Lezay

The local market town of Lezay with all the amenities is a 4 min drive away. Here you can find a super market, bakery’s, chemists, banks, tabacs and a couple of bars and restaurants. On Tuesday morning there is a large fruit, veg, livestock, plants, clothes market. All the produce is locally farmed, from meats to wine and the regional tipple pineau. There is a lovely park in town that has a large stocked  fishing lake  ( you can buy a day ticket )  and outdoor tennis courts and swimming pools. In the summer holidays there are open air concerts and fireworks with a lantern walk for bastille day in the park. All free events, just turn up with a picnic.

Melle

Melle is a vibrant town just a 10 minute drive away adorned with medieval arcutecture and beautiful 11th and 12th century churches. Melle and the surrounding countryside is known for its own particular type of goat’s cheese, ‘chabichou‘.

The rural atmosphere of Melle can be experienced nowhere better than at the weekly market (every Friday), selling fresh vegetables, meat, bread, cheeses and many other French delicacies, as well as clothing and household goods. The area surrounding Melle is full of Romanesque châteaux, mills, fountains and wash houses. There are forests of chestnut, walnut and parasol pines through the arboretum walks.

The town boasts a variety of traditional shops, as well as two large supermarkets and several restaurants featuring regional French cuisine, a popular steak house, and a pizza parlour.

Poitiers

Poitiers is a 40 minute drive and the home of futuroscope, Frances 2nd most popular tourist theme park. Checkout more information about futuroscope at www.futuroscope.com

Poitiers is like taking a step back through time.  There are many historic churches off cobbled streets dating back to the Romanesque times. The medieval architecture is prominent through-out the town as you wander through the quaint streets and stumble across the beautiful squares like Notre Dame Marche square.

Here you can find a large produce market set out all around the church Notre Dame-la-Grande on a Saturday morning. There are hundreds of cafes, bars and restaurants to try with great views around the squares. Well worth a day out!

La Rochelle

La Rochelle is an hour and 20 minutes drive. La Rochelle’s main feature is the “Vieux Port” (“Old Harbour”), which is at the heart of the city, picturesque and lined with seafood restaurants. The city walls are open to an evening promenade. The old town has been well preserved. From the harbour, boating trips can be taken to the Île d’Aix and Fort Boyard (home to the internationally famous TV show of the same name). Nearby Île de Ré is a short drive to the North. The countryside of the surrounding Charente-Maritime is very rural and full of history (Saintes). To the North is Venise Verte, a marshy area of country, criss-crossed with tiny canals and a popular resort for inland boating. Inland is the country of Cognac and Pineau. The attractive Île de Ré is accessible via a bridge from 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. This helped develop a strong tourism industry.

La Rochelle possesses a commercial deep water harbour, named La Pallice. The large submarine pens built during World War II still stand there, although they are not in use. La Pallice is equipped with oil unloading equipment, and mainly handles tropical wood. It is also the location of the fishing fleet, which was moved from the old harbour in the centre of the city during the 1980s.

La Rochelle also maintains strong links with the sea by harbouring the largest marina for pleasure boats in Europe at Les Minimes, and a rather rich boat-building industry.

La Rochelle has a very big aquarium, and a small botanical garden (the Jardin des plantes de La Rochelle).

The Calypso, the ship used by Jacques-Yves Cousteau as a mobile laboratory for oceanography, and which was sunk after a collision in the port of Singapore (1996) is now on display (sadly rotting) at the Maritime Museum of La Rochelle.

One of the biggest music festivals in France, “FrancoFolies”, takes place each summer in La Rochelle, where Francophone musicians come together for a week of concerts and celebration. 2004 marked the 20th anniversary of this event. The French Socialist Party has held its annual summer convention (Université d’été) in La Rochelle since 1983.

There are also numerous pretty towns and villages around us that host regular events and bricantes throughout the summer.