Poitou-Charentes - Poitou-Charentes
Poitou-Charentes is unspoilt consisting of sandy beaches, islands and marinas framed by rocky cliffs in the north. The climate, benefiting from the warm effect of the ‘Atlantic drift’ is significantly warmer than the north – flowers bloom in February and the area enjoys the highest number of sunshine hours outside of Provence.
· Charente-Maritime boasts over 400km of sandy beaches. La Rochelle, once known as the ‘French Geneva’, is the capital – a chic town with Romanesque architecture features. Lying off the coast are 2 delightful islands - Ile d’Aix and Ile de Re. The former boasts no road network creating a relaxing time warp whilst the latter is an island of nature preserves with bike and hiking paths.
· Deux-Sèvres is predominantly a landscape of fields and hedgerows with fertile land comprising three quarters of its area – tranquil and not ‘discovered’ by overseas tourists, its lifestyle has little changed over recent years.
· Vienne attracts tourism primarily due to its rich collection of historical and architectural treasures. Poitiers is the capital, sitting abreast a hill with panoramic views over the Clain and Boivre Rivers. The department also offers the ‘new’ in the form of ‘Futuroscope’ a modern theme park.
· Charente's northern area is wild with deep forests and mountain ranges reaching over 1000 feet whilst the countryside is full of rolling hills, great for cycling. It is also the home of Cognac. The Charentais vineyard of 80,000 hectares is the second largest French vineyard after Bordeaux.
HOW TO GET THERE
You can fly from the UK to Tours, La Rochelle, Nantes and Poitiers airports. The TGV train also travels to Poiters, La Rochelle and Angouleme.
Discount airline Flybe.com flies to La Rochelle from various UK airports. Ryanair flies to Poitiers from Stansted.
The climate is mild and sunny, with low annual rainful and summer temperatures averaging the low 70's °F (20-22 °C).