Le Parc du Reynou (Zoo)
Our children love this park! It is a huge safari park set in the grounds of a lovely ruined chateau, where the animals all look happy, there are always a number of baby animals. There is a good amount of information available about the animals. You can buy a cup of popcorn to feed the less fussy animals. Last summer we fed the giraffes, and enjoyed the walks tremendously. There is a snack bar and plently of space to picnic. Open every day.
The park is about a 35 minute drive from us.
La Vallée des Singes (Valley of the Monkeys)
A great day out for those who like monkeying around! The park has a huge variety of primates (350 monkeys roam about) and promotes conservation and preservation in the wild. It is all about getting up close to the animals and learning about them in a fun way. There is also a small farm area, and great outdoor play area and picnic spots. Good for children of all ages.The park is open every day and is about 50 minutes from the Chateau.
L’ile aux Serpents (Snake Island)
For those who prefer their entertainment more cold-blooded, there is the reptile park, where you can see crocodiles being fed or admire snakes, iguanas, lizards, turtles and other reptiles.
Open all year around; about an hour from the Chateau.
Les Loups de Chabrières (The Wolf Sanctuary)
Experience the ancient fascination with wolves at this great park, giving the opportunity to see wolves in the near wild, and learn about them. The wolf trail is especially good for older children. It is located near Guéret, about 45 minutes from the Chateau. Open every day. Also nearby is the Giant Maze (see the next entry).
The largest planted maze in the world! It is designed to be fun for everyone, children and adults alike. You can even try the maze at night in the summertime (Thursdays). The site also boasts enormous slides; there is a larger one for children over 12s and a 20m water slide for the under 12s. There is also a small petting farm. The maze is open most days between April and November, but do check hours to make sure. Just next to the maze, there is the Chabriere Forest, with excellent walking trails (no roads to cross) where you can enjoy the natural woodland setting. The maze is near Guéret, 45 minutes away from the Chateau.
Train à Vapeur - Steam Trains
Okay, we’re not sure if this is for the grown-ups or the kids most, but in the summer there are steam train runs through beautiful countryside. Take a picnic and remember the forgotten pleasure of travelling! Check timetables with the Eymoutiers Tourist Office first (we can do this for you). The train runs from different stations, but the nearest is 15 minutes from the Chateau.
It is one of the largest lakes in Europe, created by a dam in 1949 and producing hydroelectric power. It is1000 hectares of water, with a stunning island of 70 hectares; and has secluded coves as well as beaches and watersports. There is a free water taxi operating around the lake (which can also transport bikes) It runs every day in July and August and three days a week in June and September. There is kayaking, sailing, waterskiing and pedaloes. You can take a guided nature trail kayak tour (children from 6 years, but they must be able to swim) on Tuesdays and Thursdays (booking essential). There are five sandy beaches, some with slides and playgrounds and others more laid back. There are life guards on duty in July and August.
Vassivere is of course heaven for fishermen! We can arrange a licence for those interested.
The lake is also famous for the Art Centre on the island of Vassivere, reached by footpath.The buildings with the unmistakable lighthouse tower, were designed by Aldo Rossi and Xavier Fabre, and house mostly comtemporary art and always have a very interesting calendar of temporary exhibitions. There are often workshops for children. There is a lovely sculpture park set in floral prairie. The Café d’Ile is open April to September and offers snacks and regional cusine.
It is a gorgeous scenic drive of 40 minutes from the Chateau.
www.ciapiledevassivere.com (art centre)
Swimming – Lakes and Beaches
The nearest swimming lake with a beach is in St Martin Terressus (less then 5 minutes away); it has a lovely clean sandy beach and a slow drop off which helps children who are less confident swimmers. There is a snack bar and life guards are on duty during July and August. Lake Jonas is larger and is surrounded by attractive woodland. It is 10 minutes away and also has a sandy beach and picnic facilities. There are plenty of similar swimming lakes in the region which you’ll stumble across (always keep swimming gear in the boot!) The larger lakes often have lots of activities on offer as well as playgrounds etc. Lac Saint Pardoux has several beaches, a sailing club, playgrounds (including a stomach churning one for older kids) and snack bars as well as walking and cycling trails. Saint Pardoux is very pretty and is 15 minutes away. There are also open air swimming pools with all the usual facilities within 20 minutes. We were recently featured in the Guardian Travel Special “Lakes and Mountains”.
The Limousin is famous for hiking and walking trails, and there is everything from challenging mountain (Monts d’Ambazac) walking to easier plateau walks. There is a stunning arboretum 15 minutes away which is lovely for walking and has plenty of sheltered spots for an idillyic picnic. There are plenty of easier walks for children, or borrow our child carrier if you fancy a challenge! We have a variety of walking maps, and the local tourist office can also help with what is the best walk in each season for every ability. Guides can be arranged in advance. If you have a particular interest, for instance, bird watching, do let us know.
We love the velorail! It is a must for young train lovers and even enjoyed by teenagers. It is set in pretty countryside on an old rail line. The idea is that you cycle a contraption with seats for four on the rail line. You whiz along and cross points (children love helping to do this) and then a snack at the other end before you head back. There are time slots, so you should book (we’ll do this for you).
There is a very nice Plan d’eau (beach and swimming spot with picnic facilties) nearby and also an acrobois (tree top adventure), so a day at the velorail could end up being the most exhausting but fun day out for kids and parents alike!
An adventure style amusement park with water slides as well as other rides, go-karting, a little train and a petting zoo. It is unsophisticated fun, without queues, and great for younger children. It has a great pool and water play area.
The Park is just outside Limoges, so convenient for the Chateau.
Large scale amusement/education park, near Poitiers. It is huge and has something for everyone, with the new attraction “Animals of the Future” this year. There are rides and robots, and a whole Kids’ World with water activities including a water maze, boats and slides. Good for children of all ages and parents too.
Parc D'Arbre En Arbre
A set of fantastic tree-top assault courses for children and adults alike, on the edge of the stunning Lake Vassiviere. There are minimum height and age restrictions.
A new local version of the tree-top adventure, with more for younger children, although a friend got a bit stuck last time we went and her daughter laughed like a drain when her Mum had to be rescued! Only a 15 minute drive from the Chateau, open seven days a week.
Cité des Insectes
A whole little zoo just for insects - everything you ever wanted to know and lots more beside! Located near Lake Vassiviere. English speaking, check for times.
Limosaique - Mosaics for Children and Adults
Learn how to create a beautiful mosaic work of art in the centre of Limoges. Prices are very reasonable and include materials, and the teacher is a lovely lady who speaks excellent English.
The aquarium is small but great for young children. It is good place to spend an hour or so after a spot of shopping. Feeding time is at 16.00; open every day. It is in central Limoges, so about 35 minutes from the Chateau.
Le Moulin du Got
This ancient paper mill began production in 1522, and now produces paper for many artists. You can also see the beginnings of the printing press. Tours can be pre-arranged in English, and there are workshops for children, where they can make their own paper and try printing. It is an excellent half day; and children are surprisingly fascinated. It is located just outside St Leonard de Noblat, the beautiful medieval town, always recommended for its enormous gothic church and architecture as well as its mouth-watering cake shops! It is 15 minutes away from the Chateau and a lovely drive.
Espace Paul Rebeyrolle
Paul Rebeyrolle was a modern painter (1926 -2005) who created huge and striking canvasses. He was born in pretty Eymoutiers, where his gallery now stands, and houses important temporary exhibitions, as well as his own work. The gallery runs art workshops on the first Sunday of each month (from children of 4 years to adults) and every day during the holidays, but booking is essential. We took two 6 year olds and a 13 year old and all the children enjoyed themselves and each brought home a Picasso style work of art. Eymoutiers is 35 minutes from the Chateau, it is a very pretty drive.
Chateau Rochechouart Comtemporary Art Museum
The Chateau was sacked during the revolution, so its new life as an art museum breathes new life into its existence, but it is also a lovely and impressive building. There are art workshops for children. It is 45 minutes from the Chateau. It is closed on Tuesdays and has slightly irregular opening during the winter.
Oradour Sur Glane – Second World War Martyred village
Oradour sur Glane was an ordinary small town with a modest amount of commerce; bars, restaurants, hairdressers, a garage etc, and it still not known why this town was singled out for destruction and the massacre of its 644 civilian inhabitants.
When General de Gaulle visited the ruins in 1945, he immediately made the site a monument to the suffering of the French civilians during the war and it has remained untouched since.
Not an obvious outing with children, but the visitors centre is excellent, and deals with the rise of the Third Reich in a clear way, whilst showing the stories of people who resisted. It is a sombre experience, but everybody who visits is glad that they went, and it is a good way of beginning to explain the war (and conflict in general) to older children, from about 10 years. Having said that, there is nothing graphic that would upset a younger child accompanying. Open every day. It is about a 30 minute drive from the Chateau. The new village of Ordadour is built next to the site.
Golf and Tennis
There are excellent facilities for both within 25 minutes of the Chateau. We can arrange courses for children and adults of all abilities, or you can book facilities through us at a reduced rate.
The Tourist Offices in the area are very helpful, and most have English speakers on hand to help.