Our beautiful gite is located about 40 minutes away from Poitiers in the Vienne Department which forms part of the Poitou Charente. It is primarily a rural area where villages remain pretty much as they were a hundred years ago.
The village consists of about 8 houses and all the occupants are French other than ourselves. The road to the village is a dead end, so we have no traffic to speak of and everyone is very friendly. Despite being in the heart of the village, the garden and house are completely private. The bread oven is next to the house, and we have had many a village fete where it is lit and a grand party is had.
Blessed by a warm micro-climate, summers are long and hot, and winter is normally quite a short affair but can be quite cold. One of the main crops is sunflowers and it is a magical sight to see these huge flowers nodding in a light summer breeze.
It is also a fascinating area historically, both many centuries ago and in more recent times. The Hundred Years War was fought in the vicinity and a major battle site is at Nouaille Malpertuis where the Black Prince defeated the French in 1356.
In the Middle Ages, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Joan of Arc were both in the Poitiers area and a visit to the city is very much recommended to explore the history and to see the regeneration which took place in the main square over the last two years.
During the Second World War, very close to our own village, Poitiers was occupied by the Germans from about 1940 and the Resistance were very active throughout the area. Visit the church in Romagne for information of events that took place in our very own village.
Although France has been affected by the economic downturn, the role of the local mayor has helped many local villages to retain the basic amenities. We are lucky enough to have a wonderful Bakers, open every day except Wednesday, Co-Op, open on Sunday mornings and there is also a Bar and very good restaurant, where they speak excellent English.
Wildlife is fascinating too with an abundance of birds, in particular birds of prey, as well as red deer, hedgehogs (resident in the garden) and wild boar.
Some of our neighbours have small holdings and are virtually self sufficient. I have learnt so much from them – how to bottle fruit, how to make delicious alcoholic drinks and how to make pates. They will really enjoy a chat with you whether your French is basic or you can hold a fluent conversation. You may be rewarded with some tomatoes or a bottle of their home made hooch.
One of the best ways to explore the area is by bike, so if you haven’t brought your own with you check out http://www.bikehiredirect.com/ who will bring bikes to your door for your holiday.