The region is famous for goat's cheese, fresh oysters, foie gras, farmhouse butter, chocolate and excellent wine. The region is also famous for its cognac and for Pineau des Charentes, a fortified wine, which was the result of a mistake of a wine maker in the town of Burie in 1589. Wine-lovers can visit vineyards in the Dordogne in the neighbouring department or the Haute-Poitou and Loudunais regions in the Vienne. You can visit the wineries, take guided tours and enjoy wine-tastings. In Cognac, you can take organised tours of some of the most renowned cognac producers and follow Les Etapes du Cognac, a number of sign-posted trails covering over 100 approved halts to guide you through the vineyards of the Charente region. For more information, visit their website . The Marais Poitevin is the second wettest area in France after the Camargue with 4000 km of waterways and more than 300 km of cycle paths and marked-out hiking trails. For nature-lovers, the marshes are the ideal setting. The Marais Poitevin has been inhabited since the 7th century and each village has its own. Discover small ports, wash houses, locks and alleyways plunging into canals, hire a boat and explore. Fontenay-le-Comte is also worth a visit. The town centre has a lovely atmosphere with an impressive Château website The nearby Fôret de Mervant has a lot of attractions including walking/cycling trails, water sports, a small zoo and a child friendly theme park, Parc de Pierre Brune - visit their website

Local markets
Bressuire: in the town centre - general produce and livestock
Coulonges sur l'Autize: general market
Lezay: in the town centre - Large general and produce market
Niort: in the town centre - large general market
Thouars: indoor market in the centre of town - fish, meat, poultry and produce
Wednesday Parthenay: in the market place - large general and produce market
Thursday Sauzé-Vaussais: centre of town - very large general market
Friday Thouars: in the centre of the old town, market hall and stalls - fresh produce and general household goods
Saturday Airvault: market square - general and produce
Chef Boutonne: in the town centre - large, general market
Monthly St Varent: market on the 3rd Sunday every month

Coming closer to home there are many small villages and hamlets to explore, of course Chef Boutonne just up the road at 5kms which should meet all your daily requirements. Loubillé has a little bakers, Melleran a super restaurant,
Sauzé-Vaussais, Brioux sur Boutonne, Ruffec and Villefagnan, all with good facilities. More information at the farmhouse.