Angoulême: In place of its ancient fortifications, Angoulême is encircled by boulevards above the old city walls, known as the Ramparts, from which fine views may be obtained in all directions. The “old town” has been preserved, maintained and largely reserved for pedestrians. It has a cobbled restaurant quarter, with some interesting galleries and boutiques.
Aubeterre-sur-Dronne: One of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France, (the most beautiful villages in France) Aubeterre-sur-Dronne is located in the south-east of the Charente and has an interesting history to match its quite unique and pretty façade. On the steep narrow streets, look out for the beautiful wooden balconied houses overlooking the Dronne River. A key attraction here is the huge monolithic Church of Saint-Jean, an underground church carved into a cliff in the 7th century and later greatly enlarged by Benedictine monks in the 12th century.
Bordeaux: Towns are talkative; not in the sense of the sounds of our modern society, but the stories that are set in the stone facades of buildings or the bronze of statues. The result is that the city that represents the wine of the region bears witness to that very activity on every corner. Visits to the numerous Quarters, Quays and Public Gardens are a must.
Brantôme: This picturesque town in the Dordogne is surrounded on all sides by the River Dronne and is sometimes called the Venice of the Périgord Vert. It is an excellent day trip to one of the prettiest places in the Dordogne. Brantôme has a medieval abbey and 11th century belfry said to be the oldest still standing in France and behind it, through the courtyard, fascinating ancient troglodyte dwellings. A pleasant place to visit.
Chassenon: Roman Settlement and Baths. This Roman settlement was constructed in the 1st century. The 300-acre site consisted of a surrounding wall, temples, a theatre and Roman Baths. The Baths, which are well-preserved, are the only part open to the public. They cover quite a large area and you are advised to take good walking shoes and a coat. Guided tours are available or you can hire hearing phones to explain each section of the site’s history in your own language as you walk around and see how advanced the Romans were so long ago.
Cognac: Many Cognac producers, for example Hennessy, have guided tours and tasting events throughout the summer. The town’s medieval quarter Vieux Cognac runs from the Tours Saint-Jacques, alongside the river, up to the Saint-Léger church. The area contains many unusual buildings, built between the 15th and 18th centuries, situated on narrow cobbled streets.
La Rochefoucauld: The village takes its name from the large château above the village, which is partially open to the public, whilst also still inhabited by the Duke and Duchess. In the village is a classic car dealership which is open to the public 365 days of the year and is decorated with motoring memorabilia, functioning essentially as a free-to-enter motor museum.
La Rochelle: The city has beautifully maintained its past architecture, making it one of the most picturesque and historically rich cities on the Atlantic coast. Limoges: The city and castle were united in 1792 to form the single city of Limoges. Some years later the porcelain industry started to develop, favoured by the presence of kaolinite which was discovered near Limoges in 1768.
Nieul: The Château de Nieuil was once a hunting lodge of King Francois I and stands in 100 acres of grounds including a moat. Now a luxury hotel (the first chateau in France converted to a hotel). Non-residents can visit the gardens and art gallery without charge. The stables have been converted into a very good restaurant La Grange aux Oies which has a coffee/drinks patio in summer months.
Oradour-sur-Glane: This once small, peaceful and attractive village was the scene of a terrible and barbaric massacre by Hitler’s elite Waffen SS troops on the 10th of June 1944. 642 men, women and children were killed and the village was burned to the ground. The ruins have been preserved as it was left on that fateful day. A sad but compelling experience – a testament to the brutality of war. To walk through this martyred village is free and will leave a lasting impression on you. An excellent exhibition centre is next to the ruins which tell the entire story. There is a charge to enter the centre.
Parc du Reynou: is about an hour and a half’s drive from the Domaine de Lalat. You will be amazed by the splendour of the landscaped park and will be charmed by the beauty of the animal world. Located in Le Vigen, near Limoges, Reynou Park is a tourist and cultural place, where everybody will observe, understand and appreciate animal and vegetable kingdom. Young and old people will take away unforgettable memories of this day.
Poitiers: Famous for the Futuroscope theme park and research park project, (European Park of the Moving Image). The theme is visual communication technology and is housed in ultra modern buildings.
Royan: Situated in Charente-Maritime, and unusually for this coast, Royan is a very modern resort, having suffered badly by allied bombing in WWII. It has five excellent beaches of fine sand, (called Conches) and, of course, a host of restaurants and typical coastal resort shops. Take a boat trip from the harbour to see the Phare de Cordouan lighthouse, which has its own chapel inside. Completed in 1611, although later creased in height by 30m, the only part of lighthouse that has been changed is its method of lighting.
Saint Estephe: The layout favores a continuity between the walks on decks and the old road of this pond created by the monks in the Middle Ages, facilitating the walk and the discovery of the area which can be extended by the tour of the pond. Preserving the existing building adds to the charm of the place, as do the spectacular granite chaos nearby. The faunistic and floristic wealth of this part of the north of the Dordogne is linked to the presence of vast forests, many ponds and rivers of white water: the site of Saint-Estèphe is a faithful synthesis. Major features of Saint-Estèphe, the integration of equipment designed not only to accommodate people with disabilities but also to open the opportunity to enjoy the joys of swimming, canoeing, walking, fishing, etc. This innovative design site, which has few equivalents in France, is labeled “Tourism and Disability” and “Handiplage” and earned the County Council the 2011 Accessible Communities Award. There is a fantastic restaurant and a snack bar at the beach.
Montemboeuf Music Festival: This annual music festival takes place around the second weekend in September and features live music for all tastes, from jazz through to rock.
Circuit des Ramparts: Join us on our perennial favourite classic car event of the year, the Circuit des Ramparts historic car race weekend. All the elements of this classic and vintage car event make it a must for those yet to try it. The town of Angouleme comes alive to the sound of vintage and classic cars throughout the circuit, usually around the third Weekend in September. From the Friday evening you will see classic and historic cars from the rare and exotic to the weird and wonderful.
Dinghy Sailing and Kayaking: Available at the ‘Base Nautique’, situated behind the English café at he Lake ‘de Lavaud, approximately 15 minutes away. Both can be hired by the hour or by the day.
The Adventure Park at Massignac: (10 minutes away) offers the thrill of tree top high ropes courses, zip wires, bungee and airbag jumping, suitable for all ages, with safety of paramount importance. There is also an on-site snack bar
Velo Rail: (cycling on the rail track) from Roumazieres or Confolens. A rail cart that seats 5 (including two pedalist!) allows you to journey along a disused rail line. Great way to spend an afternoon.
Nautilus: just South of Angouleme, is an indoor and outdoor water park that includes slides, wave machines, lazy rivers and much more! Fantastic family day in the sunshine (don’t forget the sun cream) and again, there is an on-site café. Unfortunately, speedo’s are mandatory – shorts are not allowed!
Fishing, Sailing and Swimming: Just 15 minutes from Montemboeuf, the Lacs De Haute Charente, offer two stunning lakes for fishing or sailing. Lac Lavaud boasts a number of sandy beaches, café bars, and a sailing centre for dinghy hire. At the café bar you can also hire a pedelo, table tennis equipment, crazy golf or join in the fun at the volleyball court. Safe swimming is provided by an on site lifeguard during the summer months. Mas Chaban is quieter and boasts spectacular scenery, excellent fishing spots and numerous woodland trails for the nature enthusiast. Swimming can also be enjoyed at the outdoor swimming pool in the village – just 5 a minute walk from the house.
Bicycles: re available to explore the quiet country roads and trails around the Domaine de Lalat.
Tennis Courts: are available in the nearby village of Chevres.
Horse Riding and Pony Trekking: is offered by a number of stables within easy access, with the stables at Lac Lavaud and L’Ecurie du Clos Reveur in Montemboeuf particularly popular.
Golf: can be enjoyed in nearby Ecuras at Golf de la Preze or at Angouleme. Established in 1955 as a 9-hole course, Golf de l’Hirondelle is one of the oldest courses in France.