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    An area covered with vineyards and tributes to its fine namesake

    Ahhh, the water of life – and with it, 600 years of tradition – makes the city of Cognac a very special one indeed.

    In 1610, Jacques Roux traded in an eau-de-vie believed to be the original cognac – a rich-tasting, fiery brew made from grapes local to the Charente Department.

    Some 260 years later the Cognac countryside was almost decimated by the phylloxera disease, which destroyed most of the vineyards. However they bounced back, using innovative ways to get their special drink to production and in 1891 the name cognac was first used as the name for local eaux-de-vie.

    Only brandy made in the Cognac region can be called “cognac.”

    Around this time, another significant related industry sprang up after Claude Boucher moved to Cognac to found a glass factory and invented a glass-blowing machine. The Claude Boucher glassworks was taken over by the Saint-Gobain company in the 1960s.

    The Big Five cognac houses are perhaps the best known – Hennessy, Martell, Rémy-Martin, Camus and Otard – three of those families were originally English. There are, however, many other smaller houses, many of which have remained family-owned.

    The cellars in which the cognacs were aged, however, are now mostly out of the city centre for health and safety reasons (it could be quite something if a cask caught alight).

    But Martell has a cellar site on the banks of the Charente near the old town.

    Much of the local economy relies on the production of cognac and associated activities, such as tours of the distilleries, Saint-Gobain glassware, bottling, labelling and packaging.

    Other related industries are also going strong here, such as farms, cleaning products and cellar supplies, coopers and glass makers.

    A signature of the area is black walls, caused by a microscopic fungus called Baudoinia compniacensis, which develops near the vapours of brandy. The black colour can be seen on walls, districts and certain trees.

    Unlike most fungi, this one is much loved, and is dubbed ‘the mushroom from the angels’.

    Against that blackness, you have the vibrancy of flowers everywhere. In 2017, the town was awarded the ‘three flowers’ ​​label by the National Council of Flowered Towns and Villages of France.

    This is despite a hundred-year flood hitting the Charente river in 1982, which lasted nearly two weeks, and a huge storm at the end of 1999 which destroyed a large part of the François-Ier park and the public garden.

    The city was awarded the title of City of art and history in 2012. It has also adopted a sustainable development policy, covering all building in the city, which is home to about 50,000 people.

    The GR 4 hiking trail connecting Royan to Cannes crosses the town. The two oldest districts of Cognac, in addition to the historic centre which first developed around the Château des Valois, are the suburbs of Saint-Jacques and Saint-Martin. There are three other more recent districts: Crouin, the city of the Hospital and the city of the Dolmen.

    The Charente-Océan network of towns links Cognac with Saintes in Charente-Maritime. The two towns are just 15 miles apart and linked by the Charente river, so they face common issues, such as old centres and their small size hampering development. The network is aimed at tackling these issues collaboratively.

    The city has many places to visit, including The Art and History Museum, in the Cognac public garden, The Cognac Arts Museum (MACO) and The Conservatory of Music and Drama.

    L’Avant-scène offers a variety of festivals and cultural evenings and The Institute of History and Archeology of Cognac is certainly worth a look.

    History of Cognac

    The medieval part of town called old Cognac stretches from the Saint-Jacques towers to the Saint-Léger church.

    Here, near the Valois castle, along cobbled streets there are houses and mansions from the 15th to the 18th century salamander sculptures, gargoyles, richly decorated facades and half-timbered houses.

    Cognac castle is where King François I was born in 1494. He awarded the city the right to trade in salt, which helped it develop commercially.

    However in 1541, the salt tax was imposed on Saintonge and Angoumois – which had been previously exempt. There was a revolt, which spread near Angoulême, and Cognac was taken by the rebels.

    In the Saint-Martin district – a former town which was merged with Cognac in 1867 – is the 12th century Saint-Martin church, the remains of a Merovingian necropolis dating back to the 7th century and the washhouse dating from the 1880s.

    At the start of the 18th century, Cognac was gradually modernised. The ramparts of the city fell into disrepair and disappeared completely by 1845.

    Cognac really started to grow in 1839 with the building of the national road (RN141). Then in 1847, the local municipalities were reorganised – Cognac grew by absorbing part of the municipality of Saint-Martin and the suburbs of Saint-Lazare and Saint-Antoine as well as the village of Cagouillet. In 1867, Cognac absorbed the communes of Crouin and the rest of that of Saint-Martin.

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    For Free Advice and a Quotation call 0800 917 1015

    Why move to Cognac?

    There’s a peaceful feeling to Cognac. Despite its size, you get the impression people are relaxed, happy and well-off living here.

    It’s so pretty, stuffed with culture and history – a real find for would-be expats.

    The local foods are just lovely – there are a lot of sumptuous specialities (it’s not all booze here. It’s easy to walk around the town, where you can see delightful old houses, great shops and stop at the Jardin Public to marvel at its fountains and peacocks. The Museum of Art and History features a collection of paintings and sculptures as well as the expected museum of cognac.

    On the riverside you’ll find space, lovely old warehouses and some of the bigger cognac houses.

    Properties in Cognac

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    Transport Links

    Cognac is 406 km from Paris and 97 km from Bordeaux2.

    There is a rail service, but it takes over three hours to get to Paris from here.

    Local Events

    Local events include the Cognac Blues Passions Festival, held in the first week of July, a street arts festival in the first weekend in September and the Cognac festival at the end of July.

    There’s a Polar Festival of Cognac and POLAR Ceremonies, featuring comic strip tributes, cinema, literature, television and theatre in the third weekend of October.

    Many people visit the Cognac flower market and there’s the European Literatures Cognac, which is an annual literary event.

    Schools near Cognac

    There are no international or bilingual schools in the Cognac area. There are local schools, however, if your children are young enough or fluent enough!

    We cover the whole of Cognac and the surrounding area


    Boutiers-Saint-Trojan is a town near Cognac, whose residents are called Boutiérois and Boutiéroises.

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    The population is dense here, nestling on the right bank of the Charente, at the top of a hill overlooking the river. Saint-Trojan is south of the town, above the Soloire valley.

    Away from the main roads, the town is crossed by the D 24 road from Cognac to Sainte-Sévère and Macqueville, which crosses the Charente at Saint-Marmet, and by the D 156 which passes through the town.

    The closest station is that of Cognac, served by TER to Angoulême, Saintes and Royan with connections in Angoulême for Paris, Bordeaux, Poitiers and Limoges, and in Saintes for La Rochelle and Niort.

    Boutiers-Saint-Trojan is on an elongated plateau bordered to the south by the Charente valley, to the east by that of Soloire, to the west by the Fossé du Roi and to the north by the lowland plain. It is covered by vineyards.

    Remains of several Gallo-Roman villas have been found here, in Les Sablons, Les Coulées and Les Frugères.

    The first castle of Solençon, built in the Middle Ages, has long since been destroyed. All that remains is a circular dovecote covered with a dome, as well as the stables which have been transformed into a dwelling.

    On Christmas Eve 1972, an entire family from Boutiers-Saint-Trojan disappeared without a trace: Jacques Méchinaud, Pierrette his wife and their two children Bruno, four, and Eric, seven, as well as their family vehicle, a Simca 1100. The Méchinaud’s case is still not solved.

    The town has a primary school and kids attend college in Cognac.

    Boutiers-Saint-Trojan features an 11th century church, which was listed as a historical monument in 1952.

    The ruins of the church of Saint-Marmet, from the 11th and 12th centuries, dominate the promontory overlooking the Charente. It was devastated during the Revolution.

    The church of Saint-Antoine, in Boutiers, dates from the 19th century. It was built to replace the old Notre-Dame church.

    Everywhere you look there are different architectural features – including dovecotes, a wash house, a mill, farms and houses.


    The people of Javrezac, the Javrezacais enjoy life on the western edge of Cognac on the banks of the Antenna.

    Javrezac is 22km from Saintes and 41km from Angoulême and benefits from peace and quiet since a bypass was built to Cognac.

    The closest station is that of Cognac, served by TER to Angoulême, Saintes and Royan with connections in Angoulême for Paris, Bordeaux, Poitiers and Limoges, and in Saintes for La Rochelle and Niort.

    The town has a few neighbourhoods – Gâte-Chien and Le Buisson to the south, les Angeliers along the Antenna upstream from the town, Le Bouquet on the Louzac road, Galienne and Essart to the north. Javrezac borders on four other towns, including Louzac-Saint-André.

    The town is located on a limestone plateau dating from the Cretaceous period. The old part of the town is high up on the slope of the plateau which dominates the Antenna, and is about 20 metres above sea level.

    The whole valley is subject to flooding and the lower part of Javrezac is in a risk zone. A PAPI (flood prevention and action program) has been set up, let by the State and the Charente River Institution, which is an EPTB (territorial public basin establishment).

    The rock shelters on the right bank of the Antenna between Javrezac and Les Angeliers have been occupied since the Neolithic period.

    Bernard de Javerzac, Lord of Javerzac, was a 17th century poet who published a description of the town of Cognac in 1625. He is also one of the ancestors of François Mitterrand.

    The current buildings of the Moulin des Angeliers and the Moulin de Javrezac date from the 18th century and were altered in the 19th century.

    There are 293 individual dwellings in the area and astonishingly, just two collective dwellings.

    There’s a few cognac producers here, and some producers also sell Pineau des Charentes on the property. Several large distilleries are in Javrezac.

    There are also artisans and commercial activity, with a few craftsmen in the construction industry, a manufacturer of pallets, a landscaper, a hairdresser and a baker who makes a tobacco bar, as well as an antique dealer.

    Many houses and farms are typical of rural architecture from the 17th century to the 19th century – classic Charentaise architecture with whitewashed walls and tiled roofs. Along the Antenne there are two washhouses: one in Javrezac and one downstream in Gade-Chien and two mills whose buildings are from the 18th century, altered in the 19th century.

    The Gallienne estate distillery has been an important Martell distillery since 1953.
    The Natura 2000 site in the Antenne Valley includes an alder-ash grove grown to maintain the banks. It is said to be “one of the best preserved regional alluvial sites with in particular large areas still covered with alder-ash woodland flooded by a dense hairline of secondary branches of the Antenna, a small river with waters of good quality “. Here you will see otters and ultra rare European minks. The fish are numerous, with pike, trout, carp and eel but also sculpin, Plane lamprey and river lamprey as well as whitewater cyprinids (chub, barbel, gudgeon). There are also several species of dragonflies.


    Merpins is a town in the west of the Charente department, bordering with Charente-Maritime, located on the left bank of the Charente 3.5 km southwest and downstream from Cognac.

    The village of Merpins adjoins the town of Cognac along the D 732, which must be continued to reach the old village of Merpins where the D 732 continues towards Pons and the D 144 allows you to cross the river. The industrial zone of Merpins occupies the south-east of the town. Vieux Bourg, to the west, is the old village, which includes the castle and the church. Further south, La Frenade included an old Cistercian abbey. Its inhabitants are the Merpinois and the Merpinoises1.

    The town is on a low limestone plateau dating from the Cretaceous period.

    The plateau forms a promontory between the Charente and Né valleys, on which the Vieux Bourg is built, at an altitude of 29 metres. The lowest point is 4m, at the confluence of the Né and the Charente3.

    The town is bordered by the Charente to the north and to the west by the Né canal.

    There used to be a tile making industry here in Roman times, and there are remains from the Bronze to the Iron Age.

    Merpins was taken by the English in 1152 with all of Aquitaine, but returned by Henry III.

    During the Hundred Years War the fortified castle which controlled the passage to Cognac was the object of several sieges. It was finally besieged and then destroyed in 1387 by order of Marshal de Sancerre.

    In 1421, the ruins were auctioned and acquired by a resident.

    Merpins has more than 1,000 inhabitants and like many towns nearby, viticulture is an important activity.

    Small producers of cognac, Pineau des Charentes and Vin de Pays Charente are located in the town.

    There is an industrial zone here, a public primary school, two kindergarten and four elementary.


    Châteaubernard is a town in the southern suburbs of Cognac, whose residents are the Castelbernardins.

    It is 37km from Angoulême, and crossed by the national road 141, leading to Cognac, Saintes, La Rochelle and Royan. It is also crossed by the D 731 towards Archiac and Barbezieux towards Bordeaux, and the D 24 to Segonzac.

    The Cognac-Châteaubernard aerodrome occupies a large southern part of the town.

    The origin of the name of Châteaubernard goes back to the Latin castellum (castle.

    The history of Châteaubernard involves a very old noble family called Bernard. Jean Bernard is mentioned in 1070, followed by Jacques Bernard in 1100 whose son Jehan Michel 1er Bernard is lord of Chasteau Bernard. Born in 1126 in Angoulême and died in 1205, he was squire in 1146 and took up arms in 1147 before leaving for the Second Crusade.

    At the beginning of the twentieth century, a specialty of Châteaubernard was the manufacture of curds made from sheep’s milk.

    In 2017, the town was awarded ‘a flower’ by the National Council of towns and villages in bloom in France.

    Many of the houses here are recent dwellings, with only 303 dwellings (21.1% ) built before 1949, while 572 dwellings were built from 1949 to 1974, 461 dwellings from 1975 to 1989 and 101 from 1990 to 1999.

    Viticulture is important here, like the rest of the region, and small producers of cognac, Pineau des Charentes and Vin de Pays Charente are around the town.

    There is industry here – the air base, the factory and headquarters of the company Grégoire, a world leader in harvesting machines and the Saint-Gobain factory (now Verallia).

    There are two important shopping areas: the Fief du Roy, home to a hypermarket and many national brands, and the Mas de la Cour, being developed as an extension of the previous one, which make Châteaubernard the largest shopping park in the area.

    Châteaubernard has two nursery schools and two elementary schools There are two pharmacies, two general practitioners, a physiotherapist and two dentists.


    Saint-Brice is 4km east of Cognac and 34 km west of Angoulême, at the eastern end of the canton of Cognac-Nord, on the banks of the Charente.

    The main road in the town is the D 15, which goes from Cognac to Rouillac. One of the important areas of the town is the village of Mullons. There is also the Maurie, near the Charente; la Roche, near la Soloire; Chez Guiard, la Trache; Uffaut and the Vollauds.

    The town extends on both banks of the Charente, and is separated by the Soloire, a tributary of the Charente on its right bank, from the neighbouring town of Boutiers-Saint-Trojan. The Muellon, a small tributary of the Soloire, limits the town to the north.

    The site of Garde-Épée has been occupied for centuries. The presence of a Roman site has been reported with, perhaps, thermal baths. Shards were found near the Charente east of the port of Lachaud, and on the site of the Abbey of Châtre.

    The Château de Saint-Brice is a 16th century building, raised on a terrace, from which the view plunges over the valley of the Charente. This castle was the seat of a seigneury, the oldest known owner of which is Messire Jehan de Lousme, in the second half of the fourteenth century.

    Today, the Château de Saint-Brice belongs to the Hennessy family.

    Saint-Brice has just over 1,000 residents.  It is a wine-growing commune in the cognac region, which doesn’t have many shops or businesses.

    Tourists often come here for the Golf du Cognac and the golf restaurant.

    The Cognac Tennis Club and the Cognac golf course are in Saint-Brice. Medical facilities can be accessed in Cognac.

    The 12th century parish church of Saint-Brice is a historic monument and the Château de Saint-Brice, whose tower dates from the thirteenth century, features a park sloping towards the Charente and its maze of clipped boxwood is classified as a historic garden.

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