French Connections

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Charente, our region of the month for August, is a land of sunshine, cognac, sunflowers and vineyards. Located in south west France and part of the Poitou-Charentes area, the region is named after the Charente river and offers a peaceful unspoilt landscape of rolling hills dotted with church spires, pretty medieval villages, forests, rivers, ponds and lakes.

This means that, although there is no coastline, there are plenty of places to swim, making it ideal for a family summer holiday. The French are expert at creating attractive beaches with amenities at inland rivers and lakes – and Charente is no exception, as there are plenty of plans d’eau, aquatic centres and outdoor pools.
Spend all day swimming and sunbathing at the beach at Aubeterre sur Dronne beside the Dronne river; take the children to the Nautilis Aquatic Centre at St Yrieux sure Charente, where they can ride the water slides and play to their heart’s content. For a quiet day out, you may choose the beautiful lakeside beach at Le Gours. Details and photos of these and many more are on the Charente tourism website – just follow the link below.

The Charente is also a land of Festivals. All year, it moves, swings dances, draws, plays and sings… Among the more unusual are the Festivals Nuits Romans, when the most beautiful Roman churches are brought to life with street art, fire and music, all summer until 5th September.

Angouleme, the region’s second city holds the Circuit International des Remparts 18 to 20 September, when it is transformed in the style of Le mans to create a city curcuit for elegant legendary vintage racing cars including Aston Martin, MG, Bugatti, Porsche and Lotus.

The famous city of Cognac, shown in the above photo, celebrates exuberantly with the Coupe de Chauffe 4th to 6th September, when the streets are alive with music, dance and celebration – all completely free.

And, of course, all through the year you can tour factories where Cognac brandy is made and take wine tours and tastings. There is even an informative Cognac museum and another devoted to the arts celebrating the famous drink. An interesting attrraction on a totally different theme is the Memorial of Resistance at Chasseneuil-sur-Bonnieure, very informative about the scale and nature of wartime resistance in France.

We have a beautiful selection of great value accommodation at farmhouses, watermills, country cottages and gites, so check out our Charente listings and Info guide now for your last minute summer holiday or next trip to France!