Everybody knows the brandy that gave the town of Cognac its worldwide renown, but there are other delights too.
To visit Cognac is to encounter history, the birthplace of François I, born in the Château des Valois, whose salamanders, his emblem, guard his memory. It is to cross the street and bump into the mansion of Jean Monnet, founder of the European Union. Roaming the cobbled streets you'll notice the colourful houses and half-timbered buildings, most notable among them the Maison de la Lieutenance with its exposed beams on two floors, its intriguing sculptures.
Cognac lies on the Charante's banks between the towers of Saint Jacques, guarding both the entrance to the 12th century town and the Prieuré Saint-Léger. Lose yourself in the convent Les Récollets, which hosts art and culture exhibitions. Take the air in the public garden, drawn by Édouard André, but range over the banks and islands of the Charente for the best outdoor experience. You must see the river, so take a canoe or cross by barge. If you visit between April and October embark on La Dame Jeanne, France's biggest riverboat reconstruction. You like crime fiction? Cognac hosts the Polar Festival in the third week of October: events dedicated to films, books, TV, comics, theatre. Have a great holiday in a lovely hotel in Cognac!