Charente (river)

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Charente
Charente à Tonnay.jpg
The Charente in Tonnay-Charente
Native name La Charente
Country France
Physical characteristics
Main source Haute-Vienne
River mouth Atlantic Ocean
45°57′24″N 1°4′56″W / 45.95667°N 1.08222°W / 45.95667; -1.08222 (Atlantic Ocean-Charente)Coordinates: 45°57′24″N 1°4′56″W / 45.95667°N 1.08222°W / 45.95667; -1.08222 (Atlantic Ocean-Charente)
Length 381 km (237 mi)
Discharge
  • Average rate:
    40 m3/s (1,400 cu ft/s)
Basin features
Basin size 10,000 km2 (3,900 sq mi)

The Charente (Occitan: Charanta) is a 381-kilometre (237 mi) long river in southwestern France. Its source is in the Haute-Vienne département at Chéronnac, a small village near Rochechouart. It flows through the departments of Haute-Vienne, Charente, Vienne and Charente-Maritime. The river flows into the Atlantic Ocean near Rochefort.

Navigation[edit]

The Charente was described by the French king François I as ‘la plus belle rivière du royaume’, and was navigable in its natural state until mills were erected at many locations in the 14th century.[1] Some locks were built but through navigation remained impossible for centuries. Improvements to the navigation were projected under Louis XVI in 1772, but work was interrupted by the Revolution. The project was revived under the Restoration and canalisation completed in 1835. The waterway was abandoned in 1957. The départements took over operation in 1963, and recreational vessels have now taken possession of the waterway throughout the 164 km to the town of Angoulême. The historic towns of Cognac, Jarnac, Saintes and Rochefort make the river a popular destination for boaters, mainly in rental boats, with moorings provided at most towns and villages along the route. The locks are 34 by 6 metres (112 by 20 ft).

Tributaries[edit]

The Charente and its main tributaries

Tributaries include the rivers Antenne, Boëme, , Coran, Seugne, Bramerit, Boutonne, Arnoult, Bandiat, Tardoire, Touvre and Bonnieure.

The River Boutonne is navigable over a distance of 31 km to Saint-Jean-d'Angély, but a barrier at the confluence prevents access except under exceptional conditions.

En route[edit]

Towns and villages include Vergeroux, Soubise, Rochefort and Tonnay-Charente on the tidal river, and Saint-Savinien, Taillebourg, Saintes, Cognac, Jarnac, Saint-Simon and Angoulême on the navigable river, while Montignac-Charente and Civray are on the river's upper course.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Edwards-May, David (2010). Inland Waterways of France. St Ives, Cambs., UK: Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson Ltd. p. 67. ISBN 978-1-846230-14-1. 

External links[edit]