Letters from readers

Photo by Barry Beckett

First of all, thanks for all your letters about the new site, it’s good to hear that it has been well-received, and readers are finding it clearer and easier to find articles.

If you have links to any of our specific articles on your website, please check your links, because our new site has a different structure for the article URLs.  If you’ve just linked to www.languedocliving.com, that should be fine, but if you have any review articles you might need to change them.  Search on the new site, and pick up the new URLs.

We have a little gremlin with our weather app.  When you add your preferred location, it only seems to save it on certain platforms.  Windows and mobile don’t seem to work.  Please bear with us, we are trying to get it fixed!

Here are some of the other letters we received this week.

Desperately seeking teachers!

This may seem like a strange request but nevertheless I hope that you’ll be able to help me.

I am the organiser of a group from Winscombe, Bristol, who meet regularly for French conversations.  Last year we had our first linguistic and cultural week in Blaye, near Bordeaux, where we had the services of a resident French teacher.  This was very successful, with organised lessons and cultural visits. 

This year we will be in Cazouls-les-Béziers for a week, 16th -23rd September, where like last year, we’ve rented a house for the ten of us.  

I am desperately looking for a French teacher for the week, maybe someone retired, a student teacher looking to earn some extra cash, who would be able to give us French conversation lessons for about three or four hours per day.

Please contact me directly on the email below.

Colville Greaves

Desperately seeking doctors!

RFI / Pierre René-Worms

We had several letters after we published the article The struggle to find doctors, confirming that the situation is indeed in dire straits in some areas.

Naurika from Bédarieux said:

The current situation is dire in Bédarieux. Only 3 doctors left now, with patients left in the lurch since the fourth existing GP retired for health reasons. None of the three remaining GPs are taking on new patients, nor can they re-absorb the patients left doctor-less since the latest retirement. There are four GPs in Bousquet d’Orb, none of whom take on any Bédarieux patients. The Bédarieux Mairie is aware of the situation. To all intents and purposes, right now Bédarieux is a true “désert médical”.

Paul from Axat said:

We have the advantage of a recently opened medical centre and there are two Doctor’s practicing here.  Also a dentist and optician as well as a stroke recovery centre.  The service is superb.  It is as simple as that.

My wife recently had a new hip.  The hospital in Perpignan was like a 5 star hotel with decent food and very quiet with no noise around the wards.  She received daily visits from the nurse for four weeks afterwards.  Our friend who had the same operation in The UK at the same time had to inject herself every day and drive herself to the physio.  And she was on BUPA!

Thirteen years ago our neighbour had a serious stroke.  She received a visit twice a day 365 days of the year, every year until she died recently.  When we had a heavy snow fall and the road was closed a specialist driver in an especially hired Land Rover with snow chains was despatched along with the nurse.  Twice that day!

I did hear that our waitresses husband had a great deal of trouble in finding a dentist when he had a lot of tooth pain and had to wait almost three weeks which must have been awful.

The monthly rate that you quote works out at 48 € per client.  Along with the 50.000 € relocation award it seems very generous to me.  I am afraid that I have little sympathy with people living in obscure locations who expect city centre services.  Is it not normal that if you live in an unpopulated area that it is straightforward to expect a lower level of services generally?

Bus stops

Women travelling on buses in Strasbourg and Lyon will soon be allowed to ask the driver to drop them between stops

Reader Phil wrote in, responding to our article about the trial for bus drivers stopping on request for women passengers.

Re your story about women being able to request buses to stop anywhere, I can share that this is a courtesy long-practised in parts of France on an even broader basis.

Some 10 years ago or so, I was up in Valenciennes (Nord) for my nephew’s wedding.  He’d been brought up in Burgundy since the age of 10 and was marrying a girl whose family came from up there.

I journeyed up by train the day before and, come the morning of the event, set off to the Church.  As your article this week about trams mentioned, the Valenciennes local transport system is brilliantly executed, with bus stops next to the tram stops and the journey cycles co-ordinated to keep everyone moving efficiently along.  I took the tram and transferred to a bus which would hopefully take me the last 5km or so to the venue.

Once aboard the bus, I got chatting to the driver.  Valenciennes has had a difficult time over the last 20 years with their coal industry all but dismantled and peripheral businesses gone with it.  So, I guess I stuck out a bit, dressed in a suit in a rather depressed part of town.

Once I explained where I was heading, and why, I asked the driver if I was on the right bus (“Oui”), and at which stop I should get off.  “I’ll tell you”, he said.

After passing three or four stops, at each of which I would look at him to check (“Non”), he finally slowed down to stop.  No bus stop in sight.  Instead we were right in front of the Church where the assembling guests looked on in surprise as the driver opened the door, reached over to shake my hand, doffed his beret and said “Monsieur, voila l’eglise.  Bonne journee”.

Gun laws

Andy from Faugères wrote in to tell us about a new set of rules which were posted on their notice board, for where and when you are allowed to carry a gun.  Finally the rules are getting stricter it seems.

Has anyone else in other areas spotted the notice?  Please write in and tell us the details.


Thanks Steve, for pointing out our maths error in the article about sleep patterns.

Perhaps we needed a bit more sleep.

Compensation shock

Reader Hilary would like to hear about other people’s views on the dog owners who have had to cough up a staggering 815,000 euros compensation.

“Blimey!  The court order demanding 815,000 euros of compensation from two dog owners because their dogs ran close to a horse, frightening it and causing an accident, might as well be a court order saying that dogs must always be kept on leads when walking in the countryside.  I have lots of riding stables near me and often come across horses and riders while out on walks with my dog.  Never had any problem, but now feeling worried. Interested to read others’ views on this one!


Sheila would like to know if any readers might be interested in a list of words which are often spelt incorrectly, because they are slightly different in English and in French.  If so, she will create a list and we can publish it.  Examples are address, and adresse.

Please let us know if this might be of interest.

Trout tickling

Reader Bob pointed out that: trout ‘tickling’ has little to do with the fishing season!  It’s a method of lifting trout out of the water by carefully caressing the abdomen so they don’t become distressed, usually to ‘milk’ them in a fish farm.

Sorry Bob, we were seduced by the headline Trout tickling season starts on Saturday

John said this about the gender issue of ‘fisherman’.

I began trout fishing when I was in my early teens and soon learned that the word angler was the common term that the adults used when trying to outwit the wily trout, and other species!  The word focuses on the process of angling: in terms of the often severe angle of the rod as well as approaches used to land the fish.  Pecheur is still male-centric.

Keep the letters coming in, we love your feedback!  Click on Let’s Chat on the main menu.