Le Moulin de Chazotte dates back to the 15th century when it was a flour and walnut-oil mill constructed by the then owner who had a chateau in the existing grounds. The mill closed down in 1896 and was finally abandoned during the first world war. The current owners began a total renovation project in 2003 beginning with bringing drinkable water, electricity and sanitation to the mill for the first time. Since then they have created four individual self-catering holiday gites within the building complex. The accommodation has been reconstructed to a very high standard but still retains many of the original features, particularly the exposed beams and the wonderful cream-coloured limestone. The mill stands in 11 acres of park and woodland with it's own little river, the Chazotte, running through it. Visitors can enjoy the total rural tranquilty of the mill location and the many facilities such as the large salt water pool whilst being able to be in bustling Cognac in 10 minutes by car.
The history of Cognac: The Cognac area was colonised by the Romans for some 800 years and any town or village with the letters 'ac' at the end or it's name was originally a roman villa (hence names like Cognac, Mesnac, Jarnac etc). The Romans introduced vines and viticulture into the region and so initiated the development of the world-famous drink of Cognac. Nowadays Cognac production is a thriving industry and we have the likes of Hennessy, Courvoisier and Martell almost on our doorsteps. We recommend that you have a conducted tour (and tasting!) of at least one Cognac distillery while you are staying with us.
There are also literally hundreds and hundreds of small family-run Cognac producers in the Charente and we have a close tie with the Chateau Chesnel which produces Cognac and Pineau (a local aperitif based on Cognac) under the family name of Roffignac. There was an intermarriage between the Chesnel and Chazotte families back in the middle ages so it makes for a particularly interesting local visit.
Water sports: The West coast of France boasts some of the finest sandy beaches in Europe. The mill is located only an hour from Royan where you can combine a day basking on the beach with a superb meal at one of many fresh-fish restaurants. At St. Georges de Didonne (next to Royan) is a magnificent sheltered and sandy beach which is perfect for younger kids. There is now also a pretty hair-raising tree rope-walking centre! For the more confident swimmer you can drive just a few miles along the coast from Royan to the Côte Sauvage and indulge in some surfing or body-boarding in the perfect Atlantic waves. Closer to home, and possibly for a cloudy day, we have water activity centres at St. Jean d'Angély, Angouleme and Jonzac. Even closer still (7 minutes by car!) is a recreation lake at Thors where you can hire pedalos or enjoy swimming in the lake before enjoying a good and very reasonably priced meal at the restaurant by the lake. Of course you can always go for a swim in the pool right here too!
Holidays for Mums (and Dads!) as well as the kids: For busy Mums a break from the routine of cooking and cleaning can be crucial. So, we provide well-equipped kitchens and a BBQ to encourage the dads to grab the apron while mum chills out with a book by the pool or on the terrace with a glass of wine. Superb fresh produce from local markets suddenly also makes cooking exciting again. Of course with such a wealth of restaurants, in theory, you needn't cook a single meal during your entire stay here! We often have a group BBq for all our guests at the back of the mill too.
As for the children well, we have one very important asset here...11 acres of space with a river! We have bikes for exploring, we have a large Canadian canoe for a paddling adventure right from the millpond. We have badminton and swings in the shade of the wood. We have a stunning saltwater pool (larger than average at 6m x 12m) - floodlit, heated and securely fenced. We have table-tennis and table-football in the barn and a 7 acre field for rounders and cricket.
The peaceful and gently rolling terrain of this beautiful area of vineyards and woodlands is perfect for exploring on foot or by bike and it's a bird-spotters paradise. Restaurants of all types are abundant but the local Charentais cuisine is exquisite and nowhere more so than at our local Chateau Mesnac which is within walking distance from the mill. Several theme parks (eg Futuroscope) are great for a day out but there are also aquariums, zoos, historic chateaux, many roman sites, ancient churches and abbeys all within reach by car. Local towns have excellent food markets and brocantes (flea markets) are common in the summer. Canoeing on the Charente and pedalling on the Velorail near Cofolens are great for working up an appetite! A day out to the beach at Royan or Ile d'Oléron is a must combined with a meal at one of the fresh-fish retaurants. Bordeaux, La Rochelle, Saintes and Angouleme all make a fascinating day trip - we'll provide details of many more such outings in your gite.
Other Activities: Please check out the many, many activities via our website link
Golf: The Poitou Charentes region of France has yet to market itself properly to the world golfing fraternity. There are dozens of well-regarded golf courses in this area not the least of which is the superb Cognac golf course at St. Brice. In recent years we have hosted numerous golfers who have combined their love of the game with an opportunity to chill out here at the pool as well as to explore the area. We have a section on our website specifically devoted to golfing which you can get to via our link on this website.
Ski: Skiing is not something that goes on much in this part of France largely because we rarely get any snow! However we have a direct connection with a ski and activity holiday company based in the Pyrenees which may well be of interest if you're into skiing or, for that matter, any other activity-based holiday. Mountainbug is run by our daughter and son-in-law and they operate out of Barèges near Lourdes. They offer full board and lodging with tuition and mountain-guiding as well as airport collection etc (from Pau or Toulouse airports usually). You can find a link to them on our website or we'd be pleased to give you more details ourselves. In recent years we have arranged a number of 'two-centre' holidays for families wanting an avtive week or so in the mountains followed (or preceded) by a week or two in the tranquility of the Charente here at the mill.