There are many interesting ancient towns and villages in the Charente within a short drive such as Barbezieux with its newly refurbished Chateau (reopening late September 2015), Aubeterre sur Dronne and the subterranean chapel (L’Eglise Monolithe
Saint-Jean), La Rochefoucauld, Angouleme, Cognac and Jarnac.
Moving into neighbouring Charente-Maritime some of the great places to visit include Jonzac, Saintes, Pons, Talmont, Meschers sur Gironde, Rochefort, La Rochelle for its ancient harbour and old town and Royan for its beaches together with St Palais sur Mer and
La Palmyre. Royan is an important town with a very interesting history from its period as an elegant resort in the 19th century through to its rebirth and regeneration following horrendous bombing raids during WWII when almost 80% of the town was destroyed. It is also worth visiting the Isle d’Oleron and the Ile de Ré with its pretty villages of Ars en Ré and La Flotte en Ré. Bordeaux, the vineyards of St Emilion and the Medoc are just over an hour's drive. A little further will take you to the beaches of the Atlantic coast such as Arcachon, Biscarosse, Mimizan and Hossegor.
You can visit the Cotes de Bourg and Cote de Blaye wine areas and take the ferry from Blaye to the Medoc to visit the beautiful wine regions of Margaux, Pauillac and St Estephe. Alternatively you can drive in the other direction to St Emilion, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where every street has a ‘wine merchant’ offering local wines and you can try some. Look for and try the controversial “Garagiste” wine (‘Bad Boy’ is a well-known one and really good – drinking now !)
Being at the southern most point of the Poitou-Charentes region, Le Tâtre is located on the borders of three other departments making this an ideal location from which to discover the Charentes Maritime, the Gironde and the Dordogne. La Vieille Distillerie is therefore an excellent base from where you can launch your own search for that dream property.
The rural ‘voie verte’ (literally ‘green roads’) and cycle paths make this area a cyclists' paradise both for serious cyclists and families who just want to explore the rolling countryside and sleepy villages in the area (for local voie verte Galope Chopine, click here);
a perfect route on the flat for those of us who do not do much cycling. For braver/stronger souls this route extends into Charentes Maritime from Chevanceaux to Clerac (voie verte de Haute-Saintonge, click here.)
Along many of the routes you will find famous Cognac distilleries where you can stop off and taste the local aperitif, Pineau de Charentes (a mix of grape juice and Cognac). The quiet roads and tracks through woodlands are ideal for walkers and birdwatchers where the Hoopee, Black Redstart, Serin, Black Kite and Zettling Cisticole can all be seen in the area of Le Tâtre.
Bring your binoculars!
© La Vieille Distillerie Bed & Breakfast, Le Tâtre, 16360 Charente, France. 2015. Tel: 00 33 (0) 5 45 78 62 18