|Subprefectures|| Jonzac |
|• President of the Departmental Council||Sylvie Marcilly (DVD)|
|• Total||6,864 km2 (2,650 sq mi)|
|• Density||95/km2 (250/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
|^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries and lakes, ponds and glaciers larger than 1 km2|
Charente-Maritime (French pronunciation: [ʃaʁɑ̃t maʁitim] ( listen )) is a department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region on the southwestern coast of France. Named after the river Charente, its prefecture is La Rochelle. As of 2019, it had a population of 651,358 with an area of 6,864 square kilometres (2,650 sq mi).
Previously a part of the provinces of Saintonge and Aunis, Charente-Inférieure was one of the 83 original departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790.On 4 September 1941, during World War II, it was renamed as Charente-Maritime.
When the department was first organised, the commune of Saintes was designated as the prefecture of the department (Saintes had previously been the capital of Saintonge). This changed in 1810 when Napoleon passed an imperial decree to move the prefecture to La Rochelle.
During World War II, the department was invaded by the German Army and became part of occupied France.To provide defence against a possible beach landing by the Allies, the Organisation Todt constructed a number of sea defences in the area. Defences such as pillboxes are particularly noticeable on the beaches of the presqu'île d'Arvert and the island of Oléron.
At the end of the war, the two last pockets of German resistance were both in this area: at La Rochelle in the north and Royan in the south. Despite Royan having been nearly destroyed during an RAF bombing raid on 5 January 1945,the town was not liberated by the French Forces of the Interior until April of the same year. La Rochelle was finally liberated on 9 May 1945.
Charente-Maritime is part of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine administrative region. It is surrounded by the departments of Gironde, Charente, Deux-Sèvres, Dordogne and Vendée. It has a land area of 6864 km2 and 651,358 inhabitants as of 2019.
The important rivers are the Charente and its tributaries, the Boutonne and the Seugne, along with the Sèvre Niortaise, the Seudre and the Garonne, in its downstream part, which is the estuary of the Gironde.
The department includes the islands of Île de Ré, Île d'Aix, Ile d'Oléron and Île Madame.
The department forms the northern part of the Aquitaine Basin. It is separated from the Massif Armoricain by the Marais Poitevin to the north-west and from the Parisian basin by the Seuil du Poitou to the north-east. The highest point in the department is in the woods of Chantemerlière, near the commune of Contré in the north-east, and rises to 173 m.
The most populous commune is La Rochelle, the prefecture. As of 2019, there are 7 communes with more than 8,000 inhabitants:
The climate is mild and sunny, with less than 900 mm of precipitation per year 39 °C (102 °F) in summer to −5 °C (23 °F) in winter (as of 2022).and with insolation being remarkably high, in fact, the highest in Western France including southernmost sea resorts such as Biarritz. Average extreme temperatures vary from
The economy of Charente-Maritime is based on three major sectors: tourism, maritime industry, and manufacturing. Cognac and pineau are two of the major agricultural products with maize and sunflowers being the others.
During the summer months, families flock from all over Europe to bask in the sun and enjoy the local seafood. Royan, popular for its extensive beaches and attractions, is one of the most famous seaside resort of atlantic coast.
Charente-Maritime is the headquarters of the major oyster producer Marennes-Oléron.Oysters cultivated here are shipped across Europe.
Rochefort is a shipbuilding site and has been a major French naval base since 1665.
La Rochelle is a seat of major French industry. Just outside the city, in Aytré, is a factory for the French engineering giant Alstom, where the TGV, the cars for the Paris and other metros are manufactured (see fr:Alstom Aytré).It is a popular venue for tourism, with its picturesque medieval harbour and city walls.
The inhabitants of the department are called Charentais-Maritimes.
The President of the Departmental Council has been Dominique Bussereau (LR) since 2008.He was replaced by Sylvie Marcilly after the departmental elections of June 2021.
In the 2017 legislative election, Charente-Maritime elected the following members of the National Assembly:
|Charente-Maritime's 1st constituency||Olivier Falorni||DVG|
|Charente-Maritime's 2nd constituency||Frédérique Tuffnell||LREM|
|Charente-Maritime's 3rd constituency||Jean-Philippe Ardouin||LREM|
|Charente-Maritime's 4th constituency||Raphaël Gérard||LREM|
|Charente-Maritime's 5th constituency||Didier Quentin||LR|
In the Senate, Charente-Maritime is represented by three members: Daniel Laurent (since 2008), Corinne Imbert (since 2014) and Mickaël Vallet (since 2020).
Popular destinations include La Rochelle, Royan, Saintes, Saint-Jean-d'Angély, Rochefort, the Île d'Aix, Île de Ré and Île d'Oléron.
The department is served by the TGV at Surgères and La Rochelle. It can also be reached by motorway by the A10 (E5, Paris-Bordeaux) and A837 (E602, Saintes-Rochefort).
The Isle of Oléron or Oléron Island is an island off the Atlantic coast of France, on the southern side of the Pertuis d'Antioche strait.
The following is a list of the 463 communes of the Charente-Maritime department of France.
Rochefort, unofficially Rochefort-sur-Mer for disambiguation, is a city and commune in Southwestern France, a port on the Charente estuary. It is a subprefecture of the Charente-Maritime department, located in the administrative region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. In 2018, it had a population of 23,583.
Poitou-Charentes is a former administrative region on the southwest coast of France. It is part of the new region Nouvelle-Aquitaine. It comprises four departments: Charente, Charente-Maritime, Deux-Sèvres and Vienne. Historical provinces are Angoumois, Aunis, Saintonge and Poitou.
Île-d'Aix is a commune and an island in the Charente-Maritime department, region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, off the west coast of France. It occupies the territory of the small Isle of Aix, in the Atlantic Ocean. It is a popular place for tourist day-trips during the summer months.
Saintes is a commune and historic town in western France, in the Charente-Maritime department of which it is a sub-prefecture, in Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Its inhabitants are called Saintaises and Saintais. Saintes is the second-largest city in Charente-Maritime, with 26,470 inhabitants in 2008. The city's immediate surroundings form the second-most populous metropolitan area in the department, with 56,598 inhabitants. While a majority of the surrounding landscape consists of fertile, productive fields, a significant minority of the region remains forested, its natural state.
Royan is a commune and town in the south-west of France, in the department of Charente-Maritime in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. Its inhabitants are known as Royannais and Royannaises. Capital of the Côte de Beauté, Royan is one of the main French Atlantic coastal resort towns, and has five beaches, a marina for over 1,000 boats, and an active fishing port. As of 2013, the population of the greater urban area was 48,982. The town had 18,393 inhabitants in 2015.
Aunis is a historical province of France, situated in the north-west of the department of Charente-Maritime. Its historic capital is La Rochelle, which took over from Castrum Allionis (Châtelaillon) the historic capital which gives its name to the province.
The arrondissement of Rochefort is an arrondissement (district) in the Charente-Maritime department in the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France. It has 78 communes. Its population is 189,875 (2016), and its area is 1,534.6 km2 (592.5 sq mi).
The Arrondissement of La Rochelle is an arrondissement of France, located in the Charente-Maritime department, region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. It has 58 communes. Its population is 215,707 (2016), and its area is 852.8 km2 (329.3 sq mi).
The following is a list of the 27 cantons of the Charente-Maritime department, in France, following the French canton reorganisation which came into effect in March 2015:
Anais is a commune in the Charente-Maritime department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of southwestern France.
Andilly is a commune in the Charente-Maritime department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of southwestern France.
Fouras, also known as Fouras-les-Bains, is a commune in the French department of Charente-Maritime, administrative region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. It lies 34 km south of La Rochelle.
Angoulins is a commune in the Charente-Maritime department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of southwestern France.
Arvert is a commune in the Charente-Maritime department and Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of south-western France.
Étaules is a commune in the Charente-Maritime department and Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in southwestern France.
Nouvelle-Aquitaine, is the largest administrative region in France, spanning the west and southwest of the mainland. The region was created by the territorial reform of French regions in 2014 through the merger of three regions: Aquitaine, Limousin and Poitou-Charentes. It covers 84,036 km2 (32,446 sq mi) – or 1⁄8 of the country – and has 5,956,978 inhabitants. The new region was established on 1 January 2016, following the regional elections in December 2015.
The following is a timeline of the history of the city of La Rochelle.
The Departmental Council of Charente-Maritime is the deliberative assembly of the Charente-Maritime department in the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. It consists of 54 members from 27 cantons.