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Val­lée des Singes: This 16-hectare nat­u­ral park is home to over 400 mon­keys liv­ing free. Vis­i­tors can walk in the park and get to see the an­i­mals up close. Be­tween Poitiers and An­goûleme.

Fish­ing: The Char­ente and Vi­enne rivers both of­fer ex­cel­lent fish­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for trout, pike, roach, zan­der and bream among other species. Li­cences are widely avail­able in tabacs.

Wa­ter sports: On the rivers and lakes you’ll find ev­ery­thing from quiet sandy beach ar­eas for a swim and a pic­nic to wide open stretches of wa­ter where you can take a ca­noe and pad­dle a while. Those with a need for speed should check out the wa­ter ski­ing at Lac de Chardes, L’isle-jour­dain.

Walk­ing: France is well-served with clearly marked path­ways for walk­ers. Buy a book of ran­don­nées (walks) and fol­low the tracks through the beau­ti­ful lo­cal coun­try­side.

Horse rid­ing: Again, miles and miles of off-road tracks make this the per­fect place to go trekking.

Cy­cling: Quiet well-main­tained roads mean this is ideal bike ter­ri­tory, whether you are an out-all-day type or just want to nip the cou­ple of kilo­me­tres to the near­est bak­ery.

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