Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Messing about on the Charente...
I took a hooky half day yesterday as I had been invited out on to the river by my good friend Andy. We both have similar backgrounds in that we had reasonably successful careers back in the UK but moved to France to escape the rat race and enjoy life at a quieter pace.
We met up at the quayside in Bourg Charente, just outside the Michelin starred "La Ribaudiere" restaurant. I assumed that getting the boat from the trailer into the river and prepared for launching would be a complicated affair but before you could say Kenneth Grahame we were up & running and messing about on the river.
If you have never travelled along the Charente between Angouleme & Saintes I beg you to do so....it's a truly beautiful stretch and the locks are a pretty & pleasurable diversion rather than a chore.
Some of the houses are also quite stunning with a mix of brave modern architecture and traditional Charentaise masterpieces. They even put to shame some of the wonderful riverside properties in Henley & Weybridge that we knew so well.
Riverside property here is such wonderful value for money but it's rare that the better houses hit the open market - it really is a case of "local knowledge" winning out if you want to buy the best.
My favourite stretch was along the quayside in Cognac, we sailed majestically by the tourists who were hopping onto the Hennessy boat for their guided tour and it's only really from the middle of the river that you can appreciate the scale and beauty of the Otard chateau.
All in all a cracking day out and a gentle reminder to Andy & myself of how lucky we are to have jumped off the wheel and escaped the cage.