Published by Andrew on 13 June 2017
Jacqui Brown recently cycled in the Charente and arrived at La Vie en Rose B&B after a lovely day in the saddle. Here she shares her thoughts on the warm welcome she received.
La Vie en Rose is a B&B in a traditional stone cottage situated in the north of the Charente department, that offers a warm welcome to cyclists and has easy access to a number of well-signed cycle routes.
Five things we loved about La Vie en Rose
1. A warm welcome.
From the moment we arrived and rang their bell, Sue and Gordon welcomed us inside and told us to make ourselves at home. Their home is a beautiful cottage with one of the prettiest bedrooms I’ve ever slept in and it wasn’t difficult to feel like we were at home. The other members of the family also did their best to make us feel welcome; the dogs Dora and Bella greeted us like long lost friends and the cats Taz and Mia settled down on our laps and purred in contentment at our arrival. Sue and Gordon were the perfect hosts who obviously love opening their doors and sharing their beautiful home.
Sue and Gordon are happy to accept bookings of just one night as well as longer stays. They provide a lockable storage area for the bicycles and there is a separate utility room for washing cycle clothing (with shower for really mucky cyclists if necessary). Although they don’t generally offer meals, those arriving by bike are welcome to join Sue and Gordon for dinner at a small charge, or Gordon will happily drive you to a nearby restaurant.
3. The peace and quiet.
The cottage is situated in a quiet hamlet just outside the town of Champagne Mouton and, having cycled 50kms during the afternoon, we were tired (in a good way), and already feeling quite relaxed, thanks to the fresh air. To then find ourselves sitting in Sue and Gordon’s sheltered garden with a cold drink, watching their chickens and listening to nothing but birdsong and the trees rustling in the breeze, our one night stay began to feel like a real holiday.
4. Cycling in the Charente.
We have quite a bit of experience of cycling in the Charente and think it is one of France’s best-kept secrets. The department is very pro-cycling and has an extensive selection of well marked cycling routes, a number of which are situated within easy reach of La Vie en Rose. This includes three circuits that start from Champagne Mouton, the voie verte that runs from Ruffec to Confolons (where you can pick up EuroVelo 3), as well as the official Tour de Charente route; a 390km circuit that takes you around the department linking many of the area’s key tourist attractions. La Vie en Rose would also be a good place to stay for the Flandres Charentaises Classic, an annual club ride that takes place in September and makes use of the local hills to offer four circuits of 26km, 58km, 81km and 114km.
5. Other activities.
Sue and Gordon can recommend a number of attractions within an easy reach of La Vie en Rose, including canoeing on the Charente River or swimming and vélo-railing in Confolons. For those looking for a more relaxed break, there are plenty of picturesque villages with cafés and restaurants like Nanteuil-en-Vallée and Verteuil-sur-Charente just waiting to be discovered.
La Vie en Rose is a beautiful family house that would be an ideal stop for those touring by bike, as well as a perfect fixed base for exploring the north Charente area. We felt we arrived as strangers and left as friends, even after only one night. It would have been lovely to have been able to stay a little longer.