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Best value MAPS of FRANCE, and keeping the children amused

Click on the picture to be taken to the latest news 

 

Publishing on 1st September – Issue 90

Free subscription at: subscribe.MonOc@Living-in-France.com

Book Reviews for September by Susan Keefe

Searching for Family and Traditions at the French Table, Book One

(Champagne, Alsace, Lorraine, and Paris regions) (The Savoring the Olde Ways Series)

by Carole Bumpus

Carole Bumpus a retired family therapist and the author of this absorbing book has within its pages shared her abundance of experiences which she and her husband Winston enjoyed whilst travelling from Paris in the Île-de-France, through the Champagne, Alsatian and Lorraine regions, and then returning to Paris.

Her travels through these eastern regions of France enjoying the food, and experiences of their local inhabitants were enhanced immeasurably by the presence of her French Californian friend and translator Josiane Selvage.

From the first page, this book is packed to bursting point with information, details of the villages they visited, the history of the regions, and the lives of the families they were welcomed into. Reading through it, the impact WWI and WWII had on family life and circumstances is clearly apparent. However throughout the centuries, ‘family favourites’ have, for the most part been conceived through necessity of one kind or another, either because of food shortages (whether it be conflict or caused through natural events,) or quite simply the necessity to create good, tasty, family food using the vegetable and fruit produce and the animals which are abundant where they live. As the years have passed these dishes may have been embellished by food companies and sold for the masses frozen, bottled or canned, but it is in the family kitchen that the best versions are made, with love, and with fondness because of the memories they evoke. For those readers who are keen cooks traditional recipes from each of the regions can be found at the end.

Living in France and enjoying sharing the last 16 years with our neighbours has taught my husband and I about the closeness of French families, and the importance of food and ‘family time.’   These values are wonderfully apparent in this book, and I am looking forward to book two in the series which is due to be released in August 2020. In it the author completes her journey, beginning again in Paris, and then heading north into Pas-de-Calais, Normandy, Brittany, to the Loire, my chosen region, and then completing the tour in the Auvergne.

Highly recommended: This book is compelling reading, its pages overflow with memorable moments, family secrets, and delicious recipes, and it will hold a prized place on the bookshelf of readers who love France, its food, people and history.

Available from Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Searching-Traditions-Champagne-Lorraine-Savoring-ebook/dp/B07H1BHPJH/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Searching+for+Family+and+Traditions+at+the+French+Table&qid=1566810578&s=gateway&sr=8-1

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I BELIEVE: I Can Learn to Draw and Paint, Just Like Sara, the Golden Mare

by Suzanne Mondoux

I think we should always encourage creativity, and build self-esteem in our children and grandchildren, and this is why I love the ‘I Believe’ series of children’s books.

In this the third book in the series, two brave horses, Teddy and Carlo, decide to go on an adventure and visit the desert. When they arrive they are amazed at its size and beauty. However, they are even more surprised when the most beautiful horse which has golden hair and a silver mane comes over to say hello, with her friends the Mustangs.

The horse is called Sara and she’s very friendly. As they talk together Sara tells them about her life when she ran wild, before she met the Mustangs. She explains that now they all look after the desert, and the rich diversity of wildlife which live in it.

When she discovers that Teddy and Carlo don’t know how to draw or paint she offers to teach them, explaining that when she arrived she didn’t know either, but that with encouragement and practice it is easy to get better, and have great fun doing so.

At this stage the wonderful interactive part of this book really comes to life. It starts with a follow the numbers dot to dot to complete of a desert bird, which can then be coloured in, and then the author encourages children experiment with mixing colours and doing finger painting. This really appealed to my granddaughter, we had great fun discovering what colours different combinations made, and inventing a few of our own.

Then children are encouraged to first draw a Mountain Lion, colour it in, and then use their imagination to draw an animal a day for 30 days, and create scenes with people helping them. This is a lovely way for children to learn about animals, be creative, but also to think about animals, their needs, and how we can help them.

The author, in this interactive book has, by showing children simple skills, and inspiring, them through a lovely story, used positive reinforcement to empower them to have confidence in their own ability to draw and paint.

Available from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Believe-Learn-Draw-Paint-Golden/dp/1982222530/ref=sr_1_4?qid=1566486516&refinements=p_27%3ASuzanne+Mondoux&s=books&sr=1-4&text=Suzanne+Mondoux

Six tips for getting your pensions strategy right, first time

By Rob Kay, Senior Partner, Blevins Franks

 With so many options for UK pensions, it can be difficult to know what to do to achieve a financially secure retirement. The ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit and political volatility in the UK also raises questions about how long we can expect today’s opportunities for expatriates to last.

Any financial transaction brings a degree of risk, but as pensions are often especially valuable and critical in providing a comfortable retirement, making the wrong decision here can be disastrous. This is therefore an area where quality, expert advice is vital.

These six tips can help you avoid costly mistakes and establish the right pensions approach for you.

  1. Check your pension adviser is regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

Regulated financial companies must meet certain standards and act in the best interests of their clients. While taking regulated advice is compulsory for people looking to transfer ‘final-salary’ pension benefits worth £30,000+ a year, the FCA strongly recommends it for anyone considering their pension options. A simple online search of a provider’s full name plus ‘FCA’ should reveal more about their relationship with the regulator and link to their record in the Financial Services Register.

  1. Consider all the available options

Many expatriates transfer UK pension funds to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) to unlock benefits such as flexibility to withdraw euros or sterling and more freedom to pass benefits to heirs other than your spouse. However, a QROPS will not suit everyone and is not always the most tax-efficient solution. Pension funds can potentially be restructured in arrangements that provide better tax benefits for French, so make sure you explore the alternative options.

  1. Don’t overlook cross-border tax issues

The French tax treatment of pensions is complex and wholly different to the UK’s. While UK-based pension advisers may have some understanding of French taxation, they are unlikely to have the full expertise to consider issues such as French succession tax and income tax mitigation in the context of your overall situation. This could mean the difference between paying as little as 7.5% tax or as much as 45% income tax on your pensions.

A locally-based, UK-regulated adviser is best placed to establish the most tax-efficient approach for your particular circumstances and goals.

  1. Beware of pension scams and unregulated investments

Be extremely cautious of advice from a company that has cold-called you, and never sign anything under pressure. Be especially wary of claims of unusually high or guaranteed returns, and opportunities to access your pension before the age of 55. Once you transfer your pension, it is too late; you could end up losing some or even all of your pension funds, and face a large UK tax bill as well as penalty fees.

Also, take note that many companies offering pension services are unregulated. Whether they aim to defraud you or not, these are unprotected investments that risk losing your money with no opportunity for compensation if things go wrong.

Protect your pension benefits by checking your provider’s credentials, including their understanding of French taxation and its interaction with UK rules.

  1. Research other peoples’ experience

Even amongst regulated providers, check for quality. Testimonials, particularly word-of-mouth recommendations from people you trust, can provide reassurance and indicate that your provider is meeting the needs and expectations of their clients. Look for consumer reviews, ask around your local community and follow up references where possible. Be mindful, however, that other peoples’ situations might be quite different to yours – what works for them may not necessarily work for you.

  1. Look at the whole picture

Pensions should form just part of your overall financial plan. Your adviser should look at your pensions in the context of your unique circumstances, risk appetite and wider situation – including residency, your other assets, tax and estate planning – to help secure the best outcome for you and your family.

Deciding what to do with your pension could be one of the most important financial decisions you make. While you should take the time to get it right, keep the Brexit countdown in mind. With many predicting that the UK could introduce tax penalties on overseas transfers and limit how expatriates in the EU can access their UK pensions post-Brexit, now is the time to review how you can best secure a prosperous retirement in France.

Tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; individuals should seek personalised advice.

You can find other financial advisory articles by visiting our website here

How do you solve a problem like  . . .  Box Moths  ?

By Kathryn Bradley-Hole

The box moth, Cydalima perspectalis, and its caterpillars quickly destroy box plants. Here’s how to combat these pests.

This is a tale of woe, but it has a happy ending and is, I think, helpful for anyone wanting to continue growing box plants in their garden in the future.

One of the things my friend Bill looks forward to most in spring is the emergent foliage on the many box plants in his garden. In April and May, box has a soft, bright freshness which seems to encompass the essence of the new growing season and is a particularly lovely backdrop to his tulips. Last spring was like any other, Bill recalls, with the new box growth firming and darkening as summer arrived.

Suddenly, in the space of what seemed no more than a week or two, the flowing rivers and shapes of box that are important presences throughout his garden appeared to be ailing. They looked puzzlingly faded and desiccated. Close inspection revealed stems being systematically shredded and defoliated by very hungry caterpillars; too many to count, he says.

The box moth, Cydalima perspectalis, is a recent alien import, whose natural home is East Asia. It’s spread across Europe in the past 10 years; its damage to British gardens was first reported in 2011, although adult moths had already been seen at large in 2008. I had heard about serious, localised eruptions of box-moth damage in the past few years, but hadn’t seen its full-on powers of destruction until it devastated Bill’s garden. It was as if a swarm of locusts had passed through.

In areas where the moth is active, garden centres have done brisk trade in the pesticide Bayer Provado Ultimate Bug Killer, but the evidence suggests it isn’t up to seeing off box moths.

Part of the trouble is that this moth has a clever way of hiding in concealed foliage, looped and tied with a webbing of silk that gives the offspring safe haven. The caterpillars themselves are leafy green and even the pupae are box-green and glue themselves to the branches, looking for all the world like box leaves, while they mature into yet more moths, which will lay hundreds more eggs.

Adult moths, pure white with a brown margin all around the wings, are skittish and hide on many different garden plants as well as in the box itself. Numerous generations will hatch and flourish across the season, so that chemical insecticide spraying is an expensive and ineffective method of control—as well as being potentially harmful to other creatures.

Bill needed help. My searches online indicated the only product that truly controls box moth is Bacillus thuringiensis var Kurstaki, a natural bacterium (not a chemical insecticide) often sold as DiPel or Lepinox. Organic farmers use it to stop butterfly caterpillars demolishing their brassicas.

Although it used to be available in small sachets for gardeners’ use many years ago, subsequent tighter restrictions mean that, recently, it’s only been available to farmers and landscape professionals, with a caveat that training in the use of spraying is required. (This is sensible because DiPel kills all moth and butterfly cater- pillars, not just the ‘baddies’, so extremely disciplined and focused use is required.)

As I’ve done the training and used DiPel in a small way many years ago, I acquired enough of the product online to deal with Bill’s problem. The results were rapidly apparent. Within three days, the caterpillars had gone; within a week, new, unharmed leaf growth was springing up on the treated plants, after just one application.

You need to continue respraying very thoroughly every 7–10 days, however, to deal with later hatchings and break the cycle, until cold weather arrives. Also, shake out and pick off debris on the plants (there’s lots of it) and sweep up under them, as pupae can overwinter.

Instead of grubbing up and burning thousands of pounds’ worth of box, Bill has found that his plants’ rapid willingness to regrow has saved his garden— and lifted his beleaguered spirits.

Box has been hit by various ailments in the past couple of decades, the most serious being box blight, Cylindrocladium buxicola. Numerous gardens that previously boasted fine parterres have been decimated by blight. Now there’s hope for this problem, too, via Topbuxus Health Mix(developed in Holland but easily available online and at some garden centres), which is proving to be helpful in eradicating blight diseases.

‘We dare to claim that we have the worldwide solution for Boxblight,’ declares the topbuxus.comwebsite. It also has its own brand of DiPel: Topbuxus XenTari.

If you have treasured box plants that have been ailing, these days, there’s no need to dig out and burn.

Editor: In Francethe moths seem to be smaller than last year, perhaps indicating that the scarcity of food from box is depleting the pest. However we’ve been plagued with clouds of moths some days that are as bad as a snow storm. They are attracted to the lavender flowers here. Pheromone traps might do the trick – but that’d be a drop in the ocean, and we’d loose the more attractive insects.

 

Living, Stores and Sports

Left to live  

Much of the public rhetoric on the Housing Crisis revolves around ‘greedy developers’ setting prices too high for local people to afford. Those in the property industry know that it isn’t as simple as that. Most sites are sold prior to development.

The purchaser is inevitably the highest bidder, and the price they pay dictates a need to create value from the end sales. So what can be done about this? Government intervention, either through land taxation, planning controls, or the release of their own land for less than market value is an option. Another is to bring down the costs and specification of the product to be able to sell at a lower price point whilst preserving margin.

As operators such as Lidl have proved, bringing down costs, doesn’t need to mean bringing down quality. Rather you need to have a view on which costs add value to the consumer. IKEA are well practised at this in their furniture business and are now using similar techniques to do the same in their resi JV with Skanska, ‘BloKlok’. In their first UK outing BloKlok has secured consent for an apartment scheme in Worthingunder which 30% of units will be affordable and 70% will be priced at a ‘left to live’ affordability model. This involves a calculation of what a typical resident can afford to offer based on typical mortgage pricing and living costs. They achieve this in part through a pre-fabricated design process, which brings down the unit costs and abbreviates the build to just a single day per apartment. In turn this allows them to target a wider demand segment, which takes some of the risk out of the sales.

 Convenience and experience

One of the appeals of the online store is its functional convenience. You can browse the store in seconds and effect your transaction in a similar amount of time. For a consumer this makes it a very efficient experience.

However, with efficiency comes some trade-offs for the retailer. Firstly, purchases that are arrived at in this manner tend to be priced at a well-researched level. Secondly, a very directed search doesn’t leave a lot of space for serendipitous / unexpected purchases and upselling, which is often where the higher margins are earned. This is an area where a well laid out store still holds a competitive advantage.

Unlike in cyber space people need to move around stores, bumping into products that might not match the algorithm. However, the online environment is evolving.

Last month fashion blog Man Repellerhas launched its own e-commerce site using a gamified web interface. Rather than being an efficient sales journey, the site deliberately meanders through interactive / sensory experiences that allow customers to discover products rather than move straight to an intended purchase. Take a look here.

As both the physical and digital worlds start to compete on experience, the bar is lifted for the consumer, and the difference between the two channels starts to fade. The opposite end of this telescope is the high street retailers using technology to improve the efficiency of the in-store experience. This includes navigation apps such as Target’s floorplan-based app that guides you towards sales items, and the now ubiquitous in store iPad which allows you to browse the full stock range.

Game, set and match  

Most of us know someone with an encyclopaedic knowledge of sports results. However, in the modern age of big data is this person becoming redundant?

Historic sports results are now catalogued and openly available; and large data models are used to predict match results based on specific player attributes. For instance, tennis players are analysed on factors such as service consistency, ability to hold break points, and unforced errors on each surface type. That’s obviously helpful for bookies, but the same systems are now reportedly being used by the players to gain advantage.

Analysis of past performance for instance allows this year’s Wimbledon contestants to know when to play to the backhand, when to hit a topspin return, and when to lob a serve-and-volley attempt, with a different strategy for each opponent. Meanwhile, not to be outdone, the All England Lawn Tennis Club has some enviable data of its own. In a typical year, spectators drink 303,277 glasses of Pimms, whereas players eat 2,195kg of bananas and 166,055 portions of strawberries and cream are sold, each costing £2.50. This price, which has not changed since 2010, compares with an increase in the prize fund over the same period of 148%, making them the best-served treat any weekend.

Richard Pickering Head of Futures Strategy  Cushman & Wakefield

Picking Watermelons . . . The Girls are Juicier . . . Fact!

From Javea Connect

When you see a slice of the perfect watermelon your mouth is probably drooling!

But before this wonderful fruit lands on your plate, there is a story behind that you probably should know.

There are a few signs you should pay attention to when choosing the right one. Look at the field spot, the place where the watermelon was touching the ground. Also, the webbing indicates pollination from bees and that’s an indicator of sweetness. Check the shape if you’re searching for the watery ones and watch out for the tail as well, it tells you something about the ripeness. Remember that bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better!

Find out more about these 5 key tips to picking the perfect watermelon in the following…

1. Webbing

These weblike brown spots on the watermelon mean that bees touched the pollinating parts of the flower many times. The more pollination, the sweeter the fruit is.

2. Field Spot

The perfect watermelon will have a dark, large field spot.

3 Genders?

You may have not known this, but watermelons have genders. The ‘boy’ watermelons, are taller and more elongated, while the “girl” watermelons are more round and stout. The boy watermelons are more watery, while the girl watermelons are sweeter!

4. SizeMatters?

Our common sense tells us that bigger is better. But the best watermelons are average-sized. So yes, size matters.

5. Tail

A dried tail indicates that the watermelon is ripe. A green tail indicates that it was picked too soon and will not taste as good. Go for the watermelons that have dried tails for the best taste.

Coco the cock is being taken to court

The Gallic rooster is an eternal symbol of France, but not air stewardesses.

His name is Coco and he’s recently made the headlines not only in France but all over the world. National papers like the Guardian and the New York Times reported the story behind this preposterous lawsuit.

You’d probably assume that Coco is an extraordinary bird with superpowers but . . . he’s just an ordinary cock living peacefully in his henhouse on the Oléron Island, just off Rochefort.

But he’s not letting the people living around him have any peace! Because as you would expect, each dawn, Coco does what he does best: he crows.

                        C O C O R I C O ! 

A wake-up call that is not at all to the liking of one of nearest neighbours.

A retired couple bought a holiday home there and they cannot bear to be awakened in the morning by Coco’s gracious song.

Coco’s owner received a legal notice claiming the noise was a health risk.Another neighbour, a stewardess, who could not recover from his offbeat and often restrictive schedules explained that she could no longer sleep during the day because she was too often awakened by the rooster.

The mayor of the island is on Coco side “I consider we are in a rural setting here. The crowing of the cockerel is part of that setting.” Put simply, “I will protect the cockerel in order to defend our way of life.”

But this did not convince the plaintiffs and they brought the case to Court.

Nicolas Boucher, the owner, said that the municipal police and a judge came to see the vocal abilities of the rooster. Result: crowing 23 times in 26 minutes.

“There is even a judge who came to enjoy the rooster’s song, I could not believe it, the public money seems a little wasted. It demoralizes me, I am already at more than 2,000€ of legal fees in this business, they are finishing me financially”, laments Nicolas Boucher, who complied with the judgment by taking Maurice to live with a friend. “I moved Coco to the city center, there he is not bothered … I’m going to see him every day, I hope I’m going to win the judgment, that he can find his chicken coop”

Pending the appeal judgment, Boucher launched a Facebook page , as well as an online petition which has already collected more than 50,000 signatures because 2,000€ is an awful lot of eggs . . .

Lottery boost for chapel dedicated to cyclists

Nôtre Dame des Cyclistes in Labastide-d’Armagnac, Landes

Republished/Edited from Languedoc Living/ The Connexion

Halfway between Bordeaux and the Pyrenees there is a chapel is full of cycling memorabilia. This year it is one of 121 French monuments to receive renovation funding from the French Heritage Lottery.

Inside the unusual C11thchapel in Labastide-d’Armagnac, Landes visitors find 850 of cyclists’ jerseys mounted on the wall, as well as a cycle that was ridden in the first Tour de France.

Every year 20,000 people visit Nôtre Dame des Cyclistes, where they see the jerseys donated by noted cyclists such as Jacques Anquetil, André Darrigade and Raymond Poulidor. There is even a yellow jersey once worn by disgraced racer Lance Armstrong among the collection.

The chapel’s glass was created by another French cyclist Henry Anglade, who competed in 10 Tours.

However, the chapel had not been touched for over 30 years. Untreated damp has badly damaged the walls and the floor. The cost of the work is estimated at €100,000 but now the is an opportunity to redress the decay of the chapel’s fabric.

Last year, the Loto du Patrimoine, a lottery ctreated to restore buildings that are part of France’s heritage, raised some €22million for important restoration and preservation work.

This year, the lottery took place on July 14 and the chapel was the only Landais monument has chosen for the heritage lotto.

Members of the association ‘Les Amis de Nôtre Dame des Cyclistes’, who take responsibility for the chapel, are pleased and relieved that restoration funds from the Fondation du Patrimoine now mean they can invest in the chapel and also put more jerseys and cycles on display.

President Claude Nadeau said: “I still have at least 200 hundred jerseys in boxes that till now I couldn’t hang on the walls. They deserve to be put on display in good conditions.”

The chapel – which had long been abandoned – was turned into a cycling sanctuary ‘for the protection of cyclists’ by then-priest Joseph Massie, in 1959.

Le Tour has stopped off in the village four times since its first visit in 1984. In 1989, a stage started from the village and the peloton returned in 1995, 2000, and 2017.

Update on the French property Market

By Tim Swannie, Director and Co-Founder of Home Hunts

17th July 2019: According to a recent research by BNP Paribas, Brits still top the number of foreign buyers in France and make up 27% of all international homebuyers in the last year, despite uncertainty around Brexit. Buying agent Home Hunts, who has over 30 agents across France, provides insight from their own research in their recently published Inside France Report 2019” on the most popular places for investment, region by region, and identify the trends which have emerged in the past year.

So which areas do Brits favour, and which towns are most attractive for investors?Here is what they found:

The Riviera ison the way up and prices are rising, with Cannes and Nice in particular offering the best investment potential. This is due to several factors, including less restrictions in the number of days owners can rent out their property. In Cannes there is a huge range of events and high-profile conferences held throughout the year provide a strong demand for short-term out-of-season lets. There’s a new tram linking Nice Airport to the city. All help guarantee a strong rental return all year around.

The Var is also rising in popularity, with Cotignac and Fayence where houses average around €2,600m2 are the hottest locations. This is where buyers can get more for their money and benefit from a laid-back lifestyle in places that are lively all year around, yet also have the Riviera on their doorstep.

Arles is an up-and-coming town and is particularly attractive for those looking for long-term investment opportunities. Prices increased by 4% over the last year and are expected to keep rising thanks to several planned developments. The town’s strong links with history and art guarantee buyers a strong rental return, and it was voted one of the best places to visit in 2019 by Conde Nast Traveller Magazine.

Southwestern France is still very popular, especially rural areas such as Dordogne, Lot-et-Garonne, and Gers. Prices have remained stable and buyers find they can get more for their money, leading Home Hunts to expect sales to increase in the second half of 2019. The area offers a wide choice of lifestyles, making it ideal for those wanting to relocate permanently, as well as easy access to Toulouse and Bordeaux (where prices rose by 7.8% in the past year).

Paris is experiencing a boom and has benefited from Brexit, with many buyers from outside the EU now choosing it over London as their European base. Property prices have increased by around 5% in Paris and Île-de-France, with four locations constantly the most sought-after: the Golden Triangle (in the 8th and 16th arrondissement); the Left Bank in the 6th and 7th arrondissements; the 18th and 17th arrondissements near Monceau Park; and Le Marais in the 4th. Demand for hausman-type building apartments is particularly high.

The French Property Market remained stable despite Brexit, thanks to an increase of European and Non-EU investors

“We found that despite the understandable reduction in the number of UK investors, buyers from other parts of the world filled that gap. We had more interest from mainland Europe and beyond – such as China, the US and the Middle East. In fact, the April 2019 review from Notaires de France reported that the number of properties sold in 2018 was 970,000, which is practically the same as the year before, which was 968,000. It is looking as though the market will continue to offer stability and reliable returns to investors in 2019.”

Brexit has led an increase in buyers looking to relocate permanently 

“What is fascinating is the increasing number of Brits looking to make a permanent relocation across the Channel. We’ve had many couples and families trying to create a new life in France before the potential restrictions of Brexit put obstacles in their path. It is now about 75% buying holiday homes and a quarter looking to be relocated, whereas pre-Brexit this was around 85/15.”

Low-interest mortgages mean it is a good time to invest in the French Property Market

“The property market is continuing to offer stability and reliable returns to investors. Interest rates in France are low and competitive at the moment so many British buyers look to take a mortgage rather than spend all of their sterling. That way they will be able to pay off their mortgages if the exchange rate strengthens in the future.”

Home Huntsspecialise in finding luxury homes and investment properties throughout France, Monaco, Geneva, London and New York.  Home Hunts is a leading buyers’ agent, whose role is to find the hidden gems that the property market has to offer.  The team collaborates with all of the best estate agents, notaires, developers and private sellers to provide the ultimate selection of properties in a desired area.  Home Hunts work closely with their clients, offering unbiased advice and support throughout the entire buying process and beyond.

Latest News on Speeding

The speed limit was recently lowered from 90 km/h to 80 km/h on departmental roads.

In June the government announced that the decision on whether to keep that speed limit in place would be up to each department.

Last month, Christophe Castaner, the Minister of the Interior, announced that the reduction of the speed from 90 km/h to 80 km/h had saved 206 lives between 1 July 2018 and 1 July 2019.  Despite this, many departments are voting to put the speed limit back to 90 km/h.

So far in Occitanie, the Gard and the Pyrénées-Orientales have definitely decided to keep to the 80 km/h limit.

The Hérault, Aude, Aveyron, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne, Haute-Garonne, and Gers will raise it back to 90km/h.

Lozère has not yet decided.

Motorway limit is 130 km/hr (a shade over 80 mph) with a reduction to 110 km/hr if it’s raining.

And for the inquisitive . . . Rappelmeans “Remember, you should already be at this speed limit”

But remember ‘Ignorance of the law is never an excuse!’ and if you are driving across France you’ll have to be very knowledgeable . . .