What to See and Do

How will you spend your days at La Charnière? For those that would rather stay put and relax, this charming cottage offers all the warmth, cosiness and amenities of home whether you want to try your hand at cooking up a local dish, relax and sunbathe in the garden, take a dip in the jacuzzi with cocktail in hand, or snuggle up with a good book. However, for those wanting to explore, our area of France has a whole host of attractions, events, and points of interest that can provide plenty to do year-round.

Being on the edge of three popular departments- Charente, Haute Vienne, and Dordogne means there is so much to explore! Below is just a small selection of things to do in our area:

Lac de Saint Estephe is a wonderful venue whether for a circuit walk of the lake, an afternoon at the beach, or lunch at one of the lakeside restaurants. As well as this there is kayaking and lake swimming over the summer months. A short walk from the lake is Roc Branlant, a unique rock formation offering a scenic circular walk.

Cassiniomagus presents outstanding Gallo-Roman remains in a landscape of 15 hectares, which you will discover including the best preserved and most monumental baths in France. It is a vast archaeological park to be experienced with guided tours of the thermal baths’, an information centre and gardens to explore.

Les Salles Lavauguyon is home to frescos in its abbey that date back to the 15th century. A short walk from the church and priory is the remains of Chateau Lavauguyon which is in the process of restoration.

Piégut-Pluviers holds a fantastic market every Wednesday of the year bustling with locals and tourists shopping for local produce and products. There is also a selection of cafes and bars to stop off at for a drink, and a selection of nice restaurants. Just a short walk from the market is the Tour de Piégut, an interesting remnant of the Richard the Lionheart era which also holds an important place in the history of this region.

Aventure Parc is located in Massignac and for guests feeling a little more energetic offers a range of activities including tree top climbing, ziplines and water sports. This is also located near the lakes of Haute Charente which offers beaches, water sports, lake swimming and a bar. Espace Hermaline, near Bussiere Galant, is a similar place. It also offers tree top climbing, zip line and other outdoor activities, such as mini-golf and vélorail.

The museum of contemporary art located in the magnificent Chateau Rochechouart, dating from the 15th century, offers visitors the opportunity to appreciate the art and explore the castle itself at the same time, including rare examples of 16th-century frescoes, its Renaissance-style courtyard and gardens overlooking the valley. The castle is also close to the market town of Rochechouart, which is the epicenter of the meteoritic zone, with its interesting meteorite trail and the nearby Plan d’eau Boischenu.

The medieval fortress Châlucet near Chalus is one of the main heritage sites of Limousin. We are also a few minutes’ drive from many other castles, including the Chateau La Rochefoucauld, Chateau de Brie, Chateau Chalus-Chabrol, Chateau Les Cars and Chateau Montbrun.

Terraventura is an increasingly popular pastime in the area. Online orienteering, similar to geo-caching in the UK, offers a way to explore the region while looking for treasure! There are numerous ‘Randonnee’ itineraries in the area, allowing you to explore the Limousin countryside through pre-planned on-road and off-road routes. Maps of local walks and hikes are provided in the property. Bike rentals can also be arranged via Bike Hire Direct for those who prefer to explore on two wheels!

For those looking for more fun on the beach during the hot season, we are also close to the lakes of Saint Mathieu, Plan d’Eau Videix, Saint Saud Lacoussière, Espace Hermaline, Lake Saint Pardoux and Plan d’eau Grand Prairie that is home to Jump 16 – a fun inflatable course on the lake. All of these sites offer beaches, lakeside bars and restaurants, and various water sports such as paddle boating, kayaking and paddle boarding.

For those looking for a little more activity during their breaks, several sites are available nearby: bowling, swimming, climbing, karting, horse riding, fishing and golf. We are only 10 minutes from the Golf International de La Prèze with an 18-hole pitch and putt and an 18-hole championship course. Just up the road in the Maisonnais is also the base of the Balloons of Périgord-Limousin where it is possible to go on an aerial adventure to see the region from above- perfect for a romantic outing or special occasion.

A Little Further Afield (within 1-hour drive)

Brantome is known as the ‘Venice of the Perigord’ being surrounded by the river Dronne. Brantome is a pretty and unique market town, with little streets to explore, a large array of restaurants and bars, kayaking, and the opportunity to visit the beautiful Abbaye de Brantome. Brantome is also not far from the medieval Chateau de Bourdeilles. 

The Perigord is well known for its caves, and Grotte de Villars is no exception. The closes caves to us this is a fascinating place to visits. There is a guided tour of the caves, and gardens to explore as well. Villars is also the location of the beautiful Chateau de Puyguilhem

Limoges is the capital of the Limousin and famed worldwide for its porcelain production. The city centre itself has many interesting places to visit such as the Cathedral Saint-Etienne, Saint-Aurélien chapel in the heart of the historic Butchers Quarter, and a selection of museums.  As well as shops, bars and restaurants, Limoges is home to its own Opera House with performances throughout the year.

Angouleme is known for its annual cartoon festival and the city links with this art form. Whether visiting to spot the many murals adornings the city walls, to visit the covered market, visit the cathedral or to walk the ramparts, Angouleme is an interesting day out. There is also a selection of museums that can be visited, as well as a huge number of bars and cafes and a good spot for shopping too!

Saint Junien is situated on the River Vienne and is an interesting town internationally renowned for its glove makers’ and tanners. The town offers many cultural and historical points of interest both in the town itself and on the outskirts such as Saint-Amand Abbey and Site Corot

There is the opportunity to travel and explore in classic style with the Limousin Steam Train near Confolens which offers return day trips on a regular basis.

Parc Reynou near Limoges is ideal for those seeking animal encounters. Here, you can discover a large variety of animals representing the 5 continents. Organised around a 19th-century château, the landscaped park displays a unique plant decor that changes colour through the seasons. Those looking for animal encounters of a different kind can visit the Cité des Insectes or the Aquarium de Limousin, also in Limoges.

The Oradour-sur-Glane Memorial Centre and martyr village present a historical and documentary exhibition about the massacre which occurred during World War II. The village was left intact after France was liberated, to show the atrocities committed by the Nazis and to remind us how important it is not to forget.

Dining Out

Being a country, and a region, world-famous for its cuisine, it is no doubt that we have a host of fantastic restaurants on our doorstep.  Just 15 minutes up the road is La Moulin de la Tardoire in Montbron, a one Michelin starred restaurant serving traditional cuisine and a fantastic wine selection in a beautiful location overlooking the Tardoire river.

We also have other Michelin-starred restaurants in the vicinity such as Moulin d’Abbaye in Brantome, Chapelle Saint-Martin in Limoges and Sources de Fontbelle in Angouleme. Other notable restaurants for their location and quality of food include restaurant Dyades in nearby Massignac, part of the beautiful Domaine des Etangs , the largest five star resort in France, La Moulin du Grand Etang in Saint Estéphe,  Hotel Charbonnel in Brantome, La Grange aux Oies in Nieuil, Le Vieux Moulin in Chabanais, Le Terminus in Angouleme, and Domaine du Chatelard in Dirac.

There are also plentiful traditional restaurants, auberges, cafes and bars in most towns and villages offering a range of food and drinks. Our nearest is La Chabatz D’entrar in Les Salles Lavauguyon which has live music and food trucks regularly throughout the summer. You’ll find most are in scenic locations and many offer the ‘plat du jour’ or ‘menu de jour’ offering well priced and tasty traditional fare. There are also many local producers that offer visits and guides of their processes such as honey, foie gras, breweries and vineyards. We are also, of course, close to Cognac country where the large cognac houses and vineyards offer tasting and tours throughout the year, as well as bountiful wine producers in Bordeaux and Saint Emilion offering tastings and tors, easily accessible for a day trip.

As well as this, you can pick up fresh produce at local markets throughout the year including fresh seafood, local meat, fresh fruit and vegetables. There are also numerous food festivals over the course of the year including those for Oysters, Mussels, Veal, Cepes, Bread, Wine, Pumpkins, and more as well as the regular evening producer’s markets giving you the opportunity to buy and consume directly from the producers.

We are more than happy to provide details and recommendations for restaurants and food events during your stay.

There are also many events held annually and throughout the year that are well worth a visit:

Local Producers Markets are held across the summer months in most of the larger villages and towns. These nights are the opportunity to have local produce purchased, prepared and consumed on-site, often with the accompaniment of live music. Our most local two are in Saint Mathieu and Champnier-Reilhac which are held on alternate Tuesday nights across the summer.

France is also renowned for its Brocantes and Vide-Greniers where you can buy anything from local produce and products to antiques. These are often combined with other seasonal fetes celebrating local cuisines or traditions and are held locally in various locations almost every week.

Legend’air is a free air show held in Saint Junien. Usually at the start of September this is a two-day event completely free to the public with live music, a range of aerial demonstrations, a car show and a seasonal theme.

Sport & Collection Ferrarri 500 is a charity event held just over the border in Vienne but well worth the drive. It is a rally and car show held over a weekend in June where more than 500 Ferraris and supercars old and new are displayed, raced, competed.. a dream event for car lovers.

Circuit des Ramparts is Angoulemes historic car event. Held annually in September, it turns the city into a giant car museum and the event is the must for fans of vintage cars. The race around the city walls by classic cars is one for car enthusiasts, as well as linked events held all across the city over the weekend.

Tour de Limousin is one for cycling fans there is the opportunity to cheer on cyclists at the annual cycling tour crossing all departments of the Limousin during August.

There are many cultural events across the year where many historic and cultural sites offer free entry such as the European Heritage Days and European Night at the Museums

We provide details of local markets, regular and special events in your welcome pack.

More details on the many other activities and points of interest can be found on the tourism sites covering our local area:

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