Ready to experience Poitiers? Then perhaps the best way to see the medieval city in the centre of France is on foot. No wonder so many of the city's hotels and the tourist offices offer walking maps for touring the main sights. Mind you, a map isn't essential as many of the streets are lined with coloured markers, put in place to help visitors find historical points of interest. And, if you do get lost, you're sure to come across some unique finds as you're finding your bearings, such as the replica of the statue of liberty, the 'lopsided' Poitiers Cathedral, or the Fanzinotheque, a tribute to everything associated with fanzines.
A Roman holiday in France
If you enjoy Romanesque architecture, then Poitiers has more than its share. Until 1857, it housed one of the biggest Roman amphitheatres in all of Europe. Examples of Roman influences can be found everywhere, notably in the Church of St. Hilary the Great and Eglise Notre-Dame la Grande. Incidentally, the small, but intriguing Baptiste Saint-Jean is the oldest church in all of France. Of course, the city has also had its fair share of military encounters throughout the ages. As anyone who has studied French and English history would know, Poitiers played a crucial role in the development of relations between the two countries. The Battle of Poitiers in 1356 was a key victory for the English forces during the Hundred Days War. The Palace of Justice still bears the marks of that conflict. The city is far more peaceful these days, and you can enjoy that tranquillity in the wonderful parks and gardens that are scattered throughout the city. Parc de Blossac is one with both English and French influences, while the Jardin des Plantes des Poitiers offers free admission all year round.
For all the Family
Little ones mightn't find the city's history and architecture so interesting. In which case, you might be happy to know that Futuroscope
, an educational theme park, is one of the most popular family attractions in nearby Chasseneuil-du-Poitou, with an illusionist show at the weekends and daily during school holidays. Also, on the agenda is The Little Prince, a live show that lets viewers experience a series of stunning ultra-sensory effects. The Ibis Poitiers Centre
is a good choice for a family-oriented hotel close by. Indeed, if you manage to get tired of town life, there's plenty to see in the surroundings too. Why not hire a car and take in a few of the many vineyards that offer wine tasting tours in the locality? Or, if you're feeling a little more energetic, try one of the many rural hiking or cycling trails.
The City-Nature Circuit
offers more than 400km of signposted trails, taking in everything from mountainous cliffs to lush valleys and quiet farming villages. Even if you manage to cover just half of that, it's enough to keep you busy for a week or two, leaving you safe in the knowledge that you've seen the best of what Poitiers has to offer.