An absolute highlight on our recent trip to France was a day-trip to Verteuil in the Charente. I had seen James Martin (the TV chef) visit the Chateau de Verteuil as part of his ‘French Adventure’ series, and it looked so picturesque. And it is only 45 minutes drive from our house – so, a perfect outing! Verteuil is situated 10 minutes drive south of Ruffec, and 1hr45 inland from La Rochelle. Verteuil turned out to be as picture-postcard as it appeared on the TV, as was the drive there. The rolling farming countryside of the Charente is stunning, and there was some wonderful wildlife to be seen – we saw buzzards, red kites, and harrier’s, as well as my first ever hare!
We visited Verteuil mid-week, which I think is a wise idea, it’s the kind of place that would be packed on the weekends, especially in the high season. There is some parking in the centre of town outside the Mairie’s office, and also just on the edge of the town towards to the D26 road.
The chateau is right in town, surrounded by houses on one side and the river on the other. You can visit, but only April-Sept, and only on the weekends by way of a guided tour. It is not possible to visit without a guide. Sadly, as it was mid week, we didn’t get to visit inside. It presides over the town in a mild and graceful way – yes, it’s a beautifully grand building, but it isn’t hugely ostentatious or overwhelming. It really is a bit of a fairytale.
We decided to visit Le Moulin de Verteuil, the old mill café that makes the most fabulous brioche using flour milled there. They have two beautiful terraces, one with a view of the chateau (where this picture was taken), and one looking over the lower section of the river and the bridge. It is an idyllic setting.
I highly recommend the set lunch menu – only €14.80 (as of April 2017) for 3 courses + a glass of house wine. We had a beautiful duck and prosciutto salad with strawberries to start; a main of homemade sausage and butter mash; followed by the most divine coffee gateau and coffee ice-cream.
And of course, you can’t come to the land of brioche without getting one to take away! Brioche is a sweet bread, full of butter, and is a bit like a loaf of croissant! This beauty fed us for the next 2 days! Make sure you take a trip to the toilette before you leave, it has a rather unique feature (no, I won’t ruin the surprise)!
There is also a Cave in town (a wine and spirits shop), a brocante (antique store) and some other shops, so if you have room or time after relaxing on the terrace, then check out the little shops on the main street. Verteuil is truly a gorgeous little town and we will definitely be back. There are fairytale villages all over France, but this one has totally won our hearts!
All photos © Hannah Henderson and may not be used without permission (sharing this blog post is fine, though!). Images shot with a Canon DSLR T31 Rebel + Canon EF Lens 50mm 1:1.8 STM; and an iPhone6s.