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With oils and a palette knife, Els Knockaert paints a world full of light and colour. Born in Belgium in 1964 and a graduate of the country’s top art schools, Els considers herself a woman of the world, having travelled extensively in Asia, Africa and Colombia. From 1996 to 2002, Els and her husband lived on a farm in the Colombian jungle and ran a guest house, while she exhibited her work and taught painting in Cartagena, Barranquilla and Santa Marta. With the civil war drawing closer, they left Colombia in 2003 and settled in Olargues, as the landscape reminded them of Colombia.

France’s second largest city is also her oldest. Here’s how it all began...

Massalia, the original name of the city of Marseille, was founded by sailors from Phocaea around 600 BC, making it the oldest city in France.


Coup de coeur: Marseille by David Crackanthorpe

Would you like to run your own business in France? Would you like to escape the 9-to-5 rut, yet still receive social security? Are you already working, but have an idea for an exciting side project in France? Registering as a Micro-Entrepreneur could be your next best move.

As part of my job, I’m regularly invited to gourmet dinners and culinary extravaganzas, but I’ve never experienced anything like Les Grands Buffets — and if you’ve ever thought that you don’t like buffets in hotels or restaurants, then this could be a real eye-opener!

Come and join Cancer Support France in a gentle meander through lovely French countryside, sharing wonderful lunch stops and enjoy the fun while raising money for a great cause.

On Saturday 19 May, the leafy Château du Fraissinet on the edge of the Cévennes will be garlanded with bunting and balloons in honour of Harry and Meghan’s big day. We are holding a charity Garden Party to celebrate the Royal Wedding, with all proceeds going to the Nepal Remote Villages Trust. It was set up by Chris and I on our return from a wonderful trek in the Annapurna region in 2014.