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Charente (Department, France)

Last modified: 2024-01-06 by olivier touzeau
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Flag of the General Council of Charente, two versions - Images by Olivier Touzeau, 23 February 2019

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Administrative data

Code: 16
Region: Nouvelle-Aquitaine (Poitou-Charentes until 2014)
Traditional provinces: Angoumois, Saintonge, Poitou
Bordering departments: Charente-Maritime, Dordogne, Deux-Sèvres, Vienne, Haute-Vienne

Area: 5,956 km2
Population (2016): 353,288 inhabitants

Préfecture: Angoulême
Sous-préfectures: Cognac, Confolens
Subdivisions: 3 arrondissements, 19 cantons, 366 municipalities.

The department is named after river Charente (360 km), a tributary to the Atlantic Ocean.

Flag of Charente

The flag first used in 2013-2014 in front of the Departmental Council (photo) was modelled on the logo adopted in 2012, marroon with the words "Charente / Le département".
More recently (2016), the logo was used in marroon letters on a white field on the flag flown in front of the Departmental Council (photo).

Oddly enough, the marroon version of the logo is not prescribed in the graphic charter. When a brown (or black) background is used, lettering is prescribed as all white ("monochrome versions").
The charter, however, prescribes, in complete inconsistency, the use of the "forbidden" logo on "event masts" (beach flags), inflatable arches, and banderoles.

The logo on white is the "privileged" version of the logo (labelled "earth" and "ocher"). The colors are specified as follows:

                                 Pantone      CMYK          RGB        HTML     RAL
Primary color [darker brown]      490 C    5 85  85 70    93  42 44   5D2A2C   8015 Kastanienbraun [German, chestnut brown]
Secondary color [lighter brown]   139 C   20 35 100 25   175 109  4   C89000   8001 Ockerbraun [German, ocher brown]

The charter keeps the original, German names of the colors. The RAL system was initiated in 1927 by the Reichs-Ausschuss für Lieferbedingungen und Gütesicherung (Imperial Commission for Delivery Terms and Quality Assurance).
[Graphic charter]

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 24 February 2019

Flag of the former General Council


Flag of the former General Council of Charente - Image by Ivan Sache, 26 September 2009

The flag of the former General Council of Charente, in use from 1986 to 2012, was white with the logo of the General Council in the middle.
The logo was made of the map of the department, green with white rays, surmounting a yellow curved stripe and the writing "CONSEIL GENERAL / DE LA CHARENTE" in black letters, the words being flanked by thin horizontal green stripes.

Pascal Vagnat & Olivier Touzeau, 23 February 2019

Territorial flag


Territorial flag of Charente - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 23 February 2019

A territorial emblem was adopted in 2009, made of a winged snail with the motto "La Charente a des ailes" (Charente has wings). White flags with this emblem could be seen between 2009 and 2012 (photo), but this emblem was not intended to replace the official logo of the General Council.

The lovely cagouille (the local name of snails in Aunis, Poitou and Saintonge)) stirred a political turmoil. Originally designed in 2007 for a communication campaign, the logo became so popular that the General Council of Charente purchased its rights of use in September 2019. The opposition group in the Council pointed out that this was the most expensive snail ever and bitterly criticized the allocation of 36,000 euros to the purchase.
[L'Express, 4 September 2009]

The logo, which symbolizes "lightness, movement and speed", was also bitterly criticized by professional designers, who pointed out the lack of message and of design.
The ventilation of the cost is 4,000 euros for the purchase of the graphic design, 17,000 euros for the rights of use (3 years), and 15,000 euros as author's rights for the artist.
[Graphisme et Interactivité, 8 September 2009]

The cagouille has its brotherhood and now its museum, called "Mémoires d'escargots" (Snails' Memories). Jean-Claude Vallé and Danièle Innocentini, owners of a collection of 1,000 artifacts and more than 20,000 documents dedicated to the snake, have applied for years to local municipalities to get an exhibition place, to no avail. After having noticed that the municipal arms of Aigre feature a snail, they moved their residence to the village and were granted a former elementary school to display the collection.
[Sud-Ouest, 25 July 2013

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 24 February 2019