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Cognac, Charente facts for kids

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Blason de la ville de Cognac (Charente)
City of Cognac (Charente)

Cognac is a commune in the Charente department in southwestern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department.

The inhabitants of the town are known as Cognaçais.

Geography

Cognac is situated on the river Charente between the towns of Angoulême and Saintes. The majority of the town has been built on the river's left bank, with the smaller right bank area known as the Saint Jacques district. The town is situated on one of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostella. The town is also home to the French Air Force training base 709. Cognac is 400 kilometres (250 mi) southwest of Paris.

History

Unknown prior to the 9th century, the town was subsequently fortified. During the Hundred Years' War, the town changed sides on several occasions as the result of fighting and treaties in the region.

Francis I granted the town the right to trade salt along the river, guaranteeing strong commercial success, which in turn led to the town's development as a centre of wine and later brandy.

Sights

  • The Old Town. The town's medieval quarter "Vieux Cognac" runs from the Tours Saint-Jacques, alongside the river, up to the Saint-Léger church. The area contains many unusual buildings, built between the 15th and 18th centuries, situated on narrow cobbled streets. Many contain sculptures of the salamander, the symbol of King François I, as well as gargoyles and richly decorated façades.
  • The Château des Valois, an important medieval trading post.
  • The Saint-Léger church. [Church Exterior:,
  • The musée d'Art et d'Histoire (art and history museum)
  • The musée des arts du Cognac (art museum)
  • The Saint-Gobain glassworks and barrelworks
  • Cognac Public Garden

The area also contains many Romanesque churches as well as several châteaux.

Cognac

The town gives its name to one of the world's best-known types of brandy or eau de vie. Drinks must be made in certain areas around the town of Cognac and must be made according to strictly-defined regulations to be granted the name Cognac.

Cognac is a unique spirit in that it is double-distilled. This process can be viewed in one of the many "Grande Marque" Cognac houses which all have visitor centres. Most central in the town are Hennessy, Martell, Otard, Camus and Remy Martin. About 15 km (9.32 mi) East of Cognac is Jarnac, home to Courvoisier.

Personalities

  • Francis I (king of France between 1515 and 1547) was born in the town's castle in 1494. The town's main square is named after him and a statue of the king on horseback towering over his enemies stands at the centre.
  • The French poet Octavien de Saint-Gelais was born in Cognac in 1468.
  • Paul-Emile Lecoq de Boisbaudran, born in Cognac in 1838 discovered the elements Gallium in 1875 and Samarium in 1878.
  • Jean Monnet, one of the founding fathers of the European Union was born in Cognac in 1888.
  • The car manufacturer Louis Delâge was born in Cognac in 1874.
  • The glassmaker Claude Boucher, inventor of the glass-blowing machine in around 1880, lived and worked in Cognac.

Sport

  • US Cognac is the city's rugby union team.
  • Cognac was the start of Stage 19 in the 2007 Tour de France.

Tourism

Cognac Tasting Tour is an inbound wine tourism agency to visit Cognac and its vineyards .

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