& Philippa Holroyd
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snail is an odd creature. It looks odd, it behaves oddly (so would you
if your top speed was just four yards an hour) and, when cooked, it
A hermaphrodite that plays both male and female roles during reproduction, the snail has a single, self-lubricating foot and two sets of horns, one each for seeing and smelling its way around.
Why, then, is such a humble, altogether harmless animal the focus of such gastronomic fervour in France, and the subject of books, recipes and, believe it or not, festivals?
Take a holiday in Poitou-Charentes and enjoy vineyards and châteaux, a relaxing wilderness fringed by a stunning coastline.
The sea along the central Atlantic Coast can be enjoyed actively in a boat or on the surf, or at a more leisurely pace at one
of its attractive port towns. Running inland from the Atlantic, the Loire Valley offers fairy-tale châteaux and countless vineyards
for the visitor to explore. Poitou-Charentes is a peaceful wilderness of pine forests, seaside resorts and lush marshlands,
not to mention Cognac and its world-famous brandy. RENT OUR GITE IN the CHARENTES
If you are looking for a gite in the Poitou-Charentes, we offer a great choice, with pools.
TO LOIRE & POITOU-CHARENTES AIR Air France (0845 084 5111;
www.airfrance.co.uk) from Gatwick to Nantes;
British Airways (0845 773 3377; www.britishairways.com) from Heathrow to Nantes;
Ryanair(0870 240 7070; www.ryanair.com) to Tours, La Rochelle and Poitiers from Stansted.
British European (0870 567 6676; www.flybe.com) from Gatwick to Nantes.
ROAD A10 from Paris to Orléans, Tours, Poitiers and Saintes. N137 from Saintes to La Rochelle.
For Nantes from Caen, take the A84 to Rennes then the N137. From Paris, take the A11/E50 to Le Mans.
RAIL TGV to Le Mans, Angers, Nantes. Poitiers, La Rochelle and Angoulême from Paris (Gare Montparnasse).
For all rail information, contact Rail Europe (0870 584 8848;www.raileurope.co.uk).
AVERAGE DAILY TEMPERATURE (CELSIUS) °C
This Region 9 8 11 17 16.5 23 25.5 24.5 22 17 12.5 8.5
London 6 7 10 13 17 20 22 21 19 14 10 7
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUNE JULY AUG SEPT OCT NOV DEC
face Point Final Why big-screen actor Johnny Depp has shunned the
Hollywood limelight for the simple life in France For someone whose
good looks and acting talent are so familiar to the filmgoing public, the American actor Johnny Depp certainly knows how to keep a low profile. Ever since he met his partner
Vanessa Paradis five years ago, he’s more likely to be spotted with her and their two children in a Paris park or a
French supermarket than on a film set or the red carpet. – split their time between a
Parisian apartment and a mansion in a village not far from Saint-Tropez.