POITOU CHARENTES offers many interesting places to visit and plenty of local features to explore at leisure, steeped in history with Romanesque churches and mediaeval buildings throughout the department, just to mention a few....

NIORT is the capital of the Deux-Sevres and has a super shopping centre. It is also famous for the 'Venice Vert' with thousands of navigation canals for boating enthusiasts which attract wildlife in abundance The national forest of the 'Marais Poitevin' offers many walks and also has the "Zoorama" at Chize which boasts the largest birdlife research centre in Europe.

POITIERS is approx 60 minutes drive away with the wonderful futuristic adventure park of "Futuroscope" on the northern side approx 1hrs drive. It is a must and needs the whole day to explore all the exciting images and scientific features being offered. A major attraction for the area the theme park is the only one of this nature in Europe and will be thoroughly enjoyed by both adults and children.

The beautiful old port of LA ROCHELLE (less than two hours away) with superb seafood restaurants, promenades and cafés, the "aquarium" and a wonderful shopping centre is well worth a day out and always has something going on, brocante fairs, open air theatre etc etc with sea excursions during the summer season.

There are the brandy and Pineau distilleries at COGNAC (approx 1.30hrs) Hennessey and Martell both offer good visits and samples of their wares. ROYAN is less than 2hrs away with a wonderful Sunday market (go early!) and good shopping centre, again the promenades, seafood restaurants are excellent. Miles of lovely sandy beaches to explore with the 'Cote Sauvage' for naturists. St.Georges de Didionne and ST.PALAIS SUR MER close by for more touristy/family beach areas and ice cream parlours Another zoo worth mentioning if you happen to be down this way at St.Palais sur Mer which is famous for its flamingos which are quite stunning. CELLES SUR BELLES (30 mins) has a large open air lake with beach area and some water sports payable to enter.

CONFOLENS, a mediaeval town on the river Vienne, has a fantastic music festival in August and is a very pretty little town (approx 1 hr). Coming closer to home there are many small villages and hamlets to explore Loubille, Melle, SauzeVaussais, Brioux sur Boutonne, Ruffec, Villefagnan and of course Chef Boutonne just up the road which meets all daily requirements. More information at the gîte.

    Local markets       
Tuesday Bressuire: in the town centre - general produce and livestock
Coulonges sur l'Autize: general market
Lezay: in the town centre - Large general and produce market
Niort: in the town centre - large general market
Thouars: indoor market in town - fish, meat, poultry and produce
Wednesday Parthenay: in the market place - large general and produce
Thursday Sauze Vaussais: centre of town - very large general market

Friday Thouars: in the centre of the old town, market hall, fresh produce and general household goods
Airvault: market square - general and produce
Chef Boutonne: in the town centre - large, general market
St Varent: market onWed, Fri, Saturday
General and produce ma the 3rd Sunday every month
Ruffec market Every rket in the town centre.

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