Aubeterre Sur Dronne: A guide to visiting this beautiful French village

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aubetrre sur dronne

With Medieval architecture and an ancient fortified church, Aubeterre Sur Dronne looks exactly like you would imagine idyllic French villages to look in the past. So much so that that it’s hard to believe that it is a real place. The small town of Aubeterre Sur Dronne is perched upon a hill, surrounded by a river, a town that is popular with locals from Charente and holiday makers in equal measure.

On the sunny August day that we visited, the tiny square in the center was buzzing with people spilling out of bars and enjoying a few oysters washed down with cold white wine. The Sunday market was wrapping up, with the last few people buying cheese before the stall holders presumably headed home to family for lunch.

It is true that Aubeterre Sur Dronne is a small town, but it is well worth visiting. I can’t think of many better ways to enjoy a languid Sunday than browsing antiques in Aubeterre Sur Dronne, quaffing an aperitif or two and then cooling off with a swim in the river.

Where is Aubeterre Sur Dronne?

Aubeterre Sur Dronne is in the Charente Valley around 100km (60 miles) North of the city of Bordeaux. This is in the Charente department of Nouvelle-Aquitaine in South West France.

What to do in Aubeterre Sur Dronne?

There are plenty of active things to do in Aubeterre Sur Dronne that will suit family of all ages, friends or couples exploring the Charente region.

Canoeing in Aubeterre Sur Dronne

The river Dronne runs through Aubeterre Sur Dronne, a popular activity in the region is to hire a boat and go canoeing. Canoe Kayak Aubeterre will rent out boats for you to enjoy. It’s open 7 days a week in the summer.

Swimming in Aubeterre Sur Dronne

You may not believe it, but this charming French village actually has a beach. To visit the Aubeterre Sur Dronne beach, head out of the town down the hill, and you’ll find the small sandy beach by the river to the right. You can’t miss it in the summer as there are lots of people frolicking in the water and playing ball games. You can find it here.

Visit the Sunday market in Aubeterre Sur Dronne

Every Sunday there is a small fresh produce market in Aubeterre. Although it only takes a few minutes to walk around the market, it brings many people into the village on a Sunday. In June to September, the town really comes alive on market day.

Cycling in Aubeterre Sur Dronne

Although this area is quite undulating, it is popular with cyclists looking to explore the countryside. You can hire a bike and enjoy the rolling hills and fields of sunflowers throughout the summer. Hire a bike with bikes direct, who will deliver to your gite or holiday home.

What to see in Aubeterre Sur Dronne

Here are a few things to see in the village of Aubeterre.

Church in Aubeterre Sur Dronne

The church in Aubeterre is probably the main tourist attraction. But it’s not just any church. What is so special about this church is that it is underground. It is monolithic, meaning carved by a single rock or stone.

The church is one of the largest of this type of structure in Europe and is a UNESCO site too. It doesn’t look much from the outside, but it is quite spectacular and with the 8 euro entrance fee, despite being a short attraction to visit.

Ceramics shops in Aubeterre Sur Dronne

One of my favourite things to do in Aubeterre is shop in the artisan stores. There’s a fabulous soap shop as well as other home stores. But the real jewel in the crown is probably The Grange which sells beautiful ceramic pieces. I’ve been collecting pieces from here for years and I absolutely love the colourful ceramics.

Antiques stores in Aubeterre Sur Dronne

In addition to the artisan shops in Aubeterre, you will also find antique stores. Wander around the tiny little streets to find these. Stocked full with French artefacts, from Pastis glasses to dramatic furniture pieces. Spend an hour or so browsing these stores.

Restaurants in Aubeterre Sur Dronne

There are a few quintessential French bistros around the town square in Aubeterre. For a wine in the centre of the village, the best place is Au Vin d’bord, if you can get a table this is a lively bar.

Our favourite restaurant in Aubeterre has to be La Taverne Pierre Very. A little way out of the centre of the village is this delightful spot. The French restaurant is set in a canopied courtyard, creating an intimate atmosphere. Expect to pay around 30 euros here to enjoy the classic French food.

Where to stay in Aubeterre Sur Dronne

Aubeterre and the surrounding areas have some fantastic a number of accommodation options. From gites to campsites, you have some great choices.

Gites in Aubeterre Sur Dronne

There are not many gites directly in Aubeterre Sur Dronne, but you can find some incredible places to stay in the surrounding area. Here are a few of the best gites in the Aubeterre Sur Dronne region:

The first is a one bedroom quiet cottage in the heart of the Dordogne region. This quaint property has a swimming pool and is the perfect place for two, just a short drive from Aubeterre Sur Dronne.

The second gite is directly in Aubeterre Sur Dronne, which is quite a rarity. A three bedroom gite with a deck and generous outdoor space. This place has a 5.0/5.0 rating on Vrbo.

For larger groups, this fabulous farmhouse complete with 3 hectares of land a swimming pool may be the perfect holiday home near to Aubeterre Sur Dronne. It sleeps 18 people, has oodles of space and even boasts a tennis court.

Camping in Aubeterre Sur Dronne

There is one camp site in Aubeterre Sur Dronne. This is Camping Paradis Aubeterre Sur Dronne. This is a very popular camp site, especially with families int he summer. It’s a shady spot, right by the river, which has a beach and access for swimming. There’s also a decent snack bar and restaurant. Book your pitch here with Pitch Up.

If you’d rather somewhere even quieter, you can camp near Aubeterre Sur Dronne at Camping La Dordogne Verte. This campsite is in the Dordogne region, rather than Cherante, but is a mere 4 miles away. Enjoy a peaceful spot by the river, perhaps kayaking or canoeing. Book your pitch here with Pitch Up.

How to get to Aubeterre Sur Dronne

Angouleme is the nearest airport to Aubeterre Sur Dronne, however, this is not a large international airport and you’re unlikely to fly direct to there. The nearest large international airport to Aubeterre Sur Dronne is Bordeaux.

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Alternatively, if you’re coming from the UK a pleasant way to travel to the Cherante region is by Eurostar. With an easy change in Paris, you can arrive to Angouleme from London completely by train.

We recommend hiring a car if you are planning to visit this area of France. There is not much, if any, public transport and a car will help you to explore some of the most remote places. Car hire direct from an airport can be expensive in France, if its an option for you, we recommend inquiring about hiring a car from the company associated with Leclerc supermarket, which offers much cheaper car hire rates.

Best time of year to visit

Aubeterre Sur Dronne is really an all year round destination. You could visit here in the Winter if you wanted a sedate few days with the town almost to yourself. In the winter, you could still enjoy the food market and restaurants, but could not enjoy much outdoor activity.

The spring (April to May) or early Autumn (September to October) is a pleasant time to visit. You can expect temperatures to range between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius. For me, the summer is the best time to enjoy this region. Although it does get busy with many tourists, the best time to visit is July and August when there are many parties and events happening and the weather is hot.

How long do you need in Aubeterre Sur Dronne

If you are staying in the wider Charente or Dordogne region then you could be tempted to pop into Aubeterre Sur Dronne for a few hours. This is an excellent way to see the village, as it is very small.

You could easily see the church and all of the main highlights in a few hours. If you want to stop a little longer and take in lunch or dinner at one of the Aubeterre restaurants, we would highly recommend it.

Additionally, if you are planning to camp and enjoy the beach or stay in a gite and explore the surrounding nature, a few days in Aubeterre Sur Dronne would be very pleasant.

Where can you visit near to Aubeterre Sur Dronne?

Here are some fabulous places to visit nearby to complete your french itinerary.

Regional Natural Park Périgord Limousin

Around 90 minutes drive from Aubeterre Sur Dronne, you will find Regional Natural Park Perigord Limousin. Here you can spend a couple of hours perusing the gardens and river. A slice of idyllic calm amongst nature.

Visit Château de Bourdeilles

Château de Bourdeilles is a short 45 minute drive from Aubeterre Sur Dronne. This Chateau was built in the 12th century by the Bourdeilles family. Today, you can visit this impressive building which includes a moat and a chapel. There’s also a museum on site. Tickets costs 8 Euros for adults, more information can be found here.

Explore the neighboring Dordogne

Aubeterre is in the Cherante region, but it is very close to the Dordogne. A popular area with holiday makers. Take your time to explore the delightful towns of Riberac and Angouleme as well as Perigeux, the capital of the region.

You can read more on our guide to the Dordogne region (published soon.)

Visit Cognac

The stunning town of Cognac is around 70km from Aubeterre. This little town packs a punch when it comes to architecture and gastronomy. But of course, the real highlight is drinking Cognac. Be sure to book a tasting to enjoy the famous drink from this area.

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