Author Archives: Publisher

Local British Artist’s “Open Studio” Show, Oct 20 & 21

copyright Pascal Mores 2010

John Hutton in his Montreuil studio. (photo by Pascal Mores)

John Hutton is a British abstract artist who has lived and worked in Northern France for many years.  Next weekend, Saturday October 20 and Sunday October 21, he is throwing his studio doors open so that the public can take a look at some of his latest work.

Although John usually works in acrylic on canvas, Frogsiders has heard that in some of  his most recent pieces he has been tempted to depart from pure painting in order to experiment with the 3-dimensional effects of coloured and textured perspex.  Visitors to John’s studio may be intrigued to see some of  the results of this new direction in his art.

John and Tricia Hutton

John Hutton’s “Open Studio” show is at La Grange Blanche, 43 rue de Montreuil, 62170 Neuville s/s Montreuil.

Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 October, 2012.

Opening hours 9h00 – 12h00 and 14h00 – 18h00 each day.

Admission Free

Frogsider Editor’s Note:  The dates originally posted by us were incorrect.  The dates for the Open Studio event, now shown above, are correct.

A Good Idea for the Kitchen

Here’s an excellent idea that Frogsiders saw last night,  We were so enthused we felt we had to bring it to the attention of all Frogsider readers.

This kitchen chopping board is made of scratch-resistant, hygienic tempered glass.  It is virtually unbreakable, heat resistant and dishwasher safe, and can be used as a cutting surface, a pastry board or a trivet to protect kitchen work surfaces from hot pans.

But its most useful features are the cooks’ conversion scales that are imprinted in the glass.  These enable instant conversions from cups, fluid ounces and Imperial (avoirdupois) ounces to the appropriate metric equivalents (or vice versa)

What a useful thing to have in the kitchen – even if you only hang it on the wall for reference!

Buy it, or get more information from Amazon by clicking this link: Typhoon Metric Conv.Work Top Protector


L’Auberge: A novel by Julia Stagg

L'Auberge by Julia Stagg

Quelle horreur! The venerable Auberge des Deux Vallées has fallen into the hands of an English couple and that spells the end of gastronomic civilisation for the small commune of Fogas in the French Pyrenees.

The mayor is particularly incensed: he had intended his brother-in-law to take over. He determines to eject les rosbifs by any means possible, and before they have had the chance to serve their first pastis, Paul and Lorna are up to their eyes in French bureaucracy.

But the mayor hasn’t reckoned on the locals. They have their own reasons for wanting l’Auberge to succeed and they take the young incomers to their hearts. If they pull together, can they outwit the mayor or will l’Auberge end up in the merde?

Chocolat meets Clochemerle in the first of the Fogas Chronicles, a heart-warming tale set in rural France.

Buy L’Auberge in Paperback, Hardback or Kindle editions from £4.99 at Amazon.

Rosie’s War

This is the extraordinary true story of a plucky young woman and her dramatic escape from a German-run internment camp in Occupied France. Written in Rosemary’s own words and completed by her daughter and son-in-law after her death, it includes photographs and documents from Rosie’s incredible journey.

Rosie’s story moves from artistic circles in Avignon, through occupied Paris and the privations of prison camp, and across war-ravaged Europe. A tale of remarkable courage: not only of Rosie herself, but also of the many people who helped and harboured her at huge personal risk.

Rosie’s story sheds light on the little-known story of the thousands of British women trapped in Occupied France. Moving, enthralling, and inspirational, ‘Rosie’s War’ is a book for all to enjoy.

Rosie, a young Englishwoman from a comfortable middle-class background, left her London home in 1939 to work as an au pair in Avignon in the South of France. Even the outbreak of war later that year did little to disturb her happy life there, until 1940 when Hitler launched an all-out assault on Western Europe. Trying to escape back to Britain, Rosie was only able to flee as far as Paris, where she was eventually rounded up as an ‘enemy alien’ and sent to a German-run prison camp in Eastern France. Desperate to escape, she eventually did so with an equally industrious friend, Frida.

After many months on the run in France, the young women finally reached the unoccupied city of Marseille. From there, they continued to flee through France, Spain and Portugal, at last arriving in Ireland where they were able to catch a plane back to Britain.

Click on this link to find more information on Rosie’s War
in Hardcover and Kindle editions, from Amazon.

The Good Moules Frites Guide!

Hotel Restaurant "Aux Trois Jean" at Le Crotoy

This year seems to be a good one for moules (mussels).  Moules Frites is, of course one of the favourite dishes of Northern France, but, like wine, the shellfish ingredient  can vary from year to year.  2012 seems to be a vintage year for plump, moist, tender and tasty moules.

Currently our favourite place to eat this traditional dish is Le Crotoy, a fishing port on the Baie de la Somme, the estuary of the River Somme.  You will find Moules served here in pretty much every eating place from the humblest cafe to the poshest white-linen restaurant.

Frogsiders can recommend, in particular, two places in Le Crotoy where we are confident you will enjoy your dish of mussels served, bien sûr, with chips.

Le Cafe des Canotiers

14 Quai Courbet – 80550 Le Crotoy – Tél : +33 3 22 27 80 56

Our verdict:  Excellent moules.  Good thick chips.  Pleasant service.  Not the most picturesque situation unless you eat outdoors with a view of the quay and harbour.

Recommendation:  Try the house speciality, Moules “Les Canotiers” in which cream and home-made fish soup are added to the cooking liqour.

Hotel Restaurant “Aux Trois Jean”

Digue Jules Noiret – 80550 Le Crotoy – Tél : +33 3 22 27 16 17

View from the "Trois Jean" terrasse

Our verdict:  Top A1 quality moules.  Fabulous, really brilliant chips!  A big restaurant that can get very crowded, so best avoid the busiest times.  Eat before the rush, is our tip.  Service is friendly but can be a bit brusque at busy times.  Inside, the chairs and tables are packed close together, so eat out on the terrace if it’s a nice day.  The view over the beach and the bay, with its big tides, boats and changing scenery, is attractive and interesting.

Recommendation:  Try the chef’s own “Moules 3 Jean” which has cream, mushrooms and lardons added to coat the lovely shellfish.  Messy to eat, but worth it!  You can follow up with the “Coupe 3 Jean” dessert which sounded great to us, but just a bit too big for what was left of our appetites!

Le Touquet Races, Sunday August 19: Starts at 14h30!

50 shades of grey?

If you’re going to the races at Le Touquet on Sunday you might have to make a  slightly earlier start than you had planned.

Originally the word was that the programme would start at 4pm (16h00).  Frogsiders has now been informed that the meeting will actually start at 2.30pm (14h30), and this is indeed the time specified on the Le Touquet Hippodrome website.

Usually the British expatriate community are invited to a meeting with a mixed programme of Flat and Jump races, so it is surprising to find that the programme advertised on the racecourse website calendar for August 19 is scheduled to comprise 8 Trotting races.

Will it be a "Trotting" meeting?

Whatever the programme on the day, however, we are sure it will be a very pleasant occasion, with lots to see and do, and plenty of excitement.


Betting on French racecourses is by the Tote system.  There are a number of different types of bet you can place. Here is our summary and guide.


This is the simplest type of bet.  Pick a horse and decide if you want to bet on it to win, or to finish in the top 3 places.

To place this type of bet, go to the  Tote window and say “Gagnant, le …” (followed by the number of your chosen horse) for a Win bet, or “Placé, le …” (number of horse) for a Place bet.

If your horse wins, go back to one of the Tote windows, hand over your ticket and collect your winnings.  If you bet on your horse to be placed, and it finishes in the first 3 (or first 2 if there are between 4 and 7 starters in the race) you will equally be able to collect your winnings by handing over your ticket at the window.

Couplé gagnant

Pick 2 horses.  You will win if your 2 horses are placed first and second, in whichever order they cross the line.  (But in races of 4 to 7 starters you have to specify the actual winning order)

To place this bet, go to the Tote window and say, “Couplé gagnant, le … et le …”  (inserting the numbers of your 2 chosen horses in the spaces)

Couplé placé

Pick two horses as above.  With this bet you win if both your horses are placed anywhere in the first 3 finishers.

For this type of bet there has to be a minimum of 8 starters in the race.

At the Tote window, place your bet by saying, “Couplé placé le … et le …” indicating, of course, the numbers of the horses you have chosen, but not specifying any particular order in which they’ll finish.


For this bet you have to nominate the 3 horses finishing in the first 3 places, but not the finishing order. Trios are restricted to races with more than 8 starters.

At the Tote ask for, “Trio …” (followed by the numbers of your 3 selected horses)

Trio ordre

The “Trio ordre” bet may be permitted in races where there are less than 8 starters.  It’s the same as a Trio, but you have to get the finishing order right in order to claim a win.

Again, just ask for a Trio, giving the numbers of your 3 selected runners.

TV screens around the Tote counters (under the grandstand) will show the projected winnings for each horse before the race.  These projections will change as bets are placed, depending on the popularity of the horse.  After the race the screens will show winning punters how much the various types of bet will have won.

Good Luck!

Need a sign? Get one made online by Sign-O-Matic

Here at Frogsiders we’re always on the lookout for a good idea and we’ve just found one!

The Sign-O-Matic online design page

We needed a new house number sign for our driveway entrance from the street, and we found an online company that will produce exactly what we want – and deliver it to us by post within 7 days.

The company is called Sign-O-Matic. They are based in Sweden but deliver all over Europe – and their website allows you to design your own sign in exactly the way you want it (subject to some limitations of colour and materials).  You can, if you want to, import your own logo into the design, or use any of the stock emblems and images available on the site for a professional looking commercial result.

They make signs for indoors and outdoor use, businesses and private customers, vans, boats, windows, doors, on plastic, wood, metal or just vinyl lettering.

If you need a sign for any purpose at all, why don’t you take a look at their website?

Fabulous modern chateau style house ~ price now reduced

The "White House" at Conchil Le Temple - For Sale

The British owners of the superb modern chateau-style “White House” at Conchil Le Temple are preparing to sell in order to retire to another part of France.  They have recently announced a price reduction from €769,000 to €720,000 (around £600,000)

The house, which sits in its own 2.5 acre wooded grounds, has 6-8 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and 2 shower rooms, as well as a Grand Salon of 80 sq.m., a large formal dining room, a smaller private dining room, a library, a study/office, a gym,  laundry room, wine cellar, and an integral garage for up to 6 cars!

The former staff apartment, in part of the west wing of the White House, is currently being used as an independent one-bedroom holiday apartment, to provide the present owners with an annual income of over 10,000 euros, but these rooms could be used equally well as a granny flat, self contained student accommodation, or even as professional office/consulting room space.

Only ten minutes from the fabulous beaches at Berck and Fort Mahon, the White House is also conveniently situated for travel to London, Paris and Brussels .  It can be reached by car in less than one hour from the Channel Tunnel, and less than two hours from Paris Charles De Gaulle airport.

More detailed information can be found on the White House website

Living in France

Missing 600 million ~ look in your sock drawer

Last chance to change your Francs!

If you have any old French banknotes, denominated in Francs, lying around or tucked under your mattress, you have only 5 days to convert them into euros. Until the end of this week the superseded notes, including those with portraits of Pierre and Marie Curie (500 francs), Gustave Eiffel (200 francs), Cezanne (100 francs), Saint-Exupéry (50 francs) and Debussy (20 francs) can be exchanged at branches of the Banque de France for their equivalent values in euros (ranging from 3 euros up to around 75 euros)

After this week they will be worthless except as collector’s pieces, in which form only those with very low serial numbers or printing defects can be expected to be worth anything like their original face value.

The Banque de France says that at the end of 2010 there were still 50 million of these banknotes, with a total exchange value of 602 million euros, still unnaccounted for. Since each old banknote represents a debt owed by France to the holder, the overall national debt of France will be reduced after Friday by the total value of any that remain unexchanged.

Unfortunately, while 600 million used to be considered quite a lot of money, it’s now no more than loose change compared with the nation’s total debt.

Frogsiders advice: Look under the bed, in the sock drawer, and in all the pockets of your old clothes. You might find the missing 600 million!

All about collecting banknotes and coins!

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