Self-catering cottages in Poitou Charentes are ideal for enjoying all that this region has to offer. For a sense of history, ancient towns such as Niort, Parthenay and Thouars shouldn't be missed - and Melle is renowned for its beautiful fountains. Its nearby former silver mines make for an interesting visit too. If you're staying in the department of Charente, there are 00's of kilometres of river fishing, and pretty villages and towns such as Aubterre sur Dronne and Confolens - head there in August for its popular International Folk Fair. On the coast, La Rochelle, stylish Royan and Rochefort - with its Royal Rope Walk and museums - await.