
ships superintendent, Bruno Gravellier, dressed in full naval
PHOTOGRAPHS: VALRIE TOEBAT/ASSOCIATION HERMIONE-LAFAYETTE SIMON DAVID/CARO;

uniform. After almost two decades in the making weve finally


done it, he said proudly.
About 2,000 French oak trees
The idea of building the replica was conceived in 1993 at were sourced to create 400,000
DAVID COMPAIN/VILLE DE ROCHEFORT; ASSOCIATION HERMIONE-LA FAYETTE

a meeting attended by French author Erik Orsenna and Benedict


Donnelly, founder of the Association Hermione-Lafayette in hand-sculpted pieces for the hull
France, and a few others belonging to the Centre International
de la Mer in Rochefort. They agreed unanimously that The Hermiones crew was starting to intrigue me as
Lafayettes pivotal role in procuring French money, men and I paused and glanced at a sea of fresh-faced recruits.
arms to assist Washington was an important part of both the We are proud of the crew, most of whom are volunteers and
US and Frances collective memory, one which had been largely have sacrificed their real life to be a part of the history of this
forgotten in recent times. vessel, said Gravellier. Previous sailing experience was not
Construction began in 1997 and took 17 years, compared a prerequisite for the Atlantic voyage; in fact, some of the
with just under a year for the original. It was a huge and 73-strong crew had never even boarded a ship before.
costly undertaking, made possible with money raised by the Teamwork was the most important criterion and crew members
Association Hermione-Lafayette and contributions from the were trained for a year in old-world sailing practices, which
Charente-Maritime dpartement and the Rgion Poitou- included climbing the rigging and manoeuvring the sails by
Charentes. However, the single biggest contributor was the hand. American volunteer Marc Jensen said: It was physically

60 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


HERMIONE

FROM FACING PAGE, TOP LEFT: The Hermione arrives in Boston during her
east coast tour of the USA; Games in the park of the Corderie Royale at
the homecoming in Rochefort; Crowds watch the Hermione enter the
dockyard; The replica ship shows her firepower on the River Charente;
The Hermione during her voyage across the Atlantic

SAME
PLACE,
DIFFERENT
Learn the ropes in
PACE
this naval town
Rocheforts compact, grid-like layout is due to the military planning
that went into its construction in the 17th century; it makes the
naval town relatively easy to explore on foot and it is home to
a fascinating cluster of museums.
challenging at times, but we all quickly took on the rhythm of Begin a walking tour at the Corderie Royale in Rue
ship life, and the friendships I developed will last a lifetime. Jean-Baptiste Audebert. Once the centre for rope-making and
Lying proudly in the dry dock, the Hermione is enjoying Europes longest building, it now houses the Centre International
a well-earned rest following her epic voyage across the de la Mer (tel: (Fr) 5 46 87 01 90, www.corderie-royale.com),
Atlantic and up the eastern seaboard of the United States. a museum dedicated to the towns seafaring past. Youll learn
The Americans loved her and were very thankful for her being about the types of ropes used on French ships and get a chance
built, Gravellier said. The Hermione began her maiden voyage to make your own.
on 18 April and after stops in the Canary Islands and the A quick stroll across Place de la Gallissonire will bring you
Caribbean made landfall on 5 June in Yorktown, Virginia, to the Muse de la Marine (tel: (Fr) 5 46 99 86 57, www.musee-
more than 6,000 kilometres away. The Friends of Hermione- marine.fr/rochefort). Displays over several floors feature large
Lafayette in America sponsored the United States tour which model ships and other artefacts demonstrating the towns maritime
members saw as a reaffirmation of the historic bond shared heritage. Climb to the top floor and youll be rewarded with
between the US and France. A lot of Americans know the a picture-postcard view of the Hermione.
name Lafayette but few know who he really was and it was One of Rocheforts most celebrated residents was the naval
great for us to remind them of the significance, said Gravellier. officer and novelist Pierre Loti. Objects that he collected on his
Lafayette first ventured to America in 1777 in secret to meet travels are on show at the Muse Hbre de Saint Clment in Avenue
Washington and pledge his assistance, but it was not until 1779 Charles de Gaulle (tel: (Fr) 5 46 82 91 60, www.ville-rochefort.fr/
that French intervention in the war was formally approved by culture/equipement/hebre). It also has a 3D virtual tour of his
Louis XVI. The Hermione was assigned to take Lafayette to nearby home, which is currently shut for refurbishment.
Boston and departed from the le dAix on 21 March, 1780.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 61


Yorktown was one of several ports selected for the replicas
east-coast tour due to their strategic importance in the War of
FROM LEFT: Crowds meet the Hermione
Independence. It was here that the original Hermione took part
in Philadelphia; Dancers in period costume
in the naval blockade in 1781 which led to the surrender of the

Francofile
during the celebration in Rochefort
British General Lord Cornwallis and his troops.
The replica received a warm welcome at an official ceremony
and stayed in Yorktown for three days. Visitors were allowed
on board for free and chatted to the crew on their experiences
before venturing below deck. They could also view a travelling
photography exhibition showing the 17 years of construction. Discover more about the
On 8 June, the frigate journeyed north to Mount Vernon, Hermiones home town
George Washingtons plantation home. In keeping with the
original Hermione, the replica transported a crate of cognac, GETTING THERE WHERE
traditional tipple of Poitou-Charentes, which was offloaded and By rail: Peter travelled from TO EAT
auctioned for charity. After stops in Annapolis and Baltimore London to La Rochelle via Paris Cap Nell
the ship called into Philadelphia, where she joined a tall ships courtesy of Voyages-sncf.com 1 Quai Joseph Bellot
festival. Historical re-enactments took place and there was (tel: 0844 848 5848, www. 17300 Rochefort
a re-creation of the meal that Washington, Lafayette and voyages-sncf.com, returns from Tel: (Fr) 5 46 87 31 77
delegates of the Continental Congress enjoyed on board the 129). See page 23 for more www.capnell.com
Hermione in 1781. travel details. A restaurant overlooking the
But the crowning moment for superintendent Gravellier marina, offering a friendly service
came when the replica arrived in New York capital of the WHERE TO STAY and delicious seafood dishes such
United States from 1785 to 1790 for American Independence Htel de la Corderie Royale as scallops adorned with mango
Day, 4 July. The replica was met with jubilation, and a flotilla Rue Audebert chutney and lemon crumble.
of around 140 ships joined her at the Statue of Liberty for 17300 Rochefort Dinner reservations are advisable.
a welcome parade. The turnout was simply incredible Ive Tel: (Fr) 5 46 99 35 35 Menus from 22.30.
never seen so many ships, he recalled with a twinkle in his eye. www.corderieroyale.com Eat out in Charente-Maritime
Following a sensational 4 July fireworks display the Luxurious hotel set in see page 82.
Hermione left port the next morning bound for Boston in a 17th-century property
Massachusetts, the arrival point for Lafayette on 28 April 1780, overlooking the Corderie VISIT HERMIONE
where more historical re-enactments were held. The east coast Royale rope-making museum Association Hermione-
PHOTOGRAPHS: FRANCIS LATREILLE/ASSOCIATION HERMIONE-LAFAYETTE; SIMON DAVID/CARO

tour ended in Canadian waters, in the port town of Lunenburg and park. Doubles from 91. Lafayette
in Nova Scotia on 18 July. Here the ship enjoyed a short pause Arsenal Maritime
before returning across the Atlantic, a journey which, according FOR AN APRO Place Amiral Dupont
to Gravellier, was much better than in Lafayettes day as Garden ice caf BP 70177 17308 Rochefort Cedex
he returned in deepest, darkest winter. 27 Rue Audry de Puyravault Tel: (Fr) 5 46 82 07 07
So what is next for the Hermione? The ship came full circle 17300 Rochefort www.hermione.com
the day after our visit aboard, showing her might by firing Tel: (Fr) 5 46 99 00 89 Explore the Hermione above and
12-pounders from her 34 cannons as she sailed up the River www.gardenicecafe.com below deck, either by yourself or
Charente and pulled into the Rochefort dockyard where she Caf-bar just off one of the towns as part of a guided tour. Visits
came to life all those years ago. The ship is now open to the main shopping streets with ample 10am-12.30pm and 2pm-6pm
public, who can also visit a fascinating temporary exhibition seating inside and out, and a wide (until 3 Jan 2016; 2016 times TBC).
which chronicles every stage of the construction process. The range of drinks including cocktails Guided visits last 1hr 15min and
Hermione wont be here forever, though; Shell go wherever made with the local fortified wine cost 16 (6 children). Unguided
she is requested, Gravellier assures me. In fact, she is already Pineau des Charentes. visits 9 (6 children).
scheduled to sail to Brest for the Breton ports international
maritime festival next July. But for now shell sit happily in TOURIST INFORMATION: Rochefort Ocan tourist office, tel (Fr)
Rochefort as visitors come to marvel at her and celebrate an 5 46 99 08 60, www.rochefort-ocean.com; Poitou-Charentes
alliance that has endured for more than 200 years. tourist board, tel: (Fr) 5 49 55 77 00, www.visit-poitou-charentes.com

62 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


GALLIC FLAIR
IN PARADISE
Travel halfway around the globe and you can still be in France,
as Ray Kershaw discovers on a trip to La Nouvelle-Caldonie

I
nto our drowsy post-lunch languor drifts the lilt of an paradise should do. Although its double billed as the Land of
accordion. It is a sizzling afternoon. Teams of panting Eternal Spring and the Heart of the Pacific, the islanders
poodles are towing silver-haired ladies; ptanque balls themselves, with affectionate modesty, simply call it Le Caillou
syncopate with a humming chorus of bees. Observed from (The Pebble). But what a pebble!
under our parasol at Le Pandanus Caf, it is like a tableau
PHOTOGRAPHS: FRANCK GUIZIOU/HEMIS.FR; ALICE KERSHAW;

The main island of Grande Terre, which lies inside a coral


vivant of French provincial life. We know it is France a chip reef rivalling that of Australias, is more than twice the size of
off the old Hexagone yet every day we are still surprised. Corsica and girdled by the worlds biggest lagoon. Captain
We are 17,000 kilometres from the Champs-lyses, on the James Cook came across the islands in 1774 and named it
French islands of La Nouvelle-Caldonie. In Place des Cocotiers, New Caledonia because the landscape reminded him of the
the leafy hub of the capital Nouma, coconut palms and Scottish Highlands. However, impenetrable jungles deterred
olive trees are weaving their Provenal and South Pacific shade other outsiders for another 70 years. In 1843, a British
CAMILLE MOIRENC/HEMIS.FR

over classical French fountains and tribal totem poles. merchant, James Paddon, paid Stone Age tribes a metal axe for
The indigenous Kanak womens multi-coloured gowns the Nou peninsula and built a thriving port. Ten years later,
outdazzle the brilliant tropical blooms. France annexed the island, but the indigenous Kanaks, warriors
La Nouvelle-Caldonie an exotic cocktail of age-old tribal to a man, kept severing French heads. Paddon accepted 40,000
customs and Parisian chic is doing everything a South Seas gold francs for his thriving fortified settlement.

64 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


LA NOUVELLE-CALDONIE

MAIN PICTURE: The Koulnou Village Resort at Hienghne on the


north-east coast; TOP: The dramatic setting of the capital Nouma;
ABOVE: The clear waters of the Grand Reef off Nouma

Traces of Noumas British infancy survive but, gilded with soldiers passed through. There were cinemas, theatres, big bands
Gallic charm and style as it grew, the sun-drenched capital in and bebop; hospitals, airfields and South-Pacific-style romances.
miniature steals our hearts on the first day. Wherever we As in World War I, when 1,200 Kanaks fought at Verdun,
wander in the old town we find ourselves back at the tropical everyone pitched in. The story is told in Noumas War
gardens in Place des Cocotiers. The surrounding colonial-style Museum. Colonial rule could never be the same again.
buildings provide a potpourri of haute couture Paris and South France raised the islands status to Overseas Territory in
Seas animation. Restaurants represent the Hexagones six 1946. Now Kanaks too were citoyens, yet many wanted
corners. Grottos of Swiss watches rub shoulders with trinket independence: a nation called Kanaky. After violent unrest,
shops. We find boulangeries, chocolatiers and elegant piceries President Franois Mitterrand allowed a referendum in 1987.
displaying island-grown vanilla and foie gras from Prigord. Europeans voted for France; Kanaks stayed at home. Under the
A cut-price Kanak gown? A Dior? A Givenchy? Youll find slogan Two Colours, One People, Grande Terre was divided:
them all here. Nickel mines made it Frances richest colony. the south and Nouma, where 75 per cent of the 260,000
Incomes top those in metropolitan France by 20 per cent. inhabitants live, and the thinly populated tribal north.
From the beginning there were Kanak revolts, but the seismic In any referendum two white tribes have a permanent
change occurred in 1942 when La Nouvelle-Caldonie became majority. The Caldoches, the aristocracy, descend from early
the USAs headquarters during the Pacific War. A million colonists. The Zoreilles (Crole for ears) are later French

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 65


arrivals. But many Kanaks, too, privately prize French
nationality. They like the first-class hospitals, social security,
TV with le football and films from la Mtropole. They like
croissants, Roquefort cheese and fine bordeaux wines, but best
of all they like franais. The 300 tribes, who were once blood
enemies, speak 29 languages with countless variations. Their
lingua franca French seems their only superglue. while the Baie des Citrons vie franaise unfolds along palm-
At the quayside market where we start every day, Caldoches, shaded promenades and garden-hemmed beaches that the Cte
Zoreilles and Kanaks mingle in cosmopolitan harmony. We get dAzur would envy. Window shoppers ogle boutiques between
advice on preparing papayas, breadfruit and yams. The the seafront-restaurant terraces of the Baie de lAnse Vata.
greengrocery pavilions overflow with fruit and vegetables. There We try to resist (but frequently fail) the temptations of
is grass-ranged beef from the west coast savannahs; venison and master ptissiers refugees from la Mtropole pursuing endless
boar from the mountain forests. But it is the glittering harvests summer. Our favourite ice-cream seller, Jean Claude, came as
of the reef, a Unesco World Heritage site, that leaves us a soldier and never went back. His golden cart is an esplanade
breathless but bewildered with its embarrassment of riches. landmark. Why would you leave paradise? It is a word that
Whatever our catch, which is often mahi-mahi, the islands we hear a lot, both from Kanaks and Gauls.
prime fish, we make time for an early coffee at Le Bout du There is a cruise ship pamphlet, How to Spend Your Two
Monde brasserie. The armada of white boats in the Port Hours in New Caledonia. Two months, or even two years,
Moselle marina is dazzling in the sunshine. Six bays ring might not be enough. Nouma, Kanaks tell us, is merely an
Nouma like a diadem. The islets spangling the lagoon look like hors doeuvre for banquets ahead. Our 400-kilometre odyssey
the one-man desert islands dreamt up by cartoonists on north will lead us through the fabled land of Hoot Ma
gloomy London days. Deserted, theyre not. Whaap and conclude at le Vritable Bout du
Windsurfers dart between speeding water taxis Monde. Who would not have itchy feet?
ferrying divers to submarine wonderlands. First we visit the Tjibaou Cultural Centre,
We devour our mahi-mahi sauce vanille named after an assassinated independence
a Nouma speciality on the ballroom- leader. The architectural tour de force,
sized balcony of our skyscraper apartment created by Rezo Piano, co-designer of the

66 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


LA NOUVELLE-CALDONIE

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: This sign in Nouma would not be out of traditional usages such as symbolic seashell money, women
place in Paris; The Tjibaou Cultural Centre; Pupils have outdoor especially love their laptops, smartphones and driving 4x4s.
lessons in Pubo, near Balade; Kanak women playing cricket near Perhaps their most endearing trait is a passion for cricket.
Kon; Ice-cream seller Jean-Claude Wittmann; The Baie des A mystery to Gauls, the sport was introduced to the Kanaks by
Tortues on the west coast; FACING PAGE, BELOW: The cagou, British missionaries. Today the women rule. We watch the Baco
national bird of La Nouvelle-Caldonie tribe beat Koumac by an innings. In ankle-length gowns, the
13-player teams use home-made bats and balls with panache.
Kanak shops sell everything imaginable from missionary dresses
(the English word is used) to Normandy butter, Beaujolais and
croissants. Children having lessons under a tree ask where were
from and shyly try some English.
The east-coast corniche, skipping high and low between
flashes of ocean, is a rollercoaster mixing white-knuckle thrills
with spellbinding views. We are in the heart of Hoot Ma Whaap
the mountains and bays of Cooks New Caledonia. We swim
in rock basins under waterfalls tumbling 200 metres and in
crystalline coves where limpid rivers meet the sea. The wide
River Ouame has a cable-hauled ferry; the underworked
ferryman often naps between cars.
Hienghnes hidden lagoon, lapping the Lindralique Crags,
seems too idyllic to be true. It is depicted on banknotes so we
expect other tourists, yet we could be the last people on Earth.
We stay at the Koulnou Village Resort, a picture-book epitome
of our coral island dream, sited in a Kanak tribal area. Our
luxurious grass hut borders a luminous, shell-strewn beach.
There are swimming pools, tennis, riding and boating. Kanak
chefs regale us with French and local dishes. The Koulnou
tribe staff make us feel Koulnous too.

We swim in rock basins under


Pompidou Centre in Paris, celebrates Kanak heritage and
waterfalls and in coves where
customs: essential keys for understanding a very different world. limpid rivers meet the sea
The west-coast highway speeds between mountains and
lagoons. Roads are as good as la Mtropoles but with far fewer One reason for our coming here is to sample the new
cars. The west is mixed Kanak and settler country. The villages Grande Randonne track that will traverse the island. From the
look so sprucely French that they could be airbrushed Plus Tiwa tribal area, the trail takes us steeply though forests that
Beaux Villages. From the mairies the rainbow flags of Kanaky few but the Kanaks have trodden since the beginning of
fly alongside drapeaux tricolores. recorded time. We ford cascading streams; strange bird cries
As we zigzag east across the central mountain chain, river make us start. The hotel pool and Pernods soon feel centuries
gorges, lakes and peaks merge mesmerically into an emerald away. Each ridge, each step, each corner seem to draw us
montage. The tropical forests seem without end. Hundreds of deeper into the islands past.
bird species, many endemic, include the cagou, the strange- From a rocky summit clearing we suddenly see both coasts.
looking flightless bird that has become La Nouvelle-Caldonies Three trees bear strange carved symbols; empty-eyed cattle
symbol. Of myriad plant and wild flower varieties, 2,500 grow skulls squint down from boughs. Kanaks are Christians but
only here. Butterflies abound. Giant tree-climbing lizards top here their older gods cling on. Just 100 years ago anyone found
the reptile hierarchy; in this slice of Eden none is venomous. trespassing would have been ritually consumed. We have not
When we meet pedestrians or the rare oncoming car, met a soul all day and yet it feels as if someone is watching us.
everybody waves. Kanaks live and die by la coutume age-old My wife Alice wants to be off. It seems a sound idea.
traditions vital to respect. When we photograph a cemetery, We reach Balade, a hamlet on the north-east coast that is
fragrant with flowers, we get sharply reprimanded: the only momentous in the annals of South Seas exploration as the site
PHOTOGRAPHS: ALICE KERSHAW

hostility we ever incur. These are hallowed places. Yet after of Captain Cooks landing. Its snow-white church was the first
explanations, we are waved off with a smile. Before entering Christian edifice in the Coral Sea, which stretches from
a tribu an individual tribes territory you request the chiefs Australia to the Solomon Islands. Here, in 1853, France claimed
permission, offering a gift: un petit geste coutumier. the island. In 2011, on the same spot, Kanaks claimed it back
Ask permission to take pictures and Kanak women become symbolically. We picnic at Cooks Bay as pristine and empty
starlets auditioning for Hollywood. While they preserve as on the day he stepped ashore.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 67


Le Bout le Bout du Monde is what everyone calls
Grande Terres final northern thrust. Roaming cattle and wild FROM LEFT: The church in Balade,
horses graze ochre-coloured mountains. People are few. There the first Christian building in the
is no farther you can go. Coral Sea; Sunset at Worlds End
After 30 kilometres of bumpy, dusty, nerve-testing road,
wondering what were doing here, we descend into a plausible
vision of heaven. Before an endless palm-fringed beach seven wines seem the only immigrants. Even the fleur de sel comes
bamboo bungalows offer rustic South Seas versions of every from the auberges own salines. Replete with desserts such as
five-star comfort: bougainvillea-hung verandahs, giant conch shell calvados-flamed banana crme brle, in the tropical darkness
washbowls, solar-powered showers roofed with blue sky. No we lounge on our verandah and hear the vast Pacific Ocean
footprints mark the sand. It seems the Land that Time Forgot. purl on the beach. With no ambient light, the southern
The auberge at the Worlds End, the Relais de Poingam, is constellations glint like diamonds in the sky.
self-sufficient. We settle for whatever the chef can drum up: We actually made it. The Worlds End, of course, should
lagoon-caught lobster, spit-roasted suckling pig, tropical fruit not be easy to reach but it is like La Nouvelle-Caldonie itself
and everything green from the jardin potager. La Mtropole so much harder to leave.

Francofile
GETTING THERE WHEN TO GO
Discover the paradise of La Nouvelle-Caldonie
Nouvelle-Caldonie WHERE TO EAT
By air: Air France flies daily High season for French (Hachette) is available The Roof
from London and tourists is Oct-Dec. May- online. 134 Promenade Roger-
Manchester via Paris and Sept is less crowded and Laroque
Osaka, from 1,598 return not so hot. Jan-Apr is the IN NOUMA 98800 Nouma
(tel: 0871 663 377, www. wet season, when WHERE TO STAY Tel: (NC) 25 07 00
airfrance.co.uk). Flying hurricanes can strike. Htel Beaurivage Watch sharks swim beneath
times from 20 to 27 hours. 98845 Nouma you while tucking in to Tel: (NC) 27 77 28
As an Australia add-on, ISLAND FACTS 7 Promenade Roger- fusion fish dishes on a pier www.leboutdumonde
regional airline Aircalin flies Island time is GMT + 11 Laroque over the bay. noumea.com
daily from Sydney, Brisbane hours. Currency is the Tel: (NC) 26 20 55 Soak up the atmosphere on
and Melbourne, from around Pacific franc (CPF), 150 = 1. www.grands-hotels.nc Au Ptit Caf a colourful quayside. The
400 return (tel: (Fr) 8 26 The island is malaria-free Old-world charm at the Baie 8 Avenue Carcopino brasserie also serves
62 13 20, www.aircalin.com). but tropical dengue fever is des Citrons best-placed 98800 Nouma good-value meals.
reported in the wet season. hotel. Doubles from 89. Tel: (NC) 28 21 89
GETTING AROUND Medical standards equal www.auptitcafe.nc IN THE NORTH
Noumas buses are those of mainland France. Casa del Sole Noumas current favourite, WHERE TO STAY
excellent. Small hire cars EU citizens are covered by 10 Route de lAquarium so book well ahead for Koulnou Village Resort
cost around 32 a day; all the EHIC card. International 98846 Nouma dishes from land and sea. BP 63 Hienghne
the big names are dialling code is 687. Tel: (NC) 25 87 00 Mains from 15-18. Tel: (NC) 42 81 66
represented. For walkers, www.casadelsole.nc www.grands-hotels.nc
the new long-distance READING King-sized apartments with FOR AN APRO Luxurious beachside huts in
footpath will eventually Vanuatu & New Caledonia enormous balconies Brasserie le Bout du a tropical park; half board
extend for 400 kilometres (Lonely Planet) is the sole overlooking the Baie des Monde 160 per night.
(www.randonnees. English-language guidebook. Citrons and Baie de lAnse 4 Rue de la Frgate Nivse
tourismeprovincenord.nc); The French Guide vasion Vata. Doubles from 100. 98847 Nouma Relais de Poingam
maps are available (www. Le Bout du Monde
PHOTOGRAPHS: ALICE KERSHAW

ign.fr). The satellite Loyalty TOURIST INFORMATION: Southern Province Tourism, including Nouma, 98826 Poum
Islands of Ouva, Lifou and www.destinationprovincesud.nc; or tel: (NC) 28 75 80, www.office-tourisme.nc; Tel: (NC) 47 92 12
Mar make unforgettable Northern Province Tourism, tel: (NC) 27 78 05, www.tourismeprovincenord.nc. To stay www.relais-poingam.nc
excursions. Aircalin has overnight with tribes contact the tourist offices in Hienghne, tel: (NC) 42 43 57, Bungalows for two 66;
daily flights, four-flight www.hienghene-tourisme.nc, or Touho, tel: (NC) 42 70 26, www.touho-tourisme.nc. breakfast and dinner,
passes from 178. Read the brochure The Customary Gestures, about tribal customs, before heading north. including drinks, 30pp.

68 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


Idyllic Cruise on the deluxe
hotel barge Wine & Water
Perfect for small private charters from 2 - 6 guests plus 3
crew members, cruising on one of the prettiest stretches
of the Burgundy Canal. Not far from Dijon the capital of
Burgundy, which is now listed as a Unesco World Heritage
Site. We are also located close to the famous wine village
of Beaune with vineyards that grace the slopes of the
Burgundy Ctes de Nuits and the Cte de Beaune.
Owners Max & Bea Renau have 30 years of barging
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Cup he will take you to his private wine tastings in the
famous nearby wine villages between Dijon and Beaune.

For more information please visit


WINE-WATER.com

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 69


Saint-milion The steep, cobbled streets of this famous wine-making
village near Bordeaux are full of surprises, both
above and below ground, says Paul Shearer
PHOTOGRAPHS: ERIC BOULOUMI/HEMIS.FR

Unesco-listed vineyards surround the village of Saint-milion,


which is dominated by the Monolithic Churchs bell tower (centre),
the Collegiate Church (background) and the Tour du Roy (far left)

70 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


VILLAGE

W
ear comfortable shoes. That was the best piece
of advice that I read before visiting Saint-
milion. It feels wrong to burden this famous
wine village with such mundane matters, but
sensible footwear is the key to fully enjoying its attractions.
Saint-milion perches on a promontory 30 minutes drive
east of Bordeaux and overlooks the valley of the River
Dordogne, which snakes west from here to join the River
Garonne and the Gironde Estuary. When English ships came on
medieval booze cruises they brought cobblestones as ballast
before returning with their precious liquid cargo. The cobbles,
though pleasing to the eye, can be hard on the ankles as you
wander the tertres (as the steep cobbled streets are called) past
elegant limestone buildings.
It was almost 1,300 years ago that the Breton monk milion
came to Ascumbas, as the community was then called. In the
17 years until his death in 767, he lived in a cave sleeping on his
stone bed. His seat carved into the rockface is reputed to be
an aid to womens fertility and the small spring-fed pool cures
blindness, so legend has it.
milions miracles attracted disciples, which led to the
growth of a thriving monastic community and the naming

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 71


RIGHT, CLOCKWISE: One of Saint-milions typically sloping streets,
leading up to the Le Tertre restaurant; Looking down on Place du March;
The cloisters of the Collegiate Church

of the village after the sanctified monk. With a lucrative wine


trade to England established under the Anglo-Gascon union in
the 12th century, the foundations of the town were built. Quite
literally. The limestone beneath the town became another great
resource and around 200 kilometres of tunnels were quarried
for precious stone blocks to build the softly pale buildings and
many neighbouring chteaux.
The underground world of Saint-milion is part of
a fascinating guided tour (there are overground tours too see
at the tourist office) which takes in the hermits cave and
another surprising treasure Europes largest monolithic
church. It is a cathedral-sized space, carved out of the inside of
a limestone cliff and overlooking the central marketplace. The
church is an atmospheric cavern with remnants of 14th-century
frescoes and carvings as well as modern structural bracing to
support the 4,500-tonne, 53-metre-high bell tower.
The bell tower, which rises up from the corner of Place
du Clocher, is the highest point in Saint-milion. Take the
200 steps to the top and you will enjoy great views of
Place de lglise Monolithe (aka Place du March) and
across the rooftops to the remains of the ramparts and the
vineyards beyond. For another panoramic view climb the Tour
du Roy, the medieval keep of the kings castle.
Back at ground level, choose a street to amble along and you
will soon be browsing shops, wine merchants, bars and
restaurants that help to make this village such a popular tourist
destination with plenty of historic buildings to enjoy especially
if you remembered your walking shoes.

SAINT-MILION brasserie-style grilled meat. Music and WHAT TO SEE


AT A GLANCE bar stools made from barrels give the The towns 17 historic monuments,
Stay the night at Le Palais Cardinal place a modern feel, which can be 11 of which are listed, are a diverse
(tel: (Fr) 5 57 24 72 39, www.palais- refreshing after all that heritage. group of religious, military and civil
cardinal.com), a 27-bedroom hotel buildings in various states of repair.
housed in a medieval palace on Place Stop for lunch at Le Tertre (tel: (Fr) They include the Collegiate Church and
du 11 Novembre 1918. Doubles from 107 5 57 74 46 33. www.restaurant-le-tertre. its cloister, built between the 12th and
with a luxury option at 180, breakfast com), a cosy restaurant tucked away on 15th centuries with Romanesque and
14. The restaurant (open May-Nov) the steeply sloping Rue du Tertre de la Gothic flourishes, and the Chapelle de
PHOTOGRAPHS: OT SAINT-MILION/ANNE LANTA/HEURISKO; PAUL SHEARER

serves delicious regional cuisine with Tente. The friendly owner serves la Trinit, which was built by
menus from 30. traditional cuisine with a modern twist. Benedictine monks in the 13th century.
Three-course lunch menu 25. It was used for a while as a barrel
Stop for a coffee at Bar de la Poste makers workshop, creating a layer of
(tel: (Fr) 5 57 24 70 76, www.restaurant- soot that both hid and protected
st-emilion.fr), which has shaded tables medieval frescoes which are now
overlooking Place du March. Easygoing revealed in all their splendour.
service means that coffee can easily The Cordeliers cloister (pictured left)
turn into snacking. is a splendid remnant of a 14th-century
Franciscan monastery and there are
Stop for a wine at Trois Fontaines also underground cellars, where
(tel: (Fr) 9 81 85 76 04) in Rue de la sparkling Crmant de Bordeaux is now
Porte Bouqueyre, which has a fine produced. Take a tour and then enjoy
selection by the glass to accompany a tasting in the tranquil gardens

72 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


VILLAGE

ON THE WINE TRAIL


The vineyards surrounding Saint-milion are of such
historical importance that in 1999 they became the
first in the world to be given Unesco World Heritage
status. What the Romans began, the monks
developed. Coming under English rule through the
marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to the future
Henry II, the town was given its freedom by King
John in 1199. The royal charter led to the creation
of the Jurade, a fraternity responsible for all things
vinous in the town and the eight surrounding
communes. Every September, members parade in
their scarlet robes (pictured above) to announce the
start of the harvest and release black balloons from
the top of the Tour du Roy.
The area missed out on the Bordeaux
classification of 1855 but has since created its own
classification, divided into five main appellations:
Saint-milion, Montagne Saint-milion, Lussac
Saint-milion, Puisseguin Saint-milion and
Saint-Georges Saint-milion. Saint-milion has
(tel: (Fr) 5 57 24 42 13, www.lescordeliers. GETTING THERE: several appellations, going up to Premier Grand Cru.
com). To buy a range of Saint-milion Bordeaux- Nearly 5,000 hectares are given over to wine
wines, visit La Grand Cave (tel: (Fr) 5 57 Mrignac Airport, production and there are 800 chteaux, so you have
24 14 24, www.grande-cave-saint-emilion. 53km from Saint-milion, plenty of choice. The vineyards can be explored by
com) in the square by the bell tower. The is served by several UK car, train, bike, horse, minibus or coach, and the
knowledgeable staff are happy to help. airlines; The nearest tourist office has a list of chteaux offering tastings.
The ruins of the Ursuline Convent are railway station is If you want to learn more, the Maison du Vin
a reminder of Saint-milions other Libourne (9km), (tel: (Fr) 5 57 55 50 55, www.maisonduvin
speciality after wine macarons, which a 3hr 20min direct saintemilion.com) runs introductory wine courses in
were made by nuns who settled in the journey from Paris French and English from mid-July to the start of
town in the early 1600s. After the French Montparnasse; The September (11am-12.30pm, 25). At Chteau
Revolution, the recipe of egg, sugar and village is an 8hr drive Fombrauge (tel: (Fr) 5 56 73 30 90, www.bernard-
almonds was supposedly traded for from the northern magrez.com), visitors can blend and label their own
shelter and a meal. The closely guarded ferry ports. wine and learn how the estate runs. Some chteaux
secret has passed down through a handful TOURIST INFORMATION: offer cookery courses, with some being under the
of families to Nadia Fermigier, who has Saint-milion tourist tutelage of a sommelier who explains how to match
a shop in Rue Guadet (pictured below, office, tel: (Fr) 5 57 55 the food to wine.
tel: (Fr) 5 57 24 72 33, www.macarons- 28 28, www.saint- Saint-milion also holds a three-day jazz festival
saint-emilion.fr). emilion-tourisme.com; every July, with most concerts held in Parc Guadet
Gironde tourist board, (tel: (Fr) 5 57 55 50 56, www.saint-emilion-jazz-
tel: (Fr) 5 56 52 61 40, festival.com). Even here, wine is never far away.
www.visitbordeaux This years programme included dgustations
gironde.co.uk musicales, which included a trio performing music
to match each wine tasted.

FRANCE MAGAZINE 73
LOUIS DAGUERRE

REALITY
L
ouis-Jacques-Mand the speed of the daguerreotype.

STAR
Daguerre was born in When Nipce died suddenly of
Cormeilles-en-Parisis, a stroke in 1833, Daguerre
just outside Paris, on continued experimenting alone
18 November, 1787. He is to perfect the technique. A rare
known as the father of daguerreotype that survives
photography, although strictly A master of illusion turned from this time is the Boulevard
speaking he shares that honour du Temple (pictured above),
with Nicphore Nipce.
into one of the fathers of a Paris street scene that includes
Both men were working in photography, says the first candid photograph of
photochemistry and experimenting
with the camera obscura to reproduce
Sheena Harvey people: a man having his boots
polished (circled). However, the
images when they were introduced by ten-minute exposure time meant that the

PHOTOGRAPHS: GETTY/JEAN-BAPTISTE SABATIER-BLOT; GETTY/UNIVERSAL HISTORY ARCHIVE; GETTY/SCIENCE & SOCIETY PICTURE LIBRARY;
the optician who made lenses for moving traffic was all but invisible.
their equipment. Early in 1839, Daguerres discovery
Experimenting with photography was showing of the diorama in 1823 and was announced at a gathering of the
not Daguerres primary occupation. He wrote to a friend: It is in part Acadmie des Sciences in Paris. Rather
was a theatre backdrop artist and used a transparency; the spectator is in a dark than profiting directly from a patent,
the camera obscura to help him with chamber, and it is very pleasing, and has Daguerre assigned the rights to his
perspective when painting landscapes. great illusion. It is without the pale of art, invention to the French government in
This technique also assisted him in the because its object is deception. The art return for an annuity for life for himself
creations he called dioramas. These pleases by reminding, not deceiving. and Nipces son, Isidore, as well as the
MATHIEU LOMBARD/MUSEE ADRIEN MENTIENNE; GETTY/FRANCIS DEMANGE/GAMMA-RAPHO

life-sized paintings on translucent screens When it came to the photographic assurance that France would nobly give
were transformed from two to three process that produced what became the whole world this discovery which
dimensions by the use of light, shone known as a daguerreotype, Daguerre could contribute so much to the progress
either from behind or in front. Through used a polished silver-coated copper plate of art and science. Franois Arago,
this device the paintings mimicked that was treated to make it light-sensitive. a renowned physicist and member of the
movement, the passage of day into night It was then exposed in a camera obscura Acadmie who had brought Daguerre to
and alterations in the weather. pointing at the subject for varying lengths the institutions attention, publicised the
Dioramas of country or classical of time, depending on the strength of the daguerreotype process in August 1839 as
scenes were exhibited in specially light, and then fumed with mercury a gift to the world from France.
designed theatres to an audience sitting in vapour to make the image visible. After After being awarded his pension,
the dark a precursor of the cinema its light sensitivity had been neutralised Daguerre retired with his wife Louise and
experience. The camera obscura was with a saline solution, the plate was adopted daughter Marguerite to Bry-sur-
invaluable in helping Daguerre to paint covered in glass to preserve the picture. Marne in the eastern suburbs of Paris. He
accurate representations of the scenery, This process was begun in became a town councillor and designed
objects and buildings collaboration with Nipce, who had and produced a magnificent diorama for
A contemporary of Daguerre, the invented other photographic techniques, the parish church opposite his house.
artist John Constable, went to a London none of which developed the image with He died on 10 July, 1851, aged 63.

74 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


2 HISTORY TRAIL

THINGS TO SEE available on request at 3


Saint Gervais- illusion of the diorama as
the towns tourist office Saint Protais church, a continuation of the
1 Maison Daguerre, (tel: (Fr) 1 48 82 30 30). Bry-sur-Marne solid building.
Bry-sur-Marne, www.daguerre-bry.com The parish church in Grande Tel: (Fr) 1 49 83 99 39
le-de-France Rue Charles de Gaulle
After his death, Daguerres 2 Daguerre tomb, contains the last diorama 4 Maison Nicphore
family was made bankrupt Bry-sur-Marne that Daguerre created, in Nipce, Saint-Loup-
and their house was taken Daguerre was buried in the 1842, and is the only one to de-Varennes,
over by an orphanage and family plot in Brys cemetery have survived. It was recently Burgundy
then a childrens epilepsy in Rue des Moines Saint- restored with help from the Daguerre stayed at the home
centre. The building was Martin but in 1853 the Getty Foundation and French of Nicphore Nipce outside
bought by the town council Socit Libre des Beaux-Arts Ministry of Culture. The Chalon-sur-Sane four
in 2010 with the aim erected a monument on top. painting (pictured), on times, and the two men
of eventually creating The Illustrated News of New transparent canvas, measures collaborated on early
a museum to display his York described it as being just over five metres by six photographic techniques.
work: paintings that were the of classic simplicity. metres and shows a soaring It is where the first camera
basis of his dioramas and A granite pedestal supports Gothic church interior, which photograph, Point de Vue du
theatre set designs, and a pilaster, on the upper part transforms the modest Gras, was taken in 1826/27.
photographs, engravings and of which Mr Husson has building into almost The house is now a museum
30 daguerreotypes. sculptured in medallion cathedral-like proportions. and includes pieces from the
Daguerres works are a likeness of the illustrious The clever lighting simulates worlds oldest photographic
currently on display in the defunct. A ceremony and daytime or night-time in the studio and laboratory. Open
towns Muse Adrien procession were preceded by church, while the woodwork July and August; contact
Mentienne, and private visits a church service. of the choir is painted as if museum for other times.
of Maison Daguerre are www.bry94.fr in marble and increases the www.photo-museum.org

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 75


BON APPTIT
The best of French gastronomy
at home and away

Cheese
for every
season
A
lthough many
of us know
which fruit and
vegetables to eat
in each season, far fewer are
likely to have given much
thought to the seasonality of
their cheese selection.
Brothers Alex and Lo
Guarneri, who run the
London branch of the artisan
fromagerie Androuet, want to
change that with their new
cookbook A Year in Cheese.
With an introduction and
recipes for all four seasons,
the book reveals the best
cheeses to eat at different
times of year. In springtime, SERVES
for example, when goats, 2
sheep and cows are grazing in
the fields, its all about fresh, ANDROUET FONDUE 1. Put the wine and cornflour in charcuterie, cornichons and
young varieties with abundant 180ml/612fl oz dry a pan over a medium heat. cubed baguette.
flavour such as the soft ewes white wine Whisk well until the mixture (You can use other cheeses, but
MAIN PHOTOGRAPH: KIM LIGHTBODY; REPORTING ZO MCINTYRE

milk Dlice des Cabasses or 2tbsp cornflour starts to thicken, then add the Alex and Lo suggest you
Chabichou goats cheese. 340g/12oz 18-month-old grated Comt and Emmental. discuss the most suitable ones
In winter, go for bold Comt, grated 2. Stir over a low heat with with your cheesemonger).
mountain cheeses that have 60g/2oz Emmental a spatula until the cheese has A Year in Cheese by Alex and
a strong, complex character Grand Cru, grated melted and is bubbling. Lo Guarneri,
after maturing over the Garlic clove, grated 3. Meanwhile, heat a cast-iron with recipes by
summer; think pungent blues Black peppercorns fondue dish. When its hot, crush Alessandro
and creamy reblochon. the garlic in it, then add the Grano, is
The fondue recipe (right) To serve bubbling cheese. published by
captures the warming Selection of charcuterie 3. Sprinkle with freshly cracked Frances
pleasure that cheese can bring Cornichons black pepper and serve Lincoln,
as the days get colder. Crispy baguette, cut into cubes immediately with the priced 20.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 77


BON APPTIT

H ow to...
BRINE AND CURE
BY TAM STORRAR, HEAD
CHEF AT BLANCHETTE
There are many uses for salt
within the kitchen that go
beyond seasoning. Firstly,
there is brining not to be
confused with curing
which is brilliant for fish.
A lot of fish travels

FEAST OF FUNGI
a long way, packed in
ice hovering just above
freezing, so it takes on
a slightly spongy texture. Twenty
minutes in brine gives it an even
A three-Michelin-star chef leads seasoning and firms up the flesh.
a villages mushroom celebration To make a quick brine, throw
a few dessertspoons of table salt

E
very year on the weekend after (50g per litre) into cold water and
Toussaint (1 November), the a few ice cubes, and leave for
tiny village of Saint-Bonnet-le- about 20 minutes.
Froid, poised high above the Curing is a process born in
Rhne Valley on a plateau in the a time before fridges. The removal
Haute-Loire dpartement, gives itself of water through salt inhibits the
over to a mushroom extravaganza. growth of microbes, but also
The origins of the Fte des One marquee has a display of changes the structure of the
Champignons are lost in time. The edible mushrooms: stout ceps with fat meat or fish with pleasant
village, surrounded by beech and pine stumpy stems and burnished brown caps; results, as you can see in
forests, chestnut groves, pastures and egg-yolk yellow chanterelles, their gravadlax. It involves slathering
mossy banks, has always been a foragers upturned gills resembling Gothic fan the meat or fish in salt and sugar,
paradise. When the first frosts called vaulting; black and sinister horns of and leaving for a few days
a halt to mushroom-hunting, it was time plenty; and the infinitely desirable morels, (it would have been even longer
to dry the seasons pickings. A weekend which look like tiny brown sponges. before we had fridges!).
in early November was earmarked for In another marquee, the four chefs You can have a lot of fun with
a mushroom market and foragers would demonstrate dishes ranging from this basic concept. To cure
bring their produce to Place des a traditional velout aux champignons to salmon you can add calvados,
Champignons. In 1995 this relatively more adventurous creations such as a veal pure of beetroot or blueberries,
humble market took a leap forward chop clad in scales of thinly sliced ceps. mustard, dill or horseradish
when Rgis Marcon (pictured inset), But the largest and liveliest tent is the one each one changes the flavour.
chef-patron of the villages three- where visitors tuck into a gourmet Switching from pink fish to
Michelin-star Auberge des Cmes, took mushroom menu, costing a modest 18. white, try a cure of Pernod and
it under his wing. Talking to our table neighbours, we saffron with halibut, brill or cod.
Thanks to the efforts of Marcon, his discover that most come every year from At Blanchette, we cure duck legs
son Jacques and fellow village chefs as far as Brittany and Alsace. What in salt, sugar, herbs, orange and
Thierry Guyot and Andr Chatelard, the distinguishes Saint-Bonnets fte is that other aromatics for 24 hours
fte is now a fixture on the French foodie in spite of its reputation and the before we confit them, which
calendar. The village is closed to traffic participation of a star chef such as makes a huge difference.
and the main street lined with stands Marcon it remains a simple country Bon apptit!
piled with dried fungi (main picture). fair, dedicated to fine products, good
On my visit, purchases completed, food and plenty of fresh air. Tam Storrar is head chef at Parisian-style
I wrap my chilled hands round a steaming Sue Style bistro Blanchette in Soho, London.
bowl of soupe aux champignons, a rich The 2015 Fte des Champignons will Tel: 0207 439 8100
broth stiff with ceps and fragrant with be held on 7-8 November www.blanchettesoho.co.uk
home-made stock. (www.saintbonnetlefroid.com)

78 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


FOOD & WINE

Wine & food matching in...


CHAVIGNOL
O
ne of Frances most famous goats cheeses, the
much-imitated Crottin de Chavignol, can be
produced only in the area that surrounds
the tiny eponymous village (main
picture) in the eastern Loire Valley. The cheese
gained its own appellation dorigine in 1976, steeply sloping Les Monts Damns and the
although its production in Chavignol probably emblematic wine estate Henri Bourgeois.
began as early as the 16th century. Sancerres grapes are grown in the same soils
A small cylindrical cheese, Crottin de Chavignol can that provide pasture for Chavignols goats, giving
be enjoyed at various stages of maturity. When young, it fresh, zingy wines that perfectly match the cheese.
shows subtle, slightly nutty flavours; then after about Young Crottin pairs with almost any Sancerre, but as the cheese
six weeks, it begins to develop a more pungent taste, with ages, look for the more concentrated, mineral-laced wines from
a harder rind, earning the name Chavignol Bleut. At full the slopes above Chavignol.
maturity it is known as Chavignol Bleu, when powerful and Sancerre is made from sauvignon blanc, and although the
complex flavours take over, the dough becomes crumbly and grapes pungent fruitiness can make it a fickle food partner, it is
the rind takes on a bluish-mould colour. remarkably forgiving when paired with goats cheese. So the
It is oft repeated that French regional cuisine is best served sauvignons from the nearby vineyards of Pouilly-Fum,
with local wine, and nowhere is this better illustrated than in Menetou-Salon, Reuilly, Quincy and Touraine all match well
Chavignol, a hamlet of fewer than 150 inhabitants. Chavignols with a variety of goats cheeses. Join the Sancerrois in spring by
other vocation is winemaking; it was absorbed into the adding a few spears of asparagus, which are also great friends of
commune of Sancerre in the late 18th century and includes sauvignon, to baked Crottin served on a bed of green salad.
some of the latters most famous vineyards, such as the Dominic Rippon

Need to gen up on your wine knowledge? Get your hands on the fourth
edition of The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson and Julia
Harding (40, OUP), an enormous tome featuring almost 4,000 entries.

WINES OF THE MONTH BY SALLY EASTON, MASTER OF WINE


PHOTOGRAPHS: OT HAUT PAYS DU VELAY; CHRISTIAN GUY/HEMIS.FR; FOTOLIA; CHARLIE FRASER-HOPEWELL

SNAP IT UP WEEKEND TREAT TIME TO CELEBRATE


Rserve du Boulas, Laudun 2014, Domaine des Terres Dores, LAncien Domaine Albert Mann, Clos de la Faille
Ctes du Rhne Villages 2013, Beaujolais Pinot Noir 2012, Alsace
This round, medium-bodied white contains Jean-Paul Bruns domaine is located in Pinot noir reds from Alsace are a minority
the classic southern Rhne varieties southern Beaujolais, which is renowned for pleasure, but this shows how well it can
grenache blanc and roussanne, but the golden colour of its sedimentary stone work. The wine comes from a one-hectare,
nearly half of the blend comes from (as opposed to the dark, granite north). south-west-facing monopole at
viognier. This variety, which is more usually This wine is bright with purple hues and Wintzenheim, on a geological fault next to
found in the northern Rhne, violet perfume. The palate attack the Hengst Grand Cru vineyards. It is
adds floral perfume and depth. is crunchy, with crisp, purple- bright, translucent ruby and aromatic
The result is fleshy, indulgent skinned berries and the texture with subtle black cherry and black
and rich, with ripe flavours is smooth and fresh, with good pepper fragrances. Warm and
of succulent peach from concentration. It is juicy and engaging on the palate, the wine
the viognier added to exotic succulent, with a sweetness of has supple, silky tannins, sweet
tropical fruits. fruit along its length and a kick fruit and a rich, well-balanced
Drink with: Creamy of black pepper to finish. concentration of flavour.
chicken pasta. Drink with: Cottage pie. Drink with: Roast duck.
Marks and Spencer, 9 Savage Selection, 11.80 LArt du Vin, 36.10
Tel: 0845 302 1234 Tel: 01451 860 896 Tel: 01383 873 510
www.marksandspencer.com www.savageselection.co.uk www.aduv.co.uk

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


ke the perfect...
CLASSIC CUISINE

Ma
Salade lyonnaise
I
n the city of hearty appetites that is Forget any pale matchsticks. The meat is likely to be
Lyon, rarely is a salad just a salad. better quality and give off much less
This multi-purpose word might imitations, water than the supermarket lardons.
refer to a bowl of lentils cooked in this salad You might also like to follow the
goose fat, beetroot sauted with onions example of French cooks and blanch the
and butter, or even an unlikely mixture from Frances lardons for a minute in boiling water to
of sheeps trotters, chicken livers, gastronomic remove some of the salt and fat.
herrings and boiled egg. The croutons should be rustic, so
My favourite of the local salads, capital is full rather than making tidy cubes with
though, is the one called salade of punchy square slices, rub day-old pain de
lyonnaise: dandelion or frise in campagne or sourdough with half
a mustard vinaigrette topped with flavours, says a garlic clove and cut into rough chunks.
bacon, croutons and a poached egg. Rosa Jackson Forget the olive oil and saut them in
So ubiquitous has this dish become butter, as the Lyonnais would.
throughout France that it is often a spring salad. These eventually became For the vinaigrette, the essential
referred to simply as frise aux lardons, interchangeable with frise, which meant elements are wine vinegar and plenty
discarding its origins. that it could be served from autumn to of mustard no need for olive oil here
Unfortunately, as its popularity spring. As the bitterness of the greens is either, try sunflower oil (preferably
spread, this salad also lost something of important, escarole (an endive like frise) virgin) instead.
what made it unique. Inferior-quality works as a substitute, but lettuce turns it Finally, the eggs. The only tricky part
lardons, pre-made croutons and bottled into something that is no longer salade of this salad is perfecting the technique
vinaigrette often turn this marvel of lyonnaise. When using frise or escarole, of poaching them directly in simmering
simplicity into a banal dish that the buy the whole head rather than the water. I find it helpful to break each egg
mres lyonnaises, founders of the citys pre-washed greens so as to choose the into a sieve to let the thinnest part of
famous bouchon restaurants, would have leaves from the tender white heart. the white run out before poaching in
been horrified to see. For a salade You can easily buy pre-cut lardons simmering water (see recipe below for
lyonnaise to be worthy of the name, (sliced bacon) in France, but for a more full details).
each element must be selected and authentic version ask for a thick slice of It is easy to see why cafs take short
treated with motherly care. poitrine fume (smoked bacon) or cuts, but once you make an authentic
First, the leaves. The original version poitrine demi-sel (salted bacon) at the salade lyonnaise, you will never accept
relied on dandelion greens, making it butchers and cut it yourself into thick anything less.

SALADE LYONNAISE
SERVES 1tbsp Dijon mustard Break each egg into a sieve over a small

For the salad


4 Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
5tbsp vegetable oil
bowl and leave for a few minutes. Transfer
to a ramekin, then use a wooden spoon to
MAIN PHOTOGRAPH: LE BISTROT DE LYON/CAMILLE MOIRENC/HEMIS.FR

1 large frise or 200g/8oz create a whirlpool in the centre of the


dandelion greens 1. Wash the greens and dry them well. saucepan and transfer the egg to the
1cm-thick slice of bacon, smoked or If choosing frise, use mostly the tender whirlpool. Wait three minutes, then
not depending on your preference white leaves from the centre. remove with a slotted spoon and place
2 slices day-old pain de campagne 2. Cut the bacon into matchsticks and on paper towels to drain. Poach each egg
or sourdough dry-fry over a medium heat until golden. one at a time the same way.
1 garlic clove Drain on paper towels and set aside. 5. For the dressing, whisk together
30g/2tbsp butter 3. Slice the garlic clove in half and rub the the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper
1tbsp white or cider vinegar bread with the cut side. Cut the bread into (remember the bacon will be salty).
4 fresh free-range eggs rough cubes and fry over a medium heat Slowly whisk in the oil until emulsified.
in the butter until golden. 6. In a salad bowl, toss the greens with the
For the vinaigrette 4. Half-fill a medium saucepan with water dressing. Arrange on four plates, then top
2tbsp red or white wine vinegar and bring to a simmer. Add the vinegar. with the other elements. Serve right away.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 81


1 LE BAR ANDR
Venture inside this La Rochelle institution and you could
forgive yourself for thinking that youre on a boat. Sapphire
blue walls, wooden decking, lifebuoys, fishing nets and
a ships wheel all create a seafaring atmosphere in this
delightful restaurant in the Charente-Maritime capitals
Vieux-Port. Stretching across two streets, Le Bar Andr was
opened in 1950 by Georges Bourdin, who continued to
expand the restaurant before his son Jacques took the helm
in 1981. Today the restaurant offers ample room for diners,
but it is not just a place for eating and drinking; Le Bar

Eating out in...


Andr also stages temporary exhibitions, such as Land and
Sea, a collection of images by La Rochelle photographer
Cyril Jarno, which ran all summer.
With so many maritime influences, it is no surprise that

Charente-
the restaurants speciality is seafood, all of which is locally
sourced. In fact, youd be hard pressed to find anything else
on the menu. If you want a real taste of the sea, the
lAndreyale platter is a must, overflowing with le de R
oysters, razor clams, prawns, whelks and shrimps. For

Maritime
a local treat try the mussels seasoned with Pineau des
Charentes, a fortified wine which is often enjoyed as
an aperitif. I chose another local favourite, a heartwarming
dish of chaudre, a stew containing many different types of
fish thats perfect for a chilly autumn evening. A bottle of
Domaine de la Chauvillire merlot, from the southern
reaches of the Charente-Maritime dpartement, made
a great accompaniment, with its hints of raspberry and
blackberry. Even dessert is a local affair; try the sweet apple On a trip to the Atlantic coast,
tart topped off with caramel flavoured with fleur de sel from
the le de R, or the Andr Sundae made from fruit from
Peter Stewart seeks out
villages near La Rochelle. restaurants making full use
Service was ship-shape too and staff were happy to
suggest alternative dishes for anyone with certain types of
of the bounty of the sea
2 LES FLOTS
allergies. If youre after a special maritime atmosphere just
a stones throw from the sea then Le Bar Andr ticks all the
boxes. Open daily, mains from 13.90.
Le Bar Andr, 5 Rue Saint Jean du Prot, 17000 La Rochelle, The resort of Chtelaillon-Plage lies 15 kilometres south of
tel: (Fr) 5 46 41 28 24, www.barandre.com La Rochelle and is a popular summer playground for many
wealthy Parisians. Here, overlooking the sandy beach and the
Atlantic Ocean, stands Les Flots, a hotel and restaurant that
illustrates the old saying about never judging a book by its
cover. The exterior looks like many a seafront stone building,
but once inside, you enter another world where a monochrome
PHOTOGRAPHS: FOTOLIA; RAOUL DOBREMEL; HTEL CLARION COLLECTION

decor reigns, along with light oak parquet floors, designer chairs
from Charles Eames and egg-white walls.
My friends and I stopped for Sunday lunch and within ten
minutes of opening, the place was full of hungry locals, so
a reservation is advisable. Dine here and youll quickly
appreciate the variety and richness of flavours packed into
every dish, not to mention the attentiveness of the staff, who
serve diners at lightning speed.
Being next to the ocean, this stylish place naturally offers
a range of seafood dishes such as lobster pt topped off with
a creamy bisque, and an asparagus and smoked salmon flan
marinated in a slow-cooked egg sauce. However, meat-eaters
arent ignored, with a large fillet of beef with fennel and sweet
carrot glaze among the temptations. In the end, I chose the

82 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


APRO

La Voile Blanche
13 Quai du Gabut, 17000 La

Located in the modern port


Rochelle
Tel: (Fr) 9 67 11 50 28
Eating in
Explore the markets and shops of La Rochelle and beyond to stock up on
area the best sweet and savoury produce for your supper or picnic
of the city, this restaurant-cu
m-bar
is a great place to relax wit
h a glass of PRESERVES
wine. Get there early to find
a table Confitures du
on the lovely terrace, which
enjoys views towards the
Clocher
1 Chemin des Palissiats
quaint old harbour.
17590 Ars-en-R
Tel: (Fr) 5 46 29 41 35
www.lesconfituresdu
clocher.com
This family-run shop on
the le de R, a couple
of minutes drive from
Le Bois-Plage-en-R,
specialises in jams
ranging from raspberry
and strawberry to
salted caramel, honey
and even onion. All
jams are made from
produce grown on the
island and make the
perfect accompaniment
to your morning bread
and crossaints.

CHEESE
Fromagerie La
MARKETS and vegetables. A big Nature Au Quotidien
Rue Thiers attraction is the Rue Thiers
17000 La Rochelle fishmongers stall, 17000 La Rochelle
Tel: (Fr) 5 46 41 14 68 which has a whole wall Tel: (Fr) 5 46 41 44 96
The central market, of seafood caught www.fromagerie-
open daily in the earlier that morning. cremerie-larochelle.fr
morning and until Housed inside the citys
7 pm on Fridays, has BREAD AND central market, this
been operating here CAKES cheese shop stocks
since 1835 and features Rve Gourmand more than 350
more than 60 stalls, 107 Boulevard de varieties of French and
selling everything la Rpublique international cheeses,
from meat and fish to 17340 Chtelaillon- including 45 types
CO F F E E B R E A K
wines and regional Plage of goats cheese.
Ernest Le Glaciehellre specialities. Tel: (Fr) 5 46 56 64 12 Everything is sourced
Roc
15-16 Rue du Port, 17000 La This artisanal bakery in from small producers,
Tel: (Fr) 5 46 50 55 60 Rue du March the centre of town many of whom are in
www.ernest-le-glacier.com/ 17340 Chtelaillon- stocks home-made the Poitou-Charentes
am parlour
This coffee shop-cum-ice cre Plage breads, cakes and region.
hanting
PHOTOGRAPHS: FRANCIS GIRAUDON

ort n enc
in the Vieux-P has bee FROM TOP: The central Tel: (Fr) 5 46 56 26 97 sandwiches and is very
wit h its drinks and sweet
locals for years market in Rue Thiers, The towns covered popular with locals.
NEXT
y well-known
treats. Ernest is particularl La Rochelle; The stylish market, housed inside Specialities include
for his range of ice creams
, which you interior of La Voile an old art deco hall, la galette charentaise, MONTH
. E AT I N G
can pick up on the way out Blanche; Jams line the is held from 8am-1pm a flat, round cake made OUT IN
walls of the Confitures and sells regional from butter, flour and COLMAR
du Clocher cheeses, meats, fruit vanilla sugar.

84 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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SHOPPING

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

A
lthough the idea of eating snails divides
opinion some say Yuk!, but I say
Yum! the molluscs have been part
of the human diet since prehistoric times
and they are, without doubt, one of Frances most wooden planks and varied greenery. Netting
iconic delicacies. prevents them from seeking their fortune elsewhere
However, wild varieties have become so rare in and fends off predators. There they roam, eating the
the French countryside that we now have to resort specially formulated plant-based feed and growing
to using imports from Eastern Europe, or snails to 1,500 times their birth size within six months.
farmed in France. When ready for harvest, the snails are gathered
The problem with wild snails is that there is no tightly into netted bundles, which prompts them to
controlling what they eat; as scavengers, snails will Clotilde Dusoulier purge their digestive system and go to sleep. They
eat anything and retain all the toxins in their bodies, lives in Paris and are put into hibernation in a cold room and then
which you probably dont want in yours! writes a popular killed by being plunged briefly in boiling water.
The more desirable solution is, therefore, snail food blog, The flesh is then plucked out the shells, trimmed
farming, or heliciculture. Out of the 35,000 tons of Chocolate & and blanched again to rid it of any remaining
snails eaten each year in France, fewer than 4,000 Zucchini. She bacteria and to prepare it for cooking in
tons are produced by French snail farmers, and this has published a court-bouillon (flavoured stock).
is the sort you want to seek out. Farmed snails are cookbooks and There are snail farms in every region of France,
typically either the Petit-Gris (Helix aspersa aspersa) a guide to Paris so inquire about a local one on your travels
or, more often, its larger cousin the Gros-Gris restaurants and (or check the directory at www.heliciculture.net).
(Helix aspersa maxima). When raised with care, food shops. You will be able to purchase snails in various forms
their flavour is head and shoulders above what you (fresh, jarred, as a spread) and possibly take a tour
may have tasted from imported snails. of the farm.
On an artisanal snail farm, after the eggs hatch, With thanks to Philippe Couvreur, owner of
the minuscule babies spend their first two weeks Les Escargots du Perche in Preaux-du-Perche,
indoors before being placed in outdoor areas with Orne (www.escargots-du-perche.com).

SNAIL AND BACON SKEWERS


24 cooked Gros-Gris 2 garlic cloves bacon around each 4. While the skewers a serving SERVES
snails from a jar 1tbsp olive oil skewer. are cooking, combine plate and 8
(escargots au court- 3. Place the skewers in
MAIN PHOTOGRAPH: iSTOCKPHOTO

Salt and pepper the parsley and garlic dot with the
bouillon), drained 1. Take six small an unoiled skillet over a in the bowl of a food persillade.
6 thin slices (about wooden skewers, each medium heat and cook processor. Add the olive Serve warm with
100g) streaky bacon about 12cm long, and for ten minutes, flipping oil and a sprinkle of salt a pre-dinner drink, or
1 small bunch string four snails on them every few minutes and pepper. Process over a salad of mixed
flat-leaf parsley, each one. so every side gets until smooth. greens and tiny
leaves only 2. Wrap a slice of brown and crisp. 5. Place the skewers on steamed potatoes.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 87


Reviving Nouveau
From the midst of an identity crisis, the young Beaujolais red
is making a comeback and taking everyone by surprise

A
s autumn takes hold and the vineyard Japan that keeps the flame alive, importing nearly
leaves turn rich shades of gold and half of all Beaujolais Nouveau.
crimson, the fresh scent of fermenting But for all its apparent simplicity as both a wine
grape must wafts through the villages of and a brand Beaujolais Nouveau is a puzzle to
Beaujolais. At 12.01am on the third Thursday of many. In the 1990s and early 2000s, the wine was
November (the 19th in 2015), the new vintage of lambasted by critics across Europe and the US. They
Beaujolais Nouveau will be released to the public. claimed with much justification that the brand
Winemakers race to ferment and bottle the years Dominic Rippon had been used by complacent vignerons to unload
harvest in time for the annual festivities, which centre has many years inferior-quality juice; compounded by accusations of
on Beaujeu, the regions historic wine capital. experience in the fraud and the unlawful addition of sugar to grape
Beaujolais Nouveau is a primeur wine, released wine trade, both must. Others complained that Nouveaus brash,
only weeks after the harvest, and is not to be in the UK and fruity flavour profile could be more cheaply
confused with en primeur wines from Bordeaux France, and replicated by winemakers in the New World. These
PHOTOGRAPHS: DREAMSTIME; FOTOLIA; DANIEL GILLET/INTER BEAUJOLAIS

and Burgundy, which are sold long before they are now runs the criticisms rocked Beaujolais to its core, affecting not
even bottled. Although the tradition for primeur wine merchant only Nouveau, but all of the regions wines, which
wines began in ancient Greece, where the new business Strictly have since struggled.
vintage was offered as a blessing to the god Wine.
Dionysus, and was brought to France by the Green shoots
Romans, it was in Beaujolais that the modern I have always loved the Beaujolais region.
festival was born. The landscape is charmingly beautiful, with sleepy
In the 1960s, canny vigneron Georges Duboeuf villages hiding between gently undulating hills and
recognised Nouveaus potential to generate publicity; some of Frances most interesting, if undervalued,
by the 1970s he had transformed the journey to Paris vineyards. The promotional organisation Inter
with the first bottles of Beaujolais into an annual Beaujolais has spent years boosting the profile of the
celebration. Success followed elsewhere in Europe regions ten Cru villages, among which are Morgon,
and then in the US, where the release of Nouveau Fleurie, Moulin--Vent and Saint-Amour. These
coincides happily with Thanksgiving. Today it is smaller AOPs (appellations dorigine protges)

88 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


WINE
N O U V E AU P I C K

La Maison P-U-R
create fuller, more complete Production Unique Rebelle
wines than those from the Beaujolais Nouveau
larger Beaujolais and Beaujolais An organic, single-vineyard
Villages appellations; their Nouveau, with ripe berry flavours
distinct terroirs give wines of that pair wonderfully with roast
individual character the best of turkey (tel: (Fr) 9 65 03 13 33,
which are toothsome country www.vinpur.fr).
cousins of the finest reds from nearby
Burgundy and are almost always
better value.
Yet despite Beaujolaiss identity crisis and
subsequent shift in focus, I recently stumbled upon
a surprising set of figures from Inter Beaujolais. They
suggested that only one category of Beaujolais has
consistently grown in the UK market since 2011:
Beaujolais Nouveau! In only four years, the volume
of Nouveau exported to the UK has risen from
80,500 to nearly 400,000 litres, despite the difficult
2012 and 2013 vintages.
Inter Beaujolais admits that no one is really sure
what has prompted this surge in popularity, although
there is quiet optimism in the UK trade that a new
generation of wine drinkers is either ignoring, or is
simply unaware of, Nouveaus hitherto negative
image. Restaurants and bars have rekindled their
interest in Beaujolais Nouveau Day and there is even
speculation that the fashion for the young red has
come full circle, entering the realm of retro cool.

Rustic flavours
Everyone loves a good festival, but Nouveau is TOP: Vineyards around
a wine that is best not judged by the usual standards. the chteau in the
Most red wines begin life as crushed grapes, the juice village of Jarnioux;
from which is fermented by yeasts that live on the ABOVE: Celebrating
skins (or are added by the winemaker) that turn Beaujolais Nouveau;
sugar into alcohol with the help of oxygen. LEFT: The Chapelle
Beaujolais Nouveau, by contrast, undergoes an Notre-Dame des
anaerobic fermentation devoid of oxygen. Whole Raisins looks over
bunches of gamay grapes are placed in sealed vats vineyards from the
and a process called carbonic maceration begins: top of Mont Brouilly;
a mysterious intra-cellular fermentation within the FACING PAGE:
grapes themselves that has no need for yeast. Beaujolais vineyards
Eventually, as the grapes burst, the yeasts take over, glow in the autumn sun
but the by-products of this initial fermentation are
soft tannins and the aromas of candied red fruit and Beaujolais Nouveau, then, is a wine for those who
pear drops for which Nouveau is renowned. are excited by the first taste of what the vineyards
Unlike most red wines, which are praised for their have yielded only weeks earlier: a wine of celebration
staying power, Nouveau must be drunk young: its rather than reflection. If you decide to join the
lack of exposure to oxygen during fermentation festivities in Beaujolais this month, remember that
leaves it vulnerable to spoilage as anyone who has Nouveau is best served slightly chilled and approached
left a bottle of Nouveau open overnight will testify. without dwelling too much on the past.
So its a wine made to be quaffed within weeks or
months of the harvest. And if good wine must be GETTING THERE: Beaujeu is 6hr 30min from the northern ferry ports; The
well mannered, Nouveau presents another challenge: train from Paris Gare de Lyon to Mcon-Loch TGV takes 1hr 35min; The
its rasping, rustic flavours are of a wine in a brief, nearest airport is Lyon-Saint-Exupry; TOURIST INFORMATION: Villefranche
exuberant flush of youth, as impatient to show its Beaujolais tourist office, tel: (Fr) 4 74 07 27 40, www.villefranche-beaujolais.fr;
character as its fans are to drink the first bottles. WINES: Inter Beaujolais, www.beaujolais.com

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 89


Short breaks
Your essential
guide to quick
stops and
Channel hops
As the most visited country in
the world, France is both
a popular and easily accessible
tourist destination. In FRANCE
Magazines short breaks
bookazine, readers will discover
how best to see the country in
bite-size visits of five days or
fewer. Whether planning a city
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ONLY a language learning holiday,
5.99
inclu
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LA CULTURE
Your essential guide to French
culture and language

France on film
French cinema greats from the silent era to the present
feature in a UK-wide festival, says Zo McIntyre

T
ake your seats for a feast of Melvilles 1949 drama Le Silence de la Guest speakers include director Jrme
Francophone cinema that has Mer (The Silence of the Sea), based on Bonnell, who will present his new film
been lined up for the 23rd the wartime story by Vercors; and Trois On y Vas (All About Them) in
French Film Festival UK, Paris-set detective drama LAssassin London, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Leeds.
which opens this month. Habite au 21 (The Murderer Lives at Festival director and co-founder
A mixture of classics and new releases Number 21), the 1942 screen debut of Richard Mowe said: The festival has
will be screened in more than ten British thriller director Henri-Georges Clouzot. expanded its horizons this year to ensure
cities and towns from 5 November to Among the new releases are Mon Roi that audiences around the UK can see
9 December. Highlights include (My King) with Vincent Cassel and the many of the French films which
Abel Gances silent film Jaccuse, period thriller Les Anarchistes, as well otherwise would not make it to these
an anti-war epic from 1919, which will as French-language films from Qubec, shores. Que la fte commence!
be shown at the Barbican Centre in Belgium and Switzerland. For more details and a programme,
London complete with a live piano visit www.frenchfilmfestival.org.uk
accompaniment to enhance the drama.
PHOTOGRAPHS: MATTHIEU PONCHEL

The 120th anniversary of Gaumont, MAIN PICTURE: World War I action from the 1919
the worlds oldest film company, will be film Jaccuse; INSET LEFT: Classic police thriller
celebrated with screenings of three of the LAssassin Habite au 21; INSET RIGHT: The new
studios most famous films: director Luc release Les Anarchistes, set in late-19th-
Bessons 1988 cult classic Le Grand Bleu century Paris; LEFT: A scene from Trois On
(The Big Blue) starring Jean Reno as y Vas, which will be introduced by its director
a champion free-diver; Jean-Pierre Jrme Bonnell at four festival screenings

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 91


N
ow receiving a welcome cinematic re-release, Le Tableau is the
CINEMA RELEASE sort of film that really comes into its own on the big screen.
Featuring beguiling, eye-popping animation, Jean-Franois

Le Tableau
Laguionies parable transports you to a world where figures in
an incomplete painting are not only alive; they have set up a hierarchy.
Ruling the roost are the fully-formed Alldunns, followed by the semi-
completed Halfies and the poor Sketchies, charcoal outlines who are
shunned. Everyone is waiting for the god-like painter to return and finish
Starring: (voices of) Jessica Monceau,
his creation, although the privileged Alldunns are quite happy for that
Adrien Larmande, Chlo Berthier particular prophecy to remain unfulfilled. When Halfie Claire (Berthier)
Director: Jean-Franois Laguionie runs away, her lover, an Alldunn named Ramo (Larmande), joins forces
Certificate: TBC with her best friend Lola (Monceau) to track down their creator and set
Running time: 79 minutes things right.
Release date: Until 24 October at the Like all accomplished animated features Le Tableau, originally released
Cin Lumire, London in 2011, works on more than one level. Children will automatically root

for the cute underdogs and enjoy the characters escaping the confines of
their painting, tumbling into an artists studio. For adults there are hefty
themes such as religion, class wars and slavery to contemplate, much of
which are treated in none-too-subtle ways.
The heavy-handed narrative is balanced out, though, by some wonderful
visual touches. The way our intrepid heroes travel from painting to
painting is a delight, while a creative twist sees the painter putting in an
appearance through a self-portrait. Its a spectacle that deserves the biggest
canvas possible, making this limited re-release a real treat.
Pierre de Villiers

fight Julius Caesars plans for a huge Roman development


OTHER NEW RELEASES next to their village.
CINEMA
Asterix and Obelix: Mansion of the Gods (from 23 October) Steve McQueen: The Man and Le Mans (from 20 November)
In the latest animated adventure based on Ren Goscinny Documentary showing the 1960s movie stars obsessive
and Albert Uderzos comic strips, the two indomitable Gauls attempts to make a film of the 24-hour endurance race.

92 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


Five minutes with...
REVIEWS

JULIA STAGG BOOKS


Last Chance in the Pyrnes
The British author talks Julia Stagg,
about the inspiration behind Hodder Paperbacks, 7.99
her new book Last Chance In the fifth and concluding part of the
in the Pyrnes (see review, Fogas Chronicles, tragedy strikes in
right) and the French the Pyrenean village and residents
peoples love affair with food. are once again forced to protect their
way of life. Political ambitions at the
This is the fifth and final town hall reach an all-time high, while previously friendly
book in my series about the relationships are tested to their limits and a plot for
village of Fogas in the Arige revenge has devastating consequences. It is not all doom
dpartement where my and gloom as fresh love interests and new beginnings
husband and I had an auberge. emerge, with villagers realising that community and
Running the business allowed friendship are two of the most important things in life.
us to develop a knowledge of Stagg once again draws on her personal experience of
bureaucratic red tape and during my time there was living in the Pyrnes in what is a fitting conclusion to
I used this, together with the the relationship that French her popular novel sequence.
villages spectacular setting people have with food.
high up in the Pyrnes, to Whenever I ate outside, Rodin
construct my story. passers-by would always wish Raphal Masson & Vronique
I had lived all over the me bon apptit! Similarly, Mattiussi, Flammarion, 19.95
world teaching English as I would be offered slices The worlds most famous sculptor,
a foreign language, and my of saucisson or local cheese Auguste Rodin, caused huge
husband and I felt that whenever I passed people controversy during his life, defying
moving away to France and having a picnic. artistic convention with expressive
starting a small business I am still in love in France, works featuring the human body,
would be an excellent way for and although I dont know including The Kiss and The Thinker.
me to focus more on my what the future holds, This monograph, produced by experts at the Muse
writing. It was a step into the I wouldnt rule out moving Rodin in Paris, traces the artists long career, from his
unknown but it was worth it. back there. apprenticeship through to his last years, which were
I found myself paying great Julia Stagg was talking to overshadowed by illness and war. The authors also
attention to the people, the Peter Stewart examine Rodins tumultuous relationship with
scenery and the atmosphere the sculptress Camille Claudel. Featuring around
around me to sculpt my book, 300 illustrations in colour and black and white, as

W e are
and within minutes of sitting well as specially commissioned photographs of his
down one day at the kitchen

listening to...
sculptures, the book provides an insight into the mind
table I had a rough outline for of a creative genius.
a series of five books about
life in a mountain village. Undercover
Looking back, all the Danielle Steel, Bantam Press,
Si Jamais Joublie
PHOTOGRAPHS: DREAMSTIME

books have parts that 18.99


by singer-songwriter
have completely moved The worlds best-selling living author
Zaz. The lyrics (on
me, with the latest one has a home in Paris, which is the
youtube.com) deal
being the most with the importance setting for her latest novel. The hero
poignant, as it is the of knowing who is Marshall Everett, a former
last in the series. you are. undercover agent who seeks
What struck me most a new, tranquil life in the City of
Light after being badly hurt in an assignment that went
wrong. He crosses paths with Ariana, the daughter of an
DVD American ambassador, who has sought shelter in Paris
Penny Dreadful (from 26 October) after her life is threatened. But the dangers the pair have
French actress Eva Green is devilishly faced are not over yet and they must work together in
good in the second season of the the French capital to flee the problems of their past.
TV horror series, which transforms Packed full of twists and turns, the story is sure to keep
literatures scariest characters. readers on their toes.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 93


LANGUAGE DIGEST

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS


o say,
DDONT
Peter Stewarts round-up of accessible language resources focuses on audio-visual learning
SAY:
W
hen it comes to studying consult Games for Teaching Primary French In work situations,
languages, many people (Crown House Publishing, 18.99). never describe
either read textbooks or This practical toolkit, being published on a trainee as a trane
listen to CDs. However, 29 October, is packed full of activities for the correct word
I believe that you can do both; audio-visual beginners and more able learners, from is stagiaire.
learning is an effective alternative to quick-fire games to longer exercises. The Trane is a very
traditional methods as it enables you to read content covers all aspects of the Primary strong slang word
and listen to the language simultaneously. French curriculum. that is equivalent to
One excellent example is the BBC Any learners looking to focus their efforts slag or slut.
Ma France online course (www.bbc.co.uk/ on correct pronunciation will appreciate
languages/french). It features 24 interactive Pronounce it Perfectly in French (Barrons
units, each of which has three short videos Educational Series, 15.99). This three-CD
that introduce new vocabulary and grammar and book programme places the emphasis on
structures. The course, delivered by a native learning the intonation patterns and vowel
French speaker, is tailored to help learners in
different practical situations, from ordering
and nasal sounds of native speakers. It comes
with a phonetic guide to pronunciation and GRAMMAR
food and drink to buying a house.
Another great resource is the TV5Monde
site (www.apprendre.tv5monde.com).
plenty of exercises too.
For a little light relief, sit back and relax
with the film OSS 117: Le Caire, Nid
CORNER
Learners will be spoilt for choice with the dEspions. This James Bond spoof stars LIAISONS
range of videos available to download and Jean Dujardin (in his pre-Artist days) and A liaison is when a consonant
watch, each one linked to a specific topic and will have you learning and laughing at that is usually silent at the end
accompanied by comprehension exercises. the same time with its fast-paced dialogue of a word is pronounced
If you want to encourage your little ones and hilarious stunts. because the following word
to take their first steps in French, look out begins with a vowel or silent h.
for Listen and Learn First French Words It is compulsory when you
(Usborne Publishing, 9.99). It looks like have the determiner + noun,
a book from the outside, but is in fact for example, des amis and
a sound panel that allows young learners to tout homme, and between
listen to 128 French words printed on four the subject or object pronoun
cards all spoken by a native speaker. and the verb, ils aiment and
Primary school teachers seeking new ways allez-y. The liaison is also
to encourage pupils to learn French should used between est and the
following word in impersonal
THIS MONTHS BEST PICKS expressions, such as il est
vident quil viendra.
BEGINNERS INTERMEDIATE ADVANCED Furthermore, the liaison is
Living French: 8th edition, Grammaire Progressive du Hygine de lAssassin by used between many
John Murray Learning, 15.99 Franais, CLE International, Amlie Nothomb, Librairie monosyllabic prepositions
This easy-to-follow guide 17.95 Gnrale Franaise, 7.65 and the next word, dans une
covers everyday topics with This detailed guide, all in The Belgian authors novella heure, and with compound
material organised so that French, is divided into is written almost completely words such as un pot-au-feu.
readers build on what they 52 chapters which introduce in dialogue and tells of The liaison is not required
have learnt. Each section has grammar concepts that a group of journalists who after the conjunction et in
grammar explanations, increase in difficulty as you take it in turns to interview un fils et une fille and the
vocabulary lists and reading go along. Lessons and a terminally ill novelist with final consonant in a singular
comprehension exercises, exercises are set on facing a mysterious past. noun, un temps idal.
while the pages to help The quick-fire Another exception is after the
accompanying your studies, dialogue and plot es second person singular
CD features and there is an twists will keep ending of the present tense
pronunciation enclosed audio you guessing and present subjunctive, tu
and listening CD and online until the portes un t-shirt vert, il faut
exercises. workbook. very end. que tu lui crives un pome.

94 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com


LANGUAGE

VAN GOGHS IRIDESCENT IRISES


A painting left unsold at the artists death fetched a record price
at auction nearly a century later, as Rgine Godfrey explains

L A
ors dune vente aux enchres New York le 11 t an auction in New York on 11 November 1987,
Novembre 1987 une assemble de 2,000 collectionneurs, a gathering of 2,000 collectors, dealers and museum
antiquaires et conservateurs reste bahie quand les curators was left flabbergasted as the bidding for
enchres pour Iris par Vincent van Gogh atteignent les Irises by Vincent van Gogh reached $53.9 million
$53.9 millions le prix record dune oeuvre dart. breaking the record for a work of art.
Iris est peint en 1889 peu aprs que Van Gogh entre de son Irises was painted in 1889 soon after Van Gogh admitted
propre chef lasile de Saint-Paul-de-Mausole Saint-Rmy-de- himself to the asylum of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole in Saint-Rmy-
Provence, suite des dbordements motifs qui lont conduit de-Provence, following emotional outbursts that led him to cut
se couper un morceau doreille. off part of his ear.
Il a dj excut Le champ de bl aux iris prs dArles He had already produced Field with Irises near Arles the
lanne prcdente et utilisera le thme de liris trois autres fois, year before and used the iris theme another three times, twice
prsentant les fleurs deux fois dans des displaying the flowers in vases. Van
vases. Vincent se sent positif et plante Gogh felt positive and positioned his
son chevalet dans un coin du jardin easel in a corner of the untended
non entretenu. Il crit: Certains garden. He wrote: Some patients are
patients sont srieusement malades... seriously ill...they all come to look...
ils viennent tous regarder... ils font they have the discretion and good
preuve de discrtion et de bonnes manners not to bother me... unlike the
manires pour ne pas membter, people of Arles.
contrairement aux gens dArles. His admiration for the Japanese
Son admiration pour les motifs patterning of ukiyo-e woodblock prints
des estampes japonaises ukiyo-e led him to design a boldly coloured,
linfluence crer une scne haute en asymmetrical, close-up scene; bright
couleurs, asymtrique, en gros plan; des blue irises enhanced by black contours
iris bleu vif rehausss de contours noirs se balancent sur leurs sway on their sea-green stems, the leaves shaped like swords.
tiges vert marin, les feuilles en forme dpes. gauche, un On the left, a bed of marigolds fills the rest of the canvas,
parterre de soucis remplit le reste de la toile, clips par un outshone by a single white iris which dominates the terracotta-
unique iris blanc qui domine le sol couleur terre cuite. tinted soil.
Vincent envoie le tableau de 71 par 93 centimtres Paris, Vincent sent the 28in-by-36in oil painting to Paris, where his
o son frre Tho le prsente au Salon des Indpendants. brother Tho submitted the work at the Salon des Indpendants.
Malgr les loges chaleureux de lartiste Claude Monet et du Despite being warmly praised by the artist Claude Monet and
critique dart Octave Mirbeau, loeuvre sera invendue. art critic Octave Mirbeau, the piece was unsold.
Van Gogh meurt lanne suivante, g de 37 ans. Iris reste en Van Gogh died the following year, aged 37. Irises stayed in
France jusquen 1947 quand Joan Whitney Payson, propritaire France until 1947 when Joan Whitney Payson, owner of the
de lquipe de baseball les New York Mets et hritire dune New York Mets baseball team and heiress to a collection that
collection allant de Rembrandt Sargent, lacquiert. Son fils ranged from Rembrandt to Sargent, acquired the painting. Her
John devient le gardien dIris pendant 12 ans. Suite au rsultat son John later became the guardian of Irises for 12 years. After
faramineux de la vente Sotheby il fait don de sommes the staggering result at the Sothebys sale he donated generous
gnreuses des organisations du Maine, ltat o son pre tait sums to organisations in Maine, the state where his father was
PHOTOGRAPHS: WORLD HISTORY ARCHIVE/ALAMY; FOTOLIA

n. Lacqureur anonyme se rvle tre lhomme daffaires born. The anonymous purchaser turned out to be Australian
Australien Alan Bond, qui en raison de difficults financires, entrepreneur Alan Bond, who, due to financial difficulties, sold
vendra le chef doeuvre au Muse Getty en Californie en 1990. the masterpiece to the Getty Museum in California in 1990.

W osrtdreoent: The common meaning of thon is tuna


fish, but the word is also an insulting
the way of describing someone as ugly.

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 95


How
to say... COMPETITION
PUZZLES

Manteau
WIN!
[Mon-toe] Les Mots Flchs
Coat The winner of this without books, writing or
months competition will striving to memorise
receive the Michel everything. The pack,
Thomas Perfect French which retails at 100,

Fun French
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
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extra vocabulary help,
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Find the French words and gain confidence and interactive exercises.
for garden insects
1 Nelfor 6$16($8

2 Conelicelc
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5 Tleaseleur 685/(
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Answers
the cat followed it, the rat was caught.
75e625

in which a rat settled; a cat saw it, the rat fled, &$/0(
'e3$57(0(17
time passed, the wall decayed, a hole appeared '$16((1 1
chat ly vit, rat senfuit; chat suivit, rat fut pris. As $5*(17,1(
Temps passa, mur usa, creux sy fit, rat sy mit;
/$&(1
grasshopper; scarabe beetle; Tongue-twister:
butterfly; libellule dragonfly; sauterelle 68,66(
086,48('8
Frelon hornet; coccinelle ladybird; papillon
Qui suis-je? Henri Cartier-Bresson; Anagrams: 0$*+5(%
to poach fish; chapelux browned breadcrumbs;
ribbons; court-bouillon lightly flavoured stock
0$5&+( 2%7(18

5
(10$7,5(
chiffonade green vegetables cut into fine
+8,/(8; 6$16%87
portefeuille stuffed, folded or placed in layers; '(
Paysanne vegetables cut into thin slices; 3e5,2'( &21-21&7,21
Idiom: C) To split hairs; Whats on the menu?

P B P A A
6$1&7,21
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R A T A T O U I L L E
T A S S E G A I N
D I C T A T E U R C '$16
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025&($8; ,
E T I R E S M E R
A N L S C H E M A
T A L C R A U S
To enter: Complete Les Mots Flchs grid and note all the letters in the grey squares. Rearrange
R E P E R T O I R E S
these letters to spell a French town or city and send this answer, together with your name,
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telephone number and address, to: FRANCE Magazine, Les Mots Flchs, Cumberland House,
Mots Flchs winner Oriel Road, Cheltenham, GL50 1BB. Entries close 4 November 2015.
The winner of the September Mots Flchs Last months Les Mots Flchs answers will be posted on our website www.francemag.com/quiz and
quiz is Judith Clayton, from Hebden Bridge
in West Yorkshire. The mystery town was
appear in the December issue, on sale on 4 November 2015. The answers to this months competition will
Tende in Alpes-Maritimes. be on the website from 11 November 2015, and in the January 2016 issue, on sale on 2 December 2015.

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


Tempspassamurusacreuxsyfitratsymitchatlyvi
tratsenfuitchatsuivitratfutpris

www.completefrance.com FRANCE MAGAZINE 97


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