Travel Postcard: 48 hours in and around Cognac, France
By Barbara Lewis
COGNAC, France (Reuters) - In the 18th century, one Richard Hennessy fled his native County Cork in Ireland to serve in the armies of Louis XV of France before settling in the southwestern town of Cognac.
Once the alarums of battle had faded, he shipped a few barrels of the local tipple home. The rest is history and the Cognac house still bearing the Hennessy name is a world leader.
For visitors to the region, discovering the secrets of its famous double-distilled spirit aged in oak casks is essential to the Cognac experience, but there are other charms.
Following are some tips from a correspondent with local knowledge.
From Paris, Cognac is a roughly three-hour train journey via Angouleme, around 20 miles from Cognac. You might want to hire a car either from Angouleme, to cut out the slow-train section, or on arrival in Cognac.
From Cognac station, it's a brisk walk or a short drive to the old town centre.
10:30 a.m. - Drop off your bags and restore yourself with a coffee and perhaps a "pain au chocolate", known as a "chocolatine" in the Cognacais strain of French. Continued...