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The Region

Haute Vienne is traditionally a farming region and up until recently it was only the more adventurous holiday makers who knew this area, having become frustrated with the increasing commercialism of the Loire and the Dordogne, and began to visit this unspoilt area in an attempt to find the ‘real’ France.

The area around Balledent is predominately cattle and sheep farming. Although we are well out of ear shot of all main roads, it is only 20 minutes from the A20 which is the main North/South route through France, making it an ideal base with easy access for touring further afield should you wish to do so.

The local people are an absolute delight and will welcome you with open arms, suggesting places to visit, where to go for the best food (although in this part of France it is not hard to find), and of course share their enthusiasm in discussing local restaurants and good wines to look out for.

Places to Visit

First stop should always be the local tourist information office in Chateauponsac as they will be able to give you the latest ‘Agenda’ of all the fetes and markets that are happening whilst you are in the area. It’s our nearest small town (7 mins by car) and offers all the main services – tourist information office, supermarket, fuel station, pharmacy, Saturday morning street market and a few restaurants. A little further away to the west is Bellac (15 mins) where you will find a larger town typical of the region with regular markets and larger supermarkets. The area down by the river is lovely for riverside walks or stop off for a drink or bite to eat by the old bridge. The Delightful town of Le Dorat 20 mins away, is a beautiful medieval town and with only a little stretch of the imagination you can almost expect to turn a corner and see everyone in 15th century dress going about their day selling chickens and perhaps watching the odd public hanging!

Montrol-Senard (30mins) is a delightful historical village where a number of the buildings have been retained as they were originally were. You can see the school house exactly as it was with the children’s clogs at the back of the room and their work books still out on the desks. The blacksmiths, communal laundry basin, and various other buildings are all open with lots of information showing how a typical village used to be. It’s completely free to visit and park and wandering around here is lovely and well worth spending a few hours here during your holiday.

About 15 Mins to the south of the house is Lac de Saint-Pardoux, a vast lake which has been brilliantly laid out to provide you with a day by the sea. They even have beaches with real sand and different areas offer water sports, sailing, swimming and fishing so everyone can do their particular sport without getting in the way of the others. This is extremely busy in July and August however outside of this time you have it pretty much to yourself.

Another must see is Limoges (40 mins), the capital city of Limousin and of course famous for its extremely fine porcelain. Set up quite high, all the little streets climb up to the market square where you will find the purpose built food market which is a real treat to visit even if you are not planning on cooking your own meals, (and why should you - this region supplies a lot of the food to the rest of France and the restaurants are some of the cheapest - you will find!)

Further Away heading East is the Vallee des Singes (Monkey Valley – see the Links page) for a wonderful day out with monkeys of all types and sizes.

Heading North, Poitiers is home to Futuroscope which we are told is well worth a visit although we haven’t been tempted away from the pool long enough to visit ourselves yet.

To The East of the A20 is La Souterraine (30mins) which is another delightful little town and we always make a point of visiting the Saturday market. Further north from here is La Chatre (1 hour). The writer Georges Sand and partner of Chopin lived on the outskirts. Their house is open to the public and is worth visiting if you have an interest in music.

River fishing is available within walking distance of the house, again the tourist office will be able to advise the best places for the time you are there, and permits and bait as well as equipment is available in the local supermarket as with so many small rivers around it’s a very popular pastime here, so for anyone keen on fishing there must be nothing nicer than sitting by the pool in an evening barbecuing a trout caught that day!

If Your Ideal Holiday is amusement parks, burger bars, multiplex cinemas and non stop entertainment this is not the place for you. If however you enjoy the peace and quiet of the country, visiting delightful little towns, cycling through country lanes, taking 2 hour lunches and sitting in the garden or by the pool with a good book then you have found . . . . . . .Paradise!

HAUTE-VIENNE BROCHURE
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If you require any further information please contact Louise Kennedy-McGregor by:-

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07725 33 46 47

Email:
louise@louisekennedy.eu