Table of Contents
- 1 Introducing Brântome, France
- 2 Brântome things to Do
- 3 Best time to visit Brântome
- 5 Parking
- 6 Getting to Brântome
- 7 Places to visit near Brântome
- 8 Events
- 9 Brântome Restaurants
- 10 Brântome Tourist Information
- 11 Brântome Accommodation
- 12 Brântome Photo Gallery
Introducing Brântome, France
One of the most stunning locations we have been to is the little town of Brântome in the Dordogne, France. It is unbelievably picturesque.
Just 30 minutes west of Sorges surrounded by water and connected by six bridges it is often referred to as the “Venice of Perigord”.
If you drive to Brântome by car you could very easily drive through it without even noticing as the inner circle of the village is so small. You really have to park up before the bridge and take a walk to discover the town on foot.
Although only a small town it is in an idyllic setting with an imposing Abbey on the edge of the River Dronne at the bend in the river. With lovely parks, gardens and traditional Périgord houses.
Brântome things to Do
We approached the town crossing over one of the six bridges, and from there I couldn’t put my camera down as there were so many photo opportunities.
The Old Town
The old town is a criss-cross of winding narrow streets and alleys full of lovely riverside restaurants, shops and art galleries.
There was a nice mix of medieval and renaissance architecture to admire along the way.
Our picnic lunch alongside the river was perfect. It was so relaxing. The river was calm and gentle here covered with water lilies and sheltered by weeping willows. It was so peaceful just taking in the beauty of the place and watching the canoes and small boats glide across the river.
Next, we walked over the beautiful arched stone bridge (dates back to the 15th century), towards the monastery. Looking back to admire the town and listening to the gentle murmur of the river that has a rapid current below. The mill is now a pretty hotel and restaurant. Again another very photogenic scene.
Set into the hillside to the north of the river opposite the town stands the main historical highlight of Abbey Saint-Pierre de Brântome.
It is an old Benedictine Abbey founded by Charlemagne at the end of the 8th century and shelters eighth-century cave dwellings, hollowed out by monks, in the cliffs behind. These are where the remains and foundations of the first monastery can be seen.
This area consists of a church, a cloister gallery, an 11th-century Romanesque bell tower and monastic building which houses the Museum Fernand Desmoulin and exhibition rooms.
The 11th – 14th-century additions to the building were connected to the Town Hall in the 18th century.
You can explore a certain amount from the outside, but if you want to see more of the buildings and caves, you need to buy an admission ticket. You have the option to purchase a ticket for one part or a combination ticket to also explore the monastery and caves.
At the entrance, you receive a laminated sheet in English, which shows the site and a suggested route. Inside there are then 34 information boards along the way in English and French which tells you about the history and use of the site. It takes a good hour to get around, including the small museum at the end.
A visit to the caves includes the monastery garden which is well worth a visit, the ‘Jardin Des Moines’. In this garden, you can see the resting altars and small Renaissance-style buildings.
The Troglodyte Caves
The caves are worth a visit. They are behind the Abbey and used to form a worship space for monks in the early middle ages.
There are some very early carvings in the rock and remains of stone buildings.
If you get the chance, try to visit the caves at night as they are very atmospheric.
The Musee Fernand-Desmoulin is situated in the convent of the Abbey.
It has works by Fernand Desmoulin a painter and illustrator of novels in the early 20th century.
His paintings include some of when he was a key spiritual artist at the height of the movement.
A boat trip is a great way to view Brântome’s stunning scenery – the famous Abbey, Clock tower, angled bridge and wildlife area. It’s also a great way of learning a little history of Brântome.
This slow-paced (50-minute) cruise along a short stretch of the Dronne river in a modern electric boat is so peaceful and relaxing.
The boat takes you up the canal that passes in front of the Abbey. Then it joins the Drone to pass under some very low bridges. On the return journey, the engine is switched off, and the boat is punted back using the river current to propel it.
As the majority of visitors were French-speaking the commentary was in French, but if there are more English on board, they also speak English and receive a printed sheet providing further details.
There are two riverboat tours available – one next to the La Cabourne restaurant in the old town and one next to the Pont Coudé near the famous Moulin restaurant.
If you feel more energetic, you can hire a canoe. The canoe hire shop is next to the free car park.
Open early until midday.
Brântome market day is on Friday when the town is particularly animated and colourful. In the summer months, producers and fairground entertain the town. Brantome is one of the larger local markets, although the number of stalls does drop considerably outside the holiday season.
The market stretches across both sides of the river selling regional specialities and lots of fresh produce, bread, fruit, veg, meats etc. and a variety of other stalls, clothing artisan crafts and gifts. The market takes over the town and is well worth a visit.
There is nothing better than buying your fresh market foods, smoked meats, cheeses and bread and eating them on a bench down by the river.
Public toilets and free parking are available and well signposted.
In the Winter Brântome sells the local delicacy, the black Périgord truffle at the weekly market.
Best time to visit Brântome
While this picturesque town attracts lots of tourists in the holiday season, it still attracts lots of locals helping to retain its Frenchness.
For a more comfortable and quieter look around Brântome it is best to visit in the bridging seasons – maybe May, June or September.
We visited at the end of June, which was perfect.
There is a free car park on Avenue Andre Maurois, a short walk along the river from the centre of town. It is advisable to use this car park as the tiny streets in the old town are not suitable for parking!
Getting to Brântome
Brântome is in the south-west of France. The nearest airports are either Bergerac, Bordeaux or Limoges.
If you hire a car and drive from the airport the driving distances are:
Bergerac Airport (EGC) to Brântome – 1 hr 12min (73.7 km) via N21
Limoges Airport (LIG) to Brântome– 1 hr 20 min (84.9 km) via N21
Bordeaux Airport (BOD) to Brântome- 1 hr 55 min (156.3 km) via A89
The Drive from Calais to Brântomeis 8 hr 1 min (764.0 km) via A20
Places to visit near Brântome
Bourdeilles and the Bourdeilles Chateau – 7 km to the south, on the river Dronne.
Two attractive villages – La Chapelle-Faucher and St-Jean-de-Cole – On the River Cole to the north-east of Brântome.
Thiviers – Near to the villages is an interesting ‘Roman-style’ church.
Chateau de Jumilhac – 10 km north through the forests of northern Dordogne is the fairytale Chateau de Jumilhac.
Chateau de Bourdeilles – 7 km
Chateau de Puyguilhem – 10 km
British weekend in Brântome
A “British” weekend is held in June featuring “a fun cultural exchange of all things British” including such things as cricket, welly-throwing, croquet and darts. Restaurants also have British classics on their menus.
Le Moulin de l’Abbaye
The picture-perfect Moulin de l’Abbaye Hotel and restaurant sits next to the Pont Coudè bridge. They have a Michelin starred chef and are definitely worth a visit.
Brântome Tourist Information
2, rue Puyjoli de Meyjounissas
24310 Brantôme en Périgord
Cycle maps can be obtained from the Tourist information priced 50 cents giving routes around the Brântome area.
Camping Brantome Peyrelevade
46 Avenue Andre Maurois
GPS: N °45 21’29”. E0° 39’39”
This Site is listed in the ACSI Discount Camping Book available here. This book is definitely worth getting for its discount card that you can use for out of season camping.
Read my review of this campsite which we visited in June 2019.
57 rue Gambetta, 24310,
Brantome en Perigord,
The Chabrol Hotel is located on the banks of the River Dronne.
The rooms are modern and all individually decorated. Some having a balcony overlooking the river. Each room is equipped with a TV and a work desk. All have a private bathroom. Free wifi is available throughout the hotel. Super friendly staff. Food in the restaurant is Seasonal and local food is served in the restaurant which is very good.