Places to go and things to see and do in Charente

Visit historical sites, Shop in the local markets, book a Cognac tasting tour, visit a local vineyard, canoe/kayak on rivers and lakes or indulge and treat your taste buds to great food and wine/pineau.

Angouleme, Cognac, Bordeaux and the sandy beaches of the Atlantic Coast are all worth a day trip

VILLEBOIS LAVALETTE (14km)

The most incredible story of a project that never quite got finished. Visible from more than 10 kilometres away, guided tours are available at our local chateau - http://www.chateaudelamercerie.fr/

On the hill above the town, guided tours available at our local castle - https://castleofvilleboislavalette.jimdo.com/

ANGOULEME : (18km)  The capital of Charente region, the town is known as the balcony of the south west as it is perched on a plateau. It is the home of Comic Strip festival. Take a walk on the Circuit of Wall Paintings to discover numerous wall paintings (20 in all) by famous comic-strip authors 

Angoulême is also famous for its' paper mills industry, Le Nil being the main museum. Angoulême is a real must visit with hundreds of places/museums/shops etc. to enjoy, and that Al Fresco meal at any time of the day or night. 

Angoulême Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church in Angoulême, Charente, France. The cathedral is in the Romanesque architectural and sculptural tradition, and is the seat of the Bishop of Angoulême.

Classic Car Festival takes place on the third weekend of September annually 

Bi-annual hot air Balloon Festivals in August (the next one will be in 2021.)

PLAN D'EAU : a 40 hectare leisure lake on the outskirts of Angouleme (20 mins) has fishing, boating, sailing, wind-surfing, tennis courts and swimming. Spend a day there and take a picnic. 

COGNAC : (44k) Besides its famous cognac producers, which have tours and tastings, Cognac is a well-visited historic town with shops, boutiques, bars, restaurants and cafes.

BRANTOME-SUR-DRONNE : (45k) A picturesque medieval village known as the Venice of the Perigord on the river Dronne in the Dordogne. Shops, boutiques, market, history, restaurants and cafés, canoe hire. Visit Brantome Canoe Hire. A popular place well worth spending a day there......market day Fridays and river jousting on the Dronne every Friday during July and August, starting at 9.15 p.m. So enjoy an evening meal before watching!

Close to Brantome are caves that are well worth a vist...... Grotte de Villars  The website is full of useful information (English) and pictures of the stalactites/stalagmites and drawings dating back 17,000 years. Guided tours last 45 mins and the passageways are non-slippery.

AUBETERRE-SUR-DRONNE : (35k) Another picturesque medieval village with steep lanes, boutiques, market square with shops and restaurants. Here you can visit the finest example of an underground church in Europe which is 900 years old and took 10 years to build (audio commentary is available). 

Aubeterre has its own man-made fine sandy beach along the river Dronne, in a shady spot, close to a cafe/toilettes. A lifeguard operation is present during the tourist season (July/August) which guarantees safe swimming. Canoes can be hired during July and August, a fun way to explore the attractions of the Dronne Valley.

BORDEAUX : (85k) Famous the world over as the centre of French wine-making and only 40 minutes away by train, Bordeaux has the excellent “Cit de Vin” - the interactive wine museum. The city centre has numerous boutiques, cafés/restaurants, museums and culture.

ST EMILION : The premier place for wine tasting is but a short distance away from Bordeaux and well worth a visit for wine-lovers.

TALMONT-sur-GIRONDE , although further afield (approx 1h30 drive on uncluttered roads) is a picturesque little village, with whitewashed cottages surrounded by hollyhocks and tamarisks. It's coast is dotted with fishing huts on stilts, known as caralets. Perched on the edge of a cliff can be seen the 11C Church of Sainte-Radegonde, once a stop on the road to the shrine of St James of Compostela. After your picnic, you are within striking distance of Meschers and St George de Didonne (see directly below). 

MESCHERS-sur-GIRONDE , only 5 mins drive north of Talmont, is well worth a visit, having 5 small different sandy beaches and the famous THE RÉGULUS CAVES 

ST. GEORGE DE DIDONNE, a further 10 mins north of Meschers, has a fantastic beach which is washed twice daily and ideal for children and sandcastle building!

FOR FOOD LOVERS

Some of our favourite eats :

BLANZAC 

L’arthemy - Blanzac  is just 8 km away from Tillac.  A talented young chef serving reasonably priced food with friendly staff and ambience.

VILLEBOIS LAVALETTE

le-lavalette A very nice restaurant where you can have lunch under cover in the old market hall. 

CHATEAUNEUF-SUR-CHARENTE

Only 20 minutes away from Tillac La Tonnelie in a nice location on the banks of the river Charente, the restaurant serves lovely food. Choice of a set menu or simply choose from starter, main and desert. Seating options are both inside or out on a terrace. A visit to their website will wet your appetite. 

SAINT SIMEUX

Mas Charentaise - Mas Charentaise is a lovely restaurant with open terraces with views down to the river and across the valley and into the distance. In summer, live music is provided on selected Saturday evenings.

ANGOULEME

Angouleme's first restaurant with a Michelin star -sourcesdefontbelle

St Andre - St Andre A favourite eatery for us, high in the old town with bars, restaurants in cobbled streets.

Chez Paul - Chez Paul  at 8 Place Francis Louvel, offers a cuisine based on fresh produce, a wide variety of menus both simple and gourmet.

 


FOR WINE AND COGNAC LOVERS

Cognac, locally known as 'L'Eau de Vie, the water of life' is produced in the surrounding area. Several local producers offer tours and tastings. 

Cognac-Moreau  (2k from here) and sample their Cognac and Pineau des Charentes.

Maine Giraud formally the home of a famous French poet Maine Giraud (6 km) has a fine selection of spirits and wine. 

ABK6 (5 km) producing Cognac and Pineau, has a shop and taste tours ABK6 Cognac

We are also within striking distance of the famous Bordeaux vineyards, hub of the largest region of vineyards producing some of the world's finest wines, and is a pleasant drive 1H30 mins away on un-cluttered roads.

The newly opened Cite du Vin Wine museum in the city is well worth a visit. 

The Vignoble Trail COGNAC is a must for the cognac connoisseur, as the world renowned cognac producers are to be found here. Famous houses like Remy Martin, Hennessy, Martell  all welcome visitors for a history tour, a tasting of samples and the opportunity to purchase your favorite tipple. 


FOR MARKET LOVERS

Local markets are a must for a variety of local produce, smells and buzz. We have a list of daily markets, but here are a few to add to your list :-

Villebois Lavalette : The town has a market every Saturday in historic covered market building

Angoulême : The town's main market is Les Halles, which is open daily. The building itself is 19th century with ornate metalwork. A stroll across the street will find yourself amongst numerous roadside cafés and restaurants to finish off your visit.

Brantome-sur-Dronne :  a beautiful setting for the Friday market, then lunch, followed by an hour or two canoeing, evening meal/picnic, then watching the river jousting at 9.15p.m. during July & August..........a perfect day out.

Roulliac - Huge market taking up the whole town on the 27th of each month. Food, fashion accessories and live stock. 

Chalais : This is a pretty town in its' own right. Market day is on Mondays and stalls occupy many of the quaint streets and roads. After your shop, you can relax over a coffee in the shaded 'Place de la Fontaine'.

Riberac : This town has a massive market every Friday, set in a large square surrounded by cafés and restaurants. Put a compass in your shopping bag for fear of getting lost !

Remember that market traders begin packing away their goods around 12 noon.

 


CHILDREN’S ADVENTURES

Accro Adventure Parc in Soyeaux has rope climbing, crazy golf and laser play


FOR GOLF LOVERS

Angoulême has a superb 18 hole, par 70 golf course, One of the oldest golf courses in France. This is a picturesque, undulating course with stunning views of the old city. Not long, but there are a number of challenging Par 4’s, many to raised greens and three long Par 5’s. Some stiff climbs, especially on the back 9. A reasonable challenge to the average club golfer.

Known as Golf Club de L'Hirondelle and  is only 20 mins drive from Tillac-Gites. Open all year. Visit the website www.golf-angouleme.com for more information/tariffs/restaurant/clubhouse.

Another 'close at hand' golf course is Golf d' Aubeterre, 25 mins from Tillac. It is a 9 hole, par 64 (2x32) course, offering a challenge to golfers of all abilities, with equipment hire, supplies and tuition available. Their new bar-clubhouse offers great food and drink with superb views overlooking the course. Visit www.longeveau.com


BIKE HIRE HASSLE FREE RENTAL

Quality adults and childrens' bikes are available to hire with free delivery and collection to Tillac Gites.

BikeHireDirect (opens in a new window) can deliver 7 days a week at a time to suit you. All their bikes are fully serviced and maintained throughout the season. All bikes come with free helmets, locks, delivery and collection.

Visit their website for more information on family packages and couples' packages. The enterprise is English/French speaking and can also be reached on +33 5-67-07-11-01

Their French website is DispoVelo (opens in a new window).