Les Megalithes at Courcome and Fontenille; Megaliths are funeral monuments that date back to the end of the prehistoric years and are the first examples of manmade stone architecture, constructed about 1000 years before the Egyptian Pyramids. What is left and visible today is only the skeleton of an assembly of soil and stones that formed burial mounds or 'tumulus'.
Les sites archeologiques at Tusson, Saint-Amant-De-Boixe and Embourie; Three major sites are spread around the area. The Tusson priory was founded in the 12th century; its monastery was run by a woman, unusal for the times, and its prosperity led to the construction of the village in the 13th century. It is currently undergoing re-construction to preserve it's heritage and is known as 'village protege'. Tusson is a protected village, that under guidance of the local council and public authorities, with the actions run by the Club Marpen and the enthusiasm of the inhabitants the many historic buildings have found their original appearance. The hard work over the last 30 years is visible today in this pretty, traditional stone village that has a museum, a medieval garden, an exhibition hall, a good restaurant and a bar/tea room. Visit Club Marpen
The abbey at Saint Amant de Boixe has undergone various renovations and is now open to the public, as is the adjacent information centre. From 2002 - 2007 the cloister was excavated by archaeologists, where not only were various potteries and glassware found, but also two ancient tombs. The Benedictine Abbey forms one of the best conserved medieval monasteries in Poitou-Charentes. Founded by the hermit Amant, the abbey has watched over the area 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. Visit Abbaye de Saint-Amant de Boixe
The remains of the Gallo Roman Villa in Embourie are an early 20th century discovery. Various excavation works have helped understand the history of this residence, occupied from the 1st century BC to the 5th century AC. At proximity to the site is a small information centre dedicated to the 400msq of mural paintings, found during the dig. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Pays Ruffecois is host to many parks and gardens, each and every one to their own. Since the catastrophic storm that hit France in 1999, four artists have recreated the Park and Jardin du Chateau de L'Abregement at Bioussac by sculpting the fallen trees. New trees have been planted and some of the previous botanical elements still exist. Jard'Imagine; The owner of this garden is a retired school teacher, and she has created it inhabitants from all sorts of recycled objects. It is open from May to October and the walk through the 3,000msq park has been created mainly for children, who are encouraged to find the hidden animals and not 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 its collection of nearly 500 varieties of fuchsia is in bloom.
Mansle is a sleepy charentais village in winter that becomes a hive of activity during the summer months. It's 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; This is a great day out for the family. Has an indoor swimming pool, outdoor water slides, pool and other attractions. 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 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 Ré and Oléron, 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.
Its exceptional water and its taste for sports challenges have made it a household name on the national and international boating circuit.
Limoges, centre of the French porcelain industry, is the capital of Haute-Vienne department of the Limousin region in France. It sits on the picturesque right bank of the Vienne River. It is a fascinating historic city of ancient buildings, quaint old streets, museums, gardens and galleries. It was founded in 16 BC by the Roman Emperor Augustus and first named Augustoritum after him. Today archæologies continue to unearth Roman villas and other remains.
The city is famous for its beautiful porcelain and enamels. Enamel-making started in the twelfth century and after the discovery of kaolin, a local clay, Limoges became famous for its porcelain developed from this clay and painted by artisans who migrated to this area. You can find dozens of shops selling this incredible porcelain made into serving pieces, statuary, jewelry and the famous collectible Limoges boxes.
Capital of 'The nectar of the Gods', Cognac whose name speaks for itself is on the river Charente and is full of interesting cognac distilleries, boutique shops, river trips and wonderful restaurants incorporating many different international cuisines.
Visit one of the many Cognac houses for a guided tour and learn about its production which has been in place for hundreds of years. Cognac where you can visit the distilleries of Hennessy and Remy Martin and take a stroll along the river Charente.
Other towns of interest and places to spend a day exploring or simply enjoying a long leisurely lunch include Angouleme, Saintes, Potiers and Jarnac.
Le Pays Ruffecois The pays Ruffecois, situated between Poitiers, Angouleme, Cognac and Confolens, amidst varied landscapes, is abound with culture and history. Meandering, lush valleys, dense woodlands, fields of golden sunflowers and contrasting views, are waiting to be discovered. Visitors can step back in time while visiting the many sites, some dating back to the Neolithic era. The artists and craftsmen of the area take great pride in using old fashioned methods to fabricate their creations, often sold at markets or directly from their workshop.
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