Cognac City Hall (Hotel de Ville)

Cognac – Introduction

The city of Cognac would be lost in the enormous amounts of well-known places in France if it weren’t for their most famous products; COGNAC. Cognac is known for its brandy, and it’s the most important point of interest of this place.

As far as the city itself goes (population 26,000), it’s not much to write home about, but if you’re into the cognac drink, this is going to be heaven.

The first mention of the city was around the year 1075 (it was then called Commiaco). You can still find several Roman ruins and artifacts.

Cognac is a mixture of old, often majestic, buildings, and buildings that are not well maintained. One of the main squares in the city is the Francois 1re square:

Cognac's Francois Premiere square
Cognac’s Francois 1re square

It’s a lively square with several restaurants, bars and a 4-star hotel. To note is the permanent Merry-Go-Round:

Permanent Merry Go Round:
Permanent Merry-Go-Round:


Cognac is not a very big place, so most of your discovering can be done of foot. Not too far from the above square is the main museum of Cognac.

The museum used to be the Dupuy d’Angeac mansion, but was purchased by the city in 1921 and transformed into a museum.

MuseumMuseumPark EntranceRear of MuseumMap
Cognac Museum (Musee d'Art et d'Histoire)entranceCognac Museum (Musee d’Art et d’Histoire)entrance
Museum buildingMuseum building
Entrance to the pubic park from the museumEntrance to the pubic park from the museum
Rear of the museum buildingRear of the museum building

Click here to access the museum’s website.

Public Park and City Hall

The museum is part of a very large, and very well kept, public park. The park is open during daytime, and the Cognac City Hall stands proudly in the middle of the park.

The 7 hectares (17 acres) park is lush with small hills, fountains, ponds and many flowers. The park is one of the very few English-style parks in France. It’s a worthwhile stroll.

PondOrangerieCity HallCity HallMap
Cognac's public parkCognac’s public park
Park's OrangeriePark’s Orangerie
Side View of the City Hall of CognacSide View of the City Hall of Cognac
City Hall (Hotel de Ville) of CognacCity Hall (Hotel de Ville) of Cognac

The City Hall (aka Hotel de Ville) used to be the Otard La Grange mansion. It was purchased in 1889 by the city and turned into the city’s Mairie.

A 5 minutes walk to the North of this beautiful public park is another park, Parc François Premier. It’s more a forest than a park, and it runs alongside the Charente river.

Parc Francois Premier and the Charente river
Parc Francois Premier and the Charente river


Most of the streets in Cognac are narrow, and often cobblestoned. It’s relatively easy to get around and finding places is not too complicated.

Many of the buildings and houses are nothing to write home about, but at times you do find yourself in front of an impressive house or building.

WallsStreetsHouseSocial Assoc.SchoolCourtsGovernmentChurch
Part of the defensive, and natural, walls of CognacPart of the defensive, and natural, walls of Cognac
Cobblestone or brick streetsCobblestone or brick streets
A house in CognacA house in Cognac
Social Associations houseSocial Associations house
Courts (Palais de Justice)Courts (Palais de Justice)
Deputy-Governor (Sous-Prefecture)Deputy-Governor (Sous-Prefecture)
Saint-Leger Church (built in 1130)Saint-Leger Church (built in 1130)

Chateau de Cognac

One of the buildings you will come across is the Chateau de Cognac, the Cognac Castle. The castle is not like the castles you will find in Normandy, Loire Valley or Brittany. It’s rather low and not that impressive.

Initially the castle was built in the 13th century, but it got totally destroyed during the 100 years war. It was rebuilt to what you see today in 15th century.

The most notable person to be borne here was King Francois 1re (Francis I), the Renaissance King. He is also the man who founded the biggest port city of France, Le Havre.

CastleWalled GateMap
Chateau de CognacChateau de Cognac
Walled gate of the CastleWalled gate of the Castle

Today the castle is a museum dedicated to its original owner, Baron Otard Cognac – a producer of Cognac brandy.

Click here to access their website for more information on opening times and prices.


The name of the city says it all; this is the place where you will find the Cognac alcohol liquor. And as you can expect, there are several Cognac distilleries here, and as you would expect, many of them can be visited (and you can buy their drinks in the attached souvenir shops).

On your way into town, you will have undoubtedly seen all the vineyards. They are the ones used to double-distill the grapes into Cognac.

All the big names are present in the city; Hennessy, Martell, Otard, Camus and Remy Martin. In fact, it was the British who really made the Cognac in the old days. They were the biggest consumers of the drink, so they started making them.

Hennessy Cognac distillerie/factoryHennessy Cognac distillerie/factory
Hennessy factory entranceHennessy factory entrance
Hennessy museum/visitor areaHennessy museum/visitor area
Martell Visitor areaMartell Visitor area
Martell buildingMartell building
Martell factoryMartell factory

Links to the different distilleries:

Mind you, the Hennessy tour includes a small boat ride across the river to the other side to see the production.

Hennessy Cognac boat ride
Hennessy Cognac boat ride


Cognac is not a place you would go out of your way to visit, unless you are a cognac drinks fan. Then it’s a paradise. But if you are interested in old and/or beautiful buildings, charming houses and a majestic city, this is not for you.

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