The Good Life France Magazine




The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...


Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

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Summer 2022, issue No. 30

Discover captivating Corsica, the island of beauty and glitzy, cinematic Cannes. Explore Antibes, less well known than it's neighbours Nice and Cannes, it's incredibly pretty and authentic, and the Camargue in the south of France where wild white horses and pink flamingoes roam. Come with us to arty Arles, historic Agincourt and Aisne in Picardy - the ancient cradle of France. Meet artisan gin makers in Cognac, discover the prune route of France, fabulous recipes, guides, gorgeous photos, the best tours, what's new in France and delicious recipes - and more...

The streets around the

The streets around the Cathedral are lined with old buildings, all encompassed within the medieval ramparts from which there are wonderful views over the town below and the countryside. On clear days you can see as far as the plain of neighbouring Champagne. Look closely at some of the buildings and you’ll notice fossils and shells embedded in the walls. They’re left over from the time when the area was under a tropical sea - some 65 million years ago. And many of the buildings are listed historic monuments including the tourist office which is located in a building dating to 1167 and the underground passages of the Citadel. There is a legend that at the 16th century Cour du Change, formerly known as the Hotellerie du Dauphin in rue Sérurier, King Louis XIII stayed on a stormy night in 1638. He and his wife Anne of Austria had prayed for children but to no avail. However that night, Louis XIV was conceived. Just don’t check the dates too carefully, you might see that there are 13 months between the night Louis XIII stayed and Louis XIV’s birth! Laon is also where Abelard and Heloise met – the Romeo and Juliet of France. It was a tragic love story, the student, Heloise falling for the teacher, marrying in secret and having a baby against the wishes of her uncle/ guardian. The lovers were torn apart and she was sent to an abbey whilst he was castrated on the orders of Heloise’ uncle. You’ll spot their likeness in the fabulous street art that illuminates the town. Abelard Laon You can book guided tours at the town hall to discover Laon’s many secrets and charms. Tourisme-paysdelaon.com © Horizon Bleu/Agence Aisne Tourisme 20 | The Good Life France

Familistère of Guise – a most unusual Museum Guise was once an important border town ruled by the powerful Dukes of Guise. Now it is a rather sleepy place with pretty streets, a ruined castle and superbly restored fortified church. But its most famous attraction is the monumental Familistère – a ‘social palace.’ It was created by Jean-Baptiste André Godin, founder of the famous Godin stoves company. He was born in 1817 in Aisne, the son of a locksmith and left school at the age of 11. At 17 he moved to Paris, taught himself architecture. In 1840 he returned to Aisne and began manufacturing a cast-iron heatingstove which he had designed. To this day they are known as Godins in France and an astonishing number of them have survived, still working to this day – I have one myself! Godin made a fortune from his stoves and at its height his factory in Guise employed almost a thousand workers. In 1856, moved by the plight of workers living conditions, Godin started to build the Familistère, a place where his employees and their families could live. It had a nursery, school, laundrette, shops, 600-seat theatre and swimming pool. The monumental residential building was based on the Palace of Versailles with apartments for up to 900 people. It was essentially a small town, and all within easy walking distance of the huge factory. Familistère GODIN He called it a social palace. Around 75% of the workforce lived there with their families. He paid workers well, around 150 francs per month and their rent was just 8-12 francs. He set a 10 hour working day when the norm at the time was 13-15 hours. And gave his workers Sunday off. He set up a workers union who decided the rules in the factory via a series of committees. It seemed like utopia… But when he died in 1888 having lost his only son just 15 days before, the running of the factory fell to the committees and without his influence it all fell apart as infighting and disagreement took over. The German army occupied the site from 1914 to November 1918. They turned the theatre into a jail, the central palace became military hospital and they destroyed some of the buildings. The Utopia Project began in 2002 to restore the palace and remaining buildings. It is a triumph. You can tour an apartment, have a guided tour, visit the theatre and pool and discover this extraordinary tale. There’s a cafe on site and a great shop where you can buy Godin products. Familistere.com The Good Life France | 21