France Boating Holidays in Charente

The River Charente and Cognac Country

The Charente River gently meanders westwards from Angouleme to the Atlantic at Rochefort. King Henry IV declared it “the most beautiful river in my kingdom”.

On this attractive waterway you will cruise through lush countryside where bankside vineyards, sleepy hamlets, Renaissance chateau and Romanesque churches will attract you ashore.

The crystal clear water is perfect for swimming and fishing and there are many spots for this, particularly in the upper reaches bordered by lush meadows and woodlands.

Picturesque landscape of the Charente River at Cognac
Saintes banks of the Charente River

Approximately mid-point along the Charente’s navigation are our bases at Cognac and Jarnac, home to world famous Cognac houses. Distillery tours are available, and both towns have excellent eating and shopping opportunities.

Downstream see the chain ferry at Chaniers and cruise to Saintes, famous for its Roman arch, columns, frescoes and statues.

You can head towards the Atlantic coast and the magnificent fortified harbour of Rochefort. If you have not been boating before, we recommend you do not cruise below Saint Savinien as the river becomes tidal.

Upstream, the river lazily meanders around woodlands offering many opportunities for cycling to explore the lovely villages along its banks.

The river curves around Saint-Simeux, the ancient lightermen's village, and it is easy to visit the chocolate factory at Trois Palis. A walk around the ramparts of Angouleme, then a quick descent back to the port where your boat is moored.

Cruiser boat in Charente Region

On the Charente there are no lock-keepers and you will operate the locks yourselves. You’ll find this is fun and is not an arduous task.