The south of the Charente offers beautiful countryside, a wonderful sunny climate and an opportunity to see southwest France at its best.
The quiet lanes are ideal for touring around by car, bicycle or on foot to explore the countryside, historic villages and towns, the lakes and the authentic local character such as markets, good restaurants, vineyards and cognac distilleries.
Chez Sarrazin provides an excellent base to explore the many attractions of the Charente, Charente Maritime, Gironde and Dordogne Departements.
It is a short distance from the village of Brossac with its old stone houses set around the 12th century church where there is a good range of facilities including: restaurants; tennis and bocce courts; bakeries; a grocery store; a pharmacy; bank; post office; and a butcher. A tourist office is located in the post office
The pretty town of Chalais, dominated by its 16th century chateau, is located 10 minutes drive away and has many shops and supermarkets as well as a colourful and lively market on Monday mornings.
One of the highlights of the summer is an international show and during the year there are concerts and exhibitions in the castle and its gardens.
Also within easy reach is Aubeterre-sur-Dronne which boasts an exceptional cultural heritage which, combined with its beautiful natural surroundings and the famous French “art de vivre”, makes it the perfect place to visit. Officially listed as one of The Most Beautiful Villages in France it has welcomed tourists, visitors and pilgrims on their way to Spain for over 1000 years. Visitors today can enjoy meandering through the narrow streets, popping in to admire the many specialist shops (including a leather worker, potters, and antique shops) and then settling down in the village square at one of the cafés or restaurants, comfortably shaded by ancient lime trees.
Also within easy reach are: Royan on the Atlantic coast; Bordeaux, the historic and cosmopolitan city; St Emilion and Cognac, known worldwide for their famous wine and cognac; Périgueux; Brantome; Bourdeilles; Bergerac; Riberac with its famous weekly market; Poitiers with the famous Futuroscope and the Vallée des Singes monkey park; and Angoulême, the walled capital of the Charente with shopping boulevards and historic buildings.
Restaurants, Food & Wine
Charente is known for its Cognac and Pineau. The vineyards of the "Petite Champagne", "Fins Bois" and "Bons Bois" can be found around Barbezieux, Blanzac, Baignes and Brossac. In the South of Charente cognac and pineau are produced (pineau is a blend of brandy and grape juice).
Other local products are melons, raspberries, (goat) cheese, walnuts, hazelnuts and walnut oil. The mild, sunny climate guarantees abundant crops of fruits and vegetables. Magret de canard, duck confit, duck pâté, rillettes and foie gras, and the Chalais veal are the specialties of the region.
There is one restaurant in Brossac and 2 at Etang Vallier. Numerous cafes and bars are available in Chalais which also boasts a fine-ding restaurant in its 16th century chateau.
For hiking and mountain bike enthusiasts, paths are marked so it is easy to explore the beautiful surrounding countryside by bike or on foot. You can fish and swim at Lake Vallier which is about 3 kms from Chez Sarrazin. The lake also has a sandy beach and there is a dedicated safe swimming area, supervised during the summer months. Horse riding is also available. 5 kms away is Lac Sensation Frisson which offers quad-bike riding and jet-skiing during the high summer months.
Other possibilities for nature swimming are at Aubeterre (the river), St. Aulaye (the river with a water slide) and Le Paradou near Parcoul (a lake with a water slide). Indoor pools are found in Jonzac (with a beach!) and Angoulême.
Also visit one of the castles (many Romanesque) churches, museums or art studios, and the mills and farms where they sell local produce made using traditional methods.
The area has various parks and gardens that can be visited.
Chez Sarrazin is about an hour's drive to the Gironde estuary where outstanding sandy beaches are plentiful, particularly around Royan. More locally, there are a number of recreational lakes with (imported) sandy beaches.
Fishing is available at Etang Arnaud (a 10 minute drive away). Please see http://www.etang-arnaud.com/index.html
- Aubeterre - 9-hole - 20mins
- Manoir de Longeveau - 9-hole - 30mins
- Angouleme - 18-hole - 40mins
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