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Visit the city of Cognac: Top 5 things to do and see
Visiter la ville de Cognac

Visit the city of Cognac: Top 5 things to do and see

Surely you have already tasted the famous Cognac eau-de-vie, but do you know that it is named after the city where it comes from? It is indeed in the city of Cognac, in the Charente region of France, north of Bordeaux and not too far away from the coast.

We are taking you there today to unravel the mysteries of a legendary vineyard. Authentic and fascinating, Cognac is a small town labeled “Town of Art and History” since 2012.

Find out what you need to know before going there in this Winalist guide!

How to get to the city of Cognac?

Cognac is located south-west of France, in the Charente department which is part of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.

From Paris, it takes about 3h30 by train to reach the city-center of Cognac where the SNCF station is located. Few direct trains go there, which is why many visitors prefer to opt for the car coming from Nantes, Angers, or Bordeaux. This also facilitates the discovery of the Cognac region and its vineyards.

What to visit in Cognac? The city of Art and History

Apart from the famous Cognac distilleries that you will gladly find on your way, there are many other places to discover in the city of Cognac. The architectural heritage of the city is well preserved, with its castles, its banks, its large park as well as several religious buildings which are worth a look.

We offer you our selection of the best visits to make in Cognac.

Château Royal de Cognac

This castle built since the 10th century by Hélie de Villebois, first lord of Cognac, is located on the banks of the Charente. Its architecture is a mixture of Medieval and Renaissance style, since it was rebuilt several times, notably in 1200 by the accounts of Angoulême.

Its imposing and very sober facade hides a whole range of experiences to enjoy with friends or family. The Château Royal de Cognac offers you a complete immersion visit to the historic part of the castle, and ends with a tasting in the cellars. You will have the pleasure of discovering the Cognacs BARON OTARD. A prestige visit is also à la carte, and costs 24€ per person.

And for those with a sweet tooth, they have thought of everything. You can also take advantage of a visit + tasting package of regional specialties (such as caviar) starting at 49.90€.

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© Cobber17 – Wikimedia Commons

The François 1er Parc

Legacy of the former royal forest of the castle that belonged to François 1er, the Park at the gates of Cognac is the ideal place to enjoy a walk in fresh air among the many well-maintained and shaded paths.

With more than 43 hectares of lush nature, you come alone to be quiet, or with the children who will enjoy the outdoor leisure base.

Located just a few hundred meters from the city center, the François Premier park is one of the places you absolutely must explore while you visit cognac.

Stroll through the old town center of Cognac

Located largely on the left bank of the Charente which crosses the town, Cognac medieval city-center has several walking routes. By raising our heads, we are always captivated by the beauty of the half-timbered houses built by the wealthy families who settled there during the flourishing era of François 1er.

These allow you to discover the history of the city and its heritage in several ways. The orange route entitled “Belle Epoque route” invites you to discover Cognac city in the 19th century. This 1-kilometer pedestrian circuit is a loop that takes you to the essentials of Cognac, and has the advantage of being able to be reached at any point, since there is no imposed direction.

The blue course entitled “Roy’s course” takes you back in time even further to the 16th and 17th centuries. Color clues are scattered around the city to make this “architectural treasure hunt” fun for children. During this route, you can admire the Hôtel de Rabayne with its famous salamander on the facade, the emblem of François I.

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© Cobber17- Wikimedia

Visit the Museum of Art and History

A former private mansion built in 1838 by the Dupuy d’Angeac family, the current Museum of Art and History has been an exhibition space since 1925. You can essentially discover:

  • A collection of decorative arts objects;
  • An “Archaeology” exhibition made up of finds dating from the Gallo-Roman and Merovingian period of the region;
  • A gallery of “Fine arts” works, mainly composed of paintings by Charente artists;
  • And finally an exhibition “Arts and popular traditions”, which is a kind of time jump inside a traditional Charente country house.

Wine tasting & distillery tours in Cognac

The city also bears the name of the world famous eau-de-vie: Le Cognac.

It is an institution in the region, and a protected designation. Indeed, a decree delimits the number of crus authorized to produce it. Winalist’s team shares its passion for wine with you, and also allow you to discover the secrets of the distillation that gives birth to the famous Cognac beverage.

If you have a few hours to venture outside Cognac city, we invite you to learn more about Cognac and regional oenology through two experiences with our partners.

The Frapin House, in Segonzac

It is in an exceptional vineyard of more than 240 hectares that Maison Frapin welcomes you. The Frapin family, winegrowers since 1270, is a veritable institution in the land of Cognac.

Discover the development of Cognacs Frapin, from the cultivation of the vine to the bottling during a visit combining epicureanism, traditions and family history. You will have the choice between the discovery circuit accompanied by a tasting of 4 wines, or the VIP circuit for a more intense immersion in the century-old cellars of this vineyard.

photos de la Maison de Cognac Frapin

Discover the secrets of Cognac wines at the Frères Moine distillery

The Charente is not only a land of Cognac and Pineau. And Les Frères Moine will demonstrate it to you, by giving you a taste of their range of wines classified IGP or Vin de France. White, red or rosé, sweet or dry, with or without bubbles, there is something for everyone. You can enjoy a tasting for an hour combining conviviality and learning about local resources. Always with a little moderation, of course.

Enjoy visiting the city of Cognac and meeting with local wine-growers and producers!

FAQ & Useful resources

What is the fruit of Cognac?

Cognac is created using Ugni-Blanc, the main grape variety intended for Cognac because of its low fragility, high acidity and low alcohol content. Following the fermentation of the wines, they will then be distilled to become an eau-de-vie.

Which Cognac houses to visit?

The best Cognac houses are: Baron Otard, Courvoisier, Henessy, Rémy Martin, and Meukow.

Where is the city of Cognac located?

The town of Cognac is located in the Charente department (16) in the Poitou-Charentes region, in the new Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.

How long should you plan to visit Cognac?

It is quite possible to visit Cognac in 1 day. The city is not very large and the places of interest are all close, within walking distance. Even when visiting the must-see places, one day there is enough. For example, you can arrive in the middle of the day and stay there until noon the next day.
Walking around the city center at the end of the day is really pleasant and you can enjoy the wine bars or restaurants of the city. Also, by going there for the evening, you can then visit the superb rooftop of the Martell Cognac House, called La Terrasse Martell (open only on sunny days).

Where to sleep in Cognac?

Accommodation in Cognac is quite affordable. There are several hotels or Airbnb-type apartments for rent. In summer, it is a good place to sleep without breaking the bank. While rates are skyrocketing on the Atlantic coast, hotel prices here remain affordable.
Here are some good places to stay in Cognac:
– with a limited budget, the eternal Ibis Hotel in the city will do the trick. Its location is good and there is availability, even at the last minute. If you are looking for Airbnb type accommodation, you can turn to this apartment which is located on the edge of the historic center. The quality to price ratio is excellent !
– with an intermediate budget, the Héritage hotel is the solution to choose. It is charming, very well renovated and is right in the center. Ideal for visiting Cognac on foot!
– looking for the best hotel in Cognac? without hesitation, you have to turn to the Chais Monnet & Spa hotel. It is the one and only 5 star in town. And it really deserves the detour!

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