Les Charmettes is a large and lively holiday village with a huge range of activities. There is a big pool complex with indoor and outdoor pools, slides and splash fountains, entertainment complexes and sports pitches. Charente Maritime’s superb sandy beaches and La Palmyre are close by.
The west-coast region of Charente Maritime is the second sunniest in France. Combine the weather with the stunning beaches of the Côte Sauvage and you have a perfect family holiday destination.
There are more than 100 beaches to choose from, including La Palmyre and La Coubre, where you can climb one of France’s most powerful lighthouses. Charente Maritime is superb for cycling with miles of flat routes through pine forests, along the Cote Sauvage and across the marshland of Marais Poitevin. La Palmyre is home to one of the biggest zoos in Europe. There are stalls selling snacks which you can feed to the animals, getting you really close to elephants, giraffes and zebras. La Rochelle is a famous coastal town with a historic port, great shops, lots of restaurants, beaches and a huge aquarium with more than 10,000 animals and 20 types of shark. For the best views climb the 15th century Tour de la Lanterne, where your children can spot antique graffiti left by prisoners in the tower.
Other popular visits include Cognac, the ancient town of Saintes which has an amphitheatre nearly as big as the Coliseum in Rome, and the offshore islands of the Ile de Ré and the Ile d’Oléron. If you have a day to spare, try Futuroscope near Poitiers. It is the second most popular theme park in France and has massive Imax cinemas that show inspiring films that appear above your head, below your feet and all around to give a sense of flying, racing and rushing through incredible landscapes.