La Bréchoire from the main road (D75) looking north
La Bréchoire: from the main road (D75) looking north

La Bréchoire is a hamlet near Auge in Charente. It lies in the Fins Bois, the largest cognac-producing area. Farmers grow cereals, sunflowers, peas, rape and maize - as well as grapes. Even tobacco has been seen growing 2 km away, at Anville.

What's the name of the place: is it La Bréchoire or Labréchoire? Click on the picture above to see what I mean.

Though it's not easy to find, there is some industry here and there. The plywood factory (Joubert) at the neighbouring hamlet of Les Eliots employs over 100 people. There are three other holiday homes belonging to British people. A glance through the phone directory for Charente suggests that 10% or more of the population may be Brits.

General information, in French, about Auge and Saint-Médard here.

There are no bars, restaurants or shops at la Bréchoire, Auge or Saint-Médard, although various vans call at the villages. If you can work out where they are stopping and have your running shoes handy, you may be lucky. This is my best guess:

Monday Rien/nada/nowt    
Tuesday Baker Rouillac    
Wednesday Baker Verdille Fishmonger 10.00
Thursday Baker Rouillac    
Friday Baker Rouillac Butcher 8.30
Saturday Bakers Gourville, Verdille, Rouillac    
Sunday Baker Rouillac    

Otherwise for food you'll have to cycle or drive the 4km. to Verdille on the D75/66. You can get most of your supplies there - except wood for the fire or charcoal for the barbecue.

Verdille boasts a Post Office (Mon - Fri, afternoons) a hairdresser (Marot), and a cognac-producer (Landreau) - in addition to the baker and a butcher listed below. As well as the obvious shops, there are good-qualityy food producers scattered around the countryside, notably at Le Mortier near Anville. There are a huge number of cognac-pineau producers within a few kilometres, as the roadside signs testify - with four in Sonneville alone. I can recommend Laval-Aubinaud at Mons (in the Aigre direction).

Aigre is a good place to visit for shops (shut Monday) and the PMU bar. Otherwise, the Intermarché at Jarnac, and SuperU at Rouillac can supply your everyday needs, including petrol.

You could ask locally about firewood (bois de chauffage), which is sold by the stere (which is, if you didn't know, a cubic metre). That's actually quite a lot, and would do you for two weeks in winter. Alternatively there are a few guest houses within 15-20 minutes' drive.The attached list is compiled from official sources. I can't speak for the quality of any of them.

Butcher's Boucherie-Charcuterie Gérard Georget at Verdille is excellent and, like the baker, opens on Sunday morning. You may see their van call at the villages. You'll also find them at the Aigre market on Thursday mornings. Closed: Mon and Sun pm.
T: 05 45 21 00 30

Two doors along (the Tabac is in between) Nicolas Bichon runs a Boulangerie-Patisserie called B-SWEET. The French 'dessert champion' of 2008! You can buy pizzas, sandwiches, wine, cheese, coffee and cold drinks, including beer, too. Small seating area. Closed: Mon and Sun pm.
T: 05 45 21 09 36

Tabac The Tabac is now really a general grocer. Buy dry goods, fruit and vegetables etc. But you might prefer the farm at Le Mortier (shut lunchtime: timetable varies with the seasons).
Wine shop at Siecq The Cave du Liboreau at Siecq is an excellent place to bring your cubitaire for 'everyday' Bordeaux wine. Don't ignore the good Charentais wine, cognac (Prince de Didonne) and pineau (Calisinac). The distillery is behind the shop.
T: 05 46 26 61 86

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