This is a different camp for us, but it is so alluring, so deliciously enticing to row down a simple river in a historic region of old France that we were delighted to offer: Rowing the Cognac region: April 19th -25th 2015
         All the details are below: scroll down and each tab will bring up the appropriate information. We expect this camp to be very popular, if you would like to join us, the details and costs tab will allow you to put a deposit so that we hold a spot for you. If you have any questions, please call or e-mail us!


gateWe are staying in a 17th C chateau and its "dependences" with beautiful grounds and facilities.The origins of the estate can be traced back to the twelfth century and the remains of a Romanesque chapel still stand in the grounds. The construction of the present house was started in the early 1600's. Until the early 1950's the estate was one of the largest private Cognac producers in the region with large vineyards in the immediate surrounding area together with others around Cognac and Jarnac.

There are 8 bedrooms in the main chateau and an additional 11 in two charmingly converted domanial buildings. Some rooms are doubles and some are twin bedded rooms. Since there are three buildings we will also be able to group friends if requested.

domaineOverlooking parkland to the front of the estate, Le Domaine once housed the press for producing wine and cognac. and this only ceased in the 1950's. It is however the tower which gives the house its name, being originally the apartment of the gamekeeper.


stablesSurrounded by vineyards, the old stables and groom's tower have also been converted into a roomy and charming property.




 The chateau living room, billiard room, and dining room open onto the south facing terrace which runs the whole length of the building and overlooks the large secluded garden and park, a perfect place for late afternoon cocktails...


The Charente is well known in France as a gastronomic region, famous for it's butter, cream and cheese, markets of fresh vegetables and wines of course...Bordeaux is 45mns away, we will row through the town of Cognac. We will breakfast each morning in the chateau, (Kathy and Karen special). We will lunch locally to refuel in a civilised way after our row in the towns we arrive in, or have a catered picnic by the river, weather permitting. In the evenings, after a long day of rowing and sightseeing, we will dine "at home", with our own chef preparing us dinners the way the french eat, complete of course with local wines. You can stroll back to your room on your own steam!

               bedroom2                          bedroom 5




River and Boats

 charente sign

The river Charente is no longer used for any commercial activity, but the region has been occupied since prehistoric times. The Romans navigated the river and the name Charente is a derived of the Latinfor "gravelly". From the middle ages through to the mid 19th C the river was used to transport cognac downstream to the ports, and salt and other goods inland in traditional flat bottomed boats named "gabarres". The original gabarres were towed from the tow path which is still in evidence along the river.


cognacIt was this wine and salt commerce which led the 19thc engineers to put in a series of locks to accommodate a more regular traffic and river flow. Because the river was the highway of the day, chateaux and monasteries are located along its banks, for our travelling pleasure. Today it is a calm scenic waterway, dotted with docks and ancient structures.






We will be rowing coxed quads similar to the one pictured above. Coxing is very agreable though not so athletic, so typically we rotate through the position. Many of the locks are self operated, which is where the cox is also very useful...We will row between 24 and 33 km each day, starting early and ending in time for a late lunch, with the occasional exploratory stop along the way. The afternoons are reserved for exploration and R and R. Please refer to the schedule for more details...



Location and travel



The Charente river is located in southwest France, just north of the Bordeaux region of France. You would fly or train into Bordeaux. Bordeaux (Merignac) is an international airport with connecting flights from Paris and other european capitals. There are also 21 high speed trains per day from Paris (a little over 3 hour trip), and Angouleme or Bordeaux would be your arrival destination.


access Bordeaux is a 60 mile drive to the chateau, and we will be glad to help you pool a taxi with other campers, if you choose not to rent a car. The taxi ride runs about 250 E one way. If you do wish to rent a car, we have used Europcar and Sixt rentals succesfully in the past, as well of course as the big ones, Hertz and Avis. If you are coming alone, we will be glad to connect you with other campers who might wish to share a car.





Our Schedule

Sunday 11 am: Leave from the chateau and travel to Angouleme, meet our hosts, get all the advice we can, prepare the boats. We will be rowing a first leg this afternoon, about 6k to St Michel. We will be accompanied by a guide to show us the ropes.
Monday : St Michel to Saint-Simon: 27 kms , 9 locks. St Simon is a tiny village now, but was the center of flat bottomed boat building in the past.
Tuesday: Saint-Simon - Cognac : 25kms , 6 locks. We will stop at the local rowing club, and visit the historic city of cognac, possibly visit some of it's "houses" of cognac.
Wednesday: Cognac - Saintes : 34kms, 3 locks. Saintes was a main stop on the medieval pilgrimage route of St James of Compostela in Spain. Again, the local rowing club will keep our vessels overnight.
Thursday : Saintes - St Savinien : 22kms , no locks. St Savinien is a pictoresque town perched on a limestone shelf. It's white stone sourced many a local and distant chateau and is one of the reasons the romanesque carvings on local churches were so beautiful.
Friday: St Savinien - Rochefort : 27kms (1 lock ). Rochefort was the ocean access port and was the royal navy yard.
Saturday morning: departure.

The details...

As anyone who has done camps with us in the past knows, we like to eat well and be comfortable. We take care of all the planning details for you. The cost is $3100.00 all inclusive of housing, meals, transportation to rowing and boats. We do not include your transportation to and from the chateau on the first day and the last. The cost for a non-rower, sharing a rowers room, is $1600.00.

Payment schedule:

  Rowers  Non rower (in rowers room)  
Deposit (due on sign-up) :  $700.00   $400
First payment (due 12/01/2015)  $1200.00   $600.00
Final payment (due 03/01/2015) $1200.00 $600.00



Please read our cancellation policy below before signing up, and please verify with us that the camp is set before purchasing air tickets. Because even waitlisted rowers cannot change plans at the last minute, and most of our costs are fixed and paid in advance, we encourage you to protect your trip with travel insurance.

Cancellation Policy:

Your deposit saves your space until the first payment due date, and cannot be refunded.
If you need to cancel after the first payment has been made, we will attempt to find a replacement for your spot. If we can find a replacement, we will credit your first payment. If you need to cancel after the second payment it is not reimbursable. Please call us if you have any questions.
Please download the Waiver and send it to us before or with your final payment.


Non Rowers and Not rowing...

There is a lot to do for non rowers, enough to tempt the rowers away from the river: however, because the rowers transportation is one way, and we are lunching and touring at our arrival towns, we recommend that non rowers rent a car, . We can help you with the arrangements.

Golf: There are several golf courses near by for golfers.(links to follow)

Hiking: For hikers there is an extensive network (over 8o marked trails, marked GR in France for Grande Randonnee) http://www.ffrandonnee.fr..There is, in addtition, the tow road which follows the river fairly consistently, and is great for biking or walking. we can always arrange a packed lunch for you.

Horses: The french National stud is nearby Haras National de Saintes

Touring: This area is a center for french romanesque architecture, with several Unesco World Heritage sites, and many ruins to wander. In addition, the border between France and England during the 100 year war was in fact the Charente river, so fortified castles abound.

More pics


We expect this camp to fill up quickly: so please reserve your space by using the deposit button below. If you are purchasing for a rower and a non rower, you have to put first one, then the other in the cart. It is not smart enough to do both at once!

Charente trip deposit:
non rower
stair 2 benches living



For questions, or to order by phone, please call us: USA (203) 405-1818