Strictly research: a day out in Brantome

One of my all-time favourite places – Brantome – is under an hour from Le Manoir Saint Gervais. The locals call it the Venice of the Périgord.

It is a great place to visit with friends and family; the town boasts an abbey, caves and picturesque river walks (the town is encircled by water). Why not have lunch while watching tourists navigate the small rapids near the mill in their bright yellow kayaks (first-timers never quite make it down in one go)?! There is also a regular boat trip in the summer months with a French guide.

The shopping isn’t extensive but there are a few choice shops perfect for small gifts (cards, ceramics, vintage signs, soaps, hats, gourmet food, wine, etc.). The tourist office is central and well-stocked with leaflets and posters.

For lunch in August I tried and liked pop-up restaurant: La Guinguette. It can be seen from the cave/abbey side of the river but is accessed from a back street. And don’t forget ice-cream… there is quite a choice. SC

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Time to explore: La Rochefoucauld

Less than 30 minutes along the D10 is the pretty town of La Rochefoucauld. It is home to a fabulous chateau, some lovely restaurants and a selection of small shops (pharmacy, bakery, butchers, gift shops, antiques shop, etc.). As part of our research for guests, we took an official tour of the chateau and then wandered around the many family rooms, the original kitchens and the underground grotto at a more leisurely pace. Photos of the current family were casually placed on tables and made the place come alive; cleverly connecting the ancient past to the present time.

Grassy lawns surround the chateau and make an ideal spot for a picnic. Since this was our first time in La Rochefoucauld we chose to have lunch at an open air restaurant at the base of the chateau called Chez Steph. It specialises in Limousin beef; the steak did not disappoint. All in all, a lovely day out and one I would definitely recommend as part of a stay at Le Manoir Saint Gervais. SCH

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