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Cognac/Western France

Hi everyone! My sister and I are planning an epic road trip across France for my 40th birthday! We will be starting in the Black Forest of Germany and traveling to the west coast for the purpose of riding a roller coaster that was once in our small hometown amusement park and relocated to a park in France. It's going to be an adventure! We would like to stay within an hour of the park for a few nights and then plan to travel back through the chateaux region. Does anyone have advice for places to stay or things to do in the Cognac area? The park is in Les Mathes which is very close to the coast and it seems Cognac is about an hour away and one of the options with hotel/lodging available. Thank you!

Posted by
3980 posts

Cognac is more than an hour from Les Mathes. There are plenty of good closer options.

The nearby island of Oleron is charming. Visit the colourful galleries and handicraft shops for unique souvenirs located in Le Chateau d’Oleron in the former oyster fisherman’s huts. Eat oysters in Chez Marmelou restaurant near Dolus straight from the fisherman. Hire a bike and Potter round the charming villages on the many dedicated cycle paths. There are many accommodation options.

Visit Royan’s unique Notre Dame, a brutalist modern concrete church built after the previous church was bombed during the war. Take a boat trip to La Rochelle - see the fantastic food markets and a world class aquarium. Another boat trip to Fort Boyard, a Napoleonic defence.

Mournac-sur-Seudre is another pretty village with art galleries and restaurants. Brouage is a 15th century fortified town where you can walk the old town ramparts, but arrive early as it gets busy around lunchtime.

In Rochefort, visit the tall ship Hermione if she’s in port.

There are dozens of chateaux in this region as Google will indicate and all over France, so I don’t know what you mean by chateaux region. The Loire? The Dordogne?

This is a fantastic area that’s a pity to rush.

Posted by
1430 posts

hey hey regina
if a road trip in a car, make sure you check getting car in one country and returning to another. cost is huge $$$$ for a drop off fee, and if you need a IDP from AAA, about $25 and 2 passport photos for each driver. read about the laws and consequences if not followed.
sounds like alot of fun. wanted to go to the cognac area but was outta the way for us. enjoy
aloha

Posted by
3436 posts

Cognac is a picturesque town where the main attraction is the famous and expensive type of brandy it produces (and the real stuff can only come from there.) Big names such as Martell and Hennessy offer tours in facilities that often have ancient histories. One hopes for a free taste at the end but there are more formal commercial tasting tours.
One oddity: The tradition is to whitewash the foundations of old homes and stores. Sometimes the white is smudged grey, almost like soot. Instead it is a telltale sign that a barrel or two of cognac is/are ageing inside. The barrels are oak, a porous wood that allows alcoholic vapours to seep out. A tiny grey fungus lives on those fumes. Gotcha!