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LEGGETTFRANCE.COM

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hen I came to

live here 30

years ago, it was

a vibrant village

with two bakers, a

butcher, a grocer, three restaurants,

a bar/tabac, a post office and a tiny

hairdressers.

By the year 2009, there

were just a restaurant and a

tiny hairdressers, and up to 600

juggernauts driving through the

narrow main street. There really

was nowhere to go in the village,

and with the lorries one was risking

life and limb, so the social life of

the street just died.

In 2010 the by-pass, which

had been planned for nearly 30

years, was finally built, but the

centre of the village was ruined,

broken pavements, fronts of houses

scarred, drainpipes and shutters

ripped off the walls.

After years of yet more

promises, in 2018 the centre of

the village was finally completely

renovated and life started to come

back for everybody. People were

back walking in the street, and a

seven minute walk from our house

to the bakery or Mairie, could

sometimes take an hour, while

chatting and gossiping with the

villagers en route.

The village now has a baker,

a grocer, 3 restaurants, a Post

Office, a pottery and a triple sized

hairdressers. People started to put

flower pots and hanging baskets

outside their houses and there was

life and hope again.

Then sadly at the beginning

of last year Covid arrived and by

March we were all confined to

barracks apart from our 1 hour

walk. All our village meals, the great

Easter three day Fête with floats

of brightly coloured paper flowers

and marching bands, and even the

ceremonies to pay tribute to the

dead of both wars were suspended

and village street life disappeared

again.

In June most restrictions were

lifted, but all our Fêtes were still

not permitted, even the famous

1000 Ducks in the River Race. But

all was not lost.

An English television station

filming in the Dordogne asked

if a cake competition between

the English and French could be

organised. Of course it could! So I

rounded up six French ladies, three

English ladies and two English

lads, one Michael Leggett and Lee

Brankston. I should never give away

ages, but the oldest French lady, as

active as ever, was 94. She put this

down to good living and a little red

wine, or so she said.

Village LifeThe historic village of La Rochebeaucourt is a wonderful place in which to

live. It was not always thus.

WORDS: STUART ROSS | PHOTOS: C MOINGEON & A WELLS-DAVIES

The cake

competition winners

The Maire, Joanna Leggett

and Stuart Ross

Yves Rousseau Maire from

1971 to 2008 with his dog Venus

Welcome to

La Rochebeaucourt

h∞

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