A recent trip to the local Saint Jean d'Angely market has got me dreaming about lovely warm summer evenings and the social evenings we enjoy here at our family friendly holiday cottages.
Each week throughout the summer season we enjoy a get together with all the families staying here at La Grange du Moulin - usually a barbecue, where each family brings the food they want to cook. We enjoy a few nibbles and an aperitif supplied by ourselves and then the ladies will usually sit back and chat whilst keeping an eye on the children playing happily in the garden whilst the boys get on with the manly work of playing with fire and not burning the meat over the barbecue. These social evenings are always a great success and often a highlight for many of our families who feel like they have had a night out without actually 'going out'.
When staying at our family holiday cottages here in the Charente Maritime region of France we can offer exclusive wine tastings and other wine related activities. Professional wine tastings, Family vineyard tours and Taste du terroir social evenings which all add to mum and dads holiday enjoyment.
Our wine tastings and other wine related activities are organised by Chris Blakeman - our very own professional wine expert. He has made his living in the wine industry teaching 'wine' to employees, wine tasting as a judge at the international wine challenge and working within the hospitality industry for over 20 years. It is also a passionate hobby and he enjoys sharing his knowledge to all who are interested and dispelling some of the mystery which surrounds wine.
Whenever visiting La Rochelle we recommend popping into Ernests ice cream shop; we always make time, usually after a meal at Andrés seafood restaurant
It's always busy and there's often a queue but it's worth it. There is an array of ice creams to choose from,(100 apparently) too many really - it's often really hard to choose which one or ones to have !
We were celebrating a friends birthday and decided to try a new restaurant - well new to us any way, the restaurant and hotel have been in existence since 1973 but we have only just got around to going and we are so glad we did.
Les Pigeons Blancs is set on the edge of the town of Cognac (of the drink fame) which is an easy 20-30 min drive from our family holiday cottages here in the Charente Maritime region of France. The hotel has been home to the Tachet family since the 17th century and has been a 'relais de poste' since Francois 1st. Family member, Jaques Tachet is the chef.
If you can't make on of our wine tastings we have Taste du Terroir evenings as an alternative (or as well as !). Here we have a selection of local produce, wines and food all sourced from within 20km of our gites and produced by small family owned enterprises. Held early evening and in the garden so the children can play whilst mum and dad enjoy the local delicacies - not a meal, more of an aperitif, very relaxed and informal. You can chat to Chris about the wines and Wendy about the food or just chat to the other guests about anything at all.
Leave early !!
We rarely have the time to visit the coast in summer but the weekend of our wedding anniversary , Chris fancied some Gillardeau oysters so we cleared our schedules for the Sunday and headed out for the Ile d'Oleron where Gillardeau has its oyster beds, shop and 24hr oyster vending machine !
The Marais Poitevin is an area of inland waterways (both natural and man made), marsh land and dry low land lying to the west of Niort covering over 970km2 and three departments in the Poitou Charente region of western France (from where it takes it's name - the marsh land of the Poitou.)
The area is rich in flora and fauna and in 2010 was awarded the label Grand site de France. This label is managed by the ministry of ecology. The 'grand site' label guarantees that the area is conserved and managed using sustainable principles, combing conservation with the 'spirit' of the area and a quality visitor experience by working with the inhabitants and partners of the area.
The last thing you want to be is worried about money whilst on holiday so how can you have a great family holiday and keep to a budget ?
1, Travel– take advantage of the offers. Holiday and travel companies often have early booking deals – Brittany ferries always increase their standard 20% discount to 25% during the month of October (we can give you a code when you either like our facebook page or make a booking with us) Lots of companies start to advertise deals straight after Christmas, so sign up to follow their twitter and facebook accounts so you see the offers as soon as they appear. Check out your supermarket loyalty cards as points can sometimes be exchanged for tickets for the tunnel or ferry crossings. Check out the price comparison sites like http://www.skyscanner.net/ and Martins money tips for deals on cheap car hire and flights.