- Visit a Cognac producer and discover the other regional drink, my favorite “apéritif”, served chilled before a meal: Le Pineau des Charente. My recommendation: visit the family-owned and operated Les Raisins de l’Abbaye in Asnieres La Giraud. And when you’re done, take a tour of Saint Jean D’Angely, a small historical town nearby.
- Walk, or ride in a bicycle, through Roman history: Saintes. On top of the Roman ruins, there are many churches from various centuries and styles, and you can enjoy a gorgeous Sunday “marché” (market) in the center of town.
- Go horseback riding: My aunt’s “Centre Equestre La Frego” is a hidden gem, just look at the photos from their rides. There are many more clubs in the region.
- Rent a small boat or kayak and discover the “green Venice”: Le Marais Poitevin
- Shuck and eat oysters on the half-shell with “mignonette” (red wine vinegar and shallots) at a “maraîcher” (oyster farmer) on the way to the beach La Tremblade.
- Finish off your visit on the coast, in La Rochelle.
I LOVE Charente! It’s the region of my childhood, where I spent all of my “grandes vacances” (summer break) at my grand-parents’. Tucked between Bordeaux to the South, Nantes to the North, and the Atlantic to the West, Charente is mostly known for being the home of Cognac. But it’s so much more, and a great summer destination.