Many visitors choose the Poitou-Charentes region for its coast fringed with lovely beaches, but the region has more to recommend it than the pleasures of the seaside. On the coast, while the beaches of Royan and the Île de Ré and Île d'Oléron draw crowds, the untamed nature and salt marshes have been protected, and the maritime heritage of the ports of La Rochelle and Rochefort nicely showcased. Inland, dip into the world of comics in Angoulême, see medieval architecture in Poitiers, contemplate the beauty of Saintonge's Romanesque churches or the frescoes in the abbey church of St-Savin sur Gartempe. Also take time to visit the Château de la Rochefoucauld, which straddles the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and a cellar in Grande Champagne to savour a first-rate cognac. The Marais Poitevin and the Gironde estuary, on the other hand, are more conducive to nature-focused holidays, with cycling, boat trips, hiking and bird-watching. Lastly, with children, don't miss the Zoo de la Palmyre, Poitiers's Futuroscope and La Rochelle Aquarium. A busy schedule!