Shopping and sight-seeing in the local area

Le Petit Moulin is in a fantastic area with plenty of things to see and do. We provide lots of onsite activities for all the family, and regularly have associations such as SYLATR staying in the area. They work close to the Moulin, tagging and counting the different species of birds, and arrange viewing days. So people can watch what they do and ask a few questions.

It’s fascinating to watch, and if you are interested in ornithology then there are so many to see in the surrounding fields and woodlands. But if you fancy a change a change of scene, then we can also recommend lots of places where you can go shopping and sight-seeing.

Market town of Lezay

The local market town of Lezay is less than 10 minute’s drive away from Le Petit Moulin. Or if you are feeling energetic, it’s a 30 minute bike ride along quiet country lanes. In Lezay there is a supermarket, boulangeries, chemists, banks, tabacs, bars and restaurants. It has the nearest petrol station as well.

If you want to experience French life then every Tuesday morning the farmer market is held in the town centre. It’s one of the largest in the area, and you can buy fresh produce, as well as clothes and gifts. On Saturday morning the market hall is also open. Stock up on everything you need for your BBQ at Le Petit Moulin – including fresh oysters!

Lezay also has a really pretty park and a large well-stocked fishing lake (buy a day ticket from the tabac). There are also outdoor tennis courts, a public open-air swimming pool, and children’s playground. In the summer there are open air concerts and fireworks, with a lantern walk for Bastille day in the park. They are all free events – just turn up with a picnic. If you are lucky then you might even be here when there is a brocante on. This is similar to a car-boot, and you can grab some amazing, ‘vintage French chic’ bargains.

Medieval Melle

Melle is a vibrant market town a 30 minute drive away from Le Petit Moulin. It has a lot of medieval architecture, and beautiful 11th and 12th century churches. Melle and the surrounding countryside is also well known for its own particular type of goat’s cheese called ‘chabichou‘.

The rural atmosphere of Melle can be experienced at the weekly market (every Friday). You will find stalls selling fresh vegetables, meat, bread, cheeses, and other French delicacies. As well as plants, spices, clothes and hand-made goods. The area surrounding Melle is full of Romanesque châteaux, mills, fountains and ancient wash-houses. If you enjoy walking or hiking, then there are lots of well sign-posted routes through the Forest Arboretum.

The town also has a variety of traditional shops, as well as two large supermarkets. There are also several restaurants featuring regional French cuisine, a steak house, and a pizza restaurant.


Poitiers is less than an hour’s drive from Le Petit Moulin, and is the home of Futurscope Theme Park, France’s 2nd most popular tourist park. It’s a ‘must-do’ for families with plenty of rides, shows and open spaces. Book online before you go, to get the best deals and to check opening times.

The city of Poitiers is like taking a step-back in time, with a number of historic churches and cobbled streets dating back centuries. The medieval architecture is prominent everywhere as you wander through the quaint streets and stumble across beautiful areas such as Notre Dame Marche square, or the Hotel de Ville. There’s a large produce market set out around the Notre Dame-la-Grande church on a Saturday morning and you can sit outside one of the many bars and cafes, and watch what is going on. Poitiers has a thriving cultural scene and the city centre is full of galleries and museums, as well as restaurants and terrace cafés. There are also a couple of modern shopping centres, so there are plenty of opportunities to go shopping and sight-seeing in Poitiers. It’s definitely worth a day out.

Old Port of La Rochelle

La Rochelle is an hour and 30 minutes drive from Sainte Soline. The main feature in this beautiful historic city is the ‘Vieux Port’ (the Old Harbour), which is at the heart of the city. It’s very picturesque and lined with seafood restaurants, shops and bars. From the harbour, there are regular boat trips to Île d’Aix and Fort Boyard (home to the internationally famous TV show of the same name). Nearby Île de Ré is a short drive north of La Rochelle and accessible via a road-bridge.

La Rochelle also maintains strong links with the sea by harbouring the largest marina for pleasure boats in Europe at Les Minimes. There is also a large aquarium which is usually open most days, and the Calypso, the ship used by Jacques-Yves Cousteau for his oceanography, is on display at the Maritime Museum of La Rochelle. It’s another beautiful place to visit which is close to Le Petit Moulin, with lots of family attractions, and something to suit all ages.

Golf Courses

For the keen golfer, there are several courses less than an hours drive away near Niort and Poitiers. Or if you were planning a longer trip out, then there are other courses at nearby Royan, Saintes, La Rochelle and Cognac. Three of these are 18-hole – the Prée Golf Course at La Rochelle, the Maine Gaudin course at Saint-Palais, near Royan and the Louis Rouyer course at Saintes. They combine various technical aspects with something to suit players of all levels. Check out the following websites for full details.

Golf de Royan – Golf de la Prée, La Rochelle – Louis Rouyer Golf course, Saintes  – Golf du Cognac

Kick-back and relax

After a hard day shopping and sight-seeing you can get back, and just relax by the pool. I think you’ll agree, there’s no better way to spend your precious family time than here at Le Petit Moulin, Ste Soline.

shopping and sight-seeing le petit moulin
Large swimming pool