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Life in Rural France

Living the French Dream….The Good, The Bad, and The Hilarious

The terrace of La Ribaudiere restaurant, Charente France

The 5 Best Restaurants in Charente, France

When you think of France, you think of…food. France and good food go together, like Coq au Vin and red wine –  it’s what they are known for! 

So if you’re visiting or planning to relocate to France, you’re going to want to get fully involved in the food culture – what a hardship, right?!

Why is food such an integral part of French culture?

A pan with mussels and a plate of fries on a board french food and restaurants

Every country has its own unique cuisine and love of food, but the French don’t just see food as something to enjoy – they see it as an art form. 

In France, meals are seen as a time to enjoy good company with friends and family. Meals can be slow, with many courses and lots of conversation between each course.

Socialising is just as important as eating when it comes to having meals in France. 

This is also why the French typically have a much longer lunch break. There’s no sitting at your desk eating a sorry-looking sandwich – sacre bleu!

Instead, it’s quite normal to take two hours out of your day to visit a restaurant with your co-workers or friends and family! 

And don’t get me started on how long meals can last on over the Christmas period. Christmas Eve, known as Le Réveillon, takes it to a whole other level.

Last year I was at my French neighbour’s house and it lasted 8 hours. 

Quite recently I attended a meal at our local Salle de fêtes in my little commune of Saint Front, and it lasted 6 hours. I kid you not.

In fact, when I was helping with the serving I was told to slow down. They told me not to be in such a hurry and to take my time and enjoy the moment.

I can’t say serving 70 French non-English speaking residents of Saint Front food, was a moment to enjoy, but I did as I was told.

Nobody warned me when I joined the committee I’d be asked to waitress at the local events. 

Ces’t la vie. It’s all part of French rural life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

The 5 best restaurants in Charente, France

On that note, and seeing as food is extremely important to French culture, we’re now going through the very best restaurants in Charente, France. 

Because, you may think that good French restaurants reside only in Paris, but actually, it doesn’t matter where you are in France; there are many, many, many fabulous restaurants just around the corner. After all, it is their speciality. 

So in this blog post, we’re going to help you live like a local when you come to visit with some of the best Charente has to offer. 

Let’s have a look…

The terrace of La Ribaudiere restaurant, Charente France

Overview of La Ribaudière

You truly get a taste of France at La Ribaudière! You can start off your culinary journey in ‘the lounge’ – relaxing with an aperitif or a glass of wine. 

Then enjoy the most wonderful French cuisine in the ‘Big Room’ – a dramatic but spacious room with large windows showcasing the stunning views of the Charente river. Perfection. 

Finally, enjoy a large glass of wine on the terrace, complete with stunning views and (if you’re lucky) some late evening sunshine. 

This isn’t just a meal out, it’s an entire experience. 

Specialities 

Fine French cuisine and an interesting wine list. 

The particular highlights, are, of course, the ‘Small Gray snails from the banks of the Charente cooked in duck fat.’ Because you can’t possibly go to France and not try snails, right? 

Don’t let that put you off, though, because there’s still delicious and more ‘traditional’ food on offers such as lobster, minted lamb and Limousin beef.  

The atmosphere and dining experience 

This is a Michelin-starred restaurant that offers exceptional French cuisine. 

Even though I recommend you do dress up in the evening, the atmosphere is quite relaxed and, well…French! 

They offer lunches too if you’re looking for something more informal and have an impressive children’s menu way beyond typical burger and chips you see in the UK or US! 

Customer reviews and recommendations 

4.5 stars on Tripadvisor 

Michelin star guide

Inside La Table du Fleuve restaurant, Charente, France

Overview of La Table du Fleuve

This is probably one of the most attractive restaurants you’ll ever dine in! La Table du Feluve (or the Table of the River) is, you guessed it, right by the river Charente. 

It’s a dramatic-looking space, with tables made from the old wood barrels of cognac that passed through the Charente river! The restaurant is themed around the history of cognac, and much of the food is made in wood-fired ovens fuelled with barrel shavings!

It offers traditional French cuisine, with a menu that changes based on the seasons. And it’s surprisingly good value, with a starter, main course and dessert for just €36.00!

Specialities 

A traditional French menu that keeps up with the seasons. 

For example, currently, they are offering Roasted meager, risotto and wild mushrooms

or Game pie, fingerling potatoes.

The atmosphere and dining experience

I would say dressing smart casual would be perfectly fine for this restaurant. It’s a cosy restaurant and ideal for a first date or a romantic evening. 

The restaurant has also had many compliments on its service too. 

Customer reviews and recommendations

Michelin guide review

4.8 stars on Google reviews (12 reviews total) 

Inside L'Agape restaurant in Charente, France

Overview of L’Agape

This is a small cosy restaurant in Angoulême, a small city in the southwestern French department of Charente. 

There’s no doubt about it, this restaurant is ALL about the food. The Chef uses fresh food from the Market, wild fish and French meat. It’s clear he’s passionate about his ingredients, sourcing food from local farmers and butchers. 

They state that every meal, from aperitif to dessert, is respectful to the ingredients and tastes superb. And you can clearly see it! 

Specialities

THE DESSERTS. 

Yes, I did mean to shout that. The desserts look incredible, and I’m not surprised they feature heavily on their website! Currently, you can choose from pistachio crème brûlé, a chocolate duo (yes, please) or tatin with apples and caramelized peanuts. 

Of course, all their food is simply delicious, with meals such as Fillet of Bellet trout, Lamb confit tatin style, and Poultry ballotine stuffed with foie gras. 

The atmosphere and dining experience

This is a small, romantic restaurant perfect for a dinner date or lunch out. 

Customer reviews and recommendations

4.5 stars on Tripadvisor

Inside Moulin De La Tardoire, Charente, France

Overview of Moulin de la Tadoire 

This beautiful French restaurant was once a 16C forge. It was converted into a flour mill in 1854 and later became the Moulin de la Tardoire. 

It’s situated on an island bordered by the Tardoire. It’s also close by too, not one, but two 15th-century castles, and is surrounded by greenery. 

Moulin de la Tardoire offers gourmet French cuisine with a modern twist and, like many other French restaurants, uses local producers. This means their menu can change with the seasons, but also means you’ll get the very best cuisine whenever you go. 

They also have a huge team of highly experienced chefs, including a chef, second chef, sous chef, pastry chef, a baker and three pastry cooks!

Specialities

Well-refined, french food using local produce.

My favourites from the current menu have to be the Cod steak roasted on the skin and the all-chocolate dessert. Is anyone else hungry?

They also have an extensive wine menu too.

The atmosphere and dining experience

This is perfect for a dinner date or celebratory meal out with friends and family. I would dress smartly for this restaurant. 

Customer reviews and recommendations

4.5 stars on Tripadvisor

Aumi Restaurant, Charente, France

Overview of Aumi
This beautiful, romantic, understated restaurant serves the very best in French cuisine. Located in the Puymoyen, it’s perfect for those who want excellent food and atmosphere. 

And after just six months of opening, Aumi was honoured with a star in the Michelin Guide. It’s no wonder the restaurant is booked up months in advance. If you plan to go, do book early! 

Specialities 

Aumi mainly uses local ingredients, and they avoid pretension. Opting instead for modern, filling dishes that taste delicious and look good too. 

The menus do change as ingredients come in and out of season, but popular dishes in the past include rump steak, lemon marinated mackerel and hazelnut and poultry jus. Gorgeous!

The atmosphere and dining experience

It’s a surprisingly (and welcome) relaxed atmosphere at Aumi. The restaurant avoids pretension in its dishes, and I love that about it. 

It also has an excellent children’s menu and looks to be family friendly too. 

Customer reviews and recommendations

5 stars on Tripadvisor

Michelin star guide

📌 TOP TIP

If you’ve never visited the village of Vertueil in the Charente, you’re missing out. With views over the river, a fairytale Chateau and lots of history its one of the best places to eat.

Here’s my three favourite places to eat in Verteuil >>>

I hope you’re not too hungry now you’ve read this article. And if you’re dreaming of relocating to France, looking up fabulous restaurants is the most fun thing to do! 

And don’t forget to check out my Charente restaurant reviews.

And if it’s fish and chips you’re after then we’ve got you covered with our guide on where to find fish & chips in the Charente.

But, you will also need to do some planning, and that’s where my quiz comes in.

If you daydream about living the French lifestyle, take my quiz and discover the region in South West France best suited to your personality, pastimes and passions! 

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About Me

I’m Kylie….

And I live in the beautiful Charente region of France having made the move back in 2016, and I’ve never looked back.

Now, I’m sharing everything I’ve learned about living in rural France. From visiting wineries & chateaux to negotiating French admin and learning the language.

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