May 28, 2007

La Charente-Maritime

The Charente-Maritime did not disappoint.
An alluring landscape of long, sandy beaches, salt marshes, rolling hills, vineyards and forests punctuated with stunning, Romanesque architecture and quaint villages made for a delightful three day visit.

The little chambres d'hôtes that I found last minute on the Internet was a mere five minutes from the most charming little seaside town, Saint-Palais-sur-Mer. We spent both evenings here, soaking up the sun, breathing in the salt air and enjoying a glass of Pineau de Charentes while watching the residents stroll by with their dogs.

Beach Burger, on the main street, made us laugh and we almost tried it one night, but ended up at a little restaurant with a view of the sea, eating delicious little steamed mussels instead. (I think that was a wise decision.)

Cognac was just an hour away so we drove over to visit our favorite producer, Roullet-Fransac. They were as warm and welcoming as the last time we visited and invited the dogs in to join us. They have a very comfortable tasting room with big couches and wing back chairs. After several tastes of cognac and Pineau, it is a difficult place to leave!

They also make several liqueurs using cognac, the Pomegranate was my favorite. Served chilled, it tastes a bit like a cosmopolitan.

We meandered around, visiting Saintes, Pons, Jonzac, Royan, Marennes and driving up the Gironde estuary to Saint-Georges-de-Didonne. We put a lot of miles on our little car and the dogs were incredibly well behaved. They were welcomed into every café and restaurant we stopped at and offered nice, big bowls of water.

The Charente-Maritime is an enchanting region with natural beauty, impressive sights, wonderful food and drink and delightful, friendly people. We're definitely going back. Pin It


Laurie said...

That sounds like a delightful trip! One reason why I miss our dog is that it's nice to travel with your pets sometimes.

Alison said...

Oh, it sounds great! I lived in Pons for the 18 months prior to my move back to the States.

Glad you were able to enjoy some mussels and pineau and salty air!

Loulou said...

the dogs were great fun to have around!

did you enjoy living in Pons? We liked the feel of the town a lot

katiez said...

I've been to that tasting room and love their pomegranate liqueur - as well as several other flavors....I believe I have 2 in the cellar as we speak...
The beaches are so lovely there....

Alison said...

Yes, I did like Pons. I lived within a stone's throw of the town square and the donjon, on the main street. It was great. Maybe on my next trip back, I'll pay a visit to my friends there, and have a glass of rosé at Le Français...

wcs said...

Sounds like a nice time. I'll have to try that producer's cognac one of these days. Oh, and Pineau is one of my fave apéros !

Loulou said...

the beaches were amazing and beautiful. You need to get that delicious liqueur out of your cellar and enjoy it!

it was a great place and you are lucky to have lived there. we thought the people were really friendly too

I was an au pair in the Charente when I was 21, was turned onto Pineau then and have loved it ever since.