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Historical buildings

The region is rich in history and boasts beautiful Romanesque churches, stately châteaux and gallo-roman sites and amphitheatres. Nearby, you can visit the 12th - 17th century Royal Abbey and Abbey church in Celles-sur-Belle, the 16th century Château de Javarzay in Chef Boutonne or the church of Saint-Hilaire in Melle. In Niort, you will find the second largest Romanesque-style dungeon in France. Built at the end of the 12th century, the Donjon offers panoramic views over the city.

Don't miss the picturesque village of Verteuil-sur-Charente with its views of the Château overlooking the weir on the Charente river.

If your historical interests lie in earlier civilisations, visit the pre-historic Tumulus de Bougon in St Maixent L'Ecole, which were built 2000 years before the pyramids of Egypt.

But you don't have to venture far to enjoy the region's historical architecture. Simply step outside your gite and admire the beauty of Le Logis du Breuil Coiffaud, a recently restored 15th century château with French style garden, rose garden and maze.

CHATEAUX

Château La Rochefoucauld, La Rochefoucauld (83km) Tel: 05 45 62 07 42

15 minutes north east of Angoulême. It has a great history and there are tours given in both French and English. There are caves to explore and some beautiful rooms. Open Easter to October There is also an independent chocolaterie below the chateau, La Chocolaterie d Antan.

Château de Javarzay, Chef Boutonne (11km) Tel: 05 49 29 86 31

Houses a museum of headdresses. Open Easter to October. There is a open space around the lake at the rear of the château, ideal for picnics, or a leisurely walk.

Château de Ducs de la Trémoille, Thouars (149km) Tel: 05 49 66 17 65

This medieval château was built in 1158 and rebuilt in 1635. It is one of the few châteaux in the style of Louis XIII. The castle of Bluebeard. 3 hours of animation and spectacles that take you through the heart of the middle ages.

Château de Villandry, Villandry (183km) Tel: 02 47 50 02 09

Villandry owes much of its fame to the splendid gardens, with a water garden, ornamental garden, and kitchen garden. It is one of the last of the great Renaissance châteaux built on the banks of the Loire. The interior was renewed in the 18th Century, and from the top of the medieval tower you have a superb view of the gardens and the Loire valley.

Château d'Oiron, Oiron (139km) Tel: 05 49 96 51 25

Built in the 16th Century the château was refurbished in the 17th century. The painted gallery today sits along side a collection of contemporary works inspired by the curio rooms of the Renaissance.

 

* all distances calculated using viamichelin