Cognac is a port town in southwestern France (Charente department). It is located on Charente River, between the towns of Saintes and Angouleme, and approx 400 km (250 ml) southwest from the country's capital city Paris.
Most of the town has been built on the river's left bank. The smaller area on the river's right bank is known as Saint Jacques district. The town covers a total area of 15,5 km2 (6 ml2) and has population of around 20,000.
The main tourist sight of interest is The Old Town. Cognac's medieval quarter "Vieux Cognac" runs alongside the river from Tours Saint-Jacques to Saint-Leger church. The area features many unusual buildings (built between 15th-18th centuries) and narrow cobbled streets. Plenty of them contain sculptures of salamanders and gargoyles.
The town gives its name to one of the best-known around the world types of brandy - "eau de vie". Drinks must be made only in certain areas in the Cognac region and also according to strict regulations in order to be granted the "Cognac" brand. This is a double-distilled spirit. The Cognac-making process can be viewed in the "Grande Marque" houses that all have visitor centres. Most central located are Hennessy, Camus, Remy Martin, Martell, Otard. About 15 km (9 ml) east from Cognac is Jarnac, home of another world-renown brand for cognac - Courvoisier.