...and no, they are rarely venomous. (The single most popular search that finds our blog is 'snakes in France' or 'venomous snakes in France'.)
We found this little juvenile Western Whip Snake Coluber viridis (Couleuvre jaune et verte) in the centre of Preuilly a couple of days ago. It was on the footpath almost opposite the abbey, desperately trying to escape into the garden beyond, and being thwarted again and again by steps, doors and sills. Eventually it made it under the gate. Western Whip Snakes are a type of grass snake and are not venomous. They are by far the most commonly seen snake in central lowland France. This one was perhaps 40-50cm long and no thicker than my finger. Hopefully it will get to grow to be at least 3 times the size.
Uncle Geoffrey was excited, because it is the first snake he has ever seen in the wild. We've posted before about snakes here and here.