Photo of Charente

About Charente

Home of Cognac, Charente is a charming rural department in southwestern France. The region’s two main towns, Cognac and Angoulème have been built on the banks of the Charente river, which is a wonderful river to cruise or canal-boat along. It could be the relaxed rural pace, the pretty villages, or the cognac, but Charente is one of the most popular departments for British retirees to settle in. Our Guru’s list of the best places to stay in Charente include a lovely fairytale Château and a small, elegant, lakeside hideaway.

Charente’s main sights are a number of lovely old towns, known for their graceful Romanesque architecture and impressive cathedrals and churches. Charente also has a number of lovely châteaux.

And then of course there’s Cognac, with its numerous cognac houses, fortified walls and rather beautiful town centre with cobbled streets and a collection of wonderful 15th and 16th Century buildings. Cognac also has an art museum and an art and history museum. And as well as being famous for its brandy, Cognac is on the route of the Santiago de Compostella, so there are some wonderfully marked walking trails all around the town.

All of the big name cognac brands have a ‘house’ here, and all of them have visitor centres where you can see the double distilling process in action. Take your pick between Martell, Henessy Camus and Remy Martin, or go just east of Cognac to Jarnac for Courvoisier.

What Not To Miss

  • If you love a bit of Cognac then the House of Remy Martin is a must-visit! Head around their site; learning all about the distilling process and enjoying a few tasters to boot.
  • Walk a section of the famed pilgrimage route, the Santiago de Compostella.
  • The Musée d'Angoulème, whilst not huge, is a very interesting place to spend a couple of hours.
  • Enjoy a lovely afternoon stroll around the tranquil Jardin Public de Cognac.

This region can get as busy as its better known neighbour, the Dordogne, during the peak summer months. So if you want to be sure of a bed in one of the best places to stay in Charente during July or August, get organised and book well ahead.

Where To Stay

  • Known globally for its brandy, the town of Cognac enjoys a pleasant setting on the Charente river. Full of historic architecture and with beautiful surrounds, it's a truly lovely place to stay.
  • Angoulême, the department's capital, is known for its magnificent street art that you'll see everywhere when wandering around town. It's also known as France's Comic Strip Capital, and it hosts the Angoulême International Comics Festival each year.

The best places to stay in Charente

For Cognac and its Surrounds

  • Chateau de L'Yeuse is an elegant stay, with its charming traditional rooms and riverside location. Tuck into traditional French food and unwind in the spa, sauna or pool. A top spot.
  • For Cognac lovers we'd recommend a stay at the Hotel LIgaro. It's situated just a stone's throw from the Courvoisier "house" at the Chateau de Jarnac, and offers chic accommodation plus a gourmet restaurant.
  • Le Relais de Saint Preuil is a boutique stay located on a vineyard. This former coaching house boasts rustic rooms with antique furniture and wooden beams, whilst there are plenty of activities going on in the local area for you to enjoy.

For Angoulême and its Surrounds

  • Le Logis de Puygaty is a charming country house B&B. Offering three rooms as well as a small separate cottage for families.
  • Domaine du Chatelard is a small but very elegant, lakeside hotel with just twelve rooms, decorated with period furnishings, and wonderful lake and garden views. Despite the small size, there’s still an outdoor pool and tennis court in the sunny terraced grounds. The restaurant is Italian, and very good.
  • Chateau de Maumont is a magnificent ivy-clad chateau full of rustic charm, four posters and set in wonderful gardens. A treat.

For All Else

  • Logis de la Broue, set in the vllage of Saint-Claud, has one bedroom, three suites and two self-catering cottages. The rooms are rustic chic, with toile de jouy wallpaper, and exposed beams and stonework. Plus there are lovely gardens, a tennis court and a swimming pool.
  • Le Château du Mesnieux is a stunning country house style château set within its own parkland, but just outside the pretty little village of Saint-Adjutory. The four bedrooms are huge, with parquet floors and fireplaces, and there’s an enormous swimming pool, a games room with billiards table, and bikes to keep you entertained.
  • Chateau de Nieul is a grand historic pile with ten individually-designed rooms boasting oodles of character and period pieces. There's an atmospheric moat, lovely gardens and pool for relaxing. Plus it won't break the bank!
  • Le Couvent des Cordeliers, perched on the banks of the river, is a splendid medieval property boasting six unique suites and a swimming pool.
  • Domaine des Etangs is a truly dreamy stay. Set in a stunning historic chateau with seven adjoining cottages, the rooms are wonderfully romantic and the cuisine is top-notch.

For an Apartment or Villa

  • If you'd prefer the privacy of a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner, Booking.com.

Travel Information

  • The best months to visit are July or August, when the weather gets up to an average of 20°C.
  • If you're coming from abroad then you should probably fly into Bordeaux Airport before taking the train to Charente.
  • If you think you'll need a car then visit our car hire partners, Rentalcars.

Still not sure?


Monthly Weather in Charente

Best Hotels in Charente

  • Chateau de L'Yeuse Cognac 24 rooms from £66

    Families  -  With so many activities on the doorstep, it will be hard to find time to enjoy the hotel's pool and gardens
    Sights nearby  -  Chateau de la Rochefoucauld
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    SpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenPet friendlyDisabled accessParking
    Recommended by  -  Michelin Travel

    An elegant hotel near the river Charente. Charming rooms feature opulent wallpapers, antique style furniture, and stunning views. Spa, sauna and outdoor pool. Gourmet French food, lovely bar area. Great value, family friendly. See More

    Check Availability
  • Domaine du Chatelard Dirac, Charente 12 rooms from £73

    Romantic Break  -  Lakeside walks, riding and cycling with picnics, as well as gourmet food on the pretty terrace
    Sights nearby  -  Angoulême Cathedral and the city’s historic Remparts
    Tennis  -  Tennis court onsite
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
    TennisRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenParking
    Recommended by  -  Michelin Travel

    An elegant lakeside hotel. Rooms feature period furniture, garden views and spacious bathrooms. Outdoor pool, tennis court, sunny terrace and gardens. Fantastic Italian cuisine. Romantic, pretty and quiet. See More

    Check Availability
  • Le Relais de Saint Preuil Charente 8 rooms from £66

    Active Holiday  -  Your hosts can organise hot air balloon rides, tours of vineyards, cooking classes or golf trips.
    Cooking classes  -  Cooking classes are offered to guests.
    Tennis  -  There is a tennis court on-site.
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor swimming pool.
    Air conditioningTennisRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenViewsParking

    Charming boutique hotel on a Cognac vineyard offering traditional and rustic rooms, family suites and a cottage. A former 17th century coaching house, the rooms omit a 19th century elegance, with antique furniture and wooden beams. Tours and tastings are organised for guests around local vineyards. See More

    Check Availability
  • Logis de la Broue Saint-Claud, Charente 1 rooms from £87

    Country Escape  -  Stunning Charente countryside.
    Sights nearby  -  Angoulême: Romanesque churches, museums.
    Tennis  -  On site.
    TennisSwimming PoolGardenParking

    A former wine producing property now a charming logis in the Charente countryside. Beautiful bedrooms are rustic chic with toile de jouy wallpapers, wooden beams and stone archways. Two self catering apartments are ideal for families. Gardens, swimming pool, and plenty to do in the countryside. See More

    Check Availability
  • Chateau de Maumont Charente 5 rooms from £108

    Country Escape  -  Set within 2 hectare garden, with hot tub and massage for your enjoyment, take a walk along the river
    Great walks  -  Walk along the "green path" (Coulée Verte)
    Sights nearby  -  The Rochefoucauld Château
    GardenParkingNo pets

    Ivy-clad 16th century chateau. Interiors are full of rustic charm with four poster beds, parquet floors and contemporary bathrooms. Hot tub and massages available, two hectares of fragrant gardens and terrace. Peaceful, grown up and at good value. See More

    Check Availability
  • Hôtel Ligaro Jarnac, Charente 10 rooms from £121

    Wine tasting  -  Located in the heart of Cognac country
    Restaurant  -  300m away on a different site - unique regional produce
    Short break
    Kayaking  -  Available locally.
    Air conditioningRestaurantGardenDisabled accessParking

    Hôtel Ligaro offers spacious, sleek and contemporary rooms, decorated in neutral tones in a traditional townhouse in the centre of Jarnac. There's a gourmet reetaurant for serious foodies and plenty of activities on the Charente River or exploring in Cognac, which is only 10km away. See More

    Check Availability
  • Château de Lerse Charente 5 rooms from £121

    Weddings  -  Breathtaking, natural and expansive setting able to cater for weddings of up to 120 guests and up to 30 for accommodation
    Families  -  The beautiful cottage houses up to six people and is equipped with a sitting room, kitchen, private terrace and barbeque
    Foodies  -  Gourmet, fresh French-style cuisine is the best for miles. Plus - dinner cooked by and served with hosts is a must-do
    Romantic Break  -  A quiet setting offering an intimate stay in a beautiful setting with organic food and stylishly renovated rooms
    Air conditioningRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenPet friendlyViewsParking
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays

    A beautiful 12th-century château, turned hotel, offering smart rooms, organic food and acres of beautiful, secluded grounds. Having undergone an entire revamp the feel is fresh yet without losing the original character. Cottages and deluxe safari tents are also available for a more private affair. See More

    Check Availability
  • Château de Nieuil Nieuil, Charente 10 rooms from £126

    Sights nearby  -  Explore the Charente and neighbouring Limousin regions. Cognac, Angouleme & Confolens are all easily reachable.
    Restaurant  -  La Grange aux Oies, situated in the inn opposite the chateau (also owned by the chateau)
    Tennis  -  Outdoor court onsite
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor
    Air conditioningTennisRestaurantSwimming PoolPet friendlyDisabled accessViewsParking
    Recommended by  -  Michelin Travel

    Stunning French chateau rumoured to be the first to open its rooms to guests (in 1937). The favoured hunting lodge of Francois I, the rooms are spacious, elegant & airy, each slightly different from the next and all furnished with antique pieces. Come to explore the moat, extensive gardens and pool. See More

    Check Availability
  • Le Logis de Puygaty Chadurie, Charente 3 rooms from £130

    Country Escape  -  A place designed for reading and relaxation.
    Swimming Pool  -  Lovely Outdoor Pool
    Full of character
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Swimming PoolGardenNo pets
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, Sawdays

    A charming French country house B&B. Delightful rooms with sandstone walls and exposed beams. One small separate cottage for families. Lawns and a swimming pool. A restful spot for couples or families to explore the wine region of Bordeaux. See More

    Check Availability
  • Hotel Chais Monnet Cognac 92 rooms from £180

    Local exploring  -  Set in the heart of the picturesque town, this hotel is the perfect base for exploring the namesake cognac distilleries
    Foodies  -  With two tantalizing restaurants onsite, both serving contemporary gourmet cuisine, this hotel is great for foodies
    Romantic Break  -  With well-appointed suites, a romantic bar and great restaurants, this hotel makes a dream couples' getaway
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenPet friendlyDisabled accessViewsParking
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith

    This luxury hotel is nestled in the heart of Cognac. The heritage site where the hotel is located has been lovingly remodelled with the help of a renowned architect and now offers elegant guestrooms in soft pastels with luxurious linens and a sleek spa. This bolt-hole makes a great romantic getaway. See More

    Check Availability
  • Le Couvent des Cordeliers Verteuil-sur-Charente, Charente 6 rooms from £195

    Riverside  -  Le Couvent des Cordeliers sits on the banks of the Charente River.
    Historic  -  Housed in a 15th-century monastery
    Restaurant  -  A continental breakfast is served daily and the restaurant offers lunch and afternoon tea and dinner.
    Sights nearby  -  Explore the medieval village of Verteuil and its castle
    RestaurantSwimming PoolViewsParking

    Perched on the edge of the Charente river sits this gorgeous hotel. The six suites are beautifully done, each with its own style and filled with lovely unique furnishings. Enjoy a delicious meal in the pretty outdoor terrace or relax by the lovely swimming pool. Medieval charm at its very best. See More

    Check Availability
  • Domaine des Etangs Charente 29 rooms from £347

    Country Escape  -  A stunning countryside location with 100 hectares of surrounding woods, beautiful ponds and a restaurant overlooking the valley
    Romantic Break  -  Stunning nature, romantic walks through the woods, spa sessions and evening meals overlooking the valley-what could be better?
    Great walks  -  With such extensive and beautiful grounds there are plenty of great routes
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolPet friendlyParking
    Recommended by  -  Small Luxury Hotels

    This stunning Domaine is located just outside Angouleme in the Charente Limousine region. The chateau and its 7 cottages are decorated elegantly and traditionally but with some modern features incorporated. There's a superb restaurant, a spa and a pool. A classy and romantic countryside retreat. See More

    Check Availability