Beautiful Charente Maritime

There's lots to see, do and explore in the Charente Maritime. We are right in the heart of this Department with the coast 45  minutes away and the two beauties Cognac and Saintes just 30 minutes away. La Rochelle, just an hour away, is stunning as a harbour town but also has great shopping and happens to be one of our local airportsBordeaux is 90 minutes and is well worth spending the whole day as it is so beautiful. Angoulême is a lovely fortified town also well within the hour and is the centre of France's passion with comic books (like Asterix the Gaul). There are also some beautiful Chateaux to visit within easy  driving distance.

The Germanic Arch in Saintes.

The Germanic Arch in Saintes.

As you'd expect we are surrounded by wonderful restaurants that suit all tastes and pockets. Lunchtime is the most reasonable time to eat as you can often get three courses including wine and coffee for less that 15 euros a head. Evenings tend to be dearer. We have lists of restaurants in the information book you'll find in your property which we've either tried personally or had recommended. There's even good old fish and chips if you miss it.

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All around us is the amazing French countryside that you'd expect with the mix of farmland, where you'll find sunflowers on rotation, and the vineyards most of which supply grapes to the great Cognac houses. A walk through the vineyards always gives me a particular thirst. Every commune has it's own gorgeous church, dating back to the 11th century in many cases. 

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The coast has something for everyone from miles of fine sand and lovely seaside towns such as Royan, Châtelaillon-Plage and Foras. Talmont-sur-Gironde and Meschers are absolute must visits as well as the oyster fishers of La Treblade. The Zoo at La Palmyre is one of the biggest and best in France.

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Closer to home, our own locality is absolutely stunning with plenty of walks and cycle rides (we have some bikes you can borrow). There are also several good quality golf courses within 30 minutes or so of the property including the beautiful Golf du Cognac and Golf de Royan. Saintes, Angoulême and Niort also have good courses. Mark is often happy to join you for a knock if your looking for someone to play with.

One of the picturesque holes at Saintes Golf Club

One of the picturesque holes at Saintes Golf Club

Local artisans who make all manner of lovely produce including vinegar - which is exported to selected fine restaurants all over the world, and mustard. Also our local Cognac and Pineau artisans, which aren't necessarily part of the big Cognac houses. Visits are possible to all these artisans and well worth the effort. Our favourite, where you get free tastings as well as a free tour, is Jean Balluet in Neuviqc le Chateau, just the other side of Matha. Take cash for some bargains.  

These are some of Jean Balluet's barrels maturing Cognac. The tour is free, the tastings are free. Cash is king.

These are some of Jean Balluet's barrels maturing Cognac. The tour is free, the tastings are free. Cash is king.

There's lots of great days out for the kids including clambering through forests on ropes and zip wires, swimming pools with slides, caves to explore and you can even go swimming and kayaking in the Charente. We can even arrange for a scuba diving lesson in our pool with fully qualified and very experienced instructors. From 3 to 93, all age groups catered for.

Or how about a hot-air balloon ride? Trips can be booked with a local company and cost €170 to around €450 per person.

Photo by diverroy/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by diverroy/iStock / Getty Images

Useful websites:

http://www.visit-poitou-charentes.com/

http://www.france-voyage.com/travel-guide/charente-maritime-departement.htm

http://www.francethisway.com/regions/charente-maritime.php

http://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions-/poitou-charentes-f-pc-pcv.htm

http://www.visit-saintes.com/

https://www.facebook.com/TourismeCharenteMaritime/

http://www.cognac-world.com/article.php3?id_article=536

http://www.nextstopcognac.com/en/cognac-producers/fin-bois/balluet

http://www.montgolfieredupinson.fr/hot-air-balloon-flight/