Even though it is included in many “most beautiful villages in France-lists”, Aubeterre-sur-Dronne is a relatively quiet place to visit. Located in the very interesting Nouvelle-Aquitaine region it is an easy add to your France itinerary. The highlight of your visit will be the “monolithic” church of Saint Jean, but the village itself is very well worth a visit!
Aubeterre has under 400 inhabitants, just to give you an idea of how small the village is. We visited Aubeterre as part of our Euro camping roadtrip. Aubettere is located in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, which is very close to the famous Dordogne. In Aubeterre you will get all the Dordogne feels, but without the enormous crowds that like to visit medieval villages. It is named after the Dronne river, which casually flows east of the city. We stayed at the campsite Paradis Aubeterre sur Dronne, which was located about 10 minutes of walking from the village. The campsite was not too special, though clean, comfortable and cheap. During the high season the campsite offers opportunities for swimming and hiring a kayak.
Church of Saint Jean
One of the most important reasons to visit Aubeterre-sur-Dronne is the underground church of Saint Jean. The church is carved out of a rock and is unfairly called a monolithic structure. The church was founded around the 8th century and was expanded a few centuries later. I can’t believe the amount of work it must have cost to construct the church with the tools that were available in that time. I was really impressed by the aesthetics and Hielke was super impressed by the construction, so if you are into architecture this is definitely an interesting sight! You are even allowed to venture upstairs and look at the main space from a little hallway, so I had to take some twirling spots in this special location. I recommend listening to the audio guide that is included with your entrance ticket (€ 6 per person) as it was very informative.
The village itself is definitely worth wandering around, as it is situated on a hill you must be prepared to walk some stairs. Place Trarieux is the beautiful heart of the town and you will find lovely terraces here to enjoy the slow French way of life. I was very surprised at the low number of visitors in the beginning of September, the weather was still really lovely and it seems to be an ideal time to visit. Just beware that not all restaurants will be open outside of the weekend and that they open relatively late (if traveling with a kid). I hope my pictures can convince you how beautiful and quaint Aubeterre is!