Jonzac is the major town in the Saintonge, south of Saintes. The Saintonge area really has it all. It has a micro-climate, qualifying as the 2nd sunniest area of France. There is a beautiful coastline and unspoilt countryside. It is also very accessible, with airport links in Bordeaux, La Rochelle and in Angouleme. The landscape is delightful: rolling with a mixture of vines, forest and meadows and many rivers and lakes.
The local eating is great, with a superb variety of restaurants serving local produce. Why not try the oysters, or, if you are feeling adventurous, Charentais snails? The fresh fruit and vegetables here are also delicious, and can be bought inexpensively on the local markets. As for wine, the charentais wines are going up and up in quality, and we are surrounded by châteaux which produce Cognac and the very-drinkable Pineau including that from the Chai du Rouissoir, a producer just outside Jonzac.
Jonzac was a town first lived in by the Romans (well, maybe before then, but the Romans left more pottery!) You can see the remains of a Roman villa, and also admire the later medieval architecture. It is an extremely attractive town set around the main square, and for some reason, perhaps because of the mix of lovely old buildings and the thermal spa, it is slightly reminiscent of Bath. The spa is famous throughout France.
The town has a mixture of pedestrian ways, with lots of shops, and little winding roads. There is plenty of green space, with parks for children and paths to stroll along the river. At night-time there are plenty of good-quality restaurants, and even a casino.
Locals and holiday-makers can enjoy the splendid leisure facilities: the aquatic complex called "Les Antilles" with warm lagoons, gym and a restaurant set in a dome that is kept at Caribbean temperatures all year round. There is also a large bathing lake with a sandy beach, and sports facilities such as a climbing wall, rope course and horse riding. There are lots of sports clubs who can enjoy the super stadium and playing fields.
Jonzac is a town rich in past history, and rightly proud of it. National heritage is carefully preserved. It is not, however, a town which is stuck in the past. It has many dynamic initiatives to carry the town forward into the 21st century. The council is active and helps people to start businesses, and encourages initiative and drive.
Perhaps the best argument to persuade you of how fabulous Jonzac is not one of words. Just sit 'en terrasse' at the Coq d’Or on the sunny square with a glass of Pineau, and watch the world go by. That’s when you really understand how special it is.