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Aubeterre sur Dronne

A village to dream of…

The little village of Aubeterre-sur-Dronne has everything that you could dream of when you think of an idyllic French village… and more besides. Chocolate box pretty, it could have come straight from the film Chocolat. Sitting above a bend on the lovely River Dronne in the west of France, the little village tumbles down the hillside, creating the shape of an amphitheatre, with steep winding lanes whose cobble stones speak of days gone by. White stone houses bask in the sunshine, their red tiled roofs adding a warm colour to the green countryside all around. The houses are tiered, in the traditional manner of the area, and the multi coloured flowers in the window boxes and on the terraces all add to the glorious picture book perfection.

An amazing church
This tiny village has a very special secret. Here, in the limestone cliff below the chateau, you can find an amazing underground church, St Jean, which dates back to the twelfth century. Cut into the cliffs, this church has a nave which is more than an incredible twenty metres high, making it as high as the famous Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris! The church simply cries out to be visited, and it has a fascinating history to discover too. Although France has other underground churches this is the largest. There is a secret passage to the church which connects it to the chateau above, but there is speculation that this may have been for drainage purposes rather than more romantic reasons!

Idyllic dining
For a truly idyllic French dining experience, take a table under the ancient linden trees in the central square, the Place Trarieux, and while away a warm summer lunchtime enjoying some excellent food and wine. The square is extremely pretty, with restaurants and little shops, and you can relax and watch the world go by in this, the loveliest of settings.


Out and about
Lovely though it is, the village of Aubeterre-sur-Dronne is undeniably small, and chances are that you will want to wander further afield at some point. The active amongst you will be pleased to discover that there is fishing, golf, tennis, horse-riding and cycling available locally, and if the weather is warm, go no further than the River at the foot of the village to enjoy a refreshing swim from a clean sandy river beach.

 


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