There is so much to do across the Charente area – and best of all…a lot are FREE or cost just a couple of euros… meaning you can have a fun packed holiday, whatever your budget!
Here are our top ten suggestions:
1. Discover Cognac vineyards
Discover how Cognac is made… many of the smaller Cognac producers offer free guided tours around their vineyards, along with a small taste at the end of the visit!
The larger Cognac houses also offer tours starting from as little as 10 euros which includes a sample from their range.
The Charente river and the lakes of the Haute Charente are perfect for watersports lovers!
Sailing, canoeing, jet skiing and waterskiing are all available at great value prices, starting from just a couple of euros for a morning hire; there is something for all budgets…some local gites (including ours!) also offer scuba diving lessons in their pool for a very reasonable price.
3.Visit a night market
Go to one of the areas regular night markets and choose from a wide selection of freshly cooked food from dozens of local producers… or simply take a seat, listen to the music and soak up the party atmosphere. If you’re taking a self catering holiday, the night markets are a MUST!
4. Splash around on a river / lake beach
The Charente is just an hour from the stunning beaches of the Atlantic coastline, so it’s easy to head to for a day out! However, if you want something closer there are many fabulous picturesque river and lake side beaches, dotted throughout the Charantaise countryside.
With dedicated lifeguard patrolled safe swim zones, these areas are perfect to soak up the French sunshine.
Charente – Chateauneuf River Beach
5. Explore the area….
The Charente is home to hundreds of quaint, old fashioned hamlets, pretty, traditional French villages and larger historical towns… all perfect to explore by foot or by bike.
Some of our personal favorites include;
Aubeterre sur Dronne – featuring an incredible underground church, and reputed to be one of the most beautiful villages in France
Angouleme… a historic walled town featuring unique urban art earning it the title of “Cartoon Capital”.
Verteuil sur Charente… a pretty village with its own turreted fairytale chateau
La Rochelle -a beautiful coastal city with an amazing array of historical buildings, half-timbered medieval houses and Renaissance architecture, including passageways covered by 17th-century arches.
6. A treasure hunt for the kids…
Take part in a giant outdoor treasure hunt in the Charente by downloading and accessing the Geocaching application on your mobile phone. Hidden throughout the beautiful Charente countryside, you will find containers of small prizes which can be found using the ap and some GPS coordinates.
(Charente coordinates are 45.7520° N, 0.1535° E )
7. Browse a French market or brocante
There are some gems to be found at a typical French market and it’s very much a part of French culture to spend a few hours browsing a “brocante”, spotting the weird, wonderful and fantastic things on offer.
8. Festival fun
The Charente hosts lots of festivals throughout the year… many of which are free to enjoy!
The ‘dont-miss’ line-up includes:
Fete du Cognac (July)
Festival de Confolens (August)
Circuit des Remparts (September)
9. The French Cafe experience
Make sure you take a proper break in Charente, by taking part in one of the most loved of French pastimes – people watching from a French cafe!
Order a Cafe, Chaud Chocolate or Perrier… grab a chair outside… and watch the world go by!
Charente – French Cafe Culture
10. Visit a museum
France boasts a dizzying array of museums, galleries and salons, devoted to virtually any topic imaginable. In a country so replete with culture, the French enjoy spending weekends exploring their amazing history and the Charente is no exception. Be sure to look up the “highest recommended”in the region. Entry fees do vary but many are free.