In the south of the Charente department, Aubeterre sur Dronne was built in a natural amphitheatre created by the chalk cliffs which rise from the banks of the River Dronne. Its charming streets, with their winding passageways and hidden nooks and crannies, and its characteristic houses of white chalkstone with wooden balconies, have allowed it to take its natural place as one of the 151 most beautiful villages in France.
It was known long ago as “Alba Terra”, and its situation in a protected area of natural beauty ensures that its economic life is based on ecotourism. The underground Church of St.Jean, often referred to as the monolithic church, attracts thousands of visitors each year; whilst the chateau, the monasteries and convents, “Cordeliers, Minimes and Clarisses”, the medieval hospital of St.Francis, and the Church of St.Jacques, all bear witness to a rich history bound up with the church of Rome and the 17th century wars of religion.
Today the village centre, long the working quarter of the village, is still at the heart of Aubeterre life, full of shops and the workshops of skilled artisans; potters, woodworkers, a dressmaker, a leather worker, and painters, galleries and studios. The Place Trarieux, named after the village’s most famous son, Ludovic Trarieux, founder of the French League of Human Rights, is where locals and visitors alike meet for a chat and a coffee. The population of the village numbers 430 but during the long lazy summer months its ranks swell with holiday makers from around the globe, making it a truly international experience, in an authentic french setting.