See. Do. Shop. Taste. Eat.

 
 

There’s something to see or do to suit pretty well every taste..


If historic cities combined with great shopping are what you’re after, there’s two within 20 minutes drive: Cognac and Saintes.


Cognac is, of course, home to the distilleries that make the famous spirit and the great names, such as Martel, have their warehouse all along the Charente in the old town. Many offer a tour, always culminating in some leisurely sampling. The town is largely pedestrianised and has marvelous parks and playgrounds.


The Charente river that gives its name to the area flows between the two cities. There are plenty of excursions to be had from either that leisurely cruise along it. Away from the main road, you can follow its course, stopping at riverside bars and if it takes your fancy, use - for free - one of the tiny

car ferries (Capacity: 2 cars!) that cross it at intervals.


Saintes has the feel of a larger town with an elegant main boulevard lined by restaurants and shops big and small. There’s a theatre square and not one, but two cathedrals. It is a roman city and there’s plenty of evidence still remaining, including a massive amphitheatre. The area is home to numerous chateaux and local museums.


Saintes market in the cathedral square (Saturdays) is particularly recommended. Excellent markets can be found nearby on just about every day of the week - in St Jean d'Angely, Matha, Burie, among others. Brocantes (or flea markets) are held in local villages on most weekends and artisans fairs - such as the annual Foire aux Vins in Migron held in June - are frequent throughout the summer.


Pineau des Charentes - the local aperitif - is available to taste and buy direct from local producers, and local specialties include goats' cheeses and wonderful seafood from the Atlantic coast. The best 'local' wine is Bordeaux - most grapes grown here are for Cognac or Pineau - and there are caves (wine co-operatives) in several local towns.


Other attractions nearby include two water-slide parks just 20 minutes' distance, a zoo, Karting at St Jean and the Futurscope theme park at Poitiers is also easily accessible



Visit The Coast

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