Water Activities - River Beaches & Lakes
The area is well-known for its river beaches and lakes, which are clean and well looked after with all amenities. Great for swimming, kayaking, fishing and just playing around in the water.
River beach at Aubeterre sur Dronne (25 mins)
Beautiful sandy beach with cafe, toilets and canoe hire. You can safely swim in the river and also fish, but you will need a fishing permit which is available from the grocery shop ‘Vival’ in Aubeterre.
River beach at St Aulaye (15 mins)
Another lovely sandy beach with the open air 'Restaurant de la Plage' (May-September only) on the banks of the river Dronne.
Le Grand Etang de La Jemaye (25 mins)
A large lake and nature reserve set amidst 210 hectares of unspoilt forest, with a lakeside beach, bars, restaurants, toilets and supervised bathing (summer months). You can fish (permit required) and in the summer months, there are free canoes available to explore around the lake. If you prefer to walk or cycle, there are several signposted routes from the site all around the main lake and the further 5 interconnected ponds, where you can enjoy the peace and quiet of the forest and an abundance of nature.
Brossac Lake (25 mins)
These fresh water lakes offer a variety of water activities including zip wire wake boarding. There is a safe, man made beach and swimming. Facilities include a restaurant that overlooks the lakes.
Canoes, Kayaks & Mountain Bike Hire.
Moulin de Parcoul – (10 minutes walk)
On the outskirts of Parcoul and situated on the bank of the river Dronne you'll find Parcoul 24 where you can hire canoes or kayaks. The organisers will take you up the river and then leave you to make you own way back at your own pace. Open every day from Easter.
VTT (mountain bikes) can also be hired from here.
Aubetere sur Dronne – (25 minutes drive)
The Association of Nautical & Open Air Sports graduates and executives are at your disposal at this well organised and welcoming site for canoe & kayak hire. There is accompanied or unaccompanied hire and distances of 5,10,15 or up to 50kms available.
Le Massou, Bonnes – (15 minutes drive)
Horses & ponies are available to suit all levels of riding experience. Hacks & walks into the beautiful surrounding countryside where the english speaking leaders will allow riders to make use of their individual riding skills. Booking essential. Closed Tuesday.
The area also has hundreds of kilometers of marked cycling routes, providing safe and interesting rides across the region for cyclists of all abilities. These consist of cycle 'loops', each one having three circuits; Family circuit – usually easy going over 4 km to 10 km; Discovery circuit – longer routes over 20 km to 40 km; Exploration circuit – more challenging routes of between 40 km to 70 km. Each loop is well marked out with signs featuring small black bicycles. There are 37 in the area, many within easy driving distance of Les Bouchons. The closest loops are in Aubeterre sur Dronne, Chalais, Montmoreau Saint Cybard and Villebois Lavalette.
There are a further 18 routes in the Northern Dordogne, the closest to the gite being at Riberac, St Aulaye and Verteillac.
Le Paradou Centre – (5 minutes drive)
The Paradou is a chalet and caravan holiday complex. It offers a variety of family activities including crazy golf , trampolining, tennis and volleyball. The fresh water lake has a sandy beach with pedalos and toboggans with a water slide open from late July until the end of August. There is a separate lake for fishing. The complex has a bar and restaurant, has weekly music nights and is open to non residents.
Jonzac Les Antillies - 55 minutes drive
Let yourself be seduced by one of the largest covered aquatic leisure parks in Europe. Laze under the canopy of 10 000 m2. while the kids enjoy the caribbian themed pools.
On the agenda: a walk in the tropical greenhouse, lounging on the sandy beach, break at the panoramic restaurant, relax in the gym, stop at the beauty institute ... and more ...
Places of Interest
An hour away is the city of Bordeaux. It is the capital of Aquitaine, and with nearly a quarter of a million inhabitants, the city is the 9th largest in France, very cosmopolitan, full of beautiful buildings and extensive shopping areas, just the place to hit the credit card. The old city is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Bordeaux is the world’s major wine industry capital and in 2015 won the ‘European Best Destination’ award.
This delightful medieval village, in the heart of the world-famous Bordeaux vineyards, has a status all its own thanks to many famous vineyards, superb wines, impressive monuments, and beautiful architecture.
Wine has been grown here since the 2nd Century, when the Romans found that the limestone soil produced the perfect grape.
A fascinating town to wander around, with some stunning architecture and cobbled streets. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Situated on the Dordogne river, just 25 minutes away, the town of Bergerac is famous for its wine and was the centre of France’s tobacco industry.
The famous Monbazillac wines come from here. A vibrant town, it can easily be discovered on foot. Lots of winding alleys and great restaurants.
Aubeterre Sur Dronne
The picturesque hill top village of Aubeterre is considered to be one of the prettiest in France with wonderful views across the valley. The remarkable monolithic church carved out of the rocks by monks in the 11th century is well worth a visit. Also lots of small artisans shops displaying different crafts. Tables are set beneath leafy shade in the village square (4 different cafes/restaurants) where you can have a drink or a meal.
Chateau de Villebois
1 Grand Rue - Place des Halles 16320 Villebois Lavalette
Tél : +33 5 45 62 28 44
Guided tours only, from €3.50, available in English and French
Perched on its hill, the medieval fortress of Villebois-Lavalette and its fortification flanked by six round towers, has a vast panoramic view of the surrounding country. Just below the castle, there is a magnificent 17th-century covered market hall which hosts a market every Saturday.
Chateau de la Mercerie
16320 Magnac Lavalette Villars
English-speaking information line +33 545 316821
Open from Easter to the end of October
Known as the 'Versailles of Charente', the chateau's impressive 220m long façade in white limestone is being painstakingly restored by the commune and is well worth visiting.
Château de Bourdeilles
Tél +33 5 53 03 73 36
Open February-December, admission €8.30 per adult.
The chateau consists of two parts, the original 13th century fortress, whose 35m high octagonal keep affords superb views of the village and river below, and a richly furnished 16th century renaissance palace. Both castles are surrounded by sturdy fortified walls and there is a beautiful courtyard garden full of flowers and lined by trees.
Chateau de la Trancharde
Domaine de la Tranchade, 16410 Garat
Tel: 05 45 65 81 89
Guided tours in the Summer months from Monday to Friday at 5 pm, admission €4 euros per adult.
Less than 10km from Angouleme, the 14th century historic monument of Chateau de la Trancharde sits in a splendid position overlooking the Anguienne valley.
Chateau de Puyguilhem
Puyguilhem, 24530 Villars
Tel: +33 5 53 54 82 18
Open all year round, admission per adult €6.
Partly Renaissance and partly medieval in style, the 16th century Chateau de Puyguilhem was abandoned and pillaged in the 19th century, but was then acquired by the French state in 1939 and returned to its former glory after a long and painstaking restoration. Inside the castle you can see an impressive collection of furniture and tapestries, while outside, the grounds have also been attractively restored.
Other available activities include
- Tree climbing
Please ask for more information.