Charente valley

The Charente river meanders for around 360 km through some of the most enchanting countryside in the Poitou-Charentes region, finishing its picturesque journey on the French Atlantic Coast at Fouras

In the 16th century, King Henri IV described the Charente as ‘the most beautiful stream in France’ and many people still agree with him today. Between Angoulême and the Atlantic coast, it winds through rolling vineyards and past ancient water mills, through sleepy villages and beside glorious Romanesque churches.

For centuries, the Charente valley was busy with commercial traffic but today it’s one of France’s most popular rivers for pleasure cruising. Take a cruise boat with commentary from Cognac, Jarnac or Saintes, or pilot your own self-drive cruiser, no previous experience necessary. 

The Charente is navigable downstream from Angoulême to Rochefort, a distance of around 171 stunningly beautiful kilometres. Get close to nature and watch wildlife and waterfowl from the deck. Explore riverside villages and browse colourful markets for delicious local produce – the ultimate slow food. 

If cruising isn’t for you, there are plenty of other ways to explore the Charente Valley. Try driving the quiet lanes, cycling the towpath, or exploring heritage towns like Angoulême and Cognac, Saintes and Rochefort.

[+] How to get to the Charente Valley

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