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.