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Big Sur - Hiking Andrew Molera State Park

One of the great delights of living in the Bay Area is the proximity to the natural beauty of California and it's hard to beat the stunning drive down Highway One to Big Sur. This is certainly one of the iconic American road trips, but for me the joy of being in the area is getting out of your car and hitting a trail, so you can be "in" the landscape rather than just looking at it from the asphalt. 


Far too many places are called, "the Venice of ...."and each time they suffer in comparison with Venice's transcendent beauty. Brantome may be known as the Venice of the Dordogne but don't hold this against it.  It's a quaint attractive small town surrounded by water with a quiet, relaxed holiday vibe. We chose it because it was well located, north of Perigeux and south of Angouleme where we were dropping off the car and picking up the train back to Paris.

There's one high end option in town the Moulin du Abbaye though recent reviews were rather lukewarm and so we opted for the value option, the Hotel Chabrol where we had a simple room with a balcony overlooking the river. You can see the hotel and restaurant  below.
Though we stayed  at the Chabrol we went for tea at the Moulin de l'Abbaye and sat out for hours admiring the river as it rushed past, it was glorious. I highly recommend coming and enjoying the hotel which has the perfect situation on the river as you can see below.
Here's the hotel from the bridge....
The surrounding  gardens aren't particularly large but they are lovely.
As you can see water surrounds the property. It really is gorgeous.
I've been complaining about traveling over a holiday period because of the crowds but one advantage was that we stumbled upon an enormous antique sale and vintage car show while we were in Brantome which was fab. 

 I bought some nice linens and I should have bought the vintage snakeskin clutch I saw for 20 euros! The cars were in great shape and were fun to see. The Citroen DS below is a French classic and who could resist this Fiat?

I'd recommend Brantome for a quick stop or an overnight if you find yourself in the area.