Verteuil-sur-Charente: Dominated by the magnificent Chateau, wander through the quaint old village, stopping at the beautiful watermill for a café or perhaps a spot of lunch. The watermill is famous for its home-made Brioche and was featured on James Martin's French Adventure.
Les sites archeologiques at Tusson, Saint-Amant-de-Boixe and Embourie: The charming village of Tusson dating back to the 13th century, owes its existence to the priory founded a century earlier. Tusson is a protected village ('village protege') with many historic buildings including the museum, exhibition hall and medieval monastic garden, all lovingly restored.
The Benedictine Abbey at Saint-Amant-de-Boixe forms one of the best conserved medieval monasteries in Poitou Charentes. Founded by the hermit Amant, the abbey has stood for more than 1200 years. The abbey's church is a listed building and the main abbey edifice, recently restored, is open to the public as an information centre. Three major sites are spread around the area.
The remains of the Gallo Roman Villa in Embourie were rediscovered in the early 20th century. The residence was occupied from the 1st century BC to the 5th century AD.
Les Megalithes at Courcome and Fontenille: Constructed about 1000 years before the Egyptian Pyramids, these funeral monuments are some of the first examples of man-made stone architecture.
The Pays Ruffecois is host to many parks and gardens. Artists have recreated the Park and Jardin du Chateau de L'Abregement at Bioussac by sculpting trees felled in the catastrophic storm of 1999. Jard'Imagine: Open from May to October. Children are encouraged to find the animals, all created from recycled objects, hidden along the walk through this 3,000sq.m park. Dont be afraid of the giant spider of the dinosaur! The Parc Floral Jean Pierre Lanson in Mansle is open all year round, but is particularly interesting from mid-July when the collection of nearly 500 different varieties of fuchsia are in bloom.
Mansle: A sleepy Charentais village in winter and a hive of activity during the summer months. Its major asset, the river Charente, provides the perfect setting for summer activities of canoeing and fishing, but there are also plenty of walks, markets and other events on offer.
Nautilus Aquatic Park at Angouleme; Has an indoor swimming pool, outdoor water slides, pool and other attractions, including an indoor ice-skating rink, sauna, solarium, jacuzzi, gym and a bar/snack bar. Visit Nautilis for times of opening and entrance fees.
The scenic and meandering river Charente offers ideal opportunities for fishing, canoeing and kayaking.
Our surrounding area is also ideal for horse riding, golf (Angouleme & Cognac golf clubs are nearby), bird watching, cycling & walking
Cycling: We have teamed up with Bike Hire Direct who will deliver bikes to your gite, along with helmets and other safetywear. There are numerous cycle routes around the area, and we have Route 33 on our doorstep and you can start at an easy 7.5km family route, or stretch yourself for a difficult 60km ride.
Here is the link for the Route 33 ride, which passes right outside Les Hirondelles, so on your doorstep. http://www.bikehiredirect.com/CycleRoutes/16Charen...
Nearby towns of interest include:
La Rochelle, famous for its beaches, lively old port, restaurants and cafes, is a dynamic, welcoming and lively city. Anchored to the Atlantic coast, near the Islands of Re and Oleron. La Rochelle is best discovered and enjoyed through its various ports, the Old Port in the city centre, the marina at Les Minimes, the commercial port of La Pallice, and the fishing port of Chef de Baie.
Cognac: take a stroll, or perhaps a boat trip along the Charente river, or explore the old town where you will find famous old distilleries, boutique shops, a covered market and wonderful restaurants (including a Michelin star restaurant) incorporating many different international cuisines. Come in early July for the annual Blues Festival or late July for the Congnac Festival, a celebration of local produce.
Visit one of the many Cognac houses for a guided tour, learn about its production and sample 2The nectar of the Gods" at Hennessy , Remy Martin, Martell , Camus , or our favourite, at the Chateau of Cognac in which Francois I was born in 1494, now home to Otard Cognac since 1795.
Poitiers: Capital of the Poitou and home to Futuroscope
Oradour-sur-Glane: destroyed by the Nazis on June 10th 1942, the original village was never rebuilt and now stands as a permanent memorial and museum to the horrors of war.
Other towns of interest and places to spend a day exploring or simply enjoying a long leisurely lunch include Angouleme, Saintes, Rochefort, Royan, Aubeterre-sur-Dronne, Limoges, Brantome and Jarnac.
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