Wander the Beautiful Streets
The steep winding streets of Aubeterre-sur-Dronne are like a picture from a holiday postcard. Many of the old stone houses have wooden balconies, complete with colorful hanging flowers; this really adds to the beauty and charm of the town.
Stroll the streets, absorbing the romantic atmosphere, and checking out all the art galleries, pottery studios, and craft shops. What’s more, because of its position on the hill, there are lots of incredible viewpoints out over the surrounding countryside.
Discover the Underground Church
Aubeterre-sur-Dronne was once a very important site for pilgrims who would stop in the town on their way to Santiago de Compestela in Spain. An important part of this history is the huge underground Monolithic church that still exists here. The Saint-Jean church is the largest underground church in Europe and its size is mind-blowing; it’s carved out of the rock to a depth of 20m!
Once you’re inside, find the staircase that’s chiseled into the stone wall and climb 18m up to the viewing gallery. Here, you can gain a great perspective of the work that would have gone into creating this magical church.
Chateau de Chalais
Just a 15-minute drive from Aubeterre is the white stone castle ‘Chateau de Chalais’. The fairytale-like building is open to the public and you can take a guided tour around the rooms (many of which have been preserved with their original features).
Spend a morning here, learning about the history, before stopping off at the gourmet restaurant on site. The restaurant is located in the old castle kitchens so the atmosphere is fantastic!
Opening times: The hours vary throughout the summer months but you can check them here. Out of season, you need to book to visit.
Beach & Watersports
Aubeterre is a ‘Station Verte’, which means it is classified as a green tourist destination with exceptional nature to explore. It’s easy to see why, with its luscious green meadows that stretch alongside the town all the way down to the peaceful river. Down on the banks, there is a small beach where visitors can relax or hire canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards. This is a great way to explore the surrounding countryside, another special feature of Aubeterre!
Visit a Wine Estate
Just over one hour drive from Aubeterre-sur-Dronne is the Cognac region of France, which is famous for (you guessed it!) Cognac. Cognac is a type of brandy that can only be made in this area of France and under very strict guidelines.
Visiting one of the vineyards here is an absolute must-do on your trip to France. We recommend visiting the winery ‘Conte & Filles’, run by two sisters, where you can learn all about the Cognac produced on their estate. Plus, entry is free and you are able to taste more than Cognac.
Opening times: Every day (apart from Sunday) from 10 AM – 12 PM & 4 PM -7 PM.
Getting to Aubeterre-sur-Dronne
Aubeterre does not have a train station but it’s possible to take a train from Paris to the nearby town of Angouleme (2.5 hours). From here, you can take a bus directly to Aubeterre in around 1.5 hours. Alternatively, if you hire a car, you can drive from Paris to Aubeterre in just over 5 hours.
Bordeaux is the nearest airport and is about an hour’s drive away.
Getting around Aubeterre
To give you the freedom to explore the countryside and local wineries, it’s best to hire a car. But not for the town as it is very walkable! There are also plenty of organized tours leaving from Aubeterre to the surrounding sights and there are public buses leaving from the town too.
Best time to visit Aubeterre
Visit Aubeterre in the spring or summer months when everything is green, luscious, and there are beautiful sunny days. This is also a great time to enjoy the watersports and to take the opportunity to camp and get out into nature.
Where to eat in Aubeterre
Despite the town’s small size it offers a lot of fantastic restaurants!
- La Taverne Pierre Véry (French)
- La Tapazzeria (Pizzaria)
- Le Garage (burgers)
Where to Stay
Staying in Aubeterre is an amazing experience for every type of traveler. There are lots of beautiful boutique hotels, and bed and breakfasts, in the village or just on the outskirts. It’s also a favorite for camping because of its position on the river and there are plenty of scenic spots to choose from.
We stayed at the new nomad tent accommodation of Casa Sana in Pillac, which is just 10 minutes out of Aubeterre. A lovely stay at a farm from a heart-warming family. Please send them our regards if you stay with them. ♥