It's not just about the fishing! We have many customers who do not fish, who claim that being at La Germondière is "good for the soul". We have to agree. Whether it's meditation or yoga, enjoying a picnic, watching the wildlife, hugging our beautiful Walnut tree or simply just enjoying the peace and tranquility, and soaking up the wonderful feeling of being outdoors, you will find our lakes and grounds hit the spot perfectly.
But if you are worried you might go stir crazy, there are so many tourist attractions nearby, you will find something for everyone. But don't get carried away, remember to make time to just chill out and enjoy our little corner of paradise.
Nouvelle Aquitaine (including the previously named Poitou-Charentes) is a popular holiday destination primarily because of the climate. The region is south of the Loire Valley and some parts are believed to have the most sunshine hours a year in France, outside of the Med!
This information is by no means the full list of tourist attractions within driving distance of Secondigny, but gives you a taste of things you can do to keep everyone in the family entertained. One week is surely not enough.
The top attraction in the Poitou-Charentes and the second in France – a holiday in the Poitou-Charentes isn’t complete without a day out at Futuroscope. A 60-hectare park, with landscaped gardens and fountains and futuristic-looking pavilions which house thrilling rides and jaw-dropping 3D films. The only amusement park of its kind in Europe!
(We can usually provide you with discount vouchers for entry into Futuroscope).
Le Puy du Fou
Much more than a traditional theme park, the Puy du Fou has been voted the best theme park in the world! We have to say - it's a theme park like no other, and a MUST see.
The Puy du Fou offers an experience which stands out from other theme parks by offering you spectacular performances that propel you through the centuries.
A famous historical theme park, the Puy du Fou Park is a whirlwind of extraordinary shows and a great experience for ages 8 to 80! Visitors embark on journeys through time to enjoy lavish historical enactements in this 50 acre park with 25 restaurants ! One day just may not be enough.
Each and every one of our customers who have been here highly recommend it.
A marsh area, made up of natural water channels and man-made canals, which stretches for miles. The area is often referred to as the ‘Venise Verte’ (Green Venice).
The largest area of marshland on France’s Atlantic coastline and the second largest anywhere in the Country is full of wildlife. You can explore the canals and waterways by traditional flat-bottomed boats which can be hired from various areas in the Marais Potevin. Head to any of the ‘embarcadères’ (piers/wharfs) to hire a boat for an hour or two, or half or whole day and with or without a guide.
Or you can explore on foot or by bike (plenty of bike hire places). Some of France’s most beautiful villages are in the Marais Poitevin area – head to Coulon or Arçais to see the traditional architecture of the area, along the edge of the waterways.
With its four ports, La Rochelle is one of the most important French harbour towns, particularly for tourism. It has a unique atmosphere, with its historic port (Le Vieux Port), a quayside bustling with boats of all sizes, and a seafront packed with cafés, bars and restaurants. Pedestrianised streets are surrounded with 17th and 18th century buildings housing boutique shops selling everything from fashion to food.
The town has a daily market which takes over the streets around Place du Marché and a stunning seafood market at Rue Marché.
You can cycle around La Rochelle, using the yellow bikes that are free. You can collect your bike at Place Verdun between 9am-6pm. You will need to take identification. The first two hours are free, then it’s 1 Euro per hour.
La Rochelle also has one of Europe’s best aquariums with more than 10,000 sea creatures on display – an evening visit in July and August is a great end to a full day in La Rochelle, as the aquarium remains open until 11pm.
And there are Museum’s galore…. covering maritime, national history, perfume bottles, antique moving figurines, model transport vehicles and porcelain and paintings – you’re bound to find something of interest to you.
Centre Régional "Résistance & Liberté" - Thouars
Explore the history of the Resistance movements through the Second World War.
Journey to the past to get a better understanding of our current world through this interactive and unique exhibition with original photographs, clandestine newspapers, letters and videos.
With audioguides in English.
(Thouars market is held on Tuesdays and Fridays, why not make a full day out and return with some local produce?)
The Poitou-Charentes is packed full of animal parks and zoos, offering great days out for all the family.
Zoodyssee – a 25 hectare animal park and an ideal place for a forest walk.
Zoo de la Palmyre – one of the best zoos in Europe set in 14 hectares in a pine forest. More than 1600 types of animal from all 5 continents.
Les Oiseaux du Marais Potevin - more than 70 species of birds in the beautiful Green Venice.
Planete des Crocodiles – boasting more than 200 crocodiles.
Le Vallee des Singes – Mountain gorillas and 30 species of ape and monkey.
Mouton Village – 23 breeds of sheep from around the world.
An hour/hour and a half drive will take you to the beautiful beaches of the Vendée Coast where there is plenty to do and see - guaranteeing you a full day out.
If you like swinging from the trees, we are just 20 minutes for Parc Adventure Chantemerle. With 3 different courses and mini-golf, there is plenty here to wear everyone out.
From shops, bars and restaurants to the Medieval Quarter, Parthenay has something for everyone. Why not consider timing your holiday with the FLIP (Festival Ludique International de Parthenay/Festival de Jeux) – a games festival held for 12 days in early July throughout the streets and squares of the town centre.
Market day in Parthenay is Wednesday.
Churches and Heritage
Secondigny’s own church of St Eulali dates back to the 11th century and was listed as a Historic Monument in 1929. Nearby villages of Allonne, Azay sur Thouet, Pougne Herisson, and St Aubin le Cloud each have their own churches, mills, chapels and granite boulders with an interesting history to tell.
Le Nombril du Monde (The ‘naval’ of The World)
The village of Pougne-Herisson is recognised as the genuine navel, “belly-button”, or central focal point of the world. Tales, fables and all the biggest and best tall stories were born here. A real family experience with guided tours, play routes for children, walks and workshops. The annual festival in August consists of 4 days and 4 nights of sharing stories and tales, and tasting local produce.
BIRD-WATCHING - we had a keen bird-watcher spend his holiday here in May 2013. He provided this list of birds he saw (or heard) in and around the Gîtes over the 7 days ('b' denotes evidence of breeding): Blackbird, Black Redstart (b), Blackcap, Blue Tit, Buzzard, Cuckoo, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Collared Dove, Carrion Crow, Cirl Bunting, Dunnock, Great Tit (b), Green Woodpecker, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Goldfinch (b), Greenfinch, Golden Oriole (b), Grey Heron, Green Sandpiper, House Sparrow, Hobby, Kestrel (b), Kingfisher, Magpie, Mallard, Moorhen, Robin (b), Swallow (b), Swift, Sedge Warbler, Starling, Spotted Flycatcher (b), Serin, Sparrowhawk, Turtle Dove, White Wagtail, Woodpigeon, Wren (b).
GOLF – There are three golf clubs within an hour drive of Secondigny; Mazières-en-Gatine, Niort and Les Forges. There is also a new golf course recently finished at Bressuire, just 20-25 minutes away.
MINI-GOLF, TENNIS and PEDALO hire are available at our local campsite in Secondigny.
FISHING – If you want more fishing than is on offer at La Germondière, you are spoilt for choice in this region. With so many rivers to choose from, most can be fished all year round (be aware of the closed seasons for certain fish, and ensure you obtain a ‘carte de pêche’). For lake fishing, Pescalis at Moncoutant was created in 2000 as the first international nature and fishing centre in Europe and now has 100 hectares of lakes. Closer to Secondigny are Lac des Effres, Etang du Mothes and Etang du Olivette.
SWIMMING – Parthenay’s Gatinéo aquatic centre has 4 pools tailored to different activities and a giant toboggan – something for everyone. There is a campsite in the town of Secondigny, and the outdoor swimming pool is open to the public during July & August (afternoons only). St Aubin Le Cloud also has an outdoor and indoor swimming pool.
CANOEING / KAYAKING / WIND-SURFING – are pursuits on offer at Parthenay’s Base de Loisirs.
MARKETS - local produce markets and vide-greniers (car boot sales) give you the opportunity to mingle with the locals in nearby villages. If you come in December there are sure to be some Christmas markets to attract you.
WALKING & CYCLING - routes in every direction! And with picnics being so popular with the french there are no shortages of places to sit and enjoy your lunch - bon appétit!
Cycle hire - You can hire bikes from English speaking company GoGo Bike Hire who will deliver and collect (charges apply).
HORSE RIDING – Less than 20 minutes drive away, Les Ecuries at Saumort offers horse riding lessons, day courses, picnic rides and various other equestrian activities.
PAMPERING! We have teamed up with a local beauty therapist who can offer you manicures, pedicures, facials, massage, eyelash/brow tints and waxing - for ladies and gentlemen. Either at the gîte or at pampering sessions in various nearby locations. Very reasonable prices. Childrens nail and face painting also available. Contact us for further details, prices and booking information.
Keep an eye on our English Language Magazine for the region, 'The Deux-Sèvres Monthly', where you will find a "what's on guide" for our area. Each month the magazine is available to download.
SPOTLIGHT ON TOWNS IN THE DEUX-SEVRES
For more information on some of the towns, tours and museums in the Deux-Sèvres and surrounding areas click here for more information.
For more great ideas of how to spend your time here.