If you’re choosing to visit Cognac, you can’t go wrong no matter where you turn. But Winalist has gathered the top 5 best sights to see if you’re on a tight deadline, or simply wish to focus your time on Cognac’s mains attractions.
With its renowned Cognac eau-de-vie, the Charente region in France is a breathtaking destination near Bordeaux. But what you may not know is that this area’s lively spirit comes from a city called Cognac – where one of the world’s most exquisite wines has gained international attention! Don’t miss out on savoring this remarkable French delight.
Uncover the secrets of a timeless vineyard with us! Cognac, declared “Town of Art and History” since 2012, has earned its iconic status in many ways. Discover why this picturesque destination is considered legendary when you explore it firsthand!
Find out what you need to know before going there in this Cognac Winalist guide on the top 5 sights to see and not-to-miss attractions in Cognac, France!
How to visit Cognac: transportation options
France’s Cognac region is located south-west of France, in the Charente department which is part of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.
The SNCF station in the bustling center of Cognac can be reached from Paris with only 3 and a half hours by train. As there are few direct trains, visitors often opt for traveling to this destination via car instead; coming from cities such as Nantes, Angers or Bordeaux. This way not only is it more convenient but also allows them to take pleasure in discovering more about the beautiful Cognac wine region and its magnificent vineyards!
Visit Cognac’s 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
Hélie de Villebois the very first lord of Cognac, constructed this castle along the Charente as far back as 10th century. This impressive structure underwent many renovations throughout its existence and eventually acquired a unique architectural style that blended Medieval and Renaissance elements – for instance in 1200 when it was reconstructed by Angoulême’s accounts.
Venture into the grand and imposing Château Royal de Cognac with your family or friends! You will get to embark on a journey through its intricate history, ending in an exquisite tasting session of BARON OTARD cognacs. We also provide personalized prestige visits for just 24€ per person – what are you waiting for?
If you possess a contagious craving for something sweet, then this location is an absolute must-visit. Pamper yourself with the indulgence of tasting packages featuring regional delicacies like caviar! You can start your gastronomic adventure at only 49.90€ – it’s the ideal way to treat yourself and satisfy that sugar tooth simultaneously!
The François 1er Parc
Surrounded by 43 hectares of lush greenery, The Park at François 1er stands as a reminder of the former royal forest just outside Cognac. No matter if you’re looking for a peaceful escape or an adventure-filled day out with your family, this picturesque park is equipped to delight all who visit it!
From its tranquil pathways leading around the grounds to its modern outdoor leisure area, there’s something here that everyone can appreciate—all within minutes from downtown Cognac!
Stroll through the old town center of Cognac
When visiting Champagne, a stop in the old town of Cognac is surely worth your time. Located on the left bank of Charente River, this medieval center takes you back to bygone era with its picture-perfect cobblestone streets and enchanting half-timbered homes constructed during François 1er’s golden age. The striking structures are reminders of past wealthy families that have called this place home – as soon as you explore it either day or night, expect be captivated by its unceasing beauty! Dive into an ethereal French experience like no other in magical Cognac!
Embark on an incredible journey through the 16th and 17th centuries with Roy’s course – complete with captivating color clues at every corner of the city! You’ll be able to take in all of the beauty that Hôtel de Rabayne has to offer, including its prestigious salamander emblem commissioned by François I himself. Make this adventure more enjoyable for kids than ever before – sign up now!
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. Here, you can 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 Cognac 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.
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.
Have the most unforgettable vacation in Cognac and get to know its local wine-makers! Winalist will guide you through your 2023 French wine country odyssey, ensuring that no moment of your journey to France and indulgence in France wineries is wasted. Come explore all this exquisite city has to offer – from hidden gems tucked away in alleyways, to delicious food pairings with each sip – let us show you why France should be at the top of everyone’s travel list.
City of Cognac FAQs & 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!