Other destinations
Visits to Futuroscope at Poitiers, wine museums or the fabulous chic shops at Bordeaux are all under a two hour drive. The whole town preserved as a War Memorial at Oradour sur Glane is just slightly further away.
This beautiful area of SW France was born out of the French Revolution. The two areas of Saintonge, based on the old Roman town of Saintes, and Aunis,based around the old Huegenot stronghold of La Rochelle,were merged. The Charente Maritime was born. This is where the French themselves go on holiday because of the beautiful scenery, mild temperate climate combined with the luminous quality of the light (a painters haven!) and over 300 miles of beautiful coastline.
The Charente Maritime is a haven for wildlife and attracts many ornithologists. Both the flora and fauna are worth the visit. There are opportunities for fishing, sailing and golf.
 Get in
Fly to La Rochelle or Bordeaux (an hour's drive from the southern Charente Maritime), Poitiers.
 Get around
TGV, hire car.
[add listing] See
Many of the villages are steeped in history, man has occupied this land for a long, long time. At the southern tip of the region is the "Haute Saintonge", this special area is a bit like the land that time forgot. Some of the locals still wear their blue overalls and slippers for all occasions. The land glows with light and warmth. The houses with their Roman tiled roofs and their ramshackle outbuildings just invite further investigating. The architecture is predominantly Romanesque - it is littered with fabulous churches, farms, wells, market halls. The ornamentation on the churches is awesome,maybe visit the church of Sainte Fortunata at St Fort sur Gironde and see the horses heads, or the church at Lorignac or Sainte Ramee.Grapes and sunflowers, as well as tobacco and maize are grown here. Most villages have a local wine maker, some have several. 100 years before the Revolution a wine producer had a moment of serendipity. He poured some grape juice into a seemingly empty Cognac barrel. He forgot about it and rediscovered it a few years later - the nectar known as Pineau was born. This area has lots of Pineau producers, you can visit most of them and of course taste the Pineau !
Royan is a lovely town, bombed by the Allies in WW2 it has managed to rise, phoenix-like from the ashes to become a chic, very French, resort. La Rochelle is further North and is a beautiful place to visit
[add listing] Do
Visit the local wine producers and have a degustation (wine tasting). Taste the wine, Pineau and of course the World famous Cognac houses of Hennesy, Remy Martin, Otard, Martell all have conducted tours in English as well as French. Chateau de Beaulon is in the heart of the Haute Saintonge and you can visit the distillery in Lorignac as well as visit the chateau itself at St Dizant. There is a huge wildmarsh park at Vitrezay where you can walk along the shores of the Gironde or round a series of lakes. The beaches are nearby. There are golf course in the area. It is a ramblers paradise with miles of marked walks.There are thermal springs in Jonzac as well as Caribbean themed indoor water sports ( Les Antilles de Jonzac).
[add listing] Eat
Plenty of waterside restaurants dotted around the small ports of Mortagne, Port Maubert, Vitrezay plus a plethora of other restaurants ranging from humble 10 euro inclusive meals to Chateau fare at rather more! Melon au pineau is a speciality as is a whole range of seafood and the salt marsh lamb.
[add listing] Drink
This is the land of wine, Pineau and Cognac! Take your pick, you won't go far wrong. The Vins de Pays Charentais is quite a find, it was born out of necessity when the demand for grapes for Cognac declined but has been improving rapidly and is a perfect summer drink.
 Stay safe
Lots of places to stay from campsites, b and b, hotels, rent a luxury holiday home.