Time to celebrate
With our 300th issue under our belts, we take a trip down memory lane to where it all began in 1989, and share some special messages from those who’ve made the journey with us
“It’s for you!” With those three words my wife handed me the phone and my life and career were set to change for ever. Back in 1989, la famille Yorke – my wife and I, our four sons, two cats and a dog – had moved to Dordogne, and it was a former UK neighbour of ours on the phone. He and a French friend had decided to launch a magazine about France in the wake of the huge success of Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence and he asked me if I would write a couple of articles. Could I write a piece about our experiences of moving to France and, knowing that I was a photographer, could I take a few photos of Dordogne as well?
My first contributions appeared in issue two. The pay wasn’t great – I was rewarded with a half-page advert for the gîte business we’d just started – but it was the beginning of a new life travelling around a country I’d fallen in love with. Tough eh?
As time went on, I became more and more involved with the production side, but in those early days none of us had any publishing experience and the magazine was put together very much by the seat of our pants. However, we were all doing something we loved and had enormous fun! Later, in 1996, I had another pivotal phone call, which lead to me buying the magazine and thereby becoming the Publishing Editor – my dream job!
During the 14 years I spent with Living France magazine as a freelancer and a publisher, I have calculated that I drove nearly a million kilometres visiting every department in l’Hexagone, writing about and photographing all the places that I thought would interest our readers, and in the process I interviewed a host of fascinating people. There have been so many wonderful moments.
Photographing the River Charente on a magical summer’s evening; interviewing the lady in Cannes who had spent the war dodging the Nazis and became a mistress of Picasso. Travelling to l’Île d’Ouessant, 25km off the Breton Atlantic coast, exploring the Corsican hinterland, visits to the stunning cathedrals of Albi, Reims, Amiens, Auch, I could go on, and on…
Little did we think in those early days that ‘our little magazine’ would grow and still be so avidly read and enjoyed 28 years later! That gives me more pleasure than anything. Congratulations Living France on reaching your 300th issue!
Issue 74, February 1998
Brenda Cook, reader We have been readers for years – the last five as residents of France – and very much enjoy reading how other expats are making it work. The information is invaluable to us and some of the articles just make us laugh. Keep up the good work.
Shelley Hunter via Facebook I love everything about the magazine – all the interesting articles, useful hints and tips about living there. It helps keep my dream alive until I am able to make a permanent move!
Emma Rowley via Facebook The inspirational and interesting articles always increase my desire to move there!
Issue 1, December 1989