Plan now for summer travel

Treat yourself and book today!

If only we were lucky enough to have a view like this from our living room window. I could happily sit and watch the waves everyday. We might not live on the beach but we do have lots of beautiful, white sandy beaches on our doorstep. It’s one of the reason we chose Bel-Air Gites as our home, because even just a couple of hours on the beach gives us an energy boost, whatever the weather.

Sound of the sea

At present, in the latest COVID-19 restrictions for our area, the beaches are not out of bounds but they are wonderfully quiet. Even in the peak season, our nearest one, Barzan Plage, is not busy and it’s lovely to just stroll along listening to the sound of the sea. When we’re feeling energetic we walk from there to Talmont-sur-Gironde and back, just to take in the view from Eglise Sainte-Radegonde, on the top of the cliff.

Where would you go?

So what would be your ideal location? If you could live anywhere you wanted would it be in a city, or by the sea? A huge mansion with it’s own golf course, or self-sufficient and living off the land? But then where would you escape to on holiday? Perhaps somewhere with beaches, ancient churches and beautiful chateaux. Water sports and woodland walks, hiking and cycling trails, golf courses and fishing – lots of activities for all the family. Well then, you must be thinking of escaping to the Charente-Maritime because we have got all of that, and much much more.

Making plans

We all need to have something to look forward to and with the COVID-19 vaccinations progressing well across Europe, we should all be feeling a little more confident that things will soon be getting back to normal. We are busy making plans, and so are some of our previous guests, who have already booked to stay this summer. So if you are planning a trip to France this year why not come and stay at Bel-Air Gites? We are child-friendly, family-friendly and COVID-secure.

Low deposit

And if you book now a low 10% deposit will secure your booking for your best ever family holiday! Think of those fantastic BBQs on your own private patio. Your own sunbeds by the pool, spacious gardens for the kids to play in and lots of amazing family attractions close by. Pay your low deposit now to secure your reservation, and then pay the balance 8 weeks before the start of your holiday. Rest assured that we will be totally flexible with all bookings if there are any further changes in the COVID situation. If you are worried at all about booking now, just give us a call and we will talk it through with you.

Everything you need

Here at Bel-Air Gites we understand how important it is for you to get away from the everyday stresses and strains of daily life. That’s why we provide everything you need to make your stay with us as relaxing and enjoyable as possible.

Treat yourself, and book Bel-Air Gites today

returning guests relaxing in the pool

Cognac Tours and Tasting

Cognac Tours and Tastings for the grown-ups

Camus Cognac tours and tasting

Bel-Air Gites is based in the Charente-Maritime and less than an hour’s drive from the historical city of Cognac. And without a doubt, it is one of the favourite destinations for some of our grown-up guests. There is a varied selection of museums, chateaux and medieval buildings to explore, and boat trips along the river. But it seems the most popular adult attractions are in fact the Cognac tours and tastings. Quelle surprise !

Quality control

There are different qualities of Cognac produced by the various companies based in and around the city. And the quality of the spirit will affect the price that you pay. Since the early days of Cognac production the main consumers and producers were the British and Irish. They used some of the techniques perfected for distilling whiskey to help improve the Cognac process. Consequently, because of their involvement the different types of Cognac quality are all English terms. VS (Very Special); VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale) and XO (eXtra Old). The quality control is based on the length of time the spirit is left to mature in the oak barrels. Generally, the longer the Cognac matures in the barrel the smoother it becomes.

Tours and tasting

Almost all of the great Cognac houses have regular distillery tours and tasting, but we think one of the best is perhaps one of the least famous – Camus Cognac. Founded in 1863, it’s the largest family-run, independent Cognac business and has been in the Camus family for five generations. Today they employ more than 300 people, in 8 countries, spread across 3 different continents.

In you are interested in finding out more about the distillery process and the various quality controls of this wonderful drink, then check out their website. They offer a variety or tours and tastings, but please remember to drink responsibly.

Cognac tours and tastings
Image credit – Eaters collective on Unsplash

Book for 2021

While you are taking part in your Cognac house tour, the other members of the family can enjoy their own tour. We think this lovely city will surprise you with its impressive architecture, delicious restaurants and charming boutiques. So make sure you include a day out in Cognac on your summer holiday planner.

We look forward to seeing you at Bel-Air Gites next summer

Cordouan lighthouse

Cordouan Lighthouse – the lighthouse of kings

At the mouth of the Gironde estuary, off the coast of Royan, sits the famous Cordouan Lighthouse. Built between 1584 and 1611 it is the oldest working lighthouse in France.

‘The Versailles of the sea’

Built on a rocky plateau visible at low tide and surrounded by sandbanks, the Cordouan lighthouse can only be accessed by boat. It stands almost 70 metres tall, at the point where the Gironde Estuary flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

Lighthouse keepers

You can visit the Cordouan Lighthouse from April to November and your guides are the lighthouse keepers of this extraordinary building. It’s not an activity for the faint-hearted though and allow at least half a day for your outing. The boat trip takes approximately 45 minutes with cruises leaving from Verdon and Royan. It will drop you off as close to the lighthouse as possible, and then you have a 10-minute walk to actually reach the building itself.

Access to the site depends on the tides, and departure times for the cruises are regularly updated. We also recommend you wear appropriate clothing for the outing because sometimes the water can rise to mid-thigh level during the last 10-minutes’ walking.

cordouan lighthouse

Spectacular views

Once inside the guide takes you through the various different levels. From the Girondins hall, through to the royal chapel with it’s stunning stained-glass windows. You will also get to see inside the royal apartment. But nothing can prepare you for the breath-taking view at the top of the 311 steps. The impressive view over land and sea is one of the most spectacular in the whole of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.

If you have not been able to go to the king of lighthouses, or if you want to find out more, there is a museum at the ‘Pointe du Grave’. It holds a collection of plans, models and documents telling the story of Cordouan, as well as other lighthouses and beacons in the area.

Find out more

Cruises departing from Royan
Croisière La Sirene

Cruises departing from Verdon
Vedette la Boheme
Galantaise Croisieres

Planning your holiday

Bel-Air Gites is only a 45 minute drive to the nearest cruise company in Royan, so if you are planning to visit the lighthouse then you won’t be away from your holiday home-from-home for too long. And when you get back you can relax in our large heated pool, or chill out on your private patio.

We pride ourselves on providing great accommodation equipped with everything you need. And we also ensure that you, your family and friends will stay safe whilst you are holidaying with us.

Start planning your next fantastic family holiday at Bel-Air Gites in the Charente-Maritime.


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