Charente runs through it

livingincognac saint simeux

Reference to the Robert Redford movie in Montana, the Charente river really runs through the AOC cognac vineyards from east to west. A quiet river which plays with landscape and flows into Atlantic sea just face to the famous “Fort Boyard”. Hop on board, imminent departure.

 

livingincognac

“I can do whatever I want”

The charente does not flow straight to the ocean. First it decides to go towards north, then suddenly makes a hairpin bend towards south and Angoulême where it finally chooses to flow at west. 380 kilometers of curves, meanders and small branches. 40 tributaries join its during this travel to atlantic ocean.

livingincognac charente à Angoulême

Many bridges cross the river Charente, small stone nice bridges, some of them specially narrow for car traffic as in Vibrac, or the most big one in Rochefort.

livingincognac la charente

livingincognac la charente Vibrac

Bridges of Vibrac

livingincognac la Charente à Bassac

Front of Bassac Abbey

 

The “passerelle” to join  Comics Museum to the heart of the city in Angoulême

Locks are numerous in the navigable part of the Charente.

livingincognac écluse de Juac

Juac lock

And an old kind of mini-mini ferry, the only one remaining in France, manually operated ! (only available in july and august)

livingincognac Dampierre

The estuary of Charente is large enough as the cargos come to Rochefort Harbour.

livingincognac estuaire charente

 

livingincognac estuaire charente

The “pont transbordeur”, a classified brigde dated from 1900, is now in a process of being restored. In the past time it allowed to cross from one bank to the other without hindering shipping traffic. A gondola, suspended from a trolley running on rails, travelled back and forth. Only used by cyclists, foot passengers, tourists  nowadays, it is the only remaining bridge with gondola in France.

During this renovation time, we can visit and discover the story and steps of work in Maison du Transbordeur nearby.

livingincognac pont transbordeur (2)

 

livingincognac pont transbordeur

 

 

Past winter, the flood without any damage, gave the opportunity to take some unusual pictures, as here in Jarnac and Bourg Charente.

livingincognac

 

livingincognac inondations

An economic link since many centuries

At the beginning, Charente was one the major trade path : paper from Angoulême, salt from Re Island cannons for vessels built in Rochefort, were loaded on boats called “gabarre”.

And evidently, the river has been the first and important mean of transport for cognac. Barrels were loaded on wharfs of Jarnac and Cognac directly on board towards Rochefort harbour, and then boarded on big sail vessels to cross oceans.

Vestige of a paper fabric in Angoulême

livingincognac la charente

 

 

livingincognac rochefort

The Rochefort harbour front of the Corderie Royale

livingincognac hermione ship

The replica of the famous Hermione Ship

Livingincognac Jarnac quai de l'orangerie

Jarnac river bank today the “quai de l’Orangerie”

livingincognac 2018 Flood Jarnac Courvoisier

Courvoisier, during january flood. Charente stopped just under the wharf… 

 

A new story

As containers, trucks and railway replace the “gabarre” the river felt asleep, and the river banks too for a while. And as the sleeping beauty, Charente is coming back with the green tourism and developpment of river cruises. The “flow velo” allowed to follow the river on many kilometers by bicycle. Hiking paths, canoe, paddle, fishing, many activities are possible respecting the nature and the river.

livingincognac Saintes

Crossing Saintes city on board

 

livingincognac port de cognac

Cognac harbour and Quais Hennessy

livingincognac la charente

The path of watchers, in Rochefort

livingincognac chemin de halage

 

livingincognac fleuve charente

Resting and lunch time…

The occasion to see some nice hidden properties

livingincognac logis de vinade

 

livingincognac saint simeux

 

livingincognac marnier lapostolle

watch to the small  inhabitants of the river

livingincognac2017 river charente (3)

and the numerous species of flora.

livingincognac fleurac

 

livingincognac la charente

 

livingincognac charente

Charente river is a perfect example of slowlife attitude, and a stress free oasis. So, when are you coming ?

 

 

 

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