Discovering Saint-Jean-de-Côle

Saint Jean de Côle
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Saint-Jean-de-Côle is a medieval village located near Brantôme, in the Green Perigord. It has the label of « Plus Beaux Village de France » (The Most Beautiful Village in France). Its name comes from the lovely river that crosses it : the Côle River. It is a bucolic village located in the countryside with an interesting heritage. It is pleasant to wander in that village where many streets are only open to pedestrians !

Discover Saint-Jean-de-Côle 

Get parked at the end of the village and then head towards the centre of the village. We are already under its charm. The small cobblestone streets are bursting with blooms. The houses are attached to each other, look at the half-timbered houses and their beautiful roofs. They are not large houses ; everything in the village is in proportion. On both sides, small alleys attract your curiosity. It is a really cosy village !

For guided visits, go to the Tourist Office which offers a 50 minute audio-guided tour to discover the village. Other tours are organised with a guide : the village tour is at 11am and the outdoor tour of the castle is at 4pm. Booking is compulsory and a minimum of 8 persons are required for the tour to take place. There is also a shop selling local products with all the flavours of the Perigord, perfect to come back with a small gourmet souvenir.

The lovely street alleys

A flowered village

Heritage, and wandering in the street alleys

Go to the Church square : it is a real delight for the eyes : the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church (Roman and Byzantine style) is in front of you and the religious music resonates in the distance, on your right the Marthonie Castle with its towers and its dungeon (dating from the 15th century, and altered during the 16th and 17th centuries) and terraces. The surroundings are stunning ! Come a bit closer to the church to see few architectural details : it is beautiful, decorated with stone anthropomorphic heads under its domes. The market hall is adjacent ; its wooden frame is still well preserved. Imagine this place full of stalls and the crowd squeezing between the produce...

Carry on towards the 15th century roman style bridge. The Côle River flows gently ; a watermill has been built just in front. Unfortunately, it does not work anymore ! This bridge is paved with stones and this cannot be more authentic... Few houses cover the landscape on the other side of the riverbank, the hydrangeas decorate one side of the bridge. Go down and put your feet into the water for a minute. This setting is really pleasant ! There are other restaurants in this part of the village ; the environment is nice but less remarkable than the covered market.

Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church

The castle

Architectural details

Look at the beautiful roofs

A village with pedestrian streets

Several streets and alleys are reserved for pedestrians. It is a true haven of peace, you can safely wander, stop leisurely to admire these beautiful flowered homes. There are several artisan shops and some specialised shops selling local products. There are a few painting exhibitions such as watercolours. There are beautiful houses in the Rue du Fond du Bourg, particularly half-timbered houses.

The atmosphere in Saint-Jean-de-Côle is at times bucolic, bohemian and romantic. It is a charming small village that will surprise you by its architecture and the beauty of its small alleys. It is a very quiet place, without too many people. If you are looking for tranquillity and a small corner of paradise, Saint-Jean-de-Côle is for you ! I especially recommend this village to couples but it also suits families, there are several leisure activities all around.

Note : the second weekend of May, go to Les Floralies (Flower Festival), a perfect occasion de wander around.

Fancy a coffee over there ?

An impressive castle

A lovely bridge, with a small beach down below

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