Charente

The Charente River is one of the most beautiful rivers in France. Its crystal-clear waters are inviting for fishing and swimming, and its picturesque banks are home to countless species of flora and fauna.

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The most charming river in France

The Charente River is one of the most beautiful rivers in France. Its crystal-clear waters are inviting for fishing and swimming, and its picturesque banks are home to countless species of flora and fauna. From our base in Jarnac, you can embark on a relaxing and gastronomic cruise through the French regions of Poitou-Charentes and Charentes-Maritime. Jarnac –⁠ birthplace of Francois Mitterrand and home of Courvoisier cognac –⁠ is a charming coastal town with a delightfuloutdoor swimming pool and a museum displaying the state gifts received by Mitterrand as President of France. In Saint Brice, you can drop anchor in front of a stunning Renaissance chateau and have a picnic.

Map of Charente

Ideal for golf lovers

You can also play golf on the greens along the shore, or visit the town's abbey, used by pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostella in Spain. Elegant Cognac welcomes you with the smell of cognac –⁠ the alcohol fumes in the air have coloured the roofs of the houses here the colour of amber. Cognac's world-famous vineyards are everywhere, so be sure not to miss a guided visit to the famous distilleries and indulge in a free tasting to help you decide what to buy!

Historic part of Saintes on the Charente River

Historic part of Saintes on the Charente River

A place full of history

In the beautiful town of Saintes, you'll spot traces of the Roman past that are worth a visit –⁠ the famous Arc de Germanicus, Roman frescoes and the ruins of the amphitheatre. Visit the amazing maritime museum in the 17th-century port town of Rocherfort, located at the mouth of the Charente River. Here you can learn all about the history of sail making and rigging, before enjoying a bowl of delicious seafood for lunch by the sea!

Upstream from Jarnac lies the ancient village of Bassac with its thousand-year-old abbey. You'll discover the best of the region's Romanesque art at the Church of St. Pierre in Châteauneuf-sur-Charente. Cycle to nearby Mosnac, where you'll be impressed by its collection of vintage cars, or head to Saint-Simon, the former heart of the region's shipbuilding industry.

Useful information

  • The Charente River has a regular flow and is easily navigable.
  • You can also swim in the Charente –⁠ the base staff can advise you on the best places to swim.
  • There are only a few locks, which are unmanned but easy to operate. The locks are also open on public holidays.
  • The stretch between Saint-Savinien and Rochefort can have strong currents in places, and the Atlantic-influenced river here can change its level quickly with the tide. The current here can reach speeds of up to 4 knots and the difference between high and low tide can be as much as 5 m. Therefore, only those who already have experience in driving a boat or dinghy should venture into Rochefort. Otherwise, it is easier to moor the boat in Saint-Savinien and take the train to Rochefort.

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Cruises for 2–⁠5 days

Sireuil cruising area, Charente, France, map

Trip length: 2 days | 56 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 18

Sireuil — Jarnac — Sireuil

Enjoy a boat holiday on one of the most beautiful rivers in France. Immerse yourself in green nature, clear waters and fields of sunflowers. You control the locks yourself, so they won't hold you back on your journey. In the towns of Cognac and Pineau, you can taste the local wines.

Cognac, Charente, France, sailing route, map

Trip length: 3 days | 40 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 6

Cognac — Jarnac — Cognac

The Charente is another of France's very beautiful rivers. It is located between the Loire and the Garonne and, like these two rivers, it empties into the Atlantic. Amazing castles, Romanesque churches and charming little villages await you here too. In the evening, you can sit in one of the countless bistros or cafés. Pineau aperitif is available to drink.

Cognac, Charente, France, sailing route, map

Trip length: 3 days | 69 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 4

Cognac — Saintes — Cognac

The Charente is another of France's very beautiful rivers. It is located between the Loire and the Garonne and, like these two rivers, it empties into the Atlantic. Amazing castles, Romanesque churches and charming little villages await you here too. In the evening, you can sit in one of the countless bistros or cafés. Pineau aperitif is available to drink.

Cognac, Charente, France, navigation area, map

Trip length: 4 days | 140 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 16

Jarnac — Cognac — Chateaneuf-sur-Charente — Jarnac

The Charente is another of France's very beautiful rivers. It is located between the Loire and the Garonne and, like these two rivers, it empties into the Atlantic. Amazing castles, Romanesque churches and charming little villages await you here too. In the evening, you can sit in one of the countless bistros or cafés. Pineau aperitif is available to drink.

Cognac, Charente, France, navigation area, map

Trip length: 5 days | 66 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 16

Cognac — Chateauneuf-sur-Charente —Cognac

The Charente is another of France's very beautiful rivers. It is located between the Loire and the Garonne and, like these two rivers, it empties into the Atlantic. Amazing castles, Romanesque churches and charming little villages await you here too. In the evening, you can sit in one of the countless bistros or cafés. Pineau aperitif is available to drink.

Cognac, Charente, France, navigation area, map

Trip length: 5 days | 112 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 4

Cognac — Saint-Savinien — Cognac

The Charente is another of France's very beautiful rivers. It is located between the Loire and the Garonne and, like these two rivers, it empties into the Atlantic. Amazing castles, Romanesque churches and charming little villages await you here too. In the evening, you can sit in one of the countless bistros or cafés. Pineau aperitif is available to drink.

Sireuil, Charente, France, navigation area, map

Trip length: 5 days | 132 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 30

Sireuil — Chaniers and back

The Charente is another of France's very beautiful rivers. It is located between the Loire and the Garonne and, like these two rivers, it empties into the Atlantic. Amazing castles, Romanesque churches and charming little villages await you here too.

Cruises for a week

Jarnac, Charente, France, navigation area, map

Trip length: 7 days | 88 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 30

Jarnac — Angoulême —Jarnac

Sail to Saint Brice and visit the castle, which has a unique Renaissance façade. Relax with a picnic in the park or on the town's riverside golf course.

Cognac, Charente, France, navigation area, map

Trip length: 7 days | 118 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 36

Cognac — Angoulême — Cognac

The Charente is another of France's very beautiful rivers. It is located between the Loire and the Garonne and, like these two rivers, it empties into the Atlantic. Amazing castles, Romanesque churches and charming little villages await you here too. In the evening, you can sit in one of the countless bistros or cafés. Pineau aperitif is available to drink.

Cognac, Charente, France, navigation area, map

Trip length: 7 days | 142 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 10

Cognac — Saint-Savinien — Cognac — Jarnac — Cognac

The Charente is another of France's very beautiful rivers. It is located between the Loire and the Garonne and, like these two rivers, it empties into the Atlantic. Amazing castles, Romanesque churches and charming little villages await you here too. In the evening, you can sit in one of the countless bistros or cafés. Pineau aperitif is available to drink.

Jarnac, Charente, France, navigation area, map

Trip length: 7 days | 186 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 10

Jarnac — Cognac — Saintes — Jarnac

Sail to Saint Brice and visit the castle, which has a unique Renaissance façade. Relax with a picnic in the park or on the town's riverside golf course.

Jarnac, Charente, France, navigation area, map

Trip length: 7 days | 186 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 12

Jarnac — Rochefort — Jarnac

Sail to Saint Brice and visit the castle, which has a unique Renaissance façade. Relax with a picnic in the park or on the town's riverside golf course.

Sireuil, Charente, France, navigation area, map

Trip length: 7 days | 198 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 30

Sireuil — Saint-Savinien and back

Sail to Saint Brice and visit the castle, which has a unique Renaissance façade. Relax with a picnic in the park or on the town's riverside golf course.

Cruises for 14 days

Sireuil, Charente, France, navigation area, map

Trip length: 14 days | 157 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 21

Sireuil — Rochefort — Sireuil — Angoulême

Enjoy a boat holiday on one of the most beautiful rivers in France. Immerse yourself in green nature, clear waters and fields of sunflowers. You control the locks yourself so they won't hold you back on your journey. In the towns of Cognac and Pineau, you can taste the local wines.

Sireuil, Charente, France, navigation area, map

Trip length: 14 days | 230 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 40

Sireuil — Rochefort — Sireuil — Angoulême

The Charente is another of France's very beautiful rivers. It is located between the Loire and the Garonne and, like these two rivers, it empties into the Atlantic. Amazing castles, Romanesque churches and charming little villages await you here too. In the evening, you can sit in one of the countless bistros or cafés. Pineau aperitif is available to drink.

Sireuil, Charente, France, navigation area, map

Trip length: 14 days | 252 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 32

Sireuil — Rochefort and back

Enjoy a boat holiday on one of the most beautiful rivers in France. Immerse yourself in green nature, clear waters and fields of sunflowers. You control the locks yourself, so they won't hold you back on your journey. In the towns of Cognac and Pineau, you can taste the local wines.

Sireuil, Charente, France, navigation area, map

Trip length: 14 days | 286 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 42

Sireuil — Angoulême — Sireuil — Rochefort — Sireuil

Enjoy a boat holiday on one of the most beautiful rivers in France. Immerse yourself in green nature, clear waters and fields of sunflowers. You control the locks yourself so they won't hold you back on your journey. In the towns of Cognac and Pineau, you can taste the local wines.