The Charente

The Charente (part of the region Poitou-Charentes) is a relatively undiscovered corner of France, with ancient seafaring ports hugging the Atlantic’s rugged coastline and quaint medieval towns nestled on hilltops, along gently flowing rivers, and in enchanting marshlands.

The area overlaps with a portion of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail, and many exquisite Romanesque churches are a legacy of this heritage.

The Charente is famous for its internationally recognised Cognac vineyards and distilleries, rolling countryside and gorgeous sunflower fields.  Angouleme is at the heart of the region, and is a vibrant city full of culture, history, festivals, great shopping and restaurants. 

Local stunning villages of note include the picturesque and quaint village of Nanteuil-en-Vallée, Verteuil-sur-Charente and La Rochefoucauld with their magnificent chateaux and Confolens – a stunning town set on the river Vienne.

There is always something to do in the Charente. Whether it be boating or canoeing up the beautiful Charente and Vienne rivers, swimming, sailing or wind-surfing in one of the numerous lakes, or simply enjoying a meal in one of the fantastic riverside restaurants, water seems to play a large part in the leisure time of both residents and holiday-makers. 

Festivals are also popular in the area, with the world folk festival in Confolens, the Blues Passion music concert in Cognac, and the Tour des Ramparts in Angouleme to name but a few.

In addition to cultural attractions, natural wonders abound. Spectacular sandy beaches extend for miles along the Côte de Beauté (Coast of Beauty), and idyllic island getaways are within easy reach.

The Charentes is renowned for its cuisine, including seafood stew, and locally raised Barbezieux chicken.

Discover the best places to visit in this picturesque region with our list of the top attractions and beautiful villages, in a close range tot Puy-Leonard High Quality Gite: