The village of Villeneuve La Comtesse is just 2 miles away, with amenities which include a bakery, post office, mini market.
There is a choice of quality supermarkets, bars, restaurants, swimming pools and banks in Surgeres (15 mins) or St Jean D’Angely (15 mins).
We are 40 minutes from the historic port of La Rochelle on the west coast of France.
The beaches of Ile de re, Ile d’Oleron La Rochelle, Chatelaillon & Royan are nearby. Venise verte and Benon wood. Cognac, Puy du Fou, Saintes, La Palmyre zoo, and Futuroscope at Poitiers are all within easy reach.
There are numerous Chateaux in the area open to visitors.
Local Towns (in order of size largest first)
A large cosmopolitan town on the cost 40 minutes to the west of us.
Le Vieux Port. This 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 are scores of restaurants and bars to chose from either looking on to the old port, or on the streets just running off it. Local artists sell paintings, pottery, traders sell African artefact & all forms of gifts on stalls around the harbour
There is a small beach and when the tide is right an opportunity to have a cooling swim.
I like to park next to the indoor swimming pool to the north east, where you can walk through miles of park towards the beach, via children’s play areas , a children’s zoo & well manicured gardens.
At night La Rochelle comes to life, street entertainers, music, night time shopping, for the adventurous there is a casino.
The Market, “La Marche” A true French market which is open every day apart from Sunday. On Wednesday and Saturday, the “Grande Marche” is held where the stalls spill out from Les Halles and spread down the adjoining streets. If you like fresh food, this is not to be missed as the fish, seafood, meat, vegetables and flowers are displayed to their best and the atmosphere is incredible.
Shopping in La Rochelle is a pleasure with a huge range of shops, including many selling the finest products in jewellery, fashion and food. The main shopping streets include those with sheltered walkways, which protect the shopper from rain in the winter and the heat of the sun in the summer.
If the weather isn’t good try the Aquarium, turtles to sharks, a glass tunnel to walk through be surrounded by sea life.
The Aquarium is fantastic for all ages. Not only that but also the restaurant and bar offer good value and stunning views over the town if you are able to get a seat on the terraces.
Most boat trips leave from the Vieux Port. There are trips to all the Islands and Fort Boyard. They can be all day, half day or a couple of hours depending on your tastes and the destination you want. Choose from Fort Boyard, Ile de Re, Ile d’Aix, Ile d’Oleron and several others.
Horse Drawn tours
There are guided tours every day in July and August except Sundays and bank holidays. Meet at the tourist office for a trip of 1 hour seeing the town by caleche, then half an hour on foot. Tarifs: Adult: 8€ – Child (4-12 years) and students:
6€. Circuit back to the tourist office.
45 minutes away, an ancient town which lies on the main pilgrimage route to Spain. The river Charente runs through the town. The capital of the ancient province of Saintonge, its monuments and history make it worth a visit.
Cognac with its rolling vineyards is only 30 minutes away where you can tour the many distilleries including the world famous Courvoisier and Hennesy & Martell distilleries on its banks of the river charante, your taken for a tour around the barrel storage areas, shown how barrels are made in the cooperage, you get to see how the burnt wine (brandy) is turned into cognac . Where you can sample the cognac and the local aperitif Pineau. .
Boating on the Charente river is a must in Cognac and nearby Jarnac
An old naval town with a ropeworks and museum and a lovely town square.
St Jean D’Angely
An historical, vibrant town, is 15 minutes away, built around three open squares, where there is a twice weekly market, bars, restaurants and many other visitor attractions .
During the summer there are music festivals, live bands and a very large visiting fairground.
Just out of town you can cross the river Boutonne to a large park, with paddle boats, outdoor table tennis, a children’s park, an open air swimming pool open 3pm onwards during the summer.
Just behind the park is a large leisure centre & indoor pool, open all year and heated, with a huge curly slide, diving boards, Jacuzzis, shallow splash pools attractively laid out for the kids, and for serious swimmers a further lap pool.
Famous for its butter, has links with the TGV, you can be in Paris in under 3 hours on the TGV, it has a large out door swimming pool. A visit to the town’s park reveals its chateau and the Romanesque church of Our Lady (Notre Dame).
The town centre here is very nice, its on the river Charente, cross the bridge to the large park, here there are electric scale model boats, for children of all ages, they can steer around a lake, & through canals, scale models include Mississippi steamers, Channel Ferries, Tugs, the boats open every day in July & August from 2pm, its 4 euros each.
Port d Envaux
Where you can swim in the Charente, there are two diving boards , paddle boats or canoes to hire, a children’s park.
Also local to the above is Crazannes (which has a châteaux ) & St Prochaire neither of which I have yet visited but I’m told are worth visiting.
Where the road turns right to turn away from the river go straight on there is a restaurant /bar at the end of the road, again boats to hire water skiing , which I think needs pre booking 06 76 13 95 88.
Taillebourg has a chateaux at the top of the hill.
During the tourist peak season, it is wise to make the boat trip in the morning or to choose a jetty in a hamlet a little away from the most frequented places.
For a traditional boat trip, you’ve a wide selection of jetties in the various villages, which offer varied formulae, adapted to your wishes of the moment.
You can also rent boats and canoes without a guide-skipper. For the first time, it’s obviously better to take a tour with a guide-skipper!
Dampierre sur Boutonne
Where there is a bar/restaurant and a renaissance Chateau, which unfortunately had a major fire two years ago, but you can still tour the gardens and view the ongoing restoration work.
With its colourful Sunday market and pavement bars and restaurants
A 5 minute drive will get you to the popular village of Loulay with its large outdoor swimming pool, pretty centre, if your French is failing you try the Mutton Noir (Black Sheep) pub & restaurant, say hello to the English proprietors Alex & Carol.
The park of the moving image at Poitiers is approximately 1 hour drive and makes a great day out for all the family.
A zoo of European Fauna set in the heart of the Chize forest, is well worth a visit.
La Palmyre Zoo at Royan has a lot to offer all the family.
Luna Park, which is behind La Palmyre Zoo opens during the summer evenings, there are lots of fairground type rides,
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 kids, and scenic Paris for the grownups!
Or you can set of at 6am from Surges, and be in Paris for 9am on the commuter train.
Les Plages (The Beaches)
The Atlantic beaches in this part of France are generally shallow and sandy, and often have a good surf for body boarding.
Châtelaillon-Plage with its 3 km of uninterrupted white sands where the locals enjoy windsurfing and parasailing.
This is the nearest beach, just south of La Rochelle, a very long promenade, a small shopping area, lots of bars overlooking the beach.
Offers a magnificent view of the coast and the islands. it the ideal place for a day out. Summer markets on Tuesday and Friday mornings are well worth a visit.
(40 mins) has vast sandy beaches, many fish restaurants and shops, and an excellent nightlife. A typical seaside town in the middle of oyster country.
Offers a variety of beaches facing all the different horizons, the Plage Nord to the North, the Grande Plage to the West, 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. Finally, take time to visit Fort Vauban.
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. Take the ferry, which crosses from Fouras to the Ile d’ Aix.
Ile de Ré, this 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 the whole days outing take a picnic or sample one of the many good restaurants.
Il d’Oleron – 1 hour. Il d’Oleron is an island accessed by a long, toll-free bridge. The island has miles of sandy beaches, and is laced with cycle paths through the pine woods
Local Restaurants & Bars
There are many more than listed but these are my favourites
The Auberge de la Chateaux, Villeneuve La Comtesse, on the N150, lunchtime set menu.
The Tabac at Marsais, lunchtime set menu.
The Lighthouse at St Felix, a bar and shop open every day but Tuesday.
St Jean D Angely
The Jacobin, 26 rue des Jacobin – open everyday, pizzas, steak ect good with kids
Hotel De La Place – excellent food and not expensive, a good posh evening out, no children’s menu
McDonalds – if you have kids you have to go now & again, its out of town next to the Intermache
Ellis Park & the Annex next door offer a basic snack menu or Tapas, it is nice to sit outside this Bar in the square and have a drink on a summer evening
There is a lovely bar restaurant on the banks of the river boutonne, overlooking the park, you can sit outside next to the river and have a drink, the restaurant is unusual, they bring you your meat uncooked and you cook it on a very hot volcanic stone at the table
Le Ronsard, 24 Avenue De Liberation, very good food.
There is a good Chinese just out of the centre on the road to Rochfort
The Grand Café, next to the indoor market