As an alternative to hotels in The Charante as in anywhere in France you can rent a house. It can come with a pool and bikes and depending if it suits emerge yourself in a French village. Cognac is in the Charante and the area’s vines are mostly all for the production of Cognac, the soil here grows grapes that are more suitable for making excellent Cognac or Pineau des Charante, a regional French aperitif, than wine. So you can either rent a house in the middle of the countryside or in town. Cognac is surrounded by charming French villages so you now have the option of kicking back for a day or two, lying by the pool exploring the village, walking amongst the vines and sun flowers. Understanding that French oak woods are planted so truffles can grow and that mistletoe is vampirical.
- Cognac is in the Charante
- Soil grows grapes for Cognac or Pineau des Charante
- Look for the regional French aperitif
Cognac is full of interesting things to see and do. The museum show cases the history and importance of the drink to the region as well as tastings. The Eau de Vie sorts you out pretty quickly. The old Medieval town rests at the top of a small hill looking down on the Charante River flowing past picturesque squares on the other side of town. You can rent boats of all sizes in the Marina, but again off season your choice could be limited. The main square in Cognac is Place de Francois Premier, with its statue of the king, a hotel with the same name and a selection of restaurants and bars.
In July which probably doesn’t apply to us out of seasoners the town has a Jazz festival that the likes of Sting, Carlos Santana, Tom Jones and bunch of other well known acts come and perform. It is the holy week of this town so places to stay are at a premium. The Coq D’Or is a restaurant that has been around for ever, and La Courtine on the river is worth a visit. So depending on how you want to spend your vacation you can base yourself at a house and day trip or be on the road staying in new towns every night or both!
From Cognac it is possible to do day trips, in a car, to La Rochelle, Ile De Re, Bordeaux and the town of Saintes with its Roman Amphitheatre and other ruins.
To get to Cognac, from London either fly to Paris and take the TGV to Angouleme right from Charles De Gaulle or Euro star to Paris Gare du Nord, taxi across town to Gare de Montparnasse and take the train to Angouleme. There is a Hertz right next to the station in Angouleme, It is not twenty four hours but they will wait for your train if you are late, within reason. Poitier is the stop before Angouleme. It is still a thirty minute ride so don’t get out of your seat immediately as you will be hanging in the corridor for the thirty minutes. I mention this because French trains run on time so there is not a lot of time to get out of the train after it stops.