“City of art and history”
Less than 80 minutes drive from Villemorin, the regional capital and picturesque university town of Poitiers possesses a wealth of cultural and architectural heritage stretching back almost two millenia.
In 1985, Poitiers was awarded the label "Ville et Pays d’Art et d’Histoire" (City and Region of Art and History) due to its efforts to showcase and promote its heritage through lectures, guided tours, workshops and exhibitions. The permanent exhibition in the Salle du Patrimoine (Heritage Room) on the first floor of the Tourist Office provides an excellent introduction to Poitiers’ urban, religious, political and cultural development.
Site of one of the major battles of the Hundred Years' War between England and France, Poitiers has long been an important strategic location, surrounded by the rivers Clain and Boivre. Its narrow streets, rich medieval history and well-integrated contemporary constructs - combined with fine squares, radiant parks (such as the Jardin des Plantes and Jardin des Sens) and local markets - offer a host of walking possibilities. Let a qualified guide lead you through Poitiers' various ages and influences.
Today the town is home to the Baptistère Saint-Jean, which dates back to the fourth century, is believed to be the oldest church in France. Having been abandoned and sold following the 1791 French revolution, the church was used as a warehouse and only narrowly avoided demolition, before extensive restorations in the mid-20th century.
The restored, famous façade of the Église Notre-Dame la Grande, in the very heart of Poitiers, is one of the city’s many proud masterpieces. Other sites of interest include the Renaissance style Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall), the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre - with its Gothic-styled façade - and Église Saint-Hilaire-le-Grand.
Poitiers’s largest museum, the Musée Sainte-Croix, boasts sculptures by Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel, plus paintings by Piet Mondrian and Odilon Redon
Poitiers’ restaurants offer a host of traditional specialities, based upon local ingredients, such as farci poitevin (stuffed herb paté), sauce aux lumas (snails), broyé du Poitou and tourteau fromager (cake with fresh cheese).
Some ten kilometres north of Poitiers is Parc du Futuroscope, which has attracted over 50 million visitors since opening in 1987. This unique theme park offers a range of multimedia shows and attractions, including 3D and 4D cinemas.