To the south of the Loire Valley, not far from the beaches of the Atlantic coast, Poitiers reigns from on high, atop its rocky outcrop. It was here, in 732 that Charles Martel, grandfather of Charlemagne, vanquished the armies of the Muslim govenor of Cordoba, Abd-ar Rahman. The last descendant of the counts of Poitou and dukes of Aquitaine, Eleanor of Aquitaine was born here four centuries later. And from the past to the Futuroscope: Poitiers is at the forefront of technology with this informative and fun centre. Not far from Poitiers you'll find the Marais Poitevin, a marshland which is teeming with wildlife.
The town was built by the Romans and then extended thanks to the patronage of Eleanor of Aquitaine. It boasts a number of stunning Romanesque churches. If you could only visit one (but what a shame that would be) it would surely be the Church of Notre-Dame-la-Grande. The romanesque carved façade is today as eye-catching as ever. On summer evenings the façade is illuminated, recreating its original polychrome design.
The Expressifs, a festival of street arts, is an autumn highlight. Join the crowd and be amazed and surprised by the performances.
Near the Cathedral of Saint-Pierre in Poitiers, the Sainte-Croix Museum is a major regional museum. Explore its impressive collection which is divided into sections: archeology, fine art and contemporary art, with notable works by Rodin and his sister Camille Claudel.
The Futuroscope (in Jaunay-Clan, 10 minutes from Poitiers) alone is worth a trip to Poitiers. The whole family will lose themselves in a futuristic 3D world. The Kinémax, is an alphanumeric rock crystal cinema. More than 30 attractions showcase the latest digital developments and technology, including the Digital City, Cyber Avenue, Arthur, the 4D Adventure, Fly me to the Moon, Cosmic Collisions and so on. You can try out dynamic cinema with heightened reality, meet robots, see the world in relief and watch huge sound, light and firework displays.
An hour and a half from Poitiers you'll find yourself deep in the marshland of the Marais Poitevin, an unusual environment which is 100% natural and beautifully preserved. You can explore the villages and canals by boat: this area is known as the Green Venice, and you'll soon see why. But where did the marshes come from? According to the poet Rabelais, his character the giant Gargantua, straddling the cathedrale of Luçon, vomited after a heavy night of drinking… Resulting in the green pool. Perhaps you'd rather make up your own story.
Travel to Poitiers for a fascinating and surprising stay.
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