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Parc de La Belle is just south of Gencay at Magne. It is signposted and is a turn to the right as you are travelling south from Gencay. You can click on to it’s web site for further details. www.parcdelabelle.com

We spent three very relaxed hours there last Sunday ( 3rd June 2012) We could have gone to Le Val de Vienne and looked at 500 Ferraris but we were being good hosts and my sister in law said that she was not the slightest bit interested in cars but that if I wanted to go then she was not going to stop me, so I took that as a no.

In fact the weather was a bit iffy, I had seen the Ferraris last year and I prefer Porsches, so it was not a great sacrifice. As it turned out the Parc de La Belle is very interesting. It cost just 5 euros each to get in….. and our guest kindly paid for us. Thinking about it  the Val de Vienne is only 2 euros so she could have saved 9 euros.

There are two aspects to the Park. One is the tree houses or Cabanes which you can rent and stay in. They look very exciting but I probably would not opt for the very highest ones being a litle bit vertigous myself. I will do a blog on the Cabanes very shortly. The other aspect is the gardens which are extensive and quite varied. There is a river running through the site (called la Belle), some beautiful lakes and ponds and a riverside walk.

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There are lots of information boards on the wildlife dotted about to tell you what you might see and even if you don’t see them it is nice to know what is about. There are some fantastic trees and I am always impressed by ancient trees.  There are also lots of specialised areas like the rose garden, the wild flower area or the garden of grasses. There are 16 different regions listed on their guide, so there is plenty to look at.

There are also a few things for children to climb about on and have fun. I am a bit curmodgenly about play areas. Quite often it seems to me that they dominate an otherwise very interesting and exciting attraction so that children spend all their time at the play area and don’t even look at what the venue is really about. …..grumpy old man…… this is not like that. They also have a few animals, just a couple of goats and donkeys and I saw a very splendid Peacock.