Explore the Boutonne valley by canoe or kayak

Follow the waymarked itinerary to explore the Boutonne valley by canoe or kayak from the base at Saint-Jean-d’Angély.

Discover the Charentais countryside from the waterside.  Savour the delights of the river Boutonne, the longest right-bank tributary of the Charente.  Start from Saint-Jean-d’Angély and enjoy a pastoral idyll by canoe that’s accessible for all!


The water sports centre at Saint-Jean-d’Angély

Start your voyage down the Boutonne at the canoe club of Saint-Jean-d’Angély, the Kayak Club Angérien, an approved member of the École Française de Canoë-Kayak.  You’ll find it at the water sports centre by the Bernouët lake in Saint-Jean-d’Angély.  By the way, did you know that in the Middle Ages, this was the main boat-building port on the Boutonne?

So what’s the difference between a canoe and a kayak?

You can choose a kayak or a canoe for your first trip down the Boutonne – but what’s the difference?

In a canoe, you’re usually on your knees but on a calm stretch of water like the Boutonne, you can paddle from the thwarts.  The paddle has just one blade and is relatively short.

In a kayak, however, you sit on a seat with your legs bent towards the front of the craft.  The paddle is longer than a canoe’s and also has two blades.

Whether you hire a kayak or canoe, you can “navigate” on your own or with others in the same craft.

La Gargotte, a fun itinerary on the Benouët lake

To make the most of your first excursion as a family, and once you’ve selected your craft, chose from a one hour or two hour itinerary by following the waymarked route: La Petite Gargotte, 2.3km long or the Grande Gargotte of 3.5km.

These fun itineraries start with a trip along the river, bordered with fields, to join the Gargotte, a branch of the Boutonne that reaches as far as the locks.  Difficult to not appreciate the bucolic charm of the scenery.

The Boutonne valley by canoe or kayak


There are three waymarked itineraries to follow, ranging from 5km to 15km.  Hire your canoe or kayak at the water sports centre in Saint-Jean-d’Angély.  Your boats will be transported back to the base depending on the chosen journey.

A two hour descent in a canoe from Saint-Julien

If you’ve already tried canoeing, go for a descent of the Boutonne from Saint-Julien-de-l’Escap.  The voyage starts 5km upstream from Saint-Jean-d’Angély.  You will doubtless be obliged to disembark depending on the selected branch of the river but don’t worry!  It’s a well-marked route with passing and disembarking places.

A half-day in a canoe as far as Torxé

The sportier among you can go for the descent of the Boutonne from Saint-Jean-d’Angély as far as the village of Torxé – at least 3 hours for an 8km trip.

A whole-day by Kayak to Tonnay-Boutonne


How about a day on the water with a picnic on the banks of the Boutonne?  There’s a 15km itinerary linking Saint-Jean-d’Angély to Tonnay-Boutonne.  Allow six hours for a whole-day excursion.  There are two locks to negotiate.  But if you feel like doing nothing very much or enjoying the water, there are plenty of fresh-water swimming sites in Vals de Saintonge.

Fil de lune – a guided trip at sunset

Every Friday in July and August the Kayak Club Angérien hosts Fil de Lune evenings, trips in canoe by twilight to enable the visitor to enjoy the delights of sunset on the water.

The trip starts at 20:30 and the canoes leave the base as night begins to fall.  Instructors lead the way while others will help you negotiate key passages to get the maximum from the trip. The lower evening temperature is ideal for appreciating the calm of nature at nightfall, listening to the quacking of ducks or the croaking of frogs. On the way back, enjoy a galette Charentaise and a local drink that will remind you of your convivial moonlit outing!  Make sure you book in advance as these evening trips are very popular.