Things to do…

Things to See and Do

The hamlet of Chaignepain does not have any amenities within walking distance other than a Routier on the main road which offers a set lunch and dinner menu as well as a bar open most days of the week. However, Chef Boutonne, Sauze Vaussais and Melle are all within an easy 10-15min drive away with all the amenities you require including quality supermarkets, bakeries, post offices, chemists, weekly markets, bars, restaurants, swimming pools and banks.

The Charentaise countryside surrounding the gites is flat and rural, bursting with sunflowers during the summer. It is ideal for walking and cycling and we have a selection of bikes which you are welcome to borrow.

There are numerous Chateaux, Romanesque Churches and Abbeys in the area which are open to visitors and a number of inland lakes which offer picnic and sunbathing areas and children’s play areas as well as some water sports. The local rivers have centres where canoes, kayaks, SUPs and pedalos can be hired. Or hire a boat or bicycle at the Marais Poitevin (Green Venice) (45mins) and spend the day winding your way through/around the vast collection of waterways.

Why not visit the Vallee des Singes (Valley of the Monkeys) (30mins) which is a park with no fences or cages and allows you to get up close to a huge variety of apes and monkeys with other wildlife wandering around too. Or Zoodysee  (30mins) a zoo of European Fauna set in the heart of the Chize forest is well worth a visit.

For entire days out we recommend Futuroscope – the park of the moving image at Poitiers (50mins), The Aquarium at La Rochelle (1hr 20mins), La Palmyre Zoo at Royan which is one of the best in France (1hr 45mins) and the Puy du Fou theme park, an amazing historical theme park (1hr 45mins) all of which make for a great day out for all the family.

If you like a bargain, why not wander around some of the local brocantes (car boot sales with French Style) which are held most Sundays throughout the summer or visit some of the weekly markets held in numerous historical towns within an easy drive.

There are many bars and restaurants close by offering traditional French cuisine as well as a variety of western options, further details can be found in our welcome pack and if you require any help with booking we are always on hand.

Cognac with its rolling vineyards is only an hour away where you can tour the many distilleries including the world famous Courvoisier and Hennesy & Martell distilleries on its banks of the river charante, you’re taken for a tour around the barrel storage areas, shown how barrels are made in the cooperage and you get to see how the burnt wine (brandy) is turned into cognac. Here you can also sample the cognac and the local aperitif Pineau. Further afield the vineyards of the Loire valley and those in Bordeaux and the surrounding areas can be reached in just over 2 hours. 

Angouleme (1 hour) is a marvellous historical town sitting on a rocky promontory just above the Charente river and enjoying breath-taking views over the Charente Valley. Characterized by wide boulevards, ramparts, ancient churches and several museums, it is an interesting place to discover. Just 5km east of Angouleme, you can visit the Charente Grotte de Vilhonneur which host the world famous wall paintings of Lascaux.

We are 1hr 20mins from the historic port of La Rochelle on the west coast of France. Le Vieux Port is the heart of eating and drinking to be found in La Rochelle. It is what you see on many of the postcards and is simply stunning. There is a small beach and when the tide is right an opportunity to have a cooling swim. You can take a boat trip to all the Islands and Fort Boyard or take a guided horse drawn tour of the city.

The Atlantic beaches in this part of France are generally shallow and sandy, and often have good surf for body boarding. Châtelaillon-Plage with its 3 km of uninterrupted white sands where the locals enjoy windsurfing and parasailing is just south of La Rochelle with a very long promenade, a small shopping area and lots of bars overlooking the beach. 

Fouras (1hr 25mins) offers a variety of beaches facing all the different horizons, the Plage Nord to the North, the Grande Plage to the West and the Plage Sud to the South. The Plage Nord is lined with beautiful villas built during the first part of the 20th Century. The Grande Plage is very pleasant and the woods of holm oaks around the Casino are particularly restful. Take the time to visit Fort Vauban.

Royan (1hr 40mins) has vast sandy beaches, many fish restaurants and shops. It is a typical seaside town in the middle of oyster country.

It is well worth a visit to the Iles – The Ile d’Oléron and the Ile de Ré are connected to the mainland by bridges and the Ile Madame is accessible by car at low tide. Or take the ferry, which crosses from Fouras to the Ile d’ Aix. Ile de Ré stretches out over 30 km, from Sablanceaux to the lighthouse, Phare des Baleines and offers many beautiful beaches. There are 100 km of bicycle paths fitted out for all categories of cyclists. If you have no bikes, they can be rented most places on the island. Ideal for whole days out – take a picnic or sample one of the many good restaurants. Il d’Oleron is accessed by a long, toll-free bridge. The island has miles of sandy beaches, and is laced with cycle paths through the pine woods

You could visit Euro Disney on your route to or from our location, stopping for a night or two in a Paris Hotel. Mickey Mouse for the children, and scenic Paris for the grownups! Or you can set off early from Poitiers on the TGV and be in Paris in less than 2 hours for a day trip.

This is a great area where you have the best of everything – peaceful countryside, seaside resorts, ancient towns and cities and many family attractions.