Bertrand: a committed greeter attached to his roots
Bertrand is a figure in local tourism who defends his roots and wants to prove to the world that the Haute-Vienne is a welcoming place where you can live well. He speaks about himself in this portrait that will make you want to, like us, discover Bessines-sur-Gartempe and the Monts d'Ambazac.
Why the Haute-Vienne and how long have you lived here?
The Haute-Vienne is my département, where I grew up, studied, carried out my military service and where I work. After a break in Valence in Spain, the call of the Monts d’Ambazac and the Gartempe valley was too strong.
Introduce your profession or your volunteering activity:
Elected Mayor of Bessines-sur-Gartempe in 1995, I have always tried to make sport one of the vectors encouraging the welcome of tourists, but also a factor of well-being or "living well" for the inhabitants. The countryside race is one of these components.
What you love most in your profession?
The encounters. We can always learn from others. Each experience is enriching and being welcoming doesn't simply mean giving but also to receive. In terms of advice, I'm always willing to take it.
How is your profession/activity specific, particular, unusual or original?
Intermittently a footballer then active in the Bandafolie’s organisation since 1996, sport and its challenges have always been a motivator. At present, my sport activity is essentially based around trail.
Who is your favourite local person?
Bernard BROUILLE. His commitment demands respect. Above all, his work led to the creation of the first village étape in France at Bessines-sur-Gartempe, symbol of attractiveness and dynamism.
What is your favourite village? Why?
My favourite village is a market town, that of Bessines-sur-Gartempe as you've probably guessed! Virtually all sports are represented here, from athletics to handball passing by table tennis or motocross. More than 14 sports associations and 1000 licence holders do some sort of sport all year round. Beyond these activities, those cultural and festive are very dynamic with Graines de Rue and the Bandafolie’s.
Where is your lake, pond, river or corner of nature that you like best?
The Monts d’Ambazac. This wild and rocky mountain range isn't particularly high (701 metres), but is always surprising with hints of mystery and Occitan poetry. It's through trout fishing and looking for mushrooms that I've come to know well this rugged terrain of north Haute-Vienne. The ranging forests, the valleys holding crystal clear streams coming from the heights, the mysterious little shelters in stone called shepherd huts, the villages in granite with evocative names… All is a pretext for exploring and I'm still exploring…
If you were a substance, which would you be ? And why?
Wood. Trees bear witness to human activity. The places where the preserved are proof of a sensible management of resources and space. This is the case for the Monts d’Ambazac. Nowadays, this is reassuring.
What sports, leisure activities or relaxation activity you prefer?
Trail running or known simply as trail. This sport allows us to exceed our expectations, but also to discover and immerse ourselves in a natural setting. My playground: the Monts d’Ambazac, but also the Monts de Blond or the Gartempe valley. Mostly solo, but also happy in a group along the trails of Ambazac, Bersac, Cieux or Compreignac.
You love local food; which is the recipe that you know well or like sharing with those close to you?
I wouldn't call it gastronomic, but I take real pleasure in cooking a good cep or chanterelle omelette. Also, when treating myself, keep four or five lovely, wild trout and share them with friends.
Which season do love best in the Haute-Vienne?
Spring, because it's when everything comes back to life here.
An anecdote to finish?
Amongst others, I'll remember for a long time a meeting I had close to the source of the Rivalier in the hamlet of la Bezassade. I had my first encounter (and it won't be the last!!) with Michel and Nelly, owners of pioneering gîtes, who were already working here in the 90s promoting walking holidays in the Monts d’Ambazac.The consist of 20-km stages where they help the walkers by transporting their luggage from one stage to another!
Rediscover Bertrand in our next number in an article on trail running in the Monts d'Ambazac. A new 30-km circuit has just been created for lovers of countryside sports. He'll be describing it and make us want to discover his favourite sports ground which is the Monts d'Ambazac.