Cognac tours and cognac-tasting tours in and around the riverside town of Cognac
For visitors to Poitou-Charentes a must-do is a cognac tour or cognac-tasting tour around one of the famous firms or ‘maisons’ as they are called (see below). And of course to have a taste of cognac at the same time!
We would also recommend a visit to one of the many excellent small local producers that can be found through the cognac area. Many speak English, and while summer is the peak period for public visits, there are those that are open all year round. The tourist offices in the cognac areas will have a booklet called ‘Les Bonness Adresses du Cognac’ which is a detailed list of those offering tours, with information on whether they speak English.
For more on the history of cognac, head to the Musée des Arts du cognac (Maco) in Cognac which does its bit for the local industry that made the town famous – and wealthy – by housing a permanent exhibition on the history of the drink and how it’s made.
If you’re looking to buy, then browse at the 400-strong selection on offer at Cognathèque, also in Cognac.
Did you know…?
Down by the river in the town of Cognac are the blackened chais (warehouses) that still store barrels of cognac. Their blackened state is caused by the alcohol evaporating into the surrounding air. Rather poetically, the locals describe this alcohol that has escaped the barrel as ‘the angels’ share’. The cause of the blackened walls, however, is nothing to do with heavenly hosts; the culprit is a tiny fungus that thrives in the alcohol-laden atmosphere!
TAKING A COGNAC TOUR: THE GREAT COGNAC HOUSES
Makers of cognac since 1853.
Address: 29, rue Marguerite-de-Navarre, 16100
Tel: 05 45 32 72 96.
Visits: May – September; 11h / 14h / 15h / 16h / 17h (afternoons only on Mondays) reservation recommended.
Admission: €7 per adult, free below 18, €3.50 per person for groups of 10.
Not in Cognac, but nearby and known for being the home of ‘Napoleon’s cognac’. It has a variety of tours.
Address: 2 place du Château, 16200 Jarnac
Visits from April – October, 10am to 6pm every day (closed Saturdays in May and September.
Tel: 05 45 35 65 16.
Admission: From €9 person
The best-selling brand of cognac in the world.
Address: Les Quais Hennessy, 16100, Cognac
Visits: All year round
Admission: From €11.
Tel 05 45 35 72 72 or 05 45 35 72 68
The oldest of the cognac houses, founded in 1715.
Address: Place Edouard Martell, 16100
Visits: April – October
Admission: €7.50 per adult, €4 for those aged 12-18, free for those aged under 12, €5.50 per head for groups (more than 15 people).
Tel: 05 45 36 33 33.
The cognac brand that began in the 19th century and which has historic ties to Russia.
Address: 26 rue Pascal Combeau 16100 Cognac; parking in 7 rue François Porché 16100 Cognac
Visits: all year round
Admission: Adults €10; €5 for those aged 12 – 18.
Tel: 05 45 82 32 10
Situated in the château that was the birthplace of King François I.
Address: Château de Cognac – 127, boulevard Denfert-Rochereau, 16100 Cognac.
Visits: April – October
Admission : €10 adults ; €4.50 for children between 12-18yrs; free for children under 12yrs
Tel: 05 45 36 88 86
A variety of tours including by train through the vineyard.
Address: Le Domaine Rémy Martin, Avenue de Gimeux, 16100 Merpins
Visits: from mid-April – end of September
Admission: from €18 per adult.
Tel: 05 45 35 76 66
Cognac Tasting Tour
Travel agency organising English-speaking tours of cognac houses that can include speciality meals, river cruises, golf and more…
Address: Lieu-dit Chez Rivière, 16130 Saint Preuil
Tel: 05 45 80 80 38
A permanent exhibition devoted to cognac where you can see and buy 450 different cognacs as well as 50 types of pineau.
Address: 8 place Jean-Monnet, Cognac, is open every day 9am to 7pm, admission free.
Tel: 05 45 82 43 31
Musée des Arts du cognac (Maco)
It has a permanent exhibition that charts the history, the techniques and the economic impact of cognac. Situated in rue des Remparts, place Salle verte in Cognac, the museum is open every day from 10am to 6.30pm until September. Admission for adults €4, free for the under 18s. Reduced tariffs available. Tel: 05 45 36 21 10
Les Bonnes Chauffes
Each year, during the months of December to February winegrowers and distillers throw open their doors to visitors over the weekend for free distillery visits plus tastings of cognac and of pineau. A number of restaurants also get involved with menus based on local products and of course cognac and pineau – some also put on musical events to create a real feeling of fun and festivity. For a full list of participating growers and their opening hours, and participating restaurants see www.cognacetapes.com
How cognac is made