It all began along the river Charente, in Cognac, the birthplace of king François 1er: the town’s fabulous history is closely linked to the history of its “brown gold”, the “liquor of Gods” as Victor Hugo used to call Cognac.
From its riverbed in the Limousin area, past the lakes of Haute-Charente, on to Rochefort and the ocean, the Charente valley is just waiting to be explored, by car, or by boat/bicycle.
COGNAC: A FAMOUS NAME, A FAMOUS DRINK
During the 15th Century, the region produced wine. However, it wasn’t until the 17th Century that double distillation was invented, and Cognac created. Today, all the great Cognac houses offer guided visits and tasting sessions, including immersive experiences between history and modernity, as with Martell House, Rémy Martin or Hennessy.
How does one reach the gates to paradise in Cognac country? Simply by visiting a Cognac house – each has its own saga and surprising layout: magical places, themed exhibitions, and even a mini-cruise on the Charente, and last but not least, Cognac tasting. Be sure to visit the Cognac Arts museum, in the centre of the town’s old quarters.
Located in the centre of Cognac, the Chais Monnet Hotel (5*) combines architectural heritage with contemporary creations and design. Michelin-starred chef Sébastien Broda invites diners to enjoy a gastronomic experience and the bar offers the widest cognac selection in the world.
THE RIVER PORT AND BOAT HIRE
Once a lively, commercial port, Cognac now boasts a welcoming, functional leisure port. Close to the centre of the town, the port meets all the needs of the river traveller. With a total length of 361km, the peaceful river Charente, named the Loveliest Stream in the Kingdom by Henry IV, is navigable from Angoulême to Rochefort (170 km).
- With its 75 000 ha, the Cognac vineyard is Europe’s largest white grape vineyard
- Cycling in the Charentes: nearly 750 km of national and European routes
- View from the river Charente, navigable from Angoulême to Rochefort
- La Rochelle-Île-de-Ré (LRH) Bordeaux-Mérignac (BOD)
- Cognac Paris: 3hrs 15mins Bordeaux: 1hr 30mins