Charente is a French department located in the centre west of France. It is part of the Poitou-Charentes region along with Charente Maritime, Deux Sèvres and Vienne departments. About 347,000 inhabitants live currently in Charente. Its name comes from the Charente River which crosses the department. Two languages are spoken in the area: the Saintongeais in the west and Occitan in the east.
Charente is a thriving department due to several economic sectors. Cognac production is one of the incomes of Charente. It is exported at about 95%, France’s consumption being only of 5%. The famous brandy represents 45% of the agriculture economic resource of the department. Cognac also allowed Charente to develop other dynamic industries such as cardboard packaging, tags, transport, cooperage and distillation equipment. Papermaking industry has been for a long time a flagship sector in Charente.
The department houses many typical towns. In the south east, an international festival welcomes each year hundreds of visitors. It takes place in Angouleme and deals with comic trips. This is a worldwide meeting not to be missed. On the way, you can also visit the beautiful town centre and nature areas.
Finally, any one should be seduced by the charming Charente valley and River. The Charente is sometimes nicknamed ‘happy river’. In some places, it forms small wonderful isles. Several paths allow both hikers and bikers to discover this area of the department. Woods, lakes and streams are also part of this amazing setting!
In 2009, the property price in Charente is about €1,523/square metre. The national average being €3,197/square metre, the department appears to be a cheap area where it is interesting investing. Moreover, many towns of Charente house more tenants than owners, which give the department excellent rental opportunities. Thus, if you are looking for a placement, a buy-to-let is perfect for you. Notice however that the demand seems higher in 4 and 5-room properties. If you are looking to settle in the area, then prices are cheap and you can easily find bargains.
Wine and alcoholic drinks: the area is famous amongst others for its alcohols. Indeed, the brandy Cognac has an international reputation. Pineau des Charentes is a mix of local wine and Cognac and is usually served during the aperitif. You can accompany your meals with local wines.
Location – transport links: Angouleme and Cognac are within easy reach. Angouleme-Cognac airport offers regular flights to the UK which is a great asset for the Brits since they are able to go back to their country quite very easily. By train, many towns are connected to Paris and other French destinations thanks to the high-speed line.
Atlantic Ocean and weather: Charente is located near the Atlantic coast. Thus, in summer (and even all year long), your family will be happy to reach the seaside in few hours. Due to its location, it allows many sorts of activities such as canoeing, kayaking or water-skiing in the Charente River. Furthermore, Charente is located in the second sunniest region of France. This is a very pleasant department either to settle in or to spend holidays in a second home.
Rental opportunities: many towns of Charente offer good rental opportunities. Indeed, in some towns, at least half of the residents are tenants. These areas are thus a great location for a buy-to-let. If you are looking for a placement, the department is likely to be a profitable area with great return on investment. Furthermore, property prices are low and it is easy to find bargains.
Gourmet food: Charente is famous for some produces such as Cognac, Pineau des Charentes and oysters. But it has much more to offer! Many starters are to be tasted: cagouilles (grilled, stuffed or sauce snails), gros grillon and grillon charentais (meat). As regards vegetables, earth in the department is favourable to melon production as well as baragane (a sort of leek) and mojhette (beans). Caillebotte is a local fromage frais (fresh cheese). Desserts are also very good and worth tasting. Merveilles (a sort of donut), millas (a cake made of corn flour), cornuelle and galette charentaise (traditional cookies) and pine fourrée (a local cream puff) are just some examples.
Local Property Market: 7 Popular Towns
Angouleme property: the town is renowned worldwide mainly thanks to its International Comics festival which take place each year in January. But Angouleme is also a beautiful place either to settle in or to spend holidays. As far as property is concerned, Angouleme is a cheap area offering good rental opportunities.
Aubeterre sur Dronne property: it is a very small town of about 400 inhabitants where calmness and beautiful scenery are the two keywords. The town even equipped a beach with sand and activities are organized. It is a great location if you are countryside lover and you want to settle in a quiet town. Property prices are thus quite low and you can easily find a bargain.
Cognac property: this is the traditional town of the famous brandy, loved all over the world. France’s consumption is only less than 5% of the total production. The rest is exported mainly in Europe and in the USA. The town devoted a museum to the liqueur. Cognac is also the birthplace of King François 1, to who is dedicated a park. As regards property, prices are low and it represent a good place if you are looking for a buy-to-let.
Confolens property: place of history and culture, Confolens is renowned for its folklore festival. Many points of interest are worth seeing especially religious monuments. A very sought-after destination amongst British and Dutch people, and some properties are of great value.
Jarnac property: it is the birthplace of the former French President François Mitterrand. Several monuments are dedicated to him: his native house and museum may be visited as well as its gravestone. Properties there can be expensive but it is easy to find bargains: well-to-do people or not, you will be satisfied.
La Couronne property: this is a town housing several beautiful religious monuments (abbey, castle and church). The town is located close to the Atlantic coast and offers good transport links to the UK. As regards real estate, La Couronne is a great location for a buy-to-let investment as tenants are numerous. Prices being quite low, your placement should be fast profitable.
Ruffec property: religious monuments in the town are a must-visit. Different styles and periods of construction will let you know more about Ruffec's past. Investments there are definitely worthwhile, with a very low property price average.
Charentaise houses: they are widespread all over Poitou Charentes. These typical and charming properties have a rectangular and symmetrical shape. They are built on one or two floors, seldom more. They often come with a piece of land, a cellar and a chimney. The main materials used for the building are wood and stones.
Farmhouses: they were originally the homes of farmers but are more and more converted into houses. They are made of stones and wood and hold outbuildings such as barns, stables or cottages. Located in rural areas, they offer a beautiful view on the countryside and calmness. They may come with a cellar and a wine warehouse.
Manor houses: they are massive properties often constructed with stones. A garden and outbuildings such as cottages often accompany the house. The courtyard is in general closed with a nice gate and walled all along the land. Their shape is usually rectangular and they have a sloping roof with red tiles.