La Longère Rose is not more than an hour's drive away from all sorts of places and activities - it just depends on what you want to do...
Melle: the town has a lively market every Friday, where you can absorb the area’s rural atmosphere as you stroll around the market stalls which surround the restored 18th-century halles (covered market). Choose from a wonderful array of fresh vegetables, meat, bread, cheese, locally caught fish and many other delicacies, as well as clothing and household goods. Other local towns with markets include Lezay on Tuesdays, Celle-sur-Belle on Wednesday, Brioux-sur-Boutonne on Thursday, Chef-Boutonne on Saturday and Aulnay-de-Saintonge on Sunday. The restored lavoir at Sompt is a shady place to have a picnic after a morning at the market!
Niort: this city is the capital of Deux-Sèvres and also the centre of the French mutual insurance industry. From Niort, the River Sèvre Niortaise is navigable by shallow boat all the way to the sea and there are waymarked cycle paths starting from the town centre.
Niort-la-Brèche: the town has a huge shopping area called “Espace Mendes France”. The town centre itself has benefited from a five-year regeneration project and now has a below-ground multi-storey car-park, a multi-screen cinema beneath Place de la Brèche, a large green space with many restaurants and cafés, a playground and a picnic area. The main shopping streets in the town, which are all pedestrianised, lead off the main square and down to a restored market hall and dungeon where Aliénor d’Aquitaine was imprisoned by Henry II before he shipped her back to England. You do have to remember that this part of France belonged to the English crown for many years! In the summer, the exhibition area near the river is turned into “Niort Plage”, a huge artificial beach with boating, organised sports and picnic spots - a fun place to see the French on holiday!
Celles-sur-Belle: this lovely town is the site of an abbey, which dates back as far as the 11th century. It was later reconstructed between 1660 and 1685 on the orders of Louis XIV.
La Rochelle: this coastal town, with its iconic ancient battlements, has a traditional fishing port, a superb aquarium, a modern marina and many delightful boutique-style shops and restaurants. During the summer months, the town’s main shopping street is pedestrianised, so we recommend that you use the excellent Park & Ride service provided.
Ile-de-Ré: at just 30kms long and 5kms wide, Ile-de-Ré is the cyclist’s kingdom. You’ll find loads of cycle routes and little villages which are closed to traffic, as well as delightful boutiques to browse in on foot. The best restaurants are in St -Martin-de-Ré, alongside the old harbour. We recommend that you park your car at the "Belvedere" on the mainland side of the toll bridge and then hire your bikes there - just make sure that you book bicycles in advance to avoid disappointment. Ile-de-Ré does get very busy with cars in the summer, so parking and cycling is the best way to see the island.
Châtelaillon-Plage: with acres of sandy beaches, a 3-day kite festival in April, a street market on Tuesdays and lovely walks along the promenade, Châtelaillon-Plage is a super day out for everyone, even in mid-winter. For those wanting something different, the town also has a casino and a health spa.
Le Marais Poitevin: situated less than an hour’s drive away is Le Marais Poitevin, known as “La Venise Verte”. Its beautiful landscapes have always been a source of inspiration for artists and poets. For over a thousand years, this verdant area of marshland (which was once a coastal gulf leading to the port of Niort) has slowly been reclaimed and now has a picturesque network of canals crisscrossing it, which you can explore on foot or by hiring a boat or bicycle. The quaint villages have plenty of bars and restaurants where you can enjoy a refreshing drink or a relaxing lunch.
Poitiers: as a university city and the region’s capital, Poitiers boasts a history of 2,000 years which is interwoven with its present urban landscape. Encircled by the Clain and Boivre rivers, the promontory of Poitiers welcomes its visitors in an historic centre of great character, embellished by the presence of an exceptional number of monuments evoking its rich medieval past. Poitiers has a perfect mixture of prestigious ancient heritage and remarkable contemporary buildings - the modern buildings have been designed so as not to clash with the ancient ones. In the city centre, the contemporary constructions integrate harmoniously with the architecture of previous centuries.
Now even more open to pedestrians, the city centre has been renewed by numerous developments that enhance the ancient squares and façades. Stroll through the streets and let the city’s marvellous heritage reveal itself to you at walking pace. Lovers of city rambles can follow the"Poitiers pas à pas" (Poitiers on Foot) circuits to discover the picturesque narrow streets, half-timbered houses and many other charming architectural gems in the centre of Poitiers.
Angoulême: sitting on a hill overlooking the River Charente, the town is a mixture of historical buildings and a modern pedestrianised city centre. Angoulême has several claims to fame, most notably the Festival de la Bande Dessinée (comic strips) during the last weekend of January where you can experience four days of non-stop entertainments and events. The world of comics awaits you - and for younger children, there are games and workshops, along with shows, exhibitions, meetings and exclusive screenings. The famous "Circuit des Ramparts" takes place during the second weekend of September. A few days of nostalgia for the petrolheads, the rally is a series of road races for historic cars around the city’s ramparts.
During the last weekend of November, come and experience the Gastronomades - a whole weekend dedicated to local products and cooking. Gastronomades is a unique journey of discovery from the field to the plate - a chance for the public to meet and exchange ideas with chefs, food producers and journalists. During the weekend, learn, give and receive culinary ideas and participate in cooking classes, culinary contests, exhibitions and debates.