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France, Charente (16), Jarnac, les berges de la Charente ©J.-M. Barrere/hemis.fr

France, Charente (16), Jarnac, les berges de la Charente

France, Charente (16), Bassac, l'abbaye Saint-Étienne de Bassac est une ancienne abbatiale du diocèse de Saintes, fondée en 1002 (vue aérienne) ©F. Leroy/hemis.fr

France, Charente (16), Aubeterre-sur-Dronne, labellisé Les Plus Beaux Villages de France, église souterraine Saint-Jean dite église monolithe, le reliquaire ©F. Leroy/hemis.fr

France, Charente (16), Villebois-Lavalette ©J.-M. Barrere/hemis.fr

France, Charente (16), Villebois-Lavalette

France, Charente (16), Magnac-Lavalette-Villars, château de la Mercerie (vue aérienne) ©F. Leroy/hemis.fr

View on the Charente from the 4th Century Ramparts of Angouleme, France. ©Jorisvo/iStock

Angouleme, France.

Saint Peter Cathedral of Angouleme built in the Romanesque architectural style - France, Charente ©Leonid Andronov/iStock

Saint Peter Cathedral of Angouleme built in the Romanesque style - France, Charente

Travelling through Charente in 5 days

Roadtrip between charentais vineyards, châteaux and villages

From Angoulême to Cognac, passing by Jarnac, the Charente offers a wealth of treasures. Come and discover its secrets by exploring the heart of the Val de Charente. Whether it’s the lush countryside, friendly villages, archaeological sites, or thriving, vibrant cities, you won’t be disappointed by the diversity of landscapes offered by this 5-days route. The barge rides are sure to charm you, as well as the charming churches that will offer the chance of some zen during your stopoffs.

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Customize your trip

Angoulême Cognac

Day 1 - Angoulême - Angoulême

It will take less than a day to enjoy the region’s southernmost major city. From its ramparts overlooking the Charente, Angoulême means archeology, African and Oceanic arts and, of course, images in its museums. Its pleasant streets of white limestone houses topped with pink tiles run through the old sections. Walk the ville haute and don’t miss the cathedral and its treasury, the town museum and the Cité de la bande dessinée et de l’image (City of comic books and images).

  • Distance : 2,8 km
  • Duration : 0h9

Day 2 - Angoulême - Aubeterre-sur-Dronne

Head south to visit the Château de La Mercerie, a vision of the ‘Grand Siècle’. Next, go to Villebois-Lavalette: take a stroll through the streets of this tiny “capital” with its history-filled streets. Perched on an isolated hill, classed as a “Small Town of Character”, the village has preserved its impressive ramparts that testify to its powerful past. Take the road to Gurat to admire its monolithic church. Finally, head to Aubeterre-sur-Dronne to spend the night.

  • Distance : 54 km
  • Duration : 0h58

Day 3 - Aubeterre-sur-Dronne - Jarnac

Drive to Barbezieux, easily covered on foot. Then you head to Bouteville. Surrounded by Grande Champagne vineyards, this small village with its church, cypress trees and chateau offers an iconic depiction of the Charente. Make your way to the Angeac-Charente fossil site, unique in Europe (the largest dinosaur femur in the world was discovered here), before moving on to the Abbaye de Bassac, transformed into a cultural and spiritual space, at the heart of a charming village. Stay overnight in Jarnac.

  • Distance : 39 km
  • Duration : 0h39

Day 4 - Jarnac - Cognac

Introduce yourself to the secrets of cognac distillation at Maison Courvoisier, in the birthplace of François Mitterrand, nestled in the heart of Champagne Charente, on the river route along which the barges head down to the estuary with their precious cargo. The charming village of Bourg-Charente dominates the river which divides into several directions, enclosing low islands, lined with meadows. In the hollow of a wooded valley, the Abbey of Châtres is touching in its solitude. Overnight in Cognac.

  • Distance : 16 km
  • Duration : 0h23

Day 5 - Cognac - Cognac

Visit the Museum of Cognac Arts and discover the cellars on the docks, near the port and in the suburbs. Don’t miss the fascinating guided tour of a grande maison: Hennessy, Martell or Rémy-Martin. Next, enjoy a pleasant stroll through Old Cognac, before exploring the 19th century city’s parks and mansions. The surroundings will offer nature lovers and wine enthusiasts some nice surprises, particularly the Chaigne gardens in Touzac.

  • Distance : 2,1 km
  • Duration : 0h7

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