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

11 months ago

Winter 2022

  • Text
  • Giveaways
  • Recipes
  • Christmas
  • France
  • Vineyards
  • Villages
  • Medieval
  • Provence
Discover France’s magical winter wonderland destinations - from the French Alps to the French Riviera. Read about the biggest bûche de Noël, Christmas log cake, in the world and see Paris when it snows. Head to the sweet village of Flavigny in Burgundy where the film Chocolat was filmed and to Rouen, the Ardèche region and Côtes du Rhône. Go gaga for gorgeous Gascony and feel festive at the colourful Christmas market of Metz, Lorraine.Toulouse, feel good films, recipes, guides and giveaways…

SPOTLIGHT Packed with

SPOTLIGHT Packed with medieval history but with a buzzing contemporary vibe, Normandy’s regional capital is a stunning destination for a city break says Gillian Thornton. ON: ROUEN It’s not every day that I sit down to dinner in a medieval cemetery, but then Rouen’s Aître Saint-Maclou is no ordinary burial ground. Surrounded by an ossuary gallery – a repository for storing bones – this extraordinarily tranquil spot is one of just four to survive in France. And it’s a must-see for any visitor to this captivating city. Far from being macabre, the Aître Saint- Maclou is a classic example of how Rouen uses its rich history to educate, entertain and enthuse 21st century visitors. And when your city has connections to Joan of Arc and Gustave Flaubert, Claude Monet and the Impressionist artists, you have plenty of material to work with. Easily reached by car from the Channel ports, by train from Paris, and by river cruise along the Seine, Rouen was ravaged by the Black Death in the mid-14th century. Already weakened by the ongoing battles with England in what came to be called The Hundred Years War, Rouen struggled to keep pace with the mortality rate. The Aître Saint-Maclou helped solve the problem, first as a mass grave, then with the addition of a galleried ossuary where bones could be stored in the roof trusses. Street children and beggars began to congregate here and traders set up fruit stalls, until in 1778, the Aître closed as a cemetery and morphed into a location for charity-run schools. Walk through the galleries today with their ornate carved columns and you can almost hear the shouts of Rouen’s poor children at play. Come back in the evening when the site is closed to casual visitors to dine at Café Hamlet within those atmsoopheric half-timbered galleries. Saint-Maclou was one of many pleasant surprises when I made a long overdue return to Rouen this summer as part of a touring holiday by car. The Radisson Blu Centre proved a great base with its underground car park and popular restaurant, easily accessed Eglise Jeanne Darc off the perimeter road and an easy walk to the historic centre through a network of pedestrian streets. I clearly remembered the flamboyant carved façade of the city’s cathedral, or did it just seem familiar from some 30 paintings made by Claude Monet in differing lights? Many were painted from an upstairs room in the former House of Exchequer – now the Tourist Information Office - at the corner of the nowpedestrianised square in front of this towering Gothic monument. Take advantage of one of the free telescopes around the square for a close up view of the west front that Monet would surely have envied. Then head inside to see a monument to English king Richard the Lionheart. His body lies in the Plantagenet necropolis at Fontevraud but his heart is buried here in Rouen. The half-timbered buildings were certainly familiar to me in the streets behind the cathedral that lead to the Church of Saint- 42 | The Good Life France The Good Life France | 43