It's often stated that France is five times bigger than England. If that's so, then it would probably be possible to fit England into Poitou Charentes. Why then does it always amaze me and other people I meet just how much the terrain changes within a short distance.
We, my hubby and myself, live in Moncontour on the border of Vienne and Deux Sevres. Surrounded by fields upon fields of sunflowers, melons and vineyards - as you travel along the main roads between the towns it often looks so flat. And yet if you journey just twenty minutes away towards Parthenay then the views are very different - the fields and surroundings are very English with hedgerows and fields of trees. Further to the south of the Vienne and your are heading to more mountainous regions.
However this little part of the Vienne can yield some great surprises - it is not as flat as it looks. Take a detour off the main routes, particularly if you follow the small rivers such as the Thouet and the Dive and you will find youself travelling down into little valleys or up into small craggy summits where you will find ruined abbeys, churches, castles or keeps, and manor houses. Beautiful villages such as Curcay sur Dive, St Generoux, St Chartres, Misse and our very own Moncontour.
If you would like more information take a look at our website www.legrandsaule.co.uk under the page 'local towns / area' or take a look at the website www.guide2poitoucharentes.com . The latter offer a wealth of information about the region and I also provide a write up once a month about the history and culture of the area.
By the way the local town of Loudun is famous and has a connection with Oliver Reed - anyone know what it is?