A Day Trip to Brantôme

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I recently had the pleasure of taking a day trip to Brantôme in the Dordogne, France.  Sometimes called ‘The Venice of the Dordogne’, and although Brantôme is beautiful, I don’t think I’d go quite that far!  The old town sits in a bend in the Dronne river, and the river completely surrounds it – giving some excellent weir-controlled river sections for canoeists and kayakers!


Dronne River Boat


Getting There:

Located in the Dordogne, known for it’s picturesque river towns, you can reach Brantôme by flying into Bergerac Airport, or by getting a train to Angoulême and then a bus on to Brantôme.  If you are driving, there is a free carpark on Avenue André Maurois, a short walk along the river from the centre of the town. We drove, so were thankful for this car park, as the tiny streets in the old town are not made for parking!


Bridge in Brantôme


The River:

There is a canoe hire shop next to the free carpark.  There are also some small river boat tours available – one next to the Pont Coudé near the famous Moulin restaurant; and one next to La Cabourne restaurant in the old town.  You can also walk a circular route along the river, around by the ancient Abbaye de Brantôme, and looping back through the old town.


View of Town Hall, Brantôme




The Old Town:

Surrounded on all sides by the Dronne river, Brantôme’s old town is a criss-cross of winding streets with lovely riverside restaurants, art galleries, and of course, the obligatory tourist shops.  Be warned, this picturesque town gets mobbed with tourists in the high season, so if you want a quiet look around, try visiting in the bridging seasons – perhaps May or September.


Old Town Brantôme


The Abbaye and Town Hall:

The Abbaye Saint-Pierre de Brantôme is an old Benedictine abbey founded in 769 by Charlemagne.  It has 11th-14th Century additions to the building, and was connected to the new Mairie’s office (Town Hall) in the 18th Century.  These grand buildings are set into the hillside to the north of the river opposite the old town.


Abbaye and Town Hall, Brantôme


Le Moulin de l’Abbaye

One building in Brantôme is photographed almost as much as the abbey itself.  The picture-perfect Moulin de l’Abbaye Hotel and Restaurant sits next to the Pont Coudè bridge and could not be more quaint!  They also have themselves a Michelin starred chef, so they are worth a visit.  It is open March-October each year.


Brantôme is one of many jewels in the crown for France – with something to do for everyone. Staying in the area would be ideal, but a day trip to Brantôme will give you a flavour of things.


Moulin de l'Abbaye Hotel


If you like this article, you might also like reading about the fairytale village of Verteuil-sur-Charente.


All photos © Hannah Henderson and may not be used without permission (sharing this blog post is fine, though!).  Images shot with a Canon DSLR T3i Rebel + Canon EF Lens 50mm 1:1.8 STM; and an iPhone6s.



A Day Trip to Brantôme - HH Lifestyle Travel

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  • F.H says:

    Hi Annah, I’m French. I saw your post on Twitter. My parents have a house just near Brantôme. Your pictures and article about this lovely city are perfect. I love this town. Hope i’ll meet you someday at this place. Here’s pictures I took these last years, on my website, yesterday (Brantôme and differents other places).

    Have a nice day !

  • danik says:

    Another charming piece of france I am going to have to add to my places to visit. brantome looks amazing. I would love to take strolls around here in the summer months and relax.

  • Brantôme looks beautiful. I would love to come in the late summer, when the days are still warm but the crowds have ebbed. I would certainly take advantage of the canoe hire and get out on the beautiful water. The old city looks like it grew out of the water, and I can imagine that its heart still beats by the bank.

  • Nisha says:

    Such a quaint and beautiful village . I too like to explore the lesser know places in search of bigger stories 🙂 Did you fly in from Paris?

  • anu says:

    Brantome does look like Venice a bit though I am yet to visit either. I live in a city surrounded by sea on one side and two rivers on two other sides and I know how how calming the water is. Thank you for introducing me to Brantome, I was not aware of it before reading your post.

  • Medha Verma says:

    It seems like i just for a lesson in geography because i have neither heard of brantome nor of dordogne although i did guess it is in france. i am not proud of it! but the pictures show a very picturesque and cosy little town, i’d love to visit here sometime!

  • Indrani says:

    Bantome seems like a perfect getaway destination from Paris. I liked the old world charm around the place. Walking tours there must be fantastic.

  • Shweta says:

    Brantome seems a lovely place. just the kind where you spend a day or two wandering around narrow streets, taking in the sights. i would love to sit at a cafe by the river and watch people going. sipping my coffee.

  • Jen Joslin says:

    Brantome looks like a great place for a day trip! It’s incredible that there are structures dating back to 769 there. I would love to eat at Moulin de l’Abbaye restaurant. The building is so quaint!

  • I’m always a big fan of day trips, and Brantome seems like a nice place to do so. As you say, plenty of flavourful things to do. The Old town would be ideal, just avoid the crowds during the high season. If I ever visit France, I would definitely go here. France is a very charming country.

  • Claire says:

    It’s so funny that anywhere with canals is called Venice of wherever.. there are plenty of nice places with canals that are beautiful in their own right! I love France, the little towns like this are so beautiful – although as you said it does get super busy in the summer!

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