For families, Cognac has a huge open air swimming pool and play park. The surrounding area has a great deal to offer from the buzzing town of Cognac (lots of cafes and boutique shops, not forgetting the world-famous distillery tours – Hennessy, Otard, Remy-Martin, Martell, Camus and – in Jarnac – Courvoisier) or try a visit to a more local, intimate distillerie, to the beautiful ancient towns of Pons and Saintes. Weekly local markets are held in Cognac, Pons and Saintes . There are a multitude of local restaurants and bars all within an easy drive. Some are (luckily!) only about 15 minutes by bike. Canoes can be hired at nearby Dompierre, Cognac, Pons and Jarnac. The Chateau des Enigmes near Pons and the Paleosite (near Saintes) make wonderful days out for children. Adults may prefer a trip to the beautiful village of Aubeterre sur dronne (now officially recognised as one of France’s prettiest villages), Talmont, Blaye or Oradour sur Glane to visit the World War II martyrs’ village and memorial. The beautiful beaches of St George-de-Didonne and St Palais-sur-Mer are a 30 minute drive way and La Palmyre Zoo (one of the biggest zoos in Europe with over 1600 animals to delight all the family) is about an hour’s drive. There is plenty to do…!
It is lovely being able to shop at the local food markets in Pons, Cognac or Saintes which are exceptionally good. The produce is fabulously fresh, the selection of locally-caught fish is outstanding and the cheeses are simply delicious. Every town and village hosts a Brocante throughout the summer (mostly on Sunday mornings) – these are an enjoyable mixture of car boot sales and local, village fairs where you can pick up a bargain, buy local produce and eat alfresco. There are also lots of glorious walks and cycle paths commencing at Brives sur Charente and our surrounding villages (see the maps and guidebooks in the gites).
The ‘necessary’ bits….
Post Office: Brives sur Charente, Ars, Cognac or Pons.
Local shops: Salignac, Perignac, Ars, Dompierre and Rouffiac.
Supermarkets: Cognac (Leclerc, Auchan & Intermarche) or Pons (Leclerc). All sell petrol/diesel and have cashpoints.
Children’s Play Park: Base de plein-air Andre Mermet (Cognac).
Accrobranche or high ropes: Abbaye de Fontdouce (near Saintes).
Golf: Cognac, Saintes & Royan.
Tennis: Rouffiac or Ars.
Swimming (indoor and outdoor): Cognac, Jonzac, Saintes and the Charente, coast.
Canoes/Kayaks: Dompierre, Cognac, Pons, Jarnac and the coast.
Aquatic Centre (pools, gym, sauna, massage): Jonzac (Les Antilles), Saintes and St Jean D’Angely (Atlantys).
Doctor, Dentist & Hospital: Cognac.