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Having lived in this region of France for 12 years, John and Shelagh are familiar with what’s available to keep you occupied during your visit. If you decide to visit our campsite we would be delighted to discuss with you the sights and sounds of interest and provide you with information leaflets and brochures. 

If you are an artist then you may be interested to know that people say that the light in this region is perfect.


If you are a nature lover then our small campsite offers some interesting flora and fauna to observe.


You may see terrapins in our pond, butterflies and dragonflies around the pond and, in the small wood,

we have several clumps of the rare purple toothwort.


Boat Trips on River or Estuary


There are numerous river and estuary cruises/boat trips from which to choose. Reservations may be required.




You can see Bordeaux city and/or the Gironde Estuary by boat – both day and night cruises trips are on offer. Some trips include aperitifs and/or lunch or evening meal.


Saintes and Cognac


Take in the natural beauty of the River Charente on the Gabare,  ‘La Dame Jeanne’.  Several cruises along the River Charente are available during the day and evening. You can choose to include lunch, aperitifs and/or dinner if you so desire. Commentated cruises are available in both French and English.


Family and group tariffs are available.

Boating on the River Charente at Jarnac
Boating on the Gironde estuary


Gironde Estuary


Several cruises, circuits and crossings are available to see this huge estuary from all directions. Regular motor cruises leave from Port Vitrezay, Blaye and Port des Callonges, Bourg and St. Andre-de-Cubzac. Sailing trips are also organised leaving from Port des Callonges.  Again, some cruises include lunch, aperitifs and/or dinner. Family and group rates are available.





Situated at the mouth of the Gironde Estuary, boat trips from Royan include both estuary and sea cruises. Meals may be included on some of these trips. A large network of nautical activities are on offer at Royan. These include sailing, surfing/bodyboards, kayaking, jet-skis, and cruises.




Concerts, Theatre and Street Events


Throughout the summer many concerts, theatre shows and street events/spectacles take place throughout the region. Many are free to attend; the rest are offered at very reasonable rates. All offer very good value and are worth seeing.


Every local tourist office will help you to discover what is on during your time in the area.


The Charente-Maritime department produces ‘le Vacancier’ [The Holidaymaker] every year. This magazine/brochure lists all the events [including brocantes, markets and night markets] taking place throughout the department. You can pick one up for free at any Tourist Information Office within the Charente-Maritime department as well as in local shops, supermarkets, cafes and restaurants.


The Gironde also produces a tourist magazine called Carnet de Voyages. This lists many useful contacts to help you enjoy your stay in the area and also highlights many of the main attractions in the department.


Sites-en-Scene, for the middle two weeks in August, is a spectacular which involves about twenty areas within the Charente-Maritime. The festival includes free open-air evening/night shows for all to see. Marvellous! 



Cycle tracks in rural France

Cycling/Walking Routes and Tracks


Cycling in rural Gironde


There are numerous cycling and walking routes throughout the area. They range in difficulty from the very easy to the very difficult. Ones that we can recommend include:


Cycle route between Etauliers and Blaye – along a disused railway track - 14 kms long


Voie Verte’ – between Clerac and Barbezieux – another disused railway track – 37 km long


Boucle [circuit] de Marcillac Sud [south] – through pine forests - 10.5 km long


Boucle de Marcillac Nord [north] – through pine forests - 17.1 km long


Circuit Departmental [Marcillac] – distance not given


St Savin  - a circuit of 15 km for all the family on small roads/tracks


Montendre and its surroundings boast a rich network of walking, cycling and bridle paths. There are more than fifteen marked circuits from which to choose.


Ask for ‘topoguides’ or trail maps at the local Tourist Information Office.


Green Routes form a network of routes/tracks for non-motorised enjoyment. They are reserved for walkers, cycles and horse-riders – all motorised vehicles are banned. The routes are safe and well-adapted for families and the older person.


The Gironde department produces two guides – one for cyclists and one for walkers.


Cycle routes include:


Port Vitrezay to Port Maubert - a 16km ride by the Gironde Estuary


Chevanceaux to Clerac in Haute-Saintonge, - 15 km


Rochefort circuit –‘le chemin de la Charente’ – 12 km


Ronce-les-Bains to St. Palais sur Mer – 29 km


However, throughout the Charente Maritime and Gironde departments there are interesting walking routes and cycle paths in the form of a circle. Unfortunately, at the moment, they are not available on the internet although there are plans to do so in the near future. In the meantime they are available in local Tourist Offices and Shelagh and John have a few in house. These circuits are clearly indicated and range from the very easy to the very difficult.

Cycling in rural France

Cycling possibly La Tour de France



Equestrian Centres


Horse riding in Gironde


There are a few Equestrian Centres near to our campsite and are:


Ecurie des Pins

Bois du Clone 17130 Corignac

There are two riding stables, several opportunities for novice and experienced riders, and many bridle paths available.

Tel: 05 46 70 79 63


Ecuries du Val de Seugne

Domaine de Chailleret,  17500 Jonzac

They have two centres; one on the road to Barbezieux just outside Jonzac, and the other, during the summer, at Base de Loisirs in Jonzac. Instructors take care to match the rider [novice or experienced] to the horse.

Tel: 06 83 38 96 16


Centre Equestre du Blayais

17 Route Lion d’Or, 33390 Cartelegue

Tel: 05 57 64 52 64


Les Ecuries du Capitaine

Lieu dit Chez Capitaine , 17150 Boisredon

Tel: 06 60 13 28 90 email: ecuriesducapitaine@yahoo.fr

Horse Riding

Fishing – river, lake or sea


Fishing is a major activity and occupation for those living on or near the Gironde estuary.


Fishing what a whopper


Visitors may fish in rivers, lakes or the sea providing they obtain the correct licence – usually from the local tourist information office. Just a sample of what’s on offer includes:


Les Lacs de Moulin Blanc at St Christoly de Blaye

A licence is required but this can be purchased from the local tourist office.


There is also a ‘Guide de la Peche en Gironde’ available at the Office de Tourisme.


Port de Vitrezay


A licence must be purchased from the site office but then you can fish in any of the numerous lakes or from a fisherman’s carrelet in the Gironde Estuary. Cost is 10 euro per adult and 7 euro per child [under 18 years]. Tel: 05 46 49 89 89


Montendre Lake


 A licence must be purchased at the local fishing tackle shop in Montendre but it will be valid for both Montendre and Vallet lakes.


You can also fish in local rivers under licence.


Carp, roach, trout, black bass, tench and pike fishing are all available in these lakes and rivers.

Tel: 05 46 49 46 45


Royan – sea fishing


Whether you decide to opt to go for the Cote de Beaute from Meschers, the Clair Estuaire L’Origan from Mortagne-sur-Gironde or El Puro II from Royan you will be able to experience sea fishing in the Gironde Estaury/Atlantic Ocean.

Fishing and relaxing in France





Go Karting 


Go-karting is available for all ages. The following circuits are a few of those on offer:


Circuit de Haute Saintonge

le petit Chataigner 17360 La Genetouze Tel: 05 46 04 08 10


Sarl Kart Extrem Z.A.

Terres du Poteau les Souches 17240 Saint Genis de Saintonge Tel: 05 46 70 92 63


Club Karting ASK

7 chemin du Furet 33820 Etauliers  Tel: 06 28 56 86 20 or Tel: 06 67 73 35 21

[open 1700 – 2000 hours every Wednesday and 1500 -1900 hours first Sunday of month


KART System

Rue du Grand Barail 33300 Bordeaux Tel: 05 56 43 29 49

Indoor karting track with a 20-lane bowling alley, billiards room with 13 tables, and a bar.


Golf in the bunker

Golf Courses


The nearest golf course to our campsite is at Montendre; this is a council run 9-hole course with a driving range. Other 18-hole courses are available but are some distance away.


The nearest courses are given below:


Montendre Golf Course

Avenue de Onda, 17130 Montendre

Open all year

Tel: 05 46 04 45 36

E-mail: contact@golfdemontendre.com


Cognac: Golf du Cognac

2 Route de la Maurie, 16100 Saint-Brice

Tel: 05 45 32 18 17

18 holes/6hole Pitch and Put Par 72

All welcome but advanced booking required

Email: acceuilgolfducognac@wanadoo.fr


Saintes: Golf Municipal Louis-Rouyer-Guillet

18 hole course

Advanced booking advisable

Golf de Saintes, Fontcouverte, 17100 Saintes

Tel: 05 46 74 27 61

e-mail golfdesaintes@wanadoo.fr


La Palmyre [Royan]

Allee du Grand Large, 17570 La Palmyre

Tel: 05 46 05 04 46

9 hole course par 36


Royan: Golf de Royan Maine Gaudin

7, rue de la palmyre, 17420 Saint Palais sur Mer

18 holes plus a 6 hole practice course

Tel: 05 46 23 16 24

email: golfderoyan@wanadoo.fr


Bordeaux: Golf de Bordeaux Lac

Avenue de Pernon, 33000 Bordeaux

Tel: 05 56 50 92 72

There are two 18 hole course called ‘La Jalle’ and ‘Les Etangs’


Golf Bordelais

Domaine de Kater, Allee Arago, 33200 Bordeaux Auderan.

Tel: 05 56 28 56 04

Golf courses

Local markets in France

Local Markets/Marches de France


There are weekly markets in many locations near to our campsite. Some of these are listed below by day of the week they occur [there all take place only during the morning]:



St. Ciers sur Gironde; Royan


Jonzac; Royan; Rochefort; La Rochelle


Blaye; Saintes; La Rochelle


Montendre; St Savin;  Royan


Jonzac; La Rochelle; Royan


Blaye; Mirambeau; St Savin; Pons; Royan;

La Rochelle


In summer there is the added attraction of weekly night markets with live music and food of international flavour available in some of the larger towns [eg. Montendre, Jonzac, Blaye and Royan].


Local Nature Reserves


There are several nature reserves of various sizes in this region. Many offer guided tours and information sessions so that visitors can learn about the local fauna, flora and environment. Some of these, with contact details, are listed below:


Terres d’Oiseaux


At Port des Callonges on the Gironde Estuary this ‘Land of Birds’ sits on one of the most important migration routes in France. This staging post enables one to observe numerous birds, including migratory species, in their natural habitat. The reserve comprises 116 hectares and provides food and shelter for waders, passerines, and nesting birds alike. The 6 observation points and one panoramic observation tower have been specially designed to enable visitors to see, discover and experience nature unfolding before their eyes; and all this for free. Guided visits are also available.

Tel: 05 57 32 88 80

Address:  2 les Nouvelles possessions, 33820 Braud et Saint Louis

email: contact@terresdoiseaux.fr


Le Pole Nature de Vitrezay


This reserve lies alongside the Gironde estuary but also has its own traditional little fishing and pleasure port. The Reserve also lies along one of the principal bird migration routes in France and offers several lakes and cycle/walking paths for human visitors to enjoy. Numerous educational and practical courses are also on offer via the site office; these aim to help visitors to understand the ecological role of the estuary’s marshland.

Address: Port de Vitrezay, 17150 Saint-Sorlin-de Conac

Tel: 05 46 49 89 89

e-mail: vitrezay@cg17.fr


Maison de la Foret – Montlieu-la Garde


This nature reserve offers a large range of activities and information for nature lovers. Comprising nearly 15 hectares it is accessible to the public but is especially dedicated to the way of life and diversity of the forest.

Address: Tout Vent, 17210 Montlieu-la-Garde

 Tel: 05 46 04 43 67

Email: maisondelaforet@hautesaintonge.net


L’Etang des Benissons –Soubran


This nature space comprises several eco-systems of high ecological value. The two ponds, peat-bog, and wetlands, plus oak and chestnut woods provide a wonderful environment for visitors to enjoy nature in true peace. There are numerous fauna and flora to see including dragonflies, butterflies and terrapins. It is open all year round and entrance is free of charge.

Tel: 05 46 49 76 77

email: contact@haute-saintonge.com


La Canopee, Parc Paysager - St Savin


This Nature Reserve was created in 1973 and aims to preserve a biodiversity on its 10 hectare site. It has 3 km of forest pathways revealing many different fauna and flora and environments; for example mixed forests, ponds, orchids, red squirrels, terrapins, butterflies and dragonflies. Guided tours are available on request/reservation. Open all year round.

Tel: 05 57 68 71 74

Nature reserve Jonzac



Outdoor/Indoor Swimming Pools


Les Antilles in Jonzac

A tropical lagoon–type pool.

Parc du Val de Seugne, 17501 Jonzac Cedex   Tel: 05 46 86 48 00


Les Antilles Lagoon pool Jonzac


Braud et Saint-Louis:

has an indoor pool with a semi-circular roof that is opened up in the summer.



has an open-air pool in a forested area near the Base de Loisirs. It has two 25m pools, a slide, a fountain, water jets and a paddling pool for little ones. Open Wednesdays and weekends during June and 7 days a week in July and August.



has an outdoor pool, with a diving board, opposite Super-U.


There are also several lakes where one may swim. These include:


Les Lacs de Moulin-Blanc in the St Christoly de Blaye/St Savin area.

Sited in a pine forest with beach area and picnic tables. Paths through the forest are good for cycling and walking.


Lac du Beau Vallon at Montguyon

This area also has a forest walk, a sandy beach area, a grassy area and a play area for small children. Pedallos are available for hire. A good restaurant is available on site with a covered terrace overlooking the lake.


Base de Loisirs – Jonzac.

There is a small lake and beach area; a children’s play area,  paths for walking, and a good restaurant.


Base de Loisirs – Montendre.

Set in a lovely location surrounded by pine forests this lake has a small sandy beach area, a children’s play area, and a snack building. Canoes and pedallos are also available for hire. Nearby is a traditional French Restaurant.





John and Shelagh are happy to help you in your search for ‘that perfect restaurant’. We can discuss your likes and dislikes and make some suggestions as to which restaurant might suit you. There are numerous restaurants within easy reach of the campsite. Others, a little further away can also be recommended. Below is a list of just a few of them:


Le St-Thomas

Bar and Brasserie  French and English spoken.  le Bourg, 17150 St Thomas de Conac

Tel: 05 46 86 04 45


Au Four et au Moulin

Moulin de Reguignon, 33860 Marcillac


Gigi Pizzeria

restaurant and take-away.

103 Av. De la Republique  17150 Mirambeau Tel: 0899 235 978


Hotel Le Cheval Gris

99 Av. de la Republique 17150 Mirambeau

Tel: 05 46 70 72 83


Chateau de Mirambeau

5 star restaurant  for that very special occasion

1 Av. Des Comtes Duchatel, 17150 Mirambeau Tel: 05 46 04 91 20


Bill et Vero’s Brasserie

13 le Pontet sud est 33390 Eyrans Gironde

Tel: 05 57 64 55 80


Le Table du Maroc

Quai des Roches 17100 Saintes

Tel: 05 46 74 08 04


Le Quincaillerie

30 rue Hotel de Ville, 17130 Montendre

Tel: 05 46 70 42 41



119 bd de Suzac, 17132 Meschers sur Gironde Tel: 05 46 06 26 81

this restaurant is right on a quiet beach with large terrace and coffee area.


Auberge du Moulin

Route de Pons 17500 Saint Martial de Vitaterne Tel: 05 46 48 39 76


Base de Loisirs

Lieu dit Heurtibise 17500 Jonzac

Tel: 05 46 48 21 94

Barrels of Cognac

Courvoisier at Jarnac


Wine Tasting/Tours


As this region of France is particularly famous for its wine production it would be impossible to detail all the opportunities for wine tasting and education. However, there are some pleasant local chateaux and caves that we can recommend as well as the usual centres such as St Emilion, Bordeaux and the Medoc.


Les Vignerons de Tutiac:

our local cave that just happens to be the largest cooperative of wine producers in Europe – 300 local producers.

la Cafouche, 33860 Marcillac

Tel: 05 57 32 48 33


Domaine de Tout L'Y Faut

5 Lardiere, 33860 Marcillac

Tel: 05 57 32 48 30 


Chateau des Tourtes:

30 le bourg, 33820 St Caprais de Blaye

Tel: 05 57 32 65 15


Chateau les Billauds:

5 lieu-dit Billauds, 33860 Marcillac


Domaine de Sifle Merle:

1, le merle, 33860 Marcillac


Chateau Chasse Loup:

33390 St Seurin de Cursac


Chateau Marquis de Vauban:

Route des Cones 33390 Blaye



Cognac Tasting/Tours: 

All the large houses conduct tours and tastings. They are:


Courvoisier: Jarnac


2 Place du Chateau, 16200 Jarnac



the oldest house producing cognac

[300 years old]


Place Edouard Martell, 16100 Cognac



email: camus@camus.fr

21 Rue Cagouillet, BP 19, 16100 Cognac




Quai Richard Hennessy, 8 Rue Richonne,

16100 Cognac


Remy Martin


20 Rue de la Societe Vinicole, 16100 Cognac 

Cognac tasting and tours

Bordeaux monument



Bordeaux lies approximately 61km from Chez Tayzac and is easily reached by road. It is the second most important city in France being situated on the banks of the Gironde Estuary where the rivers Garonne and Dordogne converge. Steeped in history and once ruled by the English monarchy Bordeaux is now most famous for its wine production and aerospace industry.

Bordeaux river and bridge by night

If visiting by car one would be well-advised to make use of the Park and Ride scheme [Lormont being the site to use when arriving from Chez Tayzac]. This scheme is convenient and cheap costing only 3 euros per car including return tram tickets into Bordeaux for every car passenger.


Bordeaux tram
Bordeaux tourist bus Once in Bordeaux the Tourist Office offers plenty of useful information and advice plus several guided bilingual tours. There is much to see and do in Bordeaux and one can spend many a happy day soaking up the sights.

Old Bordeaux: With its rich history, beautiful 18th century architecture and monuments old Bordeaux is easy to enjoy on foot, by bike [which can be hired by the hour or by the day], in a tourist train, by open-top bus, by tram and by boat.
 The river banks are especially attractive with their wonderful buildings, restaurants and pedestrianised areas.
Bordeaux modern sculpture

Bordeaux rue st Catherine and shops


Food: Wonderful meals and beverages can be enjoyed in the numerous restaurants, brasseries and cafes. One can watch the world go by whilst simply sipping a cold glass of wine or eating a gourmet meal. There are restaurants throughout the city but especially delightful, on a Sunday in particular, is the ability to sit beside the river at one of the numerous riverside bars and restaurants.






Bordeaux architecture by night
At Night: Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO most of the main sights and attractions are floodlit at night. One can take a river cruise at night and see the city from the river. There are also theatres, cinemas [some showing English language films in English] and casinos for you to enjoy.
Bordeaux bridge by night

Bordeaux cathedral
Events: Bordeaux hosts many events throughout the summer; for example wine fairs, music events, open-air concerts. The Tourist Office will be able to advise you regarding such events. Bordeaux by night

The city has three Tourist Information Offices – one in the centre of the city, one by the train station, and one by the Bourse on the river. All are open every day.



X stitch exhibition at JonzacJonzac


Jonzac is an ideal town to visit with its history and thermal spas and is only 24km from Chez Tayzac. Les Thermes [hot springs] are surprising troglodyte spas that are claimed to ease the aches and strains of everyday life and to relieve many chronic illnesses such are arthritis and lung conditions.









Jonzac castle was first mentioned in 1059 but even though today’s castle stands on the same site it probably looks very

different from the original one. Set on a rocky outcrop offering a natural defensive position, the castle dominates the

River Seugne Valley whilst itself being protected by the same rocky outcrop. It was also free from the risk of flooding.








Apart from its thermal spas Jonzac has its shops and twice-weekly markets, an aquatic centre, a casino, sports and leisure facilities and cultural events throughout the year, but especially during the summer. There are concerts, theatre, exhibitions and open-air evening events such as Sites-en-Scene. Many are free but those that aren’t are very reasonably priced and good value for money. For example, Jonzac is one of the hosts for Eurorchestries concerts. Young orchestral players from around the world form one orchestra and play in numerous towns/villages throughout the Charente-Maritime during July/August. Many concerts are free whilst others involve a small fee. 


The Tourist office near the castle will provide information about all these events plus guided tours that hope to provide the visitor with knowledge of local crafts, heritage and products.




Wedged in a loop of the River Charente, Saintes, 67.5 km, is a city steeped in history and art. It was one of the towns on the pilgrims’ route to St. Jacques de Compostella and the first Roman capital of Aquitaine. It remains the economic heart of the Charente-Maritime department. There are Roman remains and classical and contemporary architecture. Not only is Saintes excellent as a venue for shopping and eating, it is also a venue for culture with cinemas, theatres, and many other places worthy of a visit. A European centre of musical research and practice is located in the Abbaye aux Dames. The Roman amphitheatre is an impressive and atmospheric place to visit.


Important places to visit include:


The Roman amphitheatre; Abbaye aux Dames; Arc de Germanicus; Roman Amphitheatre; Cathedral St-Pierre; Eglise St Palais; Musee Archeologique; Musee de l’Echevinage [Beaux Arts]; and the Jardin Publique.


River cruises of varying duration are also available on the River Charente leaving from Saintes; these enable you to take in the river and relax whilst doing so.


Tourist Information Office:

Place Bassompierre, 17100 Saintes,

Tel: 05 46 74 23 82


Blaye - Citadel

Blaye Citadel Old Street

Show jumping at Blaye

Blaye – Citadel deVauban


The citadel of Blaye, 21km, and the fortifications of Vauban have been classed UNESCO World Heritage sites since 2008. The fortifications, known as Vauban’s Bolt, take the form of three strongholds; namely the Citadel of Blaye, Fort Pate, and Fort Medoc. Built on both sides of the Gironde Estuary they create a crossfire position that prevented the enemies of Bordeaux from reaching the city by ship.


The fortifications were the brainchild of the 17th century architect Sebastien Prestre - Marquis de Vauban. Designed and built between 1685 and 1689 as a walled city the Citadel was built around a parade ground, several army barracks, and a monastery dedicated to the Minims Order.


Today, inside the Citadel one can still see the 15th century Eguillette Tower, the 12th century castle Rudel, and the 12th century Liverneuf Gate. Many of the other buildings are now used as artisan workshops and outlets or restaurants/cafes.


Providing information in both French and English are numerous plaques set at prominent points around the Citadel. The Citadel is open every day throughout the year and entry is free of charge. Guided tours can be booked at the Blaye Tourist Office which is within the Citadel’s grounds.


Blaye entrance to Citadel

Blaye Citadel

Blaye Le Petit Train

Outside the Citadel, Blaye is the local Market town and has numerous shops and restaurants. It has twice-weekly markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

In summer ‘Le Petit Train’ is a tourist train that runs through the town and the Citadel with commentaries provided - ideal for those with limited mobility.


There is a public garden near the port for the cross-estuary car ferry which runs every 90 minutes every day of the year [less frequently in winter]. It takes about 30 minutes to cross the estuary but this ferry provides quick access to the Medoc and its Chateaux and Vineyards.


Boat cruises along the estuary to the islands, lighthouses, and to Bordeaux are also available.

Gironde estuary from Blaye Citadel



Mirambeau Chateau 


Mirambeau, 13km, is at the crossroads of the Charente-Maritime and Gironde departments and is ideal for a quick shop or visit to the market held on Saturday morning. There are several ancient buildings in Mirambeau including the Romanesque church, wash houses and chateau. The Chateau is now a five-star hotel and restaurant set high on the hill above the town – ideal if there is a very special occasion to celebrate. Mirambeau also boasts an open-air swimming pool with diving board and is located opposite Super-U on the main route into the town. If you fancy a game of pool during your visit then visit the Commerce Bar on the main street. Otherwise visit the Mirambeau Bar where British owners Richard and Jane will greet you.


Office de Tourisme: Address:  47 av. de la Republique, 17150 Mirambeau Tel: 05 46 49 62 85



Montendre lake



You might want to visit the town, 12.5km, and its castle, the open-air theatre, or the museum of Arts and Popular Traditions at the Castle. You could also find the Cross of Montendre because the view from the top of the hill is fantastic.


Montendre Castle was at first a Roman Camp known as Andron’s Mount. This later became known as Montendre. Dating from the 12th and 13th centuries today’s castle has both a round and a square tower. The grounds are lovely and the museum of art is located in the square tower.


There is a great view from the castle ramparts and guided tours are available through the local Tourist Office.


The covered market hall, Les Halles, was built in the mid-19th century and was nearly lost in the mid-20th century to local development. However, the local people fought to keep and renovate them and now they are used for exhibitions and other local events.


The Church of St. Pierre is another mid-19th century building – its most remarkable features are the steps leading up to it and its square tower.


Lac Baron-Desqueyroux and Etang de Vallet are a 10 hectare complex set in pine woods on the edge of the town. Here one can safely walk, cycle, swim, fish, sail, canoe or simply observe the wildlife and people. Nearby one can also ramble, cycle, and horse-ride through the many bridle paths in the pine forests. A golf course is very close to this site as are two 25m outdoor swimming pools. Aviation [in the form of a discovery flight over the area and the Gironde estuary] is available within a few kilometres at Montendre-Marcillac aerodrome.


Guided tours to a Saffron Farm, a Cognac producer and an Apiarist [bee-keeper] can all be arranged through the Tourist Office.


Tourist Office Address: Sous les Halles, 17130 Montendre, Tel: 05 46 49 46 45 

MOntendre busy weekly market



Pons pilgrims roundabout

Pons - a mediaeval town


Like Jonzac slightly further south, Pons, 38km, is situated high on a rock that dominates the River Seugne   and is founded around the 12th century Donjon [square tower]. At 30 metres high the Donjon is just one of the donjons known as the Romans of the West; but it is the biggest and best preserved of them all. It was first built in 1179 by Richard the Lionheart but was rebuilt in 1187 by Geoffroy III who was the first in a long dynasty of Knights of Pons. Pons formed a strategic long-term site during the Hundred Years War, sitting as it does between the Poitou and Aquitaine Regions of France. After becoming a Protestant stronghold in 1598 Pons surrendered without any resistance to Richelieu in 1621. Only the Donjon was saved to survive today casting its long shadow over the town. Pons also sits on one of the major pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostella and this importance is highlighted today by the Pilgrims’ Roundabout on the main route into the town. Pons also has a Base de Loisirs [Leisure Space] beside the River Seugne with children’s play area, walking areas and a restaurant.


Things to see in Pons: the Donjon; the Pilgrims’ Roundabout; the pilgrims’ Hospital of St Jacques; the Mediaeval Medicinal Garden [open April 12th to October 31st]; the Chateau; the Monumental Stairway; and the tannery.


Tourist Office Address:

1, Rue du Pontils, 17800 Pons,

Tel: 05 46 96 13 31



Cognac Old Town

Cognac Jardin Publique



Situated on the banks of the Charente river in the Charente department, 65km, the majority of the town has been built on the river’s left bank with the smaller right bank area known as the Saint Jacques district. Like Pons not that far away, Cognac is situated on one of the major Pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostella. Cognac was unknown prior to the 9th century when it subsequently became fortified. During the Hundred Years War the town changed sides frequently in direct relation to the vagaries of the fighting and subsequent treaties that were formed. Frances I granted permission for the town to trade salt along the river; this guaranteed a strong commercial success which, in turn, led to the town’s later development as a wine and cognac producer.


The Old Town – Vieux Cognac – hosts many unusual buildings which were built during the 15th and 16th centuries and situated on narrow cobbled streets. Many of these buildings show statues of a salamander – the symbol of Francis I – as well as gargoyles and ornate facades. Cognac also hosts an annual jazz festival with many international artists of world renown appearing on the billboards.


Other things to see or do in Cognac include:

Cognac public gardens; river Charente boat cruises [on the Gabare, ‘ La Dame Jeanne’] ; golf [18 hole course]; the Saint-Leger church; the Chateau des Valois [an important mediaeval trading post]; the Museum of Cognac Art; the Museum of Art and History; The Saint-Gobain glassworks and barrel-works;  guided tours of all the cognac producers [Martell, Camus, Hennessy, Remy Martin].


 Tourist Office Address:

16 rue du XIV juillet, 16100 Cognac

Tel: 05 45 82 34 47

email: office@tourisme-cognac.com

Cognac River Charente



Talmont, 58.5km, with its 12th century Romanesque church built right on the cliff edge, is set on a peninsula of the Gironde Estuary and is a historically listed site. The church forms part of the diocese of the Benedictines of Saint Jean d’Angely. It is dedicated to Sainte Radegonde, Queen of France who later founded the monastery of Sainte-Croix de Poitiers. The town itself was built in 1284 by Edward I of England and lies on a pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostella.





The museum, near the church, records and relates the history of the town, the estuary and its fishermen whose boats lie sheltered in the little harbour near the church.  Today the town’s buildings are not only people’s homes but artisan shops, cafes and brasseries. A walk through its cobbled streets, full of hollyhocks and other flowers in summer, are an absolute delight. There is plenty of parking provided at a very reasonable price: the ticket also acts as a season ticket so  it may be used as many times as one likes during the season.


Talmon artisan shops and cafesWhilst visiting Talmont why not also visit the Gallo-Roman site of ‘La Fa’, the romanesque church of Arces-sur-Gironde, and the caves at Meschers. Reach Talmont by taking the Route Verte along the edge of the Gironde Estuary – you will be rewarded by the scenery and the beautiful villages on the way.



Royan Coast German fortifications

La Palmyre Zoo sea life display

Roayn beach

St. Georges- de- Didonne, Royan, and La Palmyre Zoo


St Georges de Didonne, 66km, and Royan, 72km, provide this part of France with the most beautiful sandy beaches and coastal activities. Both resorts attract people from all over France, but especially Parisians, who buy holiday homes in the area. If you want plenty of sun, sea and sand then look no further for your day out. You will be spoilt for choice if  you like water sports such as jet-skiing, sailing, surfing, kayaking and fishing as all are on offer here from the marina; or, you could just relax and laze on the beach, sit at the quayside cafes/restaurants and watch the world go by. Alternatively, you might like to walk, cycle or roller-blade along the kilometres of beach front especially designed for that purpose.


In July, Royan hosts a magical 3-day event called ‘Concerts on the Beach’. The event is free unless you want to sit in the large wooden stand erected for the concerts – so you can either sit on the beach with your picnic supper and drinks,  you can stroll along the beach front listening to the music and watching it on one of several large screens, or you can look at the many street-based artists and stall holders. All the restaurants and bars are open late as are many of the shops. If you like classical music in a modern way then this is an event not to be missed.


Royan also has a good shopping district and holds markets nearly every day.


One can take the ferry across the Gironde Estuary to the tip of the Medoc – a lovely way to reach the Medoc. 


Near to the beaches at Royan are several long sandy beaches and dunes of the coast near La Palmyre. Here you will find old German Gun emplacements that have tumbled over due to erosion and are hauntingly tilted on their sides.


Also in this area is the Zoo at La Palmyre. This is a zoo of European renown active in the protection of endangered species, participates in 37 European Breeding programs and in the re-introduction of animals into the wild. Home to more than 1600 animals of 115 species this 18 hectare site is situated amongst a pine forest where one can spend an enjoyable day close to many animals.

Address for the Zoo: 6 avenue de Royan, 17570 Les Mathes Tel: 05 46 22 46 06

La Palmyre Zoo Flamingoes

La Palmyre Zoo ring tailed lemurs





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