Bienvenue à Fleur de lys
A Vélo-Rail system runs from Confolens to Manot, through Ansac (or from Roumazieres to Manot). This involves up to 5 people on a cart, with two pedalling, along the disused railway track - the 15km round trip takes about two and a half hours, so it helps if at least two of the party have fit legs!
Vallée des Singes - home to 30 species of primates, from the tiniest squirrel monkeys to a family of gorillas, which for most, you can enter their enclosures and watch them feed and interact with each other,makes for a stunning day out less than an hour away!
A large variety of charming Chateaux are within easy reach, such as Rochechouart (with nearby roman ruins), Rochebrune, La Rochefoucauld and the stunning hilltop ruins at St Germain de Confolens and Gencay. The area also boasts many fine examples of medieval churches.
The National Memorial Centre to the French Resistance in WW2 is at Chasseneuil (20mins), while the village of Oradour sur Glane (30mins) has been preserved untouched in memory of the day in June 1944 when the German SS, on their way to Normandy, rounded up and killed all but a handful of the villagers and set fire to the town - a truly moving place.
Poitiers, as well as being an excellent eating and shopping area, is also the home of Futuroscope - a fantastic futuristic theme park which makes an exciting day out for all the family, culminating in a fabulous water, light, laser and firework show over the main lake.
The hilltop citadel of Angouleme hosts many festivals each year - the two most famous are the first (in January) which celebrates the art of the cartoonists - Bande Dessinee - (Angouleme is also home to the national museum of this art). Look out for the many murals which decorate the sides of buildings in the centre of the town.
The second is a motorsport weekend in mid-September - Le Circuit des Remparts - where the ramparts around the hilltop city centre are closed for races of historic and vintage racing and sports cars and has been called 'the closest thing to Monaco in its heyday'.
There is also a Bowling Alley and an indoor/outdoor waterpark here, open year round, as well as some excellent restaurants and shops.
Limoges is world famous for its porcelain and enamel. Several factories offer tours, museums (and shops!). The attractive city centre also has an Aquarium, while a short trip south of the city brings you to the country and zoological Parc du Reynou - over 500 animals in the 35 hectare grounds of the Chateau. Antelopes to zebras, with many others in between including lions, tigers and giraffes.