The town sits astride the picturesque river Dronne in the heart of the Perigord Verte. Town and the River are so entangled with each other that Brantome is actually known as the “Venice of the Dordogne”.
Famed for it’s Benedictine Abbey, Brantôme is charming, historic and picturesque. It’s also another favourite place of ours to take guests as it ticks all the boxes.
Artists can paint, walkers can randonnée, French students can practice their French and our ‘Cookers’ (must be said in your best French accent) will find plenty of options to tantalize their taste buds.
Charlemagne founded this in 769 and the oldest parts of the first Benedictine Monastery were actually cut into the limestone cliff behind the convent buildings.
The Abbaye has been demolished several times during it long history (including once by the English during the hundred years war) and always rebuilt. There’s an interesting visit around the Church, Museum and the troglodyte houses including the ‘miraculous fountain’ of St. Sicarius.
The monumental bas-relief carvings in the mysterious ‘Cave of the Last Judgement’ are not to be missed either!
The cobbled streets that weave in and out of the almost ‘island-like’ town are a delight to explore on their own, but if you are feeling adventurous, why not hire a canoe or paddle-boat for a trip on the river?
‘Brantôme Canoe’ has lots of options including paddle boarding and rock climbing as well to keep you busy. Wander around the medieval streets to get the real flavour of the place – Brantome is rightly popular with tourists and it is also a magnet for artisans and artists whose workshops and galleries are tucked away.
As it is so often in France, the best way of appreciating something is to take your time and explore on foot.
Walk the walk, ride the ride
The local area is well known for historical monuments and lush environment so it’s no surprise that there are 11 Walking trails around here ranging from 4km to 18.5km.
If you are interested in this, head for the tourist office (one of the best tourist office buildings we know) where they can supply you maps and advice. They can also help you with bike hire, horse-riding and much more.
Eats, treats and meets
There’s no shortage of cafes, bars and restaurants for an explorer to enjoy, Brantome can be a busy old place in season and that’s part of its charm too.
If you’re in need of liquid refreshment, drop by the Bar du Marche on Victor Hugo. It’s a popular place where you can sit outside for hours and watch passers by as you sip and chat.
They also serve fantastic pizzas with some wonderful toppings. If you can’t finish it, just ask and they’ll box it up for you to take away with you.
For a quick lunch or simple bite to eat, head to the Co The Café at the other end on Victor Hugo. They have a huge range of teas and coffees. For lunch you can choose from: sandwiches, salads, omelets and soups. If you’re feeling naughty why not go for a traditional patisserie, crepe, waffle, a slice of cake or my particular favourite; a Café Gourmande!
A Fine Romance
If you’re after romance and you’re feeling flush then why not try the beautiful setting of the restaurant at the Moulin Abbaye which holds court on the corner of the river Dronne near the weir and the bridge. It’s not cheap at €49 for a three course lunch but it is perfect for a special occasion and you will not be disappointed with the food or the setting. See http://www.moulinabbaye.com
Whatever you decide to do on your trip, be sure to keep in touch and tell us all about it 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/lagebaston