A Land of Art and Craftsmanship
Aubeterre-sur-Dronne, a Petite Cité de Caractère® and one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France, is a southern-style amphitheatre village on the banks of a river. Its cobblestoned alleys and red-roofed white houses add to its charm.
The village is famous for the impressive underground Église de Saint-Jean, as well as its artisans and small boutiques.
Learn more about these artists, who work with clay, leather, fabric and glass.
As you wander around the narrow streets of Aubeterre-sur-Dronne, you’ll see, hidden away, a steep alley which is home to a few Charentais clay master craftsmen, such as potters, ceramic artists and talented sculptors.
Xavier Maffre, a ceramic artist and potter; explored his art with a potter-archaeologist. His work, including the shapes, colours and ancient materials he uses, is largely a result of this. Visit him in his unique atelier and shop, Poterie de la Passiflore on Rue Saint-Jean.
In Manon Clouzeau’s boutique, Kaïros – La Galerie des Bols, bowls in thousands of delicate colours, made from ferruginous clay and enamelled minerals, are on show. Open the door to her natural-toned world, which is opposite the Église Saint-Jacques, whose facade is the only thing that remains of the church that was built in 1171 to welcome the many pilgrims that were travelling on the Way of St. James.
Leather and Fabric Artists
Maryse Bonifet, a fashion designer and textile artisan, creates two collections per year and bespoke women’s clothing in her boutique, Signature. At Signature, you’ll also find decorations, pieces of art as well as interior decoration advice, particularly if you want to improve energy flow in your house.
To get there, go to Place Ludovic Trarieux, the beating heart of the village where restaurateurs and café owners will welcome you in, whether it’s for a bite to eat or a drink, in the shade of the trees. Visit this small and charming neighbourhood which has forever been the land of artisans and shopkeepers.
Just a stone’s throw away, on rue du Minage, visit Yvane Larcher’s popular boutique for wedding outfits. British couples that come to get married at the underground Église Saint-Jean are major fans of it. It’s very English chic, with hats and fascinators for sale.
It’s also the perfect opportunity to visit this exceptional religious building, which was carved into cliff rock in the 8th century and made significantly bigger in the 12th century. It’s the highest in France for this type of rare underground church.
On the Rue Saint-Jean, fans of leather will love the atelier-boutique Artisans d’Art Créateurs where Annie Laroche offers a selection of her own creations, such as bags, jewellery, belts, sculptures, decorations, as well as the work of other local artisans that use ceramic, wood and earthenware in their work. She also has puppets on sale.
Other must visit: Antiquités du Tourniquet, local and farm products at Miss Terre and Jean de Galzain’s boutique for ancient wines.
Wander around the wonderful Mediterranean-style village, a gem in Charente, which is nestled in lush green hills, in the foothills of the Dronne River, and haunt to many artists and artisans, who will be thrilled to show you their art!