COGNAC & OYSTERS : DISCOVER THE LEGENDARY ANCESTRAL KNOWLEDGE
WHEN TO GO
FROM € 1800 PP
Welcome to Cognac, worldwide capital of a renowned business. On your arrival, in the heart of the vineyards which brought about the famous Cognac VSOP, XO, and even Napoléon and Louis XIII appellations, we will get you settled in your hotel, situated in a 19th century castelet overhanging the Charente valley.
To recover from jetlag, sample some incredible Cognacs and smoke a cigar in the warmly decorated Bar-club, complete with an ancient fireplace or head to the relaxation area with a sauna, Turkish Bath and a Jacuzzi is available for you for a wonderful moment of relaxation and well-being.
For dinner, your hotel will offer you one of the finest tables in the region. In a room with a hushed atmosphere or on a terrace in an enchanted setting, you will have the opportunity to taste the food of a talented young chef “who knows how to make the best of regional products, with elegance and thoughtfulness”, praises Madame Figaro, to quote just her.
IN THE SECRET OF COGNAC HOUSES
Come to Charente means truly discover the secrets of how Cognac is made, this eau-de-vie which is exported to more than 160 countries worldwide. This bordered region is home to renowned Cognac Houses which have a global reputation, supplied by a large part of some 5900 businesses, which provide the Cognac wine and even the eau de vie itself.
After breakfast, we offer you first of all the opportunity to go inside the world of a distiller at the famous Cognac House. At the heart of one of the most modern installations, you will discover how these eaux-de-vie are made and the hidden secrets of its craft.
If you wish to get into the heart of the action, remember that the distillation season starts at the end of October and finishes at the beginning of March !
You will then begin your private visit to the famous Cognac House “Hennessy”, where you are invited to discover their secular traditions of producing exceptional cognacs. You will get to know the very skillful work behind the selection and assembly which falls to the Cellar Master and which defines the character of the cognacs of his Maison.
François 1st was born in Cognac and becomes, at the age of 4, heir to the throne. From then on, he left Cognac with his mother, requested by King Louis X to settle in Amboise. A statue of Francois 1st is erected in the center of the square which bear his name and you are invited to visit the famous château which carries his name and is now home to another famous Cognac House. You can stroll up and down the alleyways of the old town, which will take you back to the gates of Saint-Jacques and lead you on to François 1st Place.
For lunch and dinner, let us take you sample some local gastronomy in fabulous regional restaurants.
LA ROCHELLE & MARENNES-OLERON PICTURESQUE BASIN
Today you will discover La Rochelle, situated on the Atlantic coast of Charente Maritime. You will settle into your 5* hotel, not far from its famous towers which date back to the 14th and 15th centuries. La Rochelle has always been a maritime city and is one of the biggest French ports for economy and tourism.
We suggest you start your visit by a tour of the harbour to discover its marina, its fishing port and its business port.
At lunchtime, we have reserved a table for you in one of La Rochelle’s finest restaurants, or you can simply hand the guide our selection of local and foreign cuisine, which you can enjoy on a sun-soaked terrace.
In the afternoon you can explore the shopping area of the Saint-Sauveur district. These typical streets with their arcades give the old town a great deal of charm and make this area unforgettable. , Over a guided visit, you will admire the houses from the Middle-Ages, the richness of the 16th and 17th century sculpted rock façades, the nobility of the 18th century shipowner’s hotels. Your stroll will lead you to the Hôtel de Ville, the most visited monument in La Rochelle.
Next day, you are invited to discover the oyster-farming basin of Marennes Oléron, the most important in Europe, with 6000 hectares of parks and oyster pits. You will fall in love with the very typical Charente marshland, dotted with charming little traditional cabins, generally made of wood, painted in vivid colours and with tiled rooves, built alongside the channels.
You will be welcomed by a very reputable oyster-farmer who will share with you his passion for his work and his knowledge which has been handed down from generation to generation. You will discover how the oysters are ripened in their oyster pits, and old salt marshes, where their colour and flavour are finalised.
SEE THE FULL ITINERARY AND CUSTOMIZE THIS EXPERIENCE
We design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something completely bespoke to you. Contact us on +33 545 833 652 to start planning your holiday.
YOU’LL LOVE TO KNOW
The Birth of Cognac eau-de-vie
The town of Cognac, already known for its salt trade since the11th century, has also become famous for its wines from the ‘Poitou vineyard’ created in the 12th century, which they traded with the Dutch. Carrying salt from the region to the countries of Northern Europe, the Dutch ships also transport wine from the ‘Vignoble du Poitou’.
Due to their low alcohol content, the wines of the Aunis and Saintonge vineyards, already suffering from excessive production and declining quality, do not withstand long voyages at sea. The Dutch began to use them in their newly established distillery, where they are transformed into burnt wine, the brandwijn, the origin of the word ‘brandy’. It is drunk with water in an attempt to recreate the original wine.
At the beginning of the 17th century, the first stills installed in Charente by the Dutch were gradually modified and double distillation appeared in the Cognac region, allowing the product to travel in the form of unalterable brandy, much more concentrated than wine, cheaper to transport.
Marennes-Oleron: the biggest oyster farming centre in Europe
Producing between 40,000 and 60,000 tons per year, the Marennes-Oléron oyster farming centre is the biggest in Europe. Some oysters are finished in claires. They are easily recognizable to their unique green tint, due to the presence of a microscopic algae called Navicula ostrea, and their Label Rouge quality award, the only one in France.
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