Cognac, not just the name of a drink

Cognac is clearly not just the name of a drink. Have you always wanted to know more about this city? Why is this city ideal for making the well-known spirit drink? Definitely worth a visit during your holiday to southwest France. Don’t you like cognac? The city knows how to charm non-cognac drinkers like no other.

The city of Cognac

When you ask someone what he or she thinks of when they hear the word Cognac, they will probably always answer about the alcoholic drink. What many do not know is that this drink owes its name to the city of Cognac, located on the Charente river in the French department of Charente of the same name, in the Poitou-Charentes region. With an area of approximately 15.5 km² and a population of around 20,000, this is a relatively small city. Yet it is not inferior to large cities as there is much to experience both in and around Cognac.


Cognac can be reached by car via Paris, then take the motorway towards Bordeaux. This is the A10, also called lAquitaine. This is a 543 kilometer long motorway in central and southwestern France that connects Paris with Bordeaux via cities such as Orléans, Tours and Poitiers. The distance from Brussels to Cognac is just under 800 km. If you depart from Amsterdam, you will travel approximately 1000 km to reach your final destination. If you decide to
visit the city by train , you can take the speed train. For example, if you depart from Brussels, you take the Thalys to Paris. In Paris (Montparnasse) you change to the TGV towards Angoulême. Take the regional train here and after 38 minutes you will be in the center of Cognac. The station is located in Rue des Rentes. For the latest connections, which have become increasingly extensive in recent years, it is best to consult the official site for train connections to France.
You can often reach the city cheaply by plane . Then of course you have to take the rental price of a car into account. The nearest airport serving flights from Brussels and major airports in the Netherlands such as Amsterdam and Eindhoven is Bordeaux. You can rent a car on site, but it may be better if you make this trip in high season to agree on the rental agreement in advance. From Bordeaux to Cognac the distance by car is 128 km. You should be able to reach your destination in an hour and a half.

Cognac, city of art and history

Cognac was a small village until the mid-10th century. The earliest known mention of this town (under the name Comniacum) is in the year 1030. Cognac quickly became an important center of commercial activity, partly thanks to its river and port that allowed the traffic of sea salt, wine and eau-de- vie facilitated.
You can still visit the castle where King François I was born and which is located in the old part of the city. It dates from the 12th century and several princes and princesses had their residence there. During the war between France and England, prisoners were even housed in the cellars. The names of some of them can still be found in the carved thick walls.
The castle has been the property of the Otard family since 1796. They already had many vineyards in this region at that time and discovered that the dark, damp cellars were ideal for maturing Cognac. In the past, the barrels containing the distillate were stored there, but due to the risk of fire and explosion due to the escaping alcohol gases, it is now prohibited to store barrels in the center of this city. Distilling therefore no longer takes place in the city itself, but in the surrounding area. It is established by law that only certain surrounding municipalities are allowed to give the name Cognac to their product. You can also visit other cognac houses such as Camus, Hennessy, Rémy Martin and Martell. In almost all cognac houses you can taste and buy different types of cognac, with or without a tour.
The city also shows us several streets with houses from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries . You will find them when you walk the old cobbled streets of the original part of the city. When you go through the old city gate, the Porte Saint-Jacques, you can clearly see the former function of this gate. The two towers on either side of the gate, which date from the 15th century, marked the boundary of the city center.
At the Museum of Art and History you can learn about Cognac’s history, archaeology, fine arts, glassware, decorative arts, folk art and traditions. You can view sculptures, paintings and glass art. There are also archaeological finds from the Gallo-Roman and Merovingian periods that were excavated in this region. At the Museum of the Arts of Cognac you can learn about the history and production of this drink through exhibits and documents.

Cognac, city of music

Cognac Blues will take place among both domestic and foreign blues musicians and enthusiasts Passions festival takes place. For about five days during the month of July you will find both well-known and unknown artists on different stages throughout the city, at various locations. Well-known names such as Bo Diddley and Steven Seagal , actor but also musician, were featured here. The performances in the park in particular, some of which are free, are very popular with both the blues-loving audience and people who prefer other music genres. In recent years, they have also been taken into account and the major performances in the park are no longer limited to specific blues musicians or groups, but other genres are also discussed.
The cognac festival also offers performances and the opportunity to meet each other at the drinks and food stalls next to the beautiful Charente river. The street that runs parallel to the Charente and the Cognac houses will then be made car-free.
Source: Photo Ilse Linden

Cognac, city for relaxation

About two kilometers outside the old part of the city there is a green oasis of walking paths, parks and sports fields. At the “André Mermet open-air base” you will find a playground, sunbathing lawn with picnic tables and barbecue. Here you also have the opportunity to play a game of mini golf. It is the ideal place to stay with the family. During the summer months, young children can refresh themselves in the free open-air pool that can also be found on this property. During the summer months there are also immense bouncy castles. You can enjoy yourself for a whole day here for a small amount.
The domain, which is freely accessible, is also the place to go if you want to take a canoe or pedal boat trip on the Charente. You can also have a drink and a snack at reasonable prices on the bar terrace. The locals use this open-air base mainly during the weekends for their family gatherings and barbecues.

Cognac, place for tourists

About five hundred meters further from the André Mermet domain you arrive at the Cognac campsite . This generally quiet campsite is open from May 1 to September 14.
Located in the green and close to the Charente, it has 156 pitches for tents, campers or mobile homes. This campsite itself rents out seven furnished holiday homes and two fully equipped tents for four people each. The houses are for four to six people. You can use the free WiFi access and the outdoor swimming pool. There is a shop and a snack bar where you can also watch TV. If you have some laundry to do, you can use one of the washing machines for a fee. The campsite also offers the opportunity to barbecue.
If you prefer to stay in a hotel , you will definitely find the room you want in Cognac. There are about ten hotels that go from luxurious in design and therefore higher in price to budget-friendly with less luxury, but still with sufficient options. Five also have a swimming pool: Hôtel François I (luxury at 1.9 km from the center), Quai des Pontis (middle class at 0.9 km from the center), Domaine du Breuil (middle class at 2 km from the center) and hotel LOliveraie (budget 2.7 km from the center). There are
also certainly no shortage of bed and breakfast options. If you want to stay in a castle and experience the truly authentic atmosphere of the former Cognac, then Domaine de Chatenay is the place for you. This castle, located just 1.6 km from the city center, has been beautifully restored. After checking in, the hostess can give you a tour while she passionately tells you the history of the castle. The rooms are beautifully decorated and everything you need is provided. Maison Gaudin (1.6 km) is another B&B that will take you back to times of romance. The owners radiate warmth and are very hospitable. The beautiful view is certainly worth mentioning. If you are thinking of visiting with a B&B, be sure to check out the other addresses as well.


Cognac is 25 km from the City of Saintes, 40 km from Angoulême, 120 km from Bordeaux, 70 km from the beaches at Royan and also in the area you will find La Rochelle and the small islands of Île de Ré, Île Madame and Île dOléron .


This city, located in the Charente-Maritime department and also on the Charente river, was founded by the Romans more than two thousand years ago. You can still find various remains from this time. You can visit the amphitheater that dates from the year 40 AD and could accommodate 15,000 visitors. The arch of Germanicus (18 to 19 AD), remains of Roman baths (first century AD) and remains of city walls from the third century AD. If you are interested in this period, you can also visit the local archaeological museum.
You can still see buildings from the Middle Ages such as the Abbey of the Women (abbaye des femmes). This abbey with monastery buildings dates from the 17th century. The Basilica of Saint-Europe from the eleventh and the Cathedral of Saint-Pierre from the twelfth century are definitely worth a visit. Furthermore

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