Poitou-Charentes Property Blog: News and Information from the region

POITOU-CHARENTES – enjoying its beautiful climate …

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Located in the south west of France, the Poitou Charente is renowned for having a lovely climate. The winters are really mild and due to the oceanic climate, the summers are hot but not humid.

The Poitou-Charentes has the Atlantic Ocean to the west of it, hence is soaks up the sweetness of the ocean climate which creates a micro-climate along the coastline. Enjoying on average 2,400 sunshine hours a year the Poitou-Charentes is the hottest and sunniest place on the whole Atlantic coast.

However, there is a difference between the warm and gentle weather along the coastline and that further into the Charente where the climate is more continental, so either dryer or damper than on the coasts.

The Poitou-Charentes region of France is lush and green as it gets just enough rainfall which, blended to the long hours of sunshine, is beneficial to agriculture as well as the production of Cognac wines and liquers.

The temperature is mild during winter months, while summer is pleasantly warm. The average summer temperature is said to be around 20.4 degrees centigrade, while the winters average at around 5.6 degrees.

CHARENTE MARITIME: Ile de Ré …

St Martin de Rée

ST MARTIN DE RÉ …

The enchanting port of St Martin de Ré is well worth a visit … We drove across the bridge from La Rochelle, straight onto the island, a secret ‘getaway’ with sandy beaches and as many hours of sunshine as you’ll find on the Côte d’Azur.  Dotted with pretty, white painted, stone built cottages, cobbled streets and shutters in all shades of greens and blues, reflecting the blue of the sky and sea.

What I would give to own one of the homes on the water’s edge of these pretty fishing ports, St Martin is the biggest and the port is bustling with cafés, restaurants and pretty shops selling antiques, artisan ice-creams, fresh seafood from the morning’s catch and of course small hotels overlooking the port activity. Take time to visit the island when next you’re in the beautiful region of the Charente Maritime.

VIENNE – the up and coming historic town of Civray …

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The town of Civray has always been of historical interest, being the site of an ancient château and with the River Charente meandering  through the heart of the town.  Since I moved here in 2008, I have seen many changes and the town just gets better and better.

There are now excellent restaurants in which to eat, including O’City Ven  (05 49 87 14 22) in the pretty market square, which serves a reasonable Plat du Jour at lunch times and an à la carte menu in the evening.  If a full meal is not what you need, Café de la Paix is great for a glass of wine or coffee, and the owner, Raymonde does not mind if you take in your own pastries too!  I would recommend you buy these from the little boulangerie in the square, Malfoy, where you can be tempted by macaroons and chocolates too.  Or pop in and say “hello” to Claude at Bar Central, where a warm French welcome awaits.

If you wish to travel further afield, the Bouton d’Or in St. Romain is run by Chef Francis, one of the top MOF chefs in France; 5 courses for €15.50 including wine.  While house-hunting, do drop into the Auberge de Blanzay (86400), set in one of the prettiest local villages, where one can sit on the terrace overlooking the village green and pretty church.  This is my local village, so I am somewhat biased perhaps.

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Back to Civray;  take a peaceful break from the busy market (Tuesday and Thursday mornings) to visit the church, one of the oldest in France (12th Century), complete with its painted frescoes inside.  For the energetic, there is a new leisure centre with two pools and yes, even the outside pool is heated!  A walk along the Charente is a must and there are several places to sit and eat a picnic with bread, cheese and pâté purchased  from the local family-run delicatessens, of which there are several. More »

SUD CHARENTE – The village of St. Severin, near Aubererre sur Drone

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Saint Severin is close to the Charente / Dordogne border, in a beautiful valley in rural South West France. Nearby villages are full of activity, with places to visit, dine and drink. The picturesque Roman town of Aubeterre, voted one of the prettiest villages in France, is only a bike ride away.

The market town of Riberac (20 mins) has one of the biggest markets in France. The capital town of Angouleme (45 mins) offers a wider and more sophisticated range of shops in a typically French setting. The region is a paradise for wine lovers who may wish to visit the numerous chateaux and wine caves on the Bordeaux wine trail, with St. Emilion, Bergerac and Cognac also on our doorstep.

Local activities range from walking, sightseeing, tree climbing, canoeing, cycling, fishing, jet–skiing and quad biking to name but a few. Wine tasting and degustation are of course a staple part of the French experience! There are many local festivals, fêtes and firework displays throughout the summer.

Children will find plenty to occupy them and their families with local activities, including crazy golf, horse riding and tree top adventure’s, plus river and lake beaches, play areas and wet day activities too.

South West France is known for it’s great climate, with sun drenched summers, rolling green hills and valleys, plus all the history you could ever need. The food and drink is superb and the people are very welcoming. Click here to view properties for sale …

CHARENTE – Living between Jarnac and Châteauneuf …

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Leggett Agent Janet Lea explains why she moved to this beautiful area …

In 2003 my husband and I decided to live in France. We had already bought our dream home in 2002 with the intention of using it as a summer home but within the space of a few months knew that a better life style was within our reach. I came out with our 2 boys in the May and then began our wonderful adventure. My husband continued working in the UK and spent 7 years commuting between Manchester and here, not easy at times but definitely worth it in the end. The boys then aged 9yrs and 13yrs quickly integrated into the French education system and within a short period of time had mastered the language. They enjoyed a level of freedom here that they would never have experienced back in  the UK. I now had quality time to spend, helping the boys to settle into their new schools, whilst running my gite business, oh and breeding geese, chickens and ducks, walking our chocolate Labrador and making new friends. My wonderful husband has now retired and joined me. Our adventure continues as we enjoy new challenges together.

13018 I live in South West Charente, between Jarnac and Chateauneuf. This region enjoys a micro-climate, so many happy days are spent soaking up the sun underneath blue skies. Dining ‘al fresco’ is a way of life here and picnic areas feature wherever you travel at a number of beauty spots.

The Charente river plays an important role and the Gabarre a charentaise barge now takes people, rather than its precious cargo of cognac, on trips along its banks. There are many cycle and footpaths to explore and many other activities including a variety of water sports, fishing, golf, and horse riding, to name but a few, life is never dull.

In addition there are plenty of cultural events which take place throughout the year. The famous Cognac Blues Passion takes place in July followed by the Festival of Cognac which also features music. In September in the historic town of Angouleme, vintage cars race around the Ramparts of the city. The “Circuit des Remparts” attracts thousand of visitors and is a weekend not to be missed. In November there is the festival of Food and Drink aptly named ‘The Gastromonades’. These are but a few of those that take place each year. There are also many community focused celebrations and of course the famous Brocantes a French national pastime. Good food, wine and cognac are a consistent feature of life here with a wealth of restaurants ranging from paysanne to gourmet. Airports at Limoges, Poitiers, La Rochelle and Bordeaux provide international links to the UK and Europe whilst the fast roads and the efficient rail network with its high speed trains link the area to Paris and Bordeaux.

CHARENTE MARITIME – Country of earth and water …

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Country of earth and water “par excellence” with its gentle climate and bright blue sky, the Charente-Maritime counts more than 100 beaches of fine sand and 460 km of coastline. Pine forests, scented mimosa trees and tall hollyhocks frequently line the many picturesque country roads and cycle paths.

Steeped in history, with over its 400 roman churches, castles such as Crazannes and La Roche Courbon, fortified towns such as majestic La Rochelle, Rochefort, Fouras and Buage, museums including the Maritime Museum of La Rochelle, the historic shipyard of l’Hermione in Rochefort, the Vauban Tower in Fouras and many more, you are never short of fascinating places to visit.

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The 3 main islands of Oléron, “L’île Lumineuse”, 2nd largest in France after Corsica, Ré, nearest to La Rochelle and Aix, only reachable by boat, are also worthy of a visit (or 2!). Local wines and apéritifs including the famous Pineau des Charentes, Marennes-Oléron oysters, mussels from Les Boucholeurs, sea salt from the Island of Ré, melon charentais are just a few of the vast array of local products to be found in abundance in the many ancient and colourful markets. From a local café to a Michelin star restaurant, the choice is immense and never far away, seafood and fish usually being the area’s speciality. More »

CHARENTE – Circuits des Remparts, vintage car race in Angoulême …

In the middle of September every year , the city centre ramparts of Angoulême, the county town of the Charente department, are transformed into a racetrack for a festival of historic car racing. Acting as a magnet for all car enthusiasts, families & friends and especially the British, the city centre becomes a fantastic theatre of classic cars and enthusiastic owner drivers determined to show and race their priceless motors to their limits. In 1978 the Circuit des Remparts was revived from its ashes of 1955 and supported by Juan Manuel Fangio himself.  It has been run ever since, the festival getting better and better year by year.

Angouleme is a particularly attractive city up within the ramparts. Plenty of cafés, bars, shops & restaurants, a beautiful covered market hall (which hosts the cocktail party at the end of the rally) and a very grand Hôtel de Ville town hall courtyard where you can spend summer evenings at an open air opera. From the ramparts there are good views over the rooftops to the surrounding countryside. The TGV station can be seen from there, the railway line snaking its way below the city walls.

More »

CHARENTE – Famous chef Reza Mahammad’s cookery workshop …

In July 2013, Reza Mahammad launches his cookery school, “Chez Cartier”, in the PoitouCharentes region of France. Surrounded by vines and rolling hills, Reza’s 19th Century home and former distillery will receive food lovers from around the globe to cook alongside him in his state of the art kitchen. If the thought of working with Reza excites you* then click the link below to learn
more about his workshops.

http://www.rezamahammad.co.uk/workshops

Reza fell in love with the Poitou-Charentes region when making the ‘A Place in France’ series and vowed to return and live there one day. His dream has now come true. Reza is the hugely popular and flamboyant TV chef and owner of the renowned Star of India restaurant in Kensington, London. Reza as top chef and main talent for the Food Network UK, has received high praise for his two recent series “Reza’s African Kitchen” and “Reza, Spice Prince of India.” Making regular appearances as guest chef on ITV’s This Morning, Reza never fails to create a stir in the kitchen with fellow presenters Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby.

“Reza’s Indian Spice” was published last year, to much acclaim, winning 2nd prize in the Gourmand World Cookbook awards (Indian section) and editor’s pick in ‘The Bookseller’. Drawing from his encyclopaedic knowledge of Indian food, Reza combines Indian and Western flavours to stunning effect, delivered in his informal, humorous style.

Reza cut his televisual teeth on Flavours of India in 1993/4 but he really came into his own as copresenter with Sanjeev Bhaskar on Delhi Belly in 2001 for UKTV. The much talked-about series is still being repeated on air to this day and has lost none of its popularity. In 2002, Channel Four came looking for the next big star for their hugely popular series “A Place in France” and found it in Reza Mahammad. This resulted in the completion of the next two series, “A Place in France II” and III. Reza’s relationship with UKTV resumed with “Coconut Coast” in 2003 and was followed by “United States of Reza” in 2004.

*Classes are now available for EURO 150 (GBP 130) on the 8th July, 20th July, 24th July, 27th July, 3rd August, 7th August, 10th August, 14th August, 21st August and 24th August.

This is the perfect family holiday destination with a wealth of well run campsites, B&B’s, hotels and gîtes to choose from together with wide open spaces to enjoy activities which range from golf to water-sports.

*Exchange rate used is 1 Euro = 0.83 GBP.

How do you explain to the owner of a stunning Chateau worth over a million Euros that the nice people from A Place in the Sun want to come and film at her house?

Strangely the answer is easy… they have over 6 million viewers for every episode.

It must be slightly dull filming the same type of small 3 bed property with 2 en-suites and a lovely well kept garden, over and over again. So when we arrived at the chateau they both took a moment to just look round and take it all in… it took 30 minutes just to decide which angles to shoot and which rooms to do a panorama, you don’t get that with a two up two down semi in Hull. After a quick introduction with the owner they set about filming the exterior facade and then the magnificent interior … the house is always immaculate so there were no issues with moving unwanted stuff about… the chickens however that roam the garden managed to get into a couple of shots (exterior of course).

If you would like to know more about the property being filmed please click here

Kindly contributed by Dave Crook, agent in St Jean d’Angely