There are many nearby attractions that are suitable for a variety of ages. We have selected just a few to help you plan your holiday at La Maison Charentaise.
Winner of Trip Advisors Travellers' Choice award in 2015 is the futuristic theme park Futuroscope. The multi-media high-tech theme park near Poitiers is a great day out for the family with more than 25 original experiences, including a fairy tale evening show, The Time Machine and Arthur the 4D Adventure.
Parc Animalier de la Colline Enchantee
Covering 12 hectares in the Hiesse area of Charente is the Parc Animalier de la Colline Enchantee. This pretty animal park is home to more than 40 different species, including wallabies, llamas, ostriches, emus, stags, deer, yak, antelopes, bison, dromedaries and farm animals.
La Vallee Des Singes
An alternative park to explore is La Valle Des Singes. This beautiful 15 hectare park has gorillas, apes, chimpanzees and monkeys swinging from its trees. Children will love the feeding sessions where they can get up close to the animals.
In June 1944 Nazi soldiers without any explanation massacred 642 men, women and children in the village of Oradour-Sur-Glane. The entire village was then destroyed but rebuilt after the war on a nearby site with the original area maintained as a memorial to the massacre. Visitors to the village can spend time in the museum discovering some of the artefacts that were saved, along with reading some of the stories relating to the village's history.
Near Oradour-Sur-Glanes in Veyrac is Freeiland. This pretty setting is home to a world of miniature models, making it a lovely Lilliput land for visitors to explore and admire.
At L'Ile Aux Serpents, otherwise known as Snake Island, you will find more than 60 species and 300 animals. Open all year round, and located at La Trimouille, east of Montmorilon, the park has a range of reptiles including alligators, chameleons and lizards on show. Discover how these animals that are often feared by humans are actually at risk of extinction.
Giants of the Sky
In the medieval city of Chauvigny, and within the ruins of the Bishop's chateaux is Le Geants du Ciel, featuring a birds of prey show that is guaranteed to wow.
Puy Du Fou
Voted one of the best parks, Puy Du Fou is a historical themed attraction park in the Vendee region of France. The park is split into five areas, with shows in each running for up to 40 minutes. Entertainment on offer includes The Secret of the Lance in the Middle Age Castle; The Vikings, which features a 1000 year old reconstructed fortress and a saint walking on water; Triumph's Sign where a traditional Gaul atmosphere accompanies a parade, gladiatorial fights and chariot racing, which are all set in a 115 long amphitheatre; The Phantom Birds Dance, a show with hundreds of birds, and finally Richelieu's Musketeers, where the famous soldiers partake in swashbuckling sword fights, and gypsy girls dance the flamenco in the water.
La Rochelle Aquarium
Visit the La Rochelle Aquarium and dive beneath the ocean's surface on a two hour long voyage exploring the sea. Ranked as the best aquarium in France by visitors it is home to more than 600 species, including a variety of jellyfish, the clownfish, turtles, sharks and much, much more.
After a trip to the aquarium why not spend the rest of the day in La Rochelle? This lovely town is wonderful for shopping, and also has many excellent restaurants.
Chateau de la Rochefoucauld
Known by the locals as the Pearl of Angoumois, the Chateau of La Rochefoucaul is a wonderful example of historic architecture. Built in the 11th century and modified over the centuries the chateau has a square keep, a courtyard, a stunning spiral staircase, furnished rooms, a library and a gothic chapel to explore.
Complete your visit by spending time in the surrounding village where there is a lovely chocolatier and several bars and restaurants.
Nautilus Swimming and Ice Skating Park
Situated beside the Charente River is the Nautilus Swimming and Ice Skating Park. This wonderful attraction, with its mix of summer and winter sports, is a great place to bring the children to have fun, splashing around in one of the swimming pools or racing toboggans.
The local adventure park can be found on the shores of the lake at Mas Chaban in Massignac. Here guests can get involved with a number of outdoor activities, including aerial runways and bungee jumping. There are also rope bridges. For children under eight there is a mini park.
Freshwater bathing is a very popular pastime in France with many of the lakeside beaches easier to access than the beach. You will find a list in the house of those we recommend, but a few of our favourites include those in Cognac, Les Gours, Vars, Marsa and Chateuneuf Sur Charente.
If you would prefer to visit the local beach, Royan is an easy drive away and is a great place to explore, as well as have fun in the ocean.
France is a wonderful place to enjoy a round of golf. Nearby courses include Golf de l'Hirondelle in Angouleme, Golf International de la Preze in Ecuras, Golf du Cognac at Saint Brice and, finally, in Pillac Golf d'Aubeterre.
When staying at La Maison Charentaise you are only a short walk or cycle ride from the local riding stables. Lucheville can be accessed from the road in front of the house in only around 10 minutes and offers guests a wonderful way to see the local countryside and stunning views.
Tennis and Football
In Verdille, the neighbouring village, there is a very good tennis court where guests can just turn up and play. A football stadium is also situated here in case you prefer this sport. On the rare occasions that the gate is locked you will find the key with the local butcher.
From Cognac, the Dame Jeanne, a flat bottomed sailing barge, sets sail up and down the river. Travelling between Cognac and St Brice the trip lasts around an hour and 45 minutes, during which time visitors can see 14KM of the river and enjoy its spectacular scenery. Boarding for this boat trip is from the quay near the St Jaques towers.
Another interesting boat trip is from L'Angoumois in Angouleme. Discover the delights of the Bacchus cruise as you visit a vineyard, or alternatively there is the paper cruise with a stop at the Fleurac paper mill and museum. Gourmet cruises can also be enjoyed in the morning and evening, which last for up to two hours.
Castles, Country Houses and Other
A trip to France would not be complete without visiting some of its beautiful castles and country houses that feature the best of the country's architecture. La Rochefoucauld is well worth a visit but we recommend the castle at Verteuil. To explore this castle you will need an appointment, but once inside it is well worth the trouble. There is a very good mill restaurant onsite, as well as an ice cream parlour. Opposite the castle is a lovely shop selling household gifts and serving tea, and just outside the village is a children's play area.
Mountain and Biking Walks
There are thousands of local trails and footpaths around La Maison Charentaise where guests can explore some of the beautiful countryside either on foot or by bike. Many of the trails are well signposted and are easy to follow. There are paths suitable for beginners, as well as those with more experience. Organised walks are also available.
An open market with a variety of stalls is held every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday morning in Aigre. Alternatively there is a market in Rouillac on the 27th of each month. As markets tend to be weather permitting and dates can change, check the details at the tourist office located on the square in Aigre.
When staying in France it is well worth visiting one of the many local restaurants, which are all close at hand. In Aigre there is Le Square, and in Matha Le National, a very reasonably priced restaurant located next to a bar.
Jarnac also has a variety of restaurants, one that is highly recommended in Le Chateau, which is situated by the clock tower on the square. In Luxe is Cheval Blanc and en route from Aigre to Angouleme is La Chapelle.
In Mansle a very popular place to enjoy a meal is The Beau Rivage. This busy restaurant located by the river has a lovely terrace and an onsite canoe centre. As the restaurant is a favourite amongst visitors it is well worth booking in advance to guarantee a table. Another good restaurant in Mansle is La Marmite.
For a traditional French restaurant with views of the river visit Marcillac-Llanville, where you can enjoy good food, good wine and good company, whilst children can spend time boating.
Bread is delivered every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday between 9am and 10am - just listen out for the horn. The van stops just outside the gates to La Maison Charentaise and will wait for a few minutes to give you time to decide if you would like some of the freshly made products.
Another baker delivers to the local village every Wednesday but does not stop at the house.
Alternatively there is an excellent boulangerie in Verdille. Like many other good French bakers it is open from early in the morning and, along with baguettes and croissants, there are plenty of sweet treats on offer. The boulangerie can be reached either by bike or car.
More information on local attractions, shops and restaurants can be found in the information pack provided in the house.