Special Products of the Charente

Let the slideshow begin

Not many people know that there are so many regional produces from the Charente. I am curious to hear which ones you know. When you stay with us and if you want, we will make a special itinerary for you so-called ‘Prêt–à–Porter ; our family name after all is ‘Porter’!

Er zijn niet veel mensen die weten dat er zoveel lokale produkten uit de Charente komen. Ik ben benieuwd welke jij ervan kent. Als je bij ons boekt en wilt, stippelen we een leuke route voor je uit ‘Prêt–à–Porter’ zeg maar; onze achternaam is niet voor niets ‘Porter’.

Il n’y a pas beaucoup de gens qui savent qu’il ya tant de produits locaux proviennent de la Charente. Je suis curieux de ce que vous savez. Si vous réservez chez nous et si vous voulez, nous tirons une belle itinéraire pour vous c’est à dire ‘Prêt-à-Porter‘ ; Notre nom de famille n’est pas pour rienPorter‘.

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Talmont sur Gironde

In my previous blog I wrote about Meschers and visiting Talmont on the same day is a perfect combination.
In this little village (car free and costs you 2 Euro’s unlimited time) the highlight is the historical church. The village itself belongs to ‘one of the most beautiful villages in France’ with its narrow streets and charming boutiques.

In mijn vorige blog schreef ik over Meschers en een combinatie bezoek met Talmont is een uitstekend idee.
In dit kleine dorpje (auto-vrij, betaald parkeren kost slechts 2 Euro) is het hoogtepunt de historische kerk. Het dorp zelf behoort tot Frankrijk’s ‘1 van de mooiste dorpen’ met smalle straten en gezellige boutiques.

Dans mon blog précédent, j’ai écrit sur Meschers et visiter Talmont le même jour est une combinaison parfaite.
Dans ce petit village (voiture non permit, le parking coûte 2 Euro’s) le point dominant est l’église historique. Le village lui-même appartient à ‘l’un des plus beaux villages de la France’ avec ses rues étroites et ses boutiques charmantes.

Tip 1: Click on the pictures to enlarge and see description.
Tip 2: Distance between Meschers and Talmont is 6 km
Tip 3: It’s only 80 km away from Au Bellefleur and perfect for a day out in combination with Meschers sur Gironde.

Meschers Sur Gironde

‘Meschers sur Gironde’ is known for their caves of Matata where in the old days poor families actually lived. There’s a little museum that takes you back in time and a lovely terrace with a fantastic view over the Gironde.
On the photo are my husband Darren and our daughter Fleur.

‘Meschers sur Gironde’ is bekend om zijn grotten van Matata, waar zelfs heel vroeger arme families woonden. Er is een groot gedeelte ingericht zoals vroeger om je terug in de tijd te wanen. Een gezellig terras met een fantastisch uitzicht over de Gironde.
Op de foto zie je mijn echtgenoot Darren en onze dochter Fleur.

Meschers sur Gironde est connu pour ses grottes de Matata, où même vécu très anciennement familles pauvres. Il y a un grand espace décoré comme avant de vous endormir dans le temps. Une terrasse confortable avec vue imprenable sur la Gironde.
Sur la photo vous voyez mon mari Darren et notre fille Fleur.

Tip 1: There is another cave as well but that one doesn’t have a terrace.
Tip 2:
You can also book a boat trip to see the caves from the seaside.
Tip 3: Click on the pictures to enlarge and see description.
Tip 4: It’s only 80 km away from Au Bellefleur and perfect for a day out in combination with Talmont sur Gironde.


I have been asked to write something about energy.

No I’m not going to annoy you with tips how to save money on electricity, water, gas, etc.

Or maybe worse how to prepare vegetable drinks in the blender ;-).

After saying ‘au revoir’ to the Obama’s and Blue Monday, it’s time for some positive energy.

I will start with my top 5 that gives me energy in January.

1. This month the sun is shining almost every day and we even sat outside in the garden.
Our house is south-facing  and sheltered from wind coming from the east.
So get rid of your vitamin pills, the sun is heating up quickly.

2. Making new plans and do something that you haven’t done before.

3. Realizing that it’s only 2 months before the clock turns forward.

4. Watching and filming your daughter’s horse riding, even in the cold.

5. Going out for lunch with friends.liquid-lunch

By the way … did you know that day light is longer in the Charente than in the UK (couldn’t resist that one).
So now it’s up to you. Share your top 5 if you feel like it.


In the kitchen

Yesterday I have spent some time in the kitchen to prepare a Mediterranean Stew. I even share a glance in the kitchen with you, although the kitchen will get a new country look make-over.

I have looked on-line first and then modified the recipe and we liked it a lot. So I’m going to share it with you.

Click on the link and you will be directed to Au Bellefleur’s French Kitchen Blog. Enjoy your culinary trip.
Au Bellefleur’s French Kitchen

Pineau des Charentes…

….A nice mistake.
Pineau des Charentes
, (Pineau Charentais, or simply Pineau) is a regional French aperitif made in the Charente.

It is a fortified wine,  made from either fresh, unfermented grape juice or a blend of lightly fermented grape must, to which a Cognac eau-de-vie is added and then matured.

According to legend, during the harvest of 1589, a winemaker accidentally added grape must into a barrel that he believed was empty but in fact contained eau de vie. The mixture was duly returned to the cellars for fermentation. A few years later, the barrel was retrieved and was found to contain the drink that is now associated with the region of Charente. In 1921, a winemaker, Emile Daud, commercialised the drink.

When you come and stay with us, we let you taste the white and red Pineau and can take you to the best Pineau producers near Sigogne.



Feeling like going away, but don’t want to spend a fortune? We know what you mean and would like to help to make your life easier.
We offer throughout the whole year a 4 nights stay for a 3 nights pay!
Spaces are limited and it’s first-come, first-served.
The discount applies to all rooms and your stay should be for 4 consecutive nights.
Contact us through http://www.aubellefleur.com with contact form or send an email directly to info@aubellefleur.com
We look forward to greeting you in the lovely Charente.



…More than just a brandy…

Using the country lanes driving through a few villages you will reach the town Cognac situated along the river Charente where you can enjoy water activities.
Francis I (king of France between 1515 and 1547) was born in the town’s castle in 1494. The town’s main square is named after him and a statue of the king on horseback towering over his enemies stands at the centre.
The British singer Alison Moyet‘s father is from Cognac.
In the newer part of the town you will find a variety of shops and the market (only open in the morning).
The town’s medieval quarter “Vieux Cognac” runs from the Tours Saint-Jacques, alongside the river, up to the Saint-Léger church. The area contains many unusual buildings, built between the 15th and 18th centuries, situated on narrow cobbled streets. Here you can find a very nice restaurant…remind me when you are staying with us that I book your table for lunch there.
Also the Art and History Museum and of course the Cognac Museum are worth a visit. Talking about brandy, the famous Cognac houses can be visited here along the Charente. I name Otard, Hennessy,  Martell, Camus, Remy Martin.

Next time I tell you more about another famous and local drink..


International Cartoon Festival

Angoulême,  the capital of the Charente can be reached from Au Bellefleur within 30 minutes, for more culture and shops.

For the 44th time the International Cartoon Festival or in good French ‘la Bande Dessinée d’Angoulême‘ will take place from 26-29 January. Hurry up, we have some guest rooms available. Of course all our spacious rooms have their own en-suite bathrooms and complimentary tea and coffee facilities. The room you see on the picture is called Porte-Bonheur (bringer of good-luck) with it’s en-suite bathroom with bath and shower and a separate toilet. This could be yours.


A room with a view….

….and more.

Lot’s of people ask us why we have chosen to live in Sigogne.
We have been looking for 2 years (living then in London) for the right house in the right spot. And when you want to do something good, it takes time. The question is also whether to buy an existing B&B or to start from scratch. Both have plusses and minuses. The risk of buying an existing one is that you inherit the type of clientele and believe me we have seen a few. On the other hand you have to start from zero. It really depends what you have in mind and what is available.

Sigogne, with almost 1.000 village people is set between vineyards and sunflower fields. It has a little supermarket, a pharmacy, bread delivery, post-office, tobacco, hairdressers, a beauty salon, doctors,  a primary school, etc. everything for your daily life if you don’t want to get the car to drive within 10 minutes to the bigger shops in Jarnac.
It’s an active village as well with a party committee who organizes the ‘fête des battages’ (demonstration of harvesting in the old days and in the modern world), with the night before dinner and disco, the annual huge brocante and frairie with fantastic fireworks. Both of these annual events are popular with the Sigognaises and ‘outsiders’.
Of course there are bingo, country line-dancing and choucroute afternoons and evenings organized throughout autumn and winter.

The people in this part of the Charente are very friendly and open to foreigners, but you have to speak French, almost nobody speaks English.

Another time I will tell you a bit more about the towns.