Staying Cool in the Canicule

It's late August and as children and their parents everywhere are preparing for la rentrée, the mercury has soared again into the high 30s prompting a rush for water, both for drinking and to swim in.  The pool here at Rue Vincent is a welcome haven for our guests from the crack of dawn to beyond nightfall, while the beautiful sandy beaches of Charente-Maritime are jam-packed with parasols and people in search of a gentle breeze and a refreshing dip in the ocean. But where do savvy locals go to cool off?

Luckily,  there's plenty of choice nearby: the River Boutonne at Antezant la Chapelle (a short cycle ride away), the River Charente at Port d'Envaux and the Plan d'Eau in St Jean d'Angély are all wonderful places for waterside fun and easily accessible from Rue Vincent. Yesterday's heat simply begged us to bathe, so we opted for the Base de Loisirs at Thors, just twenty minutes' drive away.  A gorgeous lake, fringed with water mint,  shaded by trees and dotted with picnic benches; there is a shallow, sandy beach area for supervised swimming in the cooling waters, pedalo hire in high season, a snack bar/restaurant, boules pitch, crazy golf and a children's play park.

 A good book, a sun brolly and a bracing swim: what a lovely way to chill on a sultry summer afternoon!