Rent Gites, Bed and Breakfast
About the Region and What To Do
This house is on the Charente and Dordogne borders. Therefore we have divided the information into general information about the Charente and the Dordogne, and the immediate locality, places of interest and things to do.
The Immediate Locality
The immediate locality is a triangle formed by the villages of Aubeterre, St Aulaye and Chalais, all in the southern Charente, close to the Perigord region. The area is characterised by rolling hills and frequent patches of woodland. Most of the restaurants and bars are open throughout the year. Aubeterre sits high up above a bend in the river Dronne. Its charming narrow streets wind through white stone houses and ancient buildings. Built in the shape of an amphitheatre this former stronghold is now classified as one of France's prettiest villages. St Aulaye is located on the banks of the Dronne, actually across the river in the Dordogne, and Chalais is located on the river Tude which joins the Dronne.
The Monolithic Church
The most outstanding and impressive monument in Aubeterre is the underground church of St Jean, known as the monolithic church, located on the cliff which overhangs the Dronne. Carved entirely out of the rock, the main nave reaches a height of 20 m. At a height of 15 m, the nave is bordered by a balcony which can be reached by a stairway carved out of the rock. On south of the nave, there are more than 80 sarcophagus's found in 1958.
It is open every day (including Sundays and Bank Holidays), from 9.30 am to midday and 2.00 pm to 6.00 pm.
Museums and Art
Aubeterre is a hive of activity for artists and artisans. Their pots, paintings, woodwork, leather and glass objects come to life in their workshop-boutique, only a few steps away from antique and bric-a-brac shops. You will also see the puppet's house, the museum of butterflies and African arts.
St Jacques Church
The church of St Jacques , partially destroyed in may 1562 during the religion's wars and rebuilt during the 17th century, is one of Aubeterre's richest features. Located at the top of the village, the church is an historical jewel. Its incredible 12th century Romanesque façade is decorated with finely sculpted arches. The design is Spanish-Moorish influenced and the stone carvings date back to the St Jacques de Compostella pilgrimages.
At both St Aulaye and Aubeterre, fine sandy beaches are maintained along the banks of the river Dronne, in shady spots, close to campsites and snack-bars, where you can swim and fish safely. St Aulaye has lifeguards on duty during the summer.
Canoes can be hired during spring and summer from Aubeterre. You can arrange to either canoe
down-river and be collected, or taken up-river and canoe back to the hire shop. There are several other places
with canoes for hire along the river Dronne, with mostly calm and safe water.
The Sea and Other Water-sports
There are extensive sandy beaches both to the north-west and to the south-west. These are all an easy car journet away and the size of the towns vary from small to large. There are many large lakes with safe swimming and some with sailing or canoe rentals. Most of these have food and drink facilities on-site and for most, the entry is free.
Vineyards and Wine Tasting
There are many local vineyards making Pineau (a local speciality) and these can be found along any main road. Often they allow visits and tasting. St Emillion and Bordeaux are within easy car journeys and there wine tasting is essential. Many of the wine estates offer tasting without appointment, so you can arrive, drink a bit and not be pressurised if it's not to your taste.
Cycling and Walking
Many off-road cycle and walking routes are marked out, ranging from 5km to 30km. For walkers and joggers, the minimal traffic and many unused country roads make this a perfect area for the more active.