Cognac Country Poitou-Charentes
By Maria Thermann

Cognac Country Poitou-Charentes

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Situated in the south-west of France, the area of Poitou-Charente is easily accessible via Poitou Airport and La Rochelle Airport. From Paris it is possible to take a direct TGV train from Charles-de-Gaulle Airport or from Montparnasse train station to Poitou. If you are looking to buy a townhouse, villa or farm house in Poitou-Charente, you will find plenty of choice at affordable prices.

Poitou-Charente is divided into four departments, Charente, which was named after the Charente River, Charante-Maritime with its fine sandy beaches on France's Atlantic Coast, Deux-Sèvres and Vienne. To the south of the region is Bordeaux, France's famous wine-growing region.

At the heart of the Poitou-Charente lies the ancient town of Angoulême, which was once the capital of the whole Cognac-producing region. It was once fortified with stout walls and protected by a castle. Only parts of this ancient structure survived, forming the basis for Angoulême's Town Hall now. Today the town sees a steady influx of tourists. The best months to visit the Poitou-Charente region are May, June and July.

La Rochelle, a historic seaport on the Charente-Maritime's Bay of Biscay, is a busy tourist city thanks to its medieval towers and excellent restaurants and shopping. One of its attractions is the Musée de Marine, which displays the town's maritime history. La Rochelle was also the centre for French porcelain and faience production in the 18th century. Many fine examples are on display at the Orbigny-Bernon Museum in La Rochelle.

Poitiers is simply brimming with palaces and Romanesque churches, while Jarnac, the site of the Battle of Jarnac in 1569, is an ideal place for walks and cycling along the Charente river.

The town of Cognac in the Charente is at the heart of the country's famous fortified drink production. Cognac was once an important trading port; then wine producers discovered the double distillation process and the fortunes of this beautiful town changed forever. One of the most important visitor attractions is the Cognac Country Discovery centre. Both the Royal Castle of Cognac and Musée des Arts due Cognac are examples of the town's historic and contemporary importance for the Charente department. Smaller distilleries in the area also produce the Pineau aperitif.

The Charente Valley is an often overlooked treasure trove of heritage towns of breath-taking beauty. For some 360 km the river cuts through rolling countryside filled with ancient water mills and sleepy villages.

Property in the Poitou-Charente ranges from two-bed, already converted farm houses to large villas in need of restoration. With a budget of 88,000 euros it is possible to find a small holiday hideaway in a sleepy village. A budget of around 230,000 euros buys a substantial property for relocation purposes or retirement in rural areas.

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