Something for Everyone...

Beaumont Holiday Cottages - moules-at-the-local-restaurant

Eating out is very relaxed in France. Many excellent restaurants to choose from and the local Pineau slips down very easily!

Bird Watching

Beaumont is situated at the edge of the vast nature reserve of Moëze, several hundreds of hectares of old salt marshes which are home to an astonishing variety of wildlife including the largest number of migrating birds in the whole of Europe.  The 5km trip from here to Broauge is almost all nature reserve. We can provide booklets to help you identify what you see!

The Charente Maritime has the largest population of storks (including the rare black storks) in the whole of France. They are treated as honoured guests and are provided with large numbers of man-made nests to which they return every year. We have one male stork which every year comes to our bonfire area to collect twigs to make the nest even more comfortable.

Beaumont Holiday Cottages - White Storks nesting

Golf

There are a number of excellent 18-hole courses within about a half-hour drive. It is possible to buy a combined ticket giving access to the courses at La Rochelle, Royan and Saintes at substantially reduced prices (depending on time of year) and it is possible to negotiate a similar deal at Cognac.

Walking and Cycling

The surrounding area is excellent walking and cycling country and we can provide detailed maps of recommended routes to suit all levels of stamina and ability. We have several bicycles available to guests at no extra charge.

Beaumont Holiday Cottages - The rigging masts at the Arsenal, Rochefort
Beaumont Holiday Cottages - Boat trips in La Rochelle

Local Shops and Restaurants

Beaumont Holiday Cottages in the Charenete-Maritime, French market.We are in a very quiet, rural area, free of noise and other pollution. There is a local bar-tabac in the village for anything you run out of. For fresh croissants and patisseries our local baker is a bike ride away in the nearby (2km) village of Moëze. Our nearest town, Soubise, has a supermarket with cheap petrol and a cash machine, while St. Agnant, 3 miles in the other direction, has a small supermarket which is excellent for meat - they make all their own sausages, patés etc. and prepare cuts of pork etc. ready marinaded for barbecues as well as very good plats cuisinés (take-aways).

For a very large supermarket we recommend Leclerc in Rochefort (7 miles away). For fresh produce, try the Farmer's market in Rochefort on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings. Rochefort also has a superb covered market for fish etc.

Beaumont Holiday Cottages - Freshly barbecued musselsFor those who don't want to cook, the historic citadelle of Brouage is under 5 miles away with restaurants for all tastes and budgets. For those who like seafood, there is a stunning oyster farm just outside Brouage, which has the best seafood you will ever taste (the area provides much of France with mussels and oysters). See the illustration of barbecued mussels to the left.


Beaches

Beaumont Holiday Cottages - The beach at Ile d'OleronMost of our guests explore the numerous beaches of the Ile d’Oléron (France’s largest island). The Atlantic side has some good waves, while the landward side is more appropriate for the less experienced. If you leave Beaumont early it takes less than half an hour but can take a lot longer at weekends.

St. Froult. Our nearest beach, less than 5 miles away. A good place to cycle to but in low tide can be a bit muddy. We use it for walking the dog rather than swimming!

Marennes plage. About 8 miles away. Ideal for very young children

Port des Barques. About 12 miles away. The beach is partly man-made with a floating jetty to swim to. At low tide you can walk or drive to the Ile Madame as long as you come back before the tide comes in!

Beaumont Holiday Cottages - St Palais sur Mer beachThe Côte de Beauté and the Côte Sauvage are a bit further south. Serious surfers should try the Côte Sauvage, but there are some lovely child-friendly beaches (Saint Palais sur mer and St. George de Didonne are especially good). You can often see children under instruction for sand yachting or sailing.



Activities Nearby

There is plenty to see and do, with historic towns, like La Rochelle and Saintes, or lively seaside resorts such as Royan all within about half an hour's drive. Rochefort (15 mins.) is the nearest large town with a superb morning market, good shops, museums and historic buildings. Smaller towns, for example the citadel of Brouage, as well as fascinating chateaux and the glorious beaches of the Côte Sauvage and the I'le d'Oléron are just as near. In fact, our nearest beach is under 5 miles away. The area is a centre for bird watching with several reserves within easy reach.

Restaurants mainly specialise in seafood but there is always a choice, even on modest fixed-price menus which offer amazing value in the restaurants in the surrounding villages.


Brouage

Beaumont Holiday Cottages - Brouage ChurchBrouage (less than 5 miles away) was built as a defence against the British when Brouage was on the coast. It is possible to walk all around the 17th century ramparts, with spectacular views. In 1608 the explorer Champlain sailed from Brouage in search of the North West Passage and founded Canada instead! Cardinal Richelieu was Governor of Brouage in the early part of his career and used Brouage later as his base for the siege of La Rochelle. Fascinating if you are interested in history but a splendid place to wander in even if you aren’t.

Rochefort

Beaumont Holiday Cottages - Rochefort viewRochefort was built somewhat later than Brouage as a garrison town after the harbour of Brouage silted up. The site, on the left bank in a bend of the river Charente, was well protected against the English threat of raids and established a good base for the defence of the Atlantic coast. It claims to be one of the first ever “New towns” i.e. built on a grid, and large parts of the city consist of the original 17th century buildings, substantial naval base and Beaumont Holiday Cottages - Le Pont Transbordeur dockyard. It is very pleasant to sit in one of the two cafés in the town square and watch the world go by. The town is reached today from the south via a sweeping viaduct giving wide ranging views over the town and local area. As you cross the viaduct you also get a good view of the old aerial ferry of Martrou, originally built for crossing the river without disturbing shipping. Built in 1900, it is the only one of its kind in the whole of France. It is still in use and not just for tourists – cyclists can use it to go from Beaumont to the port of Rochefort almost entirely on cycle tracks!

The Naval Dockyard, Rochefort

Beaumont Holiday Cottages - Dry dock at the naval dockyard.The naval dockyard which extends along the Charente was created in 1666 and there were a considerable number of vessels built there before its closure in 1926. The shape of the dry dock, gives an idea of the size of the vessels which came in for maintenance and repair.




The Hermione, Rochefort

Beaumont Holiday Cottages - The Hermione, RochefortNearby, the massive project of building an exact replica of the warship, The Hermione, in which Lafayette sailed to Boston in 1780 to help the colonists in their struggle for independence is nearing completion, when it too will sail to Boston. The Hermione is over 210 feet from stern to bow, with 16,000 square feet of sail spread over 3 masts. There are audioguides in English and costumed animateurs who bring the story to life.


Le Corderie Royale, Rochefort

Beaumont Holiday Cottages - La Corderie, Rochefort At over 1100 feet The Royal rope making building is the longest building in Europe. Designed to produce the enormously long ropes for the sails of the French men of war, it is now a naval museum. It is a stunning work of architecture and still looks as if it were built yesterday. The Garden "Jardin des Retours" is laid out around Le Corderie and makes for a good walk along the banks of the Charente.


Pierre Loti's House, Rochefort

Beaumont Holiday Cottages - Pierre LotiAlso in Rochefort is the house of Pierre Loti, sometimes known as the French Conrad. Loti, born and bred in this area, travelled extensively in the Far East and wrote thinly disguised novels based on his experiences. His house is a fascinating Aladdin’s cave of eastern artefacts and is well worth a tour.




Chateau de la Roche Courbon

Beaumont Holiday Cottages - Chateau de la Roche CourbonThe 17th century Chateau de la Roche Courbon is well worth a visit for its beautiful gardens and fascinating kitchen with its historic yet still working utensils. There are guided tours in English available at this property.



Abbaye de Trizay

Beaumont Holiday Cottages - L'Abbaye de TrizayThe Abbaye de Trizay (less than 10 minutes away) was founded in the 11th century. Although partially in ruins, it is a magnificent site. On one of the pilgrimage routes to St. James of Compostella, his emblem of the scallop shell appears on some of the columns. For some years now, the Abbaye has housed an important collection of modern art – paintings, sculptures and tapestries from all over the world. Nearby is an impressive pigonnier with room for over 5,000 pigeons as well as Les Jardins de Compostelle (less than 10 minutes away); an extensive formal garden on a hill above the lake at Trizay with over 5 acres of flowers and plants of all kinds. There is a pizzeria for ice-creams etc. The lake has pedalos and fishing. There is also mini-golf as well as ducks to feed!

Le Chateau de la Gataudière

Beaumont Holiday Cottages - Tree walking at Chateau de la Gataudiere The chateau was given by Napoleon to one of his marshals and has been in the same family ever since. The extensive grounds include a deer park and there are 104 different tree climbing adventure challenges over 8 trails designed for age 4 to adult. "Let yourself go in complete safety. Surrounded by professional staff, using monkey bridges, beams, rope, ladders, nets and lots more, you can move from tree to tree at your own rhythm Beaumont Holiday Cottages - Chateau de la Gataudierein complete safety". If you’re lucky the Prince himself will show you the ropes! The same site offers "paintball" and from 2011 will be adding quad bikes to the range of activities.



Echillais

Beaumont Holiday Cottages - Echillais ChurchEchillais is a charming small town just south of Rochefort. The church, dating from the 12th century, has a beautiful façade and there are some highly amusing gargoyles on all sides of the building. The canal de la Bridoire between the rivers Seudre and Charente is popular for walking and boating – you can hire the so-called “Perles d’eau”, silent electric boats, to enjoy the tranquillity of the countryside. There is a fine riding school in Echillais which usually has room for the occasional English visitor.