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- the connoisseur's guide to France
- gateway to the Southwest
4th century baptistry - the oldest church building in France.
Poitiers is a
classic French provincial city. Capital of the
Poitou area of western France, and county-town of the Vienne
department, it is a historic city that has conserved much of its old
A traditional stopping spot on the route from Paris to
southwest France and Spain, it is a city that has catered for passing
travellers since Roman times.
Defensively located on a hilltop
beside a main route, Roman Poitiers, known as Limonum, was one of the
major cities in western Gaul, and possibly the capital of the area;
however little remains of classical Roman Poitiers. On the other hand,
Poitiers is home to one of the oldest churches in Europe, the fourth
during the Gallo-Roman period. Today a small archaeological
museum, the Baptistry is decorated inside with some of the earliest
mural paintings in France.
polychrome Burial of Christ, from 1555, in the church of Notre Dame la
It was in the Middle Ages that
Poitiers really came into its own again; and there are several
impressive buildings dating from this time. Most important is the
church of Notre Dame la
which was consecrated in the year 1086. With its ornately decorated
facade, Notre Dame la Grande is one of the finest examples of western
French Romanesque architecture.
Poitiers also has a fine early gothic cathedral
built in the 12th century on the instigation of King Henry II of
England and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine. The cathedral has some
beautiful medieval stained glass windows.
11th century sculptures adorning the facade of Notre Dame la Grande
There are two other interesting medieval churches in
Poitiers, the church of Saint
a classic but unusual 11th century Romanesque
church, and the church of Sainte
Radegonde, which has an interesting crypt..
In addition to its cluster of medieval
has an old
town centre with narrow streets, many half-timbered buildings, and
other ancient town houses. The town centre also has plenty of
cafés and restaurants, as well as shops and boutiques.
Poitiers' main museum is the
Musée Sainte Croix,
close to the town centre. Housed in a modern building from the 1970s,
the museum has a collection of historic and archaeological artefacts,
as well as an art gallery with a collection of mostly French paintings
and sculpture from the 19th and 20th centuries, including works by
Rodin, Bonnard and Sisley.
Futuroscope - techological theme park
While the sights and monuments of old Poitiers illustrate the
city's historic past, the same cannot be said for the most popular
tourist attraction just ourside Poitiers. This is the Futuroscope,
future-themed hi-tech theme park located at Jaunay Clan, one of the
northern suburbs of Poitiers. ►
More details and online
Opened in 1984, the Futuroscope has grown from a few futuristic
pavillions round an Imax cinema, to become the world's most
sophisticated cinema theme park. It has giant screens, IMAX and 3-D and
4-D shows, some of them using technology that is unique in the world,
all in all over twenty future-themed attractions. Among the
attractions is a high-tech aquatic evening show by Cirque du Soleil,
that started in Feb 2016.
Saint Savin sur
the area - Around Poitiers
century frescoes in Saint Savin.
anyone interested in medieval architecture, the church of Saint Savin
sur Gartempe, 45 km east of Poitiers. A UNESCO world heritage site,
this large 11th century abbey has the largest and among the best
preserved collection of medieval frescoes in France, and among the
best anywhere. Unlike most large churches of its time, the abbey still
has its original barrel vault, on which most of the fresoces are
painted. Its interior is a unique example of how many large churches
would have looked in the 11th and 12th centuries.
with its cluster of castles
way between Poitiers and Saint Savin, Chauvigny is a historic town
perched on a rock beside the river Vienne. The centre of the small town
is remarkable for having no less than five castles, two of which can be
visited. Chauvigny also has two 11th century churches, notably the
Collégiale Saint Pierre, in the historic city, which is best
known for its unique collection of medieval capitals, coloured as they
would have been in the Middle Ages.
- 26 km southeast of Poitiers. A wildlife and adventure park for kids
and families; lots of animals, and games and activities to make kids
and adults aware of the environmental challenges facing our planet in
the 21st Century. The park also offers accommodation in tree
houses, gypsy caravans and other quirky structures
31 km south of Poitiers. Vallée des Singes, or Monkey valley
English, is Europe's largest primates wildlife park, with over 400
gorillas, apes, lemurs and other monkeys in large open enclosures. the
park is heavily involved in the protection of endangered species.
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tourist information for Poitiers :
Nouvelle Aquitaine , area Poitou-Charentes
: Angoulême, Limoges, Tours
plane - Nearest airports:
Poitiers is 6 - 7 hours drive from Calais, 4 hours from
Paris, and 2½ h from Bordeaux.
Train station Poitiers Centre.
Direct TGV services from Paris Gare Montparnasse (1h 40 to 2h), Lille
(3h 20) Bordeaux (1h 50) For timetables and online tickets,
choice of hotels and apartments in Poitiers.
hotels in the middle of Poitiers
In a quiet location in the centre of Poitiers, a traditional three star
hotel with 80 rooms. Good value. On site car parking (supplement)
- Small two-star hotel with 21 rooms, in the heart of the old
town. Free public parking nearby
hotels close to the centre of Poitiers
Budget - gare
Beside the station, a no-frills budget hotel.
Private parking nearby (charge).
Just off D910 (old N10), easy access from A10 exit 29. Well reviewed
two-star hotel. Free parking onsite.
hotels on the outskirts of Poitiers.
A short distance from A10 exit 28. A standard modern four-star hotel
with swimming pool and sauna. Free parking onsite.
Between D910 (ex N10) and A10 exit 28. Reliable *** budget hotel with
restaurant & garden. Free parking onsite.