The river Charente flows for 360 km of meanders, on which it is possible to navigate between Montignac-Charente and the Atlantic Ocean (that isto say for 170 km).
The river Charente has its source in Chéronnac, not far from Rochechouart (Haute-Vienne, 87), at a height of 310 meters . Then it goes through the departments of Charente (16), Vienne (86) and Charente-Maritime (17) before to flow into the Atlantic Oceanat the Rochefort estuary. We can find 21 locks along its way.
THE RIVER'S COURSE :
It can be separated in three parts :
It is long of 128 km , with a quite strong slop of 2 m/km. Just before Mansle (height : 55m), Charente receives numerous affluents on the left bank. These affluents have a bigger slope ( 4 m/km).
It is long of 125 km , with a quite mild slope (40 cm/km). The Charente receives the Aume on the right bank, with a rate of draft of 100 m3/s sometimes in Ambérac, and the Touvre on the left bank, just before Angoulême. The river has large meanders on this part, and some branches end in cul-de-sacs, creating numerous islets. After Angoulême, The river becomes wider and reguliar, that's why we can navigate on it.
It has a very gentle slope (6 cm/km) an dit receives a lot of affluents like the Né, the Antenne, the Seugne et after Saintes the biggest affluent is the Boutonne. This part of the river is under the influence of the tide, which we can feel until Saintes, and that blocks in part the flow until Cognac and Jarnac.
CITIES ACROSS THE RIVER :
THE HAUTE-CHARENTE LAKES
We can find the Haute-Charente lakes in the Charente Limousine, at the very beginning of the river Charente . The lake of Lavaud and the lake of Mas Chaban form together a 400 hectares water area, created to supply the river when in period of low water. The lakes have been developped to welcome visitors. In the very middle of nature, it is possible to hike, to bath, to fish, to canoe...