Things to do
A self-catering holiday at Font Remy is both relaxing - eating croissants outside at breakfast, sipping the local pineau as the kids play in the pool, barbecuing as the sun sets over the vineyards or dining down at the port overlooking the boats - and fun. There is lots to do if you want to be more energetic, both at the gites but also nearby.
Pride of place in the south-facing garden is the magnificent heated 15m x 8m swimming pool. There are roman steps at the 1m deep shallow end. The deep end is 2.4m to allow safe diving. The pool is securely fenced and situated within view of the individual gite terrace so parents can keep an eye on their children.
Within 20 minutes drive of the gites at Font Remy you will find some of the best sandy beaches in Europe: long stretches of golden sand at Royan and Saint-Georges-de-Didonne, sandy coves with caves and rock pools and excellent beach bars at Meschers and the wild expanses of the Cote Sauvage (north of Royan). There is a different beach for each day of the week all within a 35 minute drive of Font Remy.
A wide variety of water sports are on offer in nearby resorts. Boat trips are also available along the coast. In the northern Charente Maritime, west of Niort, are the waterways of the Marais Poitevin, or "Green Venice" area where you can rent flat-bottomed boats and paddle around a delightful maze of tiny canals, lined with willows and poplars.
There is a network of quiet lanes winding amongst the vineyards around Font Remy and Mortagne-sur-Gironde and numerous cycle tracks. Either bring your own bikes or hire them locally.
As you would also expect, this is a wonderful area for walking with some breathtaking views of the estuary beyond the vineyards. There are plenty of seaside and cliff top walks. Details can be found in each of the gites.
Golfers are well catered for with excellent courses at Royan, Saintes, Cognac and Bordeaux.
There are a number of tennis courts available for public use in Mortagne-sur-Gironde and Chenac close to Font Remy.
Trout, pike, perch, big carp and whitefish are among the first class catches that the fishing enthusiast can pull out of the waters of the River Charente and other rivers and lakes in the area. The local tourist office in Mortagne has details of where permits can be purchased. Deep sea fishing is also available from Mortagne-sur-Gironde and Royan.
You can taste (and buy) Cognac, chardonnay, sauvignon or pineau on the doorstep of Font Remy. Within easy reach is Cognac itself, where you can visit the famous producers and then, of course, there is the famous wine growing region of Bordeaux.
St Emilion is a must for wine enthusiasts or take a tour of the Medoc, home to some of the most famous Bordeaux vineyards.
The Zoo at La Palmyre
In the heart of one of the most beautiful pine forests in the area just north of Royan (35 minutes’ drive) lies La Palmyre zoo. The most famous zoological park in France, it is the most visited tourist attraction in the department of Charente-Maritime. As a breeding zoo it is different from most people’s idea of a zoo with many animals free to roam – there are more than 1600 in all!Official Website
Futuroscope at Poitiers (around 90 mins away) is well worth a visit, perhaps on a rainy day. Marvel at the holograms, computer generated images, cybernetics, 3D imagery and special effects. Fun for all the family.Official Website
There are always birds of prey circling in the area around Font Remy and you are likely to see black redstarts, cuckoos, black kites, hen harriers, buzzards, goshawks, herons, pied flycatchers and hoopoes, amongst others. The area as a whole is excellent for spotting migratory birds (particularly spring and autumn).
There are several good horse riding facilities locally.