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The Poitou-Charentes, in western France, is extremely diverse. Poitiers, the regional capital, is one of the oldest cities in France. Yet this is where you will find the futuristic theme park Futuroscope. North of Poitiers, you can make beautiful bicycle tours through the vineyards that produce wines, but also the ‘aperitifs’ and ‘digestifs’ of the region, especially Pineau des Charentes and Cognac. A guided visit to a producer will teach you all about the process of distillation, that dates from the 17th century.

Every Wednesday there is a cattle fair in the medieval town of Parthenay in Deux-Sèvres, where you can taste the lamb and goat cheese. The area has a coastline of over 400 kilometers with around 2200 hours of sunshine a year on the Atlantic coast in Charente-Maritime. In this department you can enjoy delicious seafood, including oysters from Marennes. The three islands in the area have beautiful sandy beaches where you can watch a wide variety of birds. The island of Aix is closed to car traffic. It can be reached by ferry from the resort of Fouras and past the famous Fort Boyard.
The island of Oléron and Ile de Ré are larger. They are particularly suitable for bicycle tours while you enjoy the sea air and admire the typical small white houses of the fishermen villages. To see: La Flotte and Ars-en-Ré, but also the old Lighthouse Phare des Baleines opposite La Rochelle that overlooks the sea. Further south, there are beautiful sandy beaches near Royan and the resort Châtelaillon-Plage. Fortified towns Talmont-sur-Gironde and Rochefort have a rich historical heritage from the French Navy.

The Marais Poitevin, also known as "Green Venice" is a haven of peace. If you are in the area in January, do not miss the friendly festival of comic books in Angouleme in the Charente. Also visit the medieval villages Aubeterre-sur-Dronne and La Rochefoucauld with its 11th century castle. In the Vienne, take time to explore Angles-sur-Anglin and St. Savin with its abbey.