Cognac, France April 2019
How is Cognac like Champagne?
A couple ways:
-Like Champagne, they are both beautiful places in France that are mostly comprised of vineyards
-Like Champagne, the liquid (specifically brandy in Cognac, sparkling wine in Champagne) can only be considered Cognac if it comes from this region.
France loves to name a alcoholic spirit after where it comes from, Cognac being a perfect example.
So where exactly is Cognac and how do you get to it from, say, Paris?
It is located SW of Paris, basically on the way to Bordeaux. Actually the train I took from Paris to Cognac, if I had stayed on it for a couple more hours, the next stop would have been Bordeaux. Next time!
This was a very quick trip I did with work - very educational with a little downtime mixed in to see the sights.
Arrived in the morning to Paris. Stayed at the Hotel Montraparsse St Germaine hotel. Very small hotel, about a mile to the Seine river, but close to the catacombs and right across the street from the train station. Nothing particularly bad or good to say about it. It's proximity to the train station, I believe, is the reason my company picked it- since we only got one night in Paris. I took the afternoon to indulge in a quick power nap, then went for a 7 mile run- hitting up the Lourve, along the Seine up to the Eiffel Tower, and back. I love running in Paris, it's the best- so much to see. After my run, I cleaned up back at the hotel and met my work group for a subway ride (also across the street) to the Montramarte area where we had dinner at Pink Mamma. This was a super cool Italian restaurant, 4 levels, used to be an old hospital. In the basement is a speakeasy- so stay for the drinks after dinner. From there we walked up to Sacre Couer for that amazing night view of the city below- then back to the hotel where we had nightcaps at a corner cafe.
Got my run in first thing, then a long travel day began. We took the train about 3hrs to the town of Jarnac- Angouleme stop. Grabbed a quick lunch across from the train station (not much to choose from in this tiny town), followed by a 30min van ride to the Hine Cognac house in the town of Jarnac. We dropped our luggage and it was back in the van and onto the vineyards at Bonneauil and Cognac Distillery tour. That took up most of the day, and after before an amazing dinner by a private chef inside the Hine house, I took a walk along the river through the woods. Extremely peaceful and just what I needed to stretch my legs after an intense day of traveling.
One more run in Cognac first thing along the river. This was sort of a trail run, which I hadn't done in a bit, so kinda fun! This was another day full of Cognac education. We did a private tasting of the Hine center for the majority of the morning, right next door to the Hine house- which included a private tour with lots of tastings. For lunch we headed out to L Essille- a beautiful restaurant inside a B&B in Cognac- where we were served a 3 course pre-fixed lunch menu. Back to the Hine house- and after lunch, I explored the little town of Jarnac a bit which included a park, a small downtown area with shops, very cute and quaint. That night we drove into the town of Cognac proper- which definitely had a little more going on than Jarnac in terms of shopping, entertainment, bars/restaurants. We strolled around the town for a quick tour, then had some drinks outside across the river at Luciole which is known for their extensive cognac cocktail list. Up the street we dined at Polpette- which was by far the best meal of the trip. A very small menu but really really good seafood. After all the croissants for breakfast and cognac, I needed something light. If you are ever in Cognac seek this place out!
Extreme travel day- get ready
30 min cab ride from the Hine House to Angouleme train station
3 hour train ride back to Paris
1 hr uber ride from train station to Airport
8 hr flight - connection (delayed) in Charlotte, NC
1.5 hr flight home- finally
Why would you go to Cognac?
If you love drinking Cognac or are in the liquor industry
If you love history
If you love the French countryside
If you love quaint little French villages