Riberac is only a 5 - 10 minute drive from us, or you could cycle or walk (about 40 minutes with great views).
It is best known for the large and lively market held every Friday morning. There's lots of fresh produce and local artisan crafts, then choose a cafe and maybe add a croissant to your order? On Tuesday evenings in the summer there's live music in the square. Wander the town to discover some splendid buildings, small shops, restaurants, and a swimming pool.
As well as a variety of cafes and restaurants there are 4 boulangeries and 4 supermarkets (Leclerc, Intermarche, Aldi and Lidl), and Biocoop, a great organic supermarket.
There are small shops in town, including antique and vintage clothing, and a chocolate shop with tea room.
There's a lively art scene too, with some stone sculptures around the town, and exhibitions in the tourist office and romanesque church in the Quatier des Arts.
A wonderful activity for the whole family (energetic or not!) there are kayak centres at lots of points along the river Dronne. Choose from a 2 hour paddle up to a half day trip, then find yourself quietly drifting along the river, passing fields and mills, with blue dragonflies fluttering around you.
Known as the Venice of the Perigord, Brantome has a stunning riverside setting dominated by the beautiful abbey. There are shops and restaurants, and a great ice-cream place in the caves just along from the abbey. You can do a boat trip, or pick up canoes here, and we like to picnic on the riverbank.
Aubeterre sur Dronne
Aubeterre is one of Les Plus Beaux Villages en France, a beautiful village just over the border in the Charente. It has a spectacular monolithic church which can only be appreciated from the inside, do the audio tour so you'll appreciate what you're looking at. The village has a charming square, and there are plenty of restaurants, pottery shops, antique shops, and a second church. Below the village there is a river beach.
Beaches - Lake and River
Grand Etang de la Jemaye, and the river beaches at Aubeterre and St. Aulaye are favourites with the children in the summer. The lake, a normally peaceful location comes alive with a beach, swimming (with life guards on site), playground, beach bar and picnic areas. Go early in your holiday as the kids will probably beg you to take them again! Outside the school holidays it's a great place for walking.
One of the best bits of your holiday, eating at one of the many restaurants in the area, and in the the good weather, eating alfresco. The choice of dining varies from pizzas and burgers, to 3 course lunches for under 20 euros, or a fine dining experience. All accompanied by great local wines, after all , our nearest wines are from Bergerac and Bordeaux!
Perigueux is the capital of the Perigord, a city with a stunning cathedral and a medieval heart. Get lost (we still do!) in the maze of medieval streets opening out into squares filled with restaurant tables, and don't even try to resist the chocolate shops! There are lots of events - the Mime festival at the end of July, Nuits Gourmands in August, and Vintage Days September.
Chateau de Bourdeilles - built on a rocky outcropt, this chateau combines a 13th century medieval fortress with tower, and a renaissance building housing a rich collection of furniture.
Chateau de La Mercerie - intended to be the "Versailles of the Charente", the commune now own the Chateau and it's restoration is a work in progress. A fascinating story, well worth a visit.
We've only done one wine tasting experience ourselves, but can highly recommend the wine estate we visited in Saint Emillion. They have 4 different vineyard properties and a restaurant that serves amazing food. The wine is pretty good too!
Magali et Thibaut Decoster