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Articles about life in SWFrance

Welcome to our articles on life in France section.  Here you will find a variety of articles that have previously been published in The Local Buzz magazine, plus some that haven’t.

You will find a range of unbiased editorial pieces on property, pensions, recipes and wine recommendations, together with a host of well-being features from coping with ailments to keeping fit with Zumba,  sport, education, archaeology, working with architects, financial planning, home staging, history, language, life-issues, education,  legal advice  and lots more.

For instance, how important is bi-lingual education?  If you found an artefact would you know what to do with it?  What’s it like to walk the Camino?  How do you start running?  What has Duras got to do with a battleship?  What’s the knack to catching local fishing?

Written by specialists, each item includes relevant links to help you find out even more about your chosen topic.

Simply click on the subject category of your choice, or read them all.  You are sure to find lots of interest in these articles on life in France.


Please also don’t forget to have a look at our blogs pages where you will find even more information relating to this fabulous region.

Images: Shutterstock or the contributors

Easing the Restrictions

Tagged with: A LOCATION, Advice, ARTICLES

Easing the restrictions – it’s in our hands.
The 3-step plan for reducing the restrictions surrounding the pandemic were announced on 24 November by Pres Macron. A lot depends on how the population responds and if we can keep the numbers of cases lower than 5,000. Let’s do our best. Here’s what the three steps involve, hopefully it will be 1, 2 3 together!

Working from Home?

Tagged with: Advice, ARTICLES

Here are some top tips from our working from home article that will be appearing in our next issue.
If it looks like this may be a more permanent scenario for you, the upcoming article provides ideas and suggestions about how to make working from home really work well for you.

Lockdown Update

Tagged with: Advice, ARTICLES

Our lifestyles have changed again as we enter another lockdown. The rules are slightly different to those earlier this year and will remain in force until at least 1 December.
Can you go out and what’s open? This lockdown update covers the essential information and provides links to download the required forms.

Roses in a French garden

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Homes and Gardens

Sue Adams has lived in SW France for 15 years. Turning her garden into a veritable haven of produce, colour and scents. She knows how to create and maintain beautiful, productive gardens, regardless of the season.

More of SW France

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Out and About

These pretty towns and villages are definitely worth a visit with their fabulous architecture and scenery. Make more of SW France. Enjoy!

The renovation dream

Tagged with: Advice, ARTICLES, Property

The prices are low, the houses are beautiful: what’s not to like about the idea of doing up an old French farmhouse and making it the home of your dreams?
Many have trod this path. Most end up with the renovation dream intact. For some it quickly turns into a terrifying nightmare.

Lockdown and birds

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Just Droning

As we make the first tentative steps in coming out of “lockdown” it is heartening to see that so many people are still taking the threat of COVID-19 seriously. These birds specialised in DIY and, having spied the garden furniture, decided it needed a make-over which they duly carried out. 10 out of 10 for effort, 1 out of 10 for style.

French Insurance Explained

Tagged with: Advice, ARTICLES

Whether you live or work here or are considering a move to France, French insurance is one of those must have’s in terms of contract and knowledge. We asked Léna Eaton of Agence Generali for a straightforward overview.

Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Food and Drink, Guest Chef recipes

Thierry Pszonka, Maître Cuisinier de France, has 30 years experience working with the finest chefs and food in France.  His Stuffed Zucchini Flowers are a prime example of his work as head chef and owner at Les Sens Restaurant in Puylaroque, Tarn et Garonne.  He prides himself on creating exquisite fusion food that combines local ingredients with an imaginative approach to both flavours and plate appeal.   

Driving the Ball in Golf

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Sport

John Cook continues his “whole in one” series on improving your golf with these great insights. There’s always something that golfers think they need. A new putter, new driver, etc., but there’s only one thing that all golfers want and that’s to play the game better.

Apéro Treats for Summer

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Food and Drink

Emma (chef) and John (sommelier) Gilchrist bring us some delicious ideas for apéro treats for summer and reminds us to support our local vineyards.  For those who like to kick the lunch off with a cocktail, John also brings us some super ideas to keep us cool.

French Property Tax

Tagged with: Advice, ARTICLES, Property

It’s that time of year when property tax comes to the fore. If you own a property in France you could be eligible for two taxes each year in the form of Taxe Foncières and Taxe d’habitation.

What’s In our Latest Issue?

Tagged with: Advice, ARTICLES

READER SURVEY: Here at The Local Buzz we really do want to continue to improve our offering and bring you the best possible experience, so we are asking for your help.  If you can spare a couple of minutes, please click HERE.  Thank you, your help is very much appreciated.

Take a look in our October/November issue to hear more about buying or selling cars, autumn gardening, do you need to pay Taxe d’Habitation,  or perhaps you would like to improve your golf?  Plus, there’s some fabulous food and wine ideas, legal advice, guest chef recipes, a City focus and, of course, a great reader offer and a new prize competition.  Don’t forget that you can still read and download all of our magazines, including the latest issue!

Gourmet French Cuisine

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Food and Drink, Guest Chef recipes

Fabrice Rodot is head chef and co-owner, with his partner Victoria Calvert, at L’Atelier in Issigeac, Dordogne. Serving home-cooked, gourmet food since 2017, the restaurant specialises in local, seasonal, fresh French cuisine.

Pensions and Investment

Tagged with: Advice, ARTICLES

The coronavirus pandemic is having a huge impact on our daily lives and finances.  For many readers there is also an impact on their pension and investment funds due to extreme volatility in the financial markets and global economic disruption.

Call to Action

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Reader Contributions

The exceptional circumstances caused by the pandemic in recent weeks has seriously affected WASPI women (Women Against State Pension Inequality) but the campaign is not going away. 

Property Sales Update

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Property

What effect will the COVID-19 pandemic have on the property market going forward? It’s way too early to tell, but Joanna Leggett tells us how agents and Notaires are having to think on their feet and also shares her thoughts on some long term changes.

Ride On in SW France

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Sport

The rolling countryside, beautiful valleys, Atlantic coast, lush forests, signed trails and glorious lakes mean that our region is heaven for horses and their riders.

Merlot is soft and juicy

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Food and Drink

What is there not to like about Merlot? It’s soft, juicy, plummy, spicy and generally yummy says John Gilchrist, a former UK Sommelier of the Year and winner of th eMondavi award for the best wine list in the world.

Weddings for All

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Special Occasions

Weddings for all! What could be more wonderful? A beautiful venue, delicious food and wine, and the love of your life, right here in South West France.

Seven Wonders of the region

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Out and About

There is something special about a cold, crisp sunny day and a walk around a wonderful village or town. Here we continue our guide to the Seven Wonders of the region. Happy days!

Winter Wines from Gascony

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Food and Drink

John Gilchrist is a former UK Sommelier of the Year and winner of the Mondavi award for the best wine list in the world. Here he gives us some ideas for winter wines from Gascony.

Pensions Update – potential changes

Tagged with: Advice, ARTICLES

Tony Delvalle and Andrea Glover are International Financial Advisers at The Spectrum IFA Group.  We asked them what are the current top three ‘hot topics’ with clients, particularly affecting retirees.

2020 a good year for Property?

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Property

Joanna Leggett from Leggett Immobilier sums up the current and future market position, especially now that we have a broad idea of the direction that Brexit is taking.

Social Groups in SW France

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Out and About

There’s no better way to meet new people and feel part of the community than joining a social group. Here are just a few of the English-speaking groups offering activities in our region!

Mental Health Matters

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Well Being

Mental health – just two words that encompass a whole range of conditions which require tolerance, support and understanding. Here we look at dementia as well as RTT, a different path to mental freedom.

Christmas Wines

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Food and Drink, Special Occasions

John Gilchrist is a former UK Sommelier of the Year and winner of the Mondavi award for the best wine list in the world. He gives us his pick of wines for Christmas. “Around this time of year, because I am “the wine guy”, I am often asked what to drink at Christmas.”

Diseases in the garden

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Homes and Gardens

Sue Sargeant explains that most fungal, bacterial and viral plant diseases are spread naturally by wind, rain, insects, small animals and even our own intervention in the garden.

Inheritance Tax

Tagged with: Advice, ARTICLES

Sally Dilks, Associate at Buckles Solicitors LLP, explains why Estate planning for your French assets need not be taxing.

Archaeology: Finders Keepers? Not Always!

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Out and About

We know this is a rich archaeological area with many historical sites dating back to Roman times and much, much earlier but, if you are lucky enough to find an artefact, who should be informed and who does it belong to? That was the question we put to Rosey Burton and Frank Martin, two archaeologists who are renovating a collection of farm ruins in north Dordogne.

7 Wonders of the Region

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Out and About

You really don’t have to travel very far at all to find outstanding architecture, relics and views in our part of the world. Here are another Seven Wonders of the Region.

Lot White Wines for Autumn

Tagged with: Food and Drink

Although it’s nearly game season we still have beautiful fresh fruit, salads and flat fish, especially Halibut (Flétan) and Turbot which are at their best. The much anticipated scallop season is about to start so John Gilchrist is not ready to give up on white wines just yet. He looks for bigger body and texture, round, soft fruit, less acidity, a little punchier and maybe aromatic. Here is his selection of Lot White Wines for autumn

Bright food with zesty flavours

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Food and Drink

John and Sim are the latest owners of the historic Hostellerie de Goujounac. With over two decades of experience in high-end restaurants, hotels and private yachts between them, they are well equipped to welcome guests into this charming establishment. Fresh, seasonal ingredients inspire the menu, with an emphasis on using local produce to create unusual dishes from scratch. Here they include some bright food with zesty flavours.

Financial Planning

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Local Artisans & Entrepreneurs

Andrea Glover has come a long way since her younger days as part of a mining family in the north of England. Today, she works alongside Tony Delvalle at The Spectrum IFA Group in Eymet and is offering independent advice to clients of all ages and backgrounds.

Delicious Mulled Wine

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Food and Drink

John Gilchrist is a former UK Sommelier of the Year and winner of the Mondavi award for the best wine list in the world. He gives us his recipe for a delicious Mulled Wine

Moving to SW France

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Homes and Gardens, Property

Moving is one of the most stressful things you can do in life, yet most of us will choose to do it several times. Moving overseas or within a foreign country can be even more traumatic, creating frustration and even more stress.

SW France Wines for BBQs

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Food and Drink

John Gilchrist is a former UK Sommelier of the Year and winner of the Mondavi award for the best wine list in the world. Here he looks at wines from SW France for punchy BBQ flavours.

Living with SW France Nature

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Homes and Gardens

Living with SW France Nature by Sue Sargeant: It’s no surprise that those who are keen gardeners like Sue also love wildlife. Here she highlights how gardens and wildlife (including pests) can live in harmony to create a perfect place where plants thrive and pests survive.

SW France – creating global citizens

Tagged with: ARTICLES, French Language

SW France – creating global citizens highlights why the changes and upheaval in recent years mean that developing understanding and tolerance is more vital than ever. How can we prepare today’s children for what is to come, and give them the best chance to live a good life in the world of tomorrow?

Having a Ball in SW France

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Sport

Having a Ball in SW France takes a look at tennis, pétanque and golf to help you keep your eye on the ball when it comes to fitness and fun.

Dealing with Illness in SW France

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Well Being

Whether it‘s a sprained wrist, a broken leg, a long term ailment or worse, coping with illness is never easy, especially when in a foreign language. The great news is that there is a lot of help out there!

Music and South West France

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Out and About

If you think of French music what springs to mind? The accordion, café, Charles Aznavour and Edith Piaf? Or perhaps Troubadours, Baroque or Bizet? Today there are more opportunities to experience music of all genres than ever before, especially live music.

French Buzz Words

Tagged with: ARTICLES, French Language

French Buzz Words: Our French language student, Béa (pronounced Bey-ya), has prepared some useful words and phrases relevant to the features in the May/June 2019 issue. On-y-va!

Nouvelle Aquitaine Cocktails

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Food and Drink

There are not many things better than sitting in the sun with some good food, great friends and a drink or two. We entertain a lot whether it’s Apéro with friends, with our holidaying guests or during our cookery school, always beginning with fizz or wine cocktails

France/UK Power of Attorney

Tagged with: Advice, ARTICLES

Power of attorney arrangements allow an individual’s financial and health affairs to be looked after by someone else, the attorney, if they lose mental capacity in the future. Tony Delvalle of The Spectrum IFA Group explains how they can help to relieve stress at the most difficult of times.

These Boots are Made for ….

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Sport

Jenny Michell and Keith Pantlin describe themselves as a pair of ageing but energetic Australians and have been walking around different parts of France for nearly 20 years. Randonnées can encompass relatively short walks or major routes of several hundred kilometres.

Walk the Nordic Way

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Sport

Linda Lewis is a National Coach for the International Nordic Walking Federation (INWA) and tells us a little more about the sport.

Extending The Ride

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Sport

Jase Alexander, experienced club cyclist, helps us to extend our bike rides with a bit of fun, training and improved motivation

Ask Katie

Tagged with: Advice, ARTICLES

Katie Gardner is a fully-Qualified CBT Counsellor and 10-year expat based on the border of 47/24. She’s here to answer your questions

It’s a Bee Thing

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Homes and Gardens

We asked experienced beekeepers to give us some tips about how to establish a hive and look after the bees. Jonathan and Anna Beaussire are based in Lot et Garonne and have been keeping bees since 2013.

World Cancer Day – Fighting Cancer Together

Tagged with: Advice, ARTICLES

Organised by the UICC, a membership organisation dedicated to Fighting Cancer Together, World Cancer Day heralds the start of a 3-year call-to-action. Its aim is to encourage everyone to act now and make a personal commitment to reduce the impact of cancer on themselves, the people they love and to help others across the globe.

Keep Moving

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Well Being

The colder weather often brings stiffer limbs or a more sedentary lifestyle in front of the fire. So we thought we would take a look at three ways to keep the joints moving and the mind relaxed, irrespective of age.

Time to start planning the garden

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Homes and Gardens

More than a few of us will have acquired a lovely piece of land here in France and attempted to fill it with all those shrubs and plants we had back “home”, only to be left with a box of labels and very few plants.

7 Wonders of the Region

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Out and About

Pretty churches, historical monuments, walking trails and fabulous restaurants. This area of South West France has hidden treasures where you least expect to find them.

Pourquoi Parlez Français ?

Tagged with: ARTICLES, French Language

If you are thinking you are too old to learn French or it’s too hard, maybe it is time to think again. Whether it’s just a few words or an entire conversation, speaking French will definitely change your life.

Ask Katie

Tagged with: Advice, ARTICLES

This lady has lots of friends and family around her but she cannot get over the trauma of losing her partner

Rugby – a Thrill a Minute

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Sport

Tom Smith, a Scotland International Rugby Union Player who also represented the British and Irish Lions and has been a rugby coach, lives in our region. He gave us this insight into rugby in this area of France.

François BALARD

Tagged with: Reader Contributions

François BALARD has sent us a report on the commemoration ceremony at St Méard de Gurçon, 11 November 1918 (French and English language)

It’s All About You

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Well Being

The calm, zen-like atmosphere that is synonymous with spas is created by much more than soothing music, soft lighting and warm fluffy towels, it is all about focusing on one thing – you.

Buzz Words

Tagged with: ARTICLES, French Language

Some useful words and phrases relevant to the features in the September/October 2018 issue of The Local Buzz. On-y-va!

Golf for Everyone (part two)

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Sport

Written by John Cook, Level 5 and European tour coach, past English Amateur Champion, past European Tour Player, past England under 18 National Coach, past Thailand National Coach, and Managing Director of, one of the largest golf memberships in the World.

Cycling (part two) – Looking the Part

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Sport

Following on from the last article where we talked about choosing your bike and obtaining a good fit, here Jase Alexander, an experienced club cyclist, looks at your cycling apparel and accessories.

Don’t Stop the Worker Bees

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Homes and Gardens

Autumn is an essential time of year for honeybees. The worker bees are out collecting nectar for long hours to ensure enough supplies to feed and maintain their colony through the winter months.

Bee My Honey

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Food and Drink

Honey adds a sweet, velvety touch to all kinds of foods. Here are some ideas to make the most of this delicious, natural ingredient.

Hook, Line and Vintner

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Food and Drink

Emma (chef) and John (sommelier) Gilchrist are passionate about food and drink and run Les Caulins, a gîte and cookery school in SW France. This time they take a look at fish and wine.

Winterising your pool

Tagged with: Advice, ARTICLES

Some do, some don’t – but should we? We asked Rudolf de Lang, a pool technician with 25 years experience and a specialist in electronic leak detection, to explain the benefits.

A State of Mind

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Well Being

Whether you are feeling anxious, depressed, overwhelmed or in absolute despair, talking to someone who you do not know, in English, can be a great help.

Moving to France?

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Property

We asked Jerry Green, a partner at Clé Rouge in Duras, to give us the essential guide to buying a property and enjoying your life in France.

Gearing Up For Cycling

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Sport

We asked Jase Alexander, a keen club cyclist, for tips on how to literally “get on our bikes” and enjoy the sport. Bicycles come in all shapes and sizes, as do their riders.

A Delicious Affair

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Food and Drink

Emma (chef) and John (sommelier) Gilchrist live in Lot et Garonne and run a gite and cookery school, Les Caulins. Here is their take on summer BBQ ideas and the perfect wines to match.

7 Wonders of the Region

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Out and About

Some of the prettiest villages may be hidden away but they are well worth finding. Full of history, intrigue and even secrets, we thought we would search out seven villages and broaden all our horizons.

Making a Splash

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Out and About

Summer is the time for cooling down and enjoying being in and around water. Luckily, here in France there is no shortage of wonderful leisure lakes for all the family.

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