Brantôme is a delightful village on the River Dronne where ducks take centre stage while tourists wait to board a boat for a river cruise. Boat trips run until autumn along the shallow river which is only suitable for certain types of vessel.
Installed on water like its illustrious Venetian cousin, Brantôme is not subject to flooding nowadays. The last big flood was in 1944 when the last remaining walls of the Jardin des Moines (Monks’ Garden) were washed away.
From the 11th century onwards, pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela used to stop here at the miraculous spring to cure sterility and childhood diseases or to visit the relic of Saint-Sicaire. Monks first arrived at Abbaye St Pierre during the 8th century and between 8 and 40 monks lived there until the French Revolution. As you walk through the village, you pass 16th and 17th century houses as well as the ruins of a huge mill and, at its foot, the ruins of a mansion begun in 1930 but never finished because of the war.
Raymond Poincaré, Président de la République, visited Brantôme in 1913 and was the first person to refer to the village as the « Venice of Périgord ».
There are some lovely riverside restaurants where you can take time with your partner, family or friends to enjoy the quality and variety of Périgord food.
The surrounding area has plenty of must-see attractions to visit
The Château de Bourdeilles comprises a late 13th-early 14th century, medieval castle and a late 16th century Renaissance-style main building housing a fine collection of furniture from the 15th – 19th centuries. The castle stands on a rocky spur overlooking the River Dronne and the village of Bourdeilles.
St Jean de Côle, one of the « Loveliest Villages in France », has houses with ochre walls and dark brown roofs and a medieval bridge over the delightful River Côle. Its history is inextricably linked to the Château de la Marthonie, the 12th and 15th century castle which dominates the Place Saint-Jean, and to the priory and its church. Floralies flower show is held here every year in May.
The Grotte de Villars is one of the largest networks of caves in Périgord. The underground river has hollowed out immense caverns, linked by galleries, where water has seeped through to form a fantastic natural décor of speleogens, stalactites, rimstones, translucent draperies and stalagmites. Prehistoric cave paintings were discovered in 1958. Spear throwing and cave art workshops for all the family take place during (French) school holidays.
Contact : OFFICE DE TOURISME DE BRANTOME EN PERIGORD Eglise Notre-Dame 2 rue Puyjoli de Meyjounissas 24310 BRANTOME EN PERIGORD
SatNav : Lat. 45.3639151 Long. 0.6478408