The Charente is a department in South-West France, and is named after the wide, meandering river which flows through the area out to the Atlantic Coast. Property for sale in Charente region is incredibly diverse, from barns to renovate, to cute French cottages to manoirs and châteaux.
It is known as a quiet, agricultural, self-effacing department, accepting that it sits between two of its’ more glamorous siblings, the Charente-Maritime (with miles of golden beaches, attractive ports and chic towns such as Royan and La Rochelle) and the Dordogne (the quintessential “France Profonde” packed with hundreds of hectares of rolling woodland, stunning bastide towns and UNESCO Heritage sites). And yet, let’s not be too hasty suggesting that the Charente is the poor cousin. It has its’ fair share of beautiful villages, stunning chateaux and wonderful market towns which epitomise South-West France – including the international ‘brand’ Cognac.
The North of the department borders the Vienne; many visitors will sail through this part of the Charente bombing up or down the N10 between Angoulême and Poitiers – but it is worth stopping a while. Verteuil-sur-Charente, for example, is a very pretty village on the banks of the Charente, with a picture-postcard castle. Just south of the village, the village of Bayers has a Chateau and gardens dating from the 12th century. For shopping, the town of Ruffec has everything you will require.
Towards the North-East, where the department meets with the Haute-Vienne and the rural Limousin region, you will discover significantly more woodland and hundreds of lakes in the “Lacs du Haute-Charente” area and plenty of opportunities for fishing, sailing, water-skiing etc.
The most famous town in the Charente has to be Cognac, best known for the production of this fine brandy and all its variants. You will find a number of architecturally-stunning distillery buildings around Cognac, with plenty of opportunity to learn about Cognac and try the odd sample! Indeed, when you arrive by car or train, you can’t fail to see the hundreds of hectares of beautiful vineyards.
The most important town in the Charente is Angoulême, known for its’ International Comic Festival and wonderfully-noisy ‘Circuit des Remparts’ where classic cars race around the medieval city walls. With a population of around 42,000,Angoulême is the most populous of towns in the Charente, and has a vibrant eating and shopping quarter. Property for sale in Angoulême includes historic town houses, apartments and belles demeures.
Other towns and villges within half an hour of Angoulême worth a visit include Jarnac, where former French President François Mitterrand was born, La Rochefoucauld with its’ stunning Chateau and the lovely villages of Marthon, Mouthiers-sur-Boeme, Villebois-Lavalette, Barbezieux and Chalais. Properties for sale in this part of the department include cute french cottages, french farms and classic Charentaise longères.
Beyond Chalais, the Charente department meets with the Dordogne, with the River Dronne acting as a natural border between the two departments. The beautiful medieval village of Aubeterre-sur-Dronne is known for its’ unusual troglodyte church. Aubeterre, which dates back to the 11th Century, is the only village in Charente named one of the “most beautiful villages in France” (“Les Plus Beaux Villages de France“).
For more information on property for sale in the Charente region, please contact us!