Visit the Cognac region and discover the perfumes of France’s legendary past:
history, nature, Romanesque art and local cuisine - all these marvels await you in the delightful province of King François I.
The City of Cognac
World famous for its eau-de-vie
, Cognac, the birthplace of King François I is also well known for its old town, with narrow winding streets. The stonework of its old houses is often coated with black velvet, the work of a microscopic fungus known as Torula Compniacensis that feeds on alcohol vapours.
In Cognac one can explore the castle where François I was born, the church of St. Léger, the towers of the gate St Jacques and many large 18th century houses, all witnesses to the town’s historic past.
Cognac is also a festive town, with a reputation that grows every year:
Coup de Chauffe (Street Arts Festival), Cognac Blues Passions (Blues Festival), Salon de la littérature européenne (European Literature Exhibition), the Fête du Cognac, the Grape Harvest Festival, the Floralies, and the Portes Ouvertes des Bouilleurs de Cru are only some of the events that are held every year, providing the city with a quality of life that is second to none.
Reaching Cognac and exploring the area is very simple: Paris is only 3 hours away on the TGV train.
Cognac is located 30 km. away from the Paris-Bordeaux highway, and not far from the Bordeaux-Mérignac airport, with domestic and international flights.
Coming to the Cognac region means discovering the secret of its elaboration. While in the region, visit large Cognac Houses and smaller producers. They will give you a warm welcome and will be glad to share their passion with you.
In the heart of the Cognac area there are many wonderful restaurants that use the natural riches of the region to their best advantage: farm produce, game, fish, shellfish, and of course, Cognac, Pineau des Charentes, and the Vins de Pays Charentais. These specialties are used in the highly original and tasty local cuisine, such as in the recipe for “petits gris à la charentaise” (snails Charentais style), oysters with a shallot and vinegar sauce, éclade de moules (mussel bake), goat milk cheeses, without forgetting Bavarian cream flavoured with Cognac and Pineau
From Town to Town
The Cognac region
is an area full of places to visit, all of them as if they had been taken from an architecture or a French history book: St. Peter’s Cathedral in Angoulême, the Spa in St. Saloine (Charente-Maritime), the Arch celebrating the birth of Germanicus in Saintes, the old port at La Rochelle, the legendary Rochefort Arsenal evocative of Colbert and Lafayette (in Charente-Maritime), and many more sites of France’s heritage.
A Cruise on the Charente River
370 kilometers long, the Charente River has its source in Chéronnac (Haute Vienne) and flows into the Atlantic Ocean near the city of Rochefort. The slow-moving, winding river has served as a natural link between France and the Nordic countries since the 15th century. From March to November, it is possible to take a discovery cruise on this delightful river.
These magnificent trips will give you glimpses of the region’s many Romanesque churches, and show you a variety of landscapes.
Romanesque Art, the Region's Treasure
From the year 1000 onwards, many shrines were built in Angoumois, Aunis, Poitou and Saintonge for the pilgrins who crossed the region on their way to Santiago de Compostela. This was the beginning of Romanesque art: a combination of fine elegance and bold innovation, and spectacular technical experiments such as stone roof vaults.
Inside, the churches have an elegant simplicity, with striking sculptures, carved capitals, and wonderful frescoes, chiseled decoration, all made from local limestone. Particularly worth seeing are the churches at Aulnay de Saintonge, Talmont, Saint-Preuil, Bourg-Charente, Bouteville, and the Bassac Abbey.
Sport and Relaxation
There is enough choice and diversity in the Cognac region to please whomever is looking for leisure activities such as horse-back riding, four-wheeling, rowing, hiking, and of course every possible water sport thanks to the closeness of the ocean with its natural beaches, its seashore resorts and spas from Royan to the islands of Ré, Oléron and Aix.
Useful Addresses and Sites to Visit:
Les Étapes du Cognac
Maison des Viticulteurs - 25 rue Cagouillet - 16100 Cognac -
Telephone: +33(0)5 45 36 47 35
Office du Tourisme de Cognac
14, rue du 14 juillet - 16100 Cognac - Telephone: +33(0)5 45 82 10 71
Musée des Arts du Cognac
Place de la Salle Verte - 16100 Cognac - Telephone : +33(0)5 45 32 07 25
Comité Départemental du Tourisme (Charente)
Place Bouillaud - 16000 Angoulême - Telephone: +33(0)5 45 69 79 09
Comité Départemental du Tourisme (Charente Maritime)
Maison de la Charente-Maritime - 85, Boulevard de la République - 17076 La Rochelle cedex 9 - Telephone: +33(0)5 46 31 71 71
Comité Régional du Tourisme
BP 56 - 86002 Poitiers cedex - Telephone: +33(0)5 49 50 10 50