About our Loire Valley Gites and Wine Tours

The XVIIIth. Century entrance to our Loire Gites

The XVIII Century Entrance to our Loire Valley Gites in France

Highly Commended by our TRIPADVISOR guests, (rated 5/5).

We receive many emails from our blog readers asking what exactly we do  here in the Loire so we thought that we’d do this static post which explains just that.

The Lounge in le Sauvignon gite.

The Lounge in le Sauvignon gite.

Le Clos des Guyons is a former winemakers house in the village of Le Puy Notre Dame in the Loire Valley.  The village is designated by two french accolades:- Village de Charme and Petite Cité de Caractére. We arrived in the region in 2001 and purchased the property in 2003 on the retirement of the then winemaker, Robert Guyons. His wine, the Domaine des Guyons, still produces wine but the current winemaker, Franck Bimont, uses a larger wine chai on the other side of the village, although we still use our existing tanks for storage on occasions.

We have found that the property is perfect both for normal gite holiday rentals and for wine tours as not only are we perfectly placed to access the bulk of the chateaux and historical sights of this famous region, but we are in the middle of a mass of wine appellations and, since 2008, Le Puy Notre Dame now has its own appellation of Saumur-Puy Notre Dame.

Situated on a quiet road on the edge of the village we are adjacent to the vineyards but, at the same time, only a few minutes walk from the bakery, bar and the two excellent village restaurants:- Le Bouchon Ponot and Le Puy à Vins.

With over 13 years of experience living in the area we have developed a mass of information which is freely available to our guests, many of which return to see us year after year and we thank them enormously for their loyalty and trust!

Brian has worked for years in wine retailing in the UK and has a Wines and Spirit Education Trust Ltd Higher Diploma qualification and so his knowledge plus relationships with local winemakers makes a wine tour here interesting, unique and enjoyable. Not only is Le Puy Notre Dame the newest appellation in the Loire but it has over 50 winemakers each putting their own unique interpretation on the local wines.  Walso do an increasingly popular “One Day Immersion Tour” which includes a day visiting the vineyards, touring one of the best wineproperties in the Loire, lunch and assoerted nibbles.

The courtyard at our gites

The courtyard at our gites

We have two holiday rental properties, “Le Sauvignon” and “Le Chenin” the former for four or six people and the latter for two.  We opened for business after one full year of renovation and both gites are now fully equipped to the exacting standards laid down by the main French gite organisation, “Les Gîtes de France” who, incidentally carry out regular inspections which is very rare if not unique amongst gite rental companies.   At the same time we have tried to preserve the original ambiance as far as possible.

Access to Le Clos des Guyons and to our gites is through the huge XVIII Century gates which guard the property.  We are quite proud of the attractiveness of our courtyard and garden and try our best to make it one of the prettiest in the village. The garden itself is of the courtyard and contains a wooden terraced area and above ground swimming pool (heated mid May to September) great for a quick swim to add to our guests pleasure.  Behind that is a small but productive vegetable garden which allows us to share fresh salad, asparagus and other vegetables in season.

Of course this blog is primarily about our lives here in the Loire Valley, so the individual posts tend not to carry specific information either the wine tours or our gite holiday rentals.  To find details of availability, tariffs, accommodation details, ‘What do do whilst staying here’, etc. etc, you can go to our extensive website:- www.closdesguyons.com or, use the contact widget on the right hand sidebar to contact us for more information.

Talking about the Grape Varieties on one of our Loire Valley Wine Tours

Talking about the Grape Varieties and vineyards on one of our Loire Valley Wine Tours

à bientôt?

Sheila and Brian

Loire Gite Holiday Rentals and Wine Tours

6 rue du Moulins,

49260 Le Puy Notre Dame, France.

A 170 Year Old Champagne

An 170 year old nectar.

An 170 year old nectar.

Those of you who know me or who have done one of our Loire Wine Tours will be aware that I am unashamedly biased in favour of our two local sparklers “Saumur Brut” and “Crémant de Loire”.  I am not a fan of the upstart “Champagne”.  And I am in good company with many wine writers both here in France and abroad considering that the average standard of our sparkling wine is superior to the average standard of the sparkling wine made in Champagne.  Therefore I very rarely write about the latter. However, I make an exception in this case because it is a truly unique story.  170 years ago a ship sunk in the Baltic.  On board were

168 bottles of Champagne from the houses of Veuve Clicquot, Ponsardin, Heidsieck and Juglar.  In 2010 the bottles were discovered, still intact, lying at a depth of 50 metres. They were salvaged, chemically analysed and tasted.  The results of this research has given an intriguing idea of the tastes of wine lovers in the middle of the XIXth. century. Philip Jeandet, professor of Food Chemistry at the University of Reims, (in Champagne of course) said that it was still an impressive wine, with a long length and notes of tobacco and leather.  Professional wine tasters said that, despite it’s age, the wine still seemed young with floral notes and lots of fruit.  Which is some achievement.

So what have we learned:  Firstly that the wine must have been very well made indeed and secondly that, if you wish to keep your wine for as long as possible, put it under 50 metres of sea water.

So I’m going to raise a glass of Crémant de Loire to those anonymous winemakers of 170 years ago – and hope like hell I don’t find any taste of leather in the wine!

Bon Dégustation
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Chateaux de Fesles, Grand Vin de Loire winemakers known to be the Yquem of the Loire Valley,  fronted by its Italianate rose gardens. This wine appellation has the benefit of a temperate but dry oceanic climate known as the "Angevin sweetness". The winemaker is Jean Pierre SAUVION.

Chateaux de Fesles, Grand Vin de Loire winemakers known as the Yquem of the Loire Valley, fronted by its Italianate rose gardens. This wine appellation has the benefit of a temperate but dry oceanic climate known as the douceur angevine  “Angevin sweetness”. The winemaker is Jean Pierre SAUVION.

One of the advantages of ‘Living in the Loire’ is that it enables us to indulge in our pleasure of visiting lovely chateaux and discovering new wines of the region whenever we get chance and yesterday was one of those days when we were invited to visit the renowned Chateaux de Fesles, (pronounced “Felle”) situated in the district of Thouarcé in the Anjou region very close to the village of Bonnezeaux itself, lying about twenty kilometres south of Angers and about thirty minutes from our gites at Le Clos des Guyons. So, off we went through the delightful countryside around Thouarcé, driving past the sloping vineyards and herds of white, Charolais cattle lying in the sunshine.  That is the cattle were lying in the sunshine not the vines!.

A presentation bottle of the 2010 Chateau Fesles Bonnezeaux

A presentation bottle of the 2010 Chateau de Fesles Bonnezeaux

Chateau de Fesles is a magnificent estate dating back to 1070, however, records of producing superb wine are really found in the 1870’s when purchased by the Boivin family. It has one of the greatest reputations in Angers and is certainly the grandest. Several owners later it still has an enormous reputation.  The estate covers 33 hectares of which only 14 are classified as AC Bonnezeaux. These 14 hectares lie on the slope of the hill immediately around the chateau and are planted with Chenin Blanc.  These vineyards slope down to the river Layon and it is the humidity and the rising Autumn mist which encourages the “Noble Rot” which gives their impeccable Bonnezeaux its unique taste.The soil here is stony, Silurian soil covered by a mixture of decomposed shale as well as blue and red clay.  As well as Chenin Blanc on the slopes on the plateau both Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are planted for an Anjou Rouge and some Grolleau and Gamay for the Anjou Rosé. On entering their reception/tasting room we had a friendly welcome before being guided through various tastings including their Chenin Sec Blanc “La Chapelle” Vieilles Vignes, Anjou Rouge, Cabernet d’Anjou, Rosé d’Anjou and lastly different vintages of their prestigious and delicious Bonnezeaux sweet wine which was mind blowing making you appreciate the subtle differences between each vintage; How these wines age so gracefully over the years!

Wine slumbering in oak at Fesles

Wine slumbering in Oak and Arcaia barrels at Chateau det Fesles

We were not disappointed with any of the wines we tasted and were tempted to buy a few bottles including their 2014 ‘La Chapelle’ Vieilles Vignes Anjou Blanc (limited edition No 18088) a dry white wine made with 100% Chenin grapes and matured in oak casks for 12 months. It has a lovely straw colour and a nose of, lime and elderberry and the typical Chenin white fruits and citron. Very well balanced and a lingering finish – we loved it. Also we chose their 2014 Rose d’Anjou, a beautiful salmon pink colour, delicately perfumed with strawberries, well balanced and we thought an exceptional aperitif wine!  The local grolleau, when used judiciously gives an almost pinot noir feel to a Rosé.  Finally, a visit to Chateau de Fesles wouldn’t have been complete without purchasing some of their exquisite Bonnezeaux. This is a hand crafted production  and like all great sweet wines takes patience and courage with harvesting taking place ‘berry by berry’ by ‘multiple passes’ through the vineyard, a process known as “tri”.  Its work which is intensive, time consuming needs a lot of belief. We selected their 2010 Vin Rare – an excellent year – the wine was bursting with luscious honey, lychees and melon with that typical lemon on the finish.  As Sheila pointed out this would be perfect to share with our guests for her special birthday celebration looming in a few months time and so now it’s slumbering in our wine chais at Le Clos des Guyons waiting for the occasion. However it is important to realise that Sheila is a bit like the Queen in that her birthday celebration can take well over a month so when it will get opened I’m not quite sure!. Before leaving we had a quick tour of the operation including their cave fitted with rows of Oak and Arcaia barrels full of Bonnezeaux and Chenin just resting in air conditioned tranquility! What a grand and noble sight! After we had filled our car boot we decided to enjoy the hot sunshine and took a walk around outside and admired their beautiful rolling vineyards next to the Layon river. All in all a memorable visit with helpful and friendly staff !  Indeed we have always found that the Loire wine region welcomes its visitors with warmth and friendliness and the only problem is that tastings can last much longer than anticipated!  Well, when I say problem…………..?!

Bon dégustation Brian Loire Valley Wine Tours Gites in the Loire Valley

A Rare Rosé from the Loire – AOC Touraine – Noble Joué



“Le Salon des Vins de Loire” in Angers is the largest professional wine event in the region, however this year I am not going to write about all the new wines as I do every year but instead I’m posting about a particular wine that I have long known about for many years but never got round to tasting until this year when I found it on the stand of Jean-Jaques Sard. The wine is Touraine – Noble Joué, a relatively unknown wine appellation. However, it’s more than merely a wine because it has an incredible history of which could be titled, “the fall and rise of a wine”.

It’s a very good Rosé or more correctly a “Vin Gris” ie., a white wine made from red grapes. In this case a subtle blend of the three “P’s”:- Pinot Noir, Pint Gris and Pinot Meunier, which are not exactly common grapes in this part of the Loire.

Some weeks after tasting the wine at the “Le Salon des Vins de Loire”,  I decided to take a trip over to the vineyard together with my friend Robert, to meet Jérémie Pierru who has taken over the management of the vineyard from Jean-Jaques Sard. After a pleasant lunch on route in the medieval fortress town of Chinon, we continued our journey onwards to the vineyard at the hamlet of Le Pavillion just outside the village of Esvres to the East of Joué le Tour.  We had an uneventful journey apart from the GPS bizarrely saying that we had reached our destination whilst we were in fact in the middle of a three-lane motorway!  There you go!  When we finally arrived we were met by Jérémie who gave us a superb welcome and guided tour, clearly very proud of both the wine and what he had achieved as slowly but surely he develops the vineyard and the commercial presence of what is a unique wine.

It was fascinating to discover it was a favourite of the Valois King Louis XI who reigned from 1461 to 1483 thus the wine has an ancient and honourable history!  However the wine then became lost as the vineyards were swallowed up by the encroaching city of Tours, although it was still winning several awards at the Exposition Universelle of 1900 in Paris.  In fact its “home”, Joué le Tours is now an urbanised suburb of the city full of petrol stations and DIY stores so,  on first appearance, it’s difficult to see where the vineyards are.

The wine was resurrected in 1975 using the original cépages, by a group of winemakers including Jean-Jaques Pierru together with the help of the IANO, the French appellation control body.  Thus we can really say that this wine has been brought back from extinction. Like the sweet Coteaux de Saumur which I spoke about on my last wine blog, the wine is incredibly rare, the whole appellation being no more that 30 hectares, tiny for a Rosé.

We tasted the 2014. In the glass, Noblé – Joué has a very attractive pale pink aspect which reflects the red grapes used.  On the nose, what hit me first of all was an almost Chenin like note of pears and beneath that red fruits and a very aromatic floral overlay.  Really refreshing and with an excellent length for a Rosé. This wine would be excellent nicely chilled on a warm summers evening, accompanied with charcuterie and the famous ‘Rilletes’ of Touraine, fresh pasta, meat or fish grills.  Esentially dry the wine has a tiny hint of sugar which pleasantly rounds it of.

Winery at La Perrieres

Winery at Le Pavillion

I don’t suppose that it will be easy to get hold of this rare wine outside the Loire, but certainly those staying at our gites at Le Clos des Guyons or doing one of our Wine Tours here will be able to taste it and we can only hope that as the wine becomes more established so will its availability and success.  I loved it!

Bon dégustation!

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Lions in the Bar!

Lions in the Loire

Not usually what you would expect to find outside a village bar in rural France.

I was in the village bar the other evening with a group of assorted locals, all busy finding the solutions to life, the universe and everything as one does when Stéphane, sitting on a bar-stool, next to me with his back to the bar and looking through the glass door, quietly said,
“There’s two lions outside”.
Immediately everyone said; “Ouaiss Stéphane”, using that long drawn out “oui” which generally translates as “yes, of course there is, keep taking the pills”- especially as Stéphane had been in the bar for a while and was, shall we say, relaxed.
“No there are”, he insisted – and there was!
Obviously they were part of the travelling circus which was setting up in nearby Saumur and leaving aside the moral question of animals in circus’ at least it was a change from seeing pink elephants.
It did get me thinking however about the difference in attitude between the UK and France over questions of health and safety. Imagine someone leaving a couple of lions in a street in England and think what the repercussions might have been. Here everyone soon returned to the conversation which, if memory serves me correctly, was about the second leg of the Monaco -Arsenal match. And that, apart from a passing glance from the odd driver or cyclist, was that. Of course we did try to persuade Stéphane to put his hand in so that we could see what happened but, although he was drunk, he clearly wasn’t that drunk.

à bientôt


Gite Holidays in the Loire Valley

And our final Galette des Rois this season, a very French tradition!

The Gallette de Rois

The Gallette des Rois, (or Epiphany Cake) a very French tradition.

The seasonal tradition of having the cake Galette de Rois for Epiphany in France has at last come to an end for us after eating lots of them this year. Thank goodness and I say that because of all the calories we have consumed following Christmas! (The plus side though is they are so delicious).  In the Loire region, as you can see from the photograph, it’s made from puff pastry and then filled with frangipane, jam or chocolate, Mmmmmm! Each gallette contains a plastic or porcelain feve (that is a small charm) with the finder being King for the duration of the occasion, who then wears the cardboard gold crown supplied with the cake and  has the obligation to host an evening in the following year. The family tradition is for everyone to gather together and the youngest child (or adult) goes under the table and points out the guests, who are then given their portion of the cake;  Easy!  This year the tradition has had added appeal as 100 gold Napoléon coins have been hidden in random gallettes by leading French Patissiers giving a valuable surprise to the finder!  Not us unfortunately. And as you can see in the picture we had our Galette with a glass or two of Anjou Rosé.

Until next year then. Bonne Galette

Now back to work again.

Sheila and Brian

Roast Pork Stuffed with Boudin Noir, Apples and Sage

Roast Pork, black pudding , apples and sage

Je suis CharlieThis is what we served to our guests as part of the main course and it was very well received.  It’s basically the side of pork after the loin has been removed.  Depending on what side of the pond you’re on it’s either belly-pork or pork-belly.  Here in France it’s call the “poitrine” and whilst a lot cheaper to buy than prime cuts with a bit of work it can be a really impressive dish.  It’s true that it can take a while to prepare but not that long and it’s quite simple, even I can do it, and with the addition of carefully chosen ingredients it can be really stunning.

So off we go.  Buy the poitrine.  Ask your butcher to remove the ribs or do it yourself.  I find it strangely satisfying but I’ve always been a bit odd!

poitrine de porc

This is one of the few meat purchases which doesn’t really depend on weight but on length. Work out how long you want it to  be depending on the number of people you want to feed. Then visit  your butcher and wave your arms around like you’re describing a fish you’ve caught.  A length of as little as 10/12cms. will easily be enough for 4 people.

Make sure that you choose a poitrine with lots of meat on it as some can be very fatty.  It’s worth going to a really good butcher even if you have to pay more.  And, during the preparation, remove any excess fat that you come across.  If pork fat bothers you you’ll just have to make yourself a green salad instead I’m afraid!
So you’ve got your poitrine and now you’ve got to pretend you’re a surgeon and proceed to carry out the necessary operations.

Boning out belly pork

Don’t worry if you leave more meat on the ribs than you intended, all the better when you turn them into BBQ’d pork ribs afterwards.

Place the tip of a really sharp knife under one edge of the ribs and saw merrily away with the cutting edge inclined slightly upwards so that it closely follows the rib.  Prod around with your fingers to make sure that there aren’t any crafty pieces of bone pretending that they aren’t there.  Later you can marinate the ribs in a BBQ sauce and cook them in the oven, under the grill or even outside, on that strange bonfire thing in a box known, I think, as a BBQ.  This always confused one of my favourite, fictional characters, Rumpole of the Bailey, as he could never quite understand why people didn’t use the perfectly good cooker which was standing redundant in the kitchen. You’ll notice on the picture above that, after removing the ribs there is a section of the poitrine which is standing higher than the rest of the cut.  You need to slice this but leave the far edge attached like an hinge and simply fold it back so that the overall depth of the poitrine is as even as possible making it easier to roll.  The following picture shows you what I mean.

Leveling out the poitrine.

Leveling out the poitrine. You will need to use your judgement on where to slice, always bearing in mind that you want the same depth to the joint.

Now, if you’re still with me, when you’re happy flip the whole thing over and remove around half of the skin as below.  Or all of it if you are strange and don’t like “Crackling”.  If you leave all the skin on it will be difficult to roll.

Preparing poitrine de Porc

After removing half the skin make cuts in the remaining a couple of centimetres apart but try not to cut into the flesh.  Also use the opportunity to remove any excess fat.

You’ll notice that the sheet of meat isn’t exactly oblong it’s more a quadrilateral or, for all I know – or care, maybe even a Triskaidecagon or a Icosagon! Anyway, you need to make it as near as possible a perfect oblong so cut the short sides to make them square with the longer sides BUT, don’t just lob off a vaguely triangular lump but, take your time, and cut in slices, thereby giving yourself bacon for breakfast. Stuffed pork belly, BBQ’d ribs and now bacon.  What value you’re getting!
Now, flip the whole thing over again.  ……..Wake up at the back!! and lay your “stuffing ingredients”  on the flesh after you’ve seasoned it well with salt and pepper and rubbed it into the meat.

Stuffing the rib of pork

So start off with a layer of sage leaves. No need to chop them but don’t use very large leaves and stems as, for some reason that escapes me, they tend not to cook properly even after several hours in the oven and they develop a slightly bitter taste. Then a layer of sliced eating apple, take out the cores and seeds but no need to peel them.  And finally remove the casing (skin) from your boudon noir, (black pudding ) and gauge where to place it to make the whole thing easier to roll.

You know.  I wish I’d never let myself be persuaded to do this, it takes longer to write than to cook!
But hey, ho, onwards and upwards.  Of course you can stuff anything you like into the pork.  Apricots  or peaches would probably work and when the trees in and around Le Puy Notre Dame are full of cherries I’ll try those and the same later on with wild blackberries.

Now we come to the most important, the messiest and also the most satisfying stage of all.  The rolling. The picture below is what it should look like afterwards. Firm, solid and you should be able to bounce it in your hands without it collapsing about you.  If it does artistically surround your feet with a mixture of black pudding, apples and sage – it’s your fault, don’t blame me!

Rolled belly pork

Your knotting needs to be tight, tight, tight.  On this one I strung it longitudinally as well but it’s not really necessary – I just got carried away with the joy of knotting.  Don’t worry if the string goes between the cuts you’ve made in the skin.

Right.  If you can’t do a butchers knot then you will not get it tight enough.  If I tried to explain how to do one  you may well finish up throttling yourself so ask that nice Mister Google and practice on a baguette, the cat, your partners arm, (or even his/her neck if things have reached those depths).  If you don’t want to bother then you’ve wasted a lot of time reading this far.  Sorry.  I’ve embeded a Youtube video below which is one of the clearest that I’ve found
The thing about a butchers knot is that, if you yank on one end, it will tighten and tighten until you can’t pull no more.  The problem with a poitrine is that it is actually quite short as your money-grabbing butcher has already lobbed off the valuable loin and is probably sunning himself in Barbados as we speak.  In fact quite often the ends don’t overlap but simply meet in the middle. (the meat meets as it were – with apologies to Douglas Adams).  But although the two sides will probably not overlap it will still be perfectly formed as long as the stringing is…. altogether now, “TIGHT”.  So gently roll/bend it into shape and then encourage it to stay there by applying a moderate amount of grievous bodily harm.  It other words give it a gentle thumping.  When you have taught it who’s boss and it decides that discretion is the better part of valour and that it had better follow your instructions you can then start to string.
I always start in the middle and then string as near as I can to to the ends.  Then simply repeat the process equidistant between the existing strings.  As you’re doing it some of the ingredients will have the cheek to pop out from the ends.  Just cut off the escaping portions to keep your ends straight, that’ll teach ’em.  Now rub salt, (preferably sea salt) and pepper around the exterior of your rolled poitrine paying particular attention to the scoured skin which will become the crunchy “crackling”.  And now, finally my good people, you can put away your knives and that bloody string.  Clean down your chopping boards and dispose of escaping bits of ingredients because now the preparation is essentially finished and believe me, I’m as relieved as you are!

What you do now is to place the joint in the fridge preferably overnight.  Don’t cover it and find some way of supporting it so that the air can flow all around it.  A grill or something.  I’ve used half a dozen walnuts before now!  It looks like a log on legs.  Make sure you leave a container or something underneath as it can sometimes lose a fair amount of liquid.  And that is why you do it – so that it dries out a little.

Christmas day at le Clos des Guyons

Here we are on Xmas day with the stuffed pork, celeriac purée, quinelle of beetroot purée, braised endive, a cream sauce of morilles and cêpe mushrooms  and of course all the traditional xmas veg. L to R:- Sheila, me and the charming Family Hofley from New Hampshire, USA; Pamela, Catherine, (on her birthday), Marc, Maureen,Carolyn, (currently at college in France). Our friends Jim and Sue from the UK were also there but Jim was taking the picture and don’t know where Sue was – probably raiding the wine cellar!

The rest is simple: preheat the oven to at least 220°C, take the poitrine from the fridge, rub some more salt and pepper over the skin and put it in the oven in the middle and crackling side up.  After half an hour reduce the temperature to 180°C and lower the shelf.  At this stage you should be able to see the crackling crisping up.  Get rid of any melted fat from the dish and replace the meat in the oven.  You can safely leave it for a least two hours before checking it. (I heartily recommend a cheap meat thermometer for this).  You’ve now got nothing much to do for several hours so use these free hours to prepare the rest of a meal, read a few chapters of War and Peace or, if you are a masochist, a few excruciating lines of Proust or, if you don’t want to exercise your brain too much, a Tom Clancy.  I would however draw the line at Geoffrey Archer.  If, when you check it, the meat has not reached pork temperature simply stick it back in, forget about it for another hour or so and return to your previous activities.  Of course if you have misguidedly started to read Geoffrey Archer you will now have dumped it in the bin so you’ll have to find something else.

In fact the great thing about the dish is that it is almost impossible to overcook, it’s almost “the longer the better” but, when you do take it out, tap the “crackling” it should not be soggy but have a crispy, solid feel to it.  It is now imperative that you loosely wrap it in foil and leave it to rest for at least 45mins.  For meal planning purposes I’d allow around at least 3.5 hours plus the 45min. resting period.  What? Well , you’ll just have to get up earlier won’t you!  And that’s it, after resting I’d cut it into hefty portions around 10cms. thick and not as thin slices.  Arrange on the plates with your bits and pieces arranged around it and enjoy your hard work – whilst you bore your guests to death explaining how to tie a butcher’s knot.  Me, I’m going to Chez Sonia, the village bar.

Bon courage


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Je suis Charlie. Amazing Scenes in France as the Population Unites

Angers, je suis charlie

Angers, Sunday. Picture taken from our local paper as we just couldn’t get the right perspective.

Je suis CharlieOn Sunday the French people came out onto the streets in a amazing display of unity after the horrors which they have suffered in the past few days.  In fact it’s ironic that these brutal terrorists have succeeded in bringing the French together more than anything else could have done.  Millions were in Paris and here, in the ancient dukedom of Anjou, there was overwhelming support.  The centre of our “prefecture” of Angers was crammed with 45 000 people all holding their “Je suis Charlie” signs and holding aloft pencils as a sign of press freedom.  In the Place du Ralliement, on the steps of the magnificent theatre were hundreds of candles and giant white boards placed for people to write their own heartfelt messages.  We left ours.

“Nous sommes anglais et toujour Charlie”

à bientôt et bon courage
Brian et Sheila

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