Le Chay is a rural town 15 km from Royan and bordering Saujon. An undergrowth crosses the town centre. Beyond, the town extends over large agricultural areas made up mainly of cereal fields and vines. The sweet Seudre borders the town to the north. Here, everything comes together to enjoy an idyllic calm.
Le Chay, a rural village
To arrive at Chay, we take long roads bordering the Saintonge countryside. The village remains preserved, cut off from urban traffic and seaside entertainment. In the heart of the village, we discover many traditional Saintonge houses, often old farmhouses with shutters painted in pastel colors and exposed stone walls.
St. Martin's Church
The church square invites you to take a break with its bench in the shade of the trees. Take the time to look at one of the most beautiful neoclassical churches of the country of Royan. Saint-Martin dates from the XNUMXth century (the original building having been destroyed by the Huguenots during the Wars of Religion). The facade is decorated with an oculus and dominated by a campanile with two bells. Its single, trefoiled and slightly elongated nave reflects the image of the place: all in discretion and modesty.
Not far from there, the school bears the name of the painter Anatole-Eugene Hillairet, a native of the village. At the beginning of the XNUMXth century, he left for Paris where he exercised his talent and developed his impressionist style like Renoir or Monet. Perhaps the local atmospheres and colors inspired him...
On the banks of the gentle Seudre
The Seudre crosses Le Chay by its tributary of the Chantegrenouille ditch. With such a name, we can easily imagine the atmosphere that reigns here. With your ears on the alert, each noise reminds us of the presence of local fauna. La Seudre participated in the appearance of the village.
In order to work the crops of the nearby cereal fields, man had to domesticate the watercourse. In Chay there are therefore 3 water mills:
The mill inn
On the border between Saujon and Le Chay, at a place called Pompierre, this old mill (as its name suggests) has since been transformed into a restaurant and furnished accommodation. The place is ideal to appreciate the softness of the edges of Seudre.
The old mill of Morgard
The building bears witness to the milling activity experienced by the town. At the same time, workshop, silo and employer's residence, it supplied flour to the bakeries and pastries of the Royan area and the region.
Riollet flour mill
Place now known for the Riollet garden, classified among the "Remarkable Gardens" of Charente-Maritime, the place with 600 species of plants living in harmony, remains secret. On this bucolic land, the Tantin family notably cultivates saffron.
Sweet Seudre reveals itself kayak from the Trois Doux slipway in Corme-Écluse and towards the port of Ribérou. At water level, you are then a spectator of verdant nature.
The visit can be done in particular by bike by the VTC loop n°25 – the between-two estuaries. Thanks to this marked circuit over 40 km, you not only follow the Seudre douce but you also reach the oyster port ofNeedle to vary the landscapes and discover other facets of the territory.