Chez Touvenot is situated on the edge the pretty little village of Nieul le Virouil in the Charente-Maritime region of France. The gite is approximately five minutes drive from the A10 autoroute from Paris to the South West. The village lies between the two market towns of Mirambeau and Jonzac, close to the Gironde estuary and the beautiful unspoilt beaches around Royan. The regional capital, Saintes, and the historic city of Bordeaux are both approximately forty minutes drive away.
Places To Go near Chez Touvenot
There is a ‘green route’, which is well signposted and goes through pretty villages and a coast road that accesses the ports along the Gironde estuary. This is great for either a leisurely drive or an energetic bike ride.
Talmont is a beautiful old fishing village overlooking the Gironde. It has a Romanesque church and narrow twisting streets,which now house interesting craft shops and restaurants.
Pons is a historic walled medieval town with plenty to see and many restaurants. Saintes and Cognac are also beautiful old towns well worth visiting. There are many rivers in the area and a boat trip is a good way to see the sights.
Saintes is a large town with street markets, shops and restaurants. There is a Roman museum as well as the remains of an amphitheatre and church.
Bordeaux is a lovely city with fascinating architecture and miles of shopping arcades and restaurants. There is an excellent tram system operating in the city. It can be accessed very easily by driving to the outskirts (detailed information is provided in the gite). Parking in the Park and Ride scheme is very inexpensive with access to the tram system alongside.
The Charente-Maritime beaches are well known. They are generally beautiful, unspoilt and fairly uncrowded depending upon where and when you go. The area has the second highest number of hours of sunlight after the Cote d’Azur. The main beach areas are:
- Meschers, has five superb sandy beaches and also has several pretty villages nearby. There are bars and restaurants around, either for a quick snack or a long lunch for which the French are famous.
- St Georges de Didonne has a long sandy beach, restaurants and a quaint town.
- Royan is a large seaside town with long sandy beaches and trendy shops. This also has night clubs, free beach concerts on specified dates and a casino.
- St.Palais is a pretty resort very popular with French holidaymakers. There is a long sandy beach, together with restaurants and shops.
- La Palmyre is another beautiful beach resort and beyond this lies the Cote Sauvage. This has a pine forest surrounding the beach area.
Many of these beaches provide children’s clubs operating during the high season. They have English speaking staff and are very reasonably priced.
Other Swimming Venues
Jonzac has “Les Antilles” (French West Indies). This is a fabulous indoor/outdoor swimming area with jacuzzis, steam and sauna rooms. It is very large, beautifully maintained with sandy outside area’s and is suitable for children or adults alone.
There is also a lake at Jonzac with children’s activities and eating areas.
Montendre has a large lake for swimming and boating. This has life-guards and eating facilities including a Thai restaurant.
There is horse riding at Jonzac, canoeing at Montendre and go-karting just outside of Saintes. In Poitiers there is “Futuroscope” which is a fabulous day out for children and adults alike. In addition to the many fabulous sandy beaches around Royan there is the zoo at La Palmyre with more than 1,500 animals.
Golf: There are four local golf courses: a Links course at Royan, and 18 hole courses at Cognac and Saintes. At Montendre there is a 9 hole course.
Fishing: There are numerous fishing lakes in the area.
Casinos: There is a casino at Royan and another at Jonzac which also has an excellent restaurant and a disco.
Local Vineyards: The Charente-Maritime region is famous for Cognac and Pineau as well as the numerous local vineyards, one producing excellent organic wines. Most have signs indicating the provision of tours, information and the opportunity to buy at reduced prices.
The following venues make great day trips:
Oradour Sur Glane – this large and prosperous village near Limoges was attacked and destroyed on Saturday 10th June 1944. The village remains as it was left, as a memorial to those who lost their lives that day.
St Emillion – This is a beautiful medieval town with cobbled streets and ancient limestone buildings. There are many restaurants, including shops and many sight seeing opportunities. It is a large wine producing area. Generally the Bordeaux wines are rich and warm with a high concentration of the Merlot grape.
Arcachon – This has Europe’s largest sand dune. It is currently 3 km long and is moving in-land at around 5m a year.
Mirambeau, three miles away, has two supermarkets, a butcher, baker, bank, tabac, hotels, restaurants, a boulangerie/coffee bar, a drinks bar and a large chateau, now a hotel. There is a local market on Saturday mornings selling fish, meat, fruit, vegetables and other produce.
Most supermarkets do not close for lunch but other shops do, normally from 12.00noon until 2.00pm. The supermarkets in Mirambeau are open on Sunday mornings until 12.00noon.
Jonzac, in the opposite direction is a larger town about eight miles away. This has out-of-town supermarkets and shops. It is a thriving town with varied retailers and restaurants. The large local market here is covered and opens on Friday mornings. There is a railway station that operates trains to Bordeaux, Saintes, La Rochelle and the surrounding area.
There are also plenty of shops in Saintes and Bordeaux.
There are over a hundred restaurants in the near vicinity, excluding those in Saintes and Bordeaux. Many of these are listed in the gite and further details are provided wherever possible. For a special treat, the Mirambeau Chateau is approximately five minutes away. Here you can enjoy a wonderful meal in beautiful surroundings.