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Saintes and a place for artists

Why Saintes? to help a friend with a beautiful House for sale ~ and as a possible new home for my marine art (and me)…  FB__s_house_IMG_6466_wp.jpg

I’d long wished to tour the area South of La Rochelle which includes the magnificent Cote Sauvage near Rochfort and on down to Royan on the Gironde estuary.  Charente_Maritime_IMG_6447_wp.jpg

My artist friend Claire de Soissons had mentioned the area as having possible cheap studios among the Oyster shacks around the ports of Marennes and Le Chateau d’Oleron on the Ile d’Oleron.

Plus my friend Francoise Boitel has beautifully, tastefully modernised her home at Chaniers.

This is near Saintes and Francoise having moved South to Castelnau de Montmiral to look after her mother, wishes to sell the home she had previously hoped would be her final house.  SN850320__2__d.JPG

A bargain for some lucky person!

Problems with the estate agent and gardener demanded a visit thus I traveled with Francoise as moral support and was given a brief but fascinating insight while she proudly showed me a little of the region.

So, first things first the location, (next, the tour) Question: Is Saintes is a great place to have a home?  Charente_Maritime_IMG_6467_wp.jpg

This period house is at Chaniers, a very picturesque village on the river Charente some 5 Km from Saintes and 30 from Royan, about 1 hr from La Rochelle and equally good news, about 20 km to Cognac.  SN850337_d.JPG

Thus you are also within easy reach of Bordeaux, the Vendee and Dordogne.

Saintes is an old world town sufficiently large to lack little of importance and being near some splendid areas whilst being significantly less expensive than the coastal areas.

The nearby magnificent Atlantic Ocean coast “Sauvage” includes  la ville, Le Chateau d’Oleron on the Ile D’Oleron.

How is that for a home in central West France, any good?

A bit about Madame Boitel’s house, can you help her sell it?

Since buying the property, Francoise (who is a professional interior decorator) has completely modernised including insulation, central heating, double glazing, new kitchen ~ well you get the idea of course!  SN850003_d.JPG

Naturally the work has been completed to a high and tasteful standard retaining and even enhancing the original features while to the garden has been added a sun terrace and swimming pool.

The only draw back I could see was no garage.

The house does though have a beautiful loft conversion, good cellars and parking in the village is easy and free. SN850315_d.JPG

You know of anyone interested to buy or help sell Francoise home?

Do contact this web site.

The price of the property is 285,000 Euros

The river with walks and picnic areas is just 3 minutes  stroll away (a walk slightly down hill in this case “hill” means enough to be well above any flood area but not steep).

The village old world and has all the basic shops and a couple of good restaurants.  Charente_Maritime_IMG_6469_wp.jpg

It is also worth knowing, this area is increasingly popular with the Northern French for retiring.  Charente_Maritime_IMG_6471_wp.jpg

The Chantre Maritime climate being a more ambient climate than further south where many including the Brits find July / August to hot (often in the 40 C +) and Jan / Feb **** cold (some times down to – 20 C).

Our tour started in earnest along the coast from Royan, a typical seaside town (from where one can take a ferry to the Medoc).

We headed for the Pointe de la Coubre with it’s splendid surfer’s beaches.  Charente_Maritime_IMG_6452_wp.jpg

The drive included visiting several minor ports and frequently stopping to enjoy the views.  Charente_Maritime_IMG_6450_wp.jpg

The beautiful  Cote Sauvage did not seem to me all that savage after Cornwall.
In summer I should think it rather idyllic and in winter often exhilarating, certainly peaceful for contemplative walking.  Charente_Maritime_IMG_6457_wp.jpg

I was far more surprised by the Ile d’Oleron.

The Ile d’Oleron reminded me of Noirmoutier only bigger, similar industries including oyster beds and sea salt.

I loved the feel of the place, open skies, the smells of the sea and coast,  and was enchanted by the town of Le Chateau d’Oleron on the Ile D’Oleron, so French so coastal.  Charente_Maritime_IMG_6461_wp.jpg

I was a bit surprised the town did not look more prosperous.

Maybe the traditional industries here are in trouble and as yet property developers and second home owners have not moved in?