We feel so lucky to live near Civray, as there are lots of family activities nearby. We share our 5 favourites below. Let us know if you’ve done these as well, and what other activities you can add to our list!
The Civray area
Civray is a little market town in the south of the Vienne department (86400), which is part of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region (previously part of the Poitou-Charentes). I think it’s safe to say that it is a rural part of France. Whilst Civray has everything you need : schools, medical centre, supermarkets, bi-weekly market, restaurants and café, it is surrounded by fields and woodland.
Walking and Cycling
The area around Civray is therefore great for family walks. Whether when exploring the local towns and villages, or following river paths and cutting through woodlands. We know there is so much wildlife nearby, but whenever we go on walks with the kids, strangely we never see anything…. #loudkids
Being on relatively flat land generally, it also makes it great for cycling, with plenty of historical, beautiful villages to stop along the way. From ours, we found a great little loop that took us through St Macoux, the Plan d’Eau there, Comporté and then back again past the mill in Lizant, crossing over a little path on the Charente river.
However beautiful and relaxing the countryside can be, there are also plenty of activities for families to take part in. Especially when you need to get the kids out and about!
Vallée des Singes
La Vallée des Singes was one of our favourite spots when we first arrived, and we had yearly passes for the two years we lived here.
Initially described to me as “a park where monkeys roamed around freely” (which admitedly, sounded utterly terrifying to me!), it is a beautiful park of over 22 hectares, with approximately 450 primates.
If you saw us on “A New Life in the Sun“, the crew filmed us there on one of our episodes. It’s safe to say, we were there a lot!
When planning your visit, make sure to plan at least 4 hours. The best advice we received ahead of our day trips, was to attend the talks the keepers do, as this is the best way to view the bigger primates such as the bonobos, chimpazees and gorillas.
The park is beautiful and clean, making it ideal for kids to run around and blow some steam. There are numerous playgrounds across the park as well, suitable for different ages.
Food wise, you can bring your own picnic (just make sure you have bags that close as the animals smell the food a mile off…. Hugo lost a chocolate biscuit that way!). There is also a main restaurant that serves hot food, and smaller cafe type stalls across the park in the high season.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have heard me refer to Tèrra Aventura. I’ve been meaning to try this out with the kids since we moved here, and finally managed after 3 years of living here!
What is Tèrra Aventura?
Inspired by Geocaching, Tèrra Aventura is an incentive from the Nouvelle Aquitaine region to encourage people to discover its beautiful towns and villages.
It’s entirely free, and you just need to download the free app on your smartphone. It is available in several languages too.
You can then choose which course you want to follow. I tend to choose them by selecting the ones near us. You can also select the difficulty and length of the course. There are 400 courses all over the region, so plenty to choose from!
When you start, you then need to follow the map and answer the clues to be allowed to move on. At the end, if you have answered all the clues correctly, you get given the location of the final clue, where the children can collect a badge.
What I like best about it, is that in between the clues (that are aimed for the children), the app gives you interesting facts about the places you visit. Barry and I love finding out more about where we live and visit.
For the kids, hands down their favourite part is finding the badge at the end! But at least it gives them an incentive to go on a walk 🙂
If you love a theme park, the Futuroscope is about 50 minutes away. This is one of France’s most popular theme, so it is generally busy as you would expect.
However it really is a fun day out, with rides focussing on all your senses. From virtual reality, roller coasters, shows and many more, it’s definitely worth a trip as and when you get a chance.
Swimming makes up for a huge part of our Summer activities. It can get so hot in the area, being able to cool off is always greatly appreciated! Here are some of our favourite spots to swim in:
Plan d’Eau à St Macoux
We spent so many days here when we first moved to the area… In the summer, the sandy beach is available for swimmers. They have a lifeguard, and a free slide which the kids love. There is also a snack bar nearby, as well as toilets.
Nearby, is the fairly new playground in Comporté as well, so a great way to spend the day.
Every summer there is also a big brocante held the lake, finished off with fireworks over the lake. French summers at their best!
Le Rejallant in Ruffec also has a lovely swimming spot with a playground, restaurant and snack bar. You can also hire canoes and paddle along the Charente all the way past the Chateau of Verteuil sur Charente. We haven’t done this yet, but it’s on our list now Hugo can swim.
For indoors swimming, Civray has a pool : ODA Centre Aquatique, complete with paddling pool and outside pool.
We also like going to Nautilis in Angoulême, which is about 30 minutes south from us, straight down the N10. This is much bigger and so will keep the kids busy for hours on end with the rapids, multiple slides, wave pool and different pools.
Those are just a few of the activities available for families, there are so many more!
What activities would you love to find out more about in the area?
Have you tried out any of the above? Which one is your favourite?
Do you have others you’d like to add to the list? There are so many other things to do in the Civray area!
I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or on Instagram.