Back again for a roundup of my last trip in the Charente. As with my last post, this time I went to another place that I have passed by so many times. Aubeterre-sur-Dronne is classed as one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France (most beautiful villages in France). Only 8kms from the campsite, I was obviously going to visit the village. The claim to fame of Aubeterre is the enormous monolithic church of St-Jean. This underground church was carved out of the rock in the 12th century by the Benedictines, and is the biggest troglodyte church in Europe. Sadly I wasn’t able to visit with Maggie, but perhaps another time.
The village sits in a kind of ampitheatre and it dominates the river Dronne. I was told to expect “thousands of tourists”, but knowing this region, I thought that was stretching the imagination somewhat! This area is off the beaten track, and famous and beautiful it may be, but it was hardly going to be that crowded out of peak holiday season. And I was right…just enough people milling around to give it a nice atmosphere, and not too many tourists either.
The main square
As you can see from the sky, it was a perfect day, and I was very keen to walk around and to take in the sights before it grew too hot for Maggie. It was lovely that dotted around, there were bowls of water placed outside shops for thirsty dogs to refresh themselves. (And strangely for France, not one bit of dog mess to be seen)!
The church of St-Jaques was a bit of a climb, and unfortunately only the facade and carvings from the 12th century remain, the rest of the church destroyed in the wars of religion. The rest was rebuilt in the 18th century.
With all the pottering around, we were starting to wilt a bit and as it was almost lunchtime, we headed back to the main square for a bite to eat and the chance to sit in the shade and people watch…a great pastime.
It was here that I was ‘accosted’ by a very snooty woman who had to be at the very least a duchess (yeah, right) the way she carried on. With ‘ooohhhs’ and ‘aaahhhh’s’ she strode over to Maggie and before I could warn her that Maggie nibbles and gets very excitable, she was crouched on the ground fussing an amazed dog, her hand half digested by Maggie who thought it was a wonderful game! Well, this wasn’t going to end well, was it? Sure enough, her teeth caught her ring and a bloody finger followed (which seemed to excite Maggie all the more)! Honestly, you have to ask yourself WHO in their right mind would approach an unknown dog like that? Madame Snooty soon departed, blood-stained tissue wrapped tightly around her finger, muttering and ignoring my attempts to explain. That’ll teach her!
Excitement over, and a full tummy, it was hotting up and time to head back to the car. I could have stayed under the trees in the main square much longer, but that would have meant more food and drinks! Later that afternoon when it had cooled a bit, we took a short drive around the local area and the chance to stretch our legs and to see more of the scenery before leaving.
I have no idea where it was, but it was very pretty. One thing that the region is very well known for at this time of year, is the beautiful sight of fields of sunflowers. You just can’t fail to feel happy when you pootle along virtually deserted roads, flanked either side by living golden sunshine.
….. and back to camp for a long, cold drink, some more pages of my book, and Maggie content and exhausted!
It’s a dogs life, isn’t it?