It’s celebrated for its enduringly popular brandy, but the charming French town of Cognac, set in exquisite, rolling countryside, is also blessed with wonderful wine and food, and it’s all within very easy reach of Paris by train, and the UK with direct flights to nearby Poitiers, Bordeaux and La Rochelle.

This is a region that is never short of things to celebrate, and one of the most popular festivals is Cognac Blues Passions, which takes place this year from 5 to 9 July. Concerts by internationally-renowned performers take place throughout the day and evening, and many of them are free. On the final weekend of July, the Fete du Cognac promises a mixture of cocktails and local food, as well as concerts.