Places to go and things to do:-
There is an abundance of things to do and see in the region, it all depends on what you want from your holiday at 'The Retreat'; be it sight seeing, sunbathing or something more adventurous.
Within easy reach of 'The Retreat' in the nearby villages there are; a post office, 2 convenience stores selling everything from freshly made bread, newspapers, to wine and oysters, a free tennis court, petanque pitch, and children's play ground.
If you fancy catching your own dinner a short cycle ride away is a great trout farm with a well stocked stream, a lovely way to while away your time under the boughs of a shady tree. Fishing rods and equipment are available to use at the cottage or can be hired on site. 'Les Source du Moulin' is also home to an excellent restaurant and bar, serving local and seasonal food.
For something rather special for lunch or dinner the 'Au Clos Gourmand' restaurant is just over 2 miles from the cottage where you will be guaranteed the finest gastronomic delights the region has to offer. This family run restaurant is highly recommended and you will receive a warm friendly welcome.
During the summer months for July and August there are free evening concerts and acts in the local villages for all to attend.
Saint-Jean-d'Angély - Situated just 9 miles from 'The Retreat' is St-Jean-d'Angély on the river Boutonne. A lovely historic French town steeped in history from the time of John the Baptist. Here you can enjoy the hustle and bustle of the vibrant weekly markets held on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings set amongst half timber buildings, boutique shops, bars and restaurants. A great place to sit at a cafe and watch the world go by. St-Jean-d'Angély boasts a modern swimming/aquatic centre (Atlantys), with 54m water slide, diving pool, jacuzzi and saunas. In the central park you can hire boats or canoes/kayaks to explore the waterways or even join one of the organised evening kayak tours, great fun for all the family, including the dog!!
Surgères- A typical quaint French market town, home to the Notre Dame church and the remains of the great baronial castle of the 12th century. Famous for its butter production, complete with cinema, outdoor swimming pool, supermarket and weekly fresh local produce markets on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings, not to mention its lovely restaurants.
Horse riding, go-karting, water-skiing and golf courses are all within easy reach.
The Atlantic Coast - is only a short drive where there are many beautiful safe and sandy beaches. Stunning islands to explore such as the famous and exclusive Île de Ré, the less well known, but equally as lovely islands of Île d’Oléron and Île d'Aix where Napoléon Bonaparte was exiled, or even a boat trip to see the famous Fort Boyard.
La Rochelle - is only 45 minutes away with its stunning intertwining medieval streets, world famous port with its plentiful harbour-side restaurants, bars and boutique shops, the perfect place to spend a day or evening or to explore its vast summer markets. The city is home to an aquarium, maritime and several other museums. You can also hire municipal bikes to make touring the surrounding beach, marina and historic sites that bit easier. For more information: https://www.larochelle-tourisme.com
Îl de ré - This enchanting island is connected to the mainland by a toll bridge making access easy from La Rochelle. The best way to discover the island is by bicycle, although the island is just 30 km long there are more than 110 km of designated cycle-ways and numerous cycle-hire shops, cycling here is safe for all the family, you can easily hire cycles for all ages, electric bikes and children's trailers. Discover the 10 beautiful market villages of Saint-Martin, La Flotte, Les Portes, Rivedoux-Plage, Saint-Clement-des Baleines, Sainte-Marie, Ares, Loix, La Couarde-sur-Mer & Les Bois-Plage or the many sandy beaches of the island or stop at one of the many track side cafes serving the famous locally farmed Huîtres (oysters), seafood and wines. For more information: https://www.holidays-iledere.co.uk
Cognac - No visit to the region would be complete without a trip to the world famous city of Cognac, home to the most renowned producers of the eau-de-vie. Many of the large Cognac houses including Remy Martin, Hennessy, Courvoisier, Martell, Hine and Baron Otard are open to visitors and give guided tours and tastings of their products. The city is also home to historic castles, museums, abbeys and churches perched on the banks of the Charente river. For more information: https://www.tourism-cognac.com
Bordeaux - The largest city of the region is a must for all wine lovers, the surrounding areas are home to 120,000 hectares of vineyards and Chateaux that produce some of the most prestigious wines in the world. From St Emmillion, Pomerol & Fronsac to Médoc, Graves, Suternes, Bordeaux & Entre-deux-Mers and the territory of Blaye and Bourg, many of the Chateaux offer cellar tours and tastings. If wine is not your thing then the city offers many other opportunities for shopping, dining, visiting historic sites and monuments.
Natural Park Region of Marais Poitevin - This water covered area is known as 'the Green Venice', the second largest wet land in France is well worth a visit, the 'maraîchins' have dug over 8,000km of waterways (350 km of which are signposted). The capital of the Marais Poitevin is Coulon where you can enjoy a leisurely lunch in the beautiful town square, hire one of the traditional flat bottomed boats known as "plates' or alternatively relax as someone else does the work and take a guided trip along the waterways.