3 swimming pools!! cried Louise as we arrived at our chateau near Pons in the Charente-Maritime area of France. This was the fifth chateau holiday I had organised and we had ventured further south in search of the sun.
Monday was an introduction to the two local towns as we cycled south to Jonzac and then looped back north again to Pons. Passing fields of sweetcorn and sunflower heads the roads were quiet and gently undulating and everyone tucked into the boulangeries at Jonzac, whilst a few tried out the local open air swimming lake. In the evening most of us divided into teams and played Olympic trivial pusuit, whilst Steve started a snooker tournament on the full sized table next door.
Tuesday took us to the coast and Mortagne-sur-Gironde. We headed west for a boulangerie stop at Gemozac where some families returned to the chateau, as the swimming pools were far too tempting, leaving the rest to head for the port by the coast, ending in a fast downhill. Our way back though was interupted by Thomas Voekler et al, when 180 professional cyclists just happening to race past on their way to Royan. Back at the chateau, we changed into our glad rags for an outdoor meal in the shadow of Pons Donjon
Wednesday as the rest day, saw us all split in various directions. Some went surfing near Royan, others went for a bike ride, whilst we chilled by the pool
Saintes was the attraction for Thursday. With its Roman arch and ampitheatre it was a natural choice as we headed through Pons on the way to a lovely escarpment with some far reaching views. We stayed for a few hours and the enormous chocolate merangue that I found for James will live long in his memory. Back at the chateau the snooker tournament was edging closer to the final, but would anyone beat Steve?
Our last cycling day sent us to St Fort and Port-Maubert. I'd had a tip of that an English couple ran the bar in St Port, so finally Sarah had a proper cup of tea. Down the coast for a short way trying to look for beavers before returning to the chateau and the traditional last night cook BBQ, and yes I didn't beat Steve in the snooker final.
This was a fabulous find, Andrew and Marje, the owners were very helpful and 2015 beckons.