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Cognac is about an hour south of us, it is famous all over the world thanks to it’s famous mamesake Cognac, the grape-based spirit that has been made here for the past 300 years - French writer Victor Hugo called it the ‘liquor of the gods’.

It is a town full of history,King François 1st was born here in 1494. A contemporary of King Henry VIII of England he is considered France’s first Renaissance king. The spirit was first made as an alternative to wine as a preventive drink against scurvy – wine was difficult to transport and took up a lot of space. Double-distilled and turned into brandy (cognac) it was more compact and more stable so travelled well but also tasted better after being aged in oak casks.

Today the town of Cognac continues to revolve around the spirit, its fortunes rising and falling according to the popularity of the drink.

Local area & places to see

The fabulous theme park that is Futuroscope!

If your idea of a great day out is a mix of rides that make you scream plus jaw-dropping 3D films that take you white-water rafting across the Nile, then to the depths of the ocean and even into outer space, Futuroscope is made for you. The theme park is the top attraction in the Poitou-Charentes and second in France, and has an impressive 70% visitor return rate.

Created 25 years ago the 60-hectare park, with its landscaped gardens and fountains, contains a number of futuristic-looking pavilions in which the films and rides are housed. One-fifth of the 23 attractions are refreshed every two years but every year there is something new.

All of these and many many more places to visit, things to see and do can be found on the regions tourist website at htp://www.discover-poitou-charentes.com/ which has a wealth of information on the area

Inland beaches in the Poitou-Charentes

You don't need to be by the coast to spend a day at the beach – it is a French tradition to create artificial beaches by rivers and lakes, both natural and man-made. Usually called plan D’eau or étangs, they are life-guard patrolled during the summer months and are usually accompanied by a café plus a playground for young children. Some will also have a watersports centres.