350 years of Naval History celebrated!
2016 sees the 350th Anniversary Arsenal of Rochefort, Louis XIV’s naval dockyard. It was back in 1666 that the king had the idea of creating his military naval base inland rather than on the coast – a little upstream on the Charente River but protected by the islands of Aix and Madame. The Ponant Arsenal was built which extended the reach of the town down to the estuary which was also protected by Fort Boyard, come 1866, as constructed by Napoleon.
The Versailles of the Sea, as Rochefort is known, is today home to L‘Hermione – a replica of the frigate that took LaFayette across the ocean to join the American War of Independence in 1780. Now a living museum, visitors may experience L’Hermione throughout the year, apart from 4th June – 19th July when she will become a Marine Ambassador for the region at the Brest 2016 nautical show.
During her absence however, a replica of an eighteenth century Russian frigate under the naval command of Tsar Peter the Great, the Shtandart, will be on view in Rochefort between 4th June – 8th July 2016. There will also be a new ‘Accromâts’ high ropes experience which has been created, around maritime masts, opening in July.
2016 is also the Centenary of the French Fleet Air Arm. On the 21st & 22nd May 2016 a brand new Super Standard will arrive in Rochefort to recognise this landmark anniversary. There will be a special conference and exhibition of the stamps used for the warplane post as well as an opening up of the Naval Air Arm Museum in the Charente, so almost 4,000 square metres of space will be available to the public. Amongst other things, 33 aircraft will be on display from the Dewoitine 520 to the Super Frelon and Crusader.
For 40 years, the Coutant family – father, son and daughter have used their technical and biological expertise to create aquaria and other natural environments throughout Europe. Opened in 1970 the Aquarium of La Rochelle quickly grew to become the number one privately owned aquarium in Europe.
2016 sees a new exhibit, the Gallery of Lights – over 100 square metres more of five giant tanks that will take the visitor on a magical journey to the great depths of the oceans to reveal the sea creatures that light up their world with the most vibrant colours. On the surface there are manta rays lit magically from below. Further down the cerianthus lloydii and jewelled anemones, corals and sea fans lead to the pineapple fish found in slightly deeper waters before one enters the abyss! Here the wonders of bio-luminescence, fluorescence and iridescence will be revealed – how species react to it, how does it happen – all these scientific questions will be answered.
Living on high
For anyone who has seen a Tarzan film, living in a tree house will always be on a secret bucket list. That dream comes a step closer now with the tree houses (made from natural, eco-friendly materials) at the new Center Parc Le Bois aux Daims, Poitou-Charentes. The two-bedroom accommodation, for two adults and two children, has fantastic views over the whole area and is fully equipped with everything the modern day Tarzan, Jane and Cheetah could ever need, from a coffee machine to a dishwasher, washing machine to whirlpool bath and flatscreen TV. (Treehouse images courtesy of © Eric BERGOEND)
Visit the first European Eco-label hotel and restaurant in France!
Les Orangeries was the very first European Ecolabel hotel and restaurant in France with the owner, Olivia Gautier, introducing ecologically responsible practices throughout without compromising the comfort and hospitality of this ‘hotel de charme’.
Visit the kitchen garden with the chef in the morning for inspiration and in the afternoon, take a water-colour painting course to reproduce the vibrant colours of the garden. The hotel’s electric car is available to clients to visit the area in an ecologically responsible fashion – Futuroscope, Monkey Valley, the Montmorillion countryside and so forth. Or take a gastronomic picnic to enjoy under the stars.
David Royer, the young chef in the restaurant of Les Orangeries, won the ‘Young Talent of the Year 2016’ Gault Millau award, giving him two ‘hats’ in the 2016 guide. The restaurant itself (with three ‘hats’) won the International Sustainable Restaurant of the Year in 2014 and 2015 from the SRO (Sustainable Restaurant Organisation) thanks to the inventive seasonal, locally sourced menus – the first restaurant in France to be so honoured.
David specialises in a vegetarian menu using 100% biologically grown produce from the kitchen garden that he has developed since he arrived at Les Orangeries. He also gives cookery classes outlining how to economise in the kitchen – from using energy to using produce.
Combatting stress ..
The newest treatment at the Thalacap Ile de Ré is the anti-burn out treatment. As stress is now seen as a professional illness from which more than 17% of French adults profess to suffer, the doctors at Thalacap have come up with an effective treatment that uses oil of marine magnesium. The oil is rubbed onto the skin and thus relaxes the body where the first signs of fatigue and stress appear. To complement the benefits of the oil, the scientists have come up with a programme of physical activities and relaxation techniques that should help re-boot the physiology to combat the illness. The burn-out cure lasts six nights and encompasses 20 treatments with prices starting at 1209 Euros per person on a half board basis
Notes to Editors: With its equitable climate, Poitou-Charentes – the sunniest part of western France – is an area where you can enjoy many attractions. Visitors may enjoy for example the famous and unique Marais Poitevin, also known as Green Venice, which connects the Poitou and the Vendée; the historic port of La Rochelle with its fine restaurants and magnificent sites; Futuroscope – a theme park for the senses; Cognac and Poitiers, the city of spires. Poitou-Charentes is easily accessed by land, rail, air and sea for more information on getting to the region click here.
This is the perfect family holiday destination with a wealth of well-run campsites, B&B’s, hotels and gîtes to choose from together with wide open spaces to enjoy activities which range from golf to water-sports.