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Tourism: The White Book of the Charente River for slow roaming and the art of living

06/01/2022 | On the Charente river, a river stop soon to be a “fluvestre” stop…

The Charente-Maritime department, owner of the Charente river, signed the White Paper on the Charente river on May 23, providing a framework with various partners for its tourist development. These partners are five intermunicipalities, twenty-six neighboring municipalities and the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.

“Slow tourism” is a concept that the French and even more broadly the Europeans owe to the Italians and their invention of the Cittaslow (slow city), which advocates a return to a peaceful and reasoned pace of life, through tourist development. sustainable and local where the art of living and homelessness are appreciated at a slower pace in a place.

This labeling, whose symbol is also a snail (that’s a good thing), could tomorrow, in 2027, be perfectly suitable for the Charente river and its splendid valley, now that the “White Book of the River” has just been signed Charente 2022-2027”. This document was initiated in 2018 by the Departmental Council of Charente-Maritime, owner of the river since 2007. On the strength of a collective reflection, the departmental assembly had then drawn up and voted “the departmental plan of the occupations of the Charente river”. In 2022, an additional step was taken thanks to this new tool, the White Paper, which provides a partnership framework for local authorities who are stakeholders and signatories (see below).

Harmonization of tariffs, connection between land and river, identical financial distribution keys

Concretely, how will this be organised? Through a connection between river policies, blue and land, green (fishing, hiking and cycling on the Flow bike), by harmonizing the pricing policy at river stops, by common signage, by prioritizing projects, by identical legal regulations, by common technical operation and by the application of defined and identical financial distribution keys. And as money is always the sinews of war, the keys to financial distribution provide that for river infrastructures: the department is the contracting authority, it finances 100% of major maintenance, the region contributes 25% works within the framework of river roaming and intermunicipalities up to 30% of the remaining amount. For land equipment works, it is the intercommunality where the municipality is the contracting authority and the department participates up to 30%.

The signatories of the Charente river white paper with Sylvie Marcilly, president of the Charente-Maritime departmental council.The signatories of the Charente river white paper with Sylvie Marcilly, president of the Charente-Maritime departmental council.

Thus, the first works took place in 2021 with the reconstruction of the pontoon in the municipality of Les Gonds. Currently Salignac-sur-Charente and Port d’Envaux are benefiting from work on their river stops. Work on the other river stops will extend until 2027. The river stops designate, with the neologism of fluvestre, the link between river and land.

The “bicycle flow” parallel to the Charente

The flow bike is a cycling route that starts in the Dordogne, in Thiviers exactly to go to Fouras in Charente-Maritime crossing the Charente department and along the Charente river. The river stopovers along this route must have facilities for both bicycles and boats.

The signing of this white paper on May 23 brought together all the elected officials concerned around Sylvie Marcilly, the president of the Departmental Council of La Charente-Maritime during a two and a half hour cruise on the Charente river aboard the Palissy II, river cruise boat with electro-solar propulsion. This walk allowed everyone to appreciate the beauty of the landscapes, the variety of biodiversity and the richness of the heritage. A moment out of time appreciated by all the participants.

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The five intermunicipalities concerned: CDA of Rochefort Océan, CDC Coeur de Saintonge, Vals de Saintonge Community, CDA of Saintes, CDC of Haute Saintonge.
The twenty-six municipalities are: Tonnay-Charente, St-Hippolyte, Cabariot, La Vallée, Bords, St-Savinien, Romegoux, Geay, Le Mung, Crazannes, Taillebourg, Port d’Envaux, St-Vaize, Bussac-sur- Charente, Fontcouverte, Saintes, Les Gonds, Chaniers, Courcoury, Saint-Sever-de-Saintonge, Dompierre-sur-Charente, Rouffiac, Montils, Chérac, Brives-sur-Charente, Salignac-sur-Charente.

Virginia Valadas
By Virginie Valadas

Photo credit: Virginie Valadas

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