Events in Royan 2021

Planning your summer holiday

Positive thinking?

Since the beginning of November we have been bombarded with Black Friday deals, Christmas sales and online shopping bargains. And they have all helped to take our mind off being in and out of confinement. But now, there is talk about vaccines, and spending time together over the holidays. People are beginning to sound a bit more positive, and some have even asked “are you planning your summer holiday yet?”

What’s on around Bel-Air

For so many businesses, including ours, 2020 meant putting life on hold. We have had several months when we weren’t allowed to open, and even when we did, it was with some trepidation. So we have gone above and beyond the recommended government guidelines to ensure that our guests and staff at Bel-Air were completely safe whilst they were here.

While we’re still in lockdown in France we have been planning our Bel-Air Gites summer family holidays. But not for us. We are checking out what’s going on around Bel-Air for our lovely guests.

And here’s a list of just a few events planned in and around Royan starting in April 2021.

Royan Events Diary

April – Kite & Wind Festival – three days of shows on the beach for the whole family. The ever expanding festival includes aerial displays which will enthral adults and children alike. Each year the festival unfolds along the length of the beach and welcomes regional, national and even international kite flyers and visitors. This is always top of our list because it’s free to watch all the displays, but there are also sessions where you can learn how to fly a kite, water sports and even flights in a hot air balloon. If you can’t get away for the summer then why not plan a holiday earlier in the year?

May – European Museum Night – there are several online events throughout the year. But in May, normally the closest Saturday to May 18th, museums all across European open for the night, free of charge. According to TripAdvisor there are 57 museums in the Charente-Maritime so there is plenty of choice!

Bordeaux museum planning your summer holiday
Planning your summer holiday

Warming up for summer

June – Rendez-vous aux Jardins – The first weekend of June over 2,000 public and private gardens are open to the public. There are guided tours, exhibitions and gardening workshops for adults and children.

Each new edition focuses on a theme relating to knowledge, protection, conservation and gardening: “the child in the garden”, “the stroll”, or “colours”.

Rendez-vous aux Jardins

June 21st – World Music Day

Planning your summer holiday World Music day
World Music Day – Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Artists and music-lovers of all ages gather all over France, and now all over the world, to perform free of charge every year. It’s an unmissable summer event in the French people’s social calendar. So make sure you don’t miss it – wherever you are.

Just for starters

These are a few, just to start you thinking. If you can get away earlier then your travel costs might just be a little less expensive. So why not check them out, and see if you can’t bag yourself a bargain flight or a cheap ferry crossing? You can even use our Bel-Air Gites Holiday Planner to list your favourite events.

Coming soon

We’ll tell you all about the July, August and September events in our next post. So now, while everyone else is still wondering what to buy you for Christmas, you can be planning your summer holiday.

Wouldn’t that be the biggest and best surprise of all if you told them that you’d booked a holiday at Bel-Air Gites in the Charente-Maritime? And they just thought you were dreaming of Christmas.

summer events planning

Book now for 2021

Sunflowers – ancient symbol of the sun god

Sunflowers in the Summer sun

Fields of golden sunflowers everywhere you look

If you are driving or cycling in the Charente-Maritime in the summer, you cannot fail to notice them. Fields full of tall, strong, beautiful sunflowers for as far as the eye can see. Do you ever wonder why there are so many? And what they are used for?


The botanical name for the sunflower – helianthus annuus – comes from the Greek words ‘helios’ for sun, and ‘andanthos’ for flower. And the french word for sunflower is ‘tournesol’. It is a member of the daisy family and is the largest, most popular plant from this family. They can grow up to 4 metres tall. In the fields around Bel-Air Gites and the Charente-Maritime, they are 1 to 1.5 metres high. Native to North America, sunflowers are now grown across Europe, Russia, and the Ukraine.

They flower from June to September, and coincidentally, those are great months to bring your family and friends to Bel-Air Gites!

Symbol of the Sun God

The ancient Mayans worshipped the sunflower as a symbol of light and fertility. They drank tea made from the leaves and ate the seeds, stems, leaves, and petals. The sunflower was also a symbol of the sun god, because at dawn the flowers start to turn their heads to face the sunrise. They follow the sun as it moves across the sky, all day.


Sunflowers are incredibly beautiful and versatile. You can use every part of the plant. Seeds, petals, leaves, even the stems, can all be pressed, eaten or dried. Rich in herbal oils, vitamins, minerals and protein, sunflowers are full of health benefits.

They are a great source of Vitamin E, essential amino acids, and various minerals. And contain calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium and iron. They are an excellent nutritional supplement to everyone’s daily diet.

We ‘Googled’ sunflowers to see what else they can be used for. Here is our Top 10 list. Can you think of any more?

  1. The sunflower seeds are edible and very nutritional
  2. The petals are edible
  3. The seeds can be ground down to make flour
  4. Sunflower seeds are one of the main ingredients in birdseed
  5. The leaves and seeds can be used as feed for livestock.
  6. It can be pressed to make vegetable oil
  7. It can be used as a traditional herbal medicine
  8. The oil can be used in soaps and candles
  9. Sunflower oil can be used to help relieve skin conditions
  10. Sunflowers make beautiful bouquets!

At Bel-Air Gites we just LOVE sunflowers. They can brighten up the dullest of days and always make us smile. Walking, cycling or driving by these incredible flowers will bring a smile to your lips too. Why not come and visit us next summer and see them for yourself?

Book Now for 2021

Blooming lovely!

All things bright and beautiful at Bel-Air Gites

bright and beautiful pink and orange flowers

The unseasonably warm March weather, which followed a very damp winter, has definitely confused the plants. At Bel-Air Gites we seem to be in the middle of a heatwave, with temperatures already in the mid 20s. But we’re not going to complain about the weather because now the garden is blooming bright and beautiful!

All the photos of the flowers were taken in our garden, and also a couple of others which are in bloom nearby. (Can you name them all?) We like to share these images with our family and friends because whenever we chat, they inevitably ask us what we have been up to.

With an average of 2250 hours every year the Charente-Maritime area is second only to the Cote d’Azur in terms of the amount of sun it gets.

Sunny Charente

When it got too warm in the sun, we took to the shade and started re-painting the gite furniture. All that’s stopping us from re-doing the whole gite complex is lack of paint!

And just look at that sky… not a cloud in sight, and we are only in April.

We can’t wait to be able to share all of this with you again ‘in person’. In the meantime, we’ll keep sharing our little diary.

From Bel-Air Gites, please follow Doctor’s orders . Stay safe and stay well.


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