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Charente, also known as Charente-Maritime, is situated north of Bordeaux in southwest France. It’s named after the Charente river that connects to the Atlantic ocean. Beautiful forests, hills, and vineyards make up the region, from which the department's most famous product, cognac, is made. The Charente region is also one of the sunniest parts of France, which is why it is a popular tourist destination. Historic towns such as Angoulême, the French center of comics, offer a range of activities. From medieval castles and Romanesque churches to the Gallo-Roman ruins of Chassenon, and rivers and lakes for water activities.
Interesting sights in the Charente area include the coastal town La Rochelle. Here you can visit three medieval towers: The Chain Tower from 1384, Lantern tower from 1209, and the Saint Nicolas Tower, also from 1384. In the town of Royan, you will find the Notre Dame de Royan, a stunning Catholic church that is considered a masterpiece of modern architecture.
The area also offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, for example, a visit to the beautiful Les Jardins de la Boirie, a botanical garden in Saint-Pierre-d'Oléron. There are also countless hiking and cycling paths, where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding green lush nature.
A cultural highlight in Charente is Fort Boyard. On the west coast of France, this magnificent fortress is located between the Isle-d'Aix and the Île d'Oléron, and was built in the 1800s under Napoleon Bonapart. You can take a boat tour around the fort and learn more about its history.
Wine lovers should definitely visit Domaine Pelletier, a vineyard in La Couarde sur Mer. Their wine tastings are very popular and feature the best wines from the Charente-Maritime region.
Typical products of the Charente region are fresh seafood such as Gensac trout and caviar, and oysters. This is especially true along the coast, where French oyster cultivators are reputed to have the best techniques in the world.
A traditional Charentaise dessert is Cornuelles, flat shortbread biscuits in the shape of a triangle with a hole in the middle. You can get plain ones, or filled with whipped cream or mousseline cream.
But above all, Charente is most well-known for its production of cognac, and for its regional aperitif, Pineau des Charentes. The area also holds many vineyards and produces some of France’s finest wine labels. Click here if you want to read more about French cuisine or French food culture.
JRE chefs in Charente
Ivan Gotfredsen of restaurant Domaine du Châtelard in Dirac. This beautiful restaurant is housed inside an 18th-century manor house, overlooking a private lake. In addition to Ivan's own saffron plantation, the chef picks plants from the undergrowth which harmoniously harmonize with his dishes.
Jean-Charles Boisumault of restaurant le Verre Y Table in Mainxe. Jean-Charles is keen to work with fresh, seasonal produce from small farmers. This is why he gets his meat, trout, and sturgeon, as well as vegetables, from regional producers.
Book your table
Try the best Charentaise cuisine at one of our restaurants in France and explore the finest traditional delights this sunny region of Charente-Maritime has to offer. Book your table at one of our restaurants through our website, for an unforgettable culinary event.