The town of Cognac’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 of France, as well as gargoyles and richly decorated façades.
Here are a few of the must-see sights as you walk the old town (not including near by Cognac House Tours):
The St Jacques Towers – Built in the 15th century, this was the former gateway into the town. The two towers are the most visible remains of the medieval town walls.
The Castle of the Valois – King François the 1st, one of the most important rulers of the Renaissance, was born here in 1494. The castle is currently home to Otard Cognac, an important cognac house. See www.otard.com for details.
Saint Léger Church and Priory – This church was build in the early 12th century in the form of a Latin cross with cupolas. The Romanesque façade was changed with the insertion of a large rose window.
La Maison de la Lieutenance – This large half-timbered house, built in the 16th century, includes sculpted heads. The Lieutenant General of Cognac stayed here in the beginning of the 17th century, and that is where is got its name.
L’Hôtel Brunet du Bocage et L’Hôtel Perrin de Boussac – These two 16th/17th century residences along the Rue Saulnier are former properties of salt traders and later cognac merchants. The completely renovated Hôtel Perrin deBoussac is now home to the Muséedes Arts du Cognac, dedicated to all aspects of the cognac trade and a must stop on your visit.
L’Hôtel de Rabayne – This town house located at the top of Rue Magdeleine, probably dates from the time of François 1st. Look for the sculpted Salamander, the emblem of King François 1st.
For a tourism flyer with map, go to: