Places of Interest
There are a number of charming chateaux in the Charente area:
La Rochefoucauld pictured here; Rochechouart, and Rochebrune to name but a few. At St Germain de Confolens and Gençay there are the remains of the old chateaux, both are situated on a hill and have stunning views.
La Rochelle is a beautiful city and is a must to visit. With its lovely beaches, harbour and historic buildings, museums, markets and an Aquarium. There are some excellent places to eat and shop too.
La Vallée des Singes (Valley of the Monkeys) has around 30 species of primates from the largest, the gorilla, to one of the smallest, the squirrel monkey. You can watch the monkeys play and interact with each other. Also you are able to enter the enclosures of some of the monkeys, (but not the gorillas!). A good day out for all the family.
There are some fabulous walks around the area of Confolens with its wonderful fauna and flora all around. The routes are clearly marked and ranges from 3km to 15 km in length. Also there are many bridle routes for mountain bikes and horses.
The Vélo-Rail runs from Confolens to Manot through the summer months and is very popular with both young and old. The vélo is a cart which holds up to 5 people, with two pedalling, along a disused railway track. The 15kms round trip takes between two to three hours and you will pass through some beautiful scenery en route.
Futuroscope is a futuristic theme park with lots to do for everyone: water shows by day, light and laser and firework displays by night. It is situated outside Poitiers which is also worth a visit with its magnificent churches and Hotel de Ville.
The Lacs du Haute Charente comprise of two stunning lakes situated very close together.
Lac Lavaud is the largest of the two with the beach of Videix being the main attraction. The second, Lac Mas Chaban is quieter and has some lovely scenery, excellent fishing spots and number of woodlands walks.
Oradour-sur-Glane is a village which has not been touched since the German SS rounded up and massacred the entire population before destroying the village itself. Only a handful of people survived and the village has been preserved in memory of those who died on that terrible day 10th of June 1944.
Confolens is ideally situated to visit the historic cities of:
Limoges is famous for its production of porcelain pottery. It has a number of beautiful churches. One of the smallest, St Aurelien's Chapel, is situated in Butchers street (formerly inhabited by the butchers of the city and their families) several houses still having their 19th century shopfronts. The Cathédrale Saint-Etienne is magnificent and in its grounds are the botanical gardens, not to be missed. Also there are number of museums, an aquarium, an indoor market selling fresh food. In some of the streets they hold an antiques market on the second Sunday of the month.
The hilltop citadel of Angoulême has several museums in the town, including a museum of Fine Art, a museum of paper (the prosperity of the town was originally founded on the production of paper) and the Archaeology Museum. Angoulême holds a number of music festivals during the year as well as the world famous Cartoon festival which is held in January. The original ramparts that protected the town are at its busiest in the month of September when a three day Vintage Car Race, Le Circuit des Ramparts, is held. This is well worth seeing, although the views from the ramparts are stunning at any time of the year.
Cognac is an easy one hour's drive from Confolens. Here there are a number of world famous distilleries that are open to the public. They offer guided tours and you can have a sample of Cognac at the end. Take a leisurely walk along the river banks into the beautiful cobbled streets of Cognac. Here you will see some of the finest architecture, many of the buildings dating back to 18th century.There are number of good eating places in the town and some lovely shops to finish off your day.