The beautiful, historic riverside town of Saintes is only 40 mins away by car, or can be reached by train. The UNESCO World Heritage List include the “routes of Santiago de Compostela in France” which run through Saintes. Admire the beautiful crypt at St Eutrope or the stunning “Abbaye aux Dames”. Alternatively explore the Roman amphitheater, the Arch of Germanicus and the Archaeological Museum. Stroll through the busy shopping area, relax at a café or restaurant or explore the beautiful park that runs alongside the river Charente. Children will enjoy the various play areas and mini-zoo.
Angoulême is home of the comic strip or “bande dessinée” and hosts an international festival at the end of January, has a museum dedicated to the subject and another dedicated to paper. Take a walking tour of the town and discover the murals that decorate various buildings. It is built at the top of a hill and each September the ramparts resound to the roar of the engines of classic cars competing at the “Circuit des Remparts“. In November, a more culinary air takes over the town with the famous Gastronomades festival. Throughout the year, there are musical events, arts and crafts events, shopping, restaurants, sports activities – even the opportunity to take a hot air balloon ride !
If you fancy a day at the seaside, you are spoilt for choice – La Rochelle, with its last Medieval lighthouse on the Atlantic coast, its three towers, the Francofolies music festival in July, sports and cultural events; L’île de Ré which is reached by the toll bridge and is a haven for wildlife; Rochefort, the home of Fort Boyard, the royal rope works and the reconstruction of the boat Hermione on which La Fayette sailed in 1780 from France to Boston; Saint-Palais-sur-Mer with its sandy beaches or L’île d’Oleron again with water sports and lovely beaches.
The town of Bordeaux is well worth a visit with its gourmet restaurants; wine bars, superb shopping, beautiful architecture and a multitude of special events and concerts. Drive to the outskirts of the town and buy a day pass on the efficient tram system for a stress free way to enjoy this wonderful city.