Famed for its production of brandy, Cognac lies along the River Charente in south-west France. It was fortified in the 9th century and changed hands numerous times during the Hundred Years' War. Cognac is located along one of the pilgrimage routes that lead to Santiago de Compostela and is famously the birthplace of King François I.
Things to do in Cognac
Spend an afternoon wandering the paved streets of Cognac’s historic core, which is clustered with houses dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. Stop to admire the Eglise Saint Leger, which exhibits a diversity of architectural styles, then relax beside the fountains of the Jardin Public. Encompassing seven hectares, this large green space is also home to the Hotel de Ville and its monumental staircase.
Occupying a 19th-century mansion once belonging to a cognac merchant is the Musee d'Art et d’Histoire, where you'll find an impressive collection of ethnographic artefacts, archaeological findings and artwork dating from the 13th century to the modern-day. Get up close to a Neolithic dugout canoe and Art Nouveau creations by Emile Gallé, as well as paintings by Romain Saintonge.
No visit to Cognac is complete without sampling the town’s most famous product at one of the local distilleries. Go behind the scenes at big-name cognac producers such as Hennessy and Martell or tour the magnificent Chateau de Cognac, the birthplace of King François I. Tours include a visit to the historic cellars and a tasting of Baron Otard cognacs.
Getting around Cognac
Cognac is just under two hours’ drive from Bordeaux and Bordeaux–Merignac Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe and North Africa. Regular trains connect to the Cognac railway station and buses travel throughout the town. The centre of Cognac can easily be explored on foot.