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Melons, cognac and wall-to-wall sunshine – it’s hard to imagine a more perfect place to settle in France than the Charente Department.
Charente enjoys 40 per cent more sunshine than the UK, without being too harsh. Temperatures are about five to ten degrees higher here than in the UK – milder as the area is nearer to the Atlantic Ocean.
It is here they grow the most amazing produce, including the renowned melon Charentais – a of French cantaloupe with a more intense aroma than other cantaloupes, and a distinctive pink hue.
Everywhere is clean and clear here – you can stargaze to your heart’s content due to the non-existent air pollution. During the day you can feast your eyes on an area so beautiful it’s been dubbed the French Tuscany.
Houses here are better value for money than the UK, in that you get a lot more space for your hard-earned.
And you’ll enjoy that space for a lot longer, thanks to the greater life expectancy afforded you by south-west France, where folks live a whole decade longer on average.
All this despite the ready availability of some superlative booze – try the Pineau-de-Charentes as your aperitif, a cheeky Bordeaux with your main course and an after-dinner Cognac – after all, they are served with zero air miles if you live in this area, giving you a guilt-free tipple.
Local specialities include Boeuf Limousin, Magret de Canard and Foie Gras, Poulet de Barbezieux and Veau de Chalais. For more adventurous palate there’s a special version of the famed French snails – l’escargot à la charentaise.
Veggies will appreciate the locally-produced goat cheese in walnut-oil and pineau vinegar. And there is a booming truffle industry here.
The Charente flows through the area – part of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. The area is flanked by Charente-Maritime, Dordogne, Haute-Vienne, Vienne and Deux-Sèvres.
Charente is famous for the fields of sunflowers which stretch as far as the eye can see during July and August
Charente is one of 83 departments created during the French Revolution of 1790.
The area’s traditional industries include salt and cognac production. The area is also well known for producing pineau and butter. The felt and wool Charentaise slipper is also produced here.
The river Charente was used to transport goods to the coast in the 18th century. However it became silted up in the 20th century.
Industry quickened its pace in the 19th century and led to a marked increase in population. However a few decades later saw a ‘brain drain’ of working age people to the cities. The population dwindled, but then hung around the 340,000 mark. Thanks to some new industrial and commercial units near Angoulême there are now about 350,000 here.
The department is now the fourth most popular area for British expats, who now number well over 5,000.
If you’re moving to Charente, we are here to help. We provide a full range of services – all are fully insured and come with a smile, too.
Call 0800 917 1015 or email email@example.com for a competitive quote and let us take the strain.
We can move you to or from anywhere in the UK or Europe, using our large modern fleet of vehicles. Our fifty full-time staff have all been trained to the highest standard in all aspects of moving your house, office or business.
Armishaws always work to the highest standards and are proud to have held the BSEN 12522 certificate since 1999.
Why Choose Armishaws for your move
Our dedicated and trusted team will design a service to fit your every need.
There are lots of forums online for people who have moved, or are thinking of moving to France.
There’s a large and active expat community in Charente, willing to help any newbies.
A great way to carve out exactly the life you want in this area is to buy land and build. Building land prices are lower than the UK per square metre, making it an extremely low-priced option.
Not planning to build, take a look at some current homes for sale in Charente.
The area is an hour’s drive from Bordeaux, between the Dordogne and the Atlantic Coast.
The French government has invested eight billion euros in the LGV-project, (like the HS2), which offers the chance to get from Paris to Bordeaux in just two hours – you can hop on at Angoulême.
There are 136+ English-speaking international schools in France.
Stunning Montmoreau lies on the pilgrimage to Santiago di Compostella in south Charente.
The village is centuries old and boasts a 12th century Roman church and a jaw-droppingly lovely castle.
Despite its size Montmoreau is bristling with shops, services and facilities. It is flanked on all sides by gorgeous countryside, dotted with vineyards which light up the fields with many colours.
A quarter of an hour’s drive away there are smaller villages offering markets full of artisan loveliness, superb café terraces, restaurants and brocantes.
Officially dubbed one of the ‘most beautiful villages in France’, Aubeterre-sur-Dronne – in the south east of Charente – is well known for its underground Monolithic church Saint Jean.
It lies along the Dronne river, which runs between Charente and the Dordogne. There is a lovely traditional town square, filled with super eateries
There is an 11th century chateau here, with a rectangular 16th century gatehouse. There was once a drawbridge here. The remains of four circular towers still stand, alongside defensive walls, a lodgings house, a Renaissance chapel, and parts of an old curtain wall.
In the centre of the village is a Spanish-style square called the Place Merkès-Merval, named after opera singers Marcel Merkès and Paulette Merval. Traditional houses line the square, with wooden balconies and through an arch lies the Place Trarieux – a small plaza with ancient houses.
The lovely little town of Chalais has a castle and a monastery – all the French grandeur is here, set in the southern end of Charente near the borders of Charente-Maritime, Dordogne and Gironde.
Its popular market draws in lots of visitors on Mondays, with over 100 stalls.
Chalais is equidistant to Angoulême and Libourne at just over 40km from each, and 10km from Aubeterre-sur-Dronne.
The village is crossed by the Paris to Bordeaux line and has an SNCF station.
Sprinkled round Chalais are many hamlets, some of which were former parishes, such as Sainte-Marie, Sérignac and Saint-Christophe. The town is crossed by the river Tude, fed by the Dronne.
Chalais is a commercial town, with 60 shops and businesses.
There is a large furniture manufacturing company here, as well as a fairground and circus manufacturer.
A slaughterhouse for slaughtering Chalais veal has been here for over 50 years and there is an aerodrome for civil air traffic from Europe.
Chalais has a racecourse, which hosts international show jumping and there is a medical centre here too.
There is a primary and a secondary school, and many clubs and societies for all interests.
Beautiful Villebois Lavalette is set on a hill, 15 miles from Angoulême on the Périgord steps.
It has a lovely castle, a church, and market place built in the Middle Ages.
Villebois Lavalette is surrounded by farming land and it is a few miles from the main roads to the larger towns.
The castle’s owner Duke of Épernon, Jean Louis de Nogaret de La Valette gave the name of Valletta to Villebois in 1622.
The town was created in 1793, and it became Lavalette during the 19th century.
It has a secondary and an elementary school, and many clubs and societies for sports and the arts.
Magnac-Lavalette-Villars is in the Pays de Lavalette a stone’s throw from Villebois-Lavalette and ten miles from Angoulême.
It is a market town five miles from the Dordogne, with the small village of Villars on its northeast edge.
The parish was once a stronghold of the Rousseau de Magnac family, lord of Magnac and Mercerie14.
There was once a priory in Villars, which sits on the pilgrimage route of Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle.
Although the village has fewer than 500 people it still manages to support Avel – a shoe polish and cleaning products manufacturing company.
Its church Saint-Étienne was built in the 1190s and is a historic monument.