To discover some (but not all) of the secret of how Cointreau is made, take a tour of the distillery, source of all 15 million bottles of the bitter-orange liqueur produced each year. Reserve ahead by phone. Situated in an industrial zone 3km east of Angers' city centre (served by Irigo bus 6).
Tours are in French (with iPad translations into six languages), but from June to August there's at least one tour a day in English.
Cointreau has its origins in the experiments of sweets-maker Adolphe Cointreau and his brother Édouard-Jean Cointreau, who founded a factory in Angers in 1849 to produce fruit-flavoured liqueurs. In 1875 Édouard-Jean’s son, also called Édouard, hit upon a winning, top-secret formula combining sweet and bitter oranges, flavoured with intensely orangey peel – voilà, Cointreau!