Staying at Gites de Vergne is a holiday in itself for those who want to get away from their busy lives and be immersed in the local French culture and food. For the more adventurous we are wonderfully situated, with a whole host of attractions and activities within close proximity.
We are situated close to the market town of Civray, with the Charante flowing through it. The river offers opportunities for fishing, canoeing or exploring. Most Sundays in the summer sees the wonderfully informal brocante markets in the area, which are always fun to explore if you are a bargain hunter or not.
Take a look at some of the attractions and activities on offer around us.
If you’re looking for more entertainment in your exercise then Velo-Rail may just be the ideal thing for you. The Velo-Rail is a disused railway line located in the Charente-Limousin where you cycle specially adapted trolleys through the Vienne countryside. Each Velo-Rail can take 2 peddlers and 3 passengers and if you are in a group your trolleys can be linked so you can all enjoy the experience. There are two main routes, Roumazieres to Manot or Confolens to Manot return. You can add even more fun to your journey by taking along a picnic and dig in during the stop in Manot. Old, powered railway cars are also being restored for new rides from Confolens, and it is hoped that the track from Cofolens can be further extended.
Futuroscope is a great family Theme Park. Tagged as ‘one of its kind’ it truly lives up to this and offers lots of fun for both young and old. If your typical great day out is rides mixed with 3D films and 4D effects, Futuroscope offers a 21st century style Theme Park. Dynamic Vienne takes you over the beautiful Vienne as you float over the rivers and race through medieval villages.
As well as it’s restaurants and 3 research laboratories, Futuroscope is the largest enterprise park in the Vienne. The theme park is the top attraction in the Poitou-Charentes and second in France. Since it opened just over 25 years ago, it has had more than 40 million visitors and has an impressive 70% visitor return rate. On top of this, One-fifth of the 30 attractions are refreshed every year so there’s always something new. Located 6 miles from Poitiers, Futuroscope is a good day out and value for money. Tickets start at 38 Euros for Adults (aged 17-59), 60 Euros for Seniors (aged 60 or over), 29 Euros for Children (aged 5-16) and Infants under 5 have free admission.
The historical Romanesque abbey founded around 800AD is located in the Vienne, 50km east of Poitiers in the heart of Poitou. By the ninth century it was one of the major abbeys in the region. The abbey was rebuilt in the 11th century and extended further more in the 13th century. Today, you can still see the remarkable preservation of 11th and 12th century murals and it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. The abbey also houses Europe’s largest collection of Romanesque paintings. If you’re looking for stunning views of the beautiful abbey, these can be found from the bridge crossing the river where you can see the Romanesque building towering over surrounding buildings and the river.
Entry to the abbey is free but there is a 6 Euro charger to visit the museum in the 17th century Monk’s Building. Within the museum you can find Romanesque art history with models, interactive terminals films and dioramas. You should understand however that this is all in French.
Poitiers is a pleasant and relatively small city in west central France. On the Clain River, it is a commune and capital of the Vienne department. Poitiers is a major university centre and the town is very picturesque in its street and they are bathed in rich historical architecture, especially religious architecture. Two major battles took place near the city in 732 and 1356.
There are a few enjoyable things to do on a day out to Poitiers. The city centre is surrounded by cafes where you can sit down with a coffee or glass of wine and get something to eat. The Baptistery of St. John boasts the historical architecture of the city as it is one of the older Christian buildings in Europe and oldest one in France dating back to the 4th century. Inside the Baptistery you can see the baptismal pool. Along with this, The Church of Notre Dame dates from the medieval times and is Romanesque in architecture. After dark, light shows on some evenings are projected on its façade to illustrate how colourful the church once was.
Formula Kart Speedway is situated in Espace Des Mont Agnes. It has a 910 m track and promises a real adrenaline kick. You can go on the Sodi RX7 270 and 390cc 4 stroke. There is also Sodi SR4 125cc 28 hp for hire, which you have to try.
Racing is in the morning with schooling in the afternoons.
If you’re into motorsports, the Val de Vienne racing circuit at Le Vigeant is definitely worth a visit. The circuit du Val de Vienne opened in 1990 and is one of the premier destinations in Poitou-Charentes. The 3,768km track is regarded at one of the best motorsports circuits in the country. A variety of vehicles including racing cars, saloon, cars and superbikes all race around the track so it doesn’t matter what you’re into, you can still have a great day out. The circuit hosts organised bike tracks days at 90 Euros as well as a race driving school with a selection of cars such as Ferraris, Formula Renault Campus and Clio Sport cars. The Le Vigeant track is not just for the professionals. Individuals, groups and businesses can hire the race circuit for their own use. Val de Vienne also regularly hosts major events including the Championnat de France Superbike which attracts competitors and spectators from all ends of Europe
If you are thinking about visiting the Val de Vienne you should understand that driving the circuit is notoriously tricky with some difficult and bumpy breaking areas. However, the facility itself still looks like new and offers a high level of cleanliness.
Iles des Serpents at Trimouille is an attractive and modern reptile centre. This fascinating world is home to more than 200 reptiles from around the globe including the Anaconda, Boa and Iguana. In a setting of caves and green vegetation these amazing creatures are well looked after and recite in a resemblance of their natural habitat. A new addition at the centre is a 5000m² outdoor park with turtles, meerkats, otters and mongooses and you can also watch the animals being looked after. Taking a trip to Iles des Serpents at Trimouille is a great way to spend a morning or afternoon if you’re an animal lover.
Monkey Valley was first introduced in 1998 due the extinction threats facing some species and to help protect primates. There are around 350 monkeys from 30 different species. These monkeys live amongst the tree planted islands that make up Monkey Valley in complete freedom. Several monkeys in Monkey Valley have actually been born in the Valley which contributes to the ecological and environmental efforts. Visitors can attend feeding time and benefit from the expertise of the dedicated staff who care for the animals. The last entry before park closure is 1:30PM and the park is not accessible via public transport. However, there is wheelchair and buggy access. Prices vary from 16.50 Euros for Adults, 10 Euros for Children from 5 to 12 years and Infants up to 4 are free.
The commune of Chauvigny can be found in the Vienne department of Poitou-Charentes in western France. Located 32km east of Poitiers by rail, Chauvigny is situated overlooking the Vienne River and a small brook. The town is twinned with Billericay in Essex, England. There are number of interesting sights and attractions in Chauvigny such as interesting Romanesque churches which have both been restored in modern times. Ruins of the bishops of Poitiers chateau and other strongholds are great tourism spots. Near Chauvigny is the curious bone-cavern of Jioux, the entrance to which is fortified by large blocks of stone. The main economy of the town is lime burning and plaster manufacture with stone quarries in the vicinity. Trade in Chauvigny is in wool and feathers.