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What to do and see

 

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Taillebourg and St. Savinien

About forty minutes drive from La Rochelle with its direct flights from London and other UK airports, the 10th century village of Taillebourg sits on the river Charente. There is a boulangerie, tabac, village shop, and pharmacie, and there are two restaurants by the river, on which you can jet-ski or hire pedalos.

 

 

 

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In the next village to Taillebourg, St. Savinien (below) you will find an outdoor swimming pool and tennis complex, a boating lake on which you can drive handmade miniature pirate ships and ferries, or, again, you can take a canoe or pedalo on the river.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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golf

The area is popular for horse riding, fishing and golf – with around 20 courses in the region. In Saintes the Louis-Rouyer-Guillet golf course is the region’s oldest, where you can play alongside the remains of the old Roman aquaduct. There is also a golf course at Cognac, in the heart of the vineyards and Royan with its spectacular views over the Atlantic.

At Les Antilles near Jonzac there is an indoor ‘lagoon’ with palm trees, man-made beach, wave machine, slide, restaurant, fitness centre, etc.

This is Chateau country, too - especially well known is the XVth Century Chateau de la Roche Courbon with its ornate gardens, orhards and ornamental lake and Le Chateau de Crazannes, which was built in the 14th century on the site of an 11th century monastery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

La Rochelle, Royan and the Ile de Ré

La Rochelle (below left) is a great place to spend the day, with its bustling harbour flanked by ancient towers and its marina full of beautiful yachts, its waterside cafes and restaurants, and arty shops. There is also an aquarium and boat trips to and around the nearby islands of Oleron and Aix, and you can drive over the toll bridge to the very fashionable Isle de Ré (or park up and hire a bicycle). To the south is the 300-mile coastline with its sandy beaches and pine forests stretching towards Royan, another popular seaside resort with its impressive marina, and profusion of hotels, cafes, bars and restaurants.

 

 

 

 

 

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Saintes and Cognac

The lovely old town of Saintes is just 12km to the south of Taillebourg – built on either side of the Charente, it balances its Roman quarter and amphitheatre with contemporary shops, cafes and restaurants, and a busy daily food market. Just east of Saintes is the pretty town of Cognac, where all the major distilleries run tours.

 

 

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Bordeaux and The Médoc

Take a ferry across the Gironde river from Blaye (between Taillebourg and Bordeaux) to Pauillac, with its waterfront lined with restaurants, and explore the majestic chateaux and vineyards of the Médoc. From here it is a short drive to the surfing beaches of the western Médoc coast, la Côte d'Argent.