Our accommodation in Cognac
Explore Cognac staying at a Charente Chateau
The town of Cognac, from which the spirit gets its name, is situated on the River Charente, from which it drew its prosperity due to its navigability. There has been an important port here since the Middle Ages when Charente was a centre for the salt trade, which along with wine, was an important source of income. In the 18th century several British and Irish families settled in the town and set up Cognac businesses, several of which survive today. Now the town is an attractive provincial city, with majestic buildings dating from the height of its prosperity in the 18th century.
Of course, the immediate reason to visit, as far as we are concerned, is the Cognac, which was first “invented” as a way to help the acidic wines of the region travel better by sea. The production method in brief today is to ferment the grapes to create a light, neutral, high acid, off-dry wine. These are then distilled in a ‘pot still’ twice. The heat and the subsequent length of time over which distillation occurs are crucial. The slower and more gentle the heating, the finer and more flavourful the eventual Cognac will be. Once they are at the correct alcohol levels, the spirit is transferred into casks for ageing. The length of time that the Cognac stays in cask will dictate the quality level at which they can be sold. Once the spirit is bottled, all ageing ceases.
The Charentais countryside and villages are unspoilt and very beautiful, and the delightful slow pace of life in the region has earnt the locals the reputation for being at best “laid back” and at worst lazy, so this is an ideal place to spend a weekend to really wind down. If you decide to spend longer than two nights in the region, you could also spend a day out visiting the oyster beds of the Aix basin, the vineyards of St Emilion or Bourg and Blaye, the attractive town of Angouleme, as just a few examples.
Our chosen accommodation is in the Sud-Charente that has had many different inhabitants over the years from Vikings and Romans to Saracens. Apart from the vineyards, chateaux, chapels and Romanesque abbeys surround the region.
For this special two or three night break we have chosen an extremely comfortable 5 roomed guest house, housed within the walls of a former Cognac distillery in the Premier Cru Cognac Vineyards of Grand Champagne Cognac, in a peaceful hamlet. The spacious bedrooms overlook the attractive south-facing courtyard and have luxury bathrooms, separate WC, flat-screen satellite TV and comfy chairs. There are also two cottages in the grounds with two en-suite double bedrooms each. In the attractive grounds there are mature lime trees, terraces, lawns and a walled park with two avenues of trees and extensive grounds with views over the vineyards. In the summer months there is an outdoor salt-water pool. There is excellent walking and cycling country (bicycles provided).
The location is ideal for exploring the local market town of Barbezieux and of course the attractive, historic town of Cognac, the Aix Basin (famed for its oysters) and the vineyards of St Emilion and Bourg and Blaye are also an easy day out. The owners are well versed at looking after guests, since they ran highly successful French tour operations from the UK for many years. Indeed, we have known them as friends for many year. They will personally welcome you and ensure that, as guests of A&C you receive a particularly warm welcome.
If you are travelling as a four – we will request one of the two bed roomed (both with ensuites) cottages for you, so that you have an extra level of comfort and privacy.
The owner’s other passion is classic sports cars, so if you stay for the three nights and fancy a spin out in one of these further details can be provided re-booking.
How to Book:
Please provide us with a deposit of £250 per person by debit card or credit card (credit cards incur a 1.5% surcharge) at time of booking request.
On receipt of this we will check availability and confirm to you within 2 working days or sooner.
If your first choice of date is not available, we will offer alternatives and if these do not suit you your deposit will be refunded by return.
Please note that if you book for 4 but only 2 travel, the per person price is that of the 2 plus there is a £75 administration/cancellation fee.
Final balance is due no later than 10 weeks before departure and all other Arblaster & Clarke terms of booking apply
Private transfer from Angouleme train station or airport.
Table d’hote dinner at the guest house, including wine, water and coffee.
After breakfast, you will be escorted by a local resident as your driver-guide to visit two very contrasting Cognac Houses. We always believe that it is important to see the difference in scales of production between small artisan producers and the large corporate names, so this is what will happen today. You will visit a high quality small producer, where you are likely to meet a family member, then you will be taken into Cognac town – to spend a couple of hours over lunchtime – your guide will recommend a good bistro or gourmet restaurant according to your requirements. In the afternoon you will visit one of the large houses such as Remy Martin, Martel, Otard or Delamain to see Cognac being produced to a high quality but on a much larger scale.
Return to the accommodation later afternoon.
Evening – Table d’hote dinner at the guesthouse, including wines, water and coffee.
Private transfer to Angouleme train station or airport for your return train or flight.
If you opt for a three night stay the third day will either be “at home” where you can laze by the pool, go walking or cycling in the surrounding countryside or you can hire a classic car and, perhaps, take off for the coast or the vineyards of St Emilion, for example (though bear in mind that drink-driving laws are even stricter in France than in the UK). The third night is on B&B.
Travel to the region:
By Train: It takes between 6 and 7 hours from London on the TGV to Angoulême
By Plane: The nearest airport is Angouleme and one of the low cost carriers currently fly’s from Stansted.
Other airports within 90 minutes or less are Poitiers, La Rochelle, Limoges or Bordeaux (a supplement applies for transfers from any of these)
By Car: It is 600 kms from Le Havere or 790kms from Calais, and you could always choose to break your journey in the Loire valley en route.
PRICES FOR 2013 WILL BE AVAILABLE SHORTLY. PLEASE CALL IF YOU NEED THESE SOONER!
Two nights on half-board basis including dinner with house wines, water and coffee (optional upgrade to superior wines available on the spot).
Complimentary upgrade to best room available or to the two bed roomed cottages if a party of four and subject to availability.
Return private transfers from Angouleme airport or train station
Private day out with driver-guide to visit two Cognac producers with tastings
These prices are based on: EARLY BOOKING (No later than 14 weeks before departure and on the EXACT itineraries shown).
For last minute bookings (IE within 14 weeks) or for ABSOLUTELY ANY alterations to the above, we will be pleased to provide verbal quotes over the phone. However, please be aware that prices will be very significantly higher to these extremely special offer early booking package rates.
Meet at Angouleme train station or airport