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Welcome to Cognac, a town nestled in the heart of the Charente region in France that invites you on a sensory journey through the fascinating world of cognac !

From discovering the secrets of cognac distillation to cellar tours and meetings with the passionate craftsmen who perpetuate this ancestral know-how, Hennessy experiences offer you a total immersion in the art of producing ” l’or brun “.

To help you prepare for your next wine-tourism getaway, this guide includes a selection of places to visit around cognac, as well as good addresses for tasting local gastronomy and staying in charming places.

Article produced in commercial collaboration with Hennessy
Alcohol abuse is dangerous for your health and should be consumed in moderation.

Cognac in brief

Oenotourisme : une escapade gourmande à Cognac 1

 How to get there ? The easiest way is to get to Angoulême station (2h20 from Paris or 35 min from Bordeaux) then take a cab or TER which will take you to Cognac in around 35 minutes.

 When to go ? Prefer spring, summer or autumn to take advantage of mild weather, or winter, between October and March, if you want to visit a working distillery.

 How long to stay ? At least a weekend to have time to properly visit the town and discover a Cognac House. Ideally three days to explore the surrounding area, take more comprehensive tours or just take time to rest.

 What if you don’t like alcohol ? You don’t have to like cognac or even drink alcohol to enjoy this getaway. The know-how associated with eaux-de-vie is fascinating and to be tasted above all with the eyes, and no one will force you to drink !

In Cognac, an eau-de-vie inseparable from the town

Cognac is a small town with a population of just 20,000. And yet, it’s a city full of character and history, as evidenced by the château and the imposing Porte Saint-Jacques that guard the town.

It has to be said that a lot has happened here : Cognac developed considerably in the Middle Ages thanks to the salt trade, becoming as early as the 10thth century a salt port that would ensure the town’s prosperity for 5 centuries. Cognac was also the birthplace of François I in 1494!

Séjour à Cognac

But if the name ” cognac ” is world-famous today, it’s no longer thanks to salt or François I but to brandy, that ” brown gold ” to which the town has given its name since the 18th century.

Even today,the brandy trade makes Cognac a thriving town and it’s impossible to come here without taking an interest in the many skills passed down from generation to generation.

How is cognac made? The recipe !

Oenotourisme : une escapade gourmande à Cognac 2

To produce cognac, grapes are transformed into wine. This is then distilled twice in a Charentais alembic to obtain a pure, aromatic eau-de-vie that is kept for several years in French oak barrels.

A cognac is a blend of several eaux-de-vie – sometimes several hundred! – carefully selected by a Master Blender.

LEARN MORE : Cognac, the brown gold of Hennessy.

Discovering cognac expertise with Hennessy experiences

While several Houses produce cognac today, the most important is Hennessy. A House founded in 1765 by Richard Hennessy and which opens its doors throughout the year to give you a better understanding of the many skills involved in cognac production.

 A living heritage company

Cognac is above all a story of men and women who have been passing on their know-how for centuries. In fact, the production of cognac meets such rigorous specifications that it has been included in France’s inventory of intangible cultural heritage! Hennessy has also been awarded the EPV (Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant) label, which distinguishes five of its areas of expertise: double distillation, ageing and blending, cooperage, bottling and product packaging.

The immersive initiation 👀

If you’re new to cognac then this is the tour for you ! In 2 hours, you’ll embark on a short crossing of the Charente to reach the Hennessy cellars. In the chai des Pavillons, you’ll discover the history of Hennessy and the cognac-making process through a multi-sensory scenography.

Visites Hennessy

A virtual reality installation, MOBILIS, completes this discovery, presenting a poetic creation lasting almost 20 minutes by artist duo Olivier Kuntzel & Florence Deygas, based on sketches by the company’s founder, Richard Hennessy.

Finally, you can explore a cellar where some of the House’s eaux-de-vie are aged, before finishing with a tasting of two Hennessy cognacs, V.S and V.S.O.P.

Chai Hennessy
Oenotourisme : une escapade gourmande à Cognac 6

 2h tour
 €29 per person, €15 for 12-17 year olds, free for under 12s
 Departures take place throughout the day.
 Find out more and book

🤔 VS, VSPO, XO : what does it mean ?!

These mentions help determine the age of a cognac :

  • VS (Very Special) means that the cognac is made from eaux-de-vie aged a minimum of 2 years.
  • VSOP (Very Special Old Pale): at least 4 years old.
  • XO (Extra Old): at least 10 years
  • XXO (Extra Extra Old): at least 14 years old

These ages are minimums. In Hennessy’s XO cognac, for example, eaux-de-vie are on average between 12 and 35 years old.

Destination vineyard 🍇

Without grapes, there is of course no cognac ! A visit to the vineyards allows you to explore the very first stage in the process of making an eau-de-vie ! By electric bike, you can explore the Bataille vineyards while admiring the most beautiful panoramas of the Grande Champagne region.

The tour also includes a visit to the Faïencerie winery and the “Paradis” cellar, as well as a tasting of Hennessy V.S.O.P and X.O cognacs.

Vignobles Hennessy
@Jas Hennessy & Co, Alain Benoit

It’s also possible to picnic in the vineyards for an even more bucolic experience.

 3h tour, by reservation
 Please note : this tour is only available from May to September
 €170 per person, reserved for over 18s
 Find out more and book

Destination distillery ⚗️

Cognac distillation is a process that has remained unchanged for centuries! To discover this know-how, Hennessy invites you into its Distillerie de Groie to meet the craftsmen who watch day and night over the Charentais stills that transform wine into eau-de-vie.

Oenotourisme : une escapade gourmande à Cognac 9

This unique experience continues in the prestigious Chai Paradis, a historic cellar housing some of the world’s oldest eaux-de-vie. And to conclude, a commented tasting of Hennessy V.S.O.P and X.O cognacs will be offered.

 2-hour tour, small group
 Please note: this tour is only available during the distillery’s operating period, from November to March
 €150 per person, €20 for under-18s
 Find out more and book

Destination tonnellerie 🪵

It’s hard to imagine that right in the center of Cognac still hides a cooperage ! And yet, it’s on the banks of the Charente that Hennessy’s artisan coopers work, producing 400 to 500 new barrels every year, in addition to working on old barrels in need of repair.

Despite this high rate of production, the techniques used to create a barrel have hardly changed over the last two centuries. Most tools remain unchanged and have been handed down from generation to generation. A visit to the cooperage is all the more fascinating  seeing the craftsmen’s hands bring a barrel to life, smelling the wood and trying to reproduce certain gestures yourself make this discovery a memorable experience, all the more so as the quality of these barrels depends on the proper aging of the eaux-de-vie.

The tour continues with a visit to the Faïencerie winery and the “Paradis” cellar, and ends with a tasting of Hennessy V.S.O.P and X.O cognacs.

Visite de 2h en petit groupe
150€ par personne

“Ma carafe” workshop 🧵

Another, lesser-known, Maison Hennessy craft is decanter dressing. At the rare editions workshop, exceptional decanters are created.

During a masterclass, you’ll learn how to personalize a 5cl decanter of Hennessy Paradis, one of the House’s most prestigious cognacs. You’ll also be able to learn the art of silk thread laying, a fun experience that leaves you with a beautiful souvenir. The experience ends with a tasting at Bar X.O.

Oenotourisme : une escapade gourmande à Cognac 13
Jas Hennessy & Co, Stanislas Desjeux

 Atelier de 1h30
 200 € par personne

Bonnes adresses à Cognac

Where to sleep ? 🛌

There are several hotels to suit all budgets. Enter the dates of your stay on this map to see the accommodations available and the prices offered by the various establishments:


” La Part des Anges ” : a 5-star accommodation offer at La Nauve accompanied by a Hennessy tour

Until the end of June, Hennessy is teaming up with 5-star establishment La Nauve to offer ” La Part des Anges “. This offer includes :

  • a guided tour of Hennessy X.O with a visit to the Chai des Pavillons and the MOBILIS experience in virtual reality, as well as a guided tasting of X.O cognac dry, on ice and in cocktails, accompanied by Hennessy X.O chocolates.
  • one night with breakfast and VIP welcome at the Hotel La Nauve

This offer is priced at €481 for 2 people, from Thursday to Sunday.
Bookings on or +33(0)

👼 La Part des Anges, what is ?

When brandies are aged in casks, a portion of the alcohol naturally evaporates, poetically referred to as ” la part des anges ” (angels’ share). This alcohol vapour feeds a microscopic fungus that blackens the cellar walls and used to enable the authorities to detect clandestine production!

Le Chais Monnet : a 5-star hotel in a former wine storehouse

Opened in 2018, this prestigious establishment takes its place in the completely refurbished former Monnet winery. It’s a hotel where industrial heritage blends with warm, modern furnishings. There’s also an outdoor/indoor swimming pool with free access for hotel residents, as well as a spa and treatment area.

Where to eat ? 4 restaurants to enjoy in Cognac 🍽️

Origins – €

We fell in love with this restaurant in the historic center of Cognac, which renews its menu every day according to the market.

At lunchtime on weekdays, only 2 starters, 2 main courses and 2 desserts are offered, a guarantee of quality! The 2-course menu costs €22 and the 3-course menu €26. In the evenings, you’ll find dishes and plates to share for greater conviviality.

Origins is also renowned for its cocktail menu, I particularly recommend the ” peach tea ” made with cognac, peach syrup, verjuice and peach green tea, a treat !

 23 rue du Pont Faumet, Cognac
 See restaurant website

La Maison – €€€

Recommended by the Michelin guide, this restaurant offers refined cuisine using local produce. Prices are a little high, but justified by the quality of the dishes and the presentation. The plates are as elegant as they are tasty, a delight from starter to dessert, all in a calm, warm atmosphere.

 1 rue du 14 juillet, Cognac
 Book a table

La Distillerie – €€€

La Distillerie is the brasserie of the Chais Monnet hotel, offering bistronomic cuisine featuring regional specialties. A three-course menu is available at €47, but lunch is also available on weekdays from €29 for a main course and dessert.

Every first Sunday of the month, you can also enjoy a buffet brunch.  

 50 avenue Paul Firino Martell, Cognac
 See restaurant website

Les Foudres – €€€€

Still within the Chais Monnet hotel, Les Foudres is one of Cognac’s most prestigious restaurants. Here, the experience begins in the dining room, as you dine under century-old foudres. An incredible setting for this Michelin-starred restaurant, where three menus are available in 3, 4 or 6 courses, starting at €79.

Oenotourisme : une escapade gourmande à Cognac 31

 50 avenue Paul Firino Martell, Cognac
 See restaurant website

Where to have a drink ? 🍸

Le bar Luciole

Created by a bartender who trained in London before moving to Cognac, bar luciole offers an extensive cocktail menu, with or without alcohol, as well as charcuterie/cheese boards.

It’s a very cosy place, where you can enjoy a toast amid shelves of beautiful bottles. You can also dip into the small library to consult a few books dedicated to the region’s spirits.

Oenotourisme : une escapade gourmande à Cognac 32

 14 place du Solencon, Cognac
 See restaurant website

The jazz bar 1838

In the heart of the hotel ” Chais Monnet “, in what was the former cooperage of the Monnet house, this bar boasts an impressive cognac library made up of over 300 references from 40 houses ! You’ll also find a wide range of cocktails, but you can also ask the mixologist to advise you and create a cocktail to suit your tastes and desires.

Oenotourisme : une escapade gourmande à Cognac 33

 50 avenue Paul Firino Martell, Cognac
 See the bar’s website

Interactive map

Find all the addresses mentioned in this article on this map:

Alcohol abuse is dangerous for your health, consume in moderation
Article produced in commercial collaboration with Hennessy

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