Other Attractions - Page 2
L'ile aux Serpents - Snake and Reptile Zoo
If slithering creatures are your thing then this attraction has more than 50 species. Those on display include pythons, boa constrictors and an anaconda, lizards including iguanas, geckos and monitor lizards, plus tortoises and alligators.

All the creatures are contained in areas that resemble their natural environment.

Time to venue: 75 mins.
Location: les Geants du ciel
La Rochelle - Nearest Seaside Resort
La Rochelle is the most attractive and unspoilt seaside town in France. Thanks to the foresight of 1970s mayor Michel Crepeau, its historic seventeenth- to eighteenth-century centre and waterfront were plucked from the clutches of the developers and its streets freed of traffic for the delectation of pedestrians. A real shock-horror outrage at the time, the policy has become standard practice for preserving old town centres across the country.

La Rochelle has a long history, as you would expect of such a sheltered Atlantic port. Eleanor of Aquitaine gave it a charter in 1199, which released it from its feudal obligations, and it rapidly became a port of major importance, trading in salt and wine and skilfully exploiting the Anglo-French quarrels. The Wars of Religion, however, were particularly destructive for La Rochelle. It turned Protestant and, because of its strategic importance, drew the remorseless enmity of Cardinal Richelieu, who laid siege to it in 1627. To the dismay of the townspeople, who reasoned that no one could effectively blockade seasoned mariners like themselves, he succeeded in sealing the harbour approaches with a dyke. The English dispatched the Duke of Buckingham to their aid, but he was caught napping on the Ile de Re and badly defeated. By the end of 1628 Richelieu had starved the city into submission. Out of the pre-siege population of 28,000, only 5000 survived. The walls were demolished and the city's privileges revoked.

La Rochelle later became the principal port for trade with the French colonies in the Caribbean Antilles and Canada. Indeed, many of the settlers, especially in Canada, came from this part of France.

Time to venue: 90 mins.
Location: Tourist Board, 2 Quay Georges Simenon, La Rochelle
Chateau D'Oiron
This Chateau has its origins rooted in the 15th century war with the English for control of France when a victorious Charles vii of France, gave the domain and great forest of Oiron to Guillaume Gouffier who would become governor of Touraine.

This chateau is the background for Charles Perrault's fairy tale, puss in boots. King Louis X1V's mistress, Madame de montespan was one of the residents.

The Chateau houses a large collection of paintings and objets d'art of Claude Gouffier, chief equerry to Henri II. The sumptuous decorations and an exceptional gallery of Renaissance paintings in the style of the Fontainebleau school are complemented by fine, carved and painted panelling. The Chateau is now home to Curios and Mirabilia, a remarkable collection of contemporary art and curiosities.

Time to venue: 50 mins.
Location: 10 Rue du Chateau, 79100 Oiron