Vacation in France 2014 - Family Activity Vacations
Active Family Holidays in Limousin, France
A Holiday in France is Good for Your Health!
You'll live forever in Limousin. Well, not quite but it must count as one of the healthiest places in the world to live and it's a great place to come if you're looking for a family activity holiday or an outdoor active holiday. There is mile upon mile of beautiful oak and sweet chestnut forest, wild flower hay meadows, pastures full of cows and sheep and lakes and rivers teaming with fish and a whole lot of outdoor sports and pursuits just waiting for you.
The area is relatively undiscovered and lightly populated so we have little traffic, few factories and no pollution so it's clean and safe and relatively cheap. A holiday in Limousin and the Lakes of the Haute Vienne is a real bargain.
The whole of Limousin is just one outdoor activity play area. Walking, fishing, boating, horse riding, swimming, golf, kayaking, and cycling are all here plus there are several outdoor adventure parks.
Of course we also have great traditional local foods to try, the area is seeped in history, Limoges is famous for its porcelain and there are the world famous Limousin cattle to see - and even more ....
What more could you ask for?
Limousin is perfect for an activity holiday in France
Our Bed and Breakfast near Rochechouart is about thirty minutes from St Junien and La Rochefoucauld
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Opportunities for exercise are boundless in Limousin
If you love sport, walking, cycling, riding, boating and other water sports, Limousin is for you!
Cycling in Limousin
Our area is good for cyclists. There is practically no traffic and the terraine is not too difficult, but you will face the challenge of a few hills. Why not follow the Route Coeur de Lion (the Route of Richard the Lionheart), which practically passes by our front door?You'll cycle in the heart of the Limousin region and visit over 19 chateaux and historic buildings along the route. You could also explore the ancient Pilgrimage Route of St Jacques which is also near by.
We can now offer bike hire. You hire bikes from Bike Hire Direct, a family run business based in the Charente, and you are then free to take advantage of low cost flights and to enjoy the freedom that cycling affords.
We can offer secure accommodation for bikes in our barns at Les Trois Chenes.
For something a little different, why not try 'velo rail', or 'rail biking'? Up to five people can 'ride' these pedal-powered people-trolleys mounted on rails, and you travel down an old railway line passing through small valleys, forests and over a large viaduct. The route is from Confolens to Roumazieres-Loubert via Manot.
These are accessible to handicapped people on request. 26 euros, open all year, booking necessary Tl: 05 45 71 16 64 www.velorail16.com
We moved to Limousin to enjoy the good life
We moved to Limousin from Britain in 2002 to set up our farmhouse bed and breakfast, 'Les Trois Chenes', or The Three Oaks in French. We also run painting holidays here. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, +33(0)5 55 48 29 84 or see our web site www.lestroischenes.com
Need help with bookings or arranging your activity holiday?
It can be a bit daunting communicating in a foreign language, but if you are staying with us and you're interested in doing any of the activities, including taking a painting class, we can organise it for you. Just tell us what you would like to do and when, I'd be happy to make the arrangements.
Gite with trampoline in South West France
Bounce yourself fit!
Our new trampoline has arrived! Great for the kids and keeps them amused so that you can get a bit of peace and quiet. Having said that, our Mums and Dads can't resist a bounce. Trampolining is fun but it's also an excellent way to keep fit.
Horses and horse riding in Limousin and the Charente
There are plenty of horses here because property with land is still so cheap here. Within five minutes of Les Trois Chenes there are two riding stables:
CE DU BARRAGE DE LAVAUD
This is on the lakeside but is open only in the summer.
Plage de la Guerlie
16150 PRESSIGNAC 05 45 89 04 77
Centre Equestre des Lacs de Haute Charente
This is an established riding centre, open all year.
Chez le Mineur
François DELARBRE 06 88 67 80 76
Géraldine DELARBRE 06 85 60 36 34
At Les Trois Chenes we have paddocks that are suitable for horses for overnight stays
Horses at Les Trois Chenes
Walking in Limousin
There are superb walks starting right outside Les Trois Chenes. Limousin is a wonderful place for ramblers and walkers. The roads are empty and the paths numerous. There are short walks and long walks and plans are a-foot (no pun intended) to link the local paths to regional long-distance trails. In 2003 the Conseil Général, (the governing body) of the Haute-Vienne put in place a plan to create a system of paths in order to promote walking and tourism in the area. You'll find that the footpaths are well maintained on the whole and clearly marked.
Although we have rolling hills, we don't have mountains and you are rarely far from a village so the walking is not too strenuous. You don't have to limit yourself to summer either, as you can see from the pictures, this region is lovely all the year round.
The French enjoy walking and you'll often find that there is an organised walk, or Randonée and joining one of these is an excellent way of meeting local French people.
For a very long walk indeed why not join the Pilgrim Route of Saint Jacques, the Camino de Santiago? One of these routes begins in Vézelay, France, and then passes through Limoges and Les Salles, not far from Vayres where the pilgrims would visit the church of Saint Eutrope.
Have a look at these articles:
Information about the walks can be found in the Tourist Office and the Mairies.
Just one of many walks around Videix. We are rich in footpaths and bridleways - this hidden part of France is so beautiful
Golf Courses in Limousin? Spoilt for choice.
Golf is great fun, great exercise and a great way to meet other people. We are lucky to have two golf courses within half an hour of Les Trois Chenes, so our guests are spoilt for choice.
Golf de la Preze
Just over the border, this golf course in the Dordogne and consists of 9 holes of international standard (Par 72, 6320 meters long). It has a beautiful, natural lay-out in 65 ha of hills woods and lakes. There are also modern, sheltered driving range, pitching / putting greens, a restaurant and bar.
Near Ecuras, 16220 Montbron
Tel: 05 45 23 24 74
Le Golf de Saint Junien
This is a three star, 18 hole course; read what they say about the course:
"What initially strikes visiting golfers is the superb location of our golf course. Newcomers to the site find major challenges in adapting to the hilly terrain. A different choice of clubs is required, different golf techniques and not least getting used to the strain on one's calves."
Tel 05 55 02 96 96
Adventure Parks in South West France - perfect for teenage children
Aventure Parc Lacs de Haute Charente
Just fifteen minutes from Les Trois Chenes is an adventure park where everyone from tots to adults can 'play'. There are activities in trees and a maxi Tyrolienne (aerial rope ways) and the bungee jump tower. You'll be pleased to know that there are experience, trained instructors on hand to ensure safety.
There's a big bouncy castle for children over 3, and once a child is over 1m 55 with arms raised, they can participate on the main circuit.
Opening times are complicated, so have a look at the web site:
Tel 05 45 24 07 43
Just thirty five minutes from Les Trois Chenes is the Adventure parc of Espace Hermeline at Bussier Galant. There is also a Velo rail - a sort of group cycle along a railway line.
Avenue du plan d'eau
87230 Bussière Galant
Tél : 05 55 78 86 12.
Fishing in France - Limousin is great fishing country
Fishing in Limousin is cheap and easy. Limousin is not called 'The Lake District of France' for nothing!
The rivers and lakes of this region are teaming with fish and the local residents are often seen with a line in the water. There are organised events like the fishing day for children at Rochechouart, and you can buy Fishing permits and go it alone. There is fishing in étang de la Féclerie at Etagnac, étang des Pradelles at Roumazieres-Loubert, étang de la Chauffie at Pressignac, étang de Boischenu at Rochechart and the lakes of Lavaud and Mas Chaban at Videix.
You can find information about Permits at the tourist offices or you could contact the Fédération de Pêche (Fishing Federation) de La Charente Tel 05 45 69 33 91
Nautical Centre Videix Lake
The Nautical Centre or, to give it it's official title, the Water Sports Centre of the Haute Charente Lakes, sits on the banks of Videix Lake, just outside Verneuil. You can hire boats, (optimist, sailing dinghy, catamaran), wind surfs, canoës and rowing boats and explore the 40 ha of water. There are no motor boats so you can enjoy the wild life, the beautiful countryside, the peace and quiet.
You can also hire mountain bikes here.
Open from 15 July - 26 August Booking 05 45 65 30 62
On the other side of the lake, at the beach of La Chassagne you can hire pedalos and giant water tyres. Children love these and they are occupied for hours at a very reasonable rate indeed.
Canoeing and kayaking on the River Vienne
Nothing could be nicer than discovering the natural resources and history of this beautiful river by canoe or kayak. There are some small rapids to give the trip a little frisson without daunting the less fearless amongst us. There are three centres near Les Trois Chenes:
Open from 1 May - 30 September Booking 06 61 48 47 67
Aixe sur Vienne
Aixe canoe Kayak Open 7 days a week from 9am - 6pm Booking 05 55 70 29 27
Canoe Kayak Club St Victurien Open 7 days a week from 9am - 6pm Booking 05 55
Treat yourself to a painting holiday in Limousin - join Monet and Corot for inspiration
Not too energetic? Do your friends and family love sport but you're not so keen? Why not explore your creativity and join us for a painting holiday?
Why not join the likes fo Claude Monet and Corot who came to Limousin to soak up inspiration from the fabulous and varied landscpape of this part of France. Green and gorgeous as John Constable's country - but a good deal warmer.
So, why not let the family splash out on fishing or boating? We'll paint them from the shores while we sip a coffee or enjoy a glass of white wine in one of the lakeside restaurants. They are mad about horses? We can sit in the stable yards and sketch the ponies. We'll take short walks to beauty spots to sketch and we'll visit castles and sites of interest to paint.
Interested? Read more about painting at Les Trois Chenes: Learn to Paint in France or contact me directly on +33 (0)5 55 48 29 84 or email email@example.com
A painting holiday also makes a wonderful gift!
Traditional Limousin cuisine - French Food glorious food
You'll work up an appetite after all that exercise and here in Limousin there's a wealth of fabulous, locally produced food. One thing you'll have noticed as you run, walk, ride and drive through the area is the well-fed, healthy looking farm animals grazing outside in sunny meadows.
Limousin is world famous for its beef and you'll see the beautiful, light brown Limousin cattle grazing in fields up to their elbows in flowers. Farmers here use the minimum of herbicides and pesticides and instead rely on farming methods of days gone by - which means they are right up to date. That's why the fields are full of flowers and herbs, the poultry is fed on corn and maize, the calves are kept with their mothers until they are almost as big as Mum, and the bulls are left with their entourage of cows, just as mother nature intended.
All those flowers are great for bees and you'll see bee hives dotted around the edges of ponds or at the bottom of the gardens. Honey for Sale signs are dotted along road sides and villages hold honey festivals. One of the best is at Maisonais-sur-Tardoire
There are lots of small-scale food producers in the area who cater largely for local people. Typically they produce both the raw materials and the finished article themselves.
Limousin grows superb fruit and you'll see apples, peaches, cherries, pears and plums growing everywhere. While it is not a wine region, so you won't see large scale vineyards, everyone has their own grape vines growing over the barns and houses to provide them with grapes for the table.
Every village and town organises festivals and communal meals where you can taste the local delicacies and every year Saint Junien brings together producers of traditional French food and wines from all over the country in their exhibition Vignerons et Gourmands.
Try some of these seasonal Limousin recipes:
- How to make Peach and Apple Chutney for Christmas
We had a glut of peaches at Les Trois Chenes Bed and Breakfast this year, and what better way to preserve all that summer sunshine goodness, than to make jam and chutney? This recipe makes a chutney so rich,...
- Apple Cake - a Limousin Speciality
A regional speciality of the Limousin, France, you can make this moist cake using either apples or pears. An apple cake is easy to make and very economical so we often serve it in our chambres d'hotes as a dessert. It looks pretty as a picture on our
- Quick & Easy Sweet or Savoury: French Toast
Not long after we moved to France to open our Bed and Breakfast and run painting courses, my (then) five year old son came home from school asking me to make 'pain perdu'. I gathered from him that this was a...
- Wild Mushroom Soup
It is the end of October, Halloween, All Saints Day, (or Toussaint) and the weather here in France is warm and wet - perfect for mushrooms! Les Trois Chenes bed and breakfast is set in the rolling hills, oak...
- Flower Fritters
It was early June last year when my friend Sue came to our Bed and Breakfast in Limousin, France, with her arms full of what we call acacia flowers, (they are really from the Robinia family though) and I soon...
Where to Stay in France - A bed and breakfast in South West France
Our B&B is about ten minutes from the historic town of Rochechouart, with its magnificent castle (now an important centre for contemporary art). We are almost halfway between Angouleme and Limousin and it isn't much further to Perigueux in the Dogdogne.
Have a look at our website on www.lestroischenes.com or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org