At the heart of the region is the town of Cognac, which is an open-air history book on the drink that bears its name. Located in South-Western France on one of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostella, Cognac is a pretty town on the river Charente, whose fate has been closely linked to that of the Liqueur of the Gods ever since the 17th Century. The brandy which has taken its name from Cognac has marked the town in more ways than one. The evaporation of alcohol during the maturation process, the so-called “angels share” has fed a microscopic fungus that blackens the local white stone.
It was a modest village until the middle of the 10th Century but thanks to its river port and its salt, wine and eaux-de-vie, Cognac became one of the main centres of commercial activity in the Angouleme and Saintonge areas.
On the right bank, the St Jacques district is particularly lively and its Church, numerous shops and Saturday morning open-air market make it a particularly attractive destination. On the left bank, the river Charente is dominated by the castle where Francis 1st was born in 1494. Walking back up the cobbled streets in the old town, you will arrive at the town centre, which has recently been developed and made more attractive. In particular, the town centre boasts the most beautiful covered market in the region that was inspired by Victor Baltard’s 19th Century covered market designs.