We were so grateful to be able to stay with family in France for a 5-day break in the wonderful Dordogne during last year’s rainy summer holidays. The sun was there to greet us and luckily shone the whole time!
Flying into Bordeaux airport, we made our way to the picturesque village of Chenaud, near to Saint-Aulaye and Aubeterre-sur-Dronne in the Dordogne. The Dronne River runs through this rural, tranquil and beautiful area and we found it a great base for getting to know the region.
The picturesque village of Chenaud
On our first morning, we participated in a treasure hunt in Chenaud, cleverly devised by one of our family members. It was great fun and we got to discover the whole village.
The hunt culminated in playing ‘Poohsticks’ on the bridge with the younger children, with fond memories of our favourite Winnie the Pooh books.
After lunch, we headed to La Base de Pleine Nature de Poltrot, in nearby Nabinaud, which is a centre dedicated to outdoor recreation - perfect for the kids.
The Dronne River runs through the region
There we took on the ‘Labyrinth’ – one of the largest mazes in France. It was hilarious trying to get to the middle – the kids were much better at navigating it than the adults were!
The peaceful river runs right through the centre, where you can also book canoes to paddle around in and explore further, or like me, just sit back on the banks basking in the glorious sunshine, spotting the water lilies.
The notorious 'Labyrinth' and watching waterlilies from the peaceful riverbank
On the way back to Chenaud for our barbecue tea, we stopped off at Aubeterre-sur-Dronne – listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. The houses in Aubeterre-sur-Dronne are built in the attractive white stone of the region, which has given the town its name. Alba terre in Latin means ‘white lands’.
At the centre of the village is a lovely square filled with shops, artists’ workshops, bars and restaurants where you can sit out on a sunny day and savour the atmosphere of the village. I loved it here and could have stayed longer, but we had a barbecue to get going!
We bought all the food for the barbecue from the local butchers including veggie options. We also spotted some traditional French quiches – they were for lunch the next day…delicious!
The white stone buildings of Aubeterre-sue-Dronne
It was hot enough to have a quick dip in the pool when we got back and, of course, our Sorbet hammam towels were perfect for drying us off. We took the Ice Cream Collection with us. They seemed to match the environment perfectly!
Sorbet hammam towels were perfect for drying us off after a swim!
The next day, we decided to hang out at the house and make the most of the weather. We did sneak in a quick trip to the supermarket in nearby Saint-Aulaye. You could spend hours in a French supermarket. They’re so interesting, especially the cheese counters, and the kids love it too.
Tree climbing in Nabinaud
We were back at the recreation centre in Nabinaud again the day after, to take part in the tree climbing activity. Most of our group attempted it, although maybe next time for me! It is set in the heart of the vegetation and been designed to give feelings of freedom among the treetops. It was apparently thrilling and challenging, and also great value for money.
Tree climbing in Nabinaud
Late afternoon, we drove about 45 minutes to a breath-taking spot – Grand Etang de la Jemaye. At the heart of this beautiful forest setting is a beach and large natural lake for safe swimming.
Driving along, you just do not expect to find a beach in the middle of the forest. It is such a pleasant spot and there were a few beach cafes there for any hungry explorers. Any excuse for a quick ice cream!
Watching the sun go down at Lac Jemaye whilst letting our quick drying hammam towels finish drying!
Our last day was spent at the house to enjoy the last of the sunshine before we flew home in the early evening. A brilliant trip and catch-up with close family. Look forward to visiting again and spending time in this sunny spot in the garden where I enjoyed my morning cuppa.
A sunny spot for a morning cuppa!