In & Around Servolles
Les Petites Cerises is situated in a small hamlet, set in an area of outstanding beauty in the Haute Charente region, called Servolles. Comprising of only 8 properties Servolles overlooks the Mas Chaban Lake, which is renowned for its freshwater fishing and is a haven for a variety of birds and wildlife.
Across the lake, and only two minutes drive away, is the picturesque village of Massignac with the imposing Church of St Paul dominating the village centre and the town’s ancient Lavoir; complete with wooden washing boards, a reminder of days gone by.
Massignac has a wealth of services catering to the everyday needs of the local people. There is a bakery providing fresh bread and viennoiseries and a small general store where you can buy fresh local produce. There is also an Auberge serving food and drinks. Massignac also has a Post Office, a very good Tourist Information Centre (Maison de Lacs). Additionally, for health care needs, there is an excellent and extremely helpful Pharmacy who speaks English and we are also very fortunate to have an English speaking Doctor.
The small town of Chabanais is approximately a 20 minute drive from Servolles, with a spectacular view from the town bridge of the imposing river Vienne. Chabanais has a good range of shops, bars, banks and restaurants as well as Petticoat Lane (a specialist English food shop – should you miss anything from UK) and it also boasts a large Supermarket on the edge of the town.
Serious fishermen should also check out http://three-oaks-lake.webs.com
The five destinations of Poitou-Charentes :
★ Atlantic Coast : http://bit.ly/GoToAtlanticCoast
★ La Rochelle : http://bit.ly/LaRochelleIleDeRe
★ Marais Poitevin : http://bit.ly/MaraisPoitevin
★ Cognac Country : http://bit.ly/CognacCountry
★ Futuroscope : http://bit.ly/Futuroscope-Poitiers
Adventure Parc – Massignac
Just around the corner, the Parc caters for the very young, with a bouncy castle type experience through to teenagers and adults.
Safety is paramount and you must use the TWO safety ropes that are attached to your harness at all times, Full instructions are given.
Tel: 05 45 24 07 43
Lacs de Haute Charente
Man made lake and beach, with lifeguards in season. French cafe one side and English Bar Restaurant the other, with playground for children. Serving food all day.
Chassenon Roman Settlement and Baths
This Roman settlement was originally constructed in the 1stC. The 300acre site consisted of a surrounding wall, temples, a theatre and very preserved Roman Baths. The Baths are the only part open to the public. They cover quite a large area and you are advised to take good walking shoes and a coat. Guided tours are available or you can hire hearing phones to explain each parts history in your own language as you walk around See how sophisticated the Romans were so long ago. A great place to visit. The facility has a shop and light beverage/snacks restaurant. Check opening times as they vary across the year. Admission Charge.
20 minutes by Car. La Rochefoucauld is dominated by its beautiful Chateau which overlooks the Town and the Tardoire River. Originally founded in 980 and rebuilt from the 11th century to the 18th century. It was the home of the La Rochefoucauld family and a member of the family still lives within its walls. Tours can be taken around the Chateau for a small admission charge. Park opposite the Chateau and take the 17th century humpback bridge with pedestrian alcoves to avoid passing traffic. The Town has a number of good restaurants. Even the massive LeClerc Supermarket serves very good, inexpensive lunches.
A unique trip on an old railway track between Roumazières and Confolens, crossing viaducts, rivers, grassland and forest. Open all year, advance booking required. Three circuits to choose from, no time limit, but starting-point and time of departure to be decided at time of booking.
From the 1st of July to the 31st of August : Roumazières-Manot and back (15km, 2h roundtrip Confolens – Ansac – Manot and (18 km, 2h15 go and back))
Booking and reservation : 05 45 71 16 64 http://velorail16.com
Angouleme is built on a rocky promontory overlooking the valley and the Charente River. The best way to see Angouleme is by walking around the ramparts of this ancient City. The Place Beaulieu offers the best views over the City and surrounding areas. Well worth a visit is the Comic Strip Museum on Route de Bordeaux. Highlight of the year is the vintage and classic car race called Circuit des Ramparts in mid September. This festival lasts 3 days and concludes on the Sunday with the race around the ramparts. Angouleme has many fine restaurants, Art & Crafts shops and Antique shops although you may need deep pockets for some.
Cognac is regarded as the Brandy capital of the world. No visit to the Charente region would be complete without a tour of one of the big distillers, Hennessy, Martell, Remy Martin, Courvoisier etc. Most run guided tours including explanations of the grape growing process, distillation and demonstrations of blending techniques often including free tasting, most charge admission and it is worth pre booking to ensure your tour is in the language of your choice.
1hr.20 mins by train from Chasseneuil Station, meandering around the villages and countryside of the Charente to Limoges-Beneditins station – a beautiful building in its own right. Tickets from the Tourist office or you can just pay on board. Synonymous with fine quality Porcelain and Ceramics. The Cite was ravaged by the Black Prince in 1370 who damaged it severely but which allowed the rise of the commercial side. Always famous since the middle Ages for its enamel work the discovery of kaolin deposits nearby determined its future in Porcelain. The Limoges Tourist Office is the first stop for the Tourist Train for tour of the City and its major sights including the old quartier de la Boucherie famous for the old Butchers shops handling Limousine Beef. The City has excellent restaurants and good quality shopping and its own Trolley Bus system.
Bordeaux is a UNESCO World Heritage City and a sought after destination for visitors from around the world. It is often called the City of Arts & History. Now, more known for its wine.. The region now produces more than 40 million cases of wine per year. Not a good place to use the car but nevertheless it is an easy place to explore. It has an excellent public transport system comprising buses and Trams and has over 400 taxicabs. Like shopping? Rue Sainte Catherine is a pedestrianised shopping Street ¾ of a mile long!
Poitiers is the regional Capital of Poitou Charente. It is now a very modern city. Poitiers is more widely known now for FUTURESCOPE, a fantastic 7km futuristic theme park. It has many high technology visual attractions suitable for both young and old which evolve each year. A must see is the large screen Cinema with its ‘Magic Carpet’. Great place to visit particularly with children above the 6-8 year and above range.
This once small, peaceful and attractive village was the scene of a terrible and barbaric massacre by Hitler’s elite Waffen SS troops on the 10th of June 1944. Killing 642 men, women & children and burning and destroying the entire Village the ruins of which have been preserved as it was left on that fateful day. A sad but compelling experience but a must see as a testament to the brutality of War. To walk through this martyred village is free. An excellent exhibition centre is next to the ruins which tell the entire story. There is a charge to enter the Centre.
This picturesque Town in the Dordogne is surrounded on all sides by the River Dronne and is sometimes called the Venice of the Perigord Verte. It is an excellent day trip to one of the prettiest places in the Dordogne. It has a medieval abbey and 11th Century belfry said to be the oldest still standing in France and behind it, through the Courtyard, fascinating ancient troglodyte dwellings. A pleasant place to visit. Local is the Grotte de Villars well worth a visit, and you can hire canoes to go around the town.
Listed on Les Plus Beaux Villages de France, (The most beautiful villages in France) and located in the south east of The Charente has an interesting history to match its quite unique and pretty façade. Key sights to visit and see are the huge Monolithic Church of Saint-Jean, an underground church carved into a cliff in the 7th century and later greatly enlarged by Benedictine Monks in the 12th Century. See also on the steep narrow streets look out for the beautiful wooden balconied houses overlooking the Dronne River.
Situated in Charente-Maritime is, unusually for this coast, a very modern resort having suffered badly by allied bombing in WW11. It has 5 excellent beaches of fine sand, (called ‘Conches’),and, of course, restaurants and shops usual in coastal resorts. Take a boat trip from the harbour visiting, among other sights, ‘the Phare de Cordouan’ lighthouse completed in 1611 with a chapel inside. Although later increased in height by 30m the only part of it that has been changed is its method of lighting.
This busy port, a favourite with many tourists, (including us), in Charente-Maritime, is easy to tour by foot. The old harbour stretching across the main commercial centre of the City is a large part of its attraction as is the many stately buildings surrounding the seafront. A great place for superb Oyster and Shellfish restaurants along the front and in the cobbled side streets. Visit the Aquarium and walk through tunnels with a fantastic array of marine life, including Sharks, swimming around you. The City has much seafaring history and museums The many attractions of La Rochelle will make the longer drive worthwhile.