Chapeau to The Connexion's 200th edition!
We are pleased, a little overwhelmed and very proud that you are reading our 200th edition. That is 17 very full years of Connexion. A big thank you to all the readers who have supported us – and continue to do so – and loyal advertisers who have placed confidence in us.
Here are 10 (other!) significant events, apart from our launch, which happened here in 2002. Were you in France to see them?
1: The euro replaced the franc as France’s official currency on January 1. February 2 was the last day francs could be used.
2: Jacques Chirac was elected president for a second term after beating shock second-round rival Front National founder Jean-Marie Le Pen in a landslide victory.
3: Mr Chirac escaped an assassination attempt by a far-right extremist during Paris’s July 14 celebrations.
4: Bad news for football fans as reigning champions France failed to score a goal at the World Cup in Korea and crashed out at group stage.
5: The Eiffel Tower celebrated its 200 millionth visitor
6: Walt Disney Studios Park opened near Paris, the second park at the site. It now has more than five million visitors a year and is Europe’s third most visited park.
7: A law came in allowing children to take their mother’s name or a double name.
8: The right-wing UMP party (now Les Républicains) launched.
9: Amélie won the César award for best film.
10: Lance Armstrong won his fourth Tour de France. He went on to win three more before being stripped of his medals due to doping.
Several readers have told us that 2002 was also a big year for them as they moved to a new home in France. We share three stories...
Rosie and Pete Laxton (pictured left) moved from Devon to the Gers because they wanted to find a similar rural area – but with less rain.
“We spent a long time drifting around until we finally got to the Gers and saw what I always wanted - and with a view of the Pyrenees.
“I just thought, ‘that’s it, we’re home’,” said Rosie.
The couple bought a 900-year-old watchtower formerly owned by the Knights Hospitaller and Cistercian monks.
They have been renovating it ever since.
“It never ends. We use the ‘just’ word. It is ‘just’ the roof, ‘just’ the wall, and it makes it seem a lot less than it is.
“We’re very happy here – friendly people, peaceful countryside, and great food and drink.
“The weather is much better, the pace of life a little slower, the eccentricities a little less pronounced, and neither of us would dream of going back to the UK.”
Lynne Oakden moved to a village in Lot-et-Garonne from south Derbyshire with her former headteacher husband Graham three days after she retired in July 2002.
Sadly Graham died in February this year but Lynne has no plans to return to the UK. “I feel more at home here: the informality – except for the forms! – the weather, smiles when you see another person in the street, the food! love my life.”
Barbara and Harold Armstrong (pictured left with the family's cat) now live in the Cévennes National Park but their story with France started earlier as they first moved to Franche-Comté in 1991.
Barbara said: “We chose the first house, on the edge of a village above a patchwork of small fields of rotating crops cultivated by small dairy farms, because it was cheap, almost a ruin, and we could repair it ourselves with the help of local friends.”
They are now enjoying their life in Ardèche.
Barbara added: “It is casual here and every little road takes you into some lovely isolated places.
“We have no light pollution, we can see the stars at night, we can enjoy simple things like growing tomatoes and we can see so many birds…”