Brandy capital of France
www.tourism-cognac.com. A prosperous town on the River Charente, Cognac literally exudes brandy. In the town centre, several major producers offer tours of their chais (warehouses). Martell, place Martell, is the oldest; while Hennessy, founded by an Irishman when he retired from the French army in the 1760s, resides on quai des Flamands. The advantage of the Otard tour is a chance to see over the remains of the 13thC Château de Cognac, where Francois I was born in 1494.
There are summer season boat trips up the Charente to Jarnac (15 km E); and there is plenty of space for car-weary kids to run around, or have a picnic by the river and a swim in the Parc Francois-1er.
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