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
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.
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.
It’s not always easy to know who to turn to for help with French issues but one company has taken a fresh approach to providing just that.
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.
Each week we add historical notes and samples of music from French musicians and composers
We are pleased to help spread the word about a luxury wedding give-away being organised by Best Events Co. for healthcare workers around the world.
“Don’t give up on your cycling – cycle indoors!” That’s the advice of Jase Alexander, experienced club cyclist.
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.
We are, indeed, living in the strangest of times with no idea when the COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted. So here are a few boredom busters you might like to try!
Sally Dilks, Associate Solicitor specialising in French Law at Buckles Solicitors, answers a question on French Inheritance Tax
According to many physical therapists a combination of aerobics, stretching, strengthening and balancing exercises form the core of a good exercise programme.
Katie Gardner is a fully qualified CBT Counsellor and answers a question concerning marriage
A tongue-in-cheek look at the arrival of Spring from the Editor
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.
Some useful words and phrases that are specifically relevant to the features in our March and April 2020 issue. On y va!
Discovering Pretty Villages with our Seven Wonders of the Region series
Caroline and Pascal Alix of Restaurant Caro & Co in Bazas, Gironde, are true lovers of cuisine, bringing a delicious element of surprise to their menu with fresh, seasonal, organic and local ingredienhttps://www.thelocalbuzzmag.com/wp-admin/post-new.php?post_type=articles#ts.
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.
Fresh flavours and a traditional stew make this meal a treat for any occasion, especially Easter
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.
Sue Sargeant guides us on the gardening jobs to think about in early spring
Sue Sargeant explains that wildlife in the garden has not always been viewed as being particularly welcome but, today, attitudes are definitely changing.
A tongue-in-cheek look at bringing lighter moments to wintry days by the editor
Tagged with: Uncategorised
A reader asks for help with a building issue. Bright Avocats provides an answer
Katie Gardner answers a question about feeling low, overwhelmed and anxious
As temperatures drop, the risk of falling ill rises. Here we look at how to beat colds and flu.
Guy Sheridan, manager at GoodTurn Cycles in Eymet, explains what eBikes are all 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!
Planning a new build, renovation or extension? There are many, many good artisans in this area but, as with any trade, there is always the odd bad apple
Jean-Paul Tossens, Chef de Cuisine at Le Monastère de Saint-Mont in Gers, loves reinterpreting local products with a touch of modernity.
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.
Now in her 13th year, Marlène teaches at Le Gargantua cookery school. Here she gives us some heart-warming food recipes for lovers of food and romance.
Sustainable, green, eco-friendly. They don’t all mean the same but they do add up to the same thing: looking after our environment.
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.
Having experienced the joy of singing in ancient churches during a week’s holiday in France herself, Anke de Bruijn has developed a holiday retreat business with song at its core in the Lot
Themed gîtes are becoming more and more popular but Maison de Lunel, which has been in the making for two and a half years, has taken it to a whole new level.
With a distinctive hare logo, Château Lestevénie is known for its full-flavoured wines and is now highly recognised for its special Brut using the traditional method.
Andy Wigley, Director at Ammonite Design, explains why glass fencing is definitely worth a look.
Caroline and Pascal Alix of Restaurant Caro & Co in Bazas, Gironde, are true lovers of cuisine, bringing a delicious element of surprise to their menu with fresh, seasonal, organic and local ingredients.
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.
A tongue-in-cheek look at Christmas from the editor
Sarah Bright Thomas is an Avocat Associé and Partner at Bright Avocats. Here she answers a question about Wills.
Katie Gardner answers a question about Christmas pressure
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 – 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.
Indoor table sports are an ideal way to keep fit and out of the rain and wind, especially that winter is here.
Entertaining can be costly at this time of year so here are a few inexpensive ideas for some festive fun and sparkle.
Our French language tutor Jules has prepared some useful words and phrases relevant to the features in the November/December 2019 issue. On-y-va.
As three local entrepreneurs ourselves, we are often asked to present the story about The Local Buzz and how it started. Lesley outlines how The Local Buzz turned from an idea into reality.
Will Baker is the Chef de Cuisine at Walnut Bistro in Eymet, Dordogne. Taking his experience from around the world, he focuses on a seasonal and fresh offering.
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.”
Three dishes that show off the less well-known side of the Gers kitchen
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.
A summer garden is made in late autumn/early winter and your plant heroes deserve some extra TLC in these next few months. By Sue Sargeant
Squash and Lawn Bowls. From one end of the velocity scale to another? Maybe, but both squash and bowls require dexterity, determination and practice
Sally Dilks, Associate at Buckles Solicitors LLP, explains why Estate planning for your French assets need not be taxing.
Katie Gardner answers your questions about a lack of confidence and road rage
Cobwebs and spiders, ghouls and ghosts plus all that fake blood and gore! Yes it’s coming up to Halloween and we can’t wait!
We asked Amanda Garnham, Educator for Armagnac at the BNIA (Bureau National Interprofessionnel de l’Armagnac) to explain this ancient Gascony tradition.
As an Architecte Bilingue en Aquitaine, Justine Joseph highlights what you can expect when using the services of an architect.
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.
Sometimes it’s the location, sometimes it’s the product and sometimes it’s the commitment of the owners that makes a business different and successful. In this instance it’s all three.
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.
Interesting, delicious, new ideas for vegan food including a chocolate mousse and vegan “ricotta” cigars, from Natalie Lunch at Le Cheval Blanc in St Antonin.
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
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.
Hedgehogs will eat slugs, song thrushes eat snails. Sue Sargeant gives us some ideas about how to minimise the effects of pests in the garden in this short article about avoiding garden pests
Sue Sargeant talks about cutting back for growth in the garden. As the weather starts to cool and the sun’s rays are less intense, we can enjoy the last few days of summer sunshine whilst preparing for the 2020 gardening year.
Sue Sargent is a regular contributor to The Local Buzz magazine and gives us her own take on the perfect compost recipe
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.
Will Baker is the Chef de Cuisine at Walnut Bistro in Eymet and gives us his recipe for Pan cooked Foie Gras with Apple Mustard Slaw and Apple Purée
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
We bring you the official WASPI update from mid October, 2019. It explains how WASPI fight on.
Gregory Caminow tells us of the fate of four abandoned kittens and how a cat rescue organisation saved their lives
A tongue in cheek look at ….. Jet spraying from the editor. From dull winter hues to bright and shiny, ready for summer
Cycling the roads of SW France is something that Jase Alexander, experienced club cyclist, knows a lot about.
Women’s football has never had a higher profile, with the recent Women’s World Cup, held in France this summer, being the biggest ever.
Wherever, whenever and however you swim, it’s great exercise, great fun and can seriously lift your spirits
Here we explore how to meditate and how to use stones to bring tranquillity and peace into our lives.
This time Katie answers questions about friendship and joining charitable organisations
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 Home Staging is by Sarah Day, Owner at Maisons et Manoirs. She explains why home staging is important and how the French and English differ in approach.
Our French language tutor Jules, has prepared some useful words and phrases relevant to the features in the July/August 2019 issue. On-y-va!
There are thousands of gîte businesses in this part of France so how do you stand out from the crowd?
Some of these villages may be more hidden away than others. Wherever they are, they are well worth a visit and reveal moments in history as well as incredible sights.
A risotto with a difference: Chateau Rigaud Beetroot Arancini, a colourful, fresh tasting dish for enjoying in the summer sun from Nick Street-Brown.
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.
Who doesn’t love a BBQ, especially with inspirational, fresh-tasting food like this from Le 1500 in Saussignac
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.
Coping with the weather, especially the heat in summer, is one of the things that makes gardening really interesting and very rewarding. Sue Sargeant tells us how to keep blooming through summer.
Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Wings is from Natalie Lynch, the chef at Le Cheval Blanc in St Antonin.
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 takes a look at tennis, pétanque and golf to help you keep your eye on the ball when it comes to fitness and fun.
This time Katie answers queries from people who are facing Struggles in SW France with weight and self-esteem
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!https://www.thelocalbuzzmag.com/wp-admin/post-new.php?post_type=articles#
We asked Mark Jansen, owner of Jansen Property Services, to share his experiences and offer some tips for maximising those profits.
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: 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!
Caves, rivers, medieval streets, churches and monuments, our region has them all. Here are some suggestions for making the most of this fascinating area.
A ‘ship that sailed the globe’ and ‘Duras wines’ may not immediately seem to be linked but a major reconstruction is about to set underway that will revisit history in more ways than one.
Asparagus with smoked salmon and beetroot caviar from Bas Holten at the Chateau Les Merles combines a fresh approach to flavour with a modern twist
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
Eating outside is one of the great joys of life here in France. Mayana Elbaz gives us her take on a Garden Fresh Quiche, Roast Lamb with Mint Pesto and an Apricot Clafoutis
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.
A Potager is one of those “must-haves” in a French garden and is a traditional part of life in rural France.
Nick Street-Brown is Head Chef at Château Rigaud and has given us this fabulous recipe for Lamb rack, spiced aubergine, oven roasted tomato, goat cheese and crispy chickpeas
A tongue-in-cheek look at leaping into spring from our editor.
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.
Linda Lewis is a National Coach for the International Nordic Walking Federation (INWA) and tells us a little more about the sport.
Jase Alexander, experienced club cyclist, helps us to extend our bike rides with a bit of fun, training and improved motivation
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
Health improvements can be achieved by a host of treatments. Here are three different methods that will ease aches and pains.
Adrian Lithgow, Director, Agence Eleonor, Issigeac explains why, if the past two years have taught us anything, it is that the predictions by experts are often not as accurate as they would like to think. That includes Brexit!
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.
Our French language student has prepared some useful words and phrases. On-y-va!
Why not take advantage of the warmer, brighter days and visit some of the pretty villages in our region. These are sure to put a spring in your step.
Car rental with no problems? Two good to be true? Not in this case. As part of our Entrepreneur series, we look at what makes Buggs Car Hire so successful
Using local, seasonal produce, Claude-Emmanuel Robin from the Michelin Starred L’Allée des Vignes at Cajarc, creates a delicious, gastronomic treat
Former UK Sommelier of the Year and winner of the Mondavi award for the best wine list in the world, John Gilchrist brings us powerful wines for complex food flavours
Philippe Birckel of Restaurant de Bastard in Lectoure suggests a delicious new take on a local favourite: Cannelloni of duck confit with a mushroom and red wine sauce and cheese crisps
Yvonne Drolshagen of Aquitaine Lifestyle Solutions gives us an insight into saving tax with charitable donations.
Our beloved bees are back in our gardens!
There’s a definite Buzz in the air as spring is springing up all around us. This is a perfect time of year in the garden. I just love seeing what has survived over winter and enjoying the fresh air.
Innovative creations and pure flavours represent the original style of Dutch Chef, Bas Holten, at the Château Les Merles. This recipe is sure to bring a smile.
It’s a new year which means that I am going to be consumed by SAD, not Seasonal Affective Disorder, but Serious Attempts (at) Dieting.
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.
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.
Julie Savill, Marketing Director at Beaux Villages Immobilier gives us flavour of what being an Immobilier involves.
Wouter Koziolek of www.lotexperience.com is a keen fisherman and tells us how to “get a bite”.
We have all struggled with the wrong tools – here are some handy tips on which garden tool is the right one.
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.
What better way to further integrate into the French way of life than join them in dancing!
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.
Alan Stewart is a private chef with a passion for seasonal, locally-inspired food. We asked him for his suggestion for a tasty dessert.
The winter months of January and February bring us red hot wood burners and a yearning for hearty, warming stews and slowly roasted meals.
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.
This lady has lots of friends and family around her but she cannot get over the trauma of losing her partner
Chocolate Moelleux, a delicious dessert from the Michelin Starred l’Allée des Vignes restaurant
A tongue-in cheek look at the build up to Christmas from our editor
We asked three experts to explain how Massage, Shiatsu and Reiki can help to relieve stress and ease the pressure that can be felt over busy periods.
Although this question relates to stress at Christmas, we can all experience stress at any family gathering.
We asked Ashleigh Swift, an 18-year old rugby player and referee to highlight how the women’s game is progressing here in SW France
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.
Some people may think that fishing in winter is strange but we know different…. Whatever the season though, this article will help to get you started.
Dealing with legal issues, bureaucracy and finance is difficult at the best of times, regardless of how good your French is
Looking after the winter garden is all about thinking about the future, preparing for the months ahead.
Honey can be used in all sorts of ways and is a particularly good ingredient for parties!
A look at game, hearty reds and a chocolate torte
A dinner designed for Valentine’s Day but, hey, it could be Valentine’s every weekend!
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)
A tongue-in-cheek- look at the autumn leaf clearing operation by our editor
Colin Leigh-Higgott of Blevins Franks says that understanding the options and tax implications for different types of pensions is key.
The work of jewellery artisan, Charles Duret in Domme, is timeless, unique and utterly divine.
Katie Gardner answers a question for someone who finds that their 6 o’clock curfew on the first drink of the day is becoming earlier?
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.
Some useful words and phrases relevant to the features in the September/October 2018 issue of The Local Buzz. On-y-va!
We asked Trevor Leggett, Chairman of Leggett Immobilier, to tell us what’s happening with the property market in our region. What he had to say was enlightening.
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 mygolfclub.org.uk, one of the largest golf memberships in the World.
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.
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.
Sue Sargeant looks at how we can be preparing our garden for the cooler months to come during the Autumn.
Honey adds a sweet, velvety touch to all kinds of foods. Here are some ideas to make the most of this delicious, natural ingredient.
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.
We take a look at some of the intriguing sights that can be found in villages and towns within our seven departments. There is so much to explore.
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.
It’s hot, it’s back breaking and it’s exhausting so why do thousands of people rush to help at the Vendange every year?
A tongue-in-cheek last word from our editor – this time about night markets.
Photographer Jeff Ross looks at how technology has moved on and how to get the best out of your mobile phone camera.
We take a look at honey and its benefits; a 100% natural liquid gold!
Katie Gardener is a fully qualified CBT Counsellor and answers a question about coping with a change to the pace of life
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.
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.
Tips for creating a little ambiance in the night garden
Sue Gardner looks at summer; a time when friends and family enjoy your garden and, hopefully, you too will have time to relax and reap the rewards of your hard work.
John Cook, professional golfer, is well qualified on the subject of golf. Here he looks at the game as a whole.
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.
Useful words and phrases relevant to the features in the July/August 2018 issue of The Local Buzz
Honey is a fabulously natural, healthy ingredient. Here are some of our favourite recipes
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.
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.
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.
Artisanale by nature, Maison Guinguet in Duras is world famous for its wide range of chocolates and innovative use of nuts andfruit to make different flavours and textures.
Healthy and nutritious, oysters are as much a part of life here in France as red wine, cheese and baguettes.