Saturday 10 December 2016

Dave Robbins: Having a mistress in France is not compulsory, but it is almost expected

Published 26/01/2014 | 02:30

Julie Gayet. Photo by LYDIE/NIKO/NIVIERE/SIPA/REX
Julie Gayet. Photo by LYDIE/NIKO/NIVIERE/SIPA/REX

It was a fine day in late summer and the air seemed full of hope. I was in France, driving east from Toulouse, and then tracking northwards through the stately valleys of the Languedoc.

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I had landed the not entirely unpleasant job of house-sitting a maison bourgeois near the village of Montaigu-de-Quercy. It had a pool and a games room and a housekeeper who came once a week.

The housekeeper was there to show me around. The heating system was very French (ie temperamental and given to going on strike) and the pool filter was incomprehensible to the northern European mind.

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