St Laurent des Combes and surrounding areaSituated on the sunny Charente/Dordogne border with its Romanesque church and rural way of life St Laurent des Combes is a typical south Charente village, nestled between wooded hills, vineyards and fields of sunflowers, wheat or maize. Here you can experience the long hot summer days and relaxed pace of south-west France. Either sit in the shade reading your book with the occasional dip in the pool or visit local market towns and pretty villages with their honey-coloured stone walls and roman-tiled roofs.
Enjoy trying some of the regional delicacies, fine Bordeaux wine, Pineau (local aperitif), cognac, foie gras and magret de canard.
The 13th century Chateau de Talleyrand (incorporating a very popular restaurant) overlooks the nearest town of Chalais where you can enjoy the unique atmosphere of a bustling French market every Monday morning. The Chalais international horse show is held beneath the floodlit chateau for one weekend every year at the beginning of August.
Chalais also has all the basic amenities, supermarkets, newsagent, doctor, café/bars, etc. There are also markets in the nearby towns of Montmoreau, Blanzac, Riberac and Aubeterre (with its Église Souterraine.)
In the vicinity are several lakes (Brossac, Jemaye, Paradou) with sandy beaches, swimming, windsurfing, children’s play parks, nature walks and cafe/restaurants.
Slightly further afield there are many day trips that can be enjoyed
Bordeaux (1 hour) – all the boutiques, boulevards, grand buildings and restaurants you would expect of one of France’s largest cities. For real shopaholics an hours drive on good roads will get you to the park and ride for Bordeaux’s new and very swish tram system, it is then only a short hop on the tram to the boutiques and “grands magasins” of the Rue St.Catherine.
Angouleme (45 minutes) – the capital of the Charente, the old walled town with narrow streets, and grand administrative buildings sits high on a hill overlooking the River Charente and surrounding country. The Tour des Ramparts (racing new and old cars around the city walls) takes place at the beginning of September. Centre Nautique Nautilis – newly built olympic-size swimming pool and water park.
Cognac (50 minutes) – world famous town on the banks of the River Charente, walk around the old quarter, visit the art museum, and of course go to one of the famous Cognac houses (Hennesey, Martell, Courvoisier, etc.).
Perigueux (just over an hour) – capital of the Dordogne, beautiful old centre, byzantine cathedral, covered market, a great place for buying your épicerie.
St.Emilion (50 minutes) – World Heritage Site famous for its many wine producing chateaux of the very highest quality.
Brantome (50 minutes) – Picturesque town dissected by canals and waterways, sometimes called the Venice of the Perigord.
Vineyards – Maison des Rosiers is ideally situated for visiting the vineyards in the region, whether it is one of the world-renowned areas of the Bordeaux region (Pomerel, St Emilion) or one of the Cognac houses of the Charente (Courvoisier, Hennesey, Remy Martin) or even our local chateau Le Maine Giraud, where you can get an informed guided tour and tasting of their wine (red, white and rosé), Pineau and Cognac.
Walking – Maison des Rosiers is an ideal spot for walking, whether it be a short stroll through the woods or a day’s hike there are many marked paths right from our doorstep. There is no better way to enjoy the beautiful vistas and flora and fauna that the Charente/Dordogne border country is famous for.
Swimming – always welcome on a hot summers day, it’s easiest just to use the pool at La Maison des Rosiers, but if you want something a bit bigger there is a lido pool (25m with diving pool) in Chalais, and Montmoreau has a 25m pool plus kids pool, picnic area, beach volleyball and table tennis, or try the Centre Nautique Nautilis (50m olympic pool and water park) at Angouleme.
Kayaking – There are a couple of kayaking centres nearby (15 minutes away) on the rivers Dronne and Charente. Single or double canoes or kayaks can be hired for a ‘taster’ 2 hour trip, or a full day on the river.
Paramotoring – Experience the exhilaration of flying without a plane! This can be arranged with a fully qualified and experienced pilot Christophe Chiron. He will take you up in a two seat Paramotor for a truly memorable twenty minute flight over the Charente countryside. (weather permitting of course).
Cycling – Enjoy discovering the beauty of the Charente countryside by bicycle. Either at a relaxed pace along the quiet lanes or more energetically along the marked VTT trails. One marked VTT trail starts right from the village of St Laurent des Combes.
A range of Bikes and accessories, helmets, etc, for all ages can be hired at very reasonable prices from Phil and Sue at bikehiredirect.com You can organise it all in advance and the bikes will be delivered directly to you at the gite and collected at the end of your stay. Or bring your own bikes, we have ample secure storage for them in our barn at Maison des Rosiers