Sunday, 31 October 2010


Quinces are lovely fruits that have a distinctive taste. They go really well with apples.
I usually mix quinces with apples when I make jelly or compote.

I picked all my quinces a few days ago to store before the frost damage them.

They won't keep all winter but a few weeks.

They have to be picked ripe otherwise they won't ripen unlike most fruits. I have read you can eat them raw but i usually cook mine.

They seem to be doing well in Brittany.

Try them! They are delicious!

Fête de la Pomme

Each year, and for the past 26 years, Quevert organise the Fête de la Pomme. This year it falls on 6th and 7th November.

You will discover 600 types of apples, pears and chestnuts. Exhibitions, live music, food and drinks - locally made cider of course, etc. It is a great afternoon out.

Quevert is near Dinan in Brittany.

Entance fee: €3

Plant exchange in Lanvallay

I am just back from the Plant exchange in Lanvallay. As you can see from the photo, I came back with plenty plants!

You know what I will be doing later on today!

Lanvallay is just outside Dinan in Brittany, about 10 min from Evran.

Don't miss the next plant exchange the last Sunday in March.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

How to write a French address

I know it might sound like an easy thing but I often get asked by my English clients when they move to France how to write a French address. It is only easy if you know the answer! Here is the answer:

Start by putting on the same line the title of the addressee: ie M., Mme or Melle, then the surname in capital letters then the first name if you know it.
On the 2nd line, the company name if you are sending a business letter.
On the 3rd line, the street/road number and name.
And on the last line, the post code and town or village name in capital letters.

I often see English people adding the area where they live ie Brittany, but there is no need for it.

Here is an example of a French address:

Monsieur DUPONT Pierre
5 rue de la mairie
22100 DINAN

How to find a French post code

I have just found this interesting web site, from the French post office, that I would like to share with you.

If you are looking for a post code or you have a post code and you want to find out the name of the town or village, see this link here. It is even in English!

Prélèvements sociaux for gite owners

If, like me, you run your own gite in France, you may have receive the same tax as me: the Avis d'Imposition Prélèvements Sociaux 2010.

How are the Prélèvements sociaux calculated?

When you declared your income from your gite, an allowance of 50 or 71% is deducted, then they tax you 12.1%.

The tax has to be paid by 15th November 2010.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

I have found some petrol!

As I was in Plouër sur Rance today translating for some English people who were buying a house in Dinan, I visited the Super U there and guess what?!
They had petrol... Diesel, unleaded, whatever you wanted!
No queue, no limit, just like a normal day - as if the strikes were not on.

I now have a full tank - just in case....

Plouër is near Dinan in Brittany.

River boat for sale

Our friends are selling their river boat and I thought you could be interested to know!

Here are the details:
4 m, sold on sturdy trailer,
complete with steering console,
4 swivel seats.

Built in 2004 and in excellent condition.
Ideal for fishing or simply exploring the river.


We have had some fun at Bétineuc lake and going up and down the River Rance on it!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Official end of Summer Time...

Sunday 31st October 2010 is the official day of Summer Time in France and Europe...
In the small hours of Sunday morning, the clocks will go back by one hour. That means we can stay one extra hour in bed!

If you live near Dinan, you can join me in Lanvallay at the plant exchange between 10 am and 12pm. Read my post about the plant exchange.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Petrol shortage around Dinan Saturday 23rd

I have just heard on the French news that most petrol stations on French motorways will have petrol as it is half term in France.

For some of you based in Brittany around Dinan, only 4 out 6 petrol stations had petrol left last night but petrol stations have just been delivered this morning.
You should find petrol at Leclerc, Carrefour, and Taden Intermarché.

Hurry up though if you are desperate!

Some stations allow you up to 30 liters or up to €30 or €40.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Where to get petrol in Brittany

Strikes and shortage of petrol continue today in France...

I have just found a map on Ouest France web site where you can see what petrol stations in Brittany have petrol.

Some also show the maximum you can have (€30 or €40). You are not allowed to fill up jerrycans!

See this link here for the map.
I hope this helps.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Shortage of petrol

Most petrol stations around Dinan have now ran out of petrol but Super U in Lanvallay still got some this morning. I guess not for long... I am glad I filled up last Friday.

Reading the French papers this morning, we don't know how long the strike will last. It is best not to go anywhere unless you have to!

See my other post about where to get petrol from in Brittany here.

20 parks and gardens open to public from this weekend

I have some info for the keen gardeners today!

From this Saturday 23rd until 31st October 20 parks and gardens will be open to public in the Côtes d'Armor. Some are private and only opened a few times per year.

To find out more, follow this web site. You will see a map.

I recommend the Jardin de la Levrette in Yviniac La Tour. It is well worth a visit.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Business for sale in France

If you are looking to move to France and run your own business here is a great business opportunity:

Residential centre specialising in group holidays

Located in a pretty village centre

based 10 min South of Dinan in Brittany (France)

Groups include walkers, cyclists, yoga, schools, colleges, motorcyclists, archeologists.

Also caters for private functions, soirees jazz, dancing and a Christmas market

Ideal opportunity to settle and earn a living in France.

If you love the slower pace of life the beautiful historic towns and the stunning varied coastline, this is a great opportunity to settle in France with a going concern.

Established for 20 yrs- this home and business has versatile accommodation, offering a range of possibilities and uses. Close to Dinan, Dinard, St Malo and beautiful sandy beaches.

Currently the centre caters for large groups including, schools, colleges, walkers, cyclists, yoga and archeologists. We also provide for private functions, soirees jazz, dancing, a Christmas market and exhibition space.

The property consists of a large building with 12 bedrooms/dorms (46 beds), lounge/reception, large recreation hall/function room, toilets and showers, office.

A second building with commercial kitchen, pantries, dining room and washing up area.

Self-contained 3 bedroom apartment.

The pretty village of Le Quiou offers cycle tracks, archeological sites, a chateau, bar, restaurant and a recreational lake within walking distance and great potential to expand the business in all sorts of directions.

Price: €445,000

For more information please call or email Andrew directly:

Tel: 0033 (0)2 96 83 47 25 email:

Plant exchange in Lanvallay

Each year a plant exchange (Troc plantes) takes place in Lanvallay (near Dinan in Brittany) the last Sunday in October - the day we put the clock backwards.

I have been taking part for the last 5 years and have collected some great plants for free! If you live in the area, please feel free to join us.

You will find us opposite the church in Lanvallay, in the car park or if it rains inside the 'salle des fêtes' between 10 am and 12pm. Don't be too late!

It is free to take part. All you need to do is to bring plants you don't want, or / and seeds, bulbs, cuttings, anything you can spare.

You will go home with all sorts, I promise you!

It is a great way to get plants for free!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Storing pumkins for the winter

After a whole week of rain, I have manged to go back to the garden this afternoon to see what could be eaten or stored.

I have picked my pumpkins and butternut squashes to store for the winter.

It is best to put them away before the cold weather. The frost would 'kill' them.

I am quit proud of my crop this year!

Anyone who has recipes with pumpkins, please feel free to contribute!

If you are looking for some seeds in France, butternut squashes are called Noix de beurre.
They are unusual in France so it might be easier to get a packet of seeds from the UK.

If you live in Brittany, I would be happy to share my seeds with you.

How big are the mushrooms in France?!!

My neighbour gave us 2 mushrooms last week. He found them in his fields where he keeps his cows! They are ok to eat - so he said!!

They are called 'Vesse-de-loup géante' in French.

The Latin name is 'Calvatia gigantea'. They were as big as a rugby ball. A lot lighter though.

Unfortunately when we cut them they were off. The middle was yellow. We were looking forward to a mushroom omelet!! Next time!

When you move to France you might find a new hobby: Mushroom picking.

If you are unsure about eating them, you can take them to a chemist in France and they will tell you if they are ok to eat.
It is best to be safe than sorry!

Giant runner beans

When you move to France you might find some spare time to grow vegetables!

One vegetable that I can recommend is the Giant Runner Bean!!

It is 35 to 40 cm long. You only need 1 or 2 per person without sounding too mean!

They are rather easy to grow and you will a good crop. When I get too many, I chop them in small pieces and freeze them so I can enjoy them in the winter.

If you live in France, you might have difficulties to find seeds so get a packet next time you visit the UK.

I got my seeds from an English friends who lives in Brittany.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Ballroom and Latin American dance classes near Dinan in Brittany

June and Philip are offering some ballroom and Latin American dance classes this year again!

Based in Evran, near Dinan in Brittany.

Every Tuesday afternoon at 3pm

at La Salle Communale
17 rue de la Liberation
Evran (10 min South of Dinan)

Beginners to experienced dancers

Free lessons!!

Contact June on 02 96 82 29 78 for more info

Joining a club is a great way to meet people and improve your French!

C’est la Rentrée!

Children in France are back at school beginning of September and it is the beginning of a new school year. All the associations are also starting at the same time. It is La Rentrée for all of us in France!

This year I am joining the same club again. I am part of the Gym Club in St Judoce near Evran.

It is only €55 for the year and the teacher is so experienced. We do a mix of Pilates, relaxation, stretching, etc. We never have the same class twice. I don’t go home feeling exhausted but relaxed and supple.

Why don’t you join a club yourself this year? It is the best way to meet people and improve your French.

If you live around Dinan, you are welcome to join our Club. Even if your French is not so good. You will feel very welcome! Email me for more information or come to St Judoce Salle des fêtes (near Church) on a Thursday evening from 7.30pm to 8.30pm.

Emergencies in France – what an efficient service

I recently had to visit the emergencies in Dinan with Chris who badly hurt his finger doing some DIY. Once we got there I noticed 5 people in the waiting room. I thought we would have had to wait a while. But by the time we ‘checked in’ (showed our Carte Vitale) it was already our turn to see a doctor! We didn’t even have time to sit down!

A nurse and a doctor looked after him. He was sent for an X ray (he broke one of his fingers) then had 5 stitches on his finger.

On the way home, we picked up some pain killers and antibiotics from our local chemist’s.

All this done in less than 2 hours! And the best thing was……. we didn’t have to fill in any paperwork or pay anything towards the operation, X Ray or tablets.

I can once more conclude that the French Health service is really efficient!

Chimney sweeping

The weather has suddenly changed. In Brittany, it has been raining nonstop for a few days, the sun has gone… The winter is on its way. Although it is not cold, we like to light the fire in the evening.

Before the winter, it is a good idea to have the chimney swept by a professional.

In France chimney sweeping (ramonage) is done by a roofer (couvreur). If you don’t know any, look in the French Yellow Pages (Pages Jaunes) under COUVREUR or ask your local mairie. They might be able to give you a list of the local Couvreurs.

The price for chimney sweeping is around €75. You will have to pay on the day and the roofer will give you an invoice which is the proof that the Ramonage has been done. In case of a fire, the insurance may ask you for it. If you haven’t had the chimney swept, the insurance might not cover you.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Recipe for apple jelly

Apples, apples and more apples!! They grow so well in Brittany that everyone seems to have apples coming out of their ears!! I use mine in various ways.

One of them being apple and quince jelly.

I use:

1.5 kg of apples

2 quinces

1 l of water

750 g of sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

Cinnamon and cardamom

I wash then cut the apples and quinces into quarters. I don’t remove the skin or core.

I put all the ingredients (apart from sugar) in a big pan. Once the fruits are cooked, I don’t let them strain overnight. I put the fruits through a strainer straight away. I then bring to the boil the juice and the sugar until the jelly sets. It takes about 25 minutes.

The problem I have is that this recipe only makes 2 jars! It is eaten quicker than I can make it!! It is nice on toast or pancakes…

Anyone who has a recipe to share, please feel free to contribute!