My 4 friends from Bristol (Kerrie, Jamie, Yvonne, Dieter) and myself explored the Dordogne/Charente area today by bicycle! We picked up our bikes, 3 mountain and 2 hybrids, from Cycles Oxygen in Riberac at 11.30am. We did reserve the day before and had agreed to pick them up at 9am, however a lazy morning resulted in a late pick up and a reduced hire charge 8 Euros instead of 10 – bargain!
Armed with a cycle/walking route map, we picked up from the local tourist office in Riberac, we chose a scenic route to Aubeterre. Our off-roading ambitions only slightly dampened by the rain the night before, the route took in a number of local villages, linked via small roads or designated pathways. Shortly after the village of Faye, with its romanesque church we decided to zig zag over the river Dronne into Epeluche, stopping off for refreshment at a local cafe right by the river (picnic areas a plenty). Had we stayed in the cafe another 10 minutes we would have missed the only rain shower of the day – however this quickly passed and we soon dried out in the Charente sunshine.
We cycled back over the river to Comberanche, on to Bourg du Bost, and up to Petit Bersac, the scenic route…..sauntering into Aubeterre at 1.30pm we made a quick stop at the Monolith soutterrain (an underground church well worth seeing) before heading for the Plat de Jour at the Hostellerie du Perigord – recommended by Shannon for lunch. Thankfully our cyclewear didn`t put them off and we sat down for a gastrononic delight – amuse bouche, chevre chaud avec champignone et salade, roti canard avec mousse de pomme de terre, et dessert de la maison – the presentation of the meal alone left my friends pretty speachless and we thoroughly enjoyed the local wine after our ride.
It was a struggle to get back on the bike after such a delicous lunch, but we soldiered on over the bridge to St Antoine Cumond and enjoyed the ride back taking a slightly more direct route home in time for a pressing engagement at 4.30pm. We still had time to take in the village churches, halls and general rustic scenery though and took great delight in free wheeling back into Riberac!
Photo Aubeterre sur dronne par VENDEE sur Vacanceo.com