Places to Visit
From Chez Russell there are many interesting places to see, all within ten minutes to one hour's drive. As the house is in the Cognac producing area of France, the brandy houses including Hennessy, Remy-Martin, 0tard, Courvoisier and others are all worth a visit, providing an interesting insight into brandy production (entrance fee also includes a tasting).
The wine regions of Bordeaux are also easily accessible. The nearest are the east bank regions of Côtes de Blaye and Côtes de Bourg, and to the south, Fronsac, St Emilion and Pomerol.
The pretty town of Saint Emilion is very well worth a visit. The town was named after an 8th century monk who lived out his life in a cave he carved from the local limestone. There is a guided tour of the huge monolithic church under the centre of the town where St Emilion's cave can be seen. There is also a road train tour which weaves its way among the surrounding vineyards and Châteaux. The town has many interesting shops, where one can taste and buy wines, and many other gift shops and restaurants, all approached along the cobbled streets. Sit outdoors in the middle of the town in beautiful sunshine and be served an excellent meal, accompanied by a bottle of Grand Cru wine.
Not too far away are the seaside towns of Royan and La Rochelle, both of which have their own charm. The town of Blaye on the Gironde estuary has an historic citadel. There are many castles and ancient churches to visit, notably at Barbezieux, Pons, and Saintes which also has a fine Roman amphitheatre.