The Château Royal de Cognac, overlooking the river Charente, was first a 10th century fortress intended to stop the Norman invasions, then in the 15th century a seigneurial dwelling where one of the most illustrious kings of France, François I, was born.
Baron Otard, who founded his House of Cognac in 1795, quickly understood how the thickness of the walls provided exceptional and unique conditions for the ageing of his eaux-de-vie. He then acquired the Château, thus saving it from total destruction.
The Château Royal de Cognac has become a historical monument, a witness to the History of France and the House of Cognac.
A bit of History...
Several times rebuilt, also called Château des Valois or Château François Ier, it has existed since Hélie de Villebois, the first lord of Cognac, had a castrum built around 950.
Around the year 1000, Itier and Arnaud de Villebois settled on the future site of Cognac and founded their dynasty there.
A small village was then formed around the castrum and the priory.
Nothing remains of this castrum.
Around 1200, the castle was rebuilt in stone by the Taillefer family, counts of Angoulême.
Between 1366 and 1370, the castle of Cognac was, with the castle of Angoulême, the main residence of Edward, Prince of Aquitaine and Wales, known as the "Black Prince" the son of King Edward III of England.
In the 14th century, Philip the Fair attached Angoumois with the lordship of Cognac to the crown of France.
But during the Hundred Years' War, Cognac changed suzerain according to the fighting and treaties between the English and the French.
The return of Jean de Valois, known as "the good Count Jean", after 33 years of captivity in England marked the end of long years of unrest and the return of prosperity.
Jean de Valois found an abandoned castle in very poor condition.
The new Count of Angoulême settled in Cognac with his wife Marguerite de Rohan and undertook the reconstruction of the château in 1450, thus beginning the "Golden Century of the Valois".
After the Revolution the château was sold as a national asset for demolition, but in 1795 it was bought by brandy merchants, the citizens Otard and Dupuy, to set up their cellars.
During the 19th century some developments have caused the destruction of the remains of the castle but the company Otard has also made important conservation and restoration work.
The castle today...
The castle, as it can be seen and visited today, dates back to the construction of the Valois family.
The Château Royal de Cognac can therefore be visited and also offers the possibility of renting rooms for receptions and other events.
And of course, you can taste and buy Baron Otard's home-made products.
Château Royal de Cognac -
127 Denfert Rochereau Boulevard
Tel. 05 45 36 88 86
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator