Poitiers is a city in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of western France.

Understand edit

Notre Dame of Poitiers

Poitiers is a pleasant, relatively small city of around 85,000 inhabitants that has strong medieval roots. It is on the Clain river.

Charles Martel changed the course of French and European history near Poitiers in 732 by halting the advancing Moors in the Battle of Tours, which was the first decisive Christian victory over the Moorish invaders. The battle took place just a few kilometres north of the city.

There isn't a lot to see in Poitiers. To be honest and to make a long story short, it's a boring place.

Get in edit

Poitiers is roughly 350 km (220 mi) due south of Paris, 120 km (75 mi) East of the Atlantic Coast.

By car edit

Halfway between Paris and Bordeaux on the motorway A10, Poitiers can be a nice place to stay for a couple of days on a trip to other destinations in the South West region of France.

By train edit

The journey from Paris (Montparnasse station) to Poitiers takes 90 min on the TGV high speed train. Upon arrival, the city centre is straight ahead out of the station, on the top of the hill.

  • 1 Poitiers railway station (Gare de Poitiers), 2 boulevard Pont Achard.    

By plane edit

By bus edit

  • Poitiers Bus Station (Gare Routière de Poitiers), 52 Bd du Grand Cerf, 86000 Poitiers. Open 24/7. Located right next to the train station, it links Poitiers to others cities through the Nouvelle-Aquitaine as well as Eurolines buses

Get around edit

Given the small size of the city centre, walking is the best way to get around. All the main attractions, apart from Futuroscope, are within reasonable walking distance of each other.

Poitiers' train and bus stations are next to each other. Nearby towns, cities, and local attractions can be reached by bus, operated by Vitalis.

See edit

As stated above, there isn't a lot to see in Poitiers, but it is a pleasant small city, and visitors will find it has a relaxed atmosphere, especially compared to Paris. Poitiers is also a good base to visit nearby towns like La Rochelle or Tours.

  • City Centre. Has a small square called "La Place d'Armes" in front of the Town Hall, which is surrounded by cafes, where you can sit down with a glass of wine or coffee or get something to eat. It is being refurbished; the whole area is now a pedestrian only zone. It gets packed on weekends, especially during summer. Other parts of the town may give you an impression of a ghost town, especially during lunchtime, when the shops are closed.
  • Baptistry of St. John. One of the oldest Christian buildings in Europe, dating back to 4th century. Inside, you can see the baptismal pool on the floor.
  • 1 St. Pierre Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Poitiers). Has organ performances.    
  • 2 Church of Notre Dame (Église Notre-Dame la Grande, Poitiers). Virgin Mary is the Patron Saint of France, so every town will have a church named Notre Dame (Our Lady). Poitiers' Notre Dame dates from the medieval times and is of Romanesque architecture. On some evenings after dark, light shows are projected on its façade to illustrate how colourful it used to be.    

Do edit

  • 1 Futuroscope. Multimedia theme park 15 km north of the town.    
  • Poitier's Ice Rink (La Patinoire), 84 rue des carmélites (The "Patinoire" bus stop is located right next to the skating rink.). Entry for adults is 4$, more info on website.

Learn edit

The local university, the Université de Poitiers [formerly dead link] , has over 24,000 students. Poitiers is the French town with the largest proportion of students in the population, around 25%.

Buy edit

Le Broyé du Poitou, a local cake

"Macaroons from Montmorillon", a local speciality delicious with a coffee or tea, and great as a gift. These can be found at Rannou Metivier, which has two shops in Poitiers' town centre (30, rue des cordeliers and 13bis, rue des cordeliers).

"Le Broyé du Poitou", the Crushed of the Poitou, a biscuit the size of a cookie that is called this way because it was traditionally shared by hitting it of a punch in its centre, hence breaking it. As it is a hard biscuit, it would then yield nibbling size pieces. The Broyé du Poitou can be found in any supermarket in town. The main producer is Goulibeur.

Eat edit

Drink edit

Although the city is small, the significant student population in the city do make the city alive, even at night. Some places where you can grab a drink are:

1 Le Palais de la Bière (Le PLB), 250 rue du faubourg du Pont Neuf, +33 05 49 46 28 31. Monday: 17:00 - 2:00 Tuesday to Saturday: 12:00 - 2:00. A chill pub/bistrot to hang out with many students there. The music inside is nice and diverse, darts and table soccer can be found there. Best if you want to relax with friends!

2 Wallaby's (Le Wallab), 5 Rue du Plat d'Étain, +33 05 49 55 17 58, . Tuesday & Wednesday: 18:00 - 2:00 Thursday & Friday: 18:00 - 3:00 Saturday: 15:00 - 3:00. A nightpub right in the center of Poitiers. During the evening it is a very chill place to hang out as it is quite calm but as soon as the night comes, music starts playing and people start dancing. If you're there to party try going on Thursday or Friday nights, people usually come at around midnight. Very safe and welcoming place, many people go there before heading to nightclubs in the city. Although entry is free you must pay for at least one drink.

3 L'Est-Ouest, 10 rue de l'éperon 86000 Poitiers, +33 5 49 41 13 36, . Monday: 20:00 - 2:00Tuesday to Saturday: 18:00 - 2:00. One of the most visited bars in the city center. Very busy at night especially at the end of the week (Thursday to Saturday). Because of its location and its popularity, it is considered to be a safe and welcoming place to hang out a night.

4 Le Room, 37 Boulevard du Grand Cerf, +33 6 76 02 89 85. Th - Sa: 00:00-07:00 AM. One of Poitiers' main clubs, generally plays urban music. Bouncers can sometimes be a pain, so try to avoid wearing shorts or dirty sneakers. Free entry for students on Th; otherwise, around €10.

Sleep edit

There are many hotels in Poitiers, with prices ranging from €30 for a double room in a one star hotel to more than €200 in a relais et chateaux.

You can also sleep in a hotel in Paris and take the train or car early in the morning

Go next edit

Routes through Poitiers
BordeauxNiort  SW   NE  ToursParis

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