We stayed in Rose cottage at Font Remy in July 2019 and had a wonderful family holiday.
Font Remy is nestled in the Vineyards of the Poitou Charente region and is very easy to reach from the UK. Font Remy is an hour drive from both La Rochelle and Bordeaux – 7 of us flew into La Rochelle from Stansted and hired a car for the week. The grandparents took a leisurely drive from the UK via the Eurotunnel – stopping overnight to see the Chateau featured in Escape to the Chateau!!
We all enjoyed the drive from La Rochelle to Font Remy as we drove through fields & fields of beautiful sunflowers & vineyards, the scenery was beautiful. As you arrive at Font Remy you approach a lovely rustic brick wall, with wooden gates and a long gravel driveway up to the gites. The gites have been converted from an old Manor House and are traditionally French (inside & out) with gorgeous duck egg blue wooden shutters on all the windows and with lovely mature climbing plants trailing across the walls. The setting is tranquil, and we immediately felt relaxed – well the adults did, the kids were just desperate to jump in the pool!
After bedrooms had been selected – the grandparents took the ground floor bedroom and we took the 4 bedrooms upstairs with the kids – we let the children jump into the large swimming pool and cool off. There was a heat wave while we were there and luckily there was a fan in every room of the gite!
The view from the upstairs windows out to the pool, gardens & surrounding vineyards was simply stunning, and we couldn’t wait to go out & explore.
We booked bikes before our holiday and they were delivered the day after we arrived.
We used Bike Hire Direct and they were great – the bikes come in all sizes with helmets and you can also add baskets, child seats, bike racks & tag-a-longs. We ventured out straight away to find the closest shops. The route was through the vineyards and it took about 10 mins to get to the co-op and bakers at the top of the hill (the fresh bread from the bakers in the morning was delicious and Grampa cycled every morning to buy fresh bread) there was also a pizza restaurant in this location (at the top of the hill!) The other shops & restaurants were down at the port of Mortagne-sur-Gironde, which is an additional couple of minutes downhill – the cycle down is easy however the cycle up is quite hard work! Little legs struggle & you would have to be a very fit adult to cycle up the hill with a child on your bike or in a trailer! We walked for a short part of the journey up hill, it then levels out for a lovely flat cycle back through the vineyards.
The port of Mortagne-sur-Gironde is very pretty with lots of sailing boats moored up and traditional French stone properties. There are cafes to get coffee & ice cream and also a few restaurants & shops.
We ate in Le Patio and had a wonderful meal on the harbours edge with great service & food ðŸ˜Š
Within the grounds of Font Remy there was lots to keep the kids entertained. The main highlight being the pool. The swimming pool was amazing, it was a warm salt water pool & is large enough for children & adults to swim properly – we all spent hours of each day in the pool.
At the front of the gites were some swings & a slide and a games room with table tennis, pool table, badminton rackets, board games, DVDS and lots of other toys for all ages. There were also lots of toys, games & DVDs in our gite and there was loads of local information on days out & places to eat.
The garden is enormous with a large wall around the perimeter, meaning that kids can safely explore and the pool is fenced meaning that parents can relax.
There is a wonderful choice of beaches within half an hour, whether you want a quiet beach or a beach with lots of activities to keep the kids busy. The first beach we visited was Royan, a lovely sandy beach with lots of facilities. We rented sunbeds & umbrellas on the beach , the water is very shallow & shelves gently which is ideal for young children. There are lots of shops, cafes, ice cream & crepe stalls and restaurants along the promenade and we had delicious Moules & Frites for lunch , followed by some yummy crepes. There are loads of arcades & rides for adults & children – we had a family race on the bumper cars!
Meschers-sur-Gironde is a lovely small sandy cove with a café & water sports hut.
There are large rocks, ideal for rock pooling and the kids spent lots of time searching for crabs and other species. There are also caves carved into the chalky rock at the seafront.
Pons has a historic medieval centre with a large castle keep which dominates most of the town – it’s huge! The views from the castle walls are spectacular. You can spend a good few hours wandering the streets and there are lots of lovely cafes to sit outside and watch the world go by.
Le Chateau des Enigmes is described as a theme park however please note there aren’t any rides! The Chateau is beautiful and in the grounds is a giant treasure hunt. At the start the children are given a map and they have to complete 27 games to win a certificate at the end. It’s great traditional family entertainment with clues & puzzles to be solved, maps to read and mazes to walk.
Talmont is officially listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Cars are not allowed as the streets are narrow and so exploring is done on foot. There is a HUGE car park just outside the village where you can leave your car. Talmont is best known for it’s 11th century church which sits of the edge of the cliffs looking out to sea. We really enjoyed walking through the narrow streets of white washed buildings looking in the little museum and local gift shops. There was a also a traditional French carousel that the children couldn’t wait to climb on.
Wine - Domaine des Prince
One of the best bits about staying at Font Remy is the vineyard on the opposite side of the road at the end of the driveway! The owner, Lilian Bernard, was very friendly and patient with our very basic French speaking. There was no chance of running out of wine! The Rose was fabulous for lunch time drinking in the sunshine and the Pineau des Charentes was a delicious aperitif.
There were lots of other local vineyards to try but this one was so convenient that we didn’t try any others! The wine was soo good that we stocked up the grandparent’s car ðŸ˜‰
I would say this is the only negative of flying to France – not being able to stock up on lovely local produce.
The relaxation from the tranquil surroundings and the bread, cheese & wine!
A sunset cycle through the vineyards and the swimming pool.
We highly recommend Font Remy for a family holiday and can’t wait to go back.
There are 4 gites to choose from and if you are planning a really large family celebration you could book all 4 and have the place to yourselves.