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The English have long loved living here in Châteauneuf-sur-Charente, between Angoulême and Cognac on the banks of the Charente.
The Treaty of Brétigny, signed in 1360, ceded Châteauneuf to the English like all Angoumois. They occupied it for 20 years. The English loved this place because of its bridge.
The town has many hamlets, such as, on the right bank of the Charente: Saint-Surin, Pellegeais, Coupeaux, Coutardière, and on the left bank, Peyronnets, Jobits, Gré, Grand Gaudy, Longeville, Bois Durand, Grand Bourgloux, at Merlet, Haute Roche, Chassors, etc. as well as newer farms and subdivisions.
It hasn’t always been the idyllic town it is today.
The Saint-Pierre church was damaged during the revolts against the salt tax from 1555 to 1560 and during the wars of religion.
On 16 August 1768, a huge storm killed eight people. And in 1813 the city suffered from 34 floods.
In 2017, the town had 3,536 inhabitants, who work in a range of industries.
Wine is of course is an important activity of Châteauneuf, which is located in Petite Champagne, in the area for cognac production.
Some producers sell cognac, Pineau des Charentes and vin de pays on the property.
It’s a lively place, with a public pool, tennis court, dojo, weights and basketball room, a skate park and an entertainments room.
The parish church of St Peter is remarkable for its statuary and in particular the rider of the frontispiece, which represents the first Christian Roman emperor, Constantine, crushing paganism. This statue symbolizes the victory of Christendom over paganism by the construction of the church, since it was built on an old pagan place of worship.
Its high facade of 24 metres, divided into three vertical parts and three horizontal parts is considered to be one of the most beautiful facades of Charente. From 1846 to 1860, the architect Paul Abadie undertook the restoration of the church. The remarkable hinges, fittings, door knockers as well as the ironwork of the two glass doors giving access to the church were made in 1851 by the artistic ironworker Pierre Boulanger.
The church hides an amusing detail, a snail carved in high relief, at the end of the nave, on the altar side. The squirrel snail is a symbol of Charente, supposed to both represent the character of the inhabitants, discreet, peaceful and not inclined to get excited.
The Saint-Pierre church was a former Benedictine priory of the Abbey of Bassac.
It has been classified as a historical monument since 1862.
In the years 700-800, that is to say at the time when Pepin the Short then Charlemagne reigned, the shepherds who lived in colonies in the area built a church. The small church of Saint-Surin is an authentic and completely preserved historical monument and well worth a visit.
The manor or home of Berdeville, next to the church, was probably built in the 15th century but was subsequently radically altered and now houses the hospital. It faces the church, forming a lovely picture.
Châteauneuf had a medieval bridge over the Charente, which was for a long time the only stone bridge over the river between Cognac and Angoulême. The bridge unfortunately suffered from the drought of 1976 – the very low water level in the Charente caused the foundations on wooden piles to dry up, causing the partial collapse of a pier of the bridge. The decision was then taken to demolish the structure, and to replace it with a concrete bridge, of a larger size. The bridge has lost much of its charm, but traffic on the Charente has been improved.
The Town Hall, which was also a court and a prison, has a neoclassical architecture rare in the region, with columns, pediment, and monumental staircase.
Near the campsite, a small sandy beach on the banks of the Charente offers walkers an area for relaxation and a lovely view of Mattard Island. Le Bain des Dames offers games and a ‘meadow’ for children (tennis tables, balls, summer refreshment bar, etc.).
There are beautiful cliffs to the west of the city, where vestiges of the Neolithic period have been found, offering a superb panorama. A must-visit is the Font Qui Pisse site, which features limestone cliffs, several caves and climbing.
You can also go to two small islands, the Fuie Islands, which serve as a landing stage for river tourism.
Many picturesque sites and beautiful panoramas surround the town on the low hills of the Charente and on the river.
It is reminiscent of Provence or Tuscany, with vines, fig trees, almond trees and holm oak dotting the landscape, amid the spires of very old Romanesque churches or the roofs of winegrowers’ houses.
Before the 11th century, Châteauneuf was first called Bardevilla before becoming Châteauneuf due to the construction of a new castle in the 12th century.
Thanks to aerial archeology, remains of protohistoric enclosures or ditches have also been found in the town.
The Roman road between Saintes and Périgueux passes over the slopes at the southern limit of the town, its right-of-way still being used and called the Chemin Boisné.
Some Roman remains have been found mainly on the right bank, near Saint-Surin.
A cemetery of warriors has been found at Gré.
The first castle, on the Ile de la Fuie (also called Calais), an island in the Charente, probably already existed in the time of Clovis and was burned down around 1081. Its location allowed it to control navigation on the river and probably its crossing by a ford or perhaps a first bridge. It was certainly a primitive fort, in wood. After the fire, a new castle was built, in stone, on the neighbouring hillside on the left bank of the Charente, dominating the initial site, hence the name ‘new chasteau’.
Traditionally the economy of Saint-Simeux was based on mills and river transport.
At the place called Les Corbeaux, on the dam on the Charente, there are seven valves designed to receive paddle wheels (the water is too low for turbines). Wheat and oil mills were built in the 17th century. By 1898, there were only three mills, which all stopped operating during the latter half of the 20th century.
Five of these wheels drove stone grindstones to crush the grain. From around 1920, there was only one pair of millstones left for crushing barley for cattle, which stopped around 1962. The other three valves abandoned the use of millstones and installed cylinders around this year. to make wheat flour.
The last of these two mills was the Marot flour mill which was built in 1906 in place of a former wheat mill. It was enlarged in 1946 and closed in June 1971.
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Chateauneuf-sur-Charente is located 17km west and downstream of Angoulême and 24 km east of Cognac. It is also 13 km south-east and upstream of Jarnac, 9 km south of Hiersac, 15 km from Blanzac, 16 km from Barbezieux, 20 km from Rouillac, 21 km from Archiac.
Châteauneuf is at the crossroads of several relatively important departmental roads:
The D 14 from Baignes to Rouillac via Barbezieux and Hiersac crosses the town from north to south, as well as the Charente by a stone bridge. The D 14 joins the N 10 to the south in the direction of Bordeaux at Pont-à-Brac (municipality of Nonaville ). It was the post office route between Paris and Bordeaux before 1760.
The D 22, route de Jarnac to Villebois-Lavalette via Vibrac runs along the Charente on the right bank and also intersects the N 10; but the D 42 allows you to go quickly to Angoulême via the Roullet-Saint-Estèphe interchange.
Finally, a secondary road network also serves neighboring municipalities.
Châteauneuf also has a river stop for rental barges.
Chateauneuf-sur-Charente has a large secondary school, an elementary school and a private primary school.
Angeac-Charente is a town in the west of the Charente department, ten miles west of Angoulême and five miles east of Jarnac, on the south bank of the Charente.
The population is scattered in many hamlets. The village of Angeac is not very big; it is built around its church.
The most important population centre is the village of Bergeries, near the railway line, which extends to Barrauds, near the town hall, with the village comprising the church.
The other hamlets are: Lasdoux, at the foot of the large woods which cover the south of the town, the Moulin, on an arm of the Charente to the west, À Guignard and À Laumel Thomas, near the road from Châteauneuf to Cognac, Rivière, at Piet’s and Bajot’s, in the Charente valley and Ortre, on the road from Angeac to Bouteville.
The south of the town consists of a wooded plateau, whose slopes are covered with cognac vineyards.
All the north of the town is included in the valley of the Charente, the river which borders the town.
Between the river and Brassour or Brassiaud, which is an arm of the river, stretches a very large island known as the prairie d’Angeac.
The term Charente was added to the name of the town in 1801 to differentiate it from its namesake Angeac-Champagne .
Under the Ancien Régime, Angeac was an outbuilding of the Château de Vibrac.
The Angoulême-Cognac railway line, opened in 1867, crosses the town but the closest station is Saint-Amant-de-Graves.
Viticulture is an important activity of Angeac-Charente, which is located in the area of controlled designation of origin cognac, in Petite Champagne.
Small producers of cognac, Pineau des Charentes and Vin de Pays Charente are located in the town.
The school is an intercommunal educational group (RPI) between Bonneuil, Bouteville and Angeac-Charente. Bouteville hosts the nursery school and Angeac-Charente and Bonneuil the elementary schools.
The parish church of St Peter, located in the town, was built in the 14th century.
While the manor of La Motte was destroyed, there remains the manor of Bergeries mentioned in 1679 and the manor of the mill which bears the date of 1765 on its door.
The wash houses are numerous and undated: that of Angeac, those of Ortre, Ladoux and Bergeries are very accessible.
A water tower stands in Angeac between the D 10 and the D 154.The building is managed by the Syndicat Mixte Alimentation Drinking Water and Sanitation (SMAEPA).
It serves the municipalities of Châteauneuf, Angeac, Graves Saint Amant, Mosnac, Saint Simeux, Saint Simon and Vibrac,
A memorial dedicated to Claude Bonnier has been erected to the north-east of the town along the D 404 linking Angeac to Vibrac. The monument is placed at the same place where Claude Bonnier, coming from London, landed by plane on the night of 14 November, 1943. Engaged in the Free French Forces, he joined, in Chasseneuil, Colonel Chabanne, leader of the marquis of Bir Hacheim. Arrested after a denunciation in 1944, he killed himself so as not to betray his friends.
Since the 1990s, bones dating from the Quaternary period have been regularly exhumed: mammoth tusks or vertebrae, or even flints which are on show at the Angoulême Museum.
In February 2010, dinosaur bones were discovered in quarries in the town. Importantly, a large sauropod femur, a large rare dinosaur were found here.
This site is one of the richest dinosaur deposits in France. More than 400 bones were exhumed from the first excavation campaign in 2010. But what is especially remarkable is the exceptional quality of conservation of the bones. There is a great diversity of fossils dating back to the Lower Cretaceous, 130 million years ago. The sauropod skeletal bone found there belongs to the largest known sauropod in Europe. This femur is 2.20 meters long, which suggests a weight of around forty tons for about 35 metres long. There are also fossils of herbivorous and carnivorous dinosaurs nine metres high mixed with remains of aquatic animals. Most of the fossils belong to three species of dinosaurs, two types of turtles and three species of crocodiles.
The site used to be a swamp which extended over the region of Angeac so the creatures were quickly buried under protective clay, which fossilised the vegetation, which is very rare. An abundance of fossils of fossilized wood, leaves and seeds were also discovered, which makes it possible to reconstitute the flora and therefore the ecosystem of the Lower Cretaceous, a period very little documented in Europe.
St Simeux is a couple of miles from Châteauneuf-sur-Charente and eight miles from Angoulême, on the right bank of the Charente.
A bridge crossing the river connects the town and the village to Mosnac.
The closest station is Châteauneuf, served by TER to Angoulême, Cognac, Saintes and Royan.
The town has a few hamlets – Plançon and Tourtron to the west, Coupeaux on the southern limit, Corbeaux to the south of the town opposite, and to the north-east a whole group including Miots, Bois de Vog, the Forgerie, les Pellières and Chez Touchard.
Saint-Simeux occupies the interior of a wide bend in the river, the southern part of which crosses the town of Châteauneuf.
It is built at the top of the concave bank which borders another meander, that of Mosnac, and the village is overhanging, hence the name of rampart given to this steep place.
The Ris, a temporary stream tributary of the Charente in Vibrac, limits the town to the north-west. Another small stream is born at the foot of the town and Maine Michaud to flow into the Charente after 200 meters. There are also some wash houses and fountains.
The town is essentially rural, and viticulture occupies part of the agricultural activity. Saint-Simeux is classified in the Fins Bois, in the area of controlled designation of origin of cognac.
The school is an RPI between Mosnac and Saint-Simeux, which each host an elementary school. The Saint-Simeux school, located in the village, has two classes.
The parish church of St Simeon is 12th century and was rebuilt in the 14th century. It was rebuilt in 1867-1868 because in 1844, the choir, the bell tower and the left gutter of the nave had collapsed. The brick vaults date from 1893 and the frame was redone and the bell tower consolidated from 1964 to 1969.
The residence of Tourteron bears on a small door the date of 1592 and on the portal that of 1636 – it was rebuilt under François I er. It has outbuildings around a square courtyard, a common oven, a buggy room (laundry room), a chapel and a watchtower. Common and southeast outbuildings were redesigned in the 19th century. Next to the house is a dovecote.
Bouteville is a town on the left bank of the Charente four miles west of Châteauneuf, ten miles east of Cognac and 15 miles west of Angoulême.
The village of Bouteville extends at the foot of the hillock which supports the castle.
The main hamlets of the town are, near the town, the Prat and the Gauthiers. Douvesse is on the hills that cover the north of the town and Maine des Champs is on Boisné and Armelle road to the north.
The town is crossed by a single stream, which takes its source at the foot of the town and fed by many small sources in Gautiers, it flows northward and passes Anqueville, then leaves the town before flowing into the Charente. A few wash houses also mark its course.
Built at the top of a high hill, from where you can see the ramparts of Angoulême, located near the Chemin Boisné, the Roman road from Saintes to Périgueux, which was once the busiest path in the region, the castle de Bouteville played a most important role in the history of the region.
The original castle was built at the time of the Norman invasions, in order to protect the region against incursions by the Barbarians.
The counts of Angoulême made numerous stays in the seigneury of Bouteville, one of the most important among their possessions.
During the Hundred Years War, the Château de Bouteville played a most important role. The English having seized it, made it a formidable stronghold. The English garrison, commanded by Héliot de Plassac, still resisted in 1369, while all the surrounding places were taken over by the French.
However Héliot de Plassac was surprised by the troops of Jacques de Surgères and Renaud VI, Lord of Pons. His troops were cut to pieces, he was taken prisoner and the castle was taken over by the French.
The following year, the English having received reinforcements, seized Bouteville again, which was given by the king of England Richard II.
The English were to stay in Bouteville for many years.
During the fight of King Henri IV against the Ligueurs, the eldest son of the Lord of Bouteville, François II de Montmorency-Hallot, was one of the king’s warmest supporters; he behaved valiantly at Arques and Ivry, and attended the siege of Paris. Seriously wounded at the siege of Rouen, he was slowly recovering in Vernon, when he was assassinated by the Marquis d’Allègre, at the age of thirty-six.
Bouteville has had a steadily declining population since 1806. In 200 years, the drop has been 58%.
The economy is above all agricultural and wine-growing with producers and sales of cognac, pineau des Charentes and vin de pays Charentais.
The nearest shops are in Châteauneuf.
At the foot of the castle is the Baume de Bouteville factory, an artisanal balsamic vinegar made from grapes.
The Château d’Anqueville, established on a rocky outcrop overlooking the stream, the pond and the mill. It is located on the edge of the municipalities of Saint-Even-les-Carrières and Graves-Saint-Amant. This medieval castle was destroyed during the Hundred Years War and rebuilt in the 15th century before being partly demolished in the 16th century. There remains a dungeon as well as the remains of fortifications with rampart walk, turrets and curtain walls. The leak disappeared and the water mill was destroyed by a storm in 1768. The Château d’Anqueville was used as a bed and breakfast.
Birac is two miles south of Châteauneuf-sur-Charente and 12 miles south-west of Angoulême.
Apart from the village, the town has a few hamlets, such as Galacherie and Croix Nouveau to the north along the Chemin Boisné, La Pouyade, Bussac and les Bouries to the east. There are also many farms.
The town is not crossed by any watercourse.
In the Middle Ages, Birac had many fiefdoms. One of the most important was the Beauries (currently Bouries), whose home has a Renaissance door which still exists
The parish church of Our Lady probably dates from the 18th century. Devastated by the Protestants during the religious wars the roof was redone in 1630. The collapsed steeple has not been reassembled. More recently, its nave was renovated in 1900.
The bell dates from 1879 and was cast in Saint-Émilion. The church furniture also has many objects, including paintings, a 1883 stained glass, a marble altar, a statue of the Virgin and Child from the 15th century.
A healing fountain was nearby, famous for healing wounds, and it is believed that the niche dug in one of the buttresses of the bedside housed a statuette.
The town has many dwellings dating from the 17th century.