Getting There — Five trains per day arrive from Angoulême (trip time: 40 min., ticket price 10.30€ one-way), and six trains pull in from Saintes (trip time: 20 min., ticket price 5.90€ one-way). For train information and schedules, visit www.oui.sncf or call tel. 36-35 (.40€/min.). Limited bus service arrives from Angoulême; the trip takes 50 min. and costs 4.50€; visit www.vtpc.fr or call tel. 05-45-95-95-99 for schedules. If you’re driving to Cognac, the best route from Saintes (which lies along the major route A10) is N141 east.
Cognac grapes are among the last picked in France. Harvest time usually begins in mid-October.
Cognac is home to several annual festivals, the best of which is Blues Passion, a jazz festival that in 2009 celebrated its 16th anniversary. Performers come from throughout France and the world, and in the past have included Ray Charles. Conducted over a 5-day period in July, it presents most of its musical events in the outdoor amphitheater known as Théâtre de la Nature. Entrance to most individual events costs between 30€ and 40€, although a passeport granting access to all the concerts in the venue sells for 120€. For information about ticket reservations and venues, call tel. 05-45-36-11-81 or check www.bluespassions.com.
More closely tuned to Francophone audiences is the annual Coup de Chauffe/Festival du Théâtre de la Rue, wherein for a 3-day period in September, street performers present social or political satires in the open air without any admission charges. Although a working knowledge of French is useful at this event, the nature of many of the presentations is more "performance art" than traditional drama, and as such, many of them can be appreciated for their visuals. For information, call tel. 05-45-82-17-24 or visit www.avantscene.com.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.