The department of Charente offers a wealth and diversity of landscape beauty, an ancient cultural heritage, world renowned products, and a close proximity, but peaceful alternative, to the bustling Atlantic coast.
The Charente River meanders through 360km of enchanting countryside, past rolling vineyards, ancient water mills, beside glorious Romanesque churches and through picturesque sleepy villages until it reaches the Atlantic Ocean at Fouras. It is the most important river of the region and both Angoulême and Cognac were built on its banks. With its relaxed pace of development and stable population of around 350,000, the department of Charente has become the fourth favourite for British people buying property in France.
Situated in South Western France, Charente is one of the four departments of the Poitou Charente Region. The capital, Poitiers, is known partly for the Futuroscope Theme Park. With Charente-Maritime, Deux-Sèvres and Vienne, the Poitou Charente region lies partly in the Aquitaine Basin while to the north east is the dramatic landscape of the Massif Central.
Charente property ranges from elegant town houses and villas in Cognac and Angoulême, to traditional Charentais farm houses and whitewashed stone villas. Historic manors and chateaux can be found in the villages and dotting the countryside – Charente is an area with good access to the coast but without the premium demanded for coastal property. In 2011, average Charente property prices were very good value and well below the national average of €2980 per m2 (FNAIM 2011, Notaires de France 2011) making this area very popular. With excellent road, rail and air transport links, the area has become a haven for property seekers from the UK and Europe wishing to relocate, purchase second homes or rental properties that generate a steady income. The climate is second only to the Riviera; Charente property owners enjoy over 2000 hours of sunshine per year with early springs, summers tempered by the Atlantic breezes and mild winters. Charente property owners have the best of the wonderful French way of life.
Angoulême is the largest conurbation with a population of 100,000 and is a city of two halves. The hill top ancient town looks down upon the vibrant, modern commercial sector, so it has something for everyone especially during the summer festival season. The monumental wall paintings drawn by famous comic strip artists, and the Comic Strip museum, one of five museums in the city, are a must see for Charente property owners and visitors alike. Cognac is the second largest town where the famous drink dominates activity. Other popular towns and villages for Charente property include Jarnac, La Couronne, Ruffec and Confolens which has excellent examples of half-timbered houses. Aubeterre-sur-Dronne, classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France, with its amphitheatre and terraced gardens stands on a limestone cliff. Charente is home to ancient villages and historic buildings including the Abbey of Saint-Savin, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Charente originally earned its wealth from salt and then Cognac. Until the 20th Century the river provided transport links with coastal shipping routes and from the 18th century paper products also became an increasingly important contributor to the economy, creating a population peak in 1851. In 1872 the disease Phylloxera devastated the Charantais wine industry and this, and the wars of the 20th century, caused a decline leaving much of the area undeveloped. Today Cognac is still the most important industry with 95% produced for the export market. The regional aperitif Pineau is also produced locally from fermented grape must and Cognac eau-de-vie, but just for local consumers.
The river Charente is still navigable for 171km from Angoulême to Rochfort and there is fishing both here and in the exquisite Marais Poitevin marshland nature reserve where visitors can enjoy flora, fauna and over 64 species of birds from a glass bottomed boat. There is over 100km of cycle routes from which to enjoy the diversity of the local area. The area also boasts five golf courses including the international standard Golf Club de la Prèze.
Angoulême has its own airport, but Charente property owners can also fly to Poitiers, Limoges, Bordeaux and La Rochelle, all of which operate excellent low cost flights to the UK and other parts of Europe. For rail users, the TGV runs from Lille direct to Angoulême in just 4 hours. Angoulême to Paris by car is 5 hours.
The Charente area offers a wealth of features for the discerning property purchaser; beautiful landscape, a wonderful climate, picturesque villages, ancient heritage, and accessibility to the cities and the coast.
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All information provided is believed to be current and provided free of charge. No liability can be accepted for the reliability of the information and statements made as this is obtained from 3rd parties. We always recommend you take legal advice from a fully qualified Lawyer or Notary before buying a property overseas.
A beautiful restored character property in a village close to the Western Charente town of Aigre and under an hour from the beaches of Royan and la Rochelle. This substantial property offer...
- Plot Size: 1,533 square metres
- Bedrooms: 6
2 bedroom house with a camp site, located in a quiet and peaceful countryside setting on a plot of 46,000m2 which includes some woodland. Previously run as a very popular campsite with licence...
- Plot Size: 46,000 square metres
- Bedrooms: 2
Spacious property with options and opportunities which consists of a main house and a working mill with 2 gites set in two hectares of land with two islands. The main house is heated, with k...
- Plot Size: 20,000 square metres
- Bedrooms: 10
Spacious stone built country house with a total of 10 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms, part of which has been separated so that it can be used for independent use if required. Set on a plot of 9,380m...
- Floor Size: 497 square metres
- Plot Size: 20,000 square metres
- Bedrooms: 10
Beautiful 3-4 bedroom stone built house with a 2 bedroom gite, located in a fabulous setting with superb views, set within gardens and grounds extending to just over 4 acres, which is fenced for horse...
- Floor Size: 197 square metres
- Plot Size: 16,229 square metres
- Bedrooms: 6
A beautiful stone character property consisting of a farmhouse with two gites, swimming pool, barn and further outbuildings, all set in spacious pretty gardens, including a potager and chicken coop....
- Floor Size: 265 square metres
- Plot Size: 3,389 square metres
- Bedrooms: 7
This five-bedroom residence offers flexible and extensive accommodation (325mÂ²) with far-reaching views to the rear, and is very conveniently located within walking distance of a good range of ameni...
- Floor Size: 325 square metres
- Plot Size: 3,878 square metres
- Bedrooms: 5
Situated in a very good and quiet location, an opulent home of 70 years, in the heart of the picturesque village of Alberes, within walking distance of amenities. Very charming, south facing, ...
- Floor Size: 188 square metres
- Plot Size: 857 square metres
- Bedrooms: 5
An early 19th century manor house which has been comprehensively renovated to the very highest standards. Located near to the listed village of Aubeterre sur Dronne, it is ideally situated to provi...
- Floor Size: 500 square metres
- Plot Size: 8,000 square metres
- Bedrooms: 8
A thriving hotel and restaurant set in the heart of a listed 'Village de France' on the South Charent/North Dordogne border. This property currently has 9 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms, alongside its ba...
- Floor Size: 344 square metres
- Bedrooms: 9