Saint-Jean-d’Angely is, in our minds, responsible for of our living in France. Briefly I will explain. We lived and I worked in Spain for three years, in the early 1980’s. I loved it and always dreamed of buying a little property on the coast south of Barcelona, I even had the exact place in mind, the small coastal village of Garraf. Around 1990 we returned to that area of Spain and discovered that it had prospered, largely on the back of the Olympics and property prices were now somewhat out of reach. We had travelled down by car and on the way back stopped for the night in Saint-Jean-d’Angely, staying in the Hotel de La Place.
Prior to our evening meal we took a stroll around the town and had a look in the windows of a few estate agents, as you do. What a lot of property you could get for your money in this region in those days and unlike in Spain here we could afford to buy. This was pre- Ryanair and this region seemed to us about as far south as you could get in one day’s drive so we started house hunting, and not very long afterwards bought the house where I am now sitting and writing this.
Since then we have often driven past the town and observed the twin towers of the abbey in the distance but have never revisited until last week. It was every bit as good as we remembered. The hotel/restaurant where we had stayed was still there, looking a bit smarter. There were still lots of estate agents, though we did not look in their windows this time! It was market day (Wednesdays and Saturdays) so that made it quite lively. I took the obligatory photos of the Abbey, and others of medieval houses, the clock tower, the market, and the restaurant where we ate called Le Scorlion. It was the best meal we have had out in France this year See the review which my wife gave it.
We did not make it down to the river although I understand there are plesant walks along its banks and we did not discover the swimming pool which also sounds quite spectacular with a 54M water slide.
Incidentally did you know that the abbey was built in the ninth century and originally housed the head of John the Baptist. Gruesome. They liked to share bits of body around in days gone by. Locally we have the Charlemagne tower in Charroux and that has been home to Richard the Lionheart’s brains and entrails and possibly the foreskin of Jesus!
For other posts on villages and towns in Poitou-Charentes click here.
A visit to Cognac is always worthwhile but especially so if you also take a tour round one of the cognac manufacturers. There are several in the town and others in the neighbouring area. Otard is in the town and close to the Charente river.
I find it fascinating that there is a fungus that grows on the walls of the caves and takes it sustenance from the vapours of cognac that evaporates from the maturing barrels, known as ‘the angels share’. If there is such a thing as reincarnation then I am volunteering to return to this world as that fungus.
The shape of the bottles has changed over the years but I think the present one is a bit on the chunky side. I have a bottle of the previous shape, unfortunately no cognac left in it and it is a really beautiful shape. It was described as representing one of the droplets of cognac that form on the inside of the glass.and roll back down into the drink.
To see posts on other villages and towns in Poitou-Charente click here.
This is a reworking of a page which I published about 6 months ago when I first started this blog. The reason is that I want it as a post not a page…. there is a difference, anyway it is because I am changing the format of my towns and villages page to hopefully make it more user-friendly.
It is the regional ‘capital’ with a University and that has a big effect; many young people and academics means it has culture, restaurants and lots going on. Eleanor of Aquitaine did her bit a few years back and it has a stunning cathedral thanks to her patronage. The railway station links direct to Paris and only one change to London. Airport served? by Ryan air and internal flights with Air France. Just outside is the famous Futuroscope and close by the excellent Haut Poitou vineyards. It has it all and weather….. normally better than the UK, often really nice, recently (May/June 2012) a bit too wet!
To see other posts on villages and Towns in Poitou-Charentes click here.
One of the most beautiful villages in France, Angles sur l’Anglin is in all the tourist information magazines and rightly so. Luckily for Poitou-Charentes and Vienne it is just in this region, but only just. It is literally about 3km from the next department of Indre.It is obviously on the river Anglin and this is my take on the classic picture that always is featured in any article on Angles sur l’Anglin. That water mill must have had hundreds of thousands of photos taken of it and this is mine Continue reading
This is a part of the Mouliere Forest. It is an outcrop of millstone grit and from the edges of the reserve there are good views over the surrounding countryside but whilst on the reserve your views are fairly restricted.
The site is peculiar in that rock has been extracted from it over the years for use as mill stones. This has left a large number of small to medium-sized pools dotted about all over the area. Continue reading