Bellevue is located in the Eastern corner of the Charente Department in the Nouvelle Aquitaine Region (SW France) - also often referred to as Haute Chartente and previously as Charente-Limousine. East of the flat plains of coastal France, this is an area where the land rises to around 300 metres above sea level providing a huge area of rolling countryside that is largely woodland and is dotted with thousands of small farms. A mixture of crop and livestock farming takes place in the area, and both can be seen directly in the the adjoining fields at the house. Sunflowers, wheat or similar cereal crops grow, and Limousin cattle roam in the unspoilt surrounding countryside.
Below are just some of the places and attractions that can be visited in the Charente and neighbouring Limousin.
Town of Confolens
The historic town of Confolens is located at the confluence of the Vienne and Goire rivers. This location is at the origin of its name. Confolens is also at the point where the Charente and Limousin regions meet, hence the name sometimes used to describe the area of "Charente Limousine".
Confolens was built around a fortress first mentioned in the eleventh century. It still has picturesque remnants of its medieval past, including city walls and several houses dating from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. It also features a bridge first mentioned in the fourteenth century.
In the nineteenth century, Confolens developed itself as the administrative center for a considerable agriculture area, due to its role as sous-prefecture and the distance of all other major towns Angoulême (to the south-west), Limoges and Poitiers are all about 70 kilometres away). It has several handsome nineteenth century administrative buildings, some of which were built by Paul Abadie, who was very active in the region.
Town of St Junien
This town has two large hypermarkets and a wide variety of commerces, bars and restaurants as well as a historic old town center.
Canoeing on the River (Confolens)
Canoes, Kayaks and Pedalos are available for hire on the River Vienne in Confolens.
WW2 memorial Martyr Town of Oradour sur Glane
On 10 June 1944, the village of Oradour-sur-Glane in Haute-Vienne in Nazi-occupied France was destroyed when 642 of its inhabitants, including non-combatant women and children, were massacred by a German Waffen-SS company.
After the war, General Charles de Gaulle decided the village should never be rebuilt, but would remain a memorial to the cruelty of the Nazi occupation. The new village of Oradour-sur-Glane (population 2,375 in 2012), northwest of the site of the massacre, was built after the war. The ruins of the original village remain as a memorial to the dead and to represent similar sites and events.
In 1999 French president Jacques Chirac dedicated a memorial museum, the Centre de la mémoire d'Oradour, near the entrance to the Village Martyr ("martyred village"). Its museum includes items recovered from the burned-out buildings: watches stopped at the time their owners were burned alive, glasses melted from the intense heat, and various personal items.
This is a must see destiantion for anyone with an interest in history, but is also highly recommended for all visitors to the area.
Futuroscope Theme Park (Poitiers)
Futuroscope, or Parc du Futuroscope to give it its full name, is a French theme park based upon multimedia, cinematographic futuroscope and audio-visual techniques. It has several 3D cinemas and a few 4D cinemas along with other attractions and shows, some of which are the only examples in the world.
The park is set in a beautiful area and also has all the usual restaurant and hospitality facilities. Although a little further afield than the other destinations listed here at around 90 minutes drive, the journey is well worth doing for a full or even a half day out.
Town of Rochechouart
The town labels itself as 'the countryside of the meteorite', because 214 million years ago an enormous six billion tonne meteorite smashed into this spot - probably one of the largest meteorites ever to hit the earth.
The town has a small museum associated with the meteorite and the history of the town and there is a large Chateau which is open to the public, there are restaurants in the square with outside seating areas - perfect for lunch !
Family amusement park, perfect for younger children. 30 minutes drive away with lots of kids rides, boats, go-karts, pedalos, train etc. Open March - September.
Parc Zoo du Reynou
At Parc & Zoo Du Reynou You can more than 250 species of animals and plants in a quiet and peaceful woodland setting.
Lots of different activities and events here, an ideal day or half day out.
Swimming pool centre, St.Junien
The newly renovated pool complex in St Junien provides 4 pools, 2 indoor and 2 outside with a water slide. Sauna and steam room at the poolside.
Lacs de Haute Charente
Around 25 minutes to the South West near the village of Massignac, you will find the large public lakes of Mas Chaban and Lavaud. A beautiful area in which to spend a day, the lakes offer a range of water-based leisure activities, such as sailing, canoeing, catamaraning, windsurfing, and fishing, while benefiting from a quiet and peaceful natural setting. Lovers of swimming and relaxation will also be satisfied since the Lavaud lake offers two pleasant fine-sand beaches. Massignac also has its own adventure park with zip wires, bungee jump and catapult if you like an adrenaline rush !