You know it’s been a good trip when there was so many highlights that it’s hard to just pick one – and when you don’t want to go home.
I could spend hours wandering through the streets of Poiters, but what’s definitely not to be missed is the lighting of Poiters Cathedral. It’s lit up at night for approximately 15 minutes and is stunning as the details in the carvings are highlighted. It’s beautiful by day, but amazing at night. It’s lit up from mid-June to mid-September and throughout the Christmas season.
The highlight of Angoulême for me was the self-guided walking tour through the city stopping at all the city’s cartoon murals, officially called The Painted Walls in English. They are everywhere! You can pick up a map of the self-guided tour at the tourist information office.
My highlight of Jarnac was the tour of the House of Cognac Courvoisier. After our tour I felt like a real connoisseur, although judging how strong I found it, clearly I’m not, since a real connoisseur would not find it so strong.
Yes, it really is a place and of course I had to drink Cognac in Cognac! Visit Bar Louise at Hotel Francois Second for specialty Cognac cocktails.
I really enjoyed dining on the terrace of L’Atelier des Quais with the river views. It was modern, lively, yet also romantic at the same time. And the Entrecote was excellent and believe me after all the Entrecote I ate while in Poitou-Charentes, I should know!
I also loved staying at the Quai des Pontis. There are three different room styles to choose from; caravans, each one decorated slightly different, riverfront cabins where I stayed and the lodge. Each cabin and caravan was unique and decorated with a sense of whimsy and fun, yet practical. Each room has its own Nespresso machine and a breakfast basket was delivered to my room in the morning so that I could enjoy the river view. The rates are also very reasonable running from €69- 90, depending on the room and the season.
Eating at the main square of Rochefort is such a great place for people watching and for getting a pulse on the small city. It’s a perfect introduction to Rochefort. Next up was a visit to the Hermione frigate, a project that fascinates me to no end. It’s a project that is rebuilding the frigate Hermione on which La Fayettte left Rochefort in 1780 to join the American insurgents during the War of Independence of the United States. Everything is being replicated as close to the original using traditional methods, like sewing sails by hand! It’s set to sail in March 2015! I was fortunate to meet three of the people involved on the project and loved their obvious passion and pride in the Hermione Project. Find out more about the Hermione frigate.
Island of Aix
Aix is an island only a 20-minute boat ride from mainland France but worlds away. It’s 200 residents are friendly, laid back and often don’t bother wearing shoes. Cars are only allowed on the island with special permission, further contributing to the relaxed island feel. An island where there are quite possibly more bicycles than people is just my thing and it makes a great day trip. It’s also a great way to wind up a wonderful holiday to Poitou-Charentes.
Travel tip shared for Travel Dudes by Laurel Robbins