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Activities in Charente Maritime

"Still so much we want to see in the area ... we will be back !"

(feedback from guests - for more click here)

O.K. we admit it, not everyone wants to spend every minute of every day lounging around the pool, on the terrace, on the beach or sitting outside bars watching the world go by. 

Whilst we ourselves find this difficult to understand, we do appreciate that everyone is different and some of you may actually want to DO SOMETHING from time to time !

So here's a few ideas of the activities and events that are available in the local area. It's just a sample - the area is renowned for its variety of events throughout the year.

After this lot, you'll be dying to get back around the pool or onto your terrace - we guarantee it !

Walking

If you want to "do you own thing" there are endless miles/kilometres of quiet country roads, estuary side walks and beaches to stroll around at your leisure.

But if you like the idea of following a route chosen for its local interest, there are no fewer that 80 different routes clearly marked out by local organisations, ranging from an hour or so to all-day treks !

Our favourite walk from La Vieille Grange : the 30 mins circular route from La Vieille Grange down the valley, up to Semoussac (the village you can see from your terrace), past the church and returning down the "back road" to home ... and a cool beer !

Cycling

2 bikes are provided with the gite for your use and bikes can be easily hired in La Rochelle. They may not be the latest in high tech specs - but they've lots of gears to help you on those hot summer days !

As with walking, you can either wander around yourselves or follow one of the marked out routes referred to above - some of which are specifically created for bikes.

Our favourite cycle ride from La Vieille Grange : through the vineyards and sunflowers to the villages of St.Georges des Agouts and St.Bonnet sur Gironde (perhaps pausing at the bar there for a quick refreshment) and then on across the estuary plains (keeping an eye out for those otters and wild birds) to Vitrezay on the estuary itself. Rest there with either a drink or a snack at the restaurant (in season), watching the birds and boats on the estuary before making our way back home. Not forgetting to call in to the boulangerie in St.Bonnet for a fresh baguette to go with supper ! About an hour in each direction.

Nature

As well as the widespread natural beauty of the landscape and its wildlife - particularly around the estuary - there are no fewer than 15 nature reserves ("Pôles - Nature") in the Charente Maritime, with more being created - including one just down the road from us at Vitrezay.

5 mins further down the estuary at Port des Callonges is the brand new "Terres d'Oiseaux" bird sanctuary with 125 species over 115 hectares ! Observation trails from 30mins - 3hr 30mins, a cafe, bar and restaurant with more spectacular views across the estuary.

For further information on local nature reserves : Poles-Nature

For more information on the Gironde Estuary (the largest in Europe !) : Click here

But you don’t really even need to leave your gite to see nature - a previous guest counted over 30 species of bird in the gite garden, including the spectacular hoopoe :





Fêtes and Festivals

The area is renowned for its wide range of events, particularly in the Summer months, but also all year around. Details can be found on the various Tourist Board websites (see the links at the bottom of The Area page - particularly The Charente Maritime Tourist Board), or buy a copy of the Sud Ouest newspaper whilst you're here.

As well as the many local fêtes, fairs and brocantes (bric-à-brac sales) in practically every tiny village all summer long, a wide range of larger events take place every year. For a summary of some of the most regular events - many of which are repeated every year, although dates may vary - click Events

Indoor Aqua Park & Sports

At Jonzac (20 mins) : Les Antilles, a brand new complex with year round tropical warmth : an upmarket "Center Parcs" type development, offering indoor swimming pools, beaches, tropical gardens and lagoon, fitness centre - and much much more, whatever the weather outside !!

Horse Riding

There are a number of stables to be found in the area, the nearest being "Le Haras" at St.Thomas de Conac (10 mins), with accompanied riding available by the hour or by the day. Tel 00 33 5 46 86 03 22

History

Whether it's Romanesque churches (to be found in almost every tiny village), abbeys, castles, chateau, forts or museums that fascinate you, discoveries abound in the area.

For a good general summary of heritage sites :

Pays-royannais

Golf

There are 3 large (18 hole) golf courses nearby at :

Saintes (45 mins)

Royan (45 mins)

La Rochelle (1 hr 15 mins)

In addition, there is a smaller 9 hole course available at Montendre (30 mins).

Fishing

There are plenty of opportunities for fresh water fishing in the rivers of the Charente Maritime, including :

to the south (nearest to us) : the Seugne "the jewel of Charente-Maritime's environment and flora"; also the Dronne

in the centre : the rivers Charente and Boutonne

to the east : the upstream section of the Boutonne and its branches

to the west, at the ocean's limits : the Seudre and the numerous marsh canals of Rochefort and Marennes

to the north : the Sevre Niortaise with its surrounding canals - the outlet of the Marais Poitevin

A fishing permit (carte de pêche) is required for any fishing. Holiday permits (cartes vacances) or daily permits (cartes journalière) are available from the beginning of June until September. They can be bought in local tackle shops.

A free regional guide is available entitled La passion au fil de l'eau. Also a hydrographic map of the department is available for a small fee. In addition, 4 specialist guides are available for particular rivers, for a small fee.