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opinions of Mansle 16 please?

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I posted this in the wrong section last time and it was suggested that I put it here so - fingers crossed.  I'm trying to get opinions of Mansle in 16 from anyone who lives nearby and uses it as their nearest town.  As someone who is very familiar with 24 I feel a bit at a loss in the Charente as I have no history with it.  I love the countryside between Mansle and La Rochefoucauld and some tell me that the latter is a better equipped town than the former  but I'd like to hear from people who use and know these towns if possible. Also, things to do.  I'm not looking for a nightlife of bars and cafes but it would be nice to think there is at least one bar/restaurant locally which is open in winter.  Similarly, the quality of local food etc markets is important to me as I enjoy cooking.  Finally, can anyone recommend a good book on the Charente - it's history/places of interest/etc - last time I was in Waterstones there was a very poor selection.

Here's hoping for some interesting replies from those in the know!

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First of all you should have posted this in the Western France section of this Forum which covers Charente.

Mansle has a couple of Butchers and a very small market a couple of days a week (vegetables) It has 3 restaurants all open all year very difficult to give an opinion some mans meat is another mans poison

There are 4 bars open all year but I think they all close about 7.30 or 8pm I may be wrong as I very rarely go into Mansle at night.There are plenty of books in the local bookshops and supermarkets in French about the Charente.

It is very difficult to give an opinion as we do not know your interests what you normally do in the UK for entertainment etc.

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Hmm.  That's a difficult one.  Now you ask, I have realised how boring I am!  I have already mentioned markets and how important they are to me - it's interesting that you say the couple in Mansle aren't very comprehensive - do you know if there is a better weekly on in another nearby town?  For me it's not just the quality and diversity of  product in French markets, it's a lot about the life and spark which happens to a village/town on market day.  Similarly I went to a few vide greniers (prob wrong spelling) with friends in 24 this summer and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience - particularly as it was a chance to talk to people and practice my very rusty French.  One night we went to a local moules fete which took place along the river bank.  Smoke from the barbecue choked both old and young, the local wine was flowing and everyone from 3 to 93 got up to dance to a medley of boney M and Patrick Hernandez "born to be alive".  I love this type of evening.

It's a while since I last visited the limestone caves/underground rivers etc in 24, or a historical chateau but would like to know that there are interesting places to visit without driving more than a couple of hours.  Bar and restaurant culture is of no great interest but I would like to know that there is at least one decent place nearby open during the winter with a good atmosphere and reasonable prices.

All this assumes we'd have the time to do anything other than work on the house of course.  Probably as important as anything else is the availability of building materials!

look forward to hearing from you!

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