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Every week you'll find new stories, local and national events, comments, recipes and advice on this page. Click on the Archive button to see previous posts full of interesting information and links.

It's competition time!

Julie Savill // Monday, 16 October 2017

How many swans can you count? You may need to zoom in, on a big screen, and a hint - the black one is a Shag.

Answers on a postcard..........

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Aller Doucement

Don Quay // Thursday, 12 October 2017

The well maintained open roads and lack of traffic in France can cause an inadvertent lack of attention.
Roof down, a bit of music, lots to look at.  Hypothetically only. No admission, you understand.
Ironic, really, given that one of our 'drivers' in moving to France was to slow down.
As a bit of a tangent, it took me a while to NOT be irritated by people at the head of the queue in the pharmacy or boulangerie engaging the staff in conversation rather than cracking on with their purchase. Again - a step back to an age when people had time for each other.
A recent addition to these rural parts are traffic-calming traffic lights...

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I Love My Town: Lalinde

Caroline Oliver // Tuesday, 10 October 2017

On the way from Bergerac to Sarlat you can't help but pass through the small town of Lalinde.  I was one of the many people that drive in intending to pass on through, but say wow, find a parking place and stop and explore.

Lalinde is what's called a Bastide town, which means a town, typically built in the Dordogne valley around the 13th Century.  They were built using a grid system, spreading out from the main square, where often markets were (and in Lalinde's case still are) held.  

Although they were not fortified, the style of the Bastides helped to protect the villagers during the hundred year war, between the French and English.

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Dordogne roofs and skies - what's not to like?

Julie Savill // Monday, 02 October 2017

This delightful autumn combination was snapped in the riverside town of Lalinde this week !

Properties for sale in the Lalinde area here

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Bloomin' good idea

Julie Savill // Friday, 29 September 2017

If you've never visited a florist in France you could be in for a suprise.  For a start, there is often the most amazing display of creative arrangements on offer. Wicker baskets packed with ornamental cabbages, ancient flower pots dripping with moss and stuffed with pastel pink and green sempervivums.  

On a recent visit to our shop in Lalinde we walked past this pretty shop on the main road into town.

Step inside and brush past the buckets of roses, grasses and michaelmas daisies and you'll very often find treasure trove. Florists tend to double as interior decorating and accessory shops.  Cushions in ticking stripes and printed with French 'bon mots', chalkboards for the kitchen lists, tie-backs and candles, vases (of course), throws and rugs...we could go on.

A social life in France often revolves around meals shared at home with friends and if you are invited to eat that calls for a little gift. It isn't expected that you'll take wine and if you do a French host will often put it to one side and use the wine they have chosen themselves. Don't be offended - they'll have taken care to select wine to go with the meal they are serving.

Instead of buying booze whizz down to the florist and choose from flowers or all the tempting gift ideas on offer.  Gift wrapping is invariably included. Sorted!

See all our properties in the beautiful Dordogne bastide of Lalinde

So exciting !

Julie Savill // Friday, 29 September 2017

In the Charente we have a Beaux Villages office in the glorious village of Verteuil-sur-Charente. It's a lovely old building standing with its foundations in the old moat of the massive chateau that looks over the town.

Age has made its mark and it's time for a facelift. Scaffolding going up today - let the work commence!

In true before-and-after style, we'll post the finished results later on!

See all our Verteuil-sur-Charente properties here.

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I Love My Town: Charroux

Victoria Lowkis // Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Tucked away in a valley where La Charente river flows gently through, you will find Charroux. This not-so-sleepy town is the Vienne’s best kept secret.

With its abbey ruins and grand tower standing tall in the centre and its ancient covered market place you can immediately feel the history. This is the site of many traditional festivities spanning the whole year through. Small shops, cafes and bars are scattered around.

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A lovely gesture

Katherine // Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Gavin and Katie Dimmick recently completed on the purchase of a beautiful French house.
They called in to the Jonzac office today with flowers and chocolates for Jacqui Reddin-Williams.
We love knowing that our job has been done well and that buyers and sellers are happy!
Thanks Gavin and Katie, much appreciated!

A survivor's tale

Julie Savill // Sunday, 03 September 2017

Forget the donkeys you see giving rides on the beach, they are mere miniatures compared to the majestic Baudet de Poitou.  With the males standing a minimum of 140cm high at the shoulder and with their coats forming dreadlocks that Bob Marley would have been proud of, this is probably a donkey like no other you have ever seen.  

Prized in France for their size, and crossed with horses to create massive mules for work, these gentle giants have had careers of their own working in the salt marshes of the Charente-Maritime. The sand flies would attack the legs of the donkeys so the owners clad them in canvas leggings to protect them.  The leggings have morphed over time into cute gingham 'pyjamas' that the baudets wear for fetes and photo opportunities. They don't appear to mind...

But it hasn't all been fancy clothes and smiles for the camera.  A census in 1977 discovered only 44 baudets in existence.  By 2005 that number had grown to 450 purebred Poitou donkeys and the recovery continues.

The owners of Beaux Villages, Rob and Lynn, recently adopted two baudets, a mother and son pair who arrived in style at their new home to join two other donkeys and share a peaceful life.  Mum, Perle, came out of the horsebox in one giant leap.  We think she's happy to have found her forever home...

See all our Charente-Maritime properties.

Small but perfectly formed

Julie Savill // Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Just when you think you know your area really well you round a corner and something previously unknown takes your breath away.  On a recent visit to see our team in Montmorillon, Vienne, we asked for their expert view on what to see in the vicinity.  As one they all said Mortemart.  We'd never even heard of it so we hopped in the car and, 40 minutes later, drove into this dreamy little town.

One of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France,  Mortemart is undeniably tiny but no less beautiful for its lack of size.  A stunning church, the duke's castle, a carmelite convent, a pretty square with cafe, ancient houses, overflowing window boxes and planters.  Those that live here evidently love it to bits.

And then there is the horse and cart, available to hire for a guided tour of the historical highlights of the town.

Don't expect to spend a whole day here, but do make time to drop in for a coffee if you are anywhere nearby.  

See all of our Haute-Vienne Properties



Your turn...

Let your inner author loose!  If you have an experience to share about moving to, living in or simply visiting France then we'd like to hear about it.  Write a maximum of 300 words, attach a photo and we'll publish the best here.

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