La Bréchoire routes: on a Google map

You can fly by Ryanair to Poitiers or Ryanair or EasyJet to La Rochelle from the UK and hire a car at the airport. In either case, La Bréchoire is 80-90 mins away.

If driving from England, the most enjoyable route from the South of England begins with the Portsmouth to Saint-Malo ferry (Brittany Ferries). Total distance from Saint-Malo is just over 400 km (250 miles). Motorway fees are comparatively low.

Route 1. By autoroute (motorway) as far as possible:

>> Itinerary: Saint-Malo to La Bréchoire (opens in new window)

Route 2. Alternative, more direct route through the 'Venise Verte'

From the Brittany coast, take the toll-free dual-carriageway to Rennes > Nantes, picking up the A83 towards Niort. The autoroute joins up with the A10, south to Bordeaux; but it is nearly as quick (and cheaper) to take the N148 junction at Oulmes in the direction of Niort. After 4 km, and before Niort, turn South to Benet on the D1. This becomes the D115 and passes through Coulon, capital of the marais mouillé or 'Venise Verte', Epannes (where you can easily take a wrong turn), Usseau and La Benâte (by now, you are on the D120). Although this appears to be a minor road, it is straight and fast, and usually empty of traffic. Be careful at the occasional crossroads.

At Saint-Jean-d'Angély (a good lunch stop if you've come on the overnight ferry) head towards Matha on the D939.

Pick up the D739 towards the small market town of Aigre. About 15 km. after Matha, at Verdille, take a right turn onto the D66 in the direction of Crotet, Patreville and Bonneville, then almost immediately go right onto the D75 (the North-South road on the left-hand side of the map on this page) towards Anville and Sonneville.

(Alternative route: you can continue on the D939 past Matha to Sonneville and approach from the south, via Anville.)

After about 5 km. you'll pass Auge on your left and a few minutes later you enter La Bréchoire, which is strung out in a horseshoe to the right of the D75. You pass the entrance sign to the hamlet, and about 200 m. later you'll see what looks like a petting farm on the right but is in fact a private garden belonging to our next-door neighbours! Note the donkey and pigs. Theirs is the white house at the other side of the green on your right, with a bigger stone house side-on next to it.

At the far end of this garden turn right (Rue de l'Union). After about 10 m. you will see a rough track to the left of the white house. Go down this and we are directly in front of you (grey iron gates). It's only at thsi point that you wqill see the house

If you came by the overnight Saint-Malo ferry, you should get there in about four and a half hours, including a short stop for a coffee/petrol.

Our neighbours (on the immediate right as you approach) have four young children, who may be playing outside.

The exit sign for the village is about 100 m. past the 'green', so if you pass it you have overshot. The next village, equally sleepy, is Anville. If you are approaching from the South (e.g. from Jarnac or Rouillac), look for the 'green' on our left about 100 m. past the road sign.

Congratulations! You have arrived at La Bréchoire, in the valley of the mighty River Crachon. It would appear that there is absolutely nothing to do. As a neighbour put it: 'if you are looking for peace and quiet, you have come to the right place, because nobody ever comes here'. There are four hotspots on the map above, which may help you to get your bearings.

Read general information, in French, about Auge and Saint-Médard here [external link]

Copyright © 2001-2012 Colin Wight