Though counted among France’s many legendary grape-producing regions, Cognac is often overshadowed by its wine-specific cousins…but for those in the know, it’s an essential historic gem just a train ride away from the country’s capital. Yet, no trip to Cognac would be complete without a quick jaunt in Paris, of course. So, in true ‘Weekender’ fashion, we bring you the perfect approach to squeezing in all the requisites within just three days.
Friday Morning: Arrive in Paris and find your way to Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris, which is arguably the crème de la crème of the city’s luxury hotel scene. You’ll be greeted with rich, breezy quietude and a color palette to match; take a few moments to explore the stunning lobby before heading up to your room. A power nap may be in your future (the beds are rather irresistible).
Friday Afternoon: Order room service lunch as a means of spending as much time in the room as possible without feeling guilty for not exploring. No, really.
Friday Evening: Take an early evening stroll to make up for earlier. Your dinner reservation at Les Ombres above the Musée du Quai Branly awaits — the terrace offers quite possibly the best view of the Eiffel Tower around (while also sparing you the long lines and prolonged exposure to inclement weather that comes with actually visiting the Eiffel Tower). Most importantly, the food happens to be exquisite, so it’s a win all around.
Saturday Morning: Check out of the hotel and depart for the Montparnasse train station, where you’ll catch a train to Angoulême and transfer there to a car bound for Cognac. Check into the Hôtel François Premier, a hotel as aesthetically pleasing as it is steeped in regional history (the stone staircase dates back to 1861) — after settling in, you’ll grab a car to your next destination.
Saturday Afternoon: While the Cognac region is rife with legendary heritage brands, it’s nearly impossible to choose just one or two houses for a visit, but Hennessy’s gorgeous properties (and ultra-VIP tour option) never disappoint. Schedule a “Hennessy À La Carte” experience for a behind-the-scenes look at the brand’s Le Peu distillery, private cooperage, and the Paradis cellar (each of which are typically closed to the public) and more before sitting down to an extensive tasting designed to give insight into the inner workings of the Hennessy Tasting Committee. If you’re to walk away with just one souvenir, make it a bottle of the Hennessy Paradis Impérial, the rarest and most intricate expression ever released by the brand in its long and illustrious history.
Saturday Evening: Sit down to an endearingly modern dinner at Poulpette, an intimately chic restaurant in the heart of the city, just steps from the river Charente.
Sunday Morning: Depart for Paris and ultimately your return home.