Located about 65 km from the Bay of Biscay and on the Charente River is the picturesque town of Cognac, France. The people of this region have been producing Cognac, or eau-de-vie, since the 17th century. Take off to any one of the six world class Cognac Houses surrounding this town with a car hire from Auto Europe, and you will learn first hand the history and culture behind this brandy.
There are many variables that need to be present in order for a brandy to be considered a true Cognac. First, only white grapes are used in making it, and the brandy has to be produced from specific designated locations in the town of Cognac. There are special stills that are used for distilling the eau-de-vie, and the second part of this process involves the Cognac aging in Oak barrels for at least 2 ½ years. These are only the basic steps of the brandy production, but you can learn about this and more at the Cognac Museum, Le Musée des Arts du Cognac.
The lovely town of Cognac has an excellent system of bike and walking paths. Whether you are looking to take a short stroll around the city, or cycle a 41 km circuit to the countryside and back, there is the perfect trail for everybody. Another nice leisurely activity to experience while in Cognac is to take an afternoon cruise down the Charente River in a flat bottom boat. The boat is a replication of the historical barges that used to transport goods up and down the river.
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