L’Épicerie de Vénat, near Angoulême in the Charente (France), is a real retro gem. You immediately fall in love with those early twentieth century artisan furniture with a pale aquamarine patina that makes you completely lose your mind: the Celadon green.
Grocery store, coffee shop and post office for several generations, today it is a chambre d'hôtes with a family atmosphere. Passionate about vintage, the owner Monique recovers furnishing objects in the flea markets and antique shops.
"The old grocery store in the village of Vénat, in Charente, was abandoned in the 1980s. I restructured it trying to preserve the spirit of the place, giving the possibility also to others to live it. Here it is possible to buy local products, ” says Monique.
A place to share, not only with the guests of the chambre d'hôtes: “L'Épicerie de Vénat, in addition to being available for private events, opens its doors to all those who want to visit it every last Sunday of September in the occasion of the bric à brac of Vénat. And also for the festivities of the village".
Breakfast is served in the old Café du Village. A simple and genuine 'good morning', with bread, butter and homemade jams. Guests, just like in a café, have breakfast at the bar or at the large wooden table. "This large table has a beautiful story because I bought it from an antique dealer and discovered that it was the original table of the café du village. Isn't it weird? ”Monique says, smiling. The kitchen is made by mixing together different formica furniture from the 1960s (j'adore).
The Épicerie de Vénat is ideal to rent in family or with a group of friends. On the first floor, with a shared toilet on the landing, the 'chambre d'en haut', in shades of yellow and gray; the "chambre d'à côté", in shades of green, and the "chambre d'en face" in shades of gray and blue. And then there is the "ancient grenier" with in-room facilities.
The terrace with a centenary wisteria is lovely. Here too the philosophy of recovery is in force "The slates of the land were extracted in the Orleans area after a demolition, the industrial-style chairs come from an amusement park near Bressuire and the tables from a restaurant in Jarnac," says Monique. Scattered here and there cushions handmade by the owner Monique using vintage fabric: her manual skills and good taste make every detail truly special!
Don't miss a night, or more, in the ‘Cabane’. An oasis of peace, overlooking the Charente River among bamboo, ash and maple woods. There is no running water, no electricity, only the minimum needed to live in close contact with nature (drinking water, ecological toilet, barbecue, gas stove). And then squirrels, swans and ducks ... I felt in love with the tents made by assembling vintage fabrics and needlepoint: “The secret? To color the different pieces of fabric of the same color to give background harmony. "
To entertain guests, Monique organizes cooking classes, where she teaches how to make jams or omelettes with garden herbs, or couture workshop.
On request, Monique prepares the picnic basket: "In the recipe of my grandmother's omelette there is a hint of curry. In this area curry and saffron were cultivated, for this reason they are present in many traditional dishes. "Along the sea we eat the Charentaise Mouclade: mussels with a curry sauce (fabulous!).
What is the ideal time to visit the Charente? The first Sunday of September when there is a 'Bric à Brac' in Marsac.