Things to do nearby
Manoir Beaulieu is situated in the beautiful, French open countryside with ample walking and cycling spots right on our doorstep. If you fancy exploring the area even more there are loads of hidden treasures nearby to suit all ages and likes. We’ve noted just a few below depending upon what you’re looking to do.
L’Envive Gourmand – Salles-Lavalette (5 minutes walk) French – the local restaurant
La Gourmandise – Montmoreu (10 minutes) Belgian – the moules are delicious
Le Bistroquet – Montmoreu (10 minutes) French – great evening menu
Chez Moran – Saint-Martial-Viveyrol (10 minutes) French – fantastic value, set lunch menu
La Cloche – Bor (10 minutes) Dutch – home brewed beers and tasty burgers
La Douane – Saint Severin (10 minutes) French – really good for steaks
Le Lavalette – Villebois-Lavalette (15 minutes) French – delicious menu of the day for lunch
We love nothing more than a morning wander around a market, and we’ve found (and sometimes stumbled) upon lots nearby:
Salles-Lavalette (5 minutes walk) – Friday
Montmoreau (10 minutes) – Saturday
Aubeterre-Sur-Dronne (15 minutes) – Sunday
Villebois-Lavalette (15 minutes) – Saturday
Riberac (20 minutes) – Friday
Angoulême (35 minutes) – daily (except Sundays)
Brantôme (40 minutes) – Saturday
Barbezieux-St-Hilaire (40 minutes) – Tuesday and Friday
Périgueux (1 hour) – Saturday
The French love to visit lakes, and they certainly aren’t short on facilities. We’ve visited both of these and they are complete with gorgeous sandy beaches, warm water, play areas, cafes, restaurants and water activities.
Poltrot (15 minutes – 15km): a firm nearby MB favourite. Tucked away in the village of Nabinaud, Poltrot is an old fishing mill. It has a gorgeous outside restaurant with twinkly lights that’s open lunchtime and for dinner – they do Moules Frites on a Friday which you need to book for (ask us – we can help!). It also has a little picnic spot, beach and river for swimming in along with a go-ape style treetop climb and a maize maze.
Le Grand Étang la Jemaye (35 minutes – 35km): this lake has a gorgeous sandy beach, warm water for swimming, children’s play-area, cafés and even canoeing.
Lac de Lavaud (1 hour 15 minutes – 77km): the largest lake in Poitou-Charente. Plage de La Guerlie and Plage de Videix on the east bank are two beaches for safe swimming, with a water sports centre, lakeside bars serving food all day and live music.
Cosmopolitan French cities
Whether you’re looking for a posh cocktail to sip, a busy atmosphere or a posh restaurant, then the below nearby cities could be right up your street:
The city of Angoulême is a 35 minute drive, the capital of the Charente and our nearest city. It boasts old and new quarters to wander through, set within cobbled streets. There are cool wine bars, weekend markets, quirky cafes and an art scene to explore. Not forgetting the breath-taking castle set within the centre of the city, a town hall, a prefecture, and a cathedral with grand houses everywhere.
Another city that we love to wander around is the capital of the Dordogne; Périgueux, a 1 hour drive from MB. The old quarter is full of quaint boutiques, delicious restaurants and there’s a busy Saturday market in the centre. There are Roman ruins and several museums to wander around, with the very impressive Cathédrale Saint-Front sitting proudly in the centre. The Cathédrale was rebuilt in 1852 by the architect Abadie, who then used the design as the basis for the Sacré Coeur basilica in Paris.
Bordeaux is a 1hour 40minute drive from MB, or a lovely train journey if you fancy a day trip adventure. You can park at Montmoreau train station (1hr 12mins on the train, Montmoreau train station is 10mins from MB) or in Angoulême (35mins on the train, Angoulême train station is 40mins from MB). It has heaps of history and a very cool hipster art scene too. Delicious food places and a pleasure to wander around. It also happens to be the hub of the famed wine growing region – so you can be sure to see vineyards everywhere on your approach.
Our final city recommendation is Brive la Gaillarde, a little further afield (1 hour 45 minute drive) but an absolute hidden gem. Bustling food markets run every Saturday, and there are ample restaurants, bars and cafes to send the day meandering between.
Quaint French towns
Meandering around cobbled streets and exploring forgotten towns is our favourite weekend past time. Here are some of our top quaint French towns definitely worth a trip during your stay:
Aubeterre-sur-dronne (17 minutes – 15km) is one of the ‘must-see’ villages of France and is always busy and bustling. It has a church built into the side of the rock, pottery shops, gift shops, restaurants and bars along with a farmers’ market on Sundays.
Riberac (25 minutes – 23km) a charming market town with café bars, restaurants, shops and a lovely market on Friday mornings including a Brocante market on the first Friday of every month.
Chalais (25 minutes – 26km) featuring the nearest visitable château which dominates the town, its a pretty little village to wander around. There is a market on Mondays, closing at mid-day.
Brantôme (40min – 42km) a pretty French town with excellent restaurants and walks along the river. There is a stunning church built into the side of the rock with you can marvel at, and canoeing is also available.
Saint-Émilion (1 hour 10 minutes – 75km) a picturesque wine village, with a handful of Michelin star restaurants if you’re looking to treat yourselves. It gives its name to one of the most famous of the French wine areas. Naturally the main focus is on the wine trade and tours of the Châteaux and wine tasting can be arranged at the local tourist office.
Cognac (1 hour – 71km) situated on the river Charente, and owing its name to a prominent Roman, Cognac is a historic town which evolved and gave its name to one of the world’s most famous eau-de-vie. Tours of the Remy Martin and Hennessy distilleries can be arranged before you visit. Boat trips can also be taken upstream to Angoulême.
Explore a Château
Château de Beynac is a 12th century fortress perched 150 metres high up on a cliff. It’s about 2 hours from MB, so good for a full day out. Daily tours are run in French, however, there are self guide booklets available in English. Everyone will find its nine centuries of history fascinating and certainly enjoy the panoramic views across the Dordogne river and countryside.
Château de Castelnaud is just across the river, and built to rival Château de Beynac, one of the most visited châteaus in south-west France, it is a huge castle offering visitors a fantastic insight into castle life during medieval times. Children will love the ‘Museum of Medieval War’ which houses 250 weapons and armour. Throughout the year, a programme of additional events run at the castle so it is worth reviewing before choosing a day to visit.
Château de Bridoire is extremely family friendly. Located in Ribagnac, just a 20 minute drive from Bergerac, and filled with family fun. You can ramble through ‘the Enchanted Forest’ finding clues, a labyrinth and cave along the way.
Bordeaux isn’t just famous for it’s wine, it has some of the most beautiful beaches in France. These are our top two:
One of our favourite and quite undiscovered beach spots is Arcachon (2 hours 20 minutes – 181km) and totally worth the drive. It’s is the main village of Bassin d’Archachon, one of the most enchanting places you’ll find in Bordeaux. The ocean here enters through a series of canals that form the peninsula, from Cap Ferret to Dune de Pilat. It’s both busy and secluded and a perfect day out.
Lacanau-Océan (2 hours 15 minutes – 167km): where the golden sand dunes are protected by the spectacular pine forests. Lacanau is the perfect surfing spot with plenty of nearby amenities for lunch and exploring.