Visit Cognac: activities, leisure, and great addresses for a weekend in Charente.

Weekend in Cognac

I invite you to embark with me on a journey to Cognac for a weekend by the Charente River! Visiting Cognac and its region over two days is possible and it’s what I did in September.

Are you wondering what to do in Cognac? Do you want to discover the must-see sights and activities to explore its rich heritage? Well, let’s get started, follow me.

Some of you may not know the city of Cognac.

Cognac is highly renowned worldwide for its brandy and historical significance. Located in the southwest of France, in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, Cognac is bordered by the Charente River. The historical heritage of Cognac is emblematic in France because it was at the Château de Cognac where François I was born and crowned King of France in 1515.

In 2012, Cognac was awarded the label “Ville d’Art et d’Histoire” (City of Art and History).

Photographe and videaste Barcelona Keig Studio drinks

Tourism in Cognac: Accommodation and Fine Dining

Accommodation in Cognac

On the first day of my stay in Cognac, I checked in at Hôtel François Premier to settle into my room. Look, we’re reconnecting with our sacred King of France!

Located in the center of Cognac, this 4-star establishment offers contemporary and functional rooms. The setting combines the elegance of 19th-century residences with contemporary decoration. A relaxation area with a pool, sauna, and steam room is accessible to guests. Hôtel François Premier also features a cocktail bar and a rooftop garden with stunning views over Cognac.

Parking is also available for guests. Just remember to check in at the reception to access the hotel’s parking.

Restaurants in Cognac

During my weekend in Destination Cognac, I had the opportunity to try two very nice and very different restaurants, both in terms of cuisine and ambiance. Their common point, which is very appreciated: homemade cuisine!

La Belle Époque

It was in this former mansion from the 17th century where I had lunch on the first day of my stay in Cognac. The restaurant offers homemade cuisine with a lunch menu: starter + main course + dessert + drink. La Belle Époque is located in the pedestrian street of downtown Cognac. The cuisine is refined and full of flavors. A delightful meal before a nice stroll through Cognac!

L’Arty Show

L’Arty Show is a fun and surprising organic restaurant in Cognac! Nathalie welcomed me in this picturesque setting of Old Cognac with exposed stones in the dining room. The cuisine at L’Arty Show is creative, surprising, but above all delicious! Everything is homemade here! A place I highly recommend.

What to do in Cognac and its surroundings?

Cognac is a tourist city that excels in activities and leisure!

In this section, I’ll associate the word “activity” with “experience”. This concerns everything related to discovering Cognac brandy and its production.

Leisure activities involve outdoor outings to visit Cognac and its surroundings.

So, if you’re wondering what to do in Cognac, here are some outing ideas.

Explore Cognac on Foot

If you’re wondering what to visit in Cognac, start by exploring the city center on foot. The city is easily walkable in 1 to 2 hours. This gentle mode of transport allows you to discover wonderful streets and alleys. You’ll be amazed by the architectural heritage consisting of old mansions, churches, typical houses, and wine cellars.

My visit to Cognac lasted 2 hours with Séverine from Destination Cognac, who kindly accompanied and guided my walk!

Canoeing on the Charente River

On the second day of my stay, I experienced a river cruise on the Charente River for 2 hours with Benjamin. It’s organized by Cognac Canoe Club.

This activity in Cognac is a must-try to appreciate the city’s historical monuments and be carried away by the flow.

 

Exploring the Martell Institution

Visit to Maison Martell

Coming to Cognac and not taking the time to visit Maison Martell is like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower!

Maison Martell is the oldest of the major Cognac houses. For 1.5 hours, I completely immersed myself in this exceptional place to discover the history of Maison Martell and that of Cognac. I also learned about the expertise of the men and women involved in the production of the spirit, as well as its reputation over three centuries.

During this visit, I particularly learned how to drink Cognac and how and with what it is made.

At the end of the tour, a Cognac tasting is offered in the Maison Martell boutique.

Martell Foundation

Founded in 2016, the Martell Foundation is a space dedicated to contemporary art exhibitions. The Foundation reinvents itself by offering a multidisciplinary program and transforms its exhibition halls.

Currently, until January 2, 2022, the Martell Foundation presents the exhibition “Places to be”. This exhibition takes the form of a large house with 11 rooms, resembling a giant game of Clue where the mystery is that of creation!

In the evening, I enjoyed the Indigo rooftop of the Foundation, revealing a magnificent view of downtown Cognac and the banks of the Charente River.

 

Visiting the Cognac Vineyards

Beyond Cognac, there are also amazing visits to be made! Discover the region, its countryside, and its vineyards. Let’s head towards Segonzac together to explore the production of Pineau des Charentes!

Pineau des Charentes Workshop

Have you ever heard of Pineau des Charentes?

Pineau des Charentes is not so different from Cognac, as one might think! It is a fortified wine made in the same cellars as Cognac. Winemakers follow the same production methods and craftsmanship as for Cognac.

Highly appreciated at weddings and other family events, Pineau des Charentes can be considered as Cognac’s cousin.

In 1945, Pineau des Charentes was awarded the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) status and gained significant recognition in France. Today, Pineau des Charentes is exported worldwide.

It was at the family estate Guillon-Painturaud where I was warmly welcomed by Lina to attend a Pineau-making workshop. I had the opportunity to taste and blend my own bottle, which I gifted to my parents.

Exploring the Cognac Vineyards on an Electric Scooter!

How about an original tour of the Cognac vineyards?

Marion from Trott in Charentes guided me through the vineyards around Cognac, specifically in Criteuil-la-Magdeleine, on an all-terrain electric scooter.

It was a very unique tour during which I discovered forests, vineyards, and other small villages in the area.

A fantastic and sporty journey full of discoveries, definitely worth experiencing!

Conclusion:

My stay in Cognac concludes here after 2 days of enriching walks and experiences. I am very satisfied with this immersive stay in Charente! Check out the highlights of my trip on my Instagram stories @keig33.

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