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Aude and Ariege Flyer 15 March




Well, so much has happened and possibly nothing has. 

It looks like there is a lot of sabre rattling going on between misshapen coiffured potentates.

I was hoping that, despite being flawed by an error of war, Tony Blair would purchase the Liberal Democrats and have the Under 11’s Sunday League football referee who is currently running it step down to make the tea and give Madame May an opposition. 

And while they are at it maybe even ask the public if they are really sure about that referendum decision…..

And then of course it’s next weekend for France to make its mind up.  Oh, it gets better every day

Good luck everyone!

I forgot to mention if you have a gites complex or a large house and need a good bilingual host to live in and run things for you let me know….don’t worry it’s not me.




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Lost in France


Geraldine Chaplin NashvilleThe views expressed here are those of the writer and not of Steve.

It was the 128th birthday of Charlie Chaplin on April 16th.  And what a lot of confusion there appears to be as to his birthplace.  I suppose the English have always thought that he was English, born in Walworth in south London in 1889 or at a gypsy camp near Birmingham and some French consider that he was born in France in the Parisian suburb of Fontainebleau.   

Wherever he was born he has a whole slew of famous offspring who became very successful performers and actors. One of whom, as a direct descendent of his half-brother, is an American computer hacker whose dad was in the 1970s rock band Jefferson Airplane.   Another directly or indirectly brought about the downfall of the House of Stark in Game of Thrones and yet another went to circus school.  Ben Chaplin is apparently no relation but changed his name to his mother’s maiden name which was probably a good decision, more striking than Greenwood anyway.

So is creativity genetic or is it just with a surname like ‘Chaplin’ the question would arise in an interview or an audition ‘Are you related to ….?’  You would probably have more of an ‘in’ with tacit nepotism?  And being brought up in an environment that includes a history of and a willingness to support creativity can lead to one of those ‘nature versus nurture’ discussions.

There is a new field of research in the ‘nature versus nurture’ debate and the scientific theory is called epigenetics where it is more important to see what your genes are doing rather than what genes you have.  So if you have Charlie Chaplin’s genes but were brought up in an environment that didn’t support creativity, your genes would most likely lead you to be uncreative….. probably, as long as someone didn’t tell you who your forefather was.

With regard to the ‘in’ in the antépénultième paragraph, the quotation marks are known as entre guillemets.  I really never know where these pieces are going to end up. 






bere dish 


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Inheritance Tax Planning


In my everyday dealings with prospective clients and ex-pats looking for advice generally, I’m finding myself dealing with increasingly more complex personal and family situations. From re-structuring of UK investments such as general investment accounts and Individual Savings Accounts (ISA) to make them French tax-friendly, analyzing occupational pensions to assess the suitability of transferring way from the UK and into QROPS, through to financial planning for the future, every case is varied and different, requiring bespoke advice.


One area I find particularly common is how best to address the impact French succession laws have on those of us used to the fairly flexible UK Inheritance Tax laws. In the UK, its fairly simple: you can leave everything you own to your spouse free from inheritance tax. On the surviving spouse’s subsequent demise, the first £325,000 of that person’s estate can be passed on without tax liability. Since 2007, the deceased partner’s allowance can also now be used by the surviving spouse, thereby ensuring that £650,000 of the combined estate is free from taxation. In addition, there is an additional property nil rate band that can boost the tax exemption even further. Furthermore, with the exception of the spouse, there is no discrimination in who benefits in terms of tax treatment. The tax rate in UK is 40% on the excess over the £325,000 threshold.


In France, assets passing to the spouse have also been tax free since 2007, but this is where the similarity ends in terms of potential taxation. Taking its lead from Code Napoleon, French succession laws put the children of the deceased at the forefront when determining who inherits, giving them Protected Heirs status. Who inherits, and that person’s relationship to the deceased, also determines what tax free allowance is available and following on from that what tax is payable.


Sons and daughters, both natural and adopted, can receive €100,000 each from the deceased’s estate free from tax, thereafter there is a sliding scale based on the amount inherited. But here’s the rub: step-children are not blood related, so the children’s allowance doesn’t apply to them and they fall into the category of ‘unrelated person’. As such they can only inherit €1,594 free from inheritance tax. The balance is taxed at the eye-watering rate of 60%.


Protected Heirs are entitled to receive the major share of the deceased’s estate, at the expense of the spouse, so structures need to be put in place to protect the spouse, such as wills, marriage regimes, family pacts etc. Generally, these relate to the property, but can also include more liquid assets such as bank deposits and investments.


When addressing the issue of shielding step-children from the severest level of taxation, at the same time ensuring the surviving spouse is properly looked after, one weapon in our armoury is the assurance vie, or life assurance investment bond. On the death of the bond holder, any beneficiary can inherit without discrimination. In the holder of the assurance vie was below age 70 when the policy was taken out, each beneficiary can inherit €152,500 without a tax liability. For amounts above €152,500 the tax rate is 20% or 31.25% if the amount inherited is above €700,000. This is per beneficiary and not per assurance vie. But what if I don’t want my money to pass to my children or step-children on my death, but rather to go to my spouse?


This is where it gets clever! By inserting a Demembrement Clause within the assurance vie policy, your spouse can be granted usufruit or life interest in the assets held in the policy, thereby ensuring protection to him or her.


And there’s more. By drawing capital out of the deceased’s policy, the spouse is creating a debt that will be repaid on the spouse’s subsequent death, paid for out of his or her estate, thereby further reducing the amount of any inheritance tax liability. This is what we call true financial planning, and this forms the bed-rock of what we do here in Spectrum.

If you have personal or financial circumstances that you feel may benefit from a financial planning review, please contact me direct on the number below. You can also contact me by email at or call our office in Limoux to make an appointment. Alternatively, I conduct a drop-in clinic most Fridays (holidays excepting), when you can pop in to speak to me. Our office telephone number is 04 68 31 14 10.

I look forward to seeing you soon.

Derek Winsland
Chartered Financial Planner
Mobile: 0771 71 95 52



csf 1517

Email:;  Website:

Forum:      Local Association No : W112000594



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Some vide greniers and foires!

Please check before setting off

They also have a sister site where you can giveaway stuff or find stuff others are giving

Its all recycling - you know it makes sense!

If there are two in the same town on the same day, it could be a duplicate on the site or a second event

Black = Aude - Brown = Ariege


Samedi 6 Mai

Coursan  Vide grenier Route de Cuxac

Port Leucate  Tante Marie Vide ses Greniers

Dimanche 7 Mai

Bram  Vide grenier extérieur

Carcassonne  Vide grenier brocante

Coursan  Vide grenier Route de Cuxac

Cruscades  Vide grenier du Muguet

Espéraza  Vide grenier et Foire de l’OSCAR

Fabrezan  Vide grenier de l’ASF handball

Fleury  Vide grenier des Sapeurs, Pompiers

Issel  Vide grenier

Leucate  Vide grenier du rugby

Limoux  Brocante

Luc-sur-Orbieu  Vide grenier

Mirepeisset  Vide grenier des Vieilles Canailles

Montréal  Vide grenier marché artisanal

Narbonne  Vide grenier Association ACE

Narbonne  Vide grenier Cap de Pla

Narbonne  Hyper Grenier

Névian  Vide grenier nocturne de la Farandole

Puicheric  Vide grenier et marché aux fleurs

Sigean  Petite brocante vide grenier

Mazères  Vide grenier mensuel

Pamiers  Vide grenier brocant

Saint-Lizier  Marché aux puces

Lundi 8 Mai

Alet-les-Bains  Vide grenier

Carcassonne  Vide grenier du 8 mai

Carcassonne  Vide grenier brocante

Coursan  Tradition vide grenier de Printemps du Club 70

Gruissan  Vide grenier

Palaja  Grand vide grenier

Saint-Pierre-la-Mer  Vide grenier

Sigean  Petite brocante vide grenier

Daumazan-sur-Arize  9ème grand vide grenier

Lavelanet  13ème vide grenier

Saint-Amadou  Vide grenier


Samedi 13 Mai

Coursan  Vide grenier Route de Cuxac

Puivert  Vide grenier et Fête du printemps

Quillan  Vide grenier du mois de Mai

Foix  Vide grenier

Saverdun  Vide grenier marche aux puces


Dimanche 14 Mai

Artigues  Vide grenier

Azille  Vide grenier

Belpech  Vide grenier

Bram  Vide grenier

Carcassonne  Vide grenier brocante

Coursan  Vide grenier Route de Cuxac

Cuxac-d’Aude  Vide grenier

Ferrals-lès-Corbières  Vide grenier

Floure  Vide grenier

Gaja-et-Villedieu  Vide grenier

Le Somail  Vide grenier brocante du printemps

Loupia  Vide grenier et vide dressing

Luc-sur-Orbieu  Vide grenier et vide dressing

Narbonne  Vide grenier du Printemps

Narbonne  2ème vide grenier du COS

Narbonne Plage  Vide grenier

Pépieux  Vide grenier

Port-la-Nouvelle  Vide grenier

Rieux-Minervois  Bourse moto et vide grenier

Roquecourbe-Minervois  Vide grenier

Saint-Marcel sur Aude  St Marcel en bringue

Saint-Pierre-la-Mer  Vide grenier

Saissac  Vide grenier

Trèbes Vide grenier

Villedubert  Vide grenier

Gajan  Vide grenier associé avec marché de printemps

Le Fossat  Vide grenier

Loubières  Vide grenier

Manses  Vide greniers de printemps

Mirepoix  Vide grenier vente solidaire

Nalzen  Grand vide grenier et vide jardins

Pamiers  Vide grenier brocante

Rieux-de-Pelleport  Vide grenier de l’Assocation Sportive

Varilhes  Vide grenier brocante sur la D624






Lidl often get things very right, not sure about this one though?


els pic


Hello everyone,

Just a reminder about some forthcoming events.

* we still have a couple of places available on our gardening course - Aromatics for Languedoc gardens   on Wednesday 10th May (10am to 4pm),  this  is a course for gardeners and foodies alike.  We will consider a range of over forty common and more unusual aromatics (herbs and spices) which we can grow in our gardens.  We’ll look at how to identify plants, how to propagate and grow them, how to harvest and use them as well as thinking about how to incorporate aromatics in ornamental gardens and using them as companion plants. The course fee will be 50€ and as usual we will provide teas & coffees and ask you to bring a packed lunch.  For more info contact

* Open Jardins/ Gardens Ouvertes is a scheme that was set up in France just a few years ago with the aim of opening gardens to raise monies for charity - rather like the Yellow Book scheme in Britain.  They are keen to expand into the Occitanie region and we will be open  here on Sunday 21st May,  (10 to 18h) as part of the scheme , we shall hope to see some of you.  You can see more about the scheme at , they are keen for more gardens to be involved so if you think you and your garden could be part of this you can contact Catriona McLean <>; who is the lead Co-ordinator for our region.

* Sunday June 4th 2017 - we shall be holding a day in the garden here as an awareness and fundraising day for Languedoc Solidarité avec le Réfugies (, this will partly replace the open weekends that we have held in the past , La Table d'Emilie will be organising the food as always and there will be a range of activities on a garden fete theme ....  come and try Sjoelbak,  Splat the Rat and many other garden games and fun activities, there will be guided tours of the garden at 11am and 2.30pm, a plant identification quiz, a raffle, a fun dog show (think cutest face etc - for more info here contact, at 4pm there will be an auction of art  generously donated by local artists ....   please put the event in your diaries and we hope to see lots of people for a fun day in support of a very worthy cause.

As ever, for general gardening queries please don't hesitate to get in touch,  enjoy your gardens and we hope to see some of you during 2017.



Gill Pound


Le Jardin de la Petite Pépinière de Caunes
21, av de la Montagne Noire,
11160 Caunes-Minervois
04 68 78 43 81

What's On 



PLACEBO  24 April Zenith Toulouse

SIMPLE MINDS 29 April Halle Aux Grains Toulouse


SEAN PAUL 6 June Bikini Toulouse

XAVIER RUDD 18 June Bikini Toulouse


BEJART BALLET 9 July Carcassonne Festival

PIXIES 27 July Carcassonne Festival

TY SEAGALL 30 August Bikini Toulouse

SATYRICON 2 October Metronum Toulouse

TRUST 21 Nov Bikini Toulouse

JAMIROQUAI 22 Nov Zenith Toulouse

BODYGAURD 9/10 June Zenith Toulouse





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