• La Citadelle

    The inhabitants of Poitou-Charentes have strong historical and cultural links with the sea, so anyone who really wants to get under the skin of the region shouldn’t miss out on the maritime heritage of La Rochelle and Ile de Ré.

    Start your discovery weekend by exploring the harbour town of La Rochelle on one of the excellent guided visits organised by the Tourist Office. You’ll tour the Vieux Port, visit the famous twin towers at the harbour entrance, and then uncover the maritime history of the town centre with its attractive arcaded streets. Don’t miss the Musée du Nouveau Monde or New World Museum, not only to learn about the town’s links with the Americas but also the 1000-year history of a community which has always depended on the sea.

    Le Phare des Baleines (1)

    To enjoy the flavours of the ocean, spend an evening at Restaurant André, where the menu alone is enough to make your mouth water. You’ll feel as though you’re enjoying a quiet dinner on an old sailing ship as you try langoustine, sea food, home-smoked fish, and other delicious dishes.

    After a night at Le Vieux Gréement hotel at La Couarde, set off for Ile de Ré and explore the charming small town of Saint-Martin-de-Ré with its Vauban citadel, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as the famous Phare de la Baleine lighthouse on the northern tip of the island.

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  • One of the most beautiful south coast beaches on Ile-de-Ré is just 50 metres away when you stay at the Interlude-Sunélia campsite near the village of Bois-Plage-en-Ré.

    Part of the Sunélia group of 3*, 4* and 5* campsites across France, Interlude offers a range of cottage-style accommodation on a 7 and a half-hectare site which is open from April until September.

    This is a great break for families with a huge range of on-site sports and entertainment activities to choose from, as well as the glorious sands of Bois-Plage where you can chill out or get active with games and watersports.

    Hire a sailing boat for an offshore view of this glorious island or rent bikes to explore the 100km of level cycling tracks that wind past marshes and salt pans, pretty villages and lighthouses.

    Just a short pedal to the north side of the island brings you to La Flotte with its pretty harbour lined with cafes.

    Classified amongst the Most Beautiful Villages in France, it’s also home to a colourful produce market – an atmospheric place to stock up with edible souvenirs.

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  • Marche Le Vanneau

    Few areas are more atmospheric than the Marais Poitevin. Situated in Poitou-Charentes between Poitiers and La Rochelle, this magical marshland surprises first-time visitors with its tranquillity, unspoilt nature, authentic lifestyle and relaxed pace of life.

    Base yourself at Coulon, capital of the area known as the Wet Marsh.

    Stay over at Le Central, a romantic and pretty ‘Hôtel de Charme’

    Calèche Marais Poitevin

    Your short break will enable you to try the hotel’s gourmet fare and enjoy the real flavours of the Poitou-Charentes region through its local produce. During the day, don’t miss the opportunity to take a guided tour of the marshland canals in a traditional flat-bottomed boat – a truly serene and romantic experience.  

    For a different, but equally enchanting perspective, enjoy a trip along the quiet lanes in a horse-drawn carriage, hire a bike to explore the towpath trails, or pilot your own canoe.

    To complete your marshland experience, don’t miss the

    Hôtel le Central à Coulon

    floating market at Vanneau which takes place on the last Saturday in July.  People, animals and produce are all transported along the canals of France’s ‘Green Venice’ in one of the most unusual traditions of the Marais Poitevin.

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  • Blue Note Croisière

    For anyone who has visited Ile de Ré, this idyllic island will always be synonymous  with beauty, sensuality and culinary delights. So if you’ve never set foot on its sandy shores, treat yourself to a weekend and discover the many different facets of island life.

    If you like the idea of being pampered, you can’t do better than book into Les Bois Flottais hotel. Here Nathalie and Frédéric will lay on every little comfort to make you feel relaxed and special, from tastefully decorated bedrooms to hammam and beauty treatments.

    Spend the day enjoying an unexpected view of the Atlantic coast, whilst sipping champagne from the deck of a catamaran. The captain will help you discover the delights of Ile de Ré, Fort Boyard and Ile d’Aix – an unmissable experience! 

    Confiture Ars

    Back on dry land, visit the Ecomusée du Marais Salant – the salt marsh discovery centre – at Loix;  enjoy a glass of delicious Pineau des Charentes aperitif or a wine from Ile de Ré at the winemakers’ co-operative; discover the wonderful range of home-made jams at the bell tower at Ars-en-Ré; and toast your weekend at the Bières de Ré micro-brewery where you’ll find beers to rival any more famous names. 

    After a relaxed afternoon sampling the island’s produce, there’s no better way to end the day than over a plate of traditional local fare.

    Hôtel Bois Flottais

    At the top end of the scale, the restaurant of the Hôtel Océan at Bois-Plage-en- Ré is a real gourmet treat, whilst Serghi at Saint-Martin-de-Ré will please anyone who loves an authentic local atmosphere.

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  • Cathédrale St Pierre Poitiers

    Explore the capital of Poitou-Charentes to experience history with a capital H. Dating back 1000 years, Poitiers’ architectural treasures are guaranteed to delight, including the famous church of Notre Dame, one of the best examples of Romanesque art in the region.

    It’s impossible to tour Poitiers without falling in love with the unique heritage of a town packed with traditional charm – streets with half-timbered houses, ancient stones, impressive churches, a cathedral and a wealth of tempting small shops. You only need to relax with a drink or a meal at a café terrace opposite Notre-Dame to realise that you are in an outstanding town.

    Chambre d'hôte "Les Cours du Clain"(2)

    Chambre d'Hôte "les Cours du Clain"(1)

    Spend the night in Les Cours du Clain guest house and you’ll be in the heart of the historic centre, handy for all the key places to visit including beautiful Blossac park – Poitiers’ own mini ‘Hyde Park’ – and the glorious Jardin des Plantes. 

    Don’t forget to take a romantic stroll beside the Clain river in the soft morning light, then stop for brunch in the warm, retro atmosphere of La Serrurerie, one of the town’s most typical bistros. But don’t leave without a box of scrumptious Montmorillon macaroons from the Rannou Métivier patisserie – the essential edible souvenir!

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  • Experience the calm and elegance of a riverside country mansion just five minutes’ walk from the centre of Poitiers, regional capital of Poitou-Charentes.

    Built in 1830 beside the river Clain, Le Cours du Clain was once a busy farm, tucked beneath the city’s ancient ramparts. Today this enchanting B&B offers five period rooms with every contemporary comfort, a warm welcome, and the chance to relax in 4 hectares of private grounds.

    Relax by the pool, stroll through the kitchen garden, and sip an aperitif beneath a 400-year-old cedar tree.  If you can tear yourself away, the heart of historic Poitiers is just a stroll away.  

    Follow one of three colour-coded trails from the Romanesque church of Notre-Dame-la-Grande to take in the historic monuments and retail temptations, quiet parks and pretty squares.

    Poitiers boasts over 2000 years of history and more than 80 classified monuments, but it has a vibrant contemporary feel as well.

    One of the first university towns in Europe, Poitiers is now home to more than 25,700 students, and its lively cultural scene includes dance festivals and theatre, concerts and street arts.

    Relax at a pavement café and just watch the world go by, then for a different perspective, see the town from water level by hiring a canoe or kayak from the base in Saint-Benoit.

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  • Pti Dej Hotel outdoor swimming-pool

    Families welcome at Le P'tit Dej Hotel on Ile de Ré

    Located on the south-east coast of the beautiful Ile de Ré – pearl of the French Atlantic Coast - le Ptit Dej Hotel is an attractive new address for families seeking a beach holiday on a budget. Opened in spring 2012 in Ste-Marie-de-Ré, this family-friendly hotel offers an economical and eco-friendly base just a bridge away from picturesque La Rochelle.

    Hospitality runs in the owners' family, who have been running hotels and gîtes in Sainte-Marie-de-Ré since 1930. So whatever comforts and facilities your family needs, you can be sure of finding it here. Choose from 10 ground floor bedrooms sleeping up to 4 people each, and 22 apartments for families up to 5, all with private terrace, television and free WiFi. Make new friends around the heated pool and over the children’s games, and hire bicycles to explore this holiday island paradise.

    Some 30km long and 5km across at the widest point, Ile de Ré’s highest point is just 19 metres above sea level, making it perfect for young cyclists.  And with more than 100km of marked paths and trails, it’s easy – and safe – to get close to nature by bike or on foot. Family holiday heaven!

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