Description: The Vineyards of the valley of Charente are famous for their production of cognac (brandy). Although production extends into Charente-Maritime and Deux-Sevres, it is concentrated twenty miles around Cognac and Jarnac.  Excellent website all about Cognac  (the drink, not the town!). This is a beautiful region and the town of Cognac itself it very picturesque.

Location: Between Saintes and Angouleme on the N141.

Our recommendations: Most of the famous Cognac houses offer visits – Remy Martin  has a train ride around their site which takes you into the underground caves.  Hennessey  include a boat ride in theirs. The tours themselves are pretty interesting (English speaking tours available), and there are plenty of opportunities to taste and buy.
For further information on Cognac, Brandy and Armagnac visit our Specialist Wine section.

For the children: Not so much for them here.

Courvoisier Distillery

Description: The name of Courvoisier and its hallmark of the Napoleon silhouette is known worldwide. The distillery is one of many cognac works that can be visited in the Charente region, but this one has the advantage of a lovely setting right next to the River Charente in the pretty small town of Jarnac. All visits are by guided tour but these are available in English and are an extremely good introduction to the whole cognac making process. There is a shop to make purchases.

Location: Imposing buildings on the quayside in the centre of Jarnac, 13 km east of Cognac.

General Information: 2, Place du Château, Jarnac Tel No:- 0(5) 45 35 56 16.  Public parking available in the town. Visit is €10 – €35* for over 18’s (the price depends on the quality of cognac you want to taste as part of the guided tour).  Open every day in July and August from 10.00-13.00 and 14.00-18.00.  Limited opening at other times (see their website for details).

Our Recommendations: Make sure you sign up for an English speaking tour to get the most out of your visit.

For the children: Experience has taught us that children do not rank guided tours (especially any wine/spirit related ones) as high on their agendas, so be warned!

*Prices approximate, please check operator for full details.


Here’s more information to make the most of your visit to the Charente Maritime: