The Charente comes out favourite!

It appears that amongst Brits at least, the Charente is the favourite region to live in France. In a poll conducted by Boredeaux University, the Charente beat Aquitaine, Languedoc-Rousillon and Brittany as the preferred area to buy property, with many people opting for it as their main home.

Of the many reasons why the Charente is such a popular place, environmental factors came out on top. This got me thinking and I can definitely understand why this area is such a haven. I thought about all of the people who have come to visit us here and I couldn't think of anyone who didn't fall in love with the place instantly.

It may have been the cheap wine, it may have been the holiday feeling, heck it may even have been our hospitality (yeah right!) but it's more likely that there is such a sense of calm and so much natural beauty that it's almost impossible not to feel relaxed when you're out here. I suppose there's always the possibility that the government has been drugging the water for the past thirty years, but I'd much rather think it has more to do with the ceaseless countryside and relentless tranquility.

When I first got here, the money ran out VERY quickly. But it was quite difficult to feel anxious, angry or depressed about it because all I had to do was step outside into the sunshine and take a look at the scenery. There is so much beauty out here- you can't get away from it! Even though Christmas wasn't that long ago, there is already the promise of spring in the air, with the first buds appearing on the trees. In the summer there are fields of sunflowers and poppies, that seem to go on forever. Autumn heralds some of the most vibrant colours I have ever seen and though the winters are cold, the skies are clear and the sun reflects off frosty grass and crystal webs on icy branches.

And that's before you've sampled the Pineau, the wine and Special Reserve Cognac!

I'm fully prepared to admit that the novelty hasn't worn off yet, but I've felt more at home here in the Charente than anywhere else. When I go to visit family in England, I miss it- I look forward to coming back to the open space and clean air almost from the minute I leave the house!

I guess the Charente won't be everyone's glass of Bordeaux; after all, most of the shops still close for three hours at lunch time and many people have to drive to their nearest neighbours. But for anyone who really wants to escape the crowds, the noise and frenzied schedules, I can't think of anywhere better than at my home in the Charente.