Partying witches, fantastic beasts and a French culinary goddess: 7 things we learned about France in the latest issue of FRANCE Magazine

PUBLISHED: 11:18 31 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:29 31 March 2020

The May issue of FRANCE Magazine is out now - get your copy today

The May issue of FRANCE Magazine is out now - get your copy today

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Here are some of the quirky tidbits we learned about France while putting together the latest issue of FRANCE Magazine

Nuit des Sorciers in the Sancerre. Pic: Deborah NashNuit des Sorciers in the Sancerre. Pic: Deborah Nash

1) In the peaceful Sancerre region of the Loire Valley, there’s a Nuit des Sorciers, or Night of the Witches.

A crowd of 1,500 revellers enjoys magical cabaret dancing while witches, phantoms and dragons make spooky appearances in this night of summer sorcery like no other.

Find out what Deborah Nash made of the fantastical event on page 40.

2) The legendary Beast of Gévaudan terrorised south-central France during the 18th century.

Was he a large dog, a wolf or even a person? This murderous beast killed at least 100 people across the Gévaudan region (now Haute-Loire and Lozère), but its identity remains unknown.

Follow Fiona Young-Brown on the trail of the beast on page 54.

Beautiful Bayonne. Pic: Alex GreenBeautiful Bayonne. Pic: Alex Green

3) Bayonne is the French chocolate capital, home to some of the country’s best chocolat chaud.

It even has a special festival dedicated to chocolate, the Journées du Chocolat.

Taste the best of Bayonne in a weekend break with Alex Green on page 58.

4) You can go on a bicycle tour of wine cellars in the Loire Valley – a sort of Tour de Wine!

Maison Bouvet-Ladubay in the Loire offers bike tours of its 8km-long cellars – a great way to explore.

Karen Tait takes us on a tour of the Loire Valley’s châteaux and wine hotspots on page 20.

Radiant Collioure in the sunshineRadiant Collioure in the sunshine

5) The picture-perfect resort of Collioure is home to more than 30 art galleries and workshops.

The jewel of the famed Vermillion Coast really is a paradise for artists and art lovers alike.

Take a stroll with Vicky Leigh through this coastal gem on page 36.

6) Famous Lyon chef La Mère Brazier was the first person to earn six Michelin stars.

She established her renowned Lyon restaurant in 1921 at the age of 26, transforming it from a boring bistro to a culinary kingpin of France.

Get to know the incredible chef with Paola Westbeek on page 70.

Magnificent golden statue of Joan of Arc in Paris. Pic: Jumabufu/GettyMagnificent golden statue of Joan of Arc in Paris. Pic: Jumabufu/Getty

7) A ring said to be worn by Joan of Arc sold for £300,000 in 2016.

It was sold at a special auction at Puy du Fou theme park in western France.

Discover more about the brilliant life of Joan of Arc with Helen Parkinson on page 84.

So what are you waiting for? The May 2020 issue of FRANCE Magazine is out now - order your copy here.

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