The Local Area – Things to do
There are lots of things to do and see in the area. If you want to explore on your own then we will be happy to help you to make the most of your time in this relatively undiscovered part of France.
You are welcome to join visits and afternoon excursions in our air conditioned mini-bus. The programme changes depending on the season, the courses, and local events. Here is an idea of the places we might visit.
Château of La Rochefoucauld
Visit the Ducal Château that L’Age Baston, swore fealty to. Home to the long line of Dukes one of whom (Francois 6th) was the author of a world famous collection of bitter, cynical and misanthropic maxims. See the Medieval kitchens, the solid 14th Century square keep, fairytale style turrets, renaissance galleries and the superb, swirling Da Vinci staircase.
There are lots to choose from and they all offer tastings. Before or after your tour, you can explore the town of Cognac, especially the old town with it’s narrow streets lined with medieval timber framed houses and handsome 16th century mansions that were once home to wealthy merchants. Sometimes we leave aside the big Cognac houses in favour of one of the small artisan producers where you get a more intimate look into the mysterious alchemy of making Cognac.
Angoulême’s Old Quarter
A visit to Angoulême’s old quarter with beautiful little cobbled streets, exquisite boutiques, lovely pavement cafes and restaurants and super murals and trompe d’oeils on the buildings. You can walk the old city walls, known as the ramparts, take in the magnificent views across the valley to the river Charente.
Piegut Pluviers Market
We often visit the weekly Piegut Pluviers market in the Dordogne. This is one of the largest markets in the South West of France. You will find everything here from artisan foods, arts and crafts, clothes and shoes to household goods right down to livestock. Whether you come to shop, taste, paint or simply look, it’s a lovely morning out.
A hilltop Château overlooking a pretty little town that has a wonderful wooden open market building in the centre and one of the least modernised cafes in France. The ‘Cafe Reunion’ is not to be missed.
Some of the other places we visit include:
- The Archeological Park at Cassinomagus (Chassenon) – a roman baths and healing sanctuary
- The prehistoric caves of Bandiat-Tardoire during the Summer excavation programmes
- The medieval village of Tusson: rural life museum, exhibitions, herb gardens
- The Moulin de la Verger Paper Mill genuine hand-made paper made by genuine characters
- Sources of the Touvre – major resurgence and magical spring (trout as well)
- Châteaux: de Peyras, de Bayers, Chalus
- Brantome – The “Venice of the Charente”, rivers, caves, architecture
Cycling: We have bikes available if you would like to cycle into La Rochefoucauld. Alternatively, you could borrow a map and head out further afield to discover the beautiful surroundings. Cycling around L’Age Baston is great fun; not excessively hilly and with the traffic density of the UK like it must have been fifty years ago.
Golf: There is a spectacular course at La Prèze, just outside Montbron. It’s a beautiful location with hills, woods and lakes. It offers a main 18-hole course, a driving range and 9 hole pitch and putt as well as a lovely club house. This is apparently a not unchallenging course. (Please note proof of handicap may be required to use the 18 hole course).
Canoeing: It’s a great way to get a perspective on the countryside and get a peek at riverside Châteaux and mills. There’s always the chance of a Kingfisher or two. You get taken up stream to your point of launch with all the kit and then canoe back down to where you started. The River Charente and the Vienne are popular with longer distance canoeists while the River Tardoire is local and great fun for all canoeists from beginners upwards.
Fishing, Tennis, Horseriding and Karting can also be found locally. Just ask if you want to find out more.
Friends & Partners who are looking for a full day excursion, why not try:
- Aubterre – A lovely town with a famous church hewn out of solid rock.
- Cognac – Tastings in the morning, explore the town or take a river trip in the afternoon.
- Futuroscope – Science & Technology theme park with spectacular exhibits and thrilling rides.
- Poitiers – Historic, beautiful city where Eleanor of Aquitaine married Henry II in 1152.
- Limoges – The centre for fine porcelain and enamel work, the National Ceramics Museum, and the train station is a national treasure.