La Charente: Escaping to 'the Iowa of France'

Sunday, January 12, 2014 | Chadurie, France

The Logis de Puygâty was just the remote and rustic paradise we were looking for.
From Christmas in Lisbon, I flew to France to spend New Year's week with Rebecca, who had found what we hoped would be the perfect year-end getaway—a countryside inn in southwestern France with nothing but miles of forest and vineyards between it and the nearest town.

We took the train from Paris to Angoulême (the aforementioned nearest town), where we stocked up on locally made goat cheeses, wines, hams, olives, and other treats at the central market before driving south.

We had been fairly certain that the inn, the Logis de Puygâty, was going to be wonderful, but we weren't prepared for it to be quite this wonderful.

After shooing out some lingering guests from a wedding the night before, the American co-owner Max and his Belgian partner Pierre welcomed us and showed us to our "house", a spacious two-story building across the courtyard from their own home. The entire property, Max said, was built in
stages between the 14th and 17th centuries, but renovated by its new owners just a few years earlier with an evident appreciation for the place's heritage. From its stone floors up to the rough-hewn beams of its vaulted ceiling, the place was all rustic wood, iron, stone, and furs.

"Since you're American too, I can tell you this and you'll actually know what it means," Max said in his introduction, "Right now, you're essentially in the Iowa of France." The Charente, he explained, is one of France's most rural, traditional, and unappreciated regions, attracting far fewer tourists than nearby Cognac.

We spent our three days at the Logis sleeping in, walking the trails in the woods and fields (sometimes with Max and his two dogs), staying warm by the fireplace, cooking, and visiting the various barnyard animals that also reside at the Logis, including donkeys, horses, chickens, goats, sheep, and two newly born lambs.

I've never been to the real Iowa back home, but somehow I think this one was a little nicer. Max didn't have much difficulty convincing Rebecca and me that this place would be worth a return visit someday.

Enjoy some photos I took around the Logis with my Rolleicord:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A beautiful account of what lloks like a spectacular place! Thank you for writing this!

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