The French region of Poitou-Charentes is located in the west of the country. Only formed in 1956, Poitou-Charentes is one of the newer regions. Famed for its warm summers and mild winters, the area has some of the best weather in France. With its high proportion of hot, sunny days, it makes a great destination for a summer break.
The Poitou-Charentes region consists of the central portion of the French Atlantic plain and the hilly inland area behind. The region also contains the foothills of the impressive Massif Central mountain range. Much of the area is agricultural and, in the south in particular, there are many large vineyards.
The local grapes are used to produce Cognac and the famous local drink of Pineau des Charentes. The region has extensive rural areas, making it an ideal holiday location for those who are looking for peace and quiet. There are many gites and other types self-catering accommodation in Poitou-Charentes and, like so many of the best villas in France, most of these enjoy stunning rural settings.
Although most people visiting Poitou-Charentes do so for a relaxing holiday in the scenic French countryside, the region also has a major attraction of a very different kind. The huge Futuroscope theme park is located outside the town of Poitiers and has been entertaining families for over 25 years.
Futuroscope is one of France's most visited attractions and is a must-do for those with children. Kids of all ages will love it here and there's plenty to entertain the adults, too. The extensive grounds of the park contain rides for all ages, live shows, 3D experiences, cafes, restaurants and shops.
There is evening entertainment after dark and separate tickets are available for those who just want to visit at night. More traditional attractions are found at the seaside towns of Rochefort, Royan and La Rochelle. Although local beaches do get very busy during the summer months, there are always quieter areas at the fringes of the main resorts.
Oyster beds line the coast in this part of France and provide the basis for one of the region's most popular local dishes. You can sample this local specialty at one of the many friendly and reasonably priced restaurants in the coastal towns. For other local produce, the numerous food markets in the region offer unbeatable quality and value.
Shopping for food in the traditional French way is affordable, enjoyable and rewarding. Those staying in gites or villas in France are unlikely to need to set foot in a supermarket during their holiday.