Ruffec’s local highlights
Ruffec is an ideal starting point for holidays in the country, as it counts among its features charming villages, old chateaux and Romanesque churches scattered on both sides of Charente. The winding river is just made for canoeing, and you can start from Condac, Mansles or Montignac. Stop for a picnic and to take a dip in the river at Réjallant or Vindelle. Search out beautiful gardens and little gems of villages along one of Charente’s sections of the Camino de Santiago.
In Nanteuil-en-Vallée, a Petite Cité de Caractère® (Small Town of Character), you can enjoy a charming walk in the Argentor gardens complete with an arboretum, a water garden and an old Benedictine abbey, of which there remains but a square tower known as the "Roman Treasury". A few miles away in Verteuil-sur-Charente, the imposing outline of the colossal 11th century château where François de la Rochefoucauld wrote his Maxims is suitably impressive. At La Régie, you can book a guided tour of the park and some of the château's main rooms, including the grand kitchens. You can also explore Verteuil by wandering its watercourses and narrow streets packed with history, from the windmill nestled at the foot of the château (where you can enjoy a delicious flaky brioche) to the church of Saint-Médard with its amazing polychrome terracotta tomb of Christ. Cross the Charente to Tusson, a village now home to many craftspeople. Don’t miss the Maison du Patrimoine where Marguerite d’Angoulême stayed and its adjoining medieval monastic garden.
Another must-see stop on the pilgrim’s route is Saint-Amant-de-Boixe, a focal point for Romanesque art with an abbey that’s over 1,000 years old and a centre for Romanesque architecture, where visitors can get to grips with monastic life with the Benedictines. Man has long worked this land, as can be seen from the various cairns and dolmens in the countryside. The Neolithic trail makes for an excellent family bike ride!