THE MEDIEVAL VILLAGE OF AVAILLES-LIMOUZINE
Availles-Limouzine is a pretty medieval village on the banks of the beautiful River Vienne. It offers all the charm of living in old rural France whilst still providing all necessary amenities such as supermarkets, newsagent, bakeries, butchers, pharmacy, restaurant, bar, bank, post office and TOURIST INFORMATION OFFICE. There is a farmers' market every Sunday morning selling the freshest produce you can imagine at great prices.
The municipal park just over the river has a small swimming pool and you can hire canoes, water bikes, electric boats, and go-karts. There is also a mini-golf course, boules pitch, basketball pitch, a well-equipped playground and several picnic areas. Availles is a fisherman's paradise. INTERNATIONAL FISHING takes place here due to the easy access and the good river bank length. Bolognaise, English, feeder and cane fishing are very popular. The newsagent sells equipment and licences. The ARQUETAN EQUESTRIAN FARM is 5 minutes' walk from the house.
It is a ranch on 50 hectares on the edge of the river and has two certified instructors who can take you on relaxing horseback rides in the "Little Switzerland" area on the edge of the river. The team at Les Beaupinières can offer you a fantastic experience at DEVAL KARTS and it's only 10 minutes' walk from the house. This is a privately-owned facility on 500 hectares where instructors will introduce you to 4x4, quad, via ferata, Tyrolean cable slide, dog teaming and bovouacking. You are guaranteed to have fun-filled adventure here.
LE PARADIS DES FLEURS ET DES OISEAUX - AVAILLES
The ENGLISH GARDEN was created recently and can be found in the north of the village. It is a veritable paradise surrounded by hedges, trees and flower beds.
There are over 600 varieties of roses, perennials and shrubs. It is a haven for nesting birds and provides a pond for all the frogs!
CIRCUIT VAL DE VIENNE - LE VIGEANT
This race track at LE VIGEANT is accredited by the Motor Sports Federation of France. It is 3757 metres long and one of the best in the country. The track, its equipment and services are available for private or shared use. Instructors are happy to give you an hour's training session, a weekend meeting or a whole week event!
They can offer you an introduction to racing and provide courses for all abilities and budgets. Just visit the CIRCUIT-VALDEVIENNE website and look at "manifestations" for all the upcoming race meetings and events.
LA FERME DE LA VALLÉE DES CERFS - LUCHAPT
This 54 hectare farm in LA VALLÉE DES CERFS is a 10 minute drive from the village and is home to 250 deer. You will also find donkeys, horses and ponies so this is ideal for all the family. You can reserve farm produce tastings, dog cart tours and horse rides. Horse rides will take you through the countryside, helping you to discover the valleys, the history and the cuisine of the region.
The horses and ponies are used exclusively for trail rides and are matched to each person's riding ability. Trips range from half a day to a full week. Call in at the draught horse museum and check out the CERFCHEVAL website before your visit.
ABBAYE SAINT SAUVEUR - CHARROUX
Not only is Charroux a charming village with 16th century markets and ancient houses; it also boasts the ABBEY OF ST SAVIOUR, which was one of the most powerful Benedictine abbeys in the Middle Ages. It was ruined during the Wars of Religion and finally destroyed in the Revolution.
Its famous octagonal tower (known as Charlemagne's Tower) has remarkable Gothic sculptures and is now classified among the major Poitevin sites of the Middle Ages. Visit the Lapidaire Museum while you are there.
THE MEDIEVAL TOWN OF CONFOLENS
This beautiful town lies directly between Angouleme, Limoges and Poitiers and is only 20 minutes from the house. It takes its name from its position at the confluence of the Vienne and Goire rivers. It is also at the point where the Charente region meets the Limousin region, hence the name Charente Limousine, sometimes used to describe the area. This picturesque medieval town grew up on the right bank of the Vienne at the foot of an 11th century fortress. CONFOLENS still has an abundance of timber-framed houses from the 15th century, the most imposing of which is the house of the Duc d'Epernon on the Rue du Soleil. The left bank began as an area where tanners honed their craft.
The Pont Vieux is said to have originated in Roman times but what you can see today dates from the 14th century. The bridge is an imposing feature of the town. It originally boasted three towers, which are represented on the town's coat of arms and had a drawbridge to the Quartier de la Fontorse. In 1615 the drawbridge was swept away by flooding and several arches had to be rebuilt. The bridge is 126 metres long and has nine arches plus a tenth that was added when the drawbridge was lost. Before the water level was raised in the late twentieth century, low water conditions during the summer revealed the substructures of the original three towers on the first, fourth and ninth arches.
Besides its medieval heritage, Confolens is also a modern town deserving several hours of your time. In particular its FESTIVAL OF ART AND TRADITION, which takes place over several days every August, has become a famous international event, earning the town the name of "Cité Vivante".
The official programme of events for the upcoming festival has now been published:
This festival of music, dance and art is a cosmopoplitan celebration of culture and a highlight of the Vienne area with performers coming from across the world to showcase their talents and their heritage.
MOST PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE VIENNE TOURIST BOARD, THE CHARENTES TOURIST BOARD
AND THE FESTIVAL DE CONFOLENS
PLEASE VISIT THEIR SITES FOR DETAILS OF THESE ATTRACTIONS AND MUCH MORE