long hot summers, short winters (generally milder than the UK), thanks
to early springs and late autumns. Second only to the Côte d'Azur
in the average number of sunshine hours recorded annually, Poitou-Charentes
has a warm, temperate climate, thanks in part to the Gulf Stream. This
is an unspoilt region of frequent blue skies and warm sunshine.
will encounter friendly, welcoming country people, since this is the
heart of rural France where agriculture in its many facets is the primary
of the four departments possesses its own regional identity, largely
as a result of its geographical location. The westernmost region includes
both flat, grain-producing plains and coastal marshland - much of it
protected nature reserve.
Inland, to the north lie the celebrated network of tranquil waterways
and lush meadows known as the Marais Poitevin, whilst further south
the Cognac area is characterised by its wealth of productive vineyards
supplying grapes for both the illustrious brandy and its aperitif close
relative, Pineau de Charentes.
Elsewhere, in northern Charente and Vienne, for example, you will pass
through gently undulating fields of sunflowers, maize, rape and wheat.
Throughout the region, the landscapes also feature coppiced woodlands
of chestnut, oak, cherry, holly and acacia, lending colour throughout
the seasons. Here and there, lone mature walnut trees stand like sentinels.
The effect, whatever the season, is both beautiful and rich in its variety.
River Charente at St Savinien
TGV streaks through
a landscape of sunflowers (Charente)