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There are times in your life when you come across something remarkable, and this sometimes involves discovering someone with an exceptional amount of creative talent well above the norm.
I have written before about a new 'concept' magazine which was first developed and produced in the Spring of 2007 by Stephane Archambault, a highly creative French photographer with a deep love and knowledge of the Roannais region, and in particular, the Côte Roannaise.
The results of his creative vision and dedication is a magazine called "L'esprit Côte Roannaise".
His first edition launched and revealed last year was inspirational, and the obvious results of 'a labour of love'.
It simply oozed with a visual poetry which sensitively captured the true essence of this beautiful and little discovered region of France.
Stephane, however, is not just a talented photographer. This magazine is totally of himself – it's his baby! He is creator, photographer, graphic designer, editor, writer and producer all rolled into one. Yes, of course, he has various help, assistance, and contributors on the way, but he controls and co-ordinates the total package.
He, alone, is the investor, and the risk-taker! It is entirely upon his creative shoulders that the magazine succeeds or fails!
I have had the privilege and pleasure of meeting Stephane on several occasions, and I hope our new friendship and early working relationship continues, and grows into something special.
After a superb luncheon at Chateau de Champlong recently(see our recent blog on this excellent restaurant and reception venue in the Cote Roannaise) in May this year I was invited to the launch of his second edition of "L'esprit Cote Roannaise'.
Stephane had also cleverly timed this launch , either by design or by chance, with the 20th Anniversary of a superb restaurant called 'Le Petit Prince'. (Again, if you look back in our 'Blog' archives you will find a review of this beautiful little restaurant in the heart of the Cote Roannaise, in the village of St Alban-les-Eaux.)
5 generations of family have been responsible for the development and running of this resraurant, and, of course, retaining its quality and famous local reputation.
In fact, we have eaten there a few times, and the food and service is excellent. On a balmy summer's eve it is just great to eat outside under the trees in the gardens. Beautiful!
Purefrancenow intends to offer a series of gourmet week-end breaks, and Petit Prince is definitely on the list!
However, I return to L'esprit Cote Roannaise.
Stephane has once again done an excellent job. If anything, he has retained the original flavour, but made it probably a little more commercial, which is for the better.
There are many interesting and fascinating articles, covering a wide variety of regional subjects,including:
'The History of St.Alban'. All about the natural mineral water, and the original local thermal baths. Now a very large, successful national and international business.
The Restaurant 'Petit Prince' is featured, of course, along with a special story on Chateau de Champlong in Villerest.
Local artisans are also a favourite with Stephane, and in this recent issue there is a fascinating story about Jean-Pierre Collier a master stone mason, who specialises in sculpture as well as the perfect traditional renovation of ancient buildings.
The pop art of Christian Guy is well presented as a homage and celebration of over 20 years of his work. His paintings are exhibited in permanent shows all round the world, including Paris, Tokyo, New York, Miami, Hong Kong, Singapore, and London.
There are also features on beautiful, artisan-made chocolates by Bernard Laberge.
Not only that, but the salon of masseur David Grand is superbly presented with ambient photography. David Grand uses chocolate, stones, and honey as well as essential oils in his massages – sounds amazing!
Again, purefrancenow is hoping to discuss promoting his salon and massages as part of a series of Luxury, indulgent week-end breaks at 'Le Cuvage'. My wife, Lucy, can't wait to test his foot massages, in particular.
There is much, much, more!
Good luck to you, Stephane! Purefrancenow wishes you continued success, and we can't wait for your next issues!
If you would like a copy of L'esprit Côte Roannaise 2008 – edition No 2, then please e-mail us direct at firstname.lastname@example.org The price is £5.00 plus postage and packing. We will liaise with you regarding your address details and payment method.